Monday, December 31, 2012

THE ONE THING

HAPPY NEW YEAR!


THE ONE THING  Need some motivation. Here it is. I listened to Andy Stanley on YOUR MOVE this past week. It's just what we all need to hear and think about for this new year. I think you'll find your one thing or maybe more. :)  Don't miss this.

Then mark your calendars for January 8th. My new book, Mystery of the Heart, The Ravensmoore Chronicles, Book Three releases that day. And you might remember that every year on my birthday, January 11th, I like to give things away. So I will be giving away three sets of my complete series that week. Drop in for a chance to win. That's January 8th! BUT if you're visiting here today and leave a comment about one thing you hope to accomplish in 2013 I'll throw your name in the hat as a possible winner of my ENTIRE SERIES! You must enter by midnight January 5th PST. I'll post the winner on Sunday January 6th.


This blog post is continued here.

Happy New Year!

 
Wishing you a wonderful New Year!
 
To start off the year right I'm doing a giveaway!
 
Make a comment on my blog to win a copy of my next release, Grace Given! 
 
 
 

Friday, December 21, 2012

How to Handle Those Rejections!

I wanted to share a previous post with the readers of this blog. This post was written back in October after attending "Hutchmoot 2012" a wondrous Christian art conference that celebrates the writings of The Inklings (Lewis, Tolkien, etc.). As you will see in this post, an hour before walking through the doors of Redeemer Church I received devastating news. If you have ever been rejected by a publisher (and who hasn't?) or been "released" from your contract you can really appreciate this post.
Merry Christmas!

http://brucehennigan.com/2012/09/27/hutchmoot-2012-day-1-so-many-rabbits/

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Exploring the Regency with Guest Blogger: Sara King

I recently attended a book signing at Barnes and Noble in Westchester, Ohio where I met Sara King who works there part-time. I've talked her into visiting once in awhile and sharing some of her expertise in history. Sara attended Northern Kentucky University where she majored in Biology, History and Anthropology. She loves out door activities and camping including horseback riding, hiking and walking trails.  She's an animal lover and activist.(Sara's favorite animals are horses, cats and wolves. But says she loves almost all animals except for insects). Here's Sara.

As a history major I love to explore cultures and societies that came before our time.  My hope in writing as part of my friend Jillian Kent’s blog is that we can enlighten each other in the history and culture of the Regency Era of Great Britain.  My goal is to give you as a fellow reader an insight into aspects of the time period that Jillian may not write about, but aspects we both are passionate about.  To begin my first post for Jillian and to everyone one of her friends that read her blog, I wanted to start small and just give an introduction into the Regency Era.  As we progress through our time together and become friends my hope is to focus on specific topics for each post whether it be a place, a person, a landmark or a tradition. Continued on my blog here.

Monday, December 17, 2012

My Book Signing Experience

   I had a book signing in Denver on December 1 while my wife and I were down from Alberta, Canada, visiting our two daughters and their families who live there. My two daughters were my “campaign managers,” and they sent out invitations to their friends to attend. I arrived a little early and set up and began trying to do some “cold sales,” that is presenting my books to people in the store who didn’t know me or my book. I had no success. But then my daughter’s friends began to arrive and the sales went well. We sold all the copies in the store and then spent the evening running around Denver, buying up additional copies to satisfy the demand. We were grateful for the support.
     But the experience gave me pause. Had I gone to a store without any advance preparation or publicity, it would not have been a successful venture. Because I’m not a JK Rowling or a Stephanie Meyer, I cannot rely on mass interest and support. I attended a Stephanie Meyer book signing in Denver a couple of years back, and it was like going to a rock concert. Hundreds of screaming teenage girls queued up to get their books signed. My book signing experience was not like that! But things picked up immeasurably when my daughters’ friends began arriving. That’s why careful planning and advance publicity are so important. It’s no fun sitting at a table where store customers go out of their way to avoid you so they don’t get “drawn into” a discussion with an author they don’t know and a book they aren’t particularly interested in reading at the moment.
    What made the signing special for me was that my grandchildren who live in Denver donned their “Grandpa’s Book Buddy” T-shirts and walked around the store to help promote the event. I sure appreciated their love and support.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Get in the Christmas spirit...Read a book!



 

 


Looking for a great book to read this Christmas? Reading a good Christmas tale is a great way to get into the spirit of the season. Check out my blog for some Christmas books that you might enjoy. http://bethshriverwriter.blogspot.com/    Merry Christmas everyone!
  
 
 

 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Getting It Straight

Image courtesy of stockimages/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You know you want to be a writer, and so do the people around you. Is that a good or bad thing? In other words, are you prioritizing your writing goals and career aspirations over relationships with the important people in your life? Family, friends, even strangers need to know you care and respect them. Read about how to show it on my blog....

Friday, December 7, 2012

What helps us to be better writers?

As writers we know the importance of resources and tools. The computer has allowed us to write more efficiently and quickly, and without it, most of us wouldn’t have written nearly as much as we have. I wrote my first stories on a red Big Chief tablet with a pencil as round as my little finger. It had an eraser I used a lot.

Then came the manual typewriter without correction tape. Revision and editing was a real pain and consumed way too much time as I had to start over so many times. My first electric typewriter had the correction tape and helped with typos, but didn’t help with revisions and editing. I still had to start over.

Today we can cut and paste, use the “track changes” feature and hunt and replace for errors. We even have spell check to help with spellings and grammar check that isn’t always reliable, but better than having to look up so much stuff. Editing and revision is no longer a pain although it still takes time to get it right.

