Saturday, November 21, 2009

Conference Pictures - A Bridge to Publication

Many of you have heard me whining, bragging, complaining, worrying about our Bayou Writers' conference here in Lake Charles. Well. . . it's over. Hard to believe I've been extremely involved with two conferences and there's always something to learn. What you expect to happen probably won't. What you don't expect to happen, of course, will. I thought there would be all kinds of problems this year--not because of any one person, but because of the way we worked. We all had a job to do and we did our jobs, but this year it seemed we worked far more independently than we did last year. Whatever works, I guess.

My husband works construction. I've worked construction too, and I noticed right away that a construction project usually takes on the personality of the project manager. If he's one who likes to party and stay out all night, believe me, the entire project exemplifies that kind of behavior. A more conservative type personality will definitely have less problems.

I should have remembered that and worried less about this year's conference. Our conference coordinator has a quiet, laid-back demeanor and so did our conference. It was a sweet, lady-like conference with no glitches. The only time I truly panicked was when I looked at the schedule, my watch and the back door where food was supposed to be delivered. Shortly after my stomach dropped, the food arrived. :)

We had great speakers, a wonderful conference committee, the Beaumont Barnes & Noble drove over to sell writing books and our book room volunteers were perfect. Author Curt Iles who is also our TV spokesperson handled the sound-system. Now that's where all the pressure was! Curt did a super job. He was cool, calm, collected and very efficient. I have to brag, because I'm so very proud to be president of Bayou Writers' Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana for one more year. We're a great group.

Just look at our pictures. We had fun.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Vampires are Coming! No, the Vampires are here!

As I write this, Twilight fans are going bonkers in Rockefeller Plaza in New York City. Yikes! There's a very cute Jacob (my daughter's fav) smiling at his screaming fans. Uh oh . . . tears are pooling in eyes and streaming down cheeks. Is this the profile of a girl who needs to sit down with a mom who has read Touched by a Vampire?

Last night, near midnight, a 26-year old friend stood in line for almost two hours to see New Moon, knowing she had to get up for work this morning. And my own 26-year old daughter is driving to a near-by town to see New Moon with a friend--and she can hardly wait. Let me point out that both of these young women are strong Christians. They read across the board--contemporary to classic, and they're avid movie-goers.

When I watch how excited everyone is about the Twilight series, when I see how concerned Christians are, and when I watch the media frenzy, I feel incredibly sad that we've come to this point, that we take our entertainment so seriously, that we're so influenced by it. I know it's not unlike the feelings and emotions my generation experienced when Elvis hit the big screen. What upsets me is that we've reached a point where we really do need to be educated about trends in general, not just vampire trends. So if your kiddo is drawn to vampires, you might want to call on Touched by a Vampire by Beth Felker Jones. This is a thorough Bible Study of sorts.

Faith and Fangs
What do you need to know about vampires? You may think that you don’t need to be educated about the vampire trends in media—especially the Twilight Saga—but your family is being bombarded with messages from books (Twilight, Wuthering Bites) to television (Vampire Diaries, True Blood) to movies (New Moon releases on November 20).
One of the most popular vampire outlets is the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer. The second book New Moon is being made into a movie that hits theaters in November, so we want to make sure that you and your family are prepared to make the decision if you’ll go see it, and if you do see it to have thoughtful discussion about some hidden themes it holds.

You can see all the different options where to purchase Touched by a Vampire by clicking HERE.

People around the world are asking the same question, enraptured with Edward and Bella’s forbidden romance in the Twilight Saga, a four-book serial phenomenon written by Stephenie Meyer. The bestsellers tell the story of a regular girl’s relationship with a vampire who has chosen to follow his “good” side. But the Saga isn’t just another fantasy–it’s teaching girls about love, sex, and purpose. With 48 million copies in print and a succession of upcoming blockbuster films, now is the time to ask the important question: Can vampires teach us about God’s plan for love?

Touched by a Vampire is the first book to investigate the themes of the Twilight Saga from a Biblical perspective. Some Christian readers have praised moral principles illustrated in the story, such as premarital sexual abstinence, which align with Meyer’s Mormon beliefs. But ultimately, Beth Felker Jones examines whether the story’s redemptive qualities outshine its darkness.

