Monday, December 17, 2007
Somehow or other, I managed to get the Christmas decorations up. And today, I found my favorite Christmas record. That's right: record. Read vinyl... 33 1/3 RPM, monaural..... For some reason, it just never quite seems like Christmas until I play this record. I know that I should transfer it to a CD, especially now that it's seen a few years and has started to stick toward the end... Maybe one of these days I will. I just wonder if it would seem the same if I saved it as a CD, or made it into an MP3...
Still, today, I played my favorite Christmas record. Today, it feels like Christmas. The decorations have been up since the beginning of the month. I've played all kinds of Christmas music on the CD player as well as my own guitar... Is there one special piece of music that says Christmas to you? If there is, I hope you've been playing it. Merry Christmas, and remember the real meaning of the season: God wanted to save us from ourselves, and He had to send Himself to do it!
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Friday, October 5, 2007
Today, we’re blessed to have an interview with Debby Guisti. Thank you, Debby, for agreeing to be interviewed! Debby has agreed to give away a copy of her latest book, SCARED TO DEATH, so check the bottom of the blog for details on how to enter.
HC: I've read both your books from Love Inspired Suspense, and love them! When did you first know you wanted to write suspense?
DG: I grew up reading Nancy Drew and have always loved the suspense genre so when I started to write, I wanted to stay with what I enjoyed the most. There's always a puzzle to solve with suspense, and I like the challenge of having to figure out what happened or who the villain is. Hopefully, my readers enjoy that aspect as well.
HC: How long have you been writing?
DG: I published a few articles in magazines when my children were young, but as they grew and needed more of my time, I put my writing on hold. When the children were older we moved to Georgia, and I decided if I didn't get back to writing, I never would. Once again, I turned to magazines, and since I'm a medical technologist, I published numerous articles in ADVANCE FOR ADMINISTRATORS OF THE LABORATORY and served on their editorial advisory board for over twelve years. I also wrote for SOUTHERN LADY MAGAZINE, a lovely Alabama publication. Although I enjoyed the work, my heart's desire was to publish full-length fiction. In 2005, my dream came true when Steeple Hill senior editor Krista Stroever called and asked to buy NOWHERE TO HIDE.
HC: I see that not only are you a military kid, like I am, but you also married into the military. How does that affect your perceptions as a writer?
DG: You're right, Hope. I'm an Army Brat, Army wife, and since my son is in the Army, I'm also an Army mom! In fact, my next book, MIA: MISSING IN ATLANTA (March 2008) is the story of Captain Luke Walker, a war hero, who returns to Atlanta to find the girl he met on R&R. I dedicated the book to my son, the 101st Airborne Division he served with in Iraq and all the brave men and women in uniform who defend our nation. The hero in my debut novel, NOWHERE TO HIDE, also served in the Army so I guess my military ties impact the type of heroes I write. I like take charge men with a can-do attitude.
HC: I love how you integrate your faith into your writing. Even when your characters are at their lowest ebb, faith shines through. Do you find it easier or more difficult writing about characters who have faith versus those who doubt?
DG: My faith is such an important part of who I am, and I've very grateful to be able to openly write about my characters' relationship with the Lord. If one character is stronger in his or her faith, then the other usually struggles accepting God's love. Perhaps something has happened in the heroine's past that causes her to believe the Lord has turned his back on her. Through the hero's example and as the story progresses, her heart begins to open, and by the end of the story, she realizes the Lord's love is unconditional. The character who struggles accepting God into his or her life is always my favorite, probably because I see so many people in real life who have made the same mistake. They've turned their back on God because of problems or difficulties, never realizing that God is exactly who they need when the going gets tough. I always pray for my readers and hope my stories will help someone who might be struggling to accept God back into his or her life. If that happens, then my writing has been a success.
HC: I note with great delight that you have a new book coming out in March 2008. Is it another stand-alone, or are there any characters readers will remember from your previous books?
