The Story Behind My Blog's Title

The Story Behind My Blog's Title
Why is my blog named "My Father's Oldsmobile"? Click on the car and find out.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Author Interview with Steve Rzasa

I'm very excited to welcome back Christian Scifi/Speculative author Steve Rzasa. Steve visited last year to talk about his debut book, The Word Reclaimed, and its sequel, The Word Unleashed. Steve has a third book out now, Broken Sight, which he's here to tell us about, and also about what else is going on in his life. Be sure to leave a comment because Steve is giving away a signed copy of his book.

Steve, I know I asked this question in our first interview, but it's been awhile. Will you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born and raised in South Jersey, and have loved to read from an early age—adventure, history, and especially science-fiction. My wife and I live in Wyoming with our two grade school-age boys, where she teaches and I am a librarian. Prior to working at a library I was a reporter/editor for eight years in Maine and in Wyoming.

What have you been up to since you last visited?
Since last spring I finished writing Broken Sight, my new novel, in December 2010 and just last week finished a fantasy/steampunk novel, tentatively titled The Bitter Crosswinds (more about that at the close of the interview!) When I’m not busy preparing new books for library circulation or writing the newsletter, I’m helping folks find the books they need. In my “spare time” I write, draw, watch movies and play video games, play LEGOs and soccer with my boys, and cook dinner with my wife when we’ve got a minute.

Tell us about your new book?
Broken Sight is the tale of Lt. Cdr. Brian Gaudette and the crew of his new rescue starship as they respond to a distress call from a remote planet. Little do they realize they're being plunged into a race against evil forces that could result in a powerful weapon falling into enemy hands. It takes place two years after my previous two novels, The Word Reclaimed (Marcher Lord Press 2009) and The Word Unleashed (Marcher Lord Press 2010.)

 What inspired this story?
I always enjoyed writing about Brian Gaudette, the main character of my 2009 short story Rescued. He was a character I wanted to revisit in detail, and to give a shot at a grander adventure. Well, he got it. My purpose was also to explore the world of the Face of the Deep series after the restoration of religous freedom, to see how things had changed.


Is there an underlying theme?
Themes are not my strong suit, but if I had to pick two, it would be faithfulness and teamwork.

What's your favorite scene/character?
Charlotte Ruby Bell. Ex-pirate, former pirate-hunter, and all around crude individual. She's ill-tempered, rude, but also one very good starship commander and someone who can bully her crew into getting results. She can be cunning and smart. Just an all around fun individual to write.

What do you hope reader take away from reading your book?
I hope they can experience this adventure with a sense of wonder, and not worry too much about the details of sci-fi that sometimes bog down the casual reader. And if they come away from this tale realizing that there is a one true God who cares for them and is in control of all things, even better.

How did you get started as a writer?
 I wrote ever since I was little, and even then science-fiction was always on the brain. Somewhere in our house I have a story I wrote for fourth grade about two space explorers on an adventure -- I think they were based on LEGO guys I built. From there I expanded into writing a novel in high school and working for the school newspaper, and penned some short stories in college. There's still a stack of notebooks with fragments of stories and ideas stashed in a drawer in our back room. And after college I self-published a short novel called This Stirring Strife, a space opera that can still be obtained used on Amazon, I think.

Finally, I worked on the project that became The Word Reclaimed and The Word Unleashed -- a single, large novel called Commissioned -- for about six years until I finished it in February 2009. A few months later I was blessed to have Marcher Lord Press publisher Jeff Gerke agree to publish the story as two books.

Do you have any particular method to your writing, any quirks that help you along in the creative process.
I’ve found that listening to music inspires my writing, especially when working on an action scene. The particular song can make a big difference in helping straighten out the flow of action in that scene—for example, if it’s a dramatic scene I don’t want lighthearted music playing. I also am compelled to draw characters, starships and settings to help visualize. Oh, and I’m a huge sucker for maps.

Have you always loved science fiction?
Sci-fi is definitely the genre with which I’ve had the strongest relationship—can’t tell you how many evenings during my high school years were spent watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. (Me too!) And I went to see the re-released Star Wars in the 1990s when I was recovering from a fever. So that tells you my level of obsession. As for literature, I devoured books by Michael P. Kube-McDowell, Kathy Tyers, Chris Walley,

I think it's very exciting to see Christian fiction broadening into new genres. What are your thoughts on this and where do you see things headed in the future?
I'm encouraged by the raft of new Christian speculative fiction authors who have appeared in recent years, and by the creation of new small publishing houses dedicated to the genre. No longer do writers have to fret that their somewhat odd or out of the ordinary tales of space opera, fantasy or the supernatural have to remain unpublished because they're too weird. We have several publishers who like weird. The genres available to Christian readers will hopefully continue to grow and the selection and quality of writing keep getting better.

What's up next?
Well, I just this week finished a fantasy/steampunk novel called The Bitter Crosswinds and started in on the prologue for the sequel. Not sure when or if those will be published, but I've got more stories to tell. I'm also putting notes down for an alternate history/alien invasion -- hopefully sooner than later! Anyone who's interested can keep tabs at my website, www.steverzasa.com, or find me on Facebook. My books are available at www.marcherlordpress.com and Amazon.com.

Purchase from Marcher Lord
Purchase from Amazon

Steve Rzasa was born and raised in South Jersey, and fell in love with books—especially science fiction novels and historical volumes—at an early age. He earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University’s College of Communications in 2000, and then spent seven years as a reporter and assistant editor at weekly newspapers in Maine. Steve moved to Wyoming in 2007 to become the editor of a weekly newspaper there, and now works at the local library. He and his wife Carrie have two boys and live in Buffalo, Wyoming

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Author Interview with Deborah Malone

Hi Deborah, you and I have been corresponding for awhile now, and have been there to see each other succeed. I want to congratulate you on the publication of Death in Dahlonega. It's an absolutely beautiful book -- except for the axe dripping with blood, but that's the intriguing part. I'm looking forward to sitting down over the holidays and reading it!

Since this is your first visit to my blog, I'd like to welcome you and ask that you tell us about yourself? First I'd like to thank you for having me as a guest on your blog. I live in the mountains of North Georgia about 60 miles from Atlanta. I have two grown girls - Niki and Leah. Niki is disabled and because I have fibromyalgia I need caregivers to come in and help with her care. I've written for a historical magazine "Georgia Backroads" for about 10 years. I also enjoy macro photography.

When did you realize that you wanted to be a writer? I image this is a similar answer most writers give that they knew since they were children they wanted to write - when I was around 11 or 12 I remember starting a mystery, but only got about 3 pages done. I was an adult when I wrote again. I wrote my first article when my friend dared me to write about an old restaurant we had gone to. I said okay I would. And that is the beginning of my writing.

