Thursday, July 18, 2013

Loretta Boyett's Debut Novel, Deadly Betrayal, First in the Hidden Danger Trilogy

Finally I can blog about the exciting adventure of finishing and publishing MY debut novel, Deadly Betrayal, an inspirational suspense-thriller with a touch of romance. It's breathtaking to hold the book in my hand.

The back cover copy reads as follows:

"Paralegal Beth Thompson grew up in Ocala, Florida, the only child of doting parents. Although her childhood was a sheltered one, the terrifying nightmare that has dogged her for as long as she can remember continues to haunt her.

"Joseph P. Hill, an unscrupulous Sarasota Attorney, doesn’t care how he makes a buck as long as he makes lots of them. When he unearths a missing link to Beth’s past, Joe concocts the perfect scheme to make this discovery pay off and lures an unsuspecting Beth to Ft. Lauderdale Beach. Angry that her boss, attorney Alan Knight, does not return her feelings, she takes the bait.

"The night Beth arrives, a man is murdered at the airport. What is her connection to him, and why did he die holding a locket identical to the one she wore—and lost—on her flight?

"As the truth unfolds, each step draws Beth closer to a dark secret hidden from her since childhood, plunging her deeper into danger, deceit, and deadly betrayal."

Deadly Betrayal is available in eBook format on Amazon, Nook, iBookstore, and most other sites where eBooks are sold. The paperback can be purchased on Amazon or, if you would like an autographed copy, you may message me at or comment below with your email address, and I will be happy to email you instructions.

I sincerely hope you enjoy the book and look forward to any comments you share. Also, I would feel very blessed if you would subscribe by email using the link below.

Congratulations to the winners of my Goodreads Giveaway: Andrea Young and Kanta Dufour!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Don't Miss This Interview with Gina Holmes About Her New Novel, Wings of Glass!!!

Gina Holmes is the founder of Novel Rocket and a PR professional. Her bestselling novels Crossing Oceans and Dry as Rain were both Christy finalists and won various literary awards. Her latest novel, Wings of Glass, released February 2013 and has earned a starred review from Library Journal, a Romantic Times Top Pick and a Southern Indie Bookseller's Okra Pick. She holds degrees in science and nursing and currently resides with her family in southern Virginia. She works too hard, laughs too loud, and longs to see others heal from their past and discover their God-given purpose. To learn more about her, visit

Your 3rd novel, Wings of Glass, has just released. Tell us a little about it.

I think this is my favorite book so far. Wings of Glass tells the story of Penny Taylor, a young wife who feels trapped and alone in a physically and emotionally abusive marriage. Besides her low self-esteem, she feels her Christian faith doesn’t allow for divorce. It’s not until she meets two women—one a southern socialite and the other a Sudanese cleaning woman—that her eyes are opened to the truth of her situation and she begins her journey to healing and redemption.

What made you take on the tough subject of domestic abuse?

As a little girl, I watched my mother being physically abused by her husband and then later, two of my sisters enter abusive relationship after abusive relationship and I thought that would never be me. . . until the day my boyfriend hit me for the first time and I began to make excuses for him. I know the mindset of someone who gets into and stays in an abusive relationship, because I’ve been there myself. It’s taken me years, and a lot of reading, praying, and talking to get to the heart of what brought me and kept me in toxic relationships and I want to pass on some of what I learned that helped me find boundaries and recovery from a codependent mindset and most of all healing.

What do you hope readers take away from this book?

It’s my hope and prayer that those who are in abusive relationships will begin to see that the problem lies with them as much as with the abuser. That’s something I railed against when friends suggested it. I wasn’t the one with the problem! I was no doormat who enabled abuse or addiction… or was I?

I also hope that those who have never understood the mindset of victims would better comprehend the intricacies of codependency and be better able to minister to these women and men. And of course I’d love it if young women would read this before they ever enter their first romantic relationship to have their eyes open to how abuse almost always progresses and be able to see the red flags early.

Which of the characters in the novel is most like you and why?

