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.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday Musings--I'm officially a published author now!
The official release date for Christmas Belles of Georgia is September 1st, but I have already received my author copies from Barbour as you can see from this picture. This is truly a dream come true, and I give all the praise to God for giving me this opportunity, and for leading me to ACFW where I have learned so much and met so many wonderful, helpful people who had a big part in this happening.

So, I want to share with you my dedication which took over a page to thank everyone. It truly "takes a village" to get a book published!


This book is dedicated to two of the most wonderful ninety-four-
year-young women I know—Ruth Seamands and Helen
Jean Wiglesworth. Their Christian witness and zest for life have
been an inspiration to me and countless others. My friends and I
all want to be like them when we grow up!
Special thanks to:
My husband, Chester, for all of his encouragement and help,
even when it means loading the dishwasher
three times in one day!
Becky Germany, Jeanie Smith Cash, Jeri Odell,
and Debra Ullrick for taking a chance on me and my writing.
And to Margie Vawter for her wonderful editing skills.
My encouragers and prayer warriors—Crystal, Dottie, Kathy,
Kim, Connie, Jan, Ann, and Unity Christian
Church Rosebud SS class.
My forever friends, whose names are immortalized
in some of my characters’ names.
Debbonnaire and Jennifer, who helped me brainstorm this story.
And my fabulous critique partners who enriched the story—
Jennifer, Joy, and Loretta.
My two daughters, Christy and Mandy, who also read the story
and gave me encouragement. And my son, Stephen, who now
has to read my book because he promised to
do so when I got published!
My Georgia helpers who answered many questions—Ane and
Greg Mulligan, Thomas Smith, Rod Perry, and Scott Smith.
All of my writing friends at LRW, BCW, and ACFW,
with special thanks to Lynn Coleman for making
my first critique so gentle, yet helpful.
The readers whom I hope will enjoy this
book as much as I enjoyed writing it.
And most of all, praise God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—
from whom all blessings flow, including this opportunity
to see the writing dream He gave me come true.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Welcome to today's guestblog: A Story Seven Years in the Making by Staci Stallings

