Tuesday, December 25, 2012


It was a special treat having Laura Frantz on my blog last week.

Thank you, Laura for your insights and your transparency.  I hope you'll come back again.

we have a winner for a copy of one of Laura's books! Marissa you've won. Congratulations. Laura will contact you soon.

Grace and peace to you.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Books & Writing -- Meet Laura Frantz

Laura is a lover of history and the author of The Frontiersman's Daughter, Courting Morrow Little, and The Colonel's Lady, and currently lives in the misty woods of Washington with her husband and two sons.

I had the pleasure of joining Laura in Oregon and Washington last summer for two booksignings. What a gracious lady. I'm thrilled to include her here on Books & Writing. 

Laura, you've recently had a new book release, Love's Reckoning, which is the first in a new series. What a gorgeous cover! Can you tell us how you came up with the idea for the story and why this place and time period?

1.      I've always had a love for the 18th century, so it was a good place to begin. My editor actually suggested I write a generational family series set in Pennsylvania. At the time this sounded too daunting as I'd only written standalones, but after much prayer and thought, I moved ahead. I'd come across a bit of research about the old tradition of an apprentice marrying into the master's family. I thought there might be some historical fireworks if the apprentice had to choose between two daughters. The beautiful cover was the icing on the cake. J

           It sounds fascinating. If it's anything like your 
previous books, I know I'm going to love it. 
I can't wait to dive into the story. 

     What do you hope readers will take away with them when they read the final page and put down the book?

      My hope is that readers, through the story, will experience for themselves the depths of the Lord's forgiveness and restoration power. He not only heals our hurting hearts and wrong turns but restores those lost years in ways we cannot imagine. No sin or circumstance is beyond His power.

What a powerful message.

Can you tell us what your writing day/week looks like?

Usually I get up early, about 5 am or so, go to the pool and then come home and enjoy reader mail or blog comments, visit Facebook and Pinterest. I like to write in the mornings best and then take a quick lunch and finish up by the time my boys come home from school around 3 pm. Then it's time to cook supper, do laundry, etc. I try not to work in the evenings but sometimes I can't stand to be away from the story. Thankfully, I write my manuscripts by longhand so don't have my head stuck in a laptop all the time. J 

I'm envious of your disciplined schedule.

I've only met one other writer who creates their 
first drafts longhand. I can't imagine. But I do understand about 
all the time writers spend on their laptops. 
Sometimes I don't even want to look at my computer.

Do you have a favorite scene in Love's Reckoning? Can you share some of it with us and tell us why it's your favorite?

Oh my! That's a little like asking for a favorite Bible verse. But I'll try. In Love's Reckoning, it would be the scene when Silas and Eden meet up again in that very heated, July ballroom eight years after parting company. neither expect the other to be there and voila!

What do you like most about writing and what do you like the least? Do you have any advice for your fellow authors?

I love the first draft best, even unpolished. it's akin to falling in love for the first time, at least for me. I'm always amazed at where the story takes me. I get giddy just thinking about it!

To be honest, I detest social networking and marketing. Once I had a job as a telemarketer and lasted two days. Promoting myself and my books is very painful to me. I'd much rather talk about what you're doing. Maybe it's the southern girl in  me. I was raised in a culture of humility and graciousness. Anything else is way beyond my comfort zone.

I have to laugh about your telemarketing experience. 
I did that once years ago and I actually
 enjoyed it. What does that say about me?

Do you have anything you'd like to share with readers? And how can they find you on the web?

I love hearing from readers at lauran@tfon.com or my website laurafrantz.net. 

I don't read reviews of my books but I do read reader mail and answer them. I even keep a scrapbook of every email and letter. My readers are very dear to me and I pray for them and covet their prayers as I really need them. I love meeting new readers online. Please stop by and say, "Hi!"

Thank you, Laura for taking the time to chat with me today. I look forward to reading Love's Reckoning. 

Readers, Laura has graciously agreed to give away a copy of one of her books, readers choice, to those who leave a comment, along with their email address. We'll draw for the winner one week from today.

Grace and peace to you from God.





Friday, December 14, 2012

Thoughts For Today -- Feeling Lost in a World Gone Mad?

This morning, when I sat down with my morning coffee to watch the news my heart groaned. Another school shooting. This one in an elementary school in Connecticut. An elementary school? I could hardly believe what I was watching. How could it be? Innocent children. Teachers. Dead and injured.

