Biography Books Press Room Amy Wallace Books Life Resources Blog Events

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Reclaiming Nick

A Modern Day Prodigal Comes Home...


But when his father dies and leaves half of Silver Buckle--the Noble family ranch--to Nick’s former best friend, he must return home to face his mistakes, and guarantee that the Silver Buckle stays in the Noble family.

Award-winning journalist Piper Sullivan believes Nick framed her brother for murder, and she’s determined to find justice. But following Nick to the Silver Buckle and posing as a ranch cook proves more challenging than she thinks. So does resisting his charming smile.

As Nick seeks to overturn his father’s will--and Piper digs for answers--family secrets surface that send Nick’s life into a tailspin. But there’s someone who’s out to take the Silver Buckle from the Noble family, and he’ll stop at nothing--even murder--to make it happen.

Endorsement: “Susan May Warren once again delivers that perfect combination of heart-pumping suspense and heart-warming romance.”--Tracey Bateman, author of the Claire Everett series

ABOUT THE BOOK: RECLAIMING NICK is the first of The Noble Legacy series. Book Two, Taming Rafe, will be available January 2008.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Award winning author SUSAN MAY WARREN recently returned home to her native Minnesota after serving for eight years with her husband and four children as missionaries with SEND International in Far East Russia. She now writes full time from Minnesota's north woods. Visit her Web site at

If you would like to hear more about Nick, he has his own blog. Also, the first chapter is there...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Inside the FBI with Jill Elizabeth Nelson

I have the distinct privilege of sharing a friendship as well as a publishing house with another FBI writer, Jill Nelson. She's been a huge encourager to me in person and via email, and a great teacher though her page-turner books which have kept me up WAY TOO LATE! Be sure to check out both of her wonderful To Catch a Thief series novels: Reluctant Burglar and Reluctant Runaway.

And now, here's a story from Jill about a funny jaunt on the research trail for Reluctant Runaway...

"I knew I should have taken that left turn in Albuquerque!" - Bugs Bunny

"Wait! I did that last May! - Jill Nelson

And a fun time was had by me, myself, and I on the research trail for Reluctant Runaway, second book in the To Catch a Thief series. With Runaway set in Albuquerque, I realized when I signed up for a writers’ conference in Colorado, that I was only a bunny-hop away from that New Mexico city with the outlandish name. So I decided to take the fateful left turn.

My most fascinating stop was at the FBI office building, a modern stone fortress towering behind a tall iron fence. And only one dinky entrance enclosed behind darkened glass. Gack! Do they let you out if by some miracle they let you in?

Before we discover the answer, I need to backtrack to my telephone conversation the day before with the media liaison at the Albuquerque office. I phoned the receptionist to let her know this author person was going to stop by, and if there were someone whose normal duties would encompass speaking to such an anomaly, I’d be grateful. The nice woman actually sounded interested. She put me through to the media liaison. I got his voice mail, which was pretty interesting, too. He invited me to leave "a brief message or a detailed confession." Now, who says the FBI has no sense of humor?

But I will say they’re a bit cagey. About five minutes after I left my message WITHOUT my call back number, I got a call back. And the caller ID in my cell phone screen was all zeros. Yikes! So they get MY number without me leaving it, but I don’t get theirs? How fair is that? I suspect the man was in his office all along, but he checked my message to see what I wanted before he bothered with me. The fact that he did bother with me made up a little for the totally cool sneakiness. He then gave me some info that saved my bacon on a plot twist for Runaway. Major for me, minor for him as he went back to his duties.

If I had to characterize my interaction with the personnel, I’d say cordial but reserved. They’re not big on warm fuzzies and guarded about details of their jobs. Understandable. They’re pitted against gentlefolk with guns and bombs and other quaint methods of destruction. I do NOT want their job; I just want to write about it.

Questions occur to me about author/fed relations. (Is there such a thing?) Novels, TV shows, and movies about the FBI abound. We’re fascinated with them. Do agents ever watch the shows or read the books? Do they laugh their heads off at the inaccuracies? Or are they glad we don’t know all their business? Would they like to prosecute the more bubble-brained writers and even throw away the key on the insulting ones? Agents are people, too, but what do they think about authors? Do they think about us at all?

