Thursday, August 31, 2006

An Interview with DiAnn Mills

I’m tickled to have award-winning author, DiAnn Mills, with us today. She launched her career in 1998 with the publication of her first book and hasn’t stopped since! Currently she has nineteen novels, fifteen novellas, a non-fiction book, several articles, and short stories to her credit and has sold more than a million books. (Can you say mouth-dropping-open sales? No drooling, please.)
DM: DiAnn, so great to have you here. Your tagline is “Expect an Adventure.” Tell us what this means for your readers.

DiM: My goal is for each reader to expect an adventure and not be disappointed. Whether the book is an historical or a contemporary, a romance or suspense, the reader’s journey will be exciting and memorable.

DM: Your new book, LANTERNS AND LACE releases today and is the sequel to LEATHER AND LACE. Are Casey and Morgan back for more adventures?

DiM: LANTERNS AND LACE, the second book in the Texas Legacy Series, is about Morgan’s brother Grant. Casey and Morgan play a role in this book, but the focus is on Grant. In the first book, Grant was seventeen years old and had much to learn about life. In the second book, he is a single doctor who takes on the task of raising an orphaned baby girl and protecting those he loves while in the midst of an evil plot.

DM: You’ve written suspense fiction as well, and even your historicals keep your readers turning the page. What’s your approach to finding the story you want to tell and keeping the reader interested?

DiM: In a word: characterization. A strong, well-defined character will accept challenges and seek to find solutions to problems. The character takes a leap into the unknown with knowledge and strong faith.

DM: You have some really rich historical details in you stories. How do you go about researching your stories?

DiM: I visit the area if at all possible. I read books. Search reliable sites online. I seek out historical documentaries. I always research more than I will need so I can better understand my characters life and culture.

DM: What makes your characters come to life for you?

Living with them. Interviewing them. Taking the character’s traits and applying them to various situations. Sensory perception is important to me.

DM: What do you find to be the most challenging part of the writing process?

DiM: Staying true to character in allowing them to fail before they succeed, allowing them to make mistakes in order to grow, and putting obstacles in their way that look impossible to overcome.

DM: How do you balance your faith with the demands of the writing life?

DiM: My day begins with a quiet time to worship and acknowledge the Creator who has the highest priority in my life and given me the gift of writing. I view my writing as a ministry—every opportunity to speak, teach, or write is an opportunity to mirror my faith and give others a glimpse of what it is like to live a Christian life. Of course, if I mess up, I have to ask forgiveness. ☺ The demands are a discipline.

DM: You’ve written both a fiction, WHEN THE LION ROARS and non-fiction, LOST BOY NO MORE about the plight of the Sudanese people. I hear you will soon be taking a trip to Sudan. Can you tell us more about that?
DiM: My Sudan trip is scheduled for November, and my friend, Rebeca Seitz of Glass Road Public Relations, is going with me. This trip is a combination of research and ministry to ensure my facts are correct in my writing, to help the Sudanese in any way I can, and report my findings to groups in the States. Since writing LOST BOY NO MORE, I’ve acquired a deep passion for Sudan. The ultimate goal is to make the international community aware of the critical needs there. And did I say I was excited? Moody Publishers is helping to finance this trip, which is quite humbling to realize they have faith in my abilities as a writer. This new novel will be released in the fall of 2007. The working title is WHEN THE NILE RUNS RED, but of course that may change.

DM: DiAnn, thank you so much for being here and sharing with us.

DiM: Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your author interviews! I encourage readers to subscribe to my monthly newsletter from my website. If you are not involved in a Christian writer’s group, I urge you to look within your community for a group and to research Let me hear from you!

Don’t forget to stop by DiAnn’s website for more information about her other books and her efforts to raise support and awareness for the Sudanese people. And be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of her new book! (Drawing held on Sunday.)

BIG FAT JUICY SIDE NOTE: Bailey Truitt is blogging over at Scenes and Beans today. I'm kind of partial to her posts. LOL! (wink-wink) Hope you enjoy today's post, which us Bailey girls worked very hard to create.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Fat Factor

Can a viral infection or gut microflora cause you to gain weight or keep you obese even if you don't eat a lot? Here's a link to a NYTimes article entitled Fat Factor by Robin Marantz Henig that shares some startling results.

WARNING: Article is long but definitely worth skimming.

Friday, August 18, 2006


Lisa Samson looked up the meaning of the word fiction and look what she found.

Main Entry: fiction
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: story
Synonyms: BS, anecdote, banana oil, book, cliff-hanger*, clothesline*, cock-and-bull story, concoction, crap, crock*, drama, fable, fabrication, falsehood, fancy, fantasy, fib, fish story*, hooey*, imagination, improvisation, invention, jazz, legend, lie, misrepresentation, myth, narrative, novel, potboiler*, prevarication, romance, smoke*, story, storytelling, tale, tall story*, terminological inexactitude, untruth, whopper*, yarn*

Thus the Christian Terminological Inexactitude Writers Association, or CiTIWA, was born, as well as a new blog. So if you write CRAP, too, go check it out.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Meme Tag!

I was tagged by Tracey in Mich. and Betsy Ann for a meme created by "the secretly wants to be a suspense writer but writes chicklit," Meredith Efken. I'm supposed to answer one these three questions and then tag five people. So, without further ado, here goes.
1. If you could write a novel about any subject, what would it be? (Just the subject–don’t give away your plot idea!)

2. If just the thought of having to write anything gives you hives, what would you like to read about in a novel that you’ve never seen done before?

3. If you hate reading fiction (you can get counseling for that, you know), what subject might make you change your mind or try it anyway?
Hmm...what shall I say? Three just doesn't apply. I love fiction. Two won't work either since I write for a living. LOL! Ok, one it is.

I would have to say I'd love to write a story that delves into more of the unknown, perhaps with some supernatural elements in it. Oh wait! I'm doing that now. LOL! And it's pushing me to the limits of what I thought I could write. Let me tell ya!

And I will honestly admit there is no way I could have come up with this story on my own. God brought this one along, really and truly. He started with a Bible verse, then the characters. Then woke me in the dead of night with one line, which I still haven't figured out how it will be in the book. Who knows? God does! And He's the best author I know.

(As for tagging, I choose Ronie, Camy, Ron (gotta get a guy in this), Jennifer T., and Michelle P. Have at it folks! (but only if you want to.)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

I Love My Atheist

I spent a glorious morning by myself, watching TV. Ok, before you shake your head and run off, let me tell you what I watched. I found this show called 30 Days, a reality show on FX. I'd seen a part of a preview for it last night. The next show was to be about an atheist going to live with a Christian family for 30 Days.

Was I intrigued? You bet. Funny thing is, I had no clue when it would be on. I got up this morning, watched my show, then, reluctant to leave my cozy chair, I flipped through the channel guide and low and behold, there it was. I quickly switched it on and snuggled into my chair.

I found it very fascinating to watch how this Christian couple interacted with the atheist. The wife seemed to get the naturalist standpoint this woman came from, but the husband seemed to really struggle with the idea that their guest didn't believe in any higher power what-so-ever. I can understand that. I've had similar discussions with my husband. The idea can take some getting used to.

As the show progressed it was obvious this couple's goal was to show compassion and understanding to their atheist guest. She was a wife, a mother, a regular human being living her life as she believed she should. She also seemed to gain a greater understand of Christians in that they shared similar goals. To live their lives as they believed.

Toward the end they all gave their final input. The husband talked about realizing that just because this family didn't believe in God, didn't mean they were amoral people. They had standards they lived by, they were a happy family living "the good life," and chose to live by a different belief system.

Now, don't misunderstand my point here, nor this man's. I share his belief that the only way to salvation is through Jesus Christ. This is not the issue on the table here. What struck me again was that he had believed prior to this experience, that if you were atheist, you were immoral and unable to live decent life.

I've run into this several times. When we lived in Europe, I joined a small group Bible study in my neighborhood. One of the young women in the group was very outspoken in her faith. We had a gathering at a friend's one night and everyone was invited, including our families. I brought my husband and introduced him to my new friends.

The next time I saw this young woman, she told me she was amazed my husband was such a nice man. What did she expect, the boogeyman? I've since run into this mentality several times, once recently.

The Bible addresses this in Romans 2: 14-15:
13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, 15 since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.
God recognized that some people would live by the "law" naturally. It even talks about the requirements being written on their hearts. They know right from wrong. Atheism doesn't mean you don't know right from wrong, it means you don't beleive in God. Seeing this quick association and assumption as to what an atheist is makes me wonder if we've come to associate religion with morals in the strictest sense. And I'm seeing how destructive assumptions truly can be.

Speaking from a personal standpoint. My husband is one of the most moral people I've ever met. He's also one of the most forgiving people I've ever known. Does that surprise you? It does me sometimes in the sense that I expect that from my Christian community, yet see it exibited in my atheist husband more.

I think watching this show really helped me to affirm the difference between "agreeing to disagree" vs. judigng vs. tolerance. I can still love my husband even though he's chosen to reject God. In fact, God commands me to. Just like he commands us to love our neighbor. He didn't say judge them worthy to love. He just said to love them.

The Bible says to overcome evil with good. I personally believe that has to come from love. I want more than anything to see my husband embrace Jesus as his savior, but the judging part, that I'm leaving up to God. For me, it's simple. I love my atheist.

Friday, August 11, 2006

10 Blessings

Dear friend Ronie tagged me with her homemade meme about ten things you're blessed with, so here goes...

1. A friend who has blessed me: (I'm changing this one to friends.) Ronie, my wonderful twin who finishes my thoughts before I think them, Heather, my cheerleading confidant who keeps me going and knows me so well, Robin, bless her heart, LOL! She keeps me in line and knows I would be completely lost without her.

2. An unexpected gift: Hellyer, kitty #5. We rescued him from nearby Hellyer Park, and he's kept us laughing ever since. Hellyer will be appearing in my next book.

3. A kind word shared with me recently: Robin reassured me I would get an agent and would even change sides if she had to. LOL! Gotta love that woman.

4. Something that makes me stop and praise God: When my older daughter gives my younger daughter a hug and tells her she loves her; a sunset on the beach.

5. Something I'm looking forward to: The ACFW conference! Yeah! Get to hang out with all you writer weirdos.

6. A particular part of me I'm pleased with: The color of my eyes and my curly hair.

7. Something in my life that I wanted but never expected: Writing a book.

8. A place that moved/moves me: Meteor Crator. Weird I know, but now I know what true silence "sounds" like.

9. One thing/person that always makes me smile: My family.

10. Most recent "love note" from God: He told me he made me just as I am, (appearance) and it displeased him that I wasn't happy with his handiwork. Ouch! Ain't He cool?

Ta da! Fini! So who's next? I tag Camy (if she hasn't already been tagged), Ron, Heather G. (Hee hee, don't kill me.), and Robin (again, please don't kill me.)

Have an awesome weekend!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Goofing Off

I should be working on my book, but I decided to come play here first. I took down the little dealy on the side showing my progress because it was too much work. LOL! But I'm excited to tell you I'm at almost 50k with this book. That's just past the halfway mark. Shooting to be finished by the end of August so I can have a few weeks to edit before the ACFW Conference in September.

I think so many of us have our sites focused on that conference, getting ready, wondering what to expect. Seems we put so much pressure on ourselves to get our babies (manuscripts, just want to be sure we're on the same track) polished and ready to pitch.

In the meantime, so much is happening in the industry. Puslishers seem to be changing hands faster than stocks on NASDEQ. A feeling of uncertainty is settling over many of the writers I know as we watch more and more doors close.

It is truly a time of change. Which makes it even more important to keep an ear tilted in God's direction. Such a time can be so discouraging, yet if we are working for Him, we have to trust in His plan, right? Gives a whole new meaning to the word perseverence. (And did you notice the word severe in the middle of that word?)

I'm digging my feet in. I've come this far. Not going to quit now. This road is taking a whole lot more rubber than I ever anticipated. When I doubt (and yes, I'm wondering about the whole writing gig myself at the moment, where it's heading, and how I'm going to ride it out) I go back to the moments that confirmed this writing journey. Thankfully, I wrote several down so I can go back and read them. Just like a writer.

And that's what I am, a writer.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Why to Have Business Partners

A friend recently asked me the benefits to having business partners. I thought it was a funny question and came up with a top ten list (Ron, you are my inspiration). I've always loved top ten lists. I guess I have David Letterman to thank. Always the best part of his show.

So, here we go.

1. To make your life hell.

2. Just to spice things up a bit.

3. To be used as punching bags at will.

4. Fodder for your next book.

5. A way to excuse the stupidness in the world.

6. To make you look good.

7. To show that there really is a God and that forgiveness can be a minute by minute effort.

8. In case you get bored.

9. To show you really are credible and that you have people to vouch for you (just don't tell anyone no one will vouch for them).

And finally, the one she found the most appalling,

10. To make more money.

LOL! It is what it is.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Book Winner!

Hey there! How ya doin? Where you been all my life? LOL!

Okay, seriously, the winner of the autographed copy of Shelley's book, A Sounding Brass, is...

(insert drum roll here...)


Send me your snail mail info, Lynn. You just won yourself a book.

On a side note, leave me comments about why you like to read blogs and what you look for in a blog. Is it the content, contests, author interviews, or the personal gut wrenching sharing thingy? What would you like to to see more of? Less of? Love to hear from ya!