What was your journey to publication like? This is an interesting question. There are certain paths all writers will take but the actual journey will be different for all. I wrote the first draft in about a year then put it aside while taking care of my family. When I discovered ACFW I knew I wanted to make it a Christian fiction book. That meant rewriting it - which I did. I soon found out I had a huge learning curve to make it publishable. I spent time learning what I needed to make it better. I did not have an agent. I sent it out to several publishers and did not hear back anything favorable so I was looking into self publishing when Lamp Post Publishers offered me a contract. Needless to say I was walking on air. It took about six months from editing to the finished product and it was on the market in October 2011.

How did you get the story idea for Death in Dahlonega? I had written several articles for "Georgia Backroads" about Dahlonega. I've always loved to visit this charming little town. I knew I wanted to write a cozy mystery so I just needed to find a setting and decided Dahlonega would be the place. And don't you just love the name? (pronounced Da-lon-a-ga)


How long did it take you to write it and what is your writing routine/schedule like? I was finished with the first draft in a year but then set it aside for a couple of years. Then when I got serious about publishing it took three years from rewriting it to publication. So that is a total of six years. I don't really have a schedule, but I like to write in the evening when things are quiet.
You and I are very similar this way. I set my first book aside for several years also and rewrote it quite a few times. I write in the evening when it is quiet, too.
Do you have a favorite scene? There are several I like. I always like the funny scenes, like the one where they meet up with a mountain man who has a still in his back yard and find out when they try to question him about the murder he's none to friendly to strangers. Then there is a dream scene that I like also. I'll let you read the book to find out about that one.


Is there a message you'd like readers to take from the story? Well, Trixie has found herself starting her life over while in her 40's. She is struggling with her faith and draws strength from her friend. She's also hardened her heart towards men and is working on trusting again. I would hope that after reading "Death in Dahlonega" that the reader would find their own message.
I love that you wrote a story with a more mature heroine. Sometimes I wonder if people think life stops after 29, or becomes too boring to acknowledge.


What are you working on now? I've already finished the second book "Murder in Marietta" and I'm working on the third in the Trixie Montgomery series "Terror on Tybee Island"


Where can readers find out more about you and your books? I would love for my readers to visit my website at www.deborah-malone.com and my blog is www.deborahsbutterflyjourney.blogspot.com. My publisher Lamp Post Publishing is a www.lamppostpubs.com.

Death in Dahlonega Back Cover:

 Historical writer Trixie Montgomery is asked by her editor to cover “Gold Rush Days”, an arts and crafts festival, in the small, picturesque town of Dahlonega located in the north Georgia Mountains. Trixie seizes the chance to mix business with pleasure and asks her best friend, Dee Dee to tag along.

Their well laid plans go awry when Dee Dee is discovered standing over the lifeless body of prominent citizen, John Tatum – the very man she’d had a run in with earlier that day – holding a bloody pickax in her hands. The local Sheriff is determined to solve the case as soon as he possibly can so he can retire with a clean slate and run for town mayor. Can Trixie find a way to finish her assignment and keep Dee Dee out of the slammer?

Author Bio:

Deborah Malone has worked as a freelance writer and photographer, since 2001, for the historic magazine “Georgia Backroads.” She has had many articles and photographs published during this time. Her writing is featured in “Tales of the Rails” edited by Olin Jackson. She has also had a showing of her photographs at Floyd Medical Center Art Gallery as well as winning several awards. As current member of American Christian Fiction Writers she has established a blog where she reviews Christian Fiction. She is also a member of Georgia Writers Association. "Death in Dahlonega" Deborah's debut novel won an award in the ACFW Category Five Writer's Contest.


Purchase Death in Dahlonega



Thursday, December 8, 2011

My Review of Night of the Cossack by Tom Blubaugh


Nathan Hertzfield awakens to find the houses in his village ablaze and most of the villagers killed. He is kidnapped and forced to become a Cossack soldier, or risk harm to his mother and younger brother. Nikolai, Nathan's captor, insists that Nathan also abandon his Jewish heritage and take on the name Stepan if he wishes to survive. According to Nikolai, the Cossack do not like Jews.

Initially Nathan has no choice but to depend on Nikolai, but as the story unfolds Nathan discovers that Nikolai is different, and his reasons for taking Nathan captive are not what they seemed. A bond forms between the two and Nathan comes to look on Nikolai as a father.

When they are ordered to Odessa, life takes another startling turn, first with tragedy and then betrayal. Nathan is forced to flee. He briefly glimpses happiness when he finds refuge with a family and love with their daughter. But he knows that staying will invite danger. Nathan decides to once again abandon his identity in search of a new life. His journey is one of adventure, with his enemies only a step behind.

I really liked this book! It's a very easy read, written in simple language which gives the book a strong appeal to middle-grade readers and older. The historical setting was absolutely fascinating and gave me a true sympathy for how difficult life must have been for those living in circumstances similar to Nathan's. All in all, the book wasn't just adventurous and enjoyable; it was educational and the story tugged at my heart.

My only complaint with the story is that the ending was a little abrupt. I would like to have seen him through to America. Maybe I just wasn't quite ready for his story to be over. I guess that's a good sign.

There were times when the writing seemed a little rushed or choppy, and about half way through I was leaning toward a rating of 3.5 - 4.0, but after Nathan's betrayal the pace of the book really took off and the story of his plight just became so compelling that I couldn't stop reading. When a story is that strong, the little issues tend to not matter. I'll be recommending this book to families in our homeschool group.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Visionary Blog Tour

A Visionary is someone who sees into the future, Taylor Forrestier sees into the past but only as it pertains to her work. Hailed by her peers as "a visionary with an instinct for beauty and an eye for the unique" Taylor is undoubtedly a brilliant architect and gifted designer. But she and twin brother Trevor, share more than a successful business. The two share a childhood wrought with lies and deceit and the kind of abuse that's disgustingly prevalent in today's society. Can the love of God and the awesome healing power of His grace and mercy free the twins from their past and open their hearts to the good plan and the future He has for their lives?

Find out in...The Visionary ~ Where the awesome power of God's love heals the most wounded of souls
My Review: Excellent!