The morning of my Big Day in the Southwestern city with the outlandish name, the hotel van took me to the New Mexico Museum of Anthropology on the university campus. After I toured the museum, I called a cab and gave the driver the address. He shot me a puzzled stare, studied a city map, and leveled another stare. Finally, I admitted it was the FBI headquarters.

"Are you with the FBI?" His grin gleamed.

Yeah, right! Moi? I should have told him I was a criminal profiler on the trail of a serial killer and step on it. But my innate honesty kicked in before I could think of something that entertaining.

"No," I said. "I'm too plump and laid back for that job."

At least he thought my answer rated a chuckle. We arrived at the FBI headquarters without incident--well, okay, he made a wrong turn once, but who's counting? Just goes to show the place isn't along the beaten path.

About the time we pulled into the lot, I’m questioning my sanity. Why am I about to waltz into an office where they deal with national security issues as a way of life? For little old me from deep rural Minnesota, a speeding ticket is a big deal. Here, they want "a brief message or a detailed confession." Gulp!

We got to the building and immediately manifested ourselves as clueless civilians by driving up to the guardhouse. The nice uniformed gentleman with the burly muscles patiently directed us to park in the visitor lot. I was to leave my camera and cell phone in the cab, then step up to his window on foot. Once I proved myself a genuine Jane Citizen with proper photo ID that matched my matchless mug, he'd let me in.

Did I want to get in? Would I get out? Well, since I’m writing this, I obviously did make a getaway, and they didn't even interrogate me. Nuts! But I got my share of assessing looks. The first one came from the uniformed guard that stood up from his desk as soon as I walked through those darkened glass doors. His station was right beside a full body metal detector similar to those at the airport.

The vestibule was completely walled in and very small. If I wanted to venture further inside, I would need to get past the guard and the metal detector. Cool! But rats! I took care of my business with the agent via the telephone the day before, so I didn't have any excuse to press onward and upward. But one of these days, I'll get that opportunity. I'm awaiting the engraved invitation . . . any day now . . .

One of the receptionists came to the bullet-proof window, and I gave her my card and a brief note of thanks for the media liaison. She, too, gave me an assessing look. I imagine I was a true oddity in their world. Ah, well, maybe I gave them something different to talk about. Maybe not, but I can dream!

Find out more about Jill, her books, and art theft at and

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Not my will

"Faith does not dictate to God but surrenders to His love and care for us. You will not receive from God or have His blessings upon what you strain to get, attempt to hold on to, or insist on having, but only what you surrender to Him, including your health, your family, and your business."~ Don Whisnant, GracePoint Ministries, Atlanta, GA

God knew I needed this quote today. I read it while visiting my friend Vicki's blog Windows To My Soul. This is a blog worth signing up for and spending time pondering the wisdom shared there.

As I read the above words, the past few week’s wrestling match with God came to a decided end.

He won.

Thanks to this quote, I realized that while I had been seeking the Lord to understand what the inner restlessness stemmed from, I had also been refusing more than a few minutes of His presence.

I’d get teary listening to God remind me that I am His, but then I’d get up and go right back to trying to dictate to Him what I thought should happen next.

Right back to the “If you love me You’ll do this” mentality.

But I didn’t see I was doing that. Not until I read the quote above. “You will not receive from God or have His blessings upon what you strain to get, attempt to hold on to, or insist on having...”

Yep, that about sums up my life for the last few weeks especially.

But instead of being angry with me for not seeing it, God gently invited me to surrender.

So I sat at my desk with my hands lifted up and cried.

But God, how will I handle it if you don’t take away the physical issues that are weighing heavily on my heart?

How will I accept if you say “no” to this thing I really want to happen, this thing that I really believe is good.

What if nothing changes?

At this point, it was all I could do not to walk away. Then I remembered Jesus’ words when He wrestled with God’s will.

“Not my will, but Yours be done.”

I didn’t want to say them. Not one little bit.

But they rose up from my spirit against all the protests of my mind.

So I gave them voice. With fear and trembling, I laid my will down and said, “Not my will, but Yours be done.”

For each issue I’d been wrestling with God on, I handed it over and said again, “Not my will, but Yours be done.”

