Tuesday, July 31, 2007

War With Oprah

There's an interesting article over on CNN's website. Seems the publisher of James Frey's "Million Little Pieces" has really gone after Oprah with a vengence. Be real curious what other authors & publishers have to say about the fray:


Monday, July 30, 2007


*Guest blogger today

"Nascar used to be just a Southern sport.
"Now it's everywhere! (Which is cool.)
"Won't ever take the place of football, but it's one of the top four sports in America. Rednecks everywhere can rejoice!
"Of course, with progress comes setbacks. In order to accomodate the growing fans, Nascar now holds races all across the country. That means that many venues which originally supported Nascar now have to offer other forms of racing. Rockingham now focuses on drag racing as there are no longer Nascar events held there. Sad, but I guess that's the price that must be paid for its growing popularity.
"No matter what happens, though, Daytona will always reign as THE place to go for Nascar! And they will not let it go."
- Sarah Gardner, wife of Broncos receiver, Matt Gardner

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Success Image

From William H. Cook's book, "Success, Motivation, and the Scriptures" -

"Are we to believe the same God who engineered a successful creation, gave man a sucessful human body, assigned man tasks which demanded success, stamped man's brain with a failure image?"

"Success is much more than a matter of achieving the right things; it is also a matter of being the right person."

"Of course God wants us to succeed in the task He has given us. He wants us to be mightily motivated, full of confidence, excited about life."

"For then thou shalt make thy way properous, and then thou shalt have good success." - Joshua 1:8

Friday, July 27, 2007

Favorite Aspect of Being an Author

I was interviewed yesterday for a newspaper feature and the question was posed to me - what is my favorite aspect of being an author?

That is easy - getting out and meeting the readers!

I thought writing was the most enjoyable part until I started doing booksignings - and then I just fell in love with meeting the people! Talking to someone, asking them about their own dream, and watching their eyes light up is just such a thrill. People are just so facinating and diverse! And I would never get this opportunity sitting at home in front of my computer. But with all of my signings, appearances, book festivals and seminars, I get to met thousands upon thousands of people every year!

Easiest question I've ever answered!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Author Kathleen Popa

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing
TO DANCE IN THE DESERT (RiverOak, May 1, 2007)
by Kathleen Popa
Raised in the American Southwest, Kathleen began her love affair with the desert as a child. Before becoming a writer she, among other jobs, worked in both the juvenile facility fro incarcerated girls and a home for emotionally disturved children. Mother of two, sh lives in Northern California with her husband and youngest son. Visit her blog, Reading, Writing, and What Else is There? She is a member of the CFBA, too! Give her a holler!
“Not a safe world.” How many times had she heard it over and over again? Well, it is not a safe world and Dara Murphy Brogan knew it better than most, which is exactly why she had tucked herself away on a desert mountaintop. Now it was just her, the voice inside her head and the boxes of hastily packed odds and ends—all that was left of her pathetic excuse of a life. Hadn’t she chosen the desert because it was barren and brown and dead looking and far, far away from anyone who may have seen the news?
So what was this, this trespasser, this interloper, this wacked out earth mother doing dancing outside her window? Celebrating life and the Spirit in a way Dara never could have dreamed. Until she opened her door and met Jane Cameron.
A book that makes me laugh is a joy, a book that makes me cry is a rarity. But a book that moves me to dance is sublime. To Dance in the Desert is a spectacular experience. Beautifully written, deeply moving, and warmly engaging—that this is Kathleen Popa’s first novel astounds me. That she will quickly be counted among the top caliber of Christian novelists delights me. I simply loved this book.
~Kathryn Mackel, Author of The Hidden
Kathleen Popa creates a compelling vision of a small community’s power to coax waning spirits back toward life. This gem of a novel worked on me like a dream. Popa’s evocative prose captured the nuance and complexity of transformation with equal parts mystery and truth. She conjures the deserts of Dara Brogan’s life with intimate clarity, reminding us along the way of the profound strength of what we take far too much for granted—the deep friendship of kindred spirits. This is a journey worth taking.
~Jeff Berryman, Author of Leaving Ruin

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Momentary Frenzy

After a couple weeks off from book signings, it's back into the frenzy this weekend.
I've also got a newspaper interview on Thursday and a radio call-in on Friday. Then Saturday, it's off to Columbia, SC and two signings, plus several stores & libraries to visit along the way. The following weekend is Greensboro, with signings at Waldenbooks and Borders. (My most favorite Borders, too - I love those guys!!)
Then I've only got one Friday signing remaining in August on the Outer Banks of NC.
After Labor Day, though, it gets nuts! Twenty-two more stores and ten seminars, between Sept. 8 and Dec. 8. Plus I've got a month-long blog tour in October. Guess I'm just a glutton for punishment!
Or determined to achieve my dream!

