Thursday, December 31, 2009

Things I Hope Won't Follow Us Into 2010



I believe in thinking positively. And I believe 2010 is going to be an absolutely fabulous year, especially if we can leave these things behind us...

Annoying Catchphrases - We've all got them... those phrases we've heard (or read) so many times that we pray they go away. Next year, I hope nobody offers me their "two cents worth" (or two shekels, or any derivative thereof). And I'd be extremely happy to never again read "inquiring minds want to know."

Reality TV Families - I enjoy reality TV shows that involve people with a skill (So You Think You Can Dance, American Idol) or in a hearty competition (Survivor). There are other shows I don't watch, but can understand why others do. And then there are those I think are ridiculous and have no interest in, but the participants are adults, so more power to them. But one thing I wish would come to an end are reality shows that revolve around families with young children. Jon and Kate are a worst-case example of what happens when you put a family under a microscope. No kids should have to live like that. Period.

Mistresses Outing Themselves - A sports figure falling off his pedestal isn't all that shocking. What I found surprising - and pretty appalling - was when all the mistresses stepped into the spotlight. What's with that? It's not like they're coming out against injustice. These are all women who had an affair with a married man and now they're grabbing their moment in front of the tabloid TV cameras. It's weird to me that behavior which was once regrettable is now embraced.

People Tweeting when they should be Participating - Have you ever noticed that some people use Twitter at highly inappropriate times? Tweets from the middle of movies, giving a play-by-play of a sporting event, or from the middle of a family event make me scratch my head. Seriously, I'd be kinda ticked if I was spending the day with a friend and she pulled out her cell phone every ten minutes to share with her Tweeps. But one of the most bizarre examples of this is when two people I follow were out to dinner with each other... and they were both tweeting about how much fun they were having with the other person. I guess they liked watching each other's thumbs fly.

Annoying Other People - As I write this, I fully realize there are things I do that annoy other people. I'm going to do my best not to repeat that behavior in 2010. I'm sure my patient son and husband will be happy to hear that!


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Not Wasting the Waiting


Have you ever noticed how some folks like to make up rhyming mottos for the year? You know, things like Feeling Great in 2008! Well, if I were to assign a snappy saying to last year, it would have to be Waiting in Line in 2009. Because it feels like I spent a good chunk of the year waiting for things to happen.

About a hundred years ago, when I decided to chase the elusive career title of "writer", I knew it would take hard work. I knew I would have to study, learn my craft, and write even when I didn't feel like it. But I never grasped how much of this business involves waiting on responses from others. It seems like I'm always waiting on an email or (less often) a phone call, either from someone I'm already working with or someone I hope to work with.

And my personal life hasn't moved any faster. This summer, we decided it was time to buy a house. In the current economic climate, you wouldn't think buying a house would take too long. Guess again. There's a long (and to you, probably boring) story behind it, but we've spent the last six months on this project. We are currently in the process of buying a short-sale home. The name is misleading because there's nothing short about it. I'm happy because I feel like this is the house we're supposed to wind up in. But I still don't enjoy the waiting.

My biggest problem is that I don't spend my waiting time well. There are lots of things I need to do. Packing, for one. But then how do I know what to pack when I have no idea when we'll actually move? So, the packing doesn't get done.

Of course, there's always something that needs to be written. I really should be working on a new book right now. Should is the operative word, there. While I have been working on different projects, I have yet to commit myself to the one... that new, glistening concept that I will dedicate the next however-many months of my life to until it's complete. Nope. Right now, I'm kind of speed-dating my manuscript ideas.

One of my goals for 2010 is to manage my time better, and I need your help to do it. Even if you don't comment on the blog, it's okay. I know you're out there. So I'm going to be accountable to you. My hope is that, by sharing my goals with you, I will actually accomplish them. Because if I don't, I'll have to answer to y'all.

So here's goal number one: commit to a new novel to complete in 2010.
And here's my deadline: January 1st.

On New Year's Day, come check up on me and I'll give you a sneak peak for my new novel. I hope!


Photo credit: www.dreamstime.com

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I'm BAAaaack!


Yikes! Sorry to be gone for so long. One of my goals for the coming year is blogging consistency. More on that later...

In case you haven't already figured it out, I did not advance to the final round of the Marcher Lord Select contest. Naturally, I was disappointed. In fact, I took it harder than I expected to. All along I knew my chances were slim of making it into that coveted final group of three. But the reality kind of blindsided me. I'm okay now, though. Thanks again to everyone who supported me through that rollercoaster ride. And don't forget to check out the manuscripts that are still in the running.

Now I have to shift gears and work on publicity for The Pastor's Wife, which comes out on February 1st. It's getting good buzz, including a 4-star review from Romantic Times. Yay! I'll be having a month-long blog tour with lots of opportunities to win free copies. More info on that later, too...

But first thing's first. Christmas is literally just around the corner. I pray you and your families are blessed beyond measure as you celebrate the birth of the King and the love that He brings.

Peace be with you!

Photo credit - www.morguefile.com

Friday, December 11, 2009

CFBA Presents THE FAMILIAR STRANGER by Christina Berry




This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Familiar Stranger
(Moody Publishers - September 1, 2009)
by
Christina Berry



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Single mother and foster parent, Christina Berry carves time to write from her busy schedule because she must tell the stories that haunt her every waking moment. (Such is the overly dramatic description of an author's life!) She holds a BA in Literature, yet loves a good Calculus problem, as well. All that confusion must have influenced her decision to be team captain of a winning team on Family Feud.

Her debut novel, The Familiar Stranger, released from Moody in September and deals with lies, secrets, and themes of forgiveness in a troubled marriage. A moving speaker and dynamic teacher, Christina strives to Live Transparently--Forgive Extravagantly!

Her work has also appeared in The Secret Place, The Oregonian, and Daily Devotions for Writers.


ABOUT THE BOOK

Craig Littleton's decision to end his marriage would shock his wife, Denise . . . if she knew what he was up to. When an accident lands Craig in the ICU, with fuzzy memories of his own life and plans, Denise rushes to his side, ready to care for him.

They embark on a quest to help Craig remember who he is and, in the process, they discover dark secrets. An affair? An emptied bank account? A hidden identity? An illegitimate child?

But what will she do when she realizes he's not the man she thought he was? Is this trauma a blessing in disguise, a chance for a fresh start? Or will his secrets destroy the life they built together?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Familiar Stranger, go HERE

JEN'S THOUGHTS

The Familiar Stranger speaks to the pain of betrayal in a marriage and how far a person's capacity for love and forgiveness can be stretched.

What makes this novel work so beautifully is the author's use of a dual first-person point of view. We see the story unfold through the eyes of both Denise and Craig. Each section is labeled "his" or "hers" which eliminates any potential confusion. By getting into their skins, you can't help but empathize with both of them.

