Thursday, November 12, 2009

Interview with Deb Kinnard

I'd like to welcome Deb Kinnard today. She is a wealth of information, especially medieval information. If you have a question, she'll have an answer.

Deb started writing at age ten, because there was no preteen girl with a horse on Bonanza. From there she progressed to short stories and dreadful poetry. In college, she gained two degrees in health care and spent time observing hippies, basketball stars, el-ed majors and other strange species. While raising two active girls and cherishing her husband, she's enjoyed a career that encompasses Spanish translations, volunteer work at a crisis line, years in assorted ERs that don't resemble the one on TV, and a day job at a big Chicago teaching hospital. Deb keeps busy with reading, needlework, guitar-playing, and skiing in the winter. She is known to be a loud if semi-capable singer in church. Deb is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and serves as Zone Director for the Midwest. Her previously published novels include Powerline and Oakwood (Treble Heart Books), and Angel with a Ray Gun (Desert Breeze Publishing). Angel with a Back Hoe will be released in October 2009 and Damages in April 2010 from Desert Breeze Publishing. Seasons in the Mist will be an April 2010 release from Sheaf House. She's currently working on two contemporary romances, a straight historical, and another time-travel book.

I'll start this interview out like I always do. What are you wearing right now, and you have to tell the truth.
Pajamas and fuzzy bunny slippers. Details are classified.

I've read that e-books are the future. I know you have some e-books out there, can you tell us a little about your experience with them?
E-books take just as much sweat and toil as print--they're just released in different formats. As far as what the experience is like, how long do you have? It differs in so many aspects from "traditional" print publishing: shelf life of the book, distribution, income, creating a following, author input on content and cover--you name it, it's probably different.

What made you decide to write time travels?

This is going to sound hinky, but I dreamed the scene at the Holy Well and the novel sort of built itself around that in SEASONS IN THE MIST, when I first wrote it back in '82', that scene was pivotal to the budding relationship between the time traveler and her true love. When I lost the '82' version (thanks be to God!) I had to rewrite it, but I still knew that scene had to be included, and must contain every last nuance of first-love that I was capable of writing.

Do any friends or family appear in your characters?

Sometimes. They've never recognized themselves, though.

When did you know you were called to write Christian Fiction?

When I tried to write mainstream romance, sat back, re-read a full-length novel I'd just completed, and went, "Yuck." I never tried to tamp down the Christian aspect after that. All authors put"who they are" into their work and I'm a child of Christ, it should permeate the work.

What was the first thing you wrote and when did you write it?

I wrote the episode of "Bonanza" in which the long-missing 10 year old daughter, Vanessa Cartwright, shows up. I was (wait for it) 10 at the time. I wrote lots of episodes of her adventures around the Ponderosa, getting into trouble on her won pony.

What is the biggest pet peeve you have when reading other novels?

You want just one? I have several. The biggest, though, is that some titles just seem "flat." They're potentially interesting stories, competently told, but they just don't reach for that unnameable magic that some stories attain. I think we should reach for that, every single time. I wallbang these and give them to friends who might like them better than I did.

What is your latest book and what do you have coming out?
ANGEL WITH A BACKHOE came out in October from Desert Breeze Publishing. I'm looking forward to an April release from them called DAMAGES. SEASON IN THE MIST will also release that month, from Sheaf House.

Who is your biggest fan/supporter?

Gotta be my husband, but my 15 year old daughter has read all my work and she's coming up fast in the ranks. Outside the family, I'd have to say Michelle Sutton. We're a great mutual-support team!

If you could meet any person alive or dead who would that be and why? (excluding the Lord because we would all pick Him)

Katherine Swynford. She lived in England in the 14th century and had a fascinating life.

If the Lord told you that you were allowed to bring one material thing with you to heaven, what would that be? And why? (Material not being a person)
My guitar. We're told to make a joyful noise, and I'm looking forward to praising Him with a better quality music than that.

Deb Thank you so much for taking the time out of your very busy schedule to do this interview.
It's been fun.

Seasons in the Mist by Deb Kinnard

Bethany Lindstrom, graduate student in history, wants the same things as any ambitious historian: worldwide academic recognition, a series of brilliant papers, and a reputation that places her in the front rank of her peers. She's well on the way to achieving her goals when her trip to the U.K. to work on a dig at Oxford goes awry from the moment she lands at Heathrow. A missing taxi, an enigmatic aquaintance, and an unplanned trip to Cornwall form no part of her plans. Then, as she wanders around her hostess's ancient home, searching for history, she stumbles through an unseen protal to the fourteenth century.

Stranded in 1353 Cornwall, Bethany must find a way back home or face a life of falsehoods and peril. But with the stern baron Lord
Sir Michael Veryan, she is swept into the dangerous intrigues of King Edward's court, which will test their mettle and their faith in God to the limits--and forever bind their lives together.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

15 year old, Hoops of Hope's, Austin Gutwein

I'd like to share an interview with you today. One that is not like the normal writer's interview. This interview is about a very inspiring young man. I promise after you read this, you'll see beyond a shadow of a doubt that with God you CAN do anything.

I was able to talk to Austin on the phone for this interview. He was so polite and a real joy to talk to.


