Tuesday, June 23, 2009

CSFF Blog Tour for Tom Pawlik’s Vanish Day 2

Welcome to day 2 of the blog tour for Vanish. If you haven't read the book and don't enjoy spoilers, then you shouldn't read my post. 

Now, where was I? Back to the alien invasion. What else could it be? I am so completely hooked on this book for the simple reason that I want to know what’s going on. While I enjoy suspense and ever-increasing tension, I don’t enjoy enveloping mist on a dark night, blocking visibility when hideous aliens—and they ARE hideous—whisper nearby. They’re always just on the edge of darkness, whispering, torturing the characters with vivid memories from their past. Must be an alien experiment.   

When Conner’s seizure morphs into a heart attack and he fights for his life, waking up in the emergency room—I was stunned. But all the seizures, bright lights and pain of shocking defibrillation, makes sense. And that’s when it dawns on me what’s going on. I couldn’t have predicted this outcome. A dream maybe, but not lingering in a world between life and death, where demons—yes demons not aliens—labor to tug you into the abyss from which there’s no return. 

Amazing. So now the book I wish I hadn’t started is one I highly recommend. In Vanish, I got everything I wanted in a novel--surprised with the unpredictable, and pulled into a story that blew my mind. That doesn’t happen very often.


Vanish: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1414318936 

Tom Pawlik’s Web site - http://www.tompawlik.com/

Tom Pawlik’s blog - http://www.tompawlik.com/blog.htm  

Valley of the Shadow:  http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1414326793   

Monday, June 22, 2009

CSFF blog tour for Vanish by Tom Pawlik Day 1

Welcome to the CSFF blog tour for Vanish by Tom Pawlik. If I could get my mouse to work and capture the image of the book, you could see that instead of these links:

Vanish: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1414318936 

Book Blurb:

Three strangers each encounter the same mysterious storm and awake the next day to find that everyone else has vanished. There's Conner Hayden, a successful but unscrupulous trial lawyer who has forsaken his family for his career; Helen Krause, a middle-aged model struggling to come to grips with her fading beauty; and Mitch Kent, an enterprising young mechanic unable to escape a past that still haunts him.  Afraid and desperate for answers, their paths eventually cross and they discover they are being watched. Elusive and obscured in shadows, the "observers" are apparently forcing them to relive vivid hallucinations of events from their past. They discover a mute homeless boy in tattered clothing and believe he may hold the key to the mystery, but the "observers" soon become aggressive and the four are forced to flee. When the boy disappears, the four decide to head from Chicago to Washington, D.C., in search of answers...and more survivors.

Somewhere I read Vanish was in the vein of Ted Dekker and Stephen King. In the vein of Ted Dekker and Stephen King? I love Ted Dekker books, but not so much Stephen King. I should have known better than to read Vanish, but I want to be surprised with the unpredictable, pulled into a story that will blow my mind. 

Amazingly, Vanish easily tugged me into the story. Conner Hayden goes about his day as a lawyer in the midst of convincing a couple they should sue their doctor, the character’s manipulation techniques alone were interesting. Just as I’m into the character, the story snatches me into another character's head—Helen Krause. She reminds me of myself—old and doesn’t want to admit it. Then again, I’m tugged from her story into Mitch Kent’s. Frankly, I became a little annoyed at the three-character rotating chapters. 

By the way, the description of the storm reminded me of the alien vessels rolling into our space in the movie Independence Day—could totally picture that. That’s why in short order I thought ALIENS. I wanted to throw the book down and run away. ALIENS. I hate aliens. I’m one of probably a few people who don’t believe they exist, yet I can’t think of anything that terrifies me more than an alien invasion. Still, an alien invasion? Tyndale? Nah. This has to be a metaphor for . . something. I must read on. 

Now hooked, I continue to read late into the night for several nights, thinking I should join the BIG HONKIN CHICKEN'S CLUB after all, but that's for those who won't read Brandilyn Collins suspense, not Tom Pawlik.  I even suffer a few nightmares because of this book. But I HAVE TO KNOW how it ends. I’ll feel much better knowing how things resolve—Yeah, that's it. And I never ever cheat by reading the end of the book first like some people I know.  

Tune in for more tomorrow. 

Tom Pawlik’s Web site - http://www.tompawlik.com/

Tom Pawlik’s blog - http://www.tompawlik.com/blog.htm  

Valley of the Shadow:  http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1414326793   

Back with the participants links when I can get them to work.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A season for family

Lynette Sowell wrote a great article which appears in the latest Christian Fiction Online Magazine about juggling our time. If you say yes to something (I'm paraphrasing here) that means you're saying no to something else because, let's face it, we all have the same 24 hours in a day. We can only do so much, even when we're multi-tasking--something I find myself doing on most days. 

If you scroll down to my previous blog posts you can see that I've said no to blogging for a good long while. My posts are sporadic over several months. I haven't even looked--maybe even a year. The time away was time well spent, though. Like the Bible says, there is a season for everything, including blogging. :)

But we should never say no to our family, no to our children. I received a newsletter from a dear writing friend today, spotlighting her daughter's graduation from college. The fact stunned me--it seemed like yesterday she was going off to college. The same is true for a number of my other friends, it's true for me. My daughter will be entering her senior year of high school next year, then off to college, marriage, children--a life of her own.