There's a mystery at the heart of The Familiar Stranger. I saw it coming fairly early on in the book, but I think there's a good reason for that. Something I read in an interview with Christina tipped me off. It wasn't anything overt, but the vague mention of the inspiration for the story immediately sounded a bell in my imagination. I honestly can't say if I would have seen where it was going otherwise. I can say that figuring out the secret didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book.

Christina Berry has produced a debut novel to be proud of. I look forward to seeing what she offers up next.


Read my Take 5 interview with Christina Berry on Examiner.com

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's All in How You Say It


Even if you're not a writer, I'm sure you'll agree that clear communication is important. It's why companies hire copy writers. Obviously, not everyone chooses to hire out. Which is why you run into some funny copy on packages that come from overseas.

Once, my son won a prize at a church carnival. The object of the game (made in China) was to bounce a ball off a rubber target and into a cup. But this is how they described the process on the box: "Convulsing enter!" Something sure got lost in translation.

Below is a snippet from a spam comment that was left on one of my blog posts. I deleted it from the post, but had to share this piece of it. I changed none of the wording, spelling or punctuation, but I did remove the company name and the link. (Sorry, you'll have to find another way to get rich):
I`m happy and lucky, I started to get income with the help of this company, and I invite you to do the same. It`s all about how to select a correct partner utilizes your savings in a right way - that`s [company name]!. I make 2G daily, and what I started with was a funny sum of 500 bucks! It`s easy to join , just click this link [removed]and lucky you`re! Let`s take our chance together to feel the smell of real money.
Isn't that a hoot? Whatever you do today, have fun, be clear, and if you're lucky, maybe you can take the chance to feel the smell of real money!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Meet Historical Fiction Author Amber Stockton - Interview & Giveaway!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tiffany Amber Stockton is an author, online marketing consultant, and web site designer who lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart, and their baby daughter in Colorado. They also have a vivacious Border Collie mix named Roxie. Amber has sold eight books to Barbour Publishing with more on the horizon. Other writing credits include five short stories for Romancing the Christian Heart, and contributions to Grit for the Oyster and 101 Ways to Romance Your Marriage. Her goal in writing is to convey the message that God is always present, even during the most difficult circumstances. Read more about her at her web site: http://www.amberstockton.com/.


GETTING TO KNOW HER

JA: Have you always wanted to be a writer?
AS: I can't say for certain, but I have always been a storyteller. My parents said I was forever embellishing every story I told to the point that they would step in and tell the story how it really happened. To me, the real truth wasn't interesting enough, so I had to add some flair to it. I suppose writing books came naturally. :)

JA: How does your faith impact your writing?
AS: It's essential and breathes from every word I write. My underlying goal with every story I write is that my readers will see evidence of God's presence in their lives, no matter what the circumstances. I have been blessed with a strong, unwavering faith for most of my life, and that faith has sustained me through may difficult circumstances. I would love for my readers to have that as a takeaway from my novels.

JA: How long does it take to complete a novel? How many drafts do you go through?
AS: Depends on how long the novel is. For the ones I've sold so far, I can write one of them in 2 weeks. For a trade-length, I could do it in 1 month. I'm a fast writer, and I usually only go through 1 complete draft with a phase of revisions before sending it off to my editor. Of course, once my editor gets it, then come the revisions in the content edit stage, followed by the copy edit stage and finally the galley stage. So, if those count, that would make 5 drafts in all.

JA: Do you treat yourself to something special when a project is completed?
AS: Usually, my husband and I go out to eat somewhere special to celebrate. And we splurge...but only after the 2nd half of my advance arrives. :) Otherwise, we'd feel guilty about spending frivolously when we could likely put the money to good use somewhere else. But the advance money is book money, so we feel splurging is justified.

JA: What does your family think about your crazy career?
AS: Actually, since my husband is also a published author, he understands. *winks* And he's just as nutty as I am, if not more so. I mean, he writes science fiction. You HAVE to be a nut job to write that genre. LOL!

JA: What’s the one far out sci-fi technology you’d most like to see become a household item?
AS: The replicator from Star Trek. That thing that produces whatever food item you ask of it, with all the embellishments and spices, and cooked just the way you want it. Can you imagine the time it would save if you could just ask for your meals and poof? There they are! Yeah, that is one household item with which I could easily become spoiled.

Thanks for visiting with us, Amber. Many blessings on your many projects!


WIN A BOOK
If you’d like to be entered in today's book giveaway, just leave a reply to this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on December 15th. The winner will get their choice of one of Amber's books. (NOTE: This one is restricted to residents of the United States and Canada.) Please leave an email address so I can contact you if you're the winner. (To prevent spammers from trolling for your email, please use this format with the brackets--you [at] yourmail [dot] com--or something similar.) Good luck!

More about Amber's latest series...


Copper and Candles
Barbour Publishing/Heartsong Presents Book 1 of Michigan historical series (HP #843)
At Christianbook.com or Amazon.com
Release date: April 2009
ISBN-10: 1602603405
ISBN-13: 9781602603400

A young lady of means discovers that keeping secrets, no matter how noble the intent, demands a price that she and a refinery worker, with all their resources, might not be able to pay.— Society teas and garden parties, shopping, gossip—Life as a young lady of means may be fun, but Felicity wants to do more. Unfortunately, she finds that her position and wealth can sometimes hinder her efforts to help those around her in need. Thus, when a charity case falls ill and cannot work, Felicity determines to go to work as a commoner in Detroit's dangerous factory district. Relationships become complicated, however, and she soon finds herself falling in love with a worker from the copper refinery next door. She knows her family would never accept him as a suitor, but what's a girl to do? What she doesn't know is that Brandt has his own secrets and hides his identity just as carefully as she. Brandt and Felicity soon discover that deception—no matter how noble its intent—demands a price that even they, with all their resources, may not be able to pay. Can they survive the storm when truth is revealed?
Read the first chapter here.