Monday, July 23, 2007


For anyone seeking an agent, the first site you need to explore is Predetors & Editors:
Be prepared, as acquiring an agent is difficult, especially for a first time author. You will likely have better luck searching for a publishing house first.
Either way, be prepared for rejection slips. They are part of the game! If you start to feel discouraged, I recommend checking out this site for a good laugh:
Surely none of yours are that bad!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Learn To Focus

Notice in every quote below, focusing is mentioned.
Succeeding at any task requires the power of focus!
"Concentrate all your thoughts on the task at hand. The sun's rays do not burn until brought to a focus." - Alexander Graham Bell
"Persons with comparatively moderate powers will accomplish much if they apply themselves wholly and indefatigably to one thing at a time." - Samuel Smiles
"The first requisite for success is to apply your physical and mental energies to one problem incessantly without growing weary." - Thomas Edison
"Gather in your resources, rally all your faculties, marshal all your energies, focus all your capabilities upon mastery of at least one field of endeavor." - John Haggai
"Concentration, in its truest, unadulterated form, means the ability to focus the mind on one single solitary thing." - Komar
From "Eat That Frog!" by Brian Tracy

Friday, July 20, 2007

Harry Potter Is Upon Us!

Tonight ...
at midnight ...
the wait is over!
And we'll all finally know if Harry Potter bites it or not!

All across America, bookstores will be throwing Harry Potter parties and thousands upon thousands will line up to get their copy after midnight.
Kinda funny, but with the stores selling Potter at 40% off or better, they are not making money on this deal. (The publisher & wholesalers will, though.) They will rely on the fans buying other items while waiting in line.

And I have to confess that I have never read any of the books. (I have seen the movies, though.) So I will not be rushing out to get a copy.
I will however, be reading the news tomorrow to discover who dies!

The author is sad to end it, but she is probably very ready to tackle something new. Once I have completed Book V of my series, I will be delighted to attack a new story!
I do plan to revisit the series later, so I'm not killing off any characters.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Happy Birthday Rocko & Spunky!

July 18th was Rocko & Spunky's second birthday. We celebrated by getting them some new cat toys, including the little squeaking mouse you see in the pictures.

We don't know exactly when they were born, but from the vet's extimate, they were born about the time we put Calvin to sleep. Since we lost Calvin on the 17th, we made the 18th their birthday.

And we've always joked that our sweet, white Calvin died a positive - and came back as two negatives!

Happy birthday, little Goobers!

Rocko & Spunky as kittens.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Author Stephen Bly

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing ONE STEP OVER THE BORDER (Center Street June 12, 2007) by Stephen Bly
Stephen Bly is a pastor, a mayor, an antique Winchester gun collector and a writer.He's mayor of a town of 308 in the mountains of Idaho, on the Nez Perce Indian Reservation. In his spare time, he pursues the three R's of ridin', ropin' and rodeo...and construction of Broken Arrow Crossing, a false-front western village near his home.That keeps him very western. And he collect old Winchester rifles, which reflects his love of historical accuracy. He's also a fan of Jimmy Buffet music.Stephen says about his writing, "I write about the West (historic or modern) from the inside. Born and raised on western ranches, I have both the heart and mind to describe things as they really were...and are. There are those who think the frontier has long passed and with it the ‘code of the west.’ The truth is, both are still around...and it’s fun to show that in a contemporary story. The West is so big, so diverse, so enchanting it’s a thrill to write about it in any era."Stephen is the author of ninety-five books and hundreds of articles.
It’s a romp...
A road adventure...
It’s a buddy story with romantic comedy!!Some call it CowboyLit. Rodeo cowboy Hap Bowman’s on a search for Juanita, the gal of his dreams, whom he hasn’t seen in 18 years. He seems stuck on 12-years-old and the enchanting girl he met then."An idiot obsession," his roping partner, Laramie Majors, chides.But Laramie agrees to a final summer’s trek along the Rio Grande. If they don’t find Juanita during those months, Hap promises to drop the idea of the hunt for the mystery senorita. But if they find her, will she feel the same as Hap does about their years ago interlude?In One Step Over The Border the time tested values of cowboys rub up against contemporary mores. It’s a crazy story that becomes more logical as the reader delves deeper into it. It will make you laugh and shed a tear or two.Getting back to Hap’s pursuit . . . don’t we all have someone in the past, that we knew for only a short while, that we wish we could have known better, longer? Stephen Bly has!. So when Hap and Laramie ventured out on a quest for Hap’s Juanita, Stephen decided to invite others to go along too. Folks have been e-mailing Hap hapandlaramie@yahoo.com and asking for their own “Juanita Search Kits.”
They get a bumper sticker, magnet, bookmark, stickers, flyers, etc. It’s a whole packet of material that will equip anyone to join the fun of finding the Juanita with “the mark of God.” If they send Hap a picture of the places where they stuck their Juanita signs, they’ll receive a free copy of the book. It’s all there on the website at http://www.onestepovertheborder.com/
And there’s a very special feature on http://www.amazon.com/...some more adventures about Hap and Laramie that did NOT appear in the book, can be found on AmazonShorts in the story entitled, Aim Low, Shoot High.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Here's To Best Friends!

