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Friday, March 30, 2007

More on Monday's Great News :)

First, thanks for all the wishes from Monday's announcement. It's been fantastic hearing from people from all over just by the web site being forwarded and promoted via word of mouth.

From those, I've had several requests for pictures of the two of us together. Well, considering most of our relationship developed online, we don't have many...yet. However, I'll share the 2 I have.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Spotlight on Julie Carobini and Chocolate Beach

Now doesn't that title just scream euphoria? :) A beach made or full of chocolate. Heaven for most women. However, there are times when euphoria might fade a bit, and that's what happens in this week's spotlight author's debut novel. Let's hear a bit from her.

Buy your copy today!

Julie Carobini is a long time freelance writer, a new novelist, and a beach lover! She lives with her husband Dan and their three children in Southern California. Please stop by her beach pad on the web at

1. You've seemingly ventured into a somewhat new branch of chic lit with your beach lit debut book. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

Well, it’s true that my heroine, Bri, is more into Reef flip flops than Jimmy Choo shoes! But that’s life at the beach, really. So I guess you could say that the setting and character complement each other. As for the nitty gritty of the story, we hear all the time that people are attracted to their opposites. So I thought, why not write about what happens years later to a couple like that?

In Chocolate Beach, she's a laid-back beach chick; he's a distinguished, suit-wearing gentleman. After years of marriage, are they still smitten with each other's differences? Or not so much? And when things get tough, what do they do?

2. How much of your own experiences influenced the characters of Bri and Douglas? What aspects became traits that were theirs and theirs alone?

Hm, let's see. I love the beach, my dessert of choice is chocolate, and my husband is a "smidge" older than me, so those influences came out of my own well. But you know that part about Bri hosting bus tours? So not me. I'd rather eat liver than stand at the front of a bus and tell jokes. Also, one of my kids, who shall remain nameless, bluntly told me that I was nothing like Bri because "she's laid-back." Ahem.

3. What themes exist in Chocolate Beach that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

Let me answer that this way. As a Christian, I know there's hope. There's always hope. So while my novel contains missed cues and unintended consequences, it's ultimately a story of grace—wrapped in an entertaining and delicious package (at least, I hope readers think so).

4. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

The most difficult part was keeping up with the various story lines and making them flow for the reader. As for my favorite, that's tough because I enjoyed writing so much of this story. I did crack up when she and her Fabio-meets-Dilbert boss had their "odd" lunch at a Greek restaurant, so I'd consider that scene to be one of my favorites.

5. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

My next book, Truffles by the Sea, will be released by Bethany House in Feb. 08.  It's a sequel featuring Bri's best friend, Gaby, who resolves to be gullible no more! You can read more about it on my website.

Thanks so much for inviting me here today, Tiff! And congratulations on your own big news—so exciting!

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Thank *you*, Julie, both for being here and for your congrats. It is an exciting time. Now, readers, don't forget to post a comment to Julie for your chance to win a FREE copy of her debut novel. She'll be at Mt. Hermon conference for the next few days but will check in at some point before next week.

Monday, March 26, 2007

EXTRA Special Announcement -- Exciting News to Share!

This is such a big announcement, I can barely contain my excitement. I've wanted to shout it from the rooftops since the news first happened, but propriety and waiting for the right moment held me back.

Not any longer, though.

Instead of me boring you with the details, you'll need to go to this link to see for yourself.

And enjoy the show!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Spotlight on Robin Bayne and Good Samaritan

As promised, you have another bonus spotlight this week. Hopefully, next week, I'll be able to return to journal entries for Raelene Strattford (my first book's main character) and continue her stories of life in America and Delaware in the early 1700's. Today though, you can enjoy another chance at a free book. And I'll be selecting the winners from the outstanding spotlights this afternoon. Stay tuned to the comments section of those to see if it's you.

