Monday, September 27, 2010

Interview with Christian Romance Author Gail Pallotta

As a granddaughter of a minister and niece of several English teachers, Gail inherited the interest of storytelling. After being nudged by friends to do more with her writing, she published her first Christian novel. After its release in 2004, the American Christian Writers Association named her Regional Writer of the Year. Gail has been happily marred for thirty-eight years and lives in Georgia.

An unlikely romance begins in the spring when the sunshine sparkles on the sand in Destin, Florida, and the moonlight dances across a tranquil, emerald sea.”

Hello Gail. This is such a pleasure to interview a Christian writer. Please tell us about your new book, Love Turns the Tide.

First, I'd like to say "thank you" for having me on your great blog. In Love Turns the Tide Cammie O'Shea faces a traumatic split-up with her fiancé and has to leave her family and friends to take a new job in Destin, Florida. Heartbroken and alone, she needs God more now than she ever has. But for some reason she can't explain, she feels more estranged from him. A feature writer, she dreads meeting her new boss, the editor of The Sun Dial, a new newspaper. But her real source of angst turns out to be Vic Deleona, the influential real estate tycoon she must write about to generate interest in the paper. While she refuses to open herself to another painful relationship, he attempts to court her. Trying to get over her heartache, she continues to read her Bible and say prayers. One day she reads Romans 8:28, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him..." Afterward she ponders how living in Destin possibly could be good for her. Then break-ins occur at her and her friend's condos, making her doubt the wisdom of living in Destin even more. But, Vic comes to their rescue. He even launches his own investigation into the crimes. Just when Cammie starts to see a different side of him, she gets an offer to return home to her old job. Will Vic solve the crimes and win Cammie's heart, or will she leave Destin? Read more about the book on my Web site at

Your book sounds mysterious. Where did you get your inspiration for your novel?

My inspiration came from people who have found the right person even after being hurt deeply. I'm fortunate enough to have people open up to me. I doubt that I solve many problems. Instead, I found that people often work things out for themselves when they talk about them. But I do draw from real life experiences. No one character in Love Turns the Tide is a particular person, but the things that happen to the characters as well as the things that bring them pain, joy, happiness, etc., are gleaned from bits and pieces of others and myself. In one scene in Love Turns the Tide, Cammie has been talking to Angie about her broken engagement. Angie chuckles and says, "People are always telling me someone will come along one of these days and sweep me off my feet..."

Cammie answers, "I've heard that too, but it's going to take an awfully big broom." That line came from a conversation I was part of many years ago.

Here's an experience I haven't used yet. Once my daughter and I were in a check-out line. The lady in front of me started telling me about an item she wished she had purchased, but hadn't. I just listened, but the more she talked about it the more she wanted it. Finally, she looked at me and said, "Watch my basket and my purse, I'll be right back." Just in case anyone's wondering, I stood and watched, as she'd asked.

That’s hilarious. It proves that we must listen more. You never know what you can slip into a character’s conversation. A reviewer wrote, "This is an excellent story with three main characters that grow on you right from the beginning… There is just enough suspense to the story to keep the reader turning the pages.” Tell us your thoughts about this review.

I remember that review well. It's one of my favorites because the reviewer brought out important aspects of the book. I wanted to keep the reader guessing as to who committed the vandalism, and she said, "Just when the reader thinks they know who it is their mind changes a little." Also, I wanted to write a book that showed how Christianity helps people, and she said, "I feel the bible verses were written into the story line very well reflecting on her..." (Cammie's) "...thoughts about judging, faith and her prayers, without making the book preachy." The reviewer also appreciated the fun parts I'd added, such as the ducks on the lake near Cammie's condo. As for the genre, it's a love story with romance and mystery. The mystery, suspense and Cammie's faith journey are woven into the romantic plot.

I love mystery romance. What does your family think about your writing?

