Thursday, November 17, 2011

Here it comes!

It's coming.... it's almost here... won't be long now... keep an eye out!

Yes, that's right. Polar Bear Plunge by author Linda S. Glaz is being released on December 5th! And to make it even better, for the entire month of December, you can have this delightful novella for only $1.00.

Yep, you read that right--$1.00. Can't buy a quart of gas for that anymore. Can't even buy a cup of coffee at McDonald's for $1.00--at least not in Alaska. I paid $1.69 for a cup the other day at McDonald's and believe me, it wasn't one of those fancy brews, either. Plain old coffee with two creams. I should have saved my money and I could've had one and two-thirds downloads of Polar Bear Plunge!

Here's a little more about Linda and her book:

Striving to put meaning back into her life after her husband’s death, Aleni Callan immerses herself in hospital work. Angry with God, she finds herself even angrier, when hero, Brice Taylor, author of The Human Shield, arrives in the Emergency Room with a concussion and hypothermia after participating in the Polar Bear Plunge. Aleni wants nothing to do with a man who willingly takes chances with his life.

Brice doesn’t understood how God could bring him through being a captive in Iraq, when he failed his troops so miserably. Writing about his escape brings fame he would rather avoid. And by meeting widow, Aleni Callan, his feelings of failure only increase.

Megan Callan with the help of her three-year-old grandson, Ty, scheme to bring Aleni and Brice together. And while the best laid plans often go awry, Megan isn’t one to accept no.

About our author, Linda S. Glaz:
I’m a wife and mother of three. I balance being a child of God while also being older than God. Hmmm, scary, but almost true. I’ve been blessed to have had an amazing life so far: Air Force meteorologist during Vietnam era, teaching karate and self-defense along with soccer for 25+ years. I sing and direct in church and community theatre musicals where this little old lady sounds more like the guys than the gals. Also scary, but true. I work in a physical therapy clinic three days a week to earn money to keep my writing afloat. My writing life is a 24/7 proposition. When not writing my own stories, I am an agent for Hartline Literary Agency. I wear so many different hats I’m surprised I wasn’t invited to the Royal wedding. Blessings to everyone, may your writing dreams all come true.

*****

I've read this story and believe me, it's great. If you look carefully at the top of the book cover, you'll see a comment that reads: "Heartwarming, funny, and poignant... a real winner," signed by me! Yep, I was lucky enough to read this book a while ago and I guarantee this is the perfect "curl up under a warm blanket with a cup of hot chocolate in front of the Christmas tree" book. At only $1.00, what better way to spend some quiet hours during the holiday season? Don't forget your friends and family, as well. They'll thank you for this delightful story.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Jonathan Wakefield's Fatal Reality

Today, I welcome my good friend and fellow Christian Writers Guild fiction track graduate and finalist for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild 2009 Operation First Novel contest, Jonathan Wakefield. Jon's debut novel, Fatal Reality, a fast-paced thriller, is on the shelves at Amazon and Barnes and Noble (and probably at a lot of other places by now). It's published by OakTara Publishers (www.oaktara.com). Following the interview, I’ll post my review of this thrilling novel, but first, let’s find out a little more about Fatal Reality and its author.


Jonathan, can you give us a little background on your journey to publication?

My journey—similar to that of many authors—was long, challenging, and rewarding. I can trace my initial interest in writing all the way back to third grade when my teacher surprised me by reading my poem “Family Sounds” to the class. In fourth grade, I started writing fiction regularly. I’ve never stopped.

I was so passionate that I even tried to write my first novel, fully (and naïvely) intending to get published, in seventh grade. I quit after fifty pages, but the goal of becoming a published novelist had been established. Twenty-three years later, it has finally been met.

While Fatal Reality is my debut novel, it’s actually the eleventh I’ve written. I’ve spent many years studying the craft of fiction to be able to write something that someone might want to read.

As for the premise, the popularity of reality shows has always intrigued me, so when the idea of one being hijacked in view of the entire world hit me, I quickly grew fascinated with the possibilities. Within a few days, the entire novel had written itself in my head, and I knew I had to get started. Six months later, I was finished.

As you know, I entered it in the 2009 Christian Writers Guild’s Operation First Novel contest and, like yours, it was chosen as a finalist. I didn’t win, but I did gain the interest of an agent, who ultimately submitted Fatal Reality to OakTara and landed me a publishing contract.