In retrospect, maybe I shouldn't have named the book "A Work in Progress." Maybe that was my first clue of how long this particular book would take to write.
The planting of the seed happened over a message board about 10 years ago. Remember message boards? You posted something, then other people responded, and you had a nice little conversation about a certain topic. Well, I started posting about this show that I really liked on TV at the time. Another young lady was posting as well, and we got into this big (but good-natured) argument about which guy on the show was our favorite.
She liked one of the guys that I would never in a million years have ever thought about dating. In the midst of this conversation, I wrote two different books featuring the guy I liked from the show. Then she emailed one day (after the message boards had shut down and we had remained friends despite our different tastes in guys) and said she thought I should write one about the guy she liked.
That sparked a long conversation with myself about why anyone would like this guy. Strangely, the more I asked the question, the more I realized how much he had to offer the right girl. I realized there were things about him that no one probably knew because although part of him was the comedy guy often claiming the center of attention, there was a lot about the other sides of who he really was that got looked over and even sometimes trampled upon.
So I started this story "A Work in Progress" about Rebecca Avery, a college student who would never be one of the popular kids. She watches them, envies them, and hates them. Then one day she literally runs into Eric Barnett in one of the all-time classic scenes I have ever been given the honor of writing. In fact, one of my problems over the seven years it took to write this one was that each time I pulled it up, I thought I just had to start reading it from the beginning to know where I was again.
I read that first scene countless times and it never got old. Each time I read through it, I would think, "Wow, this is really, really good. Why haven't I finished this yet?" Then I would get to the last page I had written and start writing more. Five pages, ten, sometimes even 20 or 30. But time and again, I got stopped either by life or by being like that dog on "Up" going, "Squirrel!" before chasing off in another direction after another great story idea.
The pieces of this one came VERY slowly, but I'm so glad they did. Here's why. When I started this book, I was one person. By the time I finished it, I had literally become someone very different. I started it wanting to be this successful, bestselling author. I read every book on marketing and did my level best to become the success I thought God required me to be. ("Performance Christians, please raise your hands!" I would've had to raise both of mine.)
However, somewhere between 31-years-old and 38-years-old, God--the real God--finally got a hold of my life and showed me that it wasn't about my performance. It wasn't about anything I had ever done or could ever do. My worth was set by Him. Period. As a child of the God of the Universe, I was already a success. I didn't have to prove anything to anybody. I could be me and not apologize or rationalize or justify that to anyone. And, oh, the freedom and relief that flowed from finally understanding that!
Strangely enough, that's exactly what Rebecca learns in the book. She finally realizes that life is less about gaining friends to be popular and more about letting people into your soft spots. Yes, sometimes that hurts. Sometimes it hurts really, really badly. But that's the only way to really live. It's the only way to truly be friends. Otherwise, you're just acquaintances who just happen to know one another's phone number, address, and favorite food.
As for Eric, I finally did learn to have almost as much admiration for him as my friend did. She was right--he is a very cool guy when you give him a chance.
Oh, and you'll be glad to know that the second and third books in The Faith Series didn't take nearly so long to write as this one. In fact, they were finished within nine months of "A Work in Progress" being finished. It was like seven years of learning all came pouring out of me. Lessons about how to be a friend and how to let yourself be open enough to let others in. Lessons about not judging others for their denomination and looking instead at their hearts. Lessons about being true to yourself and standing in the gap for one another.
Those seven years turned out to be worth every second they took to get here. The truth is, I'm still "A Work in Progress" as I think we all are. The more we remember that and stop trying to be perfect--and stop requiring each other to be perfect--the more wonderful life gets because it's only then that we actually learn to live rather than breaking our necks trying to impress everyone else who are breaking their own necks trying to impress us!
A stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from. (Pick up the Price of Silence now for only $0.99! http://www.amazon.com/The-Price-of-Silence-ebook/dp/B004E9U7P6) Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again. Every title is a new adventure! That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading. Although she lives in Amarillo, Texas and her main career right now is her family, Staci touches the lives of people across the globe every week with her various Internet endeavors including:

Books In Print, Kindle, & FREE on Spirit Light Works:
Spirit Light Books--The Blog: http://spiritlightbooks.wordpress.com/
And… Staci’s website http://www.stacistallings.com/ Come on over for a visit…
You’ll feel better for the experience!
Connect with her on Twitter: @StaciStallings

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A special book and two special ladies

This past week has been very special to me as I received my author copies of my first fiction book. And I want to share with you the two special ladies it is dedicated to. The dedication reads "This book is dedicated to two of the most wonderful ninety-four year-young women I know--Ruth Seamands and Helen Jean Wiglesworth. Their Christian witness and zest for life have been an inspiration to me and countless others. My friends and I all want to be like them when we grow up!"

On Friday I took an autographed copy to Helen Jean Wiglesworth who lives in Cynthiana, KY. She went on a girl's getaway cruise with me when she was ninety and walked all over the ship! She still drives herself to church and plays the organ. And she reads voraciously, knits, crochets, and avidly watches and cheers for all the UK basketball games. She reminded me of her daily prayer asking God to use her to bless others and them to bless her. What a great prayer!

Then today, my husband and I drove to Wilmore, KY, to deliver a copy of my book to Ruth Seamands, or Mama Ruth as so many of us in ACFW call her. Those who have met her know how wonderful she is. I told my husband on the way that I was thirsty and wanted to stop if we saw a DQ and get a soda, but we never saw one. Then, when we got there Ruth had tall glasses sitting out for us to make coke floats! I told her she read my mind! She also fed us some yummy Indian trail mix she had made up. Ruth still does her morning stretches and credits them with her being able to get around so well without a walker. Although her eyesight is worse some days than others from her macular degeneration, she still manages to read with a special magnifying machine. Her mind is still as sharp as one of the Fijian spears she has hanging on her walls! And she drives her golfcart named "Ruth's Rocket" around Wesley Village.

I hope now you know why all of us in ACFW want to be like Ruth, and why my "Forever Friends" and I want to grow up to be like Helen Jean--two very special ladies to me and so many others!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fridays with Friends--Pam Hillman

Pam Hillman has been a good friend since we met at the first ACFW conference. I am so happy to be featuring her as part of her blog tour for her debut novel, Stealing Jake.

