Monday, December 31, 2012

In Anticipation Of A New Year

It's the last day of 2012 ... New Years Eve, and I can't help but think this year went by like the flash of my old Kodak Instamatic. And the problem is ... we can't get a second of it back. Or maybe that's a good thing depending on how you look at it.

All the things we wish we would've said, could've done, should've prioritized ... to late now.

I spent the first part of the year deep in the final few edits of Televenge and working with my publisher and publicist to launch my debut novel. And it feels like the year was absorbed with Televenge. The launch, the book tour, the blog tour, facebook, twitter, blogging, and talking to hundreds of people ... the publicity train never stops for me. I won't be getting off this sucker for quite a while.

In the meantime, I'm nearly finished with final edits of the third book, and I've already researched and outlined the fourth. Where it's heading is a guess, I just know I'm writing and loving these new stories. Funny, how you think the book you just published was the "book I was born to write" when the one you're working on is every bit as absorbing. I'm thrilled with the process, once again, and feel myself changing as a writer. In a good way ... at least I hope so. At least you never stop learning.

Many things happened this year with family and friends, good, bad, and not so good ... but the one thing my body continually reminds me of is that ... I'm another year older. Having fought the good fight with my husband's breast cancer, we endured three surgeries this year. And yet I have to say, it was still a great year. We beat the breast cancer, and after two cataract surgeries, Michael can now see again. "Magic eyes," we call them. Having great friends to support us, we couldn't have been more blessed.

I'm looking forward to 2013. Thirteen is my lucky number. I was born on the 13th. So, we shall see what the new year brings ... I'm hoping for specifics this year. I have a battle plan. I have a list, in fact.

But right now ... at this moment ... I just want to say thank you. To my readers, to all those who stood behind Michael and I during 2012. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. God only knows where I'd be without your love and support.

So, however you bring in the new year, drinking cheap champagne, rocking out in front of the TV and imagining you're in Times Square, or sleeping in a warm bed ... just know I'm wishing you the best year ever. And I mean it. I've said it a thousand times, and I'll say it again ...


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Why It's Hard For An Author To Give An Honest Book Review


I don't give book reviews unless it's a four or five-star review. I don't even like to give four-star reviews. For obvious reasons.

As an author myself, to give anything less than a great review is ludicrous. I mean, who the hell do I think I am?  ...

But c'mon ... writers are constantly reading. When we aren't writing, we're reading. And lately, I've read some pretty awful stuff. But can I say what? Of course not. I'm not that stupid.

You can be sure when I review a book, it's because it's fabulous. In my review, I'm sincere, meaning every word.

I love a great read, stuff you haven't seen before, the kind of book that roots in my soul, creating great vines of tangled prose I will never escape from. Godamighty, it's the stuff legends are made of ... great stories to soothe the mind of the tormented and stir the rage of the stoic. There's nothing better than a life-changing story. I've read a few in my life that remain close to me to this day.

But back to the "terrible-awful". (Love those words from Kathryn Stockett's novel, The Help) ... I recently spent a couple days with my nose in a novel that was heralded as one of the top five of 2012. And I'm not talking about 50 Shades of Gray. That's the one exception I made earlier this year, and I won't waste another breath on it. The novel I'm talking about was recommended to me by numerous friends and so, I bought it and could not for the life of me, get through the first 100 pages. I gave it 100 pages and stopped. Ugh. I was so disappointed and figured it's just me. Me. Everybody loves this. There's something wrong with me.

So I read ten more pages, stopped, took out my book marker, and put it back on my shelf. I wish I could say why I didn't like it, but it would give it away ... so I'll just leave it at that.

Writers, authors -  we cannot give honest book reviews. Not of the books we don't like. It's makes us look haughty. Prideful. Like a Kardashian at a country club. Nose in the air know-it-all.

And I'm not so ignorant to think everyone will love everything I write. That's the beauty of books. There's something for everybody.

As an author, it's just not a good idea to be anything other than humble. If I don't have something nice to say about another author's work, I don't say anything at all. Raised by a southern mother, it was the code she lived by. A code I've passed down to my own daughter.

If I'm asked to critique a manuscript, that's between me and the writer ... but once the book is published, then as an author myself, it's best left to the readers to judge. Not me. I live in a glass house. I never throw stones.

Blessings to you and yours.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Oh, To Change The World With Love!

It's been a rough week. One day after I was on Fox News Radio, the nation was suddenly thrown into mourning over the loss of innocent children. My mind has been burdened with this tragedy, and I'm finding it hard to concentrate on little else. Christmas has taken a different turn for me. As a grandmother of three, ages 5, 3, and 2 ... I can't seem to wrap my mind around what has happened and the questions are raging.

Nevertheless ... I've decided to post the podcast today, because the message behind it is about love. And kindness. And decency. And loving our neighbors.

Vipp Jaswal has honored me by asking me to once again appear on his highly-rated radio show from New York City, along with Robin Whitley, a pastor who wrote In a Southern Closet. Vipp is an amazing man whom I've grown to know and respect as one of the top men in the media. His soothing voice is like being comforted by a good parent. I can't express enough how appreciative I am that he has requested me to return to his show.

I hope you enjoy this podcast. A subject that will stir the emotion. God Loves You Just The Way You Are.

Blessings to you and yours.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Is Love A Basic Human Right?

A quote by a great woman. A quote near and dear to my heart.

