Monday, February 26, 2007

A different way to promote...

Last week, I had a true chick-lit moment. I knew Tamara Leigh's book, Perfecting Kate, was released February 20th, (my contact at Multnomah who asked me do an endorsement for the book emailed me a few weeks back and told me my quote was selected to go on the front cover!! BIG surprise!!) Needless to say, I was anxious to see it!!

So, February 21st, I had just gotten my hair washed/trimmed...and you know how every time you leave the salon, you sort of resemble a country singer? They somehow manage to put a TON of volume into your hair, and make it all flippy with a deep side part - well, my stylist here in Louisiana does, anyway =)

Forgetting that I sort of resemble a young Reba McIntire, I go running into Lifeway, straight to Tamara's book, grab it off the shelf, and literally shriek out loud when I see my endorsement right there on the front. So much fun!!

So (still resembling Reba, remember!) I rush up to the front desk where I hold the book in front of the clerk's face (a complete stranger) and jab at the cover, saying "That's me! That's me!" She was like "OH COOL!!" and the other guy working the counter grabs the book and says "Well, let's just see what you had to say about this book!!" I say "Oh, its such a fantastic story!"At this point I can feel the red creeping up my chest and into my face, and realize how ridiculous I must look. So, I say, "I'm sorry, you might not care about this as much as I do! I just had to tell someone!" and...well, apparently the Reba-hair or something was contagious because the girl behind the counter starts JUMPING UP AND DOWN and saying "awwww, you told ME first???"She starts bragging to her co-worker in a sing song voice: "she told me fiiiirst, she told me fiiirst". Absolutely hilarious.

How's that for book promoting? =)

And yes, Tamara's "Perfecting Kate" is worth public embarassment and more. I suggest you run, don't walk, to YOUR local bookstore and make a fool of YOURSELF buying it =)

Or, it's definitely worth it to click here!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Interview with Frank Viola!

Readers, I'd like you to meet a wonderful author, Frank Viola. He is an internationally known speaker, a house church planter, and the author of six highly acclaimed books on radical church restoration, including Rethinking the Wineskin, Who is Your Covering? and The Untold Story of the New Testament Church.

I recently was given the opportunity to read Frank Viola's newest book, "God's Ultimate Passion", and I found it to be absolutely fantastic! I haven't interviewed non-fiction authors on my blog before, but I figured this was the perfect book and author to break the previous cycle!

Frank took the truth of God's Word and presented it in a striking analogy that leaves a reader with not only a wide-eyed expression and an open mouth, but a deeper realization of the concept of True Love. He presented an age-old truth with a fresh understanding of Christ's passionate love for His bride - the church!

Betsy: Thank you for joining us today, Frank! Tell us, what inspired you to write "God's Ultimate Passion"?

Frank: It's good to be here, Betsy. To answer your question, three things in the main. First, many Christians are seeking a clear understanding of their purpose in life. I think the astronomical sales of Rick Warren's "Purpose Driven Life" is sturdy evidence of this. Yet, I've talked with so many Christians who have read Warren's book who've admitted, "I still have no idea what God's purpose is for my life, nor what my purpose is." So I wanted to set forth a clear unveiling of what Paul's phrase, "the eternal purpose of God," is all about. Understanding that purpose will ignite a passion in one's heart for Jesus Christ. That's what it did for me, so I wanted to share it with others.

The second reason is that I believe that most Christians suffer from an identity crisis. We really don't understand how God sees us. If we are honest, most of us plug through life with an inferiority complex, a sense of guilt, condemnation, and fear of God. When I speak at conferences, whether in the States or overseas, the Christians I meet are loaded down with the feeling that they aren't doing enough to please God. They're constantly striving to do better, be better, and make God happy. So another reason why I wrote the book was to forever liberate Christians from this mentality. If they could see the overwhelming passion that Jesus Christ has for them, it would change their attitude toward themselves, their fellow Christians, and the Lord Himself. In short, they'd fall in love with the Lord like never before. The secret of having passion for God is to understand and embrace His passion for us.

The third reason is to shift the perspective from ourselves to the Lord. We humans are at the center of much of the preaching today. Being saved so that we don't have to go to hell benefits us humans. Being healed and blessed by God's goodness benefits us humans. Helping the poor and needy helps us humans. All these things are good. But there is a desire in God that has nothing to do with benefiting us humans (although that's a by-product). And so the book seeks to shift the "me-centered" gospel to a "God-centered" perspective where we realize that we Christians are part of something much larger than we've ever dreamed, and the Lord has a driving desire that we can fulfill. And that desire is related to a spiritual passion and a heavenly romance with Jesus Christ.