They love that I write. But it's a demanding job and a huge time commitment. I think every writer who also has a family has to work at finding a balance. Since I treasure being with my husband and my daughter, I try not to infringe on our time together, but neglect other things. For instance, my house isn't as clean as it should be, nor is it re-decorated to keep up with the latest trends. Our closets are bulging and our shelves overflowing. Even though I come from a family of good cooks, I don't plan our meals. My husband enjoys running errands, so I let him stop by the grocery instead of making a list and going to get the ingredients for our favorite dishes. Every once in a while I break down and grocery shop. I always find something that looks good and think, Gee, we could have been eating this if I wasn't so busy. But, many of my recipes call for ingredients, such as cream and butter that aren't good for us, and we probably eat too much anyway. LOL

Your lifestyle sounds like a normal author to me!!! Please tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

I grew up in a small town at the foothills of the North Carolina mountains. While attending college I met a friend who owned an airplane. One summer when we were on break, he flew over my hometown and announced on the loud speaker that he wanted me to meet him at the airport and fly to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for the day. No sooner did we answer our phone at home than it rang again. It seemed everyone in town called to make sure I'd heard that someone in an airplane was looking for me. And of course, they all wanted to know if I was going. My father did take me to the airport, I met the friend, and we flew to the beach for the day.

That is great! I love it. I can just imagine the phone ringing over and over again, wondering if you heard the announcement and if you were going. What a great story!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Book Review for “The Stone Traveler” by Author Kathi Oram Peterson


The Stone Traveler begins in ancient America 33 AD. Sabirah is an independent 19-year-old Lamanite warrior who has her own army. She is respected by her men and is a great leader. She is watching and waiting for a man who is a traitor to her people. He must be stopped and she has a plan how to capture him. At this time, there is much turmoil between the believers and nonbelievers. Her followers, the men who joined her army, are believers of God and will fight for their rights.

Sabirah is described as an Amazon Warrior Woman: “flawless dark complexion; long, shiny, ebony hair hanging freely about her shoulders as if it were black water pouring over her skin; and mesmerizing doe-like eyes. A leather tunic clung to her shapely form. Hanging around her neck from a leather strap was a small jade carving of a wing-spread eagle…a white dagger beneath her waistband…a spear in one hand and a sword in the other.”

This dark-eyed beauty is a believer. Her father once told her to remain strong as an ocean wind in her beliefs. He also said the Lord would send a young wayfarer to aid her in her quest. He would be foreign to her people and she must watch for him. Who was this wayfarer?

Each chapter takes the reader back in time to ancient America and then forward to the present time. While Sabirah is defending her people, we go forward in time to AD 2015 in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Sixteen-year-old Tag is having his own troubles. Because his mother is worried about his choices in life, she sends him to his grandpa’s lakeside cabin for the summer. When he decides to run away, he meets three men carrying a stone that glows with radiant light. When Tag holds the stone in his hand, it transports him into another time and dimension…to ancient America. Before long, he meets Sabirah, the enchanting daughter of the great prophet Samuel the Lamanite. Together they try to rescue her father from the evil King Jacob, a nonbeliever who is persecuting all believers.

This story begins to build with intensity when Tag helps Sabirah, is caught, and about to be sacrificed to an idol by the nonbelievers. But that’s not all, without warning the ground rumbles and quakes…a tempest arises… gigantic whirlwinds appear…and everyone runs for safety.

The Stone Traveler grabbed me from the first page. Kathi Oram Peterson knows how to write a story with intensity and feeling. The ending is uplifting and inspirational and makes you a “Believer.”

Hello Kathi! Thank you so much for this opportunity of reviewing your book. This is a Blog Tour Contest. How does one enter this contest and what prizes are being offered?

I will collect the names of everyone who comments from each blog site on the tour. Then on Saturday a name will be drawn to win a prize that includes a very cuddly toy jaguar (isn't he cute?); a stone necklace (I promise if you wear it you won't be thrown back in time); and chocolates with the flavor of South America (real cacao and chili). The winners will be announced on September 27th. The GRAND PRIZE for The Stone Traveler Blog Tour will be a (drumroll, please) Kindle!!! The cutoff is midnight on September 30th. The winner will be announced October 4th.

Thanks, Kathi. So all you have to do is leave a comment about this review with your e-mail to enter the contest. Good luck!

Author’s Website:
Author’s Blog:

Monday, September 13, 2010

Interview with Author Rebecca Talley

Rebecca was raised by her grandparents in Santa Barbara, California. As a teenager, she played basketball and performed as a flamenco dancer in parades and on stage for the Old Spanish Days Fiesta. She spent most of her time playing at the beach, collecting shells, and digging in the sand. She said, “One of my favorite memories is riding my pony along the shore with the surf spraying my feet. I still love the moist sea air.” She now lives in rural Colorado and is raising cows, horses, rabbits, goats, sheep, a llama named Tina, and ten children. Now that’s quite a list! She is the author of two novels and a children’s picture book.

Grasshopper Pie is a humorous picture book about imagination and the dangers of taking ideas too literally. A mother dreams up and talks about unique dishes such as grasshopper pie to her children, yet her young boy and girl decide to surprise her with a pie that has not-so-imaginary ingredients! A funny story, nicely illustrated with simple yet charming color drawings, Grasshopper Pie is a welcome addition to school and community library and especially recommended for young readers ages 4 to 6.” –Midwest Book Review

Hello Rebecca. I would like to know where you got your inspiration for Grasshopper Pie?

One day I was cleaning the bathroom and two of my younger kids wanted me to play a cooking game with them. I was intent on cleaning but agreed, half-heartedly, to play. What started as an imaginary game became all too real when they decided to find a real grasshopper to feed me for the grasshopper pie I requested. Fortunately, I was smarter than the mom in the book and I didn't actually eat it, but that's what sparked the idea for this book.

This sounds like a fun book to read to your children or grandchildren. In your new novel, Altared Plans, a reviewer wrote, “The dialogue was clever and I enjoyed the banter between the characters.” Tell us about your new book.

Altared Plans is about a young girl who's planned out her life and when it falls apart, so does she. She vows to never love another young man after her fiancée deserts her on her wedding day. She finally agrees to go back to college and against her wishes, meets another young man that first irritates her and then intrigues her. Through a series of mishaps, and an unintended fiancée, she learns that you can't plan love, it just is.

I love the book cover. Altared Plans sounds like a comedy. Where did you get your ideas? Do you ever use real life experiences in your books?

Yes, I would consider it a romantic comedy. Altared Plans is loosely based on the courtship with my husband. Of course, I fictionalized it, but some of the incidents, like meeting my future mother-in-law while I was dressed as a clown really happened. I'm still embarrassed about that. My husband also offered to feed me “Frank.” I thought maybe he was a mass-murderer who had killed a man named Frank, but it turned out Frank was one of his steers. He thought he was pretty funny. I included that in Altared Plans.

Raising 10 kids gives me plenty of material for my books so I use real-life experiences. In my upcoming January 2011 release, The Upside of Down, I use many experiences because the story is about a woman raising a large family. One such incident is when the main character begins unloading the dryer only to find that one of her kids had a crayon in his pocket and the entire wash load is stained with crayon. The main character also has to deal with an anti-Mormon mother and I based that on my experience with my grandfather who raised me.

I love learning about how an author uses real life experiences in her books. It’s fun to know. What does your family think about your writing?

I'm very blessed that my family supports me and they like to brag about my books. My daughter even started a group on Facebook about me.

Now that’s what I call real support! Tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

The real me? Hmmm . . . In college, at the end of my sophomore year I was awarded "The Biggest Flirt" in my church ward. I still say it was rigged.

Rigged? Hey, Rebecca, this bit of info may not be true, but it sure is fun to imagine! I wonder what your husband has to say about it?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Interview with Adventure Author David J. West

David West is an Award winning writer, family man, sword collector, and rogue of all trades. He enjoys writing historical action-adventure and fantasy. He collects swords, truths, and other artifacts of bygone eras. He claims to be "the father of three barbaric children and the husband of a wonderful woman.”

