Meet Novelist Casey Herringshaw

Casey Herringshaw writes inspirational women’s fiction that tackles the harder aspects of the human condition, but with a passion to share the love and grace she in turn has received from her Heavenly Father.

Casey lives in Eastern Oregon in a county larger than Rhode Island, one that has a greater population of cattle than actual people. Though she lives 130 miles from the nearest shopping center, you won’t find Casey complaining. Surrounded by her family and the menagerie of farm animals, her family quietly lets her be her quirky self and create fiction to her heart’s content.

When Casey isn’t writing, blogging, Facebooking, or Tweeting (all to build platform, of course!), you will find her most often with a book in hands, her knitting not too far away, but always willing to lay it all down to help a family member.

Casey’s Journey

I understand you began writing in high school. When did your love of writing turn into a serious pursuit of publication?

My writing enthusiasm actually began in Junior High, when my loving Dad, saw I had no head (at the time) for figures in science and math and decided to try a different approach. Which basically boiled down to cooking and writing. After a handful of short (I mean short) stories, I began writing my first novel length story in high school. I think during my senior year, I realized this is what I wanted to do. Period.

One of the first milestones a writer experiences is reaching The End. You’ve done that. How did it feel to complete your first romance? What did you learn during the creation of the story?

Well first off, I don’t write “straight” romance. But because I have been greatly loved in my short 20 years, I like to include that love both from our Father in heaven and my family into my stories. But my fiction tends more toward the gritty side of life. 🙂

Writing “The End”? There has got to be no greater accomplishment at this point in my journey. That is 90,000 words! 90,000 words that took energy and time and love to put on the screen. I think the greatest thing I learned while writing these last two novels is that nothing is set in stone. Nothing is perfect. We just have to be willing to keep learning.

You joined American Christian Fiction Writers and made some great connections. How did this come about? In what ways has your involvement in ACFW helped you grow as a writer?

In 2009 I stumbled across Cara Putman’s blog and it was filled with pictures from this ginourmous writer’s conference. I instantly drooled, especially when I started identifying my favorite authors in those photos. I mean, come on, total envy was setting in big time! But discovering her site eventually led to discovering ACFW’s website and I joined just a few days later.

ACFW for me has been a life-changing experience. I honestly don’t think I would still be writing if I hadn’t joined. I would still have the love for creating fiction, but I wouldn’t know what to do with it. ACFW has given me constructive avenues for my writing, guided me through potholes and given me the sense that I am never alone on this journey. There is something so incredible about opening your emails in the morning and knowing you are not the only one out there that loves to write Christian fiction. I think ACFW is going to seem even more than real come September!

Casey’s High Points

I’m sure your final in the Frasier is a high point on your writing journey. What led up to that final, and how did you react when you heard the news?

Oh goodness! That is one call I never, ever, ever expected in a million years. (okay maybe 10 years down the road, but not this year, this story!) I entered the Frasier for the learning experience. I had such a great experience last year with my judge’s comments I wanted that feedback again.

I knew Susie (Susan May Warren) was calling the finalists on the day they were supposed to be announced, but all I expected was an email with my comments. Instead I was exercising. No one was around to read the ID except my brother who can’t fully read yet. He rattled off the numbers, but I blew it off as someone calling for my Dad. 15 minutes later the phone rings again.

“I think it’s the same number.” My brother shouts over the exercise bike.

What is this? But I keep going and brush it off as again, someone for my dad.

Then I get off the bike and check the call back number. Andrew Warren. I start shaking. No. Uhuh, this isn’t possible that Susie was trying to call me? Did she leave a message and now I don’t get to talk to her?? I could kick myself, but I’m too anxious to get to the machine and hear the message.

It’s Susie. She wants to talk to me. It’s about the Frasier. And it’s good news.

My hands were quaking, my breathing sporadic and I think Susie probably thought some alien had taken over the phone line when I could barely string together 10 coherent words.

Like I said, totally unexpected. But I’ll never forget that conversation I had with Susie and her utter encouragement.

Wow! One of only six finalists out of nearly a 100 entrants. That’s impressive! I know there will be many cheering for you at the My Book Therapy pizza party. I wish you the best. What have been some other blessings in the years since you began your first story?

The little things along the learning of writing fiction have kept me going and motivated me in so many ways. Hearing from one of my critique partners that what I’m doing sounds really, really good. Having the encouragement from other writers/ authors like Susan May Warren and Chip MacGregor to just go with what I wanted to write. (this back in April 2010). And then the success stories of the new authors, such as you Keli, my Alley pal, Krista Phillips, Katie Ganshert, and so many more. Their drive, drives me.

Casey, the Encourager

You give back to a host of people in many ways, one of those being as a contributor at The Writers Alley. Please tell us how you came to be an Alley Cat and how being part of this group blog helps you pay it forward.

Pepper Basham and Sherrinda Ketch both talked about this blog long before they brought the rest of us into it and I had gotten to know Pepper from her blog, the rest from there is really history.

What can I give back? More like what I can take in! Seriously, I don’t know how those other 9 wonderful ladies put up with me. But I so appreciate that they do. We laugh and learn and bounce the good and bad off each other and we ALL have a passion for writing. We want to share that passion. It’s contagious on our loop! And hopefully that spills over onto the blog as well. 🙂

You’ve blessed many a writer with your Encourage an Author posts. What do you learn from your talented guests?

I have been blessed immeasurably through what God has taught me through my guests on OEA. Every time I think the time has come to hang the hat and bid farewell, God closes that door and says, “No. Not yet.” And those “no” answers usually come in the form of an email from a grateful author who had their spotlight at just the right time.

That’s ALL God. I couldn’t orchestrate ANY of it and each time that happens I know I’m right where God wants me. He has taught me that more than anything during this experience.

Who are the people serving as your greatest encouragers?

Oh goodness. I’m so blessed! My parents for one are HUGE cheerleaders. Then in the writing world, I’ve made very good friends with Julie Lessman and Laura Frantz, both of whom pray me through many of my writing struggles. My Alley Cats who are always there for any reason and have cheered me on in so many ways. And then the wonderful writers such as yourself and names I mentioned earlier who are so genuine and so kind that just in being them, they encourage me!

Casey, the Avid Reader

I’ve seen many great book reviews penned by you. How many books do you read a week? What are your favorite kinds of stories? Who are some of your must-read authors?

I read an average of 2-3 books a week depending on what other things I have going on. Generally about 2. My favorite stories are Women’s fiction (my genre of course. ;-), I do enjoy comedy and chick lit and then historical.

