Friday, December 11, 2009

Story Structure Architect

Looking for the perfect gift for the novelist on your list? Look no further....Story Structure Architect by Schmidt is perfect.

THis book's tagline is "a writer's guide to building dramatic situations & compelling characters"...and boy, does it deliver.

A friend gave me this book a couple of years ago, and I've highlighted my way through it, finding myself going back to it time and again. Why? Because it's that good.

Broken into four parts, the book takes you from drafting a plan for your book, to building the structure, to adding stories, and concluding with finishing touches. Over 55 situation examples are offered, giving you plenty of opportunity to learn and grow as you move through the exercises.

This book is a definite keeper for every novelist at every level, writing in every genre.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Baby Name Survey Book

It's a question every novelist will ask...what to name a character. Authors want names that will fit into the ethnic background of the character they've created, but selecting a character's name is as important as selecting your child's name. Enter this book...

The Baby Name Survey Book by Lansky & Sinrod.

Not only does it give each name's origin, it also gives the description of what people imagine when they hear the name. Pretty cool, huh? Let's see....

Looked up my name in the book. Here's what it states:
ROBIN, Robyn (Old English); forms of Roberta
IMAGE: Though the name is often used for boys, a girl named Robin is described as petite, pretty, talented, interesting, and snobby.
Famous Robins: comic actor Robin Williams; legendary hero Robin Hood; robin redbreast, the bird; actresses Robyn Douglass, Robin Givens

Pretty slick, eh?

I use this book on naming every character in every book I write. Names are important...shouldn't you know what people think when they hear the name?

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

What Would Your Character Do?

Know a writer who's struggling with creating masterful characters? Is it you? Here's a book I recently discovered that truly helped me get to know my characters on the deepest level possible.

What Would Your Character Do? by Maisel & Maisel, published by Writer's Digest Books.

This book is full of quizzes to help authors understand who and why the characters are. You can also find out how to deepen each scene using psychological insight into the character.

For the writer on your Christmas list, this book will be pulled off the shelf again and again. Excellent resource book to make lively, 3-D characters who'll come alive on the page!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Snowflake Pro Software

So there's a writer in your life that you want to get the ideal present for them for Christmas? Not sure what writing books they already have/need/want? Do I have the gift for you!

Snowflake Pro

Most writers have heard of Randy Ingermanson's snowflake method of planning, plotting, and proposing a novel. For more details (and to purchase) visit this site.

Now, for my review:

What an excellent tool! I have to admit, I've heard Randy explain his snowflake method many times (and he's so patient in explaining it to me--over and over again) but I guess I'm just a hard-head. I could see his examples, everything he said made perfect sense, but I just couldn't apply the method to my own writing.

Enter the Snowflake Pro software. WOW, what a difference. With its easy download and installment (complete with detailed instructions for poor techno-challenged people like myself), I was up and running in less than ten minutes. And it's SO EASY to use. There's even this nice little button at the bottom where you can listen to audio explanations. (I'm sure Randy put this feature in for confused people like myself! lol) For years, I've done character charts by hand because that's how I think clearest when interviewing my characters. The software system is so easy to use, my 9 year old daughter took my handwritten notes and loaded everything into the software program. With a click of a button, I had the wealth of information on everything about my characters, the story, the scene index...EVERYTHING...at my fingertips. All with just a click of a button!

I will be using the Snowflake Pro system from here on out on every book! I give this software my highest rating--a must-have for every writer!

Again, to learn more about the program and order, visit this site! Makes an excellent Christmas gift!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Writing the Breakout Novel WORKBOOK

Looking for a great gift for the novelist on your Christmas list? Check out Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook by Donald Maass.

I'd read Maass' book, Writing the Breakout Novel, and while it was packed with a wealth of information for writers, I couldn't "apply" the concepts to my own writing. But then someone suggested I get the workbook. I was skeptical--after all, if I'd read the novel and couldn't put it to use, what would a workbook on the novel do for me? But, respecting the author who'd made the suggestion, and knowing the book had presented great information, I got the workbook. I wasn't disappointed.

I was easily able to take the exercises Maass provides in the workbook and apply it instantly to my own writing. These exercises, with detailed instructions on how and why to do so, helped me go deeper into my characters and story, assisting me in producing a much better concept, which improved my story.

This is definitely a must-read for writers across all levels--beginning, intermediate, multi-published....the information and presentation can change their writing.

Friday, December 04, 2009

The Art of War for Writers

Wondering what to get the author or aspiring writer for Christmas? From now until Christmas Eve, I'll be posting up reviews of some writing books that I use over and over again. Great gift ideas.

And so on to the first....
The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell

When I saw the size of the book, in comparison to Bell's previous craft books (Plot & Structure and Revision & Self-Editing) I thought to myself, hmm, small book. But once I opened it and began reading, I realized how much vital information is packed into the pages. I devoured the book in one sitting and highlighted MANY pages. Matter of fact, the book now looks like it's multi-colored with all my different highlighting. This will definitely be a book I refer to again and again.