Taylor and Trevor are twins that share a complicated bond. Bundled beneath their love for one another, festers the shame and heartache of an abusive childhood. Despite their efforts to smother out the pain, it remains close to the surface, always threatening, and never allowing Trevor or Taylor to step outside of their bond and experience the love of another person.
The promise of romance for both Trevor and Taylor brings a new hope into the twins' lives, but the fear of letting others in escalates into a dramatic moment of confrontation, with devastating consequences.
True to human nature, Taylor and Trevor struggle to release their pain into the Lord's healing hands, as both emotional and physical forces threaten their safety.
I love stories of redemption. That's what God is all about -- taking broken pieces and creating something lovely and whole. The Visionary is this type of story, and Pamela S. Thibodeaux held nothing back. This story was written with great sensitivity to the issue of abuse but doesn't gloss over any of its harsh reality. The message of faith flows naturally into the story without being preachy, just honest and true. Despite the dark subject matter, or perhaps because of it, I found this story to be an inspiring read of hope and healing. Thank you, Pamela S. Thibodeaux!

For the chance to win an autographed copy of The Visionary, please leave a comment with your email address. You will be entered into a drawing to take place on Dec. 17th.


AUTHOR BIO:
Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”
Website address: http://www.pamelathibodeaux.com  
Bayou Writers Group: http://bayouwritersgroup.com  
  
BUY LINKS:
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/o3YrMq

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Check out Anne Patrick's new release, Kill Shot


Former combat medic Kory Wagner has been in four war zones, served three tours in Iraq, survived countless firefights, RPG’s, IED’s and even a helicopter crash.  Now she’s home and out of the Army for good and someone is trying to kill her in her own backyard.  Just as disturbing is the handsome sheriff who’s on the case. 


Sheriff Sean Harding doesn’t quite know what to think of the decorated veteran that managed to outsmart an entire search party.  What bothers him more is the body of a PI, whom she hired to find her sister's killer, was found dead in a building Kory owns.  And Kory isn’t being very cooperative with helping him find the answers as to why someone would kill her sister and want her dead.  Will he be able to keep her alive along enough to discover the truth?




Excerpt


The steel door creaked as she pushed it open, the sound echoing throughout the metal building. "Mr. Urlik?" She waited for her eyes to adjust to the change in lighting before stepping all the way inside. A wide stream of light from the door spread out in front of her. "Mr. Urlik. Are you in here?"

Kory heard a sound a few yards in front of her. She quickly scanned the area. Three rows of huge metal shelves lined the interior. She inched forward, peering around the corner of the second row. Mr. Urlik lay on his side, facing her, clutching his chest. His eyes were opened and his mouth moved, but no sound came out. A heart attack? She ran to him, knelt down on the cement floor, and took his hand. It was wet, slimy. She looked down and saw his hand covered in blood. Her eyes shifted to his chest. A large crimson stain spread across the width of his white shirt from a small hole near the center. He was breathing erratically. Experience told her a bullet had pierced at least one lung and he didn't have much time. She immediately pressed the heel of her right hand against the wound.

"I'm sorry," he murmured.

"Where's your cell phone?" Hers was in her backpack but she didn't want to waste valuable time digging it out.

"No time. Get out."

"Who did this, Mr. Urlik?"

He grabbed her right hand and squeezed it tightly. "You were right -- no accident."

His hand went limp.

Kory felt something in the palm of her hand, looked down and saw it was a key. She shoved it into her jeans pocket. A whizzing sound buzzed past her, followed by the unmistakable clink of a bullet ricocheting off metal. She instinctively threw herself over his body as another bullet struck metal. Kory felt for a pulse. There was none. She lowered her hand to his chest and felt under both arms and along his waist. I thought all PIs carried guns. Just my luck this one didn't.

She scrambled to her feet, as more shots ricocheted around her, and dove through an opening on the first row of shelves. A piercing pain sliced through her upper arm as she took cover behind some boxes. They wouldn't shield her from the gunfire but they would conceal her presence while she figured out how she was going to get out of there. She paused long enough to grab her cell phone from her backpack, wishing she hadn't when another bullet tore through a box beside her. She ducked lower to the floor.

Kory ignored the throbbing in her arm and slithered along the floor toward the back of the building. As a child, she and her sister, Callie, had often accompanied her grandfather to the warehouse where he worked on boats as a hobby. She remembered a back exit that led to the side parking lot and nearby woods. If she could reach the door, she had a chance of getting out of this alive. She looked down at the tear in her shirt, drenched with blood.

This isn't good!




Kill Shot: Book One Wounded Heroes can be purchased at most online bookstores or from my publisher – Desert Breeze Publishing: http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-227/Wounded-Heros-Book-One/Detail.bok


Anne's Bio: Anne Patrick is the author of more than a dozen novels of Romance, Mayhem & Faith, including the award-winning and best-selling Fire and Ash, Lethal Dreams and Sabotage. When she's not killing off people or falling in love with dashing heroes, you can find her surfing the web or spending time with family and friends.  Born and raised in Oklahoma, she now makes her home in Kansas.


To learn more about Anne, please visit her website: http://www.annepatrick.weebly.com (where I have monthly giveaways) or blog: http://www.suspensebyanne.blogspot.com .

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Author interview: E.A. West, The Key to Charlotte


Today I get to welcome. E.A. west to my blog. E.A. is a multipublished author, but she's here today to talk about her newest release with White Rose Publishing, The Key to Charlotte. Isn't the cover beautiful!

Hello, E.A. Please tell us about your latest release.


The Key to Charlotte is an inspirational romance that tells the story of Charlotte Harris and Zakaria Rush. Charlotte is mute because of autism, but she longs to hold a conversation in her own voice. Zakaria is the new director of children’s ministries at Charlotte’s church, and he would love to help her dream of being able to speak come true. Can he help her find the key to unlocking her voice, or will his attempts lock away their chance of love forever?


Do you have any other books?


Yes, I do.  Dreams Do Come True is my first inspirational romance. Aspiring author Cassie Teague is on the verge of giving up her dream of getting published when she meets acquisitions editor David Jameson. Can he help her dream come true or will office politics destroy both of their hopes for the future?


Riley’s Mission is a sweet romantic suspense. Former Israeli operative Jade Rosen is in hiding and never expects to see Indiana National Guardsman Riley Jackson in a flooded hospital. With a terrorist on the loose and seeking revenge, will Jade and Riley find their happy ending or pay the ultimate price?


I also have another inspirational romance, Healing in Haven Falls. Autumn Reger has trust issues due to bad choices in her past, and Keith Burke has physical and emotional scars from a roadside bomb that ended his service in Afghanistan. Can two wounded hearts heal the scars of the past to find the future God has planned for them?


Where can readers purchase copies of your books?


The Key to Charlotte, Healing in Haven Falls, and Dreams Do Come True are all available from White Rose Publishing (http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com/ec). Riley’s Mission is available from The Wild Rose Press (http://www.thewildrosepress.com). Copies of my books can also be purchased through Amazon.com’s Kindle Store.


Were books a big part of your life growing up? If so, what books would you say influenced you most as a child?


