Tuesday, June 30, 2009

CFBA Introduces EXPOSURE by Brandilyn Collins

I'm reading Exposure now -- my first Brandilyn Collins book. It's hard to hook me, to keep me turning pages but Brandilyn knows how to grab her reader and build tension. Every time I leave the house I stick the book the in my purse just in case I find myself in 'waiting mode' somewhere. This is a fast read--I like Brandilyn's no fluff-lean style of writing. Check her out:

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing Exposure Zondervan (June 1, 2009) by Brandilyn Collins


Brandilyn Collins is an award-winning and best-selling novelist known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense®. These harrowing crime thrillers have earned her the tagline "Don't forget to b r e a t h e . . ."® Brandilyn's first book, A Question of Innocence, was a true crime published by Avon in 1995. Its promotion landed her on local and national TV and radio, including the Phil Donahue and Leeza talk shows. Brandilyn is also known for her distinctive book on fiction-writing techniques, Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors (John Wiley & Sons). She is now working on her 20th book.

In addition to Exposure, Brandilyn’s other latest release is Always Watching, first in The Rayne Tour series—young adult suspense co-written with her daughter, Amberly. The Rayne Tour series features Shaley O’Connor, daughter of a rock star, who just may have it all—until murder crashes her world.


When your worst fear comes true.

Someone is watching Kaycee Raye. But who will believe her? Everyone knows she’s a little crazy. Kaycee’s popular syndicated newspaper column pokes fun at her own paranoia and multiple fears. The police in her small town are well aware she makes money writing of her experiences. Worse yet, she has no proof of the threats. Pictures of a dead man mysteriously appear in her home—then vanish before police arrive. Multisensory images flood Kaycee’s mind. Where is all this coming from?

Maybe she is going over the edge.

High action and psychological suspense collide in this story of terror, twists, and desperate faith. The startling questions surrounding Kaycee pile high. Her descent to answers may prove more than she can survive.

To read the first chapter, go HERE.

“More twists and turns than a Coney Island roller coaster! Highly recommended.” ~CBA Retailer

“Mesmerizing mystery…authentic characters…a fast-paced, twisting tale of desperate choices.” ~TitleTrakk

“Brandilyn Collins is a master of suspense, and Exposure is her best book yet!” ~Dianne Burnett, Christianbook.com

Friday, June 26, 2009

Two Texas Girls: Farrah Fawcett and Me

Farrah Fawcett is dead and it brings tears to my eyes. I was a huge Charlie's Angels fan. Here's an EW article/interview with Photographer Bruce McBroom who shot the picture to the left.
Here's her obit in the Los Angeles Times.

Who in their 60s today didn't at least try to wear a Fawcett-do? Below see a picture of my attempt. The newspaper in my hometown--obviously desperate for a story--interviewed me about my desire to write. This was May, 1977. I wore my Fawcett hairdo for several years even though it was a lot of trouble to maintain. Yep, the vain me thought it was worth the trouble. I had to roll it daily, and then like Farrah, I sprayed and arranged.

I'm still crazy about the Farrah Fawcett hair--and I'm still a Farrah fan. :-) She was a beautiful young woman from Texas that will always bring a smile and good memories to my mind.

Prayers going up for her family.

Do you have any memories of Farrah?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Memoir Writing

I just finished a 4-week memoir writing class at McNeese University. Interesting. I felt a little funny signing up for it; I hate the thought of being “old enough” to write my memoirs. As you see, I had the wrong idea entirely.

Writer Anne Valente taught the class. Anne has worked as a feature writer for Sauce Magazine, a food monthly in Saint Louis, and as a music writer/columnist for Playback Magazine, a music and culture monthly. She’s also been published in The Washington Post, The Times of Southwest Louisiana and Divine Caroline, and holds a master's degree in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Watching Anne interact with the class got my creative juices flowing. Since I’m a people-watcher, I studied her thoughtfulness, her tactfulness, her sweetness. Whether we really wrote anything worthy or not, we all felt we had by the time we left her class. Anne’s an encourager.
Several times I found myself mentally writing my hero and heroine’s memoirs. Jotting down a note or two that can be used if and when I ever get back to my novel.

