Wednesday, December 21, 2011

First Trailer for THE HOBBIT

I am beyond excited about Peter Jackson's latest middle-earth offering, The Hobbit. Bummer that we have to wait until December 2012 for it, but at least we've got a trailer to check out.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Chuck Testa! Coolest Taxidermist Ever!

I've had a bit of a blogging sabbatical. Been busy writing a book, living life... you understand. But today my son shared these videos with me and thought, "Hey, I've got to share this fun with my friends." So here we go...

The first video is real, for taxidermist Chuck Testa:



Now that you've seen the original, you can fully appreciate the Songify version... and I dare you not to sing the chorus hours later... Chuck Testa!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

CFBA Presents LOVE ON THE LINE by Deeanne Gist


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Love on the Line
Bethany House (October 1, 2011)
by
Deeanne Gist


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After a short career in elementary education, Deeanne Gist retired to raise her four children. Over the course of the next fifteen years, she ran a home accessory and antique business, became a member of the press, wrote freelance journalism for national publications such as People, Parents, Parenting, Family Fun, Houston Chronicle and Orlando Sentinel, and acted as CFO for her husband’s small engineering firm--all from the comforts of home.

Squeezed betwixt-and-between all this, she read romance novels by the truckload and even wrote a couple of her own. While those unpublished manuscripts rested on the shelf, she founded a publishing corporation for the purpose of developing, producing and marketing products that would reinforce family values, teach children responsibility and provide character building activities.

After a few short months of running her publishing company, Gist quickly discovered being a "corporate executive" was not where her gifts and talents lie. In answer to Gist’s fervent prayers, God sent a mainstream publisher to her door who licensed her parenting I Did It!® product line and committed to publish the next generation of her system, thus freeing Gist to return to her writing.

Eight months later, she sold A Bride Most Begrudging to Bethany House Publishers. Since that debut, her very original, very fun romances have rocketed up the bestseller lists and captured readers everywhere. Add to this two consecutive Christy Awards, three RITA nominations, rave reviews, and a growing loyal fan base, and you’ve got one recipe for success.

Her latest releases, Beguiled, Maid to Match, and Love on the Line are now available.

Gist lives in Texas with her husband of twenty-eight years and their border collie. They have four grown children. Click here to find out the most up-to-the-minute news about Dee.


ABOUT THE BOOK

Rural switchboard operator Georgie Gail is proud of her independence in a man's world ... which makes it twice as vexing when the telephone company sends a man to look over her shoulder.

Dashing Luke Palmer is more than he appears though. He's a Texas Ranger working undercover to infiltrate a notorious gang of train robbers. Repairing telephones and tangling with this tempestuous woman is the last thing he wants to do. But when his stakeout puts Georgie in peril, he realizes more than his job is on the line.


If you would like to read the first chapter of Love on the Line, go HERE.


JEN'S THOUGHTS


Deeanne Gist remains one of my favorite authors of historical fiction. She always finds away to bring new, fresh twists to stories of days gone by. Love on the Line is no exception. I'm sure you'll enjoy this offereing from a master storyteller!

If you haven't tried one of Gist's books yet, check out Maid to Match, which is available right now as a free Kindle download.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Interview and Giveaway with Author Rose McCauley

It's a great pleasure to welcome back my dear friend (and debut author!) Rose McCauley.

Q:  What was your inspiration for Christmas Belles of Georgia?
A:  Jeanie Smith Cash came up with the idea and graciously asked me to join her and Debra Ullrick and Jeri Odell.

Q:  Have you always wanted to be a writer?
A:  Yes, I have written since a young child, but only started pursuing publication about 10 years ago.

Q:  How do you come up with your story ideas?
A:  Many different ways—something I see or hear or read about, or sometimes I come up a character first and then write a story about them.

Q:  How does your faith impact your writing?
A:  Like life, I think our faith should impact everything we do. I like to put my characters in situations that cause them to reach out to God for help or insight.

Q:  How long does it take you to complete a novel?
A:  Since this was a novella (20,000 words) I was able to write it in a month. How many drafts do you go through? After the initial writing, I sent it to 3 crit partners who gave me some suggestions, then I sent it to the other three authors in the collection for their suggestions, then made a few more and sent it in, so this book went through 4 minor drafts. I have a longer novel (over 80,000 words) that has gone through several drafts!)

Q:  Do you plot out your story ahead of time, or do you think it up as you go?
A:  Since Barbour requires a complete synopsis of the whole book, this story was well plotted out before I started, making the writing go faster, but there were still minor changes as I went. The first story I wrote I just started with my characters and took them on a journey, but that story took much longer to write and is not published! One of the things I learned from that experience is to have more structure before I start, but to still allow myself and my characters to change direction if needed to make it a more compelling story.

Q:  After becoming a published author, what surprised you the most?
A:  How much hard work still remained to market the book.

Q:  What’s the most important piece of advice you would give to a fledgling writer? 
A:  Keep studying the craft of writing, keep reading and keep writing.

Q:  If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing?
A:  Since I already had a career of 27 years of teaching, I am enjoying writing as my second career!

Q:  What does your family think about your crazy career?
A:  They are all very proud and supportive, and my husband has washed a lot of dishes in the past few years!

Q:  There’s been a lot said about the future of publishing and the possible death of the print book. What’s your take on eBooks, self-publishing, and such?
A:  I do not have a kindle, but my daughter and granddaughter do and love them. I have downloaded several books to my computer kindle but have not completed one yet! I still love to hold a book in my hands and I love to share my books with others, so will keep buying printed books.

Scenario: You’re about to be dropped off on a deserted island. You can take along one survival item, one book, and one person (living or dead… but they’ll be alive on the island). What and who do you take?
A:  I am very practical. I would take a blow-up mattress, a Bible, and my hubby. He is the McGyver-type, so he could build anything we needed!

Thanks for hosting me, Jen. This was a fun interview!

