Monday, March 29, 2010


Here's a question for writers out there. Why do you write? Is it because you have a story to tell, because you want to be published, or do you just have to WRITE?

Well, I started writing because I had to WRITE. I couldn't help myself. Words were too much a part of me. I had to find blank sheets of paper and fill them with words, with sentences, with prose that made my heart sing.

Then a story began stirring within me. From the beginning I called it IRON AND THE STONE. After I started putting the story down on paper, I realized, I had a lot to learn about the craft of fiction. So, I started studying, learning, getting my hands on anything that would teach me the ins and outs of great prose. I wanted to make sure I knew how to write before I put anymore of the one story I was so passionate about on the page. I wanted to make sure I did it RIGHT.

I spent years learning the craft, just so I could write this one story. I even impressed some editors. So much so, they talked me into doing what they do, and the next thing I knew, I became a professional editor. And then . . . I was spending more time editing than writing.

Umm, when did I plan on getting back to that one story that meant so much to me?

Well, after my health went in the toilet, and during a treatment when I wondered if I'd actually survive the night, my only regret (other than that I would be leaving four children behind without a mother, e-hem) was that I'd never been able to finish that one story. The story that meant more to me than anything else I'd written. The story I wrote for my Father in Heaven.

After my health improved, I got to work. I finished the first book, THE MASTER'S WALL, to the IRON AND THE STONE series, and it finalled in the Genesis. Because of it, a multi-published writer who read it, put in a good word for me with another multi-published writer, who hooked me up with an agent. After reading this one story, the agent took me on as her client, despite the fact that she wasn't sure if she could get it to sell because Biblical Fiction was "out." But because of this story, she believed in me. Her partner even told me she'd never seen my agent get so engrossed with reading one of the submissions. And later, my agent said: "There's nothing else like it on the market."

Now, I'm half way through the second book!

Sreeeeeeachhhhh! That's the sound of breaks. I'm being encouraged by numerous folks in the industry that because no larger houses want my story, to write something simple that they're familiar with, something that's been done before, over and over and over and over again. No . . . I'm not exaggerating. So, I came up with a series that is actually quite good (that I haven't seen done yet, believe it or not), and I'm sure if I work on it long enough, I'll feel the same passion for it that I feel for IRON . . . umm--NOT. Sorry, no story will be able to take the place of IRON. But business-wise, I can be happy with it.

So, I'm becoming like a lot of those other business savvy writers out there who write what they're told. Umm, only problem is, if I do that, I'm afraid my stories will convey the same passion that I feel! I mean, my heart is in IRON, my passion is in IRON. How do I write something else when I still haven't finished the one story I've spent years wanting to finish? Yes, I've written other stories, but I did that to learn the craft. I didn't care if I messed those stories up. But I care whether or not I mess IRON up, and well, I feel like I've got the ability to write it now. So, why can't I finish what I started? My heart yearns to finish it. I'm half way through the second book. I know I can finish it in a few months if that's all I focus on.

Yes, business is important, especially if I want to become a well-known, established author. But I also think passion is important. And well, if I go with my passion, maybe I can become a well-known, established author because I wrote a great story, a story that changed lives? If I go this route, it's possible I won't be considered a true writer. After all, I'm putting all my eggs into one basket and stubbornly writing what I WANT, not what I SHOULD.

Dare I put so much belief into just one story?

Maybe I'm simply not a writer.   Instead . . .

I'm a storyteller.

Friday, March 12, 2010


The winner of Amanda Cabot's Scattered Petals is


CONGRATULATIONS! You'll be receiving an email from me.

To those that didn't win, you can purchase Amanda's book(s) by clicking on the links available on the right sidebar. I'm sure you'll enjoy her wonderful stories!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

BOOK GIVEAWAY with Amanda Cabot

I'm excited to announce that Amanda Cabot has agreed to take part in a giveaway on my blog! I've had the privilege of meeting Amanda in person, and not only is she a talented author who comes up with wonderful titles for her books, she is a generous person who sacrifices much of her time to encourage aspiring authors.
If you leave a comment below, you will be entered into a drawing to win a signed copy of her latest release SCATTERED PETALS!

Amanda Cabot has always been a dreamer, and so it’s no coincidence that her first books for the CBA market are called Texas Dreams. Set in the Hill Country beginning in 1856, these deeply emotional historical romances showcase God’s love as well as that between a man and a woman. The first in the trilogy, Paper Roses, is in its second printing, and Scattered Petals was a March 1 release.

A former director of Information Technology, Amanda has written everything from technical books and articles for IT professionals to mysteries for teenagers and romances for all ages. She’s delighted to now be a fulltime writer living in Cheyenne, WY with her high school sweetheart/ husband of many years.