DG: MIA: MISSING IN ATLANTA is a stand-alone with a new cast of characters. I mentioned Luke Walker, but you'll also meet Sarah Montgomery who's trying to hold together a financially strapped shelter for runaway teens. Bull LeJeune is her larger-than-life assistant, a "bad boy" who turned his life around and now helps troubled youth. Wealthy Atlanta philanthropist Winton Cunningham started the shelter for teens, and he and his Columbian wife Elena are interested in helping South American orphans find homes in the United States. Keisha and Brittany are young women Sarah has rescued from the street, and . . . well, I 'd better stop there so I don't spoil the story for you.
HC: If you had one piece of advice for writers, what would it be?
DG: Finish the book! So many people want to write a book, some people start a book, but very few people actually finish the book. Most folks get stuck in the middle. If you're at that spot, keep pushing until you can type "The End." Then you can say with pride that you've written a book.
HC: Any other thoughts you'd care to share?
DG: My latest news is my Magnolia Medical series scheduled to debut in October 2008 with COUNTDOWN TO DEATH. I'm currently working on that story and a follow-up that's as yet untitled.
Hope, thank you for inviting me to be on your blog and for such great interview questions! I always love to hear from my readers so be sure to email me at email@example.com and visit my web site, www.debbygiusti.com. I blog each Wednesday on www.ladiesofsuspense.blogspot.com and would love to have your readers stop by to say hello. Wishing you all abundant blessings!
HC: Thank you so much for sharing with our readers! May God continue to bless you as you write for Him!
To enter to win a copy of SCARED TO DEATH, leave a message here or at my other blog, or e-mail me @ hope_chastain [at] yahoo.com . Lose the spaces and replace [at] with @ . Thanks for entering!
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
SF by Hope Chastain
She’d been on this planet too long, that was the problem. Ariel knew the dangers. It was too easy to start thinking like the natives. That way lay death.
When would she be sent for? Her assignment was almost completed. She’d done everything that Headquarters required. Despite the dangers, she had contacted the Ambassadors and even gotten some of the natives to switch allegiance away from their home world to hers.
Pounding on the door startled her. Booted feet kicked it in. Bullets slammed into her. She was falling, falling---- Up, into the Kingdom Light.
Home at last!
Thursday, September 20, 2007
It made me think, though. Just putting the sausage in the skillet won't cook it. You have to turn on the fire. Church is like that, too. You can go to church all you like, and sit there, and listen, maybe even sing, but unless you have the fire of the Holy Spirit living in you, you just aren't cookin'. Check your heart. See if you have the fire turned on. If not, it's so easy to get turned on to the real power of the Universe. Just ask Yeshua (Jesus) to come into your heart. Then you'll be cookin' for real, and not just sitting there thinking you're on fire when you aren't.
Friday, September 14, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
Sunday, September 9, 2007
Friday, September 7, 2007
Saturday, September 1, 2007
First, I’d like to thank Donald James Parker for agreeing to be interviewed today! Donald is giving away a copy of his book, so if you'd like to be entered in the drawing, please check the end of the interview for more details. You can visit Don's website for more information!
HC: What first gave you the idea of writing All The Voices of the Wind?
DJP: In September of 2006 I awoke one morning at two o'clock. Partially asleep, I had the feeling that I had experienced a dream or else heard a small still voice tell me to write a book about evolution, a topic I knew almost nothing about. In the morning when I awoke fully, the experience was still vivid in my memory banks. I took it to the Lord in prayer and got a confirmation. So my wheels started churning. If God really was talking to me, I needed to take action. So I started the research (about a month afterward). Within a short time I saw that evolution was certainly a hot topic, and also that there was no way I could write a non-fiction book about it. I think every story has to have a love subplot, so that is where I started. God just seemed to give me the book as I typed, so I never really had much of idea of how the book was going to end up. I didn’t even have a title for it until it was quite a ways along. I prayed about that and came up with All the Voices of the Wind, not understanding at the time the relevance of the wind with the question of evolution. ("Inherit the Wind").
HC: Ah, yes, the story of the Scopes trial.
I love the cover art! I thought it was right on target. I liked how it was love that drew the Hero, Jeremy Masterson, into questioning his belief system. I also liked the relationship between the characters, especially Jeremy, his Dad, and Maria. How much of this is based on personal experience?
DJP: I am jazzed you like the cover. I chose to do a custom photograph to capture the tug of war concept between father and girlfriend. It looks pretty unappealing to me next to all the slick covers I see coming out on most books these days. But I still believe what is between the covers is the most important element. There was basically no personal experience involved in the characters on the surface, but Jeremy is an extension of me, though I never had any of what he has growing up. Maria is my dream girl formulated in my teens and refined over the years.
HC: I can tell that a lot of research went into your book. How long did it take you from the first glimmer of an idea to the finished product?
DJP: Just like a baby – about nine months. I read about fifteen non-fiction books to acquire the knowledge I needed to present the scientific material the kids discuss and use for testimony.
HC: I see that this is book three in a series about the Masterson family. What are the titles of your other books?
DJP: I wrote a novel 27 years ago called The Bulldog Compact. It is about basketball, setting goals and working to achieve those goals, and moral choices. It was never published, but I scanned a copy into the computer, preserving my chances of publishing someday. After finishing Voices, I decided that my hero from BD could be Maria’s father and a series was born. That is book one and is almost ready to send to a publisher. Book two, More Than Dust in the Wind, will be about Maria’s youth and the introduction to evolution, but I have not even started that yet. Book 4, All the Stillness of the Wind, is done and awaiting my decision on where to publish it. Book 5, All the Fury of the Wind is about 70% complete. I will be entering that manuscript in Jerry Jenkin’s Operation First Novel contest -- if I can finish in the next couple of weeks.
HC: We'll be praying with you for that! When will your other books be available?
DJP: Two might be out before Christmas, but I might hold these and wait for a traditional publisher. I was really in a hurry to publish Voices because of the material and the culture war going on, so I self-published. I don’t feel that urgency with these books, so I’m waiting for God’s timing and direction. If there are any agents/publishers who feel God's tug to get involved with my writing, our operators are standing by to take your calls.
HC: The evolution versus intelligent design debate continues to rage in schools across the country. Why do you think the school boards are so adamantly against teaching both sides of the issue?
DJP: Truthfully, I don’t think it is really a schoolboard issue. Several schoolboards have been burned by judicial decisions in Ohio , Kansas , Georgia , Washington , and Pennsylvania . The courts have made it clear that evolution is protected from any challenge because religious overtones are involved even if no reference is made to God as the designer. I think at some point the Supreme Court is going to get involved. My book also highlights this issue and leaves the reader pondering what the future holds. Is evolution a factor in the great tribulation?
HC: Good point. It certainly could be. What do you say to the skeptics who insist that, since there’s no God, macro-evolution must be the source of all origins?
DJP: First of all prove to me that there is no God. They can’t do it. They'd say prove to me there is a God. I can't do it but I can point to the incredible world around us and say, this is evidence of my God. I think my book addresses this issue fairly well. If the God of the Bible does not exist, then some other super intelligence has created us. There is no way complex and intelligent life developed via the methods Charles Darwin proposed.
HC: Did you see the news recently of the discovery of two skulls in Africa , one of which was on the “evolutionary tree” after the other, in the same strata of earth? (Homo habilis and homo erectus.)
HC: I thought it was amusing how the evolutionists scrambled to say something like “perhaps, instead of a tree, human evolution is more like a bush with scrubby branches.”
The latest article from the International Herald Tribune, is here. Bless their hearts, their faith just really won’t be shaken. I wish Christians were as faithful as evolutionary humanists.
What do you think of these latest findings?
DJP: The evolutionists always have a spin on things and make use of assumptions that prove that they are right. Anything they find is always pro[c]claimed to be the missing link which will prove human evolution once and for all. Frankly, I don't pay much attention to these findings because they are all speculative.
HC: To quote a Friend of mine, "Wisdom is justified of her children." Logic has nothing to do with it. As this debate rages on, what are your plans to aid the cause of intelligent design?
DJP: Two of the other books in my series involve evolution heavily. One other touches on it as my hero studies religion with that same fervor he studied evolution. I plan on writing one in the future which leaves out the religious aspect and just focuses on the plight of scientists who speak out against Darwinism and the cloak and dagger stories of those who are working undercover.
HC: I remember a real-life case of a professor a couple of decades ago who discovered evidence of the creation of matter in microcosm in all the rocks he studied. He was blacklisted, even though his discovery did not conflict with the Big Bang theory. However, since he is a Christian, and they knew it, they used that as an excuse to ruin his career. You would have a good basis for writing a novel on the trouble scientists who believe in Intelligent Design are having.
DJP: I’m not sure this will happen. When I leave God out of the story, my writing seems to suffer. I need a Holy Ghost writer. I also am making plans to develop a 45 minute talk on evolution that can be presented in a church service. If Voices could be made into a movie, I'd really like to take that route. Videos have become a great method for educating and motivating people. I think Voices would be an excellent flic for bringing the argument to the masses. Speaking of movies, I'll be writing a guest column at TheChristianPulse.com once a month on the topic of films.
HC: Thank you so much for the opportunity to read your book, and agreeing to appear on my blog! May God bless you as you continue to write for Him!
To enter to win a copy of All the Voices of the Wind, you can leave a comment here, on Hope Chastain, writer's blog, or send an e-mail to me, hope_chastain [at] yahoo.com. As usual, removed the spaces and replace [at] with @.
Friday, August 31, 2007
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Today, we’re blessed with an interview of Margaret Daley. Margaret has agreed to give away a copy of her upcoming book, BURIED SECRETS, so check the bottom of the blog for details.
HC: Thank you, Margaret, for agreeing to be with us and answer some of our questions! When did you first discover you had a gift for writing?
MD: I have always loved to tell stories. I had to learn the writing part. I decided in the late 70s to put one of my stories down on paper. No one will ever see that first attempt, but from it, I was hooked on writing.
HC: Did you always want to write?
MD: No. As a child, I used to make up stories when I played with my paper dolls and other toys.
HC: With your busy teaching schedule, how do you make the time to write?
MD: Someone once said if you really want to do something, you will find a way. I carve out time to write and I am very disciplined (as well as organized) which I think helps. I have had to give up certain things I enjoy doing in order to write however. One is that I don’t get to read as much as I wish I could.
HC: I note with great delight that you have a new book coming out in October. Buried Secrets looks as though it’s a companion piece to Heart of the Amazon. Am I right?
MD: Buried Secrets is about Zach, the twin brother of Kate in Heart of the Amazon. This novel is set in New Mexico. It’s National Treasure meets Indiana Jones.
HC: That's a great visual image. I'm looking forward to it!
How long have you been associated with Steeple Hill?
MD: I sold my first inspirational romance to Steeple Hill in June 2000. My first Love Inspired came out in March 2002 called The Power of Love.
HC: How many of your novels have been published so far?
MD: I recently sold my fifty-second novel.
HC: Wow! I'm seriously impressed! What a wonderful blessing!
What are your top five suggestions for people who can’t help writing and would like to be published? (I was going to say, what are your top five suggestions for people who want to write, but I remembered one writer saying, “Don’t!”)
MD: 1. Read. Read. Read the type of books you want to write. Get familiar with the market.
2. Write. Write. Write if possible every day or as much as possible.
3. Be persistent, even in the face of a rejection. Rejections are part of this business and I certainly have had my fair share. Don’t let them stop you from persuading your dream.
4. Keep working on learning the craft. Even after twenty-seven years, I am learning something new all the time—trying something different to expand my writing.
5. Network with fellow writers and if possible go to conferences. Several of my big breaks have come from going to a conference and meeting a certain editor or hearing about an opportunity from a fellow writer.
HC: How does your spiritual life affect your writing?
MD: Deeply. I find the Hand of God throughout my writing. I couldn’t do it without Him.
HC: Thank you so much for sharing with us. God bless you as you continue to write for His glory!
For a chance to win a copy of BURIED SECRETS, which comes out in October, please either sign this blog, my Hope Chastain, Writer's blog, or send an e-mail to hope_chastain [at] yahoo.com. Lose the spaces and replace the [at] with @.
For a chance to win a copy of BURIED SECRETS, which comes out in October, please either sign this blog, my Hope Chastain, Writer's blog, or send an e-mail to hope_chastain [at] yahoo.com. Lose the spaces and replace the [at] with @.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Who came up with the idea for the Potluck Club?
LES: While at a mountain getaway, I read a novel about friendships and felt disappointed because the book only scratched ‘surface issues.’ It hadn’t shown the love, conflict or reconciliation that makes friendships real.
Later, as my husband was driving our family down the mountain, I decided if I were to write a novel about the friendships of women, I would add those missing ingredients and call it The Potluck Club.
I immediately called Eva. Between dropped calls, I explained my concept and said, “It could be a book about friendships written by real friends.”
“Let’s do it!” she said, and the rest is history.
HC: Eva Marie, you and Linda have each published several books on your own. Do you enjoy writing with a collaborator?
EME: I do! To be honest, this isn't for everyone. Some say that novelists can't write together and the work be equal. But Linda and I developed a system by which the work was split in half. This is not to say there have been no "problems" along the way. But Linda and I agreed from the beginning that the END RESULT was to have a WONDERFUL product, written to God's glory and [wo]man's enjoyment. That means sometimes agreeing to disagree, and talking it out. Other times it means saying, "I love you" and recognizing that nothing gets in the way of our friendship.
HC: How about you, Linda?
LES: It’s been a treat because Eva and I share friendship in the real world as well as a world of fiction. I never know what Eva is going to ‘do’ with the characters I write until I see her chapters and neither does Eva know what I’m going to ‘do’ with the characters she writes. This keeps the drama in our chapters fresh as well as unpredictable. Plus, it’s taught Eva and I how to go deeper into both the art and gift of friendship.
HC: Is it easier or harder than writing a book by yourself?
EME: Harder, for sure. No wait...easier. LOL Actually, it's nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of. But you have to understand that creative people become very protective about that which they create. So, again, it can be tricky and its not for everyone. I enjoy writing with Linda. I can't say I'd like to work with every writer...but I enjoy writing with Linda.
LES: I like writing solo and I also like writing with Eva. But like Eva says, I wouldn’t want to work with every writer. Before we wrote Potluck, Eva and I complied five anthologies with dozens of other writers. Though those books were fun to create, we later joked that it would have been simpler to have written those projects – with just the two of us.
Though that experience, Eva and I learned collaborations can be more complicated than writing alone. We also learned the two of us worked well together. So, if you find a good collaborator who shares your heart, your work ethic and your writing standards, then explore the possibilities.
HC: Do you have any advice for anyone considering collaborating on a novel?
LES: Test drive the collaboration process. Before you write something as complicated as a novel, try writing an article or two together. Also, spell out some agreements. Before Eva and I started our first Potluck Club novel, we spelled out our writing duties, schedule and editing responsibilities.
HC: Did the two of you choose which characters you would write, or did you both write all the characters?
EME: Linda and I went to the beach ( Cocoa Beach , FL ) during a trip Linda made to Florida for another conference. While we watched the waves beat against the shore and basked in the warm glow of the setting sun, we each developed three characters. We just started talking as though we were telling each other about personal friends of ours. I don't even think we wrote anything down...we just talked. We came back to my house that evening and started fleshing them out.
HC: The characters are all very well drawn. They’re real. Even though I hadn’t read the first two books, it didn't take long to get caught up in their lives. What made you decide to write in multiple POV?
LES: Thank you!
Eva and I wanted our six characters to be distinct. We also wanted a way to divide up the writing process. So we each created three characters. When we take turns writing our chapters, we slip into one of our ‘own’ character’s viewpoints.
HC: Is there any hope for further adventures of the Potluck Club?
EME: Why goodness, yes! We have three more books featuring our fearless friends of the potluck! They've formed their own catering company. Beginning next year, look for The Potluck Catering Club's Secret Recipe to be released, with two more books near summer for the next two years.
LES: It’s exciting because I think each new book is better than the last.
HC: One last question: do either or both of you have any new books coming out soon?
EME: I do, yes. I have a book written for Thomas Nelson/Nelson Bibles, currently titled (the working title) Touching the Bible; An Intimate Journey to the Land of God 's Heartbeat. This book is also cowritten, but with my Jewish friend, Miriam Feinberg Vamosh (best selling author from Israel ). Miriam has a Masters Degree in Archeology and Heritage; she led tours for 30 years. If there is a rock in Israel that Miriam doesn't know about, I'd be shocked! She was my guide/interpreter when I was in Israel in 2002 as a journalist. I went back to Israel alone in February of this year so she and I could tour the country--just the two of us--taking photos and journaling as we went along. The book will feature our photography as well as photographs by one of the most gifted photographers I've ever met, Doron Nissim , Miriam's excellent information about the traditional, biblical, or historical elements of each site followed by pages from my journals, which focuses on how the soul is stirred by the site. I'm beyond excited for it to be released, which will be next Spring.
LES: I’m also working on a solo novel entitled Star Bright as well as a couple of nonfiction projects on prayer and lifestyle worship.
HC: Thank you so much for taking the time to share all this with our readers! May God continue to bless you both as you write for Him!
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Friday, July 27, 2007
Writing challenges are good for you, even if you're working on something else. It makes you stop and think. It gives you a change of pace. Usually, challenges are short, so they don't have to take a lot of time. Plus, the short ones are a good chance to perfect your story-writing skills. If you're a naturally verbose novelist, like I am, it can be a BIG help!
If you haven't tried it yet, give it a shot! What have you got to lose but a little time?
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Thursday, June 28, 2007
So, here's my question to you, my readers: if you could ask the writers who are going to be on my blog one favorite question, what would it be? Please post your questions here. I can't guarantee that I'll use them, but I'm definitely interested in what you'd like to know.
I'm planning to do the first of the blog interviews in the first week of July, so hurry and post your questions, please! Thanks!
Saturday, May 26, 2007
While those books have the write, I mean right, idea, sometimes they can be a little unrealistic for those with time constraints to follow. It doesn't allow for emergencies, unexpected company (sometimes that is an emergency!), acts of God, etc.
I agree that it's important to make time to write. However, if you cannot make time every single day, you shouldn't say to yourself, "Oh, I'm not following the suggestion in the book, therefore I'm not a writer." Nonsense. You're a writer if you love to write and do it even occasionally. You're an author if you persevere to the point of publication, which means setting ego aside and taking constructive criticism about your work, making edits, and trying to fit into the buying market.
And, if you can't write more than one sentence a day, make that sentence count!
Monday, May 21, 2007
That just happened to me, in case you were wondering why there were no new writing blogs lately. I've even had trouble keeping up with my 10,000 Book Challenge Blog at eharlequin.com. However, I am trying to get back to normal (or whatever passes for normal around here!), and hope to bring you more tales of my writing adventures soon!
Thursday, April 19, 2007
I think the important thing is not how many words can you squeeze into a day, but just to write whenever you can. Do your best work, no matter what. And if it's horrible, don't give up. At least you've written something! Remember, even something dreadful might have potential. With editing (your own, please, first!), it could become something wonderful!
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
Book Review: THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO WRITING AND SELLING THE CHRISTIAN NOVEL by Penelope J. Stokes, Ph.D.
Dr. Stokes not only edits Christian fiction, she writes it as well, so she gives the reader both viewpoints. She begins with a definition of Christian fiction as accepted by the CBA, i.e., evangelical fiction, mentioning notable authors of fiction whose viewpoint is Christian but may not be evangelical, such as Madeline L'Engle, Richard Kienzle, C. S. Lewis, and others. She continues with an ennumeration of the types of Christian fiction, including romance, prophetic action/adventure (I don't think she labeled it that, exactly!) such as the Left Behind series of Dr. Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins and the truly scary and wonderful books of Frank Peretti, Christian fantasy, etc. (It would be easier to write this review if I hadn't had to turn the book in yesterday!)
This book has a nuts and bolts approach to writing. Dr. Stokes dissects the writing process, and shows you how it's done for today's market. She gives the reader insightful techniques to polish and perfect their writing. This book would be useful even for writers of non-Christian fiction.
One extra plus: at the end of the book is a checklist with chapter headings, reiterating the points she made in that chapter, where the reader can analyze his or her motivation for writing, check off plot points, work on characterization, and make sure the book is moving in the direction it started. On a scale of one to ten for useful tools for writers, I'd give this one a ten!
Friday, March 30, 2007
It will probably take some time before I'm fully moved in over here. In the meantime, you can find my previous writing blogs at Hope Chastain, writer's blog. As moves go, I think this one won't be so bad.