Monday, January 31, 2011

Giveaway and Author Interview: My Mother the Man Eater

               My guest today is author Tracy Krauss with her book My Mother the Man Eater.

                     Welcome to Writing for Christ, it is great to have you here! Do you have an interesting fact about yourself the average reader probably doesn’t know?

Let’s see … I’ve moved over thirty times in my life. My father was an adventurer – always buying and selling a new business or a different house, so I got to be an expert packer and mover. Good thing. My husband turned out to be an ‘adventurer’, too. But instead of moving across town, we moved all over the country – many of them in the far north. (I’m talking north of 60 degrees here, not some namby-pamby notion of north!) I’ve lived in the ‘Polar Bear Capital of the World’ (Churchill, MB), the Yukon and NWT (next door to Alaska) and experienced first hand 24 hour daylight in the summer and total darkness in the winter. I decided to homeschool early on after my eldest daughter was in her fifth school by the time she entered Grade Two. It has been lots of un, however, and has given me loads of ideas for writing.

What surprised you the most about being a published author?
I am most surprised by all the WORK involved afterwards in terms of marketing and publicity. I was so naïve. I thought once I signed a publishing contract, I could quit my job and let the experts do it all. Boy was I wrong!

Do you have a favorite genre to read/write?
I enjoy reading all kinds of books – classics, historical, mystery- (even some romance J ) but I really like something with a fantasy/sci-fi element. I’m a big Dekker and Peretti fan and I’ve also discovered Sigmund Brower’s adult novels to be right up my alley. My own writing tends to be more romantic suspense. I do love a good twist!

When you aren’t writing or interacting with fans, what do you enjoy doing?
I am also a visual artist. This has been my passion since childhood and I have a degree in Art Education. I mostly work in acrylics at the moment but I am also trained in Intaglio printmaking, which I still really enjoy. My other passion is the theater. I direct an amateur theater group for youth and we usually put on two full length productions every year. My de-stressing activity is playing the piano and singing. I lead worship at my church and I teach Art, Drama and English full time, so my days are pretty full.

Do you have a nugget of writing advice that has completely changed how you view writing?
I’ve been writing for about twenty five years, so I have had a lot of ‘‘aha!’ moments during that time. The most recent change for me in terms of my writing is to just relax. Let the words flow without worrying about every faux paus along the way. Editing and revision are a necessity, but don’t let it get in the way of the creative process. The other big change for me recently is to write creatively every day (if possible). I used to do most of my writing during large chunks of time – vacations or long weekends. It was such a span between ‘writes’ that it took hours to reacquaint myself with the characters etc. and I always ended up doing multiple revisions before getting back to the story. Writing daily is much more productive. I learned both of these things during this year’s NaNoWriMo event. It was the first time I’ve participated and I found it to be inspiring, productive and so rewarding that it actually has changed the way I approach a story idea.

What do you enjoy most about being a published author?
I’m not going to lie. There is a certain gratification in seeing one’s hard work in print. I’ve also enjoyed meeting and connecting with so many like-minded people who are pursuing the same dream.

What do you like readers to take away from your books?
Redemption is the bottom line – Christ is the answer no matter who you are, what you’ve done, or where you’re going. Obviously, I also want my readers to enjoy the story. I try to include enough plot twists and surprises that my writing isn’t predictable and hopefully it will cause some reflection afterwards. Stories that make me think – that I can’t get out of my head after I’ve read them – are the kinds of stories that I enjoy, and I want this to be the experience for my readers as well.

 Places for readers to learn more about you?
I also have another blog at

Thank you for being with us today!
Please leave an email address. If I draw your name and there is no email, you will not win!

For extra entries:
~Be a follower
~Be a subscriber

And a NEW one:
~Follow Tracy's blog here

Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on February 10th.

Check out Tracy's book launch!