Pam, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I write inspirational fiction set in the turbulent times of the American West and the Gilded Age. My debut book, Stealing Jake, won the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Genesis contest and was a finalist in Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart contest. I live in Mississippi with my husband and family on the family farm. I was born and raised in the country and can’t imagine living in the city.

When you were a child did you have a favorite book or books?
When I was about five, my favorite book was The Kitten Twins, about two mischievous kittens named Twinkle and Boo. For some reason, I didn’t have a lot of books at home, and didn’t learn to read until I started first grade. But I caught on quickly and fell in love with books. One day, our teacher, Mrs. Smith, told us to bring something to school to trade with the other children. I remember taking a small stuffed bear I had gotten on vacation in the Great Smokey Mountains in Tennessee. One of the girls brought the book, The Kitten Twins. Oh, I wanted that book! And I got it. I never forgot that special Little Golden book. I even named my real kittens Twinkle and Boo.

Do you have a favorite genre to both read and write?
I love to read and write historical romance, especially prairie romance and westerns set in America during the late 1800s. I don’t know why I fell in love with that genre and that era. Maybe it was all those John Wayne movies and Gunsmoke episodes I watched as a kid.

Did you have favorite authors growing up who have influenced you?
I cut my teeth on the great western writer, Louis L’Amour. L’Amour kept me mesmerized with his tales of cowboys and Indians, outlaws, prim schoolteachers, hot dry deserts and boom towns.

When did you know you wanted to be an author?
I knew I wanted to be a writer by the time I was 8 or 9 years old. There was a small public library where we checked out books once a week on the way home from school. My brother and my cousins were okay with stopping by the library on the way home from school, but it was the highlight of my week! I checked out the maximum allowed (I think it was 3) and my cousin, Joy, checked out 3 more that I wanted to read. I’m sure I even twisted her little brother’s arm and made him check out books I picked out! lol

How did you go about becoming an author?
As a child, I was fascinated by how authors put all those stories on paper. Somehow, my brain just naturally made up stories. But for years, I didn’t write them down. I tried to get started a few times, but didn’t know how to construct a compelling story with an interesting beginning, firm middle, and satisfying ending. So out of lack of knowledge and fear of failure, I just kept dreaming. I think I had the idea that as long as I didn’t attempt to write, I couldn’t fail at writing. In 1994, I decided that if I was ever going to write, I had to stop kidding myself and get to work. This was before the internet changed our lives, and the first thing I did was go to the library and check out the only book they had on becoming a writer. It was “How to write a Romance” by Kathryn Falk. I read it, picked one of the many ideas in my brain to start writing, and began. Oh, and I need to add that this was when Apple came out with the Apple Macintosh computer. I was a young mother with two children and my mother wanted to give me a gift. She asked what I wanted. I told her a computer. I had a computer science degree but no computer at home. So, now I had a computer so I could write. I’m not sure I would have ever attempted it if I had to write long-hand. Next, the librarian called me one day and told me that a lady was there who was also interested in writing a novel. I left work and we met and chatted for a while. She was a member of Magnolia State Romance Writers of America, the RWA chapter in Mississippi. So, that connection led me to RWA. It was there that I met real, live flesh and blood women who were writing novels and getting them published. At that point, I realized my dream was something I could attain. Someday. Somehow.

If you were not a writer what would you like to be?
I’d own a dusty old bookstore with a winding staircase to a little alcove sitting nook, where I’d offer coffee, tea, and cookies to my guests. It really wouldn’t matter if I actually sold any books. Just being surrounded by them would be good enough!

Besides reading and writing what do you like to do?
I like traveling, just meandering all over the place with no set agenda in mind, and eating at really good old-fashioned restaurants.

Do you have a place you love to visit or would love to visit?
I’ve always wanted to travel overseas. I’d love to visit England, Ireland, and Australia. I’m not fond of the idea of being in an airplane for 10-12 hours, but maybe someday, I’ll get the chance.

