Interview and Giveaway with Author Fay Lamb!!!

It’s Thursday and that means I have the honor of introducing you to another awesome author friend! This time, I have as my guest, Fay Lamb. She is giving away a copy of her book Because of Me. Here’s a bit about her book… (and isn’t that just a cool cover?!)

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, Michael, along with the man who attacked her, and the man who held the gun on Michael, 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 through Amazon.

Let’s take a minute to chat with Fay about her new book…

Hello Fay! Thank you for being my guest today! Tell us a little about your novel, Because of Me. I met Michael Hayes one cool autumn day while sitting on my porch. Michael, unshaven, his hair a little scraggly, and his young face filled with tension, began to tell me his story. “There’s a young boy, Cole. I’m not his father, but he’s definitely on this earth because of me. I allowed something horrible to happen to his mother, but I still love her. I despise the kid, though. I’ve forgiven another for so much more, and Cole’s only fault is that his father is the man who took everything from me. How can I learn to love this child and protect his mother from the man who can again take her from me?”

And as easily as Michael entered my imagination, he turned and walked away.

Michael’s revelation brought forth layer after layer of plot, and my novel, Because of Me was born.

Wow! Very fascinating! So, what motivated you to write it? Deep down, I think this story came about because my two boys were like Cole. In fact, my youngest son—the one who really never had the favor of his natural father—his middle name is Cole. My boys needed a man in their lives who would love them unconditionally, who would nurture and care for them, and show a Christ-like example of a true father. My husband, Marc, stepped into that role when my children were six and four years old, and he’s never let those boy think for a moment that he wasn’t as much their dad as the man they share DNA with.

Still, there’s so much more to Because of Me. It’s a story of forgiveness, the depths of which some may never experience, and the story will truly renew your faith in the Lord’s design for us. After all, God is always in the details whether you recognize it or not.

What is the main message you hope your readers will take away? That no matter how badly we mess up or how much comes upon us, God is always nearby. I truly believe Paul didn’t idly pen the words of Roman 8:28. When the Scripture tells us “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose,” the Lord is telling us that it isn’t just the good in our lives that will work together for good. Only our awesome, loving Father can make provisions for us when we make mistakes. Only He knows the thoughts He has toward us, as Jeremiah 29:11 says, and there again, he promises an expected end, a future of hope.

I, too, love Jeremiah 29:11 and have it has one of my life verses. So, Fay, which character did you most enjoy creating and why? A very hard question for me. This story has some truly memorable characters—not just the hero and heroine, but secondary characters. I absolutely love Michael Hayes and Isabel Putnam, the love of Michael’s life. They’re flawed, but they endure some mighty big conflict.

However, my favorite fellow in Because of Me is Ted McGillicudy. Ted kind of sneaked up on me and inserted himself in the story. He’s a gruff old country boy, and Ted knew that for Michael to eventually love Cole, he’d need an example of a father in his life. Ted watches out of Michael, accepts him, and for Michael, whose father left him when he was very young, Ted fills a void in his life. And Ted, he spouts off some one-liners that will take you by surprise.

Which character do you think your readers will most relate to and why? Definitely, Michael. He’s lost so much, and he returns after being in prison and away from his hometown for several years. He is shocked to find that the woman he loves isn’t alone any longer, and he has issues to deal with before he can win back her heart. Michael struggles through those issues, but he clings to his life verse: Job 13:15: “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him: but I will maintain mine own ways before Him.”

What are you working on now? I have completed a second romantic suspense, Willow’s Path, and two contemporary romances, Charisse and Faith. Currently, I’m working on two other romantic suspense novels and the last story in the contemporary romance series while editing a contemporary fiction entitled, Storms in Serenity. Beyond that I am excitedly looking forward to delving into a novel that includes the intriguing world of professional surfing.

Thank you, Fay, for being here. It was an honor to have you as my guest!

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.

Fay 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.

Now here’s your turn to have a chance at winning Fay’s new ebook! While I haven’t yet read it, it looks like a touching read to add to your “must read” pile! Here’s all you have to do…leave a comment for Fay (and yes, anyone can enter, but confirmed subscribers receive two entries and be sure to remind me that you’re a confirmed subscriber!). Giveaway ends on February 23, 2012. A winner will be chosen at random.

Join me next week when I’ll have one of my favorite author friends, Shellie Neumeier on my blog talking about her new tween book The Wishing Ring  – and you’ll have a chance to win once again!

Grabbing the Moment

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

I am excited to have a special guest writer on my blog today – my friend, Jennifer Slattery. Today, Jennifer shares with us of the importance of spending time with the Lord.  Be blessed as you read her fantastic post!

Grabbing the Moment

By Jennifer Slattery

Something happens during the teen years. That child that used to follow you around with wide-eyes and constant questions disappears and an independent, resident expert on all areas of life takes their place. Or at least, that’s the way things are in the Slattery home–most days.

It’s almost comical how far the tables have turned. My doting little princess is growing up and now I’m the one following her around, bombarding her with questions, hoping to find a way into that ultra-independent heart. Which makes those rare moments when my adult-sized, emotionally-childish teen curls up beside me, special. A stop-all-time-and-grab-the-moment-with-both-hands special.