Bell breaks The Art of War for Writers into sections, then parts inside those sections. It is my belief that every author, at every level, and every aspiring author should consider Bell's first section of the book (Reconnaissance) should consider this mandatory reading. With Bell's no-nonsense style, combined with wit that had me chuckling aloud, the information provided is true and accurate of the writer's life overall. I wish I'd had this section to read years ago.

The second section of the book (Tactics)covers the overview of actual writing. Great exercise suggestions are provided as well as a wealth of information to help writers improve their craft and skill. Bell uses his own experiences to drive home the points, as if he were sitting across the table from you and sharing his expertise with you.

The last section of the book (Strategy) provides key suggestions/information on the career of the author. His part on proposals had me nodding my head in agreement as I read.

Overall, I have to give The Art of War for Writers my highest recommendation. This is a definite one to put on your wish list! And the size of the book? Well, made it easier to hold and it slips nicely into a laptop case/bag/backpack!

Happy Reading!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Traveling Book

A fun game that I'd like many readers to become involved with. I expect it'll be fun and isn't a run-of-the-mill way to get others involved in books you read and enjoy. I've named this game the "Traveling Book." Here's how it works: Traveling books are very special...they are free books, left in random places for readers to enjoy. All we ask is that once you've finished reading the book, you log in the information below, then leave the book elsewhere to be enjoyed by another reader. It's that simple. For participating, each person's email address is entered to win
random contests throughout the year.

Sound fun? I'm testing the game before the "official" launch of the game on my site, so if you're interested in taking one of my books that I'll send you to leave somewhere in your town (a doctor's office, hair salon, food court, local restaurant, dentist office, child care/school, a friend's house where you play Bunko, the local fire department, etc. ), all I need is your snail mail address to send you a book. I have a limited amount of books, so it will be on a first-reply, first-receive basis. If you're interested, go to my website and click on the TRAVELING BOOK page and fill out the form, but under COMMENTS, leave your snail mail address. THIS IS NOT VISIBLE TO ANYONE BUT ME. You can leave all fields blank except your name, email address, and your mailing address in the comments. It's that simple!

So, let's play. Come join in the game!

**Update: I've received all the requests I can handle at this time. Thanks.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

New FTC Book Reviews Blogger News

So most everyone has heard about the new rules by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). If not, go read it here

My thoughts? Are you kidding me? Seriously? If someone sends me a copy of their book and I read it & like it and post a review, I need to make a note that I was given a free copy? Are you serious? What kind of nonsense is this? Hasn't the best promotions been word of mouth recommendations? If I read something and like it, blog or post about my thoughts of it, that's my business. That's my first amendment right to state my opinion. Doesn't mean anybody has to agree with me. Doesn't mean anybody has to run out and buy a book because I liked it. Just means that's my opinion. ]

Forgive me, but what's next? We must "disclose" to our family & friends if we receive a free book, love it, and verbally recommend it?

Sheesh....

So, what are YOUR thoughts?

Monday, October 05, 2009

Enormity of Chapter One

As I begin writing the sample chapters for my new proposal, I did my research...I did my character sketches...I did my setting map. I knew what needed to be told in the prologue--wrote that, rewrote that, rewrote it again, sent to cps and 1st readers, got great suggestions (gotta LOVE cps--mine rock), revised, edited, and finally called said prologue complete. Whew! Got past that "starting a new book" hurdle, right? Wrong.

Wrote 4 pages on chapter one. Read. Tweaked. Let sit overnight. Reread this morning. "Select All" then "Delete." Why? Hated it. And realized, prologue or not, the "starting a new book" hurdle begins on the line following "Chapter One." Don't know why, but it's there. The block. The seeing the story in my head like a movie, but not knowing what should end up on the cutting room floor.

So, readers, in stories that you love, the ones you'll reread, the ones you tell your friends about...what do YOU like to see in the beginning chapter??? Share thoughts, please. You can email me privately if you'd prefer not to post a comment, or like some of you, don't have a posting account. But please do answer...I really want to know how it differs from what I look for.

Monday, September 28, 2009

ACFW Conference Reflections...AND PICTURES

I arrived home safe and sound, but exhausted. Am beginning to already work on the 2010 conference. Whew! It's a constant. But I think there was something special about this past conference. The feeling. The fellowship. Everything.

I wasn't able to take many pictures, but would like to share a few that I did manage to get:

Karen Ball and Julie Gwinn, from B&H Publishing during their class


Me with a sweet and talented lady, Tosca Lee, also a member of the B&H family



Me with Kim Moore from Harvest House. Kim is such a sweet, sweet lady


Buds after the banquet: me, Dineen Miller, Ronie Kendig, Sara Mills...all my great friends, fabulous ladies, and very talented writers...love hanging out with these gals


Me and Sara Mills, who cracks me up. Had a blast with her.