In addition to the internet for research, we have instant contact with editors, agents and publishers. We can send our manuscripts electronically instead of through regular mail which saves time and money. What formerly took hours and even days to accomplish can now be done in a few minutes.

We also have more resources today from fellow writers. My library includes books on writing by Brandilyn Collins, Getting into Character; James Scott Bell, Plot and Stucture; Sol Stein, Stein on Writing; Rennie Browne and Dave King, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers; Donald Maas, Writing the Breakout Novel; Marlene Bagnull, Write His Answer; and Ron Benrey, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Writing Christian Fiction. These and many others are among those on my bookshelves that help me improve my writing.

We all have our favorite tools, books, writing places, and rituals that help on this writer’s journey, but the greatest resource is the One who gave us life and gives us our hope for eternity. Time spent with the Lord is time invested in finding His will for our lives and the direction for our writing.

So what is your favorite tool or resource? What helps you get started or motivates you to write? 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas Ebooks by Lena Nelson Dooley


I’m very excited about the three Christmas ebooks I’ve uploaded to Kindle recently.

The newest is 24 Christmases. This book was 24 years in the making.

In 1985, as I was preparing to order Christmas cards from a Christian supplier, God told me that He had given me the gift of writing, and I should use it to bless people at Christmas. That year, I wrote my first Christmas story. The story of Mary as a dramatic monologue.

Five other monologues—of people who were involved with that event so long ago—followed. Joseph … the innkeeper … Mary’s mother … the youngest shepherd … the servant of a wise man.

The next story was a romance. One year I wrote a modern Christmas fable. Another year, I wrote a short play that was used to take Christmas to two local malls. Other stories contained different perspectives, but one focus—the impact that first Christmas has had on mankind through the ages.

Unfortunately, there were a few scattered years when I didn’t write a Christmas story. Life interfered with my plans

James and I have friends spread across several countries around the world. Many of them have contacted me to tell me how much the stories mean to them. They anxiously await their copy of the Christmas story and make it part of their family’s celebration. What a blessing that is to me.

I pray these stories will bless you as much as you have blessed me.

The picture on the cover of this book was taken in my den a year or two ago.


The other 2 Christmas ebooks are novellas.

Christmas Confusion
Lori Compton, mayor of Mistletoe, needs ideas for ways to prop up the sagging economy. After having her heart broken by the former pastor, she doesn’t want to spend time with the new pastor. Rev. Russell Brown has plenty of ideas, even one that includes his spending the rest of his life with the beautiful mayor. Will Lori be able to move beyond her hurts and recognize God’s intentions for the future of the town – and for her own future?

The Best Medicine
When Thomas Stanton shows up at the holiday party of Rose Fletcher’s best friend, his appearance reminds Rose of the infatuation she felt for him when he worked on her father’s ranch. Although her heart wants to continue those long ago feelings, her mind reminds her that he doesn’t share her faith in God. Thomas can’t understand why Rose seems so standoffish. Will it take God’s intervention to show these two people just what He has planned all along?

You can find the books for Kindle by going to my Kindle store page: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=lena+nelson+dooley

The Best Medicine is also available for Nook.


What is your favorite Christmas tradition?Show More


Monday, December 3, 2012

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop -- Interview with Andrea Boeshaar


Thanks so much to Wisconsin author Lily Silver who tagged me in 
The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

I thought this might be fun so I agreed to participate. For this multi-author promotion, I've decided to give readers a sneak peek at my upcoming novel -- as well as my books already on store shelves and available as ebook downloads.

Here's the interview:


 What is the title of your next book?

         Threads of Love, which will be released in May 2013
                  (Isn't this cover GORGEOUS!?)



 Where did the idea come from for the book?


          This series is based on my Norwegian heritage and
          my family history (fictionalized!). Threads of Love
          is book 3 and the last novel in my Fabric of Time series.



       


 Books 1 and 2 are now available in both traditional print AND ebook formats. 


Threads of Hope (Fabric of Time)Threads of Hope (book 1) 


Threads of Faith (Fabric of Time)












Threads of Faith (book 2)

What genre does your book fall under?

          Christian/Inspirational historical romance


What is the one-sentence synopsis of your latest series?

          Follow the journeys of first Kristin in 1848 (Threads of Hope), 
          then Julianna in 1877 (Threads of Faith), and finally Emily in 1902 (Threads of Love
          as these women weave a tapestry of love, honor, and family unity into life's Fabric of Time.


          Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?


         It's published by Realms -- a division of Charisma Media and I can usually write a 75.000 
           word novel in 6 to 9 months time. That is, if life doesn't get in the way.


What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Seasons of Redemption Series, Volumes 1-4  -     
        By: Andrea Boeshaar


My last series, Seasons of Redemption, was published by Realms/Charisma Media.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

For my Fabric of Time series, my Norwegian heritage inspired me. For my Seasons of Redemption series I was inspired to write stories set during and just after America's Civil War. I thank God Almighty for giving me the gift of writing. 

What else about your book might pique the reader interest?

My latest series, Fabric of Time, is primarily set in Wisconsin. My grandmother, an art and reading teacher in Tigerton, Wisconsin, painted a picture of Manitowoc's harbor. Many family members said the scene was "dark," and after my grandfather died, no one wanted it. But secretly I had always coveted the painting. It's no Monet, but my "Nana" painted it. It's hanging on the large wall in my stairwell and I treasure it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now it's time to pass the baton to 2 additional author-friends so they can tell you about their amazing books. Their posts, which will have the same title as this one -- The Next Big Thing Blog Hop -- and will be live on their blogs soon, so please check them out! 