Yes! Reading has always been one of my favorite activities. I started reading at age three, and I’ve been a voracious reader ever since. A lot of the books I read as a child were series: the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Babysitters Club, Saddle Club, etc. I’m not sure which books influenced me the most, but one of my favorite authors when I was a teen was Will Hobbs. His books took me on amazing adventures and gave me a look at how teens from all kinds of backgrounds dealt with trials in the wilderness.


Do you have a preference to print or eBooks and if so, why?


I like both of them for different reasons. Ebooks are great for short stories and for instant gratification, not to mention the tiny amount of space needed to store dozens of them. On the other hand, I love the feel of a print book, plus it’s nice to get away from a screen for a while to read.


Do you have any advice for aspiring writers out there?


Be patient and flexible, and learn from each and every rejection. Even form rejections can be useful. If you receive several of them on the same manuscript, take another look at the manuscript and the query. Is there something you can improve? Anything that could benefit from a little tweaking? Don’t be afraid to rewrite. It can be difficult to completely change what you think is a great scene, but sometimes that rewritten scene is better than the original. Also, have someone you trust read your manuscript and give you honest feedback. Getting told your story is amazing and perfect may be good for the ego, but it seldom helps get the story published. Critique partners are great for pointing out all the things that will cause an editor to reject a story, while also offering suggestions on how to fix and improve the story so an editor will fall in love with the manuscript.


Where can readers learn more about you and your books?


You can learn more on my website http://eawest.mcphitty.com and my blog http://thewestcorner.wordpress.com. If you’re on Facebook, please “like” my author page for periodic updates and thoughts from my writing life http://www.facebook.com/pages/EA-West/34280264617. I’m also on Twitter http://twitter.com/eawest and ShoutLife http://www.shoutlife.com/eawest.


Thank you, Shawna, for having me on your blog today! It’s always fun spending time with other authors and readers. I hope you all enjoyed this interview as much as I did!

Purchase from Amazon.
Purchase from Barnes & Noble



Monday, October 24, 2011

KINDLE GIVEAWAY with NEW BOOK RELEASE


ALRIGHTY, so here's the big news. To promote my newest release, THE GOOD FIGHT, I'm giving away a $25 Amazon gift card. And... a KINDLE! (or equivalent Amazon gift card. Winner's choice.)
I want to make this worthwhile for me and my readers so there are lots of ways to participate. I'm running two contests: a 'most points' and a random drawing.

The drawing is for the gift card and for every time I see your name in response to a blog interview, a facebook post, like or share, a tweet or retweet, or a recommendation to a friend, I write down your name and throw it in a jar. Yes, my hope is to spend a lot of time writing names. I'm going to need a way to contact you, so if you want to participate, email me at author.skwilliams@yahoo.com. I will send you updates as to how many entries I have for you so as to be sure I'm not missing anything. I will NOT use this information to spam your inbox with any future advertisement or to contact you in any way not unrelated to this contest.

THE KINDLE GIVEAWAY (or gift card equivalent)
This is going to be a 'most points' contest. Not only might you win a Kindle, but you'll be helping me by creating a buzz about the new book. So here's how it works
Follow me on twitter, facebook, or my blog and get a point. For every friend you recommend who mentions your name and follows, you get another three. If they mention you on all three places, that's nine (per friend!). Plus your friends are accumulating their own points in the process. Here are the addresses:
http://twitter.com/#!/shawnakwilliams
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shawna-K-Williams/236629884245?ref=ts
http://shawnawilliams-oldsmobile.blogspot.com/

 For every time you mention this contest or one of my books, whether it be on your facebook page, someone else's, twitter, your blog, someone else's blog, newsletter, whatever... email me the link. author.skwilliams@yahoo.com and that's another five points per mention. I'll be emailing you back to let you know that I received it.
If you post the cover of my newest book, that's ten points. If you include purchase links, that's another ten points per posting.

If you buy one of my books, email me proof of purchase and I'll quadruple all your points for every purchase. If someone contacts me and tells me they bought one of my books based on your recommendation, then I'll triple all of your points, and they'll get the quadruple. Gifting the book to a friend counts as a purchase and quadruples your points.
So, as you can see, it's complicated, but it's also in your hands if you really want it. So help me make this a great book launch and let's have some fun. (The book is pretty darn good, if I may say so.)

THE GOOD FIGHT releases on Nov. 1st, but the contest begins now. Winners will be announced at 5pm Central on Dec 7th 2011.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My Review of Finding Angel by Kat Heckenbach


Angel has no memory of her childhood before the age of six, when she was found abandoned -- the only clue to her past, a charm bracelet that spelled Angel. She loves her foster family, but has never really felt like she belonged with them, or anywhere for that matter, until one day a mysterious but familiar stranger shows up.

Gregor helps Angel to recover lost memories of danger and the tragedy that took her from her home. Angel soon finds herself transported to back to Toch Island, a hidden world full of wonder and magic. As Angel learns to use her powers, she also discovers her special Talent -- a power unique to her. In the midst of this discovery strange occurrences take place on the peaceful land. Once again, Angel is threatened by the danger that separated her from her family, but this time more is at stake.

What a fun book to read! Kat Heckenbach developed not just refreshing new characters and settings for the world of fantasy, but a whole different take on elements common to this genre. This story is wonderfully plotted, with fleshed-out characters and plenty of action. It's marketed as a middle-grade fantasy, but I'm a middle-aged woman and I loved it. I honestly think this is a book that can be enjoyed by any age. I look forward to more from this author!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Edgy Christian Fiction 2011 Summer Blog Tour

Well folks,
It's my stop on this summer's Edgy Christian Fiction blog tour. Last year the tour focused on what "edgy" is and why it's a good thing. What I remember from last year is that the term edgy is actually rather broad, basically referring to books in genres or about subject matter from which publishers of Mainstream Christian fiction tend to shy away. This year for the tour authors were to choose four Edgy Christian Fiction books to highlight -- two of our own and two by a different author(s). I wanted to tie last year's theme together with the current one, and decided in my blog post to focus on bother genres and subject matter that fall into the category of "edgy". That made my choice of books easy.

The two books I chose that are by another author, the lovely and talented Jennifer Hartz, are the first two in a series. The only reason I'm not including the third is that it isn't out yet. I'll buy it on the day it releases. These books are Christian Fantasy, or speculative fiction, and they are amazing! The titles are Future Savior Book One: Conception and Future Savior Book Two: Resurrection. My review of both books could be summed up in one word: WOW!!! But I figure readers might like a little more of a teaser than that.

Here's my review for Conception:
Christina's ordinary life as a single thirty-year-old school teacher takes a twist when she is unexplainably transported from current day Pittsburgh to a mysterious place called Meric. There, she discovers great wonders; from the beauty of the land, to the secret of her birth and the magical powers she unknowingly possesses. She also learns why a pair of mesmerizing blue eyes has followed her throughout her life.

