I am beyond ecstatic to announce that my dear friend and crit partner, SARA MILLS, has signed her FIRST-EVER book contract (a two-booker) with Moody Publishers for her 1940s historical mysteries. Miss Fortune, book 1, is all about Allie Fortune, the only female PI in New York City, and is scheduled for Fall 2008 release date. The deal was negotiated by our fabulous agent, STEVE LAUBE.

They call her the P.I. Princess. Allie Fortune is the only female private investigator in New York City and she’s one of the best.
When there’s a knock on her office door at four in the morning, Allie’s first inclination is to ignore it. Someone out on the streets in the middle of the night is usually trouble, either causing it or being chased by it, and Mary Gordon is no exception.
Despite the fact that someone’s following her, that her apartment has been ransacked, and that she’s been shot at, Mary Gordon claims to have no idea who’s after her or what’s going on.
Allie takes her case, but something seems off. Going with what she knows best, Allie unravels the threads of Mary Gordon’s story, and in the process she discovers an international mystery that places her own life in danger.

Please, please, please take a moment to congratulate this awesome lady (privately) on her great news!

Yay, yay, yay, Sara! I'm so proud of you!! Still, I would've taken that contract for you come December's all about the love, girl. :-D

Black Friday Insanity--A New Perspective

Wow! I can't believe we're a mere four days from December! Unbelievable. How did this year sneak by so fast???

Anyway--the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, came and went with a roar (see the photo from MSNBC?). And an aching back!!! This was my first time since I was teen that I worked the retail floor on this notorious day. And I have to say, it was the most disconcerting day I've experienced in a while. I stood behind the register in a large department store, checking out one customer after another, for SEVEN HOURS STRAIGHT! I'm not kidding. I couldn't even dash away for a 15-minute break to wet my hoarse throat because the line constantly replenished itself (kind of it, huh?).

After about 2pm, I had a lunch and came back to moderate traffic at the registers, which allowed me time to tidy up my department. I have to say, y'all--I was disgusted. That's when the whole twisted mentality of Black Friday washed over me. Seeing MOUNDS (literally) of clothing just tossed in a pile. Other shelves absolutely decimated. Hanging racks in absolute disarray. Quite honestly, it made me sick to my stomach. Something was seriously wrong. This couldn't be what Christmas is supposed to be about, right? I heard one customer say, "it's all about making the kids happy."

My gut twisted sideways. No. That's NOT what it's supposed to be about. It's about Christ, about the celebration of His birth. Just as His birth was a gift, so we give gifts as reminders of Love. Not to keep our chidlren's toy appetite or their clothing fetish sated.

Okay. Sorry. I just had to say that. I definitely have a different perspective on shopping this year. Compassion pools into my heart for those cashiers. Sure, they might be a bit slow, but who wouldn't be after dealing with a gazillion customers all day long? Customers who feel it's their RIGHT to be checked out in two minutes or less. SIGH. :-D

Enjoy your holidays--and please, be mindful of that person on the opposite side of the counter from you. If they're in a bad mood, maybe they had the worst possible customer in the world. Maybe their kid is sick at home. Maybe they just found out they have to work overtime and miss a family function. Smile. Say something to them to make their day a little brighter. Friendly customers sure brigthened mine!

Category:   4 Comments
Tricia Goyer's Shadow of Betrayal

I have always loved Tricia Goyer's writing...and this book is no different. She's not only an amazing storyteller, but the way her characters grip your heart is just incredible!!

Book 2 in the Chronicles of the Spanish Civil War series
Sophie discovers that nothing is as she first imagined. When Walt, the reporter who helped her over the border, shows up again after Guernica is bombed, Sophie is given an impossible mission. She must leave behind the man she's fallen in love with and return to the person who betrayed her. Another layer of the war in Spain is revealed as Sophie is drawn into the international espionage schemes that could turn the tide of the war and help protect the soldiers from the International Brigade ... she must find a way to get a critical piece of information to Walt in time.

Q and A with Tricia!

Q: A Shadow of Treason follows A Valley of Betrayal. This is the first time you've written books as a series instead of stand alone. Which way do you like better?

A: I love writing in series. It was great to continue with the same characters. In my stand-alone books I fell in love with these people and then I had to say good-bye after one book. It was wonderful to be able to continue on.

Q: In A Shadow of Treason Sophie must return to the person who betrayed her in an effort to help the Spanish people. It makes the book hard to put down because the reader has to know how Sophie's heart will deal with it. Why did you decide to make this an element of the book?

A: There are very few of us who go through life without giving away a part of our hearts to someone who didn't deserve it. Even though Sophie had the best intentions, she gave away her heart and she was hurt-not only that she must revisit those emotions.

I wanted to include this element-to delve into the topic that emotions are sometimes as big of a trap as any physical cage. Emotions are real and they guide us -- even when we don't want to admit it. Poor Sophie, not only does she have to deal with a war around her -- she also has to deal with a war within herself. It's something I've battled, and mostly likely others have too.

