I have met so many wonderful friends through books. Some are fictional, and some are flesh and bone friends...but all have made a difference in my life in one way or another. We all impact each other's lives. Sometimes it is by something you say that makes me think, and other times it is by a gesture or kindness. And yet other times it may be something that dug deeper, hurt my feelings, or made me sad. Still you made a difference. Through this blog I would like to introduce you to some people who have blessed me with their writing...and I hope you will be blessed as well!

Coffee or Tea?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

As I Promised...a Trivia Quiz!

As I mentioned, I am offering a quiz to see how well you know Tricia Goyer! Mail your answers to cherihorgan@hotmail.com and I will pick someone who has all the answers correct to receive a $25 Starbucks gift card! Good luck, and have fun searching...oh, and by the way, not all answers are found in my blog. Some will have to be searched out!

Next week I will finish with Tricia's story about how she finds all of her stories in real life situations and people.

Tricia Trivia
1. Who died, that inspired Tricia's first publication?
2. How old was Tricia when her first child was born?
3. What ministry did Tricia start based on her own experiences?
4. Name Tricia's first Book published.
5. When did she marry her husband?
6. What town was she born in?
7. What school did her children attend?
8. Who invited her to their reunion?

That's it! Good Luck and have fun!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Due to illness and severe back pain the remainder of this week's posts will be delayed until next week...sorry!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

More on Tricia Goyer...

The first thing that I wanted to know was what kind of education did Tricia have to accomplish so many goals.  I cringed, expecting to hear of several Master's degrees and other assorted academics. Instead I learned that she only had a high school diploma...but received most of her training from attending writer's conferences and retreats, and soaking up everything she could learn.

Things were different back then.  Tricia would write the first three chapters and submit them to contest after contest, and agent and editor; meanwhile beginning a new story and send it out too. At that time you didn't have to have a completed manuscript, just the first three chapters, so if one didn't garner the attention of agents she threw it in the pile and started another one...and another one, until she found the one that did. The best advice she ever received was to follow her heart.  If she wrote from the heart, she found the words just flowed, and her first contract was offered! After reading her first three chapters they requested three more...and she finally finished a manuscript and turned it into her dream.

She remembers the first time she saw her dream in its finished form in a book store. They were traveling across country and stopped at the store, wearing her sweats and no make up on, she ran in to buy a few things. There on the shelf in the book section sat her book! She was feeling so thrilled, then she saw a woman walk by carrying her book under her arm! She was going to buy her book! John told her to go introduce herself. At first she had her doubts, but then she walked over and asked the lady if she were going to buy that book. When the lady told her she liked what she had read on the back cover and that it sounded interesting, Tricia introduced herself and graciously signed her first sale.

There was much to learn about what she could and couldn't say in the CBA as opposed to secular writing, and there were strict guidelines on what words were allowed and which ones were banned. Can you imagine her surprise when she was told her book had two restricted words and had to be rewritten..."Shoot, and Darn" were almost enough to get her rejected! She found alternatives and they were replaced. Today they are not as rigid and there are many more freedoms than there used to be.

All of Tricia's stories are based on true headlines, and even though she took freedoms with the characters, often placing herself in the situation, she enjoys the research that introduces her to the real people behind the stories.

One of Tricia's bits of advice is to write every chance you can get. write for blogs, write for magazines, write for newspapers, anything to get your words out there and get people acquainted with your work. Tricia had over 30 articles written for "Light and Life" Magazine  and she was asked to write a devotion for Women of Faith Study Bible! You never know where something might take you. This month Tricia is featured in Guide Posts Magazine.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I met the most facinating friend today...

Today was book signing at our local Harrisburg, Pa. Life Way Store! I was so excited. Tricia Goyer was going to be there. As a writer she is one of the finest, but that barely touches the ice burg in what makes her such a blessing to know.

As usual, before I write about anyone, I try to do a search to see what I can find out. For most writers the interest centers on the books they wrote and the awards they have won, alone with a small personal bio. When I began to read about Tricia I knew there was so much more to her that I would be able to capture in a small blog. Her emotions run deep, and her books pull from the heart her most descriptive scenes and thoughts. But beyond her words are her actions that make her the mentor and friend everyone wants to know. Tricia feels that every experience leads us to a greater picture if we only allow it.

When Tricia was a senior in high school, at age 17, she was your typical outgoing cheerleader...full of energy with a smile that made her the life of the party. She loved going to the library, and reading was her favorite pastime. There really wasn't a lot to do in a little town called Weed, California...population just over 3500. (Rumor has it that also includes the pets.)  It was during that all important year that God decided to expand her world the first time.  Tricia found out she was pregnant, and as often happens the father took up track...running that is, and left Tricia to face responsibility alone.