However, not all is glorious in the land of Meric. A dark evil threatens its people, an evil that thirty years earlier killed Christina's father and drove her into hiding before she was even born. Now that she has returned, Christina must fulfill her destiny or Meric will be doomed under evil's rule.

I can't believe this book was Jennifer Hartz's debut novel. It was pure adventure from start to finish. Jennifer masterfully weaves humor, mystery, action, and romance into a fantastic tale. The pacing is just perfect, dropping hints here and there as deep mysteries are unveiled. At the same time we get to know a host of delightful, well-rounded characters, who I grew to love. The tension builds and builds and I was literally holding my breath at the end.

This book is the first in a trilogy, and I will definitely get the next on the first day it releases. If you enjoy fantasy with Inspirational elements (Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, Kingdom of Arnhem) then you'll love this. Buy it.

The second book, Resurrection, picks up right where the first book left off. It's hard include a review in this blog post without giving away spoilers to the first book, but I'll give it a try.

After dying, Christina awakens to discover she's seventeen. She struggles to fill in the pieces of what happened on Meric, and is immediately comfronted with a dilemma: if you tell someone their future, do you risk altering it by interfering with their choice?

Once again Christina finds herself whisked back into the land of Meric, into a body that is fully healed. She and her companions are confronted with this same dilemma, over and over as they fight the evil Leticia and her mounting forces. As prophesy unfolds, secrets of betrayal are revealed. The future of Meric rests in the balance of trust and timing.

This book has everything: time travel, flying, sword fights, giants, teleporting, telekinesis, mind control and did I mention that it's also a beautiful story of enduring love and friendship... and oh so romantic. I loved the play between all of the characters, but especially Christina and Shaw. In my review of the previous book I mentioned that Lord of the Rings readers and Narnia readers would love this series and this book drives that point home. It has all of the action of LOTR and all the allegory of Narnia, and dare I say a little more. The book isn't a comedy, though there are plenty of humorous moments, but there's an element to it that reminds me of the relationship between The movie Oh Brother Where Are Thou and The Odyssey. If that's piqued your curiosity, then read it. You won't be disappointed. Buy it.

For more about Jennifer Hartz.

The two books of mine that I chose to highlight are also a series. They are my debut novel, No Other, and it's sequel, In All Things. The reason that I chose these two is that I feel there is a tremendous human element to them of which we Christians sometimes don't like to admit we struggle with. Pride. We struggle and make mistakes just like everyone, but since we're Christians and supposed to have it all together (pride), we don't want anyone to know (more pride). Therefore we keep it to ourselves, thinking we can handle it on our own(still more pride) and thus comes the downfall. The beautiful part to the story is that once we get over ourselves, we find is redemption.

To highlight my two books I decided to choose a couple of my favorite reviews by readers.

No Other by Shawna K. Williams is a beautifully written romance set in post WWII America. Anti-German sentiment is prevalent, and one family in particular has had to endure much hardship because if it. Now that the war is over, twenty year old Jake must brave a regular classroom in order to finish his schooling. This would have been bad enough, but he wasn't expecting to fall in love with his teacher! It's a dilemma that will test his will power and his faith.

Jake and Meri's romance is gently woven, despite their very human struggles with temptation. Williams treats every aspect of their relationship with honesty and care. There is nothing shocking or untoward for those readers of a more delicate bent, but she does not sugar coat the realities of life either. It is a refreshing look at two people in love during an era that was still naïve in many ways, but also quite hypocritically hardened.

Especially enlightening was the way Williams was able to weave the travesty of WWII internment camps into the story - not something that most proud Americans like to celebrate, but part of US history none the less. Even though this travesty is exposed, Williams purpose throughout is to gently lead the reader on a path toward forgiveness - a recurring theme that seems to be the story's foundation.

No Other is a lovely and satisfying read - not too difficult with just the right amount of poignancy to keep the reader going. Williams herself aptly describes it as "Grace Inspired". I would recommend this book to readers looking for a romance that is somewhat different than the norm, yet still delivers on the `romance-meter'.
-- Tracy Kraus
Buy it

In this sequel to "No Other", author Shawna Williams brings back all of our favorite characters, and a few that probably weren't on our favorite list. The setting for "In All Things" is about 10 years later in Hollywood, where Jakob and Meri have followed their dream, well Meri's dream. Meri, known in Hollywood as Meredith Louis, is fulfilling her dream of being an actress. She is working for Majestic Studios when the book starts. Majestic Studios is responsible for putting Jakob through school to become an architect. He has established himself as a fairly upscale builder. Shortly after the story begins, Meri quits Majestic Studios to go out on her own, to be able to take on more diverse rolls and to make a name for herself.

It's coming up on the Christmas holidays and Jakob and Meri take some time off to travel back home where Meri hopes to reconcile with her parents. They have not spoken in about 10 years, before Jakob and Meri left their home town. They both have brought inner turmoil and insecurities to their marriage. Can Jakob learn to step aside and let God have control? Can Meri realize that she may always have had what she's been looking for, right before her?

I loved this book! I really love Shawna's writing style. She can pull you into the story, where you almost feel like you are there! Her characters are not perfect. Neither are we. They have the same feelings, insecurities, flaws, etc. that each one of us has. That is what makes them so real. My heart went out to Meri. She longed for something she had already been gifted with. She had to overcome many things to get where she is at the end of the book. I especially loved the scripture that Shawna picked for this book, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).

I gave this book 5 stars. It deserves it! Read "No Other" first. It will let you meet the characters and know some of the background of the families of Jakob and Meri. Then read "In All Things" and follow the characters you've come to love!
-- Janet Thompson
Buy it

The third book in this series, The Good Fight, is schedule for release Nov. 1st 2011 by Desert Breeze Publishing.

For more about Shawna K. Williams.

God bless, everyone. Have a great remainder of the summer!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Author Interview: Tom Blubaugh

I'm honored to have Tom Blubaugh visit my blog today, and to be able to learn more about him and his new book, Night of the Cossack. (Be sure to read the book excerpt at the end of this interview)

Welcome, Tom!
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a father of six and grandfather of fourteen living in southwest Missouri with my wife Barbara. I’m retired and should have plenty of time, but I stay pretty busy and my days get away from me. An interesting thing about being retired is Monday can come any day of the week without notice (if you know what I mean).