Each of the characters has a little of me in them or vice versa. I think years ago I was more like Penny, though tougher in many regards, at least I thought so. I’d like to think now I’m a little more Callie Mae. Because I’ve lived through what I have and have found healing, I can see in others the path that will lead to healing and the one that will lead to destruction. The difficult part once you’ve found healing is remembering that you can’t do it for others. You can offer advice, but you can’t make anyone take it. Each person has to learn in their own time, in their own way.

Who is your favorite character?

I absolutely love Fatimah. She had such a great sense of humor and didn’t care what anyone thought except those who really mattered. She was really quite self-actualized. She was so much fun to write and I actually find myself missing her presence.

What’s your favorite and least favorite part about being a writer?

Favorite: making my own schedule. I love when I’m feeling bad one day knowing that I don’t have to punch a clock. I can just take the day off and then work harder the next. Of course, there’s a lot of other things I love about writing, like allowing others to consider another point of view that may be far different from their own.

Least favorite: There’s a joke that when you work for yourself you at least get to pick which eighteen hours of the day you want. That’s true. Working from home means I’m always at work. I work from about 7:30 am until about eight at night most days. Under deadline, it’s worse. Truly understanding how much the success of a book rides on the shoulders of the author is a blessing and a curse. Because I get that no one is more invested in the success of my books than me, I put in a LOT of time on the publicity/marketing end of things. It’s tiring but an investment that I think pays off in the long run.

You had written four novels before your debut, Crossing Oceans was published. Do you think those books will ever get dusted off and reworked?

Never say never, but I doubt it. I had considered reworking some but having gone back and re-read them, I realized they weren’t published for good reason. They just didn’t work. Now, there is one story I’m resurrecting characters from for a story I should be writing next, but the plotline is completely different. I started out writing suspensel but as my reading tastes changed, so did my writing tastes. I don’t see myself doing suspense again any time soon.

You’re known for your quirky characters, what inspires you to write these types into each book?

Honestly, I’m a pretty quirky person. The older I get, the more I embrace those quirks. I think everyone is quirky really. As a student of human nature, I pick up on those and like to exaggerate them in my fiction. I also like to surround myself with quirky people. My husband is quirky, my kids are quirky and so are my friends. Often in life, especially when we’re young, we hate about ourselves what makes us different, when really those are the things we should be embracing. Different is interesting. Different is beautiful.

If you could write anything and genre, marketing and reader expectations didn’t matter, what would you write?

Speaking of quirky… I read a book a few years back that was so different that it made me want to try something like that. The book was a big-time bestseller, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. What turned me on about that book were the characters. They were quirky to an extreme. In contemporary women’s fiction, I can get away with a certain amount of quirk. but I’m always having to play it down because it’s so over the top. In a fantasy, you can be as over the top as you dare. I’d love to play around with something like that one day and just let my freak flag fly! Will I? Probably not unless I use a penname. I realize readers have certain expectations and I wouldn’t want anyone to feel mislead. We’ll see. There’s lots in life I want to do but since I only get a hundred or so years (if I’m lucky), time won’t allow for every rabbit hole.

What advice would you have for writers hoping to follow in your footsteps?

My advice would be not to follow too closely in anyone’s footsteps. Yes, there is a certain path all writers find themselves on. There are certain things that we must all do like learning to write well, figuring out platform, going to writers conferences to meet the gatekeepers and figure out the way things have to be formatted and submitted and all that sort of thing. But it’s okay to veer off the path too and forge your own. There are those who have self-published who have found great success.

There are those who have written about subjects that they were told no one wanted to read about and found success. It’s smart to figure out what others have done before you to make them successful, but alter the formula to suit your needs and passions. It’s okay to be different, in fact, I think great success and maybe even happiness depends upon it. And by all means, read Novel and leave comments. It helps not only encourage those authors who have taken the time out of their day to teach us, but it also connects you to the writing community. Community is important. 

From the best-selling author of Crossing Oceans comes a heartrending yet uplifting story of friendship and redemption. On the cusp of adulthood, eighteen-year-old Penny Carson is swept off her feet by a handsome farmhand with a confident swagger. Though Trent Taylor seems like Prince Charming and offers an escape from her one-stop-sign town, Penny's happily-ever-after lasts no longer than their breakneck courtship. Before the ink even dries on their marriage certificate, he hits her for the first time. It isn't the last, yet the bruises that can't be seen are the most painful of all.

