Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Interview with Melanie Wells!

I was given the honor of interviewing suspense writer Melanie Wells on her thrilling "Day of Evil" series. The first book, released in 2005, "When the Day of Evil Comes" gave readers nation wide chills every time they saw a fly afterward. Don't know what I'm talking about? Read it and see for yourself! Second in the series is "The Soul Hunter", an equally creepy and extremely well written novel in bookstores now!

Melanie Wells is the founder and director of Lifeworks, a Christian counseling community located in Dallas, Texas. Her books are guaranteed to leave nibbled fingernails and gasps of shock in their wake. If you're searching for a real page turner and a well plotted story with a fun, sarcastic voice, look no farther!

Betsy: So, Melanie, how did you get the idea for “When the Day of Evil Comes”?

Melanie: I had a dream one night when I was spending the night at my best friend Trish Murphy’s house. She’s a singer/songwriter (www.trishmurphy.com) and I was there for a week of writing. My dream was about a creepy, skinny pasty white guy with a slash on his back. In the dream, we were at Barton Springs in Austin. There was something about a ring and a necklace. The whole thing seemed very real and invasive – like the white dude was actually IN my thoughts, as though he were real. I woke up and wrote the dream down and spent the day writing the first chapter of When the Day of Evil Comes. Trish and I went to Barton Springs that afternoon and spent the time talking about the story. We named Peter Terry after two ex-boyfriends we don’t like. ::grin::

Betsy: Well that's one way to create a character's name! So, have you had any experiences with spiritual warfare like the character in your stories?

Melanie: Some of the stories in the book actually did happen to me. The fly thing, for instance, which seems to get everyone riled up. It’s apparently pretty universal to have eerie experiences with flies. Mine happened at a very terrible time in my life, when I felt oppression from all sides – we’ve all been there – and the entire scene had a creepy, other-worldly quality about it. I wrote the fly chapter in the middle of the night that night. There are lots of other stories – some of which show up in the books and some of which just inspire the ideas. If I tell you about them all, I will sound like a wacko. So let’s just leave it at that.

Betsy: Wow. What made you decide to start writing fiction in the first place?

Melanie: I’d always wanted to be a writer. I made feeble stabs at it over the years. None of my efforts were any good. I was reading through some of that old material tonight, just laughing at myself. I was living in Steamboat Springs, CO, about 10 years ago and had a lot of time on my hands. It snowed 15 feet in one month. So I started writing a story and it turned into a book. I learned how to write while I was working on that manuscript. After that I was hooked. It’s sitting on an editor’s desk in NYC right now. I hope it finally finds a home.

Betsy: I'd say based on your success so far, the chances are great that it will! ::grin:: So, Melanie, can you relate at all to the character of Dylan Foster? How similar are the two of you?

Melanie: We’re really not much alike. The one similarity we have is our mutually poor attitude. I just can’t do the whole paint-by-numbers thing. Corporate Christianity has always been a struggle for me, and as a result, I think my spirituality has always been solitary and edgy and a little bit uncomfortable in the mainstream. Dylan and I do share that. She’s my small voice shouting into the howling wind. Her strange personality quirks (her obsessive personality, her solitary existence) are all hers. Also, I’m a better girlfriend than she is. She really doesn’t deserve David. He’s too good for her. ::grin::

Haha! Well, from your bios, I can tell you’re a big fan of Texas. Have you always lived in the Lone Star State? And is the saying really true – we shouldn’t “mess with Texas?” ::grin::

Melanie: I was born and raised here in Texas, of course. So it’s really a sin for me to live anywhere else. But I have strayed a few times. I spent some time in Vail and in Steamboat Springs. I loved both places, but the map on the TV weather just looked WRONG to me. What can I say? And definitely, you should not mess with Texas. We are the one state in the U.S. with permission to fly our state flag at the same level with the Stars and Stripes. That’s because we were once a sovereign nation. We still think we are, which is a problem for everyone but us.

Betsy: Were you surprised at the huge success of your first fiction novel?

Melanie: Yes, actually. You never know what to expect. You throw it out there in the ether and just wince, hoping you don’t get flattened. You make plans to explode your computer with bleach and ammonia, and then the reviews start to come in and you go, “Hey! Come look at this!” and haul your friends to see your poster at the bookstore. It’s a pretty nice surprise, really.

I bet it was! Tell us - how many Peter Terry books will there be?

Melanie: There are two so far – When the Day of Evil Comes, and The Soul Hunter. I’m working on the third one, tentatively titled Suffer the Little Children. Multnomah, my publisher, was just bought by Random House, though. So I don’t know whether this book will see the light of day. People need to write the publisher at WaterBrook Press (owned by Random House) and let them know they want to see book 3. His name is Dudley Delffs, I think.

