Friday, May 30, 2008

The Friday Five

This week's Friday Five:
My Five Favorite Time Wasters (Currently)
1. Cake Mania.
2. The Create Channel
3. The Game Show Network
4. Solitaire
5. Big Kahuna Reef
What about you? How are you squandering the minutes lately?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Inching Along

The new WIP, Clara and the Cowboy, is coming along nicely. I'm almost a third of the way through the first draft.

I hit a little snag today when I wondered how to up the conflict in the scene I was writing. I knew what I wanted to do, but needed to force myself to really pull these two characters apart. This is hard for me, because I LOVE these people I've created in my head. But, as I've been learning over the past year or so, NO CONFLICT= NO STORY!

Tomorrow I'm heading to the library with whatever kids are cluttering up the house (Those not working at the shop with their father.) and I'm going to write, write, write...the word count goal is 20K. That means a big writing day of 4K words. And being MEAN to my characters.

I always have a better writing day when I 'compost' what I'm going to write the night before. One of the problems with today's writing is I fell asleep so quickly last night I didn't have a chance to really plan out and 'live' what I was supposed to get written. Hopefully tonight will be better. :)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Ruby Among Us
(WaterBrook Press May 20, 2008)
Tina Ann Forkner

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tina Ann Forkner writes contemporary fiction that challenges and inspires. Originally from Oklahoma, she graduated with honors in English from CSU Sacramento before ultimately settling in the wide-open spaces of Wyoming where she now resides with her husband and their three children. Tina serves on the Laramie County Library Foundation Board of Directors and enjoys gardening, spending time outdoors with her family, and works as a full-time writer.

ABOUT THE BOOK Sometimes, the key that unlocks your future lies in someone else’s past...

In Ruby Among Us, Lucy DiCamillo is safely surrounded by her books, music, and art─but none of these reclusive comforts or even the protective efforts of her grandmother, Kitty, can shield her from the memory of the mother she can no longer remember. Lucy senses her grandmother holds the key, but Kitty seems as eager to hide from the past as Lucy is eager to find it.

From the streets of San Francisco and Sacramento, to the lush vineyards of the Sonoma Valley, Lucy follows the thread of memory in search for a heritage that seems long-buried with her mother, Ruby.What she finds is enigmatic and stirring in this redemptive tale about the power of faith and mother-daughter love.

“What an incredible story. As both mothers and daughters, Ruby Among Us struck a special cord in each of the four of us. Tina writes in a way that makes us feel like we’re there; from the first line, we were captivated and drawn into an intricate weaving of the precious and fragile relationships that define us.” ~Point of Grace~

“Reading is a passion of mine, and when I find myself identifying with the characters, anxious to get to the next page to find answers to my questions, I know I’m into a good book! The daughter-mother-grandmother theme in Ruby Among Us pulled me in. Wonderful story-telling.” ~Jordin Sparks~, 2007 winner of American Idol

“Highly recommended. If you’re a mother or daughter, you’re going to love Ruby Among Us. Forkner does an extraordinary job…. I look forward to more from this author.” ~Ane Mulligan~, Novel Journey

“Don’t miss this one! Tina Ann Forkner is a strong new voice in fiction and Ruby Among Us is an amazing story of trials, regrets, and, ultimately, redemption. Lucy and her family history in the historic wine country of Sonoma bring to life the Scriptures about the Vine and His branches.” ~Kristin Billerbeck~, author of The Trophy Wives Club

If you would like to read the first chapter go HERE

My review: I don't like bagging on another author's work, but I do have to be truthful. This book is beautifully written, the use of language is amazing, and it is hard to believe this is Tina Forkner's debut novel. It is very literary and has a flavor of "The Secret Life of Bees" by Kidd. That being said, I found the pace very slow. I couldn't get interested in the main character. I couldn't determine just what was at stake for her. She wanted to find out about her mother, but I couldn't figure out what the downside of her not knowing would be. The conflict wasn't enough to hold my interest, and I wasn't able to finish the book. Please, when you're in your local bookstore, pick up this book and peruse it. It might catch your interest more than it did mine.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The honeysuckle amongst the lilacs











When we first bought the property that we built our house on, it was part of an open field of alfalfa. We blew our wad on the property and had to save for another two years before we could afford to build. Believe me, I chafed. I wanted out of our living situation at that time so badly I could taste it.

