Thursday, June 30, 2011

I can’t tell you how excited I’ve been because my new Love Inspired Suspense Dangerous Reunion released this week. I’ve looked forward to this book’s release for a long time.
Three years ago my son, granddaughter, and I traveled to Ocracoke Island on vacation. This tiny speck of land is one of the barrier islands twenty-five miles off the coast of North Carolina and was the headquarters of Blackbeard the Pirate in the early 1700s. In fact he met his death just off shore in a bloody battle. A two-and-a-half-hour ferry ride is required to get to the island, but once there the magic of the island takes over.
I knew right away I wanted to write a book set on the island where sea oats wave in the breeze along the beaches that have been voted the most beautiful in the nation. Even while I was there I started plotting a story line. Much to my delight, however, the book I wrote turned into a three book series about the Michaels family who live on the island. Dangerous Reunion is the story of the eldest daughter Kate who is a deputy sheriff on the island.
Here's the back cover blurb:
A murderer on tiny, safe Ocracoke Island? Deputy Sheriff Kate Michaels doesn't want to believe it-until someone at the crime scene starts shooting at her. Then Nashville detective Brock Gentry shows up. Brock broke her heart years ago when he called off their engagement. Now, torn apart by a case, Brock seeks sanctuary on the island. Yet as the threats against Kate escalate-and Kate's sisters are targeted-she turns to the man she's never stopped loving. Even if their reunion is more dangerous than it ever was before.
You can watch the trailer here.
The story is packed with suspense, but the main theme of the book is forgiveness. Mark 11:25 serves as a focal scripture for the story: And when ye pray, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. Although Kate has always had a difficult time forgiving others, she comes to understand true happiness depends on following what Jesus said.  
The second book in the series, Shattered Identity, features Kate's long-lost brother Scott as he helps a young woman solve the mystery of her mother’s death by supposedly jumping from the widow’s walk of the island lighthouse twenty-five years earlier. Fatal Disclosure, the third book, relates the adventures of Kate and Scott's sister Betsy as she assists a DEA agent to bring down a drug smuggling ring. Both of these release next year.

I hope you have a wonderful 4th of July, and if you want an explosive read, I hope you'll choose Dangerous Reunion.
Leave a comment, and you just might win a copy.  


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I'm spotlighting TWO books this week, both of which I hope you will pick up and enjoy as much as I did...

The Irresistible Earl by Regina Scott ~ If Chase Dearborn, the powerful Earl of Allyndale, found Meredee Price's family in Scarborough, surely he'd continue his quest to challenge Meredee's stepbrother to a duel. Meredee is determined to avoid the earl at all costs. But saving a drowning young lady thwarts Meredee's plans when her act of heroism nets her the attention of the lady's brother and guardian—none other than Chase himself.

Meredee's gentle ways and tranquil beauty touch Chase's guarded heart from the moment he meets her. He's waited a lifetime for a worthy companion—someone he can trust with his deepest secrets. But then he discovers that Meredee has harbored a secret of her own, one that love may not overcome.

Regina Scott started writing novels in the third grade. Thankfully for literature as we know it, she didn't actually sell her first novel until she had learned a bit more about writing such as vocabulary, sentence structure, and plot. After numerous short stories and articles in magazines and trade journals, she got serious about her novel writing. The Unflappable Miss Fairchild was her first novel to be published (March 1998).

Besides her novels, Regina Scott has had published three Regency novellas ("The June Bride Conspiracy" in His Blushing Bride, "Sweeter Than Candy" in A Match for Mother, and "A Place by the Fire" in Mistletoe Kittens), which are now featured in electronic book form as Be My Bride. Her novels have been translated into Dutch, German, Italian, and Portuguese, and Lord Borin's Secret Love has been issued in a hardcover, large print edition. Many of her works are also available as electronic books through Belgrave House's Regency Reads line.

Regina Scott and her husband are the parents of two sons. They reside in southeast Washington State and are members of the Church of the Nazarene. Born in 1959 and raised in the Seattle area, Regina Scott is a graduate of the University of Washington. She comes by her writing talent naturally--both her parents were excellent writers in their vocations as teacher and electrical technician, now retired. Her mother envisioned the plot for "Sweeter Than Candy," the novella which was written as a tribute to her.

Regina Scott is a devout Christian and a decent fencer; owns a historical, fantasy, and science fiction costume collection that currently takes up over a third of her large closet; and has been known to impersonate an independent consultant specializing in risk communication.


Gravestone by Travis Thrasher ~


His Fear Will Soon Turn to Anger….

At first, Chris Buckley was simply warned. And watched. But as Chris unravels the haunting riddles of the town of Solitary, he finds that much more than the life of a town is at stake.

Whether facing a pastor with a house full of skeletons or a cousin he never knew existed, Chris is forced to choose between light and darkness, life and nightmarish death. Every choice he makes reminds him that the unthinkable has already happened—and if he trusts the wrong person, it may happen again.

This second book in the Solitary Tales continues Chris’s journey toward finding out who he is and what his own role is in the darkness suffocating his tiny new hometown. Filled with shocking twists, Gravestone is a tale of a teenager thrown into a battle over a town, a secret—and ultimately his own soul.

“Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”


This quote from Stephen King’s novella, THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, sums up the goal of every single one of Travis Thrasher’s novels: providing hope. As the novelist of twelve works of fiction, Travis has spent a decade fighting against being typecast and labeled.

“It’s a natural thing for novelists to be put into a box,” Travis says. “My goal has always been to tell stories about flawed characters who find redemption, whether it’s in a love story or a supernatural thriller.”

Having lived in places as diverse as Munich, Germany, and Sydney, Australia, during his youth, Travis moved to the Chicago area during his junior year of high school. That’s where he has remained.

After graduating from Trinity Christian College, Travis landed a job at Tyndale House Publishers as Author Relations Manager. He worked for over a decade in that position, acting as liaison between the publisher and the authors. But writing always came first, and Travis was fortunate to have his first novel published in 2000. It was THE PROMISE REMAINS, a sweet love story in the vein of Nicholas Sparks.

“I wrote six or seven dark, ambitious novels that went nowhere,” Travis says. “It was only after writing a simple love story about unrequited love that I got my first break.”

Getting that first book published was a dream come true, but Travis always saw himself having multiple books in print. Travis’s drive and imagination have allowed him to see a variety of books published: from love stories (THE WATERMARK; THREE ROADS HOME) to suspense (GUN LAKE; ADMISSION; BLINDED) to drama (THE SECOND THIEF; SKY BLUE) to supernatural thrillers (ISOLATION; GHOSTWRITER).

“I tell people this is not the way to build a writing career, but I’m thankful I’ve been able to build mine the way I wanted to. I want to entertain and surprise readers, and to continue to build a readership that will take journeys with me, whether they’re going to 1929 Brazil or current day Geneva, Illinois.”

