Friday, June 24, 2011

Possibly the Best Book Video to Date - Overbite by Meg Cabot

Lately, there's been a lot of talk on the author loops about book videos, or book trailers. The debate rages about how effective they are, what makes a good video, and whether it's a necessary addition to  our marketing arsenal.

I don't have any hard data on how BVs affect sales, but I can share my personal thoughts. BVs are fun, but they need to be done well, because a poorly executed video can turn a reader off quicker than expired mayonnaise. I've seen quite a few BVs that I liked and were quite professional. A few have made me decide to buy the book if I already knew about it and was considering the purchase. But honestly, I've yet to see one that made me want to buy a book I knew nothing else about.

Until today.

The video below is for Meg Cabot's new book, Overbite. Take a look, then let's discuss.

So, what makes this video so great? Lots of things.

First off, the author is right there, interacting with you, sharing her personality. Yes, it's quirky and a bit over-the-top, but if you've ever read one of Cabot's books, you know how perfect that vibe is.

Second, the video engages the viewer. Rather than little snippets of text telling you what the book is about, you are drawn into the story. New York is full of vampires... from New Jersey! Read this book or die! If you can watch that BV without laughing, well, maybe the vampires got to you already ;+}

Third, this is a great example of promotion on a budget. Oh, I'm sure they spent a fair penny making this particular BV. After all, Cabot is a NYT Best-Selling author, and HarperCollins is one of the big boys. BUT, if you look at the video, you can see how something similar could be made on a budget. There are no special effects, unless you count the cannolis, which do look special indeed. But you see what I mean.

I love this video because it shows what a BV can be. Like lots of others, I'm learning about this new medium and hoping to create something that doesn't suck. (Ironic, how her book is about vampires, who do suck, yet the video doesn't. Hmmm...)

Your turn... what do you think of this video? (Not the book itself... I realize vampires aren't everyone's cup of tea. I may be the only female in America who hasn't read a single Twilight book, nor followed the movies.) Have you made, or are planning to make, a Book Video? What's your gameplan? Maybe we can learn from each other.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

CFBA presents SHE MAKES IT LOOK EASY by Marybeth Whalen

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
She Makes It Look Easy
David C. Cook (June 1, 2011)
Marybeth Whalen


Marybeth Whalen is the wife of Curt and mom of six children. The family lives outside Charlotte, NC. Marybeth is a member of the Proverbs 31 Ministries writing team and a regular contributor to their daily devotions. Her first novel,The Mailbox was released in June 2010. Her next novel, She Makes It Look Easy, was released in June 2011. Additionally, she serves as director of She Reads, Proverbs 31 Ministries' fiction division.


Ariel Baxter has just moved into the neighborhood of her dreams. The chaos of domestic life and the loneliness of motherhood, however, moved with her. Then she meets her neighbor, Justine Miller. Justine ushers Ariel into a world of clutter-free houses, fresh-baked bread, homemade crafts, neighborhood play dates, and organization techniques designed to make marriage better and parenting manageable.

Soon Ariel realizes there is hope for peace, friendship, and clean kitchen counters. But when rumors start to circulate about Justine’s real home life, Ariel must choose whether to believe the best about the friend she admires or consider the possibility that “perfection” isn’t always what it seems to be.

If you would like to read an excerpt of She Makes It Look Easy, go HERE.


In her latest novel, Marybeth Whalen presents a tale any woman can relate to. We've all known women like Justine, those in our circle who were always presentable, their homes always immaculate, their children picture-perfect. They made everything look easy. And they made us feel like we weren't doing enough. But what really goes on behind the Martha-Stewart-perfect facade? That's the question in this engaging, masterfully written novel of the grass being greener on the other side of the fence. But which side is truly greener? Thumbs up to Whalen! I highly recommend this novel to any woman who thought she could do it all "if only..." Do yourself a favor. Let the dusting go for a day, grab this book, sit in your favorite reading spot, and enjoy. You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

CFBA presents WINNING HIM WITHOUT WORDS by Lynn Donovan & Dineen Miller

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Winning Him Without Words
Regal (February 15, 2011)
Lynn Donovan & Dineen Miller


Lynn Donovan

Verse: John 15:5 Apart from Me you can do nothing.