Me and Pam Hillman, my roomie and good friend. She's an awesome brainstorming partner, too! Not so great with turning on the shower or using the ironing board, though. LOL :D


Me and the brilliant Appointment Coordinator, Wanda Dyson, who is also a very dear friend and gifted writer


Me and Kat...web guru, good friend, and normally stuck "behind the scenes"


And last but not least, with Sydney Wiley, our amazing conference planner and my good friend.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Goodbye Denver

This morning I leave Denver, and all of the 2009 conference behind. (Well, for the most part anyway) I take with me a bunch of memories. Here are but a few:
Hey, Sara...God don't like ugly.
Pam, the piddlin' puppy
Twinkle Toes Cyn
Steve....fishnets & stalkers
And so, so many more. Each year, I gain something special from conference. Something that's just for me. This year was no different. Maybe it's the prayers. Maybe it's the presence of our Lord. Or maybe it's the set time God can get my attention.

So I head back home today, anxious to see my family, but taking with me wonderful memories that will keep me energized and charged to push forward until we get to do it all again next September.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Post Conference

I'm still a little amazed at how fast conference went. From the time the staff and faculty landed, we've been going full-tilt. But it's been a blessing to see how successful the conference was and how many people were truly blessed and touched by attending.

As for me, I got to meet with my awesome marketing director, Julie Gwinn, and be blown away by her energy and enthusiasm. I got to meet face-to-face with my brilliant editor, Julee, and discuss my novel with her. I got to spend time with my acquiring editor, the uber-genius Karen Ball, who is always a blessing to be around. And I got to spend some time with my B&H family: Karen, Julie, Julee, Tosca, Jim, Leanna, Patti, John, and Pam. What a true blessing these people are and such a joy to be around. I got to have a meeting with my agent and discuss some career options. And I got to share time with some of my best buds ever: Dineen, Ronie, Sara, Pamster, Cheryl, Camy, Cara, Rachel and Heather. I got to work with Sydney Wiley, Kat, and Allison, Michelle behind the scenes and laugh a lot. And I got to spend some time with the president, Cynthia, and enjoy her heart for the Lord. And that's not counting the blessing of spending time with Brandilyn in the prayer room and Colleen's hugs.

I won't even try to describe how awesome the classes were. I hope to post up pictures later in the week. But for now....a nap is in order. Then tonight--start planning next year's conference.

Friday, September 18, 2009

ACFW Conference-Friday

Wow, it's amazing how busy I've been. Thursday night opening of conference was amazing. The worship music...awesome and the fellowship astounding.

This morning began with the Continuing Education sessions. I attended Karen Ball & Allen Arnold's advanced fiction university track...man, I'm blown away with information overload.

Got to see my agent and sit with him at supper last night. Very cool. Nice and relaxed.

Got to meet my brilliant editor, Julee Schwarzburg....she's as beautiful in person as she is genius in editing.

Now to meet with the marketing director at B&H, Julie Gwinn, who is nothing short of brilliant either. And her energy and enthusiasm blows me away.

I'm so blessed to work with these people and to have the opportunity to see them all at the ACFW conference. Debbie Macomber's keynote addresses have been beautiful and moving. Donald Maass's early bird session yesterday had minds spinning. All in all, a wonderful conference so far. And to already be hearing about the miracles God's orchestrating in the prayer room...awesome.

More later....

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

ACFW Conference Prep-Day One, Tuesday

Tuesday, 7:30am, Denver, CO
Awoke this morning at the beautiful Marriott Denver Tech Center hotel to a gloriously beautiful Denver morning. Temps in the 60s or so this morning. Stood out on the balcony and marveled at the beauty as the sun crept into the sky.

Quick breakfast of fruit and coffee, then on to get ready for the day...on the agenda:
1-pre-con meeting with the hotel to discuss expectations and let them know a little about our group
2-meeting with rooming coordinator to go over final reservations list
3-work with wonderful event planner, Sydney Wiley, and begin setting up the ACFW conference office

Busy day planned....but will be so worth it for the conferees' smooth conference

Friday, July 24, 2009

Interview With CAMY TANG

I'm pleased to feature awesome author and my friend, Camy Tang today.

Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. She used to be a biologist, but now she is a staff worker for her church youth group and leads a worship team for Sunday service. She also runs the Story Sensei fiction critique service. On her blog, she gives away Christian novels every week, and she ponders frivolous things like dumb dogs (namely, hers), coffee-geek husbands (no resemblance to her own...), the writing journey, Asiana, and anything else that comes to mind. Visit her website at http://www.camytang.com/ for a huge website contest going on right now, giving away fourteen boxes of books and 30 copies of her latest release, DEADLY INTENT.