And thanks for joining us, Rose. I'm so happy for your success!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rose McCauley
Rose has been writing for over ten years and has been published in several non-fiction anthologies and devotionals. She is happy for this to be her first fiction anthology because Christmas books are her favorites. A retired schoolteacher who has been happily married to her college sweetheart for 41 years, she is also mother to three grown children and their spouses and grandmother to three lovely, lively kids! You can reach her through her website http://www.rosemccauley.com/ or blogsite at http://www.rosemccauley.blogspot.com/


ABOUT THE BOOK: Nick’s Christmas Carol in Christmas Belles of Georgia

“God sets the lonely in families…” Psalm 68:6

Nick Powers worked hard to earn his college degree and his dream job. He doesn’t know what to expect when he finds out new owners will be taking over Bellingham Plantation soon. When Carol Wells comes to town, she and Nick get off to a rocky start, but soon combine forces to make Christmas a happier time for others. Can they find their own Christmas happiness?

WIN THE BOOK
If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Christmas Belles of Georgia, just leave a comment on this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on Friday, October 14th. (NOTE: This time round, US addresses only. Thanks.) 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!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Interview and Giveaway with Author Alice J. Wisler

It's my pleasure to welcom Alice J. Wisler to the blog.

Q:  What was your inspiration for A Wedding Invitation?
A:  I received a wedding invitation intended for the previous owner of my house. The invitation was beautiful and the reception was to be held at a country club in New York. I wondered: What if I crashed this wedding? Instead, I let my main character end up at the wrong wedding.

Q:  Have you always wanted to be a writer?
A:  Yes, ever since I was in first grade and I wrote stories with stick-figure illustrations and stapled them together.

Q:  Do you plot out your story ahead of time, or do you think it up as you go?
A:  I plot ahead of time. Publishers want a synopsis, so this makes me go deep into the story and get it all lined up before I set out to write it.

Q:  What’s your favorite part of the writing business? What’s your least favorite?
A:  I love it when I’m about ¾ of the way through writing a novel. That’s when I love, love, love to spend all my time writing. Hours pass and I’m in my own world. Sometimes I even forget to eat.

Q:  After becoming a published author, what surprised you the most?
A:  What do you mean Oprah doesn’t know who I am? :)

Q:  What’s the most important piece of advice you would give to a fledgling writer?
A:  Don’t give up. Keep writing to improve your voice and the craft.

Q:  If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing?
A:  I’m sure I would have discovered some drug that would help others and earn me millions.

Q:  What event, writer, or book has most impacted your writing life?
A:  The cancer-related death of my four-year-old son Daniel in 1997 has impacted my writing more than anything else. He was a sweetheart and I miss him each day.

Q:  What’s the one far out sci-fi technology you’d most like to see become a household item?
A:  A robot that cleans the entire house with one press of a button.

Thanks for taking the time to visit with us, Alice. Blessings to you!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alice J. Wisler is the author of RAIN SONG (Christy Finalist 2009), HOW SWEET IT IS (Christy Finalist 2010), HATTERAS GIRL and A WEDDING INVITATION----all by Bethany House Publishers. In memory of her son, she teaches online grief-writing courses---Writing the Heartache---and at conferences across the country. Visit her website: http://www.alicewisler.com/.


ABOUT THE BOOK: A Wedding Invitation
Samantha Bravencourt ends up at the wrong wedding in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and from there, the past starts to come alive. She meets Lien, a former student from her days of teaching English-as-a-second-language at a refugee camp in the Philippines as well as Carson, the man who taught with her, the man who broke her heart. Now she and Carson are asked to help Lien find her mother before Lien's wedding date. Why is the past so hard to forgive? And dare she take another chance on love?


WIN THE BOOK
If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of A Wedding Invitation, just leave a comment on this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on Monday, October 10th. 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!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Interview and Giveaway with Author Susan Page Davis

It's a pleasure to welcome author Susan Page Davis back to the blog!

Q:  What was your inspiration for Captive Trail?
A:  Vickie McDonough, Darlene Franklin, and I are all clients of the same agent. He asked the three of us if we’d like to put together a book series set in Texas. When we began looking at a timeline of Texas history for ideas, the story of Cynthia Ann Parker jumped out at me. She is one of the most famous Indian captives of all time. I wanted to write a story about another girl who underwent the terror of capture and isolation from anyone she knew, but who had a happier outcome than Cynthia did.

Q:  Have you always wanted to be a writer?
A:  I suppose I have, although when I was in first grade, I thought I would like to run a store. Later I thought owning a hotel would be the best job on earth, and for a while I considered going into nursing. I don’t think I considered “writer” as a possibility for me at that time.

Q:  How do you deal with writer’s block?
A:  I don’t encounter it very often. Occasionally I’ll get “stuck” writing a particular scene. When that happens, I either push through it and leave it to be revised later, or skip right over it and go to the next part. Later, I think it over and decide whether I really need that scene. If I do, what is its purpose? Usually, focusing on the job that scene needs to do helps me write it.

Q:  How long does it take you to complete a novel? How many drafts do you go through?
A:  I would say that I go through at least six drafts, and the actual writing takes me anywhere from a month to six months.

Q:  Do you plot out your story ahead of time, or do you think it up as you go?
A:  I plot it out beforehand. It helps me stay on track as I’m writing.

Thanks for visiting with us today, Susan!

About Captive Trail:
Taabe Waipu has run away from her Comanche village and is fleeing south in Texas on a horse she stole from a dowry left outside her family’s teepee. The horse has an accident and she is left on foot, injured and exhausted. She staggers onto a road near Fort Chadbourne and collapses.

On one of the first runs through Texas, Butterfield Overland Mail Company driver Ned Bright carries two Ursuline nuns returning to their mission station. They come across a woman who is nearly dead from exposure and dehydration and take her to the mission.

With some detective work, Ned discovers Taabe Waipu’s identity. He plans to unite her with her family, but the Comanche have other ideas, and the two end up defending the mission station. Through Taabe and Ned we learn the true meaning of healing and restoration amid seemingly powerless situations.

Captive Trail is second in a six-book series, Texas Trails. You can read more about it at: http://www.texastrailsfiction.com/. Award-winning authors Vickie McDonough and Darlene Franklin also contribute to this series—we have two books each. And each book can be read on its own.


About The Lady’s Maid:
The Lady’s Maid is first in my new Prairie Dreams historical romance series. Elise Finster accompanies her young British mistress, Lady Anne Stone, on a voyage to America in 1855. Lady Anne’s father has died, and her Uncle David is the new Earl of Stoneford—if he steps forward and claims the title. But David disappeared into the American West when Anne was a baby. Now it’s up to her and Elise to find him. They join a wagon train in Independence, Missouri, not realizing they’re leading a killer straight to David.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Susan Page Davis is an award-winning author with thirty-seven published novels and novellas. A Maine native, she has also lived in Oregon and recently moved to western Kentucky.

