Wednesday, April 30, 2008

CFBA Presents The Big Picture by Jenny B. Jones

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing
The Big Picture (NavPress Publishing Group April 15, 2008) by
Jenny B. Jones


Jenny B. Jones is the author of A Katie Parker Production series. The other books in the series are In Between and On The Loose. Though now an adult, she still relates to the trauma and drama of teen life. She is thrilled to see her writing dreams come true, as her previous claim to fame was singing the Star Spangled Banner at a mule-jumping championship. (The mules were greatly inspired.)Jenny resides in Arkansas, where, as a teacher, she hangs out with teens on a regular basis.


Sometimes there’s a fine line between comedy and tragedy—and Katie Parker is walking it.School is winding down for the summer but Katie Parker is having a bad day. After leaving the drive-in, where her imploding love life was the main attraction, Katie arrives home to a big surprise on the Scott's front porch. Her mother, Bobbie Ann Parker, a former convict and recovering addict, wants to take Katie away from her family, friends, and church. Now Katie's life will be changed by a series of dramatic choices as she struggles to understand what family and home really means. Katie is forced to walk away from In Between, leaving behind a family who loves her, a town drive-in to save, and a boyfriend who suddenly can’t take his eyes off his ex. When the life her mother promised begins to sink faster than one of Maxine’s stuffed bras, Katie knows she needs to rely on God to keep it together. But where is he in all this? Can Katie survive a chaotic life with her mother—and one without the Scotts? And if God is there, will he come through before it’s too late?

A Katie Parker Production series offers teen girls real-world fiction balanced by hope and humor. The The Big Picture helps us realize that the difficult chapters in our journey are only part of God's big story for our lives.You can read the first chapter HERE

"A heroine to love. Jones just gets better with every book, and The Big Picture is her best one yet."~BARBARA WARREN, author of The Gathering Storm

"Such inspiration in a package of fun and faith!"~EVA MARIE EVERSON, author of the Potluck Club series

You won't be able to walk away from these characters; they stay with you a long, long time. ~Jess

Monday, April 28, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

I'm always puzzled when I'm supposed to post random things about myself. I mean... what do I really want to reveal? What might make a few people laugh could totally turn off others. And I hate tagging other people. I feel like I'm bothering them, as though I'm sending them a chain letter, or one of those silly 'pass it on' things that says if you really believe in Jesus, send this to ten people. It's not that I mind being tagged. I just don't like tagging others. Make sense?

Oh well. At this point, I'm sure my friend Pam thinks I might not want to play.

So... here are the rules. If you want to tag yourself... have at it.

a. Link to the person who tagged you.
b. Post the rules on your blog.
c. Write six random things about yourself.
d. Tag six (or whatever) random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
e. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment at their blog
f. Let your tagger know when your entry is up.

I'm not going to tag anyone. I'll play all by myself today.

Six Random Things About Me
1) I always feel like I'm bothering people so I never make phone calls unless I have a really good reason.

2) I love ice cream--especially vanilla. I can make it anything I want: floats, splits, blizzards or just drizzle it with chocolate. Mmmmm. Ice cream is the best dessert EVER.

3) I used to be a poet. Three of my poems were published in Cedar Rock literary magazine in the late 70s.

4) I hate flying. If I could have driven to Scotland instead of flying, I would have. We had some interesting experiences at the Aberdeen airport, the Amsterdam airport and one in London. Whew! Sure glad we made it there and back.

5) I love silence. When I was younger I used to have the radio or TV going 24/7 just for the noise. Now, I love it when the TV is off. Silence is beautiful.

6) I collect bookmarks, postcards, cookbooks--and used to collect frogs. If I were to open my own business it would probably be a junk store. :) Yep, your junk is my treasure.

Remember, if you want to tag yourself on my behalf, leave a message and just do it!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Louisiana Saturday Night with Jan Rider Newman

Meet my good friend Jan Rider Newman. We've critiqued each other for a number of years. We've sat for hours and pondered the publishing industry, and we still can't figure it out. I don't think I've ever met anyone with as much perseverance. I've learned a lot from this fine Louisiana writer, and it gives me great pleasure to share her with you today.

1. Tell us what you write and where you've been published?

I write mainstream/literary short stories and novels. I’ve written since I was eleven or twelve. After we got a TV when I was about ten, some of the dramas and their characters sparked my imagination, and I’d write about them. Then I got into rock and roll as a teen, and that was my rock-star period. As a college freshman, one of my English teachers suggested I might not be serious about writing. I decided I was and have gone from there.