Must read authors? Do we have an hour or two?? 🙂 I love me a good Julie Lessman novel, Susan May Warren, Tamera Alexander, Siri Mitchell, Janice Thompson, Candace Calvert, Laura Frantz and Kathryn Cushman. But there are so many more, it’s just the tip of the iceberg!

Let’s Learn a Little More About Casey

You’ve compared writing to pencils and chocolate in blog posts. If you were to compare yourself to a type of shoe, which kind would it be?

Didn’t see that question coming! 🙂 Let’s see…a shoe? I think it would be a tennis shoe. The kind that can take endurance and run in spurts, but when the time comes to walk for long distance or stop and consider the situation, the support is provided to keep going and going and going. A good pair of tennis shoes won’t wear out easily! And hopefully that will be me in my writing tenacity.

You’ve spent years living on a farm. What are your favorite and least favorite farm chores?

Favorite? Mowing the lawn. Yep. I’m crazy and proud of it. 😉 But it’s also my mom’s favorite activity and it’s often a “fight” to see who gets to it first. 🙂

As for least? Shoveling. Manure. But thankfully that has become less of a chore since we had a new member join our farm family. Nothing better than a John Deere in the field. 😉

You’ve said you crave solitude. If you could visit your favorite place to get away from it all, where would that be?

I am actually very blessed to have a bunkhouse/bedroom separate from the main house that I go when I crave my solitude, decorated in my personal style. The ideal of ideals would be a cabin in the middle of the rolling hills surrounded by nothing but uninterrupted prairie. I love people and love to be around them, but when it comes to my home, I want to be as far away from civilization and another neighbor as possible. 😉

You’ve recently changed your profile picture, and I love it. What do you consider your best feature? Would your family and friends agree?

Oh, thank you Keli! (I’m blessed with a very talented cousin). I would consider my smile my best feature. A smile can always brighten someone’s day and I think my family would agree that I try to keep that smile in place a good deal of the time.

You’ve blessed many others, including me. What are some words your nearest and dearest friends would use to describe you? Would you agree?

I’m not sure what my friends would say…but I think I know what I would like them to say.

I would love for my dearest friends (and especially those that aren’t yet) to be able to see Jesus in me. No matter where I go, what I do, that Jesus would shine though me.

I would hope that these friends would also see how much I appreciate life. That the love for what God has given me in their friendship, in the blessing of doing what I love, in the grace God constantly gives me, that I do so love the life I live!

Casey’s Question for You

I love to listen to music and think that the music we listen to tells us a lot about us as a person. So my question for you: What song best describes you?

Casey’s Drawing

Casey has generously offered to give away an adult bracelet she has designed along with Janet Dean’s delightful novel Wanted: A Family.

To enter the drawing, just leave a comment for Casey by midnight July 25th (Pacific time) and enter your email address when prompted during the comment process.

On July 26th I will hold the drawing and post the winner’s name here as well and will contact her/him via email to get a mailing address.

Congratulations to Leanna Morris, winner of the drawing.

Note: Offer void where prohibited.
Prizes mailed to U.S. addresses only.
Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.

Learn More About Casey

Visit her website/blog ~ Writing for Christ

Visit her group blog ~ The Writer’s Alley

Friend her on Facebook ~ Casey Herringshaw

Follow her on Twitter ~ @c_herrinshaw

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Posted in Casey Herringshaw | Tagged | 55 Comments

Meet Novelist Kathleen L. Maher

Kathleen L. Maher writes Christian historical romance with an admiring nod at the Old South. A finalist in RWA’s Launching a Star contest in 2009 and 2010, she garnered second place both years. She semifinaled in this year’s ACFW Genesis contest with her historical romance, The Whitewash Bride, and received a request for her full manuscript from a final round judge.

Kathy lives in a rural hamlet in upstate New York, just outside of Elmira with all if its Civil War history. Her husband—who she insists looks just like Patrick Dempsey—plus two sons and a daughter share hearth and home, along with two rescued Newfoundlands and two cats. She works at Hobby Lobby supporting her addiction to gardening and decorating and holds a degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Home is Kathy’s century-old farmhouse (pictured below) with her many perennial gardens. In the midst of her happy chaos, she occasionally paints, crochets, and hunts for antique treasures at yard sales. Her muse is her autistic son, who supplies an unending source of delightful and original thoughts, such as “where on earth can you see the first star of the evening?”


Kathy the Writer

When did your love of romance and history compel you to start your first story? Did you give in quickly, or were you hesitant to write the first words?

My first story was actually a contemporary romance set in New York City. When most girls were singing Duran Duran songs and fluffing up their big hair, my teenage emotions gushed onto the page between seventh and eighth grades. When I sat down with my mom and sister that summer to watch Gone with the Wind, I felt compelled to read the book. At the same time I learned that my hometown of Elmira, New York held a dubious honor. It hosted a Confederate POW camp with the highest death rate on either side. After that, it was all about the Civil War for me.

How long did it take you to complete your first manuscript? Did it fly from your fingertips, or did the story emerge slowly?

My first historical took me years to complete. I started it in ninth grade, full of inspiration from secular author John Jakes’s family sagas. It featured an ensemble cast of a widower father and his four sons in the Civil War Shenandoah Valley, and topped out at over 600 pages. I completed the first draft in my twenties.

You joined American Christian Fiction Writers and made some great connections. In what ways has your involvement in ACFW helped you grow as a writer?

Oh, law, if it wasn’t for the amazing guidance of ACFW, I wouldn’t understand the difference between a vanity project and one that actually has a chance at publication. I learned about head-hopping, GMC, and all the craft-related disciplines of current Christian writing. But the people of ACFW have made the biggest impact. My critique partner Debbie Lynne Costello is surely an angel unawares, sent to encourage, equip and inspire mere mortals like me to better works.

You ventured into the contest circuit and met with success. How did you react to the news of your finals and placements, and what did you learn as a result of entering the contests?

Any good news along the lonely writing path has always been met by me with relief and resolve. Relief that I might have a chance at fulfilling a lifelong dream. And resolve that my temptation to quit needs to be shelved and my game needs to be honed. It is so easy to look at the sheer numbers of aspiring writers and contemplate surrender. But a wise friend once told me that there is room at Father’s table for all, and our gifts will make room for us.

Kathy the History Buff

What aspects of writing historicals do you most enjoy?

I am an old soul, and have always loved imagining the unspoiled life centuries ago, before modern conveniences. Human pluck and ingenuity inspires me, and each character is a portrait in perseverance, whether overcoming the death of a loved one or managing through a bad crop season. I become each one of my characters and could lose myself in their worlds indefinitely, until the phone rings or some other imposition of modern life intrudes. 