Susan has six children and eight grandchildren and loves to spend time with them. She loves animals, puzzles, reading, and genealogy. In January, 2011, she was named Favorite Author of the Year among readers of Heartsong Presents books. She’s a member of Women Writing the West and American Christian Fiction Writers and a past winner of the Carol Award (ACFW’s Book of the Year) and the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award.


WIN THE BOOKS
Susan is so awesome, she's giving away a copy of each of the books featured in this post! If you’d like to be entered to win one, just leave a comment on this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on Monday, October 3rd. 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!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Interview & Book Giveaway with Author Anne Mateer

A big welcome to one of the sweetest gals I know... debut author Anne Mateer!


Q;  Have you always wanted to be a writer?
A:  I’ve been a reader for as long as I can remember, but in 4th grade I was given the opportunity to attend a couple of summer honors camps—one for science, one for poetry. In the science class, we dissected a frog. Ew!! In the poetry class, we learned about poetry and then wrote our own. Bliss! From that moment on I knew I could make words work together and that I wanted to be a writer. In middle school I discovered historical fiction and fell in love. I wanted to weave together history and fiction but from a more overtly Christian perspective. (This was pre-Janette Oke!) Lo and behold, here I am!

Q:  What was your inspiration for Wings of a Dream?
A:  My grandmother was a born storyteller and often told us stories about her family. Long ago I heard about how her mother died while her father was fighting WWI in France and how her mother’s niece came to care for them. Only many years later, when piecing the story together by year, did I realize that my great-grandmother died in the influenza epidemic of 1918. After my grandmother passed away in January of 2000, I knew I wanted to spin this situation into a novel, but I couldn’t quite solidify a story and characters. Nine years later, after I’d learned much about writing and finished 4 other novels, the story fell into place. I’m still humbled and amazed that Bethany House liked it!

Q:  Do you plot out your story ahead of time, or do you think it up as you go?
A:  I’ve always been a seat-of-the-pants writer, mostly because I enjoy being surprised by the story and the characters. However, my first book contract was for two books—the first completely finished and the second only a paragraph blurb! So this past year, in order to make my deadline, I have learned to be a bit more deliberate in my planning for the story, mostly so I could avoid all the rewrites I experienced with Wings of a Dream to address weak plot points! Several things have helped me to map things out a little more beforehand, including Snowflake software by Randy Ingermanson, How to Find your Story by Jeff Gerke, and the writing software Scriviner, though much still takes shape as I go.

Q:  What’s the most important piece of advice you would give to a fledgling writer?
A:  Before you can move forward, you have to understand that talent alone is not enough. Just as an athlete who is naturally gifted must still work to hone his or her skill in a sport, a writer must work at craft—and be willing to learn! Read craft books. Attend conferences or listen to conference workshops on CD. Join a critique group. Write, write, write.

Q:  What do you think about writing contests? Have you participated in any? What’s the benefit to an unpublished writer?
A:  I entered several contests before I was published. They are a good way to get some feedback, to see where you are. However, my biggest caution is a person’s motivation. If it is all about the win, you’ll often be disappointed and discouraged. If it is about learning and growing as a writer, you’ll ALWAYS be a winner!


Wise words, Anne. Thanks so much for visiting with us today! And now I'd like to add my thoughts about Wings of a Dream...

THOUGHTS FROM JEN

How do I love this book? Let me count the ways.
  1. I love that it's a historical novel written in 1st person. Brilliant! It made me feel like I was right there with Rebekah, facing each trial and each triumph.
  2. I love how the story is as much about Rebekah's growth as a person as it is about romantic entanglements. The character arc is realistic and compelling.
  3. I love how the prose flowed so seamlessly that I never wanted to put it down. Have you ever stood in the kitchen and stirred pots on the stove with one hand while holding a book with the other? Yep, it's that kind of novel.
  4. I love that well-earned writing success has come to such a hard-working, lovely person as Anne. Yes, we are friends, but that's not why I'm recommending her book. It's just plain great!
  5. And last but not least, I love that I can add Anne Mateer to my list of must-read authors. I'm looking forward to the next one!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anne Mateer is a three-time Genesis Contest finalist who has long had a passion for history and historical fiction. She and her husband live near Dallas, Texas, and are the parents of three young adults.


ABOUT THE BOOK - Wings of a Dream

Rebekah Hendricks dreams of a life far beyond her family's farm in Oklahoma, and when dashing aviator Arthur Samson promised adventure in the big city, she is quick to believe he's the man she's meant to marry. While she waits for the Great War to end and Arthur to return to her so they can pursue all their plans, her mother's sister falls ill. Rebekah seizes the opportunity to travel to Texas to care for Aunt Adabelle, seeing this chance to be closer to Arthur's training camp as God's approval of her plans.

But the Spanish flu epidemic changes everything. Faced with her aunt's death, Arthur's indecisiveness, and four children who have no one else to care for them, Rebeka is torn between the desire to escape the type of life she's always led and the unexpected love that just might change the dream of her heart.


WIN THE BOOK

If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Wings of a Dream, just leave a comment on this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on Thursday, September 15th. 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!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Interview & Book Giveaway with Author Richard Mabry

It's my pleasure to welcome back to the blog one of the nicest guys I know in the writing biz, Richard "Doc" Mabry!

Q:  Have you always wanted to be a writer?
A:  Absolutely not. I practiced medicine for thirty-six years, the last ten as a professor at a medical school, and as such I wrote or edited eight textbooks and over a hundred professional papers, but I had no aspirations to write beyond that. Then, after my first wife died, I used journaling as a coping tool, and friends urged me to use that material as the jumping off point for a book to help others suffering through grief. It took me several years to learn the craft well enough to write the book, but The Tender Scar: Life After The Death Of A Spouse was published in 2006 and continues a ministry of which I’m proud.

At my first writing conference, authors Alton Gansky and James Scott Bell encouraged me to try my hand at fiction. Four unsuccessful novels, forty rejections, and four years later my first novel was published. Lethal Remedy is my fourth novel of medical suspense.

