Archive for the ‘ Author ’ Category

We are Thankful…And so are our Authors!

Hello Fiction Fans!
Thanksgiving is just around the corner and we here at River North were just thinking about all the things we are thankful for. We thought it would be fun to ask a few of our authors what they are thankful for and this is what they said:

Captive Trail author Susan page Davis:

I’m very thankful for my family. Jim and I hope to spend this Thanksgiving with four of our six children and five of our eight grandchildren. Maybe in a future year we can get all of them together! Time spent with loved ones is perhaps the blessing I cherish most. 

Long Trail Home author Vickie McDonough:

I’m thankful for a happy, healthy family and that my husband is working full-time again. Over the past three years, he has been laid off four times, including right before Christmas last year. Also, our #3 son just returned from a year’s deployment in Egypt and will get to share the holidays with us this year. 

Pearl in the Sand author Tessa Afshar:

After losing power for a week due to twelve inches of unprecedented snow in October, I have been thanking God more than ever for the small things – for a hug from a friend, for sharing laughter with family, for my quiet times with God, for my hot water bottle. And definitely for my hair dryer!

Lone Star Trail author Darlene Franklin:

I am thankful for a faithful God who never changes, for friends and family, for the opportunity to do what I love most in the world–write.

Faith Deployed…Again author Jocelyn Green:

Other than my precious family, which goes without saying, I’m thankful for the sacrifices military families make for the rest of us, and for the freedom we still have in this country to boldly proclaim the Lordship of Jesus Christ. I was just on the Gary Chapman radio program for Veteran’s Day and I don’t take for granted the blessing it is to be able to speak truth through mass media without fear of repercussions.

What are you thankful for this year? We would love to hear about it! 

 ~Brittany

 

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Psalm 46

Psalm 46

Last Sunday I sat in the pew next to my husband and youngest son. The two story stained glass panels dwarfed the teacher at the pulpit and transfixed me as I tried to listen. It was a very long week in the days prior and I could finally relax and take in the beauty that surrounded me in the presence of love.

 I wanted to stay forever.

Psalm 46 was sung by the choir situated in the loft at the back of the long barn shaped sanctuary. The words filled the air around me and hugged tightly to my body.

                The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold.  

The Lord of hosts is with us; God is with us; He is with me. How often I assure myself with these words. He is not only with me he is my stronghold. Though those words were not visible, they pressed against me like a shield.

Even now as I write this blog post I can close my eyes and feel His presence. Daily I forget though. Daily life gets more complicated and I run from before sun up until well after dark.

I cut out the section of the bulletin including Psalm 46 and taped it to my monitor stand as a reminder.

Not sophisticated but it works.

So does reading books that remind us of his truth. Art creates a space for God. That is one of the things that I love about fiction. The truth can stand in it.

I hope that you have had a chance to read the Texas Trails series. The November release is Long Trail Home by Vickie McDonough. In it you will see a loving and faithful God who never leaves or abandons the main character: God as a stronghold.

Truth can be found in the pages.

~Deb

Interview with Christy award winning author—Chris Fabry

Interview with Christy award-winning author—Chris Fabry

Chris Fabry is the winner of multiple Christy awards, has his own daily radio show, and is the author of adult and children’s titles alike. And now he has teamed up with Gary Chapman, the New York Times Bestselling Author, to write A Marriage Carol. Sure to become a Christmas favorite, this Dickensian tale will take you on a journey of discovery where snow has the power to illuminate choices and it’s never too late to get a second chance.

Chris shares his writing life journey including what has led him to write this story so check it out!

 

Buy this perfect Christmas gift at your local Christian bookstore or one of our participating vendors:

Amazon, CBD (Christian Book Distributors), and Family Bookstores.

For more information on the Author’s radio shows and other titles go to Chris Fabry’s or Gary Chapman’s websites.

The radio broadcast of A Marriage Carol was just completed last week and is still in production. It should be airing on Moody Radio around the holidays. Stay tuned for dates and times!

5 Terrific Things for Tuesday: Fun Facts about Author Jocelyn Green

Hello Fiction Friends,

I had the pleasure of meeting one of our great authors this weekend. When I first started working here at Moody Publishers, I was corresponding with Jocelyn Green and noticed on her email signature that she lives on the same street that I did when I attended the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. It was a fun little coincidence to me. Well, my husband and I took a little trip back to that area this past weekend for a get together with some of his college buddies and their wives and I was able to pop in on Jocelyn and finally meet her face to face. This was my first sit down with an author and it was really neat to hear about her process and see firsthand the different ways in which she organizes herself and her thoughts. Here are 5 fun little facts that I learned about Jocelyn and her writing process:

1) The 4 Civil War fiction novels that Jocelyn is writing for us are her first fiction novels. She has done so much research. In order to keep her ideas organized, she tapes colored index cards to the wall with one line running east to west with actual historical events and then cards running north and south that are fiction lines she is adding in.

 

 

 

 

2) She also keeps bulletin boards that are packed with pictures of real people from the specific time and place she is writing about, samples of clothes, and pictures of the actual places.

 

 

 

3) She has her own writing room where she keeps all of her materials and said her necessary items include a cup of coffee, her coffee cup warmer, a candle, and writing pants.

 

 

 

 

4) Jocelyn is a wife and mother of 2 children on top of being a busy author. She keeps her house rolling smoothly by preparing dinners in bulk and freezing them so that her family can still sit down together for dinner at night even though she is working hard at writing.

 

 

 

 

 

5) My favorite thing that Jocelyn told me is that at one point in time it was relaxing to have her cat pounce around while she was writing but now she has to keep an eye on the cat because not too long ago he caught his tail on fire while playing too close to Jocelyn’s candle. That would be a little stressful I would say! He looks so sweet and innocent here!

 

 

 

 

It was so great meeting Jocelyn and getting a chance to learn firsthand what a writer does in preparation for a novel. Thanks again for your time and hospitality! Go Panthers!

~Brittany

 

Coffee Withdrawal at ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers)

Coffee withdrawal at ACFW

By Deb Keiser

I stood on the platform waiting for my train into Chicago yesterday morning and glanced down at my iPhone. Like most of the commuters our faces were turned toward something to read—a newspaper, book, or an electronic device. Hardly anyone talks first thing in the morning. Not enough coffee yet.

I read this hysterically funny email string of comments about coffee makers at the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference which runs September 22-25 officially, but many participants are arriving on Wednesday.

Anyway, it appears that there will not be coffee makers in the rooms at the convention hotel, the Hyatt. It was so hard for me to believe that a reputable national hotel chain would not know that coffee is one of the nation’s staples. It is like soap—everyone needs it.  I had to call to discover for myself if it was true—and it is! “No coffee makers in the rooms, for green reasons.” The desk clerk told me when I called the hotel. Sounds fishy to me . . . next thing you know caffeine addicts will be escorted outside to drink coffee and forced to join the smokers on the street. I can just see us huddled together in the dead of winter on the sidewalks of Chicago.

No less than 16 people commented on the hardship of going without coffee first thing in the morning. I think that was the longest email string sent from the ACFW conference. Christian fiction writers definitely have their priorities. Coffee first then everything else.

I totally get it. In an attempt to give up coffee, I’ve been drinking tea first thing in the morning since December 2010, nine . . .  long . . . months. Drinking tea at work, too. But I’ve been “treating” myself to Starbucks lattes with an ever increasing frequency. I’m now a Starbucks Gold Card member. Good for Starbucks but bad for my pocketbook.  

I finally broke down and bought an espresso maker. After tallying up all I have spent on lattes in a given month, I decided that it was time to stop the bleeding. I checked on-line for the best price, make and model, but in the end I drove to the nearest Kohl’s and bought one for 50% off. I was so proud of myself—it cost less than a month-of-lattes.

In the end I failed to give up coffee. But I’m back in sync with my people—Caffeinated Christians for Fiction. Think that American Christian Fiction Writers would change the name?

Tonight I rest assured that on Thursday there will be coffee served on the plane to St. Louis bound for the ACFW (or the new CCFF?) conference. See you in St. Louie!

5 Terrific Things for Tuesday: Favorite Places to Read

Good morning,

We asked 5 of our authors to tell us where their favorite spot is to read. Here is what we heard from them:

1) Susan Page Davis-Author of Captive Trail

I’ll read anywhere, but I love to sit outside on our back deck with a book. In good weather, the breeze and the birdsong add to the experience. I usually have a cup of tea handy, too.

2) Vickie McDonough-Author of Long Trail Home

I read everywhere, but my favorite place is in my recliner with my feet up and the lamp turned up high. I take a book with me almost all the time and read whenever I get a chance. I got stopped at a light today that I knew was especially long, snatched up my book, and read a page before it turned green. My husband isn’t much of a talker, so whenever he’s driving, I’m reading. I still prefer a good, old-fashioned paperback to reading digitally, but I’ve read some of those too. 

3) Darlene Franklin-Author of Lone Star Trail

I don’t have a place where I don’t like to read; if I run out reading material while I am out, I will buy another book, even if I have ten unread at home. But I would guess that the two places where I do the most reading are my bedroom and with meals. I often sit down to read a few pages and find myself still there an hour later and 100 pages further into the book . . . and then I have to finish, because I’m so close. Since I’m single and self-employed, I can do that.

