Friday, September 26, 2008

A Self-Published Success Story

A few weeks ago I posted a review of Linore Rose Burkard's Christian regency romance, Before the Season Ends. She self-published her novel, then Harvest House offered her a contract. The book, will be re-released in December.

Go Here to see the new Harvest House cover.

Below is the interesting interview with Linore. In a few more days I will post the interview with her editor, Nick Harrison of Harvest House, which I believe will be of great interest to all historical writers.

Now, here is Linore Rose Burkard.

1. Your book, Before the Season Ends, was self-published three years ago and managed to grab the attention of someone at Harvest House, a Christian publisher who bought the rights and is releasing it in December. How did that come about?

Once I self-published, Melanie, I took courses on promoting and marketing, and I just went out there and started establishing a web presence as best I could. I joined forums, chat groups, any group I could find that had some link to my book ( an Inspirational Regency Romance), started a web site, newsletter, and wrote articles to spread over the web via article banks. At the same time, I began networking and making friends. No one succeeds entirely on their own, but there are things every author must do on their own to get that web presence going, and I did what I could.

2. What inspired you to create these memorable characters and the fun, fast-paced plot of Before the Season Ends?

I was influenced primarily by Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen. I wanted desperately to read a book that had the fun and some of the wit of those authors while also offering a refreshing, Christian worldview. After waiting years for that book to appear on the shelves, one day it me hit that if I was ever going to read the book, I'd have to write it, myself! So I wrote the kind of book I was looking for, and apparently lots of other people were happy to find it existed, once I did. (By God's grace!) It's fun, adventurous, historical, and combines innocence and smarts in the heroine in just the right amounts.

3. Your book has a style that I would characterize as unconventional. Can you explain your reasons for writing as you do?

I think you're nicely trying to say that I head-hop a lot! And yes, I do. I see my scenes like a movie playing in front of me, and when you see all your characters at once this way, you want to share how each of them are feeling in the scene, just like in a movie. I like the "dimensional" feeling this gives to a scene, and the reality that no one lives in a vacuum. Lots of time, the only humor in a scene lies in getting the reaction to something by other people, not the main character, and I'm always looking for that humorous side to things.

4. I hear you're working on a sequel. Who and what is it about and when will it be available?

Well, I can't give too much of a spoiler, since Before the Season Ends is about to reach a much wider audience when the Harvest House edition comes out. But I can say that the characters people come to love in the first book are in the sequel, and that the story is full of action. I think my books sort of "snowball"--that is, they may start out seeming calm, but once things get rolling, they increase in speed until the end, when it all comes to a head. I like to think this makes them more and more fun as they go along, and other people seem to confirm this in their responses and reviews. The House in Grosvenor Square is especially that way. It's another London Regency adventure/romance and lots of fun.

5. How did you learn the craft of writing, and what advice can you give aspiring authors?

The best way to learn to write is to do it. Don't stop working on a piece until it says exactly what you want it to. And take lots of time before you judge a piece. Put it down and out of your sight for as long as you can. If you're not published yet, and you can't tell if your book is any good, put it away. Don't even think about it! (Except perhaps for getting other opinions.) When you pick it up again, and you're really removed from the story, you'll know soon enough, when reading it fresh, if it grabs you or not. If you enjoy it, chances are others will too. I know I have a winner when I'm reading something I started quite awhile ago, and then it stops--and I'm like, "Hey! I want to read the rest of this!" I actually get annoyed at myself for not finishing things when I'm reading and really enjoying the story--and then it ends abruptly. If you don't get that sort of reaction, keep editing or writing new things until you do.

6. Your bio says you homeschooled your five children and your ninety-year-old grandmother lives with you. What is your day like? How do you find time to write?

One of the blessings of having grown up in a large family is that I can go in and out of concentration with little effort. I can work with things going on around me. There are times when I really need an extended period of quiet, but usually I can hop right back into whatever scene or article I'm working on, after an interruption. And that's what my day is like, in a nutshell: It's full of INTERRUPTIONS. I happen to believe these interruptions are the things that make up my real life; they are as much my calling as writing. I make out schedules, I think ahead for ways to keep the kids happy while I'm especially busy, but mostly it's a matter of recognizing that small periods of time are valuable. I may write for an hour, stop to make breakfast for my youngest, write for half an hour, then read her a book. Meanwhile, I've got to keep track that the kids are doing what they're supposed to be, but right now I've got it pretty easy. I've got one away at College, one commuting from home to College, and one in Christian school. So that leaves only two that are homeschooling, and one is a kindergartner. (I love teaching a child to read. It's a joy.) So it's sort of a back and forth process, between me and the children and me and my work. I also write in waiting rooms, in cars if I have to wait for someone, while traveling, etc. Small periods of time are wonderful because your brain will cooperate and give you much more than you can get down in ten minutes, say, but you might not have got it if you hadn't "given" that ten minute interval to writing.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

In the Shadow of the Sun King by Golden Keyes Parsons

I just have to say something about this new book from new author, Golden Keyes Parsons, even though I haven't had a chance to read it--yet. (When I do, I'll post a review here.) I've heard raves about this book. I just met Golden for the first time in person this past week, and I have to say that I really hope this book does well! And not only because I like her, but also because I love European settings, and I've heard a few Christian publishers say that they don't want any historicals set in Europe. Their reason? They don't sell well. So please help me prove them wrong! Tear yourself away from the American prairie! If you like the look of the cover and the sound of this back cover blurb, then go out and buy it! Buy it because it sounds like a great story.

Seventeenth-century France is a dangerous time and place for a Huguenot. By order of King Louis XIV, all French Protestants must immediately convert or face imprisonment--or death. The king's dragoons ferret out the nonconformists, pillaging villages and destroying homesteads.

When the king's soldiers descend on the Clavell estate, the family's fate hangs in the balance. Quickly, quietly, they send their two sons into hiding, trusting that the young age of their daughter will guarantee her protection. But the dragoons will not be dissuaded; they hold the manor hostage looking for clues of their guilt or innocence. However, Madeleine Clavell, the lady of the manor, holds a secret--one possible chance to save the family. She and the king share a past.

Once a beautiful young lady in the French court whom Louis loved, Madeleine travels to Versailles to plead for mercy from the fickle king, hoping to regain his favor and save her family. It's a gamble, but she is left with no other choice. Madeleine soon faces an agonizing decision--one that changes her family forever.

Monday, September 22, 2008

ACFW Conference Report

Hey, all! I had a fabulous time at the ACFW Conference this past weekend! I got to see my mentor, Mary. Met the ladies from the Seekerville blog that I've been talking to all year--my unofficial mentors. That was great fun. Met my fabulous agent face to face and had a great meeting with her. Had a blast with my roommate, went to the Mall of America and the humongous Christian author booksigning there, and ate some awesome desserts that are totally not on my diet!

But what I really wanted to tell you is that I have a ton of books to tell you about. Lots of books to review, lots of new books to read, so stayed tuned.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Road of Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam

Before I hie me to the conference tomorrow morning, I want to share a little about this book, The Road of Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam.

You may remember a few weeks ago when I posted a review of Susan May Warren's book, Wiser than Serpents, I mentioned the International Justice Mission, which Susan described as "a team of real-life Jack Bauers rescuing victims caught in the web of slavery." Since I can hardly imagine anything worse than what these women are subjected to as victims of sexual slavery, I agreed to blog about this book.

To be honest, I haven't read the book. I haven't had a chance yet, since I just received it. But I strongly believe that we as Christians should be all about rescuing these girls from their hell on earth. What nobler cause could there be than helping these innocent children--for sometimes they are as young as 5 or 6--escape a life of pain and suffering? What would Christ do for these children, many of whom are orphans? He certainly wouldn't ignore them.

Here's a brief summary of the book.

At twelve years old, Somaly Mam was an orphan who was sold into prostitution and spent years in the brothels of Cambodia where she witnessed and experienced the full-blown horrors of the human sex trade – rape, torture, and nearly unfathomable abuse. After her eventual escape, she could not forget the young girls (some as young as 5) left behind in the brothels, and so she returned to serve them. Her new book, "The Road of Lost Innocence," is her newest means of advocacy. It tells her personal story, ultimately inviting people of conscious, such as our Christian community, to become involved (or to continue involvement) in this war against an epic evil, a modern battle for "the least of these." Truly, not only is this book worth reading, it's worth sharing.

Here's an excerpt from page 166: "We find women chained to sewers. Girls come to us beaten half to death. They are so young. Increasingly we see that the meebons have addicted them to drugs so they won't ever try to escape. When I was young we were terrorized with snakes and heavy fists, but these girls suffer a more brutal sort of torture. They have marks that are worse than anything I have ever endured."

I encourage you, if you are touched by the plight of these girls, to go to the IJM website and find out what you can do to help.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Winner! and going to Conference! Yay!

The winner of A Passion Redeemed is Krista Phillips! Congrats, Krista! Everybody else, you should get a copy of this book. It's fabulous.

I will post one more time this week, then I'm going to the ACFW Conference! Yay! If you're a Christian fiction writer, start saving up now for next year. This is a great conference. It's so much fun to get together with other Christian writers. If you haven't been you need to go! Anyway, I'll be gone Thursday through Sunday, then I'll post about my experience.

Say a prayer for me, for safe travel and for me and my luggage to get there on time and at the same time!

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Passion Redeemed by Julie Lessman

I have an extra copy of this book, so leave a comment for a chance to win!

If you like your Christian romance with a bit more realism and sensuality, seasoned with grace and a deft hand, you will absolutely love this book! Julie Lessman’s talents as a fiction writer are a force to be reckoned with! I can’t say enough in praise of this book. The characters are so real, so full of personality, so well-rounded, I could literally hear them speaking. And everything just seems to come together realistically, but at the same time, perfectly. Reading this book was like sinking into a comfortable sofa with a piece of gooey chocolate cake—there was nothing more I could want.

The first book in Julie Lessman’s Daughters of Boston series, A Passion Most Pure, ended with Charity O’Connor as the bad girl everyone has unfortunately encountered before. She’s manipulative, deceitful, and determined to get what she wants. But in this book we find out just why she is the way she is. We get inside her head and see that she loves with her whole heart, just as deeply as her sister, Faith. She’s capable of kindness and disappointment and desperation. And I couldn’t help but cheer for her, especially when she began to realize that she needed to change.

This is an epic love story, and a God story. I enjoyed it greatly. Two thumbs way up! I highly recommend it!
Don't forget to leave a comment to be included in the drawing for this great historical romance!

Winner of Falcon and the Sparrow

The winner is . . . Donna M! Congratulations! Send me your mailing address and I'll get it out to you!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Falcon and the Sparrow by M. L. Tyndall

I'm giving away my extra copy of this delightful romance, so please leave a comment to be included in the drawing.

Another great Regency romance! I’m really enjoying this new-to-Christian-publishing genre! I like to think Jane Austen would smile in pleased amusement at the way Regencies are suddenly popping up in Christian fiction. And now for my review.

Dominique Dawson seems like a timid sparrow when she turns up on Admiral Chase Randal’s doorstep as his son’s new governess. Still mourning the death of his beloved wife, Chase has no use for timid women. He wants only to retreat to his life at sea, where he’s most at home and where memories of his wife don’t haunt him quite so much. Appearances are deceptive, for her courage displays itself in ways that surprise him—and his worldly friends. And she brings joy and light to himself, his servants, and most of all, his young son, who quickly comes to adore her.

Dominique indeed feels like a timid sparrow, frightened of her own shadow, when she contemplates what she has come to London to do—to spy on the unsuspecting Admiral and steal any war secrets he might have on the premises. Reluctantly she has agreed to commit treason against England in order to save her beloved brother, Marcel, who is imprisoned by the French. But the more she comes to love her young charge, William, and more alarmingly, his father the Admiral, the more anguished she is at the pain her betrayal will cause them both.

This is an exciting, page-turning romance. The author, Marylu Tyndall, is incredibly skilled at making you feel caught up in the same tangle of deceit that Dominique is facing. I enjoyed the internal struggles and morality questions, as well as the pure romance. A worthy story. Two thumbs up!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

New Releases, September 08

A big thank you to Jill Eileen Smith for compiling this list of new releases.

Also, don't forget to check out Jill's new Spotlight on award-winning, best-selling author Wanda Brunstetter!, who also happens to have a new release this month.

1. A Bride by Christmas by Linda Goodnight, Kelly Eileen Hake, Vickie McDonough, Therese Stenzel from Barbour. In an era when a single woman had little hope of support and security outside marriage, four young women find themselves talked into weddings on the eve of Christmas celebrations.

2. A Connecticut Christmas by Janet Lee Barton, Rhonda Gibson, Gail Sattler, Diane Ashley from Barbour. Snowbound Village, Connecticut, is full of holiday charm, especially at the mall’s Christmas Collectibles Shop where romance is in the air.

3. A New Joy, Book 2, New Hampshire Brides by Susan Page Davis from Heartsong Presents. Returned from captivity in Canada, Jane is sure she doesn't want a husband--until trapper Charles Gardner comes courting.

4. A Passion Redeemed, Daughters of Boston Series, Book 2 by Julie Lessman from Revell. A Passion Redeemed is the sequel to a sweeping saga of a close-knit Irish family in 1919 Boston, continuing the struggle between two sisters who love the same men.

