Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Story Time . . . Stars in the Night by Cara Putman


Wow, this is the first time in a while I've had a Tuesday not scheduled with an interview or giveaway! I love giving exposure to my author friends, but I'm also glad to get to chat books again. =) And hey, chatting books is exposure for my author friends!

Lately I've been doing something I've never done before in my life--reading multiple books at once. Mostly because I've been reading one digitally on my hubby's tablet. =) But the one I've been reading in book form is Cara Putman's Stars in the Night.

I had Cara on here for a giveaway in July, and her book sounded so awesome that I--Miss Why Buy a Book When I Get More Than I Can Read From Publishers Anyway--ordered a copy. That's saying a lot right there.

And it was money well spent. Though I (embarrassingly) haven't finished it yet (I can count on one hand the minutes of spare time I've had this last month . . .), it's soooooo good.

Stars in the Night has it all--the glamor of '40s Hollywood, the mystery of who killed the heroine's sister, the sweet, faithful, but terribly shaken Audra out for justice at any cost, and the troubled but smooth Robert who's trying to decide how far he can go to make his acting career soar.

When Audra lands a job chaperoning the second Hollywood Victory Caravan, which is touring the country to sell war bonds, she knows that somewhere on that train is her sister's murderer. But she knows that mystery and murder aren't the only dangers awaiting her--if she can't keep her emotions toward Robert in check, the consequences don't bear thinking about.

Doesn't it just sound fabulous? I love how Cara transports us to another era, one where the beautiful and the ugly coexist in the same skin, where the careful picture Hollywood creates reveals the knotted stitches holding its costume in place. And where two people have to determine where faith forces them to draw the line. In a world of ambition and lies, can love ever find a foothold? Can it survive the deadly secrets crashing down around it?

I'm really looking forward to the conclusion of this book, and you can rest assured that I'll take the time to exclaim some more about it once I carve out the necessary hours to finish it.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Modern . . . Make Believe

It's an interesting dichotomy. In historicals, we're told we have to stick to recorded facts where we can, but anything not recorded we're free to play with. I'm mostly cool with that. But in contemporaries, it's a little different, right? History's being recorded as we speak, and there's very little these days that goes unnoticed. But still we novelists need room to work. So . . .

More often than not, we create within the bounds of our world but take liberties. Like, oh, towns. This is one that comes up often on the ACFW loop. Rather than set a book in a real life town and risk getting it wrong, we often choose fictional settings near real places. That gives us the freedom to put a coffeeshop wherever we please but still describe landscape and climate with accuracy.

There are exceptions to this, of course. If you want to set a book in a place you know very well, the risk of "getting it wrong" is far, far less. So go for it. And cities are also an exception, since they generally encompass more of what we need for a story.

I've done both in my books. Note to Self I set in Annapolis and Arnold, MD--a place I lived for six years. For that story I could work very well within the confines of reality, and I had fun sending my characters on short-cuts I'd driven and to restaurants I'd walked past daily while in college. In Yesterday's Tides, I wanted an authentic Outer Banks town, but things down there change so rapidly I knew I'd better create one. So I named a town after the island (Bodie) and nestled it in the dunes between Southern Shores and Duck where really there's a stretch of nothing. Then I was free to plop down whatever church I pleased, have a restaurant wherever I needed it, place an inn there, etc.

That said, I get really excited when I find a book--historical or contemporary--set in my neck of the woods. Sometimes they name places I know, which is awesome, and sometimes I get to try to figure out where their fictional town is in relation to the places I know so well. Always fun when an author does it well.

Winner!

And the winner of the t-shirt featuring K. Dawn Byrd's Killing Time is . . .

Annette! (derekannette@ . . .)

Congrats! I just sent you an email.

Friday, August 27, 2010

My Friend Sarah Sundin - Interview & Giveaway

Y'all are in for a treat today! I had so much fun with Sarah Sundin when she visited the blog a few months ago to talk about A Distant Melody that I couldn't resist having her back to talk about its sequel, A Memory Between Us. It releases is just a couple days, so consider this a sneak peak. You're not going to want to miss this one!

Sarah's graciously offered a copy of A Memory Between Us to one lucky reader, so leave your comments below with an email address. (You must be a follower to enter.)

~*~


About A Memory Between Us

Major Jack Novak has never failed to meet a challenge—until he meets army nurse Lieutenant Ruth Doherty. When Jack lands in the army hospital after a plane crash, he makes winning Ruth's heart a top-priority mission. But he has his work cut out for him. Not only is Ruth focused on her work in order to support her orphaned siblings back home, she also is determined not to give her heart to any man.

As the danger and tension of World War II rise to a fever pitch, Jack and Ruth will need each other more than ever. Can Jack break down her defenses? Or are they destined to go their separate ways?

From the English countryside to the perilous skies over France, A Memory Between Us takes you on a journey through love, forgiveness, and sacrifice.

~*~

About Sarah

Sarah Sundin lives in northern California with her husband and three children. When she isn’t ferrying kids to soccer and karate, she works on-call as a hospital pharmacist and teaches Sunday school. Her first novel, A Distant Melody, published by Revell in March 2010.

~*~

What's your latest book?

A Memory Between Us releases 1 September 2010 from Revell.

And can I just say how excited I am to read this?? Come on, Revell, send me my copy! ;-) What's your favorite part of the story?

So much of this story wrote itself. Any time I put Jack and Ruth in the same room, the banter flew. I just transcribed their dialogue. It was a lot of fun.

Don't you love it when that happens? But it's never ALL fun and witty banter--what was the hardest part to write?

Near the end when Ruth had to face her great ordeal. The poor thing had been through so much in the story so far, and I found myself wanting to back off and resolve the scene early. But I couldn’t. I had to keep pushing the scene and pushing Ruth to the brink, because I knew only when she faced her darkest moment would she see the truth she needed. Argh. I think the Lord must have similar feelings when we go through trials. He knows the lessons we’ll learn, which is why He lets us stay there, but it must grieve Him.

That is a truly great analogy. What do you hope your readers will get out of the story?

I never write a novel with a message in mind, but I do hope my readers will learn from my characters’ experiences. Shame serves a purpose—to bring you to ask God’s forgiveness—but when it persists after forgiveness, that’s not God talking. Shame burdens so many people and holds them back from the wonderful plans God has for them. I hope my readers will learn to truly accept forgiveness, shove off shame, and allow God to use them. I also hope they see the insidious nature of pride and learn to trust in the Lord a bit more each day.

Beautiful. What's your favorite genre to write? To read?

I wrote two contemporary romances. Really bad ones. Those were my “starter” books. Lately I’ve been drawn to writing historical fiction/romance, and I don’t see that changing for a while. As a reader, I gravitate toward the classics, women’s fiction, and contemporary or historical fiction—preferably with a strong romantic thread. I also love a good suspense novel and anything with humor.

Three cheers for romantic threads! =) What are you reading right now—and what do you want to read next?

I just finished Lost Mission by Athol Dickson (amazing!) and started Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz (which is beautiful so far). My To Be Read pile overfloweth. And I like it that way.

You want to talk overflowing, you should get a load of the 250 books awaiting reviews on MY shelves, LOL. And speaking of shelves . . . what would your dream office look like—and what does your REAL writing environment look like?

This is fun! I’m in the process of carving out my own office right now. Our den has served as guest room/sewing room/husband’s office for years, but I rarely sew any more, and our oldest son is going away to college in September. His room will now be the guest room when he’s away. We’re putting in a lovely large L-shaped desk with a hutch and a tackboard, an extra bookcase for all my research books, and a cushy, ergonomic chair. I’m so excited. It’ll be much more efficient than working at the dining room table.

Ooooo, that sounds sweet! Hopefully your son doesn't feel replaced by your writing. And that is my brilliant segue into the next question. Any funny family stories about living with a writer?