MY MOTHER THE MAN-EATER official book launch - February 24. Check the links for more details:


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Book Review: Plain Wisdom by Cindy Woodsmall and Miriam Flaud

I have been a fan of Cindy Woodsmall’s Amish fiction since I was given her first book and that coupled with my fascination for the Amish led me to request “Plain Wisdom” to review.
My ancestors are thought to have come from “Amish blood”, (my great-great-grandmother is believed to be Pennsylvania Dutch) and I have picked up my interest in the Amish from my grandfather.
What I got from this book is so much more. Yes, I learned new things about the Amish, like they use processed food products like Crisco, corn flakes and condensed soup, but the snippets of wisdom from both Cindy and Miriam were priceless. The ladies told stories of their life that have moved and inspired me in so many ways. One of my favorites is something Cindy said towards the end about “practice makes perfect” and if we practice worry, we make worry perfect in our lives. Wow, I needed to hear that, especially as there has been something I have been worrying about.
You are given an unprecedented peek into the Amish home (it truly feels like a warm invitation into a friend’s home) and see their world from both the outsider and Amish point of view.
When I closed the book, I was impacted. Moved, ministered too, Uplifted. I highly recommend you pick up this book, it has touched my life and I hope to share copies with friends and family.
This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers for my copy to review.

TWO Winners!!

Many thanks to Penny Zeller for offering both of her books McKenzie and Kaydie to two of our readers today!

And they are...

Of McKenzie...

Lisa! (bluejay...)

And for Kaydie...

Tore! (tore923...)

Congrats! I'll be emailing you both every soon. Have a great weekend, everyone!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Cold Call Friday with Laura Frantz!

Laura, so happy to have you here for the first monthly “Cold Called Friday” post! For those new to this feature, YOU as the reader get the chance to “cold call interview” your favorite author! Watch my blog at the beginning of each month for a poll on which author you want to “cold call”. Now please help me welcome, Laura Frantz!!
And now Laura, you’re first “cold call interview” question…
I know your son Paul plays the violin, but have you ever picked it up and played (or attempted to play) it yourself?
Once - and only onceJ. I did manage to get through the first three measures of Mozart’s rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star but Paul was rolling around on the floor laughing so hard I finally gave up. Sadly, the violin is supposed to be the hardest instrument to master. But it is oh so beautiful when played well!
I know you live in Washington and that your heart's in Kentucky, but if you could choose a location for an all expense-paid, three-week visit to anyplace in the world, where would you go, and why would you choose that place?
Scotland – the Highlands or Hielands as the Scots say. I’ve always been sad that while I once attended school in England I never made it to Scotland nor Ireland for that matter which is where my family is from. I’m absolutely addicted to Scottish heroes. My editor might be, too, as she asked me to make my next hero in my upcoming series a Scotsman. I might just put him in a kilt, something I didn’t do with Ian Justus in The Frontiersman’s DaughterJ. Why Scotland, you may ask? It’s so rich in history and the culture is fascinating. Even the food! Not to mention the landscape and those old crumbling castles. And I find the Scots dialect (and the Gaelic) quite charming.
What kind of music do you like to listen to?

While I write, I usually play Joshua Bell or David Garrett or a movie soundtrack like North & South/BBC version. I walk/exercise with the Black Eyed Peas and crazy musicians like Flo Rida (Club Can’t Handle Me), thanks to my teenage son. Nothing profane – at least I don’t hear any bad lyrics! As far as Christian music, I love Third Day and MercyMe.
Do you have any future books in the works?
Four in a family saga titled The Ballanytyne Legacy with Revell. It spans one hundred years or 4 generations. Quite an endeavor. The first in the series will be on shelves September 1, 2012, and then every September thereafter. Think feuding sisters, rival heroes, a blend of the city and the frontier, besetting sins and redemptive choices in each generation.
What toppings do you like on your pizza?
Once upon a time I ordered pizza with artichokes and cottage cheese on top nearly once a week (it’s actually quite good). Now it’s simply a very palatable pineapple and Canadian bacon.
I see by your profile that you enjoy cooking. Can you give us your favorite dish you make?
Halibut Lasagna. Whenever my southern relatives roll around, I buy fresh halibut and make this rich dish and they beg for the recipe, then go home and make for family/friends. It’s not your traditional lasagna but is made with lots of butter, cheese, oodles of noodles and a cream sauce. It may sound revolting but it’s next to divine, IMHO.
Thanks for connecting, Laura!! It has been great fun. J Care to share the places readers can connect with you?
My pleasure, Casey. I love visiting with readers at my website/blog  or over at my Facebook page under Laura Feagan Frantz. If you contact me there I’ll be sure to respond. I answer all mail, email or snail mail. Love hearing from fellow book loving friends!
Thanks to you, Casey, and your blog buddies for such creative questions! I enjoyed each and every one! God bless you all.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

