Monday, March 21, 2011

JoAnn Durgin's "Awakening"

We're happy to have JoAnn Durgin with us today talking about her book Awakening. To learn more about JoAnn and her book, read on!

Title: Awakening
Publisher: Torn Veil Books

Cover blurb: Lexa Clarke signs up for a short-term summer assignment in San Antonio with TeamWork Missions, hoping to make a difference in the world. TeamWork director Sam Lewis has a job to do and can't afford to be distracted by the petite, feisty blonde. But when she tumbles into his arms from the top of a house they’re rebuilding, Sam suspects his life will never be the same. A God-fearing man. A God-seeking woman. A combustible combination.

1. How did this story come to you?
A lot of the people, places and events in Awakening parallel my love story with my husband, Jim. In many ways, I lived this story, and I like to think it makes it more real. The strength of character, unwavering faith and goodness in Sam is based on Jim. And the stubbornness, resourcefulness and resilience in Lexa is based on yours truly.

2. Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
Awakening was written more than a decade ago before putting my writing aside to raise our three children. In late 2008, I literally dug it out from under the bed and blew off the dust bunnies, but I only had the last half. Reading it with fresh eyes, I knew this was the story the Lord wanted me to tell. Not only did He give me my story back, but He opened the doors of His choosing in very dramatic ways (read about it on my website). I still haven’t found an agent, but Awakening sold to the first publisher who reviewed it. I am very blessed.

3. Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
(1) I’m related to an oil millionaire as well as a PGA golf champion who won the Master’s and the U.S. Open golf tournaments. (2) I’m a diehard Boston Red Sox fan and can get very loud and boisterous watching them. We were blessed to live in Boston when they won the World Series after 86 long years, and had to go through their biggest rivals, the New York Yankees, to do it. (3) I credit rejection (twice) by one of the best Christian agents out there, criticism from a multi-published, award-winning author who said there wasn’t a market for a book like Awakening, and a layoff from my paralegal job that led to getting my manuscript in the hands of my publisher. Now, I’m on my way in my writing career and have an even better paralegal job. It never ceases to amaze me the miraculous ways in which the Lord works to accomplish His perfect will!

4. What are you working on now and what's next for you?
The next installment in the series is called Second Time Around, and it’s currently under review with Torn Veil Books. The entire series is written, awaiting edits, with a second series right behind it that’s an indirect offshoot from this one. I’ve got a few stand alone novels I wrote years ago I might pick up again, and I started something totally new recently just because I missed the creative process of writing. I’m never idle, and try to do something connected with writing every day.

5. Parting comments?
One of the biggest challenges for a writer is to create characters who become so real they literally jump off the page and into the hearts and minds of readers. If a writer is passionate about their characters, the story shines. The Lord is my co-author, and I’m writing the stories He’s given to me. If you’re a writer, my best advice is to pray and commit your work to the Lord. And then simply write. If you’re a reader, I hope when you pick up my book, you’ll find an involving story featuring a healthy dose of romance with deep emotion and a little adventure thrown into the mix! Thanks for allowing me to share with you today.

6. Where can fans find you on the internet?
I’m on Facebook, and messages can also be sent to me via my website at I’d love to hear from you! I regularly blog on Reflections in Hindsight on alternate Wednesdays and Hoosier Ink on the 30th of each month. Blessings!

Shannon Van Roekel's "Desert Fire"

We're happy to have Shannon Van Roekel with us today talking about her book Desert Fire. To learn more about Shannon and her book, read on!

Title: Desert Fire
Publisher: Kregel Publications

Cover blurb: On assignment in Darfur, Sudan, journalist Julia Keegan hopes to open the eyes of average Americans to the atrocities taking place there—and to distance herself from the shadow cast by her father. Even as she steels herself to face the horrors of genocide, Julia isn’t prepared to face her own past.

In the United States, Fred Keegan, a convicted murderer dying of cancer, asks young lawyer Joel Maartens to deliver a letter to his estranged daughter, Julia. When Joel and Julia meet in Sudan, they find their lives suddenly redefined by the injustice and violence around them, and both are forced to face truths they would rather leave concealed.

1) How did this story come to you?
Brainstorming with my family on the way home from a summer vacation. I had the first chapter written before we got home.

2) Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
I attended the Oregon Christian Writers Summer Conference and proposed it to several editors there. Steve Barclift listened to me describe it over supper one night and told me to send it to him. Six months later (after some editing and rewriting), I had a contract. 18 months later, and lots more editing, the book was published!

3) Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
I wrote most of “Desert Fire” in the middle of the night.
I homeschooled my five kids.
I’m training to run 10 km.

4) What are you working on now and what's next for you?
I am working on a sequel to “Desert Fire” wherein Julia and Joel enjoy an increasingly complicated relationship and Julia goes to Burma, reporting on the longest on-going genocide in the world.

I desire to grow in obedience to and in the knowledge of the love of Jesus Christ and to persevere in my craft, writing with greater effectiveness the stories God leads me to tell.

5) Parting comments?
I am available to speak at retreats and/or conferences on writing, homeschooling and/or writing.

6) Where can fans find you on the internet?

Stephen Bly's "Throw the Devil Off the Train" or "Cowboy for a Rainy Afternoon"

We're happy to have Stephen Bly with us today talking about his book Throw the Devil Off the Train. To learn more about Stephen and his book, read on!

Note from Stephen: The release date of Throw The Devil Off The Train has been pushed to May 1st, 2011. We could offer a copy of Cowboy For A Rainy Afternoon now, with the option of waiting for the future release later, if you’d like.

Title: Throw the Devil Off the Train
Cover Blurb: Catherine heads west to escape her past. She will do anything to get to California and her fiancĂ© Philip. Race heads west to avenge his brother’s death. On the long, cramped train ride he longs for nothing but hours of sleep. However, the devil’s on board and someone’s got to throw him off.

1) How did this story come to you?
I don’t have a clue on this one. Sometimes plot ideas seem to fall out of the sky for me. When I recognize one that I like, I pick it up and run with it, to see where it leads. That’s what happened with Throw The Devil Off The Train.

2) Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
Center Point Publishers had released a number of my paperback books as hardback large prints. Over a year ago the editor approached me about doing books for their growing base of westerns fans. . .mostly through public library outlets. . .as first edition novels. So, I wrote Creede of Old Montana for them, then Cowboy For A Rainy Afternoon. While writing that last story set in the 1950s, I perceived setting a whole book on a train from Omaha to Sacramento in the 1880s. That became Throw The Devil Off The Train.

3) Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
I love to golf and years ago played on the college golf team. I’ve never been to Branson, Missouri. I’m living with prostate cancer.

4) What are you working on now and what's next for you?
I just signed a contract for a story about one of my favorite characters, rancher Stuart Brannon of The Stuart Brannon Series, as an older man in 1905. He’s invited by his good friends, Lord & Lady Fletcher, to be one of the celebrities in their golf tournament on the Oregon coast. The working title: Stuart Brannon’s Final Shot.

5) Parting comments?
My life verse is Matthew 6:33: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” I consider writing to be one of the ‘added things’ in my life, for which I am very grateful.

6) Where can fans find you on the internet?
At our website:  Or our “On A Western Trail” blog:

Interview with Barbara M. Britton and spotlight of Lioness...

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