In 2004 I watched a video that showed the children who had lost their parents to AIDs. After watching the video, I realized these kids weren't any different than me, except they were suffering. I felt God calling me to do something to help them.
I decided to shoot free throws and on World AID's day, 2004, I shot 2,057 free throws to represent the 2,057 kids that would be orphaned during my day at school.
People sponsored me and we were able to raise almost $3000. That year the money was used by World Vision, to provide hope to 8 orphaned children.
From that year forward, thousands of people have joined me in a basketball shoot-a-thon called Hoops of Hope. By doing something as simple as shooting free throws, Hoops of Hope participants have raised over $1 million. The children left behind by AIDS now have access to food, clothing, shelter, a new school, and finally 2 new medical clinics which we were told will save an entire generation.


~Where are you and what are you wearing right now and you have to tell the truth?

I'm bare foot sitting on my bed. I'm wearing shorts and a tee shirt. It's going to be 100 degrees here today.

~When you started Hoops of Hope did you ever think that it would be as big as it has become today?

No, never did. That just goes to show that God is driving this thing. He is the one that made this what it is today. Not in a million years did I ever think it would be this big.

~Was it difficult getting this off the ground and keeping it going?

This goes back to the answer before. It was never really hard. God has been taking it where He wants to take it. We just leave it up to God and let Him take it where He wants it to go.

~My son wanted me to ask, how many children do you think you have helped through Hoops of Hope?

When we were in Africa and actually at the clinic, I asked them how many people he thought it would help. I was thinking 1000 or maybe 5000 and he said, 'to be completely honest with you Austin, this clinic will save generations.' That was awesome. I don't know how much the other clinic and the school is going to help as well.

~How much time do you put into the Hoops of Hope now that the organization has grown and how do you balance school and other activities with that?

I definitely put a couple hours every day in after school. And sometimes on Thursday but always Friday and the weekend is all day. I speak at conferences. I love it.

~Do you get nervous? OH yes!

~I know in your book you said you're just a normal kid but really you are not of the norm. Most kids think about themselves first, then friends, family and others. Do you think other kids are just not listening to God's voice or just think they can't do it so are afraid to try?

To be totally honest I don't think it is either of those. I think they are listening to the Holy Spirit and it's not that they are afraid to try just they don't know how.

~Okay, I'm thinking you are 15 here. I have a 15 year old son and Chemistry can overwhelm him at times. Do you ever get overwhelmed with what you are trying to do and what do you do about it?

I have a tutor for Chemistry this year. So I struggle with stuff too. When I do I pray. I realize God has me doing this for a reason. The bible says He won't put us through more than we can stand. He knows our limits. When times get tough, God is right there with me.

~I read you raised money to help build a school in Africa. Can you tell us about what they gave you and why it is so special to you?

We built the school in 2007. I was given the Tonga name, Maiya. It was special to me because that is a sign that you are in the family, you're in the club. That was cool because that meant I was one of them. My name means, One who is quick to lend aid, and one who will tell our story.

~Can you tell us about the clinics that were built by Hoops of Hope?

We built 2 medical clinics. The second one was under construction when I was there in March so we didn't get to see it finished. It's cool just to hear it would save generations. These kids, as they grow up, are going to see their parents. Knowing the hope these kids are going to have is incredible.

~How far apart are the clinics and what do they do at them?

The clinics are about 2 hours apart. They have ARV's cd for the account machines. They can tell what each person's white blood cells are doing and diagnose them with AIDs. It's providing a life line. They go in to receive testing (in the past it took a long time to get AIDs tests results). Then they go for precounseling, receive ARV treatment, then more counseling. They walk out knowing they have AIDs but it's okay and they are still going to be loved and they are going to stay alive longer.

~How much has Hoops of Hope grown since you started it?

Wow! Hoops of Hope has grown to over 20 different countries and over 25,000 adult, teens, and children. It has raised 1 1/2 million dollars to help these kids. 100% of the proceeds goes to help these people.

~Yikes! Hope I don't put you between a rock and a hard spot here but who is your biggest fan/supporter?

Definitely my little sister.

~How old is she? Austin: She is 14 and she is 14 months younger than me.

~Okay a few fun questions now. If you could go any place in the world that you have never been where would that be and why?

Hmmm. I don't know. I 've always wanted to go to the Amazon River and see all the cool creatures. Either that or the Caribbean. That would be fun.

~If you could meet any person alive or dead who would that be and why? (excluding the Lord because we'd all pick Him.)

I would probably say Paul. Paul is such a great dude in his faith. It's so cool how he started the church. It'd be fun to meet him and share how the church has grown today.

~If the Lord told you that you were allowed to bring one material thing with you to heaven, what would that be? And why? (Material not being a person)

Definitely my dog, because I think she is the greatest dog.

~What kind of dog do you have? Okay before I go any further and give you his answer, I'd like to say, I agree he has THE coolest DOG!

Austin: A sheltie.

~For those of you who don't know, I raise and have shown shelties.

~And I'm going to exclude Hoops of Hope from this question. J I felt a little guilty excluding Hoops of Hope but after he gave me his answer I was glad I did. Joey (my 15 year old) are you reading this? Okay the question.

~If the Lord came down today and asked you what the last good deed you did for someone was, what would that be? (I like to ask this question because it is so neat to see the different ways we can bless other people's lives.)

Before the call I was cleaning my room.

~Did you hear that ladies? He was cleaning his room! Okay now this is a boy after every mother's heart! He was cleaning his room!!! Now that is cool.