5. A Time To Heal by Linda Goodnight from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. A burned out physician returns to her home town to rethink her future and encounters the high school sweetheart with whom she shares a painful secret.

6. Alaska Brides: Golden Dawn/Golden Days/Golden Twilight by Cathy Marie Hake, Kathleen Y'Barbo, Mary Connealy from Barbour. Trek into the wilds alongside three women who have strong faith, determination, and no need for a husband.

7. An Unexpected Love Book 2 in the Broadmoor Legacy series by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller from Bethany House Publishers. Sophie Broadmoor sets out to find love on her own terms only to realize that life often deals you unexpected obstacles.

8. At His Command Homecoming Heroes Series Book 3 by Brenda Coulter from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. A disabled combat helicopter pilot comes to terms with his new life as he falls for a troubled but outwardly cheerful Army nurse who has adored him for years.

9. Back to Life Second in the Series of 2, "The Trophy Wives Club" by Kristin Billerbeck from Avon Inspire. What happens when you become a 35-year old widow? And your husband's first wife comes into your life to join you in mourning? Lindsay Brindle is about to find how to get "Back to Life".

10. Courting Miss Adelaide by Janet Dean from Steeple Hill. Charles Graves believed his heart was closed forever, but he swore to stand by Adelaide Crum, the lonely woman who was fighting for the right to love a motherless child.

11. Family of the Heart by Dorothy Clark from Love Inspired Historical. Sarah Randolph knew her heart was safe from romantic entanglement with her new employer Clayton Bainbridge. Who could abide a man who would not even look at his toddler daughter?

12. I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires, Stand alone sequel to William Henry is a Fine Name by Cathy Gohlke from Moody Publishers. As Civil War rends his family and the nation, seventeen-year-old Robert vows to rescue his estranged mother and the girl he loves from behind enemy lines.

13. It's Not About Me by Michelle Sutton from Sheaf House. When tragedy strikes in a young woman's life, two brothers fight to win her heart, but will she let the Lord heal her soul?

14. John 3:16 by Nancy Moser from Tyndale House. Roman Paulson hates God, and yet . . . circumstances spur him to hold up a "John 3:16" sign at a football game--and lives are changed, including his own.

15. Lonestar Sanctuary Lonestar Series Book 1 by Colleen Coble from Thomas Nelson. A young woman and her daughter flee danger to a ranch for abused horses.

16. Loving Cee Cee Johnson by Linda Leigh Hargrove from Moody Publishers/Lift Every Voice. In this sequel to The Making of Isaac Hunt, reporter Cee Cee Johnson discovers the true meaning of love and forgiveness.

17. Lying on Sunday by Sharon K. Souza from NavPress. When your husband dies in another woman’s bed, you can get down, get mad or get on. Abbie Torrington does all three, then discovers her real life is about to begin.

18. Rhapsody in Red by Donn Taylor from Moody Publishers. A history professor with musical hallucinations and a female Wiccan professor of comparative religions have to solve a campus murder before vengeful homicide police can pin it on them.

19. Single Sashimi, The Sushi series by Camy Tang from Zondervan. Venus helps her old nemesis in order to launch her video game company, but one wild youth group, a two-faced assistant, and her grandma's matchmaking might drive her insane!

20. Unpretty by Sharon Carter Rogers from Howard Books/Simon and Schuster. The city of Lehigh, West Virginia, faces the insidious threat of a sadistic cult bent on eliminating all "unpretty" things in the world...

21. Up Pops the Devil by Angela Benson from Avon A. Tempted to sin…but will he give in?

22. Where the Heart Leads by Kim Vogel Sawyer from Bethany House Publishers. Thomas Ollenburger has a hard-earned college diploma in hand...but what is he supposed to do with it?

23. White Christmas Pie by Wanda E. Brunstetter from Barbour Publishing. Herein lies all the ingredients for a heartwarming, bittersweet Amish Christmas romance.

24. Wyoming Christmas Heroes by Jeanie Smith Cash, Linda Lyle, Jeri Odell, and Tammy Shuttlesworth from Barbour. Annie has moved to a new state is about to give birth alone. Chris's snowmobiling trip puts her life in danger. Holly's daughter has become strangely accident prone. A fire threatens Stacy and her young son. Who will come to these women's rescue?

Happy reading ~

Winner of Wild Goose Chase

The Winner of Wild Goose Chase is . . .

Janna! Congratulations!