Monday, June 14, 2010

Faith, Half-Naked Men, and a Contest!

Hi! Amanda Forester here, settling in and getting comfortable. Thanks so much for inviting me to join you today. It is truly an honor to be here and chat about my first release. But wait…there’s more! I’ll be offering a giveaway of my first novel AND sponsoring a first line contest with a three-chapter critique from literary agent Barbara Poelle as the grand prize! Keep reading for more details!!
I am thrilled to say that my dream of publishing a book recently came true with the release of my first novel, THE HIGHLANDER’S SWORD. This Scottish adventure romance is my first manuscript… and one I was utterly convinced would never be published.
You may be looking at the half-naked hunk on the cover of my book and wondering if perhaps I got lost. Did I really mean to come to Seekerville today? If you scroll down this fantastic blog you’ll see other heartwarming covers of sweet kids and Amish ladies. My cover stands out like a… well, like a half-naked dude in a group of kids and Amish gals. So what am I doing here? Pull up a chair, sister, and let me tell you all about it.
I wrote this novel before I had any idea what I was doing (not that I know much more now). I didn’t know the unwritten “rules” of writing romance. I didn’t even understand the difference between inspirational and secular romance. Drenched in the glorious optimism of ignorance, I just sat down and wrote the story that was in my mind and on my heart.
Set in 14th century Scotland, my heroine, Aila, expects to become a nun and prepares for life in the convent. After her brother’s death leaves her a substantial heiress, she finds herself wed to a Highland laird instead. Yet many desire to claim her fortune as their own and she is swept up in a world of treachery and intrigue.
Throughout the story, Aila turns to the scriptures for guidance and she is often given a particular verse which helps her to discern her way. She uses prayer to guide her and encourage her in difficult times. I wrote this because it just flowed naturally as part of the character and it made sense to me. I think when people face difficult times in life they do turn to their faith for support and pray to God for guidance. I do. Why not my characters?
My hero, MacLaren, is a battle-hardened knight whose faith has been challenged by betrayal. He believes he is following God’s will, but when he is deceived by his former fiancé and his cousin dies as a result, he struggles to understand why God would let this happen. He comes to the marriage with Aila distrusting of women and even of God. As the story progresses, he grows to trust Aila and he is able to move from a place of questioning to a place of faith.
You may be wondering what all this talk about God and faith is doing in a book with a half-naked hunk on the cover. Well, me too! I figured that all this talk of faith would probably disqualify me for publication with a mainstream publisher. Since I had no idea what I was doing, my characters also swore, drank whiskey (they’re medieval Scots after all) and even got to… umm “know” each other, to use a Biblical phrase (but within marriage and very sweetly I hasten to add!). Essentially I wrote some odd hybrid book that I figured had zippo chance of ever getting published.
Well, like many other times in life, I was wrong. I pitched the book to Sourcebooks at a conference and was asked for a full manuscript. A few months later I got THE CALL. They wanted to publish it. I was floored. Did they perhaps not see all the talk about God? Had it escaped their notice that I had quoted scripture with some regularity? Yes, they did notice. My editor had concerns about it. The scripture verses I quoted were in Latin (since there was no English translation of the Bible in the early 14th century). My editor felt it was too obscure and asked if I could put the English translation into the book. Uh… yeah – I can do that. So I ended up putting an author’s note at the back with the English NIV translation of twelve Bible verses.
Does this mean hot men and scripture go together? My husband assures me that yes, yes they do…
So where are the lines between inspirational and secular romance novels? Perhaps they are not as clear cut as I previously thought. Obviously my editor was not in the least put off by my characters struggling with their faith in the story. I find this to be an exciting development. When I was in seminary I took several integration classes that combined the study of psychology and theology. The basic premise was that people’s struggles in life cannot be compartmentalized into “spiritual” issues and “psychological” issues. We are all combined into one big mess (just like my novel!). As a writer, if I try to avoid any discussion of faith, I may miss some core issues and conflicts that are important for understanding the character or the situation.
My novel may be seen as an extension of my interest in integration. My characters struggle with questions of faith, fall in love, make bad decisions, pray for guidance, make better decisions, fight against evil bad guys, learn to trust each other, and do a little smooching. Kind of like an average day in my house (except my evil bad guys generally take the form of smelly laundry or a bowl of something that fell down behind the couch and now is quite evil).
I have found unexpected freedom in writing mainstream novels with a publisher who is not afraid of a little dose of inspiration on the side. I really enjoy being about to explore all the components of my characters, without feeling that I cannot write about *that* because it does not fit into the genre.
Whatever I’ve done it appears to be working because I sold the next two novels in my Highlanders series. THE HIGHLANDER’S HEART should be out Spring of 2011 and my third (yet to be officially named but you can bet it has a Highlander in it) will hopefully be out later that same year.
So what do you think about the difference between “inspirational” and “secular” novels. Do you think we are ready for crossover novels that contain a combination of aspects from different genres? [Ack – I can’t get the “Best of Both Worlds” Hannah Montana theme song out of my head!] Do you know other novels that contain a good mix of different genres? Please share – I’d love to read them!
Comment on this blog to be eligible to win a copy of my book, THE HIGHLANDER’S SWORD (U.S. and Canadian residents only).
Thanks so much for letting me join you today! Please visit me at or come find me on facebook.
First Line Contest – Win a Three-Chapter Critique from Barbara Poelle!!!!
Writers take note! Want to win a critique from a NY literary agent? This contest is for you! The winner will receive a three-chapter critique of their manuscript from my super fabulous literary agent Barbara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency!
The toughest sentence I ever write for a novel is the first one. So much is riding on that one poor line! Here is my first line from THE HIGHLANDER’S SWORD, “If they caught him, he would hang.”
What is your first line? Entering the contest is easy peasy (someone help me). Simply comment on this blog with the following information:
1. First line of your manuscript.
2. Genre of book (for example historical romance)
3. Your name.
Grand prize is a three-chapter critique from New York literary agent Barbara Poelle! This is a great opportunity to get some wonderful feedback from an agent who really knows how to improve a manuscript!
Good luck!
Amanda Forester holds a PhD in psychology and worked for many years in academia before discovering that writing historical romance novels was way more fun. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, two energetic children, and one lazy dog. Her first novel, THE HIGHLANDER’S SWORD was published March of 2010, and her second, THE HIGHLANDER’S HEART will be released spring of 2011. You can visit her at