Fatal Reality is a hard-hitting thriller that is sure to make Christians think (and a few Christians cringe as they recognize themselves). If you had to choose one thought your readers take away from your book, what would it be?

A theme running throughout Fatal Reality is the importance of being honest with ourselves and each other about who we are and our shortcomings. I want readers to finish with the thought that we rob Satan of his power when we face those shortcomings head-on and thereby allow God to turn them into our greatest strengths.

Because you and I were fellow Craftsman students, I know you studied with the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. What made you decide to go with a Christian writing program? Would you do so again? Would you recommend a program like this to beginning writers--or others who might be farther along their writing path?

I didn’t become a Christian until after college, which was actually about the same time I started seriously training as a writer and seeking publication. It didn’t take long after my spiritual awakening to learn that God was the one who’d implanted in me that insatiable desire to write. Knowing him personally gave my writing a purpose, and from then on I intended to glorify him with every word I wrote.

Soon thereafter, I came across an advertisement for the Christian Writers Guild and decided to give one of their courses a try. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’ve since taken two more courses with them and grown tremendously as both a writer and a Christian in the process. The Guild taught me how to write with a biblical worldview, giving me the confidence to attempt something that’s really quite intimidating. Words are powerful. The Bible—God’s Word to us—has transformed countless lives. So if I’m going to attempt to use the same tool to reach people with his message, I had better be sure I know how to use it properly. I would certainly do it all again, and I would encourage anyone at any point on their writing journey to do the same.

How long was Fatal Reality "in production," i.e., have you had this idea in mind for a long time or has it evolved over several years?

As I mentioned, concept to completion encompassed only six months. I normally take longer than that, but the Operation First Novel contest deadline was looming and I really wanted to enter.

What in your daily life influenced you in writing this book? Was there a particular event that tipped the scales--when you knew you had to write this book?

For a while I had wanted to write a novel about a reality show with a Christian protagonist, because I thought it offered a lot of good possibilities for moral dilemmas for someone who tries to live by biblical standards. And I love a good thriller, so as soon as I got the idea of turning a reality show into a race for survival, I knew I was on to something.

In the book, your protagonist, Kyle Borders, is a well-respected Christian leader who faces nearly insurmountable odds for survival while coming face-to-face with his personal demons. When you were putting this book together, what part of the plot came to you first--the reality show or his personal problems?

The reality show came first, but his problems quickly followed. I’ve actually never had a story lock itself in place in my mind so quickly before Fatal Reality. It just materialized in a way that seemed to fit perfectly for me. That’s part of why I was able to write it so quickly—once I had the story set, it didn’t need much reworking.

I know fiction isn't the only writing at which you excel. Can you tell us more about Jonathan Wakefield and what you believe in passionately?

How did I know you were going to ask me that? J Yes, I do have a wide range of interests, both within fiction and beyond. The eleven novels I’ve written have actually spanned five separate genres.

I’ve also done a lot of freelance copywriting and editing, some for profit and some for charity. I’ve written and edited everything from scientific papers to grant proposals to marketing materials.

I enjoy article writing as well. I’ve written for a variety of publications, including technical journals, newspapers, Christian magazines, church newsletters, and political blogs.

Writing about politics is something I’ve become quite passionate about, especially in recent years. I used to think that as a Christian I should avoid the topic because it might distract from my attempts to spread the gospel; but I’ve come to realize that the Bible has much to say about government (the word “king” and its derivations—such as “kings” or “kingdom”—appear over 2,500 times in the Bible), so Christians should as well.

But I want to make it clear that my political writings are entirely separate from my fictional writings. Fatal Reality doesn’t carry a political message or address politics in any way. It’s a straight-up thriller driven by spiritual and cultural themes.

And finally, Jon, where can we learn more about you, your career, your books, and your writing journey?

The best place is at my website at www.jonathanwakefield.com. You can find all the details about Fatal Reality there as well as information on any events I may have scheduled. And if readers have any questions for me, they can contact me through the form on the website. I’d love to hear from you!

Thank you, Jon. I'm sure we'll be hearing much more about you and your writing in the future.
*****
Long before I actually read Fatal Reality, I had a feeling it would blow me out of the water. I've known Jonathan for a few years now and he's always struck me as an earnest Christian who takes his writing as seriously as he does his walk with Christ. I couldn't wait to read the novel written by this talented man. I'm happy to report I was not mistaken in my assumption!

