Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Dad's Day Book Giveaway

I'm doing a drawing on June 1st, just in time for Father's Day... so share a comment with your own Dad story and I'll put YOUR name in the hat for a chance to win a copy of Brothers of the Outlaw Trail.

Dad never had sons, so being the oldest child, I learned a lot of "guy" stuff. How bait a hook and cast a line, and reel in a fish. How to scale and fillet what I caught. Then when I got my first car, Dad took me out to the driveway. "The life of your car is in the oil. You need to know how to change the oil and filter." So he taught me how to drain the old oil, change the filter, and put in new oil. Change the air filter in the car. How to check the tires and fluids. Mom made sure I knew the "girl" stuff. How to mend, how to cook.

Dad is the oldest of five boys, so once my sisters and I came along, living in a female-dominated household was probably a bit overwhelming for him at times. But Dad didn't let on if he ever had no clue. (One of my friends was a host parent for a teenage foreign exchange student. She has no children of her own, and commented about feeling inadequate. I told her that was normal, in some respects. But I digress.) Not flawless, not perfect, but Dad did his best. Despite any inadequacy I never sensed from him.

Some Saturdays he would work on Wallops Island, Virginia in one of the weather observatories. This was back in the glorious 70's, when our country's enemy was a far-off threat called the Soviet Union and we had no idea what "war on terror" meant. On those Saturdays, Dad would tote me along to the base. We'd be waved past the guard booth and would head to the narrow strip of research buildings. I never knew what he did there, but I sure had fun running from one end of the building to the other. The teletype machine fascinated me as data came in from other parts of the country.

Dad inspired me with a sense of adventure, of wanting to know more, to explore the back roads and seeing what we found. He had magazines like National Geographic around, and got me a whole set of books by Jacques Cousteau. Like my Heavenly Father, he opened up a giant world to me. No matter that I wasn't a son. I was his child, and he wanted to pass on to me what he held important. Don't forget. Share a Dad story! :) If your Dad isn't here anymore, honor him with a short memory. Or maybe you never knew your dad, or the memories aren't quite as positive. God fathers the fatherless. He sends us people for fathering moments. He's not bound by genetics. And neither are we. :)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Diva Nashvegas!

Lits come in all shapes and sizes, but I've got to say my favorite is Southern chick lit filled with bittersweet humor. Today I'm taking a break from my Dad's Day theme to feature Rachel Hauck's newest release, Diva Nashvegas. Here's a little bit about her book, and an interview with my friend...

For the past decade, Aubrey James has ruled the charts as the queen of country soul. She rocketed to fame in the shadow of her parent’s death – Gospel music pioneers Ray and Myra James. While her public life, high profile romances and fights with Music Row execs writes juicy tabloid headlines, the real and private Aubrey’s is a media mystery.

When a close friend and former band member betrays Aubrey by selling an exclusive story about the Diva to a tabloid, Aubrey knows she must go public with her own story.

Inside NashVegas sports anchor, Scott Vaughn, is not prepared for the assignment of interviewing a country super star. Especially not one he dated, then abandoned. Yet, his boss leaves him no choice. His career and the future of Inside NashVegas depends on the success of this interview.

When Scott shows up at her home for the first session, Aubrey threatens to back out of the deal. But, it’s too late. Instead, she bravely opens her heart as Scott probes into her life and discovers a future of faith, hope and love by letting God heal her past.

(Lynette's note: One of the things I love about this book is that Rachel didn't protect Aubrey. But Aubrey rises to the challenge. Writers, don't be too NICE to your characters.)

About Rachel:
Rachel Hauck lives in sunny central Florida with her husband, Tony, a pastor. They have two ornery pets. She is a graduate of Ohio State University and a huge Buckeyes football fan. Rachel serves the writing community as Past President of American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of the Advisory Board. Visit her blog and web site at www.rachelhauck.com.

Leave a comment on her blog and be eligible to win a $25 gift certificate to Starbucks or Barns & Noble. Two names will be drawn.

And now, a chat with Rachel about Diva:

Q: What inspired Diva NashVegas?
A: The idea to write about a singer came from a conversation with my editor, Ami McConnell. At first, I created the Diva to be a wanna-be star, but after thinking the story through, I decided she had to be an established artist, a superstar.