My short stories, a poem, and a nonfiction piece have been published in the New Orleans Review, Louisiana Literature, the Denver Quarterly, and Oasis Journal 2007. I’ve also published book reviews in the Lake Charles American Press. I won first prize at the Deep South Writers' Conference short story contest two years in a row and received an Artist's Mini Grant one year from the Louisiana Division of the Arts. The Deep South was a great conference. I wish UL-L still held them.

2. What is your background?
My father was a sharecropper at the time I was born. He was one of the smartest men I ever knew, and he never went to school. My sister, who was seven years older, and I grew up in the middle of a rice field ten miles southwest of Mamou, twelve miles southeast of Oberlin, and six miles as the crow flies from Basile, i.e., the middle of nowhere. When I wasn’t out roaming the fields and gravel roads, I read everything I could get my hands on – thank you, Bookmobile! I also owned abridged versions of Little Women, Black Beauty, and Rose in Bloom, and read them over and over again, along with a book of Bible stories and a couple of issues of True Story – my earliest influences!

I graduated from Mamou High and moved to Lake Charles to study at St. Patrick Hospital to be an x-ray technician (the McNeese program didn’t get started until years later). I wasn’t any good at that, but as my studies ended, I met my future husband and didn’t write much until I started college.I got a BA in English education but never taught, unless you count teaching freshman English as a grad school teaching assistant. After writing three months for the Lafayette-based Catholic newspaper, I did a three-year stint as a paralegal, followed by graduate studies. I earned an MA in English and an MFA in creative writing, then went back to work as a paralegal. I’m currently unemployed. Working, even part time, saps my creative energy and my writing starts to die. Can’t have that.

Since I quit my job February 1, I’ve completed a new 10,000-word short story and my creative energy is fine.

3. What is your writing process? Do you outline or just sit down and start writing?
I don’t outline. I’ve tried that, but it never works for me. I usually have a character and a motivation, some dialogue, or a dream to go on, and I start writing from there. I also don’t restrict myself as far as when and how much I write – yes, I’m undisciplined, but I write when I write and it gets done, so what else do you need?

4. What does a typical day look like for you? I don’t have typical days. Since I quit my job, we’ve been remodeling, and I can never predict who’s going to be tramping through my house, or when. I just get up early, get some clothes on, and wing it.

5. What is the biggest challenge you face in writing and publishing?The biggest? Surviving the rejections. Not getting stale and taking the easy way out, but thinking through what I’m writing for the possibilities and implications.

6. What are the biggest surprises/disappointments you've encountered as a writer? The biggest surprise is the new idea. When it strikes, it’s like the first time I ever wrote anything, and it’s a relief that I can still think of things to write about after all these years. The biggest disappointments, aside from rejections, have come when I see that I’ve flinched or blinked in my writing. I hate seeing that I’ve written a scene, for example, that doesn’t explore some aspect of plot or character that would be hard to write about, or some aspect of a character that casts him/her in a rosier light than he or she might deserve.

7. How do you inspire yourself? What are your sources of creativity?
The new story I just finished came from a dream. I had been searching for an idea that fit a particular theme, and I gave myself the idea in a dream. The inspiration for a series of novels grew out of a desire to explore and write about the Acadian experience from Nova Scotia to the present day. I also get inspiration from reading great writers, the ones who leave me breathless and dying for more. I put down those books and think, "I want to write like that!" Then I go try to do it.

9. What is your proudest writer moment? When I know I’ve written a story that meets its potential. And when I get a response from an editor that is a "yes," not a "no." A few months ago I sent a friend a copy of the Oasis Journal that my latest published story appeared in. She told me that once she began reading the story, she couldn’t put it down, even though her favorite program was on TV. That was a great moment.

10. What's the best/worst advice you were given about writing? The best advice: just write! Do it – you’ve got it, so use it.The worse advice: outline and plot out your novels in advance. (See above – doesn’t work for me.)

11. Who/what do you like to read and why? I read almost nothing but fiction. I fed myself as a writer and reader for years, during and after college, on Truman Capote, Eudora Welty, E. M. Forster, Charles Dickens, Robert Penn Warren, Somerset Maugham, John Cheever, and too many others to mention. It isn’t that I’ve outgrown them, but I don’t need to read them anymore, not systematically, anyway. They fed one hunger and created another that’s fulfilled by current writers like Sarah Dunant, Barbara Kingsolver, Tracy Chevalier, Alexander McCall Smith, and Valerie Martin, to name a few.