Q:  What was your inspiration for Lethal Remedy?
A:  At my first writing conference, Alton Gansky told us that the concept of most of his stories begins by his asking “what if?” Although I’m retired from medicine, I keep up with it, and I was concerned by the continuing development of bacterial strains that are resistant to available antibiotics. I let my mind wander until I asked, “What if there were a resistant bacteria that caused infection that was universally fatal? And what if someone—a drug company, a doctor doing research—developed an antibiotic that would cure that infection, but with potential complications that were lethal themselves? And what if one of those someones decided to cover up the potential complications, so that they only show up after it’s too late?

There, in a nutshell, is the premise for Lethal Remedy. Simple, right?

Q:  How long does it take you to complete a novel? How many drafts do you go through?
A:  Ideally, I’d like to have a year to plot out and complete a novel to the point of a finished manuscript. Notice, I said “ideally.” In actuality, although I had a year to write and polish my first two novels, the third and fourth were written to a contracted deadline, and I completed each of them in six months. I think that may be good in some ways, because when you’re working without the pressure of time constraints, there’s often a tendency to revise and reshape that results in the loss of the original freshness of the work.

It’s hard to say how many drafts I go through, since I don’t do a rough draft per se to start. Rather, I write the first chapter or two, then when I go back to write the next chapter I read through the preceding work and edit it. That gets me back into the story, in addition to smoothing out rough edges as I go. Then, after the whole novel is completed, I go back over it at least twice more. Of course, my editor then does the same thing, but it makes me feel good to submit a manuscript that’s the best I can make it.

Q:  How does your faith impact your writing?
A:  I write from a Christian worldview, but rather than altar calls and evangelical pleadings, the Christian message in my writing is portrayed through the way the characters handle themselves in the face of misfortune. Some of them have deep faith, some have faith that has faltered or even disappeared, but there’s always a Christian message, and generally an applicable Scripture passage or two. I want the reader, when they finish the book, to walk away thinking about what they’ve read and how it might impact their own lives.

Q:  How do you deal with writer’s block?
A:  I wish I could say I’ve never experienced it, but that would be a lie. I believe every writer will at times hit a wall where the idea that advances the story just won’t come. What generally works for me is to put the work aside and do something else—write a short meditation, compose a blog post, go play golf (especially go play golf)—and then sleep on it. Maybe it’s inspiration, maybe it’s what Stephen King calls “putting the boys in the basement to work.” In any case, often I’ll wake up with the idea I need.

Q:  Do you plot out your story ahead of time, or do you think it up as you go?
A:  I’m most comfortable writing “by the seat of my pants.” For my first two novels, that was fine because I didn’t have to sell them to anyone until they were completed. But after that I had to write a synopsis to go along with sample chapters for submission through my agent to editors. To comply, I write a summary in as much detail as I can, but generally find that I have to change a few things as I go along. I guess you can say that now I’m half plotter, half pantser.

Q:  After becoming a published author, what surprised you the most?
A:  I was initially surprised that there wasn’t a banner headline in the newspaper and that people weren’t ringing my doorbell to get my autograph. (Just kidding). Seriously, I think I was most surprised at how many of my fellow authors offered genuine, heartfelt congratulations. Unlike so many areas, Christian writing is populated by people who, although they’re in a sense competing for a limited number of slots, are always supportive of the efforts of the people vying for the same slots. That’s neat.


I agree. The community of Christian authors is pretty awesome. Thanks so much for visiting with us today!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Richard Mabry retired from medicine after a distinguished career as a respected clinician, teacher, writer, and researcher. He entered the field of non-medical writing with the publication of his book, The Tender Scar: Life After The Death Of A Spouse, written after the death of his first wife.

Richard is the author of the Prescription For Trouble series of medical thrillers. The fourth novel in that series, Lethal Remedy, was just released by Abingdon Press. In addition to his “medical suspense with heart,” Richard is a frequent contributor to The Upper Room devotional guide, and his short pieces have appeared in In Touch and other periodicals.

He is a member of International Thriller Writers and serves as Vice-President of the American Christian Fiction Writers.


ABOUT THE BOOK
Dr. Sara Miles’ patient is on the threshold of death from an overwhelming, highly resistant infection with Staphylococcus luciferus, known to doctors as “the killer.” Only an experimental antibiotic, developed and administered by Sara’s ex-husband, Dr. Jack Ingersoll, can save the girl's life.

Crushed by the death of his wife, retired physician Dr. John Ramsey is searching to pull himself from the depths of depression by returning to medicine as a member of the medical school faculty. But his decision could prove fatal.

Potentially lethal late effects from the “wonder drug” send Sara and her colleague, Dr. Rip Pearson, on a hunt for hidden critical data. Can they find the answer and reverse the changes before it’s too late?


WIN THE BOOK
If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Lethal Remedy, just leave a comment on this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on Wednesday, September 13th. (NOTE: This time round, US addresses only. Thanks.) 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!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Interview and Giveaway with Author Anne K. Albert

A big welcome to today's guest author, Anne K. Albert.

Q:  What was your inspiration for Defending Glory?
A:  Nothing makes me happier than a book with a murder to solve, a hero who will give his life to protect the heroine, and a happily-ever-after. I write and read books that chill the spine, warm the heart and soothe the soul…all with a touch of humor.


Q:  How long does it take you to complete a novel? How many drafts do you go through?
A:  Without interruptions, I can write the first draft of a novel in about six to eight weeks. However, since the release of my debut novel, it’s been difficult to find any time to write. Most of my days and nights are spent online tackling social media.

As to number of drafts, edits and full revisions I do, I refuse to count! It could easily be 15. Maybe more. I joke I just do it until my eyes bleed. (It’s a horrid image, my apologies, but my eyes really do hurt!)


Q:  Do you plot out your story ahead of time, or do you think it up as you go?
A:  I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer which means I just go. I have no idea what will happen from one sentence to the next until I write it down. That said, I write in chronological order, so the beginning has to ‘feel’ just right before I move on to the rest of the book. I will often write 10-20 first scenes (all variations of each other) before I hit upon the right one. This process used to drive me crazy, but I’ve learned that’s just the way I write. Still, if I could find a better (easier) way to write I’d adopt it in a heartbeat.


