Tuesday, September 30, 2008

UPDATE!!! -Joshua's Hope Featured on The Romance Studio

Thanks to all my fans who voted on Joshua's Hope! I'm happy to announce that I won the featured spot of the week on their front page!!


Check it out!!

Time for Change?

It's been two years since I started this blog and it has taken many different directions. Mostly it's been a rambling brain dump of whatever might be plaguing my mine at the moment.

I think it's time for change.

Look for new topics to begin in October...and a new posting schedule.

For those who are interested my new seasonal newsletter will be coming out this week. If you haven't signed up, please go to my website and sign up today. The only emails you'll receive are my newsletter, or special updates that might fall between newsletters. And you are free to unsubscribe at any time.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Ten Days of Paradise...Slammed into Reality

Ugh. After a fabulous ten day vacation, I now have to go back to work...and an hour early! Until 5am this morning, I was so happy and felt at peace with the world despite many weighing family issues. Had a perfect four days of camping in a beautiful state park we'd never been to. The weather was gorgeous, the campsite ideal with complete shade and tons of trees! Managed to get quite a bit of writing done, read a book and started another, but...now it's back to reality.

Work will be stressful for another two weeks due to finalizing our annual holiday trade shows. Ugh!


Our daughter's mother-in-law is in hospice care and they have only given her a few days to live. We've been praying for the entire family as this is extremely difficult to deal with. Caring for a loved one at home, with hospice care, is stressful. Saying goodbye is painful for both the loved one and the family being left behind.

I revamped my website yesterday afternoon. And...Joshua's Hope received another top rated review, this one from Fallen Angel Reviews. I was thrilled to see they made it a recommended read! You can check it out on my website.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Joshua's Hope Needs Your Vote!!

I came back from vacation and found that Joshua's Hope is up for a chance to have free advertising if it wins...

First place is on Jennette Green's Blog where she lists all four and five star reviews. I see that The Faded Photograph also received a four star review, but Joshua's Hope is the one I really want to win. Could you please vote for me before the end of September?

Click to Vote

Also there are only a couple of days left to vote (through Sunday September 28th) for Joshua's Hope as best five heart review on The Romance Studio! Here is the direct link to vote for me:

Click to Vote

Thanks for your support and thanks for dropping by!

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Hubby and I are heading to a beautiful state park for a five day vacation. I will not have internet access while I'm gone, so I won't be posting on this blog again until Friday, September 26th.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with a little excerpt from JOSHUA'S HOPE. I hope you enjoy...

The old house felt empty tonight. But it wasn’t the house. Not really. The emptiness resided inside her—a kind of emptiness only those who lived alone could feel.
For the first time she questioned if moving to Pine Cove had been a good decision. People here were close—like family, yet she couldn’t be drawn into their circle. Not now, maybe not ever.
She changed into an oversized T-shirt and washed her face before turning down the comforter on the bed. Something peeped out from under the pillow. Trepidation tip-toed along her scalp. She reached out and pinched a corner of the pillowcase. She took a deep breath and lifted it, uncovering an oblong envelope. She opened it and saw a picture of her, Peter and Joshua, but her image had been slashed with a big red X. Terror caused her fingers to tremble. Peter had been inside her house. He knew where she lived. She glanced at the window, trying to penetrate the darkness beyond. Was he watching her now?

Talk to you soon. Stay safe and happy reading!

Carol Ann

Friday, September 19, 2008

Five Heart Review from The Romance Studio...

I can't begin to tell you how many times I doubt myself as a writer. I don't know it that will ever go away. I've come a long way from the loss of self-esteem due to an abusive marriage, but I still have moments when I'm sure every deragatory general remark to a group is targeted at me or at my writing. Each time I release a book, fear settles in. Yesterday I opened an email that brought me to tears. Not the email, though it did start a dreaded churning in my stomach. What kind of review would I get from The Romance Studio? I clicked the link and started to read the review by Dee Dailey, and by the time I got to the end, I was crying tears of relief and joy.