Betsy: In your novel, you present an amazing analogy of Christ and His love for the church. Have you received any negative feedback on presenting an idea some people might deem as a little "out-there"?

Frank: No, not yet :-) I have received this comment though: "I have been a Christian all my life and I had no idea that any of this was in the Bible! It's become a new book for me."

One of the women who read the book said this: "I was amazed. I was captivated. It was the Bridegroom revealed in such a compelling way that I tearfully rejoiced. Could it be true? The story I had known as a child suddenly took on new dimensions."

There is a grand narrative in the Bible that we often miss because it's rarely preached today. God’s quest for a Bride for God's Son can be traced from Genesis to Revelation. God’s quest to have a home to live in and to express His nature through is another theme that runs from Genesis to Revelation. Also, God's quest to have a Family that possesses His own nature and shares His life is another consistent theme from the beginning of the Bible to the end. My book seeks to trace all of these themes and shows them to be the grand narrative of Scripture and the driving passion of our God.

We are made in God's image. Hence, the consuming love that a man has for a woman when he falls in love is but a pale image of the love that Jesus Christ has for His Bride. And we are part of that Bride! So too, the paternal drive to have children is another reflection of God's drive to have kids. In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul asked, "Does not nature teach you"? Nature teaches us a great deal about our Lord. We just have to pay attention to the lessons that it teaches.

For many Christians, terms like "Bride of Christ," "Family of God," "Body of Christ," and "House of God" are pretty anemic and colorless. We hear them tossed around so much that we just shrug our shoulders and say, "Of course; I know what that means." My book seeks to completely repaint those phrases and infuse them with their original beauty, awe, and wonder. It seeks to recapture the incredible power and imagery that the Bible seeks to portray through them.

Betsy: How long did the research for this book take you?

Frank: About 42 years :-) Truthfully, I've been working on this book all of my life. In many ways, it's my story of being a Christian and my discovery of what following Christ is all about.

Betsy: I loved how you quoted from the movie "The Notebook". Did you draw from other fictional movies or novels when writing your book?

Frank: "The Notebook" is one of my favorite movies of all time. As with any romance, it contains faint images of the passion, love, and unconditional affection that Jesus Christ has for His beloved Bride. This is one of the points I make in the book.

Some other movies that have helped me to see the parallels between their storylines and Christ’s love for His church (though I don't quote from them) are "Bed of Roses," “A Walk in the Clouds,” and "Message in a Bottle."

Betsy: Tell us a little about your own personal faith journey.

Frank: In one of the last chapters, I give a run-down of my spiritual journey. Essentially, I've been part of all the major denominations in evangelical Christianity since I was a teen. For the first ten years of my Christian life, I’ve chased various "spiritual things" that many Christians chase after. Some of them being evangelism, personal holiness, the gifts of the Spirit, apologetics, the power of God, Bible study, etc. But one day I discovered that the only thing worth chasing is Jesus Christ Himself. Everything else wears out and grows stale. Only He gives life and sustains it. Christianity, therefore, is not just about getting saved and getting others saved. It's about a growing love affair with Jesus Christ that leads into wonderful experiences, adventures, and a new direction, purpose, and passion for living. One that is free of guilt, religious duty, pressure, conformity, and condemnation. It's my observation that few Christians have had this experience. Thus another reason for the book: To open up a new universe of intimate relationship with Christ and His followers that’s available to every child of God.

Betsy: What do you hope to see accomplished with this book? What do you want readers to draw from it and keep as their own?

Frank: I hope that every individual reader will be set free from a Christian hangover of guilt and will fall deeply and madly in love with the Lord Jesus Christ. I also hope that it will give all Christians a brand new appreciation for and fresh insight into the Biblical story. But ultimately, I hope it helps to launch a revolution in the Christian faith whereby God's people begin to explore God's ultimate passion and will give their lives to it! I have hope that this will happen. Since the book’s release last month, a number of my readers have ordered cases of the book to give out to their friends.

Your readers can read a sample chapter of the book, one entitled "Loving Extravagently" at

Betsy: What are you working on now? What can readers look forward to seeing from you next?

Frank: Presently, I'm writing a book called THE CHURCH AFTER GOD'S OWN HEART to be released later this year. It's my story of experimenting with different forms of church and what I found in doing so. We live in a day where many Christians are re-evaluating their experience with church. There’s a lot of experimentation going on with new forms and expressions of church. George Barna’s best-selling book Revolution discusses this major trend.

THE CHURCH AFTER GOD’S OWN HEART is sort of a narrative memoir of one man's journey to find “the church after God's own heart.” For that reason, it has a biographical flavor in the same vein that books like Donald Miller's "Blue Like Jazz" and Anne Lamott's "Traveling Mercies" do.