Tagline: Challenging Women to Live in Truth

A passionate writer and speaker, Lynn is a woman who presents a compelling message to encourage women to thrive in their marriage. She speaks at events nationwide where she challenges the myths women believe about love, pointing them to life-changing freedom through a relationship with Jesus. She reveals the zany yet meaningful stories of marriage challenges, truths, and triumphs in her life and invites women to share her view from her front row seat to an amazing journey; life lived for Christ.
Married since 1992 to her best friend and biggest enthusiast, Mike, she lives in Temecula, California. They have a son and a daughter and a wacky dog named Peanut. She loves to laugh, enjoys a strong cup of coffee and Fantasy Football and not necessarily in that order.

She lives each day in awe of the grace of God in her ordinary life.

Dineen Miller

Verse: Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Tagline: Igniting the Soul

Dineen readily admits that one of the greatest lessons she’s learning about life is that there’s purpose in our trials. And it’s all about trusting God and putting our hope in Him. Her favorite stories will always be of the miracles God has wrought in the lives of her family.

Through this lens she also believes her years as a youth counselor, a Stephen Minister, a women’s ministry leader, and a small group leader have prepared her for God’s calling on her life—to write for and speak to those in mismatched marriages like hers.

In addition to writing for Spiritually Unequal Marriage, Dineen writes for Laced with Grace and various other fiction online magazines and newsletters. She’s also won several prestigious awards for her fiction, and her devotional writing has been featured in Our Journey and Christian Women Online Magazine.

Married for 23 years to a guy who keeps her young, she lives in the Bay Area with her husband, two precious daughters, and their dog Shasta, who no doubt is an angel in disguise.


Week after week, they sit in church . . . alone. They are the spiritually mismatched, those who are committed to a spouse who does not share their faith. Feeling abandoned by their spouse and forgotten by their church, they live out their faith in survival mode, guarding the spiritual flame yet never feeling free to share it. But God wants them to thrive—not just survive.

Winning Him Without Words presents 10 Christ centered keys to thriving in a spiritual mismatch. Readers are encouraged to commit to Christian community, to release their spouse to God’s capable hands, to find peace in their relationships with Christ and with their spouse, to continue their pursuit of a growing faith and to love their spouse with fresh enthusiasm. God wants every marriage to exude peace and love, and Winning Him Without Words empowers readers to create that environment in their homes and thrive as God works.

If you would like to read a sample chapter of Winning Him Without Words, go HERE.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fantasy Makes Christianity More Real by R.L. Copple

“Really?” you may ask. “How can that which is not real make reality more real?” A good question that I will seek to answer.

In the interest of full disclosure, I write Christian-based science fiction and fantasy. I have two fantasy books out from Splashdown Books with one more book to follow next year. Reality’s Dawn is a novel-sized set of stories about Sisko, who is given a task to “be his brother’s keeper” and the power to do so through a miracle enabling-ring. Through his experiences, his relationship with God is tested as he works to avoid the ring’s curse. Reality’s Ascent follows Sisko twenty years after the first book, now married with children, but a demon seeks out his ring, imprisons Sisko’s wife in a crystal that can only be unlocked by finding seven keys by people exhibiting a virtue, which sends Sisko and his two children, Kaylee and Nathan, on a quest that tests their character and souls.

I know there is a segment of Christians out there who automatically dismiss anything in those genres, either because they distrust anything that comes from imagination, or they have labeled such as a “lie,” or simply fear that giving credence to fantasy elements linked with God will make people feel God is a fantasy as well. Others see no value in what appears to be pure entertainment.

So what has moved me to write fantasy like the above books despite those objections?

