Friday, July 24, 2009

The Sister Pact - win a free copy

The Sister Pact will be in bookstores August 1st. Yeah! For more info go to my website - www.camichecketts.com or you can read the entire first chapter here - http://cedarfort.com/media/ebook/9781599552675Sample.pdf.
I'm giving away a free copy (or more depending on how many enter) on this blog. Here are the rules:
Post a comment saying you want to enter, please leave a way for me to contact you if you win.
Then post a link to this contest (you can gush about how wonderful you think the The Sister Pact is going to be for bonus entries!) on Facebook, Twitter, or your personal blog, then either e-mail me your link - camichecketts at yahoo.com or post your link in the comments section.
The contest will end on August 8th.
www.camichecketts.com
Friday, July 17, 2009

Author Spotlight - Susan May Warren

Susan May Warren is the award-winning, best-selling novelist of over twenty-four novels, many of which have won the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, the ACFW Book of the Year award, and been Christy and Rita finalists. Her compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won her acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. After serving as a missionary for eight years in Russia, she returned home to a small town on Minnesota’s beautiful Lake Superior shore where she, her four children and her husband are active in their local church. You can find her online at: www.susanmaywarren.com

Tell us about your current release and where you got the inspiration for it.

I’m really excited about my new book, Nothing but Trouble – it’s a fun, romantic, light suspense series about a wanna-be PI who just can’t seem to stay out of trouble. I’ve been working on it for about three years. (or, maybe doing the research all my life, hmmm) Here’s the blurb:

It's not fair to say that trouble happens every time PJ Sugar is around, but it feels that way when she returns to her hometown, looking for a fresh start. Within a week, her former teacher is murdered and her best friend's husband is arrested as the number-one suspect. Although the police detective investigating the murder--who also happens to be PJ's former flame--is convinced it's an open-and-shut case, PJ's not so sure. She begins digging for clues in an effort to clear her friend's husband and ends up reigniting old passions, uncovering an international conspiracy, and solving a murder along the way. She also discovers that maybe God can use a woman who never seems to get it right.

It hit the stands just in time for a summer beach read and is available now at your local bookstore. Go to: http://gotsugar.susanmaywarren.com for sneak peeks and to sign up for free stuff and updates!

Is there a particular event that helped you become an author?

I’ve always been amazed at the journey God has taken me on. I always loved to write, but being a missionary in Russia, I never dreamed about being an author. I just tried to do the best with what God had entrusted to me, and for me that meant writing missionary newsletters. I honed my skills through my newsletter, and then, after a number of years, began to write devotionals and magazine articles. Although I tried my hand at writing novels (I wrote 4 before I ever had one published), I never thought I would get anything published. But I diligently studied craft and analyzed books, even though I was hidden away in Siberia. I’ll always be grateful that Tyndale and later Barbour and Steeple Hill took a chance on me! I’m still learning, and still trying to be a good steward of what God has entrusted to me.

What advice would you give to writers wishing to have their works published?

Read – figure out why you like the book, Read more, Write, get feedback, implement feedback, Read, Write more, and eventually go to a writer’s conference and pitch your story. Most of all, spend time in the Word, filling up, so you can pour out.

What is your next project?

I wrote a Christmas book! I’m so excited for my Christmas novella – the Great Christmas Bowl, a story that I wrote two years ago when my family took sick over the holiday season. For eight days over Christmas, I made soup and handed out Vicks…and conjured up a book about the crazy things mothers do, the looming threat (and joy) of empty nests and the universal desire to create memories for our children. I live in a small town, so of course, I had to write about the crazy, wonderful small town Minnesota life. (Go Big Lake Trouts!) Yes, it’s a mother book. (But did I mention it also has FOOTBALL in it?) It’s also a book about reclaiming romance after the kids are grown, and discovering that all your years of investing in your children do bear fruit.

I am overjoyed at this story; this holiday tale of my heart. It comes out in October!

Do you have a quote that motivates you?