Hearts and Harvest
Barbour Publishing/Heartsong Presents Book 2 of Michigan historical series (HP #867)
Christianbook.com 
Release date: September 2009
ISBN-10: 1602605769
ISBN-13: 9781602605763

A destitute young man fights society's mores to win the hand of his privileged sweetheart.— William's is a true riches to rags story...Once members of Detroit's elite society, the Berringer family lost everything they had in the financial crash of 1893. From a life of influence and privilege, they now find themselves working a potato patch alongside immigrants and other destitute folk on borrowed land. William's resentment toward his current situation—and mostly toward God for allowing it—simmers barely beneath the surface. All it takes is one charitable visit to the fields from a lovely society darling to burst his fa├žade of acceptance. Annabelle Lawson, convicted by her pastor's admonishing words, begins delivering food and water to the workers on her father's donated land. But as she learns the stories of the people who work there, she becomes increasingly drawn to their plight. Especially that of the inscrutable William Berringer. Can Annabelle and William overcome the stigma placed upon his family by a society that once embraced them? Will her parents remember their own meeting or forbid this budding romance altogether?
Read the first chapter here



Patterns and Progress
Barbour Publishing/Heartsong Presents Book 3 of Michigan historical series (HP# )
Christianbook.com
Release date: December 2009
ISBN-10: 1602606870
ISBN-13: 9781602606876

A farmer's daughter would rather turn back the hands of time than accept the fact that advancement in technology could be in God's plan.— Shannon Delaney was right. Every time she might consider changing her stance on what other people called progress, something bad would happen and she would be proven right again. Take the day Jacob Berringer almost ran her over in that new Model-T, for instance. And he had the nerve to suggest she'd been daydreaming? Or the Titanic. A marvel of modern invention. Look where that got them. Or how about the new tractor her brother insisted they try out. What did he get from that? A broken arm. Why can't things just stay the way they are—the way they should be? Jacob's got his work cut out for him, proving to the stubborn but beautiful Shannon that just because he works for the Henry Ford Company, he isn't evil incarnate. But something about her tells him she's worth the effort, and when Jacob puts his mind to something, he doesn't turn back. But will either of them look to God for direction?
Read the first chapter here

Monday, December 7, 2009

Have you heard? It's time to vote in Phase 3 of the Marcher Lord Select contest!


Since I've been inundating you with posts, I'm going to keep this one as short and sweet at possible.

The polls are now open for Phase 3 of the Marcher Lord Select contest. This link will take you straight to the polls. If you haven't participated before, that's okay. You'll just be asked to register first.

During this round, you need to vote for three exactly. No more and no less. (If you vote for any other number, your vote won't count.)  This time, Jeff is leaving the polls open longer so no readers get left behind. You have from now until midnight Eastern time on Tuesday, December 15th to cast your vote.

Only three entries will advance to the last round of this contest, and one of those will be published by Marcher Lord Press. The rankings have been extremely close, so even if you haven't participated up to this point, I encourage you to check out the entries and cast your votes. Naturally, I hope you'll enjoy my entry enough to make it one of your three :+}

If you haven't read the first 30 pages of my novel, Vinnie's Diner, or the other seven entries and would like to, this blog post tells you everything you need to know.

Thanks again, friends. We've come this far together. I hope I'll have great news for you all on the 16th!


Photo credit: www.istockphoto.com

Saturday, December 5, 2009

CFBA presents RAISING RAIN by Debbie Fuller Thomas




This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Raising Rain
(Moody Publishers - September 1, 2009)
by
Debbie Fuller Thomas



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Debbie writes contemporary fiction from an historic Gold Rush town in Northern California. By day, she manages after school and day camp programs, and she burns the midnight oil to write what she loves. Her first book Tuesday Night at the Blue Moon, is a Christy finalist. Raising Rain, her second book became available September 2009.

Debbie has contributed to story collections such as Chicken Soup for the Bride's Soul, and Lord, I Was Happy Shallow, along with articles in Coping With Cancer magazine.

She has two teenagers and her husband is the executive pastor on Sonrise Church with 1,000 members. Debbie is a manager at Auburn Area Parks and Recreation.


ABOUT THE BOOK


Raised to be a 'new woman' by her mother and three college roommates in the 70's amid anti-war protests, feminist rallies, and finals, Rain Rasmussen discovers that putting her career first has left her overdrawn at the egg-bank, and her baby fever has now driven off her significant other.

When her terminally ill mother demands a Celebration of Life before she dies; they all confront ghosts from the past on a 'stormy' weekend in Monterey. Bebe, the roommate closest to Rain's heart, revisits choices that have impacted Rain the most, raising doubts about God's—and her own—willingness to forgive and to be forgiven.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Raising Rain, go HERE.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Marcher Lord Select - And Then There Were 8


Yes, the polls are closed, the votes have been tallied, and I can let you know that...

drum roll, please...

I made it into Phase 3!

This was an extremely competitive round with very few votes separating the ranks. All the contestants deserve a big round of applause, regardless of the outcome.

Now it's time to move on to Phase 3. This time, you are able to read the first 30 pages of the remaining eight entries. Here's how you find them:
  • Go to The Anomaly Forums (a free registration is required if you haven't been there before).
  • Go to the Marcher Lord Select sub-topic.
  • At the top you'll see six sub-boards. Click on Phase 3--Main Contest (3rd from the top)
  • Chose the top thread, Download the First 30 Pages of the 8 Semifinalists
  • The first post is from Jeff Gerke. About halfway down he says, "Download the file here."
  • Click on the link and it will take you to the Marcher Lord Press site. Go to the bottom of the page and click on this link: Download the Phase 3 document.
  • That will open a Word file. The entries are listed in random order, but Vinnie's Diner happened to land at the top, so you won't have any trouble finding it. 
The official date for the next round of voting hasn't been announced yet, but will probably be around two weeks from now. At that point, you can only vote for three entries: no more and no less. The field will then be cut down to the top three who will move on to the 4th and final phase. At that point, the first 60 pages of each book will be posted.

Jeff has started discussion threads on the forums for all eight of the Phase 3 semifinalists (in the Phase 3--Main Contest sub-board). If you have thoughts you'd like to share on Vinnie's Diner or any of the entries, please jump in and join the conversation. It's encouraging for all the authors when people discuss their stories, even if it's something you didn't like. It helps us fine-tune our work.

Thanks again, friends, for all your support. I wouldn't be here without you. Be blessed!


If all this is new to you, visit this previous blog post. It gives you all the contest details, plus a nifty book trailer of Vinnie's Diner.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Voting is Open in Phase 2 of the Marcher Lord Select Contest

I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving day. And if you don't live in the USA and didn't celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday, I hope you had a great day otherwise.

I have a lot of things to be thankful for: a great family, wonderful friends, and... wait for it... the opportunity to compete in a great contest!



Yes, friends, it's time to cast your vote in Phase 2 of the Marcher Lord Select competition. Here's how it works this time:
  • Go to The Anomaly Forums (a free registration is required if you haven't been there before).
  • Go to the Marcher Lord Select sub-topic.
  • At the top you'll see four sub-boards. Click on Phase 2--Main Contest (3rd from the top)
  • Chose the top thread, Phase 2 Poll--The Main Contest
  • You'll notice that the entries are NOT alphabetical. Vinnie's Diner is about half-way down the list.
  • Click in the boxes to cast your votes. You must vote for at least 3, but no more than 6. 
Voting is open now. The poll closes at midnight Eastern time, Monday, November 30th. On Tuesday, December 1st, Jeff Gerke will reveal the top vote getters. At that point, 8 lucky contestans will move on to Phase 3.