When Trent is injured in a welding accident and his paycheck stops, he has no choice but to finally allow Penny to take a job cleaning houses. Here she meets two women from very different worlds who will teach her to live and laugh again, and lend her their backbones just long enough for her to find her own.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Bella's Back! in Janice Thompson's Picture Perfect

Bella’s Back! Enjoy this fun interview with author Janice Thompson, where she shares the story-behind-the-story regarding Bella’s return.

 Janice, welcome! I really enjoyed the Weddings by Bella series and am excited to read the spin-off series.

 1. Can you tell us more about why you decided to write it? 

 Sure! (Thanks for hosting me, by the way!) When I wrote Fools Rush In (book one in the Weddings by Bella series) I knew I had something special on my hands. The characters really resonated with me, but there was more. I felt as if I’d created a world of real, wonderful, wacky people. Sure, I’d breathed life into them on the page, but they seemed to take it from there, springing to life and moving the story forward as they willed.

I wrapped up the series with Swinging on a Star and It Had to be You, but my readers weren’t satisfied! At least once a week I got a letter from a fan saying, “Are there more? Please keep this story going!” I sent several of those letters to my editor, and before long she agreed that we should, indeed, keep the story going! That’s how the Weddings by Design story began.

I’m so relieved to have more to offer. Since Fools Rush In went free on Kindle, it has been downloaded nearly 300,000 times. Crazy! So, I have many, many new readers, aching for more!

 2. How are these stories similar to the novels in the Weddings by Bella series? 

This is a wedding-themed series, just like the first, and loaded with fun, quirky mishaps on the way to the altar! Readers will experience the same “feel” of Galveston Island and my ever-present humor, which drives the stories forward. I truly hope that readers pick up the first book in this new series and sigh with relief as they catch up with their favorite characters from the last series: Bella, D.J., Aunt Rosa, Uncle Laz, the three ladies from Splendora, Brock Benson, and so on.

Here’s what the publisher had to say about the new series: “With her contagious humor and cast of quirky characters, Janice Thompson gives readers more of the bridal business drama they want in a brand-new series all about those long-suffering people who make beautiful weddings happen. Readers are desperately waiting for more of Bella and this new series brings her back in a big way, while introducing new characters fans will love. Fans will laugh out loud as they experience this breezy and entertaining novel from a great storyteller.”

 3. What sets this new series apart from the last one? 

 The Weddings by Design novels are told from the point of view of new characters.

Book one, Picture Perfect, is about a wedding photographer named Hannah. Book two, The Icing on the Cake, is about a wedding cake designer named Scarlet. Book three, The Dream Dress, is about a dress designer named Gabi. Book four (yet unpublished) is about a wedding florist named Gina. Each of these ladies longs to work with the most fabulous wedding coordinator on the island—Bella (Rossi) Neeley, so everything loops back to Club Wed, just like the first series.

 4. When does the new series release? 

 Book one, Picture Perfect, is already available on amazon. The kindle version will be ready for download on February 15th. (Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all!) I received my author copies last week, so autographed copies are available for purchase ($12) if readers are interested in that. They can email me at for more information.

 5. Can you tell us about Picture Perfect, the first book in the series? 

 Ooo, I’d love to! The synopsis should answer any questions:

 She’s trying to focus on her future. How can one man make everything feel so . . . fuzzy? 

 Hannah McDermott has a successful photography studio. She’ll soon be featured in Texas Bride magazine. And she has a celebrity client whose Galveston ceremony will be her ticket to the top spot on wedding coordinator Bella Neeley’s list of recommended photographers. But it could all come crashing down around her because of one man: archrival and photographer extraordinaire Drew Kincaid. 

 As the competition between Hannah and Drew heats up, Hannah is surprised to find that it’s not the only thing getting more intense. She can’t get the handsome man out of her thoughts-or even out of her line of sight-and the job of her dreams is turning into a nightmare. Will everything she’s worked for slip out of her hands? And can she see past her pride to find a picture-perfect love?