If you could have a meal with 3 living people who would you choose and why?
I would say my husband and two sons, but then the boys would bring their girlfriends, so that would be six of us, so that’s too many. But I’d rather hang out with them that anyone. So….let’s see. Only 3? Sigh. That leaves out the Seekers, since there are 15 of us. Seriously, I’d rather have dinner with 3 family members or 3 of my writing friends, or agents and editors at ACFW than a Saudi Arabian prince or a king or the President. The very thought gives me hives. Let me sit around a campfire listening to some ol’ cowpoke nobody’s ever heard of spinning tales about his adventures, and I’m happy.

Finally, can you tell us about your current books and/or any that will be coming out soon. Also where we can find you on the web.

My debut novel, Stealing Jake, released from Tyndale House Publishers July 2011.

When Livy O'Brien spies a young boy jostling a man walking along the boardwalk, she recognizes the act for what it is. After all, she used to be known as Light-fingered Livy. But that was before she put her past behind her and moved to the growing town of Chestnut, Illinois, where she's helping to run an orphanage. Now she'll do almost anything to protect the street kids like herself.

Sheriff's deputy Jake Russell had no idea what he was in for when he ran into Livy--literally--while chasing down a pickpocket. With a rash of robberies and a growing number of street kids in town--as well as a loan on the family farm that needs to be paid off--Jake doesn't have time to pursue a girl. Still, he can't seem to get Livy out of his mind. He wants to get to know her better . . . but Livy isn't willing to trust any man, especially not a lawman.

Please visit me on the web at http://www.pamhillman.com/, http://www.calicotrails.blogspot.com/ and http://www.blogger.com/goog_877852749

And I’m giving away a Kindle in October. Deadline to enter is September 30th.
Kindle Giveaway Link: http://pamhillman.blogspot.com/2011/07/pams-blog-tour-kindle-contest.html

Stealing Jake Prologue and 1st Chapter: http://www.blogger.com/goog_877852755

Stealing Jake Amazon link:

Stealing Jake B&N link:

Rose, it’s been a pleasure to be your guest. Thank you for asking me.
Thank you, Pam. I hope everyone will hurry on over to your sites and order your book.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Spotlight on Lisa Lickel

Today I want to introduce you to another member of John316marketingnetwork. Lisa is also a member of ACFW, and I met her in person at a writing conference in Chicago a few years ago. Since then, we even did a book proposal together. Here are some questions I asked and her answers.

1. Tell us about your favorite book as a child and your favorite book as an adult. Can you see a connection between those books?

I loved The Pokey Little Puppy, and later Judy’s Journey and then Anne McCaffrey, and still think Ray Bradbury is brilliant. Each of the books are journeys of some kind, whether of discovery and exploration, or of self and coming of age.

2. What is your favorite Scripture? Do you also have a favorite Scripture that encourages you in your writing?
My favorite scripture is Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold unswervingly to the faith we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” It reminds me that I’m responsible after I’ve made the profession – responsible for my actions and speech, and writing.

3. If you could go to any place in the world to research/write a book, what setting would you choose?
Hmmm…if all the time in the world could pass to research and write without me feeling guilty, I’d love to do an ancient history book about life in Alaska through the ages.

4. I often wonder if I would write if I had to do it the old-fashioned way without computers and spell-checks and email. Is there anything about technology that you don't like? Or anything about it that you feel enhances your writing?
This may sound funny, but I still prefer to plot and think and set up my books with paper and pen. I have notebooks devoted to this. I feel like I can think more creatively, make notes, draw lines and arrows and jot things that I don’t think come out right in typing. Although I love spell check, it doesn’t catch my missing words or sometimes it helps me by filling in a word I didn’t mean, so it comes out wrong while I’ve just passed it by.

5. As a writer how have you had to grow and stretch out of your comfort zone?
Always, the marketing. I am so not comfortable with lots of people around me, and having to talk usually gives me the vapors. I’m fine when I’ve begun to teach a workshop, for example, but the time leading up to big events makes me ill. But I have to go back and get my name out there.

