Welcome to my little bit of cyber-space. It is my prayer that all who enter here may be richly blessed by the God of all grace. All praise to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Come on aboard the official blog tour for Miralee Ferrell's debut novel--The Other Daughter!

If you haven't read the basic premise of this book, scroll down to look at my post on Sunday. And for those of you who want to know more about Miralee, here's her bio in her own words:
I'm over 50, married for 35 years this July, and have two wonderful children, Marnee and Steven. I'm active at our small church, serving on staff with my ministerial license and working with women in a counseling/ministering capacity. My husband and I are looking forward to full retirement soon and taking off for a few months at a time on our 51' sailboat, where my writing will take on an entirely new creativity. We have a horse, a dog and three cats that my daughter and her husband will inherit while we're gone. Thankfully, they live on the adjoining property and are animals lovers.

RM: Welcome, Miralee. I love your lyrical name, and in reading your bio, I discovered that we have quite a few things in common--over 50, a son named Steve, and am also retired. I don't think I could get my hubby to take off on a sailboat, though! Hope to read of some of your adventures on your blog. Now for our first question:

RM: Authors are often told to "write what you know." How have you drawn on your life experiences to create this fictional story?

MF: I was brainstorming with a friend who suggested I use an experience from my life as the basis or theme for my first novel. I ran through several scenarios in my head, as we've had many interesting things happen in our marriage...some great, some not. This personal incident did indeed capture the essense of secrets, forgiveness and healing...not as much in my life as in our marriage and the life of an 18 yr old girl. About 17 yrs ago my husband received a letter stating a young woman believed him to be her biological father she'd never met. We agreed to meet and hear her story, and after some investigation came to believe he probably was her dad. The episode was similar to that of David in the book...a one night stand prior to his becoming a Christian, but that's where the similarity stops. He was not dating me at the time, and I had a strong relationship with the Lord and didn't have a problem accepting Trish into our lives.

RM: My daughter just adopted a son last year, so someday I imagine he will search out his biological parents, so this is a very interesting premise for me, and I'm sure many others. Any exciting things happening before or during the time period while the book is releasing?

MF: Yes! I’m so excited! I received a Four Star review from Romantic Times Review Magazine. I assumed that Five Stars would be the top rating, but I was so blessed when I found out Four and a half was the best you could get, making Four Stars quite good indeed. I’ve also gotten some very good reviews, including a glowing one from Novel Journey, one of the top Christian review blogs. The Other Daughter is also climbing it’s way up the best sellers list on CBD…at the two week mark prior to release (when this was written) it had hit #15 in women’s contemporary fiction and #103 in overall fiction (out of 9,584 books), very respectable for a book not yet released. I’d love to see it reach the top 75 in overall fiction, but am leaving that in the Lord’s hands.

RM: What else are you working on?

MF: I’m working on Past Shadows (might also be called “Sheltered”), the sequel to The Other Daughter, and hope to have it ready to turn in to my editor in early November. I’ve also started something new for me, an 1880’s novel set in Washington state…I’m hesitating to say it’s a romance, but it looks like it might be heading that direction. I’m playing around with another idea for a stand-alone women’s contemporary with an unusual twist. I’m hoping to start it as soon as Past Shadows is finished. There could also be a #3 in this series, and if so, we’ll return to Brianna, the 13 yr old girl who arrives at the Carson’s door…at the age of 23.

RM: Good! I love sequels that let us catch up on the lives of the characters we grow to love. As a writer myself, I'm always interested in writing tips. Take us through your process of writing a novel briefly—from conception to revision.

MF: I’m more of a seat-of-the-pants writer…I get an idea, decide who the main characters are and start writing. I don’t follow a lot of rules, and tend to get better acquainted with my characters as I go. I have a basic overview of the story line in very simple outline form…I’m talking, a few sentences that might fill one page, at most, with very few details.

It does make it a bit more time intensive, in that I probably have more revisions than an organized writer, but I’ve found I can be more creative if everything isn’t mapped out along the way. My characters have more room to grow, change, and make some of their own decisions…I’ve had things happen in my story line that weren’t planned, but that fit beautifully and strengthened the plot. After writing the rough draft, I’ll submit it to my crit group a few chapters at a time, as well as having an editor I trust review the first third to half of the book for plot holes and inconsistencies, then start revising and editing.

RM: What do you wish you’d known early in your career that might have saved you some time and/or frustration in writing? In publishing?