 6. How is the new series doing with readers so far? 

 Great! Folks who’ve read the book have already contacted me to say they love it! I’m also thrilled that Picture Perfect got a great Romantic Times review. . .four stars! Here’s what the reviewer had to say: "Fans of romantic comedies are in for a treat just in time for Valentine’s Day. Book one in the Weddings by Design series does not disappoint! Funny one-liners and absolutely lovable characters combine with just enough romantic tension to keep the pages turning at a brisk pace — but readers will want to slow down to savor this one."

 7. How are you kicking off the new series? 

 I’m hosting an online party! I’m calling this my “Bing & Bob” party and it will be held on the night of February 18th at 7:00 p.m. central time. These two funny fellas hold a special place in the heart of my characters and they will provide the entertainment at our gathering! This fun, interactive party will take place inside the “Bella’s Back” group on facebook. Join me for an interactive chat, video teasers, Bing Crosby music and giveaways! Some lucky reader/participant will win a free kindle fire! To be entered, you must join the Bella’s Back facebook group and attend the party. (i.e. “Must be present when your named is called.”) For more information about the party, check out this video invitation.


 8. Can you share a little bit from the novel? 


Going My Way 

 May your troubles be as few and as far apart as my grandmother’s teeth.
Irish proverb 

My life has been a series of almosts.

 Take, for instance, the time I almost made the cheerleading squad in high school but lost out to my archnemesis, Jacquie Practically-Perfect-in-Every-Way Goldfarb. Then there was the time Matt Hudson, the hunkiest football player at my high school, almost asked me to the prom but ended up going with Jacquie instead. Oh, and we can’t forget the time I almost got a photographer’s dream job, shooting superstar Brock Benson’s wedding. Yep. Another almost. That time, the opportunity of a lifetime slipped through my fingers and into the open palms of my chief competitor, Drew Kincaid of Kincaid Photography.

 Some people are haunted by memories of things they’ve done. Me? I’m haunted by all of the things I nearly accomplished but missed by a quarter of an inch. That’s why, when faced with yet another unbelievable opportunity—a profile piece in Texas Bride magazine to promote my new Galveston-based photography business—I couldn’t blow it. No more almosts for me. This time I would hit the finish line a winner. My meeting with the Texas Bride reporter would transform my career and propel me into the limelight, winning me the favor of the island’s top wedding planner, Bella Neeley. If I could just keep from messing it up.

 Oh, but this time I wouldn’t! In fact, I could almost hear my Grandpa Aengus cheering me on from the great beyond: “Hannah Grace, if you’re lucky enough to be Irish, then you’re lucky enough.”

 I didn’t happen to believe in luck, but if being Irish meant I stood a better chance at succeeding in business, I would embrace my heritage as never before. I would bathe with Irish Spring soap, dress in the vibrant colors of the family crest, skip through fields of shamrocks, and listen to my father’s nightly tales of Clan McDermott’s glory days. And I would do it all with a smile on my face and confidence in my stride.

 From his mansion up in heaven, Grandpa Aengus smiled down on me, his gold-capped front tooth gleaming like the precious stones in the pearly gate. I could sense his pleasure as I made up my mind to do the McDermotts proud. Like my warring ancestors of yesteryear, I would fight to the finish, wielding my bloody sword—er, my two-thousand-dollar digital camera with stellar resolution and optical zoom—until I took the prize. I would come out a victor in the end, or make a fool of myself trying.

 Either way, I wouldn’t go down without a fight. A true McDermott never did.

 Thanks for visiting with us, Janice! Looking forward to the new series! 


Visit Janice’s Website

Connect with Janice on Facebook Join the “Bella’s Back” Facebook group 

Watch the Bing & Bob party video invitation

Check out the Bella’s Back Video on youtube

Read Fools Rush In (the first Bella book) for free on your Kindle

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Today's Feature: Author Fay Lamb — Her Writing Journey and her Debut Novel, Because of Me

Fay Lamb works as an acquisition/copyeditor for Pelican Book Group (White Rose Publishing and Harbourlight Books), offers her services as a freelance editor, and is an author of Christian romance and romantic suspense. Her emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Because of Me, her debut romantic suspense novel will be released on February 3, 2012, by Treble Heart Books/Mountainview Publishing.