6. What advice would you give to a beginning writer that you wish someone had given you?
I wish someone had been able to make me understand that publishing is a business and everyone at any time will have a different opinion about what’s going to work one place, one moment, will not work the next time. I got the “try” thing done pretty well, but the practice of rejection is still puzzling.

7. Do you want to add anything about your book such as how to order it?
Thanks, Rose. People can buy my last book, the Grace-award-winning Meander Scar, in either print or electronic form at Barnes and Noble or Amazon. In October, I’ll be releasing a new book with Shellie Neumeier, and next spring I’ll have a new book out that’s the long-awaited sequel to my cozy mystery, The Gold Standard. So please keep an eye on my web site or Facebook author page for updates.
Rose again: I bought The Gold Standard at the conference where I met Lisa and really enjoyed it, so I look forward to reading this sequel. I hope you will check out some of Lisa's links for more info on her and her books.



Amazon print: http://www.amazon.com/Meander-Scar-Lisa-J-Lickel/dp/1934912239/ref=sr_1_1_oe_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1267452628&sr=1-1

Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Meander-Scar-ebook/dp/B0037Z6YM8/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2

Meander on BN: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Meander-Scar/Lisa-J-Lickel/e/9781934912232/?itm=1&USRI=Lisa+Lickel

Facebook Author page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Lisa-J-Lickel/92717402338

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fridays with Friends--Elaine Cooper

What an amazing story our guest today has for us! Read it and be blessed. Thanks so much for sharing, Elaine.

The Healing Power of Writing

By Elaine Marie Cooper

Sometimes we can look to the past to help heal the present. That healing can take many forms but in my case it was the balm of writing about my ancestors that helped me recover from the loss of my daughter.

Bethany was 24 when she passed away from a brain tumor and I knew my life would never be the same. As a freelance writer for many years, my mind assumed that I would write a book about that experience in order to help others. But in the months after the Lord took her home, I was not that strong. Just the thought of re-living the two years prior to her death by writing it out in excruciating detail was more than I could endure at the time.

On the fourth anniversary of her passing, a sudden revelation of sorts birthed in my thoughts: I would write about my fourth great-grandparents during the American Revolution. I was always intrigued by the family story of the British soldier who stayed behind in America and married an American woman. I couldn’t think of anything more romantic than two enemies coming together, so caught up in each other that politics was tossed to the wind so they could be together.

But an interesting tapestry of healing took place in my heart as I researched and created the words that flowed from one chapter to the next. Although I was writing fiction, the emotional and spiritual turmoil that unfolded in the characters was real. It was the devastation of loss that was transferred from my heart to my characters lives. And as they recovered and healed, so did I.

The book that was birthed from my pain is The Road to Deer Run. Set in 1777, it involves the unexpected meeting of a wounded British soldier and a colonial farm woman. Both have experienced loss. Both are filled with anger. But besides falling in love with each other, they also learn to have faith and trust in God and to forgive.

This first novel led to my sequel The Promise of Deer Run, which releases in a couple of weeks (by Sept. 1, 2011). The series has now turned into a saga and I am beginning the research for Book Three.

Summary of The Road to Deer Run:

During the American Revolution, British soldier Daniel Lowe has been captured after being wounded at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777. He escapes from his captors and hides in the woods to die, only to be rescued by Mary Thomsen, an American farmwoman. As Daniel’s festering wound heals, his gratitude to the woman who saved him transforms into love. But as an enemy soldier, his presence is endangering Mary, as well as her widowed mother and little sister. As he desperately tries to hide his identity, he is faced with numerous obstacles: exposure by the local Patriots, an attack by a British deserter, and a threat from his worst nemesis, an American soldier who also loves Mary and figures out who Daniel really is.

