Biography Books Press Room Amy Wallace Books Life Resources Blog Events

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

More Orlando...uhmm... fun?

Another very fun part of my Orlando trip was spending time with two fellow RITA finalists: Cindy Woodsmall and Susan May Warren.

This was our sweet RITA photo op...

But then the gloves came off...

And try as we might, Cindy and I just never could fully pull off the mean look...

Orlando Fun

I'm a little slow on the uptake, so I'm just now sharing pictures of Orlando at a writer's retreat, ICRS and some family fun at Sea World.

Sit back and enjoy the show!

Some of my favorite authors and friends...

Cindy Woodsmall and I and Sharon Hinck and I during a break.

Getting all dressed up for the Christy Awards.

Mark Mynheir, me and Creston Mapes.

My awesome editor Julee.

Having a blast with my family at Sea World...

Blue Horizons was the most incredible show I've ever seen. I marveled at the amazing creatures God created and worshiped there more than I have in a long time.

One of our other favorite activities was feeding and petting beautiful dolphins.

Our last day in Orlando we walked and walked the floor and had a great time at ICRS.

Two highlights were hanging out with friends Mark Mynheir and Marlo Schalesky and meeting a real, excited and very cool fan of Ransomed Dreams. I had an awesome time with my new friend Kate Amaya.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A stroll down memory lane...

A friend emailed this to me and I LOVED it! Talk about a fun trip down memory lane.


You had that Fisher Price Doctor's Kit with a stethoscope that actually worked.

You owned a bicycle with a banana seat and a plastic basket with flowers on it.

You learned to skate with actual skates (not roller blades) that had metal wheels.

You thought Gopher from Love Boat was cute (admit it!)

You had nightmares after watching Fantasy Island.

You had either a 'bowl cut' or 'pixie', not to mention the 'Dorothy Hamill.' People sometimes thought you were a boy.

You had rubber boots for rainy days and Moon boots for snowy days.

You owned a 'Slip-n-Slide' , on which you injured yourself on a sprinkler head more than once.
You owned 'Klick-Klacks' and smacked yourself in the face more than once.

Your Holly Hobbie sleeping bag was your most prized possession.

You wore a poncho, gauchos, and knickers.

You begged Santa for the electronic game, Simon.

You had the Donnie and Marie dolls with those pink and purple satiny shredded outfits, or the sunshine family.

You spent hours in your backyard on your metal swing set with the trapeze. The swing set tipped over at least once. You had homemade ribbon barrettes in every imaginable color. You had a pair of Doctor Scholl's sandals (the ones with hard sole & the buckle). You also had a pair of salt-water sandals.

You wanted to be Laura Ingalls Wilder really bad; you wore that Little House on the Prairie-inspired plaid, ruffle shirt with the high neck in at least one school picture; and you despised Nellie Oleson!

You wanted your first kiss to be at a roller rink!
PONG! ('video tennis' ) was the most remarkable futuristic game you've ever heard of!

Your hairstyle was described as having 'wings' or 'feathers' and you kept it 'pretty' with the comb you kept in your back pocket. When you walked, the 'wings' flapped up and down and you looked like you were gonna 'take off'.

You know who Strawberry Shortcake is, as well as her friends Blueberry Muffin and Huckleberry Pie.
You carried a Muppets lunch box to school and it was metal, not plastic. The thermos inside some were glass and broke the first time you dropped them.

You and your girlfriends would fight over which of the Dukes of Hazzard was your boyfriend.

YOU had Star Wars action figures, too!

It was a big event in your household each year when the 'Wizard of Oz' would come on TV. Your mom would break out the popcorn and sleeping bags!

You often asked your Magic-8 ball the question: 'Who will I marry: Shaun Cassidy, Leif Garrett, or David Cassidy?'

You completely wore out your Grease, Saturday Night Fever, and Fame soundtrack record albums.

You tried to do lots of arts and crafts, like yarn and Popsicle-stick God's eyes, decoupage, or those weird potholders made on a plastic loom.

You made Shrinky-Dinks and put iron-on kittens on your t-shirts!

You used to tape record songs off the radio by holding your portable tape player up to the speaker.

You had subscriptions to Dynamite and Tiger Beat.

You learned everything you needed to know about girl issues from Judy Blume books. (Are you there God, It's me, Margaret.)

You thought Olivia Newton John's song 'Physical' was about aerobics.

You wore friendship pins on your tennis shoes, or shoelaces with heart or rainbow designs.

You wanted to be a Solid Gold dancer.

You drowned yourself in Love's Baby Soft - which was the first 'real' perfume you ever owned.