Betsy: I hope the third book makes it to the shelf! They're so intriguing. It'd be a crime not to have the last one in the series. One thing your books make me consider is spiritual warfare. Obviously, the theme of the series is based on Dylan's experiences with the supernatural. I've realized over the years that the topic of spiritual warfare is often absent from church teachings and sermons. It almost brings a mentality that it is "taboo" or "off limits" to Christians and should be avoided. What is your opinion on that?

Melanie: I think spiritual warfare can be pretty wacky. Lots of nut balls gravitate toward that topic. I’m sure that’s why so many churches avoid it. I don’t blame them. You want to keep the nut balls corralled if at all possible. But, I do wish churches would stop moralizing and lobbying for political causes and instead start to talk to people about their inner battles. That’s what my books are about. These are Satan’s greatest victories, I think – the small ones. Self-doubt, a fundamental sense of worthlessness, the conviction that we’re alone in the world and unlovable. This is where the real battles are fought. We’re losing, by the way.

Betsy: Sad, but true. Very true. On a lighter note, what is your advice to all of the aspiring authors out there?

Melanie: Write, write, write. And then let your friends read it. And then fasten your seatbelt and listen to what they have to say. It’s the only way to learn.
Lather, rinse, repeat.

Check out Melanie Wells exciting "Day of Evil" series today!

Also, you can visit Melanie at www.melaniewells.com and cast your vote for David! Should he and Dylan stay together? Vote now!!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Not again...

I thought I was through with creepy things, like giant spiders crawling over my bed. (see below post!) But no, I had a surprise visitor this morning...

I was drying my hair getting ready for work and lo and behold, a baby gecko falls into my lap!

Yeah, I don't know where it came from either. I'm a neat freak. My house is clean. This was RANDOM.

The funniest part was that my first reaction was to get mad at my hubby for planting a plastic lizard on my hairdryer. So I just knocked the thing to the floor.

Then it moved.

I SCREAMED. (naturally)

The poor gecko started running in circles, and I freaked out, because, OH MY GOSH, it was IN my LAP!!! I like geckos. They're cute. They're fun. They eat bugs, and so that puts them high on my list. BUT I DON'T WANT ONE IN MY LAP.

I needed a plan. So, I put hubby's giant house shoe on top of the confused little guy, then realized that was ridiculous, so next I put a plastic Tupperware bowl over him. He kept running around and seemed to be okay, just bewildered, kinda like me.

I called Daddy (Hubby was already at work, of course)and tried to catch him on his way to work. Turned out he was going to be almost another thirty minutes before he left, so I was on my own.

No problem. I Am A Big Girl.

I found some cardboard from a box in the closet, ripped it to the right size, and slide the cardboard under the bowl. The gecko ran up on the side of the bowl while I slide the board under the tupperware, which kinda made me think he had done this drill before.

I finally got the poor thing outside, and deposited him in the pretty new flowerbed, where he will be provided with ample scenery to help ease the shock of his misplacement. The gecko looked around, thought about it, and scampered away.

We survived. I’m proud of us both =)

Here's a picture of the poor little guy trapped under the tupperware. Its pretty blurry because I had to zoom in so close. That's how tiny this guy was, I had to zoom in to the full extent of my camara! The dark spot is the gecko, and you're looking at the tupperware bowl over him, all of which is on top of my cream colored carpet.

The first thing my coworker asked when he heard the story was "So did he try to sell you insurance???"

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

One brush at a time...one word at a time...

Lately, I've been re-reading the excellent O’Malley series by Dee Henderson. I fit them in during my lunch breaks and down time at home in the evenings. I love those books, (love everything she's written!) and since they are romantic suspense novels, they help keep me in the mood while I work on my own romantic suspense WIP.

But there's a down side...

In reading these "clasics", I can see how my writing can’t compare to hers and probably never will!

But I keep telling myself – it truly is an art form. An amateur can’t pick up the paintbrush and expect his first attempt to be Picasso-worthy. Or second attempt. Or even third attempt. Practice makes perfect, as it is with everything important in our lives.

Dee Henderson is my Picasso.

And I feel like a first grader with finger paints.

But I plug onward!

One brush at a time. One word at a time.

Monday, August 14, 2006

A different type of tag!

Thanks for this one, Malia! I was honored you picked me to tag! =)
This is always a good thing to do...so everyone, count your blessings!

Here are 10 of mine...

1. A friend who has blessed me: Malia. You rock, girlfriend!

2. An unexpected gift: My recent flowerbed (see the blog below!)

3. A kind word shared with me recently: My writing buddy told me she believed I would be multi-published one day. What a compliment!! =)

4. Something that makes me stop and praise God: A sunset

5. Something I'm looking forward to: The ACFW conference in September! Yay!

6. A particular part of me I'm pleased with: My eyes - big & blue like my Mama's!

7. Something in my life that I wanted but never expected: My hubby

8. A place that moved/moves me: The beach. Such power in those waves.

9. One thing/person that always makes me smile: My black lab, Samson. He's PRECIOUS.

10. Most recent "love note" from God: Realizing that no matter how my friends might treat me, He is always there. He is enough.


Okay, I'm not sure if I'm doing this right...but it sounds like fun so I'll give it a try!

Apparently, WOMEN WRITERS ONLY who get tagged are supposed to answer one of the three below questions and then tag 5 other women. (or start a new round of tags if you want to play along anyway!)

Here are the questions:

1. If you could write a novel about any subject, what would it be? (Just the subject–don’t give away your plot idea!)

2. If just the thought of having to write anything gives you hives, what would you like to read about in a novel that you’ve never seen done before?

3. If you hate reading fiction (you can get counseling for that, you know), what subject might make you change your mind or try it anyway?

Here's my answer! I chose Question #1

1. I do write books! This was easy! So, I would write about...music. I love music and some people think I can sing although I really don't believe them. =) I would write a book about someone in the music industry. It'd be fun to really make a story "sing" in that way - but it'd be a challenge to make the book come alive when readers can't hear from the pages!

And now for the fun part...I am tagging:


Get to it, girls! =)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A call to wake up...

I posted this on my MySpace blog at www.myspace.com/authorgirl330.
I felt led to do the same here. I'm open to all comments.

I'm sure most of you have heard of the latest drama in London this morning, where 21 terrorists were arrested on the intent of blowing up planes heading toward major U.S. cities...if you haven't, and you have no idea what I'm talking about, please go to www.cnn.com and read the updates.

This got me thinking about how crazy America is right now, and just the world in general. Things seem hectic and chaotic and out of control, but God is in still in control. However, I truly believe that America is being punished for the years of perversion from her roots. America was based on God and a strong faith, and now, a large percentage of Americans view God as a threat, or as being politically incorrect, or as dangerous to our precious "freedom of thinking". Americans want to take "In God We Trust" off our currency. Americans want to quit saying the pledge and outlaw the 10 Commandments in public places and prohibit prayer in schools. This is perversion. This is falling away from our roots and our Christian heritage as a nation. Basically...this sucks.

It's making me re-evaluate. Maybe you want to, as well. I'm not a gloom and doom preacher, nor am I the type to run around screaming "the sky is falling" or "the world is ending!" but the truth of the matter is, there WILL be a judgment day, and according to signs and Biblical prophecies, I wouldn't be surprised if it was soon. Soon could be tomorrow, or it could be another 100 years or longer from now. I don't know. That's the point - no one knows, so why not get your life right TODAY? Why not start living for Jesus whole-heartedly RIGHT NOW? If you want to know more about giving your heart or life to Jesus, please email me. I'd be happy to share with you what I know. It's the best decision you'll ever make.

As for the Christians already out there - listen up. It's time to get serious, you guys. How can we make a difference in the world if we're not acting differently than the world? How can we share Christ if we don't resemble Christ to others? How we can pray for others to know Him when we're not even praying for ourselves? Do you want Jesus to return and you be standing holding a beer in one hand and a ciggie in the other? Do you want to be drunk at a club or at a bar in your last second on Earth? Do you want to be in bed in the act of some one-night stand and see Jesus? I understand the concept that Christians have different convictions, and what could be convicting for one Christian is not necessarily convicting for another. I'm proof of this. I can't drink, at all, whatsoever, without Jesus convicting my heart. But other Christians I know have no idea problem with the every-now-and-then "beer with the buddies" or "drink with the gals". That's a personal issue between them and Christ, and I don't judge. It's wrong for me, but it could be fine for them. HOWEVER some things are black and white, right and wrong, good and bad, and the Bible specifies those things. You know what they are. If you don't, read your Bible and find out. Find out how to live right and according to God's word.

Christians, quit blowing off the instructions Jesus gave us and get your act together! Those rules are not to ruin our fun or make life harder. Believe it or not, they make life EASIER. Trust me on this, PLEASE. Jesus didn't say to avoid drunkeness because he wants you to be bored on a Saturday night. He said that because it's dangerous. It's unhealthy. It makes you do stupid things when you have too much. Same with sex before marriage. I know this is a touchy topic because honestly, I can name maybe 3 virgins out of all my unmarried friends. Once again - not judging, just telling you how it is. God gave us those rules to protect us, to keep us from sickness, disease, unwanted pregnancy, and the emotional rundown after you're used and rejected. Why not trust Him? Why not believe that He knows whats best for us?

Fellow Christians, I'm tired of the mellowness. I'm tired of the disinterest. I'm tired of the "I'm a Christian, but I do everything the same as those living for the world". I'm tired of hearing "Yes, I love God" as you blow your smoke in my face or make me cringe from your alcohol-laden breath or follow up on the phrase with a dirty joke, a choice cuss word, or a description of who you "hooked up with" last night.

I'm not perfect. Far, far from it. I've made mistakes. I have regrets. I've done some things right, and other things wrong. But I'm ready to get serious. I'm ready to be different. Are you?

Christians: Get off the fence.

Get serious.

Get real.

Just "get it".

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

True Story

I don't usually post twice in one day.

Today was an exception.

A few minutes ago, I finished up a scene on my WIP and signed off the computer, ready to call it a night. Hubby had been visting his mom in a neighboring town about twenty minutes away, and I figured he should be coming home any minute. I went to the bedroom to get my cell phone from my purse to call and check on him, and then reached to turn on the lamp. "And what to my terrified eyes should appear, but a spider on the wall, much too near..."

I screamed. Dropped the cell phone. Realized I needed the cell phone. Then ran. In that order.

Did I mention I don't do spiders?? It was crawling slowly along the wall, next to the crown molding...DIRECTLY ABOVE OUR BED. I'm still shivering.

So, I'm speed dialing Hubby while staring a hole at the spider, practically daring it to move. Unfortunately, my concentrated gaze just causes me to grow more and more terrified as the details of this spider come into focus. It was huge. I'm not exaggerating. Daddy-long-leg huge, but was definitely NOT a daddy-long-leg (as we say here in the South).

Hubby was on his way home, but wasn't nearly close enough yet, so I call my parents for moral support while I stand guard on the opposite end of the bedroom, keeping an eagle eye on The Invader. Dad's reaction was like "oh SWEET, a bug!" and I hear my mom through the line, yelling "Don't say that, you're making it worse!" etc.

Dad finally realizes he won't get any peace from either of us, so he decides to try to beat Hubby to the house to rescue me. He passes the phone to Mom who keeps me company while he heads this way. Of course, Hubby and Dad get here at the same time, and I relunctantly leave my Post to unlock the door. I hear "The calvary is here!" as they march inside, armed with Raid and flyswatters and matching big grins. Like this is a joke???

"JUST KILL IT" I'm in a full fledge panic by now, dancing around in pyschotic circles with my mom still connected to the cell phone attached to my ear, chattering away.

Then, I kid you not - he REALLY did this - Hubby looks at the spider, says, "pppsshh...that little thing?" then stands on top of the dresser with a napkin (I would have chosen an AK-47, myself) leans in really close, and starts baby talking it. "Was she being mean to you, widdle spider??"

I had to leave the room.

I remember Mom is still on the phone, so we say goodnight and I go to the kitchen, where Dad and Hubby are now leaning over the half-crushed spider wrapped in the napkin. They finally admit I had NOT been exaggerating, it was definitely daddy-long-leg size.


I'm SO calling Permatox tomorow! $29 bucks a month for THIS??? Nuh uh.

The ACFW Annual Conference

If you happen to be in Dallas in mid September, and see various groups of people gathered together in a hotel, WATCH OUT. They might be writers, and if so, then they might be brainstorming together for a new plot...or whispering about a new prank to pull on their roommate or workshop teacher...or crying hysterically because they got rejected from their first-choice agent....or jumping up and down uncontrollably because an editor requested their full MS...These series of psychotic events are known as the annual American Christian Fiction Writers conference, and it's coming up!

For more info, check out the website at www.americanchristianfictionwriters.com and click on the conference link on the main page. You'll find all you need to know and more about how to sign up, how much it costs, and what you'll get for your money!

The conference is a great stepping stone for any writer, at any level. Beginners will obtain more knowledge than they can possibly hold, and can get their feet wet with editor and agent appointments. Intermediate writers can pitch their polished manuscripts to editors and agents and really make progress in their networking. Even advanced writers, those who are already published or even multi-published, will make great connections and have the opportunity to learn even more about their craft and how to make their career last long term.

The ACFW always makes sure that they have the best possible staff members, workshop leaders, teachers and speakers on their team! They'll be a bookstore in which you can catch up on all your latest novels, and then a book signing with your favorite authors where you can snag their autographs and fun freebies!

Do you want to laugh? Cry? Worship? Pray? Eat tons and TONS of chocolate? Then join us...you won't regret it.

I promise =)