2010 will mark a decade of publishing for Travis. It will also be a significant year with the release of BROKEN by Faithwords in May and SOLITARY by Cook in August.

“I’m excited about these two upcoming stories that will surely surprise and move readers,” Travis says. “BROKEN is about a young woman who is just that—broken and bruised by this world. SOLITARY is the first in a teen series that combines a love story with the supernatural. Both are powerful stories.”

His goal continues to be to tell powerful and moving stories that will reach fiction readers of all types. As a fulltime novelist for over two years, Travis feels he’s still just warming up.

“There are things I learn about the writing process and about myself with every novel. I believe my best stories are still in front of me, waiting to be discovered like a buried treasure. I’m thankful that I’m able to dig a little more every day.”

Travis lives with his wife and three-year-old daughter in a suburb of Chicago.


BB is giving away both The Irresistible Earl by Regina Scott and Gravestone by Travis Thrasher. Be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book on Friday for your chance to win!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I always thought it had to be a photographer who said this, and one not overly fond of books. That is, until a friend sent me an email with the following word definitions inside:


RESPECT












LOVE










SORROW













GRATITUDE









INNOCENCE













FRIENDSHIP











PAIN







DEPARTURE









COMPASSION









Powerful, eh?

Some of the pictures stirred real emotions inside me, made me think about all that was expressed by the image and captioned with one simple word. That’s when I realized that as an author, my job is to do exactly the same thing—create word pictures so deep and powerful that they stir the reader’s emotions. The problem comes when, by trying to accomplish this, the story becomes convoluted and wordy. It really doesn’t take pages of description and narrative to create a stirring and poignant word picture. What it takes is well-chosen words, words that convey the deepest and most stirring emotions, that reach into our spirit and manifest themselves into “pictures” that will stay with our readers forever.

Take this scene, for example:

Mary stared at the doctor, pain swelling her heart and flooding from her eyes. “John was so sick. For days and days, I prayed you’d make it in time. Even sent Rowdy out to find you, but he come back. . .he come back. . .alone. Why, Doc? Didn’t you know how bad you was needed? What on earth kept you so long?”

Now let’s pare it down:

Mary stared at the doctor, her pain flooding from her eyes. “I sent Rowdy to find you, but he come back. . .he come back. . .” She drew a breath, something—God help them—her John would never do again. “Oh, Doc, if you had only been here.”

Okay, so it’s not necessarily shorter, but I took extra care placing the pronouns in the second version, like calling the patient “her John” to show from Mary’s deep POV how cutting is her loss. I also cut out unnecessary words, replacing them with a bit of internal monologue. Hopefully, what resulted was a more poignant “picture” of Mary’s grief.

Funny, I always thought of myself as author, not an artist. Now I realize, I’m both.

Monday, June 27, 2011

It's that time of year again! Whether you're like me (ie: going to school) and have the whole summer off, or whether you have a sunny week-long getaway coming up, or even if you just squeeze in reading no matter what your schedule is like, now is the time to be inspired by some great reads!

I've been doing a lot of reading lately, and I plan to do plenty more in the weeks to come. ;) So today I'd like to share my list of must-reads (so far) for Summer 2011! I'll include excerpts from my reviews so you can see why I like these books so much:

A Great Catch by Lorna Seilstad

Once again Seilstad has swept me away to the sunny shores of Lake Manawa for a delicious summer treat! Following up the delightful Making Waves [which I also highly recommend!], this book offers another inning of fun and faith while sharing a unique and engaging story.

A Great Catch has a thoroughly enjoyable setting and a wonderful story--just right for the beginning of the summer season or anytime you're longing for some summer fun!

To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer

Levi’s journey to win her heart and Eden’s journey to discover the beauty of forgiveness make this an enjoyable and worthwhile read. Just like Witemeyer’s first two books, A Tailor-Made Bride and Head in the Clouds, this book has action combined with a tender and adorable romance to hold the reader’s interest, while also sharing important truths about God’s love and loving others. To Win Her Heart is made even sweeter with the thoughtful correspondence between Levi and Eden, the colorful descriptions of the flowers and 19th century clothing, and the emphasis on a wonderful topic – literature.

Undercurrent by Michelle Griep

If there's one thing for sure, it's that Griep knows how to write romance! Tummy tingling and gripping, this love story is thrilling. With a combination of viking strength, a touch of Phantom-of-the-Opera intrigue, and a heart with ocean-depth, the hero is quite swoon-worthy. ;) And beyond the wonderful historical details and the fantastic romance, this book also contains a powerful theme of sacrificial love as a picture of the way God loves us.

My Foolish Heart by Susan May Warren

Like in the movie You've Got Mail, Isadora and Caleb find themselves falling in love online (and on the air) without realizing who exactly the other person is--and how different romance in action can be from romance through words. Also, like Tom Hanks, Caleb is the one who figures out who Miss Foolish Heart really is before Isadora figures out who Boy Next Door really is.

Instead of feuding book store owners, however, Isadora and Caleb are two people with conflicting fears. One is afraid to leave the safety of her house due to a horrible memory, and the other is afraid of dependency (especially on God) due to the debt he feels he owes for his very life. But the new NY152 and ShopGirl have a sweet romance all their own in this football-themed book that will have you cheering them on!

Pompeii: City on Fire by T.L. Higley

Like Vesuvius, this book is powerful and should not be underestimated! The tension builds steadily, with short sections from the volcano's point of view that remind the reader that below the surface of political upheaval and emotional drama stirs a dangerous depth that will drastically shift priorities once it explodes upon the scene. When that explosion happens, everything changes.

Until then, different sorts of danger fill the pages--from an evil politician bent on continuing his unjust reign, to fears of inadequacy and failure, to intense gladiator fights. There's a lot to take in as a reader, and some of the events (both past and present) are heartbreaking and disturbing to read about. But through it all is an underlying message of hope and security through the Messiah even in the midst of all the evil and suffering of this life. The glimpses of community, acceptance, and love are very sweet indeed.

Special Note: This book (Pompeii) is the Christian Fiction Book Club selection for next month's discussion! If you're interested, borrow or buy a copy and then join us on July 9th at Seasons of Humility for the discussion!

Hope this list gives you some ideas for some great summer reading! Do you have any suggestions for books that should be added to this list?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

It's always so much fun to give away great books!! Congratulations to this week's lucky winners:

J-ME - The Story in the Stars by Yvonne Anderson

Gina Conroy - Broken Wings by Carla Stewart

Lex Gilmore - God's Shelter For Your Storm by Sheila Walsh

Winners of this week's books, please use the button in the upper right side of this page to email me with your mailing address so I can forward your information to the authors. Then, sit back and wait for your book to arrive.