It was while she was pregnant with her son that Jesus met her in a very real and personal way and she gave her life to Him. She knows the feelings a young girl feels when she finds out that her life is about to change, and can understand their disappointment when they realize their dreams don't always happen the way they wanted them to. As she said, sometimes we pray for one little thing when God has a plan for a much larger picture in their life...and she would later start a crisis pregnancy center with her best friend Twila. Who better than someone who had been down that road and knew first hand what the girls were feeling? Last year alone they believe they made a difference in the lives of 22 young women who chose life over death for their child's future. Tricia is so effective in ministering to the needs of young women because she has a heart for them that only comes from God's plan in her life. She has written a book called, "Praying for your future husband: Preparing your heart for his" with dear friend Robin Jones Gunn. Like many of Tricia's books, it has been translated into many languages.

One of Tricia's fondest fan letters comes from a young girl who couldn't speak English well but wanted to let her know she had accepted Jesus into her heart just as she had read it in the book, "Dust to Ashes". Another one asked how they were going to find boys who were Christians. The girls had accepted Christ, but most boys had never read her books and the girls feared they would never become Christians. Tricia realized she is touching lives around the world. She told them to continue to pray that the boys will accept Jesus.

Like every young girl of God, she prayed that God would would bring her a Christian husband and later that year John entered her world. They were married not long after that and today they are parents to four wonderful children, Two boys and two girls. Today she enjoys the entertainment of one grandchild, a boy named Clayton that belongs to Corey and his wife Katie.  Clayton is close in age to her baby girl, Alyssa. Her daughter is in college; and her youngest son still helps out at home and is finishing high school as a home schooler, like his older siblings. With his help, and a husband she loves dearly,  Tricia is able to write, minister, have her own radio show, and still run a happy family! I smiled as I saw Alyssa "sign" thank you. Her older sister had taught her.

Her youngest daughter, Alyssa,  looks exactly like her, and I believe that is because long before she was born God had a plan in her life.  He knew she would be loved and cherished by Tricia and John, and he gave her Tricia's glowing smile and deeply charming dimples...even though her birth mother is a very tall blond with blue eyes! Yes, the sweet treasure of their life is adopted. It is simple, her birth mother was just her temporary housing until she could get to her real parents! When Alyssa was only 6 days old she came home to John and Tricia.  According to Twila, Tricia was a wonderful home school teacher for her son too, and has a deep love for all children as is shown through their children's ministry and frequent missions trips. Her oldest three children have been home schooled by their mom and Tricia laughs as she recalls working on her book with her children beside her working on their school work.  When there was a math problem, she would have to stop her creative flow and work on her math situation with her "student" then return to work. She became accustomed to multi-tasking with a child on her hip and another one beside her, while writing down her book ideas, as her children were growing up, so these days it is a piece of cake to carry 19 month old Alyssa on her hip, and take care of interviews, book signings, or even getting food at the Chinese Buffet we were able to squeeze into her busy schedule. She never missed a step, as though it was common practice for everyone!

When Tricia was 22 and pregnant with her third child she attended the Mt Herman's Writer's Conference and decided she wanted to be a writer. Balancing two toddlers and one on the way she sat down to write story after story. Each time one would be rejected she would start another, never finishing any of them until she finally stumbled on the perfect combination, after 14 years of attending writer's conferences and learning everything she could. (Note:  Never give up! 14 years she attended, learning everything she could, and still writing every chance she could. 14 years of rejections!) In the meantime she found the right combination for her crit group and together they also formed an on-line prayer group. One of her mentors, and a BFF of over two decades, Robin  Jones Gunn, stood by her side offering love, encouragement and chocolate. As the success flowed on prayer requests so it also flowed with contracts, and one by one each girl in the group found an agent and sold their literary creations for publication. This was just her beginning...

Following advice from her mentors she wrote from the heart, pouring herself into every word and crying along with every tear she wrote. When  she wrote about a boy and his music she pictured her own son and the tears flooded her cheeks as she sobbed out the words. Her results were more than words on paper, they were parts of her own soul displayed for everyone to feel with her. If she was having a great day, she would jump over to a joyful part of her story and write it...but if her day was taking a turn for the blues then she knew it was a day to write the tears and let them flow freely from her keyboard. It was a winning success, and in 2003 she won the Writer of the Year Award from Mt Herman's Writer's Conference. Following that, she won awards from American Christian Fiction Writers Award in Historical Fiction in 2005 and 2006. Thirty Books and over 500 articles in publications like Guide Posts, Focus on the Family, and Christian Women Magazine has blessed her with numerous recognitions and rewards.

Watch for Part two in this series about how things have changed since Tricia began her writing journey, and how she describes her first experience of seeing her book for sale in a book store and a woman carrying it around to buy! That will be published Tuesday October 25th.  On Wednesday October 26th we will talk more about the men who invited her to their reunion and into their hearts as she wrote her Liberator series.

On Thursday we will discuss how she is now recognised by her publishers and her agent well enough they call HER and ask her to write a certain story! Wouldn't we all love to reach that point!

And Finally on Friday we will wrap it all up by telling you about the many different books she has penned (from Amish to Military!) and if any of her characters are like her. And we will print the trivia questions about this fun and inspirational mentor. The winner will be drawn from all the correct entries.  See you tomorrow!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Gina Holmes, Brains and Beauty too!

Meet Gina Holmes...an amazing woman who has many talents, not the least of which is writing award nominated romance and Women's Inspirational stories for Christian Fiction. According to her website Gina Holmes is the President and founder of Inspire a Fire and Novel Rocket and award-winning author of Crossing Oceans and Dry as Rain. In 1998, Gina began her career penning articles and short stories in ten years, and a stack of rejection letters later, she held her first published novel. She holds degrees in science and nursing and currently resides with her husband and children in southern Virginia. She works too hard, laughs too loud, and longs to see others heal from their past and discover their God-given purpose.

In 2004 Gina started journaling about her path to becoming published. Five years and a name change later, She realized her dream and the world of Novel Journey has become an award winning website, inspiring writers at all stages of their career with tips, secrets, and facinating interviews with such exciting authors as Dean Koontz, Francine Rivers, and Nicholas Sparks. Today her dream has grown into dozens of contributors and includes book reviews, interviews, daily devotions and writing help from some of today's best writers. It was recently recognised by Writers Digest as one of the best websites for writers. You can see for yourself by going to www.writersjourney.blogspot.com or www.novelrocket.com or www.ginaholmes.com

In 2010 she saw the release of  her first publication after years of rejections. Gina credits her rejections for the success of this debut award winner. As a child she was a an of Stephen King and loved to read suspense stories, so she assumed that was the directin she would head.  After four finished manuscripts that didn't sell, she began a brand new creation that won the hearts of the people who read it. It tugs at your heart, makes you re-evaluate forgiveness, faces death, and fight the pains of wrong doings.   Crossing Oceans was a success that took 10 years to be born!  In September Gina saw the release of her second literary birth as "Dry as Rain" hits the shelves. Another story written to penetrate your heart and leave you thinking long after the last page has closed, "Dry as Rain" follows the downfall of a marriage taken for granted, and left to dry up and die. The ultimate straw of infidelity breaks the remaining ties until Eric gets a second chance to save his marriage when Kyra is in an accident that leaves her memory fragmented...and no recolections of the events that caused their marriage to fall apart. As forgiveness challenges us along with the couple in question, you will find yourself challenged beyond your normal limits...and wondering if you could forgive...anything, if it was in God's plan. Here's the twist...Gina writes in first person from a man's pont of view! Now that takes talent, and I for one can't wait to read it!

When I asked Gina what her personal favorite love story was she never hesitated to say it was her real life love story with her new husband of two years, Adam. She expressed her answer in a way that touched my own heart since I also went through a painful divorce and understand that rejected feeling. Here is what she had to say...

The best love story I've ever heard is my own with my husband, Adam. We've been married a little over 2 years. Both of us coming from really heartbreaking situations that caused both of our previous marriages to fail. We both thought love wasn't in the cards for us but never have two people been more meant for each other. He is my soul mate, my best-friend. In so many ways, I thought I was fatally flawed since my own husband couldn't stand me and then I met Adam who honestly adores me. It's been very healing for both of us and we're so grateful for God's mercy.  She forgot to mention how they crawled into a shark cage and swam with the sharks on their honeymoon....or how she wants to go skydiving! I guess they bring out the adventurer in each other as well!

When I asked her if she enjoyed writing and what got her started in something that takes so long to see the rewards she said...
Writing for me is therapy and a way to get others to see things from another's perspective. I've always been the empathetic type, being able to see things from other's point of view. In person, I am a terrible convincer but through fiction, I'm effective. I love exploring what makes people tick. What makes them fall off the path, or think thoughts that are off, and just put myself in their shoes. Plus, words just excite me. Always have.

What got me started is that I knew I could write. It's always been a natural ability for me ever since I can remember. When I was a stay at home mom, I wanted to help my family bring in some extra cash, so I started penning everything from greeting cards to articles. I had a little success but not much. When a girl at church said she was working on her second novel, I thought if she can do it, so can I. And so I did.
Of course I had to ask her who she admired most and she answered as graciously as she is..
Outside of Jesus, I try to be careful not to idolize anyone. The truth of the matter is that we're all fallen people in a fallen world. I can't trust anyone not to let me down sometimes, not even myself. Only God is worthy of my full trust and heart. However, my friend Ane Mulligan is definitely someone I greatly admire. She's just the sweetest person I know. I've seen her in so many situations that I would have gone on the attack and she always takes the high road, not just takes the high road in action, but in thought too. She always seems to give people the benefit of the doubt. Someone could run over her dog on purpose and she'd say, "Oh, they're just having a bad day," and actually mean it. She's one of a kind.
Until I started researching this amazing gal  I had no idea how many people loved her. She never acts like some "fancy, famous author", lol! To everyone who knows her she is an encourager who will give her all to help someone reach their dreams. SHe still works as an RN in Virginia, where she lives as a newly wed with her husband Adam and her Brady Bunch family (was that 6 children, Gina?) and her pets.  Here is how she described her "other children"...
We have a yorkie, named Sophie, (we call her "Soapie"), who is the sweetest, most loving dog in the world, as well as being the prettiest. She's not without fault though, she is also the sneakiest dog in the world. You take an eye off her and she finds a way into anything edible. The other day she ate all of the fish food. She also refused to be house broken (we got her when she was 2 years old), so all the rugs in the house are put away. But we adore her. We also have an older hound dog named Maggie. She is so easy-going and it's hard to find any fault with that old hound dog. The only thing I can complain about is that she stalks us wherever we go, with drool running out of her mouth. If she were a human she'd definitely have a weight problem. Her thoughts are: "food. food. food. more food. do you have food? I need food."

Lastly, our easiest pet, a beta named Les Paul. He thinks he's bad with flailing those gills out whenever I get near his fish bowl. I'm glad he's not bigger. He'd be scary.
Be sure to stop by www.novelrocket.com  www.inspireafire.com  www.ginaholmes.com  for more about "Crossing Oceans" or "Dry as Rain" or to get to know someone who brings a little joy into everyone's life she meets!  Here's a list of her upcoming personal appearances...


Oct 21–Roanoke Virginia
Book Signing-Lifeway Christian Store (Valley View Mall) 5-7 pm
Oct 29–Franklin TN
Book Signing-Lifeway Christian Store-Franklin TN
Nov. 5 –Atlanta, GA
Book Signing-Lifeway Christian Store-Buford (Mall of GA) 1-3 pm
Book Signing-Books A Million- 5900 Sugarloaf Pky, Lawrenceville, GA 30043 5-7 pm

Nov. 12 –Roanoke, VA
Book signing– B&N Valley View Mall (Sat) 6-7pm.
Nov. 19 –Roanoke, VA
Book signing– Books A Million (Sat) time to be established.
Jan 2012–Roanoke, VA
Teaching- Roanoke Regional Writer’s Conference (dates to follow)
May 2012–Asheville, NC
Teaching at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Thank you for all of your wonderful comments!

Thank you for your very helpful posts. I am feeling much better and am happily back to writing and getting those creative energies flowing. For any of you that might now know these wonderful friends, be sure and click on their links and read more great ideas and thoughts on their blogs!

If it is one thing I have learned it is that writers are quick to help one another, whether it be helping with needing research, a phrase we just can't get, or finding that "just right word" that is right beyond the reach of our finger tips...or helping restore balance to blockages! I have also seen them reach deep into their pockets for a sister in need, and help anyone who needs help if they can. Beyond their books they are real people with big hearts, and this is just a part of their ministry. When you buy their books you might be helping support the Wolf Sanctuary in Paradise, Pa. or giving to Wounded Warriors  (Loree Lough's favorite charities), or helping someone pay their back taxes as a group of writers did recently after hearing a sister was about to lose her home. You might be helping people rebuild in Joplin, Mo. or buying food and clothing for a family in the other storm ridden areas. They don't get paid a lot, but they are willing to share what they do have with others who need it more. Writers are an interesting breed of people.

In the coming weeks I hope to introduce you to some of these fine people and tell you more about the books they write. Tricia Goyer and Gina Holmes will be my featured author next week, but don't look for a favorite recipe from Gina...she says she cooks like she writes, "From the seat of her pants"! While her husband says she is a good cook, they both agree nothing turns out the same way twice, lol! Til then...keep reading!