The land lay fallow, except for two edges. The first year we had the property, we decided to plant a hedge. We figured we might as well get a couple years' head start on the hedge while we were saving our pennies to build our house.

We obtained trees/bushes from the Soil and Water Conservation Department of Olmsted County. Tiny twigs, wrapped 25 to the bundle, bare root. Red-twig dogwood (the deer love to eat this one) techny arborvitae (my husband likes these, though they are not my favorite) and fifty old fashioned lilac bushes. Or at least we thought we got 50 lilac bushes. What we did get was 49 lilac bushes and one honeysuckle bush. My husband wants to yank it out and plant another lilac in its place, but I love the whimsy of the oddball.

What does this have to do with writing?

I was thinking of all the mss editors and agents see, hundreds, even thousands of stories, all precious to the authors who have submitted them, each one representing the hopes and dreams of a writer, each one representing hours of hard work, prayer, sacrifice.

To the editors and agents it must seem like and endless stream of lilacs flowing by, pretty, fragrant, even, but blending into one another. I think those agents and editors are looking for a honeysuckle amongst the lilacs. Something that makes your work stand out. An unusual setting, fresh occupation for a main character, a plot twist they hadn't anticipated. And always, the best writing you can do.

May all your manuscripts be honeysuckles. :)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Some Fun

I read recipes the same way I
read science fiction -
I get to the end and think ...

Well, that's not gonna happen!

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Friday Five and a Book Winner

Wow, where did the week go?
This week's Friday Five:
Because we're prepping for college courses this summer, today's Friday Five is: Five Memories from College
I attended Calvary Bible College in Kansas City and graduated with a degree in Secondary Education - Social Studies, in 19youdon'tneedtoknowhowoldIam.
1. Spotlighting- take a pizza delivery/cop light and shine it at a streetlamp. The light will go off. The goal is to get all the lights on a street out before the first one comes on again.
2. Tony Evans of The Urban Alternative preaching through the entire book of Romans in twenty minutes one chapel period.
3. When a girl in my dorm accidentally dyed her hair pink. (She was trying a henna rinse for the first time...and she already had strawberry blonde hair.)
4. Burning sulfur rocks in the chemistry room (without permission). The next class came in to the aroma of rotten eggs. Thanks, Kris U. for a fun time.
5. Meeting and falling in love with my dear husband, Peter, who tries to keep me out of trouble but with little result. He's a saint.
The picture is the one I'm using as a template for my new heroine, Clara Bainbridge. Thanks to Kaye Dacus, I find it easier to write when I have photos of my characters.
Also, we pitched names in the day-glo hunting cap and DONNA is the winner of Embrace Me and Bella by Lisa Samson. I'll get them in the mail on Tuesday.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

New Book Released!