Q: There is an interesting element that arises in this book and that is Spanish gold. I know you can't tell us what happens in this book, but can you give us a brief history of this gold?

A: Sure. When I was researching I came upon something interesting. The Spaniards, as we know, had taken much Aztec and Inca gold during the time of the conquistadors. Well, at the start of The Spanish Civil War much of this gold was still held in Madrid. In fact Spain had the fourth largest gold reserves in the world at that time. The Republican government was afraid Franco would take the city and the gold. They had to get it out of Madrid and this included transporting priceless artifacts. The element of gold does make its way into my story. It was great to include this little-known (and true!) element into my story.

Q: Another historical fact I learned about was the Nazi involvement during this time. Not only were the Germans active in Spain, but they had spy networks busy around the world. How did you find out about this?

A: I love reading tons of research books. Usually I find one little element that I dig out and turn into a plot line. This is what happened with my plot-line for the Nazi pilot, Ritter. I dug up this bit of research of Nazi involvement in Spain -- and the United States -- because a lot of people aren't aware of the Nazi involvement prior to WWII. The truth is they were busy at work getting the land, information, and resources they needed far before they threatened the nations around them. The Germans knew what they wanted and how to get it. And most of the time they succeeded!

Q: A Shadow of Treason is Book Two. When will Book Three be out? Can you give us a hint of how the story continues?

A: Book Three is A Whisper of Freedom. It will be out February 2008. The characters that we love are all still in the midst of danger at the end of Book Two. Book Three continues their stories as we follow their journeys in -- and (for a few) out -- of Spain. It's an exciting conclusion to the series!

Q: Wow, so we have a least one more fiction book to look forward to in the near future. Are you working on any non-fiction?

A: Yes, I have two non-fiction books that will be out the early part of 2008. Generation NeXt Marriage is a marriage book for today's couples. It talks about our marriage role models, our struggles, and what we're doing right as a generation. It also gives advice for holding it together.

I've also been privileged to work on the teen edition of Max Lucado's book 3:16. It was a great project to work on. What an honor!

Tricia is available for further interview. Contact Amy with your ideas and questions!

Tricia's Bio:

Tricia Goyer has published over 300 articles for national publications such as Today's Christian Woman, Guideposts for Kids, and Focus on the Family, and is the co-author of Meal Time Moments (Focus on the Family). She has led numerous Bible Studies, and her study notes appear in the Women of Faith Study Bible (Zondervan).

She has written seven novels for Moody Publishing:
From Dust and Ashes (2003)
Night Song (2004)
Dawn of a Thousand Nights (2005);
Arms of Deliverance (2006)
A Valley of Betrayal (2007)
A Shadow of Treason (Fall 2007)
A Whisper of Freedom (February 2008)
Night Song was awarded American Christian Fiction Writer's 2005 Book of the Year for Best Long Historical. Dawn of a Thousand Nights won the same award in 2006.

Tricia has also written Life Interrupted: The Scoop on Being a Young Mom (Zondervan, 2004), 10 Minutes to Showtime (Thomas Nelson, 2004), and Generation NeXt Parenting (Multnomah, 2006). Life Interrupted was a 2005 Gold Medallion finalist in the Youth Category.

Also, coming out in the next year are: My Life, Unscripted (Thomas Nelson, 2007), Generation NeXt Marriage (Multnomah, Spring 2008), and 3:16-the teen version of the a book by Max Lucado (Thomas Nelson, Spring 2008).

Tricia and her husband John live with their three children in Kalispell, Montana. Tricia's grandmother also lives with them, and Tricia volunteers mentoring teen moms and leading children's church. Although Tricia doesn't live on a farm, she can hit one with a rock by standing on her back porch and giving it a good throw.
Important Links!

First Chapter:
Amazon Link:

Book 1, A Valley of Betrayal:

Tricia's Website:

Under Construction

Hey, all! I'm moving some things around, adding new elements, and deleting others. Please let me know what you think of the changes. It's all about keeping up with the times...Oh! And stop by my all-new blog to see what Top Secret material you can pilfer. :-D

Happy Birthday, Dineen!!!!!!!!!!


and that picture just says EVERYTHING!!

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Salute to Our Amazing Veterans

Well, I spent the day traveling to attend a Veteran's Program in Grand Prairie, TX (two hours north of us). It was so very moving, and it was so beautifully time with the building concept of my new series.

Below, you'll find a salute to veterans created/forwarded by the incredible Tricia Goyer. Check it out!! From the bottom of my heart and my family's--THANK YOU TO ALL SERVICEMEN AND SERVICEWOMEN!!

~~Forever Grateful~~

Veteran's Day is a time to remember:

In 2000, I got my idea for what came to be my first historical novel, From Dust and Ashes. Wanting to know more about the 23 men who liberated Mauthausen concentration camp, I contacted the 11th Armored Division who put me in touch with six of the veterans. These men then invited me to attend the 59th reunion of their division. I wasn't expecting that at all. I thought they'd point me to a good research book or allow me to interview them over the phone.