Now, on to Robin Bayne, a fellow author and friend who happens to live in the next state from me. :)

Robin Bayne is the award-winning author of five novels and four novellas, and is a columnist for the "Spirit Led Writer" ezine. Her essays, articles and devotionals have been published in the God's Way Book series, Cup of Comfort Devotionals, Soul Matters Devotionals, The Secret Place, Christian Communicator, Writer's Journal, Advanced Christian Writer and many other publications. She has given workshops at regional and online romance writing conferences and the Writer's Digest World's Largest Writing Workshop. She holds a B.A. in Philosophy/English from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. She lives in Maryland with her husband of sixteen years, and works a "day job" as a mortgage underwriter. Visit her at

The Good Samaritan
by Robin Bayne

When Rachel Martin's partner abandons their catering business, she's left with bills and obligations–and no one in Portlandville is willing to take a chance on helping her. No one, that is, except for Timothy Gardner, who stands to lose his restaurant's reputation if Rachel can't fill his orders. As he gets to know Rachel, Tim finds himself reluctantly wanting to play the part of The Good Samaritan.

Imprint: Jewels/Pearls--Inspirational Romance
Price: $3.75 Download | $11.45 Trade Paperback


1. There are so many stories about print-on-demand (POD) publishers. Some cost money, others don't give you a good representation, etc. The list goes on. What made you decide to go with By Grace Publishing? How has your experience been?

This was a new experience for me--my previous publishers printed "small print runs" of their books--and always had some in stock and could offer us author copies. By Grace is a standard e-book publisher who lets a printing company offer trade paperbacks on demand. Because of this, I don't have stacks of author copies as I have had on previous books. The cost to order these paperbacks is quite high, but available if someone really wants one.

By Grace charges nothing to the author--in fact, I've never paid a penny to any publisher and would not consider doing it. I don't know how much my books will earn since I am new to this company. I can tell you I think the covers are beautiful. I loved both covers--for The Good Samaritan and Christmas Grace, a short anthology which featured one of my stories in December '06.

We also have reader's groups online and a blog updated daily (for By Grace and their sister company, Moonlit Romance.) All authors participate in daily blog discussions, and we often give away prizes on the reader loops. It's fun and I love the amount of promotion this gives the authors.

One of the reasons I submitted "Good Sam" to By Grace is because it is short--a novella, and I didn't have an entire anthology to submit to a traditional publisher. By Grace (like MountainView Publishing) will publish stand-alone novellas and even short stories. I loved the covers I saw on their site and decided to give them a try. My editor, Laura Hamby, is terrific and will be attending an ACFW chapter lunch at my home next month.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced the characters of Rachel and Timothy? What aspects became traits that were theirs and theirs alone?

Back in my high school days, I remember ordering a "gold leaf cheesecake" from a catalog of gourmet desserts. I don't recall the occasion, but the cake was wonderful. I decided that my heroine would specialize in making these cakes. These days, when I bake it is only sugar-free cheesecakes on my menu.

I don't see much of my own real-life experiences in these characters, both Rachel and Tim grew as I plotted a story starring a Good Samaritan. I wanted my hero to be willing to help the heroine when no one else would, despite his having his own reasons to dislike her. I also would like to think I'd be as determined as Rachel if my career was ever threatened.

3. What themes exist in The Good Samaritan that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

Well of course there is the overall theme of helping others, and compassion. There is also a strong sense of family in the story, which I hope readers see. Rachel's mother and sister help in different ways when she is in trouble. Tim's sense of family is strong--he is determined to build up the family business in honor of his parents. Actually, determination, if that can be a theme, also runs through the story for both characters.

4. How did you come up with the idea for this story? What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

I decided to write a story about the Good Samaritan parable, so my premise came first. The characters came along as I planned events that would lead to one character becoming a bit desperate and needing the other--a person she normally would never go to for help.

The Big Black Moment was the toughest to write, because I didn't want it to come off as melodramatic. The most fun were the baking scenes--and I craved cheesecake after every writing session!

5. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

I am working on the sequel to Good Sam--starring the hero's brother, who abandoned the family and their business years before. In keeping with the Parables theme, it will be called "The Prodigal Son."

Thanks so much for this opportunity!