Real conversation overheard during carpool between my fourteen-year-old daughter and her BFF. BFF was complaining about walking in on her dad, who was talking to the bunny. BFF was horribly embarrassed. My teen: “You think that’s bad? My mom talks to her computer! To her characters! And they’re not even real!” BFF: “Okay. You win.”

That made me chuckle. My daughter's still young enough that she also talks about my characters as if they're real. Not looking forward to the day when she realizes her mom's just a nut. Anyway. What are you writing right now?

I just turned the third book in the Wings of Glory series in to my editor, and now I’m working on another series, also set during World War II.

~*~

Thanks so much for coming by again, Sarah!! Everybody, be sure to check out her website and blog. You can find A Memory Between Us at Amazon, ChristianBook, B&N, and Borders.

Void where prohibited. Entry into the contest is considered verification of eligibility based on your local laws. Contest ends 9/2/10. Winners will have two weeks to claim prizes.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Giveaway Extravaganza Winners!


Well I don't know about all of you, but I really had a blast with this huge giveaway. It was so fun to see all the new faces who showed up, get some feedback on my blog, and hear your comments on everything from my story to how adorable Julie Lessman is. (Which is SO true!;-)

Yesterday I prepared for the winner-selection by writing everyone's name and choices down on little slips of paper, which went into a plastic bowl.

This morning, my beautiful daughter did the honors of pulling out seven slips of paper. So without further ado, my winners are . . .

For Option 1, the 30-page critique by moi:
Rich Lopez!

For Option 2, the decorative plaque and copy of While You Slept:
Emma! (augustlily06@ . . .)

For Option 3, all that Stray Drop gear:
Anne Payne!

For Option 4, the Teen Dream pack:
Julia Reffner!

For Option 5, a copy of The Healer's Apprentice:
Sandee61!

For Option 6, your choice of one Julie Lessman's books:
Heather! (busymommy01@ . . .)

and for Option 7, the B&H suspense quartet:
Lotus82!

Congrats, everyone! I'm going to be sending you each emails, so please check your inboxes. If anyone doesn't reply within one week, I'll pick a new winner for that prize.

A big thanks to everyone for participating in my anniversary celebration! I hope you all come back to Writing Roseanna regularly so we can get to know each other better. =)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Remember When . . . They Just Didn't Get It?

One of the things I found interesting when comparing Persian history as told by the Greeks versus Persian history as told by the Persians is their understanding of the whole polygamous thing. (And I'm not awake yet, so let's hope this makes sense.)

There are a few places where Herodotus makes mention of Xerxes' "illegitimate sons" who came with him to the war. Now, given that Xerxes was only in his late thirties during the war, and yet he had a son of marriageable age, we know they must have gotten early starts on their families in Persia--confirmed when his eldest son, Darius, gets married, though he couldn't be more than 20. It's perfectly reasonable that these "illegitimate sons" mentioned are in their late teens. Even more likely is that, rather than being "illegitimate," they're really just the sons of other wives.

See, whenever Greeks mention the king's wife, they mean the queen. They will occasionally reference concubines, and I recall one mention of the word "harem." But they didn't seem to grasp that the other wives were legal, and that hence their children were legitimate. Curious, eh?

I had to look up as much as I could find on concubines, and all the sources I located agreed that concubines were legal wives, though their contracts were "lesser." So far as historians could tell, this was because they didn't have dowries. But their children could inherit.

To further the complication, Persians (at least royal ones) seem to have no concept of incest. Or very limited, anyway. I assume (please, God) offspring was off-limits, but siblings sure weren't. I actually read a line that said something like "So and so figured his claim to the throne was even stronger than his brother's, since he was married to their mutual half-sister." All together now: ew!

All this just goes to show how hard it is to judge a culture not by the standards of ours, but by their own understanding. So when a Persian has an affair with his niece, by their standards it isn't terrible because of the family connection, but simply for the adultery. Which is bad enough, but our sensibilities still recoil.

Needless to say, I had quite a challenge when writing a Persian hero whose moral compass pointed a different direction than what I was used to.

Winner!

And the winner of Exposed by Ashley Weis is . . .

Sheila! (true_sheila@ . . .)

Congrats, Sheila! I'm sending you an email now.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Story Time with Erin Rainwater - Interview


I've been trying for months to feature Erin Rainwater on my blog, but we kept running into technical difficulties. So finally, it is with great delight that I welcome this lovely woman to Writing Roseanna!


~*~

About Erin

A writer of historical fiction, Erin Rainwater is a Pennsylvania native who probably should have been born in the 19th century but somehow got flash-forwarded into the 20th. There was never any question she would be a nurse when she grew up, regardless of which century she was in. She launched her nursing career in the U.S. Army, serving during the
Vietnam War era. Erin was privileged to care for the bodies and spirits of soldiers and veterans, including repatriated POWs and MIAs. She has incorporated some of her military experiences into her writing. Her support of the military is ongoing, and one of her favorite pastimes is volunteering at the USO in Denver. She participated in Operation Desert Swap, having “adopted” a soldier in a medevac unit in Iraq to whom she sent a copy of her Civil
War novel, True Colors, for reading and swapping with his fellow troops.

Erin is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the Military Writers Society
of America, who awarded her a 2009 Gold Medal in Historical Fiction. She lives in
Colorado with her husband of thirty-six years. She has four children and the four most adorable
grandchildren on the planet.


~*~

About Refining Fires

Her career in ruins, a desperate nurse answers an ad to care for a disabled veteran.

Disfigured in the war, the antisocial businessman can’t get his mind off the nurse he
had tossed out of his home.

A young child who never leaves the confines of her mountain home must make a
treacherous journey alone to save her mother’s life.

A woman kept by men all her life learns through an old love that she has been kept
all along by Someone else.

~*~

What's your latest book?

Refining Fires released in both print and eBook format in July 2010 from Torn Veil Books, a new Christian publisher in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I appreciate them so much for taking a chance on a book others turned down. It’s unique in that it’s made up of three parts, each with its own protagonist, although by the end God has woven their lives together in ways none of them could have predicted.

The first story is “Refining Fire” and is a love story between a disfigured, bitter veteran and a nurse with a disreputable professional past. But his anger can’t match her pluck, and before long not only is his body being renewed but his soul is yearning for a life he couldn’t dream of.

Then, “Blind Courage” introduces a young girl who must dig deep within herself to find the courage needed to face tremendous challenges and overwhelming fear to save her mother’s life.

The third is the story of a “Kept Woman,” of how she got to that point, and of how she learns about just “who” it is who’s been keeping her all along. Paths cross and lives intertwine, showing how God’s hand is ever on us, leading and refining as we go. Three stories of people seeking redemption, all rolled into one larger story. Just like how our lives are made up of smaller journeys that are part of the “big picture” that God controls.

Oh, that sounds awesome--I LOVE the premise! I've read a few books that take you on similar paths, and it's so sweet to get to the end and see how they all come together! What's your favorite part of the story?

Tough question. But I believe it’s the moment the hero, Peter Cochran, finally realizes the difference between loving someone and just wanting her. He’s never loved sacrificially before.

What was the hardest part to write?

The entire third story. I didn’t even want to write it. But this character’s story needed told, and she needed redemption in her life. Neither she nor the Lord would let me off the hook. I can’t express how glad I am that I caved in and wrote it. It’s quite a moving story, and the most gospel-containing story of any I’ve ever written.

Well, I'm intrigued! What do you hope your readers will get out of the story?

The fact that God’s hand is always upon us, no matter how it looks to the contrary. His love sometimes takes the form of discipline, as Peter learns, to impede our progress from what is dangerous to our physical and spiritual lives. His children are never, ever, out of his care.

Is there a theme to this book?