12. What are you currently working on? Short stories and the Acadian novels. I’ve never done historical fiction, but it’s a challenge to learn something new. And writing about characters and events from an earlier time isn’t as different from writing about modern times as I thought it would be. My writing is character-driven. I’m not obsessed with the day-to-day details of life in the eighteenth century and with researching, though of course the research has to be done – it’s fun and eye-opening. And the times and events influence the characters. I look for the universal things, the constants, like love and family, injustice, bigotry, hardship, personal growth and goodness.

Wrap it up: Anything exciting happening in your publishing world? Tell us about any stories, articles, etc you have coming out that we can look for.
I keep submitting and hoping.
And so do I, Jan. So do I.
Thanks for being part of Louisiana Saturday Night.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I Feel Special!

Come visit me at The Seekers. I'm their guest blogger. Wow, how exciting. I've never been anyone's guest blogger.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

CFBA presents Athol Dickson

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing WinterHaven (Bethany House April 1, 2008) by Athol Dickson

Athol Dickson's university-level training in painting, sculpture, and architecture was followed by a long career as an architect then his decision several years ago to devote full time to writing.Athol Dickson’s writing has been favorably compared to the work of Octavia Butler(Publisher’s Weekly), Daphne du Maurier (Cindy Crosby, and FlanneryO’Connor (The New York Times).His They Shall See God was a Christy Award finalist and his River Rising was a Christy Award winner, selected as one of the Booklist Top Ten Christian Novels of 2006 and a finalist for Christianity Today's Best Novel of 2006.He and his wife, Sue, live in Southern California. Visit for more information.

Boys who never age, giants lost in time, mist that never rises, questions never asked...on the most remote of islands off the coast of Maine, history haunts the present and Vera Gamble wrestles with a past that will not yield. Will she find refuge there, or will her ghosts prevail on...Winter HavenEleven years ago, Vera Gamble's brother left their house never to be seen again. Until the day Vera gets a phone call that his body has been found...washed ashore in the tiny island town of Winter Haven, Maine. His only surviving kin, Vera travels north to claim the body...and finds herself tumbling into a tangled mystery. Her brother hasn't aged a day since last she saw him.Determined to uncover what happened in those lost years, Vera soon discovers there are other secrets lurking in this isolated town. But Winter Haven's murky past now seems bound to come to light as one woman seeks the undeniable and flooding light of truth.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Louisiana Saturday Night with Children's Writer Angie Dilmore

We're breaking away from novel writing for awhile so I can introduce my new friend, Angie Dilmore. Angie and I are members of the local Bayou Writers Group and working on the conference committee to organize BWG's third writers' conference. Also, Angie and I target many of the same inspy publishers so when you order your copy of Daily Devotions for Writers, Angie is in there too.

1. Tell us what you write and where you've been published? I write primarily for the children’s magazine market, both fiction and non-fiction. I’m a regular contributor to Boys’ Life, and have also been published in Highlights for Children, Clubhouse, Clubhouse, Jr., Hopscotch, Boys’ Quest and others. I also write devotions and occasionally poetry.

2. What is your background? I spent 25 years working in hospitals as a respiratory therapist and am not currently practicing. I started writing seriously eight years ago and have had more success with each passing year.

3. What is your writing process? Do you outline or just sit and start writing? For non-fiction, I usually make an outline. For fiction, I generally get comfortable and just start writing.

4. What does a typical day look like for you? There’s no such thing as a typical day for me. Any given day might find me researching, writing, planning an interview, sending queries, investigating markets, or writing creatively off the top of my head. Every day is different and that’s why I love this business. I never get bored.

5. What is your favorite self-marketing idea? Meet editors at conferences. No guarantees, but sometimes it makes all the difference.

6. What is the biggest challenge you face in writing and publishing? Finding magazine markets for fiction. They’re mostly looking for non-fiction. And also trying to be patient and wait for editors to respond to a manuscript or query. That can be very frustrating.

7. What are the biggest surprises you've encountered as a writer? That I’ve actually had some success. Eight years ago, I wasn’t so sure if I could do it. And also that it’s a lot of work and requires dedication to learn and constantly strive to improve my craft.

