Thursday, April 30, 2009


Welcome, Patti Lacy!

Hi, Shirley! Thanks for having me on board!

SDC: Let's hear the scoop about you!

In 1955, Ann Qualls gave birth to her daughter Patti in the front seat of a Buick. By pure coincidence, Ann claims, their daughter was named Patti Day Qualls, PDQ.
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. However, Patti thinks her latest profession will stick awhile.
The Still, Small Voice encouraged Patti to write after a brave Irish friend shared memories of betrayal and her decision to forgive. In 2008,
An Irishwoman’s Tale was published by Kregel Publications. Patti’s second novel, What the Bayou Saw, draws on the memories of two young girls who refused to let segregation, a chain link fence, and a brutal rape come between them.
The secrets women keep and why they keep them continue to capture Patti’s imagination. She writes full time, teaches Bible studies and seminars, and attends book signings. Patti and her husband Alan, an Illinois State faculty member, live in Normal. They have two grown children and a dog named Laura.

SKC: Thank you, Patti. Please tell us what got you started in the field of fiction writing.

PL: After God yanked us from our warm Southern front porch and dumped us in Terre Haute, Indiana, I formed a book discussion group hoping to meet my neighbors. After one of the meetings, Mary, a chic red-haired woman, hung around my kitchen long after the other women bustled into the cold.
“What is your first memory?” Mary asked, interrupting my monologue about kids.
“I don’t know. I’ve never really had to think about it,” I stammered as I gripped the Formica countertop.
“How pretty, NOT to think about it. My first memory cut my heart in two, and it’s never been the same. Moon-shaped faces about a scarred oaken table, guzzling tea. Cup after cup of the steamin’ stuff. Saying, ‘The little eejit’s got to go.’”
“How awful!” I gasped.
“No, that’s not the awful thing. What’s awful is what happened next.”
For hours, Mary shared her brutal first memory and her decision to forgive...a living, breathing testament to Romans 8:28. Ten years later, God led me to write that story.

SKC: That is truly interesting and inspiring! How has your Christian background affected the style of writing you do?

PL: Shirley, it’s that hope of Christ, that trusting in Him through ALL things, that I long to depict. Even through racism. Even through abandonment. Even through a rape. Our Lord used stories to teach. It would be such a blessing if my books can do the same.

SKC: I know you stay extremely busy, but how disciplined are you each day with your writing schedule, or do you ever get off track?

PL: When I’m in the “composing” part of my work in process, Laura, my trusty canine critique partner, rouses me around five. I set a page goal per day and stick with it pretty well. Getting up so early frees us to meet friends for lattes and/or jog about our lovely town of Normal. Right now I’m between books and spend more time on research, publicity…and planning my daughter’s wedding! Yippee!

SKC: What books in the field of writing have you recommended to your past students and to others even today? I know there are so many. But I am always open to learning about more.

PL: Oh, this old dog hasn’t learned a whole lotta new tricks. I love Self-Editing for Fiction Writers. Gosh, every time I reread that book, my writing improves! Ann Lamont’s Bird by Bird nourishes my soul. With pen in hand, I devour books by good writers. What a fun group of teachers I have! Dostoevsky, Kingsolver, Edwards…right now I’m reading Steinbeck’s Travels With Charley, a birthday gift from my baby girl. My nightstand is stacked high with wonderful Christian novels as well.

SKC: I've not read the ones you mentioned, but I love those authors and many of their works, myself. How often do you visit other authors’ blogs, and what do you learn from going about the web? Do you ever get distracted by the web?

PL: Shirley, I am just not cut out to be a blogger. Lord knows I’ve tried. It’s just not a ball I can juggle right now! Besides, I “office” at one of two branches of our local Coffee Hound four or five days (gulp) a week with a motley crew that will be seen with me, and it just doesn’t leave much time for surfing! But I sure to absorb some fascinating stories and see some colorful characters “at work.”

SKC: Blogs are sometimes a mystery. Patti, every writer goes through some particular trial when it comes to their craft. What is one that gets to you the most and how do you deal with it?

PL: Shirley, as I’ve gotten older, multi-tasking muddles what gray matter left upstairs. It’s hard for me to edit, compose fresh material, and promote all at once. Many times this year I’ve had to recall the advice Lynn Austin gave at my first writers’ conference: Compose for the Audience of One. He is the one to whom you answer. Lay those manuscripts, published or unpublished, at His feet one day. And it will be enough. Lord, yes, it will be enough.

SKC: You can't be getting that much older! I thought authors got younger! So, what do you think is one of the most important things you have learned so far since becoming a published writer?

PL: That I don’t know anything.

SDC: Ok. And I have to admit, that is a great answer. If you were to ask a new or established writer a question, what would you ask, Patti?

PL: I love chatting with authors to see how they put together all the little pieces of their stories. Do they write SOP (seat of the pants)? Snowflake? Detailed outline? There’s so much to learn from my comrades of the pen!

SDC: Good question. Well, Patti, It has been a pleasure having you here at A Pen for Your Thoughts. I understand you have a book to offer one of our readers. Please tell us about it, and do let us know where we can find you on the web.

Oh, y’all, I’m so happy to share a copy of What the Bayou Saw, my second novel.
[A little hint on what it's about]

Since leaving Louisiana, Sally Stevens has held her childhood secrets at bay, smothering them in a sunny disposition and sugar-coated lies. No one, not even her husband Sam, has heard the truth about what happened to her and her best friend, Ella Ward, when they were twelve years old.
Now a teacher in Normal, Illinois, Sally has nearly forgotten her past. Then Shamika, one of her students, is violently attacked, and memories of segregation, a chain-link fence, and a blood oath bubble to the surface like a dead body in a bayou. Lies continue to tumble from Sally’s lips as she scrambles to gloss over the harsh reality of a betrayal that refuses to stay buried.
Finally cornered by the Holy Spirit and her own web of lies, Sally—and Shamika embark on a quest to find Ella in post-Katrina New Orleans. With the help of friends, family, and God, Sally can glimpse a life free of the mire of deceit and truly begin to live with joy. But will she pay the price for a lifetime of deception?

Visit my kinda blog, kinda website at Check out my latest book trailer. And thank y’all for the interest in this Southern transplant living in Normal, Illinois! God bless!


Oh, thanks for having me, Shirley. You’re great!

Don't forget to drop in your comment! I look forward to drawing your name. Oh, and if you want to respond to Patti's question about your style of writing if you are a writer, we'd love to hear it.
Shirley Kiger Connolly

Monday, April 27, 2009


Are you ready for a great month ahead? We have some outstanding authors in line to take their place on the interview docket here at A Pen for Your Thoughts! You want to be sure to come around for Patti Lacy's visit and learn of her newest projects, including her newest book, What the Bayou Saw, with an opportunity to win your own copy. Also you'll learn about author, Erin Brown, and her newest book on the horizon. (And she just might have one with your name on it!), and I'll be giving you some great up-to-date info on Julie Lessman and her newest book, A Passion Denied! WOW!

Hey Guys! You're not going to want to miss any of this stuff! Drop back by throughout the next few days and see what's in store!

And with Mother's Day just around the corner, wouldn't YOUR mom just love
receiving a copy of my lighthearted devotional? I See God in the Simple Things? It's that kinda book that you want to share with someone you love or who you'd like to read about the Lord in a down home simple sort of way.

Tell me how often you read devotionals, and how they've helped you in your Christian walk or search for the Lord. Don't forget to include an email and you just might win one. Or pop over to and order one!

Friday, April 17, 2009


Please join me in welcoming author, Deborah Kinnard to A Pen for Your Thoughts.

Deb Kinnard started writing at age ten, frustrated because there was no preteen girl with a horse on “Bonanza.” From there she progressed to short stories and dreadful poetry, she writes. In college, she gained two degrees in health care and spent time observing hippies, basketball stars, el-ed majors and other strange species.

Wait! There's more!

While raising two active girls and cherishing a husband, she enjoyed a career that has encompassed Spanish translation,

volunteer work at a crisis line, years in assorted ERs that don’t resemble the one on TV, and a day job at a big Chicago teaching hospital.
Plus, Deb is presently a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, serving as Midwest Zone Director, and confesses to being a loud singer at church.

In 2002 and 2003, she sold her first and second novels, POWERLINE and OAKWOOD to Treble Heart Books. “Something Borrowed” appeared in the BRIDES AND BOUQUETS 2007 anthology, and MY SILENT HEART in November 2007, both from ByGrace Publishing. ANGEL WITH A RAY GUN, a reissue, releases May 1 of this year from Desert Breeze Publishing.

A very busy lady!

When Deb’s not at the computer writing, she keeps busy with reading, playing the guitar, and doing needlework. She loves to travel and meet new people, some of whom turn up later in her stories. So if you meet a short woman with a light in her eye…

Okay...Let's Chat

SKC: Deb, when I went to check your website, I noted how busy you have been lately. This is why I’ve asked you to join us today to tell us what is going on right now in your life.

DK: Busy isn’t the word. Though By Grace, my second small press, folded at the end of last year, I was fortunate enough to interest Desert Breeze in reissuing my “fun book,” ANGEL WITH A RAY GUN. My medieval time-travel romance, SEASONS IN THE MIST, comes out in spring of next year with Sheaf House, and I’m really looking forward to that. Meanwhile I’m working on a straight-medieval romance, PEACEWEAVER, which we’re pitching on proposal. Brewing in my mind is a sequel to SEASONS, but I’m telling it to hunker down and wait ‘til I have time to work on it! So yes, I do keep busy.

SKC: Not a lot of people understand the logistics of doing a reissue. I have one out myself with my first devotional. Why don’t you explain what that entails, and how difficult it is to get picked up for something like this.

DK: For me this reissue has been an act of God’s grace and nothing to my credit at all. When By Grace became a victim of the economy, I talked with my awesome agent, Tamela Murray, about what we might want to do with two of these books. She said, to my sorrow, that there isn’t much interest in the Christian fic marketplace for reissues. So I put them away, mentally, and didn’t think much about them. Then, Michelle Levigne, my editor (also awesome) for all 5 previous books, had been in contact with Desert Breeze and suggested I propose one of my orphaned books to them. I sent Gail Delaney, DB’s editor-in-chief, a short note explaining the situation and asking if she’d like to see ANGEL. I got a pleasant shock when she said yes, and an even nicer shock when she said she wanted to reissue it!

Jenifer Ranieri, DB’s art director, created a honey of a cover for the reissue. I’m thrilled to pieces.

SKC: I can understand why! Tell us a little about self-publishing and also how difficult it was for you to get your first contract.

DK: I haven’t self-published but small-press published. But there is a story behind that as well. I heard of Treble Heart Books’ Christian division, Mountain View Publishing, on a writers’ blog. I decided to see if they wanted any of my novels…and sent the editor an e-mail that pitched NINE DIFFERENT BOOKS! Thank heaven, the editor was very kind and didn’t call me a clueless newbie; she simply said, “Why don’t we look at one at a time?” Treble Heart ended up publishing my first two books.

SKC: Thank you for clarifying. So tell us, when did you first get the urge to write…and stay with it?

DK: I was a “Bonanza” addict and a TV-kid. Even then, I played a lot with ideas and stories, but hadn’t written anything down outside of school. Adam, Hoss and Little Joe, along with their daddy Ben, were way too GUY for me! They needed a sister, so Vanessa came into my mind. She had joined the family late, a long-lost daughter whose ancestry I was too dumb at ten to figure out. She had a cool pony called Patches. They roamed the Ponderosa and got into lots of trouble. From there it was really bad young-angst poetry and short romantic pieces about teenage Twue Wuvv. I wrote bits and pieces of novels for several years, and then finally finished a story in 1983, the piece that became SEASONS IN THE MIST.

SKC: What a way to work your brain around! How difficult it is for you to keep up a website and a blog to promote your work? Any secrets for the rest of us?

DK: I wish I were better at internet-promo than I am. I participate fairly often in online chats, even producing my own 15-20 minute writing presentations from time to time. I try to hit the blog at least two to three times a month, but don’t always succeed. The website needs attention even as we speak, because the books on the site are now out of print. It’s a challenge, that’s for sure!

SKC: You are so right, Deb. Who would you say is the most inspiring character in the book you have coming out soon and why?

DK: Funny you should ask. I expect most people would say Matt, the minister who questions just about everything—his calling, his secret life as a bestselling science fiction author—the works. But I’d say I admire AJ most. Her faith journey echoes my own in some respects, since AJ was raised by a wingy, ex-hippie, anything-goes-but-Christ single mother. I had my own struggles to find Jesus as my Lord, since my mother was a lapsed Christian and Dad an in-your-face atheist. So AJ took shape as a questioner, someone who was not raised in any one faith but kept her mind open to Christ. I think her faith journey has power for any reader who has questions about how the Gospel can prove itself to someone for whom it is brand-new.

SKC: Sound so intriguing! On another note, what is your experience working with editors and what advice do you have for aspiring authors coming in?

DK: Your editor is your very best friend! I’ve been lucky enough to have three marvelous editors over the last six books. They will make suggestions, get you past speed bumps, and point out (gently, if you’re fortunate enough to have the quality of editors I’ve had), where spots in your plot just aren’t working. Granted, we writers feel possessive about our projects, and rightly so. But a good editor is on your team, and if you can turn off the “mine!” switch just a touch, the end result will be a book that wins.

SKC: Great great advice! Do you have a place in your home where you get most inspired?

DK: In my front room, where the computer is, when nobody’s around .

SKC: I understand you would like to donate a book to one of our readers. Please let us know where we can find your books, Deb, and also how our readers can find you on line.

DK: ANGEL WITH A RAY GUN will release as an e-book May 1 from Desert Breeze Publishing ( Keep an eye on the Sheaf House web site ( for news about the time-travel romance, SEASONS IN THE MIST. My web site is and I keep my blog at, so those are the places readers can find me. I’d love to donate a print book for your readers – the winner can have her choice of the five print books of which I have copies. How’s that for a selection?

SDC: Thanks so much! Also, what question would you like to ask us today?

DK: I’d like to know how readers most easily get acquainted with an author who is new to them? Is it a blog? A web site? Word of mouth? What sorts of intros are the most interesting?

SDC: Deb, that's a wonderful question! I look forward to seeing what people will write in. And I really appreciate your coming to A Pen for Your Thoughts to share something about who you are and what you are about. My prayers are with you for many blessings to come your way in the days ahead with your talent.

Congratulations to Jessica Nelson of Dunnellon, Florida! You have won yourself a book! Be watching for it in the days ahead.