Friday, August 31, 2007

When The Nile Runs Red - Part 1

As a writer, I'm totally blessed because I'm surrounded by honest-to-goodness published authors who want to share their knowledge and expertise on how they've accomplished this seemingly impossible task. My blog overflowed in August with answers to the burning questions you've always wanted to ask those authors we admire so much.

Well, ladies and gentleman, to start September off with a bang, another of my writer friends is stopping by for a two-day chat. Let me introduce you to her. DiAnn Mills launched her career in 1998 with the publication of her first book. Currently she has over forty books in print and has sold more than a million copies.

DiAnn believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure.” Her desire is to show characters solving real problems of today from a Christian perspective through a compelling story.

Her latest book, When The Nile Runs Red, is set for a September 2007 release date. Here's an excerpt from the back cover:

Paul Farid was once a member of the royal family who openly persecuted any Sudanese who failed to practice Islam. Now he’s a Christian who puts his life on the line to aid the persecuted Sudanese. His wife, Larson, is a doctor committed to giving her life for peace.

Colonel Ben Alier has fought for twenty-one years against the government’s mandates to control the oil, religion, slavery, and politics of Sudan. He neither trusts nor rests any hope in the newly formed government.

Ben’s health deteriorates while Larson finds out she is going to have a baby. Their worlds collide, and as the relational tensions escalate so does the physical danger.

Please click on the link below. It will take you to a promo for When the Nile Runs Red.
Thanks DiAnn for visiting. I'll see you tomorrow for our interview.

Monday, August 27, 2007


I'm pleased to announce to my readers another book I highly recommend. It Gone With The Groom by Janice A. Thompson. In my blog today, she's come to visit and share a snippet about her newly released book. She'll also answer some questions about herself and her writing journey. Janice is a dear friend of mine, and I'm blessed to have her in my life.

So, family and friends, sit back and enjoy getting to know my special friend.


The best laid plans of brides and men go awry when Annie Peterson’s future son-in law Scott disappears. Have pre-wedding jitters caused Brandi’s fiancĂ© to take flight, or are more sinister forces at work? Annie puts her super-sleuth powers to work, feverishly racing against the wedding day clock to find her daughter’s missing fiancĂ©.

Has Scott been silenced by the big pharmaceutical company for which he works? Perhaps his disappearance is the handiwork of Otis, Scott’s sneaky dad. But then again it could be the shady wedding photographer or even a sideshow of the political campaign of Scott’s mother.

Will Annie solve the mystery and recover the missing groom in time for the couple to say their wedding vows? Find out in Gone with the Groom.

Author Janice A. Thompson lives in the Houston area. In 2004, her two oldest daughters both received proposals within weeks of each other. The weddings came off without a hitch! Janice has since coordinated weddings for friends and is thrilled to incorporate many of her adventures into her novels.

1. What book is coming next?

There will be three more Annie Peterson mysteries after this one: PUSHING UP DAISIES, THE PERFECT MATCH, and CATERING TO DISASTER. They will all be released as part of the new mystery line at Barbour Publishing (Heartsong Presents Mysteries).

2. What book are you working on now?

I just turned in a Heartsong romance titled WHITE AS SNOW – about a young woman who can’t stand football. She lives in the Pittsburgh area, and eventually (of course!) falls in love with a professional football player. I had a lot of fun writing this one. Why, you ask? Because I’m not a football fan! Figure skating, yes! Gymnastics, of course! Football. . .are you kidding? Beyond that, I'm nearing completion on another Heartsong titled OUT OF THE BLUE (a contemporary set in the Amish country). When I finish that one, I wrap up my (first ever!) book for Steeple Hill, titled BOOM TOWN.

3. What book are you reading now?

I just read my friend Kathleen Y'Barbo's awesome book WEDDING BLISS (from Heartsong Presents). She's got an amazing sense of humor and really cracks me up! I also read Allison Pittman's beautifully written second book SPEAK THROUGH THE WIND. When I have free time (usually in the wee hours of the night), I'm reading a wonderful non-fiction book about the life of the Amish (as research).

4. How do you deal with your other obligations (family, church, etc.) when it’s crunch time near deadlines?

This has been a tough year for me. During the writing of GONE WITH THE GROOM, I lost my father to bone marrow cancer. It was an awful time for our family. Then, the week before the book was due, my married daughter (Randi) became very ill during her 33rd week of pregnancy and the baby (Madysen) had to be delivered early. She was only four and a half pounds, but (thank God!) is just fine now. Then, about the time the book went to the edit stage, my sister passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly. As I began marketing the book, one of my best friends suddenly passed away. Then, when I was nearing the end of a ghost-writing project I fell down some stairs and broke my ankle (requiring surgery). It seems like every time a tragedy strikes, I’m on some sort of deadline. I don’t resent that fact, (though at times it’s tough to keep going). I find the writing to be a blessing, particularly in light of the fact that I “need” the humor of light-weight stories like GONE WITH THE GROOM to bring a smile to my face. God always helps me with the obligations/deadlines part. I’m totally dependent on Him for those things. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

5. What’s your favorite worship song, and why?

I change favorite worship songs routinely. Right now I'm enthralled with a song by Hillsongs titled "Mighty to Save." You'll find the lyrics below.

Everyone needs compassion
A love that's never failing
Let mercy fall on me
Everyone needs forgiveness
A kindness of a Savior
The hope of nations

My Savior
He can move the mountains
My God is Mighty to save
He is Mighty to save
Author of salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave

So take me as You find me
All my fears and failures
Fill my life again
I give my life to follow
Everything i believe in
Now i surrender

Shine your light and let the whole world see
We're singing for the glory of the risen King...Jesus

Trust me when I say that it is possible for God to move the mountains. I've watched Him do it time and time again.

6. What do you crave (beverage or food) when you have writer’s stress?

I am addicted to Diet Dr. Pepper. And when I’m really needing a treat, I turn to Earl Grey tea (like Annie Peterson) or even Chai Latte. When all else fails, I reach for a piece of cheesecake.

7. Where did you birth the idea for this book (and the series)? When? How did it come about?

Did any of the experiences in the story happen to you personally?
I have four daughters in their 20’s. Two of them got married in 2004 within four and a half months of each other. It was a stressful time, but I always knew I’d eventually be able to use the information in a story. Just about the time I thought I could rest, my third daughter got engaged. Her wedding just took place six weeks ago. Three down, one to go! As for how I decided to turn these books into mysteries (instead of traditional romances)… I asked myself the question, “What would you do if you had to pay for two weddings and didn’t have the money to do so?” Out of that, the first book (THE WEDDING CAPER) was born. After that, I got to thinking, “What would you do if the groom disappeared just before the wedding?) Out of that, GONE WITH THE GROOM was born. And so on, and so forth.

8. If your book was turned into a movie, who would play the main characters?

Wow. Never thought about that before. Who would play Annie Peterson? If she were still alive, I might pick someone funny like Madeline Kahn. If she were younger, maybe Carol Burnett? Diane Keaton might work, (though, Annie is really only turning 50, so even Diane might be a bit too old). As for the twin daughters, I think it would be fun to have someone like Jennifer Garner play dual roles. Or, hey…what about the Olsen twins? They could split the workload, and they’re about the right age. As for the husband (Warren) I wouldn’t want to go for anyone terribly famous, because I wouldn’t want him to outshine Annie. For Sheila? Someone quirky like Bette Midler or even Kathy Bates would do – in flamboyant colors, of course.

9. Which one of your characters is most like you, and why do you say that?

I’m a lot like Annie Peterson, truth be told. I find myself “in over my head” a lot, and I tend to think I can solve most any problem. She’s going through some empty nest issues, and I can certainly relate to that. Like Annie I also find myself turning to God for the real answers. I’d like to say I’m funny like Sheila, but I patterned that character after my best friend Kay, who always keeps me laughing. Kay is always coming up with funny sayings, and all-the-more, now that she knows I need material for Sheila to use.

10. What do you want your readers to know about you?

I love God with my whole heart, and no matter what troubles come my way, (no matter what mysteries I need to solve) I will never ever give up on my faith. Never. I will keep on keeping on, no matter what!

Janice A. Thompson
"Love, Laughter, and Happily Ever Afters"

Gone with the Groom (Barbour Publishing)
Sugar and Grits (Barbour Publishing)

Thank you, Janice, for stopping by. I hope everyone enjoyed getting know you. It's a joy to spend time with you, and I love ya, girlfriend.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Never Too Old

I attended a funeral of a friend today. Normally sadness fills the faces of the one's paying respect, but today I noticed radiant smiles. I knew each were remembering how the 93 year old man brightened their day by just wheeling in on his little red cart. The big grin on Henry's face told us he was glad to see us.

Henry lived every day to its fullest. I don't believe he wasted a second God gave him. He liked to share some of his experiences with us in his writer's groups. We loved hearing each and every story he wrote. Listening to him read, and then witnessing his tears as they trickled down his cheeks, put my troubles into perspective. I no longer felt sorry for myself.

Henry lived his life as a true reflection of the Lord. Never shy in his sharing of his beliefs with others. Honestly, I don't think he cared if he might not be "politically" correct. His philosophy - he had a message and he was going to proclaim it.

Henry lived and I'm glad I could call him my friend. Boy, am I going to miss him, but my life's forever changed because I knew him.


PS: You're never too old - start living today!!!!!

Monday, August 13, 2007


Today my blog is featuring a very SPECIAL guest. Allison Bottke has stopped by for a chat while she's on her international blog tour. Most of you know her from her God Allows U-Turns anthologies, but Allison is also published as a fiction author now. I've just finished her 2nd book, "One Little Secret." Once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. The minute I finished her 2nd book, I ran out and bought her 1st one, "A Stitch In Time." Again, I'm having trouble getting anything else done. I want to keep reading her book.

But this blog isn't about me today - it's about Allison. She going to answer some questions concerning her writing life and how she's done it and reached the goal all of us writers want - PUBLISHDOM. Now, all my writer friends, get your pens ready. You'll want to take notes.

Allison, what is one piece of advice can you give a new (and not-so-new) writer to keep them writing day after day?

I know it sounds so incredibly droll and simple, but never give up and don’t take “no” for an answer! I kept at it and kept at it and kept at it. Recrafting my proposals and rewriting my first book. I got my start in non-fiction, but always in the back of my mind was the dream of one day writing fiction. However, more important would be to not compare yourself to another writer. There is always going to be someone better, someone smarter, someone more literary, someone more photogenic on the back of their book, and yada, yada, yada. But there is only ever going to be one you!

Janetta, some of your readers may know this about me, but for those who don’t, the fact I’ve been published at all boggles my mind. I’m a high school drop out with a ninth grade education and a GED. I quit school after the 9th grade to run away from home and get married. I was going to live happily ever after in my fairy tale dream. But that’s NOT what happened.

That said, writing is not about formal education, or who you know, or how long you’ve been at it. It’s about perseverance and risk and belief in yourself—and knowing that inevitably, God will make a way where there seems to be no way.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received, which kept you writing?

Never give up. If writing is truly my passion—then I must persevere through whatever comes my way.

If someone told you tomorrow you had to give up writing, could you?

Hmmmm, I guess it would depend on who was doing the asking and why. If I felt deep in my heart and soul that my husband or children were suffering—or if my own health depended on it—then yes, I could give it up—to save our lives. However, a question like that is tough, because so much depends on the circumstances.

If not, why?

If I’ve learned anything it’s to never say never. Although writing has been my passion since I was old enough to hold a pencil, and I do feel it’s the gift God has blessed me with to communicate, I would never say that I couldn’t give it up. I sure wouldn’t want to if I had the choice, but we just never know what may happen in life, do we?

How would you convince the person who is asking you to quit to let you continue writing?

To “let me?” I’m an adult, and therefore able to make my own decisions—other than God, no one has to “let me” do anything. Therefore, if someone in my life is insisting I give up my passion, or giving me an ultimatum, I’m afraid there is a dynamic involved in the relationship that is far more critical than my writing. The issue wouldn’t be to “convince” them, the issue would be to get to the bottom of what is causing the ultimatum in the first place.

What was the WORST critique/rejection you've ever received?

I can’t recall any—now don’t get me wrong—that’s not to say I have not been criticized, I know that I have—many times. However, I choose not to let negative comments linger in my mind for too long. Negativity serves no purpose in helping me to reach my goals or to achieve my dreams. Therefore, I made the choice a long time ago to NOT allow negativity to control me or my thought world. My mom instilled in me an ability to always see the glass as half full and not half empty and “half empty thoughts” serve no purpose in my world.

