Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Blog Tour ~ Tricia Goyer's A Valley of Betrayal

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Tricia Goyer's latest release, A Valley of Betrayal!

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I am thrilled to be hosting my first blog tour! Please welcome Tricia Goyer!

I first became aware of Tricia last year when I joined American Christian Fiction Writers and she was looking for people to answer questions for her Generation NEXT Marriage book. Then I saw her name everywhere, it seemed! Tricia is one of those enviable writers who can tackle nonfiction and fiction with equal aplomb, and is wildly successful at both genres.

Today we are talking about her latest fiction release, A Valley of Betrayal. This novel takes place during the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s, in the aftermath of The Great War (World War I) and the rise of Adolf Hitler's Nazi Party in Germany and the Fascist movement in Italy. Here is Tricia's own story behind the novel:

The Story Behind the Novel:

A few years ago when I was researching for my fourth World War II novel, Arms of Deliverance, I came across a unique autobiography. One B-17 crewmember I read about claimed to make it out of German-occupied Belgium after a plane crash due, in part, to his skills he picked up as a veteran of The Spanish Civil War. Reading that bit of information, I had to scratch my head. First of all, I had never heard of the war. And second, what was an American doing fighting in Spain in the late 1930s? Before I knew it, I uncovered a fascinating time in history—one that I soon discovered many people know little about. This is what I learned:

Nazi tanks rolled across the hillsides and German bombers roared overhead, dropping bombs on helpless citizens. Italian troops fought alongside the Germans, and their opponents attempted to stand strong—Americans, British, Irishmen, and others—in unison with other volunteers from many countries. And their battleground? The beautiful Spanish countryside.

From July 17, 1936-April 1, 1939, well before America was involved in World War II, another battle was fought on the hillsides of Spain. On one side were the Spanish Republicans, joined by the Soviet Union and The International Brigade—men and women from all over the world who have volunteered to fight Fascism. Opposing them, Franco and his Fascist military leaders, supported with troops, machinery, and weapons from Hitler and Mussolini. The Spanish Civil War, considered the “training ground” for the war to come, boasted of thousands of American volunteers who joined to fight on the Republican side, half of which never returned home.

Unlike World War II, there is no clear line between white and black, good and evil. Both sides committed atrocities. Both sides had deep convictions they felt worth fighting and dying for.

Loyalists—also know as the Republicans were aided by the Soviet Union, the Communist movement, and the International Brigades. If not for the weapons and volunteers from these sources their fight would have ended in weeks rather than years. While many men fought side by side, their political views included that of liberal democracy, communism and socialism. The Catholic Basque Country also sided with the Republic, mainly because it sought independence from the central government and was promised this by Republican leaders in Madrid.

Nationalists—or Francoists were aided mainly by Germany and Italy. The Nationalist opposed an independent Basque state. Their main supporters were those who believed in a monarchist state and fascist interests. The Nationalist wished for Spain to continue on as it had for years, with rich landowners, the military, and the church running the country. Most of the Roman Catholic clergy supported the Nationalists, except those in the Basque region.

During the Spanish Civil war, terror tactics against civilians were common. And while history books discuss the estimated one million people who lost their lives during the conflict, we must not forget that each of those who fought, who died, had their own tales. From visitors to Spain who found themselves caught in the conflict, to the communist supporters, Basque priests, and Nazi airmen . . . each saw this war in a different light. These are the stories behind A Valley of Betrayal.
Tricia Goyer, October 2006

Now, let's welcome Tricia herself in an interview:

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Tricia, welcome! I am so glad you are here! I wanted to ask you a few questions about your life as a writer and Generation X woman, and I will also throw in a few oddball questions just for fun (with the oddball being me, not you!).

During your research of the Spanish Civil War, did you read any novels or other fictional accounts of or about that time period (such as Hemingway)?

Pattie, you caught me. I have to admit I only made it through 1/3 of Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls ... on CD! The writing was amazing, the story was so slow :-) Isn't that bad? I did glance through other novels on The Spanish Civil War. I'm not sure why, but I do much better with non-fiction books, or biographies. I LOVE biographies.

(Pattie’s aside: Hemingway’s never been my favorite either! However, I did suggest to Tricia in a separate email to check out Chaim Potok’s amazing Davita’s Harp, which takes place during the same time period as Betrayal, only in the US.)