Jonathan Wakefield's debut novel, Fatal Reality, is based in the not-too-distant future and among other issues, addresses the sad state of much of today's television programming (reality shows, in particular). It explores the scenario of a well-known Christian leader who competes in what he thinks will be a 24-hour race to the finish line. Because it will be aired through a live feed, Extreme Mortality, the biggest reality show ever, will give Kyle Borders the perfect opportunity to live out his faith for the whole world to see. Unfortunately, it will also give Daniel Vats, creator of the groundbreaking show, an opportunity to not only kill at will, but also expose Kyle Borders for the man Vats believes he really is.

What follows is a fast-paced thriller that engages and entertains the reader while at the same time guiding him to important moral and spiritual points. The plot twists and turns through the pages much like the desperate contestants who dash through the jungle in the fight of their lives. Wakefield's characters--each one a hard-nosed individual chosen to compete based upon his or her strengths and expertise--are portrayed with skill and an eye for the varied weaknesses all human beings are capable of displaying. Wakefield carefully peels away the bravado and exposes their greatest fears.

Wakefield writes with great skill and plots his book well. Around each corner (and page after page), he reveals the ugly, naked truth about the harm human beings are capable of inflicting upon one another.

Wakefield admits he took a risk writing this book, but in my opinion, it was a risk well worth taking. You will too.
***

Until the next time...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Mad for Mind Over Madi

Q:        What’s true-to-life, drop-dead hilarious, inspirational, eye-opening, and sometimes hits a little too close to home?

A.        Easy—Lynda Lee Schab’s new novel, Mind Over Madi.

           When too-close-to-forty Madi McCall decides her husband, Richard, is cheating on her with town siren Fawn Witchburn, she asks him to move out. No, it's not the smartest move Madi could make, but her insecurities, coupled with her mother’s constant haranguing about the evilness of all men, blind her to common sense and her husband’s assurances of his undying love.

            Left with their twin teens, Christina and Max, and youngest child, Emily, Madi forges ahead with her life. While she juggles her hormonal teens and a little girl who misses her dad, tends to household responsibilities, spends time with her fashionista friend, Sylvie, and tries to straighten out her insecurities with her counselor, Sarah Price, Madi turns to her guilty pleasure for solace.

           Schab has turned the insecurities that so many of us feel into a witty, thought-provoking debut novel. What transpires will have you laughing out loud, cringing, sighing, commiserating, and wondering just how Lynda Schab knew your innermost thoughts—let alone your guilty pleasures. Her characters could be our next door neighbor or sister or co-worker. Her descriptions are fresh and spot-on. Her plotting is superb and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to find out what new dilemma Madi would find herself in--and what hilarious or heart-rending way she would use to get herself out. Prepare yourself for some unexpected twists as Madi discovers a few secrets and realizes she needs God in her life as much as she needs her husband.

          Thankfully, Mind Over Madi is the first of a three-book series. Looking forward to Lynda's next two novels, Madily in Love and Sylvie and Gold, will help you get over coming to the end of a great debut novel.
*********

LYNDA LEE SCHAB got her writing start in greeting cards (Blue Mountain Arts, Dayspring) and from there went on to write articles and short stories (Mature Living, Christian Home & School) and in many places online (including www.Examiner.com and www.wow-womenonwriting.com), but her passion has always been fiction.

Mind Over Madi, her debut novel, is near and dear to her heart. Lynda admits she has a lot in common with the character of Madi. Not only are they both addicted to ice cream, chocolate, and computer games, they struggle with the same types of insecurities and continually require a hefty dose of God’s grace.

Lynda works behind the scenes at FaithWriters.com and is a member of ACFW. She is a regular book reviewer for FaithfulReader.com and is the Grand Rapids Christian Fiction Examiner and the National Writing Examiner for Examiner.com. Mind Over Madi received Runner-up in the 2007 FaithWriters Page Turner contest, was a finalist in the 2007 RWA Get your Stiletto in the Door contest, and won second place in the 2008 ACFW Genesis contest, Chick Lit category. Lynda lives with her husband, Rob, and two teenagers in Michigan. 

Coming attractions!


I hope you're all ready to read about a great new book coming out soon! I'll be reviewing debut author Linda Schab's new book, Mind Over Madi, right here tomorrow. Don't miss out hearing about this fantastic author's first novel. I'll give you a sneak preview:

Is this a great cover or what???

Until the next time.... (which will be tomorrow)...