What is it about the Civil War period you find most fascinating?

The young ages at which some of these men fought, some only 15 and 16 years old. They witnessed atrocious things, and yet returned to their agrarian livelihoods and families faithfully, taking it all in stride. These were men of a different caliber. I don’t find character and strength like that in many modern men.

And the same could be said of the women, baking bread before sunup, homeschooling a dozen children, assuming the men’s chores for four long, bitter years. I speculate the difference now is the general lack of deep religious roots and personal, sustaining faith.

I’m sure you’ve unearthed some interesting facts during your research. Would you please share a couple of them with us?

One of my favorite books in high school was a book called The Civil War: Strange & Fascinating Facts, by Burke Davis. Another source with great factoids was Ken Burns’s PBS documentary on the Civil War.

I recall one story of a man who was shot and killed as he mounted his horse. Apparently rigor mortis froze him in that position and he was discovered thus by his regiment. Another ironic story involves two men struck in the chest by Minie balls. Both had tucked items in their breast pockets, one a pocket Bible, the other a deck of cards. One bullet pierced through the Bible, but the deck of cards stopped the bullet for the other and saved the man’s life. I have to speculate that the man with the Bible was ready to meet his Maker but the gambler still had debts to reckon. 🙂

You’re part of a group of Civil War writers. What have been the biggest benefits of joining forces with others writing your period?

I learn new things all the time from my co-members. We have such a diversity of expertise, from a gal who does living history in Louisiana to a gentleman who participates in reenactments in

Texas and all over the east coast. I am one of the few Yankees in the group, but we all have a common love of the Lord and for our history, so there is much more we agree on than not. The camaraderie is wonderful, and I feel like a part of a big family.

Kathy the Marketing Maven

In today’s publishing world, a writer has to be savvy when it comes to promotion. What are some suggestions you would offer a writer eager to develop a web presence?

The beauty of the internet age lies in its diversity. There truly is a place for everyone, whether blogging, social networking, special interest yahoo groups, writing book reviews, or just commenting on others’ sites. The idea is to find a place where you can connect with others, boost your name recognition, and begin to develop a niche. Every contact is a potential sale, so even if your online and offline activities are not writing related, they still contribute to platform.

You are the co-owner of a group of historical authors, helping them with their marketing needs. Please tell us how Crown Fiction Marketing came about and what services it provides.

CROWN stands for Civil War, Reconstruction, and Other Historical Writers Network. My CP Debbie Lynne and I recognized an opportunity to build a mutually benefitting community among historical writers to promote one another’s work and help spread buzz about members’ new releases. For us pre-pubbed authors it was a chance to acquaint with seasoned authors and hopefully make a good impression. It never hurts to have friends in this tough business.

Let’s Learn a Little More About Kathy

If you could spend a day with one historical figure from the Civil War, who would it be?

Jeb Stuart. That dashing cavalry commander seemed to know where to find fun and was rumored to have a way with the ladies. Swoon!

If a friend gave you an all-expenses-paid week in your favorite city, which would it be?

Charleston, South Carolina. But only if my CP could share that week with me and give me a guided tour! No other city says Old South charm to me like Charleston.

If you won a $1,000 shopping spree at your favorite store, which would it be?

Oh, Hobby Lobby, for sure! My employee discount there would make me the bargain baroness and set me for life in art supplies and home decor. Squee!

If I arranged for you to spend a weekend with your favorite romance author, whom would you choose?

That’s not fair to only get one! 🙂 Right now I am completely enamored with Karen Witemeyer’s books and would love to glean from her intuitive characterization and expertise in psychology.

If we were to peek inside your clothes closet, what would we learn about you?

That I lock my closets. LOL  Seriously, you would see that I am either behind in my cleaning or that I am an optimist, thinking I will return to sizes of yesteryear.

Kathy’s Question for You

Being a romantic, I have often wondered about this myself. If you could go on a dream date, where would you go and with whom, fictitious or real, past, present or future?

Kathy’s Drawing

Kathy has offered to give away Karen Witemeyer’s newest book, To Win Her Heart

To enter the drawing, just leave a comment for Kathy by midnight July 18th and enter your email address when prompted during the comment process.

On July 19th, I will hold the drawing and post the winner’s name here as well and will contact her/him via email to get a mailing address.

Congratulations to Golden Keyes Parsons, winner of the drawing!

Note: Offer void where prohibited.
Prize will be mailed to US addresses only.
Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.

Learn More About Kathy

Visit her website ~ http://kathleenlmaher.webs.com

Visit her personal blog ~ History repeats itself

Visit her group blog ~ Look for one for CROWN to come soon.

Friend her on Facebook ~ Kathleen L. Maher

Follow her on Twitter ~ @Mahereenie

Posted in Kathleen L. Maher | Tagged | 39 Comments

Meet Novelist Rita Garcia

Dr. Rita Garcia writes inspirational romances. Although the stories are contemporary, they’re set in small-town America, where life is a step back in time, blending the best of both worlds. Each story contains an element of romance blended with a larger element of hope. Life, lit by the flame of hope, is the theme that permeates her fiction.

Rita loves living in Southern California with her husband, Joe, her life partner and best friend. They have four adorable daughters and seven fantastic grandchildren who fill their lives with love. Each phase of life has been an awesome journey for Rita, and her life as an empty nester is no exception. She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Christian Counseling and has a passion for helping others achieve their most important life goals.

When Rita isn’t spending time in the fictional town of Mariner Cove, she enjoys making cloth dolls, stuffing them with love and giving each one a unique personality with the addition of little stitched faces. She loves surprising people with a new friend as they transition through illness or other life changes. Her greatest joy in life is just hanging out with her husband. Spending time with family and friends keeps her spirit free and nourishes her creativeness.  

Rita’s Journey

Are you one of those writers born with a pen in your hand and ideas flitting through your mind, or did your interest develop later?

My imagination was creating stories before I knew how to write them down. Among my mother’s things I found stories I had written, in that awkward printing letters stage children go through. The stories were complete with illustrations, usually roses. I’ve always loved the idea of romance and happy ever afters. I was definitely a soft touch for all of the fairy tales. I watched them with my daughters and now how exciting to get to watch them again with my granddaughter.

How long did it take you to complete your first manuscript? Did it fly from your fingertips, or did the story emerge slowly?

Writing my first novel was a grand adventure. The first draft only took a few weeks to write—the rewrites have taken longer. To quote Michael Crichton, “Books aren’t written – they’re rewritten.” With each step of the journey the novel has emerged much like a rose bud blooming into a full honey scented rose.