Hello, Camy, and welcome to Robin's Writing World. So glad you stopped by. I really enjoyed Deadly Intent, and you know what a discerning reader I am. I'd like to ask you a few questions and let my blog visitors get a little insight into you and your writing.

Thanks for having me as a guest on your blog today, Robin!


Today we're going to focus on Camy's latest Steeple Hill release, DEADLY INTENT

The Grant family’s exclusive Sonoma spa is a place for rest and relaxation—not murder! Then Naomi Grant finds her client Jessica Ortiz bleeding to death in her massage room, and everything falls apart. The salon’s reputation is at stake...and so is Naomi’s freedom when she discovers that she is one of the main suspects! Her only solace is found with the other suspect—Dr. Devon Knightley, the victim’s ex-husband. But Devon is hiding secrets of his own. When they come to light, where can Naomi turn...and whom can she trust?

Camy, I have to admit, I LOVED Aunt Becca. I wanted to be her niece. Very cool character. Can you tell us how you created her?
Aunt Becca isn’t really based off of anyone I know. I simply imagined what it would be like to have a somewhat motherly figure who had gone to live with her sister’s children after her sister died. Becca is about the same age as the Grant sisters’ mother, but Becca never married—she has devoted part of her life to raising her nieces and working at her brother-in-law’s spa. Now, however, she might have a chance at love ... :)

Okay, truth be told, I wanted to smack Rachel a couple of times in the book. I realize scientific-minded people often come across a bit lacking in the social graces department. Can you share a little about Rachel that maybe will shed some light on her real feelings and personality, or am I dipping into a future book, perhaps?

Rachel is actually a lot like me and other scientist friends I know. I have never been good socially—unlike a certain Southern belle who writes romantic suspense novels (we can’t all have Southern charm bred in our bones, unfortunately).

Because I was (and still am) so socially awkward, I would often say things I didn’t realize was tactless, or I’d say whatever was on my mind and then regret it as soon as it came out. I’m sure many people can relate to my struggles.

Rachel, being so close to my heart, is the heroine of the next book in the series, which I hope Steeple Hill will contract. Readers can join my newsletter YahooGroup to keep informed about my upcoming books!

I'm a freak for opening lines, and I gotta admit, the opening line in this book made me laugh out loud. Writers often agonize over that first line and try out several before selecting the perfect one. Can you share with us some of the alternate first lines you had for this book? If the one in the book was your original (and I may have to smack you if it was-lol), tell us what image you hoped the reader would immediately get.

Actually, the original Deadly Intent was more fun and humorous than a romantic suspense should be. I ended up rewriting the entire first chapter.

As a treat for your blog readers, here’s the original opening paragraphs of Deadly Intent!

If the diamond on that engagement ring were any bigger, it would look like a crystal paperweight glued to her knuckles.

Naomi Grant smiled and ooohed with the rest of the spa staff as her receptionist flashed her brand-new ring, but the green monster inside her roared. She forced it down with a good bop in the nose.

It wasn’t that Naomi wasn’t happy for Sarah—the spa’s receptionist was a hard worker, friendly and engaging with all the clients, even the snottier ones. The ring just reminded Naomi that she kept striking out in the dating scene.

Plus now she’d have to find a new receptionist.

Sarah giggled as she called to her boss, “I’m sorry, Ms. Grant, but I’ll need to give my two-week notice. My fiancé doesn’t want me working while we plan the wedding.”

Naomi forced a brighter smile. “I’ve never been happier to hear someone quit. Congratulations, Sarah.”

“Of course she wouldn’t need to work anymore with a fiancé like hers!” Naomi’s aunt, Becca Itoh, jabbed a bony elbow into her niece’s ribcage.

Naomi sighed. What would it be like to have a man love her so much he’d sink a fortune into a symbol of that love? Not that a flashy engagement ring would be so important to her. She tried to imagine how it would feel to be so adored, but her creativity came up short.

However, the sight of Sarah’s multi-carat diamond did make her admit that since her father’s Sonoma spa had become the hotbed of San Francisco’s wealthy elite, Naomi and her sisters had to be on the lookout for fortune hunters, and a man closer to her own economic level would be easier than a prenup agreement.

Her wistfulness must have shown on her face, because Aunt Becca leaned close to her middle niece and gave her a brief hug. “Don’t worry, your time will come. God will lead the perfect man to you, and to your two sisters, too.”

Naomi hooted. “They’d have to be crazy to marry into a family like ours.”

“What do you mean? We’re your average, normal—”

“We are not normal.” Although a part of her rather enjoyed being not normal.

“We don’t exactly have eight heads each,” Aunt Becca said. “We are just as God made us and how He wants us to be.”

Naomi shifted from foot to foot. Aunt Becca always spoke in religious platitudes—easy enough to ignore or brush away—but lately, her aunt’s occasional church-speak had been bothering Naomi, like it did now.

Time to reroute the subject. “Any boyfriend we bring home would only have Dad to talk to, and he never uses up his quota of eight words a day.”