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And thank you, Robin, for being in the spotlight. Readers, post a comment for your chance to win a free electronic copy of The Good Samaritan, or order your copy by clicking on the book cover above.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Spotlight on Jill Elizabeth Nelson and Reluctant Runaway

Yes, I'm back and bringing with me another spotlight interview. Today, I have the pleasure of spotlighting not only a great author but also a client and friend. :)

Jill Elizabeth Nelson's debut novel, Reluctant Burglar, released in September 2006, and received a Top Pick ranking in Romantic Times magazine, as well as many other rave reviews. Reluctant Runaway, book two in the To Catch a Thief series of romantic suspense, released on March 20, 2007. The third novel in the series, Reluctant Smuggler, is scheduled for a January 2008 release. Jill speaks to general audiences about international art theft, to readers groups about her novels and the Christian fiction market, and to writers on craft. She has appeared at book signings all over Minnesota, in Wisconsin, South Dakota, and Texas. Her articles, essays, and book reviews have been published in print and on-line magazines, as well as book anthologies. Jill and her husband Doug enjoy the quiet pace of life in rural Minnesota, where they love to go camping and horseback riding with their four grown children and extended family members. For book excerpts, a monthly contest, and a fun video trailer of Reluctant Runaway, check out Jill's web site at

1. This is book #2 in your To Catch a Thief series, continuing the story of Tony and Desi. This time you're delving into the world of stolen Indian artifacts and tribal secrets. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

Each To Catch a Thief book has an art theme. In Reluctant Burglar, it was the European masters. In the sequel, it followed naturally to go with American art, and more specifically, Native American art. Plus, I'm a Tony Hillerman fan. He writes nail-biting mysteries involving Navaho tribal culture and tribal police, so I knew there was rich material available in the New Mexico-Arizona area. Not wanting to imitate Hillerman, however, I looked for a different angle. When I ran across the bizarre speculation about the ancient Anasazi (ancestors of the Pueblo Indians), I knew I had my unique twist for Reluctant Runaway.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced the characters of Tony and Desi? What aspects became traits that were theirs and theirs alone?

I tend to write characters I wish I was like, rather than characters I am like. Desi is athletic and outspoken. I'm more quiet and sedentary. She's the kind of person who delivers the sassy one-liners I only think up after the situation has passed. Sometimes that's frustrating; other times I'm glad I was a doofus and didn't make a smart aleck of myself.

However, Des and I are both highly organized and task-oriented personalities. I'm learning to hang loose a little more, instead of stressing myself out to be perfect and meet everyone's expectations (primarily my own). In that sense, I've joked with friends that I'm a "recovering Desiree."

She and I both love classic movies, but she's watched some I've never seen. I had to go out and buy or rent a few just to catch up with her!

3. What themes exist in Reluctant Runaway that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

My heart originally was in telling a story about the universal need to belong, and that theme does come through in Runaway. A theme that surprised me, and in fact almost overshadows the belonging theme, is the affect of past generations on the current one. The choices of our ancestors, for good or ill, do affect us today. In order to cut off the evil influence of past wrong turns, we sometimes have to make difficult and sacrificial decisions to change course. The reward is to see a positive impact on the next generation.

4. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

I especially enjoyed writing Indian culture to the best of my ability. I hope those who live the culture might find something true to life in it.

Pulling all of my plot threads together at the end had me gnashing my teeth at times, but I'm grateful to awesome editorial input for helping bring it all together and make sense. A grand sort of sense, I hope, as the reader carries away some thought-provoking nuggets of truth to apply to their own life.

5. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

Reluctant Smuggler, the third book in the To Catch a Thief series, goes south of the border to explore Hispanic art and the black market traffic in antiquities unearthed at archeological digs. Gang culture, the slave trade in women kidnapped for prostitution, and "art for drugs" deals all feature in a plot that keep Desi and Tony hot-footing from one lethal situation to the next. Smuggler releases in January 2008.

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Thank you, Jill, for being in the spotlight today. Readers, don't forget to comment for your chance at a free copy of this book. And word has it that there is a scene in the book that was inspired by my very own Tiki-bird slippers. LOL! You don't want to miss this one. :)

Monday, March 19, 2007

Week-long Silence

My apologies for the silence here since the 8th. We've had some odd weather in this area and I've had some major changes in my life that have brought about a need to adjust and refocus some priorities.

Somehow, I managed to let this blog slip by the wayside, and I even missed one of the weekly blog spotlights. If all goes will with the authors, I should have *two* this week to make up for it. And of course, I have to get caught up on the previous ones so we can get those free books out to you.