~You've not only started Hoops of Hope, but you wrote a book. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did your story bring you to this point?

Well the fact is that I never dreamed I'd be a writer, never wanted to be one. I never thought I'd do a basketball marathon either. I'm not a good basketball player, and I'm a worse writer. God chooses the ordinary people. I'm just ordinary. He doesn't choose you because your popular. God just had it planned. He chooses the most ordinary people.

~Thank you Austin! This will probably be my most memorable interview.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

It is my honor today to interview Colleen Coble. What a wonderful and humble lady! She is an inspiration!

Best selling author, Colleen Coble's novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from Best Books of Indiana, ACFW Book of the Year, RWA's Rita, The Holt Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, National's Readers Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has over one million books in print and writes Romantic Mystrey's because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and a member of the Romance Writers of America. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana, and is a proud grandma. When she is not spoiling her granddaughter she is teaching at a conference or researching a new book. Visit her website at:

I've visited your website and I have a hundred questions I'd love to ask but I'll try and keep the numbers down in the 2 digits.

1) Where are you right now (LV, DR, Bathroom) and what are you wearing? You have to tell the truth.

LOL! I'm in my recliner by the window. I'm barefoot and I have on jeans and a long sleeved shirt. No makeup.

2) Colleen do you have any new books coming out? How many books do you have published now? And what genres do you write in?

My newest just released: Lonestar Secrets. The next book out is a new genre for me. It's a historical romantic mystery set in northern California in 1907. It's actually about Bree's ancestor (Bree is the main character in the Rock Harbor books) and it was fun to see the parallels between that Gilded Era and our current one. I started out writing historical romance but my dream was to move into romantic suspense. God has opened some amazing doors for me!

3) Can you tell us a little about your writing journey? When you decided you wanted to be a writer. Did anyone inspire you to write? When you started, how long before you were published, what you found difficult?

I can still remember the first story I ever wrote. It was in first grade and was about twin colts. My teacher praised my writing, and the seed was planted. Someday I would be a writer.

The seed lay dormant through the early years of marriage and raising a family. "Someday" I was going to write. I devoured books by the armloads from the library, and it bothered me to read the hopelessness in them that assumed there was no God. Through those years, I told God if he'd give me a story, I'd love to write from the viewpoint that He exists and cares about His children. But nothing came.

August 25, 1990 changed everything. The phone rang late that night with the news that my younger brother had been killed by lightning in a freak farm accident. In the coming months, as I emerged from the storm of grief, I realized that if I was ever going to follow the dream I believed God had put in my heart, I needed to get started. I was approaching my fortieth birthday, and time was marching on.

As part of the grieving process, my husband and I made a trip out to Wyoming to see where Randy had lived during a two-year stint. As I stood on the parade ground at Fort Laramie, the first idea took root and sprouted. The fire of grief and adversity had finally cracked open the seed that had lain dormant in my heart all those years.

It still wasn't easy. Getting published is hard and takes work and commitment. Every time I was tempted to let the computer go dark, God whispered in my heart that I could do it. That He had given me everything I needed to go on. When a rejection came, I'd cry for a while. Then I'd pick myself back up, rework it and send it out again.

Seven years later I finally made the first sale. But God taught me about faith and perseverance through those seven years. In those days I knew no other writers. It was lonely and soul-crushing at times. I'm so thankful for the American Christian Fiction Writers and other authors whose friendships I treasure now after wandering so long in the wilderness. Looking back, I'm glad it wasn't easier. It makes me appreciate so much more the joy and privilege I have to share my novels with my readers and to hopefully make them a little thirsty for the One who holds out a cup of living water.

4) Are you or any close family members in the characters personalities?

Do you want to be responsible for my murder? ;-) But no, I try to come up with, uh, fresh personalities.

5) What does it feel like to see your books in stores all over the United States and to know you can google your name and pull up thousands of results?

Amazing! I'm constantly humbled by what God has done. And He HAS done it. It's been nothing from me except obeying what He told me to do with fear and trembling.

6) What kind of advice can you give other unpublished writers?

Never give up. Go to a writing conference every year, always be reading a book on craft, and make friends in the writing world. Joining ACFW ( is a great way to find help and support too.

7) If the Lord told you that you were allowed to bring one material thing with you to heaven, what would that be? (Material being not a person.)

My MacBook! Oh my gosh, I so love that thing. I'm a new Mac convert, as of three years ago this month.

8) If you could meet any person alive or dead who would that be and why? (excluding the Lord because we would all choose Him! ;-) )

Peter. He's just like me: impulsive, too quick to speak, but one who loves the Lord anyway.

9) When and how did you come to know the Lord?

It's kind of a dramatic story. It was my birthday, January 19, 1979, and we'd just been at a birthday party my inlaws had for me and our son whose birthday was the day before. Freezing rain had come down while we were inside but we thought we could make it home okay. They lived in the country about ten miles out of town. When we turned onto the highway, the roads were still like glass. Dave was driving slow and being careful. I was holding my 3 year old daughter back in the days before carseats and we were both dozing. I heard Dave shout, "Look out!" I looked up to see a car heading at us and knew in that moment we were all about to die. And I wasn't ready. None of us were. I remember screaming, "Oh God," and it was a prayer in that moment because I knew He was the only one who could save us. The next thing I knew icy rain was pouring in the broken T-top, the horn was blaring in a nightmarish fashion and we were sideways in the road with more traffic coming. All of us were only half conscious and our five-year-old son was crying. Our baby girl was only half conscious and had blood trickling from the corner of her mouth. I could tell she was terribly hurt. I had part of the dashboard in my leg. Dave's mouth was bleeding from teeth that had been knocked out.