Each character undergoes redemption in one form or another. One is redeemed from professional ruin. One from his bitterness and prodigal status. One from her fears. One from her sin. I guess you could say, then, that there’s a theme of Redemption.

Yep, I'd say so. =) So what's your favorite genre to write? To read?

Historical love stories, both to read and to write.

Oh, blissful sigh. I'm right there with you. Now, time to dish--what's one of the oddest or most interesting things someone has ever said about you?

A couple of years ago my daughter and I applied to be contestants on The Amazing Race. One of the application questions was “What famous person does your race partner remind you of?” My daughter put down that I reminded her of Judge Judy. Judge Judy! I was flabbergasted. “Am I that judgmental?” I asked my daughter. But she told me she thinks of Judge Judy as smart, fair, and a good judge of character. So my shock was assuaged. Since then I’ve seen interviews with the judge, and I, too, am impressed by that woman.

LOL. Great story. Are there any people (family, writing group, editors) who you rely on when writing?

I was hesitant to join a critique group. I hear “critique” but think “criticize.” But I took the leap and was blessed by becoming part of a wonderful, loving and very knowledgeable bunch of ladies who are now considered my good friends. I have learned so much from them; I can’t even begin to think what my story would be like without the benefit of their input.

I know exactly what you mean! I'm not sure how I ever wrote a book without my critters. Now, here's a fun one. If someone were to give you $5,000 to spend on anything you wanted, what would you buy? (No saving of gifts to charities allowed!)

First I’d go to a day spa and get a massage, a facial, a makeover and my first ever mani-pedi. Then I’d road trip with my husband, probably starting with places in Colorado I’ve yet to see despite living here for twenty-three years. Then we’d travel back East to some Civil War sites. Then Disney World. Then I’d wake up from my nap and remember I have $5,000 worth of car repairs that need done and head for the shop. So sad.

I say go with the dream, and let me come with you! ;-)

~*~

Thanks for visiting (finally, LOL), Erin! Everyone be sure to check out her website at www.ErinRainwater.com. You can purchase Refining Fires at Amazon.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Modern . . . Surprises

In the last year or so, I've taken to writing a summary of a book as soon as the idea strikes. There have been times I've stuck nearly exactly to that initial outline. And other times . . . well, I don't. =)

For my contemporary romantic suspense with the Bedouin woman and the ex-SEAL, I'd originally intended the hero's father to not get along with the heroine right away. My thinking was that it would add an unexpected level of tension. She'd have to win him over with her sweet spirit. Prove he had no reason to be wary of her, and that he ought not judge her.

The thing is, when the Admiral got a load of her the first time, he just refused to judge her. Instead, he judged those who had misused her and immediately became one of her fiercest protectors--even against his son, who is a fabulous man but who doesn't fully understand what the heroine needs in each moment.

Yeah, the Admiral kinda threw me for a loop with that. How was I going to maintain the tension? Thankfully, the sweet sister, Peaches, stepped into the gap. She was more than willing to sneak into the heroine's room and give her the "You mess with mine and you'll find out how sweet I'm not" speech. Not that she doesn't like the heroine, mind you, she's just wary.

Someone had to be!

In a way, this is a lot like first impressions. My hubby's philosophy is "My first impressions are always wrong." They're not always, but they seem to be spectacularly. His best friends now he didn't necessarily like the first time they met. Just one of life's surprises.

Has anyone--fictional or real--ever thrown you for a loop like that?

Winner!

And the winner of DeAnna Julie Dodson's In Honor Bound is . . .

Karen K! (kmkuka@ . . .)

Congrats, Karen! I'm sending you an email.

Friday, August 20, 2010

My Friend K. Dawn - Interview & Giveaway

Today let's welcome K. Dawn Byrd to talk about her latest e-book, Killing Time. She's graciously offered a t-shirt with the book cover on the front to one lucky reader, so please leave your comment below, with an email address where I can reach you. You must be a follower to enter.

~*~

About K. Dawn Byrd

K. Dawn Byrd is an author of inspirational romance and romantic suspense. Queen of Hearts, a WWII romantic suspense released in April and was the bestselling book for her publisher during its debut month. Killing Time, a contemporary romantic suspense, released August 1, both with Desert Breeze Publishing.

K. Dawn Byrd is an avid blogger and gives away several books per week on her blog at www.kdawnbyrd.blogspot.com, most of which are signed by the authors. She's also the moderator of the popular Facebook Christian Fiction Gathering.

When not reading or writing, K. Dawn Byrd enjoys spending time with her husband of 15 years, walking their dogs beside a gorgeous lake near her home while plotting the next story waiting to be told.

~*~

About Killing Time

Mindy McLaurin, thinks it's the end of the world when she's incarcerated on trumped-up embezzlement charges. While in jail, she investigates the death of an inmate who allegedly died of an overdose. Mindy suspects foul play when her cellmate dies and she learns that both women had ingested the same drug. Mindy trusts no one, including Drew Stone, the handsome counselor she can’t stop thinking about. She faces many challenges, including constant interrogation by the Major and emotional abuse from the other inmates. Upon release, someone is stalking her and framing her for the murder. Can she prove to Counselor Stone that she’s innocent of all charges before she loses him forever?

~*~

What's your latest book?


Killing Time
Desert Breeze Publishing, August 2010

It sounds intriguing! What's your favorite part of the story?

My favorite part of the story is my heroine's spiritual journey as she is wrongly accused and incarcerated. Even though she becomes angry with God at times, she remains strong in her faith.

I've wondered on occasion what I would do in such a situation. It would be such a trial--but through that, God so often reached us and teaches us! What was the hardest part to write?

The hardest part to write was the "show-down" scene toward the end. Without giving much away, I'll say that I rewrote it many times, attempting to bring the emotions and thoughts of Mindy onto the page as she's held against her will and almost murdered.

I rewrite my show-downs frequently, LOL. Gotta get it just right, right? What do you hope your readers will get out of the story?

I hope my readers will be encouraged as they experience my heroine's struggles. She's not perfect. As I mentioned earlier, she becomes angry with God, but she retains her faith. I hope that my readers will see that no matter what, God is with us, even in our darkest hour.

Is there a theme to this book?

The theme is that even though bad things happen to God's people, He is faithful. He is always there.

Amen to that! What's your favorite genre to write? To read?

My favorite genre to read and write is suspense. Throw in a little romance and we've got a deal. I especially like the books that have unexpected plot twists. Throw me a zinger! With my books, you can expect the unexpected.

Just what I like to hear! Zingers make the world go round. ;-) What are you reading right now—and what do you want to read next?

I'm busy reading and critiquing the work of a well known inspirational author. I'm her eyes before she sends her manuscript to her publisher. I enjoy reading books from my publisher, Desert Breeze Publishing, because their books are clean, well-written stories. I just finished Tina Pinson's Manor of the Ghost and really enjoyed it.

Another book that sounds so intriguing! (I need to get some more e-books now that we have a reader . . .) Okay, fun question. What's one of the oddest or most interesting things someone has ever said about you?

I'll throw out the most interesting, which was also the greatest compliment. While a student at Liberty University, I was required to take a Group Process class. In this class, the students are actually the counseling group members. At the end of the week-long group, we went around the circle and said goodbye to each other. The woman beside of me told me that I had the most calming voice that she'd ever heard and that she felt "safe" just sitting next to me. By "safe," she meant that she was able to share a particularly traumatic incident in her life.

Wow! Now we're all going to give you a call so we can hear this soothing voice . . . ;-) What would your dream office look like—and what does your REAL writing environment look like?

My husband is a TV person and I'm not. Unfortunately, I must have total peace and quiet when I write, which means that I have to write in another room. He remodeled a room in our 1920s house several years ago and turned it into a library for my book collection. At the moment, our kitchen is under renovation and all the building supplies are stacked in that room. I've been writing propped up in bed. I'll be glad to get my library/writing room back.