She has a passion for working with and encouraging fellow writers. As a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), she co-moderates the large Scribes’ Critique Group and manages the smaller Scribes’ critique groups. For her efforts, she was the recipient of the ACFW Members Service Award in 2010. In 2012, Fay was also elected to serve as secretary on ACFW’s Operating Board.

Fay and her husband, Marc, reside in Titusville, Florida, where multi-generations of their families have lived. The legacy continues with their two married sons and five grandchildren.

Fay's Writing Journey . . . in Her Own Words:

It has never seriously occurred to me that I wasn’t supposed to write. I have had periods of time where I walked away from writing, but always, in the back of my mind, I knew I was born to put words on paper.

As a child, I would gather the kids in the neighborhood, and we would re-enact stories that I dreamed up. In high school, we were forced to take an aptitude test. Someone with the most English credits in the history of a high school isn’t likely to be told she’s a mathematician. My only options were a writing career or library science. Any occupation that had the word science after it didn’t interest me in the least. So my options were limited. I could be a writer . . . or a writer.

When I became serious about writing, I began with a book filled with vignettes involving several different characters that I’d started as a teenager. When I completed a journal full of these short scenes, I knew I had a town of characters people would love to read about. I just needed a town to put them in. I continued to develop those stories, and one day while on vacation in Cedar Key, Florida, a sleepy little fishing village I found my inspiration for a series of books about the people of a fictional island called Serenity Key.

Through the stories about Serenity Key, I worked to master the craft, not just punctuation and grammar, but style and voice. I joined critique groups and American Christian Fiction Writers—anything that would help me to write books worthy of publication.

A couple of years ago, I met the hero of Because of Me. When Michael Hayes stepped onto the stage of my imagination and told me about his life, he said he knew a young boy named Cole. While Cole was not his son, he was definitely born because of Michael and the mistakes he’d made.

Through my friend and critique partner, Kathy Bain, I met the editor-in-chief of Treble Heart Books. She gave me the go-ahead to send in the full manuscript for Because of Me. Even at Treble Heart a reviewer had mixed emotions. Because of Me isn’t your typical Christian fiction. This story deals with issues, deep issues. Still, it is filled with light and laughter. The editor-in-chief believed in the story as much as I do, and Because of Me is my debut novel.

I have also written another romantic suspense and two contemporary romance novels. Two other romantic suspense novels and one contemporary romance are nearing completion. Another story set in the world of professional surfing is begging to be written. Oh, and the story that began as vignettes when I was but a teenager—it has become a modern-day retelling of the sword the Lord held over David’s head after his sin with Bathsheba.

I’ve learned two very big lessons in my adventure as a writer. First, patience is a necessary trait. So many new writers want to circumvent the system. They want to rush headlong into self-publication without taking the time to study the craft and learn what makes a book publishable. There’s nothing wrong with self-publishing. I have friends who prefer to self-publish their work. Those friends, however, have studied their market, they know their craft, and they have developed great stories.
The second lesson is that God’s timing is always best. Leave your worries in His capable hands and do what He has given you to do. You never know what wonderful doors He will open for you—in His timing, not yours.

Because of Me, the Story . . .

Issie Putnam’s life took a detour the night she was raped at gunpoint in front of her fiancé, Michael Hayes. Instead of marrying Michael, a promising young investigative reporter, he, along with the man who attacked her, and the man who held the gun, are imprisoned for conspiracy to assassinate the local district attorney, a crime Michael was trying to expose but had no intention of committing. Issie’s name is ruined, she lost her perfectly planned future, but she gained Cole, her son—born of that rape.

On the eve of her attacker’s parole, Michael, already released from prison, follows through on his plan to return to the small town of Amazing Grace and protect Issie from the madman who promised to seek revenge. There, he meets Issie’s seven-year-old son for the first time.

Can Michael learn to love the child Issie holds so close to her heart? Will Michael be able to protect the woman he loves from the man who will stop at nothing to destroy them all?