Who has mentored you in your writing career?

I have been incredibly blessed. Although I’m not sure I would call all of my “teachers” mentors, per say, I have studied under many of today’s bestselling CBA authors. I began attending writer’s conferences as an instructor, and while there I was able to take classes as a student with some amazing novelists who generously shared their craft in workshop sessions. I soaked up everything I could about how to write fiction—taking notes—buying tapes—listening over and over again to teachers like Angela Hunt, Gayle Roper, Brandilyn Collins, James Scott Bell, Jack Cavanaugh, Lauraine Snelling, and Tracie Peterson. It was after taking a 3-day long intensive workshop with Tracie Peterson that I was able to fine-tune my work-in-progress and submit it with a proposal to Bethany House. The rest, as they say, is history. Bethany House signed me to write two novels and the whirlwind began.

Do you belong to a specific writer's group?

I do not. But I’m moving to the Dallas area of Texas at the end of this month and I’ve already connected with some writers in the area and hopefully I’ll join a group this fall.

I know you speak at conferences, but do you still attend them? If you do, which ones?

Alas, my schedule does not allow me to attend conferences outside of the ones at which I speak and teach. However, one of the amazing perks of speaking or teaching at writer’s conferences is the ability to attend classes during your available times. That is how I was able to take so many fiction writing classes from the masters over the years. I’ve particularly enjoyed the Jerry Jenkins Writing for the Soul Conference, the Glorietta Christian Writers Conference, the Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference, The Colorado Christian Writer’s Conference, The Seattle Pacific Writers Conference, the Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference and the Write to Publish Conference in Wheaton, Illinois. But there are countless writers’ conferences being held all over this great country.

Is goal setting important to your writing?

Absolutely! In fact, I teach a class on Strategic Planning for your writing career, and setting definitive goals is vital in this business. Also, thinking about our writing career as a “business” is also vital. I have a series of teaching teleseminars available as MP3 downloads on my web site called: CLEAN UP YOUR ACT. This is a 4-part series that includes strategic planning and developing goals and visions for where we want to take our career. Your readers can find out more about those audio downloads and handouts here:

What does a typical writing day look like for you? Are you a morning person, or do you burn the midnight oil?

Funny, the older I get the earlier I go to bed at night. But on the flip side is that I’m now waking up at 4:30 or 5:00 AM every morning. That said, I like to start working very early in the day when my mind is fresh and alert. I will occasionally burn the midnight oil during tense times of deadlines, but I try to shut off my computer when my husband gets home from work in the evening. He’s an entrepreneur and works long hours, he’s a work-a-holic like me, and so his schedule isn’t exactly a 9 to 5 kind of thing.

Allison, you've published numerous God Allows U Turns compilations, but what did you do to celebrate the release of your FIRST novel, "A Stitch in Time"?

I know it’s frivolous, but I bought a Mary Frances designer handbag embellished with purses and shoes and accessories. It looks like “Dee,” and it makes me smile and thank God for the ability to be working in this crazy business of writing and publishing every time I use it.


Is there anything you’d like to share with my readers that I haven’t asked you about?

I encourage your readers to tell me what they think about One Little Secret. I really do want to hear reader feedback. I’m working on my next novel to release in summer of 2009 and I take to heart reader comments. They can reach me here: and please, I’d love to invite everyone to participate in the Hollywood Casting Call Contest where a lucky winner can win an all expense paid trip to Hollywood! Visit my web site and select the actors and actresses you think would make the best lead characters in One Little Secret! Check it out here:

And …we have a monthly newsletter that we call a “Dream-Zine,” I’d love to invite your readers to subscribe:

We also have a co-authored blog with six best selling authors blogging each and every day – BOOMER BABES WITH BRILLIANT DREAMS:

However, more important than that is my final word of the day…and that is for your readers to take the risk and reach for their dreams! God has placed a desire in your heart—He has given you special gifts—and he wants you to use them. No matter how old we are—there is still time to discover God’s purpose for our life—and to make the choices that will change the story of our life.

Thank you, Allison, for stopping by my blog today. May God bless you on your writing journey. Please continue penning the words the Lord gives you so readers like myself can devour them.