There’s something about being with other writers—even beginners who don’t have a clue—hearing their questions, their ideas, their stories, seeing their excitement—that really stimulates my imagination.

The night before our last class, I was able to produce something. The words came so unexpectedly I wondered where they’d been. Writing doesn’t come easy for me—especially creative writing. I can turn out articles for our local/regional magazines with no problem, but if I have to be creative then I feel the pressure.

I suggest everyone take a memoir writing class. The memories you conjure up can be used in so many ways: essays, short stories, novels, nonfiction pieces, just to name a few. Check out these websites to get started:

Interesting site called Inkspell

William Zinsser's Memoir, Truth and Writing Well . This is a wonderful site. If you don't read anything else, please, please scroll down to his 'Here's What I Suggest' and read it.

Last, here is one of my favorite books:
An Old Friend Far Away by Natalie Goldberg.

There were several exceptional writers in my memoir writing class. A couple of them joined Bayou Writers Group and others plan to visit. I can't wait to get to know them better. With all these wonderful resources (and wonderful writers) at our fingertips, there's not one good reason to be blocked. Right? Right!

So let's write somethin'.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Quotes from Writers for Writers

I've sent questions to several Louisiana authors for my Louisiana Saturday Night postings but so far, no returns. Thought I'd post a few quotes on writing to entertain you. I like quotes. They make me think, encourage me, but they also show me that I'm not the only writer in the world that has doubts, blocks, multiple personalities or black moments. Here are a few that spoke to me today; hope you enjoy them.

Whether or not you write well, write bravely. ~ Bill Stout

Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those, who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic fear, which is inherent in a human condition. ~Graham Greene

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. ~E.L. Doctorow

I refuse to write the same story twice. I keep experimenting. I keep learning how to work. I’ve been at it pretty much 50 years, and I’m now beginning to learn how to do the job well.
~Harlan Ellison

Half of being smart is knowing what you're dumb at. ~David Gerrold

Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you're doomed. ~Ray Bradbury

I don't think it is possible to give tips for finding one's voice; it's one of those things for which there aren't really any tricks or shortcuts, or even any advice that necessarily translates from writer to writer. All I can tell you is to write as much as possible. ~Poppy Z. Brite

I get up in the morning, torture a typewriter until it screams, then stop. ~Clarence Budington Kelland

The faster I write the better my output. If I'm going slow, I'm in trouble. It means I'm pushing the words instead of being pulled by them. ~Raymond Chandler

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Mmmmm, Mmmmm, good!

My friend Debra challenged me months ago to plant some tomatoes. I didn't have much luck last year and felt discouraged. The Ferguson 'garden' looks pretty good today. I'm really proud of us but glad we don't have to depend 0n our own produce to fill our tummies. The first pic is my a baby squash; I think the sun baked it today. We're waiting for our tomatoes to turn red and I have no idea when I should pluck that bell pepper. My husband has already tasted the banana peppers. They smell wonderful! :) Thanks, Debra for getting me all jazzed up to plant. . . wish I could get motivated to rewrite that novel.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


The Disappearance of God
by Dr. Albert Mohler

More faulty information about God swirls around us today than ever before. No wonder so many followers of Christ are unsure of what they really believe in the face of the new spiritual openness attempting to alter unchanging truth. For centuries the church has taught and guarded the core Christian beliefs that make up the essential foundations of the faith. But in our postmodern age, sloppy teaching and outright lies create rampant confusion, and many Christians are free-falling for “feel-good” theology. We need to know the truth to save ourselves from errors that will derail our faith.