4) Tessa Afshar-Author of Pearl in the Sand and the upcoming Harvest of Rubies Series

Some people can sleep anywhere: on the plane, in the car, sitting in front of the television. One of my friends actually fell asleep standing up, once. I don’t have that talent. But I can read anywhere. As I eat, while the radio is blaring, in the gym, when people are trying to talk to me on the phone (I try to avoid doing this last. But if you call me when I’m in the middle of a particularly good part, I might not be answerable for my actions). So I don’t really have a favorite place for reading. I’m not that picky. Any place can become my favorite if the book is engaging.

5) Jocelyn Green-Author of Faith Deployed, Faith Deployed…Again, and the upcoming Civil War Fiction Series

If the weather is at all decent, my favorite place to read is on the chaise lounge on our backyard patio, preferably with a mango pineapple smoothie sitting on the table next to it. With a flowering crab tree and hydrangeas behind me, and hostas, geraniums, and lilies in front, it’s my perfect little retreat spot. Of course, my three-year-old son and five-year-old daughter think so too, so usually when I read out there I’m listening to their training wheels rolling over the paving stones, along with the birds and the bees. Pure bliss. (Assuming no sibling rivalry breaks out.)  During the colder months here in Iowa, my favorite reading spot is my chair-and-a-half recliner in the living room, with a cinnamon, pumpkin, or evergreen candle lit nearby and a steaming mug of hazelnut coffee within reach. Our cat Chloe will usually join me here too. If I’m lucky, she’ll behave herself instead of trying to sit on my open book. Those are my favorite places to read, but I will read wherever I can, even if it’s just a few pages at a time. Thank goodness books are portable. 

Where do you like to read??

5 Terrific Things for Tuesday: 5 Ideas for Better Stories

5 Ideas for Better Stories

Today I would like to share the wisdom of others, from some of my favorite books on the craft and life of writing. Unfortunately in my dash to leave home this morning I forgot some of my resources on the granite countertop next to my fridge—a happy accident in hindsight. I will have more to share with you next time.

 From Bird by Bird – by Anne Lamott

1) The ABDCE of Writing

I heard Alice Adams give a lecture . . . . She uses a formula when writing a short story, which goes ABDCE, for Action, Background, Development, Climax, and Ending. You begin with action that is compelling enough to draw us in, make us want to know more. Background is where you let us see and know who these people are, how they’ve come to be together, what was going on before the opening of the story. Then you develop these people, so that we learn what they care most about. The plot—the drama, the actions, the tension—will grow out of that. You move them along until everything comes together in the climax, after which things are different for the main character, different in some real way. And then there is the ending: what is our sense of who these people are now, what are they left with, what happened, and what did it mean?

2) Know Your Characters

Find out what each character cares most about in the world because then you will have discovered what’s at stake. Find a way to express this discovery in action, then let your people set about finding or holding onto or defending whatever it is. They you can take them from good to bad and back again, or from bad to good or from lost to found. But something must be at stake or you will not have tension and your readers will not turn the pages. Think of a hockey player—there had better be a puck out there on the ice, or he is going to look pretty ridiculous.

From Writing for the Soul by Jerry B. Jenkins

3) Point of View is a Party

Imagine your story as a party with you as host. You’ve invited old friends, new friends, neighbors, and acquaintances. Your job is to choreograph the events so people feel comfortable and never wonder what’s going on.

You greet guests at the door and introduce them to each other, get conversations started. Without being intrusive, your aim is to make sure everyone has a good time.

We’ve all been to parties where the host has not covered the basics. Although we don’t expect our host to be the center of attention, we expect her to manage the details. When this is done right, we hardly notice. We simply know we’ve had a good time. When details are neglected, everyone leaves with a bad taste.

Picture yourself as the host of a fiction party. Invite readers to a treat. Don’t take center stage, but manage the basics in such a way that the reader barely notices. Nothing should jar her as she engages with your characters and plot.

No one should notice that you followed the rules of perspective, that you limited your point of view to one character per scene. But they’ll notice if you don’t.

4) Internal Dialogue

Getting inside a person’s head is fun. Imagine a character thinking, I hate that guy and always have. He ripped me off, stole my wife, and crashed my car.

Now put him in a scene with his nemesis and have him say, “Good to see you again, Phil. I’m looking forward to working together.” When Phil responds positively, the reader knows someone’s lying. Probably both of them. Continue that way throughout your story, and the reader will wonder to the end who is being real and who is not.

From Writing Down the Bones – by Natalie Goldberg

5) Be Specific

Be specific. Don’t say “fruit.” Tell what kind of fruit. Give things the dignity of their names. Just as with human beings, it is rude to say, “Hey girl, get in line.” That “girl” has a name. (As a matter of fact, if she’s at least twenty yours old, she’s a woman, not a “girl” at all.) Things too, have names. It is much better to say, “the geranium in the window” than “the flower in the window.” “Geranium”—that one word gives us a much more specific picture. It penetrates more deeply into the beingness of that flower. It immediately gives us the scene by the window—red petals, green circular leaves, all straining toward sunlight.

By Deb Keiser