Betsy: Oh, it sounds great! So tell us, who are a few of your own favorite authors?

Frank: Writers of the past: Watchman Nee, T. Austin-Sparks, F.F. Bruce, and A.W. Tozer. Writers in the present: Max Lucado, Ben Witherington, and Howard Snyder.

Betsy: Fantastic list. Well Frank, thank you so much for visiting my blog today! I've enjoyed our time together. And readers, you don't want to miss "God's Ultimate Passion"! Order your own copy here!

To read more about Frank Viola and his books, check out his website at
Also, visit this link to read an inspiring article entitled "God's View of Women"

Friday, February 16, 2007

Quick announcement!

"Georgiana Blogging Chick"
interviewed me today on her blog! Go check it out! =)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Interview with Mark Mynheir!

I am honored to introduce to you, dear reader, one very talented novelist:

Mark Mynheir - Cop Writer!

Mark's suspense books are full of intrigue and enough delicious details to make you feel as if you've been plunked right into the middle of the plot! Mark is not only an ex-marine, but has experience as a narcotics agent, a S.W.A.T. team member, and a homicide detective! You just can't get more qualified than that! And his books show it.

Let's get started!

Betsy: Mark, what inspired you to write a suspense series?

Mark: When I was growing up, the worst thing I could think of doing was writing. I loathed putting words to paper. I’m Dyslexic and the very reason (I believe) that God invented spell check. But soon after I became a Christian, I felt the Lord leading me to write. It didn’t make much sense to me and seemed impossible. I shared with my wife what I thought God was doing, and she encouraged me to go to school and learn the skills I needed to write. As the stories and my writing developed, I gravitated towards suspense writing. It’s where my heart is.

Betsy: Wow! We just never know how God will work! So, what gave you the specific idea for Truth Chasers?

Mark: I wanted to write a series that gave a realistic view of the police officers’ world, their lives and their families, as well as their cases. All too often, cops are portrayed in one of two ways—either as supermen or complete imbeciles. The truth is that cops are normal people trying to do an abnormal job. I wanted to create not only compelling dramas, but also deep, personal stories about the officers themselves.

Betsy: I think you've done just that! Now Mark, your bio is very impressive! Tell us how your experience in law enforcement and various jobs enabled you to put so much detail into your stories.

Mark: I’ve been very blessed to have served in the Marines and nearly twenty years in law enforcement. In that time, I’ve worked as an undercover narcotics agent, a S.W.A.T. team member, and a homicide detective. Each job has given me a chance to view the human condition in ways that many people never get the chance. I pour those experiences into the stories I write.
Betsy: Will you share with us a little of our own personal faith journey?

Mark: As a young man, I didn’t have much use for spiritual things. I had maybe a handful of church experiences to pull from, and a relationship with the Lord was not high on my priority list. Unfortunately, in my teens and early twenties, my life reflected my spiritual condition. I partied way too much and got into a bit of trouble. I ended up dropping out of high school and enlisting in the Marines when I was seventeen.

After the service, I met a beautiful and fun young lady who would later become my wife. She was raised in a Christian home and encouraged me to attend church. (I either went to Church or we didn’t date. Not a hard choice for me.) I wasn’t anti-God or atheistic. I was something that in my mind is worse—an indifferent pew sitter, thinking that merely broaching the church door built up spiritual credit for me somehow. I felt I could go to church, do my one hour a week, and even entertain a couple of ethereal thoughts now and then, and I was fine until the next Sunday. I didn’t read the Bible or seek any deeper relationship with God. While I’d cleaned up my behavior a little bit from my reckless teenage years, I was no more saved than I was before. I’d just become more sophisticated in my sin.

Then God showed up. During an ultrasound while my wife was pregnant with our oldest son, the doctors discovered that my son had hydrocephalus, a build up of fluid on the brain and a leading cause of retardation and death in infants. The news shook my world. I really believed that God was punishing my son for my sins. Even though I lacked a strong theological understanding, I knew that God was God, and I was truly a sinner. I had no where else to go. I called out to the Lord.

Out of my ignorance, I made all the promises that a person in that situation makes—I would stop swearing, be a nicer person, be in church every week, blah, blah, blah. I kinda missed the spiritual mark there, but we do serve a gracious and patient God. He was going to let me try to live out my promise—and then be there to pickup the pieces.

On the day my son was born, the doctors were preparing to operate on him and insert a shunt in his head to drain the fluid. Just before the surgery, they performed one last MRI. The neurologist came into the room and asked who gave us the diagnosis of hydrocephalus? He said our son was fine and there was no buildup of fluid on his brain. My wife and I observed no less than a dozen ultrasounds, all showing the fluid pooling on his brain. I knew that God had miraculously healed our son.

So I set forth to live out my promises . . . and failed at every turn. God had saved my son, and I couldn’t even do the simplest things in return. I was disgusted with myself and slipped into a deep depression. The Lord then brought a godly man in my path who gave me the true gospel of grace. While witnessing to me, my friend gave me a tape series on creation verses evolution and the inerrancy of the Bible, which broke down many of the barriers to true faith that I wasn’t even aware I had. Half way through the series, I found myself on my knees, weeping and dedicating my life to Jesus Christ. I’ve never been the same since, praise God.

Betsy: Oh wow! What an amazing testimony. Thanks for sharing. Now Mark, do you write full-time? Describe for us a typical day in your writing career. If you work outside your home, how do you handle the balance of a job, family, and your writing goals?

Mark: I still work as a homicide/violent crimes detective as my day job. I mostly write at night and on weekends. Since I have a wife and three children who actually like me, I have to divide my time carefully. Sometimes I wonder how everything gets done.

Even when I’m working at the police thing, I’m still churning the stories in my head until I can get home and commit them to paper. I’m sick, I know. But what can I say, I’m a writer.

Betsy: We understand! ::grins:: How did you feel when you held your very first book copy in your hands?

Mark: Flabbergasted. God’s grace never ceases to amaze me. When I dropped out of school, I was functionally illiterate and could barely scribble my name on paper. So holding a copy of my book was an incredibly emotional moment for me.

Betsy: I can imagine. So, who are some of your personal favorite authors?

Mark: Angela Hunt, Davis Bunn, Creston Mapes, William Diehl, Harper Lee, and many more. I appreciate anyone who can tell a great story.

Betsy: Are you a SOTP writer (seat of the pants) or a plotter?

Mark: Sort of both. I do a light plot with the major turning points mapped out. I then shape the story around that. My initial plot will usually change some during the process, but it works for me.

Betsy: What can readers look forward to seeing from you next?

Mark: My next novel is The Void, which releases in July 07. Most of the book is told from the perspective of Roberta “Robbie” Sanchez, a Florida Department of Law Enforcement criminal profiler. A research laboratory in Florida, Biotex, has successfully cloned the first human being. While the clone’s body is genetically perfect, his spirit is something completely different—and not of this world. Agent Sanchez and her team are called in to investigate the murder of a local police officer and are soon thrust into a battle that threatens each of their lives and the lives of every Believer on the planet.

Betsy: Ohh, sounds great. Well, Mark, as we wrap up, is there any one piece of advice you'd like to share with aspiring authors out there today?

Mark: Stick with it! Many a great manuscript or talented writer will never be discovered because the author didn’t show the fortitude to stick it out through the tough times—and there will be tough times. If you’re called to be a writer, write. Learn your craft, read books about writing, go to conferences, and write, write, write. Don’t let negative voices around you derail the dream God has planted.

Betsy: Great advice, Mark. Thanks so much for visiting with us today!

Visit Mark Mynheir's website at

Friday, February 09, 2007


Guess what that is gracing the FRONT PAGE of the Shreveport Times Living Section? (readership of 150,000!) - CHRISTIAN FICTION!! I've attached the article link from the online site for anyone who wants to view it close up!

The inspirational reporter at The Shreveport Times heard about my recent release, Midnight Angel, and wanted to do a feature story. They interviewed me and I told them about Lenora Worth, another local author here in Shreveport, Louisiana. They got great quotes from both me and Lenora, as well as posted our pictures and websites and book covers, as well as book covers from other fabulous authors. VERY exciting stuff!!

God is definitely at work! I'm so pleased with how the article turned out. I just had to share =)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Interview featuring - me!

Great news!

A really awesome blog site called "Keep Me In Suspense" just posted an interview featuring me and my new release, Midnight Angel!

Check it out!

You can even sign up to win a free copy!

See you there! =)

Monday, February 05, 2007

Remember to Forget

One of the best books I've read in a LONG time is Remember to Forget, by Deb Raney! This is an inspiring, heartwarming novel of a young woman trying to forget her past and create a new future for herself. Love, suspense, and forgiveness are the themes of this book you do not want to miss! Deb Raney is one of my all-time favorite authors, and with Remember to Forget, she's done it again - created a lovely story that will have her readers begging for more.

When you start reading Remember to Forget, it is as if you are reacquainting with an old friend!! I felt so sad when the book ended - not because the ending wasn't satisfying, but because I truly hated to part with the characters! Lucky for us readers - Remember to Forget is only Book 1 in a series!

Don't "forget" to remember to buy your copy of Remember to Forget today!! =)