My hubby and I are much the same way, but I've had to learn to write with noise (two small children, you know). Here's hoping your get your space back soon! What lessons have you learned through the publication process that you wouldn't have guessed as a pre-published writer?

I've learned that marketing is a necessary evil that never ends. As a newbie author, I've put a lot of time into establishing a web presence. I never would have guessed how much time goes into filling out blog interviews. I'm not complaining...I'm thankful for every one! The only negative is that they take time away from my favorite pursuit, writing. Also, my blog takes time away from my writing schedule. Be sure and check it out. I give away three to five book a week, most of them signed by the author: www.kdawnbyrd.blogspot.com.


If someone were to give you $5,000 to spend on anything you wanted, what would you buy? (No saving of gifts to charities allowed!)

It wouldn't quite pay for the project I have in mind, but I'd use it to build a room on the back of our house. We hope to complete that project next summer since the kitchen is taking all of our time and energy this year.

What writing goal have you set for yourself that would be the hardest (or unlikeliest) but most rewarding to achieve?

Last year, I completed the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge. NaNoWriMo challenges authors to write 50,000 words and occurs every month in November. I plan to tackle it again this year. It was extremely difficult to complete that task due to life getting in the way, but I was successful. My April release, Queen of Hearts,was written during NaNoWriMo.

~*~

Thanks for visiting! Readers, you can find K. Dawn Byrd's books fully linked for purchase at Desert Breeze Publishing. And don't forget to check out her blog at www.kdawnbyrd.blogspot.com.

Void where prohibited. Entry into the contest is considered verification of eligibility based on your local laws. Contest ends 8/26/10. Winners will have two weeks to claim prizes.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thoughtful About . . . Photo Shoots

I intended to wax philosophical and thoughtful this morning--not that I knew what I was going to be all brilliant about, but I figured I was due for some profound thoughts. ;-) Then I thought maybe I'd mention my friend Kimberly who's coming up this weekend, perhaps link y'all to her awesome toy-making blog, Lord Circus (the toy-making's awesome--the blog just started).

But then friend Dina ruined those goals by sending me an email telling me to look up Christian Agha Photography on Facebook, as he has apparently volunteered to take the photos of the young woman who also volunteered to model for my book cover. Now I'm far too excited about the shoot happening over the next few days to be concerned with wowing you all with my deep thoughts.

Because, let's face it, book covers are crucial. I am super-duper excited to be working with Tekeme Studios again, because George did a fabulous job with A Stray Drop of Blood. But since I can't very well beg his wife to model for every single cover WhiteFire has him design (snicker, snicker), finding a new model was my worry this time. So special thanks to above-mentioned friend Dina for finding me not one, but THREE girls willing to volunteer their time for the sheer fun of having their face on a book cover. And for finding an awesome photographer working for a song, too! How in the world did you manage that, Dina?? ;-)

Basically, Roseanna is excited. And, as always, a little nervous. My hubby said something about the weirdness of relying on volunteers for all this, but to me, it's confirmation that we're on the right track, that these fellow believers are taking of their time to help me out--and you can bet if there's anything I can do for them in return, I'll be quick to offer!

That's what I love about the Church, which we see so often in the Christian publishing world--we help each other. We love each other, even when we don't know each other. We're working for a common goal, and so we don't mind giving a little in order to get the message out to others. We promote each other, work for each other, serve each other, just like Jesus instructed us to do. So thank you, all you wonderful people helping my dream become reality. Thank you for helping me get my stories out there. And thank you, Lord, for leading me to the right people at the right time.

God rocks, doesn't He? =)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Winner!

And the winner of DeAnna Julie Dodson's Letters in the Attic is . . .

Jan Marie! (janmarien@ . . .)

Congrats! I'm sending you an email now.

Remember When . . The Story Stopped?


So, just wrote a book about Esther, right? (Okay, more about another wife in the harem, but Esther was there too, and important.) Based it partially, obviously, on the book of the Bible named after her. Which stops in the twelfth year of her hubby's reign.

Assuming said hubby is Xerxes, that means he was killed 8 years later. Esther would have been, in all likelihood, in her early twenties when she was widowed. Ever wonder what happened to her after that?

While reading Jewel of Persia, my hubby asked that question and demanded I figure it out. ;-) He offered his opinions on where she'd be likely to go, what she would likely encounter. And I gotta tell you--it's intriguing to consider.

See, my reading of Esther, to go along with the history we have on Xerxes, requires that Vashti (a.k.a Amestris) is not killed, just deposed. I have to read it this way, because Amestris was Queen Mother during her son's reign, after Xerxes' assassination. Now, assuming all I do . . . can you imagine?? Can you imagine being the queen one day, then the next not only is your husband dead, but you're under the control of the woman you replaced? A woman notorious for being bloodthirsty and cruel?

Yeah, um. I'm guessing Esther didn't stick around the palace and hope that her marriage contract would see her set up in luxury for the rest of her days. I'm guessing she got out of Susa--fast.

But my little brain still has lots of questions it's mulling over. What about Mordecai? Would he have fled too? (Probably.) Would Artaxerxes, well known for his kindness to the Jews (see Ezra and Nehemiah) have helped her or taken his overbearing mother's side? (My answer--both, depending on who's in the room, ha ha.) Where would they have gone? How long did she live? Did she ever remarry?

Which leads to a whole new realm of "Can you imagine?" questions. Like, can you imagine going into hiding, probably not letting anyone know who you are, then eventually having to confess to a would-be second husband that you're the widow of Xerxes? As in, the former king? That you were the Esther??

Oh yeah. Many, many interesting plot points in the making. Roseanna is going to have so much fun with this! LOL.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Story Time with Ashley Weis - Interview & Giveaway

My goodness, it's giveaway central here on Writing Roseanna lately, isn't it? Lucky you. ;-)

Today I'm so happy to welcome Ashley Weis to my blog. I met Ashley at the ACFW conference last year--we saw each other at the airport in Baltimore but didn't realize we were headed to the same place until we got out of the SuperShuttle at the hotel together. We quickly compared schedules and realized we'd be flying home together too, so decided to sit together on the flight back from Denver.

That three-plus hour flight turned into a definite God-thing. Ashley's husband is now the designer of the WhiteFire book covers--so kudos on the awesome image of A Stray Drop of Blood goes to him--and Ashely herself was sweet enough to model for us, so the Abigail you see on my cover is actually her. =)

Ashley's debut book is releasing in September, and I know this is a book that digs deep into the heart. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy! It didn't take much conversation to realize that Ashley is a woman of incredible talent and passion, and I'm honored to help her in promotion.

Ashley's offering a complimentary copy to one lucky reader. To enter for a chance to win it, please leave a comment below with an email address. You must be a follower to enter.

~*~

About Exposed
(from Ashley's website)


Porn shreds the Happily Ever After page from the story of marriage. Then, it goes back to the beginning to tear out page after page on the way. When it’s trashed all of the marriage it can, it perforates the heart and with the gentleness of a murderer … porn rips out love.

That's the story of Jessie and Ally Graham, a married couple struggling to cope after porn rips their marriage to pieces. They are not perfect, but they are real.

As you follow the story of Jessie and Ally you will also read the story of Taylor Adams, a young girl who naively falls into the porn industry and discovers how harmful it can be.

Throughout the pages of Exposed you will see the aching truths hidden behind the porn industry’s mask. Taylor's story is not reality for every porn star, but it is for many. I have chosen to omit language and details to protect the minds of my readers, but the porn industry can be much, much worse than it is portrayed in these pages. Also, the wife’s story may seem melodramatic to some, but it is loosely based off of my story and the story of many women who write to me. No story is the same and some may be better or worse than the lives I’ve chosen to show in these pages, but for many of us … these stories are painfully real.

~*~

What's your latest book?

