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.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Monthly giveaway winner and new book to win in January--Give My Love to the Chestnut Trees by Beverly Varnado

Since I plan to run Christmas stories and scenes the whole month of December, I am drawing for this month's giveaway of a copy of Christmas Belles of Georgia a day early. And the winner is...Deborah H. Bateman whom I have contacted.

To read my review of the lovely book you can win on January 1st if you leave a comment on my blog anytime during the month of December (with a US address and a way to contact you), go to my November 14th posting.

And hope you will check in December 1st and often this month for the 25 Days of Christmas Cheer! And if you haven't ordered or bought a copy of Christmas Belles of Georgia yet, what's stopping you? It's available at most Christian bookstores, WalMart, Sam's Clubs and can be ordered online at http://www.cbd.com/ and http://www.amazon.com/ and http://www.barnesandnoble.com/

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Book Review--Mind Over Madi by Lynda Schab

I can't get my mind off Mind over Madi, Lynda Schab's debut novel! I read this book in three evenings, laughing, crying and even snorting several times at the humor and drama in this story.

Madi McCall, stay-at-home mom to three, has had issues with trusting men even since her dad left them when she was a teenager and her mom told her all the details. Her insecurities heighten when she finds lipstick in a shade she would never wear on her schoolteacher husband's shirt. Not giving him a chance to explain, she asks him to leave.

Told in first person with a chick-lit voice, this story grabs you by the heartstrings with emotions for Madi and her husband and the kids who all experience distress in their own way. Madi has a lot to learn, and God knows just the people to bring into her life to help her, even when it is painful for her and the others.

Each chapter begins with a quote. My favorite which I believe sums up the story well is:
"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning,

but anyone can start today and make a new ending."  Maria Robinson

This story also has many fairy-tale references which fit the story perfectly, and like all fairy-tales has its happily-ever-after-ending! Treat yourself to a copy for Christmas and buy several for your girlfriends, too! And I hope she is a fast writer because I can't wait to read the sequel.

BIO:

LYNDA LEE SCHAB got her writing start in greeting cards (Blue Mountain Arts, Dayspring) and from there went on to write articles and short stories (Mature Living, Christian Home & School) and in many places online (including www.Examiner.com and www.wow-womenonwriting.com), but her passion has always been fiction.

Mind Over Madi, her debut novel, is near and dear to her heart. Lynda admits she has a lot in
common with the character of Madi. Not only are they both addicted to ice cream, chocolate, and computer games, they struggle with the same types of insecurities and continually require a hefty dose of God’s grace.

Lynda works behind the scenes at FaithWriters.com and is a member of ACFW. She is a regular book reviewer for FaithfulReader.com and is the Grand Rapids Christian Fiction Examiner and the National Writing Examiner for Examiner.com. Mind Over Madi received Runner-up in the 2007 FaithWriters Page Turner contest, was a finalist in the 2007 RWA Get your Stiletto in the Door contest, and won second place in the 2008 ACFW Genesis contest, Chick Lit category. Lynda lives with her husband, Rob, and two teenagers in Michigan. You can contact her or read more about her at http://www.lyndaschab.com/ and http://www.on-the-write-track.blogspot.com/

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Spotlight on Anita Mae Draper--and giveaway

Anita Mae Draper may not be pubbed in fiction yet, but I think it won't be long after reading her descriptions of these weather scenes and after reading all the contests she has finalled in! Anita is also very talented in photography, and I am so glad she shared her beautiful Canadian countryside with the rest of us.

She's also very generous, and has offered to give away a copy of Lynette Eason's LIS Threat of Exposure to someone who leaves a post on this blog before next Monday. So be sure to let her know how much you enjoy her photos and leave your email info so we can contact you if you win!

Prairie Weather Treasures by Anita Mae Draper

It’s almost December and the only reason I haven’t been listening to Christmas music yet is because the weather has been so nice this year. Sure it’s windy out there and we’ve had our share of snow, but a couple inches is nothing compared to the 2 feet we sometimes have by this time. Because our weather is fickle and dangerous, I thought I’d show you some photos and a video of the gamut we can run through each year.