Because of Me is available in both print and e-Book format through Treble Heart Books, and, or pre-order your autographed copy today at

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Jessica Nelson: Her Writing Journey, First Publishing Contract, the Editing Process, and Her Debut Novel, Love on the Range

Jessica Nelson, in keeping with her romantic inclinations, married two days after she graduated high school. She believes romance happens every day, and thinks the greatest, most intense romance comes from a God who woos people to himself with passionate tenderness. When Jessica is not chasing her three beautiful, wild little boys around the living room, she can be found staring into space as she plots her next story. Or she might be daydreaming about a raspberry mocha from Starbucks. Or thinking about what kind of chocolate she should have for dinner that night. She could be thinking of any number of things, really. One thing is for certain, she is blessed with a wonderful family and a lovely life.

When I asked Jessica to share her writing journey with us, this was her response . . . in her own words:

"Thank you so much, Loretta, for inviting me here! I’m honored to post about my writing journey.

"Selling a book takes a lot of things, some within our control, some not. I think that’s the first thing every writer should understand. There are some things we have no control over, and when we get rejections, it’s helpful to distinguish whether they’re a result of our writing or something outside our control.

"The book I sold is the first manuscript I finished, but not the only one I’ve written. This thing has gone through the ringer over the years. I completed the rough draft in 2007. After a few read-throughs and one outside critique, I decided it was ready to submit to HQ's Love Inspired Historical. Of course, I could only sub a synopsis first. I did that and received my rejection months later. Writing wasn't strong enough, it said.

"I had started a new manuscript by then and decided maybe I needed professional help, so I submitted the story to HQ's critique service. I think that was the best thing I ever did. The critique came back and I tried fixing a few things but I was in the midst of my second story so editing was sporadic. Then in Jan of 2008 I found out I'd finaled with my second manuscript in a contest. I was overjoyed! The judging editor with Love Inspired requested my full. Months and months later, that was rejected but with an invitation to submit other work. I took the editor up on her kind offer and submitted another story. Rejected, but she implied that she still liked my writing and wouldn't mind seeing other work.

"By this time, I was working on my 4th manuscript and decided to start submitting the first manuscript to agents. I had a few requests but mostly rejections or no-replies. Finally, in mid-2010, I polished up my first ms (with the help of my wonderful crit group, which I think every writer should have) and subbed the synopsis to Love Inspired Historical (remember, I'd already subbed it in 2007 and been rejected). The editor requested a partial. Months later, a full. Then came a revision letter. I agreed with the editor's thoughts so I revised the MS accordingly. My new agent subbed the story and a few months later (2011), I received "the call". :-) I had more revisions to do, but that was fine by me! *grin*

"The moral, in my opinion, is to never give up and to be flexible with your stories. Even after signing the contract, I needed to make changes to my book. There was a scene that I’ve always loved but the editor never did. After tweaking and tweaking, I finally cut it. I didn’t want to do it but I realized that when it was cut, not much in the story changed. So in the end, it was an unnecessary plot point that didn’t add to the story.

"Through the edits, I’ve found the editors at Love Inspired are very nice to work with and want the best story possible. Don’t be afraid to change things in your manuscript! You’re a writer, imaginative and creative. Be bold with your words and stretch your imagination.

"Now that I’ve sold one book, the work doesn’t stop. I’ve been busy with edits, thinking up a new book, blogging and getting set up on various networking sites like GoodReads and Twitter."

Be sure to watch for Jessica's debut novel, Love on the Range, published by Love Inspired, scheduled for release in April 2012.

If you would like to congratulate Jessica, please leave a comment below.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Inspy Award Shortlist Nominee Ginny Yttrup–her debut novel, her writing journey, and her story – in her own words . . .

When Ginny sent me her story, she said I could make any changes I felt necessary. After reading the following, I didn't want to change one word. So, here is Ginny–in her own words:

"As a child, books were my solace. I could pick up a book and lose myself in the story I read, and for a time, escape the pain of an abusive childhood. I endured the sexual abuse at the hands of an authority figure for twelve long years. As I grew older, I struggled in school, couldn’t focus, and failed many classes. I barely graduated from high school and didn’t go on to college.

