Friday, November 30, 2012

My Work In Progress--Captured by Moonlight

Gail Pallotta  invited me to be part of a blog hop to find out what authors are currently up to. Please check out the wonderful book that Gail is writing on her website. It sounds like a lot of fun, a romance set around a hair stylist. I always thought that would make a great story-line.

Below I’ve answered ten questions about my WIP (for non writers, this means Work In Progress).

What is the working title of your book?   Captured by Moonlight---Book II of the Twilight of the British Raj series, to be released by WhiteFire Publishing Feb. 2013.

Where did the idea come from for the book? Captured by Moonlight is the continuing story of 2 very important secondary characters in my Award-winning novel Shadowed in Silk. Eshana is the young, former Hindu widow who became a Christian. The other main character is Nursing Matron, Laine Harkness.
I fell in love with these two characters in Book I. Laine has such spunky British humor and go-get-em attitude as she cares for her patients, and as she and Eshana kidnap poor little Hindu girls that are being used in the sex trade.
Eshana is also spunky, but in a sweet Indian way, and a spiritual life that knocks the socks off most Christians. In the book, Laine describes Eshana as being as compliant as a stock of bamboo. Yeah, she may bend under tremendous pressure, but if someone interferes with her charitable work, she’ll bounce right back and give that interference a decidedly painful thwack.   

Both of these women just leapt off the pages in the first book and deserved to have their own story told.
I also wanted to show the beauty if the south of India where I visited once. Those gorgeous tropics and emerald green rice paddies—heavy sigh—with lovely Indian women wearing a kaleidoscope of different colored saris.
What genre does your book fall under? A Christian Historical Romance.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? For the heroine I’d choose Sandra Bullock; the hero, Jim Caviezel in his thirties.
This is the beautiful model that will wear the dress below for the front cover of Captured by Moonlight

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? From the parched north of India to the tropics of Madras, follow Eshana and Laine as they journey as prisoners—one to a lurking danger from her past, and the other to her own broken hopes.  
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? My book is being published by a traditional publisher, WhiteFire Publishing.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? The first draft took about four months, and then another two to polish it. Right now, Captured by Moonlight is in the hands of my editor, Roseanna White, of WhiteFire for the line-by-line edit. I can’t wait to get it back and work on those edits.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? My books tend to have the social concerns of Kathi Macias or Jeannette Windle, although the setting is historical and the style is more like Laurie Alice Eakes, full of romance, mystery, and a strong dose of suspense.

Who or what inspired you to write this book? Again, the two fictional characters that came off the pages of Shadowed in Silk, inspired me to tell their story. Eshana’s Hindu past catches up to her, and a long-lost love of Laine’s.
But also, two real-life heroines—Dr. Ida Skudder who built one of the greatest hospitals in all of Southeast Asia at the turn of the 20th century, and Pandita Ramabai, a great Indian Christian woman who did so much for suffering widows and orphans in India. These are the true heroes of Captured by Moonlight by their self-less care of the suffering people of India.

 What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? I think Laine is a hoot. She makes me laugh, but she’s also a woman of tremendous passion which comes across in her storm-tossed relationship with Adam, her former fiancĂ©.
Eshana, is a true spiritual leader—I learned so much from her spiritual journey while she is imprisoned for a while.
But, throw in a cyclone, a cholera epidemic, a tiger, and I think Captured by Moonlight is one of those books that sweeps you away to a far-away land, and keeps you enthralled for a couple of days. All I can say is what I’ve been told by the first readers—Captured by Moonlight is pure magic. 
This is the especially designed dress that the above model will wear for the front cover of Captured by Moonlight

Next week check out the following blogs to see what these fantastic writers are up to.

Rachel Phifer This is my # 1 writing critique partner, who has came in second in the 2008 ACFW Genesis, and won the Gold in the Genesis last year for her Women's Fiction novel, The Language of Sparrows. That award brought a wonderfl literary agent into Rachel's life, and I'm watching her career grow.

JoAnn Durgin  I call JoAnn Durgin the Christian Romance Queen. I love her light-hearted but deeply spiritual romances. Check out her latest, a Christmas Novella, Meet Me Under the Mistletoe.

Dina Slieman  This author is so good, Zondervan wanted to use her Book Love in Three Quarter Time to start their brand new digital line.


Friday, November 09, 2012

I prayed for my brother’s life to crash and burn.

Steve at 4 years old in 1976

My family on my paternal side is riddled with alcoholism. I call it the family plague. But this past year I’ve seen the Lord reach down and pull my younger brother up by the scruff of the neck and set him on the road to sobriety.

My brother, Steve, had no time for God. It was too painful to watch his life spiral out of control as he lived only for the next bottle of vodka. But before Steve would ever even think of God, I knew he had to reach bottom. About two years ago I began to pray that he’d reach that point, and reach it fast before all hope was lost.

The Lord answered those prayers. He allowed my brother to go down that long, long, destructive road, and at last he crashed.

He’d already lost two marriages, a home, and the opportunity to be a full-time dad to his two girls. But it wasn’t until he lost the love and respect of his youngest daughter that he finally woke up to what he was doing. It was when his fifteen-year-old Kristen wouldn’t return his phone calls or agree to see him that Steve finally realized he needed help.

That was only the start of the long road back to health. Even then, Steve kept returning to his addiction that held on to him like manacles around his wrists and ankles. But through prayer we began to see the release of my brother from this strangling hold.

We so often think of prayer as the last resort. But I’ve come to realize that prayer is not just that thing that helps us get things done—as if that were the inspiration behind our abilities and powers of persuasion.

Prayer is the work.

In the Book of Mark we read that the Lord’s disciples were trying to release a young man from demon possession. This young man was so much like my brother, throwing himself into the fire.

Jesus had already given his disciples the authority and the training to cast out evil spirits such as afflicted this young man. But nothing they did worked. It didn’t even seem to matter how much faith they had. Jesus Himself was able to cast out the demon and set this young man free.

The passage concludes with Jesus’ words, “This kind can only come out through prayer.”

Prayer wasn’t the last resort in Jesus’ opinion. Prayer is the greatest work.

It is prayer and prayer alone that will cast the alcoholism from my brother. With God all things are possible.

Steve at 10 years old in 1982 with my little girl.