First off are the sundogs which show up when there are ice crystals in the air. Sundogs (also called mock suns) are a phenomena we see several times a winter. They are caused by light refracting through ice crystals – you know, the kind that turn the trees white. Although the twin mock suns on either side are the actual sundogs, the whole thing is commonly called a sundog in these parts much like a ring around the moon is called a moondog.

The photo above was taken at approx. 9:30 am on our way to church on Feb 7, 2010, but sundogs can appear throughout the day.

We see other things in the winter, too like the effect of frost on things. One morning, I went out and found the frost on certain items, only. It particularly liked our van antenna:

And some mornings, it’s just beautiful when it latches onto the trees…


I have to show you this video I made last March during a blizzard warning... a porcupine got the drop on me…



I can't believe it took so long to sink in that he was there. Sheesh.

Anyway, weather plays a big part of our life here on the Canadian prairies. We have hot, lazy summer days, spring floods and autumn northern lights as well, but ‘tis the season for snow.

Have you ever seen a sundog? Felt the cold bite of a -40C/F wind? Tasted a snowflake before it touched the ground?~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Anita Mae Draper is retired from the Canadian Armed Forces and lives on the prairie of southeast Saskatchewan, Canada with her hubby of 30 plus years and 2 of their 4 kids. She writes stories set on the prairies of Saskatchewan, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. Anita Mae has semi-finaled in the Historical Romance category of the ACFW's 2011 Genesis contest and finaled in the Inspirational category of the 2011 Daphne du Maurier, the 2011 Fool for Love, the 2011 Duel on the Delta and 2009 Linda Howard Award of Excellence contests. You can find her at http://www.anitamaedraper.com/

Monday, November 21, 2011

Rose’s Thanksgiving Week Giveaway!

I am so thankful to have my first fiction book pubbed—Christmas Belles of Georgia—that I am doing a giveaway of the e-cookbook Novel Morsels to anyone who orders Christmas Belles of Georgia from Amazon November 21-27.

Novel Morsels is a cookbook compiled by Nicole O’Dell with over 100 recipes from books written by 65 authors. This book will soon be listed on Amazon at $2.99 a copy. But this week you can receive it free by ordering a copy of Christmas Belles of Georgia on Amazon, then going to this blog page at http://www.rosemccauley.blogspot.com/ where you will be able to hit the contact button to email me your amazon order code and then I will email you back with the code for the free copy of Novel Morsels.

So hurry on over to Amazon.com and order a copy or two or three of Christmas Belles of Georgia (as my husband tells everyone--they make lovely Christmas gifts!) and then get a free e-gift for yourself. You will have lots of recipes to try out in the coming months and can read about some more great books! And right now Amazon is having a special deal if you buy 3 books under $10 you get one free!

It’s a win/win deal! You can do your shopping with a couple clicks and not have to battle all the crowds!

To whet your appetite I am including my version of a Southern-style dressing copied from the book.

Recipe Title: Best Dressing Recipe Ever!

Book info: Christmas Belles of Georgia, Barbour Publishing, 2011. My novella is entitled Nick’s Christmas Carol.

Recipe: Start early in the morning (or can do the night before): cook 2 Jiffy cornbread mixes per package instructions in a 13x9 pan at 400 degrees until done. (15-20 min.) Let cool then crumble into bite-sized pieces. (I cut into 1 in. squares in pan and then crumble it up.) Toast 12 slices bread (I like whole wheat but have used white) cool, then pulse in the food processor until tiny crumbs. Pour breadcrumb mixture on top of crumbled corn bread.

Next (or next day after you get the turkey in the oven) prepare turkey broth by cooking the giblets in 4-6 cups of water or use 4 chicken bouillon cubes in water or prepared chicken stock. Use food processor to chop one medium onion, then 3 or 4 stalks of celery. Place skillet on top of stove on medium and melt one stick of margarine, then add 1 pound pork sausage and cook, chopping it into small pieces with spatula. To this mixture add the celery and onion and cook together.

To the 13x9 pan with cornbread and bread mixture add 1 t. pepper, 1 t. sage, 1 t. poultry seasoning and mix throughout. Then pour everything in the skillet on top and blend together in pan. Then pour 2 cups of the broth over this, adding more broth ½ cup at a time until it forms a stiff dough. It can now be cooked in a couple buttered baking dishes for 20-25 min. at 350 degrees if you prefer your dressing soft.