Today I'm about to go on the Vipp Jaswal Show for the second time, Fox News Radio in New York City. I'm honored to be asked back, to say the least. But this time it's an extremely controversial subject. One that seems to hit many Christians smack between the eyes. Unless they avoid talking about it altogether, they're growing more militant regarding this subject by the day, it seems. I have decided to be a voice crying in the wilderness, taking the road less traveled. Such has been my life.

But it also seems that God has given me a podium. Handed me a microphone and said, "I'm giving you the opportunity to speak to the world." Opportunities like this come along but few times in one's lifetime.

Courage. A word I find that follows me like a shadow.

I’m not out to convert or convince, however. What you believe is your right. I don’t care what you believe, frankly. My message is one of decency, kindness, and of moral courage. I believe Christ’s message was about love, forgiveness, kindness, and compassion. Basic human rights. Sometimes, we just have to be reminded.

So, stay tuned. I'll post the link in the next couple days.

Blessings to you and yours.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

For The Love Of The Book

I heard an interesting conversation the other day. An independent bookstore owner said he was sick and tired of folks coming into his store just to check out what they can buy on Amazon.

Really. Who does that?

Why do people use the bookstore as a showroom for Amazon? Well, the answer is simple. Price. And unfortunately, the "look inside" feature on Amazon is not enough for some folk. They like to see the book first. Sounds crazy, but it's true.

Unless, of course, you buy e-books. But that's another story.

Just like everything else, the cost of a book has gone up. I had to sympathize with the store owner, and yet we all know it's a dying business. Personally, I love the bookstore experience. Browsing, taking my time to leaf through books, the smell of coffee, the soft chair to sit and read a chapter or two. Discovering a new author and buying that debut novel! I love it. And I've begun to use Amazon as a place to find books I want to buy in bookstores. It's my own personal fight to keep the brick and mortar stores alive as long as possible.

I remember when my publisher was debating on whether or not to make my novel, Televenge, a hardback or trade. Hardback novels, especially for debut novels, are "prestigious" and supposed to show a certain amount of "class" for the author. It's been said that some of the bigger book reviewers won't even review a trade. But these times ... they are a-changin'.

Televenge in hardback would've cost upward to around $35.00. It's 580 pages, after all. My concern ... I wanted people to buy it! Some readers only have so much money in their book budget. So we decided on trade paperback, at the low cost of $19.95. What a deal. And I still got reviewed by The Library Journal and Publishers Weekly.

You've heard me say it before, but I love the feel and smell of paper and ink. A book you can hold in your hands, whether old or new, is a wondrous thing. That's not to say that e-books aren't great, because they are. They've got their place and lots of folks love them. But the entire bookstore experience is what I'm talking about today. Before it all goes away, like Blockbuster video and Woolworth's, enjoy your time in your nearest independent bookstore. Buy birthday, Christmas, and Mother's Day gifts from your local book merchant. Browse the store, notice the little things, the smells, the feel of the books, the light in the room, burn it into your memory. Because one day, that's all it will be. A memory.

Blessings to you and yours.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Who Is He, Really?


Last night the family attended the 69th Annual performance of Handel's Messiah in a town about an hour from where we live. My brother-in-law, Gordon, has sung in this event since 1963. Since he was in the 8th grade. He's now 62. You do the math. The other amazing thing is that he still uses his original music book. He's never missed a performance. I was so moved by the entire evening, I thought to myself ... why is this my first time here?

The orchestra, the soloists, the choir ... many of these men and women return year after year, donating their time to uplift the community with Handel's musical score, now centuries old.

Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father ... The Prince of Peace ... how can anyone not feel the spirit of God in these words? And I got to thinking ... I'm so tired of religion, so tired of everyone telling me, for years, how to find favor with God. It was in that dark auditorium the tears came. Not the warm fuzzies either. There's a difference between getting your insides tickled a little and the warmth of knowing when you're being surrounded by the love of your Savior.

I know this is a bit off for me, but you see ... I've never left my faith. Never let go of my beliefs. Oh, I've lost my way many times. But was always found. Always found.

And last night ... I realized that even with this 200 year-old music, I can still hear His voice. Still feel the warmth of His presence. Thousands of years have past, and He is still waiting for us to accept Him. Still here. Despite how we feel about Him. How we've turned Him away. How the world views Him. He will always be wonderful, a counsellor, a mighty God, our everlasting Father ... He remains our Prince of Peace. And nothing you or I say or do will ever change that.

Blessings to you and yours this season.

Friday, November 30, 2012

What Does It Take To Write A Thriller?

An excerpt from TELEVENGE ...

The rain fell in torrents the last time I saw them. I was a grown man. A beautiful man, made in God’s perfect image. It was a hot July day. I remember because it was my birthday. Approaching their peeling porch steps, I flung my suit jacket over my shoulder, undid my tie, and rolled up my sleeves. While one aunt shook with a palsy and the other chewed a cud of something between her gums, I sat on a step and read from the book of Leviticus. “A woman that hath a familiar spirit, a wizard, shall surely be put to death, they shall stone her with stones; her blood shall be upon her. I’m going to preach,” I said.

They stared through me, like a couple of deaf mutes.

I’d come to pick a bone with two old women; to rid myself of an infected snakebite, a poison that had infiltrated even the most anointed parts of my life.

“Can you understand? I’m an overcomer! Quench not the Spirit, saith the Lord! Don’t you see? The audible voice of God speaks to me and through me daily. I once was lost, but now I’m found. You chastised me, but He chose me. I crossed over into the Land of Milk and Honey and I found it. I found the sweet honey in the rock. Sucked out the sweetness and emptied the cone, tasted and seen that the Lord is good. He found no guile in my mouth, no He did not. I spend my days speaking in tongues, yes, true, the tongues of angels, and fall asleep easily every night with God’s words inside me, His anointing upon me.”