As biblical scholar, author, and president of The Southern Baptist Theological
Seminary, Dr. Albert Mohler, writes, “The entire structure of Christian truth is now under attack.” With wit and wisdom he tackles the most important aspects of these modern issues:

  • Is God changing His mind about sin?
  • Why is hell off limits for many pastors?
  • What’s good or bad about the “dangerous” emergent movement?
  • Have Christians stopped seeing God as God?
  • Is the social justice movement misguided?
  • Could the role of beauty be critical to our theology?
  • Is liberal faith any less destructive than atheism?
  • Are churches pandering to their members to survive?

    In the age-old battle to preserve the foundations of faith, it's up to a new generation to confront and disarm the contemporary shams and fight for the truth. Dr. Mohler provides the scriptural answers to show you how.


Sir Dalton and the Shadow Heart by Chuck Black
Sir Dalton, a knight in training, seems to have everything going for him. Young, well-liked, and a natural leader, he has earned the respect and admiration of his fellow knights, and especially the beautiful Lady Brynn.

But something is amiss at the training camp. Their new trainer is popular but lacks the passion to inspire them to true service to the King and the Prince. Besides this, the knights are too busy enjoying a season of good times to be concerned with a disturbing report that many of their fellow Knights have mysteriously vanished.

When Sir Dalton is sent on a mission, he encounters strange attacks, especially when he is alone. As his commitment wanes, the attacks grow in intensity until he is captured by Lord Drox, a massive Shadow Warrior. Bruised and beaten, Dalton refuses to submit to evil and initiates a daring escape with only one of two outcomes–life or death. But what will become of the hundreds of knights he’ll leave behind?
In a kingdom of peril, Dalton thinks he is on his own, but two faithful friends have not abandoned him, and neither has a strange old hermit who seems to know much about the Prince. But can Dalton face the evil Shadow Warrior again and survive?

Chuck is a former F-16 fighter pilot and currently works as an engineer for a firm designing plastic consumer products. He has a degree in electrical and electronic engineering and served eight years in the United States Air Force.
It is Chuck's desire to serve the Lord through his work and to inspire people of all ages to study the scriptures in order to discover the hope and love of a truly majestic King and His Son.

Click below to visit the Random House website:

The Disappearance of God
Sir Dalton and the Shadow Heart

Friday, June 12, 2009

Louisiana Saturday Night presents June Shaw

Meet June Shaw. June and I are RWA and SincC members and though we've never met, we have several mutual friends. June's publisher is Five Star Publishing™, publisher of Standard Print Original Fiction. Five Star has hundreds of books in print in the Western, Romance, Mystery and Science Fiction & Fantasy genres, and they publish almost 150 books a year. If you'd like their writers' guidelines, go HERE.

1. Tell us about your path to publication including what you write and where you've been published.
I wanted to be a writer since I was in ninth grade but didn’t try any creative writing until I was the widowed mother of five. I completed my college education here at Nicholls State in Thibodaux and began teaching English I. Awhile afterward, I tried small pieces, eventually selling a few poems and short stories. Over time I read about how to write plays. Two of my one-act plays were produced Off-Off Broadway, and a short screenplay I wrote aired on the New Orleans Channel for the Arts. Then I learned that if I wasn’t going to move to L.A. or work in theatre, I should try novels instead of plays. Novels weren’t easy to sell, but they could be sold from anywhere.
Thus I began to read novels, trying to discover what genre I liked best. I found I loved a combination of mystery, romance and humor – and fell in love with Janet Evanovitch’s early Stephanie Plum books. Using them as models, I sold my first Cealie Gunther mystery, RELATIVE DANGER. Five Star published it in hardcover, and to my great surprise, it received great reviews from Publishers Weekly and many other reviewers. Deadly Ink Press nominated it for their new David award for Best Mystery of the Year. Harlequin bought reprint rights and published it in paperback. Last month Books in Motion published RELATIVE DANGER as an audiobook.

This year Five Star published KILLER COUSINS, second book in the series. It also has received excellent reviews. NY Times bestselling author Heather Graham says, “Killer Cousins is great!”
(These were not the first books I tried to write. Those were practice. And by the time I sold RELATIVE DANGER, I had become the grandmother of eight!)