Have I ever mentioned before that I ADORE Robin Jones Gunn's Sisterchick series? Her new book released today. I can't wait to read it. Watch this blog for a review of Sisterchicks Go Brit in July.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Broken Angel
(WaterBrook Press (May 20, 2008)
Sigmund Brouwer
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sigmund Brouwer is the author of eighteen best-selling novels for children and adults. His newest book is Fuse of Armageddon and his novel The Last Disciple was featured in Time magazine and on ABC’s Good Morning America. A champion of literacy, he teaches writing workshops for students in schools from the Arctic Circle to inner city Los Angeles. Sigmund is married to Christian recording artist Cindy Morgan, and they and their two daughters divide their time between homes in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada and Nashville, Tennessee.
ABOUT THE BOOK: Her birth was shrouded in mystery and tragedy. Her destiny is beyond comprehension. Her pursuers long to see her broken. She fights to soar. A father's love for his daughter…a decision that would change both their lives forever. But who is she really─and why must she now run for her life? Caitlin's body has made her an outcast, a freak, and the target of vicious bounty hunters. As she begins a perilous journey, she is forced to seek answers for her father's betrayal in the only things she can carry with her─a letter he passes her before forcing her to run, and their shared memories together. Being hunted forces Caitlyn to partner with two equally lonely companions, one longing to escape the horror of factory life in Appalachia and the others, an unexpected fugitive. Together the three will fight to reach a mysterious group that might be friend or foe, where Caitlyn hopes to uncover the secrets of her past...and the destiny she must fulfill. In the rough, shadowy hills of Appalachia, a nation carved from the United States following years of government infighting, Caitlyn and her companions are the prey in a terrifying hunt. They must outwit the relentless bounty hunters, skirt an oppressive, ever-watchful society, and find passage over the walls of Appalachia to reveal the dark secrets behind Caitlyn’s existence–and understand her father’s betrayal.Prepare yourself to experience a chilling America of the very near future, as you discover the unforgettable secret of the Broken Angel. In this engrossing, lightning-paced story with a post-apocalyptic edge, best-selling author Sigmund Brouwer weaves a heroic, harrowing journey through the path of a treacherous culture only one or two steps removed from our own.
If you would like to read the first chapter, go HERE.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Milestones and Goals

Mile markers. When I was a kid, we traveled a lot by car. Since I could never sleep in the car, but both my siblings could, I was often alone in my head on these trips. They would collapse like dead bodies before the car was at the end of the driveway, and I would wander in my imagination, daydreaming and living a wonderful adventure in my head. Being well traveled, I grew accustomed to watching the mile markers and interstate signs and comparing them to the map to plot our location. I loved to see the mile markers slip by, counting up or down to our destination (depending on which direction on I-70 we were traveling at that time.)
I'm still a mile marker kinda girl. I use the Zokutou Word Meter to map and mark my progress through my novels. I love to see that little word counter go up. Each percentage point feels like a victory. Today I passed a milestone in my current WIP. 10K words. 20%. The story has veered a little here and there from the way I'd planned, but for the most part is staying on track.
I've also been working on my goals for 2008. I've completed a ms and sent it to the girls for critique. I've completed two proposal packets and sent those off for critique. The current goal is to complete the new ms and get it all through critiques before August 1st, so I can focus on conference prep materials in August and early September. I flirted with the idea of entering another writing contest, but I decided I don't need the stress right now.
On another writing front, I just finished reading James Scott Bell's REVISION AND SELF-EDITING. This book is an excellent addition to the Write Great Fiction Series. While I don't feel this book will revolutionize my writing, I did glean helpful reminders that I can take forward while I write that will hopefully minimize the needs for drastic rewrites. I highly recommend this book to all writers, but especially those revising a ms for the first time. It will be an invaluable tool in helping you break down the different parts of your novel and examinging how they work in the big picture.
I'm anxiously awaiting the opening of registration for the ACFW Conference. I've chosen my Continuing Education Track and narrowed down my choices for the Workshops. I hope they post the agent/editor list soon, though the two people I want to talk to have indicated they will be attending and taking appointments. I'm eager to check "Register for ACFW" off my list.
How about you? Are you a milestone kind of writer? Artist? Housekeeper? Employee? Do you like to chart your progress? Do you like to check things off your list? How are you doing on those short and long-term goals?

Monday, May 19, 2008


My crit partner has some spectacular news that she's announcing on her blog. Trot over to Georgiana's Blog and congratulate her!


