Because You Asked…
Hi, everyone. As you might know, I’ve been ill and am facing a surgery (just a little one, thank goodness), so I’m behind on responding to your questions. I thought I’d address those I can respond to publicly here. (I am working on the ones where I need to answer privately. I apologize for the delay and ask for your indulgence. In total, I receive over a thousand emails each day. I am trying to catch up, not ignoring a single one. Please be patient with me.)
Q. I can’t find DOWN AND DEAD IN EVEN, the short story after Down and Dead in Dixie. Where can I get a copy?
Right now, you can’t. (Sorry!) Due to a My Evil Valentine glitch, there’s a delay. After June 11th it will be available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo in digital format. Since it is a short story (about 14,000 words) it won’t be available in print. However all the readers have free reading devices, so if you’re reading this post, you’ll be able to read the story.
Q. You haven’t put in your newsletter that Her Perfect Life is out, but I’ve seen it at the online book store. I saw your note that you rewrote it as a Clean Read book. Why did you do that when it’s gotten awards and everything?
I haven’t done a newsletter due to illness, which is why I haven’t yet announced the release. Another item to do on my list for which I apologize but honestly couldn’t avoid. Sorry.
Yes, I did rewrite the story as a clean read. Clean reads by definition contain no foul language, no excessive violence and if there are bedroom doors in the book, they are closed, which is a polite way of saying the story does not contain explicit sex.
Several years ago, I began writing Christian fiction and writing general market stories suitable for young adult readers. I choose to bridge the gap between my general market books and my Christian fiction books when I can by making the stories suitable for both. That’s what I’ve done with multiple other books I had written early on, and with Her Perfect Life. I’ve also done so with Duplicity, which is also a big award winner and now out but not yet announced due to the illness.
Why I rewrote these books is a little more complex than just crossover marketing. It goes into my purpose—as a person and as a writer. I’ll try to explain but honestly it’s hard because it’s one of those things that has so many tenacles, it’d take a book to fully explain. The short version follows.
I’m a Bridge-Walker. What I mean by that is I have one foot in the secular world and one foot in the Christian world. I love many people in both, and my purpose, if you will, is to walk the bridge, to continue to live my life and for my work to span both.
You see, I write healing books. But going back to when I was a kid, people came to me with their troubles. Not because I had all the answers—I don’t and never have or will—but because I listened and did what I could to help them find their answers. While problems might be similar, there are always differences and they’re important. What is wrong or right for one person in his/her situation, might be right or wrong for another. So others can’t really find answers for you. They can hear you, listen to you, ask questions, and explore with you and that can lead you to see things you didn’t see or offer insights you lacked that can aid you in finding your own answers—the ones that are right for you.
That spills over into my writing and work and always has. I write healing books—that’s my author theme. Those who are lost, struggling, can’t find solutions see characters in my books facing situations and having those struggles and challenges and they find their solutions. So readers discover that solutions do exist—and if the character found them, then readers can too.
In short, that’s the bottomline. Yes, I could have written a new book in the time it took to rewrite Her Perfect Life. Any of them that I’ve rewritten. But in each of them there were those struggles and they’re significant ones that many readers are facing today. If the stories can benefit my readers, I’m going to invest in them. I’m going to do all I can to offer them whatever I have to offer to help them. That’s why I wrote the stories and why I rewrote the stories.
Her Perfect Life is about a female soldier who was shot down and deemed dead. Her husband and children mourned and went on with their lives. Six years later, we discover the soldier wasn’t dead but had been taken prisoner. She’d been tortured and lived through hell for those six years. All that kept her going was the hope of getting home to her family.
In the story, she does get home. Only home isn’t there anymore. Her family has moved on. Her husband’s remarried, her kids barely remember her, and everything in her life that had made it hers is gone. She doesn’t even have the luxury of diskliking the new wife because she’s a great woman who’d been wonderful to her children and to her parents.
So she has nothing except her old co-pilot who feels seriously guilty because he believed she was dead and left her there. He’d been rescued. She hadn’t.
