Thursday, August 27, 2009

Welcome Janet Dean! Win a Copy of her Book...

I'm so thrilled to welcome my good friend Janet Dean today. She's going to answer a few of my questions and will be giving away a copy of her newest release, Courting the Doctor's Daughter in a drawing among those who comment and leave contact information. So be sure to comment! You don't want to miss her wonderful books.

1. Janet, I just love your writing. It's so evocative. Do you have to do a lot of research for your setting and time period?

Thanks for inviting me to your blog today, Missy. Huge thanks for the lovely compliment! I love your books! We’re both blessed to write for Steeple Hill.

As to research, all three of my sold books take place in small Midwestern towns in the late 1800s so most of the basic research I did for the first book carried over to the others. Once I knew the basics, I loved exploring the specific historical elements that anchor my stories. Courting Miss Adelaide and Courting the Doctor’s Daughter center around the orphan train phenomena. Over a seventy-year period, 250,000 orphaned and half-orphaned children living in New York City’s orphanages, or on the streets, rode trains to new homes in the Midwest and beyond. To write Courting the Doctor’s Daughter, I also investigated medical practices, medical schools and herbal medicine. With The Substitute Bride, February 2010, I explored the amazing stories of real life mail-order brides. I love history and can get caught up in research. Though the facts can be frustrating when they don’t support the story I want to write. :)

2. For those who haven’t yet read your books, could you give a little blurb of each?

Courting Miss Adelaide: The “orphan train” seemed like small-town spinster Adelaide Crum’s last chance to know the simple joys of family life. So many lost children, every one of them dreaming only of a caring home—the home she longed to offer. And yet the narrow-minded town elders refused to entrust even the most desperate child to a woman alone….

Newspaperman Charles Graves believed his heart was closed forever, but he swore to stand by this lovely, lonely woman who was fighting for the right to take some motherless child into her heart. And her gentle soul and unwavering faith made him wonder if even he could overcome the bitter lessons of the past, and somehow find the courage to love….

Courting the Doctor’s Daughter: A widow with three boys to raise, Mary Graves has no time for peddlers of phony medicine. She’s a dedicated healer working alongside her doctor father. When a handsome stranger blows into town with his “elixir of health” and asks questions about her newly adopted son, Mary’s determined to uncover the truth behind all his claims.

Once the reckless heir to a Boston fortune, Dr. Luke Jacobs travels the country with his herbal medicine while searching for his long-lost son. After meeting the feisty doctor’s daughter and her youngest boy, Luke has found what he’s been looking for at last. But can he convince her to let him into her home, her family—and her heart?

3. I know life gets crazy, and you have events with your family/grandkids as well as involvement in your church. But what does a typical writing day look like for you?

I typically begin writing at ten o’clock, having already slugged down three cups of coffee while I checked e-mail, commented at our group blog, Seekerville and had my devotions. By the time I get to the computer, I’m raring to go. I usually break for lunch, but the crumbs in my keyboard attest I often eat while I work. I write until four or five o’clock, depending on whether I’m going to exercise. I’m not a big TV watcher so I spend most evenings catching up with e-mail and promotion. Most evenings I take a walk with my husband. When I’m nearing a deadline, I spend almost every waking moment at the computer.

4. Are your characters based on people you know? If not, how do you come up with their personalities?

I suspect most writers absorb personalities like a sponge. My characters may share traits of people I know and even parts of myself. Not that I’m admitting to specifics. :) Its fun to create wacky secondary characters with no resemblance to anyone, living or dead, but over the years I’ve picked up traits from people watching and have fun exaggerating them. So beware. :) I also create my character’s personalities from their back story. What they’ve experienced in the past shapes not only who they are, but how they behave. At this point, I haven’t used personality charts and archetypes.

5. When can we look for another wonderful book by Janet Dean?? :) And what's it about?

The Substitute Bride releases February 2010. Debutante Elizabeth Manning will do anything to give her brother a good home, but her mail-order bride switch falls as flat as her rock-hard biscuits. Farmer Ted Logan, her widower groom with two children, has a secret he’s carrying and a Call he’s refusing to answer. Both learn love requires honesty, a hearty dose of forgiveness and the courage to accept God’s purpose for their lives.

6. How can readers find out more about you and your books?

I invite readers to visit my Web site:

And my blog:

And our group blog:

Other Web sites where I have a presence: Love Inspired Authors:

Love Inspired Historical Authors:

They can also check out my author page at

Thanks for having me today, Missy. I enjoyed it!

Janet, thanks so much for doing the interview! And readers, don't forget to leave a comment to be entered to win a copy of Courting the Doctor's Daughter.

Janet grew up in a family that cherished the past and had a strong creative streak. Her Social Studies/Art teacher father was a storyteller, like his father. The yarns her father and grandfather told instilled in Janet a love of the past and the desire to tell stories on paper. At twelve Janet wrote her first “novels,” even illustrating her little books, but when it came time to choose a career, she wanted to teach. Today Janet writes inspirational historical romances for Steeple Hill. Courting Miss Adelaide released in September 2008. Her second book in the Courting series, Courting the Doctor's Daughter released May 12, 2009. Her third book The Substitute Bride, February 2010, is a mail-order bride story set in Iowa.

When she isn’t writing, Janet enjoys making hand-crafted greeting cards, playing golf and bridge, and reading. The Deans enjoy travel and spending time with family.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Lots of Laughs Today

Well, today's my son's last day at home before leaving to head back to college. It's much different from last year. This time, I know he's happy and has settled in up there--with friends and a support group. I know he'll be just fine, and I'll will, too. (Some of you may remember me sharing about the tears and the emotional breakdown in the grocery store at the freezer case last August!) :)

Today has been nice. As I've been trying to work, he's packing and preparing. But at one point, he called me in to trim his sideburns and shave the back of his neck. Well, something happened, and I cut a big notch in his sideburn! Oh, my. I died laughing, which scared him. He was afraid I had shaved the whole thing off. (I kindly informed him that if I had done something terrible, I would have made an horrified face, not laughed. ) So he now has nice even but fairly short sideburns!