“You might meet a man who actually likes spending his time with your sisters and maiden aunt.” Aunt Becca gave her a sidelong glance. “Stranger things have happened.”

Naomi pinched her playfully. “Don’t you have some hostessing duties somewhere else?”

“I am hostessing.” Becca grandly gestured to the crowd of employees surrounding a beaming Sarah. “I’m also preventing this from turning into a riot.”

“A riot?”

“When all our single female staff workers realize that rich fiancée’s like Sarah’s aren’t quite as abundant as the wine grapes.”

Naomi smiled, but she had to admit a large percentage of the spa staff were young, single females—receptionists, aestheticians, and massage therapists like Naomi.

The front doors suddenly opened and a tall figure strode in.

Aunt Becca stood up straighter. “I was only joking about the riot, but …” Her eyebrows waggled at the new arrival.

He was certainly striking enough to start a female riot.

LOL...that one is amusing. Okay, at least to me. And to be fair to my blog readers, everyone needs to understand that Camy and I are good friends.
Now, you mention in your letter to the reader that you give a pretty good massage....um, why haven't you ever given me one? LOL Seriously, have you ever studied massage therapy or something?





No, but I did a lot of research when writing this book. I had also been toying with another book idea that starred a massage therapist in a resort spa in Hawaii.

I also really love massage—I think it’s not just a luxury but something that can do a lot of good for people physically, mentally, and emotionally as an occasional indulgence. Sometimes it’s just good to take an hour for a massage that relaxes and realigns the muscles and skeleton and enables a person to recharge their spirits and mind.

Camy, I've enjoyed having you stop by for a visit. Thanks for being so candid and sharing part of yourself, as well as your book, with us. Now, tell us what's next for you and where readers can sign up for your newsletter.

Thanks for having me here, Robin!

My next novel out is BAD DOG: A NOVEL being released by Zondervan in May 2010. I’m very excited about it since I love my own dog, Snickers, so much!

Oh, I can't wait because you know how much I love my dog, Moodoo. Will definitely be on my MUST READ list!

I will also be releasing the fourth book in my Sushi series this fall as a free ebook to my newsletter YahooGroup subscribers (and it will be available as a Print-On-Demand paperback via Amazon). People can join my YahooGroup here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Camys_Loft/join

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Book of the Year Finalists

2009 American Christian Fiction Writers

Book of the Year Contest

Finalists



Debut Author

A Passion Most Pure (Julie Lessman)
Courting Miss Adelaide (Janet Dean)
Every Good and Perfect Gift (Sharon K. Souza)
Hero, Second Class (Mitchell Bonds)
In the Shadow of the Sun King (Golden Keyes Parsons)
Lits

Faking Grace (Tamara Leigh)
Picket Fence Promises (Kathryn Springer)
Single Sashimi (Camy Tang)
Sweet Caroline (Rachel Hauck)
Truffles by the Sea (Julie Carobini)
Long Contemporary

Lookin Back Texas (Leanna Ellis)
One Holy Night (J.M. Hochstetler)
Stuck in the Middle (Virginia Smith)
Summer of Joy (Ann H. Gabhart)
Symphony of Secrets (Sharon Hinck)
Long Contemporary Romance

Along Came a Cowboy (Christine Lynxwiler)
Controlling Interest (Elizabeth White)
The Convenient Groom (Denise Hunter)
Finding Stefanie (Susan May Warren)
Zora and Nicky: A Novel in Black & White (Claudia Mair Burney)
Long Historical (6 finalists due to a tie)

The Apothecary’s Daughter (Julie Klassen)
Calico Canyon (Mary Connealy)
Deep In the Heart of Trouble (Deeanne Gist)
From A Distance (Tamera Alexander)
I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires (Cathy Gohlke)
My Heart Remembers ( Kim Vogel Sawyer)




Mystery

The Case of the Bouncing Grandma (A.K. Arenz)
Death on a Deadline (Christine Lynxwiler, Sandy Gaskin, and Jan Reynolds)
Drop Dead Diva (Christine Lynxwiler, Sandy Gaskin, and Jan Reynolds)
For Whom the Bell Tolls (Nancy Mehl)
Of Mice . . . and Murder (Mary Connealy)


Novellas

The Cookie Jar (Janet Lee Barton in A Connecticut Christmas anthology)
Dressed in Scarlet (Darlene Franklin in Snowbound Colorado Christmas anthology)
Santa’s Prayer (Diane Ashley in A Connecticut Christmas anthology)
Snowbound for Christmas (Gail Sattler in A Connecticut Christmas anthology)
Stuck On You (Rhonda Gibson in A Connecticut Christmas anthology)


Short Contemporary

Buffalo Gal (Mary Connealy)
Clueless Cowboy (Mary Connealy)
Family Treasures (Kathryn Springer)
Her Unlikely Family (Missy Tippens)
White as Snow (Janice Thompson)
Short Contemporary Suspense

Bayou Paradox (Robin Caroll)
Broken Lullaby (Pamela Tracy)
Countdown to Death (Debby Giusti)
Forsaken Canyon (Margaret Daley)
Killer Cargo (Dana Mentink)
Short Historical

Family of the Heart (Dorothy Clark)
Masked by Moonlight (Allie Pleiter)
Reckless Rogue (Mary Davis)
Return to Love (Susan Page Davis)
Sandhill Dreams (Cara Putman)
Speculative

The Book of Names (D. Barkley Briggs)
DragonLight (Donita K. Paul)
The Restorer’s Journey (Sharon Hinck)
Shade (John B. Olson)
Summa Elvetica: A Casuistry of the Elvish Controversy (Theodore Beale)
Suspense

Anathema (Colleen Coble)
The Black Cloister (Melanie Dobson)
Fossil Hunter (John B. Olson)
Lonestar Sanctuary (Colleen Coble)
Perfect (Harry Kraus)


Women’s Fiction (7 finalists due to a tie)

A Month of Summer (Lisa Wingate)
Every Good and Perfect Gift (Sharon K. Souza)
My Sister Dilly (Maureen Lang)
The Perfect Life (Robin Lee Hatcher)
The Shape of Mercy (Susan Meissner)
Stepping into Sunlight (Sharon Hinck)
Tuesday Night at the Blue Moon (Debbie Fuller Thomas)


Young Adult

The Big Picture (Jenny B. Jones)
The Fruit of My Lipstick (Shelley Adina)
It’s all About Us (Shelley Adina)
The Owling (Robert Elmer)
Trion Rising (Robert Elmer)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

Writers Retreat



Ever been with fellow Christian authors and just get charged? I did this past weekend. And I needed it desperately. I came away with good stuff to use in my writing, feeling reconnected with friends, and spiritually recharged. Here are a few photos to share:


Randy Ingermanson,Karen Ball,Brandilyn Collins,Cheryl Wyatt,Margaret Daley & me



Me,Colleen Coble & Cara Putman



Camy Tang & Me


Camy Tang,Cheryl Wyatt,Dream,Me,Margaret Daley,Allie Plieter

Monday, July 06, 2009

Contest Prizes?

Hey all you readers. Here's a question just for you:
What contest prizes would you like to see offered on author's websites? Okay, we'd all like to win a computer or a car or a cruise, but let's be serious. I really want to know. Feel free to leave a comment or email me privately if you'd prefer. Oh, and all those who leave comments will be put in a drawing to win a copy of my final book in the bayou series, BLACKMAIL.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Cover: Deliver Us From Evil

Here's the cover for my February release with B&H Publishing, Deliver Us From Evil!



I LOVE it! Would love to hear your thoughts as well!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Review of NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH

Surprise, I'm going to review a movie instead of a book!



Editorial Synopsis: Journalist Rachel Armstrong (Kate Beckinsale) turns Washington on its ear when she outs a casual acquaintance (Vera Farmiga) as a CIA agent. The government's formidable prosecutor (Matt Dillon) sends Rachel to jail for contempt, where she discovers the true impact of her decision. David Schwimmer, Alan Alda and Edie Falco co-star in this drama from Rod Lurie.

Roger Ebert posted on rogerebert.com: Nothing But the Truth" is a finely-crafted film of people and ideas, of the sort more common before the movie mainstream became a sausage factory. It respects the intelligence of the audience, it contains real drama, it earns its suspense, and it has a point to make. In the ordinary course of events, it would have had a high-profile release and plausibly won nominations. But the economic downturn struck down its distributor, the film missed its release window, and its life must be on DVD. It is far above the "straight-to-DVD" category, and I hope filmgoers discover that.


Robin says: I LOVED this movie. Loved the acting. Loved the twist at the end (nope, not gonna spoil it, even though I figured it out before it was revealed). Loved that the filmmaker made a viable point--The over-extension of power our government has, and uses at will. All in all, I give this movie a "don't miss" recommendation.

Has anyone else seen it? What are your thoughts?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Oh, What A Feeling!

Ever wonder how JK Rowling and Stephanie Meyers feel? I have a glimpse. I went to Nashville to my wonderful publisher, B&H's sales conference. From the moment I stepped off the plane, I had the red carpet treatment. I was met by editor extraordinare, Karen Ball. I so love that woman!

We got me checked into my hotel, then she took me over to meet some wonderful folks at B&H. Talk about some great, Christian people! Then she and I were joined by the brilliant Julie Gwinn (yep, trying to locate the picture of us two) for supper. We talked marketing, but laughed a whole lot. Imagine that--laughing with Karen. Far reach, huh? LOL

The next day was the sales conference. Talk about a warm reception. Every single person I met was enthusiastic about B&H's Pure Enjoyment fiction line. Eager. And so friendly. Made me feel right at home. And when they showed the trailer for my upcoming book, Deliver Us From Evil, up on the big screen? Well, let's just say I got chills. And to see my book cover up on the wall when I came into the conference room...so big and beautiful. Ah, what a feeling.