8. How do you inspire yourself? I observe children in their everyday lives. And I remember myself as a child, what did I do, what was important to me. What are your sources of creativity? My 13 year old twin sons are a constant source of inspiration for me.

10. What is your proudest writer moment? Being voted “Author of the Month” by the staff at Highlights for my story “Stopping for Olympic Gold,” in the February 2008 issue. They sent me a wonderful letter and an engraved plate. I was completely surprised.

11. What's the best advice you were given about writing? Don’t send out a manuscript for consideration until it’s as polished as freshly-pedicured toenails. Rely on your critique partners for advice. And remember that the best writing is in the re-writing. Writers don’t just write. We re-write, re-write and re-write.

12. Who/what do you like to read? I read mostly children’s fiction. I especially enjoy historical fiction.

14. What are you currently working on? I’m stepping outside my comfort zone and working on a middle grade historical novel about a 15 year old boy in 1937 who lies about his age and joins the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Wrap it up, Angie. Anything exciting happening in your publishing world? I have several feature stories in Boys’ Life coming out this year. In August, there will be an article about the effects of organized sports on the environment and what these organizations and athletes are doing to combat these effects. In October, there will be a story on the consequences of global warming on wildlife and it profiles Lake Charles’ own internationally-recognized environmentalist, Jerome Ringo. Also, sometime this summer, I have a feature story coming out in Clubhouse on professional triathlete Chis Lieto.
Thanks so much, Jess. This has been fun.

Thank you, Angie. We want to hear from you again when you complete that historical novel. I think all my novel-writing friends will agree that writing a novel--no matter how many we've written--is a learning experience. It'll be interesting to hear your take on novel writing once you've finished yours. In the meantime, let's all subscribe to Highlights, Boy's Life and Clubhouse to enjoy Angie's stories. :)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Books, Books, and More Books

I love used book stores. Yes, authors cringe at the thought of their books ending up in one. We tell ourselves if a person finds one of our books at Ula's Used Reads, they'll rush to B&N or other great chain stores to buy everything else we've written. Sometimes that's true. I admit, I've done it--but only if the author is fantastic. Just like everyone else, I wish we got royalties from libraries and used book stores, but that's not going to happen any time soon. So let me tell you about a great 'used' book store I frequent.

Books are flying into bookstores at record speed, and honestly, I can't afford to keep up with my favorite authors. I stood in WaldenBooks the other day trying to decide whether to purchase a favorite author's latest or go to the grocery store where I was supposed to be. I used good sense this time. I put the book back on the shelf, telling myself I'd get it another day.

During the evening, I decided to check PaperBackSwap to see if the book was listed. I had little hope because it just came out last month. But guess what-- it was there. A brand-new--or really a once-read-- book by my favorite author waited for me to click the order button. And I couldn't click fast enough. :)

I can't sing the praises of PaperBackSwap loudly enough. Go to their website and read carefully. You have to be responsible. When you list books to swap and someone requests one, you commit to mailing it as soon as you can. Don't leave your 'customer' hanging.

PaperBackSwap is a wonderful group of readers who share books with each other (NOT just paperbacks) for nothing more than the cost of postage! Click here to find out how to join and swap your books. You won't regret it--I guarantee.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance Presents Melanie Wells

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing My Soul To Keep (Multnomah Books - February 5, 2008) by Melanie Wells

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:A native of the Texas panhandle and the child of musicians, Melanie Wells attended Southern Methodist University on a music scholarship (she's a fiddle player), and later completed graduate degrees in counseling psychology and Biblical studies at Our Lady of the Lake University and Dallas Theological Seminary.She has taught at the graduate level at both OLLU and DTS, and has been in private practice as a counselor since 1992. She is the founder and director of LifeWorks counseling associates in Dallas, Texas, a collaborative community of creative therapists.When the Day of Evil Comes is her first published work of fiction, and the first of a three-book series. The second work, The Soul Hunter was released in May, 2006. Melanie lives and writes in Dallas.

ABOUT THE BOOK: As nasty as I knew Peter Terry to be, I never expected him to start kidnapping kids. Much less a sweet, funny little boy with nothing to protect him but a few knock-kneed women, two rabbits and a staple gun…It’s psychology professor Dylan Foster’s favorite day of the academic year…graduation day. And her little friend Christine Zocci’s sixth birthday. But the joyful summer afternoon goes south when a little boy is snatched from a neighborhood park, setting off a chain of events that seen to lead nowhere.The police are baffled, but Christine’s eerie connection with the kidnapped child sends Dylan on a chilling investigation of her own. Is the pasty, elusive stranger Peter Terry to blame? Exploding light bulbs, the deadly buzz of a Texas rattlesnake, and the vivid, disturbing dreams of a little girl are just pieces of a long trail of tantalizing clues leading Dylan in her dogged search for the truth.

