Friday, October 20, 2006

Spotlighting: Together For Good by Melanie Dobson

As the vice president of Nulte PR, Abby Wagner has managed to bury her pain by immersing herself in work. However, her life soon begins to unravel when she is assigned a new public relations campaign for Heartsong Adoptions, the firm that had torn her family apart 20 years ago. Before long, she finds her job on the line as past anguish resurfaces.

When Abby’s daughter Jessica decides to spend the summer on Orcas Island, the childhood playground she had once enjoyed with her father, Abby finally returns to the family cottage she has avoided since the day her son had been stolen from her life.

While on the island, Abby reunites with her childhood friend Damian De Lucia, who runs a tour boat business on Puget Sound. Prompted by Damian’s concern about the dwindling number of orca’s returning to the Sound each year, Abby embarks on a PR campaign to help publicize their plight.

As Abby works through her past, she discovers the God really does work all things out for the good of those who love him.

Together for Good is a beautifully written story of God’s love and redemption for us all. In the midst of our pain, we often fail to see any good in the situation and are blinded to the overall picture God has painted regarding our lives. In her debut novel, Melanie Dobson has illustrated Romans 8:28 with tenderness and very real characters.

Set in the beautiful Puget Sound, Melanie successfully weaves two storylines into a well crafted novel which highlights both the pain and joy of adoption and the effects of pollution on wildlife.

Whether you have been touched by adoption or not, you don’t want to miss this novel with its heart-warming characters and beautiful scenery.

Five Questions With Melanie Dobson

As well as writing, you also run a publicity firm, Dobson Media. How do you juggle these two jobs with your role as wife and mom?

I took a hiatus from Dobson Media when I signed the contract for my second novel, though I still do a few publicity projects on the side. Until we had kids, I had no idea how challenging it would be to balance work with taking care of our home and spending quality time with my family. I seem to have no problem throwing things up into the air, but I don't always catch them when I should (I'm talking about housework here, not children...). I've been blessed with an amazing husband who is a true teammate when it comes to parenting, but our house usually looks like a tornado came through (actually two tornadoes--a two- and three-year-old named Kiki and Karly). Cooking is, well, something I did before we adopted our girls, and I no longer have time for those long, hot baths I used to love. I've learned to prioritize which often means stopping to watch a worm inch across the patio instead of working on my next chapter. I delve into writing the instant the girls are tucked into bed.

Together for Good is a poignant novel surrounding adoption. As a mother of two successfully adopted daughters, what was your inspiration behind this story?

We adopted our first daughter, Karly, three years ago. We were going through the process with some close friends who were adopting a boy, but before their birthmother relinquished her rights, she showed up at their front door and said she'd changed her mind and wanted her baby back. Our friends were devastated when they had to "return" the boy they'd come to love as their son, yet they clung to their faith in God through the whole process. Together for Good is the result of my own search to discover how God could use a heart wrenching situation like this for good.

You manage to bring Orcas Island to life in Together for Good. Have you lived there yourself, or did you have to do a lot of research for the setting?

I love Orcas Island! A few years ago, Jon surprised me by taking me there for my birthday, and we discovered a serene getaway where we could rest and hike and enjoy God's creation. For me, writing about the rugged terrain and peaceful waterways in the Puget Sound was the next best thing to living there.

What is the one thing you would like readers to discover when they read Together for Good?

Even when we don't understand what is happening, God has a plan for every man and woman who loves him.

What do readers have to look forward to in the future from Melanie Dobson?

Novel #2 comes out next year. This one is called Going for Broke, and it's about a woman who is trapped in a gambling addiction. I'm currently working on my third novel as well which is tentatively titled The Black Cloister (May 2008). I'd initially wanted to write something fun for my next project since my first two novels drained me emotionally, but God placed a story in my heart about a woman who was born into an abusive religious cult. It's hardly the light book I'd been hoping to write, but the story has been pouring out me and I pray it will offer hope and healing to people who've been abused by "spiritual" leaders.

For more information about Melanie Dobson, check out her Web sites: and

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance Review: VIOLETTE BETWEEN

VIOLETTE BETWEEN is a bitter sweet love story between two young widows searching for love a second time around. When tragedy strikes and Violette is trapped in a coma, she begins to relive the life she had with her first love, husband Saul.

As Christian sits and waits by her bedside, he also finds himself drawn back to the loss of his wife and begins to journal his thoughts.

On the precipice of death, Violette is faced with a choice. Can she let go of her desire to remain with Saul and risk loving again?

VIOLETTE BETWEEN is a beautiful character driven novel that will leave readers contemplating the wonder of eternal life.

Back cover copy:

Between here and the past, there lies a place . . .

A place of longing for what has been rather than hoping for what could be.

A true artist, Violette is passionate and emotional. Climbing back into life after suffering a loss, she teeters on the precipice of a new relationship with Christian, a psychologist who not only understands her struggles but offers safety and his heart.

As Violette and Christian begin to feel something they both thought impossible, tragedy strikes again. Violette becomes trapped in a place of past memories—and she finds she may not want to come back. What would it be like to choose a place between the past and the present?

