Thursday, December 22, 2011

Winner of The Doctor's Lady!!

Congratulations to Deb, the winner of Jody Hedlund’s novel “The Doctor’s Lady”!! She has been notified and will receive her novel shortly!
Thank you all so much for entering!!!
Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Understanding Deep POV

Have you ever heard the following phrases from your crit partners, “Your novel is great, but it lacks deep POV” or “What you need to do is read some novels which utilize deep POV, as it will expand your writing ability?" I know I certainly have.

Is there a way to fix this? A way to make the move that lands our novels from the slush pile onto the bestseller lists? Utilizing deep POV gives our novels a better chance of succeeding in this tight publishing market. It also brings readers into a deeper experience with our characters. Writing deep POV is what distinguishes the above average writers from their counterparts.

So what exactly is deep POV? Deep POV is third person told in an intimate way. Rather than telling readers it uses descriptive language and thought processes to show them. The best novels are those where we connect with the characters, right? Deep POV helps us do just that. So to sum it up in one sentence: Deep POV is showing the reader the character’s emotions instead of telling them. The following examples will demonstrate.

Instead of:Amelia was angry, yet she tried not to show it.
Say:Amelia bit her lip, sucking in a deep breath, while fighting the urge to spew forth angry words.

See how the second example gives a better picture of what is going on inside the character’s head?

Another tip is to take out words such as, felt, saw, watched, thought, and knew. I confess I tend to use a ton of these words while writing the first draft of my novels, and then taking them out during the editing phase. Let’s look at another example:

How dare he, Susan thought? She knew Jack Kincaid was the worst cad she’d ever met and it would be a struggle not to tell him.

Pretty bad huh? Now let’s try and fix it:
How dare he? Susan splayed her hand against her bodice, trying to calm her pounding heart. Jack Kincaid was the worst cad she’d ever met. She gritted her teeth. The only thing better than telling him would be slapping him silly.

In the above example we not only get deeper inside Susan’s head but we also learn something new about her personality. This helps us to connect with her, which is what every author wants. We want readers to connect with characters, which better enhances the emotional experience of a good novel.

Novels That Show Deep POV Writing
Here are some novels which I’ve found utilize deep POV extremely well. These are only a sampling and I’m sure there are many more, but I’ve used several of these novels as “manuals” for good deep POV writing. Descriptions of the novels below can be found on

Heiress – Susan May Warren
A Heart Revealed – Julie Lessman
Fairer Than Morning - Rosslyn Elliot
Abigail – Jill Eileen Smith
The Doctor’s Lady – Jody Hedlund
The Falcon and the Sparrow – M. L. Tyndall

This list is by no means definitive, but I’ve found these authors’ techniques to be extremely helpful when writing my own deep POV.

Remember, deep POV is showing the character’s emotion instead of telling it. It’s bringing readers deeper into the lives and hearts of our characters thus giving us the ability to better touch hearts and lives with our novels.


I’m extending my Countdown to Christmas one more week to offer one blessed reader a special book. This week I am giving away an autographed copy of “The Doctor’s Lady” by Jody Hedlund, one of the novels mentioned above. A great novel by an author who does deep POV extremely well. Reading this will give you a mini hands on course in writing deep POV.

Get your comments (and don't forget to leave your email) in by Friday, December 23rd and I will pick a winner. Have fun!

This is also the last time I will be posting until after the New Year. I’m taking next Monday off as a holiday hiatus, but look forward to seeing you all back the following week to kick of the year 2012!!

A very merry and blessed Christmas and New Years to you all!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Interview with debut author Zeke Lam

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Hello everyone! Today we have a special guest we are interviewing. Usually, we have only fiction authors on this blog, but I was asked to interview debut author Zeke Lam, whose nonfiction book "subMISSION: Heeding only His Voice," has recently been released. Zeke is the founder of SUBMISSION Ministries—a ministry devoted to seeing lost souls encounter God and live lives fully surrendered to the risen Christ. A graduate of Liberty University, Zeke’s deep passion for following Christ’s will has led him through many years of youth ministry and itinerant evangelism. Both of these experiences have enriched and fueled his desire to hand others the keys to a Christ-centered life. Zeke resides in Virginia with his beautiful wife, Kathleen, and a growing family of future world-changers.

Thank you so much for joining us Zeke and giving us the opportunity to hear about you and your new book.

1) Tell us a little about yourself and your journey so far.
I am 27 years old and have been married to my beautiful wife, Kathleen, for 6 years. We have three children (4, 2, and 2 months) that we love very much. I have ministered since the age of 18 as a youth minister and evangelist. In addition to this, I operate a small business which constructs ornamental concrete such as flower pots, bird baths, etc. I also help out with the family furniture business when time permits. We are passionate to see Christ glorified through our lives, and constantly seek to use our lives to share the Gospel. This has led our family all over the world. Our most recent “adventure” involved us literally driving to a town in Texas, renting an apartment, and seeking the Lord. Although we knew nobody or anything about the place, God gave us an entire church fellowship in 2 days! This turned into an incredible 7 month stay that is surely not finished yet.

2) What motivated you to write this book?
Compromise is way too commonplace today. I have seen it in the church, in families, and in my own life. If revival is to take place in or society, God’s people must be willing to operate with the level of obedience and submission God requires. Mixing our opinions with God’s commands or desires is the very recipe for disaster. If we will fully release ourselves to Jesus Christ, and be willing to follow Him the way He commands, a shift will take place in our society! Ultimately, shortcomings in my own life with regards to submission sparked this fire.

3) What do you hope this book accomplishes?
My hope and prayer is that Christians nationwide will be challenged to step into a realm of Scriptural obedience that will spark revival!

4) Did you learn anything (or did God show you anything) as you were writing?
I certainly experienced moments where I was convicted about the level of submission I lived under. God revealed to me the importance of denying any and all voices that seek to lure us from His presence. Submission to Him will position us for spiritual greatness!

5) Do you believe people struggle with the idea of "submission"? If so, why?
Yes, we all struggle with the idea of full submission. It means releasing our control and desires to the Lord. When we do not feel in control, it creates an emotion of insecurity. This insecurity is what makes us resists submission on many levels. When it comes to submitting to our Lord Jesus, we must reject these emotions, and faithfully surrender our lives.

6) Your subtitle mentions obeying only God's voice. What are some ways people can hear God's voice?
God desires to interact with us in ways we could never imagine. The Holy Spirit is very much alive and active, but the question is, will we allow ourselves to get in position to hear Him. He speaks through the Scriptures, His written word. He speaks to our hearts as we intimately seek Him daily through prayer and fasting. He can speak through people and situations around us. God is not limited to anything and can therefore speak any way He chooses. The only real issue is that which restricts and hinders us from hearing.

In Conclusion:
Zeke Lam suggests that the greatest challenge the Church is facing today is submission, or the lack thereof. It is not external forces that nullify the testimony of a Christ-centered believer, but rather the failure to humbly submit to the voice of the Lord. This book will help you to live a surrendered life abiding in Christ.
Learn how to submit your life wholeheartedly to the Lord so that you can dwell continually in the secret place—a place of intimacy, surrender and joy.

You can order Zeke’s book from Amazon (it would make a great Christmas gift)
and can find out more about him and his ministry at his


We are on our last week of our Christmas giveaway. This week we are giving away a copy of Christmas Gifts, by Gail Gaymer Martin and Brenda Minton, along with a Taste of Home Bake sale cookbook filled with recipes for this holiday season. Yummy things to bake and give away this Christmas. These books would also make nice gifts. So please leave your comment and email and I will draw a winner Friday.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Congratulations to This Week's Winner!!

Congratulations to Anita Mae Draper, the winner of a Julie Lessman book!! She will be notified by Julie shortly and soon after receive her book.
A big round of applause for all who entered! I had such fun this week, reading everyone’s comments and chatting with everyone! And a HUGE thank you to Julie, for doing the interview and responding to everyone’s comments!!!!!
Have a great weekend!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Interview with award winning author Julie Lessman!!!!!

Hello everyone!! Happy Monday! It’s an especially happy day for me because I’m hosting a very dear friend of mine, Julie Lessman!! Julie is not only one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met, but also an amazing writer whose novels are full of passion -- both for romance and for God. Now that’s an unbeatable combination! Today, Julie will be sharing some fabulous tips about writing love scenes and some information on her upcoming series -- The Cousins McClare.

So with much excitement I present to you the woman whose books I have on auto buy….Julie Lessman!!

1) What do you like most about being a writer?
Oh, that’s a no-brainer—writing love scenes, of course! I like tension, lots and LOTS of romantic tension, so when I write those scenes, my keyboard is smoking because my fingers fly. In fact, one of my friends wanted to know why I couldn’t just write a nice, “sweet” love scene. Duh, because I would fall asleep! :) Even my husband noticed the fast and furious pace of my love scenes—he said he would be meandering along in a nice, easy passage and then, BAM! A love scene would hit, and before he knew it, he was 20 pages down the road!

2) What do you like least about being a writer?
Oh, cold chills—trying to get published and promotion, absolutely! Thank God half of that is over for me … uh, I hope! :|

3) Do you have a particular place or setting in which you do your writing? Maybe an area that fuels your creativity?
You bet!! My family jokes that I am an “Ambiance Queen” because dim lighting with candles during dinner is a must, as well as a mainstay for my writing. During the summer months (basically May through October), I sit outside on my lower deck that runs the length of the house, overlooking a lush, green wooded area that has sunlight dappling through the trees. I have my feet up on this cushy lawn furniture at all times, hazelnut coffee, lip gloss, phone, a mirror (to capture those expressions I’m writing about) and a fan gently blowing while I sit with my laptop on my ... where else? Lap!!

In the winter when I’m not in the hearth room with a crackling fire, I write in a tiny computer room that my artist husband and I share. It has a big window that lets in gobs of light and lots of fun distractions like chipmunks and deer. It’s a pretty small room, though, so most of the time, we are back to back, which is kind of nice because I like to lean back and kiss him after I put lip gloss on, which is OFTEN! That would definitely qualify as one of my quirks—lipstick and lip gloss. I wear it everywhere, even to bed (the lip gloss, I mean). Also, when I do write in our office, I always have a candle lit next to a favorite picture of my husband and me before we were married. How’s that for romantic inspiration? J It sure works for me!

4) How many words do you write a day? On average, how long does it take you to finish a novel?
Oh man, what an embarrassing question because I don’t write many at all unless I’m really bearing down on a deadline and then I’ve been known to write all day and all night (from 8:00 AM to 5:00 AM several times!). There are actually months when I don’t write on my contracted ms. at all, but when I do, it can be anywhere from four to twenty pages in a day. Of course, it’s different on every book, but generally it takes me about nine months on a book—six to write it and about two to edit/revise. A Passion Redeemed was the only exception, because I literally pounded it out in two months while working part-time, which boils done to one month straight to write an almost 500-page book. Which proves I can do it if I have to … :)

5) Do you plot your novels or do a chapter-by-chapter outline?
I do not do a chapter-by-chapter outline, but I do now plot my novels, all except for the first two, A Passion Most Pure and A Passion Redeemed. Back then, you could pretty much label me a “Seat of the Pants” Queen! You see, I’m a first-line freak, whether beginning a book or a chapter, so all it takes is a key line popping into my brain (while on the treadmill or in the middle of the night), and I’m off and running.
However, with two 3-book series that chronicle fourteen characters in the O’Connor family from 1916 to 1932, I was forced to become somewhat of a plotter as well, creating an age/birthday/anniversary chart that would boggle the mind. In addition, I have created incredibly detailed synopses to help me keep all the plots straight for both primary characters and subordinates, WHICH if the “pantster” in me has its way, may or may not end up in the final story. :)

6) Tell us a little about your upcoming series, The Cousins McClare. How do you think this series will differ from your previous novels?
The Cousins McClare is set in 1900 San Francisco with book one releasing April of 2013 and the subsequent books out at nine-month intervals rather than yearly. It covers the stories of three cousins from a wealthy political family in 1902 San Francisco (four years before the earthquake!) and the unlikely men with whom they fall in love. From the glitter and glamour of San Francisco’s Nob Hill, to the seedy dance halls and gambling dens of the Barbary Coast, you might say “The Cousins McClare” is a study in contrasts between the haves and have-nots, and barriers between rich and poor that only faith can transcend. Think Little Women meets Dynasty.” And for those of you too young to remember the TV show Dynasty, think family wealth and poverty in a political setting.

To please my husband (who wants me to write for the market, which means shorter, less passionate and more linear plots), the next series will be a lot shorter (yeah, good luck with that!), less sensual (everybody’s single, so no married love scenes) and less complicated, God willing!! Which means the books will be about 300-400 pages rather than 500, and the plots will be two tier instead of 3- and 4-tier (i.e. less subplots than A Passion Denied and the “Winds of Change” series). There will be the story between the hero and heroine, of course, but also a second-tier love story between the older couple in the series, a godly widowed matriarch who butts heads with an ungodly brother-in-law to whom she was once engaged before he cheated on her, causing her to marry his brother instead. Now that she is widowed, the brother-in-law wants her back, so of course there will be LOTS of romantic tension between them as well as between the hero and heroine. J

7) How did Seekerville get started and what part did you play in starting it?
Seekerville got started when fifteen contest divas kept butting heads with each other in various contests, so we knew each other’s names. Then Ruth Logan Herne and Tina Radcliffe came up with bright idea of joining forces to support each other (and eventually our readers) on the road to publication and beyond. When we started four years ago, only two of us had contracts, Deb Giusti and Mary Connealy. Since then, all 15 of us are now published and anxious to see our Seekerville friends published too!
As far as what part I played in the initial start of Seekerville? Almost nothing initially, but now I like to think I play an important part because I get my husband to do a lot of the art-related things for Seekerville such as the bookmarks and the ads in the ACFW Magazine. :)

8) What’s your typical writing day like?
Gosh, lately pretty sporadic because life has been “getting in the way." But usually I rise at about 6:30 or 7:00 AM, eat peach oatmeal and drink coffee while I check a few blogs (The Seekers, for one, at, then I listen to worship music on the treadmill for 30 minutes followed by Bible reading and prayer time. Laundry, paperwork, etc. gets my attention briefly before I dive into e-mails. When I write (I don’t write everyday like a good author should), I start about 10:30 or 11:00 AM and crank ALL day (usually without lunch) until Keith’s stomach starts to growl around 6:00 PM or so … :) Not real “disciplined,” I know, but it works for me!

9) Recently you had to cut 50,000 words from your upcoming release, A Love Surrendered. How did you go about doing that?
LOL … a WHOLE lotta prayer!! Basically my editor had me cut two sub stories (Lizzie and Brady’s and Charity and Mitch’s) plus half of the epilogue and several bit characters. I also cut a long “come-to-Jesus” revival scene for the heroine where she and her “wild” friends get her drunk and take her to a Billy Sunday revival, who actually spoke in Boston at that time. That accounted for about 30,000 words, and then I was able to cut another 10,000 by simply going page by page, cutting lines and words.

10) What’s the number one tip you have for writing a great love scene? If you can’t name just one, what about the top two tips?
Goodness, great question!!! The #1 tip I would give for a great love scene is getting inside of the hero’s head. The male is key. I personally believe his feelings/reactions generate readers' feelings/reactions even more so than the heroine's because his desire translates into the desire every woman wishes she could elicit. For me, getting inside the male head during “the kiss” intensifies the “desire” factor. You can show his strength, his dominance, his angst at falling in love with a woman he wants, but can’t have, which always enhances the “WOW” factor. Like Rhett with Scarlett in Gone With the Wind or … ahem … Collin with Faith in A Passion Most Pure.

This was one of the tips given (along with actual excerpts to bear it up) in the detailed handout for the ACFW workshop Ruth Axtell Morren and I taught called, “A Kiss is NOT Just a Kiss,” so if the winner of your blog contest would like a copy of that handout, I will be happy to forward it to her.

Thanks SO much, Amanda, for hosting me on your blog this week. I LOVE to hear from reader friends, so they can feel free to contact me through my website at:, either by sending an e-mail via my site or by signing up for my newsletter at:

My newsletter is chock-full of fun info on my books and there’s always a contest featuring signed book giveaways including one right now to have a character named after you or a loved one in my next book. Also, I have a cool feature on my website called “Journal Jots”  (, which is a very laid-back, Friday journal to my reader friends that would give your readers an idea as to my relaxed style of writing. Then finally, I can be found daily at The Seekers blog (, a group blog devoted to encouraging and helping aspiring writers on the road to publication.


JULIE LESSMAN is an award-winning author whose tagline “Passion With a Purpose” underscores her intense passion for both God and romance. Winner of the 2009 American Christian Fiction Writers Debut Author of the Year and Holt Medallion Awards of Merit for Best First Book and Long Inspirational, Julie is also the recipient of 13 Romance Writers of America awards. She was voted as “Borders Best of 2009 So Far: Your Favorite Fiction.” Chosen as #1 Romance Fiction Author of the Year in the Family Fiction magazine 2011 Readers Choice Awards, Julie was also awarded #1 Series of the Year; #3 Author of the Year; #5 Novel of the Year; and #4 Historical Fiction Author of the year.

Julie resides in Missouri with her husband, daughter, son and daughter-in-law and new granddaughter, and is the author of “The Daughters of Boston” series, which includes A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed, and A Passion Denied. Her “Winds of Change” series features A Hope Undaunted, which ranked #5 on Booklist’s Top 10 Inspirational Fiction for 2010 and is followed by her most recent release, A Heart Revealed. You can contact Julie at: 

Blessed readers, you have the opportunity to win an autographed copy of one of Julie's books (the book of your choice) by leaving a comment with your email.  The winner will be drawn on Friday and can select the book they would like to recieve.  I will contact Julie to let her know what book you would like and she will mail it out to you. So leave your comments with email to enter.

Next week we are offering yet another interview, this time with author Zeke Lam. Zeke is the author of "subMission" a nonfiction book about Biblical Submission. This is a great opportunity to support a new author so stop by and read Zeke’s inspiring interview!

Next week we will also resume our Countdown to Christmas giveaway with a special Love Inspired christmas book and cookbook package. So stay tuned for more prizes and fun!

As always- Happy Writing,

Friday, December 2, 2011

Winners and Special Annoucement!!

Congratulations to Keli, this week’s winner of “Where Lilacs Still Bloom” by Jane Kirkpatrick She has been notified and will receive her novel shortly. A huge thank you to all who entered.
Now I have some BIG news for you. On Monday, I will be interviewing a very special guest and dear friend of mine, Julie Lessman !!!!!!!!!!!! I am SO excited to do this interview and can’t wait to share with you all her awesome advice!! Also, I am giving away reader’s choice of one of her amazing novels! And truly, they are AMAZING novels! So stop by Amanda Barratt Author and join in the fun with Julie!!
Happy Weekend!