A violent storm erupted. Lightning cracked amid a fast and furious rain. I grabbed them up, two rail-thin old women, dragged them inside and kicked the door closed with my heel.
 ... a novel not for the faint of heart ...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Can Two Walk Together Unless They Agree?

Unequally yoked? Not at this Thanksgiving table.

Can two walk together unless they agree? It’s a Biblical question. A scripture quoted many times in my past. Usually to me. Or rather, at me. A question that got me to thinking.

Can a woman and a man be married and not agree on important issues?

I think it depends on the couple, their tolerance levels, and certainly what matters most. But I sat at a Thanksgiving table this year and watched my brother-in-law and sister-in-law in a very tender moment, express thanks for each other.

You see, I was there when they said their vows; nearly thirty years ago, and I wondered then if this unequally yoked couple would make it. At that time I was a member of a church that taught unless you and your spouse believed the same, walked the same path—your marriage would never last.

And yet, all these years later, I have to laugh because it was me who didn’t last in my marriage. Me. Married to a ministry team member. Thirty years ago, I was “equally yoked” to my Christian husband. Believed, submitted, and followed every edict of a church that said it was the only way to Heaven. The only way to stay married. The only way to be a true Christian.

Funny how I no longer believe that.

You see if there were ever two unequally yoked in matters of religion and politics, it’s my brother-in-law and sister-in-law. She’s a liberal. A Democrat. Where he is a far right conservative. A Republican. They laugh about it, knowing their votes cancel each other out during any election. He was a Fundamentalist who married a Catholic. The day they married, their beliefs could not have been farther apart. But love and respect was the glue that held them together. They raised two beautiful children, taught them tolerance, and love, and to respect the decisions of others. Not to judge. Not to throw the first stone.

Many years ago, they found a church they both enjoy. A church where they raised their children to love God. A church where they participate in matters of music and reaching out to those who have lost loved ones. A church where I’d be willing to bet, few know how different they are in their beliefs. Because it just doesn’t matter. Nobody is watching them. Nobody is counting how many times they miss church. After decades of being members there, nobody cares about their differences. What they care about is that they’re pillars of a community. A couple the young folks look up to. A couple who prospered in every area of life despite the fact the church we attended thirty years before, condemned their marriage. A couple who love God, together.

Can two walk together unless they agree? You bet they can. Because there’s nothing more important than love. Even God agrees with that.

Blessings to you and yours.

Friday, November 16, 2012

What?! Tired? Me?

These last few stops on this leg of the book tour have been spectacular. After an amazing couple of days in Atlanta, interviews on Fox Radio News New York, and then CBS Atlanta, we went to the mountains of North Carolina. To Sylva and the most amazing bookstore, City Lights.

Heading east to the Outer Banks (500 miles across the state of North Carolina) I gave a speech to the members of the Duckwoods Country Club. Signing books at the back of the room afterward, I have to say ... other than writing the book, it's my favorite thing to do as an author. A real shot in the arm. A good dose of confidence.

Then south again, back through Atlanta and on to Mobile, Alabama and the Junior League Christmas Jubilee! I spent eight hours signing books, one after the other, both Southern Fried Women and Televenge ... hundreds of people stopped at my little table for a book.

Meeting so many, talking about my work, I'm falling into bed in the hotel tonight, exhausted. Tomorrow morning we're heading home for the Thanksgiving holiday, and then it's back to work!

My breath catches in my throat as I look back on the past month since Televenge was released. It's been an unbelievable ride ...

Blessings to you and yours.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Soldier's Mother Tells Her Story

I met Janie Reinart this past summer in Bedford, Ohio at the Pooka Arts Festival. She sat at the book table next to me and her smile and sweet spirit drew me to her instantly. When I discovered what her book was about, we had an immediate bond. We shared our stories about our sons in the military and I decided I wanted to keep in contact with her. This blog today, Veteran's Day, is from her. It's an amazing story from the mother of a soldier. I look at the picture below, the face of a young man, so very young, and my heart crys for all mothers of soldiers today. Enjoy today's guest post and then go enjoy Janie's book.

Blessings to you and yours.

Out of the Darkness by Janie Reinart

I was numb. In December 2003, my thoughts wandered to the first line of the
song, “Night of Silence” by Daniel Kantor. Cold are the people, winter of life, we
tremble in shadows this cold endless night … My father, a WWII veteran, had just
passed away and my son was being deployed to Iraq. I was in darkness.

Not knowing what else to do, I started to write about my deepest fears and my
greatest hopes. Words came pouring out. I wrote until 4 a.m. in the morning. I
wrote until there were no words left to write. After realizing how therapeutic it was
to get my thoughts down on paper, the idea for a book was born. I asked other
mothers of soldiers to share their stories.

The title of the book came from a letter my son sent me. He was in Iraq for six
months and had six more to go. His letter asked questions: Will I make it back?
Will I be the same? Will I be happy? He said, "All I know that is certain is you,
and I rely on that fact alone to get me through the sweltering reality I live in." He
signed his letter; I love you deeply, more than you know. Your son, Joe.

When Love You More Than You Know: Mothers’ Stories About Sending
Their Sons and Daughters to War (Gray & Company, 2009, eBook 2012) was
published, one mother confided that to this day, she carries her story in her purse
everywhere she goes so that it is always with her. The book holds 45 powerful
tales of love, faith, and courage, reminding our readers that our children stand in
front of our flag, risking their lives so that we can live ours.