In case you think one vote doesn't count... In Phase 1, only one vote separated the contestant who came in 18th (and advanced to Phase 2) and the one who came in 19th (and sadly was eliminated). See how important you are?

Thanks for experiencing this contest with me. It's kind of like going to Disneyland... fun either way, but much more so when you have friends to share it with!


If you haven't read the top 18 entries yet, go to this blog post.
If all this is new to you, visit this blog post. It gives you all the contest details, plus a nifty book trailer of Vinnie's Diner.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

MLS Update: I made it through to Phase 2!


I'm so excited to be able to tell you that my book made it through to the second round of the Marcher Lord Select contest. Woo hoo!

Thanks so, so much to everyone who went over to the site, checked out the entries, and voted for me. You rock! But our work isn't finished... now it's on to Phase 2.

Now it's your chance to read the first 500 words (a little over two pages) of each of the 18 remaining entries. Here's how you find them:
  • Go to The Anomaly Forums (a free registration is required if you haven't been there before).
  • Go to the Marcher Lord Select sub-topic.
  • At the top you'll see four sub-boards. Click on Phase 2--Main Contest (3rd from the top)
  • Chose the top thread, The Phase 2 Entries
  • The first post is from Jeff Gerke. He explains how Phase 2 will work. Over halfway through, you'll see a paragraph that starts like this: "To that end, I have assembled the Phase 2 entries in a Word document and made it available via download only at the following link:"
  • Sorry, I can't give you the link (Jeff explains why.) But if you click on it, you'll go to a site that will allow you to download a Word document with all the entries in it.
  • This time, entries are alphabetical by TITLE. So Vinnie's Diner is second-to-last. 
It sounds like a lot of steps, but it's really pretty straightforward. The next round of voting is November 28-30. During this phase, you must vote for at least three, but no more than six entries. The field will then be cut down to 10 who will move on to Phase 3. At that point, the first 30 pages of each book will be posted. So if you want to read more, you need to vote.

I hope you'll take a look at all the great entries and consider honoring me with your vote when the time comes around. Be blessed!


If all this is new to you, visit this previous blog post. It gives you all the contest details, plus a nifty book trailer of Vinnie's Diner.

CFBA Presents ETERNITY FALLS by Kirk Outerbridge




This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Eternity Falls
(Marcher Lord Press - October 1, 2009)
by
Kirk Outerbridge



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kirk Outerbridge developed a passion for storytelling at an early age. Through years of reading Fantasy and Science Fiction novels, comics, table top gaming and watching endless hours Japanese anime, he developed a keen sense for what made stories enjoyable and more importantly—what didn’t.

While pursuing an engineering degree in college, Kirk endeavored to tell his own stories, choosing writing as the easiest and cheapest medium to master—or so he thought. Several years and several hundred thousand words later, he produced a Sci-fi trilogy that shall never (God willing) see the light of day, but that did teach him much needed lessons about the craft of writing fiction.

After college Kirk returned to his homeland of Bermuda where he reunited with his childhood friend and future wife, Ria. But before marrying his lovely wife, Kirk entered an even greater marriage and devoted his life to Christ in 2002.

With a new found direction in life, writing fell by the wayside but the urge to tell futuristic stories never left. After much prayer and contemplation, Kirk purposed his writing for God’s Will, seeking to draw to Christ those who shared his passions for all things futuristic and Sci-fi.

Kirk currently lives with his wife Ria and 18 month old son Miles in beautiful Bermuda. He is a faithful member of the Church of Christ and is a professional engineer employed by the government.


ABOUT THE BOOK

In the future, death is only a problem if you can’t afford the price. Such is the promise of Gentec Corporation’s “Miracle Treatment”, a genetic anti-aging elixir that grants eternal life—or does it?

When a Gentec client suddenly dies of natural causes, the powers that be will stop at nothing to ensure their version of eternity remains unchallenged; even if it means concocting a religious sabotage conspiracy to cover a lie.

With the media about to blow the story wide open, the credibility of Gentec and the lives of millions of clients rest on one man’s ability to uncover the truth.
Enter detective Rick Macey, religious counterterrorist expert and Gentec executive Sheila Dunn’s last hope for salvation.

Now with the clock ticking and the corporate brass seeking their own solution at any cost, Macey must track down a religious zealot out to destroy the Miracle Treatment for good.

But when Macey finds himself not only falling for his client, but confronted with the possibility that the culprit could hold a connection to his shaded past, the truth suddenly becomes a dangerous thing.

Only through a test of faith can he stop the crisis before it’s all too late and eternity falls.

If you would like to read an excerpt from Chapter 1 of Eternity Falls, go HERE


JEN'S THOUGHTS

Eternity Falls is another outstanding first novel from Marcher Lord Press. The author, Kirk Outerbridge describes it as Christian cyberpunk. When I asked him to define the term, he had this to say:

It’s probably easier to describe the cyberpunk first. Cyberpunk is a subgenre where the embracing of technology (usually through the direct interfacing of man and machine) has in someway caused great social imbalance and the fringes of that society rebel against the masses to try and restore order. Although my work has the technology portion, my society has moved beyond the angst and found balance. Some call this cyberpunk 2.0.

The religious aspect is something I always found missing in cyberpunk and Sci-fi in general. The belief in “something”, rather Christian or not, is a big part of who we are as human beings. To portray realistic characters and problems I just had to include it, and as a Christian it provided the perfect avenue to tell people about God.
Eternity Falls is the story of Rick Macey, a private investigator who takes on the job of finding out why Greta Darling, an 89-year-old spokesperson for the Miracle Treatment - which guarentees eternal life and made the celebrity look a mere 22 - has died of natural causes. Of coure, the case is much more complex than it seems. Everyone has secrets, including Macey.

Outerbridge sets his story in 2081 Southern California. As a native of So Cal, it was fun for me to read his futuristic vision of places I'm very familiar with, like Los Angeles and Pomona. From the first page, Eternity Falls is almost non-stop action. But there are some nice quiet moments, too. And questions to ponder, such as: If you knew you could physically live forever, would it diminish your desire for salvation?

This is a book well worth your time. I'm anxiously awaiting the next book in the series.

Monday, November 16, 2009

CFBA Presents WHAT THE BAYOU SAW by Patti Lacy




This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
introduces
What The Bayou Saw
(Kregel Publications - March 24, 2009)
by
Patti Lacy



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Though Patti's only been writing since 2005, she thinks her latest profession of capturing stories on paper (or computer files) will stick awhile.

