Friday, March 30, 2007

Serials and Scenarios - What's Up With Susan May Warren

Susan May Warren boldly answers the questions you were dying to ask.

Some out there in writing land have strange rituals. Share yours.

I am the queen of procrastination – I’ve been known to even do laundry instead of writing a scene! And I’m very strange – my favorite place to write is on my bed – even though I have a nice office. I also have to have my research books within reach so I can grab them at a moment’s notice. Finally – during heightened moments of stress, I have to eat crunchy foods…like Apple Jacks!

If you were assured of writing a best-seller, what genre would it be? Give us a sliver of information, a characteristic or glimpse of a scene.

I love romantic suspense, but with great lighthearted scenes as well, so I’d write a book that has both suspense and comedy in it – something that makes us laugh between the moments of stress. I like to balance a book – have equal parts romance and suspense – for example, I love it when characters have a crazy fight right before they have to do something stressful – it relieves their stress and bonds us with the characters.

What period of history intrigues you the most?

World War 2. The heroism and sacrifice of that era really calls to my spirit.

What makes you feel alive?

Worship music, walking on the beach during a summer day (I have a beautiful rocky beach near my house), laughing with my children during dinner, seeing a passage of scripture in a new and transforming way.

How does something worm its way into your heart? Through tears, truth, humor or other?

Humor – I love to laugh, and humor is such a brilliant way to bring truth into a person’s life. I think humor really helps truths to take hold.

Book, music, person, food you would take with you on a very long trip.

I would take the Bible, some good worship music, or maybe my Brad Paisley CD collection, my husband, and cheetos. *g*

Where would you most like to travel ----- moon, north pole, deep seas, deserted island, the holy land or back to a place from your childhood, somewhere else? – and why.

I’d love to visit the Holy Land, but my husband has always wanted to go to the deep seas, and I would love to go there with him, just to see his joy.

Favorite season and why?

Fall – because I love football and the changing of the seasons, the crunch of leaves beneath my feet, and the anticipation of winter.

Favorite book setting and why?

I love to write books set in Russia because it is so rich in flavor and smells and characters, and of course, because I miss it and it brings me back to a land I love.

Which compliment related to your writing has meant the most and why?

I recently received a letter from a reader who told me that reading my books was like reading an applied bible study. She said she loved learning more about scripture and the truths that transform my characters lives. I was really blessed by that because my desire is to weave scripture and spiritual truths into a story in such a way that the reader takes away encouragement in their own walk of faith.

What would you do today if you knew you had only a week to live?

I’d pack up my family, go down to the Caribbean and find a secluded beach and soak in every moment of laughter and stories and relaxation with the people I love.

What is your favorite word?

Sosheea. It’s a made up word in our family that means...enough! My oldest son made it up when he was five.

Super power you'd love to borrow for awhile?

Flying, of course.

Thanks, Susan.

Happy Weekend, everyone.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Serials and Scenarios - Reclaiming Nick

The book:

The Author:

The Review:

Susan May Warren excels in writing men. I didn't warm up to her main heroine until several chapters into the book, but Nick grabbed me right away.

Warren has a way with words. Bursts of beautiful prose fill "Reclaiming Nick."

Tragedy marks each major character, and as I read, I began to root for them, hoping they'd find what they needed.

A touch of mystery added to the read. Enough detail was provided that the conclusion didn't shock me, so those of you who don't do well with intense suspense should be able to read it with ease.

The underlying spiritual themes of redemption, forgiveness and God's sovereignty were thoughtfully written. Christianese was not overdone, but the spiritual truths were strong.

The relationships covered in the book were handled well, also. "Reclaiming Nick" didn't feel sitcom surreal (perfect resolution in seventeen and a half minutes.)

Warren stuck to her genre guidelines and crafted mostly believable, almost real characters. I will finish the series.

The interview: Come back tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Scribbles and Scrambles - Groundhog Spotted in Macarthur Park

I have a ground hog person in my life.

No, this person is not a rodent, nor does this person predict the weather.

