Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Milford-Haven 11-11-11 Contest!

The contest is underway!
Don't miss your chance to WIN a FREE BOOK . . . or to WIN a FREE CLASSIC KINDLE!
Whether you'd like to join Mara Purl in honoring our Veterans, or are just intrigued when the numbers align . . . have some fun, and win a book or a fantastic e-reader.
The contest STARTS TODAY and ENDS . . . when we reach the 111th purchase of What the Heart Knows.
And here's an ADDED BONUS. When you POST a review of What the Heart Knows to Amazon, you'll receive a downloadable collector's edition of When Hummers Dream, readable whether or not you have a Kindle.
So . . . happy shopping and happy elevens!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Livestream Chat with Mara Purl

Mara Purl, author of the new release, What the Heart Knows is back to tell us about her livestream chat on Monday, October 10 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific/8:00 p.m. Eastern

Those that have been with me on my virtual voyage know that my ship has traveled far. As a guest blogger and blogging back I wrote 44 blog posts reaching 17 million readers. Wow!

Now, we are set to launch the hardcover of What the Heart Knows.

What’s more exciting than breaking a magnum of champagne over the bow? You can be a part of the launch! Join me LIVE, for a fun-filled, 90 minute visit.

What did you want to know that wasn’t covered in our blog tour? Ask me! Plus, there will be shout-outs to those “on air” & special autographed packages of the book available and more. Follow the link for more details.

So make sure to register and grab your seat. Plus if you want to ask me a question you must be registered.

Click here to join me. You won't want to miss it!

Looking forward to our chat. Talk with you on …

Monday, October 10, 2011 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific/8:00 p.m. Eastern

Friday, September 30, 2011

ACFW Conference

I just returned from the 2011 American Christian Fiction Writers Conference. In one word, a-maz-ing. Okay, three syllable breakdown. You get it. I loved it.

I joined ACFW in 2004 and at the time around 400 people were in the group. Now, they boast over 2,500 peeps. Serious writer peeps. The conference was the largest yet with over 650 attending. We loaded up and landed in St. Louis. The hotel was steps from the arch, which is close enough for me, because I am pretty darn sure I am not going to go up in the sit down elevator. Nope.

For several days we took classes, met other authors, listened to our keynote speaker, Tracie Peterson, and best of all, we worshiped. It was awesome. I love the fact that I can walk in to a bookstore, check out the Christian fiction and know that the books have been prayed over. By several people. The author, their friends, their editor and the publisher. Once the bookstore owners get it in their hands, they are doing some praying as well. I love it!

ACFW has to be one of the finest groups I've ever been a part of. The Awards Gala was so professional and Oscar-ish this year. They even had a live blog going. Pretty cool, eh?

So, this is my plug for ACFW. They are an amazing, mentoring, Jesus-loving group. And I am happy to be a part of it.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Visit With Mara Purl

I had a chance to talk with the beautiful and talented Mara Purl, author of the Milford-Haven Novels, this past week. Her newest release, What the Heart Knows, will be out this September. Mara starred in Days of Our Lives, wrote scripts for Guiding Light, articles for Rolling Stone, and is an award-winning novelist.

You can visit Mara at to read more about her and pre-order What the Heart Knows. Be sure to check out the preview to book one while on the site, When Hummers Dream.

Mara shares with us how she started writing and important mentors in her life, as well as some tidbits about the cast of characters in What the Heart Knows. Here's what she had to say:

LSW: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you started writing.

MARA: I’m what’s known in the entertainment business as a “hyphenate”—in my case, a writer-actor-producer. Both the writing and the acting started very early. At about 3, I thought the hearth in front of the fireplace was a stage, so I did a show every night for my parents. I thought everyone did! I started actually writing stories down on pages over the next couple of years, and I remember doing illustrations and getting help from Mom “binding” my first book (with red yarn) when I was about 5. And one of my favorite things was visiting my Grandmother Dorothy. In her attic, I always found empty notebooks and filled them all up with poems and stories. Years later, I found out she “planted” those for me to find.

I’ve written in many different formats and genres. My first job as a journalist was at age fourteen, when I started writing a column for a newspaper in Tokyo, where I grew up. Later I was a staff reporter for the Financial Times of London, and then a freelancer journalist for Rolling Stone and the Associated Press. But I also always wrote scripts for theatre and for television. And eventually created an original radio drama, which became a hit on BBC radio. When I started writing books, I began with non-fiction, but always had it in my heart to write fiction. So I feel now I’m in the “sweet spot”, writing narrative voice in Women’s Fiction.

LSW: Your Milford-Haven Novels were broadcast by the BBC. Tell us how the books were transformed into the radio series.

MARA: Actually, the radio drama came first. (I tend to do things backwards sometimes.) Milford-Haven U.S.A. was a half-hour serial created about life in a small town. Underlying issues were pitted against one another to create the drama: the environment versus development; corporate greed versus artistic endeavor; social-climbing affairs versus true love. When the radio drama was contracted by the BBC, we didn’t know whether or not this American show would find an audience in the U.K., but indeed we had a bonafide hit with 4.5 million listeners. My radio show followers began asking “When will there be novels?” That was my cue to get started writing them. At first, I was published by a small press and early editions were developed to test the waters in the U.S. As I began to attract a following in America, a New York publisher picked up the series. So we’re all very excited that book one will be published in hardcover next month!

LSW: You've had a series of mentors. Can you tell us a little bit about them and how they influenced you?

MARA: Mentors have always been a very important part of my life, particularly when it comes to writing my novels. One primary mentor was Louis L’Amour, the great Western writer. He confirmed for me the vital importance of research, something I’d learned as a journalist. He also showed by example that an author must find his or her theme, something so inspiring and compelling that he or she can build their fictional world upon it. For Louis, it was the old West. For me, it was California’s Central Coast. Our topics are then not limited to this region, yet it becomes foundational, the fixed foot of the compass. Two other mentors were teachers, Don Carlo taught history, a brought it vividly to life. Bill Dixon was a world-class musician and taught us to “play every note to change the world.” His focused not only on technique, but on intention. “Intents and Purposes” was the title of one of his seminal albums, and it was an important premise he shared. So I always ask myself why I am writing something, and what its purpose is for me and for my readers.

LSW: Your newest release, What the Heart Knows, is coming out in September. Tell us a little about the story and your cast of characters.

MARA: Much as I adored the radio drama, the story as it is evolving in the novels is so much richer and deeper! The protagonist is Miranda Jones, a painter who’s just started achieving good success in San Francisco galleries. However, while her head tells her she should stay there and ride the money-and-fame wave, her heart tells her she should establish her own roots in a small coastal town she finds called Milford-Haven. Meanwhile, she befriends Samantha Hugo, twenty years her senior, a PhD who runs the local environmental planning commission, but who years earlier gave up a child for adoption and is now haunted by her decision. There’s a rather large cast of characters: Sally, who runs the local breakfast-and-lunch place and loves to eavesdrop; Zelda, who runs Miranda’s career but has ambitions of her own; Zackery, a wealthy young man who stumbles across a painting of Miranda’s and feels compelled to buy it, and maybe to buy her too; Cornelius, an astronomer who grew up in this little town but now works for NASA; Jack Sawyer, a builder-developer who’s Samantha’s ex and wants to run things his own way; and Chris Christian, a television journalist who gets in serious trouble. Throughout this whole first book, each character is wrestling with some issue of the heart . . . and what the heart knows.

By the way . . . one of my favorite places to write is in little cafes, and I sometimes think I could live on lattes!

LSW: Thanks for the great interview Mara! We look forward to your next release What the Heart Knows. I will be enjoying it with a latte myself.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sweet Baklava is Truly Sweet

I just finished reading the book, Sweet Baklava, by Debby Mayne. The contemporary romance takes place in Tarpon Springs, a city west of Tampa on the Gulf of Mexico. Tarpon is considered the sponge capitol of the world and is a large Greek community.

Mayne takes us into the lives of Paula Andrews and Nick Papadopoulos, two Tarpons Springs residents. Nick, now serving in the military, is from a large, loud, very involved Greek family. Paula, an only child, is determined to take care of herself. She owns a candle shop, a house and doesn't have anything standing in her way. Until now.

Nick, her one true love and high school sweetheart, comes back in to her life. Mayne weaves a love story so true, I caught myself praying for them once or twice. I had to remind myself it was only a story. Paul and Nick love each other so much they can't imagine being away from one another, yet real life stands in the way. Careers, a past, the military and future goals create bumps in the road, making it hard on Paula and Nick.

Throw into the mix a needy and irresponsible mother, a young teen in trouble and a Greek family determined to see Paula and Nick together and you have a story that comes off the pages. Mayne gives us real characters with real problems, and she doesn't throw a solution out there, just to make it happen. The characters work through the problems, creating a story that stays with you long after you put the book down.

Mayne has a knack for taking us right on to the page and in to Tarpon Springs, which comes alive in the book. It feels as though you are actually there in town . . . craving baklava, smothered in honey, pecans, walnuts and lots of sugar.

Sweet Baklava releases in March 2011. Published by Abingdon Press.

Proverbs 16:3

Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established.