I still have no idea what God is going to do. But what I’ll hold onto instead of wrestling with Him is this:

God is good. He has good in store. I can entrust myself to His care and rest.


After too much time wrestling, that sounds like a great idea.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Two posts in one day, surprised? ;-)

My recent posts have been pretty melancholy and it’s starting to bug me. While I blog in large part to make sense of my world, I wonder sometimes how I would answer the question posed in our devotions this morning: “Where is the joy?”

The prayer God has put on my heart recently as I’ve thought about Easter is simple: “Teach my heart to remember, God.”

So today, I’m remembering some things that bring me joy. I hope you’ll join me with your joy list too.

Things that make my heart giggle:

A husband who fears not for his life when he says I’m beautiful right after I step off the scale scowling.

Three little girls who attack me with hugs every time they haven’t seen me for more than a few minutes.

A best friend who’s idea of cheering me up is to tell me that in twenty years I’ll wish I looked like I do today.

Remembering how I danced in the 80’s.

Remembering how all the people around me danced too~ especially my friends who studied the movie Dirty Dancing in preparation for prom. Suffice it to say we needed years of more practice

Pictures of a platypus. Proof that God really does have a sense of humor.

Singing “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” I imagine listening to me sing this would make you giggle too.

Talking back to the exercise video about how much fun I’m not having. This makes my husband laugh out loud. Or maybe he’s laughing at my lack of aerobic coordination. Doubt he’d own up to that one.

Listening to my girls make up knock-knock jokes.

Dancing around the playroom with my girls to Steve Green’s “A Cheerful Heart is Good Medicine” and trying hard to sing the “ha ha ha ha” part without dissolving into giggles.

What about you? What are some things that make you laugh out loud?

“Just give me Jesus.”

I read that quote by Anne Graham Lotz this morning and all I could think was how much I wished that were the cry of my heart.

I want it to be.

But too often it's more along the lines of "I want Jesus plus ___"

I want Jesus and to lose weight.

I want Jesus and for lots of people to like me.

I want Jesus and a less stressful life.

Yeah, I know none of those things will make me okay. I still find myself longing for them. And none of them are inherently sinful. But it's the realization that while I do want Jesus, I'm just not sure I can honestly say I'm content if none of those things happen.

God is working on that in me.

And I'm not particularly enjoying the process.

God and I have been around this mountain before. Slightly different circumstances, but the same core issue. Is God enough? Can I truly rest in His love alone?

Author Marcus Ryan has a book out called Restless Journey. While he writes for men, I still found some powerful words that resonated with my own struggles, the inner unsettledness that's been plaguing me lately. Marcus says, "Feelings of restlessness, uneasiness, and inadequacy come from a sense of not knowing who you truly are."

That sentence shot an arrow to my heart. It's when I take my focus off Jesus that I start grasping for bits and pieces of things that I hope will make me feel okay. I believe the lie that I’m worthless and not loveable. I forget who I am and slip into the mindset that if I looked this way or had this thing or that popularity, then life would be better.

Sometimes I wonder how God puts up with me.

But then a whisper of truth captures my attention. God doesn't put up with me. He LOVES me. He doesn't shake His head and say, "This again?" He simply says, "Come." And when I do, He wraps me in His arms and reminds me exactly who I am.

I am His.

When I live in that moment of time, fully present with my heavenly Daddy, I believe His words. Their sweetness and peace wrap around me as I go through my days. But only if I take the time to remember. To obey Jesus' words and "Come" to Him.

That's my prayer for this Lenten season and beyond. That God would teach my heart even more to remember. Because it's in remembering who Jesus is that I can rest in who I am.


Friday, March 16, 2007

I like the idea of exercise

My youngest daughter has a fear of most living creatures that can come within a few feet of her~ mostly cats and dogs. But if you ask her she'll say, "I like cats" or "I really like dogs." We've started telling her she likes the IDEA of those animals, but not the real thing.

That's how I feel about exercise. ;-) I like the idea of it. I like what it's supposed to do. But in the midst of it, I'm begging Jesus to come back soon!

But I do it anyway. Because I know in the end I'll feel better and at some point I'll start seeing the results.

I still prefer the idea of exercise to the actual application.