Rather, life for him/her is like Bill Murray’s “Groundhog Day.” But instead of the actual events repeating daily, it’s kind of an emotional/mental mind flush thing.

Confused yet?

Me too.


This individual wakes up with a clean slate each morning. Based on the behavior and choices I witness, this really potentialful and great person apparently thinks that consequences, good and bad, disappear overnight.

Granted, God’s mercies are new every morning, but my actions yesterday pretty much determine many of the obstacles I face today. The whole “charge it!” shop-a-thon coming back to bite me during the next billing cycle nightmare. Or, if I leave the cake out in the rain, I may never find the recipe again.

While you’re pondering that, ponder this.

How does one go through life not getting this monumental truth?

I’m completely confused.

Is there a chemical process that erases the concept of cause and effect?
Do “aha! Eureka! I’ve got it!” brain cells die at different rates in different people?
Is this a personality type that I’ve not been up close and personal with before?

If you’ve got answers, I need them. Talk to me!
I could use a bit of help with Macarthur Park, too.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Scribbles and Scrambles - Babies Are Agile

My family may be really odd, but…. Oh, wait. We ARE really odd.

For just a split-second, I forgot we capitalize the fun in dysFUNction.

One of our favorite family things would be inside jokes.

I knew my daughter-in-law would fit right in the day she doubled over in laughter while standing in front of our refrigerator.

This is a little twisted -- but bear with me. Our son. The eldest offspring carrying the banner of odd, found magnets amusing. Oh, not the poetry magnets…those would’ve gotten buried on our fridge.

Our community believes in information fairs that provide a plethora of pertinent magnets. Somehow, somewhere I picked up a magnet from a shaken baby syndrome task force. The white magnet read “Babies are Fragile.” Nice sentiment, all too true, wonderful public service.

But one day my son asked. “Mom, what does it mean that babies are agile?” (I won’t tell you how old he was.) Annoyed, (which I often was when my very intelligent, old-teen kid asked me nutty questions) I glanced at the magnet.

Someone had used White-Out on the fr. Mr. Comedian laughed it up, I shook my head, but smiled inside. Every once in awhile, his sister or father would clean off the White-Out, bringing it back to fragile.

Then the fr would disappear again.

So, the girl who loves my son, asked about the magnet. I told her the story. She laughed. They got married. And we talk about agile babies every once in awhile.

Words that bring a flood of memories and a laugh or two include:

Coco-nutty Day
Sea biscuits
Chee chago
Sticky Buns
Johnny Cat

The list goes on and on.

Now that I think about it. My brothers and I still laugh about “You’re bending my glasses.”

Did I mention we were odd?

Friday, March 23, 2007

Scribbles and Scrambles - Don't Get Out Much...

Do you ever realize that your memories are not exactly reality?

Or that there are reasons that you may not be invited back to a moderately fancy restaurant?

My eldest daughter and a few of her friends invited me out for a nice dinner.

Their first mistake. I’d been to the restaurant before, so I didn’t turn them down.

This place has the most amazing bread. Kind of a do-it-yourself garlic bread bar at every table. Garlic infused olive oil (EVOO for you Rachel Ray fans), chopped tomatoes, real parmesan cheese (that’s right! Not the stuff from the can – do we know how to pick a classy place or what?) And the very best part… roasted garlic cloves that you use like butter, smearing the yummy contents across your bread.

I told the girls that I thought we could all eat for around $10.00 a plate.

Did I mention that I hadn’t been to that particular restaurant in ten years or so?

The food, yummy as I remember. The price? Well a whole lot different.

So $20.00 a person later, we realized there might be a reason they put us by the kitchen.

They, over the delicious aromas, smelled trouble.

We didn’t lack for water refills (none of us could afford pop) nor did we lack for hilarity.

From movie line quotes meeting with a mis-swallowed gulp of water, to excessive spillage, we had a great time. I’m sure the patrons around us thought maybe we’d just fallen off a farm truck when we enthused about the mouthwash dispenser.

Ah yeah, we had fun. Laughed til we hurt, and ate until we nearly burst. Good thing, we won’t be able to afford another night out for a long time.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Scribbles and Scrambles - Yikes!