What sparked the idea for your Mariner’s Cover series? Did you begin with a name or place? Did scenes start playing in your mind? Or perhaps your characters began chatting?

The characters who reside in the fictional town of Mariner Cove first appeared in a weekly challenge entry, on a website called FaithWriters. The character of a deaf young woman stayed with me. Like pulling on a loose thread, her story kept unraveling in my head. One morning I opened my computer and felt an intense prompting to write her story. Less than six weeks later I typed the end on an eighty thousand-word manuscript as the second Mariner Cove novel begun unfolding.

Most writers tell me that although they might be alone much of the day, they all have a cast of real life characters who support them in many ways. Who are the people on your team, and how do they uphold you?

Although writing demands much alone time, it often feels like I need a village of people so I can write. Everyone needs cheerleaders, and I am blessed with a whole family of them, and they are a constant source of encouragement.

My husband reads my stories and cheers me on, and my stories are so out of his preferred reading genre. My critique partner, Seema Bagai shares ideas and inspiration. A sweet and dear friend, Joanne Sher, edits my errors and encourages my soul. Another special friend, Patty Wysong keeps me blogging. And my FaithWriters and Facebook online friends—a terrific group of supporters—hugs all around.

Rita’s Published Pieces

You’ve already seen your name in print, although not on the cover of a romance novel. Please tell us about your published works.

I would love to share my published works with you.

Abundant Life

Daily Pursuit, an award winning short story included in Abundant Life, a FaithWriters’ writing challenge anthology. Forty-eight award-winning authors share their hearts and imaginations with such topics as Love, Hope, Inner Strength, Peace, and Purposefulness.

Struggle Creek – A Peculiar People Collaboration

I was honored to write a chapter in this small town mystery novel. This mystery story about a small Tennessee town was created with twenty-seven authors from all over the US, plus Canada and Australia. Each author wrote a chapter from the viewpoint of a different town member, but all the chapters tie together to make one novel.

Delivered – A Peculiar People Collaboration                                                                          

A contributing author with the short story Heaven’s Gate, Delivered is a collection of short stories that intertwine to deliver a single message. Delivered was by created by twenty-five authors from six different countries.

Coming in November 2011:                                                                                                               

Defining Character – Living Life in Harmony by God’s Design

A non-fiction ebook, published by Heart of God International Ministries                                Once we define the character traits God desires for each of us, they will in return define who we are. As we surrender our will to Him, we become like clay in the potter’s hands. He molds and shapes us according to His divine destiny, allowing us to live life and live it in greater abundance—a life in harmony by God’s design.

Based on your publishing experiences, what advice would you have for a writer eager for a byline or to see her name on a book cover?

Writing articles and short stories is a fantastic way for new writers to start getting their work known. FaithWriters has been an awesome experience for me. Entering the weekly challenge helped me see my strengths and weaknesses and also provided constant support and encouragement.

Something I have heard from so many authors, I now find myself repeating. The most important thing a new writer can do is to write. For me, writing my first novel has been exhilarating, and also a great learning experience. If I’d waited until I felt ready, the characters would most likely still be bouncing around in my head. Like the Nike commercial says, “Just do it.”

Let’s Learn a Little More About Rita

Cake, cookies, pie, or. . .?

God says he will never give us more than we can handle. Sometimes I wonder about this sweet tooth of mine. Cake, cookies, pie or chocolate—I love them all. Ah, but my favorite dessert is a luscious crème brûlée. Perhaps it’s a favorite because my husband and I are usually on vacation when we indulge in this particular delight.

Tennis shoes, strappy sandals, dressy heels, or. . .?

Like most women I have my share of shoes: tennis shoes, strappy sandals, heels and a collection of boots. I must confess, however, I don’t have what some might call a shoe fetish. It’s quite the opposite: my preferred footwear is none. Barefootin’ it is sheer bliss. I love the feel of the soft carpet indoors or the cool green grass outside, but nothing compares with sitting on the beach and pushing my bare toes into the warm grains of sand.

Minivan, sedan, SUV, or. . .?

I enjoy my roomy SUV, but lately I’ve had an urge to return to my pre-mommy car, a little red Porsche. Driving with the top down on a fresh summer day. Love it! Although, it tends to go faster than the SUV, just saying …

Beach, mountains, desert, or. . .?

A picnic by a cool mountain stream is awesome. Driving through the desert is lovely. Blame it on the fact I grew up surfing and frolicking in the ocean—I love the beach. The ocean is one of the many reasons I adore living in southern California. And Maui with its wonderful beaches is my favorite vacation spot. I’m thinking I need to be in Maui, barefoot on the beach eating a fabulous crème brûlée. **sigh**

Dogs, cats, fish, or. . .?

Animals, I am enamored with them all. Given the space I would probably adopt a whole menagerie. For now I adore my two furry writing muses, my dog, Lucky, and my gorgeous Himalayan, Sassy.

Rita’s Question for You

The Mariner Cove novels are set in a small seaside community. The novels are contemporary mixed with the flavor and charm of small-town America. The summer visitors create a bustle of activity that energizes the town. What type of setting do you prefer when reading a romance novel?

Rita’s Drawing

Rita has generously offered to give away a copy of Abundant Life, a FaithWriters’ writing challenge anthology. A collection of 80 inspirational stories, poems, devotions and articles that will bless, inspire, challenge and delight you. FaithWriters—Abundance of Life is a selection of the very best Christian writing from FaithWriters.com. Full of heart-stirring messages, it will leave you with a fresh desire to embrace God’s gift of life and to live it as Christ intended—abundantly.

To enter the drawing, just leave a comment for Rita by midnight July 11th (Pacific time) and enter your email address when prompted during the comment process.

On July 12th, I will hold the drawing and post the winner’s name here as well and will contact her/him via email to get a mailing address.

Congratulations to Kiersti, winner of the drawing.

Note: Offer void where prohibited.
Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.

Learn More About Rita

Visit her website ~ www.ritagarcia.com

Visit her personal blog ~ Rita’s Random Ramblings

Visit her group blog ~ Jewels of Encouragement

Friend her on Facebook ~ Rita Garcia

Follow her on Twitter ~ @drritagarcia

Posted in Rita Garcia | Tagged | 66 Comments

Meet Novelist Cynthia Herron

Cynthia Herron pens heartfelt, homespun, contemporary Christian romance novels set in the vibrant foothills of the Missouri Ozarks. She is very blessed to be represented by the fabulous Mary Keeley of the Books and Such Literary Agency.

