Wednesday, December 27, 2006

My Interview at Infuze

Matt Conner at Infuze recently conducted an interview with me. We talked about, and my novel writing. It was interesting being on the receiving end of questions for a change.

Check it out here.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Straight Talk From the Editor

For those of you writers out there, may I recommend a great little Amazon Short by W. Terry Whalin? Terry is a successful author and editor, and you can learn a ton from his insights.

For more information on writing, check out Terry's instructional blog The Writing Life.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Interview with Nick Harrison of Harvest House

An interesting post over at the Speculative Faith blog. Rebecca M. interviewed Harvest House editor Nick Harrison about a new fantasy trilogy by George Bryan Polivka the house will be publishing soon. Check it out here.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Jerry Jenkins Interview

I recently had the privilege of interviewing best-selling author Jerry Jenkins. He had some great things to say! For example, when I asked him What do you know now that you wish you'd known when you first started writing?, he said:

Interesting question. I have never liked knowing things in advance. I like to be surprised. I’m not a goal-setter but rather strive to do the best at whatever it is I have been assigned and see what happens. I write the same way: put interesting characters in difficult situations and write to find out what happens. Had I known how remote was the possibility of ever being published, I might have despaired. Instead, I just blithely went for it."

Check out the full interview over at by clicking here.

Friday, December 01, 2006

FIRST Blog tour - Eye of the Oracle by Bryan Davis

It is December 1st, time for the FIRST Day Blog Tour! (Join our alliance. Click the button.) The FIRST day of every month we will feature an author and their latest book's FIRST chapter!

This month's feature author is:


and his latest book:

Eye of the Oracle

Bryan Davis is the author of the four book Dragons in Our Midst series, a contemporary/fantasy blend for young people. The first book, Raising Dragons, was released in July of 2004. The second book, The Candlestone, followed in October. Circles of Seven debuted in April of 2005, followed in November by Tears of a Dragon.

Bryan is the author of several other works including The Image of a Father (AMG) and Spit and Polish for Husbands (AMG), and four books in the Arch Books series: The Story of Jesus' Baptism and Temptation, The Day Jesus Died, The Story of the Empty Tomb (over 100,000 sold), and Jacob's Dream. Bryan lives in Winter Park, Florida with his wife, Susie, and their children. Bryan and Susie have homeschooled their four girls and three boys.

To read more about Bryan and his books, visit the
Dragons in our Midst Website or visit Bryan's blog.

Eye of the Oracle

by Bryan Davis

Dragons in our Midst - Prequel
Oracles of Fire - Volume 1

For space restraints, you can now read the first chapter in the Reading Room at Click here.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

5 Things I've Learned About Writing

1. Positive attitudes are key. I want to surround myself with writers who are positive, not constantly talking about how hard writing is. Let's face it. Writing is hard work. For some it's harder than others. But if we can stay upbeat and encouraging to those around us (and not beat ourselves up, either), everything will go better. After all, we have the Author of the Universe on our side.

2. Writers write. Having a tough writing day? The writing blues got you down? The best cure is to write. Sounds simple, but it's often not. It's so easy to let "writerly" activities consume the time we need to putting words on paper.

3. Set goals. Whether they be word count or time goals, try to set them. I struggle with this one often, but I know I would be so much more productive if I obeyed it.

4. Never stop reading, or learning about the craft. Never let yourself think you've finally "arrived". You never will. And that's not a bad thing. It's what makes this writing life so rewarding. You can always write better.

5. Find the Joy. Remember why you first started writing. Was it because you love the written word? Because a story burned within you, and you had to let it out? Try to think about those times. They'll encourage you when things aren't going quite as you planned.

And for good measure, here's a 6th: Patience is key. The waits are often long and arduous in the writing biz. Come into it knowing that and you'll be just fine.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

It' time for the FIRST Day Blog Tour!

This month's feature author is:

Just three weeks before her wedding, Emma Grace Falin has returned to her hometown of Coldwater, Texas, consumed by a single, burning desire. She must confront the guilt and shame of a devastating event that has haunted her since childhood.

Coldwater Revival


Coldwater, Texas

Three weeks before I was to marry Gavin O'Donnell, I set my feet upon the beaten path leading to Two-Toe Creek. What I had to offer Gavin in marriage—my whole heart, or just a part—depended on the
decision I would make today.