“Like water rising to a boil, My soul To Keep’s suspense sneaks up on you…before you know it, you’re in the thick if a frightening drama…Superbly crafted.”---ROBERT LIPARULO, author of Deadfall, Germ, and Comes A Horseman

“Written with passion, a good dose of humor and, dare I say it, soul, this novel reminds us that we all, with grace and good fortune, bumble our way toward salvation.”---K. L. COOK, author of Late Call and The Girl From Charmelle

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Attention Writer Moms: FYI

Mothering, Natural Family Living

Mothering is a magazine based on a foundation of reader-submitted work. They welcome unsolicited articles. Familiarize yourself with their publishing goals by exploring their website.
Their objective is to be helpful, to provide information that empowers readers to make changes, and supports them in being their own experts. They like articles that have a strong point of view and come from the heart, that are challenging or evocative.
For more info, check out their Writer's Guidelines.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Louisiana Saturday Night Recipe

Instead of an author for Louisiana Saturday Night, I thought we might hunker down with a great slice of King Cake. Wish I had a piece right this minute, but the only time I treat myself to King Cake is during Mardi Gras.

New Orleans Mardi Gras celebrations draw hundreds of thousands of tourists to the city for the parties and parades. Cities all over Louisiana celebrate including some in Alabama, Texas and other parts of the country. But let's get back to the King Cake since that's what I like best about Mardi Gras. :-)

Here's an authrentic King Cake recipe for you to try. Mmmmm, good!

Mardi Gras King Cake

For the cake:

½ cup warm water
2 Tbsp. yeast
½ cup sugar, plus 2 tsp.
3 ½-4 cups flour
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon zest
½ cup warm milk
5 egg yolks
½ cup butter
2 tsp cinnamon
1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp milk, for egg wash

For the icing:

3 cups confectioner’s sugar
¼ cup lemon juice
3-6 Tbsp. water
Additional sugar & food coloring for decoration
1 tiny 1” baby doll

Sprinkle yeast and 2 teaspoons sugar over warm water in a small, shallow bowl. Allow to rest for 3-5 minutes, then mix thoroughly. Set bowl in a warm, draft-free place until yeast starts to bubble up and mixture almost doubles in volume, about 10 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, mix 3 ½ cups flour, ½ cup sugar, nutmeg, lemon zest and salt. In mixing bowl of a heavy duty electric mixer or food processor, combine yeast, milk and egg yolks. Gradually add dry ingredients and softened butter, adding additional flour, as necessary to achieve a medium-soft ball. Knead dough, again adding flour if necessary, until smooth, shiny and elastic, about 10 minutes.
Place dough in a covered buttered bowl,
in a warm, draft free place until doubled about 1 ½ hours. In the meantime, butter a large baking sheet and set aside. When dough has risen, remove and punch down. Sprinkle with cinnamon and form into a cylinder, then twist this cylinder into a circle. Pinch the ends together to complete the circle. Once again, cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Pre-heat oven to 375 F. Brush top and sides of cake with egg wash and bake for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack completely before hiding baby doll inside or icing and decorating.

Icing: Mix sugar, lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of water until mixture is smooth, adding more water as necessary to achieve a smooth, spreadable consistency. Spread icing over cake and immediately sprinkle colored sugar in alternating color rows.

Now, if you don't have the courage to try the complicated recipe above, how about a pretend King Cake? This one is more my speed.

A Pretend King Cake

1 can of cinnamon rolls, with icing
3/4 cup of sugar, separated into 3 parts of 1/4 each
food coloring

Separate the cinnamon rolls and roll them out by hand so that they look like a hot dog. Shape the roll into an oval, pinch the ends together, and place on a cookie sheet. Cook as directed.

While they are baking, dye sugar with food coloring. Make one part purple using blue and red, one part green, and one part gold using yellow. When the cinnamon rolls are finished cooking, ice the tops with the white icing. Sprinkle the different colors of sugars alternating as you go around the oval.