Dave stumbled outside to try to flag down traffic before we were hit again. One of the boys in the other car was already dead. The first car to stop was a family that went to a local church. One of the family members rode with our daughter (broken jaw) to the hospital while we waited for the 2nd ambulance. We all had various injuries that kept us in the hospital about 10 days. When we got home, the pastor of the church were the family went that had stopped to help us, Don Gutwein, arranged for food to be brought in. He led us to the Lord within six months. So everything that has happened in my Christian life started there. Would we be Christians without that accident? I don't think so. God in His kindness did what was necessary for our eternal future.

10) Is there any person who has been a strong influence in your Christian walk?

The Gutwein family mentored us from day one and we have been supported and taught by Steve and Paula Parks who pastored our church for nearly 18 years before going on to a church in St. Charles, MO.

11) If the Lord came down today and ask you what the last good deed you did for someone was, what would that be?

I'm a mom. Doing things for others is part of my makeup and I can't help it. I don't like to brag so we'll just let that one slide. But I think people who don't automatically reach out to others are missing a huge blessing.

12) I read a little about a life changing experience that happened to you years ago and how you met up with an amazing young man that is related to the people who left a lasting impression on your life. Could you share with us that experience and how you reconnected with the grandson?

I already told you about the life-changing way we came to know the Lord. Fast forward thirty years. We'd kind of lost touch with the Gutweins over the years. I follow Mike Hyatt on Twitter and he mentioned a young man named Austin Gutwein who started a Hoops for Hope ministry to raise money to help orphans in Africa. Nelson is bringing out a book about his story and Mike just heard him present at the sales conference. Hmm. Austein Gutwein, I think. Gutwein is a very uncommon name. I shot off a tweet to Mike and asked him to ask Austin if his grandpa would happen to be Don Gutwein. Amazingly it is! He's Danny's boy.

When we went to AZ in July, Dan arranged for us to surprise his parents at breakfast. The entire family has had such an impact on our lives and it was wonderful to get caught up. I know I would not be writing books today if it weren't for that family. And to SEE God's hand bring all this together just gives me chills!

His book, Take Your Best Shot, is in stores now and it's an amazing story about what just ONE person can do. Austin was just NINE when he decided he wanted to do something for the orphans in Africa. His parents encouraged him. It's so amazing to see what God has done in his life--and continues to do!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Prisoner of Versailles

Looking for a good book? I just finished reading Prisoner of Versailles by Golden Keyes Parsons. What a great read. I couldn't put the book down. I seriously was reading it every chance I could. Regardless of whether or not you have read the first book in the Darkness to Light Series, In the Shadow of the Sun King, you will enjoy this second book. Golden does a fabulous job of bringing you to the court of Louis XIV and the city of Versailles. You feel as if you are experiencing the exciting court life full of courtiers, double talk, glamour and glitter. This 17th century story is fast paced and keeps you on the edge turning the pages.

Madeleine is finally safe and happy. With Pierre's daring rescue of Francois, she is reunited with her husband and out of France and in the safety of Switzerland. But not for long. King Louis XIV's long arm extends all the way to Geneva and she and her oldest son, Philippe, are kidnapped and brought back to the glitter of court life and the king.

King Louis suspects that Philippe is his son. Madeleine must play the game in court life and convince the King that he is not Philippe's father so that he will let them go. Anyone can look at the boy and know that Francois is his father. But Louis isn't interested in the truth about Madeleine's son. He has other ideas and longs to have the same relationship with Madeleine that they had as youths and he'll use everything he can to get that. Including her son.

With his new found faith, Pierre knows court life is no longer for him. The appeal is gone. He comes back to make amends with his father and say a few good-byes. Unfortunately, someone has gone to the king and told him that Pierre has betrayed him by reuniting the Clavell family. That went against the kings orders and he is labeled a traitor. Louis XIV has Pierre thrown in prison. Pierre, still in love with Madeleine, fears he will not be able to rescue her this time.

Madeleine finds out that Pierre is in prison. She loses her faith in God. She has lost her husband, Pierre is in prison, her little girl is sick, and she and her son are prisoners. It's obvious that God doesn't care, so Madeleine takes things into her own hands.

Read how God touches hearts, gives courage, changes lives, heals wounds, uses unlikely people, and meets them where they are.

Back Blurb

King Louis XIV's burgeioning palace is the place to be and be seen. And the last place on earth Madeleine wants to be. She's trapped there as a pampered prisoner. If she stays in France, she'll be forced to deny her faith. By escaping the King's long arm, she may find freedom. But it will cost her everything she holds dear. Madeleine will need courage, hope, and total faith in God to outmaneuver the SunKing and reach her true destiny and love in anouther country.

Friday, September 11, 2009

United We Stand, Never Shall We Forget

Is there anyone in America who doesn't remember where they were eight years ago today? I sure remember where I was. For 20 years my hubby had tried to get me on an airplane so we could see some of the United States and world, and for 20 years I told him no! If we couldn't drive there I wasn't going.