Tell us about your writing journey.
I started writing when I was in grade school—poetry. I stopped after high school and didn’t start until after I became a Christian—age 28. I started writing nonfiction. A lot of my writing is on one of my sites Genesis Project (don’t pay attention to the grammar please). My life has not been pretty, but the Lord has molded me. Night of the Cossack is my first fiction book. I didn’t write to be published in the beginning, but a couple of people who read my story suggested I consider publishing it. I joined a local critique group and they agreed. When the manuscript was nearly finished, a friend and his wife asked me to help them develop a website for an independent publishing company they were starting. The saw the first chapter of my story on my site and read it. They asked to read the manuscript and then asked me if they could publish it. Not your usual publishing story.

Please tell us about your new book , and if it is part of a series let us know about that as well.
Both of my grandfathers died before I was born. I know very little about either of them, however, I know my maternal grandfather was a Russian Cossack soldier. This fascinated me. I had about three other pieces of information about him so I started doing some research? The information I had appeared to be accurate and I started writing. I’m working on the sequel now.

Do you have a favorite scene in your book? Would you care to share and excerpt at the end of this interview.
I haven’t really thought about this, but I suppose one of my favorites is when he proved to the company of Cossacks that he was a good marksman. Sure, I’d be happy to share it with your readers. (The excerpt is posted at the end of the interview.)

What do you like most about your main characters?
Nathan was a victim, but he became a survivor and more. He grew into a man through all the twists and turns of his life. He stayed true to his morals.

Who is your favorite author?
James Scott Bell

What do you enjoy doing when you aren't writing?
Hanging out with my wife and family; reading other Christian fiction writers; playing with my cat, Blacky; socializing with friends; playing horse shoes; and watching movies.

Where can readers buy your books?
Amazon.com; barnesandnoble.com; nightofthecossack.com

Excerpt:

Stepan wondered why he would need Nikolai. He looked toward Vasile, who smiled and winked.

Stepan winked and smiled back. Placing his rifle between his knees, he opened his hunting bag. A noise behind made him jump. Turning, he was surprised to see Ludvig along with what looked to be the entire camp walking out of the woods. His hands shook.

Vasile stepped close to Stepan. “Don’t worry. You’ve shot in front of an audience many times. Pretend you’re back in the village.”

Stepan relaxed. Closing his eyes he imagined he was back in Gagra. All his friends were there. Smiling to himself, he turned his attention back to his rifle. It was unloaded and working properly. Pulling the hammer back halfway, he examined the nipple. Clean. Wiping his forehead, he checked the wind. He poured some powder into his hand. Dry. Using a brass measure, he scooped it up, transferring it to the barrel. He pulled a cloth patch from his pouch, placed it over the end of the barrel, and put a lead ball on it. He trimmed the excess cloth and rammed the patch and ball down the barrel. The mark on the ramrod showed they were solidly placed.

“How’re you feeling?” asked Vasile.

“A little nervous.”

“You can do this. You’ve made more difficult shots.”

“I know, but it’s not the same.” A bead of sweat rolled down his nose and dripped onto his hand.

“You won’t miss. Now focus on our village.”

Stepan turned his thoughts back to the village.

Kirill returned. “It’s on a boulder, about a meter off the ground.” He pointed.

Stepan followed Krill’s finger and saw his target.

Nikolai stepped close to Stepan. “This is the moment of truth, little man. Are you ready to show us what a marksman you are?”

Stepan nodded. He tilted his head back. Closing his eyes, he felt the sun. The breeze cooled his face. He drew three deep breaths. Relax. The water lapped the shore, the birds sang, and the branches rustled. There were no other sounds. Slowly opening his eyes, he let them find his target.

He reached in his bag. His fingers found a percussion cap. He fixed the cap on the nipple. A young White Birch tree grew to his right. He placed the barrel in a fork of the tree that was chin high. He positioned the barrel, balanced the gun, and set the butt of the rifle against his right shoulder. He settled his feet and dug the soles of his boots into the dirt. He looked again to find his target. Slowly, he cocked the hammer. Closing his eyes, he whispered, “God, help me.”
He took a deep breath, looked down the long barrel across the sight, and found his mark. His right eye focused on the bottle. The barrel moved slightly above and to the right of the object. Closing his left eye, he checked the sight. He took a deep breath, held it, and slowly squeezed the trigger.

The gun roared, the bottle disintegrated, and the men’s cheers filled the air.

“Thank you, God,” he whispered.

He brought the rifle to half cock, removed what was left of the cap, and blew through the vent of the nipple. Then he wiped down the barrel. Looking at Vasile, he smiled. Nikolai stepped forward and slapped him on the back.

“Not bad,” said Nikolai. Shaking his head, he repeated, “Not bad.”
***
For more about Tom please visit:
or check out his facebook page

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mistaken Indentity by K. Dawn Byrd

Author K. Dawn Byrd visits this week to tell about her newest release, Mistaken Identity. Enjoy!

Book blurb: Eden Morgan longs for a boyfriend of her own, an impossible goal when her best friend, Lexi Branson, gets all the attention and all the guys. When they fall in love with the same guy, Eden believes she doesn't have a chance. She can only hope that sometimes the good girl gets the guy.How did t

How did this story come to you?
Sometimes I get the strangest ideas! I wondered what would happen if a not-as-pretty good Christian girl and her gorgeous non-Christian best friend fell in love with the same guy. Who would get the guy?

Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
I had already published several book with Desert Breeze Publishing when they opened a young adult line. I'd been writing romantic suspense and thought it would fun to try my hand at a young adult novel. It was so much fun that I'm signing a contract for a young adult mystery series that will debut in January.

Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
1) I own two hairless Chinese Crested dogs.
2) I love sour things....pickles, lemons, sour candy.
3) I used to ride a Harley, but gave it up in order to have more time to write. (My husband always wanted to stay out way too long and take the scenic route home. He still has his bike, but I don't miss mine at all.)

What are you working on now and what's next for you?I'm editing my October release with Desert Breeze. This Time for Keeps is an inspirational romance.

Parting comments? Thank you for hosting me! For those of you who love Christian fiction, please check my blog for weekly book giveaways. I interview 3-5 authors a week who give away their books. www.kdawnbyrd.blogspot.com

Where can fans find you on the internet?

Links:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geWeGQ6Ueu4
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-178/K-Dawn-Byrd-Mistaken/Detail.bok
www.kdawnbyrd.com
www.kdawnbyrd.blogspot.com

I'm also on Twitter (kdawnbyrd) and facebook (K Dawn Byrd.) I am the moderator of the Christian Fiction Gathering facebook group (http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=128209963444) If you join this group, you'll get reminders about the weekly book giveways.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Author Interview: Karen Baney

Today I have the privilege of introducing author Karen Baney. Karen is the author of two Christian Historical fiction books, with more on the way. Welcome Karen!
Tell us a little about yourself?
I just recently celebrated my 11th wedding anniversary to my wonderful hubby, Jim. We met on Leap Day in 2000 and got married just a few months later. (When you know it’s right, it’s right). We have two adorable dogs, Max and Ginger.