Thank you all so much for stopping by The Borrowed Book and thank you, Yvonne Anderson, Carla Stewart and Sheila Walsh for your generosity in providing books!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Entering our weekly drawing is easy:

1. Leave a comment on Fridays or...


2. Sign up to follow The Borrowed Book. Followers will automatically be entered for a chance to win that week's drawing!


This week, The Borrowed Book is giving away:




The Story in the Stars by Yvonne Anderson ~ The inhabitants of the planet Gannah are known as bloodthirsty savages who once tried to conquer the galaxy. Now a plague has ravaged the planet and only one survivor remains, a young woman named Dassa.

Pik, the doctor from the League of Planets assigned to her case, hates everything Gannahan and wishes every last one of its people had died. Bereft of everything she’s ever known, Dassa clings to her God and the story he has written in the stars. He has given her an assignment: to return to Gannah and replenish it with a new race of people.

But she must first overcome the prejudice of the entire galaxy and recruit her de facto enemy, Pik, to help her.


Broken Wings by Carla Stewart ~ Onstage, the singing duo of Gabe and Mitzi Steiner captured America's heart for more than two decades. Offstage, their own hearts have throbbed as one for sixty years. Only now, Gabe has retreated into the tangles of Alzheimer's, leaving Mitzi to ponder her future alone.

On the other side of Tulsa, everyone believes Brooke Woodson has found the perfect man--a handsome lawyer with sights on becoming Tulsa's next District Attorney. If only Brooke felt more sure. If only her fiancé could control his anger. If only love didn't come with so many scars.

When an accident lands Brooke in the hospital where Mitzi volunteers, the two women quickly develop an unlikely friendship birthed by providence and bathed in grace. And with Mitzi's help, kindness, and insight, Brooke learns how to pick up the broken pieces of her life.


God's Shelter For Your Storm by Sheila Walsh ~ In a world of uncertainty, pain, and struggle, where do you go to find solid and steadfast assurance?

Gifted Women of Faith® speaker Sheila Walsh offers powerful, heart-filled teaching on ten bedrock promises of God, providing the foundation for daily living with confidence, hope, and joy. Sheila unveils principles that provide unshakable security during even the most difficult times by weaving her hallmark storytelling, personal experiences, and applicable Scripture to help readers gain a trust in God that will sustain them for a lifetime.


Winners will be announced on Saturday, 06/25/11.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Carla Stewart’s writing reflects her passion for times gone by. She believes in Jesus, the power of the written word, and a good cup of coffee. She and her husband have four adult sons and delight in the adventures of their six grandchildren.

Welcome, Carla! Did you see yourself becoming a writer as a child? If not, what did you dream of being?

I had dreams of writing a book when I was a child. I even acted on my dream and wrote a steamy (to me eleven-year-old mind anyway) romance which I sent to a Hollywood studio. I envisioned that it would be a movie starring Richard Chamberlain and Sandra Dee. When I didn’t hear back, I turned to more practical dreams – being a stage actress or the wife of a wealthy rancher. Actually by the time I was 14, I had decided to become a nurse, which is what I ended up being.

How long did you write before you sold your first book?

7 ½ years. But it took another year and a half before I held my first published book in my hands.

Many of the people who follow our blog are aspiring writers themselves. Can you share your favorite writing tip with them?

Don’t be afraid of being unique and writing the book of your heart.

Now for the readers…many times, it’s easy for them to connect with the characters in a book, but not so much the authors themselves. Share something about your day-to-day life that might help a reader to feel as though they know you a little better.

I’m a coffee fanatic (although it’s half decaf nowdays) and every day I sit in my recliner with my miniature daschund, Zelda, beside me and write. I’m a fan of Michael Buble and still get pretty excited about the old tunes from the fifties and sixties. Doo-Wop anyone?

Now that you are published, do you still experience rejections? If so, how are these rejections different or similar to the ones you received before becoming published?

So far both my contracts have been with the same publisher, so story rejections haven’t come recently. That’s not to say I don’t have even more insecurities than before I was published. There’s always the fear that no one will buy my books or that I will get bad reviews. Most of that is not something I can control, so I have to trust that God is in control of the big picture and pray that He will use my writing to touch lives. And I’m constantly reminded that it’s not about me. And yes, friends and family still look at me like I’m more than a little strange.

Tell us a little about your latest release:

Broken Wings is the story of an unlikely friendship between two women who become dependent on one another as they each go through difficult situations. It’s a “framed” story so a good part of it is nostalgic and told as flashback which dovetails with the contemporary story. Here’s the back cover copy:

Onstage, the singing duo of Gabe and Mitzi Steiner captured America's heart for more than two decades. Offstage, their own hearts have throbbed as one for sixty years. Only now, Gabe has retreated into the tangles of Alzheimer's, leaving Mitzi to ponder her future alone.

On the other side of Tulsa, everyone believes Brooke Woodson has found the perfect man--a handsome lawyer with sights on becoming Tulsa's next District Attorney. If only Brooke felt more sure. If only her fiancé could control his anger. If only love didn't come with so many scars.

When an accident lands Brooke in the hospital where Mitzi volunteers, the two women quickly develop an unlikely friendship birthed by providence and bathed in grace. And with Mitzi's help, kindness, and insight, Brooke learns how to pick up the broken pieces of her life.

If you could only share one line from BROKEN WINGS, which one would you choose and why?

Mama never told me where she’d been that night, but it was a peculiar fact she left that red dress behind.

This is the last line of the prologue, and the red dress foreshadows what happens later. Part of what I wanted to show in the story is how our past is part of who we are and how we react to life.

Writers often put things in their books that are very personal—like a funny story that happened to them, a spiritual truth they learned through difficulty, or even just a character trait that is uniquely theirs. Is there something in your book that only people close to you know is about you or someone you know?

In my debut novel, CHASING LILACS, one of the meals the Tucker family has is salmon patties and macaroni and cheese. This was a frequent combination when I was growing up, and later I served it to my own family. One of my sons picked up on it in the book. I didn’t write it intentionally, but it’s a part of me that just came out on the page. Others have said they hear my voice on the pages. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.

Readers often talk a lot about the hero and heroine of a story, but today I’d like to know something about your villain. Does he or she have a redeeming quality? Why or why not?

The villain in Broken Wings is an abusive attorney. He’s successful and respected in his industry, plays Scrabble every Sunday with an elderly widow, and of course, he’s stunning to look at. What he does is inexcusable, though, so I showed his wound that caused him to be abusive.

What kind of research did you have to do for this book? Can you share some articles or website links you found particularly helpful?

I visited the Jazz Depot in Tulsa which is home to the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame. I read articles and books about the intriguing jazz culture in Tulsa. I already had a folder of material on Alzheimer’s so I reviewed it, researched current articles, and relied on my past experience as a nurse to bring the character to life. The hardest part of the book for me to write was the abuse thread – I studied the personality types of victims and abusers and used the DSM-III (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). In the back of Broken Wings, I give links to websites for both Alzheimer’s and domestic abuse.

Alzheimer’s link:



http://www.thehotline.org/ or call 1.800.799.SAFE (7233)

Tell us what new projects you’re working on.