Click here to enter free giveaways of Love You More than You Know eBooks in honor of our Veterans and their families.

About Janie Reinart

As an author, teacher consultant, National Writing Project Fellow, storyteller, and poet, words are my tools. Janie seeks ways to give people a voice to tell their own stories through prose and poetry. She and her husband, Ed, are grateful for their five children and 10 grandchildren. Most weekends, you will find Janie praying and singing with the choir at Holy Angels Catholic Church.

Janie's chapter, “Boots to Ground “ in Love You More Than You Know, won second place in the National Federation of Press Women's 2010 Communications Contest in the category of a chapter/essay in a nonfiction book. Her chapter won first place in the Ohio Professional Writer's Communications Contest.

Janie's blog Love You More Than You Know is a finalist for the 2012 Milbloggies (6th Annual) Best U.S. Military Parent Blog Award.


In these stories, 45 mothers of U.S. service men and women open their hearts and share what it feels like when your son or daughter leaves home to fight a war.

Some were stunned when they learned that their “baby” had enlisted. Others had long been familiar with military life. But all of these mothers knew their world had just changed the day their child called home and said, “Mom, I’m being deployed . . .”

They discovered the strange mix of pride and fear. The anxiety of not knowing exactly where in Iraq or Afghanistan your son is, whether your daughter is facing mortar fire or enduring heat and boredom. Elation at the arrival of the briefest postcard or email message. The daily dread, when returning home from work or a trip to the grocery store, of seeing a government car in the driveway and two soldiers at the door . . .

Anyone who reads their stories will admire their faith and courage–and better understand the sacrifices made by our U.S. service men and women and their families.



Saturday, November 10, 2012

God Loves Independent Book Stores

Besides waking up this morning and discovering Televenge is on the front page of Fox I have also been asked to give a book reading, judge a literary magazine contest, and attend the awards ceremony at Wilson Community College near Raleigh, NC in February and April of 2013. I'm honored.
There's more good news, but I can't talk about it right now. So instead of letting anything slip out, here are a few little pictures of our current book tour. We're done in the mountains, and now we head to the beach. More later.
And in case you missed this blog post, take a look: - Why Public Speaking Is a Writer's Best Friend
The mountains around Sylva and Cherokee, NC welcomed us!

Looking over our hotel balcony to the mountain above us and the river below.

Ian and Chris ~ they run the show at City Lights Bookstore!

Some wonderful ladies who came to hear about Televenge

The Watch Cat
Robin and me ~ a great new friend!
Sylva Courthouse, high in the mountains

A coal tipple in Sylva

Me - One happy camper


Friday, November 09, 2012

What Can A Writer Expect On A Book Tour?

So I'm watching Ellen DeGeneres interview Kirstie Alley about her new memoir, and I'm wondering why can't somebody pick up where Oprah left off? Why are only celebrities getting interviews on Ellen or The View? Why do we have to sell millions of books to get an interview like that? Why, why, why?

I'm just askin'.

Anyway, this leg of the book tour started with a stop in NC for the night before heading to Atlanta on Tuesday. (The outlets in Gaffney, SC were a side trip, but that's another blog.) What started out as a whirlwind day, has ended up as one continuous tornado!

Wednesday began with an interview in my pajamas on the phone with WYRQ FM in Little Falls, MN and a deejay by the name of Al. Good ol' Al. I almost heard the chickens in the background. A real sweet guy, he asked a few direct questions about televangelism and Televenge, mentioned his Catholic background, chatted about the weather and just that quickly, the interview was done.

After an hour and half through pouring rain and stop-and-go Atlanta traffic, I found myself sitting in the CBS studios, ready to be interviewed by a young, good-looking anchor, Brandon Rudat, who is also an Emmy, award-winning journalist. Plenty of pancake makeup covered his pretty face, but he sported a crisp blue suit on the top and flip-flops on his feet. A real cutie. (Probably my son's age, so I can say that.) I watched as he first interviewed two guests on the topic of sexual abuse. My part, of course, was about spiritual abuse. They slipped a microphone on me, and before I knew it, the six-minute interview as over. I can't even remember what I said at this writing, but it's supposed to air either this Sunday or next, and then post on You Tube. I'll post the link as soon as I have it.

An hour and a half back through pouring rain and more stop-and-go Atlanta traffic, I sat in my dad's office with the door closed and prepared for the Fox News Radio interview with Vipp Jaswal. What an experience! The best interview by far with a seasoned veteran of the news. Here's the link. By all means, tune in and listen to this interview! It's like being interviewed by James Bond! Working with a professional like Vipp was simply an experience I'll never forget.

Back to Atlanta, in more rain and traffic, we first treated ourselves to a great dinner at Front Page News in the Little Five Points area, then I signed about fifteen books at Charis Books, my first feminist bookstore. I have to say that Elizabeth Anderson, an employee at Charis for fifteen years, was one of the nicest independent bookstore employees I've ever met, and I've met quite a few. Her kind heart and love for books was evident from the moment I walked in. She showed a genuine interest in my work, my life as a writer, and in all literature in general. I simply love it when God puts certain people in my path. People different from me. I'll never forget Elizabeth, and I hope to get back down to her store in the future. An independent bookstore that's been around for over 30 years!

Yesterday, we traveled to Sylva, NC, as I'm speaking and signing tonight at City Light Books at 6:30 pm. The town (Indian Reservation) of Cherokee is 10 minutes down the road, and that's where I wanted to stay. More later on this event.