CFBA Tour and Book Review: Rhythm of Secrets by Patti Lacy

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Rhythm of Secrets
Kregel Publications (December 22, 2010)
Patti Lacy
Patti Lacy, Baylor graduate, taught community college humanities until God called her to span seas and secrets in her novels, An Irishwoman's Tale and What the Bayou Saw. She has two grown children and a dog named Laura. She and her husband can be seen jog-walking the streets of Normal, Illinois, an amazing place to live for a woman born in a car. For more information, visit Patti's website at, her blog at, and her Facebook daily Artbites.

Sheila Franklin has masqueraded as the precocious daughter of avant-garde parents in colorful 1940s New Orleans, a teen desperate for love and acceptance, and an unwed mother sent North with her shame.

After marrying Edward, Sheila artfully masks her secrets, allowing Edward to gain prominence as a conservative pastor. When one phone call from a disillusioned Vietnam veteran destroys her cover, Sheila faces an impossible choice: save her son and his beloved…or imperil Edward’s ambitions.

Inspired by a true story, The Rhythm of Secrets intermingles jazz, classical, and sacred music in a symphony trumpeting God’s grace.

“A vibrant journey across time in search of the greatest truth of all: grace.”—Tosca Lee, author of Havah: The Story of Eve and Demon: A Memoir

“No longer a ‘well-kept secret,’ Patti Lacy is a master storyteller who speaks to the soul with a powerful and unique rhythm, weaving a tale so emotionally rich that story and reader become one.”—Julie Lessman, author of The Daughters of Boston series and A Hope Undaunted
“Patti Lacy pens another beautifully written story in The Rhythm of Secrets. I couldn’t put it down!”—Melanie Dobson, award-winning author of The Black Cloister
“The Rhythm of Secrets is a stirring story of faith and endurance that will keep readers turning the page until every last secret is revealed.”—Tina Ann Forkner, author of Ruby Among Us and Rose House
If you would like to read an excerpt of Rhythm of Secrets, go HERE.

When you sit down with a Lacy book you can be sure of two things: twists and turns and the goodness of God’s grace triumphing over the human condition
I thought the book did a good job of showing the forgiveness of God’s grace and how our sins will find us out, effecting more than just that one person.
The beginning was a bit slow, but once the story got going it didn’t quit. Just when you think you have something figured out, a new twist is added. How the author dreams up such plot lines is beyond my own imagination.
This book reminded me a bit of Lynn Austin’s, Hidden Places as Sheila recounts her life to her son. I saw her struggles and mistakes, her desires to change, her growth and in some cases, regression.
This is definitely an edgy story, and towards the end, more edgy than I think I cared for. The other element that got a bit overwhelming were the metaphors. I thought it a bit overdone.
In the end, there is not a strong spiritual thread, but as the book came to a close I thought the message of God’s grace prevailed. It could have possibly been more powerful with a stronger thread, but I was pleased with how it closed.
It’s fiction that makes you think, takes you deeper and reminds you God can take any situation for His glory.
This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers through CFBA for my copy to review.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
1. Thessalonians 1:3  

Where does your inspiration come from? Be it life, career...writing. It all comes from somewhere.

Every morning when I get up I attempt (I say attempt as I am often prying my eyes open with a chisel while praying, reading my Bible and journaling. :-) my devotions and spend time with the Lord to start off my day. Always somewhere on that list of requests and praises is my request for inspiration. I seem to need it in bucket loads these days.

When I sat down to write this post last Friday only one word stuck in my head...Inspiration. I need to be inspired and where else to be so, then God's Word? I looked up the word and found the verse above.

