Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"Love Finds You in Bridal Veil, Oregon" Book Giveaway


Be sure to leave a comment to have your name entered in the next drawing giving away Miralee Ferrell's book,
'Love Finds You in Bridal Veil Oregon'

Welcome Miralee Ferrell. I'm glad you stopped by today.

Miralee Ferrell lives with her husband of 37 years on eleven acres in rural Washington state. They have two dogs, two cats, one horse, and a huge garden where they both enjoy working. Reading, horseback riding with her daughter, sailing with her husband, and puttering in her flower beds are some of Miralee's favorite pastimes. She serves on staff as a licensed minister (not a pastor) in their small church, ministering to women and leading prayer groups. She has three books out now and another is releasing in April. She started writing in the spring of 2005.

In the thriving 1902 lumber mill community of Bridal Veil, accidents happened. But nobody expected murder.

Against the backdrop of the breathtaking Bridal Veil Falls in a historic Oregon logging community, a schoolteacher finds herself torn between a past love and the man who could be her future. Sixteen-year-old Margaret Garvey promised her heart to Nathaniel Cooper the night he disappeared from town. Four years later, just as she's giving love a second chance with Andrew, a handsome logger, Nathaniel suddenly returns to town with a devastating secret. While grappling with the betrayal of those she trusted most, Margaret risks her reputation and position by harboring two troubled runaways who might be involved in the murder of a local man. As disaster strikes the town and threatens the welfare of its citizens, Margaret will be faced with the most important choice of her life.

You've written two "Love Finds You" books, so far. A lot of authors set their novels in locations where they live, or are very familiar with. Did the publisher assign Bridal Veil to you, or did you choose it yourself?
It was on the list of available towns when I did some brainstorming with the editor. I had a story line that I felt might fit, as Bridal Veil no longer exists, and my editor agreed. I only live about forty miles from Bridal Veil and jumped at the chance to write a story in a nearby setting.

How much did you know about Bridal Veil before you began writing the book?
Not a lot, other than it was a logging and sawmill town located in the Columbia River Gorge, just east of Portland, Oregon. I'd driven by it dozens of times when traveling to Portland, but it was demolished over ten years ago. I'd never spent any time in the very small community, as the freeway bypassed it and I had no reason to visit. I certainly wish now that I had! After contracting the book my husband and I spent a couple of hours there with a local historian who showed us where the houses, store, train depot and more, were located, and took a lot of pictures. I returned again later on my own to explore a bit more, and spent some time at the base of Bridal Veil Falls.

Can you describe what it looks like now?
It's mostly a treed area along the banks of the Columbia River. The waterfall is on the west end of where the town used to be, and set back a few hundred yards from the river, with a beautiful tree-shaded, rock-strewn stream meandering down to the river. There is still a Post Office there, the second smallest in the U.S., that hand cancels every stamp with a special postmark, and thousands of wedding invitations are sent from there each year. A small community church and a few homes are on the far eastern edge of what used to be the town, but no businesses, and very few houses still exist. The entire town area, and homes dotting the hillside going back up the mountain were torn down, as was the awesome log flume wending its way down the mountainside from the small town of Palmer above. Palmer was destroyed in a fire in the 1930's and was never rebuilt.

What inspired you to write and what keeps you going?
I'm not the typical author who has always wanted to write. I love to read and enjoy writing letters to friends, and even liked writing projects in school, but I never envisioned myself as an author, nor did I write short stories, even in my head. What inspired me was a visiting pastor who prayed for me at a special service almost 5 years ago. After praying for a couple of minutes he shared with me that the Lord had told him I was supposed to be writing, and that whatever it was, it needed to be published. I prayed about that for 2 weeks, felt a definite confirmation, and started out. To begin with I wrote out of obedience. Now, I write because I love it and can't imagine not writing.

As someone who is published, what insight would you give to an aspiring writer today?
Being a prolific reader over the years has helped a lot. Plus, I 'hear' the characters in my head...their dialect if they have one, their voice inflections, the way they phrase their words. Sometimes they talk to me (especially after I'm in bed, LOL!) and force me to get up and write down what they have to say. Also, I'm old enough to have met many thousands of people in my lifetime, and there are dozens (if not hundreds) of individual communication styles to draw from.
My two contemporary novels are both set in the area where I live, so it was easy to create the world where my heroines lived and make it realistic. I think of all four books, the two historical ones have the strongest, most vibrant settings.

As someone who is published, what insight would you give to an aspiring writer today?
Never give up if you feel this is what you're called to do. And don't let others discourage you with their stories of rejections and struggles. Yes, you'll have them, as we all do. Some sooner than others, some later, but there's no sense in dwelling on what might be. Get connected with other writers who will encourage you, while staying open to constructive criticism from writers who've been down the path ahead of you and can help you avoid pitfalls. Above all else, cover everything you do in prayer. If God is in it, nothing can stand against you!

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Country House Courtship Book Giveaway


Linore Rose Burkard creates Inspirational Romance for the Jane Austen Soul. Her characters take you back in time to experience life and love during the Regency England era (circa 1800 - 1830). Ms. Burkard's novels include Before the Seasons Ends, The House in Grosvenor Square and, The Country House Courtship. Her stories blend Christian faith and romance with well-researched details from the Regency. Readers experience a romantic age, where England from the past comes alive and happy endings are possible for everyone!