“With subplots as appealing as the main story, the book is well researched, well written, and well worth the purchase price. Ready for the sequel.”
— Kirkus Discoveries Reviews

Honorable Mention in the 2011 Los Angeles Book Festival Awards

Finalist in the 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Awards

Summary of The Promise of Deer Run:

America’s war for freedom from England has been over for seven years, but the wounds of that conflict still haunt the minds and hearts of the residents of Deer Run. Young American veteran Nathaniel Stearns has withdrawn to a life of isolation as he awaits his father who never returned from the war. A near-tragedy in the woods brings him face-to-face with nineteen-year-old Sarah Thomsen, someone he had long admired but he assumed had eyes for another. This chance encounter opens a crack into the door of his heart as mutual affection quickly blooms. But slander and lies soon mar the budding romance, rendering both Sarah and Nathaniel wounded and untrusting as their faith in both their God and each other is shattered. Set in 1790, this book continues the story of the Thomsen and Lowe families as they struggle to survive in the aftermath of the war that birthed the United States.

Author Biography

Elaine Marie Cooper grew up in Massachusetts but now lives in the Midwest with her husband, her three dogs and one huge cat. She has two married sons and triplet grandchildren who are now one-year-old. Elaine’s only daughter Bethany passed away in 2003 from a brain tumor.

A retired registered nurse, Elaine has been a magazine freelance writer for many years, and is a regular contributor to a blog on the Midwest called The Barn Door (www.thebarndoor.net) and a blog on Christian living called Reflections In Hindsight (ReflectionsInHindsight.wordpress.com) She is also the author of her debut novel called “The Road to Deer Run.” The sequel, “The Promise of Deer Run,” will be available by Fall of 2011.

Elaine Cooper can be reached on FaceBook http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000997223171

or visit her website at:

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Today is the day--the launch of Janet Perez Eckles' wonderful, inspiring book Simply Salsa!

Go to her landing page at http://www.simplysalsathebook.com/ to order your copy on August 9 through Amazon.com and get lots of bonus e-gifts and a chance to win a $100 American Express gift card or a round-trip airline ticket good for travel in the continental U.S.

Watch this one-minute video for details: http://www.youtube.com/watbbbbbbbch?v=sW586tTcRxg
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/janeteckles

Monday, August 08, 2011

We all like contests and here is one you don't want to miss!

Fabulous contest for a chance to win round-trip airline ticket and $100 gift card. For only 24 hours, Tuesday August 9, my author friend, J.P. Eckles is offering all this and more if you order your own copy of Simply Salsa: Dancing Without Fear at God’s Fiesta through Amazon.com.

The book is passionate in its style, sweet in its approach, and bold to point you to Christ. Simply Salsa will uplift you to see life in a brighter light no matter what burdens you today. Watch video with details: http://bit.ly/peQ9n2

I plan to order a copy on Tuesday, August 9th, and hope you will, too. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!
Monday Spotlight on Tracy Krauss

I am happy to introduce you to another of my John316marketingnetwork pals--Tracy Krauss. I hope you will enjoy learning more about her as I did from these questions. Perhaps you could leave a question for her yourself.
1. Tell us about your favorite book as a child and your favorite book as an adult. Can you see a connection between those books?
That is a really tough question because I loved reading as a child and it is hard to pick one favorite. I really, really got into Edgar Rice Burrows’ TARZAN series as a kid. I read them all (and there are like 30!) Now that I think of it, this is quite interesting and insightful because my favorite book as an adult is probably MONSTER by Frank Peretti. It’s about a crazy ape-like creature terrorizing the forests. See any connection? Wow. That’s brilliant, Rose!

2. What is your favorite Scripture? Do you also have a favorite Scripture that encourages your writing? Psalm 91 is probably my favorite – ‘He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty …’ etc. I also love Ecclesiastes. It is melancholy and encouraging at the same time. It’s good to know that everything has its time, that the best thing I can do is live whole-heartedly for God, and that I should do my best at whatever I put my hand to do. All of these thoughts are from Ecclesiastes.

3. If you could go to any place in the world to research/write a book, what setting would you choose?
That is tough. I’m currently working on a WIP that has some of its locations in Italy. That would be sweet.

