Sunday, October 21, 2012

He Says It's C.S. Lewis' Fault

Say hello to James L. Rubart, a "classic seat-of-the-pants" author, I'm sure you'll want to meet, if you haven't yet.

James L. Rubart is the best-selling, award winning author of ROOMS, BOOK OF DAYS, THE CHAIR, and SOUL’S GATE (Nov 2012). During the day he runs Barefoot Marketing which helps businesses and authors make more coin of the realm. He lives with his amazing wife and two sons in the Pacific Northwest and loves to dirt bike, hike, golf, take photos, and still thinks he’s young enough to water ski like a madman. More at
SDC: Over the last few years you have become both a well-known and talented writer. Before you tell us about your newest release coming, please fill us in on what got you started writing from the beginning.
James-  It’s C.S. Lewis’ fault. I read the Chronicles of Narina at age eleven and knew I wanted to try to whisk people away to new worlds and immerse them in story like he did for me. It became a burning desire that only grew in intensity as the years went on.
SDC:  Tell us about your publishers. How did they find you?
James-  I’m hoping they found me to be full of passion for great stories. Sorry, poor joke.
James: My first three novels were published with B&H Fiction. My first agent submitted ROOMS to David Webb who rejected it, but said if it didn’t sell somewhere else, to bring it back to him in six months. A year later (in the fall of ’07) I met him at a conference and he said, “I’ve read 200 manuscripts since I read yours and I can’t get it out of my head. Let’s take another run at it.” David got it through his publishing committee in the late spring of ’08.
The relationship with my current publisher—Thomas Nelson—came about through a deep friendship. In the fall of 2008 I met Allen Arnold (who at the time was Sr VP and Publisher at Thomas Nelson) and we quickly became close friends. The friendship had nothing to do with publishing and everything to do with shared passions about life, family, adventure, similar histories, and love of epic stories. In late 2010 he brought up the idea of doing books together and in the spring of 2011 I signed a five-book contract with Thomas Nelson.
SDC:  What kind of response to you receive from readers who have not yet come to know the Lord, or who have been influenced greatly by one of your books? 
James-  The response has come from both extremes. Just the other day a friend told me I’m her neighbor’s favorite author—and this neighbor isn’t a follower of Jesus. In another case a man who had fallen away from the Lord came back through reading one of my novels. He gave it to a friend of his who came to Jesus through the book. (After hearing that story I decided I could stop right now. So cool.) On the other hand are non-Christians who have hammered me hard—check out some of my many one-star reviews on Amazon for ROOMS—for writing books where Christianity is prominently promoted.
SDC: How do you make faith, love, and hope work together in your stories?
James- Do those three things work together in my stories? Good to hear. I don’t mean that facetiously. I’m a classic seat-of-the-pants writer. I have the premise in mind, then I just write. So I don’t try to make those elements work together, I simply transcribe the movie I see playing in my mind. But yes, since I’m a Christian faith, love, and hope will intrinsically be part of my stories.
SDC: What was your criteria for selecting your own agent, if you have one?
James-  I met my first agent at a writing conference, we became friends so it was natural to become a client of his. When that partnership didn’t work out long term, I seriously considered being my own agent. (Not a wise move—it’s like trying to be your own attorney.)
A number of author friends said, “You have to talk to Lee Hough.” Lee wasn’t even on my radar, but I figured, “Why not?” After two minutes of conversation I knew Lee was my guy. It just clicked, you know? He’s been phenomenal.
SDC: I haven’t yet had the opportunity to read one of your books and hope to soon. How do you choosing the setting for your characters, and do your characters ever live outside the United States?
James- What! I’m outta here. J  Great question. No, I’ve not had any of my characters live outside the USA (yet).
SDC:  Have you ever written anything that you had to later toss? How would you describe your OLD file system of “works in progress” that you chose not to pursue?
James- The first draft of my first novel, ROOMS was 148,000 words long. I had no clue how long a novel was supposed to be. So when I found out 100k was the upper limit of a first time novel I did a LOT of cutting. From time to time I’ve thought about sharing some of those deleted scenes with my readers.
Regarding those old WIP’s I’ve been extremely fortunate: I don’t have any. ROOMS was the first novel I tried to write and it was published. Same thing with my second attempt, BOOK OF DAYS, and my third, THE CHAIR.
SDC: As we close, please share a brief blurb about your newest book and tell us where your books can be found -- where our readers can look you up.
James: What if you could send your spirit into other people’s souls to fight for their healing and freedom?
That’s the premise of SOUL’S GATE and I’m seriously pumped up about this novel. I believe it’s going to make a significant impact in many people’s lives.
Here’s what Publisher’s Weekly says about it: “Readers with high blood pressure or heart conditions be warned: this is a seriously heart-thumping and satisfying read that goes to the edge, jumps off, and “builds wings on the way down.”
Here’s RT Book Review’s take on SOUL’S GATE: “Rubart’s novel is enthralling and superlative. Truly a story about freedom from things that we hold onto, this tale will captivate readers and encourage a more active, dynamic spiritual life. The original plot and well-drawn characters elevate this book to “must read” status.”
You can find me here:  Web:   Twitter: @jimrubart
Thanks so much for having me, Shirley!