Here's the last paragraph: It’s not until she hits bottom and lets go to really let God into her life that real good happens in her life. This book with its superb storyline has all of the good things that a book can have to keep us reading. Characters, dialogue, suspense all are penned in a way that I think are excellent. The book just naturally flows to a fantastic conclusion. If you need a book to lift you up, this is the one to read. But make sure you have a lot of tissues handy for the tears of frustration and joy that are sure to flow as the story unfolds.


Thanks so much for stopping by!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Joshua's Hope Excerpt

It's Thursday and only two more days to work and I'll be off for nine days! I can't wait. I haven't taken a long vacation in years. At first we thought our camping trip would be lost. The state park called and they have no electric. I might be able to make it without electric, but hubby just can't handle it. So...we checked another state park about eighty miles east and found they had a fully shaded spot available. We were able to transfer everything successfully! Woo hoo!

Our grandson graduated from Tech School and was supposed to come home last night, but he called and said he had missed the briefing and wouldn't be able to leave until today. Bummer. Last night the phone rang...and it was Andrew (grandson). He was sitting in his mom's living room! The stinker had told her that in order to surprise her. I'm so relieved that he's home for a few days before heading to Arizona.

Okay, I promised you an exerpt, didn't I? I am hoping you are intrigued enough to go to The Wild Rose Press and purchase a download of the ebook for only $6.00! Just click inspirational on the sidebar and you'll go to the books. You'll find the information for purchase there. You don't need an ereader either...you can read it right on your computer screen. It's fun! I'm excited...Joshua's Hope is the number one inspirational full length novel!

Excerpt - Joshua's Hope

If it hadn’t been for her fear that Peter would do her extreme physical harm, she would have stayed in the marriage. Peter had a volatile temper, and when it exploded, Hope was always the target. He wanted to control her in every single way, but Hope had grown up so independent that she resisted. She’d watched Peter’s mother succumb to his father’s domineering nature time and time again. Hope didn’t want to end up like her.

As she drove down the winding drive to the house she’d always found intimidating, her heart began to beat faster. “Please, God, let Peter be out of town.” Her words floated in the air-conditioned expanse of the car.

Her chest constricted as she crested the hill and saw Peter’s sportscar parked in the driveway. She took a deep breath to compose herself before leaving the safety of the car.

As she walked toward the house, the door swung open.

Peter raked her with an intimidating glance. “You look pathetic.”

She bit back a smart retort.

Peter’s dark brown eyes held no warmth. He pushed the door wider and stepped aside. “We need to talk.”

Here we go again. Peter was geared for another bashing session meant to break her down. Control. He was all about control. She wouldn’t let him break her spirit.

“I’m here to visit Joshua. There’s nothing to say that hasn’t already been said. It’s over between us, Peter.”

She pushed past him, but he grabbed her arm. His fingers dug into her flesh and she bit back a cry of pain.

“It’s not over until I say it’s over.”

Their eyes locked in a visual battle.

He gave her a hard shake.

She pulled free.

“Mommy!” Joshua bounded down the stairs with all the exuberance of a typical four-year-old. He launched himself into her arms and clung tightly to her neck. “You came. I missed you, Mommy.”

“I missed you, too, peanut.”

Joshua giggled. “I’m not a peanut.”

She poked a finger into his tummy. “You’re my peanut.”

He wiggled free and slipped down to the floor.

“Joshua.” Peter’s voice sliced the air.

Joshua looked at his dad. The smile slid from Joshua’s face, and his chin touched his chest.

“Look at me, young man.”

Joshua did.

“Behave yourself. When your mother leaves, you are to take a nap and remain there until I come get you. Understand?”

Joshua nodded.

“Speak up!”

“Yes, Daddy.”

Hope took Joshua’s hand and glared at Peter.

