Thursday, September 30, 2010


You are a woman of many talents, writing in more than one genre. Share with us the process of deciding to write inspirational novels.

Actually my agent encouraged me to write and submit an inspirational manuscript. We had worked together on romantic suspense and contemporary romance manuscripts, and we had shared conversations about our faith - so it seemed a natural progression when she asked me to try my hand at writing a Christian romantic suspense. That still hasn't sold, though I haven't given up on it! When my agent asked me to write an Amish romance, I was a bit surprised, but I found there are many similarities between living in a small rural town and the Amish communities I visited. Also, after some family research, I re-discovered that my father's family was from Pennsylvania. Overall, it's been a very comfortable fit for me, and I'm enjoying the writing immensely

What are the challenges you face as an inspirational writer?

I don't believe they're any different than the challenges other writers in other genres face--you have the same deadlines, competition, and of course the same word count! Christian fiction does seem to be going through a period of transition right now, where the boundaries are moving a bit, and I find that fascinating. Where once all CBA books (books offered for purchase by Christian Booksellers Association) had to adhere to fairly strict guidelines and contain, at least in part, stories of conversion to Christianity - now there's a sense that readers and writers differ in what they mean by the term Christian fiction. Perhaps it's a story with a slight faith element in it. Maybe it's only that the main character has a Christian background and the story itself is basically clean of offensive language or content. It's up to the author to know what a publisher's guidelines are. I suppose that can be challenging, but again that's true in any genre.

A SIMPLE AMISH CHRISTMAS will be released tomorrow. Tell us all about it!

Set in Pennsylvania, this is the story of a young lady who adores her family, her community, and her faith. But Annie isn't satisfied with the education she's limited to within the Amish community. After spending 3 years with her aunt in Philadelphia, she's not only completed her high school equivalency, she's earned her nursing degree as well. Then she's called home when her father is hurt in an accident. Annie always planned to return home, but now she must find a way to use the skills that God has given her, the passions of her heart, and use them in the place she knows that she longs to live. I think it's something many of us have struggled with - returning home, but not as the same person we were when we left. Finding a way to fit in, and not just fit in but to do so in a productive and satisfying way, is Annie's heart desire. Then she meets a certain young man, and the plot grows a bit more complicated.

When is your next Amish Mystery scheduled for release?

Next fall, the first book in my Shipshewana Amish Mystery series will be released. Set in Indiana, these books will focus on the friendship between two women (one Amish, one Englisch), who depend on each other at first simply because they want to keep the local quilt store open. Then Callie stumbles over a dead body, and she needs Deborah for more than advice on what to stock 0n the fabric shelves.

Why do you think Amish books are so popular right now?

I think many of us are a bit overwhelmed with the pace of our lives, not to mention the amount of technology required to make it through each day. The appeal of Amish books is the same appeal as a walk down a country lane or an afternoon spent fishing by a slow-moving creek. These stories remind us that although we might not be able to chunk our obligations and go live in the country with no electricity, we can turn off the internet and spend an hour each afternoon out in the garden. The surprising thing is that when we do, we actually are better equipped to handle the pressures and deadlines which feel our lives. I think this is why Amish books have been popular for quite some time, and will continue to be. I encourage you to take a look in the bookstore or library next time you're there . . . you're bound to see plenty of Amish books on the shelves

How do you meld your writing with the rest of your life? Any daily schedules or other routines?

At the moment I teach full time at my local high school and I'm an adjunct professor for my local college, so yes - I have a routine! I write every morning from 5 - 7 a.m., and I always have a designated word count for the day. Usually it's only 1,000 words a day. You can write a book in 4 months at that rate! In the evenings and on weekends I work on promotion or edits, and of course I have book signings scheduled on weekends.

What are you website and blog addresses?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Interview with ALAN ORLOFF

What made you give up a life of excitement as a businessman and become a writer?

Ha! Good one. (Obviously, you’ve never toiled in the corporate world.) I guess I ditched all that “excitement” to do something I had a passion for—it’s really that simple. I’ve always been a voracious reader, and I’ve always admired the writers who could bring great stories to life. I figured I’d try my hand at it, and I’ve never regretted a minute. Believe me, sitting at my desk, pounding on my keyboard, all alone, for hours on end, is way more exciting than anything I ever did in business.

How do your past business experiences help you create characters and plots?

During my career, I had the opportunity to meet and interact with many, many people. Snips and snatches of them—how they looked, how they talked, how they reacted—stayed with me. Now when I want to portray a certain person or a certain trait, I just scan my memory banks. Same goes for interesting situations and settings. And of course, if nothing juicy sprouts from my memory, I just make something up.