If you’ve read much science fiction or fantasy, you’ll see a lot of secular influence, or in fantasy’s case, often some pagan influence. Fantasy specifically used to be dominated by Christians. Whether we’re talking about “Pilgrim’s Progress,” “Chronicles of Narnia,” “Lord of the Rings,” or many other such examples, the Church has had a history of writing good Christian-based fantasy, sometimes more overt, sometimes more subtle. But in recent decades, it seems due to the aversion many Christians have taken to such works, there has been a dearth of good Christian writers. Some of that is changing, I believe, but during the last century we left those genres of fiction to the secularist and the pagans.

And I believe this has resulted from the acceptance in the Church of a secular way of looking at life: over here is the sacred, and over there is the secular, and we can’t allow the two sides to intersect with each other or the sacred will be tainted and no longer sacred. But the problem is, this creates a realm where God cannot have influence, lest He become “unholy,” as if that could ever happen. Yet, isn’t that what we’re saying? Traditionally the Church has seen God as the source of all, and the only one who can make anything holy and sanctified for His purpose. God was understood to be involved in all areas of our life, so even the Israelites when it didn’t rain for a long time and their crops failed, didn’t look to any scientific explanation to explain that, because they weren’t interested in the “how.” They were interested in the “why.” And the “why” usually involved God.

Today, we label such things as “superstitions.” And sometimes for sure God wasn’t trying to say anything to people just because of the weather or a disaster. Such Jesus pointed out concerning the tower that fell upon people, that it wasn’t due to their sins that such a tragedy befell them, but just chance due to a fallen world. But sometimes God is using such things to speak to us, as when He had Elijah pray to prevent it from raining in Israel until Ahab gave into God’s demands. While I’m not promoting that we spiritualize everything, it is obvious that our secular culture has influenced us to the point that there are areas that are now off limits to God. And for many Christians, one of those areas if fantasy.

But fantasy goes against the secular grain. It posits worlds where miracles happen, where God influences everything, is Lord over everything, including “magic” or “wizards.” It expands the realm of “what’s possible” to include God’s miracles, because if we can’t imagine the supernatural to happen, it blocks God’s power in our own lives, keeps us locked in the secular vs. sacred box, unable to experience God because such fantastical things as we read about in the Bible just don’t happen today. Why? Is it because those stories are really fantasy, as many secularist would believe? Or is because we are so locked into a scientific mindset that if we can’t see it, measure it, touch it, break down its components in a test tube, it must not be real?
So one reason I write fantasy is because I believe it brings back the Christian understanding of a God who is not limited by our secular mindset, nor even really my imagination. He is so much more amazing than anything I could ever dream up on a written page. He will surprise us all once we see Him face to face. Writing and reading fantasy actually helps us to accept His “beyond our wildest imaginations” reality as real, instead of just some stories someone told us about that happened a long time ago, but nothing like that happens today. It makes His reality more real to us.

Is fiction’s primary purpose to entertain? Sure. When someone picks up a fantasy or science fiction book, they mostly want a fun and cool story they can escape into. But here’s the catch. It’s not the fact that they are escaping from real life that is the issue. We can all use some time to do that, to rest from the real word issues. That’s the definition of going on a retreat, which is so popular in many Christian circles.

But the real question is what are they escaping into? Into a secular based world, where God doesn’t exist except as some fallible beings with a lot of power that’s corrupted them? Or into a world that God controls? Are they escaping into literature which supports and promotes a secular world, where God is only relegated to church services for the purpose of keeping the uneducated masses in check, but shut out of anything really important, like creation of the world? Or is He working with the sinner, the harlot, and the murder as He shows us He does in the Scriptures?

