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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Spotlight on Tricia Goyer -- WWII author

Here it is, Tuesday again. I've been swamped and buried under writing crunches and other life-established deadlines, so I haven't been able to get back here to post anything else. But, I didn't want to miss the author spotlight. Blogger is also causing some problems with images, so I'll get those added later. For now, here is this week's spotlight.

Don't forget to post a comment for a chance to win a FREE autographed book. I'll announce last week's winner later tonight below this interview.

I am delighted to have Tricia Goyer visit with me this week. Not only is she a partner with me and four other historical fiction authors on our new blog, but she has written some fantastic stories about the gripping experiences of World War II as seen through the eyes of her true-to-life characters. A period in our history which is sometimes too recent and gets overlooked, Tricia tells the stories with compelling skill.

If stories of redemption and healing from war-torn lives appeals to you, don't miss her books! And now, let's chat with Tricia:

1. This is the fourth (4th) and final novel in this series depicting men and women who were swept into the horrors and action of World War II. What was the hardest part to write compared with the other three (3)? Your favorite?

The hardest part for me was definately the theme of "worth." You see, some very personal stuff came up in this book. For example, one of my main characters, Mary, was born to a single mom. So was I. Even after she met her biological father, she was always trying to make him notice her. She weighed her value according to his approval. Me too. Another one of my characters faces an unplanned pregnancy. Yup, I did that. Of course, fiction CAN have a happy ending, and I truly hope readers walk away from this book understanding that each person is "chosen" by God, even if they are born into unidealistic circumstances.

Also, trying to pick a favorite book would be like trying to pick a favorite child. They are each so unique! BUT . . . if I had to pick, I'd say Night Song really touches my heart. The main character is a fifteen-year-old Jewish boy--the same age as my oldest son at the time. I cried more as I wrote that book than any other. It was a very emotional experience with me because it dealt with children in the midst of war. Readers must approve too because in won ACFW's Book of the Year for Long Historical Romance. Of course, I love all the others too and think they are fantastic reads :-)

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

Of course, the themes I mentioned above are very clear within the book. There are more subtle themes too, such as trusting in God and understanding what true friendship is all about. Oh yes, and then there's the theme of finding love in unexpected places.

3. You've received a lot of support and assistance from WWII veterans for research and details in your books. How did the inspiration strike to write stories set during WWII and what do you hope to achieve with the stories in your books?

When I started out writing fiction in 1996, I wanted to write contemporary romance. There's nothing wrong with that, but that was MY plan, thus I got NO contracts. Then, in 2000 I was in Europe with two writing friends. I met a historian in Austria who started telling the true stories behind the liberation of two concentration camps. Her stories became the bases for my first two novels From Dust and Ashes and Night Song.

The idea for Dawn of a Thousand Nights came when I was researching at a WWII reunion and a veteran told me he had been part of the Bataan Death March. Then he said, "Would you ever consider writing our story?" I couldn't say no!

And, finally, the idea for Arms of Deliverance came when I was researching women of WWII. In Dawn of a Thousand Nights, I have a female pilot. But I also read about female war correspondents. They fascinated me and urged me to give them their own book.

The main thing I hope to achieve is to make history come alive. I want to make these books so gripping that the reader CAN'T put them down. In doing this, I honor the men and women who served. Some of the veterans I interviewed have since passed away, yet I'm thrilled to know that their stories live on.

4. Describe your writing space and schedule. How many words per day do you write and do you have a minimum goal you hope to reach before you push away your keyboard?

Ha! I have to laugh at this because I have no set schedule! Since I have a full-time job outside of writing--raising and homeschooling three kids--basically I try to squeeze in any time I can. During the school year, I write while my kids work on their homework. We have ONE long desk that wrapped around the room and we all work side-by-side. During summer it's a free-for-all.