Exposed: A Novel (Winslet Press) September 2010

I'm so excited about this book! What's your favorite part of the story?

Well, ultimately I’d have to go with the ending. I love the redemptive qualities of it. But there are pieces throughout that stick with me. I love a lot of the flashbacks of Ally and Jessie’s marriage. Their romance is beautiful.

Guess you can't go into too much detail about that ending, huh? ;-) What was the hardest part to write?

Honestly, this book flew right outta my fingers! It lived inside of me and needed to breathe, so it never gave me time to slow down. I’d say, for me, the emotional parts were difficult to write though. My critiquer (Mary DeMuth) always told me to elongate those scenes. I guess naturally I didn’t want to “go there.” But Mary helped bring it out of me.

Critters are invaluable like that--and if Mary critiques half as well as she writes, she's definitely worth listening to! What do you hope your readers will get out of the story?

Truth, even when it hurts. And that there is beauty after rain and purpose in our suffering.

Ah, "Beauty After Rain" is your tagline--love that. Is there a theme to this book?

Redemption. Love overcomes all things.

What's your favorite genre to write? To read?

To write? Not women’s fiction, believe it or not! I like to write non-CBA contemporary fiction. And I like to read contemporary fiction. I’m not a huge women’s fiction fan, even though I ended up writing a novel that is 100% women’s fiction.

Just goes to show that you never know what the Lord might impress upon you, eh? What are you reading right now—and what do you want to read next?

Actually, I’m reading nothing but the Bible. I’ve read so much lately. I just need a break to focus on Him. I just finished Mary DeMuth’s beautiful novel, Life in Defiance. Gina Holmes’ Crossing Oceans. Those were both amazing novels. Next, I want to read something different, something unique. Not sure what that is yet.

Have you tried Lisa Samson? I have a feeling you might like her stuff. But let's shift it up a bit and ask a fun question: What would your dream office look like—and what does your REAL writing environment look like?

Oddly, they are the same – my couch!

Sweet! Is there any one thing or reference you keep handy when writing? Anything you kept around for this particular book?

Mary DeMuth. =)

Can we pick her up at the local supercenter? ;-) What lessons have you learned through the publication process that you wouldn't have guessed as a pre-published writer?

Phew. That people aren’t always what they seem. That it’s much more businessy than you initially think. How much an author is required to market their own book even with a publisher. All of it. The entire process. All of the querying, the rejections, the process the board goes through, agent details¾all of it. It’s a whole new world, a new fantastic point of view!

Are there any people (family, writing group, editors) who you rely on when writing?

Mary DeMuth is my super woman. Susan Meissner critiqued for me as well. But no family, no writing group, no friends. Just Mary and good ol' Sooz.

Those are some impressive critters! Aside from writing, what takes up most of your time?

Oh, I don’t know … changing diapers, feeding babies, staring at walls wondering what my name is, cleaning the floor, enjoying the invention of the Sleepy Wrap, our design business, emails from women who are healing from their husband’s sex addictions, etc. We are super busy people. We often lose our brains under couch cushions.

LOL. I know that feeling! If someone were to give you $5,000 to spend on anything you wanted, what would you buy? (No saving of gifts to charities allowed!)

An orphan.

Well sheesh, that's a make-me-teary-eyed answer to a supposedly-silly question! What a loving heart you have, Ashley! What writing goal have you set for yourself that would be the hardest (or unlikeliest) but most rewarding to achieve?

I really have no idea. I guess I’m always reasonable. Shocking.

Do you remember where you were when you got your first or most important call about a book contract?

The time I called myself and said, “Hey, self, I’m publishing your book for you.”

Is that what you meant? Haha!

Well, knowing a bit about the actual thought process that brought to you that point, I know that probably was a big moment--when the decision was made! Any funny family stories about living with a writer?

Sure. The morbid thoughts. Always imagining life if my husband dies. Zoning out at restaurants and hearing my husband say, “Are you being a writer again?” Oh, the list goes on.

What are you writing right now?

My grocery list. Seriously. I’m done writing for now. I need to focus on my young family and our design business. But there is a book in my heart inspired by Tupac Shakur. It would be ABA and it’s about the ugliness of racism, the beauty of people throughout history, and the heart of a drug dealer. For now, though, I’m taking a break for a few years to chill out and write for enjoyment. Although I may do some non-fiction books for More than Desire, the blog I have for women healing from the shadows of pornography.

Any upcoming releases we should keep our eye out for?

My grocery list?

LOL. Yes, be sure and publish that for us. =) Is there another author who has greatly influenced your writing?

Charles Martin. But Exposed is written in a different tone than what I’d write if it were contemporary fiction, instead of women’s. I think I have a general “voice,” but really … I have many, many tones and sometimes I allow myself to be more poetic than others. For my next book, from the POV of a drug dealer … it’s going to be tough to make it sound all Charles Martiny. =)

~*~

Thanks so much for visiting, Ashley! As everyone can see, Ashley is a woman of great heart, great depth, and great love for what the Lord has put in her life. Please check out her website at www.ashleyweis.com.

She's taking pre-orders for Exposed now, and you can enter into a fabulous contest she's running if you visit www.exposedanovel.com.

Void where prohibited. Entry into the contest is considered verification of eligibility based on your local laws. Contest ends 8/23/10. Winners will have two weeks to claim prizes.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Modern . . . Coffee


Hey, I'm blogging about what's on my mind today. ;-) I'm sitting here thinking, "Okay, I need to detatch the munchkin and go get coffee. Coffee. Coooofffffffeeeeeeeee." But I can make this about my contemporaries. Really I can.

I grew up aware that most people drink coffee, but in a split household. My mom always had her two cups each morning (though she often has tea instead these days), but my dad does NOT drink coffee. Or hot tea. Or hot chocolate, mostly. He doesn't drink anything hot. As my sister and I grew up, we pretty much liked it all. For a while, we drank more tea than coffee. Then more coffee than tea. I have a few friends who don't like coffee, some who drink it like water . . . you get the point.

More often than not, when reading a book, people just drink coffee, or just don't. It's never a big deal, and that's totally cool. But when I craft my characters, whether or not they're coffee drinkers can sometimes be a huge part of their personality.

Take Davina for instance. Davina detests coffee and is so die-hard a tea fan that she has a whole ritual around tea drinking. Her best friend and the hero are both coffee drinkers, and he at one point jokes that Davina couldn't make a decent pot of coffee to save her life, though maybe if she drank it once in a while . . . to which she replies, "Why would I do that to my poor tongue?"

Then there's Louisa. Louisa has never developed a taste for coffee, but she works at her mother's inn and makes a perfect pot. She knows the science of it, the art of it, and would probably be glad to give you a few fun FYI about bean selection, how to ground it, where to store it, and the correct ratio of grounds to water. Now, she wouldn't volunteer this info--but if you asked, she could tell you. The hero, an avid coffee drinker, when informed that she made the perfect coffee in his hands replies with, "Oh, you finally got a taste for it, did you?" Which betrays that he remembers his preferences of nine years ago, though he keeps trying to say those memories are long forgotten.

My point . . . do I have to have one of those? LOL. I think my point is simply that even things as small as whether or not a character drinks coffee, tea, or nothing at all can really play into who they are. Each small decision about them shapes who they are. And once you know them, you can have a ton of fun using those little things to make points.

Winner!

And the winner of Tammy Barley's Hope's Promise is . . .

Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D.

Congrats, Carrie! I'm sending you an email!

Friday, August 13, 2010

My Friend DeAnna - Interview and Giveaway


Welcome to Part II of my interview with DeAnna Julie Dodson! Today she'll be talking about her historical trilogy and offering a copy of the first book in the series, In Honor Bound, to one lucky winner. If you're interested in her contemporary mysteries, check out Part I!

To enter the contest, please leave a comment below with an email address--you must be a follower to enter, so be sure to click on that if you haven't already!