One goal I have in my stories is to leave the reader pondering a new point of view. That is something fantasy stories, and other genres of fiction can do best. Not beating anyone over the head with Christianity, but help people see reality from a new perspective, leave them thinking, whether they are Christian or not, and hopefully move some one step closer to God in the process. That is what a good Christian-based fantasy story can do, in a way that no devotional, sermon, self-help book, or non-fiction can do. Once someone gets sucked into a good story, they experience things from that character’s view point. And if it is Christian-based, then it will ultimately support, promote, and “make real” God’s reality, even in the midst of failure, sin, and death. Because all good fantasy touches on the realities we all face, only in a different world and unique characters.

What are some benefits of fantasy that you see for the Christian life?

As a young teen, R. L. Copple played in his own make-believe world, writing the stories and drawing the art for his own comics while experiencing the worlds of other authors like Tolkien, Lewis, Asimov, and Lester Del Ray. After years of writing devotionally, he returned to the passion of his youth in order to combine his fantasy worlds and faith into the reality of the printed page. Since then, his imagination has given birth to The Reality Chronicles trilogy, along with numerous short stories in various magazines. In his Texas Hill Country residence, he continues to create and give wings to new realities so that others might enjoy and be inspired by them.

If you’d like to be entered to win the ebook of either Reality's Dawn or Reality's Ascent, just leave a comment on this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on Monday, June 27th. 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.) E-book in the winner’s choice of format (nook, Kindle, PDF) can be downloaded from Smashwords (with free coupon code) or emailed.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Birth of a Novel by Louise M. Gouge

Thank you for inviting me to your blog, Jen. You posed an interesting question I’d like to answer: How do I develop a story? This is a great topic that writers often discuss amongst themselves, with every writer having her/his own methods and opinions. Do you start with plot, or do you start with characters? Or maybe you start with a setting? Or a theme? I have used all of these as starting points, but one thing is certain: every story must have a plot.

The plot, the sequence of events (including at least one major conflict), can be inspired by just about anything: newspapers or television news, a family legend, a real life humorous or tragic or complex situation, even a movie or television program that I’d like to see happen differently. One of my soon-to-be e-published books began with a real life rebellion in a foreign country. Certain things happened historically, so parts of the plot were pretty well laid out for me. Beginning a book with a plot means finding a conflict and moving on to the subsequent human reactions to it. That brings us to characters.

Without characters, there is no story. The conflict must happen to or within a being of some sort. I begin most of my books with one or more characters. When I was writing Ahab’s Legacy Trilogy, Ahab’s Bride, Hannah Rose, and Son of Perdition, I developed my protagonists based on Captain Ahab in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. My characters grew spiritually and emotionally as a result of their responses to this mythical anti-hero. Some of my other books resulted from a minor character clamoring for his or her own story. The hero in The Captain’s Lady is a minor character in the previous book, Love Thine Enemy. Jamie Templeton kept telling me what a great hero he would make, so I gave in and wrote his story, which he insisted should take place in England. That brings us to setting.

Stories have to take place sometime, somewhere, and within some social environment (the social assumptions and customs within any given culture). When I discovered that Florida, my home state, was a British colony during the Revolutionary War, I wanted to set a story here. I had my time and place, but what about the social environment? As it turns out, the people who inhabited this colony at that time were Americans loyal to the British Crown and Englishmen who were in the business of colonizing. How did they interact? What were their dreams and aspirations? What would be my conflict? The more I researched the East Florida Colony, the more my characters and plot came to life, and the results were Love Thine Enemy and At the Captain’s Command. Naturally, because they were set in the American Revolution, each book had a wartime theme, with characters reacting to events over which they had no control. That brings us to theme, and while it may seem odd, I think some of the best stories have war themes.

A book’s theme is the overall statement the author wants to make about her characters or a time in history or some social issue. My husband, David, is a decorated Viet Nam war veteran, and I take pride in his service to our country. However, men and women returning from war often suffer many difficulties as they try to adjust to “normal” life. Like many Viet Nam veterans, David didn’t talk much about his experiences, but when I began to write my post-Civil War series, he opened up. His knowledge and experience undergirded my theme of God’s healing touch on men shattered by war as I wrote Then Came Faith and Then Came Hope. Because it touched my own life so deeply, I’m very proud of that series.