Amanda enjoys hearing from readers and encourages them to reach her through her web site:

Longing for adventure, Priscilla Morton leaves Boston in 1856 and heads for the Texas Hill Country, never dreaming that the adventure she seeks could have heartbreaking consequences. Although attracted to her, ranch foreman Zachary Webster knows Priscilla deserves a cultured East Coast gentleman, not a cowboy who’s haunted by memories of his mistakes.

When necessity draws them together, Priscilla and Zach begin to forge a life filled with promise. But then the past intrudes.

Book 2 of the Texas Dreams series, Scattered Petals weaves a tale of drama, love and second chances as beautiful as the Hill Country itself.

Amanda, thank you for joining us!

So, tell us. How long have you been writing? How did you get your start?

I’ve been writing for almost as long as I can remember. Fortunately for the world, my first attempts, including a play called “All About Thermometers” that I wrote for my fifth grade class, had a very short shelf life. Even though I somehow knew (and don’t ask how I knew this, because I can’t answer it) that it would be a difficult way to earn a living, being a writer was always my dream. The dream came true right before my thirtieth birthday with the sale of a short contemporary romance to Dell Publishing Company’s Candlelight Romance line. I learned two things from that sale: first, that writing was not the way to pay the mortgage but, more importantly, that it was something I truly loved doing. From then until about five years ago, I wrote part-time while I worked fulltime. Other than the long hours, it was a perfect blend of practicality (the day job) and dreams (the writing). Now I’m a fulltime writer.

What made you decide to write fiction?

It’s what I love to read. I have written non-fiction, specifically four technical books and what I describe as “enough technical articles to cure insomnia in a medium-sized city,” but my first love is fiction.

What made you choose this particular genre?

I write romances because I love happy endings, historical romances because I’m fascinated by what life was like in earlier times, and Christian romances because I believe in the power of God’s love to change our lives. In today’s world with all the economic uncertainty and political divisions, I think it’s more important than ever to tell stories that affirm positive values, and what could be more positive than love and the promise of eternal life?

How did things change once you became a published author? Did you lose friends? Make friends? How did it affect your family?

The most important change is that being published has brought me many new friends – both readers and other writers. I find it energizing to be surrounded by people who love books as much as I do.

Where do you spend your time writing? Do you have a favorite place? A favorite time of day?

I am extremely fortunate. Since we moved to Cheyenne, I’ve had my own office, so that’s where I write. My normal schedule is to write weekday mornings, but if I’m behind schedule on my allotted two chapters for the week, you’ll find me in the office during the afternoon.

How did you come up with the story for Scattered Petals?

I knew I wanted Zach, who was introduced in Paper Roses, to have his own story, so I asked myself who would be the perfect woman for him. The answer came as a bit of a surprise. Who would have thought that a quintessential Texas cowboy like Zach would need a sophisticated East Coast lady? And who would have thought that Priscilla’s craving for adventure would bring her first tragedy, then healing and happiness?

What are you working on now?

I’m about halfway through the first draft the first of a new trilogy. All of these books will take place in Wyoming in the late eighteen hundreds, right before Wyoming became a state. (Shameless promotion for my new home: Wyoming was the first state to grant women the right to vote, and it had the first woman judge, first women on a jury and first woman governor.) Now, back to my WIP. The Wyoming Winds trilogy features three sisters, each of whom has her own story. The first book, tentatively titled When Summer Ends, is set at Fort Laramie, the Army post where all the wagon trains stopped on their way West. Since I’ve been intrigued by the journey west ever since I watched westerns on TV, Fort Laramie was one of the first places my husband and I visited after we moved to Cheyenne. From the moment I stepped inside the parade ground, I knew this would be the setting for a book. There’s so much history there – material for many, many stories. For this trilogy, though, only one book will be set there. The second and third take place in Cheyenne.

Scattered Petals sounds intriguing! I can't wait to get my hands on it.

I hope you enjoy it. Like most authors, I’m never sure how good a book is until I get readers’ reactions. I was afraid they wouldn’t like it as well as Paper Roses, but I’ve already had several readers tell me that they think Petals is by far the better book. You should have heard my sigh of relief!

What do you see in your future as an author?

I am blessed. For the immediate future (and that means through 2017), I’ll be writing historical romances for Revell. The third of the Texas Dreams books, Tomorrow’s Garden, is scheduled for release in March 2011. After that, I’m contracted to write the three Wyoming books, and that will be followed by a trilogy set in New Jersey during World War One. And – breaking news here – I’ve just accepted an offer to write a Christmas novella to be published in the fall of 2012. I am absolutely thrilled by the continued sales, because Revell is a fabulous publisher. I cannot say enough wonderful things about their staff. They’re incredibly talented and do everything they can to make each book the best it can be. In short, they’re the perfect publisher for me, truly an answer to prayer.

