Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My Reading Personality: Serial Reader!

Here's my reading personality profile:

You may read a lot or a little, but either way you're a publisher's dream, because once you discover a favorite writer you stick with him/her through thick and thin and eagerly await the next in the series; but even you need to discover some new blood from time to time!

You can go here to find out what your reading personality is. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

This is Heartwarming . . .

Have you heard of the young woman from Tennessee who always dreamed of growing up to be Mother Teresa?
Her name is Katie, and after high school graduation in 2007, she went to live and work in Africa. Her parents weren't originally thrilled with her choice, preferring her to go to college instead, but she convinced her mother to take a short trip with her during her Christmas vacation of her senior year. She fell in love with the people and the work. And couldn’t wait to graduate high school to go back. 

Her father agreed to give his blessing as long as she only stayed for nine months and then returned to the US to attend college. She’s following that plan. Along the way, she and her father started a non-profit organization, Amazima Ministries, to fund the orphanage and school where she worked and liveed. Katie hoped to raise $3,000 and instead ended up raising $26,000. That was enough to hire people to carry on her work while she’s getting her education. Isn’t God wonderful?

Katie went back to Africa this past month to spend time there before her next school year begins. This article tells about her amazing journey, and you can read Katie's blog for additional information. There are forms on the blog if you wish to donate to her cause. 

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Cloud Watching

It's a challenge to get any work done when the sky is putting on a fabulous Cloud Show.But I'm trying. Can you hear the wind making the leaves dance and branches sway? It's heavenly.

Okay, back to work. BTW, did I tell you the names for the characters in my next book? Tina and Albert. Whatch think? She's going to call him Al, too. They're taking their first vacation together as a couple in 26 years. Hallelujah empty nest. Or so they think . . .

Every Good and Perfect Gift

I just finished reading Every Good and Perfect Gift, Sharon Souza's debut novel. And yes, I recommend this book.

Here's the description:
After thirty close years, Gabby and DeeDee's lifelong friendship holds no surprises. Except for one: Thirty-eight-year-old DeeDee and her husband have decided to conceive their first child. And despite their concerns and a struggle with infertility, DeeDee finally gives birth to a healthy baby. But while the friends believe they have faced their greatest challenge, an unexpected tragedy will alter their lives and relationship forever.

In the classic tradition of movies such as Beaches and Steel Magnolias, Every Good and Perfect Gift shares a heartwarming story of friendship that overcomes all odds. Filled with laughter, tears, and everything in between, Gabby and DeeDee's journey will strike a chord with female readers of all ages.

One thing I loved about this story is that it told of a beautiful, loving relationship between two women modeled on the love between David and Jonathan in the Old Testament. Sometimes even loving the most lovable person in the world isn't easy, and Souza illustrated the blessing of doing just that. 

Scenes of self-doubt and frustration that revealed the character of Gabby as a flesh-and-blood woman who wrestles with doing the right thing were beautifully written. The story drove toward an issue that would disturb the seemingly perfect lives of her characters to create the ultimate conflict. I was curious about what that would be and how it would play out, and I was satisfied with the turn the story took. This story ended up being a love story between friends and illustrated the ultimate love story between God and his people.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Have you seen this yet?

If not, do yourself a favor and watch this video.

It makes me smile. It shows that we're really not all that different from one another after all. To see it in higher definition, go here and click on the "watch in high quality" button below the screen.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Authors @ Douglas County

Today I participated in a taping of a local television program called Authors @ Douglas County. The program runs on our local cable TV station, DC8, and also is put online on their website. Authors @ Douglas County is well done, I'm proud and grateful to have had the opportunity to work with them.

It was a lot of fun to be interviewed by the host, Jamie LaRue, who is the director of our library district. I wish I could tell you whether or not I actually made any sense. I guess we'll have to wait and see. I was told that the program will probably be put online before it airs on television. I'll keep you informed when it's available to view. 

I know that one part of the program, when I was reading from Searching for Spice, will be put on You Tube. Sweet. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Words For The Journey Write Away Field Trip

Today WFTJ had our annual write away field trip to the Broadmoor Hotel and Resort in Colorado Springs. It's a beautiful, historic resort, and they were very welcoming to our group of writers who occupied their upstairs lobby. From left to right: Tonya, Robbie, Danica, Jan, me, Kay, and Michele.
Bonnie, Danica, Jan, and Robbie are hard at work.

It's such a beautiful area, isn't it?