Heroes of the Fallen: “An epic tale of valor and degeneracy where heroes are beset on every side by wicked schemers whose plots, like a flood, threaten to drown them all.” —Daron D. Fraley

Stand alongside daring heroes with swords bared against sinister villains, never knowing which will fall. Witness the plans of mighty kings and lowly thieves. See the dreams of Bethia, a prophet's daughter, as she runs away from home seeking independence, only to find confusion and wickedness in a land at war. Heroes of the Fallen is full of tragedy and triumph on the American Continent. It echoes universal themes of mankind: fear and courage, faith versus doubt, hunger for power and love, and sacrifice for the greater good.

Hello David. Well… this is my first time to interview a “rogue of all trades.” Tell us about your new book, Heroes of the Fallen.

Heroes of the Fallen came from me wanting to write an action-packed adventure story set in an ancient American setting. I wanted to merge a number of cultural LDS things with the fantasy stories I like and the tale grew in the telling. What at first was going to be a "buddy adventure yarn" grew as I became engrossed in the world and kept wanting to tell more of what came to me. I think of it as an epic rather than a swashbuckling tale now. It is the first in a series, the sequel Blood of Our Fathers is due out next April.

Oh my gosh! This novel sounds so intriguing. Where did you get your inspiration for your novel? Do you ever include real life experiences?

I have always loved telling stories and I love fantasy (Tolkien, Robert E. Howard, King Arthur) and history… the older the better. So pondering some LDS historical events I thought- "How come no one has ever told that story before?" That story being the bones of an eight-foot tall man named Zelph. That became the bones for my first adventure story, which I will be working into book 3 of this series. Things got a little out of order when I started figuring out how big it would be.

I take a lot of things from real life. My adventures as a boy scout, camping trips, rumbles, and I have been to 75% of the places I imagine the novel took place at, so I know the territory…usually. I do throw in a few dramatic (imaginary) changes. For an example of real life inspiration, when I was 11, I got into a knife fight with another kid who was from Chicago. (We were in my small hometown in Montana, the sticks out toward Custer Battlefield. I think this was commonplace for him-not me.) I took that experience almost exactly and transferred it to a main character's memory of growing up in the city of Zarahemla. What happened? Heh. Read the book.

Now you’ve really got my interest. Bruce H. Porter wrote, “David J. West has created a story line filled with excitement, archaeology, treasure and real history.” I love stories about treasure and archaeology. It’s one of my favorite subjects, as you can tell with my new mystery series. So tell me your thoughts about this review. He said, “This is a must-read not only for entertainment but also to open new doors and vistas of possibility for the mind.”

I met Prof. Porter about 4 years ago. He is an Egyptologist and was very close to Hugh Nibley, another reason I enjoyed talking with him. I was hammering out the rough drafts for Heroes of the Fallen back then and he was the kind of man I easily remembered years later. I was, after all, using a lot of Hugh Nibley's books for research.

Turned out that in late 2009, Porter published a book entitled Prophecies & Promises, and we both spoke at a Book of Mormon conference in October and I gave him an ARC of Heroes to hopefully give me a back-cover endorsement. He kindly agreed and I received that quote a month or so later.

Wow! That’s impressive that you were able to get an endorsement from an Egyptologist. What does your family think about your writing?

They are fans and very proud, especially my wife and 3 kids. The extended family is very excited as well. My 10 year old niece recently read the book and is now probably reading a horrible first draft of book 2 that was at my mothers. My mom is especially getting after me to finish my award winning first chapter of a Porter Rockwell yarn ~ Dance the Ghost with Me. (LDStorymakers first chapter contest 2009 gen fiction) I do need to finish it. I have too many starts to projects and not enough ends.

Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

Besides being a pre-teen knife fighter? I read to my kids everyday and they delight in tales of monsters and spiders and other creepy crawlies. I have a library of over five thousand books and I look forward to the day that they will be as excited about that as I am.

Wow! 5,000 books?! Now that’s what I call a voracious reader. With a knife in one hand and a pen in the other, we have David J. West: The Rogue Of All Trades.