Sandi, thanks so much for inviting me to participate in your blog. I’ve enjoyed our conversation.

No, thank you for allowing us to get to know you a little better and for being willing to give away a signed copy of your book! For those that would like to be entered into the drawing, leave a comment with your email address like so: sandirog7 at aol dot com.

For those that don't win, if you click on her books to the right or the one in this post, you'll be taken to a place where you can purchase her books online.

Good luck to those who enter! I'll announce the winner on Friday. Contest is open to US residents only.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I Can Only Imagine

Have you ever wondered what it will be like in Heaven?

Some have differing opinions about what will happen after this life. I base my thinking on what I read in the Bible, and what I read there is very promising.

I think heaven will be a lot like what we see in God's creation. Only it'll be one-hundred times better.

Can you imagine something better than the good things in this world?

Take for example the magnificent mountains, their majesty and awesomeness.

Take the ocean, the splendid waves and all the amazing sea creatures.

Look at a green field, at a sunset and the beauty of a sunrise.

Then breathe in the smells. The lilacs, the tulips, and the rose. The smell after it rains.

Now listen to the sounds around us. Do you hear the birds singing? Do you hear the small child saying, "I love you?" What's your favorite song? At the moment, I'm listening to a song by Mercy Me: I Can Only Imagine.

What do you feel with your hands, your body, your lips? Have you ever felt your feet sink into the soft sand on a beach? Have you ever brushed your fingers over the softness of a rabbit's fur? Or a baby's head? Felt the warmth of the sun on your face? Had the comfort of a hug? Or even experienced with your spouse the depth of pleasure sexual intimacy can awaken?

What about the foods you love to eat? Think of all the succulent and mouthwatering tastes that surround us.

All of these wonders are God's creation!

Since this world is temporary and God is going to scrap it, how much better do you think the final version is going to be? It's like when I write a story, I always go back through and cut out mundane passages and add different words to improve the prose, etc. In the end, the revision is always better than what I had to begin with. I'm not saying God has made a mistake with the present earth. We're the ones who have screwed it up and called a curse of death upon ourselves. That's why God says He will create for us a new heaven and a new earth. Imagine how much better they will be!

Isaiah 65:17 "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.

Isaiah 66:22 "For just as the new heavens and the new earth which I make will endure before Me," declares the LORD, "So your offspring and your name will endure."

2 Peter 3:13 "But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells."

When I think of Heaven, it leads me to thinking of God. After all, He invented Heaven. He's the inventor of all good things. Just being in His presence will be heavenly.

Now imagine . . . GOD.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Haven't Been Around

My apologies for going AWOL on your guys! I'm a terrible blog hostess.

It's been a rough month. Let me just say, I'm glad February is over.

Just to give you all an update, I'll share a little of what went on. You see, I have MS. And it was time for my yearly MRI. Normally, this wouldn't have been a problem, but the docs encouraged me to get it done in one of those closed MRIs. Well . . . ha! I'm extremely claustrophobic. But I decided to be strong and do it. After all, I've signed up to take part in a study in Buffalo, New York (here's a link if you're interested in reading what that's about: and they'd need me to be in a closed MRI, so I thought this would be good practice. Whew!

Well, here's a note I sent out to family and friends (and I should have included it here! How rude of me not to):

Thank you for all your prayers. I made it through the MRI all right. Had a few mini panic attacks while inside the machine (I'm very claustrophobic), but I got through it just fine. I figured, if I don't stay calm, they'll have to stop and start all over. The more trouble I caused, the longer it would take. So, I prayed myself through. I'll find out the results sometime next week. We were hoping to know today, but because it's a Saturday, they couldn't say anything.

I have to share a little something with you. Before I left, I was in the shower praying and asking God to take away my fear. I then asked Him to show me that He's here with me, that I'm not alone. At that moment, a song came on the radio (I listen to K-love) about how we don't have to be afraid because if God is with us, who can be against us (it's a quote from scripture). I kind of chuckled and said, "Yes, God. I hear the song." Then I said, "I'll just imagine that the machine is Your hand. And while I'm in there, I'll imagine You holding me in your hands." Well, right after that, a new song came on and it had one line in it that I caught that went something like: "I'll hold you in my hands." I started crying when I heard that. It was only mentioned in one verse, and I couldn't understand the other verses very well, but I caught the one I needed most.

It was just so nice to have that comfort before I left the house. I know your prayers helped. Now let's pray for positive results!

As for those results. After waiting two weeks, I finally called them. They said, it usually takes three weeks, but in the end, no news is good news. Now I'm praying they don't call me! :-)