2. What is your background? (education, work, etc.)
I taught for twenty years, mainly English to ninth graders.

3. What is your writing process? Do you outline or just sit down and start writing?
I create a loose outline with main characters, what each wants and what problems will stop them. I also have to know my ending before I start so that I’ll know where I’m going.

4. What does a typical day look like for you?
There doesn’t seem to be a typical. My favorite for writing is to get up early, read my Daily Word, and bring a cup of coffee to my computer. Then without disruptions, I write for hours.
That seldom happens since I love to do things with my family and often drive grandkids to or from practice or watch their games. And my squeeze Bob likes lots of my time. And I try to keep close to my friends.

5. What is your favorite self-marketing idea?
Get your name out there. Nike and Coke probably don’t need much advertising, yet they continue to put their names out there. I try to do the same.

6. What is the biggest challenge you face in writing and publishing?
I am handicapped at organizing my time. (God’s fault: ) Organizing my time wasn’t a talent He wanted me to have.)

7. What are the biggest surprises you've encountered as a writer?
The main surprise was how much time I would have to spend to promote myself and my writing.
8. How do you inspire yourself? What are your sources of creativity?
Someone larger than I am inspires me to write and gives me creativity.

10. What is your proudest writer moment?
Receiving my first contract – holding my first book in my hands: It’s a toss-up. Both were terrific.

11. What's the best advice you were given about writing and do you belong/believe in critique groups?
The advice was if you want to be a writer, write. Also, read. Read and write some more. Keep doing that until some of your work is published.
I normally share work with one to three people online.

12. How much (and what) do you read for pleasure?
read mainly at night in bed and read mostly in my genre—humorous mysteries. That’s the type of book I like best.

14. What are you currently working on?
I’m working on the third Cealie Gunther book, which takes place on a cruise ship in Alaska. (Okay, somebody’s got to do all of this research. The captain, ship’s doctor and other crew members loved to give me info.) Cealie will meet up with a group of her classmates that she hasn’t seen in years.

15) What professional organizations do you belong to and why?
I belong to RWA, MWA, SinC, PASIC and others. Sometimes it seems like too many since skimming the online loops takes up much time, but it gets my name out there. Most people in these groups are willing to share lots of information and are really supportive.

Wrap up: Anything exciting happening in your publishing world? Tell us about any stories, articles, etc you have coming out that we can look for.
Having books published is so exciting! Readers say my books are lots of fun. I hope you all will hop over to my Web site, , and take a look. I haven’t added the audio book of RELATIVE DANGER yet since it just came out, but you can check that out HERE.
Thank you so much, Jessy, for having me here. The best to you and all of your readers. June

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

CFBA Presents Scream by Mike Dellosso

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing Scream Realms (March 3, 2009) by Mike Dellosso


Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Mike now lives in Hanover, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Jen, and their three daughters. He writes a monthly column for Writer . . .Interrupted.

He was a newspaper correspondent/columnist for over three years and has published several articles for The Candle of Prayer inspirational booklets. Mike also has edited and contributed to numerous Christian-themed Web sites and e-newsletters.

Mike is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, the Relief Writer's Network, and International Thriller Writers. He received his BA degree in sports exercise and medicine from Messiah College and his MBS degree in theology from Master's Graduate School of Divinity.


Otherworldly Screams...
A Madman on the Loose...
This Time the Stakes Are Higher Than Ever

While talking to his friend on the phone, Mark Stone is startled by a cacophony of otherworldly screams. Seconds later, a tragic accident claims his friend's life. When this happens several more times--screams followed by an untimely death--he is compelled to act.

Battling his failure as a husband and struggling with his own damaged faith, Mark embarks on a mission to find the meaning behind the screams and hopefully stop death from calling on its next victim. When his estranged wife is kidnapped and he again hears the screams as she calls from her cell phone, his search becomes much more personal and much more urgent.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Scream, go HERE