My mind went to the terrified children, the parents and families. Lives devastated. I weep for them all.

The world has gone mad. Just two days ago, innocents were shot down in a shopping mall in Portland, Oregon. Today's shooting is just one more tragedy in a long, long list of  brutal and senseless murders of the innocent. What has happened to the soul of America? How can we change the sickening and terrifying path we travel? Where do we begin?

I dropped into my comfy chair, in my toasty warm home, which is closed off from the world, hidden in a quiet place on this planet . . . but I didn't feel safe. My thoughts went to those who might break into my "safe" haven. I thought about my children and grandchildren who step out into the world every day. How can I keep them safe?

Jesus, my spirit whispered. Jesus.

Heavy-hearted, I picked up a devotional that I read every day. The first line said this, "REST IN ME, MY CHILD, forgetting about the worries of the world." And this. "Hold My hand in deliberate dependence on Me, and I will smooth out the path before you."

God met me, reminding me that He's always with me. He reached out, speaking to my heart. But my mind continued to ask, "How do we find rest in the midst of a mindless, brutal world that pounds on the door of our sanctuaries of safety?"

The devotional continued, "Focus on Me--Emmanuel--and let My living Presence envelop you in Peace. Tune in to my eternal security, for I am the same yesterday, today, and forever."

I was reminded that no matter how unruly and frightening the world may become God is the same, now and forever. His promises have not changed. He has not changed. We can rely on Him to remain with us, to offer His arms of love, His feet to guide, His strength to help us stand. He will never desert us.

His Word is a love letter to His people. Read it. And know that He is God. "Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take." We will never be lost when God leads.

Ezra, the priest wrote, "Your Word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path." 

Only God knows the way, through this mine field called life. Let Him lead you.

My prayers go out to the families whose lives were so horribly changed today.

May you find grace and peace in God,


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Books and Writing -- BOOK WINNER!

It was such fun to interview Ann Shorey here on Books & Writing. Thank you all for stopping in and leaving comments.

Stop by often. There will be lots of interesting authors dropping by in the months to come. And more book giveaways!

Our winner this week is Jean Ann Williams. Congratulations, Jean! I'll be sending your email address on to Ann. She'll contact you soon.

Grace and peace to you.


Wednesday, December 05, 2012

BOOKS & WRITING -- A Visit With Ann Shorey

Ann Shorey and I go way back. We met many years ago at an Oregon Christian Writers Conference and some time later we became critique partners. We still work together and I'm thrilled to have my dear friend and writing cohort as a guest here on My Books and Writing blog.

Welcome, Ann.

  • In the early years, it was frustrating for me to watch you write and wait, write and wait. It was frustrating because you are such a terrific writer. I didn't understand why someone hand't snatched up your work. It took you quite some time before you were picked up by an agent and then got your first book published. How long had you been working at publishing before the big event took place? Can you tell us a little bit about it?

I spent about seven years working on fiction before being signed by a publisher. During that time I wrote three novels, one of which I'm thankful will  never see the light of day! The third novel I wrote is the one that was accepted as part of a proposed series of three. That series became the At Home in Beldon Grove series for Revell.

I loved that series. What a great beginning!

  • What do you think finally did it? Do you have advice for fledgling authors?
The first novel wasn’t ready for publication. I didn’t know then how much I didn’t know about writing fiction! For fledgling authors, I’d say NEVER GIVE UP. But at the same time, don’t keep writing the same things in the same way. I went to many writers conferences, took classes, subscribed to writers magazines (and had great critique partners J)—in general, never stopped learning and trying to improve. Also for fledgling authors, be prepared to take to heart the helpful critiques you receive. Your first words are seldom as golden as you think they are. Check your ego at the door. J

Spoken like a true writer, Ann. Listen up, writers--wisdom and experience speaking here.

  • I've always admired your writing and I know what I think really shines, but what do you see as your writing strengths and weaknesses?

I’ve been complimented on my dialogue, which for me is the most fun to write. Also, as an author of historical fiction, I love using great details to plant my readers in the middle of my stories. One of the nicest compliments I received on Where Wildflowers Bloom was from a reader who said she thought she could be plunked down in Noble Springs (the fictional community where my Sisters at Heart series takes place) and find her way anywhere around town.

During the writing process, my greatest weakness is transitions—getting my characters from one scene to the next. I remember in the first novel I wrote (the one in the drawer!). I had a great opening scene with two characters on a covered porch. At the conclusion of the scene I thought, “Now, how do I get them off the porch?” I still ask myself that question from time to time.

What a wonderful  compliment. I agree with your reader. You always transport me inside your stories.

  • I know you to be a disciplined writer. Can you give us a glimpse of your daily schedule?

I’m not a morning person. So mornings my dog and I walk for three miles or so, then I do my online correspondence, and once that’s out of the way I get to work on whatever I’m writing at the time. Ideally, I write from around 1:00 in the afternoon until 5:30. When I’m pressing a deadline, I’ll start earlier and go back to work after dinner.

Your schedule looks a lot like mine. However, I'm guessing you're a lot more disciplined than me.

  • So, when does your next book release? Can you tell us a little about it? And what do you have waiting in the wings?

My next book, When the Heart Heals, is scheduled to release on February 1, 2013. Normally, that date is a bit flexible, so I expect the book will be available by the last week in January.
When the Heart Heals is the second book in my Sisters at Heart series for Revell. For those who have read Where Wildflowers Bloom, When the Heart Heals is Rosemary Saxon’s story. Here’s a look at the back cover copy:

In a country healing from war, can a young woman find healing for her heart?

Courageous and unconventional, Rosemary Saxon served as a nurse during the Civil War, a service that has caused most women in town to regard her as unfeminine and even downright vulgar. Although she would like to put that part of her life behind her, she needs to support herself. She takes a nursing position with Dr. Elijah Stewart, but whenever they are together they always seem to do or say the wrong things. When someone threatens Rosemary, will she find the courage to stand or will she leave town—and Elijah—forever?

I can't wait to read it!

My next project is the third book in the series, working title Love’s Sweet Beginning. This novel features Cassie Haddon, who has a small part in Where Wildflowers Bloom, a larger part in When the Heart Heals¸ and gets to have her own story in Love’s Sweet Beginning. The release date on this one is sometime in 2014.

Also in 2014, I’m looking forward to the release of my first novella as part of a collection with Laurie Alice Eakes, Amanda Cabot, and Jane Kirkpatrick. The title has yet to be decided. It’s been so much fun working with these three talented authors!

Great questions, Bonnie. Thank you for inviting me to visit your blog!

Thank you for joining us, Ann. What a privilege to have you here. 

Ann has offered to give away a copy of her book, Where Wild Flowers Bloom. To win, just leave a comment and make sure to include your email address. We will draw for the winner one week from today.

ANN SHOREY has been a full-time writer for over twenty years. Her writing has appeared in Chicken Soup for the Grandma’s Soul, and in the Adams Media Cup of Comfort series. She made her fiction debut with The Edge of Light, Book One in the At Home in Beldon Grove series for Revell, followed by Books Two and Three, The Promise of Morning and The Dawn of a Dream. The Sisters at Heart series, beginning with Where Wildflowers Bloom, is her latest offering.
             She may be contacted through her website, www.annshorey.com, which also contains her blog, http://annshorey.blogspot.com/ or find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AnnShorey.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Quiet Moments With God -- A Quiet Place?

Are you busy, maybe too busy? This is the time of year for busyness, isn't it. I'm thinking, it should be a time of Holiness. 

In my reading this morning I came across these beautiful words and thought they might be just what you need to hear. They quieted me.

From Streams in the Desert:

It is good to live in the valley sweet,
Where the work of the world is done,
Where the reapers sing in the fields of wheat,
And work until the setting of the sun.
But beyond the meadows, the hills I see
Where the noises of traffic cease,
And I follow a Voice who calls out to me
From the hilltop regions of peace.

Yes, to live is sweet in the valley fair,
And work till the setting of the sun;
But my spirit yearns for the hilltop's air
When the day and its work are done.
For a presence breathes o'er the silent hills, 
And its sweetness is living yet;
The same deep calm all the hillside fills,
As breathed over Olivet.

          Every life that desires to be strong must have its "Most Holy Place" 
(Ex. 26:33) into which only God enters.

Praying that in the midst of this busy time of year you will find time to spend with the Lord in the Most Holy Place.

Grace and peace to you from God,