The Still, Small Voice encouraged Patti to write after a brave Irish friend shared memories of betrayal and her decision to forgive. In 2008, An Irishwoman’s Tale was published by Kregel Publications. Patti’s second novel, What the Bayou Saw, draws on the memories of two young girls who refused to let segregation, a chain link fence, and a brutal rape come between them.

The secrets women keep and why they keep them continue to enliven Patti's gray matter. A third book, My Name is Sheba, has been completed. Patti's WIP, Recapturing Lily, documents a tug-of-war between a Harvard-educated doctor and an American pastor and his wife for a precious child and explores adoption issues, China's "One Child" policy, and both Christian and secular views of sacrifice.

Patti also facilitates writing seminars in schools, libraries, and at conferences and has been called to present her testimony, "All the Broken Pieces," at women's retreats. She also leads a Beth Moore Bible study at her beloved Grace Church.

Patti and her husband Alan, an Illinois State faculty member, live in Normal with their handsome son Thomas, who attends Heartland Community College. On sunny evenings, you can catch the three strolling the streets of Normal with their dog Laura, whom they've dubbed a "Worchestershire Terrier" for her "little dab of this breed, a little dab of that breed.

ABOUT THE BOOK


Segregation and a chain link fence separated twelve-year-old Sally Flowers from her best friend, Ella Ward. Yet a brutal assault bound them together. Forever. Thirty-eight years later, Sally, a middle-aged Midwestern instructor, dredges up childhood secrets long buried beneath the waters of a Louisiana bayou in order to help her student, who has also been raped. Fragments of spirituals, gospel songs, and images of a Katrina-ravaged New Orleans are woven into the story.

The past can't stay buried forever Rising author Patti Lacy's second novel exposes the life of Sally, set amid the shadows of prejudice in Louisiana.

Since leaving her home in the South, Sally Stevens has held the secrets of her past at bay, smothering them in a sunny disposition and sugar-coated lies. No one, not even her husband, has heard the truth about her childhood.

But when one of her students is violently raped, Sally's memories quickly bubble to the surface unbidden, like a dead body in a bayou. As Sally's story comes to light, the lies she's told begin to catch up with her. And as her web of deceit unravels, she resolves to face the truth at last, whatever the consequences.

If you would like to read the first chapter of What The Bayou Saw, go HERE

Watch the Book Trailer:




JEN'S THOUGHTS


I might be a little biased. You see, I know Patti Lacy. She's a wonderful lady with a heart as warm as an Illinois sunrise. We met at a writer's conference where she took me under her wing, mentoring me for a year and becoming my friend in the process. But no matter how dear to my heart she is, I would never praise her book unless I truly thought it was worthy of it. So trust me when I say that What the Bayou Saw is a read that shouldn't be missed.

Sally Stevens convinced herself that the past was dead and buried. But the rape of a student brings up terrible memories of the girl she used to be, and the best friend she left behind. As hurricane Katrina batters New Orleans, Sally knows she must head back to her girlhood home, to face the past, to find her friend, and to put an end to the lies that have become a way of life.

In What the Bayou Saw, Lacy weaves a compelling tale of a friendship that comes up against bigotry, hatred, and unimaginable ugliness. Yet through it all, God's love and redemption shines through. In her signature style, she writes with unapologetic honesty. The result is a book that is gritty, realistic, and wholly satisfying.

Friday, November 13, 2009

It's time to cast your votes in the Marcher Lord Select contest!


Today's the day... the polls are open on the Marcher Lord Select contest! In order to cut down on the confusion, I thought it would be best to give you all the info you need here.

By now, you've probably already found the forums and have read the first round entries. If not, go to The Anomaly Forums (a free registration is required). Go to the Marcher Lord Select sub-topic. The entries are located in the sub-board titled Phase 1--Main Contest and are organized in groups of ten. In case you’re wondering, my entry, Vinnie’s Diner, is the first one in the second group (Entries 11-20).

At the top of the Phase 1--Main Contest sub-board you'll see two new categories:
  • Phase 1: Main Contest - Poll 1 of 2
  • Phase 1: Main Contest - Poll 2 of 2
The polls are where you place your votes. Because all 36 entries wouldn't fit in one poll Jeff Gerke (owner of Marcher Lord Press and head contest honcho) split them into two groups. You must place at least three votes, but they can be split across the boards. The vote limit is 20.

My entry, Vinnie's Diner, is the very last one in the Phase 1: Main Contest - Poll 1 of 2 thread. Might as well make it easy for you to find, right?

I really appreciate everyone who's already signed up on the forums, especially those of you who aren't "forum people." Your support is huge.

Voting is open from November 13 - 15. At that point, the field will be cut down to the top 20. Those entries will move on to the next phase, where you'll get to read the first 500 words of the novels. Exciting stuff!

Now, if you still have no idea what I'm talking about, visit this previous blog post. It gives you all the details, plus a nifty book trailer of Vinnie's Diner.

Monday, November 9, 2009

CFBA Presents FIT TO BE TIED by Robin Lee Hatcher




This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Fit to Be Tied
(Zondervan - November 1, 2009)
by
Robin Lee Hatcher



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Robin Lee Hatcher discovered her vocation as a novelist after many years of reading everything she could put her hands on, including the backs of cereal boxes and ketchup bottles. The winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction (Whispers from Yesterday), the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance (Patterns of Love and The Shepherd's Voice), two RT Career Achievement Awards (Americana Romance and Inspirational Fiction), and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin is the author of over 50 novels, including Catching Katie, named one of the Best Books of 2004 by the Library Journal.

Robin enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, reading books that make her cry, and watching romantic movies. She is passionate about the theater, and several nights every summer, she can be found at the outdoor amphitheater of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, enjoying Shakespeare under the stars. She makes her home outside of Boise, sharing it with Poppet the high-maintenance Papillon

ABOUT THE BOOK

Cleo Arlington dresses like a cowboy, is fearless and fun-loving, and can ride, rope, and wrangle a horse as well as any man. In 1916, however, those talents aren’t what most young women aspire to. But Cleo isn’t most women. Twenty-nine years old and single, Cleo loves life on her father’s Idaho ranch. Still, she hopes someday to marry and have children.

Enter Sherwood Statham, an English aristocrat whose father has sentenced him to a year of work in America to “straighten him out.” Sherwood, who expected a desk job at a posh spa, isn’t happy to be stuck on an Idaho ranch. And he has no idea how to handle Cleo, who’s been challenged with transforming this uptight playboy into a down-home cowboy, because he has never encountered a woman succeeding in a “man’s world.”

Just about everything either of them says or does leaves the other, well, fit to be tied. Cleo Arlington knows everything about horses but nothing about men. And though Cleo believes God’s plan for her includes a husband, it couldn’t possibly be Sherwood Statham. Could it?

Their bumpy trot into romance is frustrating, exhilarating, and ultimately heartwarming.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Fit to Be Tied , go HERE.