We as writers will as some point have to hit the road and meet our readers up close and personal. There is no getting around it. And it doesn't matter if we're interviewed by Ellen DeGeneres or not, writers have to become proactive in selling their work. I can't sit still and let somebody else do it. It takes time, money, commitment, and a thick skin. There's no other way. There never was.

Stay tuned ... and enjoy the pictures below.

Blessings to you and yours.



Sunday, November 04, 2012

When Your Candle Burns At Both Ends

“My candle burns at both ends it will not last the night; but ah, my foes, and oh, my friends - It gives a lovely light.” Edna St. Vincent Millay

How many times have I quoted this poem, but never have I felt the force of it until now.

It’s November! So much has been happening … here’s the latest update, in case you haven’t seen it! (And be sure to see the pictures at the end of this post!)

A very nice review from Publishers Weekly!

“Cable's unflinching fictional exposé of the dark side of televangelism has a human victim in the person of Andie Oliver. … Cable, a former member of a megachurch, places Andie's desperate struggle against the oppression of (Reverend) Artury's church, its brutal inner circle, murderous practices, financial fraud, and (husband) Joe's abuse. This powerful story, skillfully written and with well-drawn characters, reveals the classic entrapment of vulnerable people in the name of a vengeful god …” PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

The hurricane is over in most parts of the US, but I think mine is just beginning. I’m leaving again tomorrow for two weeks of book signings and interviews throughout the south … Atlanta, Georgia, the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Outer Banks, and Mobile, Alabama.

Please pray for me next Wednesday, Nov. 7th. In one day I’ll have a live interview with WYRQ FM in Little Falls, MN at 8:00 am EST, a blog post on, an interview on CBS Atlanta TV (which will air on Sunday, Nov. 11th  at 10:30 am)  an interview with Vipp Jaswall on Fox News Radio (to be announced as to air date) and a book signing at Charis Books in Atlanta at 7:30 pm Nov. 7th.

You would think I was twenty-five again, and running after my career! My twenties are gone by the wayside, by I’m still chasing that dream.

My appearances, past and future, as well as radio interview links, book trailers, and book excerpts can be found on my web site. The blog tours are also online with links to some really great book bloggers.

What has been a thrill are the reviews. My status on Amazon and my Alexa rating climbs higher every day. The book has gone national and international in a month. I'm humbled. Grateful. And now there are rumblings from the movie industry. So who knows where this road will take me. I'm grateful for my family, a great publisher, and readers I hear from each and every day along the way.

I’m consumed by it all. Actually, I work even harder on the road. Moving in and out of one hotel after another, setting up a desk area, working on my laptop instead of my home pc, trying to get enough sleep, eating food I'd rather not. Who said it was going to be easy? It wasn’t easy for Southern Fried Women, and it’s even tougher now. The schedule is heavier, with bigger venues, and more media interviews. But Televenge is moving at a steady pace. The climb is daunting at times. We’re always praying the weather cooperates. And all the while, I’m still writing. I’m still editing the finished second novel, and writing the first draft of the third.

Still, I can’t imagine doing anything else. After the holidays, we head west. All the way to California and back. Speaking and signing books. Below are priceless memories along the way …

And it's only just begun ...

Blessings to you and yours.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I'm Booked for Fox News Radio!

I’m most fortunate and thrilled to have been booked for an important interview with Fox News Radio, New York City. Mr. Vipp Jaswall will be interviewing me next week about the business of televangelism, my life, my beliefs, and my book.

Vipp will focus on specific points of interest including …

  • If you had only one choice whom would you choose? God or family?
  • Should your pastor dictate your belief for a guaranteed one-way ticket to Heaven?
  • If you believe in separation of church and state, do you also believe in separation of church and culture?
As soon as I am made aware of the date of this pod cast I’ll let you know, as well as give you a specific link to click that will take you right to the interview, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, please enjoy the pod casts on Vipp Jaswall’s page. You’ll hear conversations that will provoke questions only you have the answers to. He really makes people think. I love his peanut-butter fudge voice. Smooth and rich with a touch of salt! It’s like getting interviewed by James Bond!



Friday, October 26, 2012

Why Do I Do It?

The book tour is like a trail in the woods and sometimes there are steps to climb. You hope it doesn't rain, or folks won't show up. You hope the bookstore is able to draw enough of a crowd. You hope the stairs aren't too steep. You hope you don't wear out before you get to the top. You hope ...

The tour continues and I'm looking forward to today's visit in Greenville, SC. I was interviewed by a Greenville newspaper yesterday, so I'm not sure when the article will run. Mostly I find the media is interested in the story behind the story. Which, if they're not familiar with your writing, is typical. The way I see it, the story behind the story, although fascinating, is not as thrilling and full of suspense as the novel.

Televenge was conceived many years ago in the pages of many journals. Journaling carried me through many dark days and nights when I felt the splinters in my feet from my barrel's bottom. Carrying burdens animals shouldn't bear, I sometimes could only squeak out a few words on the page. But the act of opening that journal and watching my hand move across the paper brought sanity within arms reach. Although I blog these days, I miss the old days of opening a spiral notebook (sorry, could not afford leather-bound journals) and clicking my favorite pen.

My constant struggle to get this book into the hands of readers wakes me periodically through the night; thinking. There's got to be a better way. Though I have a great publisher, it's hard to compete with the big 6 and their muscle to buy space at the front of the big box stores. Their ability to put big money behind their authors is the reason why so many writers go after the traditional brass ring. But I've never followed tradition much. I like change, I like being a part of blazing new trails. I'm of pioneer stock that often rears its ugly head in my quest to sell my work.