As a writer, what do you enjoy most about living the writing life?

Writing :-) Seriously, managing a writing career is like any other business. There is paperwork and filing and bills and ... yeah, I don't like that part. I like the creative stuff. I like sitting down with a research book and finding the perfect nugget, or getting caught up in the story and realizing two hours had just passed and my fingers hadn't stopped. I also love meeting with people, talking about writing, and connecting with readers. But the best part of all is getting swept away with the words.

What do you enjoy least about the writing life?

Hahaha. I answered above. Oh yes, especially trying to figure out my income/expenses for taxes. I'd rather go do the dentist than deal with a spreadsheet :-)

How do you deal with the distractions of home life when you’re trying to write and work on a book?

I deal with it through prayer. There will always be grocery shopping, housecleaning, cooking, spending time with kids (which is a good thing, of course). I pray and say, "Lord, you know my deadline. You know I'm honoring my family and You by taking care of these things, too. So, Lord, when it's time to write please honor me for my faithful and make the words flow. And you know what? He does!

I also set goals for myself, such as 2,000 words a day or other goals. I'm very goal-oriented and I find writing in little chunks makes a book!

Do you keep a personal journal, and does it ever occur to you that someday it might be fodder for a future historical writer?

Oh my, I wonder what type of story MY journal would tell. Yes, I journal nearly every day. I mostly write my prayers, confessions, and struggles. Or I write quotes from devotional books or awesome Scripture passages. I have bits of idea for books and such that I don't want to forget. It's a jumble of stuff for anyone but me!

As a member of Generation X, I sometimes find myself frustrated with the advice of older writers. What advice would you give to writers that is different from writers of previous generations?

One thing about Gen Xers is that we want to follow God's calling ... and have really great personal relationships, too. I don't want to sacrifice time with my family to be a great writer. Yet, I also think that it's important for our kids to see us making goals and striving to achieve them. Personally, I'm finding balance by working with my calendar to set myself up for success. This means making dates with my kids and setting goals for my writing. It means scheduling errands and making family dinner a priority.

Also, I don't like putting my writing into a box. I (obviously) write what God puts on my heart—fiction, non-fiction, teens, children ... blogs! If my heart burns, then I want to be able to write about it.

Finally, I think that quantity will help quality. Write about everything, because the more you write the better you'll become!

I’ve moved around a lot in my lifetime, and my husband recently joined the active duty military, which means I’m not likely to settle down anytime soon. I love asking people about where they’ve lived. What do you like the most about living in Montana?

I've lived here for 12 years. It's amazingly beautiful. It's a small community, but everything I need is here (Starbucks, Target, Costco ...). But my absolutely favorite thing about living here is the community of believers. Our churches work together and serve together. I first saw things when I helped to start a crisis pregnancy center. I've seen in more when churches have come together to help each other with building funds or helped a family in need. It's too cool.

Thanks so much for joining me! I hope I’ve been helpful in your blog tour.

Thank you!!! You're so awesome!

Be sure to read A Valley of Betrayal as soon as you can, and don’t forget to catch Tricia at her blog (http://triciagoyer.blogspot.com/)!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


I queried the local women's magazine in my town, and according to the editor, their editorial policy doesn't allow them to accept submissions. Huh? I've never heard of that! At least it wasn't me; it was the policy. Plus, she said she'd hang onto my contact info in case she needs new talent.


I had a bang-up idea which several online writer friends (and one of my best friends in real life) thought was good. I am going to still put it together, write it up after Friday, and submit it SOMEWHERE. Somewhere, someone will want my article. I have to believe that.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Happy Birthday, Henrik Ibsen

Once again, from The Writers Almanac. Thanks, Garrison Keillor.

It's the birthday of playwright Henrik Ibsen, born in Skien, Norway (1828). He was an assistant stage manager for a new theater, where it was his job to produce a new drama each year based on Norway's glorious past. He produced a number of plays, but none got any attention. Overworked and on the edge of poverty, he applied to the government for a stipend to travel abroad, and got it. He spent the next 27 years living in Italy and Germany.