Q:  After becoming a published author, what surprised you the most?
A:  The majority of promotion and marketing these days falls onto the author’s lap. I had no idea how time consuming it could be, or that it would distract from my actual writing. As a result, I’m behind deadline. That’s the downside of blogging, tweeting and sharing on Facebook.

Equally surprising, however, are the perks of social media. I’ve met some wonderful people online who have become friends. What a gift!


Q:  What’s the most important piece of advice you would give to a fledgling writer?
A:  Write. Write often. Finish what you write. Treat writing as a job (because it is). Be open to new ideas, suggestions, and ways of doing things. And never, ever give up.


Q:  What do you think about writing contests? Have you participated in any? What’s the benefit to an unpublished writer?
A:  Writing contests are a superb training ground for the unpubbed writer. I entered my first contest shortly after I joined RWA, and like most newbies expected to win. My scores, however, put me at the bottom of the heap. (I ranked #98 of 100 entries.) I was devastated, but the judges explained why I scored so low. I worked hard to follow their advice, and entered more contests. Slowly, (as in years not months!) I moved up the ranks, became a finalist and eventually the winner. Contests are a great opportunity for an unpubbed writer to get feedback and build writing credits. Winning a contest can move you out of the slush pile and onto an editor or agent’s desk. I highly recommend entering contests as well as judging contests. Sometimes it’s easier to see what not to do in someone else’s work!


Q:  There’s been a lot said about the future of publishing and the possible death of the print book. What’s your take on eBooks, self-publishing, and such?
A:  The publishing world is changing, but then, so is the world and humans by nature resist change. Libraries were once filled with papyrus scrolls and stone tablets. The invention of the printing press did not make libraries obsolete, it just make reading more accessible to people regardless of their wealth or rank. I believe eBooks and self-publishing will achieve a similar positive result. Statistics indicate book sales increase with the purchase of an e-reader, plus readers around the globe can download a book (even mine!) in seconds. It’s an exciting time to be a writer.

Thanks Jennifer for this opportunity! Blessings to you and yours.

Thanks to you,  Anne, for visiting with us today. It was a pleasure!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anne K. Albert writes the romantic suspense Piedmont Island Trilogy series. DEFENDING GLORY, book one, was released in September 2010. PROTECTING HOPE, second of the series, will hit the shelves this fall 2011.

Anne also writes the cozy, comedic Muriel Reeves Mysteries. FRANK, INCENSE AND MURIEL, first of the series is the recipient of the 2011 Holt Medallion Award of Merit.

Readers can learn more at her website: http://www.annekalbert.com/

ABOUT THE BOOK - Defending Glory
Suffering from survivor's guilt and unable to resume his career with the FBI, Mac McKeown moves to northern Minnesota to start over as a general contractor and forget that fateful day that changed everything. When he discovers the body of the man who ended his career on Glory Palmer's property, along with a warning for her to leave while she still can, Mac realizes his past has come back to haunt him and an innocent woman's life is in danger. He vows to keep her safe during construction of the retreat, but can he protect his heart as well?

WIN THE BOOK
If you’d like to be entered to win Defending Glory, just leave a comment on this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on Monday, September 12. Please leave an email address so we 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.) Since this is an e-book, you will receive an email from Anne with information about how to download your book. Good luck!

Monday, September 5, 2011

CFBA Presents A WHISPER OF PEACE by Kim Vogel Sawyer


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Whisper of Peace
(Bethany House - September 1, 2011)
by
Kim Vogel Sawyer


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kim Vogel Sawyer is the author of fifteen novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women's fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in central Kansas, and have three daughters and numerous grandchildren.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Ostracized by her tribe because of her white father, Lizzie Dawson lives alone in the mountains of Alaska, practicing the ways of her people even as she resides in the small cabin her father built for her mother. She dreams of reconciling with her grandparents to fulfill her mother's dying request, but she has not yet found a way to bridge the gap that separate her from her tribe.

Clay Selby has always wanted to be like his father, a missionary who holds a great love for the native people and has brought many to God. Clay and his stepsister, Vivian, arrive in Alaska to set up a church and school among the Athbascan people. Clay is totally focused on this goal...until he meets a young, independent Indian woman with the most striking blue eyes he's ever seen.

But Lizzie is clearly not part of the tribe, and befriending her might have dire consequences for his mission. Will Clay be forced to choose between his desire to minister to the natives and the quiet nudging of his heart?

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Whisper of Peace, go HERE.


THOUGHTS FROM JEN
When it comes to historical fiction, you can't go wrong with a book from Kim Vogel Sawyer. She has a knack for creating characters who come to life on the page.  This book just arrived last week, so I've only now started reading it. But like the best of Sawyer's books, it starts off strong, and I immediately want to know more about Lizzie. It's safe to say this will be another story I'll hate to see come to an end.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Interview and Giveaway with Author Mary Moore


It's my pleasure to introduce Love Inspired Historical author, Mary Moore.

Q:  What was your inspiration for The Aristocrat’s Lady?
A:  The book revolves around Jeremiah 29:-12 “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’” The heroine believes God has a certain plan for her life and she must not deviate from it. Then, when she comes close to doing just that, she believes she deserves the conflict and pain that arises from it. Several years ago my husband and I faced some very difficult trials and as a result, our lives changed. I thought I had God’s plan figured out, but realized His plan for us changes constantly, sometimes based on the choices we make, but often because He needs us in a new direction. When I rewrote this story, originally written about fifteen years ago, I wanted to incorporate what I had learned into the lives of the hero and heroine. I hope it makes the book a little more personal and the characters a little more vulnerable, thereby making it inspirational to others.


Q:  How does your faith impact your writing?
A:  My faith has become the impetus for writing. If it doesn’t have a godly message that touches the reader, then it is no different than a secular love story. As I mentioned above, my theme for the book was God’s plan for our lives. But when my agent sent it out to target readers, they were asked what they considered the major theme of the book. We got five different answers . . . and none of them matched mine! I was a little concerned about it, that the writing didn’t make the theme clear. But my agent thought it was wonderful because it touched each reader where they were in their own lives and their own spiritual walk. So that’s my prayer now for my writing.