Wow. I  need to read that again. Our FAITH, our ENDURANCE, our LOVE, our HOPE. Do those words just not make you want to get up and dance? What promise are packed into those words.

What inspiration.

Maybe you get your inspiration from people watching, your kids, your marriage, your job, radio talk shows, music, other books.

But NOTHING can counter the grace and peace of inspiration directly from the Throne of Grace. The Audience of One. It has certainly been an epiphany for me.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

CFBA Tour and Book Review: Digitalis by Ronie Kendig

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Barbour Publishing, Inc.(January 1, 2011)
Ronie Kendig

Ronie has been married since 1990 to a man who can easily be defined in classic terms as a hero. She has four beautiful children. Her eldest daughter is 16 this year, her second daughter will be 13, and her twin boys are 10. After having four children, she finally finished her degree in December 2006. She now has a B.S. in Psychology through Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. Getting her degree is a huge triumph for both her and her family--they survived!!
This degree has also given her a fabulous perspective on her characters and how to not only make them deeper, stronger, but to make them realistic and know how they'll respond to each situation. Her debut novel, Dead Reckoning released March 2010 from Abingdon Press. And her Discarded Heroes series began in July 2010 from Barbour with the first book entitled Nightshade.
This is the second book in the series.

Step into the boots of a former Marine in this heart-pounding adventure in life and love. Colton “Cowboy” Neeley is a Marine trying to find his footing as he battles flashbacks now that he’s back home. Piper Blum is a woman in hiding—from life and the assassins bent on destroying her family. When their hearts collide, more than their lives are at stake. Will Colton find a way to forgive Piper’s lies? Can Piper find a way to rescue her father, trapped in Israel? Is there any way their love, founded on her lies, can survive?
If you would like to read an excerpt of Digitalis, go HERE.

My Review:
No really…what a man!
I am not a thriller reader. I like suspense and will watch the occasional Law and Order LA, but I am not a thriller reader.
DIGITALIS and Ronie Kendig have made me a thriller reader.
I think what made this book so appealing is the romance. Let’s be honest here, Colton “Cowboy” is one hunky hero. Right. Off. The. Bat. This book got going. I thought maybe at first it was moving “too” fast, but quickly changed my mind. Piper and Colton’s romance smolders just below the surface, hot enough to feel the incoming flames. But when the strong wind of lethal secrets snuffs out what was just getting started, I was crushed.
Life continues to get worse and worse until I wasn’t sure if anything could bring them back together. Dialogue is snappy and to the point and the ensemble cast is really perfect. I always get a kick out of the “Kid” and hope I get to read his story…?
A couple of the actions schemes in Israel were a bit hard for me to follow personally- but again, not a thriller reader here folks. I’m not saying it was a problem with the fiction, I just personally got the glazed over feeling. But not for too long and it was punchy enough I didn’t want to quit.
Very good from cover to cover, I will want to re-read this one again!
This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers through CFBA for my copy to review.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Giveaway and Author Interview: Awakening

Welcome to Writing for Christ, it is great to have you here! Do you have an interesting fact about yourself the average reader probably doesn’t know?

My recently released book, Awakening, is loosely based on my love story with my husband, Jim. Like my core characters, Sam Lewis and Lexa Clarke (yes, Lewis and Clarke), Jim and I met and fell in love in Texas (even though he’s from Rhode Island and I’m from Indiana). A lot of the strength of character, unwavering faith and goodness in Sam is Jim, and a lot of the stubbornness in Lexa is based on yours truly. But I like to think I also share Lexa’s resilience and resourcefulness. My  website at ( also features lots of “Fun Facts to Know and Tell” about my life – I hope you’ll check it out!

What surprised you the most about being a published author?

Writers work so hard to get that first book contact, but publication is only the first step. Then comes . . . marketing (blogs, interviews, e-mails, phone calls, speaking engagements, book signings). But, I’m certainly not complaining! Unlike a lot of writers, I’m a born extrovert. My book is the third release from new, Canadian Christian romance publisher, Torn Veil Books. You won’t find Awakening in Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club or your local Christian bookstore, and I need to work more diligently to promote it and get the word out. I always said I missed my “calling” in my day job and that I should be in marketing, but the Lord knew the best marketing job for me – my own characters and books! He hasn’t steered me wrong yet, and has led me every step of the way. It’s been a fascinating journey, and I’m so thankful for it all.

