Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Winners of the Julie Lessman Drawing

We have three winners of the Happy Blogoversary Grand Finale! Congratulations to Karen Lange, Amber S., and Connie A.

Each winner gets one of Julie Lessman's great books. They've been notified via email.

A big thank-you to all who entered the drawing and for making the Happy Blogoversary celebration a rousing success. Thanks also to Julie for her participation. She's not only an excellent writer, but a good friend. :)

I'm looking forward to a new Blog Year with lots of great articles, interviews, book reviews, drawings, and links from around the Net. Have a blessed weekend.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Round-Up - #52

Wow, what a great Happy Blogoversary Month! It's not over yet. You still have until Saturday midnight to enter the drawing. Scroll down, and check out the Monday post (May 25, 2009). There will be THREE winners in this drawing.

Last Sunday, I went to a Chuck Girard concert at a friend's church. Now, for some of you younger folks, he's a pioneer of contemporary Christian music. Way back during the Jesus Movement, Chuck found Jesus at Calvary Chapel (Pastor Chuck Smith) in California. He and a group of friends formed, "Love Song," a Christian band. He's written a bunch of songs including, "Sometimes Hallelujah, Sometimes Praise the Lord," and "Little Country Church." If you're interested, you can check out his website.

Over at The Master's Artist, Simon Maxwell expounds on I Corinthians 13 - the love chapter. I thought you might enjoy this post.

Becky Melby and Cathy Wienke talk about the team approach to character development. Check out their method at the Edit Cafe.

Last, but not least, Gail Gaymer Martin shares her resources for naming characters, personality development, etc.

Have a blessed weekend!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

On My Nightstand - A Passion Denied by Julie Lessman

Shy bookworm, Beth O'Connor, has grown up. Her hair is bobbed, and she now goes by the name, Lizzie. Unfortunately, John Brady, still thinks of her like a kid sister. Lizzie turns to her older sisters, Faith and Charity, for advice and the fun begins.

Julie Lessman builds upon previous books. As in life, we see how the choices Lizzie and her family make affect their futures. While the book is sassy like the others, strong values are promoted. The characters experience all the trials, tribulations, and joys of life.

For the last month and a half, I've had my nose buried in Julie's series. I read, "A Passion Most Pure," while dealing with a migraine. A Passion Redeemed kept my attention, and Charity finally won a place in my heart. "A Passion Denied," robbed me of sleep because I couldn't bear to put it down before finding out what happened to Lizzie and Brady. Ah Julie, thanks for many hours of reading pleasure.

I'm watching for the next title in The Daughters of Boston series. I hope all of you will enter Monday's drawing (May 25th) for these books. The deadline is fast approaching, so don't miss out. Scroll down and get your comment in before it's too late.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Blogoversary Grand Finale

This week is our final celebration of Happy Blogoversary Month. I mulled over how I could make this drawing extra special. Since all of you expressed interest in Julie Lessman's books, what better giveaway than all 3 of her titles? Yes folks, we're going to have not 1, not 2, but 3 happy winners in this contest.

A simple comment and your email address in the usual format (susanjreinhardt (at) _____ (dot) com) will secure you a place in this great giveaway. The contest is open to those in the Continental U.S. and Canada. It starts Monday, May 25, 2009, and runs through Saturday, May 30, 2009. The winners will be drawn on Sunday, May 31, 2009.

Don't miss the opportunity to win one of Julie's books. Quick, get your fingers on that keyboard and enter the drawing!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Announcing The Winner!

The winner of Brandilyn Collins' book, "Violet Dawn," is...Quiet Spirit. Hooray! Congratulations. As soon as I get your snail mail address, I'll send it out to you.

For everyone else, watch for the Grand Finale of Blogoversary Month tomorrow.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Round-Up - #51

I love fresh ideas! Jennifer Hudson Taylor came up with a dandy research resource. Take a cyber stroll over to her blog and get the lowdown on a cool idea.

Are you interested in writing for children? Debbie Roome, over at Pixnpens, gives some basics. She'll be doing several posts on the subject.

My friend, Miriam, is always on the lookout for websites that might interest her buddy (me). For those of you who are interested in freelancing, this is a paying Christian market.

Have a blessed weekend!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Author Interview - Rita Gerlach - Surrender The Wind

Rita Gerlach lives with her husband and two sons in a historical town nestled along the Catoctin Mountains, amid Civil War battlefields and Revolutionary War outposts in central Maryland. She has published three historical novels, and is editor of Stepping Stones Magazine, an online website focused on marketing, and the promotion of writers. Her fourth book, Surrender the Wind, an inspiration historical romance set in Virginia and England, is due to be released from Abingdon Press in Aug. 2009.

Welcome to Christian Writer/Reader Connection, Rita. What inspired you to write historical fiction?

I have always loved history. I live in a part of Maryland that is rife with it. Not far from where I live there are Civil War battlefields and Fort Frederick, a stone fort built during the French and Indian War. The lives of the people of the past have always interested me. Life was harder and shorter. People valued faith and family. In our society today we have lost many of the values our forebeares held dear. By writing a story set in the past, I can bring forward some of those ideals.

My favorite novels are historicals. Jane Austen's 'Pride and Prejudice', Charlotte Bronte's 'Jane Eyre', and the novels of Rafael Sabatini.

I've seen your book trailer, blog, and Stepping Stones Magazine. How far in advance did you begin marketing efforts for Surrender the Wind? Do you have any marketing/promotion tips for pre-published writers?

I have a saying that marketing is getting your book into the hands of readers; promotion is building a name. My first step as an author, since Surrender the Wind has not yet been released, has been to create a buzz, to promote the name of the novel everywhere and anywhere I can. I began promoting it as soon as I signed the contract with Abingdon Press back in September. I sent out email announcements, posted on my blog about it, and built a new website. I put up a page on Facebook, as well as a fan page for Surrender the Wind. It wasn't until May 2009 that I finished the book trailer. The trailer has created a ripple effect. More and more people are viewing it, hearing about the story, and preordering the book.

From all the tantalizing blurbs, I see your characters face many hurdles. How do you maintain momentum through the middle of the story?

It is vital to holding your reader's attention that you keep the momentum going. Nothing will lose a reader quicker than a boring middle. I really have no formula to offer on how to maintain momentum. I simply build on the story, continue to create an atmosphere of danger and tension through action and dialogue. I show instead of telling. One important goal is to cause your reader to wonder what will happen next, and write with such power that they worry about your characters. Robert Frost said, 'No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.' How does a writer do this? Draw it out of yourself and reflect in your writing. Let your reader see, hear, taste, and touch what your characters are seeing, hearing, tasting, and touching. Let your reader feel your characters' pain through visceral actions and dynamic dialogue.

Do you have any parting words of advice for our readers?

Read. Read. Read. It's one of the best ways to learn the craft. Be patient with the work you do, with submissions, and with getting published. Do not write for fame or fortune. Write because you love to write, even if it means never getting published. Make the writing number one, and the publication of your work number two. It's tough to break in, and a new writer needs to know the realities of getting published and the work that follows. Do not every let fame and money be your motivation for being an author. If it is, you are writing for the wrong reasons.

Thank you so much for being part of our Happy Blogoversary month, Rita.

Thank you, Susan. It was an honor to be a part of your Blog's anniversary!

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Party Continues

We're enjoying a Happy Blogoversary month here at Christian Writer/Reader Connection. The good news? We have two more weeks to celebrate! So bring out the balloons, the birthday cake, noisemakers, and enter our drawing.

For all you Suspense fans, Brandilyn Collins' book, "Violet Dawn," is our next giveaway. The first book in the Kanner Lake Series starts out with an eerie scene. I don't think I'll ever go into a hot tub at night after reading this book.

To enter, leave a comment with your email address, using the spam-busting format: name (at) happy (dot) com. The drawing is open to the Continental U.S. and Canada. All comments must be received by Saturday midnight, May 23, 2009. A winner will be drawn Sunday, May 24, 2009.

Thanks for celebrating with us!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Winner

We have a winner! Congratulations, Cindy Wilson! You've won Liz Curtis Higgs' book, "Grace In Thine Eyes."