His job gave him the opportunity to fly out to Washington State for 2 weeks and I could fly with him for a little next to nothing. It would be an all expense paid vacation. My mother's sister and all her children, my cousins, live in the Seattle area. My father's sisters and their children live there too. I hadn't seen them in ages. How could I say no? It was a dream come true to see everyone, and on top of that my parents had just driven out there and so it'd be like a mini family reunion!

So I prayed for 2 months for a safe flight. Garnered my courage and boarded the plane on September 10, 2001. I went to bed that night thinking how easy it was and how glad I did it. And I woke to my mother's voice telling us to get up America was under attack. I still can't say those words without a lump in my throat and blurry eyes. Call me emotional but I love this country and the attack was and is personal for me. My father, uncles, cousins, husband, son all served in the military and I have ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War. They served and fought for our freedom and and I choke up when I think how many died for it and an enemy came in on our land and attacked us unprovoked.

I've included a link to a 9/11 slide show. I will warn you, it is very emotional.

The photos are courtesy of

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Review of The Blue Enchantress

Another chance to win M.L. Tyndall's The Blue Enchantress. Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win this riveting story. Enjoy the review!

MaryLu Tyndall has a real gift for bringing characters to life and making you feel you know them in a deep and personal way. The Blue Enchantress is no exception. She has skillfully crafted believable characters--flawed like you an me. She doesn't sugar coat things but hands you life as it was in the 1700's. And does she know her time periods. You'll feel like you are there. MaryLu brings you along on stormy seas and deserted islands. If you've never sailed on a tall ship you'll feel like you have when you finish this book. Her descriptions are fabulous. Ever wonder what it would be like to be stranded on a deserted island? You'll know after reading the Blue Enchantress.

From the moment you start reading you will be riveted to the book as M.L. Tyndall begins Hope Westcott's story with the young woman on the auction block! The thing she does best is look for love in all the wrong places. This time it's in the arms of the not so chivalrous Lord Falkland. She is spurned by him and is shocked when she discovers the man is married. Don't fret, she is quickly rescued by Nathaniel Mason, an acquaintance who has admired her since they met in Charles Towne. Nathaniel, a man with his own problems, stumbles across her just in time, and begrdgingly buys her freedom. I won't tell you how because that was one of the most romantic things, even though he does resent the gallant act.

Nathaniel is a man of God but isn't listening to what God wants him to do with his life. Ashamed of his heritage, he thinks the way to prove himself is to become rich. Thrown together now until he can get her back home to Charles Towne, Mr. Mason struggles with his own feelings. A hurricane lands them on a deserted island where many more hardships are faced. And then things go from bad to worse when a pirate ship lands on the island. Nathaniel must now decide if he is willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice.

Love blossoms but not before God reveals some changes they both need to make in their lives. Will Nathaniel yield to God's calling on his life? Can Hope turn from her sordid ways? Discover the thrills, spiritual warfare, and romance in
The Blue Enchantress.

This book is a page-turner that you won't want to put down. Once again, MaryLu never disappoints!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Growing up in 1918

And the winner of MaryLu Tyndall's The Blue Enchantress is...Angie Arndt! Congratulations Angie. I know you are going to enjoy this book. But you better plan on buying some more because once you read this one you'll have to read the other two in the trilogy.

My grandmother, Delitha, is staying with me for the next ten days. She was born in 1917 and is a wealth of information. We sat out on my front porch swing yesterday and talked about some of her life as a young child.

She was a little over a year old when the flu epidemic of 1918 hit. Her mother, Basha Bay, died in that epidemic and seven days later her aunt, Icey May died. My great-grandmother said my grandmother wasn't feeling well the day of her mothers funeral and they feared my grandmother was coming down with the flu. However, if she had the flu it was a mild case. The epidemic left her motherless and fath
erless so her grandmother, who wasn't a well woman took her in.

I asked her what her earliest memories were, and I have to say it's funny what the mind remembers. She remembers at age four going to her aunt Pearl's house and eating beef steak and thinking it tasted better than anything in the world. Her other memory at age four was of her grandmother's cook stove. It was a cast iron type where you put the wood and paper inside to get a fire going to heat the four burners on top.She said they had a small hole next to the burner to stick something in and be able to pull up the burner. She remembers her grandmother sticking her finger in the hole and flipping the burner so fast she didn't get burned.

Grandma at age five was given a cotton sack that hung across her shoulder and back to take out to her uncle's cotton field in Missouri and help pick cotton. She said she remembers it being so hot and at the end of the day they weighed her cotton and paid her ten cents, and she thought that dime was wonderful.

She told me she grew up in an age when horse and buggies were going out but some of her family still had them. And she was fortunate to be born when life was starting to get easier. But as I listen to the tales of walking down the street after dark at nine years old to get a bucket of coal to help heat a house I can't help to think how much we take for granted and our children even more so.

A child was expected to work in their youth. So many parents today think that if their children pick up their own toys they've done a great days work. Chores are fast becoming a thing of the past. Allowances are earned for nothing more than being their child. But are we really doing our children a favor? When I see what kind of woman my grandmother turned out to be I can't help but wonder how her childhood helped her become the lady she is today.