Do you have a favorite genre to read/write?

God first loved us, and gave us the ability to love. It’s one of His greatest gifts and our greatest joys. I adore reading romance – any time period. Is anything sweeter than the first blush of love? I enjoy historical romances, but I simply don’t have the time required for the research in order to write one. I crave romances with subplots and more than the romance going on. That’s what I bring to readers with Awakening. It features a number of different elements, although the romance between Sam and Lexa is center stage. I don’t adhere to the “three kiss” rule or a formula romance where characters form a relationship, then eventually break up due to an external or internal conflict only to get together in the end with a kiss, vow undying love and then sail off into the sunset. I believe working through life’s challenges together is a greater test of love and faith and builds a more solid foundation to form a lasting bond. While I love drama – and, of course, my characters face roadblocks along the way – I also infuse humor into my stories. Christians can laugh, too, and there’s enough drama and angst in life. I love the adventure and mystery angles in Awakening. It’s a great book for those times when you want to curl up and simply escape for a few hours. And, since it’s the beginning of a series, the adventures of Lewis and Clarke have only just begun!

When you aren’t writing or interacting with fans, what do you enjoy doing?

I love spending time with Jim and our three kids, and I am so blessed to have their support in my writing career. I enjoy reading (especially with my new Kindle) and relaxing (even a cherished nap here and there!). The past year has been unique in that I have rarely cooked, seen a movie, cross-stitched or traveled – all things I love to do. It’s been all about the writing. My spare time is limited since I work full-time as a wealth administration paralegal and also work as a part-time floor manager at a performing arts center. The latter feeds my “bossy” gene since I run around with a headset and supervise others, but with 400 superlative volunteers, I have a supportive “audience” for my books, and it gives me great public speaking experience. Again, it’s a case where I believe the Lord has facilitated my writing pursuits by placing me in a position which lends experience for the skills needed to be a public speaker. It’s fun, and the “perks” are nice, too. I recently met Michael W. Smith when he was in concert and slipped him my card for Awakening. When the Lord gives you opportunities, you step up to the plate!

Do you have a nugget of writing advice that has completely changed how you view writing?

If you’re passionate about your characters and their stories, they’ll become real and jump off the page and into the hearts and minds of the reader. Infuse them with endearing character quirks, backgrounds, habits, and flaws that make them unique. The second part of that equation – don’t worry about following the so-called “rules,” and go with your heart. Write what you love to read, and most importantly, write the story the Lord gives you. Then be patient because publishing can be a slow business. Keep writing, keep working, keep praying . . .  In turn, He’ll honor your faithfulness by opening the necessary doors to get your book in the hands of those readers who most need to read it. What an awesome responsibility and privilege we have as Christian authors!

What do you enjoy most about being a published author?

I love that I’m leaving a written legacy of faith for my children, and their children-to-be. Even if the Lord chooses to take me home today, my family will have a lasting testament of the Lord’s great faithfulness in my life. Being a published author is new for me since Awakening was published in late November 2010. Holding the book in my hands for the first time was truly the culmination of a lifetime of dreams, hopes and prayers. Having my mother and aunt read and enjoy the book is a personal thrill, as well. In time, I’ll adore interacting with readers who hopefully will come to love Sam and Lexa and their TeamWork crew as much as I do. I received my first book review today on Amazon (five stars!) from someone I don’t know, and that was very gratifying. To God be the glory!

What do you like readers to take away from your books?

It’s my prayer that readers will find at least one character in my books to whom they can connect, and that they might discover a personal spiritual truth to carry with them. Sam and Lexa, and all my main characters, strive to live godly lives. But, being human, they often stumble and sometimes fall. It’s how they react to life’s stress and situations that sets them apart. The hope we have in Christ and the gift of His grace are major themes in my books. Ideally, I’d like for a reader to reach the end of Awakening (and all my books), sigh, and say, “Now, that was a good book!” And then recommend it to others. As I’ve mentioned before, the Lord knows who needs to read my books, and for what purpose. He’s my partner in this endeavor – in every way.