Tell us about your book, Diamonds for the Dead.

In DIAMONDS FOR THE DEAD, Josh Handleman returns to his boyhood home to sit shiva for his estranged father and gets the shock of his life: his frugal dad was a diamond collector worth millions! Now the gems are missing, and Josh begins to suspect his father’s death might have been murder, not an accident.

Hounded by grief and remorse, Josh resolves to find his dad’s diamond stash. His emotion-laden treasure hunt throws him into the middle of a feud between two stubborn old Russian Jews—and puts Josh squarely in the sights of his father’s killer.

You never know how a book will be received, but it’s been fortunate to get some very good reviews. Which makes me happy.

Tell us about your upcoming book, the first in the Last Laff series.

In KILLER ROUTINE, Comedian Channing Hayes has survived a tragic auto accident that claimed the life of his fiancee Lauren. Physically and emotionally scarred, he’s put his performing career on hold, resigned to getting laughs vicariously as co-owner of The Last Laff Comedy Club. There, he instructs Lauren’s sister Heather in the fine art of stand-up.

When Heather skips out on her set during the club’s comedy showcase, Channing searches for his AWOL protege. Heather’s ex-lovers start turning up dead, and Channing must fight to keep Heather from being the next hit in this deadly line-up.

Share with us some of the challenges and advantages of writing a series as opposed to stand-alone novels.

With a series, a lot of the work is already done. You’ve developed the main characters and you’ve mapped out the settings for many of the scenes. The challenge is keeping things fresh and avoiding the “been there, done that” syndrome. With stand-alones, you can enjoy the excitement of exploring new characters and new stories and new places. I enjoy writing—and reading—both types.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve gotten?

BICFOK. Butt In Chair, Fingers On Keyboard. If you’re a writer, then write. It’s too easy, especially nowadays with the constant call of the Internet, to get distracted. Writing a novel—or anything worthwhile—takes time. You need to be disciplined or you’ll never get anything accomplished. Get it down and then go back and edit.

All of the above snippets of advice boil down to the same thing: WRITE!

What are the addresses of your website, blog, and other online presences?

My website is:
My blog, A Million Blogging Monkeys is:
I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. Come follow and Friend me!

Thanks so much for having me today, Linda! It was a pleasure.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

WRITERS WANTED - A call for Contributors by Terre Short of BetteBoomer

Bette Boomer is born! A few creative friends and I have been breathing life into a new resource for baby boomers -  Bette Boomer represents the ageless boomer generation that is redefining what it means to grow older. We research and present the ultimate resources for boomers transitioning through various life stages. We profile fellow uber-boomers and provide a platform for identifying with our "agelessness."

We seek contributors who can add their voice to the dynamic approach we seek in uncovering the boomer path over the next 40 years. We are interested in many fascinating topics: longevity, brain health, physical vitality, excursions with kids and grandkids, support for challenges with aging parents, technology that complements our connectedness, and most any resource on healthy, sustainable living - because living well never gets old!

If you would like to contribute to, please check out the subjects under the “Boomer,” “Progeny,” and “Parents” sections and send an email with few lines about your proposed topic. Alternatively, you could present a brief overview of what a profile of yourself would encompass, for consideration in the “Uber-boomer” section.

Live Well!

Terre Short

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Book Review: EVERY BITTER THING by Leighton Gage

When the son of Venezuela's Foreign Minister is found dead in his apartment in Brasilia, Mario Silva is called to investigate.  He soon discovers that a chain of killings have occurred throughout Brazil, all with the same MO:  victims are shot first in the stomach, then beaten to death, and--even more puzzling--they were all passengers on TAB flight 8101 from Miami to Sao Paulo.

The most recent book in Leighton Gage's Inspector Mario Silva series, EVERY BITTER THING, is a well-crafted, well-written mystery/crime novel.  The plot and sub-plots are woven together with a great deal of subtlety and, as the story progresses, the level of suspense continues to notch up.  You think you see where Gage is taking you and find yourself travelling down a totally unexpected route.  His plot twists are clever and motivated by the characters.

As each short chapter at the beginning of the story successively introduced new characters, I was torn between wondering if this was going to be a book with a cast of thousands--and all difficult to remember--and what the heck Gage was setting up.  It didn't take long for me to realize the cast of interwoven characters would hold me enthralled for the duration of the story.

EVERY BITTER THING roused a lot of emotions:  humor, pathos, empathy, anger at the machinations of politicians, and down-right enjoyment.

I'll be seeking out the previous books in the series (BLOOD OF THE WICKED, BURIED STRANGERS, and DYING GASP) and keeping my eyes peeled for the next one.  On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd rate EVERY BITTER THING a 9.5.