Loree Lough
Liz Tolsma

Also, check out the other authors I blog with on The Barn Door blog. And don't forget to peruse my personal blog on which I interview other authors of Christian and inspirational fiction. Everything Writerly.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Using Family History to Create Fiction


My father handed me a pack of letters in 1994. They were letters he’d saved that my grandfather had given him. As I read them, I became fascinated with Sarah Louise Dyer, my great-grandmother. One of the letters came from my great-grandfather and was written in 1864 a month or so before he was captured at Nashville and taken to Maryland as a POW.

That letter sparked my interest in our family history and genealogy. So began a trek to the past that uncovered more and more about my great-grandparents and their families. As I discovered interesting facts and information about Manfred Whiteman and Sarah Dyer, I had to write about them. Using the facts I had and adding my own ideas to fill in the blanks, the story Love Stays True was born.

 My husband and I first visited St. Francisville, Louisiana and Woodville, Mississippi as a vacation in the summer of 1994 a few months after receiving the letters. We spent time in the courthouses in both places and uncovered documents that gave me dates, times, and information about births, deaths, and marriages. Through these documents I began to piece together the relationship between Manfred and Sarah, or Sally as he called her.

My father had two sisters and two brothers, and our families remained fairly close despite my parents’ divorce. With fourteen grandchildren, my grandparents had wonderful family gatherings for us and the cousins became friends until we began our own families and moved to different parts of the state and country. Although we still visited occasionally at family gatherings, we had our own lives and families and didn’t keep in close touch. At our grandmother Mammy’s funeral, we decided we needed to keep better contact with each other.

 We did, and our annual “Cousin Camp” began in the late nineties. I shared with them what I had learned about our family and began a scrapbook of all the documents and pictures I’d found. From the information I had, I wrote the initial story and shared it with my cousins and my two aunts who were still living. They all loved it and were fascinated by all I’d found out about the Whiteman and Dyer families.

 The book circulated in the family for a number of years until I decided to expand it into a novel. After more research and more visits to St. Francisville, I began the book. We submitted it to a number of publishers, but none were interested in another Civil War novel. Finally, we submitted it with two other ideas as a series to my editor who wanted another series from me. She liked it and offered a contract.

Now, in May 2013, that novel will be released as Love Stays True, the first book in the Loves Journey Homeward series. At our annual Cousin Camp a few months ago, we had great fun talking about the book and new information my cousins Tom and Holly had found through a website on ancestry. They are all looking forward to getting their copies of the book.

 Stories are all around us, and the past contains more than we’ll ever be able to write. We’ve already discovered that our grandmother’s family had just as much history and drama in their background as did the Dyer and Whiteman’s. Who knows, there may be a book there, too.
 
My question for you is: How much do you know about your family history?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Coming Soon--"Dark Hour"!

I'm pleased to announce that the third and final installment in my The Coming Evil Trilogy is due out early next year. Not only that, but it is titled Dark Hour, and here's the cover!


This series of "Christian Horror" books has been a dream of mine for a very long time now. It's always been my desire to write about that battle between fear and faith, good and evil, God and Humankind's Rebellious Attitude.

The Coming Evil Trilogy follows the struggles of the small town of Greensboro. Ever since the highway moved, the once prosperous town has fallen on hard times and abandoned their collective faith. The barriers of protection that gaurded this small town for over a hundred years has fallen and their apathy has paved the way for a terrifying devil--enigmatically called "The Strange Man"--to make his move.

In the last two books of the Trilogy (The Strange Man, Enemies of the Cross), the Strange Man has been moving pieces of his diabolical puzzle into place to bring about the Dark Hour. With the publication of Book Three early next year, the Strange Man's plans will come to fruition.

There is hope, though. A small group of Christians is beginning to wake up and lay hold of the faith they have taken for granted for far too long. The odds are impossibly stacked against them, but through perseverence, friendship, family, and love, they must stand against the Strange Man and his army of monsters.

Realms has been instrumental in helping me realize this dream, publishing the first two books in the Trilogy. For the last installment, Splashdown Books will be handling publicshing duties, building upon the top notch quality that Realms began and seeing this series to its dramatic end. I hope you all will come on board for this wild ride through the depths of darkness and to the heights of hope.

Check out my original announcement for Dark Hour on my blog, and, if you've yet to jump into The Coming Evil Trilogy, Books One and Two are on sale in your favorite bookstore, as well as online and in Kindle and Nook formats.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Why Bother With Book Signings?


Why do authors hold book signings? To sell books, right?

I’ve held at least a couple of dozen book signings over the years. I can think of at least three of these events where I sold almost 50 books. But, the others? Well, at one signing I didn’t sell a single book. In fact, not a single person even stopped at my table. Most of my book signings result in selling less than a dozen books. So, why continue to work so hard to have a book signing?

It’s the people. You can’t meet people face to face on Amazon or Barnes & Noble websites. You can’t reach out and touch someone through their Kindle or Nook. But, you can look someone in the eye over a book signing table. And, most importantly, you can hear their STORY.

This is what life is all about -- sharing our stories; writing our stories; continuing the Story that God has written for our lives. And, there is one story that always plays out at my book signings. It goes like this:

A man in his mid forties walks up to the table. Before him are my first two fiction books, “The 13th Demon” and the newest, “The 12th Demon”. Sitting to my side is my co-author, Mark Sutton and in front of him is a pile of our book, “Conquering Depression”.

