Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Featurning Cara Putman's Deadly Exposure - Win a Free Copy!

This has been an exciting month for my friend, Cara Putman. She has seen the birth of two babies! The most important birth, of course, is the arrival of her third child, Rebecca, just two weeks ago. And the other birth was that of her second book to be published. Deadly Exposure is a mystery in Love Inspired's Romantic Supsense line.

Cara describes herself as “an attorney, wife, mom, women's ministry leader, and all around crazy woman. Crazy about God, my husband, and my kids, that is.” In her "spare" time she serves as publicity officer for American Christian Fiction Writers (www.acfw.com) and adviser to the ACFW Indiana chapter.

I had the privilege of meeting Cara several years ago in a mentoring group with ACFW. At the time she was just sticking her toe in the waters of fiction writing. While we were in that group she submitted for critiquing the manuscript that eventually became Deadly Exposure. It wasn't long before her writing career took off like a whirlwind. Within two years I watched as she was awarded her first book contract for Canteen Dreams from Barbour's Heartsong Presents imprint. It's been exciting to watch Cara's career blossom and grow.

Now I have another privilege! Being able to be a part of Cara's blog tour for Deadly Exposure. I guarantee you that you will not be disappointed in this fast-paced mystery that takes place in Lincoln, Nebraska. Imagine attending an Andrew Lloyd Webber production of Cats and discovering after the first act that the woman in an adjoining box was murdered while you were entranced by the music on stage. That's what happens to television reporter, Dani Richards. Imagine when the police come to investigate the murder and the lead investigator is the same man you were romantically involved with ten years earlier. That's what happens to Dani Richards. Imagine that someone doesn't want you to find out who murdered the woman and will go to any extreme to make sure you are silenced. That's what happens to Dani Richards. The tension and excitement oozes from nearly every page of this story. A story you won't want to miss!

I'm very excited that Cara agreed to answer a few questions for Writer's Journey. So without further ado let's proceed. At the end you will find instructions for signing up for a drawing to receive a signed copy of Deadly Exposure from Cara. So be sure to read to the end!

  1. Where did you get the idea of the story?
    My husband and I were driving across the Midwest, brainstorming ideas for a book. I knew I wanted it to be suspense, and I was pretty sure I wanted it to be set in Lincoln, Nebraska. Then I also thought I wanted the heroine to be a television reporter. With that background, I tried to think of unusual places for a reporter to find a body. And the germ of an idea was born.

  1. How much as the story changed from the first inception?
    The original germ remained the same. However, the antagonist changed -- in the last 20 pages. I was praying about how to wrap up the story, and God whispered that it should go one direction. As I went back through the book, I realized many of the seeds had already been planted, and the change worked really well. I also had to cut a couple characters as it went from a stand-alone to Love Inspired Suspense size.

  1. How much does your legal experience as an attorney help in writing a romantic mystery?
    In this book it didn't necessarily hurt or really help. But if I get to write the next two books in this series, my background as an attorney will be critical, since both involve heroines who are attorneys. And my longer suspense ideas all involve the law in some facet.

  1. How much research did you have to do for this story?
    Because I lived in Lincoln while I went to college at UNL and still go through Lincoln a couple times a year, I didn't have to do hardly any setting research. I also worked at a TV station while I was in college, so didn't need much on that either. The research was more on details and the police in Lincoln. For example, detectives are called investigators.

  1. You use the play “Cats” as an integral part of this story. Was there a reason you chose that play over another? Did you have to get permission from the producers of “Cats” to use the play?
    I didn't because it's mentioned at the beginning and in a favorable light. I specifically chose the play because I didn't think there was anything that would offend most of my readers in the play. It's also one of my all-time favorites...kind of like Dani LOL

  1. Are you planning a sequel to this story?
    Yes. I'm just waiting to hear if Love Inspired Suspense likes it. And if I get to write book two, Tricia Jamison is the main character with Dani and Caleb back as strong supporting characters. And in book three Logan Collins will be back as the hero (can't wait to write his story!), and Dani and Caleb will have another subplot. It's been fun to see which characters resonate with readers. And they have definite opinions about who they want to see more of.

  1. Anything else in your writing arsenal unrelated to this story that we can look forward to?
    Book two in my Nebraska World War Two romances released in May as well. And I am getting ready to start book one in the Ohio World War Two series...both with Heartsong Presents.

  1. You’ve just welcomed a new baby to your family. How does a busy mom like yourself find time to write novels?
    I don't get much sleep :-) My writing has to occur after the older kids are in bed, so after 9 p.m. And I'm still figuring out the schedule with the new baby, so we're trying to be flexible as I write two books this summer!

Thank you, Cara. You are one busy and talented lady! And thank you for providing a signed book for the winner of my drawing.

If you want to be in on the drawing for Deadly Exposure please leave a comment to this post ALONG WITH YOUR CONTACT INFO SO I CAN CONTACT YOU.