My husband’s mother always made dressing balls, so if you wish to do that you can roll the mixture into balls or I scoop it with a buttered ¼ cup measuring cup and place the humps into a buttered dish and cook at 350 for 25 minutes. This recipe will make 28- ¼ cup balls which should serve around 14 guests.

Blurb: The hero’s aunt who raised him makes this recipe for Thanksgiving dinner each year. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, so is a great southern cook. This is also the recipe I make for my Thanksgiving dinner each year. I got the ingredients I needed yesterday at the grocery! It is a several-steps process, but well-worth the effort—just ask my kids who don’t like anyone else’s dressing as much as mine! I got the basic recipe from the cooks at the school where I taught for two years in South Carolina and have gradually tweaked it to make it my own.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! May you be surrounded by those you love!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Dry as Rain by Gina Holmes

A book review by Rose McCauley

When I first started, I wasn't sure I would like this book, but I ended up loving it! It is written in 1st person which I don't read a lot of and was written solely in the POV of the male character, but it works well! Gina Holmes is a master at getting you inside the POV character's head, and his POV was the perfect one for this story.

I don't want to give away a lot of the details because I want you to read this book for yourself, so I will share some of the back cover blurb: "When Eric and Kyra Yoshida first met, they thought their love would last forever. But like many marriages, theirs has gradually crumbled, one thoughtless comment and misunderstanding at a time, until the ultimate betrayal pushes them beyond reconciliation...A richly engaging story of betrayal and redemption, Dry as Rain illuminates with striking emotional intensity the surprising truth of what it means to forgive."

One additional thing I want to say is that I disagree with another review I read that said this kind of book should not be published by a Christian publisher. If that is true, they better be careful reading their Bible, because they will be exposed to a lot worse! The story of David and Bathsheba has a less satisfying ending than this story does!

So, bottom line, I hope you will give this book a try so you won't miss out on a great read from a great writer! I give the book and lovely cover both 5 stars!

This book was given for review by Tyndale House Publishers, but my thoughts and comments are my own.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Spotlight on April Gardner

Until a few weeks ago, April was a cyber-friend of mine whom I had met through the John316marketing network. But when I travelled to Georgia for a booksigning tour early this month, we were able to attend church with her and eat lunch with her and her family, then she spent the afternoon with me at the Books a Million signing, (which she had first told me about) and we became fast friends, so I am very pleased to introduce her to my readers today. I asked her to answer some questions so you can get to know her better.

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?

What an intriguing thought! Okay, let me think… “Black Beauty” was my favorite book as a child and today, my favorite book is “Behold the Dawn” by K.M.Weiland. “Behold the Dawn” is set in medieval times. The hero is a knight that fights in tourneys. A key element of the book is the horses. They’re living, breathing characters. The reader smells their musty flesh, sees the froth as it flies from their mouths, feels their muscles bunch and stretch beneath the rider’s legs. It’s safe to say that yes, there’s a connection between the two books—the horses! I adore horses.

2. What is your favorite Scripture? Do you also have a favorite Scripture that encourages you in your writing?
This is always a tough question! The answer changes regularly. This week God spoke to me through the following passage:
“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Phillipians 3:13-14 KJV

The phrase that stood out to me was “this one thing I do.” Pressing toward God’s high calling for me should be my main focus.

3. If you could go to any place in the world to research/write a book, what setting would you choose?
Guernsey Island! Two years ago, I lived a short plane ride away but never managed to make it work. This week, my children’s book “Lizzie and the Guernsey Gang” became available in e-book format, and I find myself wondering if I’ll ever have another chance to visit Guernsey.

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?
I’ll share a little secret with you. If I had to write long-hand, I wouldn’t do it. I’m dyslexic and while I overcame my reading difficulties, good handwriting and spelling continue to elude me. I tear up a keyboard, but looking at my own handwriting is very disturbing for me. So technology definitely enhances my writing. LOL. Without it, I simply wouldn’t write.