Watch for another book drawing tomorrow. Have a great Sunday!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Round-Up - #50

After church, Mom and I celebrated Mother's Day. She's been wanting to read Neta Jackson's series, "The Yada Yada Prayer Group." The first book whet her appetite for more. I picked up books 2, 3, 4, and 5 for her. We spent the balance of the day delighting in the company of friends.

Hmm, those gas prices are escalating again. Two weeks ago, the rock bottom price around here was $1.91.9. Last Saturday, the lowest price I could find was $2.15.9. How are prices in your area?

Tricia Goyer talks about writing while raising kids. Check out her post for a healthy dose of common sense and helpful tips.

Tomorrow, May 16, 2009, is the last day you can enter the drawing for Liz Curtis Higgs' book, "Grace In Thine Eyes." If you post about the contest on your blog and send me a link (in the comments or via email), you'll get a second entry. Don't miss an opportunity to pick up this popular book.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

On My Nightstand - A Passion Redeemed by Julie Lessman

Julie Lessman continues the Daughters of Boston series, focusing on Charity O'Connor. The beauty is desperate for love and marriage, but her methods bring only heartache. It takes the love and forgiveness of the people she's wounded to finally bring Charity the desires of her heart.

It took awhile for Charity to grow on me. As Julie revealed her backstory, I found myself caring and wanting her to grow into a woman of quality. At times she horrified me, but I also saw the hurt little girl wanting the love of those around her.

While a strong romance, the story promotes God's values in all relationships. Forgiveness, accountability, and God's love run like a golden thread through this book.

Julie's series holds great promise. I look forward to a long reading relationship with the O'Connor clan.

Monday, May 11, 2009


After an awesome Blogoversary celebration, we're going to continue the excitement. Liz Curtis Higgs' book, "Grace in Thine Eyes," is our next giveaway title. Davina McKie is seventeen. Although she cannot speak, her talent as a musician communicates her love of life.

To enter the drawing, comment and leave your email address, using the anti-spam format (myname (at) gmail (dot) com). Entries are limited to the Continental U.S. and Canada. A winner will be drawn on Sunday, May 17, 2009. Anyone who advertises the giveaway on their blog and sends me a link, will be entered twice. Don't miss the fun.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

We Have Two Winners

Yay! Mom drew the winners for the two book giveaways this morning.

The winner of Julie Lessman's book is...drum roll please...SHERRINDA!

The winner of James Scott Bell's, "Presumed Guilty," is...TaDa...STINA ROSE!

Both of them have been notified by email with instructions. Julie will send out her book to the winner. I'll send out Mr. Bell's book to Stine Rose.

More book giveaways are on the way! Don't miss tomorrow's post. :)

Mom and I wish all the mothers out there a Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday Round-Up - #49

A writer friend and I got together last weekend. She reviewed one of my short stories and made some valuable suggestions. With the revisions finished, the story is on its way to a publisher once again. Our schedules don't always mesh, but I find it so helpful when we brainstorm a story.

Woohoo! I won Jeanette Levellie's office supply giveaway. She's worried the chocolate will melt enroute. No problem. If that happens, I'll just dip some strawberries in it.

My friend, Kathryn Lang, over at Successful Freelance Writer, posted a great article on online versus print writing. She explores the differences and gives tips for writing on the web.

Renee Gutteridge, over at Faithchicks, regales us with tales of unusual research. I don't know if I'd be brave enough to emulate her exploits, but I sure had fun reading about hers.

Have a blessed and productive weekend!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Author Interview - Julie Lessman

Julie Lessman is a new author who has garnered much writing acclaim, including ten Romance Writers of America awards. She resides in Missouri with her husband and their golden retriever, and has two grown children and a daughter-in-law. She is the author of The Daughters of Boston series, which includes A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed, and A Passion Denied. You can contact Julie through her Web site.

1. How did you decide to write Christian romance novels?

Well, Susan, frankly I got SO sick of the world pushing its amoral agenda in romance novels that I decided to try and write my own where I could push God's agenda instead. My thinking was to promote His precepts with the lure of the same kind of passionate romance that I fell in love with at the age of twelve, when I read Gone With the Wind, which by the way, is when I started writing A Passion Most Pure. Back then I wrote 150 single-spaced pages of what is today my debut novel, but I didn't finish it till after I turned 50. But better late than never, eh?

2. Can you share some of your publishing journey with us?

Well, I started out like many authors do, entering contests, none of which I finaled in at the onset. But I studied books on writing and took a fiction-writing course and prayed about every judge's comment in a contest, changing my manuscript according to judges' and the Holy Spirit's leading. And then lo and behold, I started finaling in every contest I entered until I finally hit the jackpot - the Golden Heart! Since this is the grand-daddy of all romantic contests for the unpublished writer, I determined I would "make hay while the sun shines" and sent out 25 queries to agents and 15 to publishers advising each of them I was a Golden Heart finalist.

You can imagine my disappointment when I received 39 rejection letters and only ONE favorable response. And, unlike all the others, this favorable response came in the form of an e-mail from one of the biggest agents in the business, Natasha Kern. She requested that I express mail the manuscript to her so she could read it on the plane en route to a conference! All it takes is one "yes."

3. What made you choose Boston in 1916 as the backdrop for your story?

Well, Boston and Dublin are the only two settings I've used in all three novels of The Daughters of Boston series, and I chose those cities when I was a little girl. I knew I wanted an Irish family coping with a war (like Gone With the Wind), but didn't have the audacity to try another Civil War epic. :) Ireland was always a given, and Dublin is one of its biggest cities, so that's why I chose it.

As far as Boston, I have never been there, but I LOVED Boston Baked Beans candy when I was a kid, as well as anything Colonial. (I used to LOVE Disney's Swamp Fox TV show.) I'm guessing I just picked Boston because of those reasons. You can imagine my excitement when I wrote A Passion Most Pure 40 years later and learned that Boston was considered the heart of Irish America because of its large contingent of immigrants after the potato famine. Very cool!

Thanks, Susan, for allowing me this time to connect with you and your readers. Anyone who would like to contact me can do so through my website, either by sending an e-mail or by signing up for my newsletter, in which I feature book giveaways. Finally, I invite your readers to visit The Seekers, a group blog to which I belong that talks about "The road to publication." God bless!

Hi Everyone, Susan here. Julie has generously offered to give away one of her books in a drawing. If you've already read A Passion Most Pure, you can choose one of her other books. She informed me they are best read in order.

To enter the drawing, leave a comment with your email address. You have until Saturday midnight, May 9, 2009, to enter. The drawing will take place, Sunday, May 10, 2009. I'll furnish Julie with the winner's name and snail mail address. She will ship the book directly to the winner.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Happy Blogoversary!

Yup! This month is Christian Writer/Reader Connection's 1st Blogoversary. To celebrate and thank all of my blogging friends, we're having our biggest and best giveaways ever. On Wednesday, May 6, 2009, Julie Lessman joins us for a fabulous interview and book giveaway. Let's get the ball rolling right now.

The first contest book is, "Presumed Guilty," a legal thriller by James Scott Bell. Dallas Hamilton faces the greatest challenge of her life. This book keeps the tension going right to its stunning conclusion.

To enter, leave a comment along with your email address using the format susanjreinhardt (at) gmail (dot) (com). The giveaway is limited to the Continental U.S. and Canada. A winner will be drawn by Mom on Sunday, May 10, 2009. I'll notify you via email and announce the winner on the blog.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Update on Broken Link

Weird. When I put in the address for Michele Cushatt's post, I get a message saying the blog has been removed. I'm stumped, and don't remember how I found the article. I often pop through several blogs before locating a juicy morsel for all of you.

Sigh. I sure tried.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Friday Postscript

I tried the link to Michele Cushatt's article, and it's not working. If I can figure out what's wrong, I'll post it again. Usually, I try all the links prior to publishing, but I skipped that important step. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Friday Round-Up - #48

Conference time is upon us with all of its hectic preparation. I'll be attending the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference in August. Marlene Bagnull always brings in top agents, editors, and authors. Check out her website, and click on the link for the conference.

Michele Cushatt tells us how to pitch like a pro. I need to read and re-read this article. This is a scary task I've yet to master.

Watch for exciting posts next month! We'll have a special interview on Wednesday and lots of giveaways.

Have a great weekend!