My best friend is, of course, Craig.
But my best girl friend is Dale.
We've know each other since we were in high school and managed to stay in contact and continue to visit one another over the years. She's one of the few people in my life who truly understands "Eeeewwwwww!", "Merge!" and "Pillow People." She's seen me really goofy at midnight. And she was even brave enough to take a cross-country trip with me when I moved from Arkansas to Oregon. (Oh, the stories we could tell!)
So here's to you, Dale! I love ya!
Halloween 1987 - no, we did not dress like that every day!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Media Has Control

*Guest Blogger Today

"In the past, the media reported the news. Today, the media chooses what news it wants to report and promote.
"If you don't believe that, just look at the recent media hype surrounding Paris Hilton and Beckham.
"Beckham is an important figure in world soccer, however ... here in America, 99% don't really care!
"He has been mentioned every day on sports shows such as PTI, Around The Horn and Sportscenter, and even those announcers have questioned all the hype. For some odd reason, the media is trying to force Beckham down the American public's throat as the greatest athlete ever. We're not buying it, though! Football is our #1 sport, followed by basketball, then Nascar and baseball, then hockey and golf ... soccer is WAY down on the list. So why all of the hub-bub?
"I think once the media stops clamouring around Beckham, he's gonna wonder what happened!"

- Sarah Gardner, wife of Broncos receiver, Matt Gardner

Friday, July 13, 2007

Publishing Tips from Peter I. Hupalo

From his book, "How To Start & Run a Small Book Publishing Company", author Peter I. Hupalo offers this advice:

"... overprinting a first book, rather than looking at the first press run as a test, is a common mistake made by new publishers ..."

"Free publicity is always more effective than paid advertising."

"Another excellent source of publicity is public speaking."

"Many successful publishers make it a point to do at least three things every day to market their books."

"View each of your titles as an investment for the future."

The owner of HCM Publishing, Peter's book also contains many book and website resources. A must for anyone serious about starting a publishing company!!!

Purchase book at Amazon here:

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Motivation For The Week

From Julio Melara’s book, “It Only Takes Everything You’ve Got!”

Change your perspective on failing:

“ 1. Don’t Take Failing Personally
2. Make Failing a Learning Experience
3. Do Not Let Failing Keep You Down
4. Keep Your Sense of Humor
5. Do Not Give In or Give Up”

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Author Robin Parrish

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing
FEARLESS (Bethany House, July 1, 2007)
by Robin Parrish
Robin Parrish had two great ambitions in his life: to have a family, and to be a published novelist.
In March of 2005, he proposed to his future wife the same week he signed his first book contract.Born Michael Robin Parrish on October 13, 1975, Robin's earliest writing efforts took place on a plastic, toy typewriter, and resulted in several "books" (most between 10 and 30 pages long) and even a few magazines.
By the age of thirteen, he had begun winning local writing awards and became a regular in his high school's literary magazine. In college, he garnered acclaim from his English professors and fellow students while maturing and honing his skills.
After college, he entered the writing profession through a "side door" -- the Internet. More than ten years he spent writing for various websites, including About.com, CMCentral.com, and his current project Infuze Magazine, which is a unique intersection between art and faith which he also conceived of and created.
One of his more "high concept" ideas for Infuze was to return to his love for storytelling and create a serialized tale that would play out every two weeks, telling a complete, compelling story over the course of nine months. That serialized story eventually came to the attention of several publishers, who saw it as a potential debut novel for Robin Parrish.
In 2005, Bethany House Publishers brought Robin full circle by contracting him for the rights to not only that first book, Relentless -- but two sequels. A trilogy, to unfold in the consecutive summers of 2006, 2007, and 2008. One massive tale -- of which that first, original story would form only the foundational first volume of the three -- spread across three books.
Robin is the Editor in Chief and creator of Infuze Magazine. He and his wife Karen reside in High Point, North Carolina. Karen works for High Point's First Wesleyan Church, where Robin and Karen are members and Small Group leaders.
Book Two of the Dominion Trilogy:The world changed after that terrible day when the sky burned, and now every heart is gripped by fear...Earthquakes, fire, disease, and floods pummel the earth, and its citizens watch in horror.
But in the darkness there is hope -- an anonymous but powerful hero whom the public dubs "Guardian." He is Grant Borrows, one of a chosen few who walk the earth with extraordinary powers. But while Grant enjoys this new life, signs of a dangerous ancient prophecy begin coming true, and those closest to Grant worry he may be hiding a terrible secret.A search for answers brings Grant and his friends to London, where an extraordinary discovery awaits that will challenge everything they thought they knew. With a deadly new enemy dogging his steps, Grant realizes that the world's only hope may come from unraveling the truth about himself once and for all. But what he comes face-to-face with leaves even this most powerful of men shaken with fear.
Secrets will be revealed.
Friends will make the ultimate sacrifice.
And destiny will not be denied.
The story continues...

