Friday, October 31, 2008

Getting "the call"...

It's a sale! Those are words an author loves to hear. Whether it comes in the form of a call from an agent or from an editor, getting the call that a publishing house is offering a contract on a book is always a thrill!

For me, this call came this week. Of course, as a published author I've received this type of call from my agent many times. But quite honestly, getting "the call" never gets old. I get a thrill each time I pick up the phone and realize it's my agent, Michelle Grajkowski. Why? Because Michelle only calls me when she has good news. We chat at conferences, online by email and by instant message. But when it's goods news -- no, great news -- she always calls. (If only she could see me dancing around when she gives me the news. Okay, maybe it's a good thing she can't.)

I'm pleased to say that Steeple Hill has offered me a contract to publish a 3rd Love Inspired Suspense. The working title of the book is Bird of Prey. Chances are, that title will change, especially since it will be published December 2009 and we've decided to make it a Christmas book. I love Christmas books. Ever since I wrote my first published book, All I Want for Christmas is You, I've been wanting to write another Christmas book and now I'll have that opportunity.

I'll have more information about this new book in the coming weeks. Thanks for sharing my excitement with me about this new sale. Until next time, many blessings, Lisa Mondello

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Front Matters -- Take Two

I'm like Debbie. I always read the acknowledgments and dedication in books before I read anything else -- well, other than the back cover. And that's a maybe.

Now that I'm working on my seventh book, second Love Inspired Suspense, I've knocked most of the easy dedications out of the way. God for blessing the dream. Mom for homeschooling me and teaching me how to write. Eric for always believing in me and encouraging me. My grandparents who inspired my first historical romance.

For the book I turned in earlier this month, I added a reader letter. Those are not routine with the Heartsong Presents line, but I decided it was important this time because I was dealing with a serious issue, and I needed readers to understand why I wrote the book. Colleen Coble calls this book my women's fiction historical married romance. And now that I'm on the other side of it, I think she's right.

Reader letters are a rare opportunity to connect with readers. To tell them why some element of the story was woven into the book. As I'm writing this current Love Inspired Suspense, I've been reminded just how intentional each layer is. Romance? check. Suspense? check. Internal layers of conflict? check. Element keeping the hero and heroine apart? check. Red Herrings? Check.

And as I go back and insert each layer, I have an eye on the overall theme. At this point, it's a prayerful eye as I continue to ask God what it is. But I know it's there. And in the end, He will pull all these elements together.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"Front Matter" Matters

I’m currently working on what’s called the “front matter” for my next book and so I've been rereading what I wrote in COUNTDOWN TO DEATH, the first book in my Magnolia Medical series. The front matter includes the author’s Bio, Dedication, Scripture Verse, Dear Reader letter and Questions for Discussion.

An author’s bio usually remains fairly constant from book to book, but the dedication changes and is one of the first things I read when I buy a new book. The dedication provides a glimpse into the author’s life and the people who may have influenced the story’s creation.

I dedicated my current release, COUNTDOWN TO DEATH, to the laboratory professionals with whom I have worked, especially my former coworkers at Peachtree Regional Hospital. I also mentioned my hubby and children, my critique partners and my editors and agents.

In the Dear Reader letter, I talk about how issues in the past can keep a person from truly living in the present. My characters, Luke Garrison and Allison Stewart, learned that by turning to God they could move beyond the pain of their past to a place of love and acceptance. I hope readers will enjoy reading Allison and Luke’s story. Hopefully, the lessons my characters learned will ring true.

The Questions for Discussions at the back of the book are tools for group discussions, but individual readers can gain insight from them as well. I usually turn to the questions after I’ve finished reading a story as they can sometimes be “spoilers” if read first. The questions often reveal new facets or subtle nuances of the story that I may have overlooked.

Authors spend time writing the “front matter” for their stories, which, hopefully, enhances the reader’s enjoyment.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about the “front matter.” What do you like/dislike about the various sections?

Happy reading! Happy writing!

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Forsaken Canyon Interview

Today we're welcoming , Kit Sinclair, the heroine of Forsaken Canyon Margaret Daley, October 2008.

1. Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be in the
midst of such suspense.
All I wanted to do was find the Lost City of Gold and prove one of my theories as an historian correct. Instead, I found danger and nearly lost my life.

2. So, during the book you met Hawke Lonechief. Tell us a bit about
him/her. What was your first impression? When did you know it was
He was stubborn and arrogant. I needed his help and he refused to take me to Desolation Canyon. By the second time he saved my life, I was a goner. I knew I was falling in love and shouldn't.

3. What strengths/skills do you have? What is your greatest weakness?
I love to research and can lose myself for hours in books in the library. History fascinates me. Also, my friends are important to me. I will stand by them to the end.
My stubbornness has gotten me into trouble. I don't give up easy when I probably should. Oh, and I trusted the wrong person--very dangerous.

4. What scares you?
I didn't think dark places did, but after my adventure maybe I need to rethink that. I do know I don't like snakes, of any kind!

5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Have more patience. Lack of it has gotten me into a few scrapes.

6. Where are you in your faith at the start of your story?

I believe in the Lord. He has been by me through some rough times. I couldn't have done it without Him.

7. Where are you in your faith at the end of the story?
I'm more solidly entrenched in His camp. He has proven over and over He is the only way.

8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why
this scripture is significant.
Trust has always been an issue with me. I trusted some people who really let me down. People have let me down, but not the Lord. No manner what, I have put my trust in Him.

9. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why?
A hot caramel Sundae--because it is the best tasting dessert. Period.
Hot and cold at the same time. Mmm. I think I need to go fix one now.

Thank you Margaret for sharing Kit with us today. This story sounds so exciting. Can't wait to read it!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Questions in the Car

Last Wednesday night I was driving to church with my three-year-old in the back carseat. He asked, "Mommy, why are we going to church?" Anymore, I try hard to put my answers in three-year-old lingo. "So that God will know we think he's important enough for our time," I said. Ack. The writer in me immediately began revising outloud. "I mean, so that God will know that we know he's important enough for our time." I would have hung my head in shame after two blotched attempts at an answer, but I was driving. His question really made me think about why we go to church on Wednesday night. I'm not sure about your church, but at my church Sunday morning is packed; Wednesday night is sparse. I imagine that if I were to be on David Letterman's show and have to come up with the top ten reasons why people go to church on Wednesday night, the answers would be enlightening. Me, I go because I remember the times when I was closest to the Savior - when my prayer life was alive, when I was excited about the word, when I almost understand - and I want that feeling back. I go because I don't think you can know God if you give him the time you give, say, your writing. I go (on Wednesday night) because my parents went (and took me) on Wednesday night. I go because I know the statistics on how many teenagers leave the church once they get to be adults. I want my son's best friends to be at church. That can only happen if we 'be' at church. I wish I had a best friend at church. I actually like Wednesday night church even more than Sunday (or I would if I wasn't exhausted). I like being in a classroom where lots of people talk. It wasn't during a serman that I started to understand the story behind Ananias and Sapphira, it was in a classroom. It wasn't during a serman that I understood the Prodigal Son, it was during a song. Hmmmm, when Mikey's older, maybe I'll be able to explain better.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Creativity--with help!