This is the quote I had above my computer as I started to write novels…J "Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it." (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

Excerpt from The Great Christmas Bowl:

There are some Christmases that slink by, their significance lost amid the flurry of parties, holiday card mailings, and the endless lists of stocking stuffers. They end well, perhaps, with a sigh of relief and a warm curl of happiness that signifies, once again, a successful season had by all.

There are other years, however, that stand out in stark relief. Moments where the trudge of time, however briefly, hiccups. Years when we remember exactly why we gather with family to celebrate a day of peace, of grace.

For me, such a stumble in time came in my forty-eighth year. The year I turned into a fish.[1]

It happened by accident, as all monumental occurrences do. In fact, it wasn’t until afterward that I realized the depth of what had transpired. My youngest son claims that I entered into my state fully cognizant of the ramifications. My perspective suggests I was tricked, baited by the hope that my youngest son might find inspiration and purpose in my humble transformation and sacrifice.

Perhaps he did. But that year, the year I became a fish, also turned out to be the Christmas that would remind me, in years hence, that children do remember. They hold the memories we create as nourishment, filling in the nooks and crannies of their lives to make them stronger.

And eventually, they pass them on.

Thank you for stopping by Susan. I've adored your other books and can't wait to pick up these two. Blessings to you,
Cami
Friday, July 10, 2009

Author Spotlight - Kathi Macias

I am so thrilled to share this interview with Kathi Macias. I was blessed to win her book, Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today. I love this book. Kathi's knowledge of the Bible is amazing. I'm learning so much.

Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored nearly 30 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences, and recently won the prestigious 2008 member of the year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) at the annual Golden Scrolls award banquet. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband, Al, where the two of them spend their free time riding their Harley.

www.kathimacias.com

http://kathieasywritermacias.blogspot.com/

Tell us about your current release and where you got the inspiration for it.

My most recent release (I’ve had four within the last year, with five more scheduled in 2010) is Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today from New Hope Publishers. It is a beautiful hardbound gift/devotional book, with stories about fifteen different biblical mothers who dealt with issues similar to those encountered by mothers today. The book includes a dedication page for gift-giving, as well as a mother’s prayer and making it personal section at the end of each of the fifteen chapters. This book was suggested to me by my former agent when we were chatting about ministering to moms, which is where my heart is.

Is there a particular event that helped you become an author?

I can’t remember when I’ve ever wanted to do anything but write. I love words, and communicating God’s truth, whether in speaking or writing, is my passion. My first book was published by Regal Books in 1988, when I was working in their editorial department. I imagine having that connection was a huge step in getting that first book accepted for publication.

What advice would you give to writers wishing to have their works published?

My journalism professor once told me, “Whether you want to be a good writer or mechanic or teacher, find someone who already does it well and hang around them.” Excellent advice! Find a good writers’ conference in your area (they’re everywhere!) and go there. Soak up everything you can; meet with authors, editors, publishers, agents; and maybe even get your proposal into the right hands at the right time.

What is your next project?

I am currently in the middle of a four-book fiction series for New Hope Publishers (their first-ever venture into fiction) titled the “Extreme Devotion” series, which deals with stories based on real-life modern-day martyrs of the faith in different countries (South Africa, Mexico, China, Saudi Arabia). I also just finished co-authoring a stand-alone historical (third-century) novel with Susan Wales; the book will be released by Abingdon Press in Fall 2010.

What other work of yours has been published?

I have actually published thirty books of my own, hundreds of magazine articles and short stories, and have ghostwritten/collaborated on at least 100 other books. One of my more recent releases, How Can I Run a Tight Ship when I’m Surrounded by Loose Cannons? (also from New Hope), is closest in style and focus to Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today.

Who is your favorite author?

Oh, that’s a tough one! For nonfiction, I love Brennan Manning, Max Lucado, and C.S. Lewis (also one of my favorite fiction writers, as I love the Chronicles of Narnia). For fiction I love to read Francine Rivers, the Thoenes, Susan Meissner, Mary DeMuth, Jeanette Windle, and Bonnie Grove.

Do you have a quote that motivates you?