Cautionary, thoughtful, and challenging, Touched by a Vampire is written for Twilight fans, parents, teachers, and pop culture enthusiasts. It includes an overview of the series for those unfamiliar with the storyline and a discussion guide for small groups.


I confess: My kids grew up watching Salem's Lot, The Shining, and The Birds. We huddled around the TV and we were all scared together. While I'm really not a vampire fan, I couldn't resist seeing what Thirsty is all about. I've read a few Bateman books. Some leave me cold while others are wonderful. In all honesty, I haven't finished Thirsty, but only because my own deadlines have interfered with my reading schedule. I feel confident in saying this: Bateman is a storyteller. You won't be disappointed in her story. Bateman's writing in Thirsty is superior to anything else she's written. I believe she really had a passion for writing this book. I highly recommend Thirsty and suggest that Tracey Bateman is an author to watch.

Thirsty by Tracey Bateman

There's no place like home, they say.
"Hello, I'm Nina Parker…and I'm an alcoholic."
For Nina, it's not the weighty admission but the first steps toward recovery that prove most difficult. She must face her ex-husband, Hunt, with little hope of making amends, and try to rebuild a relationship with her angry teenage daughter, Meagan. Hardest of all, she is forced to return to Abbey Hills, Missouri, the hometown she abruptly abandoned nearly two decades earlier–and her unexpected arrival in the sleepy Ozark town catches the attention of someone–or something–igniting a two-hundred-fifty-year-old desire that rages like a wildfire.

Unaware of the darkness stalking her, Nina is confronted with a series of events that threaten to unhinge her sobriety. Her daughter wants to spend time with the parents Nina left behind. A terrifying event that has haunted Nina for almost twenty years begins to surface. And an alluring neighbor initiates an unusual friendship with Nina, but is Markus truly a kindred spirit or a man guarding dangerous secrets?

As everything she loves hangs in the balance, will Nina's feeble grasp on her demons be broken, leaving her powerless against the thirst? The battle between redemption and obsession unfold to its startling, unforgettable end.

You can purchase Thirsty HERE.

These books were provided free for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Monday, November 16, 2009

CFBA presents What The Bayou Saw by Patti Lacy

I didn't receive this book from the publisher soon enough to read it and by the time I did get it, I had moved on to other projects and deadlines. I loaned it to a friend to read until I can find time and here's what she emailed me this evening. This is an honest, from the heart assessment from a lady who knows her books!

"jess, About What the Bayou Saw, author Patti Lacy is GREAT! Julie Lessman is right. Lacy is a "blazing light on the horizon." She won me over at once with her vivid, anything-but-hackneyed phraseology and characterization. Is she on her way to stardom as a writer? I would say YES! In women's fiction, she's one of the best I've read this year, if not the best. I haven't finished reading the book yet, but I hated to put it down." ~Lena

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing

What The Bayou Saw
Kregel Publications (March 24, 2009)


Patti Lacy


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Take a look at the book trailer:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

And The Winner Is . . .

I'm running behind schedule drawing a winner for Erica's book, The Bartered Bride. Our BWG conference is Saturday so every free moment is devoted to fine-tuning something. But today, I wrote names on snippets of paper and my daughter drew . . . NANCY!

Nancy and I have known each other for several years. She's a wonderful writer and amazingly creative. I'm thrilled that she's won Erica's book because Erica is a great writer too, and amazingly creative.

Congrats, Nancy! You will totaly enjoy The Bartered Bride. I guarantee.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Meet Erica Vetsch--A Timid Marketer

Meet my friend, Erica Vetsch. I met Erica at the ACFW conference in Dallas, TX several years ago before she sold her first book, The Bartered Bride. Today I have the privilege of being a part of her blog tour. By frequenting her blogsite, I've watched Erica grow as a writer and a marketer, and because hers is one of my favorite blogs, it seemed only fitting that I invite Erica to share some of her marketing tips.