Another book of mine that began with setting is The Gentleman Takes a Bride in the anthology The Wedding Season, with Deborah Hale. This time, my editor asked me to write a Regency romance, which in one word gave me the time, place, and social environment. My theme was an interrupted wedding. Coming up with the perfect plot and characters was a delightful challenge. Here’s what I ended up with: Surely Elizabeth Moberly was born to be a nobleman's bride. She can't possibly be attracted to the untitled stranger who interrupts her cousin's wedding. Yet Elizabeth finds herself drawn to Philip Lindsey's tender heart and strong faith. And if Philip has his way, he'll convince Elizabeth the only title she needs is Mrs. Lindsey, beloved wife.

If you love Regency novels OR would like a chance to form an attachment to them, please give The Wedding Season a try. They’re in Walmart right now and also available at and If you would like to know more about my books, please check my website at

The world is full of stories. Why don’t you write one? Whether you begin with plot, character, setting, or theme, or maybe something entirely different, dig deep and you’ll find a whole new world opening up inside of you.

Award-winning Florida author Louise M. Gouge writes historical fiction, calling her stories “threads of grace woven through time.” In addition to numerous other awards, Louise is the recipient of the prestigious Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award. Married to David Gouge for forty-six years, Louise is a mother of four and grandmother of six children. In addition to writing, she teaches English and humanities at Valencia Community College in Kissimmee , Florida. To learn more about Louise, visit her website at

If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of The Wedding Season, just leave a comment on this post. PLEASE NOTE: USA and Canadian residents only for this one. I’ll pick a winner at random on Wednesday, June 22nd. 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, June 14, 2011

Interview & Book Giveaway with Author Keven Newsome

It's a pleasure to introduce today's guest, author Keven Newsome. Welcome, Keven!

Q: What was your inspiration for Winter?
A: Many different factors contributed to the formation of Winter. I suppose the original germ was to write about a Goth Christian, to show how God can use any person no matter what other people may think of them. And in truth, that’s the simplest description of the book. In the flashback story, we see Winter’s decline into the Gothic subculture and her self-destructive behavior as she deals with the slow death of her mother and a new life with her estranged dad. But in the primary story, we see her having overcome her past. She’s now being used in a miraculous way by God. Giving her the gift of prophecy and having her fight a Satanic priest, was just for fun. To me, the real story is about Winter.

Q:  Have you always wanted to be a writer?
A:  I got an early start writing. My first piece was fan-fic based on a RBG video game. Oh, and I was eleven. I had wrote about three pages in the King’s English. Why? Because the video game used that kind of language. My classmates tell me I never stopped writing, but I don’t think I seriously considered writing until Junior High. That’s when I started to develop story ideas that I would write in High School. I took a break in college, writing my “practice book” after graduating. I’ve been working on Winter for four years now. Have I always wanted to be a writer? No. At times I wanted to be something else. But I think I have always been a writer, even if I wouldn’t admit it.

Q:  How does your faith impact your writing?
A:  This question is the reason I didn’t write in college. In High School, I didn’t care about mixing faith and writing. But as I grew closer to God, I couldn’t bring myself to write contrary to my faith. It took several years for me to get an answer. In part I have Frank Peretti to thank for inspiring me to write exciting stories of faith. My heart was originally for fantasy, and there was little Christian fantasy to be found for me to learn from. After much prayer, I began my “practice book” and wrote it as a fantasy allegory. Winter, a modern day supernatural thriller, came a little easier. Now, I enjoy creating stories that bring the supernatural to light in a very real way. But fear not…I have another fantasy in cue to write, too.

Q:  Do you plot out your story ahead of time, or do you think it up as you go?
A:  I am a meticulous outliner. I didn’t even start Winter until I had done a basic outline for the whole series. Then I did a complete outline for Winter. THEN I went back and wrote at least a paragraph describing each chapter in the outline. Only after completing that step for half the book, did I actually start writing. I do let the story grow and become what it wants to become. But when the story makes changes, I have to go fix my outline.

