Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Waiting for Isaac

video
 It’s 9:30 am, Wednesday, Sept 29. Seven years to the day when Katrina hit. I’m sitting in my gazebo, waiting for the Isaac to come through Brandon, Miss. The feeder bands – the outside edges of the hurricane - are arriving now. My house faces north so as I sit here, the gray clouds are making a huge arc from east to west, outlining the hurricane. Kind of eerie.
  Waiting for this storm is a nerve wracking even when you know it’s not going to be very bad. No one up here in the Jackson area is stocking up on food, or gas. Life is pretty much normal. I’ve prepared. All the hanging pots are taken down – they could turn into missiles in the high winds - the potted plants have been tucked away in bushes or brought in. Outdoor furniture cushions removed, everything tied down and stowed.  
   The wind is coming and going. When it’s calm the air is humid and still. There’s a heavy feeling in the air. Then the wind rushes through and cools everything down a bit. I wish I could stay here in the gazebo and let the wind whip around but when the rain gets here I’d be drenched. And a tree might fall on me out here. We lost three 40ft pine trees and one oak tree seven years ago. We lived in the gazebo for 4 days after Katrina since we didn’t have power.
  The main problem this time will be rain. Lots and lots of rain. Having lived many years in Louisiana I know those folks are in for some rough times. The land is low and doesn’t hold much water, there’s no place for it to go. Swamp land, you know.
   A stiff breeze just passed through sending my wind chimes singing. Guess I’d better haul them down too. I left the hummingbird feeders up because the little guys are still eating like crazy. We have four in the yard right now, all heading south. I’ve tried to take their picture but they are too fast for my I-pad.
    The wind is becoming steadier, not much break in it now. Right now it’s heavenly out here. 81 degrees, the breeze is cool and gentle. My roses are beautiful; I even have a couple of blossoms on the magnolia tree. Unusual for this time of year. I could almost forget there’s a storm coming. The sky is light again none of those gray clouds in the video. It won’t last.
   Maybe the Lord is trying to speak to us through this kind of waiting period. The clouds come and go. The sky darkens and brightens, the wind blows off and on and while we live in anticipation of a storm today, we should be living in anticipation of Him the rest of the time.
   LOL as I typed that last word, the sun came out. But it won’t last. Nothing does. Not life. Not families, not possessions. Not book contracts or lack of book contracts. He alone lasts and is forever. So while I wait for Isaac, I want to remember who waits for me at the end of these storms in life.
 
God Bless
 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


I’m so excited to welcome award winning, bestselling author Sandra Robbins to my blog. Sandra, Thank you so much for stopping by.                                                                      
 
Tell us about your new book Angel of the Cove, your first full length historical from Harvest House and book one in the Smokey Mountain Dreams series.

            Angel of the Cove is a historical romance set in 1894 in Cades Cove, Tennessee, a remote valley in the Smoky Mountains. Anna Prentiss has never wanted to be anything but a nurse. Before she can start school in New York, however, her brother sends her to Cades Cove, deep in the Smoky Mountains, to spend a summer apprenticing to the local midwife. Anna is determined to prove herself and then head to the big city.     
    But nothing could have prepared Anna for the beauty of the Cove, or the community and friendships she finds there. And she certainly wasn't prepared for Simon Martin, the handsome young minister, or the feelings he arouses in her. Has God's plan for Anna changed? Or is she just starting to hear Him clearly?

Mountain Homecoming, Book 2 in the series, will release in March, and the third book will release later next year.

Most readers know you from your exciting Love Inspired Suspense novels. Angel of the Cove is a new direction for you. How did that come about and do you have any difficulty moving between the two different genres?

When I first began to write, I wanted to write historical romance. When I went to my first writers’ conference, I discovered that editors were more interested in other genres at that time. I’ve always been a big fan of mystery/suspense/ thrillers, so I decided to try my hand at writing a cozy mystery. I sold that book and then sent a proposal to Love Inspired Suspense for a romantic suspense novel. It’s been wonderful writing for that line, and I’ve really enjoyed it. I recently signed a new contract with them that will bring my total in the LIS line to nine books.

However, historical romance is still dear to my heart, and I kept persevering with Anna’s story. I seem to move between my stories set in the past and my contemporary ones without any problems. In my suspense stories my research tends to revolve around police procedurals while my historicals deal with how life was lived in days gone by. I find both fascinating.

Is there a part of writing a book that is most enjoyable to you? Such as, laying out the plot, creating the characters, doing the research?

Although research takes a lot of time, I think that is the most enjoyable to me. I like finding the answers to questions I have that relate to the book. Also you never can tell where your search is going to lead. I may start out looking for one thing and I may find myself going in an entirely different direction. For instance I was recently researching the first hospital in a particular area and came across an article about a hotel that was connected to the grounds of this hospital by a footpath. Since this hotel had been important to the area, I had written it into the story, but I had it miles away from the hospital. So I had to go back in the manuscript and change that.

Every author and aspiring writer has a different faith journey. How has yours unfolded?

I’ve always had a deep faith in God and have known He was guiding me throughout my life. However, my eyes have been opened so much more to this since I have been writing. I was a teacher and a principal. I had no idea how anybody went about getting published, but I knew I wanted to write. And I wanted to write books that would uplift people and strengthen their faith in God.

I can only shake my head in amazement at how God put people  I’d never heard of in my path and blessed me through them. I have had the opportunity over the past few years to work with some wonderful editors, and my agent Natasha Kern is amazing. I can never thank her enough for her guidance and support. Then there’s the thrill I get when a reader sends me an email and tells me how my book has touched her life. I thank God for what He’s done in my life.

If you could offer one piece of advice to struggling writers, what would it be?

            It would be—Never give up. I recently read that Kathryn Stockett received over 70 rejections for the book The Help, but she persevered. She now has a best seller and a movie. That’s not going to happen to all of us, but publication is a real possibility. So keep trying.

I want to mention your latest Love Inspired Suspense book, Fatal Disclosure that released this past spring. (It’s a wonderful book and I urge everyone to pick up a copy.) There was a time when romance publishers wouldn’t touch a suspense plot. Now they can’t get enough of them. Why do you think that is? What the universal appeal of romantic suspense?

I believe one reason romantic suspense sells is because it is a subgenre of romance. Romance novels sell more than any other kind. So women are going to buy a book that promises a good romance. Mystery and suspense novels have always thrilled readers and are still doing it today. I enjoy reading romantic suspense, and I really enjoy writing it. At present I’m working on the first in a LIS three book series about a Cold Case Files Department. I’m looking forward to solving some fictional crimes that have gone unsolved for years. The first book will release next year.

Thank you so much Sandra. I know everyone will be eager to read Angel of the Cove and we’ll be looking forward to book two later this year.

Mountain Homecoming releases in March, 2013.
A Lady’s Choice (Summerside Press) releases in April, 2013   

Sandra Robbins and her husband live in the small college town where she grew up. Until a few years ago she was working as an elementary school principal, but God opened the door for her to become a full-time writer.  Her books have been finalists in the Daphne du Maurier Contest for excellence in mystery writing, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, the Holt Medallion, and the ACFW Carol Award. Since Sandra is a Southerner by birth, she enjoys setting her historical romance and romantic suspense books in both the past and present-day South. Her latest book Angel of the Cove releases August 1 from Harvest House Publishers. To find out more about Sandra and her books go to http://sandrarobbins.net  or send her an email at sandra@sandrarobbins.net