Yesterday, I was reading our In Touch devotional and the subject appeared innocent enough: Walking by the Spirit.

But then it started talking about exercise of all things! "Left alone, muscles become soft and weak."

Yeah, I'm exhibit A for that statement.

But then I read this, "The same thing [muscles becoming soft and weak] happens to a spirit that never faces turmoil or struggle. Apart from the strengthening effect of strife and pain, our faith would be weak and nearly useless."


Those sentences sure stopped me cold. I've mulled it over a lot since yesterday morning. As I disciplined my kids for the same things for what felt like the millionth time. As I apologized to a friend for something I'd done that I was afraid had hurt her. As I got honest before God when He pointed out some stuff in my heart that I would have rather left alone.

All opportunities for me to strengthen my spirit and exercise my faith through obedience.

Or not.

Thankfully, I've learned through physical exercise that even when I don't want to do it, it really is best for me to stick with it.

Same with obedience. Even when I don't want to ask my kids for what feels like the millionth time to forgive me because I was quick to anger and slow to listen to the Lord, it's always the best thing.

For my heart and spirit. And for theirs.

I'd never thought about walking in the Spirit being exercise for my soul. Or that painful trials were useful for keeping my faith from becoming weak.

But they are. And that's not only good for me, but it's also good for everyone my life touches.

If I choose to surrender to the Lord and let Him strengthen me.

It sure helps knowing that every time I step forward in obedience, my faith is strengthened. And that every time I submit to the circumstances the Lord brings in my life, I grow a little bit more like Him.

I don't just like the idea of that type of exercise. I love the guaranteed payoff: seeing Jesus and glorifying Him.

As for the other type of exercise? Well... let's just say I'll keep doing it regardless.

Speaking of which, I'd better get to it.

Only this time, I think I'll try it with a smile.

Because if exercising the spirit through obedience strengthens my faith and exercising my body keeps my muscles from getting weak, then maybe I do like more than the idea of exercise after all.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Pirates and God?

This week's blog tour is for a new writer friend of mine, MaryLu Tyndall, and her second book in the Legacy of the King’s Pirates series, website and dive right into her Legacy of the King's Pirates series.


M. L. (MaryLu) Tyndall grew up on the beaches of South Florida loving the sea and the warm tropics. But despite the beauty around her, she always felt an ache in her soul--a longing for something more.

After college, she married and moved to California where she had two children and settled into a job at a local computer company. Although she had done everything the world expected, she was still miserable. She hated her job and her marriage was falling apart.

Still searching for purpose, adventure and true love, she spent her late twenties and early thirties doing all the things the world told her would make her happy, and after years, her children suffered, her second marriage suffered, and she was still miserable.

One day, she picked up her old Bible, dusted it off, and began to read. Somewhere in the middle, God opened her hardened heart to see that He was real, that He still loved her, and that He had a purpose for her life, if she's only give her heart to Him completely.

Amy here: I love MaryLu's transparency. She's not afraid to speak the truth of God's amazing redemptive hand and that translates so well into her novels.


A YOUNG BRIDE separated from her husband just as a child has been conceived...

A GRIEVING HUSBAND tempted to take his anger out through the vices of his past...

A MARRIAGE AND A SHIP threatened to be split apart by villainous Caribbean pirates...


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Do you have a story to tell?

Whether you're four or four hundred (I feel like it some days!) or anywhere in between, you do have a story to tell.

The story of your life.

If it's anything like mine, it's rife with conflict, probably a little romance, definitely scenes of good versus evil, and more often the choice between good and God's best.

See, the makings of a best-seller.

But the circumstances aren't really the point. The fact that you tell your story is. Here's why...

"I pray that you are active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ." (Philemon 6)

I came across this verse in my reading this morning and it practically leapt off the page because that’s exactly what my Sunday Bible study lesson is about~ telling our story, sharing our faith.

I loved the “why” God answered in this verse. We tell our story, the story of how God intersected our lives, so that we’ll remember. So that we’ll understand all we have and who we are in Christ.

We need to remember.

Remember His goodness on those days when nothing seems good.

Remember His miracles when we have another to ask of Him and wonder if He’ll answer this time.

Remember His love for us, something we so easily forget.

See your story, like mine, was spoken into existence by the God who loves us so much He wanted us to spend forever with Him. So He made a way for that to happen.

A way that satisfied His absolute justice and grace at the same time.

The cross.

But only you can tell how Christ and His death on the cross and His resurrection changed you.

Only you can tell your story.

And there’s a world of people living lives of quiet desperation that need to hear it.

You do too.

If you’ve never considered that your story is anything worth telling, think again. God says it’s a good story. Because He created it. And He’s the focus.

But He invited you into the story and only you can add your unique focus that God will use in powerful ways.

Many of you know my story. The good, the bad, and the really ugly. What’s important is that God reached down into the life of a beaten down, lonely little girl named Amy and rescued her from the self-destruction that had taken over her life.

Jesus took all the awful stuff filling my head and my heart and in its place He put His perfection, His Life.

It took years for me to see that fact make a difference in my circumstances. And it’ll take a lifetime to fully comprehend what happened in that one moment in time.

But by telling my story to my children, the teens at church, the friends who read my blogs, I tell it to myself too.

I remember.

I remember the details of how God has healed my heart, my mind, even my body time and time again.

I remember black moments in my past when it was all I could do to get up off the floor because life hurt so much. And all I could do to simply call on the name of Jesus.

But I did. And He answered.

He called me by name and said I belong.

He says the same to you.

You belong to Him. He is everything you need.

That truth may sound like a Pollyanna Sunday school answer, but when you taste that truth through your tears you know without a doubt its real.

There are people in your circle of influence who need to hear just how real God is. You can tell them.

No matter where you are right now, your story matters.

To God.

To your heart.

To the people who love you.

To the people you don’t even know your life touches.

So please, share your story. Remember. And then lift your eyes to heaven and see God smile. At you.

Because even the God of heaven loves to hear a good story. Especially when it means spending time with you.

Monday, March 05, 2007

An in-dept interview with Tricia Goyer

This is my friend, Tricia Goyer. She's one amazing lady! Not only a phenomenal author, Tricia is also a homeschooling mom, loving friend, and incredible prayer partner. But don't just take my word for it, come join me for a fun interview to get to know her better.

And this is her new book A Valley Of Betrayal. This book gives a haunting depiction of the autocracies of war as well as the triumph of faith. Tricia creates a riveting cast of characters against the backdrop of pre-WWII Spain. Love, loss, pain, and beauty abound in A Valley Of Betrayal, the first book in her new series, Chronicles of the Spanish Civil War.

When and why did you begin writing?

I first started writing in 1993, when I was pregnant with my third child. A friend at church was writing a novel and something clicked when she told me about it. (Cindy Martinusen now as five novels published!)

Looking back, I realized I had the heart of a writer before that. I LOVED to read. I made up all types of stories in my head. I won a few essay contests in high school, but it took a friend’s encouragement to “click.”

Who encouraged you or what made you decide to write a novel and seek publication?

I never planned on writing historical fiction. I wanted to write contemporary romances. Then in 2000, I was with Cindy and another writer friend, Anne de Graaf in Austria. They were researching books, and I was along for the ride. BUT I was the one who got a novel idea, after talking to an Austrian historian. The historian’s true stories about the liberation of Gusen and Mauthausen concentration camps sparked my novel idea. The idea led to attending two WWII reunions and interviewing veterans. The veterans’ stories led to more novels. The rest, as they say, is history!

Do we "see" some of you in your characters?

Yes, my friends tell me my characters are very much like me. I can see myself in some more than others. I definitely see myself in Mary in Arms of Deliverance. Mary was born to a single mom. She later met her dad who was the editor of a major NY newspaper. After that Mary tried to earn her dad's love/attention by taking on dangerous, overseas assignments during WWII. I had the same type of experience (except for the dangerous assignment parts). Only a few people know about my biological dad (until now!), but having them read that novel was like giving them a glimpse into my secret diary--the emotions were THAT real.

Share a little about what God has taught you through writing.

Wow, mostly God has taught me to trust Him. When He gives me an idea for a novel it is so BIG. I mean there is so much to pull together. Yet, God has shown me time and time again that He is faithful. He gives me ideas, leads me to the right research books, and even brings people into my life to help me!