~*~

About the CHASTELAYNE TRILOGY

In Honor Bound

His father will stop at nothing to keep the royal bloodline "pure" --even murder. But his sins have nearly destroyed Prince Philip and the future of his reign.

Forced into a political marriage, Philip tells his bride, "I will not lie to you, I will not be unfaithful to you, and I will not love you. My heart is pledged to another and I am not a man to break an oath."

His one true love is a lowly serving girl. When Philip refuses to set her aside in order to form a politically beneficial marriage, his father has the girl tried on false charges and executed. He then forces Philip to marry the beautiful and nobly born Lady Rosalynde. Devastated and embittered by his loss and his father's betrayal, Philip is determined to never love again . . . not his father, not his wife, not his God. Although Rosalynde adores him, he withholds his heart from her, refusing to let even death end his devotion to the love he lost. Despite his coldness towards her, Rosalynde is determined to love him and teach him to love her -- as determined as the God he has turned his back on. As civil war rages throughout the realm, Philip faces a greater struggle within himself. Will he open his heart to love again or let his pride destroy him and his kingdom?


By Love Redeemed

Complete strangers on their wedding day and separated by war since their honeymoon, can they find true love together?

Even though their time together has been short, Prince Tom is eager for his bride's return. Though his love for her has grown, Elizabeth makes it clear that she considers him a stranger, not to be trusted. Not to be loved.

Certain the lavish love he claims to have for her cannot be genuine, Elizabeth turns to a deceitful friend who feeds her doubts and insecurities, poisoning her mind against her young husband. Just as Tom's patient tenderness begins to soften her heart, he is left with a heavier burden. His brother the king receives news that threatens the stability of the kingdom and his marriage. Forced to go in secret to find the truth behind it, he leaves Tom to deal with the undercurrent of treason and treachery that lies beneath the deceptive quiet of the court. Will Tom be able to hold the kingdom together and win his wife's heart? Or will she let a seductive stranger lead her away from his unconditional love?


To Grace Surrendered

He has learned to love her with all his heart. Now he must learn to let her go.

There is peace in the kingdom at last and King Philip wants nothing more than to spend his days watching his children grow and enjoying the company of his beloved Rosalynde. Reghed, Lynaleigh's neighbor to the north, suffers greatly under the heavy hand of its king, the evil and demented tyrant Sarto. But Philip resists God's urging to bring aid to Reghed's people until the night Rosalynde is torn from his arms and carried into Sarto's dark realm. Despite the serious injuries he sustained trying to protect her from her captors, Philip insists on following after her and finds himself face to face with the suffering he has till now turned away from. Sarto eventually captures Philip, too, determined to kill him in order to fulfill his sinister plans. Can Philip free himself, Rosalynde and the people of Reghed? Or has his disobedience lost him the love and protection of God?

~*~

About DeAnna

DeAnna Julie Dodson is the author of In Honor Bound, By Love Redeemed and To Grace Surrendered, a trilogy of medieval romances, and Letters in the Attic, a contemporary mystery in the Annie’s Attic series. She is currently working on The Drew Farthering Mysteries, a new series of books set in 1930s England. A graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas, she currently lives in North Texas with four spoiled cats and, when not writing, enjoys quilting, cross stitch and NHL hockey.

~*~

What's your latest book?

My newest release is Letters in the Attic, a contemporary mystery coming out this summer from DRG. That book is worlds away from my first three releases from Crossway Books, my medieval trilogy: In Honor Bound, By Love Redeemed and To Grace Surrendered. They’ve been out for a while now and can sometimes be hard to find, but I’m still quite fond of them.

Well, let's chat about those! I'm a big fan of medievals, and these sound so interesting! What do you hope your readers will get out of the stories?

I hope that the vast depth and breadth and height of the love God has for all of us flows through every part of the series. The second book, By Love Redeemed, is in particular an allegory of how Christ loves and sacrificed Himself for all of us, though I believe all three books reflect that. And, of course, God chose the picture of marriage to illustrate the mystery of His union with His church. I thought the medieval setting was a particularly exciting and romantic backdrop for telling this story. People who don’t like romance probably won’t enjoy this series.

Then I'm safe! Love romance. Am still shocked that some people don't, LOL. What's your favorite genre to write? To read?

I enjoy so many different types of stories, it’s hard to say. I like historicals best, especially medieval romance and 1920s and 1930s mysteries, though anything from the middle ages up to WWII can be very wonderful. I love stories that have something redemptive about them, something that says, despite the hardships, God is there with us and He will never leave or forsake us. Give me a well-written story, and I’m happy.

I think we'd get along just fine, DeAnna. =) What are you reading right now—and what do you want to read next?

Right now, I’m reading Agatha Christie’s Appointment with Death. I’ve been on a real vintage mystery kick lately. I love Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers and the vastly underrated (and I think superior) Margery Allingham. They were the queens of mystery in the 1920s and ’30s, and I hope to learn from them for my own 1930s series, The Drew Farthering Mysteries. I love trying to solve the puzzles they present. The glorious period clothes and cars and social niceties are just icing on the cake.

Oh, how fun to submerse yourself in that! I've never had the ability to craft a great mystery, but the setting is one I dove into for my Mafia books. =) Looking forward to your new series! But getting back to your existing one, do you remember where you were when you got your first or most important call about a book contract?

Oh, I remember that day vividly. I had rather half-heartedly sent my query for my very first book, In Honor Bound, to Crossway Books and was amazed when they quickly asked for the full manuscript. I was even more amazed when, a couple of weeks later, I had a message on my office phone. The assistant editor who left the message mentioned that it was nearly five o’clock on a Friday, so I could call after nine on the following Monday morning. There was absolutely no way I could wait that long, so I took a chance and called right back. Thank goodness, she was still in her office and we had a nice chat about taking In Honor Bound to their publication committee. I’ll never forget it. It still makes me smile.

Makes me smile for you! What are you writing right now?

Right now I’m working on the second book in my Drew Farthering series, Civil as an Orange. In this one, Drew has to track down a killer who leaves cryptic clues pinned to the bodies of the victims, and soon Drew realizes that the murders are getting closer and closer to him. This one is about 80% finished already, though I still have plenty of work to do on it. I love this series though. It’s so much fun to write the clothes and the parties and the 1930s British dialogue. And I love the manners of the period. No, they weren’t as formal as before WWI, but gentlemen still rose when a ladies came into the room and still held doors for them and all those lovely little things that we seem to have lost these days. Readers can check out an excerpt of this and all my books on my website.

Sounds like fun!!

~*~

Thanks so much for spending the week with us, DeAnna! Readers, be sure to check out her website at www.deannajuliedodson.com/index.php. You can find her books on Amazon.

Void where prohibited. Entry into the contest is considered verification of eligibility based on your local laws. Contest ends 8/19/10. Winner will have two weeks to claim book.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Writing Roseanniversary Giveaway Extravaganza!

Here it is! My one-year-anniversary (a few weeks late) giveaway celebration! (And hey, only two days before my birthday, so we'll say I'm celebrating that too. Woo hoo!)

I am bringing you seven--that's right, SEVEN!--awesome giveaway options. How do you get your grubby little paws on some of them? Well, here's the deal.

1.) You must be a follower
2.) You must tell me WHICH of the options you would like to win. (Feel free to list a few in order of preference.)
3.) You must leave a comment (obviously, given the above) with an email address where I can reach you. If you'd like to include in that comment your favorite part of Writing Roseanna, it would give me a grin. ;-)

The giveaway will last two weeks. There will be seven winners.

Ready to discover the awesomeness?? Drum roll please . . . . . . . . . . . .