Q:  Do you plot out your story ahead of time, or do you think it up as you go?
A:  No, I’m not a plotter!! I come up with the general premise, and I know the types of characters I want, then I start writing. I know there are teachers out there screaming, “No!” at the top of their lungs because I’ve read about the concept of plotting the story out, but it hasn’t worked for me so far. I don’t know what will come into my head that I think will really be cool at some point in the story, so I just jot a note down on a piece of paper so I don’t forget it and go back to the point I left off. I hope that gives someone writing now a little encouragement!

Mary, I'm not a plotter, either. I'm encouraged to find a kindred spirit  :+}


Q:  After becoming a published author, what surprised you the most?
A:  Just about everything! The work left to do after you’ve been accepted by a publisher is hard, especially for a debut novel. There are revisions, and sometimes more than one. There are edits, always more than one! I knew absolutely nothing, so I joined just about every writers “loop” that was out there, and I have learned so much from the others on those loops. You have to get your name and the book “out there” so people learn who you are. But now I am trying to set up ways to work systematically should the Lord bless me with another book sale. Time-management is an absolute must, or you’ll get lost in the computer and lose valuable writing time. I hope having now pretty much been through the entire process from beginning to end, that I will have a better understanding of that process and recognize the things that are essential and ones that, while helpful, can eat up too much time. Yes, it has been one big surprise, but I’m not complaining, it’s a good one!


Q:  What’s the most important piece of advice you would give to a fledgling writer?
A:  I think I mentioned this on another blog, and I don’t know if it is the most important piece of advice; let’s just say it has helped me tremendously. After I’ve written a chapter, I go back and read it out loud to myself. First and foremost, you will hear it as the reader hears it, so you can see any stumbling blocks. You get a much better feel of the flow of the sentences together and how to reword them if necessary. Finally, I remember in my contest judging, I used too many of the same words too close together. When you hear it out loud, those instances jump out at you, as well as the last three paragraphs starting with “she” or “I.” It really gives me a sense of the grammar. Now computers do most of that for us, but until you read it out loud, you won’t get that feel that the computer cannot give you.


Q:  What do you think about writing contests? Have you participated in any? What’s the benefit to an unpublished writer?
A:  Personally, I think contests are a great resource for writers. I have, indeed, entered a contest, and though the critiques were hard to take at first, I soon began to see the benefit of making some of the recommended changes. Then once the recommendations were worked on, I realized the judges were honestly trying to help me grow, and I was very appreciative.

This year I was a judge in a contest for the first time. It, too, was an eye-opening experience. Wow, did I learn how hard that job was without being too critical! But I tried to turn my feelings of being criticized into a positive form of judging. I wanted to give as much positive reinforcement as suggestions to make the writing better. So in both instances, I think contests are really valuable to up and coming writers.


Q:  What does your family think about your crazy career?
A:  I think it runs the gamut of emotions. I think my dad is in shock. He’s 80 and he’s determined to read it though I’ve asked him not to try. He called me up last week to tell me he was into Chapter 5 and there hadn’t been one single sword fight! Sigh! My brothers and sisters are all being very supportive. My sister-in-law, Carol, has believed this book could be published from the time I wrote it 15 years ago. She is ecstatic and I love her for her belief in me. My husband is so happy for me as well, but I have to confess how sorry I am to him all the time that the computer takes so much of my time right now! I’m back up to the question about time-management…if I don’t develop it soon, I think I may have a mutiny on my hands - by him and the dog! Then my dad would be happy because that would have a lot of sword fighting in it!


Q:  Scenario: You’re about to be dropped off on a deserted island. You can take along one survival item, one book, and one person (living or dead… but they’ll be alive on the island). What and who do you take?
A:  Hmmmm, I think I would take a knife. I have no idea why, I just remember when I used to see scenes of “Survivor” the knife seemed the all important item to have. I don’t guess I could take fire with me? The book is easy, that would be the Bible. I have a feeling I would need to be in the Word big time stuck on an island. The person is also easy, I would take my husband. He’s a pretty handy guy to have around and I would want to be with him through anything (assuming that the Skipper and the Professor don’t count! :0)


Q:  What’s the one far out sci-fi technology you’d most like to see become a household item?
A:  Oh, this one is easy as well. I used to be a real Trekkie! Yes, I know, it’s hard to believe. I loved how they would go to their “cabins” at the end of the day, walk up to the wall and say, “steak, medium rare, a baked potato, and corn” and a door would slide up and there it would be! Ta Da! Yep, that is what I would want in my house!

I agree, Mary. A replicator would be awesome! Funny, though, how even when she used one, Captain Janeway could still burn dinner  :+}  Thanks a bunch for hanging out with us today.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary Moore
If there is anyone who has NOT seen my bio then this will be ok, but to everyone else just think back to the last blog! :0) I have been an avid student of the Regency-era since the 1970’s and I am a member of the American Christian Fiction Writer’s historic fiction community as well as a member of the Faith, Hope and Love and Beau Monde chapters of the RWA. I have been writing historical fiction for over fifteen years. I had to put my writing on hold due to some health issues, including a bout with breast cancer, but I’m now even more excited about my writing as I incorporate some of my struggles throughout my books; dedicated to encouraging others in the Lord and using my stories for His glory. A native of the Washington, DC area, my husband and I now live in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of southwest Virginia, with our black lab, Darcy. When not writing, I enjoy time with my husband, watching romantic movies, reading and weekend getaways.


ABOUT THE BOOK: The Aristocrat's Lady
For a few moments on a moonlit balcony, Nicole Beaumont was just a beautiful woman catching the eye of the handsome Lord Devlin-but she knew the illusion couldn't last. If the enigmatic aristocrat knew her secret, he'd realize that her disability left her unfit for love. So who could blame her for hiding the truth a little longer?

Devlin had never met a woman like Nicole. Her unique combination of innocence and wisdom left him utterly intrigued. Yet what was she hiding? For a man who did not trust easily, discovering her secret was devastating. Overcoming their pasts and forging a future would take faith, forgiveness and trust. And second chances could lead to new beginnings.


WIN THE BOOK
If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of The Aristocrat's Lady, just leave a comment on this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on Wednesday, September 7th. 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!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Interview & Book Giveaway with Author Shirley Kiger Connolly

It's a pleasure to welcome today's guest, author Shirley Kiger Connolly!