He found that by leaving his homeland, he could finally see Norway clearly, and he began to work on creating a true Norwegian drama. At a time when most people were writing plays full of sword fights and murders, Ibsen started to write plays about relationships between ordinary people. He used dialogue rather than monologues to reveal his characters' emotions, and he stopped writing in verse. He said, "We are no longer living in the age of Shakespeare. ... What I desire to depict [are] human beings, and therefore I [will] not let them talk the language of the gods."

One of Ibsen's first important plays was A Doll's House (1879), about a woman named Nora who refuses to obey her husband and eventually leaves him, walking out of the house and slamming the door in the final scene. When it was first produced, European audiences were shocked, and it sparked debate about women's rights and divorce across the continent. It also changed the style of acting. At the time, most actors were praised for their ability to deliver long poetic speeches, but Ibsen emphasized small gestures, the inflection of certain words, and pauses, and he inspired a new generation of actors to begin embodying the characters they played.

A Doll's House made Ibsen a celebrity across Europe. His play Ghosts (1881) came out two years later.
Henrik Ibsen said, "You should never have your best trousers on when you go out to fight for freedom and truth."

I personally preferred Hedda Gabler over A Doll's House, even though Hedda is a manipulative witch who, quite frankly, deserved her untimely end. But that's just me.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Happy Birthday to Hester Prynne

from Garrison Keillor's Writers Almanac:

It was on this day in 1850 that Nathaniel Hawthorne's masterpiece, The Scarlet Letter, was published. He was living at a time when there was almost no such thing as American literature, in part because the American publishing industry was so behind the times. In order to publish a book, a single printer would edit the manuscript, set the type, operate the printing press, bind the pages into books, and then sell them. It was remarkably inefficient, and so it was almost impossible to produce a best-seller, since so few copies were available to be sold.

But by 1850, books were being printed by machines. Long, continuous sheets of paper were fed into steam-powered printing presses, and factories of workers folded, pressed, and stitched the pages into books. The Scarlet Letter became the first great American novel in part because it was the first great American novel that could reach a large audience. A total of 2,500 copies of The Scarlet Letter were published on March 16, and they sold out within 10 days.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Sticks & Stones book review

As the title suggests, Susan Meissner tackles the subject of bullying in her second Rachael Flynn mystery.

Rachael, now working at the Ramsey County attorney’s office in Minnesota, receives a disturbing, unsigned letter:

“They’re going to find a body at the River Terrace construction site. He deserved what he got, but it wasn’t supposed to happen. It was an accident.”

The body turns out to be that of a fifteen-year-old boy, long presumed to have run away; he’d been buried for over twenty years. Initial research confirms that he had been a neighborhood bully, terrorizing all the children on his street, unstoppable by adults, school, or police.

Rachael and detective Will Pendleton begin to search for answers: how the bully died, and for the person who wrote the letter.

Rachael has a strong sense that the writer of the letter is among those whom the bully tormented on the street where his body was discovered. One by one, Will and Rachael interview the now-adult victims, and the nagging sense Rachael has about an old abandoned house won’t leave her alone.

Sticks & Stones takes place only a few months after Widows & Orphans ends. Trace and Rachael, with baby McKenna, have moved to the loft apartment they purchases at the end of the first book.

However, even though this book is the second in the series, it is not imperative that one reads Widows & Orphans first. Sticks & Stones gives enough background that new readers will not be lost for not having read it.

Rachael remains one of my favorite literary heroines. She is a good woman placed in impossible situations, trying to get a grip on her new spiritual gift. Trying, as we all are, to make sense of life, balancing work and family and a growing desire to fulfill God’s purpose for her life.

Trace and Fig’s artist friends add a helping artistic hand with the investigation, just as in the first book—and their artistic visions help Rachael immeasurably.

Sticks & Stones is an excellent follow-up to Widows & Orphans. Book three, Days & Hours, is scheduled for a September 2007 publication.

Susan Meissner continues to tackle the unpleasant issues of life in the 21st century with very human characters and a very real sense of God's presence.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

What books have you read?

Got this from Lori and I thought it was a good one...and if you want to be tagged, and you're reading this, CONSIDER YOURSELF TAGGED! YOU'RE IT!

Look at the list of books below.
Bold: I have read
Italics: I’d like to read
Regular type: Not interested in

Look at the list of books below.
Bold: I have readItalics: I’d like to read
Regular type: Not interested in

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)

31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell) (I think I read this in high school…)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

All We Ever Wanted: A Review

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