That being said…I have never outlined a short story.

Q:  What’s your favorite part of the writing business? What’s your least favorite?
A:  My favorite part is writing, of course. Being created in the image of God, humans can’t help but be mini-creators. Immersing in the creative process is the closest I can get to being like God. And isn’t that what we’re supposed to do? Try to be like God? I just pray that my efforts are pleasing to Him. My least favorite part is submitting. Nobody likes to be rejected over and over and over. Can’t we find a way to skip that part?

Q:  What’s the most important piece of advice you would give to a fledgling writer?
A:  Write. Write. Write. You want to be a writer? Write. Don’t dream about it. Don’t talk about it. Don’t spend all your time studying about it. Do it. And while you write, assume that every other writer is better than you. Listen to them. Learn from them. Grow. And keep writing.

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:  Item – satellite phone. Book – A Practical Course in Wooden Boat and Ship Building. Person – the Survivorman, Les Stroud.

Q:  What’s the one far out sci-fi technology you’d most like to see become a household item?
A:  I want my flying car. Seriously, it’s 2011. Where’s my flying car?

I agree. I want the flying car and the briefcase it folds up into :+} Thanks for stopping by today, Keven. It was a blast!

Keven Newsome is a graduate student at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he is pursuing a Master of Arts in Theology specializing in Supernatural Theology. He writes stories that attempt to portray the Supernatural and Paranormal with an accurate Biblical perspective. He is the author of Winter, a thriller published by Splashdown Darkwater. He currently lives in New Orleans, LA with his wife and their two children. Keven is also the founder and administrator of The New Authors’ Fellowship and produces music and video through Newsome Creative.

Find him online at (mind the Es, there are four), on Facebook at, and on Twitter at

Winter Maessen didn’t ask for the gift of prophecy. She’s happy being a freak – but now everyone thinks she’s crazy. Or evil. Goths aren’t all the same, you know. Some are Christians….Christians to whom God sends visions.

Students at her university are being attacked, and Winter knows there’s more than flesh and blood at work.

Her gift means she’s the only one who can stop it – but at what price?

View the trailer below

If you’d like to be entered to win the e-book, Winter, just leave a comment on this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on Monday, June 20th. 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.) E-book in the winner’s choice of format (nook, Kindle, PDF) can be downloaded from Smashwords (with free coupon code) or emailed.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Interview & Book Giveaway with Deborah Raney

It's a great pleasure to introduce you to one of the sweetest gals I've ever met, author Deborah Raney!

Q:  Have you always wanted to be a writer?
A:  I’ve always written. Even before I could actually read or form letters, I drew pictures that told stories. But the summer I read all of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books was the first time I realized that being an author was a career one could aspire to. I was only 11 or 12, but I knew from that day on that someday I wanted to try my hand at writing a novel. It wasn’t until I was 38 years old that I actually sat down to write seriously.

Q:  How does your faith impact your writing?
A:  I actually wrote two versions of my first novel––one Christian and one secular. That experience told me that I simply could not write honestly or deeply unless I was allowed to explore the faith––or lack of faith––of my characters. I know it’s important not to “preach”, but from that day forward, I’ve always included a faith thread in my novels. Sometimes it’s very subtle, or present only as allegory, but it’s always there.

Q:  How long does it take you to complete a novel? How many drafts do you go through?
A:  It takes me anywhere from 6-12 months to finish a novel. The actual writing may only be 3-5 months, but when you add in research, and four different edits, including a rewrite, it’s rare that I can finish a book in less than 9 months. I always say that what my editor sees as a "first draft" is actually more like a 10th or 12th draft. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but I go over everything at least 5 or 6 times, especially the first half of the book, which gets read more times than the second, since––as a seat-of-the-pants plotter––I'm still getting to know my characters and figuring out my plot early on.