I recently signed a new two-book contract with FaithWords. I’ve just turned in Stardust, a story set in 1952 in East Texas during the height of the polio epidemic. I’m waiting (with breath held) on my content edit. I’m brainstorming and working on the early chapters of a “girlfriend” novel which will release in 2013. Honestly, though, I work as much, if not more on marketing! Parts of it I love . . . other parts, not so much.

The most common thing I hear when people learned I’ve published a book is, “I’ve always wanted to do that.” Faced with this statement, what advice would you give to someone just starting out in this business?

Join a writing group and read books on craft. Don’t wait until you think you’re “set” to start writing. What you’re writing will become infused with the craft as you practice. Also, I think it’s a good idea to follow your gut and write that which is burning inside you. Agents and editors want fresh voices and yours might be the one they’ve been waiting on. That said, you have to follow some guidelines and know your genre and what is acceptable and what is not. It’s an ever-changing process and a noble calling. You asked specifically about books, but writing for magazines and anthologies like the Chicken Soup books are also a good way to dip your toes in the water. And those publishing credits are like gold on your writing resume.

What is the one question you were afraid I would ask…and how would you answer?

I can think of several that I wouldn’t answer, so thank you for being discreet. :-)

The question about balancing my writing life and personal life always stumps me, so I’m glad you didn’t ask it. My answer? What personal life???? Really, I have to put reminders on my calendar for everything! Then I forget to look at my calendar.

Thanks, Lisa, for having me on your beautiful blog!


Great to have you, Carla!

To learn more about this author, find her at
http://www.carlastewart.com/
On Twitter:
www.twitter.com/#!/ChasingLilacs
FaceBook:
http://www.facebook.com/carlastewartauthor

And be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book on Friday for your chance to win a copy of Broken Wings by Carla Stewart!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Yvonne Anderson lives in rural Ohio with her husband of 35+ years, and sometimes with one or two of her four grown kids. Her three grandchildren, who live in Virginia, are the smartest and cutest kids in the world, without exception (no offense to yours). Yvonne works part time as a Virtual Assistant but spends most of her time on the planet Gannah researching her books. She’s a regular contributor to the blog Novel Journey and her personal blog can be found at www.YsWords.com.

Did you see yourself becoming a writer as a child? If not, what did you dream of being?

As a child I loved to read, and I think I might have imagined myself writing YA books. But by the time I’d outgrown YA, I’d also outgrown my writing aspirations. I was too busy with marriage, family, mini-farming, and working as a legal secretary. For several years I didn’t have time to read a book, let alone write one.

How long did you write before you sold your first book?

In the mid ‘90s, I wrote two novels just to see if I could, but I didn’t try to market them. I knew I wasn’t ready for that. Though I enjoyed the creative process, I thought the whole endeavor was a huge waste of time, so I quit. Cold turkey. Thought I’d kicke
d the habit. But I fell off the wagon in 2002, and things got deadly serious after that. It wasn’t until nine years later that I sold my first book, so it was a pretty long haul.

Many of the people who follow our blog are aspiring writers themselves. Can you share your favorite writing tip with them?

Realize that the act of writing is what make you a writer. So if you want to be a writer, you need to write, consistently and persistently. I don’t mean you must always have publication in mind, but writing thoughtful notes to family and friends, stories for your kids, and journal or blog entries all exercise your writing brain. The more you write, the better you’ll get at it, so make sure you write at least a little every day.

Now for the readers…many times, it’s easy for them to connect with the characters in a book, but not so much the authors themselves. Share something about your day-to-day life that might help a reader to feel as though they know you a little better.

When we were first married, my husband and I tried the self-sufficient farming thing. Though it wasn’t a complete success (we never got to the point where he could quit his day job), it wasn’t a complete bust, either. In addition to the practical education it provided, for two or three years we ate for free. That is, we sold enough of what we produced to break even. It was a lot of work, but it was a wonderful experience I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Now that you are published, do you still experience rejections? If so, how are these rejections different or similar to the ones you received before becomin
g published?

I just signed my first contract in January of this year, and it’s for three books. Fulfilling that contract has kept me busy every writing minute since, and I haven’t had a chance to even think about writing or submitting anything else. So, no – I haven’t received any rejections since. However, I don’t have any illusions about happily ever after. Having one, two, three or even more books published is no guarantee that you’ll sell your next project.

Tell us a little about your latest release:

I call The Story in the Stars a space fantasy rather than science fiction, because it’s a whole lot more “fi” than “sci.” It’s a fantasy set in the future in which there are other worlds, other races, and extremely unrealistic space travel.

Gannah’s inhabitants are known as bloodthirsty savages, and their reputation is well deserved. Though centuries before they’d set out to conquer the galaxy, now a plague is wiping out the inhabitants. By the time a League of Planets medical vessel arrives to help, only one survivor remains—a young woman named Dassa.

Dr. Pik from Karkar, one of the planets Gannah ravaged centuries before, is assigned to her case. He hates everything Gannahan and wishes every last one of the people had died, but he’s duty-bound to save her. After he brings her back from the brink, she shares with him the story God put in the stars, and he has to decide what to do with it. They have some exciting adventures together, and there’s a little romantic tension as well. But precious little, so don’t get your hopes up about that.

If you could only share one line from The Story in the Stars, which one would you choose and why?


Like all Gannahans, Dassa possesses a sort of sixth sense. It’s not a supernatural thing, but is a function of a gland at the base of the brain. With it, the Gannahans were able to communicate nonverbally with one another as well as with God.

In one scene she’s communicating with God about an argument she’s just had with Pik, who told her that in his language, they didn’t even have a word for forgiveness, let alone understand the concept. God tells her that there is a word for forgiveness in Karkar, but they have yet to discover it; Dassa must show them what it is in God’s language. She tells Him, “But You speak in all languages.” And He answers: “The language of God is love.”

Writers often put things in their books that are very personal—like a funny story that happened to them, a spiritual truth they learned through difficulty, or even just a character trait that is uniquely theirs. Is there something in The Story in the Stars that only people close to you know is about you or someone you know?

No, not in this one. In the next two books in the series, though, I name characters after my grandchildren.

Readers often talk a lot about the hero and heroine of a story, but today I’d like to know something about your villain. Does he or she have a redeeming quality? Why or why not?

Though Dr. Pik’s people and Dassa’s are ancestral enemies, I don’t think of him as a villain. Nevertheless, Dassa butts heads with him throughout the book, so I guess for these purposes we’ll call him that. He’s not the villainous type, though. In fact, he’s more likeable than Dassa. She’s a bit of a cold fish, but Pik’s more emotional and easier to relate to, even if he is arrogant and whiny.

What kind of research did you have to do for this book? Can you share some articles or website links you found particularly helpful?

Since it’s pure fantasy, I didn’t have to do a lot of research in writing it. Instead, let me tell you what inspired it.