Option 1
is for you writers out there. I am offering a 30-page critique and edit of a manuscript of your choice. And given that I'm now an acquisitions editor, you never know where this could lead, right? *grins*

Option 2
is a treat for your living room. A handmade plaque by fabulous friend Tiffany Harkleroad that will be in the style of the one pictured here, but will have the beloved scripture from Joshua "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

PLUS While I Slept, a beautiful coffee table book by Nancy Koehler, featuring a heart-touching poem and beautiful sunrise-at-the-beach photography.

Option 3
is, of course, the expected Stray Drop Gear. =) It will include a t-shirt (S, M, L, XL) which reads "One little drop to soil the garment/One little drop to cleanse the soul," a signed copy of the novel, a bookmark, and a Companion Guide (not pictured).

Option 4
is my Teen Dream package. The complete Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt trilogy (including Me, Just Different, Out with the In Crowd, and So Over It) by Stephanie Morrill, a nice, hardback devotion for teen girls called His Princess: Girl Talk with God, and Kristin Billerbeck's Perfectly Dateless.
Option 5
is a signed copy of The Healer's Apprentice, due out the beginning of September! This is a young adult historical, a retelling of a fairy tale that sounds WAY too good to miss!

Option 6
is your choice of ONE of Julie Lessman's four fabulous books: A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed, A Passion Denied or the latest, releasing-in-September, much-anticipated A Hope Undaunted.

Option 7
is a B&H Suspense Pack featuring: Deliver Us from Evil and Fear No Evil by Robin Caroll, Certain Jeopardy by Captain Jeff Struecker and Alton Gansky, and Double Cross by James David Jordan
Void where prohibited. Entry into the contest is considered verification of eligibility based on your local laws. Contest ends 8/26/10. Winners will have two weeks to claim prizes.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Remember When . . . Historians Duked It Out?

So I've had some frustration lately in the research department. Bear with me as I explain it to you.

It begins in the footnotes of my Bible. When looking at them for the Esther part of Jewel of Persia, it handily tells me that Xerxes' successor is Artaxerxes (which I knew), who is mentioned in Ezra and Nehemiah. Okay . . . cool. Said notes tell me how he's the king who funded the rebuilding of Jerusalem, the one that Nehemiah was the cupbearer for. Okay . . . cool. This makes perfect sense, right? Artaxerxes may well have been influenced by a certain Jewish queen that came on the scene when he was a boy, so my plot-loving self just thinks this is awesome.

Until I actually read Ezra. Then I'm left scratching my head and asking, "And you get that this is Artaxerxes I how?" Here's the thing--all the kings in the dynasty used, like, four names. And they go in this order: Cyrus (the Great), Darius I, Xerxes I, Artaxerxes I, Xerxes II, Darius II, Artaxerxes II. (There's another one in there for a few months, but I'm leaving him out for the sake of clarity.)

Now, we can see right away where this is confusing, right? But when reading Ezra, the tale goes something like this: Cyrus the Great released the captives. (Check.) They reminded Xerxes of Cyrus's command to rebuild and got started. (Check.) But during the reign of Artaxerxes, their enemies sent him a letter whining about how rebellious these folks have been in the past, and Artaxerxes said, "Yeah, stop working on your temple, dudes. You're causing trouble." So construction halted until the second year of Darius. Then after these things, during the reign of Artaxerxes, Ezra came up from Babylon . . .

Do you see where my issue is here? I don't get how in the world this is during the reign of the first Artaxerxes, given that after these things. My commentators tell me he's just talking about one thing, then jumps back to the "real" story and the king in power when the whiners wrote that letter, but I just don't see it.

The issue could be handily resolved by outside dates, but I'm not at all sure if the dates of completion of the temple, etc., are based on the commentators' understanding of the kings, or if their understanding of the kings is based on known dates. It makes a huge difference.

And I'm left in this weird place of wanting it to be Artaxerxes I for plot reasons, but totally not buying that it is, LOL. I might go with it anyway--I mean, I write fiction. And it would agree with all the Bible footnotes I can find. But still. The historian in me cringes and demands a better explanation than my commentators will give me.

Then I get to growling at other historians too--apparently much of the info we have on the kings and their families after Xerxes comes from a historian so notoriously unreliable that other historians have ascribed him a special ring of hell, LOL. (Seriously--it's in some ancient satire.) So I don't have a clue what I can trust when it comes to information on the years following Xerxes' assassination.

Why is this important, you ask? Because my hubby/publisher said, "I want to know what happens to Esther after Xerxes is killed. Write a sequel."

Yeah . . . if only I knew what I could accurately put in it!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Story Time with DeAnna Julie Dodson - Interview and Giveaway



You guys are in for a special treat this week! Author DeAnna Julie Dodson is going to be with us both today and Friday--today to chat about her contemporary mystery, and on Friday to introduce us to her historical trilogy. So be sure and check out both interviews!

Today's giveaway will be for Letters in the Attic, book four Annie's Attic Mysteries. Leave a comment with email address for a chance to win, and be sure to let me know if you're a follower!

~*~

About Letters in the Attic

Up in her grandmother’s attic in Stony Point, Maine, Annie Dawson finds a stack of old letters from her childhood friend Susan Morris. Annie remembers Susan fondly and would like to get back in touch, but nobody seems to know what’s become of her. Her friends at The Hook and Needle Club aren’t much help either. All they remember is that Susan left town more than twenty years ago to marry a very wealthy man, but none of them is quite sure who he was. And Annie can find no record of any marriage.
The more Annie searches, the more she begins to wonder if something has happened to Susan. Something bad.


~*~

About DeAnna Dodson



DeAnna Julie Dodson is the author of In Honor Bound, By Love Redeemed and To Grace Surrendered, a trilogy of medieval romances, and Letters in the Attic, a contemporary mystery in the Annie’s Attic series. She is currently working on The Drew Farthering Mysteries, a new series of books set in 1930s England. A graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas, she currently lives in North Texas with four spoiled cats and, when not writing, enjoys quilting, cross stitch and NHL hockey.

~*~

Tell us about your latest book.

I’m very excited about the release of Letters in the Attic, an Annie’s Attic Mystery. Letters is the fourth book in this new series about Annie Dawson, a widow from Texas who goes up to clean out and sell her late grandmother’s Victorian house in Maine only to find a whole attic full of intriguing and sometimes mysterious objects. The series particularly interested me because Annie and her friends are all needleworkers – knitters, crocheters, quilters, cross-stitchers – and I’ve been interested in needlework for as long as I can remember.

Letters in the Attic is scheduled to come out this summer from DRG.

Congrats! What's your favorite part of the story?

I think I enjoyed writing Officer Roy Hamilton the most. I actually didn’t think much about him at first. He was meant to be a very minor character who was there just to take fingerprints. Soon, though, he let me know that that was not going to be enough for him. He put on his mirrored sunglasses and sauntered up to me and said he just knew I had something more important for him to do. And darned if he wasn’t right!

LOL. I love it when characters tell us how it is! What do you hope your readers will get out of the story?

I think the most important thing is that there is freedom in truth. Hiding from it only weighs you down and keeps you prisoner. Facing the truth breaks those chains and breaks the hold of those who would use the fear of that truth against you. Once it’s in the light of day, whatever it is you’re hiding from, it loses its power.

Wow, great message! Tell us a little about your writing. Is there any one thing or reference you keep handy when writing? Anything you kept around for this particular book?

Of course, the greatest reference tool these days is the internet. It’s made research so much easier, though you do have to be careful of which sources you trust. Still, I like to have some actual reference books handy when I’m writing. I especially like The Well-Tempered Sentence by Karen Elizabeth Gordon and Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss for solving those thorny grammar and usage questions. They’re both extremely practical while appealing to my sometimes-off-the-wall sense of humor.

For Letters in the Attic, of course, my best friend was the packet of series information the publisher gave me so my book would mesh with the others in the series. Since writing this kind of book was new to me, this packet was really a life saver.