Monday, July 09, 2007

Cloverfield, Ethan Haas & The Great Movie Mystery

For any of you who saw Transformers this past week, you saw one of the most amazing movie trailers ever.

It was for a JJ Abrams movie, as yet unnamed, being released next January. Won't bother describing it - go see for yourself - http://www.apple.com/trailers/paramount/11808/

Since then, the Internet is abuzz with this movie, working title "Cloverfield", and its connections to Ethan Haas. Rumours have it being "Voltron" or the next Godzilla movie, but the most convincing is the suggestion that the movie revolves around H.P. Lovecraft's monstrous Gods attacking Earth.

An article about it appears on USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/life/movies/news/2007-07-08-abrams-trailer_N.htm?csp=34

There are several sites for Ethan Hass: Ethan Haas Was Right: http://www.ethanhaaswasright.com/

Ethan Haas Was Wrong: http://ethanhaaswaswrong.blogspot.com/

And a site playing all of the Ethan Haas videos do you don't have to solve the puzzles: http://www.technorati.com/videos/tag/Ethan%20Haas

In between all of this are various other sites about Ethan Haas & Cloverfield:
http://www.beyondhollywood.com/cloverfield-update-ethan-haas-was-right-a-glimpse-of-the-parasite/http://www.britfilms.tv/index.php?id=2807 http://www.lazylaces.com/article.asp?p=2746

So check it out for yourself!
(And what I wouldn't give for this kind of Internet BUZZ!!!)

Linda Windsor

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing
Wedding Bell Blues (Avon Inspire 2007)
by Linda Windsor
Linda, a native of Maryland's Eastern Shore, is the author of eighteen historical novels and nine contemporary romances for both the secular and Christian market. A Christy Award finalist, Linda has received numerous awards in both the ABA and CBA, including the Romantic Writers of America's Beacon Award. She lives in Salisbury, Maryland. Learn more!
Wedding Bell Blues is the first in a new series, The Piper Cove Chronicles, that follows four women who grew up as best friends in a small community on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. They have returned home from their successes and failures at college and life, determined to pursue their dreams in the town they'd once vowed to leave in the dust. True love has eluded the four friends until one by one they encounter their soul mate. Next in the series is FOR PETE'S SAKE, on sale from Avon Inspire in April 2008.Alex Butler is a successful home decorator who hopes she has finally gotten her life together. But when Josh Turner, the man who ran away and broke her heart sixteen years ago, returns to Piper Cove to be the best man in her sister's wedding, Alex can't escape the butterflies in her stomach. But Alex has no time for distractions. Her family has enlisted her to make this the wedding of the century. To pull the event off, she pools the talents of her three best friends - Jan, who creates desserts to-die-for will help with the cake and catering, tomboy Ellen, who works at a landscaping business will handle the flowers and decorations, and Sue Ann, who can…well, Suzie Q can give Alex a much-needed reality check in the course of the wedding planning chaos.But fate won't be stopped in this small town as Alex and Josh keep running into each other at every turn. When sparks fly, Alex soon finds herself caught in a paralyzing battle of the heart between her old-fashioned Southern father, who fiercely resents Josh for breaking his little girl's heart, and her feelings for the one man she ever truly loved.
As the wedding approaches, the Butler family faces a threat to their reputation that will shake this Chesapeake clan to their very core. In the midst of it all, can Alex and Josh resist the many forces that seem to be drawing them together?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Thanks Southern Pines!

Another awesome day in Southern Pines, North Carolina!

Thanks to all of the fans & readers - and the great staff there at Waldenbooks.

Wuv you guys!!!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Heat Wave!

Thank God for air conditioners!
Record highs are being set out West, including 127 in Death Valley. (Now that's hot!) We used to live in New Mexico, which could hit 100 easily during the summer, but it was a dry heat. Of course, once it's over 100, it doesn't really matter - it's hot & draining.
We're getting mid 90's this week here on the East Coast. The humidity is finally starting to kick in, too. (I never understood "heat index" until I moved east of the Rockies.) But it IS July, one of our hottest months, and to be expected. The heat forces people to either stay inside or head for the beach. (Which I never understood, as it's just as hot there and the warm, sticky salt water doesn't really cool off the bod.)
I'm hoping a lot of them go to a book store this weekend for their air conditioning!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Author Chuck Holton

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing
Chuck Holton

Chuck served four years in the Elite 75th Ranger Regiment–the same unit profiled in the movie “Black Hawk Down.” Chuck saw combat in Panama in 1989. After leaving active duty, Chuck flew helicopters in the Wisconsin National Guard while attending the University of Wisconsin.In 2004, after ten years as a stockbroker, Chuck left that profession to pursue full-time writing. At the same time, he began working as the "Adventure Correspondent" for CBN.He is the author of five books, including A More Elite Soldier, Bulletproof, andAllah's Fire, the first of three books in the Task Force Valor series.Today, Chuck, Connie, and their five children live on a farm in Appalachia, where Chuck now pursues his varied interests of farming, writing, adventure travel and public speaking, among other things.
EXPLOSIVE ORDINANCE DISPOSAL--THE BOMB SQUADAs the global war on terror heats up, the U.S. deploys a team of highly trained special operators overseas to locate and neutralize threats, bringing EOD expertise to dangerous missions that have no room for error.A DEADLY EXPLOSIONA new specialty explosive is on the black market: ITEB looks like water, but when it's exposed to air, the effects are lethal! The United States government is frantic to keep it from our shores. Staff Sergeant Euripides "Rip" Rubio knows how destructive ITEB can be. He has already risked his life to thwart a horrific terrorist plot involving the chemical. Now Task Force Valor heads to Panama, on the trail of an arms dealer who plans to use ITEB to make a killing...literally.AN ADVENTURE ABROADFernanda Lerida is a University of Florida grad student who jumps at the chance to join a biological expedition to a mysterious former prison island. But the snakes, bugs, and crocodiles are soon the least of her worries as the group stumbles upon something they were not meant to see. To Make matters worse, Fernanda soon finds herself alone and being pursued by an unseen foe.A RISKY RESCUEWhen Rip's path collides with Fernanda's, they find themselves caught in the midst of a brutal turf war. Can they use the chaos to their advantage, or will one false step set the entire island ablaze?
"Island Inferno is a boy-meets-girl story. But in Chuck Holton's world, boy meets girl in the middle of a jungle at 25mph. hanging under a parachute with an assault rifle strapped across his chest. You'd better plan on reading this in one sitting. And once you're done, you'd better give yourself time for your pulse to calm down."
----TOM MORRISEY, Author of Deep Blue, and Dark Fathom

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Simpsons and 7-Eleven

7-Eleven's have transformed into Kwik E Marts!

Around the country, eleven 7-Elevens have changed their store fronts to resemble Kwik E Marts from the Simpsons.
They are also offering Squishees (formly Slurpees) and Krusty'Os Cereal (courtesy of Malt-O-Meal) at every 7-Eleven.

All of this to help promote the Simpsons movie, coming out at the end of July.

This has got to be one of the funniest, greatest promotional ideas ever! Makes me want to go out and get a WooHoo Squishee.

Wonder if Ahpoo will be manning the cash register?

Monday, July 02, 2007

Favorite Characters

Every book or author comes up with a character that becomes someone's favorite. Sometimes it's the main character, sometimes it's even the villian. Sometimes it's not even human - my favorite character in Anne McCaffrey's Dragonrider series is Ruth, the white dragon.

I have been asked about the characters of my books and recently noticed something. One would think that Lori would be the tie to all of the other characters. Indeed, she was for Books II & III, but she is not in Book IV at all, other than by brief mention. Indeed, the characters who are present in all five stories are Sarah & Matt. They are the real glue that holds together all of the stories.

Perhaps it is because I miss writing about them that they continue to show up in the other stories. Perhaps it is because they are the most stable.

Or perhaps it's because they are my favorite!