Q:  Do you treat yourself to something special when a project is completed?
A:  We almost always go out to eat or go to a movie, or something special to celebrate me writing “the end.” But the biggest treat for me is being able to clean off my desk, and then take a week or two or three off to just read for fun, and catch up on email.

Q:  What do you think about writing contests? Have you participated in any? What’s the benefit to an unpublished writer?
A:  I wish I could say that awards mean nothing to me, but that wouldn’t be true at all. I think writers are generally very unsure about our writing until we begin to hear positive feedback from readers and professionals. (That’s why a negative review stings so much!) The awards I’ve won have reassured me that even if my books aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, several significant someones have declared my work worthy. That means the world to me.

I think I’m a little odd in one sense, concerning awards. I can’t even analyze why, but I’ve always been thrilled to the gills about finaling in a contest, but winning simply isn’t that important to me. Sure, it’s nice to win an award, but I’m every bit as pleased about my Christy finalist medallions as I am about any first place trophies and pins I’ve won.

Q:  If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing?
A:  I’ve always been very interested in psychology, especially as it relates to family relationships. I get to “practice” that a little as a writer, but I could see myself as a counselor. I also love decorating and design, and think it would be fun to give decorating advice or stage homes for Realtors, etc.

Q:  What does your family think about your crazy career?
A:  My wonderful husband has read everything I’ve ever written. Ken has always been my biggest supporter and cheerleader. Because I began writing when our kids were 17, 13, 11 and 3, they very much took what I did for granted. Our oldest daughter served as a talented proofreader for me, but after she went out-of-state to college, she called me one day having seen my books in a Missouri library. Apparently the librarian had been impressed to learn I was her mom. Tobi called with awe in her voice. “Mom, you’re kind of famous!” Tobi is an elementary teacher now and a wonderful writer herself. She and I wrote a Marriage Perspectives column together for several years.

Our oldest son read my books in college while donating plasma twice a week (because the blood center didn’t allow donors to play video games.) And our youngest son only read one of my books because his sweet fiancĂ©e––now his wife––guilted him into it. But he, too, called to tell me how much he enjoyed the book––and how much of our family he saw in my stories. Our youngest daughter had no choice. I read one of my books aloud to her when she was ten or eleven. I feel incredibly blessed to be surrounded by supportive family, parents, in-laws, and friends, but for the most part, to them I’m “just Deb.”

Thanks, Deb. It's always a pleasure when you come to visit!

Deborah Raney's first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title and launched her writing career after 20 happy years as a stay-at-home mom. Deb's 20th novel releases June 14 from Howard. She and her husband, Ken Raney, enjoy the wildflowers and native grasses growing in the Kansas prairie garden in their large back yard. They also love traveling together to teach at conferences, and to visit four children and three little grandsons who all live much too far away.

ABOUT THE BOOK - Forever After
Lucas was a proud firefighter like his father. Now, not only has he lost his father and his best friend, Zach, in the fire at the Grove Street Homeless Shelter, but the devoted rookie can no longer do the work he loves after being crippled in the tragic event. When friendship with his buddy's beautiful widow turns into more, he wonders what he could possibly offer Jenna. Jenna is trying to grieve her husband's death like a proper widow, but the truth is, she never really loved Zach. His death feels more like a relief to her. But that relief is short-lived when she loses her home and the financial support of her in-laws. Now the secrets of her past threaten to destroy her future.

If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Forever After, just leave a comment on this blog. (PLEASE NOTE: Continental US only on this one, folks.)  I’ll pick a winner at random on Friday, June 13th. 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!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Angel Delgadillo - the Guardian Angel of Route 66 - VIDEO

In my next book (The Mother Road, Abingdon Press, April 2012), two sisters set off on a journey, part of which takes them down historic Route 66. I came across this video of Angel Delgadillo, resident of Seligman, AZ, who carries the well-earned title "Guardian Angel of Route 66." It's a great example of the reach one person can have, and the joy he can bring into other people's lives. Hope you enjoy it.