Q:  What was your inspiration for Say Goodbye to Yesterday?
A:  As the wife of a retired pastor, for many years, I have counseled Christian women about their marriages and life situations. Many times we were able to work through those situations together with the help of God and through inspiration from His Word. I also did a lot of research on events that actually happened in the nineteenth century with Army wives and through personal diaries. It's interesting how so much of this information was not freely discussed years ago.

Q:  How does your faith impact your writing?
A:  My faith IS my writing. It is me. So there isn't much I can do without my faith entering into the scenario of what I'm writing, doing, saying, or thinking. In one way or another, faith becomes the theme.

Q:  Do you plot out your story ahead of time, or do you think it up as you go?
A:  I can't plot my story out first. I've tried. What I do end up doing, rather, is begin to brainstorm my way through, at least for a while. Once I get through about five or six chapters, I can begin to go back and see the thread, and the outline begins to take form. I guess you would call me a pantser more than a plotter.

Q:  Do you treat yourself to something special when a project is completed?
A:  A new pair of shoes. Probably Mary Janes. I LOVE SHOES. (LOL)

Q: After becoming a published author, what surprised you the most?
A:  That my first book was really accepted! (As I look at that first book now, I realize how much I still didn't know back then about being a good writer, and what I've learned since then! I also know I STILL have a long way to go.)

Q:  If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing?
A:  I couldn’t NOT be a writer, Jen. But if I wasn't, I would be doing what I already do -- teach women, do needlework, decorate and re-design my rooms, tend my animals, doodle around in my greenhouse with my veggies and flowers, and, oh, yes, sing and play my guitar and piano more. But the truth is, I'd still find a way to write…something!

Q:  There’s been a lot said about the future of publishing and the possible death of the print book. What’s your take on e-books, self-publishing, and such?
A:  I am published through two small publishing companies, where one does both print and e-book, and where the other, still newer, is quite active with e-books and plans to add the print at a future date. I have come to love the e-books, where I thought I wouldn't. I enjoy the fact that they are so assessable and you can change the font size to whatever you want. If your eyes are tired, the e-book will read out loud to you. It saves room, for you can put thousands of e-books in one leather book-sized folder. You can make notes on your pages, if there's something you want to remember for later. Just lots of things. It doesn't mean I no longer read print books. I do. But it's true, they do fill up the bookcase awfully fast. No, I don't think the print book will ever completely die out.

Self-publishing is another story, at least for me, personally. I shy away from them, but I don't look down on those who choose to go that route if they can truly write. I treasure every copy editor that's provided for me through my publishers. They are such a great asset in helping me fix my problems before it's too late. I also wouldn’t want to have to PAY to have my book published as you do when you self-publish. To me, it's just not the same. Besides, I don't have that kind of money. But I guess there are many who have enough confidence in what they do to go that route. Knowing my limitations, I'm not one of them.

Scenario: You’re about to be dropped off on a deserted island. You can take along one survival item, one book, and one person (living or dead… but they’ll be alive on the island). What and who do you take?
A:  The one survival item I would take? The one survival item would probably a fruit bearing tree, like a coconut because it has meat and liquid in it to keep me alive. The book I would take: My BIBLE most definitely. The one person I would take: I think that would be my husband. He is such a part of me.

Thanks for visiting with us today, Shirley!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shirley Kiger Connolly, a graduate of the Institute of Children's Literature, believes she uses both sides of her brain when it comes to writing. With her creative and inspirational mind she pens historical fiction romances, but with her more logical thinking cap, she writes nonfiction devotional books. It helps that she loves different hats. With another trusty hat she hopes contains a bit of wisdom, Shirley prepares and teaches Koinonia women's bible studies and mini-seminars and shares teaching reflections at retreats or luncheons. Outside her writing and speaking time, Shirley, an active mom and grandma, enjoys rearranging her furniture, cross-stitching, and watching old movies on TCM. As a part-time farm woman, Shirley devotes a lot of time to the veggies growing in her greenhouse, and mothers her chickens, ducks, dogs, and cats. She stays active in American Christian Fiction Writers and at Faith-Hope-Love, RWA where she presently serves as Critique Database Coordinator.


ABOUT THE BOOK
Scorned with disgrace, Annabelle Jordan and her daughters are no longer welcome in her reverend uncle’s community. She knows she needs a fresh touch of grace, but Annabelle’s in no mood to seek mercy. Not after carrying on her youthful affair with the same man, long enough to produce two daughters before she finally drove him out of her life.

Now without a home, Annabelle’s convinced her answer is to find the father again and force that marriage once and for all. At least the man who pledged her, his hand years earlier could provide her daughters the name, home, security, and future they need. Who else would show interest in a soiled, aging woman over thirty with two growing children?

That was before Major Carlton Radcliffe entered Annabelle’s life. How's she supposed to deal with a man far beyond her reach, loyal to the faith she's been fleeing, and honorably pledged to a wife and family of his own?


WIN THE BOOK
If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of the e-book, Say Goodbye to Yesterday, just leave a comment on this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on Monday, September 5th. 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.)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Book Trailers that Work: Jane Lynch's Happy Accidents

We authors are all trying to figure out this new beast called the book trailer. Some have been more successful than others. Here's a great example of a trailer that works.

Why does it work? Because it perfectly captures the persona that actress/author Jane Lynch has created for herself. Rather than fill the video with text snippets, still photos and earnest music, we get a snappy look into what Jane might do at her local bookstore. Of course, she wouldn't really do this. Neither would you or I. But I think any author who's found one title of her book hidden in a corner wishes she could do something like this.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Author Connie Stevens Shares About the Scars We All Bear

Today's special post is from author Connie Stevens.

Have you ever wanted to hide? I’m not talking about playing hide and seek as a child or crouching behind furniture and jumping out to yell “Surprise!” to someone. I’m not even referring to ducking behind a display in a store because you just spotted your nosey neighbor and didn’t want to be engaged in an hour-long gossip session. There are some people who have found themselves in a dangerous situation and attempted to hide for protection, and of course we see news reports all the time about those who commit crimes and hide from the police.

In my latest book, SCARS OF MERCY, the main character, Everett, wants to hide. He’s not in trouble or danger. He doesn’t want to surprise anyone. His desire is to be alone. In fact, he wishes he could hide from himself. As this story unfolds, Everett loathes his own reflection. He survived the boardinghouse fire, but lives daily with the marks left by the flames. While he is grateful for his new-found faith, he doesn’t understand why God would allow the disfiguring scars, and he assumes he is destined to live a solitary existence.