Tell us about your writing journey. What led you to do this?
For several years I thought about writing, but never really wrote more than a few devotionals. Then in early 2010, I experienced a string of unexpected health problems. As a result of that time, I grew closer to God. I knew that he had not called me to be a mother, so I asked him what he was calling me to do. He said, “Write.” So I started with “A Dream Unfolding,” and just kept going.


Please tell us a little about your book. Is it part of a series?
“A Dream Unfolding,” is the first in my Prescott Pioneers Series. It is a great story about trusting God in difficult places. The main characters (Drew, Hannah, and Will) have to learn to adapt as their own versions of tragedy strike. Their first dream might not become reality so they must learn to accept a new dream as it unfolds.
The second book in the series, “A Heart Renewed,” follows some of the characters we meet in the first book as they learn to let God heal their deepest hurts. I am currently writing the third book, “A Life Restored,” and I have two additional books planned in the series.


What message to you hope readers will take from it?
I pray that each book I write will show my readers some aspect of God in a tangible way. I have learned so much about Him over the years and I continue to learn. I just want to share those things with my readers through believable, imperfect characters. I hope readers will be encouraged that even when they are going through tough times, God is still here and he still cares.


Where do you find inspiration for your writing, and how did the idea for this book (and series) come to you?
When I started the first book, I knew I wanted to do something set in Prescott, Arizona. I love the place and have visited numerous times over the past 14 years. It’s a charming town that has such a Midwestern feel to it—so different from the stucco and cookie cutter homes of the Phoenix area. I also knew what the climax of the book would be—I just didn’t know how to fit it all together.
In the end, the research I found about the birth of Prescott led to the idea for the first book. Readers will see it in the many historical details woven into the story. Since some of the characters in the first book end up traveling with the first territorial governor of Arizona, the story leant itself to relaying so many real historical events. The other books in the series, while still including many historical facts, do so in a more subdued way—more as a backdrop to the story.


Do you have a favorite scene from your book, and why is it your favorite? Care to share an excerpt?
Picking a favorite that doesn’t give away too much of the story is hard, because my favorite scene would totally ruin the book for you (but you’ll know it when you read it). So I chose a scene with my favorite character instead. I love the following excerpt because it shows the intense stress Will faced. As the rancher, he was responsible for getting everyone to their destination safely, but he and his men have encountered a number of obstacles.

The dust stirring from the cattle stung Will’s tired eyes. In the two days since the Indian attack, he slept not more than an hour or two. Even his exhaustion could not diminish the bright pink and orange streaks splaying across the horizon, chasing the last remnants of night from the sky. God must have known he needed the little bit of peace that always rose up from his soul when witnessing such a glorious sunrise.
Other than this brief moment, peace seemed a distant friend—the kind that never wrote. The burdensome responsibility he bore ushered the refreshing peace to the corner of his heart. His men needed him to stay strong. He had to do whatever it takes to get them and the cattle to the Arizona Territory safely.
Only things weren’t exactly going as planned. With one man buried on the side of the trail two days ride behind them, and another looking like he might soon join his friend, Will fought against the strong sense of failure pushing through his fatigue. If given the choice, he would rather have both men healthy and in the saddle. No one wanted to be attacked by Indians.
Nevertheless, they had been. And now it was his job to pick up the pieces and get everyone to the next milestone—Santa Fe—as quickly and safely as possible.
How could he do that when every tired muscle begged him to slip from his horse and sleep the day away?
Stifling a groan of frustration, Will turned his horse from the flank of the herd to camp. Maybe his mind would function better once his stomach was full.
Pulling the chestnut mare to a stop next to the other horses, he dismounted in a wobbly manner, his feet almost buckling under him. Resting his hand on the horn of his saddle, he steadied himself before unbuckling the straps. Lifting the saddle from the horse, he carried it away as Covington took over the horse’s care.
Tossing his saddle on the ground, Will fought against the temptation to lie down without breakfast. Instead, he forced his feet towards the makeshift table where Snake dished out breakfast.
As he neared the table, a flash of silver caught his eye. Owens worked quickly to stash the flask, but not before it registered in Will’s foggy brain.
Slamming his palm down on the table, Will said, through gritted teeth, “Owens! What do you think you are doing?”
Feigning innocence, Owens just shrugged.
In no mood to deal with insolent behavior, Will leaned forward into the man’s face. The smell of alcohol invaded his senses. “I will not have my men drinking on the trail!”
“Calm down, boss. I’m not on until this afternoon. How else do you expect me to fall asleep in broad daylight?” Owens said, his eyes narrowing to tiny slits.
Adrenaline shot through Will’s body, bringing him fully awake. He struggled not to hit the man as he tested Will’s resolve. Reaching his hand to Owens’ inside vest pocket, Will took the flask, opened it, and dumped the contents into the dirt. Then he handed the empty flask back to Owens.
“I expect my men to have a clear head while we’re on the trail.”
Owens’ face turned beet red. When he started to stand, Whitten clapped his hand down on his shoulder. The forthcoming response died on Owens’ tongue when Whitten shook his head in warning. At least the fool listened to his friend, Will thought, walking from the scene.
Splashing cold water over his face, Will blotted the soothing liquid away with the sleeve of his shirt. For a brief moment he closed his eyes, calming his temper before he did something stupid, like firing Owens. Replacing his Stetson on top of his head, he took the bowl of grits Snake offered. Leaning against the chuck wagon, some distance from his men, he ate slowly. Exhaustion tugged at him. Lord, I just need to make it to Santa Fe. Give me the strength to get us there.

What about characters. Do you identify with one more than the other?
Will is my favorite character in the story. He’s a single guy who lived under the shadow of an overbearing older brother. Though he was content with his life, his circumstances changed unexpectedly. He is a good leader to his men, but he has a bit of a temper problem. Even though he’s changed a lot from the man he used to be, he still struggles with being the man he wants to be.


I understand you self-publish your books. Tell us a little about that.
Well, I decided to self-publish after doing a great deal of research about both traditional publishing and self-publishing. Self-publishing appealed to me because I get to set my own schedule and I retain full control of the book. It’s tough at times to be solely responsible for the outcome of my books. I love business (have a Masters in Business Administration) and so I enjoy the business aspect of selling and marketing my books almost as much as writing them. One of the benefits of self-publishing is that I get to retain a much bigger percentage of the royalties—that’s why I can afford to sell the ebook versions for $2.99 instead of the $9.99 of most major publishing houses.