This is a hard one, as I’m still very early in my writing career, having only started writing seriously just over two years ago. I’m growing and learning constantly, and in all honesty, I haven’t had a lot of frustrating times since beginning this journey. I’d have to say that the issue of timing probably stands out more than most other things. I was in too big of a hurry, at first, to send my ‘baby’ out into the world when it wasn’t ready. Had I taken the advice of an author/editor friend on some of the changes she gave me that would have strengthened my book, and not been so sure it was fine the way it was, I probably wouldn’t have had some of my early rejections. Of course, rejections are part of the growing process, and I learned valuable lessons there, too.

RM: Do you have any parting words of advice?

Keep your priorities in order…God first, family next, ministry and others (including your writing) third. Write for the Lord, and yourself, rather than to be published. It will cut way down on the disappointment and frustration level, and bring a deep sense of joy and accomplishment.

RM: Great advice, Miralee. Thanks for visiting my blog and giving us this great inside scoop on your writing.

Attention all readers: Miralee has graciously offered to send a free book to one of the readers who leave a comment for this interview or any of the sites where her book is being featured for the next few weeks. So, one person who leaves a comment on this blog will win a book as well as one reader who comments on any of the blogs listed below. So, the more blogs you comment on, the better your chances!

Oct. 20th, Karen Phillips---Sky-High View

LaShaunda Hoffman—See Ya On The Net

21st Angie Arndt---The Road I'm Traveling

22nd Deena Peterson---Deena's Books

22nd Teresa Morgan---Teresa Morgan's Blog

23rd Rose McCauley---Stories of Faith, Hope and Love

23rd Pattie Reitz----Fresh Brewed Writer

24th Cecelia Dowdy---New Christian Fiction Reviews

Tiffany Amber Stockton--A Fiction-Filled Life

25th Bonnie Way---The Koala Bear Writer

Stormi Johnson---Write Thoughts

26th Robin Grant---Queen Of Perseverance

27th Delia Latham---The Melody Within

28th Jennie McGhan---Jen's Life Journey

29th Susan Lohrer ---Inspirational Editor

30th Carla Stewart---Carla’s Writing Café

31st Christina Berry--- Posting with Purpose


1st Bonnie Leon---Bonnie's Blog

2nd Jan Parrish---Bold and Free

3rd Tina Helmuth---The Ink's Not Dry

4th Teresa Slack---ShoutLife Blog

5th Pam Meyers---A Writer’s Journey

6th Betsy St. Amant---Betsy Ann's Blog

7th Megan DiMaria---A Prisoner of Hope

8th Christa Allan---CBAllan WordPress

9th Susan Marlow---Suzy Scribbles---Homeschool Blogger

10th Jamie Driggers---Surviving the Chaos

11th Cindy Bauer----Christian Fiction Author & Speaker

12th Angie Breidenbach---God Uses Broken Vessels

13th Patricia Carroll---Patricia PacJac Carroll

14th Toni V. Lee---Spreading Truth Through Fiction

15th Camille Eide---Faith Inspiring Fiction

16th Lisa Jordan---Musings

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Preview of Blog Tour for Miralee Ferrell

I'm one of several bloggers who are taking part in a blog tour for new author Miralee Ferrell. Stop by on Tuesday for an interview with Miralee about her book, but here's a teaser below to pique your interest!

The girl standing at the door took a deep breath, pulling her suitcase a little closer to her trembling legs. "My mama's dead. He's my daddy."Susanne Carson knew that she could trust the love of her life—her husband, David—until she discovered a strange, unkempt young girl on their doorstep, claiming to be David's daughter.Not that their marriage had ever been perfect—David's decision to embrace the Christian faith had strained their relationship. Susanne may not have agreed with his beliefs, but at least she trusted him. Had David been hiding this not-so-little secret from his past? He wanted Susanne to believe in his God, but believing hadn't done much to keep David out of another woman's arms.As David confronts the truth of his past, Susanne must face her own moment of truth as her marriage is taken to the breaking point and the life of one young girl is left in her hands.

Read the entire opening scene at Miralee's web site:

The Other Daughter just released, look for it in Christian bookstores near you, or order from http://www.amazon.com/ or http://www.christianbook.com/ If you visit Miralee's website and sign the guest book, you'll be entered in a drawing for a free book.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Let's play Tag!