So, I work with what I've got. A good car, good health, and the ability to go where I need to go, and speak to those who will listen. Meeting the public up close and personal, word of mouth ... a slow and steady climb. Let's pray each limb on the tree is strong.

Nobody is guaranteed success. You've got to go out and make it on your own. Writing the book is the easy part for most of us. Writers are not celebrities. Well. 10% are, but the other 90% struggles with failure every day. In one way or another, we feel it lurking behind us like a predator.

Why do I do it? I know the power of Televenge. The story. I know what it wields. It's full impact has yet to be felt. But I'm getting there. I'm getting there.

Blessings to you and yours.

As an added bonus today, below is a great blog that ran one of my posts this morning: Enjoy!

Would You Drink The Kool-Aid?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Why Should A Writer Bleed On The Page? Isn’t It Time To Open A Vein?


… continuing part III of What Do You As A Writer Bring To The Page?

Picture of my parents above ... winter of 1954, my father was leaving that day. He's a Korean War veteran. My mother was not happy. You can see it in her face here.

Until I met my husband, pursuing the passion and dream of writing was something I did alone. He afforded me the time to devote to my craft, which I soon realized was not enough.

As storytellers, surviving life’s heartaches and hardships leave the residue of so much conflict to write about. Without the struggle, we do not possess the understanding and compassion, the inward fortitude to pursue our dreams that often seem so out of reach.

And for all of this, you need to put a smile on your face today. My purpose for this post is to offer encouragement. To help you separate the sheep from the goats. The wheat from the tares. The bland, “so-what” writing of telling and not showing. It’s time to pull emotional appeal out of your gut, from your heart, and raise the stakes. Time to create an original and unique voice that will live long after you are gone. Time to bleed on the page.

“The question isn’t  who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand

Be a fearless writer. Make the decision you’re going to do whatever it takes. Sometimes ... you just got to open that vein.

What are the events in your life, or in others lives with which you are intimate, that possess powerful magic to influence the stories you create?

I wrote Southern Fried Women during different eras of my life. Growing up in a Pentecostal fundamental congregation, I experienced a world reaching from the backwoods and hollers of West Virginia into the great and grand cathedrals of several high-tech megachurches. Living through my own dark days in televangelism, it inspired me to weave religion, spirituality, and the unexplained into my stories … stories that hint to an ancient bridge where the real and the supernatural meet. The biblical kind of supernatural that exists in all deep-rooted religious families.

In the beginning, I wanted to inform and enlighten the minds of my readers, but I learned something about myself in the process of writing my stories. I learned that what I wanted even more was to kick-start their hearts. For me, faith and spirituality have a way of doing that like nothing else.

My point is that as I look back, the horrific darkness I went through gave me a keen insight into the mind and life of struggling and desperate women. Women that I began to write about. The sparks of passion to develop my stories became a burning and all-consuming flame. As I wrote, the blinders lifted off my eyes and my ears became unplugged. I heard myself laughing, crying out, screaming and whispering secrets through the characters I created.

It seems no matter what I write, I draw from those times of tragedy and of triumph. Of horrific and hilariously funny times when all I could do was cry or laugh.

I strongly suggest you draw from your past, from the dark places you don’t want to think about anymore, of love lost and of love sought and found. From those desperate times you will find the words needed to fully develop the characters you were meant to create.

Nobody’s life has been a bowl of soft rose petals spread upon a fine, feather mattress. Somewhere you have experienced pain. The rain falls on the just and the unjust. It comes to us all. So use it. Draw from your own well. Your stories will deepen, strengthen, and yes—matter! At the lowest point in my life, my faith and the ability to write it down became my life preserver. It changed me, as woman, and as a writer.

Draw from your darkest hours and your fondest memories. Life is too short for too many regrets. If you want to be a successful writer, grab it with both hands. If it changes your life, let it.  I’m not saying it’ll be easy, but I can promise it’ll be worth it.

Blessings to you and yours.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

What Is Raw, Honest Writing?

… continuing part II of What Do You As A Writer Bring To The Page?

Are you able to bring your heartbreak to the page? The pain of loss, rejection, abandonment, can you write about it? Can you pull from your most horrific memories, as well as your most joyous? What I’m talking about has nothing to do with your writing degree or your awards. Although commendable, and certainly admirable, that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m asking, what do you--as a living, breathing, human being--bring to the page?

Dorothy Allison’s words at the Maui Writer’s Conference year ago were piercing. Delivered with pastoral fire and an urgency she said, “I’m here to deliver black coffee, I’m here to leaven your experience. I’m here to tell you part of why I’m a writer is that it’s one of the professions where you can be a fat girl and make it! Writers come to the page for many, many reasons. In fact, many of us DO come in the hope of justice, we DO come in the hope of balance, we DO come with an agenda of love, but I’m TELLING YOU NOW, lots of us start with a desire for genuine REVENGE.”

Do you bring revenge to your written pages? Anger? Truth?

“Lighten up,” you say? Okay. Sure.

You don’t need some deep, dark reason to write. You can definitely write for fun. Many do. Except that in my honest and humble opinion, the writing that lasts for generations is gathered from the cobwebbed corners of a writer’s mind. Those basements and attics where most writers fear to tread, but some go anyway.

“But,” you say, “I write humor.”

Ah, yes.  Well, dissect that funny stuff. Where does it come from? Most of it comes from pain. You know that old cliché, usually spoken in the midst of fear or anger. “We’re going to laugh about this later.” Laughter through tears ... is it not a powerful emotion? Many believe the angrier you are, the funnier you need to be. Take that to the page.

