Monday, August 31, 2009

A day of serious fishing



I learned after I was married that one of my husband's prerequisites for deciding if I was the ONE, was whether or not I could bait a hook. I answered yes, of course, because when he asked, I thought back to the time when I was twelve and actually put crickets on hooks for catching brim. Have I  baited a hook since then? No. But he didn't ask me that. After we were married he reminded me that I said I could bait a hook. I simply replied that sure I can do that, but I choose not to. I think he feels a little cheated--but hey, we live in a world of choices, right?

So, what do I do on a serious day of fishing? I bring along my lawn chair and read the Bible or a novel.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Lisa Harris Interview and Revenge, Ohio giveaway.


The only thing worse than being a spinster is being a twice-jilted spinster. At twenty-five, Catherine Morgan is hardly an old maid, but she’s given up on marriage and instead manages the family’s general store in the small town of Revenge, Ohio. Bound by a promise to care for her three sisters until they marry, she’ll do anything it takes to keep them safe. However, the town’s sheriff has evidence that may stand in the way of her sister’s happiness and her own. Revenge can be stronger than love. Will a vow for vengeance arrest Catherine’s third chance for love?






Lisa Harris writes award-winning Christian fiction and nonfiction from her home in Mozambique, Africa, where she and her family serve as missionaries. She has published more than a dozen books across multiple genres including romance, suspense, and mystery. 


And even more important than all her books and serving as a missionary--Lisa is one of my dearest friends. Ha! Seriously, I've known her since the beginning. When I joined ACFW (then ACRW) Lisa was one of my critique partners. We've been close friends since then, sharing prayer requests and personal struggles. It was at one of the ACFW conferences that Lisa and I brainstormed about doing a series together for Heartsong and voila, Cranberry Hearts was born. Hence, Lisa played an important role in ushering me into the elusive world of published authors. 

1. What do you consider the most important reason you serve in Mozambique?
I'm here, because I know without any doubt that God has called our family to work here. There are days when I wonder why I'm here or I'm certain that life is better or would be easier on the other side of the fence, but then I have to stop--because He's called me.

2. And there's no better place to be than in God's will. Tell us about the struggles of the people in Mozambique.
 Life isn't always easy here, and I'm reminded of it every time I walk down the street or drive through town. There is poverty, orphans, HIV/AIDs, malaria, as well as other sicknesses and a fairly low life expectancy. Another thing that strikes me is the spiritual darkness. . .and then the freedom and joy we see in those who are finding in Christ Jesus!
To learn more about this ministry, you can visit the website: www.africanoutreachministries.org
 
3. I hate to ask you what seems like the age-old question—but how do you juggle your work as a missionary, home school your children and manage the prolific writing? What would you say is the ONE thing that gets you through? 
That's hard. Just tonight I was talking to my husband about how I simply don't have the time to do everything I need to do. Home schooling is new for us, we're just in our second year, and it takes up the majority of my time. Ministry and writing fill in the rest of the time, but it's tough. I don't always succeed, but I try to remind myself that my main ministry right now is my children and their well-being, both educationally and spiritually. And in the process I want to seek Him first, so that everything else will fall into place.

4. Let's focus on your writing. What is the heart of your story Revenge?
While the theme of revenge is there, it's also a book about second chances. Both my hero and heroine struggled over hurt feelings from the past, as well as pride, resentment, and unforgiveness. None of these are easy to overcome, but God is the God of second chances, and through His amazing love and grace, anything is possible. A second chance for forgiveness. . .a second chance for love.

5. Tell us about your upcoming release. 
BLOOD RANSOM is to be released next March and I couldn't be more excited. It's definitely the book of my heart as it's allowed me to write suspense, with a thread of romance, AND set it in Africa. 
Here's the blurb. Deep in the heart of Africa, two American lives are about to change forever. Natalie Sinclair and Dr. Chad Talcott want to make a difference in under-developed African villages … but they didn’t count on risking their lives in the process. Romance and adventure drive this powerful thriller about the modern-day slave trade and those who dare to challenge it.

6. I’ve known you long enough to know this has been a dream of yours—to write a story set in Africa. With this dream “fulfilled” what are you dreaming of next?
Since I've just started writing book two, I haven't really stopped to look much further than hoping Zondervan allows me to expand this series. If I could continue writing International suspense, then that would keep me happy for a very long time!

Thanks so much for having me, Beth! And remember that I'll give away a copy of Love Finds You in Revenge, Ohio! 