5. As a writer how have you had to grow and stretch out of your comfort zone?
Being a writer has forced confidence into me. I’m naturally filled with self-doubt, but with each passing year that I’m a writer, I find myself being forced to write things I never would have thought I could. It constantly pushes me beyond my limits. It’s never comfortable, but it’s always helpful.

6. What advice would you give to a beginning writer that you wish someone had given you?
Be flexible. With your writing and with the timeline you feel should exist between now and publication. God’s plan rarely equals our own. It’s better! So keep your knees bent and be ready to jump from prayer to action. We never know what wonderful things He has in store!

7. Do you want to add anything about your book such as how to order it?Wounded Spirits Kindle edition is on sale today for $1.99. http://tinyurl.com/3klg52c But I’ll warn you that as soon as you’re done reading it, you’re going to need the sequel. The good news is that it’s now available! You can purchase your copy here: http://tinyurl.com/c5ebhlg

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday with Friends--Guestblog by Lisa Jordan

While shopping with friends at Sam’s Club, we milled around the book/DVD section. One of my friends picked up a movie and showed it to another friend in our group since it had one of her favorite actors in it. We had discussed this movie when the trailers were first shown, but none of us had seen it yet. The friend who adores this actor said she refused to watch the movie because she had talked with friends who had seen the movie and were disappointed in the ending—the lead character died in a shocking way. The friend who brought the movie to our attention asked if the movie was any good, despite the ending. The other friend and I spoke at the same time, "Doesn't matter."


Have you ever read the ending of the book to see if you’re going to like how the story is resolved? I admit to being a second-generation ending reader. Sometimes I really try hard, especially while reading suspense, not to skip ahead because I like to guess whom the villain is and see if I’m right.

I want a promise of hope and a happily ever after. Since I'm investing my heart into this story and these characters, I want a heart-satisfying conclusion.

Quite a few years ago, I watched a movie based on a novel written by a popular secular author who writes love stories—notice I did not say romances—yes, there is a difference. I loved the movie’s storyline and adored the characters until I saw the ending. My heart had been ripped out. I sobbed and not in a good way. If I had been reading the book, I would've been flung across the room. I was that angry! I vowed never to read that author's books or view movies based on that author's books again.

Endings affect the way a reader enjoys a novel. Some readers like me want the fairy tale and happily ever after. Other readers want a satisfying conclusion as long as the story is good. Of course, the novel genre influences the ending, too.

Romances need to have a happily ever after where boy and girl fall in love and commit to a future. Women’s fiction novels need to have a satisfying ending for the character’s story arc. Suspense and mystery novels should have a solved crime at the end. The villain isn’t always caught, especially if the novel is part of a series, but most often, all loose ends should be tied up neatly for the reader. Fantasy and sci-fi novels should have a satisfying resolution to fit the story premise. Basically, the reader needs to have an answer for the proposed story question at the beginning of the novel.

“If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.” ~Orson Welles

Share Your Thoughts: Do you read endings first? What kinds of endings upset you? For you writers, what genre do you write and how do you know when you’ve written a satisfying ending?

I’m holding a scavenger hunt to promote my Lakeside Reunion release. Plus, blog commenters on my blog hop will be put in a drawing for fun prizes—breakfast basket, Love Inspired Authors basket, autographed copies of Lakeside Reunion. Visit my Lakeside Reunion Contest page for more information.

The token for this blog is an emerald necklace.

Bio: Heart, home and faith have always been important to Lisa Jordan, so writing stories that feature both comes naturally to her. She has been writing contemporary Christian romance for more than a decade. Her debut novel, Lakeside Reunion, will be released in November by Love Inspired, followed by her second novel, Lakeside Family, in August 2012 by Love Inspired. Happily married for twenty-two years, Lisa and her husband have two young adult sons. When she isn’t writing or caring for children in her in-home childcare business, Lisa enjoys family time, romantic comedies, good books, crafting with friends and feeding her NCIS addiction. Visit her at www.lisajordanbooks.com to learn more about her writing.