I'm visiting Nanny-land today.

Something a little scary occurred to me over our lunch.

It took a minute to sink in amidst the whine of activity.

No, my revelation wasn't that I required my daughter to cut my pizza into bite size pieces, thank you very much.

While the three-year-old related a story she raised her chubby little fingers over her head and made air quotation marks.

This shouldn't shock me considering I know both her mother and her nanny, but the fact that I've never seen a three-year-old quite pull this sly and smooth movement off made me stop and think.

We are such products of our environment. Both where we are forced to live, and where we choose to live (physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally.)

To bring it even closer to home, people are watching us and catching our attitudes and quirks.

Nanny has been shaped by me, forever scarred, and is passing my influence along to the next generation. As amusing as that is, the good stuff anyway, I cringe when I realize that some of my not so wonderful attitudes have been passed to my children as well.

What if we all made a few promises to ourselves.

That I will stop and think before I act.
I will act as if I want to bless others.

I'll "try." How about you?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Scribbles and Scrambles - I Told You That!

Do you struggle with remembering things?

I do. Sometimes it borders on scary. My husband and I have this game we play; we affectionately refer to it as, “I told you that!”

Apparently, we both have rich conversations with each other -- in our heads. Our mouths don’t get engaged nearly as often. I’ll discover something critical, like, he’s going out of town tomorrow, purely by some backhanded comment.

His eyebrows jump, and he grows a sheepish grin. “I told you. Didn’t I?” He really thinks he did, too.

But I do the same to him, and it’s slightly possible I also hear him without actually listening to what he just said. My oldest daughter often says, “You just asked me that question.” Oops! Note to self…listen to the answer.

During Sunday’s sermon, my pastor used the illustration of a group of life-roughened men who lived in a shelter near my pastor’s college. Every Friday night, a group of ministry students put on a small church service. The residents of the shelter were fresh off the streets. And they dragged their dysfunction to church with them. Every Friday the residents got to choose a song. Every Friday they chose “Victory in Jesus.”

This group of addicted, worn-down, beat-up men was anything but victorious. Why that song? Why not “Jesus Loves Me?” I’d find more comfort in that if I wore their shoes. “Amazing Grace” now that’s a song to celebrate.

Maybe, prophetically, they wanted to sing about what could be, someday.

I think the choice in song ties into memory. As great as the other songs are, I want to believe that no matter how pathetic I am right now, I actually have Jesus, the King of kings, working in my life, fixing, changing, breaking and winning.

The prophet Samuel set up an Ebenezer stone for the Israelites to remind them that God had been with them right up until that point, and that He hadn’t gone anywhere. I think “Victory in Jesus” became an Ebenezer stone for those shelter residents. Jesus promised, Jesus did it, and Jesus is going to finish it.

So, if you forget everything else today, remember that if you have Jesus, then you have victory in Him.

Oh, and that you need to be fully dressed if you go out in public.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Serials and Scenarios - MaryLu Tyndall - On The Plank

MaryLu Tyndall BOLDLY shares her thoughts. Pour a mug of grog and join us.

Pick one…..Pink iguana, purple cow, periwinkle giraffe. Which one and why? Can be negative or positive.

Definitely the periwinkle giraffe. Tall, elegant with a commanding view of the surroundings and her choice of the most succulent leaves upon the treetops. Who wouldn’t choose that over an iguana or a cow?

Favorite turn of phrase or word picture, in literature or movie.

“He was actuated by a belief in himself that was tempered by no consciousness of his limitations.” Captain Blood, by Raphael Sabatini

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a large fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

What would you write if there were no rules or barriers? (epic novels about characters in the Bible, poetry, greeting cards, plays, movies, instruction manuals, etc.)

Without any restrictions, I’d still write the type of inspirational, romantic, adventurous novels that I currently write, but I believe I’d touch on more controversial, edgy, and real-life issues in my stories than the CBA allows presently.

What makes you feel alive?

Walking along the beach while talking to my Father in heaven. How much more alive can someone feel than when they are in the presence of their Creator?