He's had his revenge, though. A few minutes ago I was listening to a workshop on my computer using my iPod ear buds. I've had such a hard time using them. They always hurt my ears. So I was sitting here, twisting and shoving them, trying to hear better and to stop my ears from aching. All of a sudden, my son, who happened to look at me (probably because I was groaning and griping), about fell off the couch laughing. Apparently I had been putting my ear buds in wrong! I had them sticking out instead of straight up and down. So yay!! Now they don't hurt. But I sure do feel silly. Especially since he keeps laughing about it and having a little too much fun describing how ridiculous they looked. :)

Tonight we're having a special family dinner. Then we'll load the car for what's now become an annual trek back to campus. Only this year, mom and dad aren't needed for the move. We'll be waving him off from the front porch. And maybe I won't cry this time.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fried Green Tomatoes :)

I hope you'll stop by the F.A.I.T.H. blog on Thursday to hear how my son and I happened to make fried green tomatoes today. :)

Oh, and I'm sharing a recipe!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Changes All Around

Lots of changes around here right now. My two youngest are back to school, one of them now a big freshman in high school. My oldest just returned from a mission trip in Kenya and will be heading back to college in 10 days. I'm starting a new medication for acid reflux and so far, praise God!, I've had no more heartburn or esophageal spasms (no more thinking I'm having a heart attack!). :) My husband's celebrating the fact that football season has now officially started with the first preseason game the other night (although that means it's his season to control the remote control once again. Bummer.)

And we're definitely in the dog days of summer. When I picked up my daughter yesterday at 5:30 pm, it was still 95 degrees and miserable.

I've also been brainstorming new books ideas. I pulled out a file that I've been keeping for years for when an idea hits me. It often happens while I'm watching a show on TV or after going out to eat and overhearing a conversation. Newspaper articles and TV news also give me ideas. And dreams. So when I pulled out that file I've labeled "Book Ideas," it was fun to open each document and read some of the crazy things I've jotted down. :) Needless to say, some of them will never be used. But it's still fun to read them every now and then. And it spurs my creativity.
What changes are going on around your household right now?

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Winners of Books this Week...

We have the two winners!

Edwina has won Camy's book, Deadly Intent.

Kristi C. has won Randy's book, The Justice Game.

Thanks to all who stopped by and participated!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Guest Blogger Camy Tang

I’m so happy to have a guest today--my friend, Camy Tang, author of the newly released Deadly Intent from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. Camy has offered to give away a copy of Deadly Intent in a drawing from those who comment. So please be sure to leave your contact information! And now, Camy…

I’m so excited to be on Missy’s blog today! Missy asked me to answer the question, "Is it easier to write suspense because of the built-in conflict of a villain?"

Actually, the presence of a villain in romantic suspense makes it a bit harder to write. Suspense villains tend to have very strong motivations for the evil and mayhem they’re causing, but that also means I have to make sure that their every action and decision is logical and works toward their ultimate desire.

Suspense villains are very focused and very intense, which makes me work harder to make sure the conflict they cause is also very focused and intense. It makes the romance arc harder to include because I have to take into account the danger the hero and heroine are in, which doesn’t leave much room for hanging out or going on dates.

My biggest challenge in writing a romantic suspense is that I have to make sure that each character decision—whether it’s the villain, the hero, or the heroine—makes sense. In life or death situations, a stupid character is a dead character. I’m sure we’ve all rolled our eyes at the heroine who takes a walk alone at night without a flashlight when she knows there’s a serial killer on the loose in the neighborhood.

Because of the villain’s evil intent, I have to double check that every character action is logical and purposeful—including the villain’s actions. A stupid villain kind of ruins the whole story!

Sometimes my hero or heroine will do something not-so-smart because of false assumptions about themselves or other people or God, like Naomi’s desire to control everything because she hasn’t fully given herself to God and doesn’t trust in Him.

I hope I’ve managed to give strong motivations for all my characters’ actions in Deadly Intent. I had my critique partners AND my editors check to make sure, anyway.

It’s my hope that readers will relate to how Naomi’s faith is tested when conflict and danger surround her. I certainly wouldn’t wish a dead body on anyone in order to test their faith, but life always has trials, and I want my readers to be encouraged by the things Naomi comes to realize about herself and about God in the course of the story.

Thanks for having me here, Missy!


DEADLY INTENT back cover blurb:


The Grant family’s exclusive Sonoma spa is a place for rest and relaxation—not murder! Then Naomi Grant finds her client Jessica Ortiz bleeding to death in her massage room, and everything falls apart. The salon’s reputation is at stake...and so is Naomi’s freedom when she discovers that she is one of the main suspects! Her only solace is found with the other suspect—Dr. Devon Knightley, the victim’s ex-husband. But Devon is hiding secrets of his own. When they come to light, where can Naomi turn...and whom can she trust?


Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. She used to be a biologist, but now she is a staff worker for her church youth group and leads a worship team for Sunday service. She also runs the Story Sensei fiction critique service. On her blog, she gives away Christian novels every week, and she ponders frivolous things like dumb dogs (namely, hers), coffee-geek husbands (no resemblance to her own...), the writing journey, Asiana, and anything else that comes to mind. Visit her website at for a huge website contest going on right now, giving away fourteen boxes of books and 30 copies of her latest release, DEADLY INTENT.