England, 1818: It has been five years since Ariana Forsythe married The Paragon, Mr. Phillip Mornay. Now, Ariana's sister, Miss Beatrice Forsythe, is seventeen and determined to marry advantageously as well. (Surely Ariana's society connexions all but guarantee Beatrice's success-especially if Mr. Mornay is created a baronet by the Prince Regent!

But the Mornay's have disappeared from high society as they raise a family at their country estate. Can Beatrice persuade them to chaperone her in London? And what about her business with the curate, Mr. O'Brien, whom Beatrice rashly promised to marry years earlier? She is too sophisticated now to settle for a mere clergyman-despite his agreeable countenance and gentle, understanding ways. When Mr. Tristan Barton becomes tenant of the Manor House, Beatrice's hopes seem to have found their object. But when Ariana falls gravely ill, secrets come to light, motives are revealed, and pretenses that are easy to keep up in the darkness begin to crumble. As hearts are bared and truths uncovered, a country house courtship like no other cannot be far behind!

Linore, Your tag line is "Inspirational Romance for the Jane Austen Soul". How did a girl from Queens, NY become enamored with the Regency era and come to write novels in that genre but with an inspirational twist?
By my twenties I had discovered Georgette Heyer (called the Queen of the Regency Romance) and then I re-discovered Jane Austen. Christian fiction was just starting to take off, and I kept hoping for a Christian regency to read, but it never materialized. I finally realized that if this book was going to be written, it would have to be by me! So, I wrote the book I wanted to read.

How has Jane Austen's work influenced yours? Who else has inspired your writing?
Austen shows that "romance" does not have to be seen as less literary than other genres, and that wit, taste and depth of character are as important as plot. Georgette Heyer, as I mentioned, was an influence; and beyond them, I suppose it is just that I always read a great deal, and really longed to fashion a story where the gospel was included, but to have it in there naturally, so that readers wouldn't feel preached to. I love all the James Herriot books, Dickens, the Brontes, and other English writers.

Any Regency romance is going to be compared to Jane Austen's novels - how are your books similar / different?

I don't think most regencies are written to be like Jane, and mine are no exception. I'm not competing with Jane Austen; I'm re-visiting the world she wrote about, though; and that is the similarity. When readers say my writing is "Austen-like", I take that as a huge compliment, but that's when I think it's wise not to believe my own press! (smile)

Do you have more Regency novels planned?
Right now I'm working on a regency time-travel that is dying to be a screenplay! I'm writing it as a novel, but little scenes creep in where, at their end, I actually type in "fade to black," before I realize what I've done. That's all I'm going to say about the new book for now, but readers can rest assured that it will be different enough to delight them, but similar in the sense that it's still me writing, it's still my voice.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

ML Tyndall

The Raven Saint Book Drawing

I'm happy to have MaryLu Tyndall on my blog today. She talks a little about her new series, and how she came up with the theme of the Charles Towne Belles Series. She has some great information for writers too! Be sure to leave a comment for a drawing for a free book. MaryLu's latest, The Raven Saint

Pirates and Parables

What do the two have in common? Absolutely nothing! That is, until I came up with The Charles Towne Belles series. Leave it to a Christian romance author to find a tie between a Scriptural parable and a pirate. But that is what I do. I create stories around truths I find in the Word of God. And lucky for me there is an endless supply in my favorite all-time book
, the Bible! I've heard it said that if you're a writer, you are either a plot-driven writer or a character-driven writer, but as I've progressed in my writing, I've discovered that I fit into a third possibility, spiritual-driven writer. That's because my stories always begin with some scripture that God keeps pressing into my mind. In the case of my new series, it was the parable of the sower found in Matthew 13. You remember the parable. The sower (God) tosses seeds (the Word of God) onto four types of ground: the wayside, the stones, among the thorns and the good ground. Each type of ground is a person who receives the Word, but then things happen to them that either choke it or wash it away or make it fruitful. I remember walking on the trail behind my house thinking about this parable and instantly, God gave me the idea to create a 3-book series, each book containing the story of one sister who represents one of the final three types of ground.

In the first book in the series, The Red Siren, Faith Westcott represents the seed that falls on the stony places and when tribulation, troubles, and problems arise, she stumbles and drifts away. So, I allowed a series of horrific things to happen to Faith and her family before the story even begins, things that caused her to turn her back on God and take matters into her own hands. She needs to make money and she needs it fast, and what better way to do so at a time when women could not work, than to become a pirate.

In book two, The Blue Enchantress, Faith's sister Hope represents the seed that falls among the thorns and the pleasures of this world lure her away from God, and in book three, The Raven Saint, the third sister, Grace represents the good soil--the person who hears the word and understands it and bears much fruit. But what happens when someone who has spent her life serving God suddenly gets kidnapped by a French rogue intent on selling her to a life of slavery.

I feel so blessed that God has allowed me
to bring to life portions of His Word, and my hope is that it will make these truths seem more real and thus more understandable to readers.

If you are a writer and you struggle developing characters and plots, try starting out with a spiritual theme, a strong uplifting message you want the reader to walk away with. After you have that firmly in mind, create characters who will best portray that theme. In Faith's case, I needed someone stubborn, arrogant and angry. The kind of person who would walk away from God when disaster strikes. Then add all the other characters in the story who will either help your heroine in her journey or try to prevent her from succeeding. After all the characters are developed, choose a time period and location for the story. Tie it in with what you want your characters to go through and why, and finally develop your plot. It might sound a bit backward from the steps most writers take in creating a story, but it works for me. Maybe it will you too!.