How does something worm its way into your heart? Through tears, truth, humor or other?

Honest and deep emotions expressed without barriers, hang-ups, self-consciousness, or fear of consequence. Whenever someone in a book or movie pours out their heart and has everything to lose and nothing to gain from it, I always cry.

Where would you most like to travel ----- moon, north pole, deep seas, deserted island, the holy land or back to a place from your childhood, somewhere else? and why.

Deserted island, of course. Warm sun caressing my skin, turquoise waters lapping on the shore, peace and quiet, away from the hustle and bustle of my busy life. Sounds like heaven to me.

Favorite season and why?

Spring. Everything is fresh and beautiful, resurrecting from the deep sleep of a cold winter. It reminds me of God’s renewing grace, His resurrection power, and that His mercies are fresh every morning.

Favorite book setting and why?

The Caribbean or anywhere in the warm tropics. I suppose because it reminds me of the carefree days of a childhood spent on the warm Florida beaches, and of course I love the sea—the wild, unpredictable, tempestuous sea. What a great backdrop in which to write about adventure and romance!

Super power you'd love to borrow for awhile?

Flying. I’ve always been envious of birds. What would it be like to soar with the wings of eagles?

Favorite chore

Favorite—Chore? Do these two words go together?

Describe something you can see, hear, taste or feel without telling us what the item is.

The soothing aroma tickled her nose and drew her from bed like an enchanting song. Plodding down the hall, she rubbed her sleepy eyes, and breathed in a deep whiff of the rich, dark bouquet. Her mouth suddenly woke and began to water in anticipation before she even reached the kitchen. Grabbing the pot, she poured the ebony liquid into her cup, added the creamy sweetener, and then held the mug, allowing the warmth to seep through her fingers and palms like the rays of sun on a summer’s day. Lifting the cup to her nose she inhaled the rich, spicy tropical aroma and smiled. Then placing her lips gently on the rim, she took a sip. That first sip was always the best. Ah, the sweet, warm nectar of the morning.

Anything you'd do but don't because of fear of pain? What is it? Ex. Bungee jumping, sky diving, running with scissors.

Public speaking.

Societal pet peeve…sound off.

Relativism. Our current society believes there is no absolute truth, and in the name of Political correctness and not offending anyone, we have corrupted our society by compromising the ultimate truth found in the Word of God. The thing that really bugs me about this is that this same principle does not apply when the world deals with Christians.

Pick a Genre - Describe a kiss….Historical

He leaned toward her and hesitated. His warm breath wafted over her.

Her heart flopped in her chest.

He leaned nearer.

She closed her eyes, unable to move.

His lips touched hers. The room exploded in burst of heat as his kiss, gentle at first, grew hungrier, searching, exploring—like a parched lion drinking from a newfound spring.

Wrapping his arms around her, he pressed her against him, and for a moment, she melted into him, unable to resist.

Withdrawing his lips, he hovered near her face and tilted his forehead against hers. Their heavy breaths intermingled in the air between them.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Serials and Scenarios - The Reliance

The Reliance link:

The Author link:

The Review:

After reading “The Reliance” I’m certain I don’t want to encounter a pirate. My senses aren’t up for it. I cringe when a hero and heroine passionately kiss the first thing in the morning -- morning breath – ewww. The pirates in “The Reliance” exercised my gag reflex big time. Though I still love the sea, I think I may pass on any rides offered by scruffy men, nor will I consider grog as an interesting alternative to tea.

I’ve seen Johnny Depp’s pirate crew. I knew what I might find between the pages of a novel about pirates. MaryLu Tyndall has created a group of men so repugnant that they rival the big screen version. However, there are a few good men and a very good God who give us heroes to cheer along with the scoundrel induced shudders.

Without reading the first in the series – “The Redemption” – I picked up “The Reliance” and enjoyed an uplifting story full of adventure, love, sights and smells. I even got a little annoyed when I couldn’t finish it with only three chapters to go. I could read so much more if only I didn’t need to sleep. Sigh.