Winter isn't far away, given the howling winds and shivery temperatures here today. Flurries are predicted for the coming week, but I can't wait. I love winter!

It's been a great weekend here. After returning from a weekend-long trip on Thursday night, I packed again and headed to a hotel with Kylie Brant and Cindy Gerard, where we spent the weekend brainstorming plots for upcoming books. They are both amazing writers, and it's such a blessing to have a chance to think through the complexities of a story set-up with extra brain power to help! Bouncing ideas around, throwing out possibilities--the result can be exciting new directions that one might not have thought of alone. We all have different styles of writing and write different types of books, but the time is invaluable, and now we are trying to meet once or twice a year. If you are a writer, consider doing the same with your own writer friends--even if only for a day-long session in some neutral territory, away from family and household commitments, so there are no distractions.

The three of us have free-form sessions, but another approach can be to address answers to specific questions needed to set up a book.
A wonderful tool (which could be used alone, or in a brainstorm session with friends) by Alicia Rasley can be found at: There are lots of wonderful articles at her site! She's also a fantastic workshop speaker, and has produced a really excellent writing reference called The Story Within. If you ever have a chance to hear her speak at a conference, be sure to attend!

Best wishes to all,
Roxanne Rustand

Friday, October 24, 2008

In Support of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Surprises come in many ways. I'm always thrilled when a book I've forgotten I'd ordered comes in the mail so when I received a package labeled Harlequin from the Toronto office, I was both surprised and puzzled. Had I ordered anything lately? I'd already received a shipment of books I ordered from I opened the package to find a book I hadn't ordered by an author I'd never read before. The book is For All We Know by Sandra Kitt. A bigger surprise was that it was a SIGNED COPY. I love signed copies.
As I inspected the back cover, I was pleasantly surprised to see that this book was part of a group of books written to support a wonderful cause, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Here is the back cover blurb from For All We Know.
When Michaela Landry agreed to house-sit at her godparents' Memphis home, she expected a quiet, peaceful summer. Instead, her stay takes a dramatic turn when she finds a runaway teen and brings him to the nearest hospital. The only person he trusts is Cooper Smith Townsend, a local pastor whose calm demeanor and dedication are as attractive as his rugged good looks.Smith's experiences have inspired him to serve God and help others at the expense of his personal life, but Michaela's warmth and courage are irresistible. Now their greatest challenge will be to trust that a passion neither planned for is strong enough to overcome any obstacle….
I still don't know why the book was sent to me, but I'm so glad for the surprise of receiving it. I've put it right on top of my To-Be-Read pile and am anxious to read it. I hadn't realized Harlequin had partnered with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital to write this book of hope and love, but now that I know, I will be sure to check the Kimani Press/Arabesque section of eHarlequin on my next book buying spree.
Until next time, many blessings, Lisa Mondello

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Google Maps - what a tool!

I've heard many writers rave about Google Maps, but until A Promise Kept, the book I just finished, I didn't really need it. I knew my settings well from site visits or having lived in the communities.

Cincinnati -- yeah, don't know it well at all.

So I turned to Google maps. I LOVE the satellite feature. It allowed me to explore neighborhoods and figure out exactly where my characters lived. It also allowed me to see the library branch. I strolled through Eden Park. It was amazing! I still would have preferred to actually visit the site, but this provided a second best approach.

So here's your challenge for the day -- go to google maps and see if you're house shows up. Ours doesn't (yet!), and I'm okay with that.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Maggie Thank You Notes

I had the privilege of judging the unpublished Maggies this year in the inspirational category and have been getting a number of thank you notes from the writers I critiqued. Receiving notes is always a nice treat, and thanks to everyone who may have written.

The folks I heard from mentioned their appreciation for the written review they received, which is the hallmark of the Maggie Award. All of the published authors take time to offer constructive suggestions that, hopefully, can move the story forward. If you haven't entered the Maggies, consider submitting your manuscript next year.

As I judge, I enjoy reading the stories and am always impressed with the level of professionalism in the entries. Usually a number of the submissions are winner quality and others follow close behind, which means everyone is working hard to make their work the best it can be.

I know it's hard to send your work out and then to receive critiques from authors you don't even know. Of course, sometimes the suggestions are less than helpful. Hopefully, most of the time, something can be gleaned to improve the story. Please know that those of us critiquing your work want you to succeed. Good luck with your next entry!

Happy writing!

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Taste of Murder Interview

Today we're welcoming Jasmine Delaney, the heroine of A Taste of Murder, by Virginia Smith, October 2008. Wow, you've just had quite an adventure.

You're not kidding. I'll never look at weddings the same way again. Or barbeque. Or beauty pageants!

1. Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be in the midst of such suspense.

My name is Jasmine, but my friends call me Jazzy. It sort of fits, because I’m a musician, a violinist. I play in a classical trio with a couple of friends. I thrive on order, which is why I would never have guessed in a million years that I’d get involved in anything as messy as murder.

A few months ago a guy sent me a message on one of those online community sites and asked if my friends and I would be interested in playing at his sister’s wedding. Well, I’ll be honest here—I checked out Derrick’s online profile, and I couldn’t resist. So I convinced my friends to travel down to a little Kentucky town called Waynesboro, and we arrived right at the beginning of a local Bar-B-Q Festival. Unfortunately, we also got drawn smack into the middle of a local murder. I mean, I checked into my hotel room and what did I find? A body in the bathtub!

2. So, during the book you met Derrick Rogers. Tell us a bit about him. What was your first impression? When did you know it was love?

We really didn’t get off to a very good start. Derrick is a great guy, but he isn’t… well, as clean as I am. He’s into hunting and fishing—can you imagine touching a slimy, smelly fish?—and he has a dog. My friends tell me I take neatness to unhealthy levels, and I guess they’re right. But dog hair and fish smell weren’t something I was ready to deal with, even for a gorgeous Christian hunk like Derrick.

But he won me over, and so did his hunting dog, Old Sue. Derrick proved he’s more than just a handsome face. And Old Sue’s the smartest animal God ever created. Why, without Derrick and Old Sue, I’d be dead!