We all live with scars—some are physical and visible. Others are emotional and known only to us. Regardless of whether other people can see our scars, human instinct drives us to hide those scars from the world. There is a deep, indwelling longing within us to be perfect, and when we aren’t, misplaced shame and humiliation compels us to seek a refuge. But where do we go to hide? Do we build a wall around ourselves? Do we withdraw from people? Sometimes painful experiences can motivate us to do that. It’s a defensive mechanism many of us have used at one time or other. Whatever our purpose, such actions always result in the same thing—loneliness.

In SCARS OF MERCY, Everett’s refuge was self-imposed solitude. Despite his loneliness, he might have been content to shut himself off from the world except for one thing—Tillie O’Dell. This feisty young woman sees Everett’s scars as noble and heroic, and she wishes she could make him see himself the way she does—the way God does. In trying to do so, she finds herself falling in love with Everett, changed from the hurtful, arrogant man he was to one redeemed and restored. This is much the way God sees us when we give ourselves over to Him.

I am reminded of the story in Jeremiah, chapter eighteen, in which the prophet went down to the potter’s house and watched the potter working on a vessel. But the vessel was marred—flawed—in the hands of the potter. So he started over again and remade the vessel into one of beauty and usefulness. This is a story of hope and second chances. The potter didn’t destroy or discard the clay. He reworked it. The flaw didn’t matter because the potter knew how to work around it. There was no need to hide the flawed vessel because the potter made it beautiful.

SCARS OF MERCY is a love story, but not just between Everett and Tillie. This story is an invitation to see God’s mighty, unwavering love for us, and how He wants us to hide ourselves in Him. Scars--whether visible or invisible, real or imagined, physical or emotional or spiritual--don’t have to be debilitating, because we have a God who hides us in the hollow of His hand.

Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You
are there.
If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” even the night shall be light
about me; indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You.
But the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You.
Psalm 139: 7-12 (NKJV)

SCARS OF MERCY releases this month with Heartsong Presents, and is the third book in the Willow Creek series.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Connie Stevens lives in north Georgia with her husband of thirty-eight years, John, and one cantankerous kitty. She and John are active in a variety of capacities in their home church. When she’s not writing, she enjoys gardening, sewing, reading, browsing antique stores, and collecting teddy bears. An avid Atlanta Braves fan, don’t call her while there is a game on. Visit Connie’s website at www.conniestevenswrites.com


ABOUT THE BOOK
Everett Behr turns away from people to hide his disfiguring scars. A budding friendship with Tillie O’Dell eases his loneliness, but asking her to endure the humiliation of being with someone like him is out of the question. Tillie sees past Everett’s scars to his heart. His courage and compassion make him a man of character, but how can she convince Everett his scars are beautiful to her?


WIN THE BOOK
If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Scars of Mercy, just leave a comment on this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on Monday, August 29th. 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!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Interview & Giveaway with Author P.A. Baines

It's my pleasure to welcome Splashdown Books author P. A. Baines to the blog today!

Q:  What was your inspiration for Alpha Redemption?
A:  Would you believe, atheism? I was heavily involved with discussing and debating Christianity with atheists on various Internet sites. It was suggested on more than one occasion that belief in God is irrational. That got me wondering what a purely logical creature would think if it read the Bible. At that moment one the main characters of Alpha Redemption, Jay, was born.

Q:  How do you come up with your story ideas?
A:  Usually it is a single scene that comes to mind, often while reading a book. I do almost all of my reading using audio books, and I often find my thoughts wandering. Sometimes an interesting scenario comes to mind, and sometimes that grows into a complete story.

Q:  How does your faith impact your writing?
A:  It is at the very core of my writing. I do not just want to write "stories". Rather, I want to glorify God through my work. He is at the center of what I try to do.

Q:  How long does it take you to complete a novel? How many drafts do you go through?
A:  The first draft of Alpha Redemption took three months. Add to that, two months of thinking about the plot, and another six months of revisions and editing, so about one year in total. My current story, on the other hand, was one I started five years ago but never got beyond the first chapter. The number of drafts tends to be quite low for me because I always edit my first drafts as I go. So, really, my first draft is more like a third draft.

Q:  After becoming a published author, what surprised you the most?
A:  The biggest surprise was that selling your story is as difficult (if not more so) than finding a publisher. People are generally quite reluctant to take a chance on an unknown author, so it is an uphill struggle. Good reviews help, but that does not necessarily mean people are going to rush out and buy your book.

Q:  What event, writer, or book has most impacted your writing life?
A:  I think "On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft" by Stephen King had the biggest impact on me as a writer because it showed just how difficult it can be to get published, even for someone as gifted as Stephen King. It also showed me that being "gifted" is not what it takes to be a good writer. You have to work hard and push on, even when the rejection letters come. So often we read about people hitting the big time with their first novel, of finding a publisher without even looking, but these cases are extremely rare and we should not look to them as examples of how the industry works. To be a writer, you have to be prepared for a lot of hard work and a lot of rejection. If you don't have a thick skin when you start out, you certainly will by the time you see your book on the shelves.

Q:  What’s the one far out sci-fi technology you’d most like to see become a household item?

A:  Anti-gravity devices. I think they would transform our lives. While this is something I would love to see, I am not convinced that it would be beneficial for everyone. Can you imagine how lazy it might make us? I think far more of us would become couch-potatoes if anti-gravity suits became available at our local supermarkets.

Thanks for visiting with us today, Paul!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Paul writes science fiction that is both contemplative and profound. Educated in Africa, he works as an analyst/programmer and is studying towards a degree in Creative Writing through Buckinghamshire New University in England. He currently lives in a small corner of the Netherlands with his wife and two children and various wildlife.
Visit his website at www.pabaines.com. He is also a member of the New Authors' Fellowship.


ABOUT THE BOOK - Alpha Redemption
From despair he fled, through tragedy he lived on, and journeyed to innocence.

His trajectory: the stars. His companion: a computer poised at the brink of sentience.

An unlikely friendship on a prototype spaceship at lightspeed towards Alpha Centauri, and redemption.


WIN THE BOOK
If you’d like to be entered to win the e-book, Alpha Redemption, just leave a comment on this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on Tuesday, August 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.)