The Timid Marketer by Erica Vetsch

I am a timid marketer. And yet, authors are supposed to market their books, are encouraged, even in some cases required to market. I find it hard to talk about my books, especially in person, and when I do, it feels so unnatural for me. So, how does a timid marketer, someone who finds it difficult to talk about herself and her works, overcome this timidity, work with her marketing team, and let people know about her books?
I’ve found a few things that I’m comfortable with, and a few things I’m learning to be more comfortable with.

Blogging. I’m a big fan of blogging. I’ve had a blog at for several years now, and I really enjoy it. There are a few things I do to blog effectively.

1. Consistent posts. I post Monday through Friday.
2. A mixture of industry news, new fiction, book reviews, and personal experience. I devote a day each week to something fun called The Friday Five. Five things about me on a specific topic. Examples: Five things you will never hear me say. Or Five things I always carry in my purse. Then I invite folks to share their own Friday Five on that topic.
3. Answering and acknowledging comments. I’m getting better at this one. I’ve found that if I want people to visit and feel welcome, I should respond to their comments.
4. Visiting other blogs and making meaningful comments. I have a list of blogs on my blog page that I visit each day. I have a great network of blog friends that support me faithfully, and I try to return the favor.
5. As a result of making friends via blogs, I’m in the midst of a blog tour hosted by these friends who are helping me spread the word about my new book.

Facebook. I have a Facebook page that I enjoy. It is a great way to connect with people I haven’t seen for a long time. I have my blog linked to post on my Facebook page. I enjoy the networking, the give-and-take with friends, and seeing everyone’s photographs.
• Twitter. This is a new one to me. I’m trying Twitter out at the moment. I’ve got it cross-posted so when I update Twitter, it automatically updates on my Facebook page. I’m following a lot of people, and am daily getting more followers. If you’d like to follow me on twitter, you can find me at user name EricaVetsch
• The ACFW. Through their e-loop, their monthly new release posts, book reviews, and especially through I’m hoping to let people know about my books without seeming pushy.
• Book trailers. I’ve got some book trailers in the works as I write this. Hopefully by the time this blog is posted, they will be finished and up for view on YouTube and on my blog page.
• I’m also working on getting a website up and running.

You’ll notice that all of this marketing takes place via the internet. A good way for a timid marketer to get the word out.

As I become more accustomed to the idea of having published books out in the marketplace, I’m hoping I will become more adept at letting people know about them. I’ve got a line on a few book signings, and hopefully a radio interview in the near future. Those types of marketing scare me rigid, but the book signings would take place with some other authors, so I won’t have to sit at a table all by myself.

There are a couple of things that keep me back from marketing more aggressively:

1. Talking about my novels feels so much like tooting my own horn. I’m much better at promoting other people’s fiction. It feels awkward to even tell people that I’ve got a book coming out, much less what it is about and that I hope they will buy it and like it. In a workshop I took with the amazing Karen Ball and Allen Arnold, they tried to show us how marketing our work was less like making a stump speech and more like hosting a party. Now that was an idea I could get behind. I can host a party. I can hopefully provide an interesting and entertaining time to my guests that will have them talking and inviting their friends to visit.

2. The time. Marketing takes time. Even more than money, and there is a financial investment to aggressive marketing, there is a big time investment. I’m trying to find ways of marketing that will be effective while not sucking up too much of my time. My primary job is to write good stories. Marketing, while necessary, must be secondary to that.

Hopefully, marketing will become easier for me as I do more of it. I’m very thankful for friends like Jess, who have been so enthusiastic about joining in the blog tour, and helping me along the way. I’m so blessed to know her.

If you haven't been to Erica's blog, I can't encourage you enough to check it out. She's an organized blogger--the very best kind. You'll learn more about writing, and come away with some pretty tasty recipes too.

And with Erica's permission, I'm giving away a copy of her debut novel, The Bartered Bride. It's filled with love and laughter, excellent characterization and fine writing. Leave a comment here and your name will be included in the drawing. I know some of my readers can't leave comments so if you'll email me privately, I'll post your comment for you. And please, don't forget to tell us how to reach you in case you win!