When I took that picture I nearly jumped out of my skin from fright because I didn't realize I was standing about six inches from two ducks who quacked at me just as I snapped the photo.
You can still see his beak flapping!

And my friend Robbie got some delightful news today--MacGregor Literary Agency has agreed to represent her books! I'm thrilled for her.
Doesn't she look happy? She was just beaming.

This is one of the black swans that swim in the lake behind the resort.
Isn't it lovely?

Welcome Kathy Kovach

I'm happy to host my friend, and a talented author, Kathy Kovach on my blog today. 
I met Kathy while attending  writer's conferences. We would often wind  up on the same airplane or in the same clinic. I remember sitting in a Nangie clinic one year at CCWC thinking, "Wow, what a clever writer!"

Kathy agreed to spill the bean on her life, writerly and otherwise . . .

How and when did you become a Christian?

I became a Christian on October 13, 1973 at a Key Witness Mission program at my church. This was the Methodist equivalent of a revival. I was 17 years old. In this program, ordinary lay-people volunteered to witness in other churches for a weekend, and we were organized into age groups. I, obviously, was in the youth group where people my age were telling us about Jesus and how their lives were changed. I had been singing in the choir for several months, but it wasn't until this weekend that I allowed His love into my heart. It was as if my eyes were open for the first time, and I fell madly, passionately in love with my Lord. Every love song I heard on the radio became a love song to Him. Karen Carpenter was popular then, and I found myself singing to Jesus, "Why do birds suddenly appear, Every time you are near? Just like me, they long to be close to you." Hokey, but true. My mom and dad received Christ on this same weekend through the adult group, so you could say we are all the same age in the Lord. And for the romance lovers in the audience, when I made my public declaration of accepting Christ into my life, I was holding my future husband's hand in a prayer circle. We married two years later. Sigh!

When did you begin writing?

Technically before I learned how to write. But professionally in 2002. You can read about my writing journey through my article titled, "Take Your Passion and Make It Happen" at the Grace Reign Blog, the June 11 post.

How was the feedback from family and friends when you told them you decided to write for publication?

I have a very supportive family. My dear husband allowed me to quit my job (which wasn't making much money anyway,) to pursue writing fulltime. My mother had to endure my overactive imagination for years, so knew I'd do something with it eventually. And the rest of the family knew I had this passion inside me, so it was no surprise at all.

What books have you published?

Merely Players is my first published novel. It's about a dolphin trainer who masks her feelings when her ex-boyfriend, now an A-list actor, reenters her life, and she makes him jump through hoops to win back her affection. Merely Players was published through Barbour Publishing's Heartsong Presents line, and is now bundled with two other stories under the title Florida Weddings, available in most book stores and online at Barbour Publishing. 

My second book is Love Letters, a Barbour Publishing novella anthology. The story is "Cookie Schemes" where a traditional fortune cookie maker woos a thoroughly modern woman in 1955 with scriptural wisdom. It's available for only a limited time at Barbour Books.

What do you think is the hardest thing about being a writer?

Balancing my time with my everyday responsibilities. Back when I decided to quit my job and write fulltime, I didn't know that a few years later my son would move in with his three kids and two pets. There's a reason why I waited until I had an empty nest to pursue this as a career. Now, I find I must write in between diaper changes, sibling rivalry, meals, and walks to and from school.

What message do you hope readers gain from your books?

As a Christian author, my theme always relates back to the Word. So as a general message, I hope my readers learn to turn to the Bible, and to God, for answers to their problems.

What do you wish you’d known early in your career that might have saved you some time and/or frustration in writing? In publishing?

I'd like to be flip and say I wish I'd known how to write! Maybe how to plot so it wouldn't have taken me three years to write Merely Players. I'm slowly learning this process now, and trying to integrate my seat of the pants mentality (just sitting down and writing without a plan.) I don't know if I'll ever get it perfect, but with God's grace, I know I don't have to.

What are some of your tips and tricks on the writing life that you can share with other writers?

First and foremost, organize the business side of your writing. If you want to be taken seriously, especially by the IRS, log your writing time, keep your expenses, know how much money you're making with each project, no matter how small. Second, relax. So many new authors are so uptight, wanting to get every rule right. I can tell you from experience, it ain't gonna happen! I found that I could only learn in layers. I could understand POV, but Scene and Sequel still eludes me. Learn only what you can handle. When you get that right, learn something else. Remember when writing was fun? Back when you wrote poems to your friends and poured out your angst on crisp narrow ruled paper? Recapture that feeling.

What are you currently writing?

Well, I was working on a cozy mystery series, but Friday I received a post in my inbox from Heartsong Acquisitions Editor, JoAnne Simmons saying she is "very" interested in my contemporary Oregon series proposal. This will be three romances, the first taking place on an alpaca farm. I responded to her, but haven't heard back.

About Kathy:

Kathleen, known as Kathy by her friends, believes that if they'd done an ultrasound on her mother while she was with child, they'd have found a writing instrument clutched in her tiny hand. After a lifetime of writing short stories, plays, and poems, God finally released Kathy to write as a career in 2002. This happened at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference where she won first place in the unpublished writers contest for her article "If Anyone Hears My Voice." She also met her editors, Jim and Tracie Peterson from Barbour's Heartsong Presents, who became intrigued with her heroine's profession, a dolphin trainer. By 2006, that novel, Merely Players, became published and went on to place second in the Inspirational Readers Choice Contest (IRCC) 2007. Then in May of this year it was bundled with two other stories by Lynn Coleman and Kristy Dykes under the title, Florida Weddings. In 2007, Kathy teamed up with Mary Davis, Sally Laity, and Jeri Odell for Love Letters, a Barbour novella collection about unique expressions of love, (hers takes place through fortune cookies.) Heartsong holds a readers poll every year, and in 2008, Kathy placed in the upper five of the Favorite New Author category.

After her contest win at CCWC, Kathy became leader of her local critique group, JOY Writers. She joined a local association, Colorado Writers Fellowship, and also a national organization, American Christian Fiction Writers, Her affiliation with ACFW eventually led to a position as the Colorado Coordinator, and she just recently moved up as the Rocky Mountain Zone Director.

Kathy lives in northeast Colorado (out where the buffalo roam) with her husband of 33 years. She has two sons, three grandchildren, and two grandpets - all of whom, at one point or another, have taken advantage of the revolving door on her empty nest.

Visit to learn more about her. She also has two blogs:, is where she shares her personal and professional life. And for a unique approach to writing, go to as we explore the craft through movies.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Grand Prize

Recently the winners of the Christy Awards have been announced, and now ACFW members are eagerly awaiting the results of the Book of the Year contest. The accolades of colleagues are great. It’s proof that you’ve succeeded in creating a superior product.

My friend Donita Paul, author of the wonderful DragonKeeper Chronicles, recently posted in an online writer’s loop that there’s an even better prize: the Grand Prize. That’s when God orchestrates the presentation of proof that your writing has touched a life for eternity. For Donita, it was when a young fan told her that she had decided to keep her relationships pure, like Kale and Bardon, Donita’s characters.

Too often we cast our eyes on the earthly prizes available for writers: Christy Awards, BOTY Award, amazing sales figures, having our books bought by the movie industry. Don’t get me wrong, these prizes certainly aren’t bad. And I think it’s wonderful to draw attention to the amazing offerings available in the Christian fiction industry. But if we concentrate more on the Grand Prize, then the rejections and disappointments experienced in the career of a writer will have less of a sting.

I’m thrilled to tell you that I’ve received a few Grand Prizes in my short career as a published author. One reader wrote to say that Searching for Spice “reminded me how important it is to keep God in your relationship and to know that he is there always!  In our busy, hectic lives I think it is easy to think that we are fighting our battles alone, when really we are never alone as long as we let him into our lives.  Thanks for reminding me of that!!” Wow. 

Another reader said, “You touched on so many issues and emotions that we all face at times. I am inspired by your words.” Double wow. 

And the other day I spoke to a gentleman who read Searching for Spice (brave fellow, he picked up a pink book). He said that after he and his wife both read the book, they’ve been enjoying deep and necessary conversations about their marriage. Triple wow. 

I wish I could claim total credit for the kind words those readers blessed me with. I don’t even dare. I know that my words would be lifeless without the Author of Life breathing meaning into them. He is the one that uses my words to minister to readers. His purposes are done. Halleluiah! That’s why the Grand Prize is the best of all. 

Psalm 40: 8 

I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart."

PS: Thanks to my friend, author Jill Nelson, for blogging about Searching for Spice on her Artistic Blogger blog. Commenters on her blog get an opportunity to win a copy of Searching for Spice--so hop on over!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Afictionado Review

I was pleasantly surprised to see a review of Searching for Spice in this month's edition of Afictionado. Afictionado is the monthly ACFW Ezine. The review is too good not to share:

If you are in want of a love affair with your long-time spouse, Megan DiMaria’s debut novel Searching for Spice is the book for you.