Cynthia and her family live in the very geographic region that is the setting for her novels. She and her husband have a middle school-aged daughter who aspires to be a preschool teacher, and they also have a son who is a college senior studying elementary education. Cynthia earned her Bachelor’s degree in psychology at College of the Ozarks, and she has a background in social work. She currently substitute teaches.

Cynthia is a PK, the wife of a deacon, and a Pollyanna with a touch of rebel thrown in. She enjoys scrapbooking and making memories with her family. Cynthia has a fondness for all things apple. She likes collecting gingerbread men, old cookbooks, and miniature teapots. She adores the ocean and the sound of the incoming tide. In fact, her husband has promised her that one day he will retire with her on the water! Hmmm.


Cynthia has chosen my Writer’s Quiz interview format. Since she’s a teacher, that’s fitting, right? Rest assured, there are no grades involved. Cynthia’s already a winner in my book.

Multiple Choice Questions

(Please explain your answers.)

1) When did you first experience your love of writing?

  1. I came out of the womb with a pen in my hand.
  2. I dabbled in high school but didn’t get serious until recently.
  3. I read a romance novel, fell in love, and had to write one.
  4. None of the above.

(a) Even as a young child, while other kids clamored to get to recess, I was content to curl up under a good shade tree with a pencil and tablet.

2) I understand you write contemporary romance. What kind?

  1. Sweet, traditional stories.
  2. Suspense-filled tales.
  3. Stories with a hint of humor.
  4. None of the above.

(a) and a combination of (c). I strive for the heartfelt, homespun aspect in my novels while injecting a healthy dose of offbeat humor.

3) How did you respond when Mary Keeley offered you representation?

  1. I almost made her go deaf in one ear with my shouting.
  2. I was in a total state of shock and could only mumble goofy responses.
  3. I burst into tears and had to make a run for the tissue box.
  4. None of the above.

(d) I literally saw spots and almost fainted! My dear hubby had to get me a glass of water.

Essay Questions

(Maximum of two paragraphs per question.)

1) What led to your offer of representation?

This is the brief version: I initially sent Mary a query regarding my book, and then we began corresponding through a series of e-mails. She requested a partial and then a complete. She loved my story! I began to get good vibes when she asked about a marketing plan. I polished what I had and sent it, too.

We then agreed upon a specific date to “chat” by phone. I felt like I knew what was coming, but nothing can really prepare you for it until you hear those magical words, “I’d like to represent you…”

2) What aspects of writing do you find most challenging? Most rewarding?

The most challenging aspects of writing (for me) are learning to compartmentalize and knowing when to call it a day.

Most rewarding: Getting to do what I love to do on a daily basis, networking and making new friends, and having my family tell me, “We’re so proud of you! We knew you could do it!”

3) How does your background in psychology help you in your writing?

I believe it gives me deeper insight into what motivates individuals, although sometimes, people can still surprise me.

True or False

(Please explain your answer.)

1) I can’t start a story until I’ve figured out the faith elements.

False. I always begin a new work knowing whether or not my main characters are Christians, however, their personal stories may very well take a direction that I’d not initially intended and it becomes purely a “God thing.” I’m talking about those goosebump moments when it becomes glaringly obvious that the Holy Spirit is the one guiding the story, not me as the author.

2) I’m a character-driven writer.

True, but only to a point. If you mean do my characters steer their own ship’s course, for a brief time, I’ll let them think they do.

The bottom line is: there’s a story that has to be told, characters that want to tell it, and they may for a time. Then I have to step in with my creative pen, so to speak, and edit what they say and do to get their story back on track.

3) I write best when there’s plenty of activity around me.

False. I like to “people watch” at the mall, church, and other public places, but as far as writing and crafting, I prefer solitude with a blend of quiet music.

Fill in the Blank

1) My favorite creativity fuel is:   ___________________.

Mashed potatoes and gravy. Oh, and Starbucks, of course!

2) When I need an infusion of inspiration I: ___________________.

Read favorite Bible scriptures.

3) The members of The Cynthia Herron Fan Club are: ________________.

My husband and children and immediate family, and also our church family.

Story Problems: Just for Fun

(X is an unknown number. You get extra credit for tackling these. :-))

1) You’re hubby calls, says he’s taking you out to dinner, and suggests your favorite X restaurants. Which are they, and which one wins out?

Hemingways (seafood restaurant) within the Bass Pro complex, Lamberts (home of the famous tossed rolls and known for their down-home country cooking), or Olive Garden (breadsticks…need I say more?). Though I’m fond of them all, Hemingways would probably win hands down. Who doesn’t love crab legs soaked in butter?

2) You were the winner of a $3,000 shopping spree at your favorite mall. The contest sponsor will arrange for three of your favorite celebrities to meet you there to keep you company and to carry the bags from your favorite X stores. Who are the celebrities, where are the bags they’re carrying from, and what is in each of them?

A few favorite celebrities might include Celine Dion, Dr. Oz, and the Duggar family (Ooops…I’m guessing I’d have to narrow that one down. Okay, make that one Michelle.) I’m a very laid back, down-to-earth kind of gal, so I rarely shop high-end. My bags would probably be from J.C. Penney, Old Navy, Bath and Body Works, and Starbucks. Inside the bags: casual slacks and blazers, jeans and tee shirts, a purse or ten, a variety of hand lotions, and a humongous bag of Sumatra or something equally as bold, please.

3) A longtime friend says she’s going to be able to pay you a visit and wants you to give her a taste of the Ozarks. You choose X of your favorite places to show her. What are they, and why did you pick each of them?

The family-oriented, Christian theme park Silver Dollar City in the Branson, Missouri area because it blends a taste of today with yesteryear and beautifully showcases our Ozarkian heritage. I’d then whisk her away to the gorgeous campus of College of the Ozarks where the students work for their education and are able to graduate debt-free. We’d, of course, settle in for the evening at the Keeter Center Hotel (on campus) where we’d be pampered with homemade C of O cookies, milk fresh from the dairy, and turn-down service with chocolate treats on our pillows.

Cynthia’s Question for You

If you were planning a trip to the Ozarks, what are some points of interest YOU would like to see? Any myths about the Ozarks you’d like dispelled?

Cynthia’s Drawing

Cynthia has generously offered to give away (2) $10.00 gift cards good at these Darden restaurants: Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, or Seasons Fresh Grill.

To enter the drawing, just leave a comment for Cynthia by June 23rd and enter your email address when prompted during the comment process.

On June 24th, I will hold the drawing and post the winners’ names here as well as in a comment and will contact her/him via email to get a mailing address.

Congratulations to the drawing winners, Lisa Lickel and Patti.