Great with your favorite cup of coffee.
To read more about King Cakes and try another recipe, click here.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Something to Think About

A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket. ~Charles Peguy

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. ~Sylvia Plath

What I like in a good author is not what he says, but what he whispers.
~Logan Pearsall Smith, "All Trivia," Afterthoughts, 1931

Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn't wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say. ~Sharon O'Brien

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. ~Anton Chekhov

Ink and paper are sometimes passionate lovers, oftentimes brother and sister, and occasionally mortal enemies. ~Emme Woodhull-B├Ąche

I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions. ~James Michener

Write your first draft with your heart. Re-write with your head.
~From the movie Finding Forrester

Thursday, April 10, 2008

My Home Away From Home

Just popping in to say I'm on my way to Beaumont for the third time this week.
I'm beginning to think all those tales about the cable guy are true. All I want is a few TV stations--nothing major--and wireless set up, and it's not happening. Maintaining two homes isn't as much fun as it used to be. Wait! Was it ever fun? Maybe in my younger days.

Beaumont is just an hour away. Doesn't sound bad when I say it fast, but let me tell you, traveling I-10 is akin to being trapped on a roller coaster with no way off.

Eighteen wheelers want both lanes. Red trucks with Bobcat in script on the back window ride my tail just for the thrill of it. Construction along the way adds to the challenge of getting there alive. Without warning, rear lights flash on and suddenly we're at a stand-still for some unknown reason that never becomes apparent. We inch, inch, inch along until suddenly we're flying again.

How I long for the horse and buggy days of yesterday. Please keep me and my family in your prayers. We'll be maneuvering I-10 and that Texas-Louisiana state line for the next two years.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

CFBA Presents Trouble The Water

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Trouble the Water
Thomas Nelson (March 11, 2008)
Nicole Seitz
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Nicole Seitz is a South Carolina Lowcountry native and the author of The Spirit of Sweetgrass as well as a freelance writer/illustrator who has published in numerous low country magazines. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Journalism, she also has a bachelor's degree in illustration from Savannah College of Art & Design. Nicole shows her paintings in the Charleston, South Carolina area, where she owns a web design firm and lives with her husband and two small children. Nicole is also an avid blogger, you can leave her a comment on her blog.Seitz's writing style recalls that of Southern authors like Kaye Gibbons, Anne Rivers Siddons, and Sue Monk Kidd, and this new novel, which the publisher compares to Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees, surely joins the ranks of strong fiction that highlights the complicated relationships between women. Highly recommended, especially for Southern libraries.

ABOUT THE BOOK:In the South Carolina Sea Islands lush setting, Nicole Seitz's second novel Trouble the Water is a poignant novel about two middle-aged sisters' journey to self-discovery.One is seeking to recreate her life yet again and learns to truly live from a group of Gullah nannies she meets on the island. The other thinks she's got it all together until her sister's imminent death from cancer causes her to re-examine her own life and seek the healing and rebirth her troubled sister managed to find on St. Anne's Island.Strong female protagonists are forced to deal with suicide, wife abuse, cancer, and grief in a realistic way that will ring true for anyone who has ever suffered great loss."This is another thing I know for a fact: a woman can't be an island, not really. No, it's the touching we do in other people's lives that matters when all is said and done. The silly things we do for ourselves--shiny new cars and jobs and money--they don't mean a hill of beans. Honor taught me that. My soul sisters on this island taught me that. And this is the story of true sisterhood. It's the story of Honor, come and gone, and how one flawed woman worked miracles in this mixed-up world."

"...a special sisterhood of island women whose wisdom and courage linger in the mind long after the book is closed."-NEW YORK TIMES best-selling author SUSAN WIGGS

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

2008 Genesis Finalists

Congratulations to all the finalists of the 2008 Genesis contest!

Chick lit/mom lit/lady lit:
Annalisa Daughety
Tiffany Kinerson
Sara Richardson
Lynda Schab
Erica Vetsch

Contemporary Fiction:
Christina Berry
Dan Case
Lynne Gentry
Jennifer L. Griffith
Jim Rubart

Contemporary Romance:
Annalisa Daughety
Kathleen Haynes
Cara Slaughter
Sandra van den Bogerd
Linda Yezak

Historical Fiction:
Yvonne Anderson
Lori Benton
Mona Hodgson
Christina Miller
Rachel Moore

Historical Romance:
Patty Smith Hall
Myra Johnson
Allison Studer
Erica Vetsch
Karen Witemeyer