Book Blurb: Lakeside Reunion: Bed-and-breakfast owner Lindsey Porter prays she won’t run into Stephen Chase when she returns to Shelby Lake. Five years ago, the cop jilted her to marry another woman, and Lindsey fled town. But no sooner does she hit city limits than Stephen pulls her over for a broken taillight. Despite the past, he’s still able to stir up Lindsey’s old feelings for him. Now a widower and single dad, Stephen recognizes a second chance when he sees one. And he’ll do anything to make Lindsey trust in God and take a risk for love—again. Read an excerpt of Lakeside Reunion

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday Book Review--Give My Love to the Chestnut Trees by Beverly Varnado

I've read several books lately, but haven't had time to post reviews due to all the travelling I have been doing both to Georgia and places here in KY to hold booksignings and cyber-appearances on other people's blogs to promote Christmas Belles of Georgia.

Starting today I plan to post more reviews of books as I read them. I read two books and started a third while on our trip to Georgia, so will review one of them today.

Give My Love to the Chestnut Trees is the debut novel of author Beverly Varnado. She tells the coming of age story of fourteen-year-old Mary Helen Reynolds the summer she spends with her elderly aunt on St. Simon's Island, GA while her mom has cancer surgery. Ms. Varnado writes in a lyrical, artsy style which fits the genre. The Georgian poet, Sidney Lanier, and his poems are woven into the story like fine silk threads, adding beauty and grace to the design of the story.

Saint Simon's Island is a character itself in this story, with many hours spent on the "wonderful marshes of Glynn." Several other characters are highlighted as the "chestnut trees" of Mary Helen's young life. In her "author's notes," Ms. Varnado encourages us to thank the "chestnut trees" in our own lives.

A lovely story which will be enjoyed by young adults and older adults alike, Give My Love to the Chestnut Trees needs to be in your TBR pile!

Friday, November 11, 2011

FRIDAYS WITH FRIENDS and book giveaway

I'm so happy to welcome Laurie Kingery to my blog today as I love her writing. And since I am writing a series, her advice below is priceless. Everyone keep reading to find out how to win a copy of Laurie's newest book!

FRIDAYS WITH FRIENDS—by Laurie Kingery

I've known Rose McCauley several years now, and I was pleased as the proverbial punch when Rose received what I am sure will be the first of many contracts with Barbour, during the traditional surprise contract announcements the publisher makes at each ACFW conference.

When she asked me to guest blog on her "Fridays with Friends" feature, I was pleased, too, and thought I'd take a little time to not only talk about my new release but writing series in general.

THE RANCHER'S COURTSHIP is the fourth book in my "Brides of Simpson Creek" series from Love Inspired Historicals. After my first two books from LIH, I finally achieved my dream of writing series, which had been a long-time goal of mine. I wanted to make it different, and what I came up with was a unique twist on the western romance trope of mail-order brides—mail order grooms. I set up a fictional town in the hill country of Texas that was without marriageable men because of the Civil War. The first book, which became MAIL ORDER COWBOY in 2010, featured a spunky heroine who formed the Simpson Creek Spinsters Club and advertised in the newspaper for eligible bachelors—the 1860's version of online dating. (Since I was an eHarmony.com bride, you know it was a concept I could appreciate ) Each subsequent book features another member of the Spinsters' Club and her path to True Love, and each book can stand alone, readers have told me, so don't fear you'll be lost if you haven't read the others. (But if reading THE RANCHER'S COURTSHIP whets your appetite for the previous books, they're all still available on Amazon)

Here are some facts and opinions about series which I've picked up or developed as I've written the series:

---You may not get to write a series the first time you're published. Publishers are wary of letting first time writers commit themselves to a series, and some publishers like series more than others. Series are popular now in Christian fiction, but a former publisher of mine in the general market wouldn't call my books a series even though they featured members of the same family, and so it became an "unofficial" series.

--It's good to have a system to remember details. When you write the first book in the series, you think you'll never forget the hero and heroine's eye and hair color, but you do. And you may need to know the name of a walk-on character from book #1 when you reach book #4. NO FACT IS UNIMPORTANT, because you don't always know what you'll need later. Whether you write it down on paper or keep an Excel spreadsheet—I do the former because I started writing before computers, and have had a couple of them crash—keep written details where you can easily find them. I'm now writing book 5 in the series, and I need to refer back all the time.