When it comes to writing novels, I spend WAY too much time researching. I want to know every little detail--to make sure I get it right--or I'm not satisfied. Then, about two months before the book is due I go into panic mode and pounding out the book. Of course, by then the story is so well-developed in my mind, that it's really just relating on paper the story in my head...for the most part. There are always those surprising scenes that I hadn't planned on. After coming up with one of those, I just lean back in my computer chair, point up to heaven and say, "YOU are too cool!"

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

My next BOOK coming out is Generation NeXt Parenting. It's a parenting book for Gen Xers (those born between 1964-1981). It has a lot of cool 80s flavor mixed with a sound Biblical foundation. It works, it really does!

My next NOVEL is A Valley of Betrayal. It's also with Moody Publishing. It is my first in a three book series about The Spanish Civil War. Few people know much about this war beyond Hemingway's novel For Whom the Bell Tolls. Basically, it's a civil war that took place in Spain just prior to WWII. On one side the fascists: Hitler, Mussoloni, and Franco face off against the Spanish elected government, Russia, and International volunteers from all over the world. It's a fascinating time in history and one I'm excited to explore with three novels! The first one will be out in February 2007.

Thank you, Tricia, for joining me in the spotlight. Come back and visit again soon!

Into the Deep -- FREE book winner!

As promised, here is the winner from last week's spotlight contest. We only had 4 comments, so the names that went into the hat weren't many. The one that was pulled was Anne of Germany. Wow! An international visitor and winner.

Congratulations, Anne! I have your email, so you'll be hearing from me shortly...probably before you read this post.

Thank you to everyone who visited and/or posted comments. I appreciate your support. Take a look at this week's spotlight for another historical author--a little closer to present day. :)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Greetings from Lauralee Bliss

Hello! I'm Lauralee Bliss and it's great to be a guest here on Amber's wonderful blog, especially to introduce my first historical – Into The Deep.

Many have asked how I can come up with the setting and storyline for a book such as this that takes place in Mammoth Cave, Kentucky, circa 1840's. The way I do it is through my travels. I visited the cave some years ago, heard of the tuberculosis hospital that once existed there back in the 1840's and immediately saw a possible storyline begin to unfold. You can take various aspects of history and easily come up with a story with your own set of characters and their situations, which is exactly what I did with Into The Deep.

Once I formulated the proposal and had it accepted, then I returned to the cave for more in-depth research. This is where the park staff became my best informers. I had a free personal tour of the cave with a park ranger and saw places most visitors don’t see. I also had a two hour-long interview that I taped with another park ranger who knew the park's history. The combination of these two valuable resources enabled me to write a historical novel based on fact. While the characters and some of the plot are fictionalized, the history presented and the cave is all true to life. And this authenticity I owe to finding out what resources are available and making use of those resources. I also owe a great deal to the park rangers of Mammoth Cave for giving Into The Deep a richness that I could have never done by simple Internet research.

So the next time you are traveling, think – how can I make this place into a story? You'll be surprised what treasure awaits you.

Spotlight on...Lauralee Bliss!

Seems like forever since I've done one of these. Hope y'all haven't forgotten about the Tuesday spotlight feature. And since the other ones got a bit too long, I've shortened them. The contest for the FREE BOOK is still in play though, so don't forget to comment on either this post or the one above to be entered for your chance to win.

Contest ends on Sunday, July 23 at 6pm ET.

And without further ado, allow me to introduce my spotlight author:

1. You have made your debut into historical fiction with your novel, Into the Deep. With several successful titles published in the contemporary genre, what made you decide to try this one? Switching genres is often a risky step. Will you continue to write in both?

I've always had a special interest in historical fiction. I've written several titles on the side that were not published, getting my feet wet, so to speak, by researching and writing in the genre. When it came time to write Into The Deep, the knowledge was there. For me, history books can be so boring. I want to make history come alive by creating an interesting plot around historical facts so the reader can delve into the story while learning history along the way. And it's been a fun adventure!

2. What was your most difficult part to write? Your favorite?

Actually I found none of this book hard to write. I had an idea what I wanted to do, thanks to the history of the cave, and the characters flowed naturally from that history. But my favorite part of the story to write was the actual cave adventure itself - retracing the steps inside Mammoth Cave with the characters. Since I had visited the cave and could visualize it, this part was fun and interesting to bring to life for the readers.

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

One of the themes brought out in the book is the idea of wealth. Some feel they deserve wealth after going through hard times. But the heroine finds out, even when her family is brought unexpectedly into wealth, that the wealth of the heart, knowing God and caring for others, makes one richer in life and happier. And this is proven when she meets the hero who is not wealthy in possessions but rich in his spiritual life.

On the other hand, the hero himself is caught up in a wave of grief and guilt when his aunt dies in the cave. He comes up with his own ideas on how to cope with it, only to discover through his relationship with the heroine that revenge does not heal. Ultimately in the end, both characters find there is really more to life than meets the eye.

4. Describe your writing space and schedule. How many words per day do you write and do you have a minimum goal you hope to reach before you push away from your keyboard?

I have an office in the basement that has become my abode for writing. I used to write in the bedroom until I had an office, and whenever my family saw the "purple sock" on the door knob, they knew I was on an intense schedule, and I meant business. When I have a book due, I usually try to write a good chapter a night. When it comes to books of the size like a Heartsong, I can figure out how much needs to be accomplished and take it from there. But at times I have a good night of writing and can accomplish a great deal more. The trick is to write and not procrastinate.

5. How important do you believe it is for a new writer or even an established one to join a writing group such as ACFW?

Writing organizations are necessary to the writer's life. Like any job, we need coworkers that we can talk to about our field of business. We also need to be able to expand that business through learning writing techniques, sales, and other avenues. It's vital to belong to a good writing organization that can help you grow and to be there when times are rough and the way seems blocked. Writing is a lonely business. Many times our friends and family members on the home front don't understand all we are going through. I've had many say I should be happy that I have one book published. But a writer understands that there are goals to meet – that one book is not the ultimate goal but to achieve all we can with our writing - and they can sympathize with those goals. Plus, it's rewarding to meet new friends from great distances that share a common bond.

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

My next book, Journey to Love, will be out in 2007, and it's my second historical. This time I turn to Virginia and North Carolina, circa 1650. There a family hopes to discover what happened to loved ones who vanished with the Lost Colony of Roanoke. During the journey love sparks between the guide, John, and a family member, Beth. But if one mystery was not enough to solve, Beth must also discover the shroud of secrecy surrounding John. If you want to keep abreast of this and my other books, feel free to subscribe to my newsletter. Just drop my a line at lrbliss2001[at]yahoo[dot]com.
Website –

Thanks for having me! God bless.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Redemption Treasure Hunt -- WINNERS!

It's that time! I'm sure many of you have been waiting on pins and needles wanting to know the results of this contest. Well, your wait is over.

*drum roll please*

And the winners are:

Jennifer Y. -- free book and chance to receive 2 free movie tickets tucked inside her book.

Patricia E. -- free *autographed* book from the author of The Redemption, M.L. Tyndall.

Congratulations to you both. Thank you to everyone who visited, commented and participated in any way on this blog. We had just over 25 entries. Fantastic! Please come back and visit again soon.

This coming Tuesday, I'll have author Lauralee Bliss in the spotlight. You won't want to miss her fascinating story about the caves of Virginia.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Author Spotlight Post-poned

Although this would normally be the day I post an author spotlight, I have something much better...especially to those of you who like historical fiction of any kind.

Many know that is my primary genre focus for my writing, although I also have a women's fiction and romantic comedy done and am trying my hand at a cozy mystery. However, history has been a favorite topic for years. So, when I was invited to be part of a team hosting a brand new historical fiction blog, I jumped at the opportunity.

Three weeks ago, Favorite Pastimes was launched. We have six hosts and are each taking turns hosting a week, sharing details about our books, our writing, research, favorite genres, and covering every period of historical fiction from Biblical to World War II. We even have author spotlights and interviews over there.

This week, it's my week to host. So, posting here won't be as frequent.

I'm sharing about my own journey in decided to write historical fiction as well as details about the inspiration behind my current series. The first book is with an editor, and I'm waiting on the final decision. Praying hard that my first contract will come by the end of the year.

So, if you'd like to take a look, come on over to:

Favorite Pastimes

Hope to see you there!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Winners and Contests!

First, if you haven't entered the Pirates of the Caribbean and The Redemption Treasure Hunt contest, read the post after this one for all the details. Contest ends this Friday.

Second, let me congratulate Patricia Woodside, for winning the contest for a FREE AUTOGRAPHED COPY of Ginny Smith's Just As I Am. Ginny was in the spotlight the last week of June, and Patricia's name was selected from those who commented on Ginny's posts. Thank to you everyone who showed your support by visiting and commenting. Come back soon for the next author spotlight.

Now, I can hardly contain my excitement. For those of you who don't know, the CHRISTY AWARDS were held this past weekend at ICRS (International Christian Retailer Show) in Denver, Colorado. The Christys were launched in 1999 as a way to honor and recognize excellence in Christian fiction. They were named in honor of Catherine Marshall's novel and of her contribution to growth of the fiction Christians love to read.

This year, I was tickled pink to learn that one of my new favorite authors, Deeanne Gist, had her very first novel nominated in the category of romance. A Bridge Most Begrudging traveled a long road to publication, but the journey was worth the wait. Not only did she achieve high sales, but SHE WON! When I saw the list of nominees, I knew in my heart Deeanne would win, but I wasn't 100% sure. Now, it's confirmed. And she's posted on her own blog about the win along with sharing a photo of the award presented to her Saturday night.

Way to go, Deeanne!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Pirates, Pirates Everywhere!

Redemption book coverGuard yer women, hide yer treasure, and read ye a merry yarn!

If you're feeling a sudden urge to steal a parrot, bury gold, or start your sentences with "Arr, me hearties," you're not alone. Fascination with pirates is reaching new heights this summer, and Christians aren't being left behind!

Timed to parallel the release of the sequel to Disney's blockbuster, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Redemption is hitting bookstore shelves as Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest is hitting the theatres.

And you can be part of the action!

First, GlassRoad PR is holding a contest for TWO FREE TICKETS to Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. They will be sneaking those two tickets inside the copy of one of the books they'll be sending out to the winner of the blogosphere contest. All you have to do is comment on this blog for a chance to win.

In addition to the tickets, there are also two (2) opportunities for you to win a FREE COPY of THE REDEMPTION by Mary Lu Tyndall. First, you can comment on this post and be entered in a drawing, which will also enter you for the free tickets. Second, you can go on a treasure hunt, solving clues provided by 5 other blogs. Return here to submit your answers and be entered to win a FREE AUTOGRAPHED COPY of THE REDEMPTION.

The choice is up to you. Both will enter you in a drawing for a free book, but only *one* will enter you for the chance at an *autographed* copy.

If the hunt caters to your thirst for buried treasure, here's where you begin:


Clue #1 "What is the name of MaryLu's fictional parrot?" Visit Camy's Loft for the answer and the next clue.

When you have all 5 answers, return here for the answer to the final clue. Send your answers through the contact form on this site. We don't want anyone else following your trail and stealing your loot out from under your nose! :)

Good luck on your treasure hunt! Contest ends on Thursday, July 13th at midnight EST. Two winners will be drawn and announced on Friday.

Redemption book coverNow, read a Q&A with author, MaryLu Tyndall, about her book.

"I dedicate this book to the only Father I have ever known and the greatest Father in all eternity: the Father of all Fathers, my Lord and King, Jesus Christ."

1.) Tell us a bit about the story.

My story begins with a horrific storm at sea in which Lady Charlisse Bristol becomes shipwrecked on an island. She has run away from an abusive uncle in London and sailed to the Caribbean in search of a father she has never known. After weeks of combating the elements, her salvation comes in the form of a band of pirates and their fiercely handsome leader, Edmund Merrick.

Captain Merrick has only recently given his life to God and turned his back on a life of piracy to become a privateer. While battling his attraction to this winsome lady and learning to walk a more godly path, he offers to help Charlisse on her quest-until he discovers her father is none other than Edward the Terror, the cruelest pirate on the Caribbean. Edmund must find a way to win this lady's love while shielding her from his lecherous crew and working to bring her father to justice.

2.) What sparked the idea to write about pirates?

I've always had an obsession for pirates--those swashbuckling heroes who roamed the wild Caribbean seas in their tall ships. The Golden Age of Piracy was such an adventurous and romantic time in our history, and having grown up in that part of the world--south Florida--it grabbed my interest at an early age. What sparked the idea for the novel, however, was the Disney movie, Pirates of the Caribbean. After I saw it thirteen times with my daughter, I had a desire to write about pirates that wouldn't go away. Why do the evil pirates get to have all the fun? Why not write about a Christian pirate?

3.) As you researched this subject, what most surprised you?

The biggest surprise for me was discovering that not all pirates were vicious thieves and murderers. Many, in fact, were commissioned by their countries during times of war to disturb merchant shipping lines and fleet movements, and in general to play havoc with their enemies. In fact, one of the most notorious pirate captains, Henry Morgan, commanded his own fleet of pirate ships, called the Brethren of the Coast, whose sole purpose was to raid Spanish ships and towns in the Caribbean. He was eventually knighted by King Charles II of England and became the governor of Jamaica. These facts aided my story a great deal as many of these pirates, who turned privateers, had strong religious convictions.

4.) How long did it take to write your first novel?

I began writing The Redemption in the Fall of 2003, but it was slow going at first. I was working full-time as a software engineer, not to mention my responsibilities at home as wife and mother. I'm sure many of you can relate. There just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day! Consequently, I did not complete the novel until early Spring 2005, yet I still didn't feel it was ready. I hadn't written in a while and needed some counsel, so I hired two editors to go through my manuscript, and I entered four contests for the feedback. I made the final cut in two of those contests and felt encouraged, but I must admit, I learned a great deal more from my editors. By the end of Spring 2005, I had polished the manuscript the best I could and went looking for an agent. God's timing is always perfect. I was laid off from my job of fifteen years the same month my agent took me on as a client and began submitting The Redemption. By September of that same year, I had a contract in hand from Barbour for the entire three-book series!

5. How long must we wait for the sequel?

Not long! The second book in the series, The Reliance, will be released in January 2007, and the third book, The Restitution, will be out in stores, June, 2007. As you can tell, I've been very busy!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

I'm a Blogging Chick!

Take a look at the roll call on the right side of my blog for a complete list of blogging chicks. If you have a blog and would like to join this illustrious group, there's a link at the top of the roll call.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Come Visit Kanner Lake and the Scenes & Beans Blog

Here is something really different. But really cool.

Author (and blogger) Brandilyn Collins has written a novel that comes out in August called Violet Dawn. It is part of a new series she has started called the Kanner Lake Series. She sent out Advance Reader Copies to those who requested them and asked them to choose a character that they liked. Then she asked the readers to send her a make-believe post from the character for a make believe blog by the 'Kanner Lake' make believe residents. This is an actual blog, called...Scenes and Beans, full of ficticious bloggers written by real bloggers who liked Violet Dawn. Confusing? Well, it begins today, July 5th! Go check it out by pressing the button for Scenes and Beans!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Summer Contest -- Story Sensei Critique Service

Part of having a blog also means you should visit others to post comments and network, possibly drawing visitors to those blogs back to yours. Occasionally, I also promote other blogs here.

This is one of those times. Camy Tang, aka "the Story Sensei", is running a summer contest on her blog. Here is the announcement:

The Story Sensei Summer Sale - A Writers' Summer Event!

From now until July 15th, I will be holding a fabulous contest for my Story Sensei critique service. I will draw the names of TWO lucky winners! They will each receive:

A free synopsis critique – up to 10 pages single-spaced, a $40 value!


A coupon for 25% OFF any manuscript critique – whether full or partial manuscript, any number of words. For a 100,000 word manuscript, that's a savings of $250!

In addition, EVERYONE WHO ENTERS will receive a 10% OFF coupon for any service, whether synopsis, query letter, or manuscript critique (full or partial). For a 100,000 word manuscript, that's a savings of $100, just for entering.

Go to my Story Sensei blog and post a comment to enter the contest!


Ahh...Back to Normal Again & Tuesday Spotlight

Yes, that's right. I am *done* with delivering newspapers. This was the 4th year, and I won't be doing it next year. Just too much with a full-time job, full-time business and writing career. Money's good, but the added stress and lack of sleep are not a good combination for my everyday interactions.

Now, I can get back into my routine and spruce up the commitment factor a bit. Only 11 weeks until my annual national writer's conference, and I have a LOT of work to do.

For now, though, this week's spotlight will be moved to Friday, July 7th to coincide with a marketing effort for a new release by a first-time author. There will be a treasure hunt here and in partnership with 5 other blogs. Hope you come back on Friday and join the hunt.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Does the World Need a Savior (Superman?)

***warning, slight spoiler references***

Yes, that's right. I just returned home after going to the theatre to see Superman Returns. Although I had heard from one person that it wasn't good and that he fell asleep during it, that person is too young to remember the original movies and has no sentimental attachment to the story. My connections run much deeper.

For years, I've been enamored with the *idea* of Superman. I grew up with the movies and Christopher Reeve became somewhat of an icon in my mind. I went to the theatre to see all 4 movies and own the VHS and DVDs. He was the ultimate superhero.

But why?

What about him made him so much better to me than Batman or Spiderman or the other superheroes from the comics? Why did I enjoy those stories but always return to Superman?

If you go see this new movie, you'll probably figure it out. Then again, some of you might already have. Perhaps I'm just a bit more thick-headed than most. :) However, others around my age hadn't realized it either. So, at least I'm not a complete dunce. And what's the answer?

Superman's physical existence bears a strong resemblance to that of Jesus Christ. Think about it. A father sends his only son to the earth to save it. He comes to earth as a baby, is raised by humans, realizes he's different, eventually communes with his father to discover his father's plan for him, and then sets up his life to live out his father's will.

And if you're not convinced by the original comic strip, TV series, movies or second TV show, the truth in this recent movie is impossible to ignore. There are voiceovers done by Jor-El, Superman's (Kal-El) father, where he says:

"Even though you have been raised as a human being, you're not one of them. They can be a great people, Kal-El. They wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all—their capacity for good—I have sent them only son."

But that's not all. There are blatant references to the world not needing a savior. Lois Lane says this line. Yet, Superman takes her above the city and asks her what she hears. When she says nothing, he says he hears everything. "You tell me the world doesn't need a savior, but every day I hear people crying out for one."

In addition, there is a confrontation where Superman is weakened by crystalized kryptonite, beaten and bruised and pierced in the side with a "spear" of kryptonite, then left for dead. He manages to rid the world of the problematic source by bearing the weight of it on his shoulders as he sends it out into space. But the encounter weakens him so much that he spreads out his arms and falls down to earth. "Dead" according to the monitors, he is resurrected and lives on.

Oh, and when he is weak, he gets his strength from the sun (Son). :)

So, who is *your* favorite superhero?