Note: Offer void where prohibited.
Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.
Prizes will be mailed to U.S. or Canadian addresses only.

Thank you, Keli, for having me today. It’s been a blast! And thank you to all who stopped by to visit with me for a while. May God truly bless you in your walk with Him.

Learn More About Cynthia

Visit her personal blog ~ http://cynthiaherron.wordpress.com

Friend her on Facebook: Cynthia Herron

Posted in Cynthia Herron | Tagged | 22 Comments

Meet Novelist Michelle Streetmatter

Michelle Streetmatter is a high-tension romantic suspense writer. Her current Fisher Creek Collection has semi-finaled in the 2011 Genesis Contest and earned Bronze Medal Recognition in the Frasier Contest in 2010.

Michelle lives in Minnesota with her husband and four rambunctious kids who keep her life full of laughter and suspense. A graduate of North Central University, she taught in Minneapolis Public Schools for eleven years before becoming an at-home mom. During her teaching years she developed arts integration curriculum, coordinated the grant writing task force, and directed the Children’s Ministry Department at her church. Michelle serves as the Vice President of MN N.I.C.E., a local American Christian Fiction Writers chapter.

When Michelle has a moment to spare you might find her out fishing, reading a book by the shore, or covered in chocolate handprints while baking cookies with her kids. A chocoholic at heart, she is on the quest to find the perfect chocolate to compliment late nights writing.


Michelle’s Journey

When did you fall in love with romantic suspense novels and decide to write your own?

In the summers when I was growing up my sister and I had reading contests for who could read the most books. So I fell in love with books when I was a girl, but suspense captured my interest with the debut of Dee Henderson’s Danger in the Shadows. Being an avid suspense reader I became fascinated with plot and an idea for a story scene drew me to put my thoughts on the page.

How long did it take you to complete your first manuscript? Did it fly from your fingertips, or did the story emerge slowly?

My first manuscript happened over the space of a few years. I was teaching full time and just jotted down my story as thoughts emerged. Then when I finally felt I had the plot in my head it flew quickly onto the page. The rewriting and editing took a bit longer.

Your stories have done well in contests, garnering you a Genesis semi-final this year and a Frazier Bronze Medal Recognition last. Congratulations on those impressive achievements. And I gotta know. Did you laugh, cry, or sigh when you received the good news from the contest coordinators? Or are you more the happy dancing, shriek-your-lungs-out type?

When I first found out it was more of the, “You’re serious?” type response. I was so excited and giddy all day, but still expected to wake up from the dream at any moment.

We’re all writers, whether our efforts are emails, grocery lists, or notes to our children’s teachers. You were a journalist in college and had a number of articles published in the school’s paper. How do the skills you learned then contribute to your novel writing?

My writing experiences helped me see the most important components in a story and the power of words on a reader. But even more than that true stories are often unusual and complex.

What sparks your story ideas? A person? A place? Or, since you write romantic suspense, perhaps a news story about an intriguing police investigation?

My ideas come from everywhere. The quirky person sitting in the café I saw on vacation, a fun news headline, an unusual career, or a middle of the night pizza dream. There is no bad place to find a good idea.

When you approach your writing, do you tend to be OC or “Let’s see?” Are you all about schedules, charts, and character outlines, or do you plant yourself in front of the screen, hands poised over the keyboard, and let the words fly from your fingertips, surprising you with their brilliance?

When I first started writing I was a total seat of the pants writer, I let my plot spin in the wind as it came through my mind. After editing for a while, I realized that there are some components that are better if planned ahead.

The character’s journey and finding a picture for every character is something I do before writing. As for plot, I have a general idea where it is going and where it will land, but most is discovered as I sit in front of the blank page.

I still break out in hives at the thought of an outline and I still let my story take me where it will go, but I do some preliminary work on my characters before I start. Now I call myself a purposeful pantser.

With four children living at home, I can’t help but wonder how you find time to write. Do you hide in the bathroom with a laptop, leave dad in charge and head for the local coffeehouse, or make use of time spent waiting for your kids at their various activities?

Family life can sometimes make time for writing a bit more complicated, okay total chaos. But my family believes in my dream. I take occasional trips to the library, but most of my writing is done burning late night hours after the kids are in bed.

Who holds the position of President of the Michelle Lim Fan Club, and who are some of the other members?

My husband Hui Hong is probably the President of my fan club, especially since it involves time and money to go to workshops to improve as a writer. If I ever feel like giving up, he talks me out of it. If an opportunity arises, he encourages me to go for it.

A close second would be my Mom who got me started writing in the first place and believed in me before I even believed in myself.

Some of the other members of my Fan Club would be my kids, my sister, Lisa Jordan, Amy Lindberg, Amanda Stevens, MN N.I.C.E. (my local ACFW Chapter), and more than I could ever list here.

Five Ways Michelle Fuels Her Creativity

Spending time in nature enjoying the quiet of God’s beautiful creation fuels my creativity.

Reading books with rich plots fills my head with new ideas.

Reading newspaper articles fuels my creativity to explore new plots.

Spending time with my family gives me new inspiration for the journeys of life that my characters experience.

Time with unique people gives me new perspective to create richer characters.

Michelle’s Question for You

Where have you found the best ever chocolate?

Michelle’s Drawing

Michelle has offered to give away a Spring Chocolate Gift Box from Godiva Chocolatier.

To enter the drawing, just leave a comment for Michelle by June 20th and enter your email address when prompted during the comment process. On June 21st, I will hold the drawing and post the winner’s name here as well and will contact her/him via email to get a mailing address.

Congratulations to Andrea Nell, winner of the chocolate!

Note: Offer void where prohibited.
Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.

Prizes will be mailed to U.S. or Canadian address only.

Learn More About Michelle

Visit her website ~ Michelle Streetmatter

Friend her on Facebook ~ Michelle Lim

Posted in Michelle Streetmatter | Tagged | 37 Comments

Meet Debut Novelist Catherine Richmond

Catherine Richmond is excited to announce the release of her debut novel, Spring for Susannah, a historical romance from Thomas Nelson featuring a mail-order bride.

Cathy lives on the Richmond Rabbit Ranch in Nebraska. She has been working as an occupational therapist since graduating from Western Michigan University (yes, there really is a Kalamazoo). Her daughter is in medical school and her son is graduating from journalism school, so her hobby is making sympathetic sounds about student loans. Her exercise partner is a Keeshond-Collie mix named Dakota; he never lets her skip a walk.

Cathy’s Journey

I understand a song sparked the idea for your first story. What song was it, and how did it serve to fuel your creative fires?