The man pauses in front of me and picks up “The 12th Demon”. But, his gaze averts slightly to the pile of depression books. Why? Because that book is the real object of his quest. However, a man cannot admit his is depressed. Certainly not a stranger and certainly not even to himself. But, that book is tantalizingly just out of reach. Maybe if he shows interest in the fiction SOMETHING will happen and he might get his hands on the depression book. There is a deep seated discomfort with his life; a gnawing desire to face the beast head on and kill it; but to do so is to admit weakness, failure, the inability to FIX it! And so, he peruses the fiction book instead and asks me the inevitable question.

“I have a (son, daughter, nephew, grandson, granddaughter) who likes scary books. Would they like your book?”

“If they like books by Ted Dekker or Frank Peretti they will like my book. It’s about vampires so if they like the Twilight series, they’ll like my books. And, don’t worry about the subject. There is a redemptive message in the book. It does have a Christian point of view.”

The man looks at me and I sense a profound sadness. “That may be a problem. You see he/she has renounced their faith. He/She’s an atheist now.”

Ah, here is the question. Here is the heart of this man’s sorrow. It is most difficult to lose a child to death. But, to lose a child to atheism? That is a lingering death that drives the knife into the heart day after day. How do you deal with this? How do you love someone when they no longer share that faith connection with you? Is it possible?
I tap my second book. “One of my minor characters in this book wrestles with just that issue. She has become an assassin but early in life professed Christianity. She has wandered far away from her faith. In fact, she can no longer consider the possibility that God exists because if He does, how will she ever be forgiven for her heinous acts of violence and murder? Is it possible to move beyond God’s forgiveness?”

He just looks at me and his gaze drifts for a second to the depression books. “I don’t know . . .”

I am an apologist; someone trained in the defense of the truthfulness of the Christian faith. My discipline utilizes historical, scientific, and philosophical evidence as fuel for logical “arguments” in support of Christianity. But, I have learned the hard way that when someone loses their faith, rational discourse; reasonable debates; objective evidence will fall on deaf ears. It is because evidence is not the issue in question. Most people who fall away from their faith do so because they have been hurt or angered or disillusioned by well intentioned “Christians”. This hurt comes from someone in a position of authority or respect. Bottom line is the person is hurt; a heart felt need. NOT a head need!

I ask the man a simple question: “What happened between the two of you?”

He looks at me as if I have read his mind. What then unfolds is a tale of woe and pain. As with previous such encounters the story is one of a nasty divorce between the person’s parents or an abusive parent or a figure of trust who violated that trust. Bottom line: people will always let us down. Always!

I reach for a depression book. “Listen, you are depressed. This book is what you need. You can buy my books for your nephew/niece/son/daughter. My fiction books will give them something to think about. But, until the two of you repair your relationship, he/she will continue to be distant from their faith. Love him/her. Simple and clean. Show him mercy. Show him forgiveness. Show him the love of Jesus. That will bring him back. Then, one day, if he has questions that need hard factual answers, contact me and I’ll give you some resources. But, for now, he needs your love. In fact, both of you need love.”

I tap the second book again. “In this book the assassin’s anger and violent nature can be traced back to her father. This will provide an angle from which you can find common ground with him.”

He bought all three books. But, what he walked away with was not something to read. It was something to think and pray about. And, a little dose of hope.

I had listened to a sermon at First Baptist Church Orlando the night before. In that sermon, the pastor talked about Jesus being surrounded by a rambunctious crowd when Jarius came to him requesting Jesus heal his daughter. Jesus was headed for Jarius’ house when something happened. He was interrupted. He felt the power go out from him and stopped to ask his disciples “Who touched me?”

Can you imagine the disciples looking around at the milling crowd. I’m sure they wanted to say, “You’ve got to be kidding, Master. This is worse than Disney World on the 4th of July! You want us to tell you who touched you? Look around! Pick someone at random!”

Or something like that! Of course, Jesus didn’t ask them because he wanted an answer. He asked them to see if they were paying attention to the lowly, broken woman who had been shunned by society -- bleeding and “dirty” and forbidden from touching ANYONE. Jesus wanted to know if the disciples had NOTICED. They had not. They only saw the powerful and wealthy Jarius.  But, Jesus noticed the unnoticeable; the man or woman wandering up to the table in desperate search for answers to their pain; for healing; for the gently touch of a caring conversation or the kind brush of a hand on their shoulder. Jesus noticed this woman and praised her for her faith.

I will never forget this unique perspective on that account from John. I had never seen the woman as an interruption; a divine appointment unforeseen by anyone except God. THIS is why I continue to hold book signings. There will always be one person whose day I hope God will interrupt with a moment of hope and caring. And, I can only pray I will be there with the caring message God wants me to share. It’s not about the books. It’s about the PERSON!

Friday, November 16, 2012

By Way of Introduction



My name is Brandi Boddie, and this is my first post to Just The Write Charisma. When I was invited to join the Charisma authors on this blog, I jumped at the chance to connect with fellow writers and people who love to read a good story.

Introductions and bios have always been a little awkward for me. I can't help feeling that I'm interviewing for a job. I want to do it right, but am I leaving important information out? What's the best way of letting people know who I am? So instead of trying to place everything in paragraphs, I thought it would be more fun to put things in list form. Here goes.

1. I'm a new author at Charisma House. My debut novel, a historical romance tentatively titled Garters For Lace, is scheduled for release in Fall 2013.