3. What strengths/skills do you have? What is your greatest weakness?

I’m a great musician (and I have the ego to prove it!) I’m extremely independent, and I don’t like being bossed around. Of course, that trait got me into a lot of trouble when Derrick tried to protect me by insisting that I not get involved in judging the local Little Princess Beauty Pageant. The murder victim’s death left the organizer short one pageant judge, and she was desperate. But Derrick barged right in and told her I couldn’t judge her pageant. It made me so angry! I can’t stand for someone to tell me what I can or can’t do, so I insisted on volunteering just to spite him. Turns out, Derrick was right. Before I knew it, I’d taken the place of the murder victim – in more ways than one.

4. What scares you?

From the time I was a little kid, I’ve battled stage fright. I know, it’s weird that someone who spends a lot of time playing a violin in front of hundreds of wedding guests would suffer from stage fright. I’ve learned to deal with it by closing my eyes and focusing on the One who gave me every ounce of musical talent I have.

Oh – one other thing scares me. Rabid pageant mothers who will stop at nothing to ensure their daughters win the crown. And boy, did I get tangled up with one of those!

5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

My stubbornness. Down in Waynesboro I got myself into all kinds of trouble by being stubborn. And I almost got my friends killed, too.

6. Where are you in your faith at the start of your story?

I’ve been a Christian since I was a kid, and my faith is one of the most important elements of my life. I’m not what you’d call a fanatic, but before I went to Waynesboro I’d made some serious commitments to the Lord. For instance, a year before the Waynesboro trip I promised Him I wouldn’t date any guy who isn’t a Christian. I didn’t pray as much as I should, though. My friend Caitlin was always reminding me to take my worries to the Lord. I just love having friends who pray with me. And for me, too.

7. Where are you in your faith at the end of the story?

By the time I left Waynesboro, my relationship with God had reached new heights. He’s always been my Savior, but in Waynesboro He proved that He’s involved in every aspect of my life, little and big. For a while I thought I was about to meet Him face-to-face, but then I discovered something really cool. I already know Him face-to-face. He was with me through my ordeal, and I know without a doubt He orchestrated my rescue. And besides that, He introduced me to the love of my life. God’s love blows me away!

8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant.

I sure do. Psalm 92:1 – It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High. This is the signature verse for my friends and me. I’ve always loved music, but until I started dedicating every performance, every song, to Him, my horrible stage fright stopped me from enjoying the gift He gave me. I think that’s why He gave me Christian friends to play with, because together we make beautiful music to His name.

9. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why?

Ah, I’d be a three-tiered wedding cake. I love all the pristine white icing, and the lace-like beauty. Remember, I’m a neatnik, so all that fresh, clean, white appeals to me. But hidden beneath the white cake I’d have a ribbon of deep pink raspberry, because that would jazz up all the white. They don’t call me Jazzy for nothing!

Yum! This book sound exciting! Can't wait to read it. Thank you Virginia for sharing Jasmine with us.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Star light Star bright

The other day I was out walking with my son. It was evening. He was barefoot and happy. I was pulling his wagon, watching him, and happy. It was one of those evenings when I breathe in and love, love, love, my life. Arizona can be beautiful. The full moon guided us. A breeze accompanied us. And there, straight up, buried among a million other stars, one shone brighter.

I started thinking Twinkle, Twinkle, but then realized that wasn't the angle I was going for and switched to Star Light, Star Bright, first star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight.

Dead halt. Over the years I've had many deep-felt (I can't remember how to spell fervent, furvant), wishes (prayers, really). I petitioned God for my writing, for a husband, and then for three straight years, for my son.

Tonight: dead halt. Things like world peace went through my mind. My church and its struggles went through my mind. People losing their jobs went through my mind.

But as I looped along behind my son (if you've ever followed a three-year-old during a walk you know that looping is what you do) I had one of those AHA moments. During that walk, that moment in time, I needed for nothing. I had everything. I had my God that I could talk to during a walk (even as country music played in my head). I had a happy, healthy husband at home playing in his workshop (something about a battery gone dead). In front of me, I had a happy, healthy son (then, he stubbed his toe and the happy went away), and as for me, Wow. What more did I need?

In the scheme of things, taking a walk with a three-year-old is the perfect experience. Go grab one and do it. Then, head home and write five pages :)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hello from the Atlantic! My husband earned a cruise through his company, so we are off to Bermuda. I've never been there, but look forward to lots of hours to catch up on reading some of my favorite authors...and also have some chapters to write. Thank to my laptop and an Alphasmart Dana, that can happen! I remember hearing a longer-seasoned author talking about having one of the earliest "laptops" that was huge and weighed a ton. Haven't times changed?!
Who are your favorite "beach read" authors--the ones you would pack first if you had limited luggage space and lots of free hours ahead?

Saturday, October 18, 2008


I have been doing a lot of research lately reading about different things like how to poison someone, about what will show up in an autopsy, FBI questions. I've called the FBI to talk to them, the medical examiner and various others to get the help I need. I am so thankful people are so willing to talk to a writer, but when I listen to the questions I ask different people, I have to laugh. I sound like I'm planning a murder and I am--on paper only for a book. But what I'm going through I wonder if a killer does the same things. It's a chilling thought--carefully planning a murder of someone. I've usually been able to put myself in people's shoes, but that one I can't. As you see, writers live in a weird world at times. Our imaginations are so vivid and we can go off in the strangest directions, especially if you are a suspense writer. Have a nice, tranquil weekend.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Review: The Bone Box

The Bone Box is the latest release from author Bob Hostetler, an award-winning author and pastor in Ohio. I think this is the first book of his that I've read, and it reminded me of John Olson's Fossil Hunter. It follows in the niche genre (that I may be coining) of archaeological suspense. Usually these books focus on a what if that surrounds the Bible. What if a fossil was discovered that supported intelligent design. Or in the Bone Box: what if a scroll is found which supports the resurrection?

Randall Bullock is an archaeologist in need of redemption both in his career and with his daughter. He's ready to pack up and head home to the States when his mentor sends him to a burial chamber uncovered by excavation. He's under an extremely tight deadline to complete the excavation. Then his 19 year old daughter arrives.

Joseph ben Caiaphas has been made the high priest. He's caught in a whirlwind of intrigue as he tries to bring righteousness back to Israel and protect his people from the Romans.

This book was a slow start for me -- not sure why. I think initially it may have been the back and forth between Rand's story and stepping back 2000 years to Caiaphas' story. Early on that slowed the story down for me, but about a third of the way through, that element is what kept me turning the pages.

This book is like many of the archeology suspense stories I've read. Misunderstood archaeologist trying to redeem a career that's on the skids and finds something they weren't looking for. In this case it's the bone box for the high priest at the time Jesus was killed. For the first third at least, I wondered why that would be important until Rand finds the scroll.

What set this book apart -- at least for me -- was the way that the author brought Caiaphas to life. Caveat -- remember this is a work of fiction. But sometimes fiction helps me try to imagine what was going on in the background that the Bible doesn't supply. I actually turned to the end notes about the midway part because what the author hypothesized fit and I wanted to see if he'd done his homework. He has, but it is fiction.

That said, this book's strength is in transporting you to Israel -- both today and 2000 years ago. The intrigue that may have surrounded the Sanhedrin comes to life and I found myself wondering about the tightrope Caiaphas may have walked. Now, what really happened could be far from the scenario the author paints, but I found his portrayal believable and challenging.

The suspense element didn't really build for me -- I think the action and adventure tag is a better fit. There isn't a real sense of a ticking bomb, though the setting is definitely exotic. I enjoyed this book, and kept returning to it. If you enjoy questions about what happened in Jesus' times with the flavor of Indiana Jones, then you will enjoy this book.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008




How did five people from a small Georgia town contract a rare, deadly disease? Medical researcher Allison Stewart has to work against the clock to find out. Yet before she can ask one question, someone tries to kill her. A handsome recluse who is shrouded in suspicion saves her. Many believe Luke Garrison is guilty of a decade-old murder—a murder with ties to Allison’s case. Allison dares to work closely with Luke. But is she setting herself up to become victim number six?

I’m thrilled to announce the launch of COUNTDOWN TO DEATH, the first book in my Magnolia Medical series, which is in bookstores today. PROTECTING HER CHILD will follow in May 2009, and I’m currently working on book three.

In each Magnolia Medical story, you’ll meet laboratory professionals on the cutting edge of medical breakthroughs. Battling killer diseases in the lab, they also face human enemies who threaten them and the people they love.

I'll be signing at various locations this month. If I'm in your area, please stop by and say hello!

OCT 16
4:30 - 7 pm
Omega Book Center
Peachtree City, GA

OCT 18
3-5 pm
Barnes and Noble at the Forum
Norcross, GA

OCT 22
11 am - 2 pm
Fort Stewart Main Post Exchange
Fort Stewart, GA

11 am
Southern Magic Readers Luncheon
Birmingham, AL

NOV 14
4-6 pm
Fort Campbell Main Post Exchange
Fort Campbell, KY

NOV 15
11 am - 2 pm
Fort Knox Main Post Exchange
Fort Knox, KY

NOV 17
11 am
Fort Knox Community Spouse Club
Fort Knox, KY

I'm also blogging today at Leave a comment here and also at the Seekerville blog to get your name in the drawing for book giveaways!

Happy writing!

Wishing you abundant blessings!
Debby Giusti

Visit me online at

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Countdown To Death Interview

Today we're welcoming Luke Garrison, the hero of COUNTDOWN TO DEATH, by Debby Giusti, October 2008. Wow, you've just had quite an adventure.
1. Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be in the midst of such suspense.
I’m not one for the limelight; in fact, most folks call me a recluse. Maybe that’s because of everything that happened ten years ago. Despite the town gossips, I created a loving home for my mentally challenged sister, Shelly, and my aunt Bett on a farm outside Sterling, Georgia.
I own a company that manufactures hunting knives my grandfather originally designed, and in my spare time, I write articles for regional hunting magazines, which was why Allison Stewart and I seemed to butt heads at first. She had so many questions about the health of the wild game in the area, and I wasn’t sure if she was trying to change our rural way of life or if she’d stumbled onto a medical problem that could adversely impact all of us.
The night we met, Bett and I had taken Shelly to her monthly doctor’s appointment in Atlanta and were returning home on the desolate two-lane road that skirts town. Thank God, I spotted the flames in the old Wallace Bed and Breakfast. Allison claims I saved her life. In retrospect, I’d say she saved mine.
2. So, during the book you met Allison Stewart. Tell us a bit about her. What was your first impression? When did you know it was love?

Allison is tenacious and determined, and once she sets her mind on getting to the bottom of a situation, there’s no stopping her. She changed my life and the way I looked at the world. At first, I wasn’t sure the change was for the better.

Everything happened so fast, and looking back, I can’t pinpoint when I fell in love with Allison. Maybe it happened that first night when I wrapped her in my arms. The fire raged around us and my only thought was for her safety. Maybe it was when she kept trying to get to the bottom of the horrific crime that had torn apart my life years earlier. Or maybe I fell in love with her when she told me she believed in me.

3. What strengths/skills do you have? What is your greatest weakness?
My strength lies in my determination. Things happened in the past that threw my sister’s fragile mind into upheaval. She’s been in therapy ever since. The doctors in Atlanta questioned whether she would ever improve, but I never gave up.
I know how precious life is and how important it is to protect the ones we love. Because of everything that happened, I probably hold on too tightly to those I love.

4. What scares you?

Before I met Allison I feared revealing a secret that seemed at the center of a crime that rocked our town. Allison helped me realize facing the truth would set me free.

5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I would be more open, more accepting, and I would have trusted my inner beliefs.
6. Where are you in your faith at the start of your story?
I’ve always been close to the Lord, but I turned my back on the church people in town. That was a mistake.
7. Where are you in your faith at the end of the story?
Allison opened up doors that had been closed for years. In the end, the truth was exposed and with it came healing. The church community welcomed me back with open arms.
8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant.
“May your kindness, O Lord, be upon us who have put our hope in you.” Psalms 33:22

The trauma Shelly suffered had sent her to a dark place and years of counseling couldn’t bring her back, but my constant prayer was for her healing. Holding onto hope, as the scripture verse mentions, helped me through the tough times.
9. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why?
Dessert? Hmmm? Probably peach cobbler with ice cream on top. The peaches grow on the trees in our backyard. I pick the fruit, Bett makes the cobbler and Shelly helps turn the ice cream churn. Now that Allison’s part of the family, she says her job is to make sure everything gets eaten. 

Debby, thank you so much for letting Luke visit with us. What an exciting story. Can't wait to read the book.

Monday, October 13, 2008

So You Don't Have Time to Write or Dairy of a Romance Writers

Monday - October 6
To do list: write five pages, business meeting at 1:30

5:30 – 8:00: (Cat’s meowing woke me up) Update blog, fill in cover information for August book, edit previous work, write three pages.
8:00 – 9:00: Shower, laundry, dishes, wake up son, everybody dresses, breakfast, out the door.
10:00 – 1:15: teach two classes.
1:15 - 3:00: Business meeting – working on strategic plan.
3:30 – 5:30: teach one class.
6:00 – Home, eat dinner, play with husband and son, do bedtime routine.
9:00 – everyone in bed. Back to office to write two pages. Bed at 11:30

Tuesday – October 7
To do list: write five pages, committee meeting

5:30 – 8:00: (Cat’s meowing woke me up) Send editor photos of ideas for August book, edit previous work, write five pages.
8:00 – 9:00: Shower, laundry, dishes, wake up son, everybody dresses, breakfast, out the door.
10:00 – 1:15: teach two classes.
1:15 - 4:00: Grade, prep for tomorrow, grade, clear desk.
4:00 – 5:30: Committee meeting at work, am co-chair.
6:00 – Home, eat dinner, play with husband and son, do bedtime routine.
9:00 – everyone in bed.

Wednesday – October 8
To do list: write five pages, church tonight

5:30 – 7:00: (Cat’s meowing woke me up) Send editor a few more photos of ideas for August book, write zero pages because son wakes up more than an hour early.
7:00 – 9:00: Shower, laundry, dishes, wake up son, cuddle, everybody dresses, breakfast, out the door.
10:00 – 1:15: teach two classes.
1:15 - 3:00: Grade, prep for tomorrow, grade, clear desk.
3:30 – 5:30: teach one class
6:00 – Home, eat dinner
7:00 – Church
8:30 – home, help son with bath
9:00 – everyone in bed.

Thursday – October
To do list: write five pages, shop for TV tonight

5:30 – 8:00: (Cat’s meowing woke me up) Edit previous work, write five pages.
8:00 – 9:00: Shower, laundry, dishes, wake up son, everybody dresses, breakfast, out the door.
10:00 – 1:15: teach two classes.
1:15 - 3:00: Grade, prep for tomorrow, grade, clear desk.
4:00 – 5:00: Talk with husband
5:00 – 9:00: Power shop for new TV (Husband gets to make decision, this could take forever). Shop for son’s Halloween costume (gasp) Dinner at McDonalds (yeah, I didn’t have to cook) Head to target for more pull-ups and cat food
9:00 – everyone in bed.

Friday – October 10
To do list: write five pages, meeting at 8:30, meeting at 2:00, husband going out of town to work 4:00

5:30 – 7:00: (Cat’s meowing woke me up) Editor emails that she doesn’t need anymore photos, write three pages.
7:00 – 8:00: Shower, laundry, dishes, wake up son, everybody dresses, breakfast, out the door.
8:30 – 11:00: Critique group (couldn’t survive without it.)
11:00 – 11:00: Shop for more Halloween decorations (Oh, come on, my little guy is three. He’s dressing as Handy Manny. We’re decorating with spiders and having a blast).
11:00 – 1:30: Grade, enter grades on computer, prep for next week, make copies.
2:00 – 4:00: Meeting with co-chair to outline what we’ll be speaking about at next Friday’s conference.
4:30 – Mikey and Mommy are at barbershop getting him a haircut.
5:00 – Home, Mikey outside while Mommy does laundry and dishes and cooks dinner.
6:30 – Go for walk, find neighborhood kids, watch son run and have fun for an hour.
7:30 – bath, sit and watch Thomas the Train, bed for son.
9:00 – Write three pages, catch up on emails
11:00 – Go to bed, read an hour for pleasure.

Saturday – October 11
To do list: babysitter coming at 10:00, write five pages, dinner and movie with Cathy tonight.

7:00 – 8:00: (A mosquito woke me up. Wonder where the cat is? Probably hiding from the mosquito.) Write puppet play for Sunday school tomorrow.
8:00 – 9:00: Write two pages
9:00 – 10:00: Feed and play with son
10:00- 1:00: Babysitter arrives. Head to office. Make list that looks like this:
Write until page 35

Start writing talk for Friday’s work conference
Write until page 37
Unload dish washer
Write until page 39
Read Connie’s chapter, critique
Write until page 40
Read Cathy’s chapter, critique
Begin working on table topic
Print chapter one

1:00 I am at page 37. Load son and babysitter into car. Go to Taco Bell, go to park, have picnic. Write on Dana while Mikey and babysitter play. Get to page 39.
2:30 – 3:30: Write talk for Friday’s conference
4:00: Leave to meet Cathy at movie theater
4:30 – 6:30: Nights at Rodanthe (On a scale of 1 – 10, with ten being wonderful, I give this movie a 5. They were heavy on plot and missed the mark with characterization.)
6:30 – 7:30: Dinner
7:30 – 8:30 Shop at Mervyn’s for clothes.
8:30 take babysitter home.
9:00 Mikey in bed, back to writing.

Sunday – October 12
To do list: Church.

5:30 – (Mikey woke me up) Wake up to find son next to bed. Son winds up sleeping in Mommy’s bed. Son runs marathons in his sleep.
7:30 – 9:00: laundry, breakfast, get ready for church.
9:30 – 12:30: Church
12:30 – 4:00: eat lunch, play outside, play inside, watch Happy Feet, all the while reading The Good Neighor by Sharon Miginery [sp?]
4:30: Yeah, husband home.
6:30: Supper
7:00: Bath, watch Thomas the Train, read bedtime stories.
8:30: Write 5 pages.
9:19: Go to bed.

Monday - October 13
To do list: write five pages, doctor’s appointment at 8:30

5:30 – 7:30: (Cat’s meowing woke me up. Twice!) Update blog, try to finish book.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Where has the time gone this week? It passed in the blink of an eye, for me. I've been working on a book with a fast-approaching deadline, and have plans to travel out of the country starting Thursday morning. Yikes!

For those of you who are aspiring authors, do you set up deadlines for yourself? Make plans to finish a chapter by Friday, or ten pages by next weekend? Sometimes writing can be incredibly challenging when the characters won't cooperate, or the pages just refuse to flow. Entering contests can help spur you onward, especially if you'll need more chapters (or even a full manuscript!) by a deadline. Some people like making a thermometer-type graph (rather like the United Way temperature gauge) for marking progress, or set goals with writing buddies. I'd love to hear what you do to keep yourself on task!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

What do you like?

What kind of suspense do you like to read? I would love to get different people's opinion on what kind of suspense makes for a good read.

What kind of suspense movies have you've seen that stick with you? One of my favorites is Wait Until Dark which came out in the late 60s. The heroine (Audrey Hepburn) was a blind housewife and some bad guys were after her.They were after a heroin filled doll. I still remember the scene in her apartment when they were trying to kill her. There was one part where I knew they would surprise her and I still jumped in my seat in the theater when it happened. Alfred Hitchcock did a great job of showing a suspenseful moment without much violence. Another older movie that has stuck with me is Charade with Gary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. It was a roller coaster ride and you weren't sure who was the good guys or the bad ones. Neither did the heroine. Very suspenseful with a great mystery. What are some movies you've seen that you remember and remember?