I’d suggest picking up “The Redemption” since it tells the beginning of the story of Charlisse and Merrick. Then move on to “The Reliance” but only if you are looking for an action filled love story with some very sensory scenes. There is an unfinished story or two that need to be told so expect yet another upcoming tale.

Come back tomorrow for MaryLu’s interview. If you think “The Reliance” is a book you’d like to read, then you are going to want to see some of her answers. I’ve added a few new questions to the Dreg’s Pick and Choose List-O-Questions. Mary Lu did not disappoint.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Scribbles and Scrambles - It's In His Skies....

As the dark acid-washed-denim sky lightened, softened in the east, my eyes were drawn upward. An owl, head mechanically swiveling while it watched the field, perched on the power pool.

This is one of the reasons I love my home.

The turkey clusters/herds/flocks grow a little boring. Turkeys are not exciting animals.

I have even been known to yawn at deer, unless one plunges from the woods onto the pavement in front of me.

Ten days ago, I stood outside while fat, puffed snowflakes fell from the sky, landing on my eyelashes and nose while I tried to shovel up their friend’s carcasses. Yesterday people walked around in shorts. (This is not recommended by the National Optometrist Association. Iowans are not known for bronze, easy-on-the-eye skin.) While I shoveled a Robin sang. Maybe it was complaining, but my ear accepted the tune as music.

But I don’t think it’s the wildlife that entices me to call this place home. For sure, it’s not the fish-belly white skin or the occasional foot of snow. It’s deeper than those perks and quirks.

After returning from a blissful trip to Hawaii, I struggled with the Iowa December. Minnesota’s lakes, Hawaii’s ocean and artistic arrays of sand, Seattle’s temperatures, Colorado’s stark beauty all call, siren song style, to me. My soul longs for the breathtaking poignancy of those places, sometimes even the loneliness of those slivers of beauty.

But one afternoon, a few weeks home from Hawaii, I stood in my backyard while the breeze tossed my hair, and I lifted my face to the sun. As I opened my eyes, I realized that when I looked up I couldn’t really tell the difference between paradise on earth and home.

May you find a sliver of paradise in your circumstances, and in your place in this world.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Scribbles and Scrambles - Return from North

Sounds ominous, doesn't it? I traveled north and lived to tell the tales.

Some tales will forever be with-held for reader ease and comfort and writer save-faceiness. (Yes, another new word, feel free to pass it along.)

I almost dreaded my visit to the great twin cities. Why? Three words. Self Defense Class.

Michelle, the friend who found such great delight in my spinning glass debacle, signed up the females in her household for said class. She even gave me one of her daughters since it was a mother/daughter opportunity.

Poor kid.

Oh, I played it up. Told her I was going to get some read-white-and-blue "bad boy" parachute pants from which to deliver roundhouse kicks to heads.

I even decided I could maybe do a bit of heckling. After all, this would be my fourth self-defense class, and believe me, with two brothers I'd developed the art of roundhouse.

But, since I'm such a good sport, and feel the need to make others laugh, I took my good attitude to self-defense class and waited for some sweet openings.

I learned something. Quite a bit, actually. Did you know that you can listen to your inner chicken and avoid awkward or ugly situations?

Okay, I knew that.

You can also rush the bad guys and use surprise, wicked elbow thrusts and power stomps to pretty much deliver a really bad day.

So far I haven't had a chance to use my new empowerment. But, man, did we have fun with it at the mall.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Serials and Scenarios - The Watchers

Before I head off to the land of Vikings, and most excellent coffee, let me leave you with thoughts on a new book release.

Yes, I'm visiting Michelle, my French Press mentor and separated-at-birth twin. Yes, there is another person like me out there. You northerners might want to watch out.

Michelle tends to play the straight man, unless bent over double, laughing at my latest stupid human trick. She's the one who drew everyone's attention to my body smashed against the revolving door at the writer's conference in September.

But, she makes great coffee, and is pretty good at killing fictional characters. She's signed us up for a self-defense class Friday night. If you hear any loud crashes from the northern corner of the United States, it's probably us.

Mark Andrew Olsen, Christy Award nominated author of "The Assignment" has written a new supernatural suspense novel. Go to the Amazon buzz page:

My review of "The Watchers."

If you like globetrotting spiritual warfare novels, you're going to want to check out "The Watchers."

With a different twist on the standard warfare, "The Watchers" tackles some intriguing church history, and some tragic realities about the current state of religion. Crossing cultural and racial boundaries, Mark Andrew Olsen writes of an age-old demonic plan, and the way it could play out in our age of technology.

Some segments are truly creepy and will give the Big Honkin Chicken Club members a shudder or two. The novel reads very much like a screenplay and would be an action-packed movie. Christian themes of prayer and submission are well handled. The Gospel is present, obvious and not overdone.

Though written in omniscient POV, my least favorite, and though the main characters are not always believable, I found this an enjoyable read. My character issue likely stems from the omniscient POV. Dylan ended up being a little stereotypically alpha-male. But in a thriller genre, a reader generally isn't looking for depth of characterization.

Overall, Mark Andrew Olsen tells a great story with compelling writing.

Fans of Dekker, Peretti, Mapes and Mackel will find this a satisfying power-packed read.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Scribbles and Scrambles - The Closet - Final Installment

It occurred to me, around midnight last night, that a live-in carpenter is a lovely thing.

Prior to that thought, my carpenter and I had gone out on the town.

Our date-night involved a 45 minute wait at our local seafood restaurant with which we killed time at one of the many available guy stores. This particular guy store had some components for my unfinished closet. A simple hint, and $40.00 later they were mine.

I thought I’d find a nice corner for them, maybe incorporate them into the d├ęcor, which still includes several tools and unfinished bits and pieces mixed in with the pretty places.

Imagine my surprise as I headed upstairs after putting a load of clothes in the washing machine to find my eldest daughter waiting for me.

“Should I be concerned that Dad is wearing his pajamas, and carrying a drill?”

Didn’t seem at all odd to me. I shrugged.

But then I heard the lovely sound of drilling, from the very back of the house, near the center of my closet.

Carefully, so as not to break any spells, I tiptoed to my bedroom. There, on my bed, lay the rest of my closet, except for the piece in his hand.

All this to tell you….drum roll please….my closet is done. Whoo-hoo.

Oh my, what does that do to my excuse for not being unpacked?

Monday, March 05, 2007

Scribbles and Scrambles - Abby Ormal-Nay

Once again, I come to you, bare my soul in cyberspace…am I abby normal?

I used to think those in their forties and even older thirties had their acts to-geth-er.

I also thought I’d get there eventually.

Maybe I’m on the remedial track to wisdom and respectability. Somehow I’ve missed the “refined and tasteful” yacht, and avoided the “mature” express. Instead I’m on the perpetual Ferris Wheel of goofiness. No, not Merry-Go-Round, far too centered.

This moment of angst, which isn’t angst at all, is brought on by an early morning comment from my husband. I say it’s not angst because a small -- or large depending on the speed and velocity of the Ferris Wheel -- part of me loves being twisted.

Anyhoo, on the way to work this morning, I chattered. Hubby is not always a morning person, so sometimes our rides are quiet. Today, I chattered. For some odd reason I began to talk in Pig Latin. I’ve never blogged in Pig Latin. It’s not my language of first choice. Frankly, you all know I have enough trouble with English.

I rambled on, about pretty much nothing at all, laughing, enjoying the trip to the office.

He chuckled. “You know, I really love the way you entertain yourself.”

“Moi?” Or maybe I said Oi-May.

“Yeah, you say something, follow it with a laugh, build on it and then you’re off. Pretty soon you’re totally cracking yourself up. Have you ever noticed that?”

I’m going to be a riot in the nursing home.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Serials and Scenarios - Tricia Goyer - Part 2

I mentioned Part 3 of Tricia Goyer's interview. Consider that something for future reading plasure. I oopsed (new verb - might want to take notice - feel free to use it). This is part 2 of Tricia's interview.

Her answers are bold and my questions are the usual.