Lisa's website: www.lisaharriswrites.com  

To enter the drawing for Lisa's new book, you can post a comment. Make sure you leave your contact information.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Which comes first?


Fear or procrastination? I've discovered the two are related. 

There's a book I'm trying to write between books, if that makes sense. I turned in a manuscript then signed a contract last week for the second book in the series and plan to begin writing on that in September. So, I had a month--A MONTH--to work on my big project. Sure life has been crazy, getting the kids ready for school, marketing books, writing proposals but even when I managed to find the time to look at the pages of this novel, I froze up.

What's with that? Freezing up, that is. I think it's just plain fear. I thought back to all the times in my life when I didn't try out for something, or involve myself in something, or even quit something due to the fear of failure and the fear of success. Yes, I've heard that you can be afraid of success. But that's not the kind of fear I'm talking about here.

So, as a result of my fear I've been procrastinating like I'm doing now by writing this blog post. I hear the best way to overcome fear is to face it. That's exactly what I intend to do now. 

As always, I appreciate your prayers. 

Monday, August 24, 2009

No pain. No Gain.


What do running, home schooling and writing have in common? They're all painful. I recently tried to explain to a writing friend why I run, because honestly, it's very painful, on the knees and hips and joints and it's hard to keep going--nothing like the Energizer bunny. So why do I do it? 

Then it hit me--I really think you've got to be called to do certain things, including running. Especially running. It's not something you can do every day or several times a week unless you have the burning to do it, to feel the pain. Eventually, sure, there's the endorphin high called the zone--but you have to go through the pain to get there. :)

And writing? Definitely you must have the burn in your heart to do it and keep doing it even when you don't  receive encouragement. How often do people tell you that they, too, have considered writing a book and plan to write it one day. Even if they eventually  manage to carve out time from a busy schedule--difficult enough--I suspect they might not find the tenacity to deal with the pain of writing.  

I'm not going  down the home schooling road with you here--I do that because God has called me to it. It's painful but I'm beginning to finally reap the rewards and I enjoy the time with my children, especially since so much of it is denied them when I write. 

But I want to get back to what can be learned from running. As painful as it is, if you can learn to reach down deep to keep yourself going, you'll have the ability to do that in other areas of your life--like writing. Just keep going. Just keep swimming.

Just do it. . . 





Sunday, August 16, 2009

CSFF Blog Tour for Robin Parrishs Offworld



Welcome to the CSFF Blog Tour for OffWorld.

I usually read the CSFF Blog Tour books as soon as I get them in the mail, putting everything else aside because I'm eager to get my head into another one. But this time I was so busy that I forgot. Something prompted my memory last Thursday which--in my world--isn't enough time to read for the tour unless I drop EVERYTHING.

I began reading Offworld, and with home school starting this week, I also had a big project on my plate, but the pacing of the story had me reading fast. I'm not talking skimming or speed-reading either. 

Normally, I'm a slow reader, absorbing and contemplating every sentence. In Offworld, I'm not exactly sure what happened other than I couldn't take in the action and adventure fast enough. 

The funny thing was that I took the book to church so I could read in the back pew all the way up to the moment when worship and prayer would start. He he. So, when the moment came for me to put it aside and pick up my Bible, I discovered my eyes were flying over the pages! I was actually reading the Bible in the fast pace that I'd been reading Offworld. 

Needless to say, I finished Offworld quickly--probably faster than I've read any other book--All because of the pacing. I LOVED the action. My kind of story. 

I'll try to post a review and other comments on the other two days, but again, school starts this week, and I usually sink for a few days before I can come up for air. 

Robin Parrish's Website: http://www.robinparrish.com

The other participants:

 
 

Friday, August 14, 2009

Debut Author, Deborah Vogts


Have you read Deborah Vogts new book, Snow Melts in Spring?

The writing is smooth as honey and if you never thought Kansas had anything to offer, think again. Deborah writes with a country voice, almost historical, but true country, the heartland does have a tendency to take us back, to slow us down. And that's what we hear in Deborah's voice--like a warm slice of apple pie in the kitchen, the curtain flapping as a breeze picks up from the rainstorm approaching in the distance. Okay, well, I tried my hand at it, and I don't have the touch, but Deborah does.

She writes from her experiences with life and . . .with horses. On their small ranch in Kansas, she and her family raise quarter horses. Many people know her simply from her blog, Country at Heart--even the name just makes you feel all happy inside. She even includes recipes.