With a hint of chick-lit flair, Megan delivers an entertaining, yet realistic depiction of the challenges of a seasoned marriage. The spunky heroine in Searching for Spice, Linda Revere, attempts to rejuvenate romance in her twenty-four year old marriage, only to discover interruptions and setbacks abounding–not only from the world around her but also from within. As the story progresses, friends, family, and work conflicts compound one another, all advancing the plot and the pace while making this novel one enlightening fast read.

I closed this book with far greater respect and admiration for my own husband. Through Linda and Jerry Revere’s story, Megan subtly reveals the makings of a healthy marriage and shows that flirting isn’t only for the courtship years. And men, though the cover is predominantly pink and this story is written in first person from the heroine’s perspective, don’t let that deter you from reading this title. It gives great insight as to the inner workings of the female mind and shares a few of our secrets, too.

How nice is that? And I didn't even realize it was going to be published. Thanks to Afictionado writer Eileen Astels Watson for the kind words.

I get a thrill out of Eileen's suggestion that men should read Searching for Spice. It kind of makes me want to start a new club called The Searching for Spice Book Club for Men. I think it's got a ring to it!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

ACFW Conference

Oh, boy! 

In only 63 days I'll be off to Minneapolis and the annual American Christian Fiction Writers Conference. And I can hardly wait. 

ACFW has only been around since 2000. I was the 94th member to join in January of 2001. At that time, it was the ACRW, the "R" standing for Romance. When I joined, I didn't consider myself a romance writer (still don't), but I was convinced that all genres would be represented in the organization. In 2004, they adopted the new title, American Christian Fiction Writers. 

Although ACFW is a relatively young organization, it is considered one of the best around for Christian fiction authors. I've heard it said that the annual conference has become the premiere Christian fiction conference in the country. I agree 100%. 

When I knew I wanted to get serious about achieving my goal of becoming a published author, I started to attend writer’s conferences. There’s so much to learn of the craft, and I found face-to-face instruction the best way to gain that knowledge. The ACFW conference was the first national conference I attended. I went there knowing only a handful of writers and left having made many new, lasting friendships. Despite its size, the ACFW conference has a warm, welcoming air to it. 

So if you've never attended writers conference and you're considering taking your career to the next level, plan on attending the ACFW conference. It will propel you into the heart of the Christian fiction industry where you'll learn more about the craft, have the opportunity to get some face time with agents and editors, and make amazing friendships with fellow writers. Perhaps you'll even have a spiritual encounter with the Author of Life. This conference has a designated prayer room where there's always someone available to pray with you. 

I credit ACFW and their annual conference with being instrumental in helping me to achieve my long-time goal of becoming a published author. I began attending the yearly event in 2004, and in 2006 I had a serendipitous meeting with Jan Stob (acquisitions editor for Tyndale House) over lunch on the last day of the conference. That lunch resulted in Jan requesting my proposal and ultimately presenting me with a contract in March of 2007. This past AprilSearching for Spice was released, and the sequel, Out of Her Hands, will be available in October. 

So if anyone asks me if the ACFW Conference is worthwhile, my answer is YES!

I hope to see you in Minneapolis!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Blog Hopping

Today my friend Margie Vawter is hosting me on her blog, The Writer's Tool

Margie is a professional freelance editor who proofreads for CBA publishers, reviews manuscripts for an agent, edits for individual clients, and does a little writing herself in her "spare" time. LOL. 

I met Margie through ACFW several years ago, and I've cherished her friendship ever since.

The flowers are some of my favorite day lilies that grow in my garden. Can you believe such beauty is only to be enjoyed for a day? 

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Christy Awards!

The winners for the 2008 Christy Awards were announced last night!

Established in 1999 and named in honor of Catherine Marshall's novel, the Awards recognize excellence in Christian Fiction. 

This year's winners are:
  • Contemporary (Stand Alone):  Chasing Fireflies by Charles Martin
  • Contemporary (Series, Sequels and Novellas): Home To Holly Springs by Jan Karon
  • Historical: A Proper Pursuit by Lynn Austin
  • Lits: Hallie’s Heart by Shelly Beach
  • Romance: Remembered by Tammy Alexander
  • Suspense: The Cure by Athol Dickson
  • Visionary: Scarlet by Stephen Lawhead
  • YA: Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson
  • First Novel: The Stones Cry Out by Sibella Giorello
Congratulations to all the winners. Now I've got a few more books to add to my TBR pile.  

. . . and then we had dinner at a truck stop!