The CFBA is going to a two book a week schedule. This is the first M-W blog tour. And to celebrate, I'm giving away a copy of this book.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Embrace Me
(Thomas Nelson March 4, 2008)
Lisa Samson

Lisa Samson is a Christy Award-winning author of 19 books, including the Women of the Faith Novel of the Year, Quaker Summer. Lisa has been hailed by Publishers Weekly as "a talented novelist who isn't afraid to take risks." In Embrace Me, the latest novel by acclaimed author Lisa Samson, readers are privy to the realization that regardless of outward appearances…hideous, attractive, or even ordinary…persons are all looking for the same things: love, forgiveness, and redemption. This story explores a world that is neither comfortable nor safe, a world that people like Valentine know all too well. Masterfully crafted by Samson and populated by her most compelling cast of characters yet. It is a tale of forgiveness that extends into all spheres of life: forgiving others, forgiving oneself, forgiving the past. She lives in Lexinton, Kentucky, with her husband and three kids.

ABOUT THE BOOK Biting and gentle, hard-edged and hopeful...a beautiful fable of love and power, hiding and seeking, woundedness and redemption.When a "lizard woman," a self-mutilating preacher, a tattooed monk, and a sleazy lobbyist find themselves in the same North Carolina town one winter, their lives are edging precariously close to disaster...and improbably close to grace. Valentine, due to her own drastic self-disfigurement, has very few friends in this world and, it appears as if she may be destined to spend the rest of her life practically alone. But life gives her one good friend, Lella, whose own handicap puts her in the same freakish category as Valentine. As part of Roland's Wayfaring Marvel and Oddities Show, a traveling band of misfits, they seem to have found their niches in an often curiously cruel world. Residing in a world where masks are mandatory, Valentine has a hard time removing hers, because of her disfigured face but more so because of her damaged soul. It is much easier for her to listen endlessly to different versions of a favorite song, Embraceable You, and escape reality. Yet, life has more in store for her when she meets Augustine, replete with the tattoos, dreadlocks, and his own secrets. With his arrival, Valentine's soul takes a turn.

If you would like to read the first chapter, go HERE

Hey, gang, I'm holding a drawing for this book AND the novelization of the movie Bella, also by Lisa Samson. Comment on this blog post between now and Friday, and you'll be entered to win a copy of Embrace Me AND a copy of Bella. Leave a way for me to contact you!

Friday, May 16, 2008


These flowers are for my critique partners, Georgiana Daniels and Kaye Dacus.

I implemented their comments on the first three chapters of my latest manuscript. Some notable things jumped out. I have two new favorite words for this story: LIKE and SWIRLED. I got so happy coming up with fun similies, I overloaded the book with them. And everything is swirling, heads, hearts, heat in the cheeks, ideas, feelings...I'm getting dizzy.

As a reward for their stellar work, what do I do? I dump a zillion more pages for critique.

They're the best crit partners ever.

The Friday Five

This week's Friday Five:
Five things I did for Mother's Day:
1. I saw Norman Lear's copy of the Declaration of Independence. It's worth about 8 million dollars and is actually older than the handwritten copy with all the signatures on it. Pretty Cool!
2. Went to Ft. Snelling. The picture is me with my daughter and nephew atop the roundhouse tower. You can see the Commandant's House behind us.
3. Brunch at church. Annual tradition.
4. Stopped by my MIL's to see how she was doing and to wish her a happy Mother's Day.
5. Out to lunch with my beloved husband and children, then off to Best Buy where I got a really cool Mother's Day gift. I'm watching The Two Towers on it right now. :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A little levity

Anybody relate?

This Week From CFBA

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Healing Promises
(Multnomah Publishers - April 15, 2008)
Amy Wallace

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amy Wallace is the author of Ransomed Dreams, a homeschool mom, and a self-confessed chocoholic. She is a graduate of the Gwinnett County Citizens Police Academy and a contributing author of several books, including God Answers Moms’ Prayers and Chicken Soup for the Soul Healthy Living Series: Diabetes. She lives with her husband and three children in Georgia.

ABOUT THE BOOK: Facing a new threat.When FBI Agent Clint Rollins takes a bullet during a standoff, it might just save his life. But not even the ugly things he’s seen during his years working in the Crimes Against Children Unit could prepare him for the overwhelming powerlessness of hospital tests revealing an unexpected diagnosis. If only Sara weren’t retreating into doctor mode…he needs his wife now more than ever. Frozen in fear.Sara Rollins is an oncologist with a mission–beating cancer when she can, easing her patients’ suffering at the very least. Now the life of her tall Texan husband is at stake. She never let the odds steal her hope before, but in this case, the question of God’s healing promises is personal. Can she hold on to the truth she claimed to believe? Faith under fire. As Clint continues to track down a serial kidnapper despite his illness, former investigations haunt his nightmares, pushing him beyond solving the case into risking his life and career. Clint struggles to believe God is still the God of miracles. Especially when he needs not one, but two. Everything in his life is reduced to one all-important question: Can God be trusted?

If you would like to read the first chapter, go HERE

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Whisper of Freedom ~ Tricia Goyer ~ MEME!

Here's a fun new idea for a book tour. Tricia has come up with a MEME for us that ties in with her latest release, A Whisper of Freedom. Keep reading, and try the meme for yourself. Follow the links to register to win one of five autographed copies of this book, as well as a chance to win some "Gold" of your own.

About A Whisper of Freedom
Battles heat up... not only those being waged by the soldiers on both sides fighting for Spain, but in the hearts and minds of the men and women who must sacrifice more than their dreams in order to save the lives of their loved ones. In this meticulously researched novel, brave and idealistic Sophie, Philip, José, and Deion realize their only hope for freedom is escaping Spain's borders. By continuing the story of this band of volunteers during the Spanish Civil War, A Whisper of Freedom proves that courage and commitment don't always result in outward victory. But there are whispers of hope and freedom that resonate through even the darkest night.

Read an excerpt

Books one and two: A Valley of Betryal and A Shadow of Treason

About Tricia: Tricia Goyer is the author of twelve books including From Dust and Ashes, My Life UnScripted, and the children's book, 10 Minutes to Showtime. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003. Tricia's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like Today's Christian Woman and Focus on the Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. She and her family make their home in the mountains of Montana.

Book excerpt:
Buy the book:
Watch the series trailer:
Tricia’s website:
Tricia’s Blogs:

Here are the MEME questions with my answers!

1. List three things you would do with a chest full of gold (assuming you got to keep it!)

a. Take a world trip to see England, Egypt, and New Zealand.

b. Put a new roof on my church, and a new air conditioner for the annexe.

c. Buy BOOKS!

2. List three charities/missions/organizations you support (and why).

a. New Life Family Services...because all life is precious, even the unborn.

b. SEND International...because Alaska needs Jesus.

c. Samaritan's Purse...because we LOVE sending the Christmas boxes, and they go where the greatest needs are both physical and spiritual.

3. List three ways you have volunteered your time/services.

a. I care for my MIL who is suffering a terminal illness.

b. Helping with the clothes closet for New Life Family Services.

c. For two years I was a volunteer High School Teacher at a local Christian school.

4. List three things you keep "hidden" when company comes over.

a. my closet

b. my basement storage area

c. the mad scramble that sometimes occurs as we're preparing for company to come over

5. List the last three things you've lost.

a. This is a hard one for me...I can't think of anything I've sanity? My reason? lolb.

6. List the last three things you've found.

a. A pair of my son's socks in my sock drawer.

b. A book on revising and editing that I am dying to read.

c. The cat under my bed.

****Three brave "players" will be selected at random to win their own lost gold (Gourmet chocolate coins and all three books in the Chronicles of the Spanish Civil War series). To enter all you have to do is answer the MEME on your blog and then leave a comment on Tricia’s blog tour post here that you’ve posted your MEME. Easy.

To those who read and have blogs of your own, try this's harder than you think!

Here are the other stops in the blog tour. Check in to read others' repsonses to the Meme.

May 12







May 13








May 14









May 15







May 16







May 17







May 18


Cee Cee






Friday, May 09, 2008

The Friday Five

Five Signs Spring Has Come to Minnesota:

1. The Vetsch Annual Dandelion Investation is underway.

2. The sump pump serenades us to sleep at night.

3. People shed layers of clothing only to find they've gained some winter weight.

4. Women no longer wear their winter boots into church and carry their dress shoes. They now wear their galoshes into church and carry their dress shoes.

5. My children greet me with snurfs, sneezes, and allergy red eyes.

Ah, spring!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Hee hee hee! Just got an email confirmation that my latest purchase from Revision & Self-Editing by James Scott Bell, has shipped!

Good thing I'm 'between mss' at the moment, since I said I wouldn't read a craft book while I was trying to write. Also timely, I'll be doing revisions on the latest manuscript very soon.

Anyone else order this book? I'm a big JSB fan. Not only is he an amazing writer and writing teacher (His book, Plot and Structure, is terrific) but he's also willing to be silly in front of 500 women by singing a ridiculous song at Sunday morning worship at last year's conference, and he's humble enough to sit in on several classes during the conference...a guy who could teach all the classes offered.

This Week From CFBA

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Warriors
(Bethany House April 1, 2008)
Mark Andrew Olsen
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MARK ANDREW OLSEN whose novel The Assignment was a Christy Award finalist, also collaborated on bestsellers Hadassah (now the major motion picture: One Night With the King), The Hadassah Covenant, and Rescued. His last novel was the supernatural thriller The Watchers. The son of missionaries to France, Mark is a Professional Writing graduate of Baylor University. He and his wife, Connie, live in Colorado Springs with their three children.
ABOUT THE BOOK: A failed recon mission deep in the tunnels of Afghanistan has provoked a demonic onslaught that had been brewing for centuries. The mission's sole survivor is reformed black ops assassin Dylan Hatfield, and he once again teams up with Abby Sherman, now at the helm of the Watchers, an ancient spiritual force. Uncovering and preventing a secret wave of death whispered across cyberspace and threatening to be unleash against civilization will require another level of spiritual power and expertise--the Warriors. Journeying across the Alps of Europe through the multilayered history of warfare in the unseen world, Dylan and Abby uncover an age-old stone engraving that rouses the church's Warriors to action, placing them dead center in one of the fiercest spiritual battles of their time! And once again they are reminded: This is all part of a vast and perpetual war, a war beyond all human conflicts, one that has engulfed heaven and earth since before the dawn of history.... Abby Sherman is headed back to Israel, where a Watcher, the Sentinel of Jerusalem, lies dying. In her last breaths the old woman tells Abby of an ancient document prophesying humanity's full-scale entry into the ongoing conflict between armies of heaven and fallen angels. Dylan Hatfield has decided to answer a summons from his old boss and join a secret operation, its mission to reconnoiter the Afghani tunnel complex from which Osama bin Laden escaped in 2001. What he discovers sears his very soul and likely will end his life. Abby learns of the peril facing Dylan, and she sends out a call for intercession on his behalf. Her frantic email message sets in motion a series of harrowing events, propelling the two on a new mission and quest--one where the stakes are the lives of millions!
The Warriors is packed with high-octane action, featuring exotic international locales, with characters in a clash against spiritual "principalities and powers" with eternal consequences, The Warriors is a story that will enthrall, enlighten, and engage its readers. If that piques your interest, you can read the first chapter HERE

"Olsen, one of the better writers in this subgenre, delivers powerful, action-packed plots that delve into mystical paranormal worlds." ~Library Journal, Feb. 2008

"Olsen delivers an entertaining thriller likely to be enjoyed especially by fans of the spiritual warfare genre."~PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

Saturday, May 03, 2008

This says it all.

Photo removed.

A Bride So Fair

After growing up in an orphanage, Emily Ralston loves being around children and thoroughly enjoys her job at the Children’s Building at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. As the receptionist she helps check in the children and ensures they are safe and well cared for while their parents view the fair. She could not have known what God had in store for her…

When Columbian Guard, Stephen Bridger, drops off a three-year-old named Adam as a lost child, her life irrevocably changed. While the sparks of attraction are undeniable, Emily tries her best to ignore them as she and her best friend, Lucy, scheme to keep Adam safe and happy, far away from the orphanages they both know too well.

Soon Stephen learns about Adam’s mother while both the mystery and his relationship with Emily deepens. As they learn bits of truth, danger and deception now threaten to undermine their growing relationship. Why is a young woman murdered while surrounded by thousands of fairgoers? What secrets could a sweet, abandoned little boy possibly hold? Can Emily and Stephen solve the deadly mystery before time runs out?Themes in the Book: Emily and Stephen’s unique love story offers a fresh and inspirational lesson of trust and betrayal, faith and doubt, the meaning of family and God’s unending goodness.

About Carol Cox

Award-winning author of twelve novels and eleven novellas, Carol shares her love of history, mystery, and romance in the books she writes. A pastor’s wife, Carol makes her home with her husband and young daughter in northern Arizona. To learn more about Carol and her books, visit her Web site at

Q&A with Carol Cox, author of A Bride So Fair

Q. Where did you get the idea to write A Bride So Fair?

A. Several years ago, I came across a brief article that mentioned the World’s Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893, calling it a pivotal moment in our nation’s history. And my response was, “If it was such a big deal, how come I’ve never even heard about it?” So I looked it up online and was overwhelmed at the wealth of information I found. I had no idea how many of the things we take for granted today were introduced at that fair—things like the Ferris wheel, Cracker Jacks, Cream of Wheat, Juicy Fruit gum, and the concept of the Midway. Familiar names from our history books were among the 27 million people who visited the fair. Thomas Edison, Scott Joplin, Frederick Douglass, Jane Addams, and Susan B. Anthony were all there. It was a moment in which our nation felt itself on the brink of major change, and the more I learned about the fair, the more excited I became. I knew I had to set a story there, and that initial idea turned into a three-book series, A Fair to Remember. A Bride So Fair is the final title, and it was hard to say goodbye to the setting and characters I’ve come to love.

Q. How much research is involved in writing a solid historical fiction novel like this one?

A. I was so fascinated by what I learned about the fair that I continued researching for two years before the first book in the series was even contracted. As I mentioned above, I found a tremendous amount of information online, including photos of the fairgrounds and its buildings. I was able to purchase several books printed during that time period that gave detailed descriptions of exhibits as well as the reactions of people who visited the fair. That was invaluable in getting insight into how it affected people of that day. I studied maps of the grounds and floor plans of several of the buildings until I felt like I could navigate them as easily as I can get around my home town.

All of that helped in getting my facts straight, but I needed to add sensory details to make the setting come alive. What would my hero and heroine experience on the shore of Lake Michigan? What would they see, hear, smell? How would it feel to walk across the vast fairgrounds or stroll along the edge of the lagoon? I made a trip to Chicago, where I spent a day at Jackson Park, the site of the exposition. All but one of the buildings are long gone, but simply being there and soaking up the setting added a myriad of details for me to draw on when writing the story. At that point, I could look at my research photos and feel like I could step into the scene and describe it as though I’d actually been there.

Q. What inspires you the most as a writer?

A. It’s always interesting to hear what sparks ideas for other writers. For some, it springs from a character; for others, the catalyst is an issue they’re passionate about. With me, the setting often comes before either the characters or the plot. A particular place will catch my imagination, and I’ll wonder what kind of people might have been there and what would have happened to them. I love the challenge of bringing a setting to life so it becomes something a reader can experience rather than just read about.

Q. You’ve written quite a few novels already, do you have any advice for aspiring novelists?

A. Read in a wide variety of genres to discover which holds the most appeal for you. Your writing will show far more depth and passion if you're working in a genre you love.

Be patient. Prepare to learn and gear yourself mentally for a marathon, not a sprint. The learning process takes time.

Study the craft of writing. There are excellent books available, covering everything from basic grammar to character development to plot and structure and much more. A number of organizations exist today that offer teaching, encouragement, and support to both aspiring and experienced writers. And writers conferences are held all around the country. Attending conferences is a wonderful way to build on your knowledge as well as getting to know others who share your passion for writing.

Develop a teachable attitude. The more I write, the more I realize how much more there still is to learn. There is always the joy of growing, of improving my skills, of learning to be a “workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (from 2 Timothy 2:15 NIV)

If you'd like to purchase A Bride so Fair, you can do HERE.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Friday Five

Four months ago we bought a new tv that came with a blu-ray player at a deeply discounted price. Included in the purchase were four blu-ray discs we got to pick out at that time (Ratatouille or however it's spelled, Cars, The Fugitive and 8 Below were our choices) and five blu-ray discs we chose from a list. These five would be shipped to us at a later date...we just didn't know how MUCH later. They arrived on May 1st.
So I thought I'd post those movie titles for the Friday Five this week. Keep in mind, we had to chose one movie from each of five categories, and for some, it was a case of chosing the least nasty one.
So, the Friday Five:
1. Superman: The Movie...Christopher Reeve. I think the boy will like it.
2. Chain Reaction with Keanu Reeves and Morgan Freeman.
3. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.
4. The Patriot with Mel Gibson
5. And the stinker of the lot at this point....Stir of Echoes with Kevin Bacon. I've never seen it, will most likely hate it, but it was the best of a bad lot in the category we had to chose from.
So, watch any good movies lately? Have you taken a risk on a movie lately, expecting you wouldn't like it but discovering you did?


Today I finished my WIP! WOOHOO!!!!! With 140 days until the conference, I finished the first of two books I want to pitch there. Happy dance, happy dance.
Now I'll let it sit for a few days while I work on another proposal. Then I'll start the editing process for the new book and send it to my Dazzlingly Clever Crit Partners who will help me whip it into even better shape.
Ah...feels good to have this one done. You can't know how I struggled with the ending!
And while I'm posting, I'd like to announce the winner of A Mending At The Edge by Jane Kirkpatrick. We've put the names in the Day-glo Orange Hunting Cap and pulled out the winner's name.

This Week From CFBA

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Big Picture
(NavPress Publishing Group April 15, 2008)
Jenny B. Jones
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jenny B. Jones is the author of A Katie Parker Production series. The other books in the series are In Between and On The Loose. Though now an adult, she still relates to the trauma and drama of teen life. She is thrilled to see her writing dreams come true, as her previous claim to fame was singing the Star Spangled Banner at a mule-jumping championship. (The mules were greatly inspired.) Jenny resides in Arkansas, where, as a teacher, she hangs out with teens on a regular basis.
ABOUT THE BOOK Sometimes there’s a fine line between comedy and tragedy—and Katie Parker is walking it. School is winding down for the summer, but Katie Parker is having a bad day. After leaving the drive-in, where her imploding love life was the main attraction, Katie arrives home to a big surprise on the Scott's front porch. Her mother, Bobbie Ann Parker, a former convict and recovering addict, wants to take Katie away from her family, friends, and church. Now Katie's life will be changed by a series of dramatic choices as she struggles to understand what family and home really means. Katie is forced to walk away from In Between, leaving behind a family who loves her, a town drive-in to save, and a boyfriend who suddenly can’t take his eyes off his ex. When the life her mother promised begins to sink faster than one of Maxine’s stuffed bras, Katie knows she needs to rely on God to keep it together. But where is He in all this? Can Katie survive a chaotic life with her mother—and one without the Scotts? And if God is there, will He come through before it’s too late? A Katie Parker Production series offers teen girls real-world fiction balanced by hope and humor. The The Big Picture helps us realize that the difficult chapters in our journey are only part of God's big story for our lives.You can read the first chapter HERE

"A heroine to love. Jones just gets better with every book, and The Big Picture is her best one yet."~BARBARA WARREN, author of The Gathering Storm

"Such inspiration in a package of fun and faith!"~EVA MARIE EVERSON, author of the Potluck Club series