2. I'm originally from Ohio, but having a spouse in the military has taken me to various regions throughout the country. In the three years since I have been married to my wonderful husband, we've lived in four different states. One of them inspired the western/prairie setting of my novel. 

3. When I'm not writing, you can find me taking part in swing dancing. I love that 1940s era where big bands played at the Savoy, clothing was tailored to perfection, and Bogie and Bacall ruled the big screen.

4. I'm a self-professed geek. If time and money permits it, I will be at the nearest Renaissance festival, Sherlock Holmes mystery society, or sci-fi convention. And yes, I do go in costume.



5. My favorite books aren't just those in the romance category. I also love epic fantasy, noir mysteries, and speculative fiction.

That's a little bit about me. I look forward to future posts and learning more about the blogging community here at Charisma. Feel free to connect with me on Facebook and check out my personal blog, where I post about the writing life and adventures on this side of eternity. Have a blessed day!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Wow! I Missed My Day Posting

I was supposed to post on Monday, and I missed. So I'm posting today. I had so many birthday greetings on Facebook, that I was dealing with them almost all day Monday and Tuesday. I'm glad people like me enough to take the time to wish me a happy birthday.

I was anxious to share the cover for my next book release with the readers of this blog. Here it is:

I'm impressed with the covers the Charisma graphics department did on all my covers. I loved the cover for Maggie's Journey. Then when Mary's Blessing came out, I liked that one even better. And now this cover blows them both away.


Catherine’s Pursuit is book three in McKenna’s Daughters. This series is about the lives of identical triplet girls, who were born on one of the last wagon trains on the Oregon Trail. Their mother dies giving birth, and the girls are separated. They don’t find out they have sisters until near their 18th birthday.

In book three of the McKenna’s Daughters series, Catherine McKenna begins a journey to find her lost sisters that turns into a spiritual journey for the entire McKenna family.

When Angus McKenna was forced to give two of his daughters to families in the wagon train, he promised he'd never try to contact them. Catherine made no such pledge. But when she sets out to find her sisters, she doesn't go alone. Angus sends Collin with her. Will they discover the two women---and love?Show More

Here's the first page:

Chapter 1
September 19, 1885
San Francisco, California

            Catherine Lenora McKenna could hardly believe the long-awaited day was here. Her eighteenth birthday.

            Now she was an adult, and her father would have to stop hovering over her as if she were a fragile china doll in one of his stores. She would be free. Holding her hands above her head like the ballerina in the music box on her bureau, she whirled in a circle that lifted the hem of her blue taffeta skirt to a scandalous height. That didn’t matter, because no one was here to catch a glimpse of her ankles anyway. Not even her personal maid, Julie, who had gone downstairs to grab Catherine a more substantial breakfast from the kitchen before she fainted dead away.

            Aunt Kirstin wanted Catherine to eat very light before her party tonight, where a sumptuous banquet would precede the ball. There would be presents to open as well. Catherine hoped her father planned a spectacular gift for her birthday ... maybe to send her on a tour of the Continent. Of course, Aunt Kirstin would probably accompany her, but at least, she would be able to see more of the world for herself, not just read about it.

            Europe should be beautiful in the autumn, or in any season of the year. Since both of her parents were born in Scotland, she wanted to visit there as well as London ... Paris ... Rome. She had read every book and magazine she could get her hands on, so she knew so much about Europe. A thrill of anticipation shot through her whole body. Visions of walking on London Bridge, or along Avenue des Champs Ellysees, or visiting The Colosseum danced through her head. Pictures she’d enjoyed studying with their Holmes stereopticon. She wondered if Father would accompany her or if he would allow Aunt Kirstin to be her only escort ... besides a few servants, of course.

            “Where is Julie with my food?” Catherine huffed out an exasperated breath. “Am I going to have to go the kitchen myself?”

            She thrust open the door and hurried down the hallway, the sound of her footsteps lost in the thick cushioning of the carpet. At the top of the front stairs, she stopped to see if she could figure out where her Aunt Kirstin was before she sneaked down the backstairs.

            Peering over the balcony railing, she caught a glimpse of her aunt’s face through the partially opened door to the library. Her brows were knit together into a frown as she stared at someone in the room with her. Catherine had never seen such a fierce expression on her aunt’s face.

Catherine's Pursuit will release on February 5.

When you're trying to decide whether to buy a book, what is the deciding factor? The cover? The back cover copy? The first page? Or something else?


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Escape Into Medical History: Smallpox

Edward Jenner (1749–1823
Have you ever thought it might be fun to have lived at a different time in history? No computers, no phones, no airplanes. You may immediately think, no way! I like those conveniences. There are pros and cons to many aspects of living during different historical time periods. However, the lack of current day medical practices and our extensive knowledge of disease is something I wouldn’t want to leave behind if time travel were possible. Read more  here on my personal blog.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Cat Block



 
I bet you’ve never used a cat to gage your level of writers block…but I don’t hear anyone opposing the idea so I’ll continue. I don’t know about you but I have three furry friends who keep me company while I write. After a dog bone, a scoop of cat food, and a cup of coffee, the four of us head up stairs to settle in. My old hound dog leads the way only to be past by my blue-eyed Persian, but my street kitty streaks passed them both to get the prime spot by the heater. I’ll be using Ash in my blog simply because he pushes his way in without permission anyway, and he is a good model.