You glopped your lips in Strawberry Roll-on lip-gloss till it almost dripped off.

So.... what did YOU remember?

Come meet the 2008 RITA inspirational finalists

This week I have the honor of introducing a dear friend who has encouraged me from the beginning of our writing journey. Cindy and I attended our first writing conference together back in 2002 and have been friends ever since.

And for the last RITA interview, here's a bit about Cindy and then her great answers to our interview questions...

Cindy Woodsmall is the author of the best-selling novels WHEN THE HEART CRIES and WHEN THE MORNING COMES, the first two books in the Sisters of the Quilt series. Her real-life connections with the Plain Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity. Cindy lives in Georgia with her husband, three sons, and one daughter-in-law.


What a busy and fun day that was! On Tuesday of each week I have an assistant, Barbara, who comes in and we juggle as much of the non-writing-related aspects of being an author as we can. The call came in during one of those days. Like other authors, I screen calls during work hours, so when I didn’t recognize the number I didn’t answer. I had a couple of radio interviews that day, so Barbara started fielding phone calls from the downstairs office. (Two of my children grew up and moved out, so I now have two offices! ;-)

When she shared the news that I was a RITA finalist, I stared at her for a long moment, then mumbled, "Is this a joke?"

She shook her head, smiling broadly.

I gaped at her. "Are you sure? The RITA?"

She laughed. "I’m sure."

Once I got over feeling stunned, excitement grew like a crescendo in a wonderful piece of music. Eventually, the song dissolved into two women in a home office, squealing in delight.


WHEN THE MORNING COMES is book two in a three-book series, each chronicling a different aspect of Hannah’s journey. At the beginning of book two we see her as a seventeen-year-old Amish girl who has been betrayed by her family, her fiancĂ©, and even her faith.

Broken, she steps off a train to search for a shunned aunt she hopes still exists. With only an eighth-grade education, she has little knowledge of how to survive in the outside world.

I think what sets this book apart is the parallel journeys of reaping devastation and the hope of building life anew.

A man, who has lost just as much as Hannah has but is nothing like her, becomes an unlikely champion who grows to love her like no other.


So far I have three novels completed, with the third coming out in September.

Book one in the series is WHEN THE HEART CRIES.

Book two and the RITA finalist is WHEN THE MORNING COMES.

Book three is WHEN THE SOUL MENDS, and it will be out September 16, 2008.


Since all three of my books are part of the same journey, each one is a favorite for a different reason. Hannah’s Old Order Amish innocence, strength, and epiphanies work both for and against her in each book. I think those things will linger in my heart as I continue to write more books.

Book one, WHEN THE HEART CRIES, made the CBA best-seller list and was an ECPA Christian Book Award finalist, along with books by Karen Kingsbury, Angela Hunt, and Charles Martin. I didn't think it was possible to be more pleased with a work, but book two, WHEN THE MORNING COMES, made the New York Times best-sellers extended list (#34) and is a RITA finalist, so I’m just off-the-wall excited. Of course, those who know me best would tell you I didn’t need a set of books to be off the wall. ;-)


I’m a super plotter who starts by taking the time to discover who the characters are. That begins with who their parents were and the mood of the home throughout their childhood, and it includes any traumatic or ecstatic experiences they had while growing up.

I spend time inside an Old Order Amish home, living as my characters do, while interviewing those within the community and seeing firsthand the various trades in which they make their living. This ensures that my characters and plots have a solid foundation.

The next step is to spend a week plotting out each character’s goals, motivations, conflicts, as well as the events that distance each one from his or her goals. I don’t plan out the epiphanies but allow those to grow organically as I write. So far they’ve surprised me every time.

After all that prewriting, I let creativity take over, ignoring or changing the outline as needed. I extensively edit, edit, edit as I go. After that I send each chapter to my critique partner. Since she’s also part of the planning and plotting process, she knows the story inside and out. She critiques with great scrutiny, and I pay close attention to anything she has to say.


I decided to write when I had no other choice. The stories inside my head wouldn’t go away and refused to become quiet, so (long story short) I began writing.

The stories grow naturally from characters who may tremble in pain, fear, or confusion, but whose faith is never negotiable to them. Although the journeys are not about being or becoming a Christian, the characters have a God-centered world view, and the stories are about them dealing with the traumatic and ecstatic parts of life the best way they know how, and both the beauty and the distress of doing so.


I’m about halfway finished with THE HOPE OF REFUGE, an Amish novel where the lead heroine, Cara, is a single mom living in Bronx, New York. Cara had been raised in foster care, and while trying to keep her own six-year-old daughter from the same fate, she begins following pieces of a memory that lead her to an Old Order Amish community. What she discovers inside this community seems more destructive than all her years of having no one.


Pray. Not so much about God opening doors for you as much as seeking from Him your direction, your inner compass. Be willing to lay writing down. Be willing to revamp your entire lifestyle in order to write. Be ready to follow every rule concerning writing. Be ready to break every rule.

Be ready.

That’s what listening during the quiet hours can do for us—cause us to be ready to both hear and follow to the best of our ability.

But please, please remember that success is not about how many books we’ve written or sold—if any. Success is being His and walking in whatever that means from His perspective, not some preconceived idea of ours or those around us.

Thank you so much for such a wonderful interview! I’m deeply honored to be a RITA finalist with such a wonderful lineup of authors.

I welcome the readers of this blog to visit me at my Web site, where I have a couple of contests running. One offers a chance to win an autographed copy of all three books, and one is a year-long contest with a chance to win an Amish-made quilt.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sisterchicks Go Brit by Robin Jones Gunn

Sisterchicks Go Brit is a book I've been anticipating for a long time! Robin's stories whisk me away to fanciful places and open my eyes to more of God's amazing goodness.

Read on to learn more about Sisterchicks Go Brit and Robin Jones Gunn. Then jump into another great Sisterchicks novel with me!

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing

Multnomah Publishers


Robin grew up in Orange County, California and has lived in all kinds of interesting places, including Reno and Hawaii.

Robin’s first novel was published in 1988, and she has continued to write between two to five books a year. Her 63 published books include 47 novels, all of which are still in print. Sales of her popular Christy Miller Series, Glenbrooke Series and Sisterchicks Series, including Sisterchicks in Gondolas and the new Katie Weldon Series including Peculiar Treasures all of which are approaching four million copies sold, with translations in nine languages.

Robin’s passion for storytelling and travel are evident in all her books, especially the Sisterchicks novels, and she has received thousands of letters from readers around the world who have come to know Christ through her writing. She sees this as her dream come true. Her novels are traveling to foreign lands and her characters are doing what she always longed to do; telling people about God’s love.

She and her husband currently live near Portland, Oregon and have been married for 30years. They spent their first 22 years of marriage working together in youth ministry, and enjoying life with their son and daughter who are now both grown.

As a frequent speaker at local and international events, one of Robin’s favorite topics is how God is the Relentless Lover and we are His first love. She delights in telling stories of how God uses fiction to change lives. Robin is the recipient of the Christy Award, the Mt. Hermon Pacesetter Award, the Sherwood E. Wirt Award and is a Gold Medallion Finalist. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Media Associates International and the Board of Directors for Jerry Jenkins’ Christian Writers’ Guild.


SISTERCHICK® n: a friend who shares the deepest wonders of your heart, loves you like a sister, and provides a reality check when you’re being a brat.

Two midlife mamas hop over to jolly ole England and encounter so much more than the usual tourist stops. Liz does have a bit of a childhood crush on Big Ben, and she has hoped to “meet” him ever since her fifteenth birthday. Kellie dreams of starting an interior design business and figures Liz needs to be a part of that equation–a calculation that hasn’t added up for Liz yet.

Nothing on the excursion goes the way these two friends had envisioned. They start with a village pancake race and end up being held for questioning on The Underground. Kellie and Liz take a wild tour through the land of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien and then find themselves swept up, up, and away in a hot air balloon over the Cotswalds. London beckons with the Tower of London, Windsor Castle, shopping at Portabella Road in Knotting Hill, and of course, reservations at the Ritz for a posh high tea.

A few detours along the way and the possibility of being lost in a London fog of wonderment aren’t enough to stop these two Sisterchicks! Each step of their regal journey is lined with evidence of God’s gracious compassion, and both come to realize that God knows their every wish. He is the One who planted every dream in their hearts.

And, oh, what a surprise awaits them when they return home!

To read the first chapter, go HERE

“Robin has done it again! You and your Sisterchicks will love taking this new adventure together!”
- Karen Kingsbury, New York Times best-selling author of Between Sundays and Ever After

“My only complaint about Robin’s latest is that now I want to hop a plane to England! But combine a cup of Earl Grey tea and this charming story and you’re halfway there. Another delightful tale about women helping women to live their lives to the fullest.”
- Melody Carlson, author of These Boots Weren’t Made for Walking and A Mile in My Flip-Flops
Designed by: MasterDesignsArt by: JaggedSmile