As my feet tracked the dusty pathway they stirred loose soil to the air. My heart stirred as well, for the guilt I had buried in its depths smoldered as though my brother had just died, and not five years earlier. In the shadowed days following the tragedy, my disgrace had glared like a packet of shiny new buttons. I'd not thought to hide it at the time. In truth, I'd thought of little, other than how to survive. But at some point during that time of sorrowful existence, when my days and nights strung together like endless telegraph wires, I dug a trench around my heart and buried my shame.

From that day until this, I deeded myself the actor's role, closing the curtain on my stain of bitter memories, hiding my sorrow behind a veil of pretense. But that old deceiver, Time, had neither softened my guilt nor put it to rest; only allowed it ample pause to fester like deadly gangrene. Now, as the day of my wedding drew near, my heart cried out for healing. It was, you see, far wiser than my head. My heart understood its need for restoration—before I exchanged wedding vows with Gavin. For this reason, I now walked the trail to Two-Toe Creek. To revisit my failures of yesteryear and reclaim the peace that had slipped past the portals of my childhood. Perhaps then I could give Gavin the entirety of my heart.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Why do you write?

My motivation to write is simple---it's something I've dreamed about for many years. It's a desire of my heart. When I get discouraged (and don't we all), I try to remember what first got me started. I believe God puts good desires in our hearts for a reason. Often we might not know how they will come about, or even why they are there, but they are there for a purpose.

I was just thinking about this the other day, actually. I questioned why I'm fascinated with the American West---especially cattle ranching. It's not like I've ever had anything to do with it (though I did take riding lessons as a kid). I asked myself, "Why in the world would I want to write about this?" The answer came back softly: I could have this desire to reach one person. What if all I ever wrote was to bring one person to Christ? What if my desires are there for the purpose of reaching someone who can only be reached reading about a rancher?

It's something to consider about all of our writing desires. Could I offer a word of encouragement? Don't discount your heart's desires just because the market doesn't seem to have a place for it. Yes, research markets. Yes, know your audience. But there are also times when we have to completely discount what everyone else says and listen to our hearts. God might be speaking to you.

What motivates you to write? Feel free to add your thoughts to the comments.

Monday, October 02, 2006

FIRST Day, October 1st - Dark Hour by Ginger Garrett

It is October 1st, time for the FIRST Day Blog Tour! (Join our alliance. Click the button.) The FIRST day of every month we will feature an author and their latest book's FIRST chapter.

This month's feature author is:


Ginger Garrett is an acclaimed novelist and expert in ancient women's history.

Her first novel, Chosen, was recognized as one of the best five novels of the year by the Christian publishing industry. Ginger enjoys a diverse reader base and creates conversation between cultures.

In addition to her 2006 and 2007 novels about the most evil women in biblical history, she will release Beauty Secrets of the Bible (published by Thomas Nelson) in Summer 2007.

Ginger Garrett's Dark Hour delves into the biblical account of Jezebel's daughter and her attempt to end the line of David.

For space issues, you can now read the first chapter of Dark Hour in the Reading Room. Click here.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Squat by Taylor Field (FIRST Day Tour)

FIRST Day Tour: Squat by Taylor Field

It is September 1st, time for the FIRST Day Blog Tour! (Join our alliance! Click the button!) The FIRST day of every month we will feature an author and their latest book's FIRST chapter!

This month's feature author is:
Taylor Field
"We live in a squat. We don’t know squat. We don’t have squat. We don’t do squat. We don’t give a squat. People say we’re not worth squat."

Taylor Field has worked since 1986 in the inner city of New York where he is pastor of East Seventh Baptist Church/Graffiti Community Ministries. He holds a M.Div. from Princeton and Ph.D. from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. Among his previous books is the award-winning Mercy Streets. Field and his family live in New York, New York.

If you want to know more, please visit The SQUAT Website!

To order Squat, click HERE.

Please Note:

All author proceeds from Squat will go to Graffiti Community Ministries, Inc., a service arm of the East Seventh Street Baptist Church on the Lower East Side of Manhattan where Field preaches.

Back Cover Copy:

In the shadow of Wall Street’s wealth, homeless citizens with names like Squid, Saw, and Bonehead live in abandoned buildings known as "squats" where life is hand to mouth, where fear and violence fester. The light in lovable Squid’s obsessive-compulsive mind’s eye is Rachel, a loving soup kitchen missionary who tells him about faith and unfaith, hypocrisy and justice, the character of God and finding identity in Him.

But among the squats and so many other abandoned lives, will such talk be enough to make Squid believe that his life may actually amount to something?

For space restraints, read the first chapter over in the Reading Room.

Monday, August 28, 2006

New Book & Music Website:

I wanted to let you know about a new website I'm co-founding called ( It features Christian book and music reviews, interviews, articles, contests, surveys, and novel excerpts.

Be sure to sign up to receive our e-newsletter, because everyone who signs up will be entered in a drawing for a huge book & cd prize pack. And if you refer a friend to the site, and the friend mentions your name when they sign up, your name will be entered again for each friend that signs up. Check it all out at our Contest page.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Enjoying Life?

I recently heard an amazing quote: “If you’re not enjoying your life, then you’re not spending enough time with God.”


That kinda hit me over the head, right between the eyes. Haven’t we all had times in our lives when things aren’t going the way we plan? We’re unhappy (though not even sure why), and our natural inclination is to bite the head off anyone who rubs us wrong? I wonder if those are the times when we neglect God. It’s an easy trap to fall into. Ask me how I know.

What about in our writing? We all have those days when we’re rather do just about anything but write (think trimming toenails, mowing the lawn, or cleaning the garage). Is it possible those times happen more often when we forget to spend time with the Author of the world?

Here’s my challenge for you. Spend time with the Lord today before you do anything else, including write. And when you sit down at the keyboard, whisper a little prayer. Something like this:

“Lord, thank you for putting the desire in my heart to write. I ask you to help me today/tonight to hear your words. I pray that I would write what you want me to write, and I ask you to speak to me and guide me every step of the way. I ask you for your wisdom, and I commit my writing to you. Thanks for helping me.”

Life is meant to be enjoyed. So don’t let anyone steal your joy today. You’re meant for great things!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

To Make a Short Story Long

Many writers overwrite. I’m not one of them. One of my struggles is making a story long enough. If you fall into the same camp, here are a few tips I’ve found to make a short story (or book) long:

1. Look for places where you’ve summarized a scene. Dramatize it instead.

2. Look for scenes where a character has a lot of interior monologue. Bring in a second character for them to talk with.

3. Look for time gaps. What happens in them that you could make into a scene?

4. Add another character. Perhaps someone your main character doesn’t want to see, or wasn’t expecting to see.

5. Add a subplot. Are there any existing characters you could give scenes? Maybe your villain?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Full Tilt by Creston Mapes (FIRST blog alliance)

It's August 1st, time for the FIRST Day Blog Tour! (Join our alliance! Click the button!) The FIRST day of every month we will feature an author and their latest book's FIRST chapter!

This month's feature author is:
Creston Mapes

Creston Mapes' first book, Dark Star: Confessions of a Rock Idol, has been selected by the Romance Writers of America (RWA) as a finalist for its 2006 Inspirational Readers Choice awards in the category of long, contemporary novel. Awards will presented this summer in Atlanta at the Marriott Marquis hotel.

Full Tilt, the second book in the Rock Star Chronicles, is racking up a number of fine reviews, many stating that its story/writing has surpassed the quality of that in Dark Star. His third novel, a psychological thriller based in Las Vegas, is due out in 2007.

As he has for 20 years, Creston resides in the Atlanta metropolitan area with his hometown sweetheart and four marvelous children. He loves reading, painting, morning walks with his dog, family outings, watching hockey, going on dates with his wife, meeting friends for coffee, and spending time in God's Word. Read Creston's Complete Bio

To read the first chapter of Full Tilt at the in the Reading Room, click here.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Writing Techniques -- Character Thoughts

I read an article in Writer’s Digest magazine years ago that I’ve never forgotten. I don't remember its title, but the article gave advice on how to portray a character's thoughts without using clunky italics or resorting to typing, “he thought” or “she thought”. All that’s needed is to describe a physical action performed by the character (usually having something to do with his/her face or eyes), and then simply write the character’s thought after that line of description. Readers will instantly know whose thoughts they are.

An example. Say I have a character named Joe. He's tracking someone. He gets out of his jeep, crouches down in the middle of a dirt road, and maybe fingers some dirt. My sentence: “Joe scanned the horizon. They were getting away, and he was completely powerless to do anything about it.” There’s no doubt here who’s doing the thinking.

This is a technique we've all no doubt read in novels before (and now that I'm further along in my writing I employ it without thinking), but when the article spelled it out for me those many years ago, I remember having a Eureka moment.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Cutting Edge

The question comes up often among Christian novelists. How edgy is too edgy? How far should Christian writers push the envelope?

I believe there is no finite answer. A book I might consider too graphic or edgy will be the book that will change someone else's life. It's all about balance. And while I do believe there are some things Christians shouldn't write or read (the excuse of exposing myself to the world in order to be relevant just doesn’t cut it for me), what it all comes down to is each individual listening to their heart and God’s leading. We're all different to reach different people. The eye can't say to the ear, "I don't need you!" The hand can't say to the foot, "I don't need you!"

Sometimes the important stuff is forgotten when we Christians get all into the nitty gritty details of theology and doctrine. Bottom line, let's look at Jesus as our example. He hung out with prostitutes and tax collectors. He told stories that made people uncomfortable. But through all of his teaching, and all of his stories, the thread of grace and redemption was woven. The prodigal didn't stay wallowing in the mud with the pigs. He came home to his father. The Good Samaritan rescued the man beaten by thugs.

What were Jesus' last words to his disciples? "Go into all the world and preach the gospel ..." That's what it's all about for me. And the cool thing is there are countless ways to do it.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

TL Hines Advice

A recent quote from TL Hines (author of the novel Waking Lazarus), really hit home for me. It appeared on Chris Well's blog, Learning Curve. Chris asked TL, "What advice would you give to aspiring writers?"

Part of TL's response:

Write because you love it, not because you have a huge desire to be published. If you're writing for the love of it, enjoying the creation and escaping into the minds of other characters, you'll ironically be on the path to publication. If you're writing because the most important thing in the world is seeing your name in print, you're misguided. You'll be worrying too much about what sells. You'll be chasing every new trend. You'll be frequenting writing boards online, and asking questions such as, "Should I use Courier or Times New Roman on my manuscript?" And frankly, you'll be spending less time actually writing.

I know of which I speak, because I've been there. I wrote my first book, went through more than 80 rejections from literary agents. I chalked it up to learning, put away the book, then wrote a second book. Again, more rejections. Maybe 100 of them this time.

Frustrated, I started writing a third book, wondering why I should even bother. Then, I realized I had a bad case of publication fever, and I had to sit down and say to myself: "You know what? It doesn't really matter if I ever get published, because I love writing. So I'm going to focus on writing, and quit worrying about publishing." With this admission to myself, I felt a weight lifted from my shoulders.

And ironically, about two weeks after being honest with myself, I received an email from Dave Long, acquisitions editor for Bethany House, who had downloaded the first chapter of my first book and was interested in seeing more. A month later, I had a two-book contract.

I don't think the timing on any of that was a coincidence.

Read the full interview here.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

2006 Christy Award Winners

Congratulations to all the nominees!

The 2006 winners are:

Contemporary Stand-alone: Levi's Will by W. Dale Cramer
Contemporary Series: The Road to Home by Vanessa Del Fabbro
Historical: Whence Came a Prince by Liz Curtis Higgs
Romance: A Bride Most Begrudging by Deanne Gist
Suspense/MysteryRiver Rising by Athol Dickson
Visionary: Shadow Over Kiriath by Karen Hancock
First Novel: This Heavy Silence by Nicole Mazzarella

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Live Life!

Tell me if you've been here: You're writing's clipping along at break-neck speed. You're meeting all your deadlines, even exceeding them. Ideas are flowing from your brain to your typing fingers as effortlessly as a rushing mountain stream. Then you hit "the wall". Your well dries up. Your brain feels like oatmeal mush. How could someone like you even begin to think you can write a book (or article or story) worth reading?

I'd venture to guess just about every writer on the planet has been in this wilderness before. But you know what? You don't have to stay there wallowing in frustration. Here's a tip I'm learning: If I want to write deeply, I need to live life. Sometimes it's very easy as writers to hole ourselves up in our offices and draw from our creative wells time and time again without ever refilling. We need to get out and live life!

I'll admit it. I'm an introvert. I'd rather take a walk by myself than go to a party. My idea of fun is sitting in a comfy chair reading a good novel. I don't mind being alone in a room all day long staring at a computer screen. But I need to learn how to get over some of these tendencies. Break out of my shell. Never be afraid to ask questions. Constantly strive to learn new things. I know I won't truly enjoy life if I don't get out there and do things my introvert self would rather avoid.

Several months ago my local airport was having an "open house". I read in the paper they were offering helicopter rides. That sounded very cool to the more adventurous part of me, but it was quickly squelched by the cautious part. It took some prodding from a family member, but I finally overrode my hesitance and went for it. I plunked down my $25.00 and climbed on board a two-person Bell helicopter. I'm so glad I did. What an amazing experience. My creative juices were flowing through the entire five minutes (what if someone got on board expecting a five minute ride and was instead kidnapped ... what if a helicopter pilot and one passenger crashed in the wilderness and had to survive ....)

Don't be afraid to do something out of your comfort zone today. And while you're at it, try not to think about how you can use the research in your writing, like I did. Just enjoy the experience. It will be like adding buckets of water to your creative well.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Brandilyn Collins' Java Joint Blog Begins Today

Author (and blogger) Brandilyn Collins has written a novel that comes out in August called Violet Dawn. It is part of a new series she has started called the Kanner Lake Series. She sent out Advance Reader Copies to those who requested them and asked them to choose a character that they liked. Then she asked the readers to send her a make believe post from the character for a make believe blog by the 'Kanner Lake' make believeresidents. This is going to be an actual blog full of ficticious bloggers written by real bloggers who liked Violet Dawn. It begins today! Go check it out by pressing the button for Java Joint!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

FIRST Day, July 1st

It is July 1st, time for the FIRST Day Blog Tour! (Join our alliance! Click the button!) The FIRST day of every month we will feature an author and their latest book's FIRST chapter!

This month's feature author is:
Marilynn Griffith.
Marilynn Griffith is a freelance writer and conference speaker whose online columns reach over 20,000 women each month. Her recent writing credits include Pink(Shades of Style #1), Made of Honor, Chicken Soup for the Christian Woman's Soul, Proverbs for the People, and For Better or for Worse. She is also a blogger! Visit her Rhythms of Grace blog and learn ever so much! Marilynn lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with her husband and children.

Her latest book, Jade (Shades of Style #2), just came out and she has agreed to be our July feature author for the FIRST Day Blog tour.

Having the perfect life isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Designer Lily Chau doesn't know if she's finally got it together or if life is starting to unravel. With a successful boyfriend and a great job at up-and-coming fashion house Garments of Praise, it seems she has the perfect pattern for success. But her mother's health is failing, her boyfriend just won't pop the question, and being a pattern maker is a far cry from having a clothing line of her own. Lily is sure her hands are just too full to draw her deepest dreams.

Raya and Chenille, Lily's pals at Garments of Praise offer plenty of advice and sympathy. Jean, Lily's co-worker and second Mom even goes behind Lily's back to boost her chances of success. When she's chosen for the reality show The Next Design Diva, it seems like the chance of a lifetime for Lily. But the mysterious designer chosen to mentor her sends her spinning. He's fresh, fine—and way off limits. Suddenly Lily's life goes from carefully patterned to nothing but a tangle of threads.

Praise for the Shades of Style series:

"Griffith's ...Shades of Style series features four women in the fashion industry: Raya, Chenille, Lily, and Jean. The women fight to save their struggling business and learn some important lessons about people, life, and faith."— Library Journal

“The …Shades of Style series combines multicultural characters with heartache, drama, humor, and romance.”—Charisma Magazine
Read the FIRST chapter!

For space restraints, Chapter 1 can now be read at the Firsts blog:

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Synopsis of my novel Thicker Than Blood

Two sisters, estranged for 15 years.
Their blood ties weren't enough.

Only something stronger could bring them together again.

Christy Williams finally has her life on track. Her career as an antiquarian book buyer at the renowned used bookstore Dawson’s Barn of Books is taking off. Hunter Dawson is teaching her the fine points of purchasing collectable books, and so far she’s been able to keep her drinking problem from interfering. But when she discovers her ex-boyfriend, who also works at Dawson’s, is stealing valuable books right off the store’s shelves, she’s unable to stop him for fear he’ll expose the skeletons in her closet.

Her life begins to unravel when a stolen Hemingway first edition is found in her possession, framing her for a crime she didn’t commit. With no one to turn to she yearns for her estranged family, especially her younger sister May, who she abandoned in their childhood after their parents’ untimely deaths. Now the owner of a failing cattle ranch, May couldn’t possibly want a relationship with her, the big sister who didn’t even say goodbye all those years ago. Could she?

Soon Christy’s fleeing from her shattered dreams, her ex-boyfriend, and God. Could the Triple Cross ranch be the safe haven she’s searching for, or will her sister’s new-found faith give her even more reason to reject Christy? Will they realize before it’s too late that each possesses what the other desperately needs?