When we were children, we spent hours playing tag. As adults we often play "phone tag" with friends and family members. Now we are entering the world of"blog tag"! I have been tagged by one of my ACFW friends, Pat Gonzales (http://www.pattishene.blogspot.com/) to tell what I was doing 10, 20 and 30 years ago. So here goes:

Thirty years ago my husband and I were living in the white house on the farm where we still live. I had taught school for 6 years, but was now staying at home on maternity leave with our almost four year old daughter, expecting the birth of our second child. This was before the days of standard ultrasounds, so we didn't know the gender. I dreamed I would have a red-headed boy, and although the nurse predicted a girl by the heart rate, on October 30, 1977, I gave birth to our son--a boy with blond hair that still has reddish glints! My writing was nonexistent at that time although God had planted the idea in my head years before. My reading consisted of Cinderella and Bible stories.

Twenty years ago my husband and I were in the whirlwind of raising three kids--14, 10 and 5. Between band practice, soccer, baseball and basketball games, and church activities, we managed to sometimes make 6 trips to town a day and survive! (We live about 6 miles from a small town.) We ate most of our meals together, I taught school where the youngest two attended, and the kids and I helped my husband on the farm when possible, so we spent a lot of time together! Writing was still non-existent, but my reading level had risen to The Christy Miller series, and The Thorne Twins, and, of course, still Cinderella and Bible stories.

Ten years ago, our oldest daughter was married, our son was in college, and our youngest daughter was the lone chick at home. Since she still had one year to wait for a driver's license, we still made several trips to town most days, and I was still teaching school, but these ideas for stories kept clogging up my brain, so I actually wrote down some ideas and a few scenes and character sketches (although I didn't know that was what they were called at that time!) My reading had expanded to include several Christian authors like Janette Oke, Lori Wick and Brock and Bodie Thoene. I found out I was eligible for retirement in one more year, and my husband (and the stories in my head) were both encouraging me to retire so I would have time to write, so I did, and here I am with a blog and lots of unpubbed manuscripts, and lots of new friends and new authors to read!

So, I am blog-tagging the following people, and hope they will take time to play this new game:

Brandilyn Collins http://www.forensicsandfaith.blogspot.com/

Miralee Ferrell http://www.miraleesdesk.blogspot.com/

Tricia Goyer http://www.triciagoyeer.blogspot.com/

Rachel Hauck http://www.rachelhauck.com/blog.htm

Cara Putman http://carasmusings.blogspot.com/

Cindy Sproles http://mountainbreezewriter.blogspot.com/

Kristy Dykes http://www.christianlovestories.blogspot.com/

Camy Tang www.storysensei.blogspot.com

Maryann DiOrio www.maryanndiorio.com/blog

Robin Johns Grant www.queenofperseverance.blogspot.com

Check out their sites and learn something you didn't know about these authors.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

We have a contest winner and we are all winners with notes from Tricia Goyer's historical writing class!

Congrats to Delia, and a copy of A Valley of Betrayal by Tricia Goyer will soon be on its way to her. Everyone (except Delia) who leaves a comment on my blogs during the month of October who also leaves or emails me their contact info will be entered into a drawing for DiAnn Mills' new book When the Nile Runs Red. You can read more about her book on my last blog.
I'm posting a picture of me with Tricia at the ACFW conference in Dallas last month. I took her very interesting and informative class on Historical Writing, and she has graciously given me permission to share some of the notes from that class on this blog.

Here are some of the steps from her "system":
à I read a general overview of the time in history to discover plot points. Then I put them in a PLOT document
à I color-coded the scenes by character.
à I work with through the Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook, and the assignments lead to information about character (which I put in the character file) and plot points (plot file).
à THEN I research the information I’ll need for of plot and characters.
à I check important dates/events.
à I research specifics that will be in my scenes.

The details for the scenes that I research are:
à Who does what?
à Who goes where?
à Motivation?
à Conflict?
à Setting?

As you can tell the “factual research” usually happens later in the process. It’s important for me to get a general overview of the time in history, but the more novels I write the more I’ve disciplined myself to focus on exactly what I need for each scene. It helps me to focus where the information is needed the most. It saves time. And it saves me from running away on rabbit trails.

I love:
Used books. (The closer to the time period I’m writing about the better!)
I do look for information on the Internet, but I’d rather have an old, musty book in my hand.
Anyone desiring more info can check out Tricia's sites at www.triciagoyer.com or
www.triciagoyer.blogspot.com or you can order the whole set of 4 CDs from her class or many other great classes by going to www.acfw.com/conference and at the bottom of the screen it will tell you where you can order all the sessions. Happy learning!