---keep an overall timeline of the series. This is something I wish I'd done, because I need to know when a character who found her match in the previous book is due to have a baby in the next book. It gets confusing, but some readers will catch you, because they frequently read series books back-to-back.

--www.dateandtime.com is your friend. No, the reader doesn't care if October 28 was a Wednesday in 1868 (it was), but if you have a tendency to absentmindedly put two full moons a week apart, consulting this handy website will prevent that. This hint works for non-series books too, of course.

---There are two kinds of series, closed and open-ended. Closed refers to series set of characters, like several brothers or sisters, an object like an heirloom ring, or a mystery to be solved over the course of several books. The most popular form of a closed series is a trilogy. An open-ended series means the series can go on as long as the author and the reading public are happy with it. "Brides of Simpson Creek" is an example of this type, and I will go on with it as long as I can keep each story fresh and interesting.

We've all probably read series where the plots have gotten stale and repetitive—I don't want to do that! In this type of series, each book is more apt to have a stand-alone feel, which is great since readers tend to find them at all orders.

 THE RANCHER'S COURTSHIP is the story of Caroline Wallace, a woman who lost her fiancĂ© in an influenza epidemic and then decided to devote her life to teaching. But then Jack Collier comes along with his twin daughters and gradually changes her mind…

If you'd like to see the marvelous trailer Barbara Hunt of Paperbackflyers did for me, go to http://www.youtube.com/user/LaurieKingery . You can contact me at my website at http://www.LaurieKingery.com .

Thanks, Rose, for giving me this opportunity to talk about my books and writing series. Blessings, Laurie Kingery

Thank you, Laurie. And all who leave a comment on this post with an email addy so we can contact you, will be entered into a drawing for a copy of this new book by Laurie. Drawing to be held next Friday when I post a new Friday with Friends. Rose

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Spotlight on Deborah Bateman

Today I want to introduce my readers to someone who is passionate about teaching the Bible. Deborah H. Bateman loves studying the Bible and is dedicated to “Sharing God’s Word”. She is the Founder of Christian Daily Resources, a Christian Online Ministry.

Deborah has a Daily Bible Reading Blog where she does a Daily Bible Study. This is where “The Book of Ruth” was started. Deborah has learned to trust God through the many trials of her life. She can relate to Naomi and Ruth’s dependence on God to see them through their lives' experiences.

Here's how Deborah describes her study The Book of Ruth A Story of Love and Redemption:


The Book of Ruth is a Daily Bible Reading Devotional. The characters in “The Book of Ruth” deal with loss, lack, and romance. Through their many trials they learn to lean on God and His sovereign will for their lives. Even though Ruth is a Moabite she decides to follow her mother-in-law, Naomi back to her homeland of Judah.

The two ladies travel back with nothing and are not sure how they will survive, but they trust God to make a way for them. As you read “The Book of Ruth”, you will see the story unfold and see God’s provision for these two ladies. Reading “The Book of Ruth” will help you recognize God’s sovereignty and provision in your own life.

Here are some additional benefits of studying The Book of Ruth:

· You will have the benefit of studying a beautiful book of the Bible.
· You will see God’s hand of provision throughout this story.
· You will get a clearer picture of God’s sovereignty.
· You will see a beautiful picture of God’s plan for redemption.
· You will see how God brings different people into our lives.
· You will better understand God’s love for us.
· You will enjoy a beautiful love story.
· You will learn about what a kinsman-redeemer is.
· You will see who our kinsman-redeemer is.
· You will see God’s blessings in Ruth’s life.
· You will learn how God provided for the salvation of humankind through the genealogy of Ruth.
· You will be encouraged by reading The Book of Ruth.

The Book of Ruth-A Story of Love and Redemption is available at:

Smashwords, Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, and Amazon.fr
The link for Smashwords is: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/96550
The link to Amazon.com is: http://tinyurl.com/3gwpfz2
The link to Amazon.co.uk is: http://tinyurl.com/6be9lvj
The link to Amazon.fr is: http://tinyurl.com/3onrgvj

Friday, November 04, 2011

Guestblog by Deborah Vogts on Researching Your Contemporary Novel

Every novelist must "jump" into their characters' skins, and that often means we must learn things we don't already know. How do we do this? The Internet is an invaluable tool, as is your local library or bookstore. Sometimes, though, your questions can't be answered that way and you have to go to your "source." Often that means interviewing someone by email, by phone, or in person. For an introvert writer who spends the majority of her time in front of a computer, this can be terrifying.