How many years have I spent writing while she was here at home with me? How many times have I told her to go away because I was working? True, work has to get done, but I think perhaps the information highway (the Internet) has pulled many us away from the people around us for far too long--and that is wasted time. 

I'm in the middle of polishing a book under contract right now. It's not going as fast as I would like, but I decided months ago to shut down the computer in the evening as often as possible, and shut it off on the weekends completely, to focus one hundred percent of my time on my children who are growing up way too fast for comfort. On my husband whose hair is graying faster than mine (Thank God). 

We've all heard the old saying that on your deathbed, you're not going to wish you had worked more. Your only regret will be the time you wasted away from those you love.


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

A dedication

Last night I read the galley for O Christmas Tree, my novella in the 4-in-1 collection entitled Christmas Homecoming releasing with Barbour in September. My favorite part was being able to read the dedication to my missionary daughter, now seventeen, who visited South Africa last summer. She's on schedule to go to Scotland next month with Global Expeditions (Teen Mania). I managed to include as many of her African experiences in O Christmas Tree. When I saw the castle where her team would stay in Scotland, I immediately began brewing a story. As a writer I've trained myself to look for every opportunity. 

Christmas Homecoming isn't out for another couple of months (well three to be exact) but reading it again last night brought a reminder of the dedication. 

This story is dedicated to my beautiful daughter, Rachel, whose missionary heart has taken her around the world. 

Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3


Monday, June 08, 2009

Interview with Deborah Vogts

Thanks for joining me, Deborah, for this interview. Your blog is entitled Country at Heart and is a big draw for those of us who love all things country. Share some of your favorite things about the country life.

Hi Beth, Thanks for having me on your blog. One of the reasons I set up my Country at Heart blog was to appeal to those who live in the country, once lived in the country and have fond memories of it/long to return, or for those who have never lived in the country but wish they did. J One of the most appealing things about country life for me is the quiet and solitude there. We live on an isolated road and hardly have any vehicle traffic, so it is quite pleasant! I like stepping out my door and being greeted by the fresh air, our land, and our animals—and I especially like taking walks on our country road with our two golden retrievers.

What was your inspiration for Snow Melts in Spring?

Years ago, I took a Flint Hills Folklife course at Emporia State University that was taught by Dr. Jim Hoy. Along with classroom study, we took field trips into the heart of the Flint Hills and visited with old-time ranchers, schoolmarms and post-mistresses. It was such a delightful experience, especially our drives into the pastures. We would get on these back roads and drive over pasture guards into the open range. We would travel for miles without seeing another car or even an electric line—just pure, native prairie. That summer, I fell in love with the Flint Hills and it has stayed with me all this time. I’m so glad I have this chance to share this place with my readers in this book and in the Seasons of the Tallgrass series. 

Can you share about the journey of publication for SMOS?

I wanted to be a writer since High school, but it wasn’t until 2002 that I began taking serious steps to get to the goal. I joined a local writer’s group and ACFW, (an online writing organization), joined a critique group, read writing how-to’s and attended writing conferences. I met my first agent at the ACFW Nashville Conference. We hit it off at our meeting, and she gave me some tips on making my book series “bigger.” I did that and submitted my idea to her and she took me on. We shopped Snow Melts in Spring and the Seasons of the Tallgrass series for a year and had a few bites (one of them Zondervan) but no sale. In the end, she released me, which was a real heart breaker. However, we don’t always see the big picture like God does, and six months later I signed with agent, Rachelle Gardner with WordServe Literary, and we had an offer from Zondervan three months after that.

Family, ranching and farm life in rural Kansas, how much of yourself and your life did you draw from to write SMOS?

A great deal of it, actually. I grew up on a farm and have lived all of my life in the country (minus 5 years while in college). Both of my brothers work farms/ranches, and my husband and daughters ride and train horses, so many of the ranch/horse scenes come from something I’ve seen or heard about—including Gil’s bull chase. J Like Mattie, my main female character, I love the country life and in particular, the Flint Hills. As a young woman, I remember living in Topeka, KS and yearning for wide open spaces. I soon found myself returning to my home roots. My character Mattie is intent on never leaving hers. I guess I can identify with that.

Your love of horses clearly comes through in the story. When did you first fall in love with them? Can you share about your own horses? Their names? Personalities?

As a young girl, I had a Welch pony named Freckles. She liked to roll in freshly disked fields or even in creeks—with me on top. I remember passing through a creek one time, and that old pony went down for one of her rolls. I stayed perched on the saddle, not wanting to get my boots wet. Another horse was an American Saddlebred named Strawberry. She liked to jump fences. My freshman year in high school, I was out riding and one of the reins broke on the bridle, and my horse took off for home as fast as she could. She raced past the house and back to the barns, headed for the other horses in the pasture—and straight toward a fence. Believing I wouldn’t survive the jump, I jumped on my own and dove for the ground. Wound up breaking my wrist and upper arm. I didn’t get on another horse until I turned 30. Those were the horses I grew up with. My husband trains American Quarter horses that are much more behaved—and not barn-sour. Right now we have seven horses, and they are all very calm and mild-mannered. We register them with names from the Bible, nicknames in parenthesis.  Saul Henry (Larry), Twistn Moses Belle (Moe), Josiah Lass (Joe), Revielles Enoch (Dunny) and Elijah Belle (Little Blackie).

Thanks so much for this opportunity to share my life with you and your readers, Beth. 

You can buy Snow Melts in Spring at 


Deborahs Website: http://deborahvogts.com/


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