Watch the book video Trailer:




JEN'S THOUGHTS

What happens when a rough and ready cowgirl locks horns with an honest to goodness English Lord? Cleo Arlington and Lord Sherwood Stratham are about to find out.

Fit to be Tied is one of the most engaging, fun novels I've read in awhile. In Cleo, we have a heroine who knows exactly who she is. And she thinks she knows who Sherwood is: an arrogant, spoiled, rich boy who is going to be a bur under her saddle for the next year. But Woody - as she calls him - doesn't live up to her expectations. It turns out he's smart, hard working, and determined to prove his worth. He surprises her.

Sherwood also surprises himself. A tour on the battlefield left him scarred, both physically and emotionally. In England, he saw no future for himself other than that of playboy. But when his father sends him to Idaho to straighten him out, Sherwood realizes there's more to life than parties and superficial relationships.

When Sherwood and Cleo meet, the inevitable comedy of errors occur. But there's also an emotional depth that pulls you in, yearning to see these two lonely people find love and happiness together. Fit to be Tied is the second in the Sisters of Bethlehem Springs series, and while you'll probably enjoy the series more if you start from book one, it can be read as a stand-alone. Regardless, you'll be chomping at the bit for the third installment, coming out in 2010. Robin Lee Hatcher has crafted a book that will leave you wanting more.

Monday, November 2, 2009

CFBA Presents A SLOW BURN by Mary DeMuth




This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Slow Burn
(Zondervan - October 1, 2009)
by
Mary DeMuth



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mary E. DeMuth is an expert in Pioneer Parenting. She enables Christian parents to navigate our changing culture when their families left no good faith examples to follow.

Her parenting books include Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture (Harvest House, 2007), Building the Christian Family You Never Had (WaterBrook, 2006), and Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God (Harvest House, 2005).

Mary also inspires people to face their trials through her real-to-life novels, Watching The Tree Limbs (nominated for a Christy Award) and Wishing On Dandelions (NavPress, 2006).

Mary has spoken at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, the ACFW Conference, the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, and at various churches and church planting ministries. She's also taught in Germany, Austria, Monaco, Italy, France, and the United States. Mary and her husband, Patrick, reside in Texas with their three children. They recently returned from breaking new spiritual ground in Southern France, and planting a church.


ABOUT THE BOOK


She touched Daisy’s shoulder. So cold. So hard. So unlike Daisy.

Yet so much like herself it made Emory shudder.

Burying her grief, Emory Chance is determined to find her daughter Daisy’s murderer—a man she saw in a flicker of a vision. But when the investigation hits every dead end, her despair escalates. As questions surrounding Daisy’s death continue to mount, Emory’s safety is shattered by the pursuit of a stranger, and she can’t shake the sickening fear that her own choices contributed to Daisy’s disappearance. Will she ever experience the peace her heart longs for?

The second book in the Defiance, Texas Trilogy, this suspenseful novel is about courageous love, the burden of regret, and bonds that never break. It is about the beauty and the pain of telling the truth. Most of all, it is about the power of forgiveness and what remains when shame no longer holds us captive.


Watch the video:



If you would like to read the first chapter of A Slow Burn, go HERE

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Marcher Lord Select Competition Is On!


This is it… the Marcher Lord Select competition has begun!

If you’re not familiar with the contest, you can read all about it (and my entry) on this previous blog post. I really want to encourage all my lovely friends and readers to hop on over and check it out. There’s some amazing Christian speculative fiction in the running. I truly hope you enjoy my offering and find it worthy of a vote, but if nothing else, you’ll have all kinds of fun reading these stories before some publisher scoops them up!

Here’s how you do it: Go to The Anomaly Forums (a free registration is required). Go to the Marcher Lord Select sub-topic. The entries are located in the sub-board titled Phase 1--Main Contest and are organized in groups of ten. In case you’re wondering, my entry, Vinnie’s Diner, is the first one in the second group (Entries 11-20). Don't worry, it will make perfect sense when you get there.

This is the time to read through and savor all the first round entries. For each you will find the title of the book, the genre, the word count, a one sentence premise, a 100 word or less blurb, and a short synopsis.

Voting takes place from November 13 – 15. You must vote for at least three contestants, but no more than 20. This round will cut the field down to 15, who will then move on to the next phase.

If you ever wanted to be instrumental in the life of an author, this is your chance. Make your voice heard and come be a part of the publishing process!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

CFBA Presents EYE OF THE GOD by Ariel Allison





This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
eye of the god
(Abingdon Press - October 1, 2009)
by
Ariel Allison




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Allison is a published author who lives in a small Texas town with her husband and three young sons. She is the co-author of Daddy Do You Love Me: a Daughter’s Journey of Faith and Restoration (New Leaf Press, 2006). Justin Case, the first of three children’s books will be published by Harvest House in June 2009. Ariel is a weekly contributor to http://www.christiandevotions.us/ and has written for Today’s Christian Woman. She ponders on life as a mother of all boys at http://www.themoabclub.blogspot.com/ and on her thoughts as a redeemed dreamer at http://www.arielallison.blogspot.com/.


From Ariel:
I am the daughter of an acclaimed and eccentric artist, and given my “unconventional” childhood, had ample time to explore the intricacies of story telling. I was raised at the top of the Rocky Mountains with no running water or electricity (think Laura Ingles meets the Hippie Movement), and lived out the books I read while running barefoot through the sagebrush. My mother read to me by the light of a kerosene lantern for well over a decade, long after I could devour an entire novel in the course of a day. Authors such as C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkein, George MacDonald, and L.M. Montgomery were the first to capture my heart and I have
grown to love many others since.


ABOUT THE BOOK

eye of the god takes the fascinating history surrounding the Hope Diamond and weaves it together with a present-day plot to steal the jewel from the Smithsonian Institute.

We follow Alex and Isaac Weld, the most lucrative jewel thieves in the world, in their quest to steal the gem, which according to legend was once the eye of a Hindu idol named Rama Sita. When it was stolen in the 17th century, it is said that the idol cursed all those who would possess it. That won’t stop the brilliant and ruthless Weld brothers.

However, they are not prepared for Dr. Abigail Mitchell, the beautiful Smithsonian Director, who has her own connection to the Hope Diamond and a deadly secret to keep. Abby committed long ago that she would not serve a god made with human hands, and the “eye of the god” is no exception. Her desire is not for wealth, but for wisdom. She seeks not power, but restoration.

When the dust settles over the last great adventure of the Hope Diamond, readers will understand the “curse” that has haunted its legacy is nothing more than the greed of evil men who bring destruction upon themselves. No god chiseled from stone can direct the fates of humankind, nor can it change the course of God’s story.