 

 

 

This in an example of writers block, at least it is for me. It’s so far back I can’t possibly think of what to write, but that doesn’t stop me from staring at it, wishing it would suddenly pop out at me with some compelling idea for the scene I’m working on. As I stare at the beast blocking my vision I look around, up and down, to see past the black and white furry creature that’s keeping me from moving forward with my story.

 

If I could just get a peek at what the last few lines were maybe I can remember where I was going with this. I move Ash’s tail, and now I see it was something about…an unfriendly neighbor, now I remember. There was an altercation and things were about to get heated between the locals and the new transplants that moved close by. Things are starting to roll now and my Cat Block gets a little smaller. I can see more of the screen and some of the words are visible, prompt words that will tell me where to pick up where I left off.

 

 

 

Good, it’s a little clearer and can I read some of the words. So now I’m typing along and the juices are flowing. The chapter is coming together and the story is moving forward. The bad guys are really ornery and the good guys and taking their licks, but I don’t want it to end that way. There has to be a sliver of hope that can lapse over to the next chapter. If I could see the whole scene I’d be able to figure out how to shake things up to get a good hook that sheds a bit of light for the reader.

 

 

 
There…now I have your attention, and my characters are able to shove that Cat Block clear out of the sky with one meaty sentence. Now I can tie everything up and know where I’m going when I start the next scene tomorrow.

 But as I click the save button I hear three words…I’ll be back!

 Was that my cat talking?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

What Do Male Writers Bring to the Table When Writing Romance?

     I was asked this question recently in an interview and thought I’d share my answer with you. It’s been an interesting journey because I didn’t start out writing romance fiction. As a youth I was into Tarzan and Buck Rogers, and so I wrote jungle adventures and outer space odysseys. I created a character—Zip Carter—and he many a wild adventure, I can tell you. But in time, after I met and married my wife, I discovered that I liked watching romantic comedies and dramatic love stories with her. My thoughts turned to stories about relationships, and, before I knew it, I was writing love stories.
     So what do male writers bring to the table when writing romance? Well, this may come as a shock but . . . men and women are different! They think and communicate differently. They express their emotions differently. I’m not going to make any sweeping generalizations—like men are more about physicality and women are more about emotionality—but I think male writers bring a different perspective to the table. They have a different way of looking at relationships and a different way of presenting them. No one can think more like a man than a man. Similarly, no one can think more like a woman than a woman. (Although my wife claims that she knows me better than I know myself.) So it’s that difference that allows male writers to bring another perspective to the table. A woman who recently read my first novel, The Anniversary Waltz, commented, “I could tell it was written by a man. Not that it’s a bad thing. But I could just tell.” So even though the difference in perspective is discernable to women readers, thankfully it’s not a bad thing.
     And just who gives me the best feedback on the aspects of my books that are from a female POV? There’s no question about that. My wife! She is my biggest supporter and toughest critic. Everything I write I bounce off her to get her opinion, especially in regards to my female characters and their thoughts, feelings, and actions. Sometimes she laughs at my efforts, and sometimes she just rolls her eyes. But when she doesn’t have a list of suggestions to offer, I know I’m on the right track. Also my editor, Lori Vanden Bosch, is amazing in helping me with the female POV. I wouldn’t dare send anything to my agent for submission to the publisher without first obtaining my wife’s and my editor’s stamp of approval. (But sometimes it sure is hard to come by!)

There is Power in the Blood!


I just launched the second book in The Chronicles of Jonathan Steel. “The 12th Demon: Mark of the Wolf Dragon” picks up right where the first book ended. The story is about vampires. Yes, vampires.

How can a Christian write about vampires? Why not? Vampires are a perfect metaphor for the unsaved. After all, a vampire is the “undead”. A vampire must feed off the living to stay alive. They can’t stand their own reflection. They are afraid of a cross. And, their only redemption is in the blood.

In my book, vampires receive their “vampire majick” from a human affiliated with the “12th demon”. That power comes from drinking genetically altered blood and relies on supernatural intervention for the blood to work. What kind of supernatural intervention? Well, you will have to read the book to find out!

As with my first book, “The 12th Demon” covers the historical background of vampires. And, I discuss a powerful Christian theme, forgiveness. How far can you go before you are unforgivable? Is there a sin so heinous that God will not forgive it? Can a person commit such a sin and truly become the “undead”, forever shunning the light and forever lost?

You can find out more at my website and here are some photos from my book launch at the Well on October 19th and a book signing at First Baptist Orlando bookstore on October 27 and 28. During both events, my co-author, Mark Sutton, joined me to sign copies of our book, “Conquering Depression”.






Friday, October 26, 2012

Cincinnati's Book Blast!


Suzanne, Terri, Joni, Terry, Me, Dee
I had such an awesome experience at Cincinnati's premiere book festival known as Books by the Banks. This was my second year in attendance and I'm pleased to announce that the Christian novel presence is growing. Last year I was the only author in attendance writing Christian fiction. This year there were several of us. There were also two panels.

Unfortunately with the schedule I didn't get to sit in on the panel with fellow Books and Such agency mate, Ann Gabhart, but we eventually caught up with each other and of course I forgot to take a picture. :)

Book club members from River Hills Christian Church in Loveland, Ohio drop by to visit at Books by the Banks. Left to Right: Suzanne Mohr, Terri Weeks, Joni Baker, Terry Kirkland, Me, and Dee Bailey.

READ MORE HERE . . .

Thursday, October 18, 2012

AND THE WINNER IS...

Linda is the winner of a free copy of my new book, Threads of Hope.

Congrats to Linda!