I had a wonderful time yesterday visiting with folks at Barnes & Noble (Cheyenne) and talking about Searching for Spice. And as usual, it was great to spend time with author Tina Forkner who was signing Ruby Among Us.

I always have fun chatting and laughing with book lovers. Yesterday, as per my usual MO, I was giving away chocolate kisses when the tables were turned and someone give me a small treat. Three delightful "Let's Do Tea" representative came to the book signing and gave me some yummy tea samples. Let me tell you, if drinking that tea makes people as happy as those ladies, then everyone should start enjoying tea more often. Thanks for the chuckles Mel, Julia, and Cindy. 

My DH and darling daughter #2 accompanied me yesterday, and on our way home we had dinner at a truck stop on I-25. And not just any truck stop, the World Famous Johnson's Corner. They've never closed their doors since 1952 when they first opened. They have the distinction of being one of of the "top ten BEST breakfast spots in the world" according to Travel and Leisure Magazine. Of course we had to order one of the cinnamon buns they're famous for. Thank goodness we only ordered one. They're huge. That's my daughter's fist next to the bun. 

It's a neat place, and much larger than I expected. Actually, since I've never dined at a truck stop, I really had no idea what to expect. LOL. 

Here's a photo I took from our booth looking toward the counter at the center of the restaurant. 

I'm glad I did this, it was fun to experience a slice of Americana with some tummy-filling food. 

Friday, July 11, 2008

Barnes & Noble, Cheyenne, WY

I'll be in Cheyenne tomorrow from 2:00 - 4:00p.m. signing Searching for Spice at the B&N. If you're in the area, I would love to chat with you. 

And as an added bonus, author Tina Forkner will be on hand to sign her new novel, Ruby Among Us.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Don't Use the Big Guns

I ran across this story online and thought it had an application to writing. Trust me, I'll explain. But first, here's the story:

Woman Shoots Self While Trying to Kill Mice

POTTER VALLEY, Calif. — A Mendocino County woman who was trying to kill mice in her trailer with a gun ended up shooting herself and another person.

The 43-year-old woman pulled out her .44-caliber Magnum revolver after she saw the mice scurrying across the floor of her trailer on Highway 20 in Potter Valley, sheriff's officials said.

But she accidentally dropped the gun, which went off as it struck the floor. The bullet went through the woman's kneecap, bounced off the keys sitting on the belt loop of a 42-year-old man in the trailer and grazed the man's groin before ending up in his coin pocket.

Authorities did not release the shooting victims' names.

The mice escaped the shooting unharmed.

Okay, here's my take on this bizarre connection: writers need to respect their readers. When tempted to take out the big guns (READ: over explain or add too much unnecessary detail), don't do it! Our readers are smart people. They like nuance, they like to use their imagination when reading a scene. All the dots do not need to be connected to be understood. Sometimes the big guns just backfire!

All right, I'm off my soapbox now. Happy writing and happy reading, everyone. 

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Ruby Among Us

I want to let you know about a great book that my friend Tina Forkner wrote. Ruby Among Us is beautifully written with well-crafted phrases and a story that you can just loose yourself in. 

I'm living with her character Lucy right now, as she tries to unlock the secrets of her family's past. 

I'd tell you more, but I'm going to get comfy and finish reading this delicious novel. 

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Faith, Hope and Fiction

Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Tricia Crisafulli for her website Faith, Hope and Fiction.

I had so much fun chatting with her. I felt as if we'd known each other for years. Tricia has a passion for people, that much is evident. She also has a passion for the written word and sharing her love of fiction with others. 

I'm honored to be her July/August interview. Please hop over to her site to read the transcript of our pleasant conversation. 

More importantly, bookmark her website for future reference. It's a site for "everyone who loves stories that inspire and entertain."

Friday, July 04, 2008

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Out of Her Hands

Out of Her Hands releases in three months! I can hardly believe it. 

Isn't the cover pretty?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Show Me the Tiara!

A few weeks ago, I went to my friend Jan's birthday party. And since I hadn't worn my tiara for nearly a month, I decided to shine it up and put it on. 

Anyway, my friend Kay was also at the party, and she commented that she never owned a tiara. Can you believe it? I think every girl at some point in her life should have a tiara. On our way out of the restaurant, I loaned Kay mine. 

This is the photo she sent me. She's doing the queen wave. Isn't that cute? Kay said she wore the tiara while writing and doing some housework. She claims it helped her productivity in both areas.

I'm up for anything that might increase my productivity. I only hope I remember to take off my tiara before I answer the doorbell or walk down the street to the mailbox.