What would you write if there were no rules or barriers? (epic novels about characters in the Bible, poetry, greeting cards, plays, movies, instruction manuals, etc.)

I would LOVE to write the screenplays for my WWII historical novels! always seem them as movies in my head. I've even picked out the characters ... From Dust and Ashes would have Elizabeth Shue, Penelope Cruz, Damian Lewis, and Val Kilmar. (Yes, I have thought of this!)

What makes you feel alive?

Finishing ... finishing a book I'm writing, finishing making dinner for my family, finishing house cleaning, finishing my morning Bible reading and feeling refreshed!

How does something worm its way into your heart? Through tears, truth, humor or other?

Good question. I suppose it would be "seeing." I see a problem, or see a group of people that need encouragement, and I want to write about it. I see hurting people and I want to help. I see my kids and husband and I want to love. I see a story in my mind . . . and before I know it, it's in my heart and I have to get it out.

Which compliment related to your writing has meant the most and why?

I love when people tell me they can't put my book down. It's then I know I've met a need.

What criticism has cut the deepest and why?

Any bad review. It can make me forget the last 100 compliments. It also makes me wonder why I "put myself out there" like that. Yet I can't stop writing!

Story starters: Pick one and shoot us a couple of sentences or paragraphs.

Frizzy hair, purple scarf and a book – make a character.

Chloe Pierson tucked her hair tight under her scarf and hoped the bookstore owner didn't recognize her. It was a bad hair day, to say the least. In fact the dry, mountain air always made her hair frizz. Still, that didn't hinder her enthusiasm as she strolled over to the bookshelf that display the New York Times list. Her book had made the list, but was strangely empty from the shelf. Not that she blamed them.

From the time she was fourteen and had moved to his small, Nevada town she had visited this bookstore every Saturday and dreamed of her own book finding its place here. Yet, she had never dreamed as big as to imagine it on this self. And she never understood that by telling this story that she'd not only be the town's most hated citizen, but also on the run for her life.

Thanks, Tricia. Happy weekend, everyone. And if you are in the blizzard zone keep cozy.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Serials and Scenarios - Valley of Betrayal

I'm bad. I haven't posted since Monday. I had good intentions...but didn't follow through. If it makes you feel any better, I have been punished March's lion roar entrance. I reside in the current blizzard belt (no, not the infamous ice cream Blizzard, the real deal.) I dug out, though, just to bring you the latest from Tricia Goyer. Come back tomorrow for the interview.

The Book:

The Author:

The Review:

Tricia Goyer has penned a wrenching look at war and the people in the midst of it in "Valley of Betrayal."

Her characters come to life as they struggle with wrong and right and the consequences of their choices. With beautiful words and powerful emotion, Goyer creates locations that come alive in the reader's mind. I struggled with female characters with shallower-than-I-care-for depth in her previous novel, not so with Sophie. Even though Goyer has created many characters with several points of view in "Valley," I don't feel like anyone came across as cardboard or lifeless.

Some of Goyer's descriptions are breathtakingly poetic. The scenes of war and the damage done to people who are attempting to go about living their lives, as they knew them, are heartbreaking. Goyer manages to display the horror of war, but still offers the hope that comes with God, and with each new morning.

The drones of incoming planes, the sadness in the eyes of the broken, the depth of pain, all make this a book for those who crave deep fiction. It's not lighthearted, nor is it a romance. Moments of grit, loss and gore are peppered throughout. The ending leaves a few unanswered questions. I assume the next book will pick up some of those dangling threads.

As a ten year old child I read "The Hiding Place" and faced months of dreams filled with the images it painted. Not that "The Hiding Place" wasn't important or good, just that it changed something inside of me, woke me up to some reality I wasn't ready to face. "Valley" could have this impact on readers. There is an underlying sadness written throughout, an awareness of how ugly and brutal evil is. The history is rich, but before letting a child read it, a parent should screen "Valley."

Come back tomorrow for Part 3 of Tricia's interview.

If you live in the blizzard belt - STAY INSIDE...unless you are out of coffee or chocolate, then BE CAREFUL.