Several years ago I was introduced to a little nonfiction book called The Gospel in the Stars by Joseph A. Seiss, first published in 1882 and reprinted in 1972 by Kregel. Its premise is that God wrote the Gospel story in the constellations so that all the world could read it. The language of the book is a little archaic and hard to follow—especially if you’re like me and know nothing about the stars—but I liked what it had to say. One day while struggling through it, I thought it might be fun to put it in story form to make it more palatable for modern readers. The end result isn’t what I had in mind when I started out, but it turned out to be a fun story nevertheless.

Tell us what new projects you’re working on.

As I mentioned, I signed a three-book contract in January for my series Gateway to Gannah, and I’m working on completing that contract. Book 2, Words in the Wind, is with the publisher now and I’m drafting Book 3.

The most common thing I hear when people learned I’ve published a book is, “I’ve always wanted to do that.” Faced with this statement, what advice would you give to someone just starting out in this business?

Step 1: Pray. This is no small investment you’re contemplating. Make sure it’s God’s intention for you, and be willing to spend years of your life with little to show for it. If you’re certain that’s what the Lord wants you to do, then roll up your sleeves, and don’t look back. Get involved in an active critique group. Take knowledgeable advice and suggestions seriously, but always with a grain of salt; nobody is God but God. Pray for an open heart and a skin so tough, a rhino would envy it.
And have fun.

What is the one question you were afraid I would ask…and how would you answer?

I’m always worried someone will ask me what my favorite novel is. But I don’t have a favorite novel, nor a favorite color, song, food, or favorite anything; I enjoy too many things to pick favorites. I will tell you, though, that I loved J.R.R. Tolkien when I was growing up, and his work undoubtedly influenced my writing today. Why it took me fifty years to write my first fantasy, I have no idea.

Yvonne is giving away a copy of her book The Story in the Stars. Be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book on Friday for your chance to win!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Writers write. Sure. But there's plenty of things that are frustrating about the writing life and often tempt us to quit. What are the most frustrating aspects for you? Multiple answers are allowed. If yours isn't listed, put it down in comments.


Monday, June 20, 2011

About the Book:

"In a world of uncertainty, pain, and struggle, where do you go to find solid and steadfast assurance?

Gifted Women of Faith® speaker Sheila Walsh offers powerful, heart-filled teaching on ten bedrock promises of God, providing the foundation for daily living with confidence, hope, and joy. Sheila unveils principles that provide unshakable security during even the most difficult times by weaving her hallmark storytelling, personal experiences, and applicable Scripture to help readers gain a trust in God that will sustain them for a lifetime."

Amber's Review:

There's something charming about a castle.

When I was in Disneyland not that long ago, I got to see Sleeping Beauty's castle--the symbol of all things Disney. The design is whimsical, and the castle serves as a gateway to Fantasyland, where the rides and attractions are colorful and cheery. I love that the cover of God's Shelter for Your Storm displays a castle in an exotic setting. A castle is a symbol of beauty--something grand and richly furnished. The lovely colors of the pages, as well as the pictures throughout the book, add to that symbolism.

But the most beautiful thing about this book is its subject matter. The promises of God discussed in this book--provision, peace, confidence, love, grace, hope, strength, "more," and home--are priceless gifts. Reading and learning about them can be astounding, but Walsh reminds us that we don't have to just appreciate them as abstract ideas--we can claim these promises and trust in God to keep them! In other words, we don't have to just stand around Sleeping Beauty's castle, taking pictures and admiring the architecture. We can step through the gate!

And that idea demonstrates another aspect of a castle that makes it charming: a castle has a story. The castles in Europe are full of history. The castles in Disney movies are easily recognizable and remind us of the adventures of the characters who lived in them.

One of my favorite parts about God's Shelter for Your Storm is that each chapter uses real stories to show the impact and hope of God's promises to His children. Walsh draws from her own life experiences--both cute and heartbreaking--to illustrate her points. And she shares the stories of various people in the Bible, as well. When she talks about John the Baptist's story in the last chapter, it's powerful! I was shown a perspective on his life that I hadn't really thought much about before, and it made me cry with the sadness and yet the ultimate hope of the example.

Finally, we know from our own life stories that we yearn for another symbol of a castle: shelter. Castles here on earth can last a long time--a stronghold in battle and a place of safety through the years--but they can't last forever. They crumble. They are abandoned.

But God's promises are built on the firm foundation of who God is. He is truth, and He cannot lie. We can trust in His promises. Walsh's reminders of certain Scripture and promises of God are comforting. No matter what sort of hardship you or a loved one are going through, you can find security in God's promises. Walsh's heartfelt writing style makes her book an encouraging read. I recommend re-discovering the charms of a castle through the pages of God's Shelter for Your Storm!

*With thanks to Lori Isaacs Mahon and Overture Media for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.*

About the Author:

Sheila Walsh is a powerful Bible teacher and best-selling author from Scotland with over 4 million books sold. A featured speaker with Women of Faith® conferences, she has reached more than 3.5 million women by combining honesty, vulnerability, and humor with God's Word.

Currently completing her Masters in Theology, Sheila lives in Frisco, Texas with her husband, Barry, her son, Christian, and her two little dogs, Belle and Tink.

Click HERE to visit Sheila's website.

You can buy the book for yourself or someone you love now!

*Be sure to stop by the BB on Friday for your chance to win a copy of God's Shelter for Your Storm!*

P.S. Want to hear more about my trip to Disneyland and see some pictures? Check out my personal blog, Seasons of Humility, today!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

It's always so much fun to give away great books!! Congratulations to this week's lucky winners:

Megan (Celtic_Girl)- The Violet Flash by Mike Mason

scrapbookangel- The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck by Kathleen Y'Barbo


Winners of this week's books, please use the button in the upper right side of this page to email me with your mailing address so I can forward your information to the authors. Then, sit back and wait for your book to arrive.

Thank you all so much for stopping by The Borrowed Book and thank you, Mike Mason and Kathleen Y’Barbo, for your generosity in providing books!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Entering our weekly drawing is easy:

1. Leave a comment on Fridays or...


2. Sign up to follow The Borrowed Book. Followers will automatically be entered for a chance to win that week's drawing!


This week, The Borrowed Book is giving away:



The Violet Flash by Mike Mason ~ There’s a rip in the blue umbrella, and time—and Chelsea—are slipping through!

One moment she was there, the next moment she was not, and Ches Cholmondeley was watching when it happened. And he learns of other mysterious goings-on: for three days in a row the world’s atomic clocks have lost a second, resulting in bizarre accidents ranging from dropped casseroles to plane crashes. Are these events related? What’s a brother to do?

Figure out a way to get his sister back, of course. In search of answers, Ches befriends the local clockmaker, Myron Stinchcombe, who knows a lot about time, and seeks out Sky Porter, who knows a lot about, well, everything.

But time is running out. And Ches is torn, knowing that the very deed that can save the world might also keep his sister from ever returning to it.