“If you want to see him again, don’t leave without talking to me.” Peter’s hand closed around her arm, fingers digging deep into her flesh. His eyes narrowed as he pressed harder.

She didn’t flinch, didn’t blink, didn’t let him see the pain he caused. When Hope married him, she’d already been in love with his son. Peter paid no attention to Joshua, leaving his care to a nanny. It broke Hope’s heart whenever she saw the baby who didn’t know how to smile. “If you insist.”

“Don’t be smart. I’m being generous by allowing you to see my son.”

Hope didn’t fool herself. The only reason Peter allowed her to see Joshua each Saturday was to keep her under his thumb. “I know. Now may I please take Joshua to his room for our visit?”

He released her. Their eyes battled for a second, and then she lifted the boy into her arms, turned her back, and walked up the stairs.

“Daddy’s mad,” Joshua said.

“He’s not mad at you. He’s upset with Mommy.”

When she reached the hallway at the top of the stairway, she hurried into Joshua’s room, closed the door, and leaned against it.

Joshua looked at her with tear-filled eyes. “He said I been bad and couldn’t see you.”

Tears ran down his cheeks and Hope hugged him close to reassure him. “I won’t let that happen, peanut. I promise.”

“Daddy said you don’t love me.” He broke into quiet sobs that hurt more than Peter’s hands had.

Hope kissed his cheeks while forcing back her own tears. “Mommy loves you more than anything else in the whole wide world. I’ll always love you...always. No matter what anyone else says, you remember that. Okay?”

He nodded.

She ruffled his hair.


“What, sweetie?”

He ducked his head, making it difficult for her to hear. “Daddy hitted me for being bad.”

Rage lit a fire in her veins. She clutched Joshua to her chest and fought the desire to snatch him and drive fast and far, someplace where Peter would never find them. The reality was, though, that Joshua was not hers. She’d be arrested for kidnapping which would only make things worse for both of them, especially Joshua. “I’m sorry, sweetie.” She kissed the top of his head and sat on the twin bed, holding Joshua on her lap.

“Mommy, can I live with you? I don’t want to live with Daddy.”

“Mommy is trying real hard to fix things so you can live with me.” There had to be one attorney who wasn’t afraid of Peter Courtland and his henchmen. She’d do whatever it took to protect Joshua.

His tear-filled eyes drove a spike through her heart. His lips quivered. “Tomorrow?”

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Verdict Is....

...degenerative disc disease. My neck and upper vertebra have severe problems. And I have severe arthritis across my upper back. Doctor is recommending therapy and maybe a home traction machine.

My doctor helps train interns from OSU. Today Dr. Jones was in attendance with my doctor. While my doctor was waiting on some lab results, Dr. Jones used some manipulation on my upper rib by rotating my upper arms and shoulder. Amazing that the pain from the front collar bone was minimalized. But by the time I got home I was in exreme pain.

Back to the anti-inflammatories for the time being. Hopefully, therapy will be scheduled soon and I will get some relief.

Thanks for stopping by!

Remnants of Ike

I've never been tempted to live in line of a hurricane. My brother and his family live in La Porte and suffered the brunt of Ike's strength. Thankfully, they are all right and only suffered exterior wind damage. I can't imagine living through winds of that force. Last night Ike blew through the midwest and hit Columbus with winds up to 75 miles an hour. We are not used to that kind of wind force. The power lines to the streetlights are lying in the street, a tree blocks one end of our street from passage, and we only suffered a few shingles being damaged, some tree limbs down and my hubby's pretty gazing ball that sits by the pond blew off and broke. However, driving to work today was a real challenge. None of the streetlights are working. Ugh! It took me 45 minutes to drive six and a half miles. We have no phones at work, and since we are a distribution company, this has posed a huge challenge! We have no internet or intranet either, which impacts our email and with no phones, our entire warehouse has been stalled. The system for pulling orders is driven through the phone lines...yeah, big problem.