Places for readers to learn more about you?

Please visit me at and leave a comment, or send me a message on Facebook. I would love to hear from you! Starting this month, I’ll also be a regular blogger on Reflections in Hindsight.
Thank you for being with us today!
It’s been my great honor and privilege. Thank you, and may the Lord bless each of you in 2011!

Okay readers, here is your chance to enter to win JoAnn's book.
Please leave an email address. If I draw your name and there is no email, you will not win!

For extra entries:
~Be a follower
~Be a subscriber

Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on February 4th.

You can purchase JoAnn's book on: and in both print and ebook format.

Contest Now Closed

Saturday, January 22, 2011

And the Winner is...

The winner of Shawna K. William's In All Things is...

Linda Kish!!

Linda, you will be emailed shortly.

Also, FYI, I am now going to be annoucing my winners in Friday's post. I won't be blogging on Saturday or Sunday unless something comes up. Thanks everyone!

Have a great weekend. :-)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Nearly "Cold Call" Friday!

The Results Are In!!
And the "Cold Call" author is....


You have until SUNDAY THE 23ND to log in with your questions for Laura. Keep them short, please as this is a cold call interview. Anything goes, favorite color, book, how long she's been writing, etc. I will only take up to EIGHT questions, though the interview happening or not does not hinge in how many questions I receive. I will be emailing Laura to let her know she is being "cold called." :-)

Story News

I exceeded 14K on my latest WIP this week and think I might be hitting my stride. Share your count, please do! I love to celebrate any and every success. :-) I also blogged yesterday on the Writer's Alley about "where has the fun in fiction gone". A wake up call for me personally as I am been doing a bit of struggling really getting into and enjoying the writing process again, so with prayer and a good kick in the pants, it has been nice to just sit down and write!

Ruminating Thoughts

Does anyone have an opinion on me announcing winners from my blog contest (the book giveaways) in these Friday posts? Much as I love blogging, I spend too much time doing it and should really be spending more time with my family and Christ, especially on the weekends and church. Thoughts? Opinions? I've been doing it for a year this way, but am not opposed to doing something different! I've changed my OEA status too.

Who Want's a Critique??


Carol, if you see this post before I get an email to you, go ahead and email me up to 10 pages and I'll share some time with you. :-) I'll be doing this giveaway of time next month sometime, so if you're still interested, be on the look out then. :-)

Re-Reading Challenge

I've read my first book in Amber over at Seasons of Humility's blog reading challenge. 1 down on the 20 books I said I would re-read in 2011. This is one fun challenge as I get to revisit all the books I love, but always thought I never had time to do. :-)

Blog Award!

Many thanks to Jane over at Reviews by Jane for this lovely award! I am honored. :-)

Here are 4 duties to perform to accept this award:
1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award

2. Share 7 things about yourself

3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers

4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award!
Groooan, I am not good at these "7 things" , but I'll try. ;-)
  1. I fear snakes like the plague and dance in place with fright when I see one. (ooo, too much info there?)
  2. I convinced my dad to join FB, a task I deemed virtually impossible- until he asked for my help. ;-)
  3. I am NOT as old as everyone thinks I am
  4. On my birthday in 1881: William "Billy the Kid" Bonney was killed by Pat Garrett
  5. My sister once proclaimed I would have enough books to read until I was 50! I quickly proved her wrong. ;-)
  6. The simplest things make me happy- like finally having hand soap instead of harsh dish soap to wash my hands with.
  7. I strongly dislike goats.

LOL, harder, than it looks! I don't have 15 blogs to award this too, but I will awarding a few blogs that I don't happen to follow. Simply put, I only have so much time, but still think they are pretty awesome!

All in a Day's Thoughts
Project Journal
Edgy Inspirational Romance
Dark Glass Ponderings

I have scheduled this post, so if you happen to see this award, before I get to you, then go ahead and take it!