One morning, before my daughter left for school, she curled up on the couch beside me. We sat for a good ten minutes, not saying anything. As I held her, my mommy instincts took over and I had an urge to protect, even though there was nothing to protect her from. I didn’t want her to do anything for me. I didn’t need her to say any magical words. All I wanted was her. And I could have sat there indefinitely.

She left and I turned to my to-do list. After four days zonked out in bed with the flu, it had quadrupled. The house was a mess and laundry was piled so high I was ready to send out avalanche warnings. But another voice called just as urgently, although much softer. In fact, it was just the faintest whisper. If I chose, I probably could have ignored it. Even convinced myself I didn’t hear it. But somehow that tender moment with my daughter had opened my heart, reminding me of another parent recently forgotten.

In Isaiah 6:5 I hear the tender heart of an ever-pursuing father in God’s words, “I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help. I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for Me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am.”

And in Isaiah 65:12, “For when I called, you did not answer. When I spoke, you did not listen.”

Only this time I did. I ignored my to-do list, let the clutter piled around my house wait, turned on some praise music and grabbed my Bible. And I could have sat there in my Father’s arms, indefinitely. He didn’t need me to do anything. I didn’t need to say any magical words. All He wanted was me. It was one of those stop-all-time-and-grab-the-moment-with-both-hands experiences.

Jennifer Slattery writes for Christ to the World Ministries, the ACFW Journal, The Christian Pulse, Internet Cafe Devotions, and Jewels of Encouragement.  She loves to hear from her readers at http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com

How to prepare for a writer’s conference

With the ACFW Writer’s Conference coming up this month, I thought it would be fitting to make this week’s list a listing of how to prepare for a writer’s conference.

  • Get prayered up! Before a conference, I devote time in prayer seeking God’s direction and guidance, surrendering my writing and all of the details of the conference to Him, and asking that He help me to be sensitive to His prompting. I also ask for wisdom in choosing what editors, agents, and mentors to speak with and what workshops to attend. I pray that His will to be done at the conference and that He would use my writing to bring glory to His name.
  • Begin preparation early. I’m a procrastinator by nature, so this is a critical one for me. A month prior to each conference I attend, I prepare manuscripts, one-sheets, and proposals. I place them in a tabbed expandable folder, which is also good for organizing handouts I receive in workshops. A week before the conference, I pack everything I will need, including personal items, clothing, business cards, a spiral notebook, a camera, plenty of pens and pencils, and my Bible.
  • Know why you’re going. What is your main motivation for attending a conference? Is your goal to land an editor for your latest manuscript? To speak to an agent? To perfect your writing skills? To learn how to effectively conduct research? To develop the art of branding or marketing? Over the years, I have attended both Christian and secular conferences and have had many of these goals and more. At each conference, I also make it my goal to be an encourager to other writers and figure out ways to bless those around me. 
  • Know where you’re going. The first year I attended a large Christian conference, my friend and I got lost on the way there. Ditto for the return trip to the airport. We literally stepped on the plane as they were closing the door. Have a good map or navigation system and allow extra time for unforeseen circumstances that hinder arriving on time.
  • Keep a sense of humor. At one conference I attended, I had an appointment with an editor in another building. I ran a couple blocks through heavy rain. When I arrived for my appointment, I looked scary! Keep your sense of humor in times like these.
  • Be realistic. The first couple times I attended conferences, I carried WAY too much stuff. After one such conference, I needed chiropractic care after hauling around the heaviest briefcase known to mankind. Take only what you need, i.e., not 10 copies of each of your five manuscripts like I did in those early years.
  • Plan to network. I can’t tell you how many awesome people I have met at conferences. One of my favorite parts is during the breaks where you meet other writers. Exchange business cards – don’t leave one without taking one – and learn from those around you. Some of the best friendships with other writers begin at a conference.
  • Expect the unexpected. I wasn’t planning to meet with two specific magazine editors at my very first conference. For one thing, I couldn’t imagine what I could write that would fit well with their publications. God had other plans. I met with both of them on different occasions at the same conference and ended up writing dozens of articles for each magazine. In addition, I made lifelong connections. One of my friends I attended a conference with met an editor in the lunch line who later bought one of her devotionals. Again, expect the unexpected and allow God to lead you!
  • Develop thick skin. This is easier said than done! Have your manuscript or proposal ready, and if you can, sign up for a critique. Allow agents and editors to show you how to hone your craft. Most of the editors and agents I have met over the years at conferences have been kind, tactful, helpful, and considerate. Their goal is to help writers make their writing even better. Allow them to give you fresh perspective.
  • Think of others. What’s the most important preparation for a writer’s conference besides prayer? Thinking of others. Does someone need help pushing their wheelchair to lunch? Is there someone sitting by themselves you can invite to your table during meals? Is there someone to whom you can give encouragement? Does one of the staff at the conference deserve special recognition for going out of her way for you (be sure to thank those who made the conference possible!) Could someone in your critique group use a little bit of compassion? Our reason for being on this earth is to glorify our Lord and to love our neighbor. Show your neighbor at a writer’s conference that Christ truly does live within you and make a difference.

So there you have it – some ways to prepare for the conference. So what are you waiting for? Start preparing because the next conference is just around the corner!