I felt SO unworthy to meet with these men. I knew very little about WWII, and I didn't want my inexperience to show. Not to mention the $1000+ for airfare, hotels, rental car for a book I didn't have a contract to write.

I urged a friend to go with me, and I've been so thankful we went. The men were caring and opened their hearts to me. They shared stories with me that they hadn't shared with anyone before. They laughed. They cried. They took my hands and thanked me for caring about their story. They hugged me and kissed my cheeks.

When it came to writing my novel, I wasn't writing about fictional characters. I was writing pieces of Charlie's story, bits of Arthur's experiences. The memories that made LeRoy cry made it into my book. The snapshots that Tarmo carried around in his mind for 60 years transformed into scenes in my novel (and the novels to follow!).

I get many letters from readers who say that my novels come to life on the pages--that's because the men's experiences came to life to me as I looked into their eyes and saw glimpses of young heroes. Also, the following year I went to Europe and walked the streets of the SS housing with a man who'd been nine-years-old when the camp opened near his home. Again, I "saw" the story in his eyes as he shared--this time from someone on the outside.

There was an added benefit to this diligent research that I didn't expect. After my second novel Night Song came out I received a letter from a veteran. He made a list of twenty minor research points that I'd gotten right, and then he asked, "One thing I didn't understand was the faith element of this story. Can you tell me more about your faith in God?"


Because I had done the research, I'd was able to share about my Jesus with a veteran who has since passed away.

One more fun thing I didn't expect. One of the men I met at the reunion was Pete. Pete was a medic--the one medic I met. Years later I received a letter from a reader who had read From Dust and Ashes. She was a survivor of Mauthausen--actually, she was born there. When she was 3-weeks-old she was close to death. When the gates were open a medic spent a full day lancing and cleaning infected boils on her skin, saving her life. She asked me if I knew any medics. I knew one, and I passed on his phone number. It turns out Pete was the one who saved her life! They have since met on numerous occasions.

If I hadn't gone to that reunion I wouldn't have met Pete, and I wouldn't have been able to connect him with Hana--what a God thing!

Of course, I do have regrets concerning research, too. In my most recent series on the Spanish Civil War I received a letter from a SCW veteran who said he was willing to help me with research. The letter got put into my "very important" pile on my desk and weeks and months passed. I pulled it out again, and I planned on calling him when I heard from someone else that this man had passed away. That has happened more than once with men who offered to be interviewed, and I'm always regretful of the "one more story" I missed. After all, once gone they are gone for good.

If you have a veteran in your life ... today is the perfect day to reach out--to listen to his or her story. Don't let the stories die, when you have a chance to make a difference.

Below are photos of a few of the men I've interviewed.

To read some of their stories, go to:

To see more photos (including real photos from the liberation of Mauthausen) go to:

To watch my NEW video about my WWII Liberators Series, go click here.

Challenging is Writing is Challenging

Okay, those who are writers already know that writing is challenging. And lately, the mere act of finding time to write since I work now has been a HUGE challenge. All the same, I'm working on a new story concept that I'm very impassioned about...and I sent the kernal of an idea to my agent. He said it was very strong, but at the same time, he encouraged me to not let the story come out of the first thing that comes to mind (which is typical, sage advice--we should always go deeper!!). To let it percolate. I'm so glad he challenged me with this story because I've tried this last week to write on the story, and of the five scenes, 2.5 chapters, I've written (which pales in comparison--I usually write two chapters in a DAY, not a WEEK--booohoooo!!!!), I've scrapped all but one chapter. That's not normal for a matter of fact, it's been quite depressing. So, I've been praying about this a lot.
And I just kept praying, "Jesus, help me. Please help me."
He did. An idea hit me last night. One that made me stop and just suck in my breath. At first, I admit that I rejected the idea, thought it might belong to a sequel of this series. But I couldn't get away from the idea. So I decided I'd write out a short blurb on each of the subsequent book concepts to see where the idea fit. That's where i discovered this new idea--which a major plot twist--fits exactly in this new story. I brainstormed with my amazing husband, and I'm getting stoked about this story. Elements are taking shape. Conflict is ratcheting. My exitement meter is rising! :-)

What about you? What challenges are you facing in your own writing at the moment?

The Lost Sheep by Brandt Dodson

The Lost Sheep by Brandt Dodson is a great read. The characters are sharp and on the go. Brandt sets up a compelling mystery, this time entangling hero Colton Parker’s daughter in the web of danger and intrigue. So many times mysteries disappoint me with their endings, the climax feeling contrived or wane. Not so with Brandt’s book. I felt very satisfied with the culmination of the story. Recommended for all those PI-style readers out there—and those who aren’t! Hurry over to Amazon and grab yourself a copy now!!!