If you don't do blog awards, that is just fine too!

Thanks so much all for making this a fun blogging experience. :-)

Don't Forget Your "Cold Call" Questions for Laura!

Happy Friday Everyone!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Book Review: A Billion Reasons Why by Kristin Billerbeck

I had heard, but never read anything by the author of A Billion Reasons Why until picking up this book and was pleasantly surprised!
Being an aspiring author I look for aspects of books that captivated me. The dialogue! It’s a lesson in precision, subtext, quick wit and emotion, giving the reader an effective glimpse into the mind of the character speaking. I laughed more than once at Katie and her best friend Eileen as she tried to keep her in line.
There is a subtle faith message woven through the book; one I appreciated. It’s one of those books that I could probably read several times to absorb its full impact. Katie’s struggles are especially well thought out and anxieties increased through the book. Letting go…and letting God seem to be the theme, though never in an overt way.
My one thought about the book is I am unsure about Luc. He was a suave hero that made more than just Katie’s heart dance, but I never really got a clear glimpse into his beliefs. I would have liked to dig a bit deeper into him.
But I was still pleased with my first experience with this author’s work. Its quick witted, sprinkled with dry humor and a romance leaving you longing for more. I enjoyed it!
This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers for my copy to review.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

When Fiction Fails to be "Fun"

Two weeks ago I wrote a post on Why Do You Read? and today (and tomorrow on the Alley), I wanted to share something that has been on my mind for the last couple of weeks. Why Do You Write?

Recently I read the comment that if only "I could write for fun". I sat back with a thump, my eyes blinked twice and I leaned in close to the computer screen. Surely I had read that wrong. Why can't writing be fun?

The question has been brooding ever since. In every business, job, occupation, you are going to have tasks you aren't going to like. Even in the jobs you love, you are going to have aspects of it that just fail to be enjoyable. I am not naive, I know writing fiction is hard, draining work.

But when does something that should be pleasurable, become obsessive?

Maybe this is just me, but I have to find enjoyment in something to really put my whole heart into it. I am a hard worker, but if forced to do something I have no passion for, I struggle and grind my way through everyday to complete, do I really want to spend the rest of my life doing that?

And I will confess fiction was becoming such a thing for me in the last few weeks. Thus, my mission to put "fun" back in fiction. If we become so driven on one goal, one dream, one mission, we are going to miss the easy flow and enjoyability that brought us to writing fiction in the first place.

I will continue this discussion tomorrow on The Writer's Alley, but until then I leave you with a question, and ask you to think about why do you write?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Guest Book Review and Revell Blog Tour: The Search by Suzanne Woods Fisher

I found the book, "The Search" by Suzanne Woods Fisher an easy and enjoyable read.  Characters were introduced in a manner that was easy to follow.  The story was one that kept my interest.  I enjoyed reading how the lives of Lainey, Bess, Jonah and Bertha collided.  The story might come across as having a somber tone, but was kept lively with witty humor.  I especially fell in love with the “giant” of a woman, Mammi Bertha and her hard to penetrate exterior mixed with her soft side.  She was the "glue" to the story and kept it funny and light.  I liked the fact that she was resourceful and was able to maintain her farm after her husband's passing.  The other aspects of the story held a more "secret" side and although revealed early on to the reader, kept other characters in the book from "knowing" the truth.  It is a love story on more than one level as well as a "coming together" of family that was torn apart by grief.
This review your honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers for my copy to review.

*This review written and shared with you by my mom!

Suzanne Woods Fisher's latest installment of the Lancaster County Secrets, The Search,  is just out and to celebrate Suzanne is hosting The Search iPad Giveaway!

One Grand Prize winner will receive an iPad Prize Package worth over $500 and includes:
To enter, simply click on the icons below to fill out the entry form/s, then tell 5 or more friends about the contest. Oh, and enter soon! Winner will be announced on February 3rd at Suzanne's Everything is Coming Up Roses Facebook Party. (Did you know The Search takes place on a rose farm?)