4. My husband and I got to visit Italy a couple years ago, Tracy. We spent our 41st anniversary in a gondola in Venice!  I hope you can go someday, too. I often wonder if I would write if I had to do it the old-fashioned way without computers and spell-checks and email. Is there anything about technology that you don't like? Or anything about it that you feel enhances your writing? I started writing before technology. I wrote notebooks full and then I thought I’d hit the jackpot when I borrowed my mom’s old typewriter! In either case, there is so much time spent re-writing and editing it is amazing that people actually got anything written. Imagine Shakespeare or Dickens using a quill and ink! Research is another whole thing, too. I spent hours pouring over encyclopedias, going to the library, and even waiting for information to come by mail. I am so grateful for my computer.
What bugs me is that technology changes so fast. Just when I think I’ve got it figured out, something new comes along. Also, so much of our ‘writing’ time is now spent online doing other related things like promoting etc.

5. As a writer how have you had to grow and stretch out of your comfort zone? Self promotion is not an easy thing. As well, it is always scary when you put something new ‘out there’ for other people to read.

6. What advice would you give to a beginning writer that you wish someone had given you? Seek critique sooner. I spent so many years inside my own head, I didn’t see the flaws. If I had had someone available to read and assess my writing sooner, I probably would have gone on to publication sooner. On the other hand, as I said before, I believe everything happens in due time (Read ‘God’s time’) so I’m not sure that would have made any difference.

7. How can people contact you and where can they buy your books? My books are available at all the regular places – Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc. You can also visit my website for a link to the publisher or to find other ways to purchase. I’m happy to say that both books are available in e-book as well as physical print editions.

Links and Contact info:

Website: http://www.tracykrauss.com/

Blog: http://www.tracykraussexpressionexpress.com/

FB: http://tinyurl.com/Tracy-Krauss-Author-Fanpage

Twitter: www.twitter.com/TracyKrausswrtr

Amazon: http://www.kraussamazon.com/

Short bio:
Tracy Krauss is an author, artist, playwright, director, worship leader, and teacher. Originally from a small prairie town, she received her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Saskatchewan. She has lived in many places in northern Canada with her husband, a pastor, and their children. They currently live in Tumbler Ridge, BC. Published works include her debut novel AND THE BEAT GOES ON, a romantic suspense with an archeological and creationist twist, and MY MOTHER THE MAN-EATER, a contemporary romantic suspense. Tracy is also a published playwright and has several other works in progress.


What’s a girl to do? Joleen Allen is on the hunt. For a man, that is. Unfortunately, every time the mother of five meets a prospect, he falls for one of her daughters instead!

Meanwhile, her ex-husband, Harold, is back in the picture after a stint in prison, and he’s looking for revenge. He’ll do anything to see Joleen’s reputation and her relationship with their children ruined. Harold has devised an elaborate plan to slander Joleen and ruin her financially, and will stop at nothing – even murder – to see it through.

At forty-four, Joleen has seen a thing or two. She became a mother at sixteen, and her five highly independent children are now grown. Jasmine is a successful ad executive, but has a drinking problem. Jill is a tough cop, while middle child Jennifer surprises them all with her tenacity. Jinger is a self-centered glamour girl, and the baby of the family, Jade, is utterly spoiled.

All the interesting men they meet get tossed around by this pack of barracudas. Adding to the mix are some drug deals, a kidnapping, insurance fraud, and secrets from the past, making life very complicated, indeed.

With grit, humor, action, intrigue and romance, My Mother the Man-Eater is a redemptive story about a woman whose search for meaning in life sends her straight into . . . the arms of God.

Wow! That sounds exciting, Tracy!
Hope my readers will hurry on out and buy one or both of Tracy's books.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Today's Spotlight is on Sidney Frost, another member of the John316marketingnetwork.

Good morning, Sid. Thanks for stopping by. Can you tell us about your favorite books as a child and now and any connection you see between the two? 1. My favorite books are Christian fiction. The main connection between the books is that they are clean and usually have happy endings. I like books that are tied to scripture in a subtle way. My favorite authors are Jan Karon and Dee Henderson. I love both of those authors, too, Sid. In fact, I have an 80,000 word novel looking for a home that is written in a small town imaginary setting similar to the Mitford books.

Please share with us your favorite Scriptures both for your life and your writing. 2. My favorite scripture is 1 Corinthians 13:13 – And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. The scripture that got me busy writing is Psalm 37: 4. Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. My pastor said something like this one Sunday when I had been debating with myself about taking on the task of writing a first novel. I took it to mean that God would help me achieve my dream. I wrote a prayer and read it every day before I began to write. Six years later, I had published Where Love Once Lived.