I had no intention of writing fiction. My family and my occupational therapy work kept me plenty busy. But a beautiful song, Harry Chapin’s “Mail Order Annie,” transported me to a railroad siding in lonely Dakota Territory, where a man met his wife for the first time. From there, the story rolled out like a movie.

When did your love of romance and history compel you to start your first story? Did you give in right away, or were you hesitant to begin writing?

My mother is a Virginia history librarian, so research came first. North Dakota’s history is brief, compared to Virginia’s, but fascinating. Once I finished the first draft, in pencil in spiral notebooks leftover from my children’s schoolwork, my husband realized he had a serious problem in his house. He bought a computer. 

You’re a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America®, and the inspirational chapter of RWA®, Faith, Hope & Love. What have been the biggest blessings you’ve received from your membership in these fine organizations?

It’s been an education! As a librarian’s daughter, I read a lot. But writing is a whole new road. RWA and ACFW provided the map, guidebooks, and encouragement for the journey. If not for this support, I would still be stuck in the first pothole.

You finaled in The 2009 Launching a Star sponsored by the SpacecoasT Authors of Romance chapter of RWA. That was your first final, and it led to your First Sale, which is awesome. Please tell us about this contest experience and how you reacted to the coordinator updates.

I’d been earning rejection letters since 1997. Instead of getting excited about the final, I went on vacation to New York City with my college roommate.

When The Call came, how did you react? Were you shocked speechless or did you shriek for several minutes straight?

Sandra Bishop’s job title is agent, but she’s also a detective. She tracked me down in Manhattan. We were on a “Real New York Tour” with owner Luke Miller. I got the call in Central Park, as we approached John Lennon’s memorial, the “Imagine” mosaic.  Doesn’t that show God’s amazing sense of humor?

Now that you’re contracted, your life has changed. What have been the biggest surprises, the biggest challenges, and the biggest thrills between your first sale and your first release?

Spring for Susannah is coming out twenty years after I first heard the song, so writing the second book in one year was a huge challenge. I’m happy to say I turned it in on time – whew!

The biggest “Oh, Wow!” came at ACFW ’10. I wasn’t anonymous anymore – I was a Thomas Nelson author!

As a contest success story, what advice would you have for entrants on how to choose which contests to enter and how to prep their entries?

Contest feedback is a mixed bag. To improve your writing skills, join a good critique group. With a polished manuscript, ready to submit, look for contest judges who are agents and editors.

Cathy’s Debut Novel

Please tell us about Spring for Susannah.

With no prospects for marriage and her parents recently deceased, Susannah Underhill agrees to go west to the Dakota Territory to marry her minister’s homesteading brother, Jesse. But Susannah is painfully shy, doesn’t see herself as worthy of love from either a husband or from God, and lives in constant fear that Jesse is going to ship her back to Detroit.

In spite of her petite size and the fact that Susannah doesn’t look like she could survive on the prairie, Jesse quickly discovers that his new wife is a greater blessing than he even hoped for. The years she spent as her father’s veterinary assistant allow her to save Jesse’s ox and twin calves and to help neighboring farmers with their animals.

But Susannah’s feelings of unworthiness are deeply rooted, and she can’t believe that Jesse’s praise—or the tenderness and love he shows—could possibly last. The thawing of her heart seems almost as distant as Spring in the midst of the winter blanketing the Dakota prairie.

Reactions and Reviews

Spring for Susannah is in readers’ hands. It’s also in yours. What were your thoughts and feelings when you held your book for the first time?

I’d been revising, tweaking, and polishing this story for two decades. Now that it’s in print. I can’t change it anymore. But thanks to the editorial guidance of Thomas Nelson, it’s done!

You received a number of glowing endorsements, and the reviews have begun pouring in. Which have meant the most to you, and why?

After all the encouragement Mary Connealy and Julie Lessman have given me, it was a relief to find they liked Spring for Susannah! I’d only met Beth Wiseman and Colleen Coble once, at Thomas Nelson’s ACFW dinner. So having endorsements from them is an incredible honor.

Cathy’s Journey Continues

Spring for Susannah is in available at all the major booksellers. What can your readers look forward to next?

Relying on Sophia is about a missionary to the Ponca tribe in 1876. The events of the story led up to a landmark civil rights case, which decided an Indian was a person. It’s exciting to share this little-known history with readers. My research tied five people from the trial to one church – what a message of empowerment for God’s people! Like Spring for Susannah, Relying on Sophia is about a woman finding her place in this world. Isn’t that what we all want:  to know our life has made a difference, that we have fulfilled our mission as a servant of Christ.

Let’s Learn a Little More About Cathy

We’ve learned that songs inspire you. What types of music do you enjoy?

Harry Chapin’s folk-rock storytelling legacy has continued with his brother, Tom Chapin, and with John McCutcheon. I like mixed-genre music, like Bela Fleck’s jazz banjo and Leahy’s Celtic craziness. On the Christian station, Newsboys, Audio Adrenaline, and Jars of Clay catch my ear. And – no prejudice here! – the absolute best singer/songwriter/guitar player is my son, Ben.

   If you were browsing at your favorite mall and your hubby wanted to find you, which store would he check first and why?                                                 

Hah! My husband is a pilot. The closest he’d get to a mall would be a thousand feet overhead!

Imagine that you won the trip you’d always dreamed of on Wheel of Fortune. What destination would that be?

Would I seem greedy if I said all of Europe?

If we looked in your pantry, what would we learn about you?

You’d learn I’m a chocolate fanatic, but I don’t think that’s any secret.

What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done, and how did you feel about it afterward?

On our medical mission trip, we took a break to visit Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica. At the bottom, watching the water cascading down the rocks, I figured my AARP card would excuse me from climbing. But then a friend 25 yrs older with a fresh knee replacement went charging up and I had to follow. On the way up, another friend yelled, “Ignore the rushing water!” What seemed like a ridiculous thought at the time, helped me make sense of the mission trip. I’ve used the scene in Relying on Sophia.

Cathy’s Question for You

Spring for Susannah is about a mail-order bride. Can you imagine marrying someone you’ve never met? After being married thirty years, I learned my husband doesn’t like tomato soup. How long have you been married? What’s your latest discovery about your spouse?

Cathy’s Drawing

Cathy has generously offered to give away an autographed copy of Spring for Susannah.

To enter the drawing, just leave a comment for Cathy by June 12th and enter your email address when prompted during the comment process. On June 13th, I will hold the drawing and post the winner’s name here as well as in a comment and will contact her/him via email to get a mailing address.

Congratulations to Wendy, winner of the drawing!

Note: Offer void where prohibited.
Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.
Drawing limited to those with U.S. or Canadian addresses.