That night, again I had supper with Karen and Julie, but we were joined by two really great members of the sales team. We had such a wonderful time. Great ideas and beautiful fellowship and discussion.

I left early the next morning, but blessed beyond belief by my experience. I had an awesome time and am in awe of some pretty wonderful people.

Now, back to reality and the business of writing!

Friday, June 12, 2009

K9 For Humans???

Okay, so my beloved Moodoo (mix of lab and Catahoula)
tells me it's time to go outside. (He whines twice, then nudges me. If I don't respond immediately, he puts his paws on my arm and pushes me) Being a devoted dog owner, I slip on my shoes, grab his leash, and we head out the door. Now, he decides he wants to do his business in the woods around the house. Okay, works for me. (He's trained not to go in the "lawn" where hubby would have a fit) So off we go. The squirrels are playing in the trees, so we move slower. I'm looking at a squirrel and BlueJay having it out. Amusing me. (Hey, I'm procrastinating writing chapter 7, okay? Give me some latitude here) We're strolling along, Moodoo enjoying being outside since it's cooler today than it has been all week. He's sniffing the air, the bushes, the ground, the trees...everything. So after about 30 minutes, we head on back into the house. I brush him right quick before I let him in. (beggars lice is abundant in the woods here in Arkansas) and get the doggie wipe for his paws so he doesn't bring in any dirt, twigs, etc. He's good. Comes in, drinks some water, and plops down for a nap at my feet under my desk. All good, right?

WRONG!

I sit down and check email, Twitter, and Facebook (told you I was procrastinating) and I feel something "crawling" on my arm. Look down and Oh. My. Gosh. It's a tick. Ick. Grab it, kill it, flush it down the toliet. Shake off the ick feeling. Probably brushed against a tree or bush or something. No biggie, right? It's dead and flushed, not to worry anymore, right?

WRONG!

Back to checking email, Twitter, and Facebook (hey, I was away from my desk for a minute or so...might've had something come in. Remember, I'm procrastinating) and I feel something crawling on my leg. More than what I felt on my arm. Push out from under desk and find three ticks crawling on me. Triple ick. Get them off. Kill them. Flush them in toliet. But not taking any chances. Run and draw a hot shower. Take said hot shower. Get new clean clothes and throw others in washing machine and start it. I feel mucho better.

Then it dawns on me--poor Moodoo. What if he's eaten up with ticks?

Sigh. So I call him to me, make him flip over and check his legs, belly, tail, back, head, ears, etc. What did I find? NOT A SINGLE TICK. Nothing.

Why can't they make a K9 Advantage for humans?

Monday, June 08, 2009

Review: EXPOSURE by Brandilyn Collins




First let me state that I REALLY wanted to read this book because EXPOSURE was the working title of my novel releasing in February. Since I had to change my title (which I LOVE the one the B&H team came up with--DELIVER US FROM EVIL), I asked Brandilyn to send me a copy of her Exposure. She graciously did. And wow, I was totally enthralled in the book from the first page.

What happens when your greatest fear becomes reality? That's the premise of this book. Brandilyn drags you into the story immediately. While I won't give away plot points, I'll mention some of the things I liked best about this book:
--The characterization of the heroine and her journey. She's flawed. She's trying. She makes the reader assess their own fears and how they're handling them. That, in and of itself, can be scary enough! LOL But the change she goes through during the course of the book is realistic and natural.
--The plot twists and turns, so just when the reader feels "comfortable", we're pushed into a different direction, out of the comfort zone. This, imho, is awesome because normally, I figure out the suspense plot early in the book. I didn't in Exposure.
--The secondary characters really added a whole other level to the subplots and layers in this book. Make the reader think, feel, care.

I have to give Exposure top marks. Personally, I think this is one of Brandilyn's best books ever. Ingenious plot. Great premise. Awesome characters. Yep, Exposure isn't a book to miss. If you love suspense, I highly recommend Exposure by Brandilyn Collins. Get it. Now. What are you waiting for?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Updating

I'm starting to update my website. Have done some minor tweaks already--new releases, upcoming titles, new agent, contest finals--am about to start on new main page. Take a look here and email me your suggestions, or post a comment to this blog entry.

Friday, May 15, 2009

His Grace Is Enough For Me

This past week, I've spent a lot of time on my knees praying for direction in a lot of areas.

My oldest daughter is out of school-graduating next weekend. She'll be heading to college in the fall. How can I just let her go? I know parents face this all the time. But I needed the grace. HIS grace, because she's not mine anyway--she's His, just on loan to me. HIS grace comforts me that when she leaves, she's not out alone. She's in His hands. HIS grace is enough for me.