So, all that to say I'm back and will be returning to my regular posting schedule of Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays again. Hope y'all didn't bail and find other more interesting blogs to read. :)

See you Wednesday!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Spotlight on Roxanne Henke and The Secret of Us

All right, so I forgot about this bonus too. That makes *three* spotlights this week and three chances to win a free book. It's a boom-town here at Fiction-Filled Life. :)

Roxanne Henke's first novel, After Anne, was selected as's Favorite Book of 2002. Her subsequent four books (Finding Ruth, Becoming Olivia, Always Jan, and With Love, Libby) have appeared on a Bestseller list, been "Top Picks" for Romantic Times magazine, and given a Retailer's Choice award. Her most recent release is titled, The Secret of Us. Roxanne was named Writer of the Year at the 2003 Mt. Hermon Writers Conference in California, and has served on the faculty of the Glorieta Writers Conference in New Mexico. In addition to writing, Roxy also speaks and teaches at conferences and events across the nation on the topics of friendship, depression, achieving goals, and writing. She writes from her home in rural North Dakota, where she lives with her husband and an annoying-friendly dog. She has two, young-adult daughters who are also friendly…but not annoying! Two wonderful son's-in-law have recently been added to their family. You can find Roxy on the web at:

Buy your copy today!

1. You've taken a turn from your Coming Home to Brewster series with this new book. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

Hi, Tiff! Thanks for inviting me to visit your blog!

Yes, I have taken a turn from my Brewster series. After writing five books in that series my middle-aged brain was having a hard time remembering all the details (and characters) in the previous books. . .it was time to move on. My newest novel, The Secret of Us is my first stand-alone story. It deals with the topic of marriage. I have been married for thirty-three years (I got married young!) and I thought I might have something to say about that topic. Turned out...I did!

2. How much of your own experiences influenced the character of Laura? What aspects became traits that were hers and hers alone?

I think the story of Laura and her husband, Donnie, will be somewhat familiar to most any couple who have been married long-term. Starry-eyed romance eventually fades into the day-to-day realities of everyday life. In thirty-three years of marriage I know it takes commitment and work to keep a relationship fresh. So, in that respect, Laura's story is mine.

However, Laura's hobbies, painting and an attempt at quilting, are not mine! I wish I was an artist. I wish I liked to quilt. But putting together a plot is about as creative as I get.

3. What themes exist in The Secret of Us that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

In this story I wanted my readers to identify with the fact that marriage is "hard." A good relationship takes time...and work. It involves commitment even when love feels far away. Keeping the lines of communication open is important. Some times it's easier to get over-involved in a career and/or hobbies than it is to focus on the relationship that is right under your roof. Love needs tending.

4. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

What part was most difficult? How about…the whole book! Ha. If my stories flow smoothly for the reader it's only because I agonize over every sentence. I want each word to sound "real" for that character. Writing is hard (at least for me). A writer raises-the-bar on herself with each new story. It becomes difficult to craft a better story each time when you're aware of certain techniques and try to incorporate them (or not) into a story. As the old saying goes, "I love having-written." In other words, while the actual crafting is difficult, rereading and tweaking what I’ve written is the fun part.

That said, my favorite part of the book to write was about Stasha and Josh's new marriage. It was fun to remember back to those days in my marriage and recall the early getting-to-know-each-other times and the newness of young love.

And, then, of course, writing 'the end' of a story is always fun because that's when the characters finally get to solve their problems. Resolutions are always nice.

5. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

I have just finished my next manuscript. The next step will be for my editor to take a look at that book and share his suggestions to make it better. It is a story that deals with the topic of "parenting." It's a bit of a departure for me in that my other books have taken place over the period of approximately a one-year time span. This book, however, covers eighteen years in the life of a young girl and her mother...birth to high school graduation. I have a working-title for the book, but those often get changed, so for now let's just say it's "untitled." The book will be released January of 2008. Right now that seems like “forever” away...but I know how time flies when I'm writing.

And when I'm being interviewed on a blog! Thanks, Tiff, for the fun and challenging interview! If anyone would like more info about my books they are invited to swing by my website. Wishing you good books and time to read them!