So don’t just write what you know. Write what you care about, what you feel deep in your gut. What you’ve seen. The heart-wrenching moments that cut deep into your mind and heart. Write about that. Write about the scars. Who gave them to you, and how you healed, or how you still suffer from those scars. Those hurts that won't heal. Give your character a piece of your life story you want to share with the world. Dig out the best and worst of your memories, and include them in your stories. It’s called raw, honest writing.

Write not just what you know, but what matters most to you. What has brought you out of a deep, dark spot? What makes you uncomfortable? Write your passions, your desires, what moves you. Write that.

Those are the guts of a good story. Bring that to the page.

In the late ‘nineties, I clawed my way out of a long, bleak period in my life. It not only developed an edge in my writing, but throughout those years, what kept me sane was journaling and reading every piece of fiction I could get my hands on.

I had secretly studied the craft of writing. When my friends and family found out about it, they adamantly let me know that writing was a big waste of my time. That because of my circumstances I needed to put my nose to the grindstone, and continue to collect that paycheck. “Don’t be a fool, Pam … few make it as writers … you’ll never write a book … are you crazy?”

I’m here to tell you, if it hasn’t happened already, someone along the way will question your commitment. Your work will continue to be rejected by not only those you know, but the publishing community. On your way to publishing, you will question your ability, your purpose, and your sanity. Even after you're published, you're still bombarded with the same mental anguish. I’m telling you so when it hits, you’ll recognize it for what it is. It’s part of the job. 

Writing is a profession where you pour your guts out on the page, bleed over every chapter, spend years writing the best story your mind, heart, and fingers can produce, labor days and nights on perfecting work that may or may never be seen ... and somebody is always waiting in the wings to tell you how bad you suck.

Sometimes, after reading over your work for the millionth time, you will still find mistakes. You cry, pound your fist on the keyboard, run your hand through your hair and think -- they’re right. I suck. Which is how I felt when the above picture was taken. I was at that Southern restaurant, Sticky Fingers, talking about how bad I sucked as a writer and had one too many cold ones.
Anway, you get my point. You begin to understand that perfection can only be born out of rejection and mentors pointing out the obvious. Obvious to everyone but you. And yet, even then, the perfect manuscript does not exist.

Rejection is not only part of becoming a bonifide writer, it’s crucial that it happens. And often. Each “Thanks but no thanks” – each “NO” is a brick upon which we build our tower to Publishing Glory. A writer who has not experienced the critical reviews of their peers, the public, and those within the industry is missing something special. They’re missing the chance to experience the rush of adrenaline that fuels the fire inside to never give up. It’s a writer’s high. A necessary surge of energy to survive in this business.

Come back again soon … there’s more to come in this series … What Do You Bring To The Page?

Blessings to you and yours.

Friday, October 19, 2012

What Do You As A Writer Bring To The Page?

I write fiction steeped in religion, mystery, and the paranormal. I write memoir, and thrillers, and offbeat quirky women’s fiction. And, God help me, I write Christian fiction mixed with horror. But I also write romance. A hopeless romantic, I have discovered sparks of love and lust in the whitest of ashes, the darkest of night skies, and within the deepest oceans of despair--and lived to write about it. Romance is the buttery, rich frosting inside my novel, Televenge.

I find most writers cross genres at some point. We do ourselves a great injustice to pigeonhole our writing into one solitary category, and yet … it is for the love of romance that I find myself driven to write this particular series of posts.

“It is not merely enough to love literature if one wishes to spend one’s life as a writer. It is a dangerous undertaking on the most primitive level. For, it seems to me, the act of writing with serious intent involves enormous personal risk. It entails the ongoing courage for self-discovery. It means one will walk forever on the tightrope, with each new step presenting the possibility of learning a truth about oneself that is too terrible to bear.” Harlan Ellison.

The all-too-often question asked of many of us is this. “Why do you write?” I’m sure you’ve got your standard answer. One that will satisfy your listener. But I’m going to ask you a different question. “What do your bring to the page?”

As a writer, I've often wondered what do I offer my readers? What do I have to say that anybody wants to hear?

Some write lofty volumes of prose, delivering profound messages, soothing to the ears. Some keep you spellbound with intrigue or humor. And then some carefully perfect the craft of curling the hair on our neck as we quickly turn the page to discover the killer. There are writers who can transport us to exotic places we’ve never seen, and hold us there.

Is there a writer who you have read recently, or years ago, that you remember vividly? A writer who created characters that still linger and come to your mind at the strangest times. A writer whose novels haunt you for days, weeks, years? A writer who consistently moves you like few others? What in their voice gives them the edge? What common thread weaves their unforgettable stories to the cloak of your memory? How do they do it?

Besides constantly polishing your writing craft and striving for the title of great storyteller, I'm finding there's another element to this writing thing we do.

How do you share knowledge, life experiences, and enlightenment within the context of a story?
How do you make it matter to your readers?

I’m going to talk more about this in the coming days … be prepared to think.

Blessings to  you and yours.

Monday, October 15, 2012

What!? A Christian In A Honky-Tonk?

Marshall Chapman sang at the Bluebird Cafe ... I didn't get a ticket, but I hovered in spirit. Do you know there are just 100 seats in that place? They're sold out every night, obviously, but the essence of American Country Music runs so thick in and around Nashville you can cut it with your fork. It's everywhere. Not just at the Bluebird. Men and women walk the streets with guitars slung over their shoulders in the shadows of the Ryman Auditorium, the home church of the Grand Ol' Opry. It' a sight to behold.