The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck by Kathleen Y'Barbo ~ Unlikely romance is sometimes just an inconvenient marriage away

Charlotte Beck may be entering adulthood, but she can’t seem to keep to her stubborn, independent spirit from bucking social protocol. Fed up with her behavior, Charlotte’s father Daniel pressures her to settle into a nice marriage despite knowing she is set on going to college. Then Daniel sees Charlotte with the handsome but annoying English astronomer Alex Hambly, and everything changes.

Though Alex and Charlotte can barely stand one another, Daniel offers them a deal they can’t refuse: if they agree to marry, he will save Alex’s family from financial ruin and grant Charlotte the freedom to go to college. Reluctantly the couple agrees, but in private they plot to annul the marriage as soon as possible.

But when Alex’s feelings change and he refuses to dissolve their contract, will Charlotte find a way out of her vows? Or will she discover that maybe this marriage isn’t so inconvenient after all?

Winners will be announced on Saturday, 06/18/11.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

RITA and Carol award nominee Kathleen Y’Barbo is now the best-selling award-winning author of more than forty novels, novellas, and young adult books. In all, more than one million copies of her books are currently in print in the US and abroad, and her books have been translated into Dutch, German, and Spanish, to name a few. Her next historical novel, THE INCONVENIENT MARRIAGE OF CHARLOTTE BECK (Waterbrook,), releases in June 2011 and has been named a Top Pick by Romantic Times magazine and given 4 1/2 stars.

Kathleen holds a BBA from Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School and a certification in Paralegal Studies, and is a member of the Texas Bar Association’s Paralegal Division. In addition, Kathleen also served exclusive publicist for Glass Road PR and Books & Such Literary Agency. A tenth-generation Texan, Kathleen Y'Barbo recently added her own hero in combat books and is proud to be a military wife even if it did mean giving up her Texas drivers license.

Did you see yourself becoming a writer as a child? If not, what did you dream of being?

Not at all. I was a voracious reader but never imagined I might one day actually write a book.

How long did you write before you sold your first book?

I wrote fulltime for four years and completed eight 100,000+ word novels before I sold my first book. And, no it wasn’t one of those eight books.

Many of the people who follow our blog are aspiring writers themselves. Can you share your favorite writing tip with them?

My favorite writing tip is to keep writing. Just put your rear in the chair and put words on the page. I promise if you show up, God will too. And what happens, eventually, will be beyond your wildest imagination.

Now for the readers…many times, it’s easy for them to connect with the characters in a book, but not so much the authors themselves. Share something about your day-to-day life that might help a reader to feel as though they know you a little better.

The daily life of a writer isn’t all excitement and glamor. Surprise? When I was single, every day was different. I might write all night for a week at a time then switch to writing daytimes in a coffee shop the next week. Now that I’m married, my schedule is must more regular in that I ususally write for a few hours in the morning, stopping when my husband comes home for lunch, and then a few hours in the afternoon. Once he’s home, I try not to get caught up in anything that involves the computer unless he’s otherwise occupied (meaning watching BBC’s Top Gear or playing Zelda-LOL!).

Now that you are published, do you still experience rejections? If so, how are these rejections different or similar to the ones you received before becoming published?

Of course there are still rejections.

Published authors get them in the form of line edits, book reviews, and sales numbers, just to name a few.

Tell us a little about your latest release:

An aristocratic astronomer out to save his family and a Denver heiress out to take on the world meet their match in THE INCONVENIENT MARRIAGE OF CHARLOTTE BECK, the latest historical romp in the Women of the West series from Kathleen Y'Barbo. From Buffalo Bill Cody and his Wild West Show's London debut to the Royal Observatory at Greenwich and the mining town of Leadville, Colorado, join Charlotte Beck and Viscount Hambly as they discover that sometimes love arrives at the most inconvenient of times. Read a sneak peek of the first three chapters at http://bit.ly/iWVjM8 to see why Romantic Times magazine gave the tale 4 ½ stars and named it a June Top Pick. In stores on June 21, or pre-order now at http://amzn.to/lWngDt!

If you could only share one line from THE INCONVENIENT MARRIAGE OF CHARLOTTE BECK, which one would you choose and why?

Of all my favorite lines in the book, I’m going to have to choose one from Viscount Hambly’s point of view. From his first meeting with Charlotte Beck, where she literally landed in his arms in the garden of a London townhouse , the American heiress with the noble pedigree has been nothing but trouble and vexation to him.

“Beck or not, she’s caused quite the scandal. It’s one thing to play at riding in a coach and quite another to stand behind a galloping cowboy in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show with your skirts flying.”

And as just a little bit of a cheat, I’ll offer my second favorite line, also spoken by Alex Hambly:

“Are you done roasting corsets or are there other items in your bag left to burn?”

Writers often put things in their books that are very personal—like a funny story that happened to them, a spiritual truth they learned through difficulty, or even just a character trait that is uniquely theirs. Is there something in THE INCONVENIENT MARRIAGE OF CHARLOTTE BECK that only people close to you know is about you or someone you know?

Actually, yes. Early on in the writing of the book, my husband gave me a list of obscure and somewhat odd words with a challenge to see how many of them I could fit into the novel. If you read the scene in the earl’s London library, you’ll find at least four of them. :-)

Readers often talk a lot about the hero and heroine of a story, but today I’d like to know something about your villain. Does he or she have a redeeming quality? Why or why not?

Interesting question. In the first draft of the novel, I actually had a villian in the form of a woman who vied for Alex’s attention. As it turned out, there was plot enough without including the lovely Kat, a fellow astronomer whose intentions went beyond stargazing. As villians go, however, she was great study in contrasts. Smart, witty, and funny, the only negative was the fact that she would stop at nothing to rid Viscount Hambly of any attention Charlotte Beck might show him.

What kind of research did you have to do for this book? Can you share some articles or website links you found particularly helpful?

Thanks to my children’s generous Christmas gift, I was able to do my London research by actually going to London and walking in the footsteps of my characters. At the time of my visit, my cousin and her husband lived in a flat in a ninetennth century building in Kensington, I had ample opportunities for experiencing that world.

Tell us what new projects you’re working on.

I just wrapped up a contemporary novel titled DADDY’S LITTLE MATCHMAKERS, my first in a Texas beach-themed series for Love Inspired, which releases in January 2012. Book 2 in the series is my next project, just as soon as I finish a historical proposal my agent and I are very excited about.

The most common thing I hear when people learned I’ve published a book is, “I’ve always wanted to do that.” Faced with this statement, what advice would you give to someone just starting out in this business?

DO IT! Seriously! Take the Nike approach and Just. Do. It. The thing about writing books is that when all is said and done, you either sat down and wrote or you didn’t.

What is the one question you were afraid I would ask…and how would you answer?

What a question! Okay, I was afraid you’d ask how much I weigh. The answer is just a smidge over 100 pounds. And, yes, I write fiction!!! :-)


Kathleen is giving away a copy of her book, The Incovenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck. Be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book on Friday for your chance to win!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mike Mason has been a full time writer for thirty years, with ten books to his credit, including The Gospel According to Job and the Gold Medallion winner The Mystery of Marriage. The Blue Umbrella, a children’s fantasy, was nominated for a Christy award in 2010. Mike has an M.A. in English Literature and has studied theology at Regent College in Vancouver. Married since 1982 to Karen, a family doctor, they live in Langley, British Columbia. Their one daughter, Heather, born in 1987, is pursuing dance studies. All in all Mike enjoys a simple life filled with family and friends, a dog, books, music, and prayer. More at www.mikemasonbooks.com.

Mike, I am so thrilled to have you on The Borrowed Book. I read THE BLUE UMBRELLA and loved it, and I am SO looking forward to the sequel. But enough gushing...let's talk about you. Did you see yourself becoming a writer as a child? If not, what did you dream of being?

I’ve wanted to be a writer since age 11, when I had an excellent English teacher who encouraged me. I’ve never wanted to be anything else—except a university professor of literature, which I thought might go well with writing. But after five years of university I knew I would never write there. I’ve gotten many things wrong in life, but one thing I got right from an early age was to stick to my writing dream and not allow anything else to interfere. So I deliberately did not develop a second career to fall back on.

How long did you write before you sold your first book?

Seven years. I
didn’t write seriously until I left university at age 25, and I sold my first book (THE MYSTERY OF MARRIAGE) at 32. It really was my first book—at least the first one I tried to get published—and I was very lucky because the first place I sent it to accepted it. In fact it was the first unsolicited manuscript that publisher (the old Multnomah Press) had ever accepted. During those first seven years of writing, I sold several short stories to little magazines, and completed two full-length books that I knew were not publishable. I’d also done some writing as a teenager, plus tons of university essays, so probably my apprenticeship amounted to about ten years, which I think is par for the course.

Many of the people who follow our blog are aspiring writers themselves. Can you share your favorite writing tip with them?

When I begin the day’s writing, I always start where I want to start. For example, in doing this interview, I started with the easiest question, the one for which I had an immediate answer. Then, once my fingers are moving over the keyboard, everything else tends
to fall into place. So when I’m writing a novel—and especially if I feel stuck—I don’t necessarily pick up where I last left off. I’ll write any scene, passage, or bit of dialogue that comes to mind, whatever my fingers seem to want to do. Once I’m moving, it’s much easier to go back to where I was stuck, or else just to leave that hard bit for another day—because the day will come when that is the bit I want to do.

Now for the readers…many times, it’s easy for them to connect with the characters in a book, but not so much the authors themselves. Share something about your day-to-day life that might help a reader to feel as though they know you a little better.

My first vocation is not really to writing but to prayer. Even though I’m married, I think of myse
lf as a kind of monk. Morning, afternoon, and last thing at night I devote to prayer, and in other ways I try to live a simple, contemplative life. Prayer is the thing I love to do best, and all my writing flows out of time with God. Good writing, I believe, requires a lot of space: space for just sitting, reflecting, reading, listening to music, looking out the window, drifting around the house, walking in nature. Words emerge from silence.

Now that you are published, do you still experience rejections? If so, how are these rejections different or similar to the ones you received before becoming published?

Since publishing my first book, all my other books have easily found homes—with two notable exceptions. One exception is a book I wrote about fifteen years ago called ADVENTURES IN HEAVEN, which I’ve never been able to get published. I’ve sent it
to about thirty publishers and several agents. A collection of visions of heaven, it seems to be too radical for anyone to handle. But of all my books, it’s the one I’ve most enjoyed writing, so it hurts that I cannot find an audience for it. However, I’m resigned to this, and I believe the day will come when it will be “discovered”—probably after my death! The other exception is my first children’s fantasy novel, THE BLUE UMBRELLA. With this book, too, I went through about thirty different publishers and two agents before it finally got published. Coming at a point when I’d been a successful writer for twenty years, this was VERY difficult. But I’d changed genres (from devotional books to fiction) and so I was trying to break into a new market. It was like beginning a whole new career. These two rejections later in life have been much harder than anything I faced in my early years. Youth is full of confidence, but now as I approach 60 I feel I should have my foot in the door—and it just isn’t so. No tenure in this business.

Tell us a little about your latest release:

THE VIOLET FLASH is the sequel to THE BLUE UMBRELLA. (To read a review of The Blue Umbrella click here.) Whereas the first book took place at Christmas, this one happens at Easter and has a different protagonist named Ches. But otherwise the setting is the same: a little town called Five Corners with an old general store called Porter’s that is filled with magic. The magic centers around a blue umbrella owned by the storekeeper, Sky Porter. As Book 2 opens, Ches’s sister, Chelsea, vanishes into a hole in the open umbrella! Ches, who cares about nobody but himself, is surprised to find how much he misses Chelsea. Her disappearance propels him on a journey of self-discovery. Adding to the mystery is the fact that seconds seem to be disappearing from the world’s atomic clocks, with dire effects on everything from air travel to stock markets. So the story is full of clocks and lore about time, including an attempt to prove Einstein wrong!

If you could only share one line from THE VIOLET FLASH, which one would you choose and why?

How about the very first sentence: “Chesterton Cholmondeley poked the bridge of his tortoiseshell glasses with one finger, a gesture he performed a few hundred times a day.”
.
I like to find one physical detail that sums up a character’s personality. In this case we get an immediate picture of someone who is a bit preposterous (that name!), and probably over-intellectual and preoccupied with himself. There’s a hint that he moves slowly (like a tortoise) and that he’s trying very hard to figure something out or to see something—hence he’s always adjusting his glasses. By the end of the book he has, in fact, learned to come out of his “shell” and to “see” much more clearly. I love layering my sentences with these sort of overtones and hidden suggestions.

Writers often put things in their books that are very personal—like a funny story that happened to them, a spiritual truth they learned through difficulty, or even just a character trait that is uniquely theirs. Is there something in THE VIOLET FLASH that only people close to you know is about you or someone you know?

Like my protagonist, Ches, I’m fascinated with celestial optical phenomena such as sundogs, northern lights, glories, or noctilucent clouds. If it’s raining and the sun is shining, you’ll find me outside searching the sky for a rainbow. In fact I have a fat file on rainbows that I hope to turn into a book some day. Or maybe I’ve already done it in THE VIOLET FLASH ... 

Readers often talk a lot about the hero and heroine of a story, but today I’d like to know something about your villain. Does he or she have a redeeming quality? Why or why not?

The villain in my first novel was evil through and through. I wanted him that way because there really are such people in the world. In THE VIOLET FLASH, however, I wanted to explore a totally different kind of villain, and so this one is much more complex. He is full of redeeming qualities, very likeable, and yet, like a tragic figure, one fatal flaw takes over his character and brings him down. This, too, is true to life.

What kind of research did you have to do for this book? Can you share some articles or website links you found particularly helpful?

I did research in two areas particularly: weather and time. The “violet flash” of the title is a meteorological phenomenon that requires very delicate weather conditions. You can see a rare photograph of a violet flash here. And this website has great photos of the more common phenomenon called the “green flash.” On the subject of time, I visited clock stores and read piles of books on Einstein, relativity, clockmaking, sundials, and so on. One of my favorite articles was “Clash of the Time Lords” from the December 2006 Harper’s Magazine. It’s full of fascinating details, a few of which found their way into my book, such as: “The length of a day in the Devonian era, 400 million years ago, was about twenty-two hours.” And here’s a cool website where you can view the “night terminator”—the shadow of night moving across the earth—just as I describe it on a special clock in THE VIOLET FLASH.

Tell us what new projects you’re working on.

Having completed two novels, along with the challenge of learning how to do it, I’m tired, so I’m taking a sabbatical year. But it’s not all rest. My days are filled with things that I could never get around to while working on a long book. Playing catch-up with my life, I call it. And I’m also putting a lot of time into publicity for the new book, and editing a dozen or so of my Christmas stories into a collection. For the future, of course, I have plans for a third novel in the fantasy series. And I’m gearing up to write a long novel in verse about angels. I’ve been dreaming about that one for years. My magnum opus!

The most common thing I hear when people learned I’ve published a book is, “I’ve always wanted to do that.” Faced with this statement, what advice would you give to someone just starting out in this business?

Just do it! Glue your butt to the chair and write one word after another. If you don’t have the self discipline to work at writing, then try just playing at it. Try some non-threatening form of writing such as journaling. All of my books have grown out of journaling. I write away in my journal about whatever I want, whatever happens to be on my mind, and after a while I’ll notice that my thoughts are heading in one direction. Before I know it, I have a book idea, for which a good deal of the writing is already done!

What is the one question you were afraid I would ask…and how would you answer?

I’m embarrassed about the fact that I don’t start work until about 4:00 p.m., or sometimes even 5:00. Years ago I wrote in the mornings, so I’m not quite sure how I got to this point. But since I started writing novels I tend to stay up very late, till about 2:00 a.m., because my mind is busy working out story details. I find fiction much more consuming than nonfiction, and if I started in the morning I might just keep on going all day long. So if I want to have a life apart from writing, it has to be before work, not after. From past experience I know that if I write more than 3 or 4 hours a day (that’s actual writing time, not counting research, planning, etc), I soon burn out.

Anything you’d like to add?

My book launch for THE VIOLET FLASH will be at the real Porter’s Store, just down the hill from where I live. I don’t call it a book launch, however, but a “Grand Opening,” because the main event is opening the book for the first time in public and reading from it aloud. I also have a beautiful blue umbrella (see photo) that I open to a round of applause as I say, “Gandalf has his staff, Luke Skywalker has his light saber, Harry Potter has his wand, and Sky Porter has his blue umbrella!”
.
Mike is giving away a copy of his book The Violet Flash. Be sure to stop by The Borrowed Book on Friday for your chance to win!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The art of modern communication is an art indeed.


The tone of an email is important. Sometimes we get only one chance to communicate with certain people and need to take particular care to make sure our tone can only be interpreted as positive. Make sure there is some warmth in the words, and that you address the recipient with kindness and professionalism. If you’re having a particularly bad day, or if you're short on time, it’s better to put off correspondence altogether rather than risk shooting off emails that might cast you in a bad light.

On the other side of this thing, we have the recipient. It's not easy to receive an email in which the tone is terse, angry, or projecting some other negative emotion. It is up to us to give the benefit of the doubt. The originator might not have intended the email to sound negative at all. Indeed, they might have been busy and dashed off a reply without much thought of anything other than plowing through the next project weighing on their mind and stacked on their desk.

The lesson in all this is to be extra careful in our communications. Make sure you show your heart in your words. The use of an emoticon or acronym can go a long way to dispel the perception of coldness. If someone consistently puts out emails that you are interpreting negatively, bring the subject to the originator’s attention in a way that is both kind and helpful. They might not realize or intend for their fingers to sound as if they’re talking back.

Have you ever received an email in which you felt the originator’s tone was unpleasant? How did you handle it?


Monday, June 13, 2011

I first saw this video on the AuthorCulture blog. It's disturbingly and hilariously accurate, and if you're a writer I strongly recommend you watch it, if only for a well-deserved laugh:



The Horrors of Stage Five

Currently I'm in Stage Five for my first completed manuscript. It's quite a leap from Stage Four to Stage Five, as many of you writers out there know!

Thankfully many of our critique partners and those kind enough to actually read through our first drafts are not nearly as cruel as the ones who left big red X's all over the pages of this poor fellow's manuscript. ;) But it can still be a scary, horrifying, and depressing thing to see just how much work our stories need in order to be presentable.

Our stories seem such lovely things, shining in the sunlight of our triumph upon completion of the first draft. And so they are! (Well, at least I like to think so, after all the work put into them!) But they can still be polished and even re-molded a little to refine them into stories that will be even more beautiful. So I'm learning that Stage Five doesn't have to be all darkness and hopelessness...

Leave the Forest For A While

When you find yourself taking that step from Stage Four to Stage Five, it's easy to get lost in the sudden shadows of the forest of edits. You can run from page to page, struck by the shortcomings you, with your limited perspective, had never noticed before. And you can feel like an utter failure.

I was recently given some great advice on how to handle that initial shock: Step away from the story. Leave the marked pages in the forest for a while. Go play in the sunshine. Those pages will still be there when you get back.

Now, I'll be completely honest with you--I haven't yet gone back to the forest. It's been several weeks since I got the very kind and helpful comments and edits from a dear friend. (Believe me--if all critique partners were like her, the editing forest would be a lot less terrifying! My "shock" was buffered by encouragement and understanding, so thank you so, so much to the person who helped me, because you know who you are!)

Yet, someday (hopefully soon!), if it's God's will, I want to go back. I want to brave that forest.

Why?

A Story Worth Fighting For

Generally when any of my writing gets critiqued, I want to either:

1. Reject the criticism.

2. Give up.

Or...

3. Make the smallest amount of change necessary.

But this time it's different. This is a story I've had on my heart for a long time. It's a manuscript I've worked on off and on for years. To me, it's a story worth fighting for, and unless God lets me know otherwise, I want to fight for it.

Yes, I want to fight!

I want to my story to be the best that it should be. I won't settle for mediocrity! (Should this be the BB's new team cheer?)

Seriously, I'm kind of scared to post this. I don't want to be a hypocrite by writing all this down and then never getting around to fixing up my manuscript. If that does happen, please forgive me.

But by writing this post today, I hope that even one person might be encouraged to battle through Stage Five and find a grand, uncharted, thrilling Stage Six someday. Even if that one person turns out to be just me. ;)

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Historical Romantic Suspense

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