So what sort of research might a contemporary author need to do? Below are a few things I did for the books in the Seasons of the Tallgrass series, published by Zondervan.

In my first book, Snow Melts in Spring, the opening scene is one where a horse is terribly injured. Right off, I had to know technical terminology, and not only that, but I had to create a scene that was accurate and believable, not just something that looked good on paper. To get it right, I contacted a handful of veterinarians, asked them a bunch of detailed questions all the way down to possible accident scenarios, which would create the type of injuries needed for the story. I even shadowed one small animal vet for a day in order to get a feel for what a "day in the life" might look like for my character who was also a vet.

I also needed to know something about football. Again, not my specialty. For this research, I went to the children's section of the library and checked out an armload of books. Here's a good tip to know: Children's books are easy to read and they are chock full of valuable information. I also watched a lot of football games on television and asked my football loving friends and family hundreds of questions--all so I could write two or three scenes with authenticity.




For my second book, Seeds of Summer, which released late May, I needed to learn about the Miss Rodeo America competition because my main character, Natalie Adams is a former Miss Rodeo Kansas and first runner up Miss Rodeo America. My research for this story included visiting with those at the Miss Rodeo America headquarters, as well as interviewing and questioning the current MRA at that time, Miss Amy Wilson, Miss Rodeo America 2008.

The highlight of this research culminated when I met and visited Amy at her home in Colby, KS. Amy was a joy to work with and is such a lovely person. My visit to her home was an unexpected blessing, as she shared some special moments from her time as Miss Rodeo Kansas and then as Miss Rodeo America.

I learned that Miss Rodeo America has a host of sponsors who shower their queen with lovely gifts, some of which include: a wardrobe of Wrangler Jeans, Justin Boots, Bailey Hats , fully tooled Court’s Saddle with custom Miss Rodeo America conchos and an official Miss Rodeo America trophy buckle from Montana Silversmiths. Accompanying the perpetual Miss Rodeo America tiara made by Landstrom’s Original Black Hills Gold Creations, Amy was given a wardrobe of matching jewelry. These items, along with other prizes were presented to her throughout her reign. To see some pictures of these items, please visit my blog HERE:

For the book I’m currently writing, I have to learn about running a cafe. So guess what? I've been visiting small town cafes and asking the owners lots of questions. Research such as this never ends, but taking the time to do this for your stories might mean the difference between someone loving your book or tossing it against the wall because it wasn't accurate. Sure, you'll never please everyone, but by doing the necessary groundwork, you'll at least know you did everything within your means to bring accuracy to the story. Again, it's important. Your readers will thank you for it.

Reflective Question: When you’re reading a book, do you notice the amount of research the author has done? And if you are a writer, do you have any tips you’d like to share for getting research facts?

Thanks for having me on your blog, Rose. I hope you will have a great November!

Thanks for a great post, Deb! I love research online, but have found as you did that the personal touch is always best by talking online, by phone, or visiting with people who actually live there.

Bio: Deborah Vogts and her husband have three daughters and make their home in Southeast Kansas where they enjoy their Golden Retrievers and their American Quarter Horses. As a student at Emporia State University studying English and journalism, Deborah developed a love for the Flint Hills that has never faded. In writing the Seasons of The Tallgrass series, she hopes to share her passion for one of the last tallgrass prairie regions in the world, showing that God’s great beauty rests on the prairie and in the hearts of those who live there. Visit Deborah at her web site: http://deborahvogts.com/  or her Country at Heart blog: http://deborahvogts.blogspot.com/  to learn more about her research for the Seasons of the Tallgrass series.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

We have a winner for Christmas Belles of Georgia...

Liz Tolsma. And this will be the last month I offer the above Christmas book as the giveaway this year, since it will be for my last drawing this year on Dec. 1, 2011. Everyone except Liz who has a US mailing addy and leaves an email so I can contact you for mailing info is eligible. So what is stopping you? I love to read Christmas books the whole month of December, so if you win, you can do the same.