Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Olympic Fever

Every two years, my husband and I anticipate the Winter or Summer Olympics, our favorite being the Winter. There's just something about watching these athletes give everything they have to achieve their goal of excellence, to win a medal, to make their mark on their sport of choice.

I realized we have watched these Olympics together for 26 years. We watched them when before the split into Summer and Winter events, before the fancy camera work we now have to show us more detail, and before these athletes' lives and stories became almost as important as their performance in the spotlight.

That's the part I find most interesting, the stories behind these athletes so fiercely committed to their sport and their goal. Stories of heartache, set-backs, unfortunate accidents, and trials. Stories of going without to keep pursuing their dream, of their families sacrificing to help them get there, stories of overcoming the odds and still moving forward even when everything told them to quit.

Read the rest S.U.M.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Double Trouble by Susan May Warren and a Contest!

If you've ready any of Susan May Warren's books, then you know she's an awesome storyteller. Double Trouble is book two in her PJ Sugar series. Be sure to read to the bottom for details of Susie's Humdinger-of-a-Contest.

About Double Trouble:
With one solved case under her belt, PJ Sugar is ready to dive into her career as a private investigator. Or at least a PI's assistant until she can prove herself to Jeremy Kane, her new boss. Suddenly PJ's seeing crime everywhere. But is it just in her head, or can she trust her instincts? When she takes on her first official case-house-sitting for a witness in protective custody-Jeremy assures her there's no danger involved. But it soon becomes clear that there is someone after the witness . . . and now they're after PJ, too.

About Susan:
Susan May Warren is the RITA award-winning author of twenty-four novels with Tyndale, Barbour and Steeple Hill. A four-time Christy award finalist, a two-time RITA Finalist, she’s also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Book of the Year. Her larger than life characters and layered plots have won her acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. A seasoned women’s events and retreats speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!. She is also the founder of www.MyBookTherapy.com, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice. Susan makes her home in northern Minnesota, where she is busy cheering on her two sons in football, and her daughter in local theater productions (and desperately missing her college-age son!) A full listing of her titles, reviews and awards can be found at: www.susanmaywarren.com

Be sure to enter the Double Trouble Prize Package Giveaway by clicking on the ‘Double the Sass” button! Susan’s giving away an iPod prize package that is anything but troubling! Check it out!

Prize Details

Double Trouble, the brand new PJ Sugar novel by Susan May Warren, is in stores now! To celebrate the release, we’re running a HUMDINGER of a contest!!

One Grand Prize winner will receive a $150 SUPER SLEUTH prize package that includes:
  • A brand new iPod Shuffle (perfect for those all-night stakeouts)
  • A $10 iTunes gift card (we recommend the ALIAS soundtrack)
  • A $10 Amazon gift card (why yes, they do sell spy pens)
  • A $10 Starbucks gift card (for fuel, obviously)
  • A pair of designer sunglasses (be stealthy AND super chic)
  • A gorgeous scarf from World Market (can also be used as a blindfold, and/or for tying up bad guys)
  • AND signed copies of both Nothing But Trouble & Double Trouble. (romance! danger! intrigue! sooo much better than Surveillance for Dummies!)
We’ll announce our super sleuth winner on March 1st.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Deliver Us From Evil by Robin Caroll

Deliver Us From Evil by Robin Caroll is a fast paced, riveting suspense that delves into the world of human trafficking. Robin is a best friend and critique partner so I can tell you, she is the real deal. Her heart for writing and her passion for God shine in all her books. Plus, she's an excellent storyteller!

Robin stopped by to share about her writing, her latest book, and gave us a glimpse to the sequel due out later this year.

By the way, one commenter will have a chance to win a copy of this fabulous book! You can also enter her contest to win a GPS! Check out her blog for details.

Robin, you have helicopters, shoot outs, and human trafficking packed into this riveting story. What kind of research did you have to do?
The most heartbreaking research was the child trafficking. I’m ashamed to admit that I was so unaware until I began researching. It’s appalling how frequently human trafficking occurs—right under our noses! It’s nothing more than modern day slavery. The helicopter research was quite easy, actually. Years ago, my husband took helicopter flying lessons, and we became good friends with his instructor. He would fly out to our house and take me up in the helicopter all the time, so the sensations were easy to recall. I’m blessed that my best friend’s husband works with the LifeFlight program in Louisiana, and was able to help me with time, speed, and flight calculations. The shooting part was fun. I love shooting, love guns, so that research involved heading to my local range to see what I could and couldn’t do with specifics. I have to add, the ranger stations in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park that I spoke with were so helpful and friendly. It truly made that aspect of researching fun.
In what ways do you believe writing Deliver Us From Evil stretched you as an author and as a person?
There were scenes that wiped me out emotionally while writing. Child trafficking is a horrible travesty, and portraying that without being graphic had me crying at times. Working with my wonderful editors during the revision and editing process helped me grow as a writer. Having another person step into my characters and storyline and give feedback is nothing short of a true blessing.

What’s your favorite part of writing a new story?
I LOVE brainstorming and pulling in ideas for subplots, motivation, conflict, etc. I find I become very passionate in this stage of the writing process. And I absolutely love interviewing my main characters. I uncover so many of their secrets, then plot how to use those against them. LOL

In what ways do you hope your books will speak to readers of God’s love?
I never sit down and plot the spiritual arc of the book, I wait for God to share with me what He’d like presented. Sometimes I’m lucky and He gives me that thread very early in the story. Other times, mostly when He’s dealing with me on a particular issue, it takes me a little longer to get it. LOL What I hope most is that readers will get a glimpse of God’s love, mercy, and that no matter what, God is faithful.

Can you share a little about the sequel, Fear No Evil?
Fear No Evil
is Lincoln Vailes’s story. Lincoln was the heroine’s best friend in Deliver Us From Evil. With his father in a nursing home and his mother needing support, former Great Smoky Mountains park ranger Lincoln Vailes moves to the bayou town of Eternal Springs, Louisiana, to become a police officer. Recent college graduate and eager social worker Jade Laurent has also moved there to try and right the wrongs of an abusive past. But someone is running her car off the road and pointing guns in her direction. As Lincoln investigates her case, he uncovers ties to big-city gang warfare up north that appears to be making its evil way down south.

Now for some fun… You’re driving down a deserted road at twilight. What direction does your suspense driven mind wander toward?
It’d be too clich├ęd to say the car breaks down and a deranged serial killer is in the woods. LOL I would think more along the lines that I have someone in the car with me, someone I trust and consider a friend, who suddenly begins acting weird. As we get further from civilization, I realize this isn’t my friend at all, but an alien who has taken over my friend’s body. Oh, wait…I don’t write sci-fi! LOL Oh well, better stay off the dark and deserted roads, hadn’t I?

Thanks for the visit, Robin!
Thanks, Dineen. Always a pleasure to hang out with you.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Robin Caroll is a Southern through and through. Her passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others. Robin’s books have placed/finaled in such contests as Bookseller’s Best, Book of the Year, and Reviewer’s Choice Award. When she isn’t writing, Robin spends time with her husband of twenty years, her three beautiful daughters, and their four character-filled pets at home—in the South, where else? An avid reader herself, Robin loves hearing from and chatting with other readers. Although her favorite genre to read is mystery/suspense, of course, she’ll read just about any good story. Except historicals! To learn more about this author of deep South mysteries of suspense to inspire your heart, visit Robin’s website at www.robincaroll.com.
Remember to leave a comment for a chance to win Robin’s fantastic book. You don’t want to miss out on this one!