"I felt stupid.

"But I kept reading.

"When I was about 30 years old, a wife and mother of two toddler sons, I began dreaming about writing. It seemed an impossible dream because of my lack of education, but one day while vacuuming, I said to God, “I’d love to write a book.” In that moment, I believe God brought to my mind some of the people He used—a young girl to give birth to His Son and fishermen as Jesus’ disciples. He often used the least likely candidates, the uneducated. That reminder gave me hope that perhaps one day He would use me as a writer.

"That year, I attended my first writers’ conference and began the long and winding journey to publication. I spent the first five years just learning and practicing the craft of writing. I wrote devotionals and magazine articles and anything else that felt manageable. And each spring, I returned to the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference to continue learning and networking.

"During those years, God also had me on another path—the path of healing. About the same time my dream of writing was born, I also realized that God wanted to do some work in my life—emotionally and spiritually. I was terrified of revisiting my childhood and the abuse I suffered, but it didn’t seem I could hold it at bay any longer. Nightmares and memories haunted me. Finally, for the sake of my sons, I decided to call a counselor and make an appointment. I knew my children deserved a mother who was healthy.

"That first counseling appointment was so difficult. But I made it through and decided I could probably do a month or two of weekly appointments.

"Twelve years later… ☺

"During those twelve years of intensive therapy, God replaced the lies I’d believed about myself with His truth. About the time I finished counseling (although, I still check in with a counselor occasionally), my writing shifted. After years of pursuing publication, I’d finally surrendered the writing to God and told Him I’d write simply as an act of worship. I placed myself, and my desires in His hands.

"But not long after, the first line of what I thought was a story began playing through my mind. I finally sat down one afternoon and typed out the sentence: I collect words. I wrote a couple of chapters and then submitted them to agent Steve Laube that spring at the Mount Hermon Writers Conference.

"The night before the conference began, I received an email from Steve asking me to find him as soon as I was on the Mount Hermon grounds. That felt like a good sign.

"Steve loved the chapters I’d written and wanted to see more. He asked for the completed manuscript and I told him I could have it to him in six weeks. But six weeks turned into three years. Obstacle after obstacle prevented me from writing, but I persevered and eventually did submit a completed manuscript to Steve who then graciously worked through it with me, helping me make it ready to submit to publishers.

"I eventually signed a contract with The Steve Laube Agency for representation and began the long wait while Steve shopped the manuscript. It was almost seven months later when I received the call from Steve that he had an offer: a three-book contract with B&H Publishing Group.

"I was 47 years old when I received that call. 48 when I held my first published work in my hands. 18 years after I first spoke my dream to God. God was faithful and had prepared me for that moment. He’d offered the gift of health through the hard work of counseling knowing what I didn’t know—my first book would deal with a child who was being sexually abused.

"My debut novel, Words, is the story of 10-year old Kaylee Wren, who, because of the trauma she suffers, abandoned by her mother and left with her mother’s abusive boyfriend, loses her ability to speak. Although she can’t speak, Kaylee escapes into the world of words by reading the only thing her mother left behind—a tattered dictionary. Words is a story of hope, healing, and redemption through Jesus Christ.

"My second novel, Lost And Found, releases with B&H Publishing Group in February 2012."

Words is available at,, Barnes and Noble, and many Christian retailers. Get it! This is one you definitely don't want to miss.

The following endorsements show just how life changing Ginny's book can be:

“First-time novelist Yttrup writes a riveting, emotionally charged story . . . page by page, word by word, this talented author proves the adage ‘Write what you know.’”

—Publishers Weekly

“An astounding debut novel. I haven’t read anything this profound, inspiring and life changing since (Francine Rivers’) Redeeming Love.”

—Finding Hope Through Fiction

“It’s hard to believe this is Ginny L. Yttrup’s debut novel . . . Here are 334 pages of words that may very well leave you speechless.”