Learn More About Cathy

Visit her website ~ www.catherinerichmond.com

Friend her on Facebook ~ Fans of Catherine Richmond

Follow her on Twitter ~ @WriterCatherine


Posted in Catherine Richmond | Tagged | 14 Comments

Meet Debut Novelist Dana Sudboro

Dana Sudboro writes contemporary romances with an international flavor. E-book publisher White Rose released his novella, Fatima’s Fate, in 2009, and his full-length novel, Continents Apart, in 2010.

Dana and his wife, Kathy, retired from missions in West Africa, now live in Rocklin, California. Their older daughter, Jessica Graustein, a published poet and the managing editor of Folded Word Press, lives nearby with her husband and two children. Their younger daughter, Natalie, after teaching two years in Honduras and three in China, will soon begin a new position at a Christian middle school in South Korea.

When Dana’s wife, Kathy, is not doting on her grandchildren, she pampers flowers in her patio garden. She can sometimes dislodge Dana from his den long enough for a romantic walk or shopping trip or meal. Their romance has flourished forty-six years and counting.


Dana has chosen one of my 3×5 interviews.

I presented him with nine questions about his writing. He was asked to answer 3 of them with 3×5 words (15—or less), 3 with up to 5 bullet points each, and 3 with a maximum of 5 short paragraphs. After that, I asked him three questions with three answers each.

At the end of his interview, he’s asked you one question, and you’ll be able to ask any you have for him. All for fun, and fun for all. 🙂

Dana and His Writing Journey

1. I hear a stuffed animal led to you becoming a writer. What’s the story?

When my Uncle John grew too old to play with Socko—his stuffed panda—Grandma gave me this battered bear, veteran of many wars. I regaled my brothers and sister with stories of Socko’s exploits.

2. Men writing romance are rare. What led you to the genre?

Romance whisks the reader out of an ugly world of cruelty into a beautiful world of wonder. Because that’s what I look for when picking up a novel, that’s what I hope to deliver when picking up a pen. Besides, it’s a metaphor of Jesus. He’s the Prince Charming who rescues us from cinders and shame.

3. What are some life experiences that have infiltrated your stories?

• Lostness as an atheist.
• Social cluelessness as a teenager.
• Falling in love and finding out God was real during a youth retreat at Mount Hermon.
• Spiritual cluelessness as a nominal Christian until getting saved at thirty.
• Missions in Burkina Faso, where God miraculously saved my life twice.

4. What are your sources of inspiration?

• Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.
• One hundred and one Grace Livingston Hill novels.
• Dozens of Regency romances
• The Song of Solomon
The Sacred Romance by John Eldredge.

In other words, reading inspires me—from God’s all-time bestseller, the Bible, to thousands of other love stories.

5. Receiving The Call is huge. How did you react to the news?

Thrilled that I would appear in print. I had Kathy snap a photo of my signing the contract.

Note from Keli: It’s evident what a heart Dana has for missions because his initial response to this question wasn’t writing-related at all. Here’s what he said:

Unquenchable joy bubbled up in my heart. I had prayed with a burden for Muslims for five years, ever since attending Dick Eastman’s Change the World School of Prayer. When God said, “You go,” I jumped at the chance.

6. What aspects of writing do you find most rewarding?

Putting the heroine or hero through any crisis of faith I’ve lived through, then fleshing out God’s answer. Especially the journey from existential angst to abject wonder that God is there and deeply cares.

7. What fuels your creativity?

Reading, as I said above. But when I get blocked, I. . .

• Take a walk around the block.
• Breathe the fresh air, view the crepe myrtle, relax.
Pray.
• Read Monica Wood’s Pocket Muse.
•And mind map.

8. What advice would you offer a new writer?

Network. Join a critique group. Go to conferences. Sign up for a mentoring clinic. We writers need each other, far more than we suspect when first starting out.

9. Who have been the biggest supporters on your writing journey?

Daughter and author Jessica Graustein, critique partners Jennifer Hamilton and Julie Williams, Elizabeth Thompson and other prayer partners of the Inspire Christian Writers, mentors James Scott Bell and Randy Ingermanson. Too many people to name!

3 Fun Questions for Dana

1. Of the various jobs you’ve had, which 3 were your favorites, and why?

Working at Mid-America Teen Challenge: long hours and low pay, but a thrill to see God work miracles in so many men’s lives. Showing the Jesus video to Fulani shepherds in Africa and sharing the gospel with them. Decisions came few and far between, due to their Muslim background, but I danced with the angels every time. Now training eager pastors, praise leaders, and Christian teachers at Epic Bible College. Their love for Jesus is a joy to behold and promises great things for tomorrow’s church.

2. What 3 aspects about life in Burkina Faso brought you the most joy?

African believers’ exuberance in praise and worship, faith for miracles, and prevailing prayer in the midst of persecution and poverty.

3. What are 3 of the most romantic things you’ve done for your wife?

Composing a heart-shaped poem and pasting it on a box of chocolates. Taking her for a wildflower walk in the Sierras. Our upcoming Alaskan cruise.

Please Tell Us About Continents Apart

Odette Peterson has a clear understanding of where the Lord wants her, and that’s in the African missionary field. When she meets veteran missionary, Xavier Sand, she embraces their budding relationship. He’s everything she’s wanted in a man: Christian, kind, and a man who’s dedicated his life to ministry. But when he insists she put aside her evangelization efforts and join him in Japan, she finds she must let Xavier go.

Xavier cannot understand why Odette stubbornly clings to the idea that God wants her in Africa. Missionary, yes, but she can do missionary work anywhere. After all, he does. Despite all his efforts to convince her to change her conviction, she refuses and Xavier finds himself floundering for significance in his life.

Across three continents, and with others vying for their hearts, Odette and Xavier must learn to trust that God knows what’s best for their futures…even if that means they will never be together.

Dana’s Question for You

Where do you go—or what do you read—to escape?

Dana’s Drawing

Dana has generously offered to give away an autographed copy of Continents Apart.

To enter the drawing, just leave a comment for Dana by June 1st and enter your email address when prompted during the comment process.

On June 2nd, I will hold the drawing and post the winner’s name here as well as in a comment and will contact her/him via email to get a mailing address.

Congratulations to Lisa Greer, winner of the drawing.

Note: Offer void where prohibited.
Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.
Prize will be mailed to U.S. addresses only.

Learn More About Dana

Visit his personal blog ~ Dana Sudboro

Visit his group blog ~ Inspire Writers

Friend him on Facebook ~ Dana Sudborough

Posted in Dana Sudboro | Tagged | 12 Comments