If you would like to read the prologue and first chapter of eye of the god, go HERE


JEN'S THOUGHTS

I've always been fascinated by the mystery surrounding the Hope Diamond, so I was especially excited to read eye of the god. I was expecting a good read. What I wasn't expecting was the effortless weaving of historical fact and modern-day thievery, both equally as thrilling.

Dr. Abigail Mitchell has father issues. She also knows more about the Hope Diamond than just about anybody in the world. Alex Weld is one of the world's most successful and cunning jewel thieves. When their paths cross, the sparks fly and suddenly, nothing is exactly as it seems.

It's hard to say too much about eye of the god without giving away the plot. Suffice it to say that zigs and zags abound. Author Ariel Allison deserves mad props for making the historical portion of this tale so compelling. From the time the diamond is procured in India in 1653, we follow the path of the diamond and the lives of the people it touches. Their stories, interspersed with the present day heist, underscore the fact that the real curse of the Hope Diamond may be the greed and lust it brings out in people who look to things for fulfillment.

eye of the god is a fast-paced, action packed book with a final twist that took me by surprise. If you're like me, you'll have a hard time putting this one down.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Take a trip back to the seventies with Leonard Nimoy & Bilbo Baggins

I couldn't believe it when I stumbled on this video on YouTube. My mother owned this album, and I remember listening to it a lot as a kid. But who knew there was a video?

Granted, the image quality is pretty bad and the whole thing is maximum cheese. You can't help wondering, "What was he thinking?" But you also can't beat if for nostalgia!

I now give you Leonard Nimoy singing "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins."


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Marcher Lord Select - What it's all about and how I'm involved

Would you like to check out some cool speculative fiction and at the same time have a voice in choosing who gets their book published? If it sounds good to you, then please be part of Marcher Lord Select. It's kind of like American Idol meets book acquisitions.

What's really exciting for me is that I'm one of a select group of authors who've been invited into the competition. My completed novel, Vinnie's Diner, will be among the manuscripts you get to vote for. Cool, huh? Vinnie's Diner is best described as a supernatural journey of self-discovery. While quite a departure from my previous books, it's probably my favorite to date. In fact, I'm so excited about it that I made a Vinnie's Diner book trailer several months back. You can check it out on YouTube if you really want to get a feel for the story. Or, you can watch it here:



I've pasted the complete press release from Marcher Lord Press below so you can find out exactly what the contest is about. An important piece of information is that all the manuscript viewing and voting takes place on The Anomaly forums under the sub-heading Marcher Lord Select. You need to register there in order to vote, but it's totally free and secure.

Of course, the main idea behind this contest is to pick the best, and that's what I encourage you to do. Vote for THE BEST story, which may or may not be mine. But you won't know that until you check them all out.

I'll keep you posted as the contest progresses. Thanks for your support!



October 17, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Marcher Lord Press Announces Marcher Lord Select

(Colorado Springs, CO)--Marcher Lord Press, the premier publisher of Christian speculative fiction, today announces the debut of a revolution in fiction acquisitions.

"Marcher Lord Select is American Idol meets book acquisitions," says publisher Jeff Gerke. "We're presenting upwards of 40 completed manuscripts and letting 'the people' decide which one should be published."

The contest will proceed in phases, Gerke explains, in each subsequent round of which the voters will receive larger glimpses of the competing manuscripts.

The first phase will consist of no more than the book's title, genre, length, a 20-word premise, and a 100-word back cover copy teaser blurb. Voters will cut the entries from 40 to 20 based on these items alone.

"We want to show authors that getting published involves more than simply writing a great novel," Gerke says. "There are marketing skills to be developed--and you've got to hook the reader with a good premise."

Following rounds will provide voters with a 1-page synopsis, the first 500 words of the book, the first 30 pages of the book, and, in the final round, the first 60 pages of the book.

The manuscript receiving the most votes in the final round will be published by Marcher Lord Press in its Spring 2010 release list.

No portion of any contestant's mss. will be posted online, as MLP works to preserve the non-publication status of all contestants and entries.

Participating entrants have been contacted personally by Marcher Lord Press and are included in Marcher Lord Select by invitation only.

"We're also running a secondary contest," Gerke says. "The 'premise contest' is for those authors who have completed a Christian speculative fiction manuscript that fits within MLP guidelines and who have submitted their proposals to me through the Marcher Lord Press acquisitions portal before October 29, 2009."

The premise contest will allow voters to select the books that sound the best based on a 20-word premise, a 100-word back cover copy teaser blurb, and (possibly) the first 500 words of the book.

The premise contest entrants receiving the top three vote totals will receive priority acquisitions reading by MLP publisher Jeff Gerke.

"It's a way for virtually everyone to play, even those folks who didn't receive an invitation to compete in the primary Marcher Lord Select contest."

Marcher Lord Select officially begins on November 1, 2009, and runs until completion in January or February 2010. All voting and discussions and Marcher Lord Select activities will take place at The Anomaly forums in the Marcher Lord Select subforum. Free registration is required.

"In order for this to work as we're envisioning," Gerke says, "we need lots and lots of voters. So even if you're not a fan of Christian science fiction or fantasy, I'm sure you love letting your voice be heard about what constitutes good Christian fiction. So come on out and join the fun!"

Marcher Lord Press is a Colorado Springs-based independent publisher producing Christian speculative fiction exclusively. MLP was launched in fall of 2008 and is privately owned. Contact: Jeff Gerke; http://www.marcherlordpress.com/.

CFBA Presents THE FENCE MY FATHER BUILT by Linda S. Clare




This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Fence My Father Built
(Abingdon Press - October 2009)
by
Linda S. Clare



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Linda S. Clare is an award-winning coauthor of three books, including Lost Boys and the Moms Who Love Them (with Melody Carlson and Heather Kopp), Revealed: Spiritual Reality in a Makeover World, and Making Peace with a Dangerous God (with Kristen Johnson Ingram). She has also published many essays, stories, and poems in publications including The Christian Reader, The Denver Post, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Linda grew up in a part of Arizona, where the dirt is as red as it is in Central Oregon. She graduated summa cum laude in Art Education from Arizona State University and taught in public and private schools. She has taught college-level creative writing classes for seven years, and edits and mentors writers. She also is a frequent writing conference presenter and church retreat leader. She and her husband of thirty-one years have four grown children, including a set of twins. They live in Eugene, Oregon, with their five wayward cats: Oliver, Xena the Warrior Kitty, Paladine, Melchior, and Mamma Mia!


ABOUT THE BOOK

When legally separated Muri Pond, a librarian, hauls her kids, teenager Nova and eleven year-old Truman, out to the tiny town of Murkee, Oregon, where her father, Joe Pond lived and died, she's confronted by a neighbor's harassment over water rights and Joe's legacy: a fence made from old oven doors.