Any favorite vacation spots you have been to or would like to visit in researching a book? 3. My wife Celeste grew up spending the summers on a lake and now we have to opportunity to have a place on the lake here in Texas. This is my ideal place to write. The sounds of nature are enhanced and the sounds of industry are non-existent. Cell phones don't work so great there and so far we have no TV or other distractions. However, I should say I can write most anywhere. I wrote most of my first book during office hours at school or in coffee shops all over the world. The only time I can't write is when someone is talking directly to me.

Technology can be both helpful and frustrating to me! Do you feel technology has enhanced or hindered your writing.? 4. I just recently retired from a career working with and teaching about computers and all things technical. In fact, my latest novel, The Vengeance Squad, includes a computer science professor who uses technology to solve crimes. However, it took me a long time to switch from handwriting to typing directly into the computer. I still have a sort of shorthand I use to write, pencil on paper, to get started. I can write fast that way. Sounds like a very interesting concept. Here is a copy of the cover.

How has becoming a writer stretched you? 5. I am, or was, shy. I say was because I've somehow grown out of it. I don't know when it happened actually, but one day I reached an age where I didn't worry so much about what others thought. That freed me up greatly from a certain nervousness I always had in dealing with people. This shyness didn't keep me from teaching, because in the classroom I knew more than anyone about the subject matter. And, it didn't keep me from singing in 45 different musical productions over a number of years, mostly in the opera chorus. The only concern there was doing an audition and they usually held them privately with the chorusmaster. But it is a stretch for me to publicize my books. I do okay with signings, but I prepare for days before I give a talk. It's getting easier.

Do you have any words of wisdom you would like to share with aspiring writers that you wish you had known before you started? 6. The reason it took me six years to finish my first book was because I didn't know how to write a novel. I took online classes and I recommend that to anyone interested in writing. I was lucky to get a great instructor for all my classes. One thing I missed and wished I had known was about genre and what publishers are looking for.

Thank you for allowing me this platform to talk about myself and my books. If anyone is interested in more information, they may go to http://sidneywfrost.com/. Also, I'll be glad to answer any comments and will check in when I can. Thanks, Sid. I have enjoyed getting to know more about you through John316 and through your blog and now your visit to mine. I hope my readers will check out your sites.
Contest Winner and new contest to win a copy of my first fiction novel!!!!

Darlene Shortridge is the winner of Love by the Yard by Gail Sattler, so it will be in the mail as soon as I receive her mailing address. For those who wish to be entered in this month's drawing, it makes it much simpler and faster to get the book to you if you leave your addy when you post. Anyone with a USA address is eligible except Darlene.

And I am sooooo happy to be able to give away a copy of my first fiction novella. Getting this book published is definitely a dream come true! The drawing will be held on September 1st which is the day for the release of the book. Here is the back cover blurb for Christmas Belles of Georgia: 
Surprised by Life—and Love—at Christmas

Four letters are mailed from Monticello, a small antebellum town in Georgia. Sisters once, now heirs to a historic plantation, each young woman must come to terms with the circumstances of her birth. . . .

When she learns in a letter she’s adopted, Holly feels betrayed by her parents—and she books a flight out of Missouri immediately. Will she ever be able to love again?

Raised in a wealthy, loveless home, Carol rushes to Monticello from college in Atlanta when she receives her letter. She’s searching for family, but finds instead a boy she once mistreated. Will he remember her? . . .forgive her?

In one year, Starr has lost her parents, boyfriend, and job, so she’s sure her letter is more bad news. When the attorney flies to California to offer proof, Starr takes a second look—at the message and the man.

Noelle always knew she was adopted—and she’s always loved the foreman on her father’s Texas ranch too. But he’s so distant. . .perhaps a trip to Georgia is the break in life she needs.

Will the sisters receive a traditional Christmas gift. . .of love?

Enter to win a copy, or hurry out and order one or several copies for Christmas gifts!