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Thank you, Roxy, for being in the spotlight. We love having you here.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Blog Tour -- Trish Perry and Too Good to Be True

And now for spotlight #2.

Award-winning novelist Trish Perry is the author of the chick lit books, The Guy I’m Not Dating (Harvest House 2006) and Too Good to Be True (Harvest House 2007). She is the editor of Ink and the Spirit, the quarterly newsletter of the Capital Christian Writers organization in the Washington metropolitan area. Before her novels, Perry published numerous short stories in Pockets children’s magazine. Her personal essays have been published in the Christmas book, All is Calm, All is Bright (Baker/Revell); the pregnancy/childbirth book, The Wish, the Wait, the Wonder (Harper Collins); The Washington Post On-line; and the magazines, The Washington Post Magazine, Whispers from Heaven, and The Sun. She has written devotionals for Keys for Kids and The One Year Book of Devotions for Girls 2 (Tyndale). Her poetry has been published in The War Cry magazine.

A summa cum laude graduate of George Mason University in Virginia, Perry holds a B.A. in Psychology. While studying at Mason, she served as President of Psi Chi, the honor society for Psychology majors. She was a stockbroker in the 1980s, and held positions at the Securities and Exchange Commission and in several Washington, D.C. law firms. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Capital Christian Writers organization, and she is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers group. Perry has served as Literary Judge in the Reflections Creative Writing competition for Loudoun County public schools.

Get your copy of Too Good to Be True today!

Rennie Young is finding out that love and life often unfold in surprising ways.

Fairy-tale princesses usually awaken to the kiss of their handsome prince...not to his holding their wrists and counting their heartbeats. But that's exactly how Rennie meets Truman Sayers, an attractive man who comes to her assistance after she faints in the boys' department at Wal-Mart.

He releases her wrist and looks into her eyes. "Your pulse is racing."

No kidding!

Tru Sayers, a compassionate labor-and-delivery nurse, seems like a gift from God. But remembrances of love gone bad and a still-mending heart cause Ren to question whether she can trust this path and God.

This clever, romantic, and thoughtful novel demonstrates that, with God's guidance, a happy life is definitely possible after heartbreak—even when it seems too good to be true.

1. Book two is here, and a seemingly fantastic follow-up to your big success, The Guy I'm Not Dating, from last year. This one addresses a topic that many people think isn't possible -- or at least is rare -- in regard to romance. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

Hmm, this topic may be so rare, even I don't know what it is. I'm not sure if you're referring to the topic of finding "true love" the second time around, or whether you mean finding the perfect man. I'll assume we all know there's only one perfect Man out there (and He's found by all who seek Him).

So I'll focus on the theme of Too Good to Be True, that it is possible to find love after the heartbreak of divorce. Most people feel such extreme loss when deserted by their spouse—as is Ren, our heroine—that they can't imagine ever trusting love again. I didn't set out to write a book about moving on after divorce. Honestly, I think I saw a news story about a failed adoption, and I felt such heartache for the woman who suddenly learned she wasn't going to become a mother, after all. That was the first facet of this story. And I wanted my heroine to be young, funny, lovely, but vulnerable. I wanted her to experience the possibility of infertility and the issue of adoption, so she had to be married.

Now, not to suggest that romance within marriage is impossible, but this is chic lit we're talking here. I wanted the book to offer that wonderful uncertainty about whether a particular, apparently "perfect" man is The One. So I created Ren as an unwilling divorcée, whose nonbelieving husband is clearly not open to reconciliation. And Tru, who is way romantic, comes along a year after Ren's divorce.

Many of Tru's characteristics signal "perfect" to Ren and her friends—he's Christian, gorgeous, single, loves kids (he's a labor-and-delivery nurse, for goodness' sake!). But there are other factors in this man's life, and in Ren's, which complicate the romance. Through Tru, friends, siblings, and much-needed guidance from God, Ren learns about acceptance, trust, humble faith, and the Origin of a love that's too good to be true.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced the characters of Rennie and Truman? What aspects became traits that were theirs and theirs alone?