The drawing will take place Wednesday, June 4, 2008.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Peace in the Midst of Chaos

A verse from the Bible has been a comfort to me over the years and never more than this week. Romans 8:28 says:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Over the past week personal friends of mine have had to deal with trials so personal that I can't even elaborate here except to say that my heart and mind were nearly consumed with concerns and prayers for them. To add to that was Kristy Dykes's continuing battle with brain cancer and the heart-stopping news two days ago of Christian music artist Steven Curtis Chapman's five-year-old daughter being killed in a freak accident when her older brother backed over her in an SUV. You can read an updated news account from the Nashville newspaper here.

It's been hard to write this week.

And it is difficult to understand sometimes why trials happen.

Why a five-year-old is taken from this earthly life when it will cause the family so much grief, or why someone as young as Kristy comes down with terminal cancer, or why my closest friend's husband is suddenly out of work and can't find another job. The list can go on and on.

This week I've been reviewing Beth Moore's study on the Fruit of the Spirit and, in particular, peace. God's peace. Truth is in this fallen world we will never enjoy perfect peace. The hippies tried it with their peace signs, and currently the groups railing against the US involvement in Iraq are trying it. Always, somewhere you will find personal tragedy, war, and criminal acts big and small. In fact, just today at the supermarket I had four green bags (the reusable kind you buy to use in place of plastic bags) in the kid seat of my cart. I turned my head to decide which kind of lettuce to buy and someone stole one right out of my cart!

How can I have an inner peace when there is so much going on around me? Because in my heart I know that this is not all there is. The Bible says that to God a 1000 years is like a minute. My pastor touched on this in last week's sermon. He broke that down to how that would compute to a 70 year life time. An hour and a half or so. Just a blip on the radar screen. Not a whole lot when compared to eternity with Him. He promises eternity where there will be no more crying and no more pain. That He will wipe every tear from our eyes. Lasting peace comes when we place our faith, trust, and hope in the Prince of Peace--Jesus.

That is how I have peace. What about you?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Julie Lessman Is The Winner of Leaving November!

I'm pleased to announce that Julie Lessman is the winner of Deb Raney's book, Leaving November. As soon as she provides me with mailing instructions I'll get the book off to her.

Congrats, Julie!

Watch this site for another giveaway in a couple weeks when I host Cara Putman's blog tour for her new release "Deadly Exposure."

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Win A Copy of Deb Raney's "Leaving November!"

Hey, we're having a bit of deja vu here at Writer's Journey, but in a good way. The other day I received a copy of Leaving November in the mail as an endorser copy. A while back I featured Deb's fabulous novel with a drawing for an autographed copy of the book.

I absolutely loved the book and I'm thrilled to promote it here again with another drawing. So if you left your name the first time and didn't win or missed the drawing altogether, leave your comment here now along with contact information. If you don't leave the information, I can't include you in the drawing.

Below is the interview I did with Deb back when I had the first drawing. Enjoy and don't forget to leave a comment and contact info so that your name can be thrown in the hat! Last day for leaving your name is Friday, May 16th. Drawing will take place on the 17th.

Daughter of the town drunk, Vienne Kenney has escaped Clayburn for law school in California. But after failing the bar exam—twice—she’s back home with her tail between her legs, managing Latte-dah, the Clayburn cafĂ© turned upscale coffee shop. Jackson Linder runs the art gallery across the street and Vienne has had her eye on him since she was a skinny seventh grader and he was the hunky high school lifeguard who didn’t know she existed.

Now it's his turn to fall for her and suddenly Clayburn seems like a pretty nice place to be . . .until Vienne discovers that Jack is fresh out of rehab and still struggling with the same addiction that ultimately killed her father.

DEBORAH RANEY is at work on her seventeenth novel. Her books have won the RITA Award, the HOLT Medallion, National Reader's Choice Award and Silver Angel from Excellence in Media.

Deborah's first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title. Deb serves on the advisory board of American Christian Fiction Writers. She and her husband, Ken Raney, have four children and enjoy small-town life in Kansas. Visit Deb on the web athttp://www.deborahraney.com/.

I figured y'all might enjoy a few questions and answers with Deb regarding this book, so here ya go. And when you are done keep reading to learn how you can win a signed copy of Leaving November for yourself!

Q&A with Deb:
Q. What was your inspiration for Leaving November?
A. When I was writing the first book in the series, Remember to Forget, Jackson Linder, a secondary character in the book, really intrigued me. Jack has struggled with something that is my greatest fear: being responsible for the death of another person. I wanted to explore how someone in his shoes could find forgiveness, redemption, and even happiness.

Q. What are you working on now?
A. I've just finished the first draft for the third book in the Clayburn series, Yesterday’s Embers. I have a new contract for another three-book series, and a couple of stand-alone novels to write, but there are other characters from the Clayburn novels begging to have their stories told! I don’t know if I’ll get to write any more Clayburn books, but I’ve loved my time in this little fictional Kansas town!

Q. What do you enjoy most about writing? Least?
A. Most: Having written! Because that means I’m getting reader feedback on my novel—the reward for all the hours of solitude! I also love that I get to be at home and make my own hours.
Least: First-drafting! I love rewriting—taking my editors’ comments and applying them to make my book the best it can be. But the blank page terrifies me! For me, it’s far easier to fix a horrible manuscript than to try to come up with something out of thin air.

Q. What do you do when you're not reading or writing?
A. I love working in the beautiful garden my husband, Ken, designed in our back yard (for a peek, go to
our website about it!) and I love decorating our home. It’s such fun to comb antique shops and flea markets for a great object from the past that I can use on my desk or in my kitchen, or a great piece of furniture to paint or refinish. I’m not much for pretty stuff just for the sake of having it on display, but I love “repurposing” antiques—like the old chamber pot I use for deadheading in the garden, or the antique bank mail sorter that serves as my filing “cabinet.”

As much as I enjoy my career, I’ve always believed that my most precious calling is wife to Ken, my husband of 33 years; mom to four great kids; and now mom-in-law, and “Mimi” to two darling little grandsons. In addition, I have some of the most amazing friends in the world, including a group of women who share my name. We affectionately call ourselves Club Deb. I think being in the solitary profession of writing helps you really appreciate the people you have eye-to-eye contact with!

I can't wait to see who wins this time. This is fun!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

God is in Control

A number of months ago I posted about a writer friend, Kristy Dykes, who has terminal brain cancer. When she was diagnosed in November the doctors gave her about three to six months to live with their estimate closer to three months.

Her church family, many in ACFW, and her immediate and extended family rallied around her, praying in earnest. Although God so far has not chosen to heal her, He has answered prayer in so many ways. Ever since November Kristy and her husband, Milton, have maintained a blog that records Kristy's journey on an almost daily basis. You can read their amazing words for yourself by clicking here.

She prayed for God to extend her life and He has. Maybe not in years, but certainly in months. And not only has He provided additional months of living for her, He's provided quality of life. She's been able to attend church a number of times, go out to restaurants with friends, and just a couple weeks ago, she and her husband had a weekend getaway at Amelia Island where they live in Florida! Every time they've posted a photo of her, people marvel at how healthy she appears. She's never waivered in her faith in God, nor stopped praising Him in spite of her suffering.

I have been so touched by the transparency this couple has shown in expressing their feelings, their love, and their faith.

This past week Kristy weakened and had to be taken to a hospice center for a few daysto get stabilized. She's now returned home, and unless the Lord intervenes and heals her, it would appear that she will soon be ushered into heaven where she will be with Jesus. Even now she carries a gorgeous smile on her face in spite of sadness to leave her husband, daughters and grandkids. She knows that this life is ever so temporary, and she will live for eternity with the Lord.

Kristy touched many lives with her books, but in the past six months she has touched lives way beyond people who enjoy reading sweet romances. She's touched the world, and God has been honored and glorified every minute. I urge you to go to her blog and read this amazing woman's story. If I can be used by God even half as much as He has used Kristy, I would be satisfied.

God bless you, Kristy, as you continue your journey into eternity.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Whadda Week!

Have you ever had one of those weeks where for every step forward you take two steps back? That describes my week very nicely thank you!

It began with having to deal with something I've been struggling with for a long while--controlling the tongue. Someone pointed out to me that I'd said something to them that cut deep and hurt much. The comment was said in jest, but wasn't taken that way at all. I felt horrible for hurting my friend and apologized. All is well between us, praise God, but that still leaves me with a tongue that doesn't seem to know when to be quiet. A few weeks ago a similar incident happened when I rambled on about something without taking into account I didn't know my listeners all that well and what I was saying could possibly be hurtful. Turned out that what I was talking about did have a personal connection to one person. She seemed okay and understood where I was coming from, but that didn't take away from the fact that I need to keep my mouth shut. I needed to take extended time to pray about it and work through the pain. In spite of the value of learning this lesson, it took me away from my "game plan," and I didn't get to my story until late in day on Monday. Even so, I did manage to get in about three hours of work.

Tuesday nothing got done. I had my ESL tutoring in the morning, an appointment with one of the pastors at my church to discuss the small group that I lead, and Bible study that evening. In the afternoon one of the women in my Bible study had to suddenly admit her mom to the hospital. Since the study was to be at her house, I had to get a hold of everyone and have them come to my place.

Wednesday I sat down to finally work on the WIP and realized that everything I had done on Monday somehow had never been saved to my hard drive! I spent the better part of the day redoing everything I had done on Monday.

Yesterday I finally made a small step forward, but had to stop for other things, including visiting my friend's mom in the hospital. I've been spending most of my morning quiet times in James, and God is showing me that I need to put the needs of others ahead of my own way more than I do. Faith without works is dead faith.

This story will be completed in God's time. What's more important is what God is teaching me about who I am. A woman who needs to ask God each day to put a guard on my mouth as is stated in Psalm 141. A woman who looks to the interests of others above her own (Phillipians 2:4) and a woman whose heart fully belongs to God.

Priorities have needed to be reordered and that is what I am doing!