Yes, Deborah is a dearly-beloved friend. We've been roommates at the ACFW writing conference every year since I don't know when. But even if these things were not so, I wouldn't change a word I've said about her. I invite you to purchase a copy of Snow Melts in Spring.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

It's that time of year again

Time for home school. Gag. I hope my children won't read this. They won't. I knew before my first child was born I wanted to home school. I guess you could say I was called to it. In fact, it was my obsession--I owned every book about it, and bought my daughter Hooked on Phonics when she was three. My mistake.

They're ready when they're ready and not a second, minute, or day sooner. I witnessed that with my middle son. He's in third grade now, but though I tried to teach him to read in kindergarten he only became frustrated and felt like he wasn't smart because he couldn't get it. Then I felt like a bad mom, of course. The next year (or two) we started up the phonics again and were both becoming frustrated. Then one day the phonics just clicked and he got it--just like that. He was so determined to read once the light bulb came on, he was reading entire sentences by the end of THAT day. It was an amazing experience. Really.

Still, to school four children in different grades isn't an easy task and I find myself loathing it. Of course, every teacher whether public, private or a home school mom gets burned out near the end of a school year, in previous years I found myself looking forward to the moment when school would start up again. I'd eagerly buy all the supplies and decorate just like we had our own classroom, and depending on where we lived, we had our own room for school.

Now, I wish we could put them in a Christian school but the finances just aren't there. I wonder, too, if they're missing out on stuff. When you home school, it's up to you to run them around to get all the necessary lessons like art and music, or do it yourself.

Somewhere in the midst of the busy days, I have to come up with time to write and at some point the boys have become addicted to video games. How could that happen? They've even announced they hate reading, to which I proclaim "BLASPHEMY."

So, tomorrow I begin the laborious task of dragging out boxes and boxes of books--yes, I have a library of children's books all purchased from Sonlight curriculum. They were stored in the barn when we moved over the holidays. No more video games.

Somehow, I have to once again ignite their interest in traveling to different times and places through books like Where the Red Fern Grows and . . .and. . .well you get the idea. Can't think of any particular titles and that one really moved me as a kid.

Can I ask for prayer? Pray for school and prayer for writing?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Random

Interested in random facts about Oregon?

Oregon is #1 in the country for unemployment.

Oregon is #1 in the country in terms of homeless.

Medford, OR is #2 in the state for homeless children. They can't stay in shelters until they're 18 or older. There aren't any shelters for children.

AND Grants Pass is #1 in the world for coffee kiosks. I bet that one threw you.

Disclaimer: these random facts could have changed by the time of this posting.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

CAN and North Dakota

I recently joined CAN (Christian Authors Network) and am looking forward to membership and networking with many of the authors there while learning to market my books better. 

Speaking of which, I signed the contract for the second book in a series for Barbour's Romancing America last week. Exposing Amber is set in the North Dakota badlands in a museum and dinosaur dig. I'm especially looking forward to writing this book. Disarming Andi (the first book) will release with Heartsong Presents in March 2010.

My middle son said North Dakota is a myth. He's a comedian, can you tell?

One more thing, here's something I heard today: The more you imitate God, the more you're being yourself.

I love that. If we're created in His image then the above holds true.

Oh, if you'd like to receive the CAN newsletters full of advice and tips about marketing, you can go to the CAN blog here.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Meaning

I love what Robin Lee Hatcher had to say today in her blog about brilliant blog posts. You see, I've struggled with this for a long time. She mentioned after seeing the movie Julie and Julia: The other thing this movie made me want to do was to start writing brilliant and meaningful posts on my blogs. Not sure I know where those ideas for brilliant posts might come from.

Aha, so I'm not the only one who struggles with the brilliant aspect. I searched through several blogs this evening, looking for the something that really stands out, so that I could read and learn from the experts. Considering all I have on my plate and that every blog post takes time away from children and family, is it worth it? Let's hope so. While my boys are playing with Bionicles and Legos, and my daughter is IMing with her Dad, I have time to write a not-so brilliant post. . .

While running on the treadmill this past week (mind you, I'm not a real runner, just an aspiring runner) I came up with a wonderful comparison of writing and running. Brilliant. But once I put pen to paper, er, fingers to keyboard, my mind went blank. I'm hoping to catch that potential article again somehow--maybe have a recording-device with me while I'm running so I can spit-out all the great ideas I get while I'm oxygenating my brain.




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