Until last year when she had a stroke she was a busy woman. She retired form GM at sixty five. Went back to work once more, this time for a real estate, where she worked for several more years. Retired for a year, got bored and went to work in retail until she was eighty five years old. But don't think she sat around after that. If one of her grandchildren had a project going, be it painting, gardening, lawn work, canning, yardsales, etc. you could bet she'd be there helping. She is a woman who wasn't afraid of work and a woman I am proud to call grandma.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Interview with MaryLu Tyndall

I am very excited to have my mentor and very good friend MaryLu Tyndall with me today. MaryLu is the reason I continued to pursue writing. She has been an inspiration, an encourager, a critiquer, a guidance counselor, a shoulder to cry on, the list could go on and on! The woman is a saint when it comes to patience. Make sure to leave a comment. We will be having a drawing for a free copy of MaryLu's The Blue Enchantress. Give your email addy so I can contact you if your the winner.

M.L. Tyndall, a Christy Award Finalist, and best-selling author of the Legacy of the King's Pirates series is known for her adventurous historical romances filled with deep spiritual themes. She holds a degree in Math and worked as a software engineer for fifteen years before testing the waters as a writer. MaryLu currently writes full time and makes her home on the California coast with her husband, six kids, and four cats.

1) Where are you right now (LV, DR, Bathroom) and what are you wearing? You have to tell the truth. Yikes! I'm in my office at home. We converted one of our kids' bedrooms into my writing office. And I'm wearing shorts and a T-shirt with flipflops. Thank goodness I didn't start these questions early in the morning.

2) Who's your one biggest fan/supporter of your writing? (Besides me of course!) ;-) My mother! LOL. But seriously, my family is very supportive and I also have several writing friends who love my writing and are very encouraging.

3) What made you love pirates? What? Doesn't everyone love pirates? Humm. Well, I suppose it's partly my love of the sea and my fascination with tall ships mixed with the wee bit of the rebel in my heart.

4) How hard was it coming up with a way to write a Christian pirate series? Not too hard! It's fiction, after all. But, seriously, as I was researching pirates I learned that some pirates could be considered "legal" if they obtained special articles from the government called letters of marque that gave them authority to attack ships of an opposing nation. That way I could make my hero both a pirate and a Christian without breaking any rules. Well, maybe a few. :-)

5) Are you or any close family members in the characters personalities? Yes, all of them! As a writer, I don't think we can help but incorporate all the great personalities that surround us on a daily basis into the characters we create. So, if you don't want to be in one of my books, you'd better stay away from me!

6) Can you tell us a little about your writing journey? When did you decide you wanted to be a writer? Did anyone inspire you to write? When you started, how long before you got published, what you found difficult, what you love, what you dislike, etc. I always loved to write. I started several different novels throughout my life and even had a poem published in my high school yearbook. But I never considered I had a chance to become published. It wasn't until six years ago that I felt a very strong leading from God to write a story about a Christian pirate. I hadn't written anything in years because my life had become very busy with work, husband, and kids. But the Lord suddenly freed up some of my time so I started writing. When I finished, one thing led to another and God kept opening doors for me until I got my first contract just months later for that book and two more to follow! What I find most difficult about the writing business, whether you're published or not is the competition, the harsh reviews or critiques, and the rejections. Do not get into this business if you have a tender heart that is easily hurt. You won't survive. I love the writing process, creating characters and a storyline and a theme and then entering that world and making everything work out the way I want.

7) If you could be any character in any literary book who would you be and why? Who and why in what's children's book? Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice because who wouldn't want to live out that dream with Mr. Darcy? And Lucy in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis because she experienced so many fantastic adventures and got to meet the Lion of Judah.

8) When and how did you come to know the Lord? Long story, but I'll try and give you the short version. I was raised in church but because of family issues and my own stupidity,it didn't stick. I spent most of my adult life away from God doing all the wrong things and trying to make my own happiness. By age 35, I had made quite a mess of my life. Divorce, rebellious teens, a job I hated and an alcohol problem sufficed to send me plunging into a deep depression. I sought help from a self-help psychology book, but to my surprise, the author challenged me to read through the Bible cover to cover. So I did. And somewhere in Ezekiel in the prophecies about Israel I realized God was real. His Spirit feel upon me instantly and I sank to m knees, repented, and haven't been the same since!

9) Is there any person who has been a strong influence in your Christian walk? Yes, Derek Prince. He's gone to be with the Lord now, but his teachings have helped me to grow so much in my understanding of God and the scriptures.

10) What does it feel like to see your books in stores all over the United States and to know you can google your name and pull up thousands of results? It humbles me. I know that sounds weird, but this is all God. Without Him, I am nothing.

11) If you could live in any time period when and where would that be and why? The Age of Sail, of course! The 16th - 18th centuries. I love tall ships and I love the adventure and excitement of discovering new worlds and interesting cultures. To me, it was a time when people sought freedom from tyranny in new lands and longed to worship God without the restrictions of organized religion. There was an innocence and freshness about that time period.

12) You have been one of my biggest inspirations. What kind of advice can you give other unpublished writers? Thank you for the compliment! I know how hard it is to get published. At times it can be extremely frustrating and very discouraging. The best advice I can give you is to stay close to God, make sure He is leading you down this path, and then keep going, keep learning the craft, keep entering contests, keep getting critiques, keep submitting your work, until God tells you otherwise. Don't make it your goal to get published. Make it your goal to please God.

