Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Terry Burns, author of Beyond the Smoke

by Molly Noble Bull

Today I am interviewing Terry Burns, a fellow Texan from Amarillo. He writes westerns.

Welcome to Writers' Rest, Terry. Now, let's find out about you, and name some of your adult westerns.

Terry: No problem, I write inspirational fiction and I'm fond of setting it in the old West. I'm also a literary agent for Hartline Literary. I have 24 books in print, including Shepard’s Son, Brother’s Keeper, Trail of the Dime Novel, and Don’t I Know You? I have a new novel hitting the shelves this month from BJU Press titled Beyond the Smoke.

M: The plot of Beyond the Smoke sounds great. And didn’t you say this is a Young Adult Novel?

T. Yes. I feel a real need to get younger readers introduced to the western. Most of us older folks grew up on it, but the younger group needs to know those days were pretty cool as well. After all, most of them don't know that there was no such thing as a teenager before WWII. You went straight from whatever education you were going to get to the workplace. Had they lived back then boys might have been working on a ranch, making trail drives or riding with the cavalry. Most of the pony express riders were young men that today would be teens. That's a theme I'm exploring that I think will interest them.

M: Are you switching to the young adult market?

T: Not necessarily, besides, the only difference between a young adult and adult novels is the age of the main characters. Adults enjoy reading about these characters "coming of age" too, so I expect those who have read my earlier books will like this one just as much. I do know boys don't much like to read about girls, but at that age girls love to read about boys. Looks like it's aimed at the best of all three markets. I do know the style, voice, and writing just isn't that much different from my earlier works.

M: Where can we buy them?

T: Most bookstores should have them or be able to order them. And there are always links at my website that have direct links for purchase.

M: You can also write Terry Burns in the search slot at Internet bookstores. Now, give me a taste of this new novel?

T: It's the story of two young people who find themselves orphaned very early in the book and how they had to adapt to a difficult environment and grow up much faster than young people today could even imagine. It's an engaging yarn with a lot of subtle West Texas humor, a bad guy you'll want to kill off yourself and a larger than life Texas Ranger who understands how to set things right without any courts having to get involved.

M: You write inspirational novels. Right?

T: I'm a Christian writer, which means most of my work has a little of my faith in it, never preachy, but you don't have to wonder about my motivation. It simply means my books are always clean enough for the whole family and written at a fast and easy pace the whole family can enjoy. Most of the time there's a light tongue-in-cheek humor involved.

M: In a story, what do you want to give the reader?

T: If I don't make myself laugh, cry, or maybe get mad while I'm writing then I can't expect the reader to get emotionally involved with my book. I like to read books that stir my emotions in some manner and hope I've done the same with my own writing.

M: Did becoming an agent affect your writing?

T: It did. I don't have as much time for my own writing now, but I like helping other people get their words out there. I don't plan to give up on my own writing though.

M: It was great having you, Terry, and I hope you will come back real soon.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Snoopy Dancing

I am so excited! I'm taking a much needed rest today because I finished writing my book, Insanity Rules: Gems of Wisdom at 3 a.m. today!

It's been a hard and fast write since Oct 1st, but now it's finished!

Have you had a reason to Snoopy Dance over an accomplishment?

Please visit my daily blog too. It's God Uses Broken Vessels.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

One smart chick

Last week I was sitting at the kitchen table and I had a moment where I said "God, I want to hear from you. I'm going to Esther and I want to know what you have to say to me."

Immediately my eyes fell on a verse in Esther I'd highlighted a long time ago:

Esther 2:20 "But Esther had kept secret her family background and nationality just as Mordecai had told her to do, for she continued to follow Mordecai's instructions as she had done when he was bringing her up."

This struck me because I've seen so many people begin to walk in to their blessing and then they quit doing what made them successful. I've seen honors students get a full scholarship and maintain only the minimum to keep their scholarship.

I've seen writers get published and stop studying the craft.

I've seen business people neglect customer service once they become profitable enterprises.

I don't want to fall in that trap. In the verse God led me to we see Esther who has found the favor of a powerful king. She took wise counsel and listened to the advice of her uncle as well as the man in charge of the harem.

Once she became Queen she didn't think she could 'go it alone'. She still listened to wise counsel.

Then the time came where her obedience put her in an uncomfortable place. Obedience isn't always fun but it DOES always promise great rewards.

In our writing there are times where we have to take advice. There are also times where we have to do things that make us uncomfortable [for many people that is marketing].

Take the example of Esther.

She's one smart Chick!

Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at
Learn more about Tiffany's Marketing techniques on her main blog.
Read Tiffany's award winning manuscript "A Face in the Shadow" on her fiction blog.
She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer's Rest.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sara Probasco, author of Treasured Recipes and Remembrances

by Molly Noble Bull

Molly: Today I am interviewing Sara Probasco, my very good friend from Uvalde, Texas. Welcome to Books That Inspire, Sara.

Sara: Thank you, Molly. I’ve been looking forward to this.

M. Even though you love writing fiction, I understand you’ve recently published two distinctly different non-fiction books.