Oh, my goodness, again, there are so many! Apart from the Scriptures, I suppose I have been most motivated by a quote for whom I have no author but heard it often from my high school creative writing teacher: “If there is owing in the eyes of the giver, there is no gift.” I’ve never forgotten that, and it motivates me to life selflessly.

BLURB:

Challenges that mothers face day in and day out are not unique to this time, and modern-day moms have much wisdom to gain from true examples recorded in Scripture. In Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today, readers meet ordinary women of their day who, by God’s incomparable grace, were used for extraordinary purposes. Beautifully designed, this book makes the perfect gift for a mother on any occasion.

Excerpt:

Chapter 3

Rebekah: Playing Favorites

Before he [Abraham’s servant, Eliezer] had finished praying,

Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder….

The girl was very beautiful, a virgin

(Gen. 24:15, 16).

Suggested Scripture Readings:

Gen. 23:17-20; 24:1-4, 58, 66-67; 25:20, 21-26, 28; 27:6-12; 28:5

As a mother, have you ever been tempted to cover or even lie for your child in order to obtain special treatment or to override negative consequences in that child’s life, rather than trusting the Lord to work according to His purposes? Have you ever been involved in a family situation where there were “favorites” among siblings? Though this chapter depicts Rebekah as a loving wife and mother of twin boys, she ends up favoring the younger son, while her husband favors the elder. This results in a lot of manipulating and maneuvering, as well as downright deceit and trickery, which literally leads to the physical breakup of the family. It is a tragic story, with much to speak to us in similar situations today.

***

Rebekah is first introduced to us, literally, on “the wings of a prayer.” As Abraham’s servant Eliezer later told Rebekah’s brother Laban, “Before I finished praying in my heart, Rebekah came out” (Gen. 24:45). In a setting of romance and purity, bathed in prayer, this beautiful virgin girl, fulfilling the mundane task of drawing water for herself and her family, appears and steps into her God-ordained destiny, agreeing to marry Abraham’s son Isaac and eventually becoming one of the great matriarchs of the Bible. It is an idyllic, scriptural way for a marriage to begin, but—as many of us can attest—our lives and relationships haven’t always begun with or followed such a perfect pattern.

But before you think Rebekah’s life can’t possibly have any relevance for your own, let me assure you that this young woman experienced many trials and heartaches in the fulfillment of her life’s calling as wife and mother. Let’s take a look at Rebekah—where she came from, how she ended up where she did, and the price she paid for some of the decisions she made in her life.

Thank you, Kathi, for sharing your talents with us,

Cami

Friday, July 3, 2009

Author Spotlight - Michele Ashman Bell

Michele has been one of my favorite authors since I was a newlywed. I hope you all enjoy getting to know her a little bit today.

Michele Ashman Bell grew up in St. George, Utah.  In fourth grade her teacher wrote on her report card that she had a tendency to daydream and would probably do well with creative writing.  Her love for books and learning about people and places has helped her make her teacher's prediction come true.  Michele is the author of many books and Christmas stories.  She is married and is the mother of four children, and a grandma of one.  Aside from supporting her children in all of their many activities, she loves to travel, do research for her books and eat chocolate.

 

Tell us about your latest book, A Modest Proposal

A Modest Proposal is the story of six friends who went to high school together.  On graduation day, one of the girls is killed in an automobile accident.  This experience bonds the girls together and they decide that even though they are all going their separate directions, they want to stay close to each other throughout their lives.  They create a box, a Butterfly Box, that has items of remembrance from their time together, things that represent their friendship and what they’ve been through together. A Modest Proposal is the first in a three book series and is the story of Lauryn, who is a clothes designer in New York City.  When she finally gets a chance to design evening gowns and formal wear, her efforts are sabotaged by Laszlo Molnar, a famous designer who views her as a threat.  Convinced that high fashion and modesty can coexist, Lauryn doesn’t give up when things get tough and with the help of her friends, she manages to come out on top.

 

What is your next project?

My next project is the third book in the Butterfly Box series.  The second one is waiting publication and the third is in my head, and hopefully soon to be in my computer.  It’s always difficult to wrap up a series because it’s important to tie up loose ends, but not make things too tidy.  Reality is anything but tidy, so I’m trying to figure out how to make the ending satisfying and real at the same time.  I’m also sad that it’s the final book.  I’ve really grown to love the characters in these books.