13) If you could change one thing in this industry what would it be? That it wouldn't be so tied up with money and sales figures, and be more about spreading the Word of God through great stories.

14) If you could visit any place in the world where would you go and why? Israel. I would love to walk where Jesus walked and see the Holy land that God loves so much.

15) If you could meet any person alive or dead who would that be and why? (excluding the Lord because we would all choose Him;-) ) The next best person would be the Apostle John so I could ask him all about Jesus.

16) If the Lord told you that you were allowed to bring one material thing with you to heaven, what would that be? (Material being not a person) That's a tough one because I'm really not tied to any material thing here on earth. I would have to say my photo albums of my kids growing up.

17) If the Lord came down today and asked you what the last good deed you did for someone was, what would that be? I gave a book of McDonald coupons to a homeless person.

MaryLu, thanks again for working me into your busy schedule and doing this interview with me. And thank you for being you!

Please leave a comment and let us know if you enjoyed the interview. It is an encouragement to both the author and myself. THANKS!

Monday, July 6, 2009


Just when I think life is going to slow down I'm wrong!

I thought aaahhhh summer is here and I can relax! LOL Now that was far from the truth. We just finished up our Vacation Bible School two weeks ago, which I was volunteered for by one of my lovely sons. I have to say that it was a lot of work but every minute was worth it. We saw thirteen children come to know the Lord! I don't think anything has blessed me as much as praying the sinners prayers with these young impressionable minds.

We are a small town 4600 people including rural. Our church sits on a corner (so to speak) and across one street is a large church and across the side street is an even larger church. Can you believe all three of the churches choose the same week for VBS? It's true and I know one of them used the same program as us. At first I was a little unsure of how good our turn out would be but God really blessed us. We had 42-46 children all week long. It was a wonderful week.

A few kudo's to send out.
Our pastor is a real hands on guy and he opened and closed each day with the children and had them so fired up! Our teens were an active part of VBS and I was proud of each one of them. We're a new and small church so their help was invaluable to the adults. Then there were the adults who gave of their time willingly. Our VBS was two and a half hours every evening and some of our adults came straight from work. The whole experience was great and a real blessing.

The last day we had an ice cream social with all kinds of homemade snacks, cotton candy and bounce houses.

I'd love to hear how some of your VBS weeks went.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I am pleased to welcome Golden Keyes Parsons today. She graciously agreed to do an interview with me. Before we start here's a little about her.

Golden Keyes Parsons is a popular retreat/conference speaker who issues the challenge: dare to take God seriously. In her deep plowing of the heart, Golden peppers her sessions with personal illustrations moving from tears one moment to laughter the next, all the while communicating the message that God is faithful-keep on trusting him. She has a passion to communicate the Word of God in such a manner that will lead to Godly living.Her first novel, In the Shadow of the Sun King (The Darkness to Light Novel Series) has just been released. She has also written and published a bible study for women, entitled The Wise Woman Builds, and has had numerous articles published in such periodicals as Marriage Partnership, Angels on Earth, Just Between us and Lookout Magazine, as well as several compilations. Golden is an ordained pastor, and sh and her husband have just retired from the senior pastorate in Red River, NM. They have three grown daughters and eight grandchildren. Her testimony and myriad of life experience-including surviving cancer twice-lend a touch of authenticity to her teaching. If strong Bible teaching is what you are looking for Golden is the speaker you are looking for.

Thank you for being here Golden.

Thanks for doing this. You presented some thought-provoking questions. It was fun :)

Okay here we go...

1) Where are you right now (LVR, DR, Bathroom) and what are you wearing? You have to tell the truth.

Arrrgghhh! I am in the family room with no make-up on, denim capris with smudges of dirt on them, because I've been working in the flower beds and a brown t-shirt. Lovely, huh?

2) Who's your one biggest fan/supporter of your writing?

Far and away, my husband. He stops strangers on the street and tells them,"My wife's an author with Thomas Nelson Publishing." Totally embarrassing.

3) I know your stories are based on your family genealogy can you tell us a little about that?

I write about this in the Author's Notes in the first novel, but basically I ended up with a published genealogy of our family that was printed around 1900. The account went all the way back to 1695 and chronicled the story of my French Huguenot ancestors. French Huguenots were Protestants in 17th century France who were horribly persecuted by the Catholic government at that time in history. In my first novel, In the Shadow of the Sun King, we went back a few years before the actual time frame of my family to about 1675 so we could incorporate King Louis XIV -- he is such a colorful character. The historical facts surrounding the book and the plight of the French Huguenots are true, but the storyline between Madeleine Clavell, my heroine, and King Louis is fictitious. Clavell is the actual family name.

4) How were you able to find the information about your genealogy?

This is interesting. In addition to the published genealogy, I found descendants of the Clavell family on the Internet. As a result of finding that web site, my husband and I made a trip last summer to Pennsylvania where the Clavells settled to attend a Clavell reunion and various sites and museums in the area. One of my distant cousins took us to the cemetery where Louisa (Madeleine) is buried, and we drove out to the land where they settled. We went to a museum and found accounts of my family's activities in the community. It's been and interesting journey.

5) Are you or any close family members in the characters personalities?

Two of my grandsons were the prototypes for the two sons in Sun King. And much of my personality is Madeleine's - strong willed, independent and a bit rebellious at times.

6) When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

Well, I grew up in a family of writers and newspaper editors. Manuscripts, books and newspapers were stacked all over the house. Writing was a part of our life. But amazingly enough, I never considered writing professionally until about 13 years ago when I began speaking professionally. the head of the speaker's bureau with which I was associated told me that I needed to be published.

7) Did anyone inspire you to write?

Although I had a troubled relationship with my father, I would have to say that his profession in the newspaper arena inspired me.

8) Can you tell us a little about your writing journey? When you started how long before you got published, what you found difficult, what you love, what you dislike, etc.

I already shared how got started in question #6. As to how long it took me to get published, I started writing non-fiction, and began to have articles published right away in publications like Angels on Earth, Just Between Us, Marriage Partnership and others, as well as several compilations. I pursued the non-fiction venue in books as well and got close to publication on a Bible study for women, a book on marriage and a general inspirational book. All three of those got in committee, but in the end the publishing houses decided to pass.

I had wanted to write the story of my family's Huguenot heritage, so I jumped in. My critique group's words were, "This is where you need to be!"

So I started shopping the book and eventually signed with an agent and within six months of signing with her, she had snagged a four-book contract with Thomas Nelson. But from the time I started writing seriously and professionally to when my first novel was published was ten years.

The most difficult aspect of writing for me was fighting the whispers of discouragement from the enemy. "You must not be that good or somebody would want your stuff!" "God may open the way to publishing form others, but he won't do it for you." "You're just wasting your time. It's never gonna happen." Every rejection letter just confirmed those whispers. At one point, I got six rejection letters in one day. That was a bit much!

What do i love the most about writing? I love the actual writing and creating the story. I had never experienced writers block until I started on Book #3 in the series. Usually my writing just flows. But with Book #3, my editor, agent and I decided there was a need for a change in the direction in the story, and it has taken me some time to get the juices ging. I'm an organic writer, and I don't know exactly what is going to happen until I sit down to write. Then the characters take over and tell their story. This time though, it wasn't happening. However, I have made myself sit down at the computer (BIC) :) and write. Even though many times I have written chapters that will never appear in the book, I have made myself write. Now I feel I am on a roll and the book is coming together.

I also like the editing phase. I like seeing how one little tweak will make a sentence or paragraph shine and the polished product that comes from the fine tuning.

I dislike marketing and self-promotion. That's why we just hired an outside publicist. Yea!!

9) If you could be any character in any literary book who would you be and why?

Oh, my, I had to think about this. But I think I would choose to be Lucy in C.S. Lewis' "Chrionicles of Narnia." I like her courage, her sense of adventure and her love of Aslan. And what a world of adventure C.S. Lewis created in chronicles. That would be amazing.

10) When and how did you come to know the Lord?

My freshman year in high school my boyfriend invited me to go on a youth retreat Easter weekend. I had wanted to make a decision to follow Jesus for over a year, but just didn't know how to go about it. That weekend Jesus invaded my life, and I never got over it.

11) I know you are a pastor's wife. I often look at my pastor's wife and think how does she do it? can you tell us some of the positives and negatives about it?

I'm going to be gut-level honest here. We are retired from the active pastorate now, but I never felt called to be a pastor's wife. I felt called to ministry myself, so being a pastor's wife was extremely difficult for me. My spiritual gifts are in administration, prophecy, teaching, not your typical female gifts of mercy and helps. My husband and I have always worked side by side in ministry. We ran a conference center before going into the pastorate. So, when he took a church, we assumed we would work side by side, but it was not well received, and we worked through several difficult years before we reached a place of understanding with our congregation.

Positives included working with a wonderful congregation. And in walking that difficult path of a woman in ministry, God allowed me to be humbled and have the rough edges of pride filed down. I am so grateful for his faithfulness. i want to write a book someday about that phase of my life.

12) Is there any person who has been a strong influence in your Christian walk?

My husband is a man of great integrity and character, and he has always been my #1 supporter. So, if I had to name one person, it would be my husband.

13) If you could live in any time period when and where would that be and why?

I love my life at this point in time. For instance, I can't imagine writing a book without the computer. On a typewriter? Argh!! If I have to choose one, I think would like to live in a simpler period in history but not in an historical era where it took every moment of every day simply to exist. The more research I do on different historical eras, the more I realize how terribly difficult life was. Sooo, maybe a wealthy heiress in the early 1900's in the English countryside or southern France or even St Louis or upstate New York. The Wild West doesn't appeal to me or living in the South without any air conditioning. I guess I am really spoiled :)

14) If you could visit any place in the world where would you go and why?

This one's easy. I've been to England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Egypt and Israel. But I've not been to France, and that's what my books are about! I want to go to Versailles and Paris, and southern France where my ancestors lived.

15) If you could meet any person alive or dead who would that be and why? (excluding the Lord)

C. S. Lewis; Madame Jeane Guyon; my ancestors from France, the Clavells

16) If the Lord told you that you were allowed to bring one material thing with you to heaven, what would that be?

I'm assuming you are not talking about people. If that were the case, I would say my family. A material object would be my piano.

17) If the Lord came down today and asked you what the last good deed you did for someone was, what would that be?

I gave some money this morning to help a young man go to a missionary training school.

Thank you again Golden for taking time out of your busy schedule. May God continue to bless you richly! If you'd like more information on Golden you can go to: