Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Germ by Robert Liparulo is one of those books that makes me sorry I every read things like The Hot Zone. Good fiction is usually based partially in fact. And, the fact is, biological warfare and terrorism is a very real possibility in the near future.

The book opens like a Hollywood action film, with the flash of the sun on the windshield of an FBI agent's car as he flees two men on what should have been a quiet Saturday at home. His partner, Julia Matheson, is somewhere behind him, feeling helpless. Two chapters later, Julia has lost her partner and mentor and finds herself in a conspiracy so deep she doesn't even trust her own supervisor back in her Atlanta headquarters. Eventually, Julia teams up with a surgeon and his bear-like brother to form an unlikely trio, all of who are hunted by a ruthless hit-man as they search for answers.

Their search eventually leads them to a madman who has created the ultimate assassin, a designer Ebola virus that can pinpoint a single man, woman, or child anywhere on the planet. Or millions of men, women, and children. With the potential release of this monstrous weapon at the door, our trio of heroes soon realize that their own lives are all that stand between the planet and disaster of apocalyptic proportions.

Besides great characters and a spine-tingling plot, Liparulo does an excellent job of setting up the story. He weaves the back story, going back to the end of World War II, into the plot so well you hardly notice a beat.

I recommend Germ to any thriller lover. Just be careful. If you breathe, it will find you.

Bethany House Survey

This is fun. Jim Hart, the Internet Marketing Manager over at Bethany House is conducting a survey for a new novel by Ann Tatlock, Things We Once Held Dear. Among a few other questions, he's got three possible book covers posted. You'll choose your favorite.

Ever looked at a book cover and say, "Why in the world did they use THAT?"

Now here's your chance to get a say in the design. Here's the link:


Susan May Warren

I don't like it when I mess up, but it happens. I was suppose to interview Susan May Warren on my blog. I agreed to January 22nd. Then realized, too late, that I'd be off at the Tampa RV show the week prior, giving me no time to prepare. Hopefully, Susan will show up on my blog another time.

In the meantime, I suggest you visit her website at http://www.susanmaywarren.com/. I've read three of Susan's books. For those of you who like a good romantic suspense with a big helping of faith, Susan can fill that order nicely. I must admit that I'm not big on the romance part of it, but she doesn't overdo it. In fact, she blends it so nicely as part of the plot that you hardly realize it's there. To me, that's a good thing. Every story should have a touch of romance, but it needs to be interwoven with the plot.

I recommend the Mission: Russia books and the Team Hope trilogy. Actually, I'm disappointed she didn't write more books set in Russia. I like reading about different places, and post-Soviet Russia is definitely an interesting place. Susan spent some time there as a missionary. I bet she's got more stories tucked away in her head.

Okay, hopefully my repentance will be accepted. Get over to Susan's website and blog and tell her Ron sent you. Perhaps then I won't have to grovel so much at the conference.

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Continuing Saga

No, it's not another episode of "Pigs in Space." I'm well into the agent search now. I think I put as much sweat into the proposals as I did the actual book. It's a good feeling of accomplishment, though. It's only one more step in a long journey, but it beats watching from the sidelines.

Which brings up a subject that's been nagging at me since Saturday morning. My daughter likes to tape and watch American Idol. For the most part, it's a clean show, though I keep a close watch when it's on. At this stage of the contest, they're going through the initial try outs. I have to tell you, there's a lot of people out there who are living a fantasy, one involving talent they don't have. That's all fine. More power to 'em. My problem is the grieving that goes on for those who don't make it past this stage. Yes, I understand they feel their dream has been shattered (Though, I have to believe some of these people are network plants for entertainment purposes. I mean the bad ones). And it's okay to shed a few tears over disappointment. But the problem I have is that few of these people will actually continue their quest. Which is a shame, because some are actually good, they just need work. And that's the problem, very few want to go through the usual route to stardom. They're looking for an easy way.

Really, do you think Paula Abdul has any sympathy for the 19 year old who claims her life is over because she didn't get picked to go to Hollywood. I don't know a thing about Paula, but I'm willing to bet she paid her dues. The judges, even the rude one, will tell these people to keep trying, try out for Broadway, but the contestants don't want to hear that. I'm generalizing, yes, but as a writer I've watched a lot of other would-be novelists drop out of the race. I'm sure it's the same with singers, actors, and other artists.

The good news is that this presented a great life lesson for my daughter, which I seized. I told her that she can dream as big as she wants, and that's great, but prepare yourself to struggle for it and work hard. There's no easy ticket. And, if you'll notice, the people who do make it on American Idol have been at this for many years, paying their dues.

So now to practice what I lecture. Murder on the Side has begun its long journey toward publication. I've started the next book in the River Bend Mysteries series, which has a working title of Harvest of the Fall. Okay, not original, it's a working title. The plot, however, will rock your socks. I'm getting bold in my old age. Hey, if we don't get a little cocky, we'll end up crying on the sidelines.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Friday Top 10

Top 10 Celebrity Products we’d like to see…

10. The Hillary Clinton lamp collection. Aerodynamically designed for distance and impact.

9. The O.J. “Non-Acquittal” line of gloves. Tight spot? Tight fit!

8. Nancy Pelosi cookware. Lightweight for easy travel to high places.

7. Al Gore global warming casuals. Simply peel off the layers as the temps climb.

6. Mahmoud Admadinejad’s history books. The pages are all blank so you can write your own!

5. The Bill Ford, Jr. piggy bank. For every penny you put in, two disappear.

4. The Tom Cruise wedding planner. Only one page because, really, nobody cares.

Okay, I'm lazy today. I want help! I'll let you guys fill in the top 3! Just leave 'em in the comments.




Wednesday, January 24, 2007

This month we are reviewing not one, but two books by Marilynn Griffith! This prolific writer has TWO books coming out this month! This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is posting about If the Shoe Fits (Steeple Hill Cafe', 2007) by Marilynn Griffith (fellow CFBA member, blogger, writer, and mother of seven)

Marilynn Griffith is wife to a deacon, mom to a tribe and proof that God gives second chances. Her novels include Made of Honor (Steeple Hill, Jan. 2006), Pink (Revell, Feb. 2006), Jade (Revell, June 2006), and Tangerine (Revell, January 2007). Her other credits include Chicken Soup for the Christian Woman’s Soul, Cup of Comfort Devotionals and her Shades of Style series (Revell, 2006). She lives in Florida with her husband and children. To book speaking engagements or just say hello, email: marilynngriffith@gmail.com.

Have Glass Slipper, Need Prince...
If the Shoe Fits is the second book in the Sassy Sistahood Novels. The first in the series was Made of Honor (Steeple Hill, Jan. 2006).

In all my thirty-five years, I, shoe designer Rochelle Gardner, have never had so many men interested in me! My teen son's dad is back in my life after suffering from amnesia (yes, really). The church deacon has had his eye on me for years (and never said a word). And the young waiter (from the restaurant I've visited for singles' events) is trying to steal my heart. I've been struggling with my faith, trying to figure out which man God has chosen for me and wondering if I have the courage to step forward, on my not-so-pretty feet, to accept love. It's almost too much for the Sassy Sistahood to handle, but my girlfriends always have my back!

The book link: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0373785763
Marilynn's website link: http://marilynngriffith.typepad.com/rhythmsofgrace/

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Back to Winter

I'm back! For those who missed me terribly, I was in Tampa all last week for the RV Supershow. What a great time. I love the RV community and I really loved the weather in Tampa. I could have done without the traffic and the crummy service at my hotel's restaurant, but those are the breaks.

On the plane trip home I read 90 Minutes in Heaven. It's been out for a couple years and I finally broke down and bought a copy in the Tampa Airport gift shop. What a great read to get you through a travel day. The funny thing is, the trip to heaven only lasted a few chapters. It was the author's recovery from his car wreck that inspired faith and revealed the power of prayer. I highly recommend it. I'm too lazy to get the link. Go to Amazon and get it.

So now on to greater things. I'm still polishing my proposal for Murder on the Side and have sent out one agent query. More to come. I try to stagger them a bit. I'm excited about the marketing plans I have for this book and the series. More on that later.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

This weeks blog tour is A Pagan's Nightmare by Ray Blackston. For a full review, click here!

The book is available at:


Ray's website is at:


Monday, January 08, 2007

Finding an Agent!

Now that Murder on the Side is el-completo, it's time to find an agent! Yes, I know this can be a long, grueling process, something akin to swimming Lake Michigan while the Coast Guard uses you for target practice (if'n you ain't up on Michigan current events, this means nothing to you).

But it's exciting to have my work, or at least my finely tuned query letters, out in Publishing World. I've done it before, but this is the first novel that I've written that's made me feel like a real writer. Why is that? My first was obviously the attempt of a newbie who hadn't bothered to read a single book on plot, characterization, or dialogue. The second was written as a series in cahoots with my crit partners. I think it's publishable, but I had help. This time, I've got at least a sophomore level understanding of the basics of novel writing. Maybe even a junior level. The publishing business doesn't mystify me anymore (stymie, yes, but not mystify).

I understand now that an editor at Harper Collins hasn't been awaiting my arrival for his or her entire career. The work has only just begun. And I'm pumped! I realized the other day that, after my 8 hours in the office, I put in 3 or 4 more hours a day on my writing, whether it be the actual tapping of keys or reading a "how to" book or research. While normal people are watching brain-flogging sitcoms, I'm working. But it feels wonderful.

My friend Mark Terry was telling me how he keeps lining up new novel projects while he's got more than enough paying gigs to keep him going for years. My reply was that he's moving toward what he loves most. Paying the bills is a good thing. But eventually you'll need to answer your calling to find contentment. Even if you don't make a dime off it for the first ten years.

Okay, off to my agent search. Let the games (and the wait) begin!

Friday, January 05, 2007

100 Hours of Silence

Out of respenct for Miss Nancy and the new regime, I, as a card-carrying Republican, will remain silent for 100 hours. There will be no Top 10 or any opinions whatsoever expressed on this blog.

Thank you Miss Nancy for showing me the error of my ways.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

'07 Already?

Hmm...seemed to have missed my New Year's post. Okay, Happy New Year!

Here's my New Year's reservations:

Complete 2 (count 'em) 2 manuscripts.

Umm...submit 'em.

Stop volunteering for things that get in the way of my writing.

Free-write in the notebook every day (I've already missed Jan. 1st and 2nd)

That's enough.