I bet! Having never written such a series, I didn't know publishers did that—makes total sense, and would definitely be handy. So, on a more personal writing note, are there any people (family, writing group, editors) who you rely on when writing?

Writing can be a very lonely and isolated job. And the worst part of it is that, once you’ve written something, you can never see it the way a new reader will see it. Obviously, you know what you meant to say when you wrote it, but does it really say that? Really? You just have to have a pre-reader look it over, someone who will speak the truth in love and tell you honestly what works and what doesn’t.

I met author Robin Hardy (The Chataine’s Guardian and many, many more) when I took a “Writing Christian Fiction” class at the local community college. At that point, I didn’t imagine I would ever actually be published. She was so gracious and so kind to this very green wannabe writer. She actually read through my 250,000-word manuscript (the one that became In Honor Bound) and showed me how to improve it and, more importantly, how I could cut it down to a manageable length. Now, years later, she’s still my first and best pre-reader and a terrific friend. She catches inconsistencies and stupid mistakes and tells me when something just falls flat. I would so much rather hear it from her than from my editor or, worst of all, from my readers. I’m so blessed to know her!

Aw, three cheers for Robin! (And I've got a couple 250K monstrosities still waiting to be cut down to size too, LOL.) Aside from writing, what takes up most of your time?

I’m addicted to cross-stitch and quilting. I have just a ton of projects yet to be done because I want to do everything. That’s one of the reasons I have enjoyed working on this series so much. I can relate to the ladies in the Annie’s Attic Mysteries who love to make beautiful things by hand.

How cool! I pieced a quilt for my wedding but then never did the finish work. Sigh. Okay, fun question. If someone were to give you $5,000 to spend on anything you wanted, what would you buy? (No saving of gifts to charities allowed!)

Oh, my, it would have to be a Tin Lizzie! No, not Model T Ford, but a quilting machine. I’ve tried them in the store and they’re wonderful. I’d love to be able to do some really fancy quilting!

LOL. Gotta say, I was thinking the car and wondering if you get a decent on for 5K. =)

~*~

Thanks for visiting, DeAnna! Readers, check out her website at http://www.deannajuliedodson.com/index.php. You can find links to purchase at www.anniesmysteries.com/learn_more.php.

Void where prohibited. Entry into the contest is considered verification of eligibility based on your local laws. Contest ends 8/16/10. Winner will have two weeks to claim book.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Winner!

And the winner of Ozark Weddings by Anita Higman & Janice Thompson is . . .

Deborah M! (debbiejeanm@ . . .)

Congrats! I'm sending you an email now.

Modern . . . Laughs


First, sometime this week I'll be posting about the Writing Roseanniversary Giveaway Extravaganza! As soon as I get all my ducks in their appropriate rows for it. =)

Now, onto my actual topic. As WhiteFire considers submissions, I'm thinking about which of my contemporaries I may want to publish with them. A few are out of the question (at least temporarily) as they're under consideration at other publishers.

But one that got quick "no thanks" answers from everyone was my romantic comedy. The big pubs didn't want things "that light" or "with a voice reminiscent of chick lit." Now, I doubt WhiteFire's going to have a problem with that, because they have a totally different business model.

My readers, however, are still vitally important--and contemporary romantic comedies don't have a whole lot in common with the serious Biblical fiction WhiteFire is publishing so far. So here's my question to y'all.

What would you expect all my books to have in common? What differences are you willing to accept? If you've read Stray Drop, would you also be willing to read something that's more similar to the voice I use in my blogs? (Light and chatty.) Would it be enough that the light and funny ones still propel the characters to deeper faith and find love, or would you not know what to do with me if I went from quoting Greek philosophers to a heroine with a purple streak in her hair and a polka-dot dress?

Perhaps my readers here aren't the best ones to ask, given that you read my blog, which is light and chatty. But I don't have any way to ask those readers who don't read my blog, so answer me anyway, if you would. ;-) I'd appreciate it.

Friday, August 6, 2010

My Friend Tammy - Interview & Giveaway


Today I'm tickled to host one of the first writers who really lent me a hand with my own stuff and helped me perfect my very first one-sheet--which then led me to my agent! Tammy Barley's the author of historical romance and such a fun, sweet lady. Hope you enjoy getting to know her and her second book, Hope's Promise!

Tammy has graciously offered a copy of her book to one lucky reader. In order to be entered in the drawing, please leave a comment with an email address. If you're a follower, that's an extra entry. Follow me on Facebook, ditto. And if you refer someone else here who mentions you, that's an extra for you too! (Nothing like complicating things for myself in an attempt to boost my following, eh? LOL)

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About Tammy

I have lived in twenty-seven places in eight states (so far) and have visited nearly all. When I'm not writing? I judge a number of top writing contests and love my work as a manuscript editor and biographer. I am also Mom to two sons, one daughter, a rescued American Eskimo dog, thirteen parakeets, and an aquarium full of fish. The children I homeschool; the dog I taught to sit. She also barks at parked cars. In my spare time, you're likely to find me baking, gardening, behind a camera, or hugging a horse.

My first book in The Sierra Chronicles, Love’s Rescue, won second place in the Golden Rose Contest, inspirational romance category, went into its second printing only five weeks after it was released, and landed on ChristianBook.com’s best-selling historical fiction list, at number eleven. Book two, Hope’s Promise, is already receiving rave reader comments and five-star reviews.

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About Hope's Promise

For Better, for Worse
Jake Bennett is finally wed to the love of his life, Jessica Hale—but he isn’t convinced she won’t leave him. Life is a constant struggle for the Bennetts as they battle drought and live in fear of raids on Southerners, and he is not sure that Jess knew what she was getting herself into when she married him.

In Sickness and in Health
Jess, however, despairs for another reason—she is unable to conceive a child.

A Solemn Vow to Stand Together
While trying to prove their unconditional love for each other, the Bennetts must defend against attacks on the Paiutes, the doubts that haunt them both, and an unknown force that threatens to destroy all they hold dear. Together, they must stand in faith through betrayal, barrenness, and a very real threat, trusting that God will reward their hopes for a better future.

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What's your latest book?
Hope’s Promise, published by Whitaker House. It just released August 1, 2010.
Congratulations! August is a fabulous month for special occasions (says the girl whose birthday fast approaches, ha ha). What do you hope your readers will get out of the story?

When life is great, God is with you. When life is trouble, God is still with you, loving you dearly, holding you close, helping you through. He always gives us hope.

Very true, and we all need regular reminders. I personally love getting those lessosn through fiction. How about you? What's your favorite genre to write? To read?

More and more, I love to write suspense, and incorporate plenty of it into The Sierra Chronicles, set in the rugged—and often dangerous—Old West. I love to read historical romance and suspense, as well.
Sticking with what you already love then! Here's an interesting question: What's one of the oddest or most interesting things someone has ever said about you?

I’ve been called feisty, and someone said, in relation to that, that I wear size sixteen steel-toed boots. I think that was intended as a compliment. =)

LOL. Remind me to steer clear of those feet! Any funny family stories about living with a writer?

Recently, my family celebrated my grandmother’s 90th birthday. I saw people whom I hadn’t seen in decades. Many of these virtual strangers came up to me and asked, “Are you the writer?” Finally I replied, “Yep, and I also made the lasagna!” =)

Any upcoming releases we should keep our eye out for?

The Sierra Chronicles book three—Faith’s Reward. (Totally gorgeous book cover—have a peek at http://www.tammybarley.com/Bookshelf.html.) It’ll be in stores January 2011.

~*~

Thanks for visiting, Tammy! Readers, you can check out Tammy's website at www.TammyBarley.com and find her books from her site or at Barnes & Noble.

Void where prohibited. Entry into the contest is considered verification of eligibility based on your local laws. Contest ends 8/12/10. Winner will have two weeks to claim book.