  1. I like Julie Lessman's Daughters of Boston series, To me they have a strong faith based plot as well as scripture quotation throughout but at the same time there is a boatload of passion and more kisses than I can count, there are even a few very clean bedroom scenes! However, the family's faith is such an integral part of the book that without it there would be no story! Some of the secular books that I've read may have made mention of God or the characters faith or something along those lines but if you took those out the story would still make sense.

    Am I making sense? LOL! Well that's just a bit of what I think about the differnce between insirational & secular.

    XOXO~ Renee

  2. First off - LOVE this story! I love when I read a cross over book and find it works. You've given me hope :) Congrat's on that contract!

    As for the contest ...

    1. For two years, Megan forgot to breathe.
    2. Woman's Fiction
    3. Steena Holmes

  3. Amanda, this is absolutely amazing. I have question the lines over and over. My first every manuscript was a Highlander story and there was always faith involved. It seemed so out of place. I believed I had to take it all out to make it work. It's on the back burner and may never see the light of day.

    Right now, I have two. In my secular my heroine is always quoting scripture, but she botches them badly. She smokes, gambles and robs trains. But she feeds the hungry, clothes the poor and protects orphans.

    First Line:
    At the age of eleven, Francis Darbigal O'Donell never thought she’d be anything more than what her parents had formed her to be; a God-fearing wife and a diligent mother.

    Historical Romance

    Renee Lynn Scott

  4. Amanda, as I was sitting here typing the tornado sirens went off unexpectedly and I was unable to ask a question. But all is clear now. :)

    I know you said your Highlander had some getting to know each other and it's sweetly done. Is most everything behind closed doors? And how was you sweetness perceived? Were you encouraged to spice it up, or did you feel comfortable writing those scenes?

  5. Hi Renee (SteelerGirl)! I'm going to have to check out that Daughter's of Boston series. Sounds great!

    Steena - Thanks! Good luck!

    Renee - Tornado?! Yikes! Stay safe! You have a heroine who quotes scrpture and robs trains? I like her!

    You ask a good qestion about what "sweet" means and I guess that is really in the mind of the beholder. For me I did put in a love scene but I focussed more on the feelings and emotions of the characters during that scene rather than the physical action. I think there can be pressure on authors to heat up a romance because that is what traditionally sells and is expected. However, I believe there are a lot of readers who would enjoy a story that is heavy on the romance and light on the steam - I just hope I can find them!

  6. Amanda, good morning and mega congrats on the book and the tone of such a delightful cross-over! I love that!

    And because faith was such a huge part of those historic times, I think it's a perfect way to blend faith and history and romance. That's total reality right there. Wonderful!!!