The fence and accompanying house trailer horrify rebellious Nova, who runs away to the drug-infested streets of Seattle. Muri searches for her daughter and for something to believe in, all the while trying to save her inheritance from the conniving neighbor who calls her dad Chief Joseph.

Along with Joe's sister, Aunt Lutie, and the Red Rock Tabernacle Ladies, Muri must rediscover the faith her alcoholic dad never abandoned in order to reclaim her own spiritual path.

Watch the trailer:




If you would like to read the first chapter of The Fence My Father Built , go HERE

Read Jen's Take 5 Interview with Linda on Examiner.com

Monday, October 19, 2009

Promotional Opportunities for Published Authors

 

A little over a month ago, I took over as the Las Vegas Christian Fiction Examiner on Examiner.com. The good people of Vegas (and beyond) need to know how much great Christian fiction is out there, and how cool all you authors are, and I aim to tell them.

 
But what if you don't write Christian fiction? Or what if you write non-fiction? Well, I'm the Las Vegas Writing Examiner, too. I'm also the Las Vegas Pop Culture Examiner. So there's a place somewhere for me to talk about your book!

I'm starting two new, ongoing features:
  • Take 5 Interviews - Short interviews with authors. As the title indicates, just five questions. There will be no book giveaways attached to these, but I'll link to your website as well as that of your publisher, your blog, and anything else of interest to readers.
  • The Story Behind the Story - Is there an interesting story behind the creation of your novel? Some event that sparked the initial idea? Something amazing you discovered during the research phase that turned the plot around? A fan response so touching that it changed you? I want to share those stories here. And if somehow, you have some Las Vegas connection, even better... but not at all necessary.

I'm extending this invitation to ALL published authors. Yes, oh self-pubbed ones, that means you, too. There's so much talk about self publishing and POD right now, readers will be interested in your input as well.
 
In addition to the above two features, I want to keep readers updated on industry news. If you have a publicist or marketing department contact who would like to put me on their Press Release mailing list, please pass on my email address.
 
If you have any questions or would like to participate, let me know.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Silly Sign Spotted at the Ren Faire

My son and I hit the LV Renaissance Faire last weekend (and had a blast, BTW). This sign was propped up in one of the vendor booths amongst the knives and leather pouches.




Whoever thought up that one gets an A+ for effort!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Interview and Book Giveaway with Author Steve Rzasa


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steve Rzasa was born and raised in South Jersey, and fell in love with books—especially science fiction novels and historical volumes—at an early age. He worked for eight years as a newspaper reporter and editor before moving to Buffalo, Wyoming, with his wife, Carrie, and their two boys. He now works a county library. Steve’s short story, “Rescued,” which is set in the universe of The World Reclaimed, won the 2009 G.K. Chesterton Award in the Athanatos Christian Ministries Writing Contest.

THE INTERVIEW

JA: Congratulations on your debut novel, The Word Reclaimed. Tell us a bit about it.
SR: Baden Haczyk lives in contention with his father aboard the family cargo starship Natalia Zoja. His routine existence is turned on its head when he finds a book in the wreckage of another ship. Suddenly the omnipresent religious police are on his tail, and will stop at nothing to seize the book. Baden finds himself confronting a powerful faith, and runs in to allies who are fighting to stop the overthrow of the royal Realm of Five.

It is set in a future where all printed materials are banned – only electronic media are allowed, and the royal family owns the companies that make all computers, handheld devices, etc.


JA: Give us a glimpse of your road to publication. Was it a long and winding road, or are you an overnight success?
SR: It took me about six years to finish writing The Word Reclaimed, which is part of a much longer novel called Commissioned. As a weekly newspaper reporter and editor, I didn’t spend much time writing outside work – it took a lot out.

JA: What do you hope people take away when they finish reading your book?
SR: First of all, I want them to have fun. This is a space adventure, full of intrigue and battle both in space and on new worlds. Second, I want them to see the power of God’s Word and the effect it has on people.



JA: What’s next for you in the writing arena?
SR: Well, since The Word Reclaimed is the first half of what was originally one long novel, the sequel – so far untitled – will come out hopefully sometime next year. Jeff Gerke of Marcher Lord Press wants to do the sequel but we haven’t set a firm date yet. I also have at least two more novels in my head (and partially on paper) for this universe.


JA: What’s something people might be surprised to learn about you?
SR: Though my taste in entertainment runs more toward spaceships, explosions and gunfights, one of my favorite movies is a D.B. Sweeney 1990s flick called “The Cutting Edge.” It’s a great movie.

JA: As a fellow Firefly fan, I have to ask: What did you think about the movie, Serenity?
SR: It was action-packed, but not as funny as the series. There is nothing that beats the episode “Jaynestown” – hysterical! I was disheartened to see them kill off Wash and Book in the movie – mostly because now we’ll never know Book’s secrets! – and I missed the interplay between Mal and Inara.

JA: We think alike, Steve. And I so agree about Wash and Book! Okay, now back to you...

JA: What’s the one far out sci-fi technology you’d most like to see become a household item?
SR: That’s easy – holographic systems! Think “Star Wars” only cooler and less grainy-looking.

JA: The current theme on my blog is The Year of Dreams. If you could realize one life-long dream right now (other than being a published author), what would it be?
SR: I think that dream would be to visit Poland, which is where my bloodline on my father’s fraternal side originates. We here in the U.S. of European descent have a very brief history – 400 years at max. I’d love to visit a land where the people’s language and traditions have roots thousands of years old.

JA: Last but not least, how can people keep up with your latest publishing news?
SR: I’ll keep everybody up to date at http://www.steverzasa.com/.


ABOUT THE BOOK – The Word Reclaimed

Baden picked up the wrong book.

In the far future, the civilized worlds have finally been freed of the curse of religion. Tolerance now rules the five colonies.

Thanks to the secret police, no one has been bothered by so much as a hymn in two generations—much less a Torah, Koran, or that most dangerous of books, a Bible.

Baden is a young man with an attitude. He spends his spare time salvaging wrecks in deep space, claiming for himself whatever the pirates leave behind.

One day, Baden finds a book. A strange and very old book, preserved carefully against the ravages of deep space. Thinking he’ll become rich if only for the value of the paper, he takes it. He counts himself lucky beyond all imagining.

Until it begins talking to him.

Amidst an interstellar war that threatens to overthrow the monarchy and drive great families to oblivion, Baden must evade the secret police and their attempts to get that book.

Baden never had much use for religion. But, it seems, one has use of him.


WIN THE BOOK

If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of The Word Reclaimed, just leave a reply to this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on October 23rd. Please leave an email address so I can contact you if you're the winner. (To prevent spammers from trolling for your email, please use this format with the brackets--you [at] yourmail [dot] com--or something similar.) Good luck!