Q: How do you research a diva?
A: Not easy. I read a lot of bios, and spent time with Christian artist, Kim Hill. She was a blast and a great help. I loved hanging out with her. I also got some inside scoop from record producer and fellow Thomas Nelson author, Matt Bronleewe.

I talked to an entertainment lawyer and search music business forums for answer to some of my questions. The hardest detail to find was about artist and record label disputes. We all know it happens, but why? The only reason I could find was "creative differences." This answer did not cover enough detail for me. I couldn’t create a legitimate scene with Aubrey and her record label President arguing over "creative differences."
Thankfully, I found a forum on the internet and a kind gentleman gave me eight detailed reason why an artist would enter into a dispute with her label. Saved the day!

I also researched foster care and television production for elements of the story. Kelly Sutton and Molly Day, a TV personality and producer respectively in Nashville were enthusiastic resources.
After that, I only had my imagination.

Q: What do you want readers to take away from the book?
A: First, a great read. I hope they can be transported into Aubrey James’s world. Next, a message that life isn’t always fair, but we have the power of choice in our response. God is always there for us, even when we don’t feel He is.

Diva NashVegas was difficult to write. I had a few crisis, but when I finally submitted it to my editor, I wrote in my email, "I love Aubrey James." She really came to life for me in the end.
My editor loved her, too. I’m confident she’ll capture readers.

Q: What is your writing day like?
A: It varies, but I try to settle down from my morning routine by noon and focus on writing. Some days it’s earlier, and some later. If I’m approaching a deadline date, I completely clear my schedule and work twelve hours a day or more.

Email is my weakness. I’ve modified the Lord’s prayer some for writers: "give us this day, our daily word count, and delivers us from email."
Seriously, I’m like an email junky. Half the time no one emails me, I just have to check and see. Secretly, I’m hoping a Broadway or Hollywood producer will email me wanting to make a movie or play out of one of my books.

Q: How long have you been writing?
A: For a long time, but not seriously until the mid-90’s. Then I quit for awhile because my corp job became more demanding, then one day in 2001 the Lord began to open doors and by the end of 2002, I had my first book contract.

Q: Name your favorite TV show of all time.
A: I have no idea. Friends, I guess. Gee, do I want to admit that? I don’t agree with the shows moral philosophy, but I love the comedy, the writing and friendship element of the show. Same with Cheers, or MASH. Wait, I just remembered, I love, loved, loved, The Mary Tyler Moore Show. That is my all time favorite.

Q: How did you meet your husband?
A: Actually, he was hit by a bus. I witnessed the whole thing, pulled my car over, checked his ring finger (empty) then gave him CPR.

Of course I’m making all that up. Hit by a bus? He’d be dead.

I met him at church. He was the youth and singles pastor, and the only guy who didn’t wear a pocket protector or have duct tape holding his glasses together. Husband was cool, and we had a lot in common, but mostly what attracted me was his heart of David – a man after God’s heart. He’s a man of prayer and the Word, high integrity and after being friends for eighteen years, he’s my best friend and makes me laugh.

Q: What’s next for you?
A: Look for "Sweet Caroline" from Thomas Nelson March 2008. This is a story of inheritance and finding courage to do what you really want to do in life.

Q: How do you get your ideas.
A: Burn up my last brain cell thinking of something. Then I call all my friends and cry, begging for help. I pray a lot.

Seriously, I believe God has a lot of ideas and He’s most kind to share them with us. I look for what is on His heart.

Q: Besides writing, what goes on in your life?
A: I’m a worship leader at my church, and with a prayer and worship ministry, Fire Dweller. Until August 2006, Husband and I were youth pastors. We handed the youth church over to a younger couple last summer, and I’ve been taking time to see what else God has for me. It’s nice to have a light schedule for the first time in many years.

Recently, I learned of a volunteer program where I can read to children and rock babies. So, I’m going to give time to that ministry. I’m very excited.

Q: Any parting words.
A: Sure, thanks to the authors on the Diva NashVegas blog tour. Thanks to all the readers. I appreciate you. Stop by my web site and leave a blog comment or email me and I’ll add your name to a drawing for a $25 gift certificate to Starbucks or Barnes & Noble. If you tell me you bought the book, I’d love it.

...And you can order it HERE!
So, y'all... stop by Rachel's web site: www.rachelhauck.com and leave a comment on her blog. She'll be glad to hear from you!

Coming next week...more stories about Dad!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Dear Dad!

Father's Day is coming soon, so I want to take a few posts and talk about dads. At the end (probably around June 1 or so), I'm going to give away a copy of Brothers of the Outlaw Trail.

My dad is a cool guy. We had so much fun when I was a kid growing up. Dad worked for contractors on Wallops Island Virginia, so we lived less than 30 minutes from the beach. It's probably one of the reasons I find myself missing it the older I get. We'd go fishing, catch crabs and dig for clams and oysters, then come home and cook everything. I can still taste the melted butter and crab, and the salty taste of shell as I sucked the sweet meat from a claw.

One of my favorite memories is when we had a fun day of picnicking by the shore. Somehow Dad found a rowboat, and we piled in. This was before my youngest sister Amy was born, and Mom held Cat (#2 sister) on her lap. I of course had to be watching Dad row us across a small inlet to the other side.

Then one of his oars caught in the sand below--slid right out of his grasp. The rowboat skewed to one side. Dad tried using a single oar, but it too was getting pulled into the water by the suction of the surf. In true Dad fashion, he jumped over the side of the boat and started tugging us to the other side. Just like Humphrey Bogart in The African Queen, Mom said. I remember us laughing and laughing. I'd never seen the movie, still haven't, but the fact Dad was playing the part of a hero as he pulled us to shore stuck with me.

No, he's not perfect and I know he'd admit that. But this is one fun vivid memory I have.

What's yours? Share a short memory, and I'll put your name in the hat for a drawing for Brothers of the Outlaw Trail, just in time for Father's Day. :)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Faith, huh?

I battle with being a control freak. I'm quick to see it in others because I recognize it in myself. Can't keep my mouth shut sometimes or keep my fingers out of the pie because, by golly, someone NEEDS my help. Yeah right.

I was having an inner conversation with the Lord the other day about faith. I want to believe more, I want to trust more. Especially when repairmen were in and out of the house, I realized I wanted someone I could trust. Don't fix something because it's kinda sorta old and you can get a few hundred bucks out of me. Fix something because it's broken.

Duey is our plumber and a great guy. Fixed our hot water line, but while under the house he said he noticed the other lines were old too. Gave us an estimate, just in case in the future we'd like to reline the other areas like the main bathroom, master bath. I appreciated that. I trust Duey.

Do I trust God like that, not questioning and arguing?

On another level, when I fly to a conference, do I sit there and hover over the pilot's shoulder, making sure he's doing everything right? I happen to be one of those people who like to know how things work.

And life doesn't always work that way. God doesn't always fill me in. Why should He? (Yes, it was kind of a Job moment. Where were you when I made the universe, etc.?) But all He says is, "Come closer. Get to know Me better. I'm more reliable than your plumber and more trustworthy than a pilot to get you where you're headed."

So get closer, and get more faith.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Ice Cream and Box Fans

We bought some low-cal vanilla bean ice cream tonight, and an extra box fan for the front window. Our A/C is still not working, but everything else is looking up. We're trying a new electrician who can (we hope) figure out why there's no power going to the compressor outside. So I'm feeling more like my Schatze cat, although I'm a tad warm.

The days have been cloudy and the forecast for next week is mostly/partly cloudy. We're doing okay without air conditioning. Right now I can also say that we're blessed that it's not August in Texas, but only May, where the weather still can't decide if it's still spring or pseudo-summer.

Awww (changing subjects)...Phil went home on American Idol. Not that it's bad. Sometimes the winner isn't the only one to walk away with a contract. Just like in writing. He was really coming into his own, and I just wish he'd found his niche sooner.

Speaking of finding a niche...I need to get busy--on writing that is. One of the plagues/blessings of being creative is that ideas drop into my lap--or head--quite often. What I'm trying to do is sift through them, pay attention to ones with promise, and let the others go. Or at least sit until it's the right time. In the writing business, timing is everything. My time is also precious.

Which leads into the fact that I went to the doctor today and saw my favorite PA. I've got an infection in my gum where I lost a filling, and found out I need to be on blood pressure medicine again. That, and some pounds have crept on. (Now I can't say I didn't know...I had a sneaking suspicion when my 'big' jeans didn't feel so big anymore.) Time to get cracking on exercise again too. Which means I need to get my rear end off the chair!

(Learning to) praise Him in the storms! :)