Ed J. Horton
Melanie L. Jones
Janice Olson
Donna Alice Patton
Jane Thornton

Romantic Suspense:
Dani Pettrey
Kelly Ann Riley
Julie Scudder
Jane Thornton
Jenness Walker

Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Allegory: (there are six finalists because there was a tie for the 5th finalist spot)
Lynda K. Arndt
Valerie Comer
John W. Otte
Jim Rubart
Chawna Schroeder
Stuart Stockton

Women's Fiction: (there are six finalists because there was a tie for the 5th finalist spot)
Heather Goodman
D'Ann Mateer
Sara Richardson
Linda Rondeau
Cynthia Ruchti
Kristian Tolle

Young Adult:
Kasey L. Heinly
Stefanie Morris
Susan Miura
Janet Rubin
Carla Stewart

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Louisiana Saturday Night w/Lenora Worth

There's a lot more to my North Louisiana writer friend, Lenora Worth than just a pretty face; there are pretty feet too. I remember hearing Lenora say she loves shoes, so every time I see a pair of pretty stilettos, I think of her. And then I remember Isaiah 52:7 (Amplified Bible)
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good tidings, who publishes peace, who brings good tidings of good, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, Your God reigns!

Lenora Worth is one of my very favorite authors. I don't have to read the back of one of her books to know it'll be good. Her stories are filled with emotion and detail. Her characters become my friends. If a wannabe writer needs an excellent author to study, I suggest Lenora Worth.

1) How long have you been writing and what is your writing process? I’ve written just about all my life in one form or another. My process—get an image or a scene in my head and write the book based on that scene. Sometimes it’s a character, sometimes a place or situation. It’s fun to take that and create a story out of it and this happens to me time and time again. I love it.

2) How does your heritage or living in Louisiana influence your writing? Well, I’m Southern to the core. Born in Georgia and lived in Louisiana for over 25 years, so my writing reflects Southern culture, dialect and mannerisms. I love writing with a bit of Southern gothic. I’ve written stories set in other parts of the country, but I always come back to my roots and write what I know.

3) How do you inspire yourself and do you write anything other than romance? I get inspired by songs, hymns in church, reading the paper and putting two different articles together and saying what if??? I also love to read everything from magazines to romance, suspense and historicals. I write romance and romantic suspense but would love to write a historical one day.

4) What are the biggest surprises you've encountered as a writer? My characters! They always surprise me and we kind of grow together through the story. The best surprise—readers who really love my writing. I enjoy getting letters but I’m always so surprised when a reader tells me that my book helped them through a bad time, or uplifted them when they were down. That’s very rewarding.

5) What's the best advice you were given about writing? To read, read, read. And to practice, practice, practice.

6) What is your proudest writer moment? When I reached a certain financial goal—that was nice. But the best moment was a couple of years ago when I received a nice Harlequin pin for the milestone of writing my 25th book for Harlequin (most of them from Steeple Hill!) That number has now increased to 35 (by year's end).

7) What is your favorite self-marketing idea and is marketing a challenge for you or are you a natural? Marketing is challenging and my favorite thing is to hand out as many books as I can. I don’t do a lot of gimmicks—I just hand out books.

8) What have you learned about yourself in this writing process? That I am much stronger than I ever knew and that I’m not as dumb as I thought I was!

9) What's the most difficult thing about being a writer? The waiting and wondering. Will I ever write another book? Will I earn out on my royalty statement? Will the editors figure out that I can’t really write?

10) What kind of support staff do you have? Not the secretary or publicist or research assistant we'd all love to have, but the family, the crit partners, the prayer team, or whoever helps prop you up when you're in need of some props.
I have a wonderful group of writer friends—this is the true gift of being a writer—the many friends I’ve met along the way. That is just about as good as being able to write books each day. I can’t tell you how many times they have held me up, comforted me, prayed for me, made me laugh and kept me sane. It’s a blessing. And my husband is a saint for accepting me and letting me do my thing. He's my rock.

11) What was the last book you read and why did you read it? I just finished Debby Giusti’s “MIA: Missing In Atlanta”. I read it because she’s a good friend and I found that title intriguing. Very good book, by the way.

12) What's your best advice for new writers? If you want to write, then write. Don’t make excuses. Learn, read, learn some more, write, read some more, learn even more, read, read, read, and don’t stop writing.

WRAP UP: Tell us about your blog, your website, whatever you're working on or what you've got coming out.