The Author's Reception was only a few blocks from "honky tonk row". After running into Julie Cantrell and Susan Cushman, and talking like friends who had known each other forever, we walked outside to the sound of music floating up the street, drawing us like dry rub on a pork butt. At each place we stopped, you could watch some country star wanna-be through the window, crooning their heart out. I loved it. The people loved it.

A sea of cowboy boots, short skirts, Dolly Parton hairdos, and glittery shirts. To sit and people watch, it was a gift ... and this ol' pentecostal-raised gal felt not one drop of condemnation.


The Southern Festival of the Book took over downtown Nashville again this year, with authors, readings, signings, and tents filled with everything "book".
New Voices in Women's Fiction. I sat with Kimberly Babb Brock and Ginger Moran, discussing our work, our new books, and the industry as we saw it. The room was full, which was great for an early Saturday morning panel. But something strange happened. Reading from Televenge I suddenly saw myself as if from a dream. I experienced a true deja vu moment and I almost stopped mid-sentence. It spooked me, but I kept reading ... I had never felt something quite like it during a reading of my work, and I've read to hundreds of groups. I know. I know. What can I say? It simply runs through the women in my mother's family. I can't explain it. I stopped trying long ago.

More on the book tour tomorrow ... every day something exciting happens!

Blessings to you and yours.

Monday, October 08, 2012

What's Next On The Book Promotion Horizon?

The story has captivated its first round of readers in the past few days. The emails, tweets, and facebook posts are coming in faster than I can keep up with them. The blog tour started today with WOW, Women on writing. Here you can join post comments and win a free copy of the novel.

For the past few days, I've been thinking about social media and the overwhelming work it takes to get your book noticed by potential readers. I think one of the best ways is with a quality book trailer. Book trailers appeal to the masses because of the visual aspect. My first trailer was with Misty Taggart and Trailer to the Stars. She's fantastic and great to work with, and did a super job. I highly recommend Misty and her company.

My niece, Lindy Bonin, a graduate of Lee University, worked with me on creating a new video for Televenge. Televenge, The Story. This video is a synopsis of the novel, set to music and pictures. It's a little longer than most book trailers, 7 minutes, but it's really good. I believe the music along with the story holds you until the end.

I wrote the script and recorded it into an Audacity file, then uploaded it to Lindy. Both of us worked on gathering just the right pictures for the script. The pictures were purchased from an Internet site specializing in stock photos. Lindy used music from her own collection. Lindy, like myself, is from a church background. She and her two sisters, Ashlie and Melissa, all graduated from Lee University and have become pastors or are in pastoral service.

The voice of my protagonist, Andie Oliver at the beginning, middle, and end of the video is Lindy's voice. Although a native of Ohio, she spent a great deal of time in Tennessee at Lee and then worked for her church organization in the Cleveland, TN area. I was quite surprised when I first heard it. I had no idea who it was. She does a great job as a steel magnolia, don't you think?

It took a few drafts and a little time, but in the end I think we've created something very special. I'm proud of Lindy and of the video. If you've got some time, take a look. And then hop on over to Amazon or Barnes & Noble ... where you can purchase the entire novel!

When it comes to writers promoting their work, I think we're going to find more book trailers in the future. It's the cherry on top of the sundae.

The video can be found on You Tube and across all social media sites. Enjoy!

Blessings to you and yours.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

How To Have A Great Time At A Book Store

Next stop on the TELEVENGE Book Tour ... Park Roads Books in Charlotte, North Carolina!

My table was covered with books, both Televenge and Southern Fried Women.

Sunday - a rainy Carolina afternoon with Panthers football in town ... I didn't anticipate a crowd. But as folks strolled into the store, they couldn't miss my table and most picked up the book to read the cover and ask questions. As it turned out, friends from Greensboro who attended the launch made their way south to Charlotte. Talk about love and support!

Rhea and Diane purchased their books at the launch and three days later, Diane finally came up for air. I had to laugh when she said all she got done as she read my book was feed and walk her dog. Knowing I was appearing at Park Road Books, they both skipped church and headed to Charlotte with a head full of questions. And then Alle Wells and her dear friend, Sara, arrived. Alle and I met on Goodreads.

But that's when the magic happened. We gathered our chairs in a circle and had a wonderful time together, all of us, talking writing, publishing, and of course, Televenge. Alle and Diane are both writers, and the time flew!

I think Diane testified to every patron who walked through the door. I had never met Diane until the night of my book launch, but I do believe I've made a lifelong friend.

My point is this ... it doesn't matter how small the crowd. To sit in a great book store, converse with those who came specifically to meet you and talk about your book, the ripple effect can be huge. Our chatter and laughter drew onlookers who will remember Televenge as the word spreads. I signed the store's stock of Televenge, and told them I'd be happy to return in the future.

Although book stores are not typically a venue where an author will sign the most books, it's still good to support your independent book stores (we came bearing gifts of fresh cookies for the staff) meet and greet folks strolling inside, and just breathe in the scent of all those books. It's like walking through a department store as a kid, smelling the popcorn and hot cashews, the perfume counter, and the hamburgers wafting out from the grille. Book stores have that special scent. It puts a smile on my face every time I walk inside one.

Thanks to Park Road Books for letting me stay extra today. I'm sure I'll be back someday. And who knows, we might have to rent a bigger venue next time!

Special thanks to those who came today and stayed and stayed, I hope you had as much fun as I did!

Blessings to you and yours.