My writing/career is changing, growing, evolving. How can I not be in control of it? HIS grace carries me, because my writing/my career has never been in ANYONE's hands BUT HIS. HIS and His alone. Whatever gift of writing I have is only on loan to me. HIS grace is enough for me.

People change. How could I let people surprise me? HIS grace carries me. I'm not put on this earth for anyone but HIM. He's my rock, my salvation, and as long as I honor Him and strive to do what Jesus would do in any and all situations, how others change or behave has nothing to do with me. HIS grace is enough for me.

So, how about you? Are you letting HIS grace be enough for you?

Many blessings to you all and have a great weekend.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Can You Solve the Mystery???


Without a Trace...

Will a young mother's disappearance bring a bayou town together... or tear it apart?

This exciting new continuity from Love Inspired Suspense brings a special challenge to its readers.

Can you find the clues to the mystery?

This month, we'll be looking BACK at Margaret Daley's contribution, What Sarah Saw, for special clues from the book. If you haven't read it, you can purchase it here. Stay tuned, because each week during the month of February, a new clue will be released. Find the icon depicting the clue, and email the url you found it on to dream.eharlequinhost@gmail.com to be entered in a drawing for a special prize from author Margaret Daley.

Week One Clue: Alligator

Week Two Clue: Puppy

You can find clues on the eHarlequin.com site as well as on our pages on Facebook and MySpace.

If you want to get a jump start on next month's challenge, be sure to pick up the next book in the series, Framed! by Robin Caroll.

More details available here

Friday, February 06, 2009

ONE WORD

Word -

It's harder than you think. Here is what you are supposed to do...use only one word for each of the following...and please don't spoil the fun...copy and paste into your own note, type in your answers and tag a bunch of people - including me.

Where is your cell phone....................charging
Your hair....................................... black
Your father....................................God (we have but ONE father)
Your favorite thing...........................books
Your dream last night........................none
Your favorite drink........................... STARBUCKS
Your dream/goal.............................happiness
The room you are in..........................office
Your fear.......................................snakes
Where do you want to be in 6 years.......peaceful
Muffins..........................................blueberry
One of your wish list items..................debtfree
Where you grew up...........................Louisiana
The last thing you did.........................eat
What are you wearing........................sweats
Your TV.........................................blaring
Your pets........................................sweet
Your computer.................................lifeline
Your life..........................................busy
Your mood.......................................happy
Missing someone...............................Mom
Your car..........................................Expediion
Favorite store...................................Lifeway
Your summer.....................................HUMID
Your favorite color.............................red
When is the last time you laughed...........today
Last time you cried..............................today
Three people who email me....................Ronie, Dineen, hubby
Three of my favorite foods...................hibachi, steak, lasagna
Three places I would rather be right now...Jamaica, Italy, Paris
Three people I think will respond............Not a clue

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Review of...CRY IN THE NIGHT by Colleen Coble




Welcome back to Rock Harbor! It was so wonderful to return and catch up with old friends Bree and Kade Matthews and the rest of the gang. Of course, as per Colleen's style, CRY IN THE NIGHT has lots of suspenseful twists with a strong romance. If you loved the Rock Harbor series, you'll love this book. I've included a convenient link above for you to hurry and get this book NOW!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Win A Copy of Bayou Betrayal


Simple to do....either post a comment here or email me with a review you've found online on one of the earlier bayou series books....either Bayou Justice, Bayou Corruption, Bayou Judgment, or Bayou Paradox. All names go into a drawing for the free copy of the book.

Thanks for playing along!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Unpublished Writers Contest

ACFW's 2009 Genesis contest is open!
All the information on the contest is on this webpage:
http://www.acfw.com/genesis/
and the Frequently Asked Questions page has probably every question
you thought to ask:
http://www.acfw.com/genesis/FAQ.shtml

If you have any other questions not answered on those pages, please
email contest coordinator Camy Tang at genesis@acfw.com.

Polish your manuscripts and enter today!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Hello 2009!

The first day of 2009 dawned beautiful--clear, cold and pristine. Fitting for a new year. I don't really make "resolutions" . . . more, I make goals of what I want to do in the new year. Some, I'll be implementing today and moving forward, some won't come forward until later in 2009. But, without further ado, here's my list of goals for 2009:

1. Study God's word. Not just read it during my devotional time and move on, but really STUDY what He's revealing to me with each Scripture.

2. Quit smoking. (yeah, this is one of those that will come later in 2009, but I"m beginning to pray for deliverance from it now--feel free to join me in the prayer!)

3. Hit all deadlines.

4. Write at least 3 books, probably 4.

5. Do better at blogging and updating my sites.

6. Make the 2009 ACFW Conference better than ever!

7. Map out my daily schedule to allow more time for me.

8. Give myself permission to take days off.

9. Enter contests, despite the wariness.

10. Continue to cultivate relationships with my readers.

Those are my goals. What about YOU?