Ginny is an accomplished freelance writer, speaker, and life coach who also ministers to women wounded by sexual trauma. She has two grown sons and lives in California. Learn more about her at

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Special Feature: Author Lynne Gentry talks about her recently released debut novel, Reinventing Leona, and her journey to its publication

Lynne Gentry knew marrying a preacher might change her plans. She didn’t know how much ministry would change her life. This author of numerous short stories and dramatic works writes about the fragility of family ties and the lengths to which we will go to preserve them. She travels the country as a professional acting coach and inspirational speaker. Lynne lives in Dallas with her husband Lonnie and counts spending time with her two grown children and their families her greatest joy.

Tell us about your new release:

"In Reinventing Leona, the pastor’s wife knows that residing in the parsonage is not for sissies, but the thought of living anywhere else scares Leona Harper spitless. When her husband drops dead in the pulpit, Leona loses more than her spouse. She loses her best friend, her home, and her entire identity. How does a woman cast adrift find the courage to reinvent her life?"

How did you come up with this story? Was there a specific 'what if' moment?

"I watched three of my older friends lose their husbands. Two of them regrouped, rebuilt, and reinvented their lives. One shriveled up and died in a nursing home. Observing their experiences made me ask, what would I do if tragedy struck me? Do I have the spiritual chops to pick myself up and start over? Could I trust God to lead me through a dark valley?

"Fear that I would fail a spiritual test lingered in the back of my mind.

"In 2005, I attended my first ACFW writer’s conference and took a class that encouraged us to write about our deepest fears. I wanted to write something funny, and frankly, writing about something that scared me to death didn’t sound fun let alone funny. But God used this story to teach me to trust, and in the process He prepared me for a devastating turn of events that would either make or break me in 2009. Not the death of my husband, but something almost as bad. I’m happy to say, I’m coming out of that deep grief a reinvented woman, one who daily rejoices in the faithfulness of God."

Did anything strange or funny happen while researching or writing your book?

"While I was writing this book, I was commissioned to write and perform a comedic monologue for a women’s conference in Houston. Since this story was fresh on my mind, I used it to create the dramatized story of The Reinvention of Leona Harper. After the performance an audience member cornered me. “So, have the people in your church seen this?” she demanded. I smiled and said, “Well, no, and this story isn’t about people I really know. I made this all up.” She said, “Well, I still think you might consider getting some therapy.” That’s when I knew this story was capable of touching nerves, of exposing the secret struggles people of faith face when they encounter setbacks and tragedies. And that’s when I knew without a doubt, sharing God’s ability to reinvent us from the ruins was a story that had to be told."

Every novelist has a journey. How long was your road to publication? How did you find out and what went through your mind?

"I’m not one of those people who always dreamed of being a writer, but I have always been a storyteller. I thought my talents were better suited to the stage. The Lord slowly altered my course from the stage to the page when I married a pastor.

"Back before sermon skits were a dime a dozen, my husband thought it would be great to use drama as an additional sermon teaching tool. But, we had trouble finding dramas that fit his messages, so I started writing and directing them. That blossomed into full-blown musicals, video production, etc. Then a writer friend of mine, Lisa Harris, encouraged me to turn one of my musicals into a novel. Little did I know, it would take nearly eight years to finally sell one of my precious darlings.

"My husband and I were treating ourselves to a lovely birthday meal in a very nice restaurant when I got the call from my agent, Sandra Bishop. She asked, “Lynne, did you ever wonder where you’d be when you found out you sold your first book?” I think the huge smile on my face had the wait staff wondering what was in my tea. Or maybe it was the screaming and jumping up and down. I’m not sure which. But I remember being extremely grateful to God."

Do you have any parting words of advice?

"We are not stuck. According to Ezekiel 36:26, God can give us a new heart, a new spirit, and new purpose for our life. Don’t be afraid to let God reinvent you. It’s never too late to start over."

Thank you, Lynne, for sharing your fascinating story with us, and thank you, Tyndale, for publishing this intriguing novel. Reinventing Leona is a humorous, heartwarming story that deals with real-life issues familiar to most of us, and it's truly a page-turner. If you haven't read it already, make it your next read. You don't want to miss this one.

Please feel free to leave comments for Lynne below.

Learn more about Lynne at her website: