Monday, January 23, 2012

Welcome Author Patti Lacy

Sharon: Please welcome Patti Lacy to our Meet the Author Day.

Patti: It’s such a blessing to be here again, Sharon. Thanks!

May I get you a cup of coffee?

Patti: Ooh, yes. Do you have soy? I’ve been on a vegan diet since February…excepting chunks of milk chocolate here and there J

Sharon: Here you go. I found some soy with vanilla flavoring will that do?
Patti: Perfect. And chunks of  chocolate too, you did think of meJ

Sharon: Now, then. When and how did you get interested in writing?

Patti:  In 2005, a brave Irishwoman shared her amazing story of forgiveness despite being yanked from her beloved Irish cliffs and being dumped in a dysfunctional home in Lisle, Illinois. God whispered for me to write that story. In 2008, Kregel Publications released An Irishwoman’s Tale…and jump-started my writing career.

Sharon: I enjoyed that story Patti. Who has been one of your best encouragers on your writing journey?       

Patti: Oh, Sharon, there’s been so many. The influencers who, with no reward except a thank-you, tirelessly spread the word about my books. Sharon, you are one of those encouragers! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!! 

Sharon: Hey, I like your books!
In spite of everything, though, do you ever experience self-doubts regarding your work?

Patti: Only every couple of days L. I don’t know why it’s gotten harder the longer I’m in the business. My mantra has long been to write for the Audience of One. If only I would perk up my ears to that message and tune out everything else!

Sharon: Is there a particularly difficult set back that you’ve gone through in your writing career that you are willing to share?

Patti:  Criticism or poor reviews by fellow writers cuts deep. I don’t know why I place so much stock in what others say my stories, because I love being in a country that promotes freedom of speech. Still, we all want to be respected by our peers…

Sharon: At times like that, in times of uncertainty . . . what keeps you writing?

Patti: The whisperings of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I do stop for a season, though. Be still and wait can be pretty good advice!!!

Sharon: What makes your writing different from that of other writers? What is your brand? What can a reader expect every time she picks up one of your books?

Patti: I love exploring the secrets women keep and why they keep them. I love novels inspired by true stories. I love to thread literary elements in my books. My books involve a quest narrative, usually a trip across oceans. Thus my tagline Spanning Seas and Secrets!

Sharon: I knew your novels came from true life. Spanning Seas and Secrets! I like that.

What gave you the inspiration for Reclaiming Lily? How was this story placed on your heart?

Patti: In 2009, my mother contacted a physician named Dr. Chang for a medical procedure...and discovered a "God" connection, because years ago, my parents had taught English in Dr. Chang’s city.

After that medical procedure, my mother awoke from anesthesia to find Dr. Chang in tears, saying, "You have cancer. But from this moment, you will be my American mother, and I will help you beat this."

Our family embraced Dr. Chang, who shared the story of how she and her sisters saved their parents following their release from a Cultural Revolution era prison. I now had the multicultural and historical links that give breath to my stories.

Because both of my brothers are adopted, the questions swirling about that process fascinate me. Where’s that other family? Why did they place their precious swathed bundle into the arms of other folks? Since my parents had served in China, I was drawn into the “Lost Daughters” phenomena that has gained worldwide attention since the doors of China's orphanages have been flung open. The seed of my character Lily/Joy germinated by a combination of those two interests. 

A friend's battle with PKD (polycystic kidney disease) provided the Jodi-Piccoult-like crisis that sizzled conflict through my story. Reclaiming Lily was born! After my agent’s tear-down and rebuilding of my proposal, e-mails zipped into publishers’ “in” boxes. I later signed a contract, traveled to China, and turned in my rough draft on November 15, 2010.

My adoption information is taken directly from the files and life of a friend who shared her daughter's journey from China to central Illinois. I also read over twenty books about China, its history, its people, with a focus on those lost daughters. A key resource was The Waiting Child by Cindy Champnella.

Whew! If it sounds complicated, IT IS! Writing on other countries demands research, patience, and a willingness to bend old mindsets.

Sharon: And it shows in the finished work! Tell us, in Reclaiming Lily, what was your favorite scene to write?

Patti: Probably the tornado scene, which rocks the world of one snotty teenager and jump-starts her journey back to God! Thanks to a meteorologist and a good friend who loves to chase twisters, I think I got it right!

Sharon: And then, which were your most difficult parts?                                                 

Patti: The scenes which reflect the current social ill of self-mutilation or cutting. During this time, I discovered two women at our church who are drawn to this form of pain release. I had NO idea that one of every five teenagers is believed to have dabbled with self-mutilation. God help us all.

Sharon: I didn’t know that. It’s sobering. During the writing of Reclaiming Lily, what else did your characters teach you?

Patti: That sometimes, love means letting go so God can take hold. That I have NO CLUE of the breadth and depth of true love and sacrifice.

Sharon: What impact do you hope this book has upon the reader? Are there any themes you weren't expecting? Any that developed as the story progressed?

Patti:  Oh, Sharon, so many themes developed during the writing of Reclaiming Lily! One is the extent to which God will go to call others to Him, often in supernatural ways. I also examine the old faith vs. works argument, hopefully in an unusual way. The real Dr. Kai also inspired me to portray a true healer as opposed to someone who just has the initials M.D. after their name. 

Sharon: Any parting words?

Patti: Dear ones, if you write, focus on that Audience of One. He will never reject your stories or belittle your efforts.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Reclaiming Lily

by Patti Lacy

About the author:
In 1955, a lovely woman named Ann Qualls gave birth to a feisty and bald infant in the front seat of her husband Bucky's Buick. By pure coincidence, Ann claims, their daughter was named Patti Day Qualls, PDQ. The Quallses set up housekeeping in Martin Hall, the boys athletic dormitory at Baylor University, where Patti adopted 200 kinda brothers who taught her magic tricks and set her imagination aflame with wild stories.

This moniker has served Patti well, as she's moved at least ten times, traveled to forty states, and changed occupations with a liberality unusual in native Texans. Though Patti's only been writing since 2005, she thinks her latest profession of capturing stories on paper (or computer files) will stick awhile.

Patti Lacy and her husband Alan, an Illinois State faculty member, live in Normal with their handsome son Thomas, who attends Heartland Community College. On sunny evenings, you can catch the three strolling the streets of Normal with their dog Laura, whom they've dubbed a "Worchestershire Terrier" for her "little dab of this breed, a little dab of that breed."

Book Trailer:

The Blurb:
A storm the size of Texas brews when Gloria Powell and Kai Chang meet in a Dallas hotel. They have come to discuss the future of Lily, the daughter Gloria adopted from China and the sister Kai hopes to reclaim. Kai is a doctor who had to give up her little sister during the Cultural Revolution and has since discovered that an inherited genetic defect may be waiting to fatally strike Lily.

Gloria's relationship with her daughter is tattered and strained, and the arrival of Kai, despite the woman's apparent good intentions, makes Gloria fearful. Gloria longs to restore her relationship with Lily, but in the wake of this potentially devastating diagnosis, is Kai an answer to prayer...or will her arrival force Gloria to sacrifice more than she ever imagined?

What Others Say:
 By cllane2 - This review is from: Reclaiming Lily (Paperback)

If you had adopted a child from another country, and then several years later you are contacted by a member of that child's family, how would you react? Would you be scared that person would be trying to take your child away? Or would your child try to cut all ties with you and your family to get to know their biological family? Would you want your child to get to know their biological family? What if this family member had information about the biological family's medical history that could impact your child? Would that change how you feel?
This is the situation that Gloria Powell finds herself in. Several years earlier, she and her husband adopted a child, Lily, from China, who they renamed Joy. Lily's sister Kai Chang has found them and has information about inherited genetic problems that Lily may face. Gloria's relationship with Joy is also in shambles, meaning Kai's presence may hurt Gloria's relationship with Joy even more. Will Gloria be able to let Kai and Joy get to know each other? Will Joy be able to figure out who she is and have answers to why she was given up for adoption?
This is one of my new favorite books. I didn't want to put it down. I brought it to work with me and read it on my breaks and stayed up as late as I dare reading it until I finished it. It is a fresh look at some of the challenges of adoption and raising kids who have ties to both the country of their birth and where they were raised. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in China, adoption, or just enjoys a good read!

My Take: Another book with take home value.
Patti Lacy is a must read in today’s Christian Fiction. She digs deep, intertwining layers to make a powerful story come to life.

I took a special interest in this story because one of my daughters looks longingly at what she calls “Oriental Princesses.” These little girls are so beautiful and “If I ever adopt,” she says, “I want an Oriental Princess.”

I recommend Reclaiming Lily as a powerful story of redeeming faith.

Purchase The Book At:
Barnes and Noble:

Or Ask Your Local Library To Order The Book In For You!

Book Contest:
Patti Lacy sent me a reviewers copy of Reclaiming Lily and I'll offer to pass it on to one blessed reader this week.

Book Contest weeks are from Saturday, when the review is posted through Friday. A new book review is posted each week which may or may not have a contest connected with it. See the Book contest information on the side bar.

Leave a comment on any of my blog my posts this week along with information how to get hold of you if you are the winner. Posts on facebook do not count. We only check the messages on the blog to pick a winner.

We will send one special person a copy of  Reclaiming Lily.

Q4U: Have you read any of Patti Lacy’s books? What favorite books have you read so far this year?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Nobody’s Child

by Austin Boyd

About the author:
Austin is an award-winning author who writes extensively about faith issues related to technology and business. He published award winning poetry and more than two dozen technical articles and papers during his career as a Navy pilot, NASA astronaut finalist, and spacecraft engineer. The author of six novels, he is a Christy Gold Medal finalist (The Proof, 2007) and the winner of the Mount Hermon “Pacesetter Award.”

Austin currently writes for Zondervan, Inc. and has previously written for the B&H Publishing Group of Nashville, TN, and NavPress, the publishing arm of the Navigators in Colorado Springs, CO. He has several novels in work based on themes tied to faith dilemmas in bioethics, as well as a Christian layman’s guide to Islam.

Austin is employed as the Chief Executive Officer for Inergi, Inc., an engineering and design firm in Huntsville, Alabama. He is active in local ministry activities with Choose Life of North Alabama, the nation’s third busiest crisis pregnancy center, Southwood Presbyterian Church of Huntsville, and First Baptist Church of Huntsville where he has served as a teacher, deacon, and evangelist.

Message from the author:

Just because we can, should we?
I want every reader to ask that question after finishing each novel in my new series, The Pandora Files, from Zondervan Publishers and Harper Collins. The technical ability to do something in medicine should not connote automatic endorsement of that particular technology or new procedure. We are rushing headlong into a bioethical “Pandora’s Box” because society has not considered all the impacts of our actions in biotechnology. In this first novel of a bioethics series, I framed both sides of the dilemma about egg donation and reproductive ethics. I leave the reader wondering, in the mind of the main character (and egg donor) Laura Ann McGehee, “how many children do I have?” and “will this painful procedure leave me sterile?”
Is egg donation good or bad? The answer’s not as simple as you’d think.
Let the reader be the judge. But choose wisely.

Book Trailer:

The Blurb:
A cash-strapped farm girl will sacrifice anything— even her body—to save a dying father and a mortgaged farm. Determined to overcome every adversity, Laura Ann McGehee perseveres, her life unexpectedly intertwined with the hearts of two strangers in a riveting tale of family ties and redemption in the mountains of West Virginia . . . first in The Pandora Files, a unique bioethics suspense series from Zondervan Publishers, in bookstores now.

What Others Say:
 Unprecedented choices never intended by heaven . . . unintended consequences never before seen on earth

Brace yourself for this gripping introduction to The Pandora Files—a new series of biotech suspense novels by award-winning techno-thriller author Austin Boyd.

Experience the trials of Laura Ann McGehee—Determined to honor her father’s dying request, the young West Virginia woman will do whatever it takes to save the family farm, including using the one remaining financial resource she has—her body.

Meet Sophia McQuistion—Thanks to  the unusual sacrifice of a woman she has never met, she carries the child she could never conceive. Walk in the shoes of Ian Stewart—In Laura Ann’s time of need, he’s more than just a close friend. He is a source of grace, a man who loves Laura Ann through her many trials.

When unusual circumstances place Sophia’s baby in Laura Ann’s care, Laura Ann is now the virgin mother of her own biological son. The media call him “Nobody’s Child.” But somebody wants him badly enough to steal the baby. What price will a mother pay to save her only son?
Weaving together bioethics and faith, Nobody’s Child dramatizes a future that is already upon us with consequences we can no longer avoid.

My Take: I love a book that makes me stop and think.

Once I began reading the book I could not put it down. Classed as Women’s Fiction, and it is, it also reads like the Suspense stories I love to read most. So put the suspense with the relationship issues of Women’s fiction and Austin Boyd has a real winner here. 

Purchase The Book At:
Barnes and Noble:

Or Ask Your Local Library To Order The Book In For You!

Book Contest:
I came home from the ACFW Conference with Austin Boyd’s book, Nobody’s Child. It is an awesome book and I'll offer to pass it on to one blessed reader this week.

Book Contest weeks are from Saturday, when the review is posted through Friday. A new book review is posted each week which may or may not have a contest connected with it. See the Book contest information on the side bar.

Leave a comment on any of my blog my posts this week along with information how to get hold of you if you are the winner. Posts on facebook do not count. We only check the messages on the blog to pick a winner.

We will send one special person a copy of Nobody’s Child

Q4U: What is your favorite reading topic? What favorite books have you read so far this year?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Bandit’s Hope

by Marcia Gruver

About the author:
Marcia's deep south-central roots lend a Southern-comfortable style and a touch of humor to her writing. She tends to weigh in occasionally on eternally significant issues, and her true passion is Christian fiction.

Marcia uses writing to share her faith in Jesus Christ. She says:

"Writing is a blessed vocation, even without the unction to write for God. When you experience the sensation of the Holy Spirit guiding the pen, it becomes a high calling. Writing is this introvert's God-given way to share the Good News."

Check out her blog:

Book Trailer  

The Blurb:
Reddick “Tiller” McRae is on the run again. . . this time from the ruthless band of thieves he’s been a part of since leaving his North Carolina home years ago. Searching for the fulfillment and peace his outlaw life denied him, Tiller winds up on the doorstep of Bell’s Inn where the sweet-faced proprietress, Mariah Bell, captures his interest.

For Mariah, handsome, take-charge Tiller McRae is the last thing she needs. After the secret deat of her father, Mariah is out rto find and we3ak and spineless husband to hide behind while she carries on as the new owner of Bell’s Inn. Tiller just won’t do. . . but as he stays on as a boarder, Tiller begins to take up residence in Mariah’s heart, too.

Will the consequences of deception make a future together impossible?

What Others Say:
By Diana Flower. This review is from: Bandit's Hope (Backwoods Brides) (Paperback)

Marcia Gruver has crafted another masterpiece of a book in Bandit's Hope; a tale of love, forgiveness, greed, and deceit, in 19th century Mississippi. Mariah Bell is a beautiful half Choctaw woman, and owner and proprietess of Bell's Inn, a place that she has promised her deceased mother never to give up. In keeping that promise, Mariah becomes a harborer of a very dark secret, that if revealed, threatens her very relationship with those she loves. Tiller McRae lands on the doorstep of Bell's Inn in need of shelter for a few days, and Mariah hires him as a handyman to perform long overdue repairs on the inn.

Tiller, a product of an unjust childhood, ran away from home ten years ago with his friend, Nathan, and ends up in more trouble than he can handle; a life of an outlaw and a swindler, but a life that he is tired of and willing to give up for the beautiful Mariah. But if she finds out of his secret past will she have him?...especially when two very handsome braves and a childhood friend are all vying for Mariah's hand as well? And when a severely injured Otis Gooch is brought to the inn to be nursed back to health, what secret does he hold, that terrifies Tiller to the core, should the elderly man ever regain his memory and reveal it? And who steals Mariah and why, and will the men reach her before it's too late?

I absolutely loved this tale, with its wonderful characters, twists and turns, and pageturning excitement! Marcia Gruver is a master storyteller, who laces her novels with rich Southern humor (I loved Otis Gooch!) to offset the dark times her characters face. With a strong spiritual thread of love and forgiveness throughout, this book is a must read! Although Raider's Heart is the first book in the Backwoods Brides Series, Ms. Gruver does a good job of recapping so that it may be read as a stand alone, although I highly recommend both! Nicely done!

My Take:
I enjoyed Raiders Heart and was delighted to be reunited with some of the characters of that book in Bandit’s Hope. I didn’t like Tiller in the opening pages. But as learned and loved and grew I learned to appreciate him. I loved Otis Gooch and how he helped Tiller learn to accept Christ’s forgiveness. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  An enjoyable read.

Purchase The Book At:
Barnes and Noble:

Or Ask Your Local Library To Order The Book In For You!

Book Contest: 
Barbour Publishing sent me a reviewers copy of Bandit’s Hope and I'm offering to pass it on to one blessed reader this week.

Book Contest weeks are from Saturday, when the review is posted through Friday. I attempt to post a new book review each week which may or may not have a contest connected with it. See the Book contest information on the side bar.

Leave a comment on any of my blog my posts this week along with information how to get hold of you if you are the winner. Posts on facebook do not count. We only check the messages on the blog to pick a winner.

We will send one special person a copy of Bandit’s Hope.

Q4U: Are you a reader? How many books do you normally read each month?