~Andrea

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

IT'S HERE! Threads of Faith, book 2

It's always a thrill for me to receive my free books from my publisher, an indication that my novel will soon be released to bookstores. Yesterday was the official release date of my book, THREADS OF FAITH, book 2 in my series Fabric of Time.

Here's a blurb: 


Julianna Wayland is running for her life! She hides in a crate on London’s dock, only to be loaded onto a ship bound for America. During the voyage she meets Captain Daniel Sundberg, and by the time they reach New York’s harbor, she is certain she’s in love with him. The only problem is, Daniel has plans for himself—plans that don’t include her.

As Julianna struggles to find her place in a new world, will trouble from her past derail the life she is looking for?


What's fun about this historical romance set in 1878 is primarily twofold. First, Daniel, the hero, is the estranged son of Kristin and Sam, the characters in book 1, THREADS OF HOPE. Estranged? you ask. But why? Well, you'll have to read the book and find out.  

Secondly, I did gobs of research for this book on sea-faring ships that sailed from one country to another. I learned about the Black Ball Line, a fleet of ships that set records sailing from London to New York -- the fastest, I believe, being 15 or 16 days. I also researched Great Lake clippers and learned that clippers sailed both the oceans and on the Great Lakes. The Cutty Sark, for instance, was a clipper built for tea trade and sailing from China to London. On the Great Lakes, clippers were built much the same way as sea-going ships, but with smaller rudders so they could maneuver the shallower waters.
Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc, WI

Manitowoc, Wisconsin, the city in which much of my story takes place, was known as "Clipper City" in the 1800s because of its highly-regarded ship manufacturers. I thank the volunteers at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum for helping me in my research. 

As for the story itself, there are a lot of twists and turns and more fun by the way of surprises -- and, of course, romance!

Here's what a few other best-selling authors said about it.

“Andrea Boeshaar gets to the heart of God’s healing grace in a way readers can carry into their own lives.” —Louise M. Gouge, award-winning author of The Gentleman Takes a Bride

“Andrea Boeshaar plucks the home strings with her newest historical romance. As a Wisconsin historian, I am well pleased with her efforts to make life at the dawn of our state authentic.”—Lisa Lickel, award-winning author of A Summer in Oakville

“Andrea Boeshaar’s story pulled me back into the middle 1800s. I didn’t want to put it down until the last page.” —Lena Nelson Dooley, author of Maggie’s Journey and the Will Rogers Medallion Award–winning Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico

“Andrea’s talent for weaving genuine characters, vivid descriptions, and a compelling story line together drew me into the story from the first page, and I felt Kristin and Sam’s heartaches and joy.”—Sally Laity, author of Remnant of Forgiveness, and co-author of Rose’s Pledge

“Andrea Boeshaar weaves timeless themes of honor, equality, and mercy in this tender love story.” —Kacy Barnett-Gramckow, author of The Genesis Trilogy

*     *     *
Additionally, I want to thank those authors who took the time to endorse my book. And a big "thank you" goes to the fiction team at Charisma Media/Realms as well as my editors Lori, Deb, and Debbie.

THREADS OF FAITH is an important and memorable book to me for many reasons and it's one of the best stories I've written to date. My hope is that readers will agree!

AND NOW FOR A BOOK GIVE-AWAY!


To be entered into a drawing in which you could win a free copy of THREADS OF FAITH, please leave a comment on this blog post. I'll pick one winner tomorrow!

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Business Side to Writing

      It is a reality that the book publishing industry has a bottom line. No matter how dear a writing project is to our hearts, no matter how long and hard we have worked on our “baby,” the project must be marketable. And we as authors are under constant pressure to remain commercial, even as times and tastes and styles continue to change around us. Remaining current in an ever-changing marketplace is a daunting task.
     I have been saddened by the recent termination of contracts for a few of our friends and colleagues. It not only saddens me but frightens me as well. I’ve asked myself repeatedly: Am I headed in the right direction with my new project? Will what I’m working on right now be acceptable two years from now when it’s finally published? Have I run my course and had my “fifteen minutes of fame”? The old saying “You’re only as good as your last book” has taken on new meaning for me. In this day and age, I’m not sure how much “track record” still means.
     A friend contacted me recently and asked for advice on getting published. I told her: “You need to know your target audience. And you also need to decide on the genre that best suits that target audience. You also should ask yourself: Does my story have commercial appeal? Because like it or not, book publishing is a business, and publishers won't take on a book that they don't think they can sell. Your grandmother's diary, for example, might be special and treasured by your family, but is it something the general public will go out in droves and buy? I don't want to discourage you but book publishing is very much a business venture and your product has to be marketable or it won't be accepted. So ask yourself the basic questions I've outlined, and if you feel confident about the answers, then by all means proceed with an eye toward getting published.”
I wish my friend all the best. And I extend best wishes to those who lost contracts. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
     I hope each one of us can find fulfillment in writing and remember the singular joy that comes from putting words on a blank space where they did not exist before. The royalty check is nice . . . but fortunately that isn’t the bottom line for writers.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Audio Books

I'm hooked on audio books. But I can only listen to readers who really keep me awake. That's important because I'm usually commuting when listening to a book. Over the past couple of years I've discovered a reader I just love. His name is Nick Pohdel and he was voted the 2010 voice of the year. I discovered him when I listened to Nora Roberts book called, Black Hills. I'm currently listening to Harlan Coben's young adult novel, Shelter. I'll be ordering the second one in that series called, Seconds Away and I'm so glad it's read by Nick because after the first one I couldn't listen to the second one by any other reader. But it must wait while I listen to Danielle Steel's, Southern Lights. Read by Nick Pohdel of course.

Don't believe me. Just listen to him here. Scroll down to Harlan Coben's, Shelter and Nora Robert's, Black Hills before you listen to the rest, just because I've listened to those books. Now I'm sure you have your own favorite readers and I'd like to know who they are. If you've got a favorite tell all of us so we can be entertained as well. I also love Rosslyn Landor's reading of Julia Quinn's, Just Like Heaven.

I don't know yet if Nick Pohdel and Rosslyn Landor ever read together but that's one of my bucket list dreams. I'd love to hear them read my books. I don't even want to think about how much that costs but if money was no object I'd be asking. With our busy world I can't think of a better way to reach readers, especially younger readers. I don't know. Maybe everyone isn't as in love with this form of reading but I love it and will continue to listen, but only to my favorite readers.

Interestingly enough I haven't found a reader I love yet who narrates Christian fiction. If you have listened to someone lately that you enjoyed who reads in the genre we all write in, I'd love to know.

Do you have a favorite narrator? A favorite book(s) you enjoy listening to because of voice? Put a great writer and a great reader together and you've really got charisma.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

WELCOME A NEW MEMBER OF THIS BLOG

Introducing Brandi Boddie. Her book Garters for Lace will release in the Fall of 2013.




Let's give her a warm welcome.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Winner



Wendy is the winner of my book Annie's Truth! She is an avid Amish reader and sooo tickled to have won! I sent it out already! I hope you enjoy the read, Wendy!
I'll have another contest soon! For the next giveaway you have to guess what's different about the cover of Annie's Truth!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Book Giveaway


Don't you just love to get free books???

I'm giving away a copy of Annie's Truth! If you would like the chance to win just make a comment or contact me on my website:

BethShriverWriter.com

I'll contact the winner October 5th!!

Monday, October 1, 2012

2012 ACFW National Conference

The conference this year was September 20-23 at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport Hyatt Regency hotel. Since I live only about fifteen minutes from there (when there's no construction), I was thrilled. Even when the conference is so close, I stay in the hotel. So much goes on outside the times of the sessions.

James took me over to the hotel on Wednesday, September 19. My agent, Joyce Hart, hosted the dinner for her clients at La Hacienda Ranch restaurant in Colleyville, which is just west of the airport. We had a lovely buffet and got to know the people we'd only been in touch with online. Here's a picture of the clients and Joyce.

The Conference itself was amazing. Michael Hyatt was the keynote speaker, and his sessions were extremely helpful. You can order CDs of the sessions on the ACFW web site.

Since it was only six weeks since my knee surgery, I took my walker. I had asked for a handicapped room near the elevators. I was in a handicapped room, but it was all the way at the other end of a long hall from the elevator. The first day, after I had been up to my room several times, the last time I looked down that long hall, I thought I'm not going to make it. I did go a ways down the hallway and then sat in the seat of the walker for awhile before I started again. It took four times.

Joyce had rented an electric scooter. Before I could find her and get the phone number of the place she rented it from, James called me. He was out and about, running errands. I asked him to go see a friend of ours who owns a store that sells walkers, wheelchairs, scooters, etc. I told him to let John know the predicament I was in and see if he could put me on a scooter for four day. He did. John did. And I ended up on a very large scooter. But it saved my conference experience. Praise the Lord!!

I had two mentoring appointments on Friday and enjoyed them immensely. One evening, while trying to find a place to sit for supper where I could park the scooter nearby, I found only one empty seat along the back of the room. I took it and sat beside a woman wearing a First Timer ribbon. As is usual, I tried to make her feel welcome. She told me this conference would determine whether she would be a writer or not.

I mentor a number of people in a critique group that meets in my home. There are several things I tell newcomers. One is about writers, athletes, musicians, etc. being created in their mother's womb. I explained what I meant by that. She began to ask me questions. I answered the best I could, often using things from my personal testimony.

After about thirty-five minutes, I finally leaned over to look at her name on her name tag. She did the same and began to cry when she saw my name. I wondered what I had done to hurt her feelings. I asked her what was wrong. She told me that she almost made a mentoring appointment with me, but she didn't think she would know what to say to a mentor. She told me that before she went down to eat dinner, she had been praying. She asked the Lord that if there was anyone at the conference who had something she needed to hear, would He please send that person to her. I was near tears then and goosebumps danced up and down my arms.

I had been a little exasperated that I couldn't find a seat at the back of the room. I had to keep going and going before I finally found one. And all the time God was setting up this divine appointment. That was a high point in my conference this year.

Other exciting things: A woman I had mentored before found out she was going to receive a contract right away. Another woman I've been wanting to get published for a long time was told she would receive a two-book contract.

I heard a lot of good news like that. And some of the DFW Ready Writers members also had very good appointments with editors requesting full manuscripts, etc. Here's a group of the DFW Rady Writers having a little fun.

I had six back-to-back paid critique appointments on Saturday. They were all special to me. There's a lot of talent being developed by ACFW.

My daughter, Jennifer, who is a hairdresser, came out to the hotel and made my hair look really good for the banquet. Here I am with Chip MacGregor. I like to have my picture made with him in his kilt tuxedo. This year he wore the Black Watch one.

As always, worship was amazing. I always love having so many people (about 700 this year) from different denominations and churches in one large room really praising the God of the universe. It's a tiny prelude to how we'll be praising the Lord in heaven.

If you went to the conference, please tell us some of the highlights for you.