S. That’s right. The first is a cookbook titled Treasured Recipes and Remembrances.

M. There are so many cookbooks on the market! What makes yours different?

S. For many years, I was a successful dinner and wedding caterer based on my private collection of easy to prepare recipes. Many were handed down to me through several generations of wonderful cooks. My book includes not only old photos and comments about the recipes and their donors, but tips and tricks learned through my years of catering that the average cook may not know.

M:. That sounds like my kind of cookbook.

S. I hear that comment a lot. Here’s one of my crowd-pleasing favorites for your readers to try:
Sara’s Own WHIPPED CREAM CAKE Serves 12-20

Your favorite moist, white layer-cake recipe (I use Duncan Hines Deluxe Cake Mix)
32 oz. (4 small cartons or 1 qt. carton) unwhipped Whipping Cream
¾ cup granulated Sugar
1 cup coarsely chopped Pecans
1 cup chopped pitted Dates (For best results, chop your own; Pre-cut are too hard.)
1 8 oz. package “Angel Flake” Coconut
16 oz. can Crushed Pineapple, very well drained

At least 10 hours before serving (24 is best) bake the cake in three 8-inch round layers.
Cool thoroughly.
Whip Cream until soft peaks form.
Slowly add Sugar while continuing to beat until beater leaves stiff points when raised.
Carefully fold into Whipped Cream all remaining ingredients until well mixed.
(Do NOT beat!)
Fill cake between layers and all over the top and sides with Whipped Cream mixture.
Cover with cake dome or loosely cover with plastic wrap
Refrigerate 10 - 24 hours, until ready to serve.

M. That sounds delicious.

S. It’s also beautiful and very easy.

M. You said your second book was quite different from this one. In what ways?

S. In the first place, it’s not a cookbook. In the second place, it represents my initiation into the world of electronic publishing.

M. Sounds exciting. Tell me more.

S. My E-book is titled Say YES! to SUCCESS in Business.
It’s packed with information on how to build a small business and keep it profitable.

M. That sounds like something anybody in business would find helpful. But
tell me, as a writer and former caterer, what prompted you to write a book about business?

S. Well, Molly, both writing and catering are businesses, no matter how closely held or
far-reaching they may be. I’ve enjoyed thirty years’ experience as a successful
entrepreneur. For the past twelve years, I’ve even taught business seminars throughout
the U.S. and in Canada, “on the side.” The reader can derive the same basic information
from my E-book as he would by traveling a distance to attend my seminar, but without
all the monetary expense and the time away from his business.

M.Where can we find these wonderful books?

S. Just visit my website , the “Works” section. You’ll find a
table of contents and sample page under the E-book and free recipes under the cookbook,
along with complete ordering information on both.

M. I know I’ll be visiting your website to check out your sample recipes and business information. I’m sure my readers will, too. Thanks for sharing your latest work with us, Sara. It was great having you today, and I hope you will come back real soon.

S. Thanks, Molly. I’ll look forward to it.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Learning Curve

I've spent a lot of time the last 2 weeks learning about how the operating board and my new position as the ACFW Publicity Officer works. Although I'm very excited and honored, I can now see that it's going to be quite a lot of work.

I've spent today doing a lot of marketing surfing on the web so I can learn more about what's available. It's fascinating and so full of information. I'm supposed to spend the next 2 years in this position. But just from the little bit of time I've had, I can tell you that I'm just scratching the surface.

The other thing it caused is quite a bit of exhaustion. Since the position is new to me, I am going to have to learn the boundaries and then set them. For instance, right now it's really late in Montana and I need rest. So I am actually going to be a good little role model today . . . And actually go to bed for some sleep.

I need it since I work, write, do appearances, cook, train, etc. I'm having a hard time keeping my eyes open tonight!

Good idea, Angie, yes. Great idea to rest when I'm tired.

That rest idea sure keeps eluding me :-)
How about you? Are you allowing yourself to rest?


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Get paid to learn

Tuesdays with Tiffany
by Tiffany Colter

One great thing about being a writer is there are so many opportunities for you to be paid to learn skills that will build your marketability.

Even if you don't make much money [or if you do it as a volunteer] these are still skills that will serve you well as you grow and develop as a writer. I'm going to point out three today. Take some time to research these areas and see how you can build your writing business while helping others.

Short articles
Many people know that they can donate articles to the church newsletter or to the small gardening group they participate in, but have you looked in to the free local papers that are available at businesses and the library? Contact these editors and see if they have need of freelancers. Then include your blog/website in your bio at the end of the article.

Putting together a newsletter can do a great deal to build your readership when you speak at events or even distributing an e-newsletter periodically. If you can find a small business who wants to hire you to do these for them then you can practice and build your skills by working on someone else's publications. Get paid to learn. [It should go without saying that you still want to produce high quality work.]

Blogs are a great way to build readership but many people don't have the time or don't have the skills to write an engaging blog. If this is something you can do then get paid ghostwriting blogs. While you may not get bylines on these kinds of blogs, they will be a source of revenue for you.

So start thinking of things you'd like to do in your business plan, then look for ways you can be paid [in cash or exposure] to develop those skills. That is called working smarter rather than harder.

Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at
Learn more about Tiffany's Marketing techniques on her main blog.
Read Tiffany's award winning manuscript "A Face in the Shadow" on her fiction blog.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

On the Road again

I bet you wonder if I ever stay home, lol. I really do. But today we are returning from one of our kid's college graduation.

I can tell you one thing for darn sure, I can't wait to rest in my own bed. I never sleep as well as on my own pillow.

In this last year, we have had 2 kids get married, 2 kids graduate high school, 2 daughters-in-law graduate college, 1 daughter graduate college, 1 relative fighting severe cancer, one grandson born, and various business trips.

I think about rest a lot :-D Then I pick on myself for not getting enough done each day. 

Now when I look back on all those changes, they are tiring even though full of joy. Then throw in the day job, the drive to achieve a goal and all the unexpected happenings like out of town company or cars breaking down or regular grocery shopping--of course I'm tired!

How about you? Have you thought about all you've done in the past year or do you constantly berate yourself for not getting enough done?

How can you be kinder to yourself?

What if we simply acknowledge how much we really do and allow ourselves a little bit more time for our bodies to catch up to our lives?

Going to get some rest soon,

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Mae Nunn, author of Lone Star Courtship

by Molly Noble Bull

Today I am interviewing my very good friend, Mae Nunn. Originally from Houston, Mae lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband Michael. Mae and I are members of American Christian Fiction Writers, a national organization geared toward meeting the networking and educational needs of Christian authors.

Molly: Welcome to Books That Inspire, Mae.
Mae: Thank you so much for inviting me, Molly. I especially love opportunities to connect with readers in my home state where they especially identify with my series.
Molly: Speaking of your series, you write stories set in Texas, don’t you?
Mae: Yes, I do. The fourth book in my Texas Treasures series was released in May 2008. Lone Star Courtship is set in Galveston. When a stuffy English lawyer butts head with a determined American businesswoman he finds Camelot in the last place he ever expected. Texas!
Molly: That sounds like a fun premise. How long have you been writing?
Mae: I sold my first book to Steeple Hill in 2003. I hadn’t originally intended to write for the Christian market. But during the five years it took to complete my first manuscript (I refer to that period as my college education), the calling of the Holy Sprit on my writing became undeniable. When I committed the work to God and strengthened the spiritual focus of the story, a submission that had been sitting in an editor’s reading pile for over a year sold within a matter of weeks. Staying true to that calling and to my writing style has proven to be a successful publishing strategy for me.
Molly: What words of wisdom do you have for aspiring writers?
Mae: #1 Network and get educated about writing and publishing! There are excellent groups that unpublished writers can join at a reasonable cost either in person or online. There are also many state and national organizations who offer contests and conferences to advance your career. #2 Don’s submit to an agent or editor until you’ve had a professional critique of your work! By that I don’t mean pay somebody to read what you’ve written, but find an author from your networking who will be willing to review your proposal before you submit it for consideration. Many published authors give graciously of their time in order to repay the same kindness that was shown to them earlier in their careers.
Molly: And what would you like to say to the readers in our South Texas area?
Mae: If you haven’t discovered the Inspirational market you are in for a treat. There is award-winning writing (including Molly’s!) in every genre to meet the needs of the reader who would prefer not to have to deal with foul language, sex and gratuitous violence in order to experience stories that will hold you spell bound from the first page to the last.
Molly: It was great having you today, Mae, and I hope you will come back real soon.
Mae: It was my pleasure! I hope the South Texas Living Magazine readers will visit me at I welcome their questions and comments and encourage them to sign up for my great prize giveaways.
Molly: Next month my guest will be Sara Probasco from Uvalde, Texas with two books to tell us about. See you then.

The works of our hands

Tuesdays with Tiffany
By Tiffany Colter

12 The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. [Deuteronomy 28:12, NIV]

So, what are your hands doing?

I've heard many writers talk about the years they've been writing and how they aren't published but when it gets down to it you'll learn that many of these people only spent a couple of hours a week writing and doing the things a writers needs to do to succeed.

All of us were required to write essays in school as children and teenagers and somehow we think a book should require the same effort. While a term paper written in an all night cram session might earn you a C in college, a book that warrants a second glass cannot be a first draft.

I ask you again, what are your hands doing?

If you take the time to watch your hands you'll see that God is blessing it. Your clothes are folded, your children are safely shuttled around, the bills are getting paid, the remote control is well worn. Even your email box proves that you have many friends.

But what about your book? What about the articles? What about the story growing deep inside you. Are you sitting down and giving God an offering of your words on paper so He can bless you? Are you only willing to write if He'll promise publication? Are you only interested in stories if they'll give you applause.

Are you only willing to try if you'll always get acceptance on the first draft?

So as your hands are busy this month think about what your works are. Can God bless them? Do you really want Him to?

Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at
Learn more about Tiffany's Marketing techniques on her main blog.
Read Tiffany's award winning manuscript "A Face in the Shadow" on her fiction blog.