Unfortunately, I was able to inform Rennie's character as a divorcée, having personally experienced that sad event more than 26 years ago. I wasn't a believer then, and my marriage was an abusive one, but I didn't want Ren to have to deal with that. There were other painful aspects of my marriage which Ren does experience, but I'll leave that for readers to discover.

I know I'm not making this book sound like chic lit. But that's another thing I was able to share with Ren, the ability to laugh and find humor in life, regardless of how sad it can get sometimes. And Ren experiences many amusing developments in this story, whether she wants to or not.

Now, Tru? He's just a thoroughly hot number, and he's not modeled on anyone I know, except perhaps in my dreams. But he's half Latino, and my own past exposed me to some charming aspects of the classic Latino culture which I wanted to share.

Everything else is pure fiction, all Ren and Tru's story, unfolding fantastically before my eyes with such fun I hated to leave them at night to go to sleep.

3. What themes exist in Too Good to Be True that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

I mentioned the main theme, above, but yes, oodles of other themes presented themselves while the book progressed. Here are a few:

Without God's eternal vision, we struggle to see how some events could be His best for us. Consequently we get in His way as often as humanly possible. It's far better to discuss sensitive issues than it is to keep quiet and make assumptions. Yet we dance around the elephant in the middle of the room and act surprised when we step in icky stuff.

True friendship rocks. There are healthy ways for adult children to behave with controlling parents. Entire industries have been built around our inability to grasp this concept.

Sometimes people use "neediness" to control others. As Christians we often rescue people who could use a good self-induced dip in the old dunk tank.

And my favorite: It is possible to respect your parents, even when you're on the verge of killing them.

4. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

I'd have to say that the "making up" parts, after arguments, were the hardest parts for me to write. Even in real life, simply spouting off an "I'm sorry" just doesn't carry a lot of weight for me. The coinciding behavior and the very air of the person who apologizes is what indicates that person's true feeling. So the coming back together of characters, after conflict, was important to me. It needed to feel genuine if it was supposed to be. It needed to feel suspect if it was meant to express mere appeasement or manipulation.

The comical moments were my favorite to write. Always are. I think laughing is my favorite thing to do. When I get to sit here and work my characters into funny situations or have them say humorous things to each other, I'm in Heaven. Even some of the arguments are funny, even though we don't enjoy them in real life.

5. What is next in line for you? Anything new in the genre department, or are you going to stick with chic lit?

I was just chatting about that with my editor last week. I've written the beginning of a third novel in this series. But I may set that aside for a while to work on something else, which is just at the vapor stage of existence at this moment. Within Too Good to Be True, a fictitious book title is mentioned. We're actually considering my writing that book, which would be chic lit. I like the inside-joke nature of that idea.

Should there be a wild clambering for the third book in my current series, I'm sure I'll go back to work on that. The third book is tentatively titled, 'Til Depth Do Us Part, and it features Jeremy Beckett, for those who know my characters. Everyone loves Jeremy.

And we're considering what my editor called an "anticipation series," a la Mindy Starns Clark's Million Dollar Mysteries series and Linda Chaikin's A Day to Remember series. Mindy's titles all involve well-known money phrases, like A Penny for Your Thoughts and Don't Take Any Wooden Nickels, with each title moving up to the next coin. Each of Linda's titles are based upon the Mother Goose rhyme which reads, "Monday's child is fair of face; Tuesday's child is full of grace," etc., with each title moving sequentially through the poem. So if any of you readers have theme ideas for such a series for me, I'd love to hear them! (trish at I'll mention you in my books' acknowledgments, if you ignite a spark!

Thanks, Tiff, for this interview!

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Thank *you*, Trish, for joining us here. Everyone, don't forget to leave your comments or questions or ideas. Trish will be stopping by to respond. And as always, a drawing will take place next week for the winner of Trish's newest book.

Blog Tour -- Tricia Goyer and Valley of Betrayal

This is the first of two spotlights today. As things fell, I ended up being booked with 2 authors, so everyone here gets another bonus. :) Not one, but *two* chances today to win a free book and learn about another author.