Monday, October 8, 2012

A Dream is More Than a Simple Wish.

Everyone loves dreams -- at least  good ones especially if they could actually come true. But what if such a thing is nigh to impossible?

I'm excited to be telling you about my new historical romance, the second in my Decisions Series, That Impossible Dream. Here's a hint of what the book is about.

By Shirley Kiger Connolly
Disabled woman finds hope when she learns she might marry the man of her lifetime dreams. That expectation is soon dashed when a disgruntled uncle blocks the betrothal, demoting Geraldine Jordan to the status of domestic servant.
Geraldine Jordan's lived all her life with an unpleasant disability. She learns the meaning of painful rejection early. Any probability of obtaining a respectable suitor one day to someone like Alistair McKenna the man of her lifetime dreams is slim to none.
When Geraldine is passed off to live with her controlling-zealot Uncle Henry, she grows weary of waiting for that impossible dream until a treasured aunt steps in to  save the day. Auntie  immediately arranges a potential marriage for her niece with esteemed Chicago banker in search of a wife and mother for his  ward. The disgruntled Uncle Henry,   who believes  Geraldine is unsuitable for any man of status,  sets out to block the betrothal. He quickly demotes her to status of domestic servant to a family west of New York.

Will the shattered Geraldine lose all hope when she learns the potential suitor Auntie arranged was none other than her secret love, Alistair McKenna?
Yearning to read a tender story about a young woman
with problems  like so many, who too often 
must struggle with acceptance 
in both yesterday's and today's society? 

Enter my contest for a giveaway of either the first in my Decisions series, Say Goodbye to Yesterday,or my newest book That Impossible Dream.
       Send me your thoughts about women of today who are physcially challenged in today's society, and some of the things you have seen them have to go through. 
     Be sure to let me know which book you are interested in winning for your E-Reader library.
THAT IMPOSSIBLE DREAM (Decisions Book Two) is an October 2012 release. Both this book and SAY GOODBYE TO YESTERDAY, my (Decisions Book One) are being made available as Ebooks and will be also offered in print in the spring and early summer of 2013.

It was true. Alistair and several in his grandmother's former community had learned long before about Jordan sisters' biological father, clearly a lowlife, if nothing else. He had assumed Captain Davies, besides his numerous offences, had obtained his mental incapacities during the war. Had Alistair been misinformed?
"My young niece will more aptly suit as a governess in your fine home. She will not be at ease doing anything else, son," the reverend finished.
Despite Reverend Jordan's insistence, and Alistair's reluctant agreement to hire Geraldine as governess in his home instead of wedding her, Alistair felt more concerned than ever. His decision seemed almost offensive now -- very near rash -- to ask of her such a thing.
He rubbed his chin as he turned to the housekeeper. "You were saying Miss Jordan has improved?" he asked.
"Don't need no improvement, Miss Geraldine she don't. The lass, she's healthy as a brand new blade of grass, she is. Don't see it changing none, neither." She waddled off ahead of him.
Bewildered, he followed behind the housekeeper. The two arrived at the open archway leading into the parlor from which he was sure he had heard the voices earlier.
Alistair's curiosity piqued again, when he stole a glance at the attractive fair-haired woman sitting peacefully on a settee. Not unlike the young girl, he had seen in the portrait at the top of the stairs, this fine lady was also writing something in a leather-bound book.
Alistair seldom forgot a face. The woman in front of him was dressed for mourning -- most likely in remembrance of her aunt. Except for her slightness in size, she was not only beautiful to gaze at, but also much more developed (and quite splendidly at that) than the girl, he affectionately remembered. When she looked up and he took in her large sparkling blue eyes then those sweet lips he could never forget, his breath caught in his throat. The lovely woman in the chair ahead was years beyond the youthful fourteen-year-old girl of the past.

Shirley Kiger Connolly is a teacher, speaker, wife, mom, and grandmother, who writes both historical-inspirational fiction romances and lighthearted devotional books of reflection, which includes her "I SEE GOD" series.  That Impossible Dream recently finaled in the OKRWA IDA contest.   An English and Journalism Major at college, Shirley is a graduate of Institute of Children's Literature, a member of ACFW, FHL, RWA and enjoys being a part of Hearts through History Romance Writers. She and her husband now live  on the Southern Coast of Oregon with their plethora of animals.
Be sure to drop me a line with your comments and your Decisions e-book choice -- either Say Goodbye to Yesterday (Book One) or That Impossible Dream (Book Two) to get your name in my basket of potential winners. Shirley's Flame From Within her first historical is  also available at any online bookstore in both Print and Ebook.

Monday, October 1, 2012

That Integral Part Which is so Important to all Books

Eastside, Westside, all around America's towns, we get to hear from our writing friend, Susan Page Davis, native of Maine and  author of more than 40 novels, who now lives in western Kentucky. Susan is the mother of six and grandmother of eight, whose books have won many awards, including the Will Rogers Medallion, the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award, and the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Carol Award.
Welcome, Susan. What are you working on right now?
I’m writing a mystery for Guideposts, in their Miracles of Marble Cove series. I’m also involved in their Secrets of Mary’s Bookshop and Patchwork Mysteries series, and it’s been a joy working on these books with other authors.
Do you put yourself into your books?
Not really. I’m not nearly as adventurous as most of my heroines. Millie Evans, in A Lady in the Making, is a lot more brave and determined (and a much better cook) than I will ever be!

How important is faith in your books?
 It’s an integral part of most of my stories. For Millie, faith is something new and untried. She’s not sure she’d doing everything “right,” so far as God is concerned, but she aims to do her best to please Him. When things get scary, she turns to God for help and comfort. For David Stone, it’s hard to believe Millie could change that much—but as he sees her living out her faith, his distrust starts to crumble.

What themes do you like to write about?
 Forgiveness and reconciliation are favorites of mine, as they touch so many of us. In this book, there’s a lot of repentance and forgiveness needed.

What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?
I like this series a lot because it blends British characters with the American West. It was a lot of fun and refreshing to write. But it also required a lot of research.

What kind of planning do you do before writing a novel?
Usually I have a detailed outline ready before I begin to write. I also do quite a bit of research first. Sometimes I prepare a timeline of the period, listing the historical events pertinent to my story and the major events of the story. I print out a calendar of the month(s) my historical novel occurs in, with the moon phases marked.
If it’s a contemporary book, I would probably make a calendar instead of a timeline, laying out when each event in the story takes place on a blank calendar page. For most books, I also make index cards for the characters with a thumbnail description—appearance, family members, car if applicable (or horse), pets, important dates, and so on.

In your opinion, what is the greatest danger or pitfall in the life of a writer? 
There are so many! I guess for me it’s procrastination.  I try not to put off my writing-related tasks because other things always creep in to fill the time.

If you could ask our readers anything what would it be?

What would it take to convince you to trust someone who has betrayed you? ((Be sure to write in and give us your thoughts. You might win Susan's new book.)le

Let us know your thoughts and get your name added to the giveaway contest)
The featured book is A Lady in the Making being offered to one of our viewers.
Millie Evans has changed, choosing to leave rather than join an outlaw gang with her brother. Hoping for a new future, she boards a stagecoach and finds that one of the passengers is David Stone—a man she and her brother once tried to swindle. As she tries to convince David she’s changed, her brother’s gang holds up the stagecoach. Fighting beside David goes a long way to softening his heart, but he’s still not convinced. Someone is trying to keep him from reaching England to claim his inheritance. Is Millie involved? Millie must trust God to show David the truth, but will he see before it’s too late?

 Susan's Writers how-to:

When I start writing a new book or series, I make a three-ring binder for it. I do keep some files on my computer, but for me some are easier to use on paper. The contract and any correspondence I have with the editor go into the notebook first. If the publisher has a stylebook or a series guide, I make dividers for those sections. I usually wind up with a lot of print-outs from research I want to keep to refer to, so I make sections for those. For A Lady in the Making, sections included: Historical Timeline and calendar of 1857; Period Costume; Oregon Trail; Early Stagecoach Lines in the Area; St. Louis; Independence, Mo.; British Peerage, and so on. This notebook helps me to keep my papers related to the book or series organized and easy to find.
For online research, I bookmark a lot of sites in my “Favorites.” I have a folder for “Historical,” and within that are several other folders, including  “Colonial,” “Costume,” “England,” “Maps,” “Oregon,” “Railroads,” “Texas,” “Victorian,” “West,” and more. Organizing the websites I use for research this way makes them easy to find again if I have to check something, or if I want to return to them for a future book. To me, it’s very frustrating to know I have information SOMEWHERE and not be able to find it!