One example is a man named Norm Goyer who contacted me because he was working on his family tree. We weren’t related, but Norm ended up being a airplane expert and consultant for movies. Norm ended up helping me on my books. I think it was an awesome gift from God!

I know you homeschool your children. How in the world do you do it??? ;-)

Well, they are older now, so it’s much easier. They are pretty independent workers! My oldest son is a high school Junior, and he’s taking part-time college classes. The other two (9th and 7th grade) work on their stuff while I’m working on mine. We have one office with a wrap around desk . . . we all work side-by-side. Yes, sometimes I have to leave my character hanging onto life by a thin thread while I stop to help with a math problem, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Tell us a little about the community you’re building through your blogs.

I love blogging and connecting with people. I link to friends and they link to me. It is like a neighborhood, of sorts. You see people around and then you start introducing yourself and getting to know them. It’s fun.
Here are two of Tricia's blogs:
It's Real Life
Generation NeXt Parenting

Where do you go when you need to recharge?

I go to my bed and hide under my comforter … Seriously, I need quiet time. I usually wake up 1-2 hours before everyone else in my family. I need time with God. I need my time to read and journal. And then, during the day, I often to escape to my room to think, to pray, and yes … to nap.

Thanks for having me!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Holding a Dream

While this isn't the most beautiful baby picture in the world, I'm a proud "mama" and the contents of that box hold my newest "baby."

My first book. Ransomed Dreams.


And wow, does it feel weird! LOL My first reaction was shock "Are those REALLY my books?" followed closely by a quivering stomach that signals a war being waged in my innards.

At least I didn't throw up. And aren't you glad? ;-)

I did feel a ton of emotions: joy, amazement, praise, fear and trembling, awe, disbelief, fear, pride, did I mention fear???

Why fear?

Because now that my baby's being shown to the whole world, people could say it's ugly.

No one has. Yet. In fact, the reviews I've seen are downright awesome. But I think even more than fear over my baby being ugly is the fear that I misrepresented something or didn't say clearly the message the Lord put on my heart.

Maybe it's because my book, while it's in my hands physically, is now out of my hands in every other way.

Then again, it always was. From the seed of an idea God planted through a dream to all the mountains and valleys I've been through in the process of bringing this book to life, this book was God's.

His ideas.

His heart.

Even my blood, sweat, and tears were given to me by God to pour out as praise to Him as I typed and typed and typed.

And praise Him I will. He has done amazing things and I have an inkling He's not finished with me yet.

Just like He's not finished with you.

We are not yet what we will be and yet we are far more than we ever imagined.

God's dreams for you are amazing. It's my prayer you'll experience them, hold them, and praise Him for how totally indescribable He is.

It's an awesome thing to hold a dream in your hands.

Even more to share a smile with the Maker of dreams as you take hold of that for which He created you.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Ever told a knock-knock joke to God?

We've talked about some deep things lately and while I love sharing my heart with you all and hearing yours in the comments and emails you send me, I also wanted to share another facet of me...

My funny bone.

It's been a pretty dormant part of my existence during some seasons of my life. But my kids have hit the stage where jokes are an everyday part of our routine and I'm learning to enjoy and laugh along.

Especially when my kids tell knock-knock jokes to God.

Have you ever done that?

My kids have. I so want to be like them when I grow up! To experience the freedom of just hanging out with God and telling Him a joke.

They're teaching me. In fact, tonight during family worship time they got tickled and I got tickled and all five of us ended up laughing at the same time we were singing. It felt amazing.

Not too long ago I would have instructed them to be "more respectful" and "worshipful." But lately we've been listening to my youngest's favorite tape~ Steve Green. On one song he sings the Proverb about a cheerful heart is good medicine.

Tonight my kids reminded me of that. And I had to agree. God said it, after all.

So tonight for worship we sang and prayed and laughed. I believe God was laughing right there with us. And I'm pretty positive He even likes knock-knock jokes.

Try it. You might find you and God both enjoy having a good laugh together.

I'll share my favorite to get you started...

Who's there?
Olive who?
Olive you. (I love you)
Designed by: MasterDesignsArt by: JaggedSmile