    Hey, I brought breakfast. And I started coffee, really GOOD coffee, because it's Monday. (Mary Connealy, do not go near the coffee pot. Seriously.)

    We've got Gloria Jean's Butter Toffee, Emeril's Big Easy Bold, and Van Houtte's French Vanilla...

    Help yourselves. And check out the great mug collection. Pick a fave...

    Croissants and Danish are to the left. Fillings to the right. Hot bar has eggs, bacon, sausage and hash browns O'Brien (celtic inspired by Amanda)



  7. Congratulations on the contract in the secular world. By the way, I like the cover.

    First Line: America Leighton considered throwing the letter in the fireplace without reading it, but she wouldn’t.

    Genre: historical

    Tamera Lynn Kraft

  8. Good morning and welcome to Seekeville, Amanda. Congratulations on your success!

    I think crossover has been going on for years and it's a darn good thing too. What HAS evolved is not the CBA but the ABA, THANK GOODNESS and it's about time.

    So now we have real books, about real people who struggle with their faith or just are doing their thing and happen to have faith, on both sides of the market. Hurrah.

    I am thrilled for you and eager to read your book.

  9. Good morning, Seekerville! I'm thrilled to have Amanda Forester here today and the wonderful contest her agent Barbara Poelle is offering.

    Ruthy provided breakfast. I'm bringing crepes for lunch. Fillings include apples, walnuts and raisins, curried mushrooms, goat cheese and honey, chili with cheddar. Lots of experimenting in the kitchen.

    Leave those first lines and don't forget your e-mail addresses for a chance to win Amanda's debut and her agent's three-chapter critique.


  10. Amanda, congratulations on your release! I've put it on my to-be-bought list!

    As for the contest:
    First line: "You'll never catch a husband if you keep messing with that plane!"

    Genre: Historical Romantic Fiction

    Name: Patty Smith Hall

    Thanks for the opportunity!

  11. Amanda, The Highlander's Sword sounds wonderful. I can't wait to read it. I love reading stories that deal with real people, living real lives, and making real mistakes with a steady dose of romance throughout. In my current MS my hero is an pro-quarterback, who has turned his back on God. So, you know he doesn't scream "Ah shucks" when things go wrong, or he takes a hit from a linebacker. :o)

    As for contest:
    1. Grace McPherson surveyed The Erin Room for the hundredth time, and knew she’d scored a touchdown.
    2. Comtemporary Romance
    3. Kirsten Arnold


  12. There's hope!!! Thanks so much for sharing about your crossover book. This is very exciting. It's always been a conundrum, I guess, that we live in the grittiness of the world and try to shine our lights at the same time. It can be frustrating to read CBA books where the heroine burns her finger and shouts, "Oh pancake!" Pulls me right out of the story. Who says that?!? Yet at the same time, we can't have our Christian heroes and heroines shouting swear words (even if they do in real life...on occasion...) :)

    I can't wait to read your Highlands book(s). I want to see how you handled the more touchy subject matters, esp. the romance. Desire is God-given, yet we need to protect the beauty and intent of it. Don't awaken love before its time, etc...

    As for the contest:
    1. The critter had breathed its last in church, surrounded by coffee and doughnuts.
    2. Contemporary Romance
    3. Emily Hendrickson

  13. Congratulations Amanda!

    Isn't that just like the Lord? SURPRISE!!!!

    Gotta love it. He can work if we just get outta da way. :)

    Your book reminds us all to keep it real, especially in this age of "reality" (yeah, right) TV. People are hungry for real reality. I think it helps us readers process information and make decisions. "Just like ___ when he faced ___, I can ___." It gives us a frame from which to work.

    I rarely read "inspirational" and until Seekerville, never "romance".

    Here is an entry from a blog I also follow:

    I can tell, you are so my kinda writer - "ack" and "yikes", 2 of my faves!

    Questions: How did you find your agent? Was it before or after the call?

    Did you have the other 2 ms. in the works or completed? Did you have in mind a series when you began? How are you tackling that?

    Congratulations again! I look forward to checking it out. And I like the cover too!! Wishing you blessings and success.

    I'm enjoying reading first lines. Here's mine:
    Hope flickered with the phone call.
    Middle Grade Adventure
    KC Frantzen
    may at maythek9spy dot com

    And have a good Flag Day everyone in the US.