How does she cope? Rebuild? All while suffering PTS (aka PTSD) and having flashbacks she isn’t sure are memories or fears.
This was an incredibly important book to me. If it can help one person cope, I’d rewrite it not just once but a hundred times.
Each of the books I’ve rewritten have their own similar story that make them worth the effort.
Thanks so much for the questions. I hope you enjoy the new version of this story.
Q. Are all of the Down and Dead, Inc. books going to be about Rose and Matthew?
The books will follow Rose and Matthew, yes. The short stories between the books like Down and Dead in Even and Down and Dead in Fern (working on it now), will not. They will be on other characters introduced in Dixie. For example, in Even, Jackson, Rose’s brother plays a key role, as does Sampson Park and Lester and Mr. Perini and Emily. Rose and Matthew briefly appear, but the story is not theirs.
I wanted to follow Rose and Matthew’s adventures, and I love them as characters. But I also wanted to do stories on some of the others. This is a colorful cast and they’re all so interesting to me. So books are Rose and Matthew and their adventures with cameo appearances from some of the other characters in Dixie. Short stories are about one of the other characters and something interesting happening in his/her life.
Thanks so much for asking.
Q. You used to blog every day. Now you blog a couple times a week on different topics. Why don’t you blog everyday anymore?
Bluntly put, time. I do an article once a week for the Social N Global network, articles for the Book Fun organization, and I had five blogs. I couldn’t do new articles on all of them every day and write books. Something had to give, and it was me. With the exception of Christians Read, I combined the separate blogs into one with sections, (My Kitchen Table, My Faith Zone, Thinking Aloud, and On Writing) and I started out posting on a rotating basis—a section each day. But then I had to have surgery and we all know too well all that’s happened since. I just couldn’t do it. So I post what I can when I can. It hasn’t been much by typical standards, but it’s been all I’ve had to give. After the June 12th surgery is behind me and I’m healed, I hope to get back on schedule. Between now and then, I will continue to do what I can as I am able.
Thanks for posting that you miss the regular posts. That means a great deal to me.
Q. I’ve enjoyed your writing articles for a long time. Could you tell me why you have them for sale on Kindle but free in your writing library?
The articles have always been free on my website library. The writing articles typically start out in a workshop or blog post and then are added to the On Writing library. No charge.
But when ereaders got popular, I received a lot of requests to make them available on Kindle. I could do that but couldn’t make them free. The least amount that I could make them was 99 cents. Writers wanted them anyway, so I made them available. I have been vocal about the articles being available for free but if you want the Kindle copy, I can’t make those permanently free.
As a sidenote, the funds that come in on those articles support the special projects that benefit writers. Christians Read, Blog Alliance, Chapter 1 Zone and all the other projects. That’s always been the case. They don’t pay for them, but they do help.
Q. Are you going to write more LOST, INC. books?
Honest as I can be, I don’t know. I’ve done three projects—Survive the Night, Christmas Countdown, and Torn Loyalties—and the books have done well. Torn Loyalties has been on the inspirational list for over a year. But during the wait to see if readers would like the books, I started on the Down and Dead, Inc. series, and I do have to write at least two more books in that series first.
I’ve also been asked to do another series and am weighing that. It’s romantic suspense, following the same two characters. I’m debating.
I’ve had a lot of requests to do more Lost, Inc. books, requests to do more Crossroads Crisis Center books and more books in the War Games series. I’ve also had requests to do more books like Mind Reader and Festival.
Maybe I should put up a poll and let readers decide what I’ll write next. Good idea? Bad idea? Obviously I love them all or I wouldn’t have written them to start with, so maybe we’ll just do that—ask readers and do whatever they most want.
Thanks so much for asking.
And, dear friends, that’s it for me this time. I’m out of fuel and need to go rest a bit. I want you to know how much your notes and cards mean to me. It’s such a blessing to be out of commission and for someone to notice much less send such lovely notes that one is missed. I’m grateful for you.
Believe me when I say that no one will be more grateful than I am when I get back to normal. My normal is warp speed and this turtle walk is making me nuts. J
My gratitude to you all. Thanks for keeping in touch!