Some of the writers I read that do a wonderful job of keeping my attention to the very end are James Rollins and Michael Crichton. Two of my favorite books from them are Jurassic Park by Crichton and Amazonia by Rollins. But they aren't the only authors I love to read: Dee Henderson, Brandilyn Collins, Tami Hoag,Lisa Jackson, John Stanford and many, many more. What are some books you've read that have kept you up nights? Share some of the types of books you like to read in suspense/mystery genre.

Friday, October 10, 2008

My Love Affair with Cowboys

You gotta love a cowboy! I was reminded this week about when my fascination and passion for reading cowboy heroes started. You see, my youngest daughter is a hardcore romantic like her mother. While looking at my queue on my NETFLIX account, I found several movies that I saw years ago when I was just a few years older than she is now. One movie was Urban Cowboy.

I remember watching Urban Cowboy in the movie theater about 4 times, 4 days in a row. I asked my daughter why she wanted to get the movie when I know she and I have seen it on cable together several times. She didn't really have to answer. I knew the reason. It's the same reason why my 14 year old loves to watch The Big Valley! You gotta love a cowboy.

Cowboys are rare in New England. Unless the PBR is having a bull riding show in Worcester, you won't see a cowboy here. The first time I ever saw a cowboy was on a business trip to Tucson about 25 years ago. I was having dinner with my boss, Patricia, at the hotel restaurant right next to a floor to ceiling window. In the distance, the sun was setting over breathtaking red mountains and I was mesmerized by how the sky was changing when I saw a FORD pickup pull into the parking lot. A tall young man sporting Wranglers and a cowboy hat got out. He walked all the way across the parking lot to the front door with the two of us locked in a stare. Just as he reached for the door, he tipped his hat at me and smiled. I was a gonner. Patricia urged me to go talk to him and I said no. I was getting on a plane to Boston the next morning. I'd probably make a fool of myself and beside, was it really going to get better than that? It's been a nice memory for the last 25 years and was revisited many times while I was writing my Texas Hearts series for Avalon.

In truth, I love writing about all types of heroes, especially cowboys, military heroes and cops. It's the same code of honor, same dedication and yes, the uniform isn't bad either. Each one of these heroes wears a uniform of sorts. I hope to be able to write about all these heroes. What's your favorite? Until next time, many blessings, Lisa

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Red Mom, Blue Mom

I'm a political junkie at heart. But there are days even I get tired of the divisiveness.

For those of us who are more than a tad tired of the Mommy's a clever story and reading by my online friend Dena Dyer. Enjoy. And remember that though we may disagree on politics, what really matters at the end of the day is what we believe about God, Jesus and our faith.

Hope you can laugh with me!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Moonlight & Magnolias 2008

I first met Teresa Medeiros at the Southern Magic Conference in 2007 and enjoyed seeing her again this year at the M&M. She was our Keynote Speaker and touched us with her moving luncheon speech. Teresa also spoke informally a number of times throughout the weekend, and we enjoyed hearing her words of wisdom, always delivered with humor.

Margie Lawson presented a great three-hour intensive workshop on Friday. I'm convinced Margie is a genius! I learn so much when I attend her workshops. Thanks, Margie, for helping all of us become better writers.

The Fresh Fiction gals, looking pretty in pink, were with us for the weekend. Faye's great, and I always enjoy seeing her. Jude's new to FF and she's a doll. I hope all of you get to meet her soon.

CATA Romance stopped by my table at the book signing on Saturday. Donna Zapf picked up my October release, COUNTDOWN TO DEATH, and she's already posted a great review at Thanks, Donna!

Everyone looked so beautiful at Saturday's night banquet. Here I am with dear friends Steeple Hill author Missy Tippens and critique partner Darlene Buchholz. Missy and I presented a workshop earlier in the day. We also each worked with a number of writers on Friday to help with their editor/agent pitches. All the gals at my table had successful meetings and their manuscripts were requested! Woo-Hoo!!!

This photo was taken during the book signing. I was so glad Barbara, a great Memphis gal and longtime member of the River City Romance Writers, won my basket!

The conference was packed with fantastic workshops and lots of fun time for writers to mix and mingle. Thanks Nicki Salcedo and Michelle Newcome for co-chairing the M&M. This year was better than ever! Thanks also to Sandy Elze for all the great programs and to everyone on the committee.

My next book, COUNTDOWN TO DEATH, will be in bookstores by October 14th and launches my new Magnolia Medical series, which I'll talk more about next Wednesday. Hope to see you back here next week. Until then, happy writing!

Wishing you abundant blessings!
Debby Giusti

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

No Where To Run Interview

Today we're welcoming Marie Parnell, the heroine of NOWHERE TO RUN, by Valerie Hansen, a Love Inspired Suspense for October 2008. Wow, you've just had quite an adventure.

"I'll say!"

1. Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be in the midst of such suspense.

"I chose to trust the wrong man five years ago and thought I had seen the last of him till he showed up at my door one night and tried to convince that me my life - and that of our daughter, Patty - was in danger. I thought he was playing games with me and lying the way he used to until I actually saw him being kidnapped!"

2. So, during the book you met Seth Whitfield. Tell us a bit about him. What was your first impression? When did you know it was love?

"I didn't believe anything Seth said at first. He seemed too good, too handy, to be for real. And when my car broke down in this little town of Serenity, I was sure that man was part of the plot to overtake and harm Patty and me. It took the other threats which kept piling up to bring me to the place where I began to fall for Seth. That would have been easier if he hadn't been hiding plenty of dangerous secrets of his own."

3. What strengths/skills do you have? What is your greatest weakness?

"I guess you could say my strength is that of any mother who's desperately trying to protect her innocent child. I never give up. I may make mistakes along the way but I never quit."

4. What scares you?

"I thought nothing scared me until Patty and I were being chased from Louisianna to Arkansas by the same men who had been after my ex. When he came to warn me, they thought he'd given me something they wanted back and I was afraid I'd never be totally free or really safe, again."

5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

"I used to think I wished I'd never been involved with my ex but now that I think about it, if I hadn't, I wouldn't have my dear little Patty. And, I wouldn't have run toward Arkansas to protect her so I'd never have met Seth. Besides, we can't change the past, we can only live with it and do our best in the future."

6. Where are you in your faith at the start of your story?

"I had been a backslider until I was pregnant with Patty. After she was born, I decided that she needed to be raised in the church. Taking her to Sunday school helped bring me back to the faith of my youth and I'm now a member of a local congregation. Or I was, till I had to run for my life. One thing that really bothered me was having to leave Baton Rouge without even saying goodbye to my Christian friends. It will be good to finally contact them, when it's safe again, and let them know I found happiness, even though it was sure the hard way to go about it!"

7. Where are you in your faith at the end of the story?

"By the end, my faith has been sorely tried, as have I, and is much stronger than it was at the beginning. I didn't think that was possible but it certainly was."

8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant.

"It's Proverbs 2: 7-8 'The Lord holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.' I know that's a lot to expect, and there's still much I don't understand, but I do trust the Lord in ALL things, not just when my life is going according to my plans. I think that's the key to happiness."

9. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why?

"A dessert? I'd lots rather eat one than be one! I suppose it should be something that's good for you if I have to actually be it. In that case, I'd like to be some fruit like an orange that's sweet yet does good things for those who consume it. Kind of like being the author of Christian books."

Thank you Valerie for sharing Marie with us. This book so exciting. Can't wait to read it.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Christian Writers of the West CWOW

Saturday the local chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) had their tenth meeting. Thirteen people attended. Thirteen is not a bad luck number. It's a wonderful number. See, all thirteen attendees were motivated, engaged, and thirsting for knowledge. We run the gauntlet when it comes to what we write and why. We have attendees who are still figuring out what they want to write. We have YA. We have science fiction. We have western. We have suspense. We have chick lit. Ruth announced that she'd sold her first children's picture book. Brenda shared that during the ACFW conference she'd had a request from an agent. Our speaker, Michelle Sutton, glowed as she held up her first release: It's Not All About Me.

Sitting among their number, I felt honored to be a part. I think sometimes sitting admidst other writers I get a reminder of why I do what I do: write Christian fiction.

Here's a brief idea of what a typical CWOW meeting is like...
1) Arrive at Marie Callendar's. Smile because have no small children to order for and make sit still. For the first time, not the first to arrive. Wind up sitting on the other side of the table and like it. Walk in with brand new attendee met in the parking lot.
2) The first forty-five minutes is justing talking and eating. This is when Brenda shared about the western. This is when Ruth told about selling. There are updates. Sherri had definitely decided on a pen name. Tracy wonders about whether to use pen name or not. Michelle says in her opinion only 5% of authors use pen names. Amy Jones says she would probably change names only because Amy Jones is such a common name. I tell her that might work in her favor. We start talking about Jenny B. Jones. My comment, of course, is that Jenny B. Jones reminds me of Junie B. Jones. Both Michelle and Ann Miller gush about Jenny's writing. Food arrives; talk dwindles.
3) Business meeting consists of core items. We decide to meet every other month instead of every third month. We have outgrown Marie's. We do a quick demographic comparison and decide to move the meeting north. Our newsletter editor steps down from her post. Sherri and Sandy are thinking about taking over and sharing the duties. We have money. We have minutes from the last meeting. Ah, business over.
4) Our speaker was the lovely Michelle Sutton. Her first book is newly released and she's as excited as can be. Her topic was Marketing Yourself Before the First Sale. I have to say. I've not seen anybody market themselves as successfully as Michelle. I first met her through ACFW when CWOW began. See, she's an Arizonian. Yeah! Her talk started with her magazine. If you haven't checked it out, go to her Edgy Fiction Writer Website. It's the Christian equivelant to Romantic Times. Then, there's her website where she has posted reviews and given away books for years. She's grown so well known that publishers send her book. Wow. She talked about My Space, Facebook, and Shoutlife. She talked about making a name among people who are not necessarily writers or readers.
5) Afterwards there were tons of questions. Michelle mentioned some of the blogs that she knew were successful. She seemed most impressed with writer savvy ones. She spent a little more time on pen names: why and why not to do it. She talked a little about successful writers and their journeys. Wow, what a meeting.
6) Afterwards, six of us drove to Berean's for her booksigning. There is not a Berean's close to me so I was like a kiddie in a candy store. I bought two books. The new Potluck Club (Boy, I wish I'd had this idea.) And Kathryn Springers (I love her voice). I purchased a book for my husband (called Daddy Promises). I bought my son a train book. I also purchased a cross necklace that lasted one day before the chain broke (sigh).

All in all, what a blessing to have a local chapter of ACFW. We're going to have our first Christmas party this year.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

My Steeple Hill Moments

I have had many good moments with Steeple Hill, and it is hard to narrow it down to just one so I have decided to give you my top ten Steeple Hill moments.

10. Selling my fiftieth book, Don’t Look Back, my March 2008 Love Inspired Suspense. I only have fifty more until I get my hundredth book! I need to get cracking and write those fifty books.

9. Writing a long short story, When Night Falls, for a Love Inspired Suspense sampler. What great promotion for the line and me! The other day it arrived in the mail and I was thrilled to see it. You would think I had written a whole book rather than a 10,000-word story. And I never thought I could write a story in such a short format. The things we learn about ourselves even after all these years of writing. Thanks, Harlequin.

8. The annual Harlequin parties at the RWA conference. I have really enjoyed dancing the night away. I probably spend over three hours on the dance floor dancing to music from the 80s, 90s, this century (the only opportunity I get to dance the whole year). The food is delicious, and since I’m on vacation, the calories don’t count. I’m sure I ate a week’s worth in that one night.

7. Working with some wonderful editors who have challenged me to improve my craft. All the editors at Steeple Hill are excellent and committed to the lines, which have grown a lot in the eight years I have been writing for Steeple Hill. When I first sold to Steeple Hill in 2000, Love Inspired was the only line, three LI books a month. Now there are three series lines—Love Inspired, Love Inspired Suspense, and Love Inspired Historical—as well as a program for the longer books. Way to go Steeple Hill!

6. Selling my first Love Inspired Suspense, Heart of the Amazon, which is a book of my heart. I love the jungle, and I got a chance to tell a story placed in a rain forest that was full of adventure.

5. The first time I was asked to be a part of a continuity series, Tiny Blessings. Boy, I didn’t know what I was getting into. It was a lot of hard work, coordinating with other authors to tie the books together. I must not mind. I’ve done five continuity series. But then again the caliber of authors is excellent, which makes it easier to do.

4. The group of writers for the Love Inspired lines. They are so supportive and helpful to each other. I love seeing them at the RWA and ACFW national conferences. It’s part of the reason I attend. I feel like I belong to the Steeple Hill sisterhood (sorry, for the couple of men who write for the line).

3. The eHarlequin boards are a fun place to hang out. I have met some really nice people on the forums and have enjoyed getting to know them. I love the opportunity to interact with readers from around the world.

2. Selling my first inspirational romance to Love Inspired in 2000. The Power of Love was a story that was inspired by the Lord. This sale changed the direction of my life. The story was about a child with a disability and his effects on different people. I love writing about people with a disability. I taught Special Education for twenty-eight years, and the children I worked with were wonderful. They showed me the world through their eyes, and I loved what I saw. I’ve had an opportunity to share that with my readers.

And my number one moment is (a drum roll, please):

1. Writing for Harlequin’s Steeple Hill has given me the opportunity to write about something I’m passionate about—the Lord. I am able to write about the power He conveys in people’s lives and how He can make all the difference in the world in some gritty situations.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Let's Debate this: Locations Across America

Everyone was watching the debate between the VP nominees last night and so was I. As I was watching I was thinking how following the presidential campaign for so long has shown me so many corners of our country. Every time the candidates are in a new city, I check my Writer's Guide to Places book to see if I can find out more information about that particular place in case I ever want to set a story there.

I admit, I'm a New Englander who doesn't stray too far from the home ground very often. But I am a mental traveler and I love reading about new locations in books. It would be great to write a book set in Alaska. Of course, if I say this too loud my husband will get his duffel bag packed and have me out the door so fast for a wild adventure into the Alaskan tundra. Tempting, but do they have Wi-fi in the tundra? My husband, being a former Marine, is much more adventurous than I am. Although I must admit he's pulled me out for a bit of adventure a time or two.

I love that Massachusetts is very different from Arizona and that Boston is different from New York City. Although city to city and small town to small town may share similarities, they also have something unique about them. My small town in Massachusetts is much different than some of the small towns I've visited in Vermont. That led me some years ago to want to write about a small fictitious town in Vermont called Stockington Falls with my friend Cathy McDavid, who writes for Harlequin American. Although the 4 novellas that each took a season out of a year in the life of Stockington Falls residents who were dealing with a mysterious tragedy was never published, it was LOADS of fun to write and renewed my love of visiting Vermont and the old covered bridges and ski towns.

I love small towns, the camaraderie and neighborliness of the people and the fact that you can't even go to the post office without running into 3 or 4 people you know. I've written books in different locales. What other locations are YOUR favorites to read about? Tell me about them by leaving a comment. If you do, you'll be entered into the CRAFTIE Ladies of Suspense drawing for all 4 October Love Inspired Suspense books.

Until next time, many blessings, Lisa Mondello

Thursday, October 2, 2008

More Photos from Mall of America Signing

Here are some photos from the Mall of America ACFW booksigning held on September 20. It was an amazing event. And these photos taken by Kenny Noble do a great job capturing the energy and flows of people. Thanks so much for taking them, Kenny!

We'll start with a photo of our lovely Margaret Daley standing next to Donita Paul. Both of these gracious ladies served on author panels for us. So not only did they have to sign, they had to hold microphones, too!

Angela Hunt signingAngela Hunt signing a book.
Listening to PanelsSome of the crowd listening to the panels.

Lena Nelson Dooley and Celia Dowdy interacting with readers.
More photos of the crowd.
The signers interacting with people. It was a great vehicle to hand out information about our books and introduce people to Christian fiction.
Andy McGuire tells about his delightful children's book.
Kathleen Kovach and Harry Kraus talk to readers.

Don't you love these overhead shots? What a cool perspective! Love the birds eye view.

Another birds eye view. You can see the stage in the Best Buy rotunda as well as the two rows of tables with authors.

Angela Hunt, Karen Ball, and Brandilyn Collins forming the back up group to James Scott Bell. I do believe they are singing Hairy Man!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I’ve Been Tagged!

Another photo of the mega-ACFW book signing in the Mall of America!

One of my favorite authors, Margaret Daley, tagged me last week. Be sure to visit her fun and informative blog at

Look for names listed after the Six Facts About Debby to see which writers I’ve tagged!

Here are the rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know when he or she has been tagged.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Six facts? Hmmm? Seems like it should be easy to come up with random tidbits about my life, but . . . well, it’s hard deciding what to include.

Okay, here goes!

Six Little-Known (and probably of little interest ) Facts About Debby:

1. I’m married to a character in a Tom Clancy novel. Antonio Gusto, in THE BEAR AND THE DRAGON, is based on my dear hubby. Clancy came to Fort Irwin, CA, when my Antonio (Tony) was the senior Armor Observer-Controller (OC) at the National Training Center (NTC). The techno-thriller author spent the day, riding all over the extensive NTC desert terrain with my hubby in his Humvee, while Tony explained the simulated battles and live fire operations in detail. Clancy was there to learn how the largest training area in the free world (as big as the state of Rhode Island) rotated units through the simulated battles. Clancy wove some of the details into his later novels. At the end of the special tour, we joined a few other couples on post for a lovely dinner in Tom Clancy’s honor.

2. I penned my first manuscript a couple years after we left Fort Irwin and set the story at the National Training Center. “Write what you know,” the experts say, so my plot centered around a military hero who was the senior Armor OC. Sound familiar? If Tom Clancy used hubby as a character, I figured I could too. The story’s titled HONORABLE MEN and is dedicated to my military heroes—hubby, my son and my dad. First books rarely get published so I doubt you’ll ever see a copy of the story, but when I typed THE END, I was filled with a sense of accomplishment, knowing I had written my first book.

3. I wrote HONORABLE MEN on a portable electric typewriter. Of course, I had to make corrections and then retyped it, once again, on the electric typewriter. Yes, we had a computer, but I was still a PC novice and had a lot to learn. Come to think of it, I still have a lot to learn!

4. These days, I write the first draft of my books on an AlphaSmart 3000. The small keyboard was originally developed for special education students. Durable and sturdy, the Alpha runs for months on the power of just two AA batteries.

5. My maiden name was Willoughby so my nickname in ninth grade was Willow. BTW, Janet Dean has a character named Willowby—different spelling—in her debut, COURTING MISS ADELAIDE, a Love Inspired Historical. It’s a great read so be sure to pick up a copy!

6. Now this is really random trivia: During the workweek, I’m up by 5:30 or 6 AM to I get an early start on my writing. I down three cups of coffee and put off eating breakfast until mid-morning. By ten AM, I’m starving and ready for a couple pieces of toast to hold me over until lunch.

So who’s next?
I’m tagging:

Missy Tippens:
Janet Dean:
Cheryl Wyatt:
Julie Lessman:
Mary Connealy:
Camy Tang:

COUNTDOWN TO DEATH, the launch book in my new Magnolia Medical series, is into the countdown. The editors assured me it will be in bookstores by OCT 14. Hope you’ll look for it, and let me know if you like the story.

The Moonlight and Magnolias Conference will be this weekend in Atlanta. I’ll be giving a workshop, BE PREPARED, along with Missy Tippens, and signing at the Book Fair on Saturday. If you’re at the conference, be sure to say hello!

I’m also presenting the Maggie Award of Excellence in the Unpublished Inspirational Category at the Awards Ceremony on Saturday. Good luck to all the finalists!

SCARED TO DEATH, my second LIS, is a finalist in the Published Inspirational Category so it’s bound to be an exciting night! The other finalists are fantastic writers, and I’m honored to be in their company.

Have a great week. Happy writing!!!

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti

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