On the drive home I saw uprooted trees, trees that had fallen through roofs, smashed cars...

Our youngest daughter and family have been without electric since yesterday when a tree took out power lines in their neighborhood.

So...to live where the hurricane would hit full force? Uh, no thanks!

Hope you all fared better! Stay safe and thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Author Interview with Lena Nelson Dooley

Excitement runs high in The Blog Studio as the camera pans the audience. The curtain lifts and the audience applauds as Carol Ann walks onstage.

“Good morning! Can you believe this beautiful weather here in central Ohio? Great sleeping weather. In fact, I had a hard time getting up this morning.” Carol Ann looks over her clothing. “Yep, I remembered everything.” The audience laughs.

“I’m excited to introduce our author for today. Lena Nelson Dooley is a full-time writer, who loves to help new authors hone their skills. Multi-published and award-winning, Lena has had thirteen of the people she's mentored receive book contracts after working with her. This is a great joy to her. Several times a year, she speaks for writers groups or women’s groups both here in the US and internationally. Lena lives in Texas with her husband of over 40 years. They enjoy traveling and spending time with their family. James and Lena are active in Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, where she volunteers in the bookstore. She's also on the altar ministry team and helps with Global Ministry and PrimeTime. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome our guest for the day…Lena Nelson Dooley!”

Audience applauds as Lena walks onstage.

CAROL ANN: Thanks for joining us today, Lena.

LENA: I’m happy to be here.

CAROL ANN: Tell me about this new anthology.

**Carol Ann holds up a book and the camera pans in closer**

LENA: I believe it was Tamela Hancock Murray who first contacted me about the book--Snowbound Colorado Christmas. There was a major blizzard in Colorado in 1913. It snowed for six days, leaving 48 inches behind. That became the setting for this novella collection. The collection contains these stories: Fires of Love by Tamela Hancock Murray, The Best Medicine by Lena Nelson Dooley, Dressed in Scarlet by Darlene Franklin, and Almost Home by Susan Page Davis.

The stories start at the first party of the Christmas season in the home of Tamela's heroine. In my story, my hero is the new doctor in town. He treats one of the guests at the party who gets sick after eating something he's allergic to. My heroine is the daughter of the owner of the ranch where the heros father had been the foreman.

One of the joys of writing this book, besides the story, was delving into the history of 1913. We worked really hard to make the setting and characters true to the times.

CAROL ANN: It sounds great. I’m anxious to get a copy. You have helped many writers with their careers. Tell me what you feel is the hardest thing about being a writer?

LENA: The whole process of selling novels to publishers is full of waiting times. I was not a patient person by nature, but God has refined patience in me through the selling process. Snowbound Colordo Christmas is my 18th book release, so I've had plenty of chances to practice patience.

CAROL ANN: How did you realize the God was calling you to write?

LENA: Several events happened in the first week of May in 1984. The whole story is in my writing testimony on the bottom of the main page of my web site. Your readers can check out the whole story there.

In addition, I believe that God created me to be a writer. He gives each one of us the abilities He wants to develop and use in our lives. Many people discover those abilities and let Him lead them. Others do not.

CAROL ANN: What stumbling blocks have you encountered and how have you overcome them?

LENA: My major stumbling block early on was that I wanted to write the stories I wanted to read, instead of letting God tell me which stories He wanted me to write. I also needed to hone my skills and learn good writing habits.

CAROL ANN: Do you collect anything?

LENA: I first started collecting crosses. I have several of those, both jewelry kinds and others. I later started collecting angels. I have a rather large collection of them. Many of my angels stay out all year around, but I also have many that only come out at Christmas. I have an angel mantel scarf, and I arrange angels on the mantel during the holiday season. I really like angels that are more masculine looking, but they're hard to find. I also have a wall hanging with all the scriptures about what the Bible says angels do. This is a very interesting subject.

CAROL ANN: Your collections sound very interesting. I really like the masculine looking angels. Tell me, do you believe the pen is mightier than the sword?

LENA: Yes. If you can get people to stop the fighting and listen to reason, it gives the Lord time to work on their hearts. The written word often leads to this.

CAROL ANN: Which inspires you more? A brisk walk in the autumn with the leaves changing color, or in the spring when the flowers are and trees are budding? Why?

LENA: Actually, you've mentioned my two favorite seasons. In Texas, summer gets way too hot for me, so I stay in air conditioning as much as possible, and when the weather is really cold, it bothers my asthma. Probably my favorite season is spring with everything budding and blooming. Spring symbolizes new life and a new chance to me. I also love the colors of autumn, the return of temperatures where I can feel comfortable being out in the sunshine.

CAROL ANN: Now, put on your creative hat. You are sitting in a restaurant with several friends when someone walks up to you and thrusts a microphone in your hand. You have one minute to tell the world something....what will it be?

LENA: I had that happen when I was interviewed by Steve Bonenberger for his syndicated radio show. He gave me one minute at the end to tell America whatever I wanted to. I used it to say that we need to go back to our foundations. Our country was founded on godly principles and we need to return to that.

If it's a word for the whole world, I would say: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes on Him should not perish, but have eternal life." So often we as Christians think this scripture is only for those who eventually believe in Jesus. That is so far off. I recently found out about the protein laminin. This protein glues each of the cells in our body to the others. Laminin is shaped like a cross. God put his sign of redemption on every cell in every human who has ever lived. He did this in creation. Our God is the God of eternity, and He wants everyone to come to His Son so they can live eternally with Him. He loves the alcoholic on skid row, the prostitute and drug addict on the streets as much as He loves each Christian in church. Understanding that will change the way we look at those around us and give us an urgency to find a way to reach them with the truth.

Okay, maybe that took more than a minute, but it is important.

CAROL ANN: How do you balance your "real" life with your "writing" life?

LENA: It took me a lot of time to learn how to do that. I work at home, so I turned one of the bedrooms (after my daughters left home) into an office. I get up in the morning, do my exercises, eat breakfast, spend time with the Lord, then go to the office. When I'm on a deadline, I don't even answer the phone while I'm writing. However, if I'm not on a drop-dead deadline, James can come into my office any time he wants to and ask me to do something with him, and I'll stop what I'm doing and go. On his days off, he often takes me on long or short breaks out to eat, shopping, or to the movies.

I also plan days off to spend with friends. It took me quite a while for some people to understand that being a writer is a "real" job.

CAROL ANN: It looks like our time is up. Before they shut us off the air, where can readers learn more about you and your books?

LENA: You can see all my books on my web site www.lenanelsondooley.com . On my blog, I interview other authors about their recent releases, and they give away free copies of books. http://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com . There are links to email me on both the web site and blog. I also have an Internet presence on Shoutlife: www.shoutlife.com/lenanelsondooley If you're there, too, ask me to be your friend.

CAROL ANN: **Hugs Lena** Thank you so much for your time and for coming all the way from Texas to Ohio for our interview.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wow...Another Five Star Review

Okay, so I was googling my name last night and ran across a link to a review by Fallen Angel Reviews for Foxfire. I didn't know this review existed! They gave it five stars (um, I mean angels). I've included some snippets below. You can check out the entire review by clicking here.

...From the sizzling chemistry between Grace and Tyler to the nail biting suspense of getting away from a madman Ms. Erhardt took me on a roller coaster ride of emotions. The addition of some very quirky characters only adds to an already engaging read...I found myself racing through to the end because if anyone deserves a happy ending it’s these two. I just couldn’t quite see how Ms. Erhardt was going to pull it off; there were so many things in the way. I needn’t have worried. Foxfire is an engaging tale, and Ms. Erhardt should be congratulated on a tale well told.

It doesn't get any better than that!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

First Review for Joshua's Hope

Sometimes reviews come out of the blue. It's amazing how they work. My publisher sends them out about a month before the books release to a huge list of review sites. I've had recent reviews come in for Foxfire which released in January of 2007. One never knows when to expect a review. The worst part about waiting is the self-doubt. I worry that my "baby" is horrible, that no one will like it, that I shouldn't even be writing. It never fails that I think of something I should have written differently in the book. **sigh** But then a review comes in and **gasp** the reader liked it! What a wonderful feeling. It's worth so much more than any amount of money (which is good because authors don't write to get rich...well, unless you are one of the favored few who constantly hit the New York Times list).

Here is the review.

Title: Joshua's Hope

Author: Carol Ann Erhardt

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Inspirational White Rose

212 pages Sweet




Hope Courtland escaped her marriage to save her life. Her only regret is leaving her four-year-old stepson, Joshua, behind. Though she wants custody, no attorney is willing to tackle her ex-husband in a custody battle. Hope's faith begins to falter. She learns that Joshua is paying the consequences for her freedom, and in an act of desperation, she kidnaps him. Suddenly, she becomes a suspect in her ex-husband's murder.

Zack Stone is content to be sheriff of Pine Cove, Tennessee, where the worst conflict he deals with is handing out speeding tickets. Though his faith is strong, he struggles with issues of forgiveness surrounding his wife's death. When he rescues Hope in a rainstorm, the last thing he expects is to find a woman who stirs his heart. Being a small town sheriff shouldn't involve kidnapping and murder, but Zack can't turn his back on Hope and the little boy she loves.


Having never read anything by this writer before, I wondered what to expect – would I be happy or disappointed?

Well, I can honestly say that I really enjoyed Joshua's Hope. It has all the ingredients necessary for a good story: mystery, suspense and romance.

The book is very cleverly plotted, and bowls along at a fast pace. The characters are so clearly drawn you immediately have a rapport with them and feel you could be friends, should you meet, although there are a couple of characters I wouldn't want to meet on a dark night – or even in daylight, come to that.

I didn't intend to read the book in one sitting but I did – it was hard to put down – a real page turner.

I look forward to reading more of Carol Ann Erhardt's work.

Reviewed by Mawgana

The review was from Writers and Readers of Distinctive Fiction. Click here for the main site link. My review is posted on their blog "Between the Lines" blog under the WDRF Reviews. Be sure to check out the other great books that have been reviewed.

On Thursday, I'll be interviewing inspirational author Lena Dooley on my blog. And if you missed it, be sure to check out Patti Lacy's interview from last Thursday.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Health Scare....

Wow, what a weird past few days. No blogging. Why? I've been in the hospital. I'll tell the story, but first to alleviate any questions, I'm home and I do not have any problems with my heart.

It all started with some chest discomfort on Tuesday night, followed by back pain on Wednesday, then pressure/pain in the chest on Thursday along with pain in my right shoulder, arm and hand. Went to Urgent Care on Thursday and they rushed me by squad to the hospital. Ugh. Spent the next few days visiting with a heart specialist and undergoing a barrage of tests. The worst was the medicated heart stress test. I thought I'd just get to walk on the treadmill like before, but no. This was horrible! I have never experienced anything so bad. I would even prefer childbirth again over this. I thought every vein in my neck and head were going to explode. I felt like I had a balloon in my throat that kept expanding larger and larger. I couldn't talk for about five minutes afterward. But, in a way, I'm glad I opted to have that first without going for the catharization.

My heart is fine. No malfunction. No blockage. So...what is the problem. My regular doctor ordered a gall bladder ultrasound and found no stones. But, that doesn't mean the gall bladder is functioning fully, so he's going to keep an eye on that. Also ordered x-rays of the neck area to determine if something there is causing the pain in shoulder and arm. In the meantime, he said I could come home and they could schedule other tests as outpatient. Yesterday I had worse chest pains, but my arm and shoulder pain lessened. Hmmm. Yesterday morning I took the medication the doctor had prescribed last Friday (before hospital) which was to see if it would help the arm pain. But my chest pain was back. Now I'm wondering if that medication is what has been causing all my problems. Going to stay off it for now and see what happens. I go see doctor next week.

So, my friends, I'll be back to blogging again...a lot poorer...not much wiser.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Author Interview with Patti Lacy

The Blog Studio camera pans the audience as the band finishes playing. Slowly the curtain rises and Carol Ann walks onstage.

"Good morning! I'm so happy to be here today!"


"It's been a long time. A lot has been happening that has kept me away from the stage. I know, I know...some of you wish I'd stayed on it!"


"Sorry, that was a cheap joke. Seriously, I am happy to be back and I have a special guest that I know you are going to enjoy. I met Patti in ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and when her book released, I knew I had to have her in the studio. I had the pleasure of reading her book, which by the way, won a four star review in Romantic Times magazine October 2008 issue."


"Ladies and gentlemen, please help me welcome Patti Lacy!"


Patti walks onstage and takes a seat on the chair opposite Carol Ann.

PCAROL ANN: Patti, thank you so much for stopping by the studio this morning.

PATTI: It's my pleasure, Carol Ann. Thank you for inviting me.

CAROL ANN: This is Patti's book, An Irishwoman's Tale. Isn't the cover beautiful?


CAROL ANN: I really enjoyed your book, Patti, but I'll let you tell the audience all about it.

PATTI: In 1995, “Mary,” a red-haired woman in a book discussion group I formed stayed late after one of the meetings. I thought she just wanted to help me clean up and pick through the juicy Hors D’oeuvres I’d spent hours making, but she had something else in mind. As I chatted about my kids, she paced in the family room, finally plopping into a rocker.
“What is your first memory?” Mary asked me.
“I don’t know. I’ve never had to think about it,” I answered.
Her eyes took on a glint of steel. “How pretty. Not to have to think of it.”
Hours later, I’d been gifted a tragic yet majestic story of God’s forgiveness and sovereignty over even the most dysfunctional situations.

Four years later, my family moved away from Mary’s town, yet by now, Mary and I’d become close friends, and stayed in touch. During quiet times, Mary’s story often slipped into my thoughts, and I’d shake my head. Someone sure should write that story, I’d tell myself. One January morning, God told me to do it. I opened a computer file, titled it An Irishwoman’s Tale, and the journey started and didn’t end until Mary and I went back to Ireland two years later, and I’d signed a book contract.

Here’s a summary of Mary’s story: Her entire life, Mary’s struggled to understand why, as a precocious five-year-old, she was torn from her beloved Ireland. She remembers…“An oaken table, moon-shaped faces guzzling tea. Cup after cup of the steaming stuff. Asking what’s to be done with the little eejit.” And a few other dark and nasty things.

No matter how hard she tries, the memory stains Mary’s relationship with everyone—including God. It takes the crisis of her daughter’s substance abuse and the urging of a new chatty new Southern friend to propel her back to the rugged cliffs of County Clare. There, in spite of the secrets she uncovers, Mary experiences God’s healing and glimpses His sovereign plan.

CAROL ANN: Your visit to Ireland had to help tremendously with your ability to paint a perfect picture of the areas involved. As an author, what is the hardest thing you find about being a writer?

PATTI: Fighting through the self-doubt and lonely times when not even your family likes your work. Committing to writing for that Audience of One. A poster listing God’s names hangs near my computer, reminding me who I need to listen to when the path gets rocky.

CAROL ANN: How did you realize the God was calling you to write?

PATTI: Just that still, small Voice telling me to write this story, then the next and the next.

CAROL ANN: What stumbling blocks have you encountered and how have you overcome them?

PATTI: When we take family vacations related to air travel, my husband reminds everyone to “hurry up and wait.” The snail’s pace of the publishing industry brings out my impatient side. It’s also been a challenge to balance writing with editing with marketing.

CAROL ANN: Do you collect anything?

PATTI: My first major in college was geology, and I graduated from Baylor University with a degree in Education, English and Earth Science teaching fields. We’ve carted unbelievably heavy boxes of rocks from our attic in Texas to our attic in Indiana to their present resting place in our cramped Illinois basement. Sometimes I dig through the dusty plastic specimen boxes and haul them around for elementary school show-and-tell time. Mainly they gobble up space. I’ve given quite a few away but hold onto the gross coprolites, the shapely fluorite, the sparkling pyrite, to remind me of God’s intricate designs in every aspect of creation.

CAROL ANN: Do you believe the pen is mightier than the sword? Why?

PATTI: Ephesians 6:17 says, “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” In eternity-speak, God-inspired words will win more victories than even the most sophisticated nuclear weapons.

CAROL ANN: Very well said! Patti, which inspires you more? A brisk walk in the autumn with the leaves changing color, or in the spring when the flowers and trees are budding? Why?

PATTI: Even though I live in the Midwest, I’m a Southern girl at heart. The winter winds chill my bones and the lack of sunlight darkens my spirit. Brisk walks with The Stooges, a riotous trio of exercise pals, keep me going during the snow and below-freezing temperatures, but by March, I’m ready to see green shoots and pastel flowers.

CAROL ANN: You are sitting in a restaurant with several friends when someone walks up to you and thrusts a microphone in your hand. You have one minute to tell the world something....what will it be?

PATTI: I would do my best to paraphrase Romans 13, the love chapter.

CAROL ANN: How do you balance your "real" life with your "writing" life?

PATTI: It’s not too hard to do that, living in Normal, Illinois. I’m just a normal mom, trying to run a household and do my job. When my son gets up for work around five a.m., I stumble to the kitchen and make his lunch. Dawn is a great time for prayer and praise! Around 6:30, I write down the day’s tasks in a cool leather journal, then start pecking at the keyboard until I complete my daily allotment of WIP pages. By noon, it’s time to exercise, be a friend, a mom, a wife, and that includes shopping, cooking, cleaning and the million other things we women do. Sometimes I squeeze in a few more writing responsibilities; sometimes not.

CAROL ANN: Where can readers learn more about you and your books? Website address, blog, email???

PATTI: Come on over to www.pattilacy.com! There’s contests (prize, $15 Barnes & Noble gift card), writing updates, book reviews, and more. At the current time, I don’t have a blog, but I update my website at least once a month. My e-mail is patti@pattilacy.com.

CAROL ANN: Patti, thank you again for coming by and thanks for the gift of An Irishwoman's Tale. I couldn't put it down! I got so caught up in Mary's story and her life that sometimes I went to bed sad, sometimes prayerful. Thanks for a wonderful read. I recommmend this book to anyone who loves a good story.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Joshua's Hope - Bestseller

Joshua's Hope released on August 28th at The Wild Rose Press. I'm so excited to announce that it is number one on the Inspirational full length list and number two on the overall (includes short stories) Inspirational list! Woo hoo!!

Last night the winner for the Sony eReader was announced in the TWRP chat room. The chat was moving so rapidly that I missed capturing the last name of the winner, but congratulations to Dianne! For those who didn't win and for those who missed entering the summer giveaway, there is another one scheduled to begin on September 22nd. Stay tuned for details.

Tomorrow I'm interviewing Patti Lacy, author of An Irishwoman's Tale. I had the privilege of reading this wonderful novel. Be sure to stop in and read the interview and feel free to leave comments or ask questions. You don't have to have a blogger account to do that. All you need to do is post as "annonymous".

Sorry I've been so neglectful of the blog, but real life has a way of intruding on the best laid plans of a writer. Hope to do better this month.

Thanks for stopping by!