What other work of yours has been published?

I’ve had quite a few books come out in print.  Some are part of a series, others stand alone.  I’ve created a list of all my releases and put books that are part of a series together.

 

An Unexpected Love

An Enduring Love

Love After All

 

Yesterday’s Love

Love After All

Love Lights the Way

Pathway Home

 

Written in the Stars

 

Without A Flaw

 

Finding Paradise

 

Timeless Moments

Forget Me Not

 

Perfect Timing

 

Butterfly Box:  A Modest Proposal

 

Latter-day Spies:  Spyhunt

Latter-day Spies:  Dragon’s Jaw

Latter-day Spies:  Rescue

 

A Candle in the Window

 

Wow. That is an amazing list, Michele. I’ve read quite a few of those, but now I’m excited to catch up on the ones I’ve missed.

 

Is there a particular event that helped you become an author?

I distinctly remember the age I was when I fell in love with books.  My third grade teacher read the book, “My Father’s Dragon” to our class and I was completely captivated and carried away by the magic and imagination of the story.  From that point on I was immersed in books and reading.  I must have read the Laura Ingalls Wilder series twenty times from beginning to end.  As I got older I began to read romance books and got in trouble at school because I put my reading book inside my text books. I also was an avid journal keeper through junior high and high school.  Expressing my emotions through the written word into my journal was a great outlet for me.  The combination of these two things created my desire to write.  At age 23 I attempted my first short story and ten years later was finally published.

  

What advice would you give to writers wishing to have their works published?

Since I did everything the wrong way, I am full of advice.  The first thing is to believe you can do it and never give up.  It isn’t the most talented writer who gets published, it’s the one who doesn’t quit.  Persistence does pay off.  Second, know your market. Make sure that you are familiar with what’s selling and what’s hot at the moment and keep an eye on market trends.  Timing is everything (and a little luck is always nice too).  Third, write about what you are passionate about.  If you love your story and feel very strongly about it, the reader will pick that up and connect with it.  And fourth, make sure you submit to the right publisher and make sure you have gone through their guidelines and follow them exactly.  That shows professionalism.

 

Who is your favorite author?

Most of the reading I do lately is either for research or for the reviews I do for Meridian Magazine.  However, I am a fan of JK Rowling.  Her creativity and imagination are astounding.  I am a fan of Stephanie Meyer and her ability to create tension in her first few books.  I love many of the LDS authors.  To name a few, but this list is incomplete; Jennie Hansen, Nancy Campbell Allen, Kerry Blair, Lynn Gardner, GG Vandagriff, Gale Sears, Cheri Crane, Jeri Gilchrist, Sian Bessey, Anna Jones Buttimore, Betsy Brannon Green and Stephanie Black.

 

Do you have a quote that motivates you?

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference.”  Robert Frost 

This is how I’ve lived my life.  Sometimes I was the only one who believed in myself enough to know I could really get published.  It was hard but I never ever gave up.  I still followed that path.  It was so worth it.

 

Excerpt from A Modest Proposal

With her thirtieth birthday looming ahead of her, Lauryn decided it was time to take a good look at her life and quit settling for the routine, monotonous existence she'd been living. She wanted the next decade of her life to be one of changes and new challenges.

Excitement bubbled up inside her. Somehow she was going to make her dreams come true. No one was going to do it for her. She refused to live another decade only to look back and wonder what she'd done with the last ten years.

Squaring her shoulders and lifting her chin, she snatched her luggage off the conveyor belt and dropped it to the floor next to her. Things were going to be different starting today!

With a resolve to think positively and visualize her dreams, she headed for the entrance to hail a taxi to the hotel. She wasn't exactly sure what had happened on that flight, but something felt tremendously different inside of her. And it felt wonderful!

You can purchase A Modest Proposal and Michele's other titles at:

Thanks Michele!

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The Broken Path

Poison Me

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Christmas in Snow Valley

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