Enter via E-mail Enter via Facebook Enter via Twitter
Facebook Party:
Join Suzanne for the Everything is Coming Up Roses Facebook Party on February 3rd! She’ll be announcing the winner of the The Search iPad Giveaway, hosting a book club discussion of The Search, giving away copies of all three books and HEAPS of other readerly prizes! Including roses delivered to your door for three months for you AND a friend! Be sure to join us on Thursday, February 3rd at 5:00 PM PST (6:00 MST, 7:00 CST & 8 EST) at Suzanne’s Author Page.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Giveaway and Author Interview: McKenzie and Kaydie

Welcome to Writing for Christ, Penny Zeller, it is great to have you here!
Thank you so much for interviewing me on your blog, Casey.  It’s great to be here!
Do you have an interesting fact about yourself the average reader probably doesn’t know?
What a fun question to answer! *grins* Let’s see, I think one of the most interesting things would be how I met my husband, Lon, of 18 years. I met him through a prank phone call when my sister, cousin, and I found his football picture in the newspaper and decided to call him one day. I thought he was just the cutest! (He went to a neighboring school and was a state champion football player, while I was a cheerleader at my school). We met in person for the first time the following week at the local gas station where I told him my real name. (Having an overactive imagination allowed me to come up with just the perfect name when I prank phone-called him). Lon rode up on his motorcycle and I drove up in my old-fashioned high school clunker. Our eyes met…and the rest, as they say, is history!

What surprised you the most about being a published author?

That the hardest work comes after the book is published! J

Do you have a favorite genre to read/write?

Historical romance is my favorite genre to write, followed by contemporary romance. In third place would be nonfiction. As for reading, I would have to say my favorite is historical romance. There’s something neat about being able to pick up this genre and escape into a simpler time.

When you aren’t writing or interacting with fans, what do you enjoy doing?

I enjoy spending time with my family and camping, hiking, canoeing, gardening, and playing volleyball.

Do you have a nugget of writing advice that has completely changed how you view writing?

I     never realized it before I began writing, but being an author is a fulltime career. I have to be intentional about setting aside time and setting goals or my writing can easily take a backseat to the other “necessary” daily chores of being a wife, mother, and volunteer. Because I work from a home office, I have to be intentional also about allowing the answering machine to “field” calls and be realistic about time management. Effective prioritizing has been a huge learning experience for me!

What do you enjoy most about being a published author?

There are many exciting things about being a published author, such as, receiving a copy of my manuscript in “book form” for the first time or receiving a kind email from a reader. However, the thing I have enjoyed the most is the opportunity it has given me to share Christ with others. Being able to talk about my career has opened the door to sharing the Gospel in countless ways.

What do you like readers to take away from your books?

Writing is my ministry and I hope my readers will get from McKenzie -and all of my books -the power of God’s love, redemption, hope, and forgiveness.  I want them to catch a glimpse inside my characters’ lives and see that God can and does change hearts.

Places for readers to learn more about you? 

I love to hear from my readers and can be found on the web at (website) (my blog – a Day in the Life of a Wife, Mom, and Author) (Facebook)

Thank you for being with us today! Thank you again, Casey, for having me here and for being such an encouragement and a blessing to authors everywhere! We appreciate you!

Okay readers, here is your chance to enter to win Penny's book. Here is how this will work: one winner will receive one of the books. The winner of Kaydie will not get their book April as it has not yet released. Please make note of this.
Please leave an email address. If I draw your name and there is no email, you will not win!

For extra entries:
~Be a follower
~Be a subscriber

And a NEW one:
~"Like" Penny's page on Facebook.

Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on January 28th.

FTC Rules

According to new FTC rules I must let you, the reader know, that all views shared on this blog are strictly my own. Books to review are either provided for me by the author, publisher or ones I have purchased and I am under no obligation whatsoever to present anything, but my true opinion on any product. I receive no monetary compensation for anything written on this blog. Any giveaways on this blog are provided by the author/ publisher and I am not responsible for any views they express in their work or on this site. Giveaways are void were prohibited and chances of winnng are based on the number of applicants. A random winner is draw when a book is given away.

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