  14. Whoaaaa! Half-naked men caught my attention!!!
    So did Faith...of course. *wink*

    Going to read the actual post now. lol

  15. I love Scottish romances!!! Cut my teeth on them, actually. lol

    Your books sounds great. The whole integration thing is intriguing to me.
    Thanks for sharing! I'll put my first line in a separate comment. :-)

  16. Jessica, I thought the title for Amanda's post would grab everyone's attention. :-)

    Love all these first lines. Keep them coming!


  17. First line:
    If there was one thing Rachel McCormick hated more than breaking into the mayor’s house, it was getting caught.

    Genre: Contemporary Romance

    Jessica Nelson: jessica_nelson7590 AT yahoo (dot) com

  18. Okay, Amanda, you get the prize for the BEST blog title I've seen in a long, long while! Like Jessica, you had me at "Faith" and "Half-Naked," because as an "edgy" Inspirational author, I tend to think like you -- that the two go together verra nicely!

    I am SO thrilled to read your post this morning!! Originally I had asked my agent to pitch my Daughters of Boston series (the one that Renee--SteelerGirl83-- mentioned above--thank you, Renee!!) to the secular market, but she told me it was too spiritual for the ABA. Unfortunately, because of the intense passion in it, she indicated it would also be slim to nil to get published in the Christian market. Well, being the FABULOUS agent she is (Natasha Kern), she managed to do the impossible and get me a CBA contract anyway, which actually shocked me.

    I am very happy in the CBA, but I have to tell you that I am THRILLED to hear that inspies are making their way into the secular market because THAT is where they need to be BIG TIME!! So good for you, Amanda, and I cannot WAIT to read your book. It will be a must-read for me, I assure you.


  19. As a guy, I would note that a coment of "half-naked women" would get my attention, but that's another point.

    Amanda, I looked on your blog to find out where in the Pacific Northwest you live, but didn't see it anywhere. I spent 11+ years in Portland (actually Clackamas, aka the birthplace of Tonya Harding). My family greatly misses that area of the country.

    For the contest, may I submit two entries.

    First Line: The icy stare from three mounted samurai swept over the assembled group of servants at Sagawa castle.

    Genre: Inspirational Historical

    Name: Walt Mussell

    First Line: The ancient temple; the scream came from there.

    Genre: Inspirational Historical

    Name: Walt Mussell


  20. Loved your post, Amanda! Gives me back the enthusiasm I lose every time I get contest comments back with a judge telling me a certain action/comment wouldn't be allowed in Christian fiction.

    And would love to read your book.

    And, I would love to enter your first line contest. Here that info is:

    First line:
    "Some days death struck with wicked precision."
    Name: Dianna Shuford
    genre: inspirational romantic-suspense


  21. Amanda,
    Thank you for sharing the ups and downs of your writing journey.

    I particulary loved the line "Drenched in the glorious optimism of ignorance, I just sat down and wrote the story that was in my mind and on my heart."

    As for the contest...

    1. Every Wednesday Kate stood on the same front porch, her hand poised inches from the door, willing herself to finally do the unthinkable—walk away without knocking.

    2. Historical Fiction

    3. Christi Corbett

  22. Sorry, I forgot to leave my email address with my entry.

    christi_corbett at yahoo dot com

  23. This is my oldest daughter's kinda book. She's going to love it! And I have to say, I love the title. Cute way to attract lots of attention. Good for you and yes, it's time for crossover, we saw Christian music crossover and it's reaching millions more than it would have. About your characters "knowing" each other, where do inspy readers think new Christians come from anyway???
    While I write primarily suspense, here's my historical romance.
    Linda Glaz
    Leaning over the front seat, doing her best not to awaken her sisters, Bunny hiccoughed back fear watching her father white-knuckle the steering wheel of the family’s five-year-old 1933 Ford Model B sedan.

  24. This is so stinkin' AWESOME!!! I love your story, Amanda, both your path to publication and your book's story. I can't WAIT to read it!!!

    I'm so excited that Sourcebooks is willing to publish books with Scripture and a faith message. It just goes to show that anything can happen in this business, and that if God wants your book published, he'll make it happen!

    I write 14th century medievals too. I didn't think a Christian publisher would ever publish it--it got rejected about a million times. But then it happened! God can do anything!

    I have to say it again--I'm so excited about your books and can't wait to read them!!! Thanks for sharing your story on Seekerville!

  25. How exciting that a secular publisher has published your book! That is great and hopefully, will open the door for other cross-over books!

    I would love to read your book:


  26. Loving these first lines. I'm not eligible for the prize, but I'll share my first line, even though it sounds a little ho-hum along with some of these!

    This is from The Healer's Apprentice:

    The townspeople of Hagenheim craned their necks as they peered down the cobblestone street, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Duke of Hagenheim’s two handsome sons.

    {The two handsome sons are the hero and his brother, of course. ;-)}

  27. Hi Amanda,

    I love hearing stories like yours when the author has been told "This book will never sell" and tad-da, someone loves it and it's published!

    I would definitely read your series. Love Scottish highlanders!

    I'm at work and can't think of my first lines (they're usually dialogue). These ones here are all fantastic! Would love a chance to win your book, though!

    Have a great Monday everyone.

    sbmason (at) sympatico (dot) ca

  28. Hi Amanda, Welcome to Seekerville and I'm with Julie. Great title for the post. And a great post. Very inspiring.

    I think faith in both aba and cba is evolving. By demand. The ABA needed some faith, The CBA needed some reality.

    I'm with ChristiC and also love the line "Drenched in the glorious optimism of ignorance, I just sat down and wrote the story that was in my mind and on my heart." Ahhhh for those innocent days back. smile

    Thanks for the great prizes you are offering. Good for you. That is very helpful for unpubbed authors.

    Renee is right Julie Lessman's Daughters of Boston series are great. Also Lisa Wingate writes a lot of inspie in her ABA books. So does Debbie Macomber.

    Thanks again and thanks Ruthy for the yummy food.

  29. Amanda what an insperation you are...good luck and I will be reading your books.

    First Line Contest

    1. My pencil slipped from my fingers and bounced to the floor, Mr. Lake had startled me.

    2. Young Adult

    3. Cheryl Eklund

  30. Amanda, I enjoyed your post. I'm glad that your very first story was published when you felt doubtful about its prospects. Good to know that more ABA publishing houses are not shying away from stories of faith along with the romance and passion. I especially love to read Highlander romances. Thank you for such an insightful interview.

    For The Contest:
    1. Abby gripped the ship's rail till her fingertips turned white and hoped that her parents felt as rotten as she did now.
    2. Historical Romance
    3. Pat Jeanne Davis

  31. Congratulations, Amanda! This sounds like a very interesting story. It's exciting to see an ABA publisher ready to include faith elements in a historical romance. Yay!!!
    carrie (at) turansky (dot) com

  32. Wonderful story!

    1) Killing one man shouldn't take this long.

    2) Paranormal romance

    3) Callie James

    Thanks so much!

  33. Ya'll know what's funny about this??? Well, maybe NOT SO funny from an age perspective...

    Mary and I (hah!!! GOTCHA!!!) are old enough to remember when faith or Christianity or religious beliefs was/were common in historical romances because those beliefs were such a big part of the time. They were the grounds for angst, love and war.

    Amazing that simple faith can become so dagburned complicated.

    Hey, Janet-O, muchas gracias on the crepes. I've been dying for crepes, honey, and these hit the spot!

    Try the cheese and strawberry ones, ladies, they're wonderful.

    I love these first lines. When I read other peoples' first lines, mine feel weak, like I should have chopped more. Been more precise. Less wordy.

    It's a tough game.

    Hey, these are butter crisps. Try them with your lunch. And the sweet tea is courtesy of Mr. Snapple.

    He's a dear friend of mine, LOL!

  34. A bitter wind slammed hard against the tattered countryside, sucking warmth from the morning.

    Historical Romance

    Cindy Nord

  35. I'm SO glad to hear this! This is very much what I've had on my heart to do, and I'm glad to know the door is opening!

  36. OKC is inundated with a deluge of rain.
    For the contest:
    1. Cinderella could not believe it-she'd lost her shoe, and it was glass too.

    2. Historical fairy tale

    3. Kathy L Wheeler

  37. Ruthy - oh wow - so glad I stopped by today! Slainte mhor!

    Tamara - Thanks - I like to cover too! :)

    Tina - Amen sister!

    Hi Janet! Yes, please include e-mail address. Very important!

  38. I'm much more inclined to pick up a cross-genre novel than one that sticks to just one or the other. I think the cross over brings a freshness to the storyline.

    At the moment my favorites would be paranormal/suspense or paranormal/humor.

    As for the first line of the current WIP.

    First Line: Up until she reached Terminal C18 and spotted the three men lounging against the grungy white wall across from the ticket counter, Beth Brown had managed to convince herself that she’d been spooked by a nightmare.

    Genre:Paranormal Romantic Suspense

    Name: Theresa Monsey

  39. Here is my personal favorite opening line of all time...though there are other contenders.

    From Alex Kava's A Necessary Evil.