Tricia Goyer was named Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference "Writer of the Year" in 2003. In 2005, her book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion and her novel Night Song won ACFW's Book of the Year for Long Historical Romance. She has written hundreds of articles, Bible Study notes, and both fiction and non-fiction books. In addition to writing, Tricia enjoys sharing Jesus' love through volunteering as a mentor for teenage moms in her community. And she also joins the rest of her family, leading children's church every week. Tricia's also blessed to travel around the nation as a speaker, mainly giving presentations to women's groups. She loves hearing from you, so contact her through her web site.

She has a blog post listing every stop on this tour. I encourage you to check out the other sites to learn even more about Tricia and to enter for more chances at a free book.

Get yours today!

And now, on to the interview:

1. You have found a niche in the eras that are often overlooked because publishers can't seem to determine the true genres. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

When I was researching for my novel, Arms of Deliverance, one of the autobiographies I read was from a man who was a B-17 bomber pilot over Europe--but before that he was an American volunteer for The Spanish Civil War. I had never heard of this war before, which happened right before WWII in Spain. I started researching and I was soon fascinated. Some people call it "the first battle of WWII" because it's where that Nazis first tried their hand at modern warefare.

Once I started researching, I was fascinated with the history. On one side was the fascist dictator, Franco, trying to take over Spain. He had Hitler and Musolini backing him up. On the other side were the Spanish people backed up by The Soviet Union and International Volunteers. How could I NOT find an interesting story in the middle of that.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced the characters of Sophie and Philip? What aspects became traits that were theirs and theirs alone?

Oh my, that is a deep question! I've said it before that when someone close, and who really knows me, reads my novels it's like handing over my personal journal! It's like giving them the key to my secret diary. YIKES!

I would say that Sophie's emotions are all mine. Her longing to be loved. Her desire for the wrong guy. Her finding someone worthy of her heart ... Yes, that's all been inside me. I'm not sure how good it is for my mental health, but when I'm dealing with an emotional scene I take myself back to my own past experiences. I remember the pain and heartache and with tears dripping down my cheeks I write the scene. Of course, I also write about joy too, and those moments are much better to relive!
As for Philip, well, he reminds me of my husband John--dedicated and faithful. Yeah, that's him.

3. What themes exist in Valley of Betrayal that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

The main theme is one of "God's Providence." We think we're doing someone for one reason, but then later we discover that God's plan was even bigger! There are no coiendences with God.

Also, the theme of "discovered strength." I love the verse that talks about, "In my weakness God's strength is complete." Only when we are weak can God's strength truly shine through us.

4. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

The most difficult parts are those dealing with the political climates of that time. One of my characters, Deion, is part of the Communist party. Today's reader has one view of what that means, but in the 1930s there was hope found there. In a country that was still segregated, the idea of "equality of men" was a huge draw, especially for African Americans.

My favorite parts dealt with the Spanish culture, the bullfights and the flamenco dancing. The attitudes and the beliefs. Fascinating.

Oh, and I love getting swept away with my characters. They always surprise me! In fact, at the beginning of the book I added a minor character because my girl, Sophie, needed a ride across the border. As it turns out her driver ends up being one of the major players in the book. Who knew?

5. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

My next novel, A Shadow of Treason, picks off where A Valley of Betrayal leaves off. It starts THE DAY the first book ends. It continues on in Spain in the lives of these characters, and ... well, soon they discover that more is at stake than what any of them originally thought. It's also published by Moody and it will hit store shelves September 1, 2007.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Category Romance --- Real or Contrived?

Almost all of us have read at least one. And if we haven't, we know someone who has been more than willing to tell us the story. What are they?

Romance novels.

No, I don't mean the ones with the questionable covers and risque content within the pages. I'm referring to the standard "boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back" stories. The sweet ones that always end with a "happily ever after" which follows the struggles and loss in order to gain.

But, something struck me recently about those books. Much like fairytales, they seem to focus a lot on the "bells" and "whistles" and "stars" that sound in your ears and light up the sky. It isn't often that I've read a book where the hero and heroine experience a more practical approach to their relationship and natural progression without all the "tingly" feelings these books are known for including.

So, that brings up the question. Are these books a good representation of reality, or is the way they're written contrived, making real life seem better than it really is?

What do you think?

If you can name a book or two where the "real" is demonstrated, please share that as well.