About the Author:

Alison Strobel graduated with a degree in elementary education, and in the summer of 2000 she moved from Chicago to southern California where she taught elementary school for three years. It was in Orange County that she met her husband, Daniel Morrow, and the story developed for her first novel, Worlds Collide.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Spotlighting: The Best of Evil by Eric Wilson

“Live by the sword, die by the sword.”

Aramis Black had lived by the motto tattooed on his arms until the day an old friend stuck a gun to his temple. Within hours of his life being spared, Aramis fled to Nashville to start over.

Now living with his brother, Johnny Ray, and managing Black’s, a successful espresso shop, Aramis thought his past was behind him. But he couldn’t run from the memory of watching his mother’s murder, or the bitter resentment he held toward his father and uncle.

When the handkerchief his mother had given him the morning of her death reappears, Aramis finds his past suddenly colliding with his future. Within hours of the handkerchief’s reappearance, a man is shot dead in the espresso shop, his dying words hauntingly familiar: Spare your soul and turn your eyes from greed. The very words Aramis’s mother had spoken before her murder.

Helped by Johnny Ray’s gentle prodding, Aramis embarks on a journey to uncover a centuries-old mystery that could hold the key to unlocking the truth behind his mother’s death. Along the way, family secrets are revealed and Aramis must learn forgiveness and reconciliation.

THE BEST OF EVIL is Eric Wilson’s third novel and the first release of his new Aramis Black mystery series. Not only has Eric jumped from the suspense genre to mystery, but this is also his first novel in first person narrative. For readers who find first person narrative a bit restricting, be prepared to be pleasantly surprised as this story unfolds flawlessly through Aramis’s eyes.

Eric introduces us to a colorful cast of characters who are both unique and quirky, but also very real. There’s wannabe singer Johnny Ray with his penchant for Tabasco boxers, Samantha Rosewood with her Southern airs, Freddy C with his suspicious ways, Tina with her rhyming mutterings, not to mention reformed drug user Aramis, among others.

Set in Nashville and its surrounding area, Eric weaves in just enough description and history for readers to get a feel for the backdrop without overloading the story.

THE BEST OF EVIL will entertain and intrigue you as it draws you into the mystery surrounding American explorer Meriwether Lewis’s death and a rumored hidden treasure. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled; you just might uncover the location of Lewis’s lost gold.

A SHRED OF TRUTH, Book Two of the Aramis Black Mystery Series, releases in the summer of 2007.

Five Questions with Eric Wilson

You juggle a day job with family and writing. Can you describe a typical day in the life of Eric Wilson?

Until recently, I was under contractual deadlines. So, I helped get the kids off to school, then planted my backside in my desk chair and wrote until late at night, with a break here or there for coffee, kisses with my wife, and circulation through the legs. I listen to loud music to block out everything else, and I write and write and write. I finished the sequel to THE BEST OF EVIL this way. It's called A SHRED OF TRUTH, and it'll be out next summer. Of course, I also work a "real" job at FedEx Kinko's in Nashville. I like the job, but it's hard to balance that and my writing sometimes. My boss has been flexible, letting me work four ten-hour days to have two free days, that sort of thing. Right now, I've cut down to two days a week, so that I can finish some more proposals and sample chapters--anything to try to sell another idea before the end of the year.

Where did the idea for THE BEST OF EVIL originate from?

My editor actually called and asked if I'd be interested in doing a mystery series set in Tennessee. At first, I was hesitant. I didn't own the idea. Once the name Aramis Black came to me, though, it was my baby. I decided to saddle Aramis with some troubles from his past, including some troubles reaching back two hundred years--of which he is totally unaware, of course. The story unfolded from there, using Nashville and the city's history as a central character.

Your novels have all contained an element of history. Is history something you are naturally interested in and how do you go about researching your ideas?

Believe it or not, I despised history class in school. Two things brought history to life for me. One: travelling overseas after high school and seeing castles, old towns, ancient countries. Two: reading WWII spy novels in high school, which often included "what if" elements, playing with history in subtle ways. Jack Higgins, Len Deighton, Alistair MacLean--they were masters at it. When I decide upon a historical element, I research it online and in books, look for little-known facts, and then start playing with ideas. Truthfully, the element in THE BEST OF EVIL is very believable, if you read up on the subject.

Last year you visited Romania and later mentioned that it inspired an idea for a novel. Can you tell us a bit more about this idea?

I'm already working on the first in my Jerusalem's Undead Trilogy. The title: FIELD OF BLOOD. It's based on the Akeldama, mentioned in Scripture, the place where Judas Iscariot died after betraying Jesus. What if (there I go again, with the "what ifs") his blood seeped down into the tombs of that cemetery and infused the dead with his enmity for Christ? What if these undead were released in 1988 when an actual bulldozer accidentally broke into that two-thousand year old graveyard? Hmmm.

What can readers look forward to in the future from Eric Wilson?

That's a question for a publisher out there to answer. I have no contracts. No books under deadline. But I have lots of ideas, lots of excitement, and plenty of discipline. I hope to finish the Senses Series, as well as the Aramis Black Mysteries. Pray that God will open the right doors for my future in this career. By the end of the year, I'll be seriously reevaluating my direction.

For more information about Eric Wilson, check out his Web site:

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