I don’t blog. I’m so boring, I just can’t seem to come up with anything good to blog about. I save my words for my books (grin.) I do have a website: I’m working on the third book of my secret agent series. Book number two—Heart of the Night—will be out in January 2009 and this book—Code of Honor-will be out sometime in 2009. I love this series. The first one—Secret Agent Minister—is a finalist in the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence! Very exciting.

Warmhearted, Wholesome, Worthwhile

Secret Agent Minister--Finalist Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence!!!
March 2008--Mountain Sanctuary
April 2008--Reissue--Something Beautiful/Lacey's Retreat
May 2008--Face in the Shadows (Reunion Revelations)
August 2008--Lone Star Secret (Homecoming Heroes)

Friday, April 4, 2008

Daily Devotions for Writers

Daily Devotions for Writers has been a labor of love from the very beginning. Just 8 months ago, on August 5th, 2007 at the Mt. Olivet Retreat Center south of Minneapolis, during the annual writing Writing Academy conference, Patricia Lorenz came up with the idea of doing a book of daily devotions for writers to help The Writing Academy accomplish three goals: raise money to help keep The Writing Academy in existence; to encourage the members to get back to writing more; and to bring in new members to The Writing Academy. Pat devoted endless hours to reading contributions from over 300 people. She rejected many and worked back and forth with others to bring their words to life.
Daily Devotions for Writers contains the work of exactly 200 writers. It's a wonderful book that will help inspire writers for many years to come.

I'm thrilled to be included, and praise God for everyone who donated countless hours to pulling this project together.

If you would like to purchase your own copy of Daily Devotions for Writers, go to Infinity Publishing.

To place your order simply call Infinity Publishing toll free at
1-877-289-2665. You can order using a credit card. To find out more about Infinity for your own publishing needs visit their websites: or

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Who, What, When, Where & Why of Your Idea

With my Silhouette Romance, The Groom Wore Blue Suede Shoes, there was no problem remembering how the idea originated. The moment my daughter saw Elvis Presley in Jailhouse Rock, and fell in love with him, the novel idea was born. Of course, it went through various stages--from thriller to mystery and finally evolved into a romantic comedy. A favorite interviewing question is always: where did you get your idea for the book? Over and over again, I used the story of my then four year-old falling for Elvis. Reporters and book reviewers enjoyed it. It gave them a hook.

Looking back on various projects I'm involved in now, I see something very important missing from my notes. I can't remember how these ideas originated. There's no notation about how I came up with the title or the plot line. Or how I met the hero and heroine. I feel at a loss because I can vaguely remember feeling extraordinarily excited about a couple of these stories.
So take a tip from me: keep very good notes on how you pull your books together. Jot down where your idea came from and why you feel so excited about it. Capture the emotion you feel toward your project. These notes will help you create promotional material and give interviews. And it might even help motivate you back to the project after a long break. There's no such thing as TMI when it comes to making notes regarding your books. Get it together from the get-go, and keep it together until the very end. - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

CFBA introduces . . .When Zeffie Got a Clue by Peggy Darty

Peggy Darty is the award-winning author of twenty-seven books, including two other cozy mysteries set in Summer Breeze, Florida: When the Sandpiper Calls and When Bobbie Sang the Blues. She has worked in film, researched for CBS, and led writing workshops around the country. Darty and her husband call Alabama home but spend a great deal of time in Colorado, Montana, and on Florida’s Emerald Coast.


It’s an ordinary afternoon in Summer Breeze, Florida, when a young, wide-eyed girl steps into I Saw It First, the trash-to-treasure shop Christy Castleman and her Aunt Bobbie have opened. Clutching a jewelry box, Zeffie Adams tells Christy she needs money to pay her grandmother’s medical bills, prompting Christy to offer this curious visitor more than the jewelry box is worth–or so she thinks.

But complicated questions form when Christy rips out the box’s lining and uncovers a clue to a cold case murder mystery from eight years ago. Despite warnings from her family and handsome boyfriend Dan Brockman, Christy decides to do a little detective work of her own. After all, the infamous murder happened close to her grandmother’s farm. How risky could it be to take the jewelry box back to the Strickland plantation and ask around about it?

Soon Christy finds there is more to the small box than someone wants her to know. A jewelry theft. A mansion murder. Dangerous family secrets buried in history. Can Christy convince others to let go of the past before it’s too late?