Do you have a favorite author or book that has impacted your life?
Most of the books I read are Christian Historical Fiction. But a few years ago, I started branching out into some Christian Suspense. I received Terri Blackstock’s Restoration Series for Christmas one year and I devoured those books. I loved how she took a bunch of everyday modern Americans and tossed them into a situation where they had to live for years without any modern conveniences—no power, no cars, no mass produced food. I walked away from reading those books with a new perspective on how incredibly blessed we are in this country and how we take it for granted to easily.


What do you do enjoy doing in you spare time?
Writing is what I do in my spare time. I work full-time as a Software Engineer, then I come home, kiss my hubby and pet my dogs, and lock myself in my office to write. Oh, maybe it’s not that harsh. But, I do spend a ton of time writing. I also try to carve out enough time to read at least one book for fun each week. Photography is another passion. I love going to cool museums with my hubby and my camera. Check out the photo gallery on my website for some neat historical things (coffee grinders, carriages, ranch house, and much more).


Where can readers buy your book and where can they learn more about you?
Please visit my website: http://www.karenbaney.com/ to learn more about me, my books, and the history of Arizona in the 1860’s.
My books are available on Amazon (paperback & kindle), Barnes & Noble (nook), Apple iBooks, Diesel, Kobo, Sony eReader, and Smashwords. Links to purchase are included on my website.




Thank you so much for visiting Karen! Later in the week Karen will be guest blogging again about the ins and outs of self-publishing. More and more authors are considering this route and Karen has some great information, so check back.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Author Interview: Sherry Chamblee

I'm really delighted today to introduce Sherry Chamblee. Sherry is the author of Babel, a historical novel set in Old Testament times. The premise of this book is unique, and as I read more about it from Sherry's interview I found myself becoming so intrigued that I'd like to offer three free downloads in a drawing. All you have to do is leave an encouraging comment and a means to contact (email or facebook) to enter the drawing. But be sure to read more about Sherry and her book, Babel, first!

Tell us a little about yourself?I am married to a wonderful man named Richard, and we have six children. We live in the San Fernando Valley of southern California with a cat named Happy.


Tell us about your writing journey. What led you to do this?Some of my very earliest memories are of telling myself stories, yet for some reason I did not start writing them down until I was much older. I always loved to read, and through books I found that I was transported to other worlds and places. Finally I began writing my stories down during a trying time in my life, and found that it was an incredible stress-reliever for me. When my husband first saw some of my writing he was very encouraging. Because of him I have kept working on my writing.


Please tell us a little about your new book.Babel is a story that developed over years. For quite a long time I had wanted to write a story set in Old Testament times, surrounding a Bible story, but not involving Bible characters. The Tower of Babel especially has always fascinated me, there seem to be so many mysteries surrounding it. My book is about two people who find themselves wrapped up in a generations-long struggle surrounding the building of the Tower of Babel - the original conspiracy theory. Jaiyl, a young girl from a mysterious family, has secrets of her own that she is too afraid to reveal. When she meets Van, a young man from a remote mountain village, she must decide if she can trust him with all her secrets. Together they must learn to trust God and each other, while they fight to save those they love.


Where do you find inspiration for your writing, and how did the ideas for these books come to you?I find inspiration everywhere. Sometimes an idea comes to me from an experience in my own life, or observing other people. One story has come from genealogical research of my ancestors, and others have come just from letting my imagination wander.


What message do you hope readers will take from it?The message I would hope readers see in Babel is that God’s love overcomes all obstacles, but not always in the way we plan. Oftentimes God’s plan looks nothing like our own, yet it’s always for the best. I’ve learned that people will come away with different messages though, sometimes things that I didn’t envision even while writing the book.


Do you have a favorite scene from your book, and why is it your favorite? There’s quite a few different scenes I really enjoyed writing. Usually they were the ones I think of as funny, showing a lighter side to this story. In real life people can find humor in the midst of trying situations, and that is what I wanted to show.


Care to share an excerpt? This isn’t a humorous excerpt, but it is one that I liked writing. She watched Thad at his table, writing by the light of a candle, and Jaiyl felt almost as if she had been transported back in time. The dark little cabin, filled with the smell of musty books, burning oil, and ink reminded her of another place and another time. The old prophet looked enough like her long ago friend Micah that she stopped and gasped in alarm, almost believing that Josiah might run in behind her with his sisters and brothers, laughing and joking. Quick tears leaped into her eyes, which she hastily wiped away hoping Van had not seen them. She watched in awe as Thad placed his quill down, picked up another and wrote a single word, then discarded the new quill and took up the first one again. She immediately knew that Thad must be of the same family, one who belonged to God, another like Micah and Rachel and Josiah.


When she could speak again she quietly approached the old man’s side.


"You write?" Jaiyl asked.


"Yes."


"Important things?"

"Oh yes, all-important."

"Are you a recorder?"

"Yes, of sorts....perhaps more accurately - a preserver."

"What do you preserve?"

"Signs, clues to the riddle."

"Riddle?"

"The riddle of the Tower."

Jaiyl paused at Thad's mention of a tower, seeming to recognize and accept something significant in Thad's answer.

"Ahh yes, that riddle," she continued. "Do you have the answer yet?"

At her question Thad looked up sharply. Seeming to actually take notice of Jaiyl for the first time he said, "Not quite, but almost..."

"I see."

Thad stayed silent for a moment, looking into Jaiyl’s eyes, then searching her form, gaze coming to rest on a curious golden bracelet she wore on her left wrist. Seeing his interest in it, Jaiyl twisted the delicate band to show him the symbol of who she was. What seemed like an age ago, Jaiyl had almost left the bracelet behind in her tent in the desert, but something had compelled her to keep it. She was still not sure if that had been a wise choice, and even now knew she was taking a chance in revealing herself to this stranger.

Thad looked shocked and suddenly guarded. “I have seen you in the scrolls.”


Plans for anything new?Right now I’m working on the sequel for Babel. It still has some development to do before it’s ready. I’ve also got some short stories, one is about a youth pastor that finds himself in the middle of a murder mystery. I’ve also got a young adult series I’m working on involving a college girl that solves mysteries and gets into all sorts of trouble while she’s doing it.

Do you have a favorite author or book that has impacted your life?I have read quite a few Janette Oke books, and I would say she impacted my decision to start writing. Her books are easy to read, about simple people, simple times, but engaging characters.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?I like to garden, make quilts, and of course read when I get a chance.

Where can readers buy your book and where can they learn more about you?My book is available on Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/35403 where it can be downloaded for Nook, Kindle, Palm Doc, as a PDF, LRF, RTF, Plain Text, or viewed as a webpage. It can also be bought directly through Amazon Kindle. I can be reached at chamblees@juno.com, or on my blog at http://schamblee.tumblr.com/

1970 Olds 442

Welcome!

If you're curious about the story behind the name of my blog, click on the car. :)