    There's just no good way to pick up a human head.

    This is closely followed for favorite by Julie Garwood's Slow Burn.

    Kate McKenna's Wonderbra saved her life.

  40. And as for books that combine faith and secular in cool ways. Well, this is an old one but one of my favorite books.

    Oddly enough, the butler in this book is probably the best part. He remains one of the most charming characters I've ever read.

    No Greater Love by Katherine Kingsley. It's from 1992, a Regency romance. And it's wildly entertaining.

    A true No Greater Love Hath a Man...story.

    Very Christian, sequels actually include a faithhealer. And yet fairly graphic sex scenes, between married people, child abuse, a evil, murderous countess, very dark issues, VERY!!!

  41. And as for books that combine faith and secular in cool ways. Well, this is an old one but one of my favorite books.

    Oddly enough, the butler in this book is probably the best part. He remains one of the most charming characters I've ever read.

    No Greater Love by Katherine Kingsley. It's from 1992, a Regency romance. And it's wildly entertaining.

    A true No Greater Love Hath a Man...story.

    Very Christian, sequels actually include a faithhealer. And yet fairly graphic sex scenes, between married people, child abuse, a evil, murderous countess, very dark issues, VERY!!!

  42. I'm loving these first lines. Makes me want to go back and revamp mine.

  43. Here's an interesting fact I don't know if everyone quite realizes.

    The first three Indiana Jones books--Indy is saved in the end by GOD.

    Although book #2's God is a little weird. But the first one, when they opened the Ark ... that was God burning the Nazi's to toast and leaving Indy and Marian unscathed.

    The second one, those three stones, when they were finally brought together, they burned the bad guy's hands so he fell from that rope ladder.

    The third one-the find the Holy Grail and when the bad guys try to leave the cave with it, the ground shakes and splits open and sucks all of them into the... well, I didn't SEE a lake of fire, you understand, but I think we all know it was there.

    Did you see the newer Indy? They were saved by Aliens. I've often throught that's why, for me, the movie didn't really work. Aliens vs God, who's gonna win?

  44. [Sorry of this is a duplicate comment -- new to this kind of stuff}

    Thanks for posting this. One of my critique partners also writes "mainstream" stories with a faith dimension, so it's nice to know that kind of work can get published.

    For the contest:

    1) first line -- "J.T. Guzman had sworn he’d never set foot on old man Hart’s ranch again, but since today was Hart’s funeral, he figured he’d kept his word."
    2) genre -- short contemporary
    3) name -- Nancy Holland

  45. Amanda: I love Highlander books and look forward to reading yours.

    My first line: The bride stole he grooms dagger and damn-near unmanned him before the wedding.


  46. And all of Julie Garwood's Scottish Laird, English Maiden books have very strong faith elements. A priest figures quite prominently in many books and, with one exception that comes to mind, they are well regarded and treated with respect. And even the one with the evil priest, there is a good priest to off set him.

  47. One more line:
    The Angel of Death descending upon Clan Maclaren with a vengence.

  48. Years ago, Bantam published a book by Francine Rivers, called REDEEMING LOVE. It was a beautiful story of a young woman's unbelieving heart changed by a hero's whose faith in God pushed him to love this woman and lead her to God's love.
    The book has since been published in the Christian market, but with changes which I was sorry to see. I admired Bantam Publishers for stepping out and publishing a beautifully written cross-over book. The depth and the gentle tug to walk with Christ is very strong. I loved it!

    Congratulations on your first release! Enjoy and savor the moment.

    As for the contest--
    1. The first security breach occurred at 11:17p.m.
    2. Thriller w/romantic and mystery elements
    3. Jean Willett

  49. I'm new to Seekerville and loved your blog post. My copy of "The Highlander's Sword" has been ordered.

    Scottish history has always intriqued me because I am of Scottish descent(a McGregor). My dream is to visit Scotland one day.

    In the meantime I read as much as I can and I am trying my hand at this writing game. My first novel, a work-in-progress, is historical romance and takes place on the Oregon Trail in 1845. I was happy to read that your novel had an interest in the cross over market. I can't distance faith from life in the novel. Your words can help me.

    As for the first line contest. I will give you mine, but don't know if this will stay as the first line.

    1. "Mother! Mother! The wagons are ready."
    2. Historical Romance
    3. Winona Bennett Cross


    Winona Bennett Cross

  50. Hi Amanda:

    What’s happening to the common wisdom? Just a few days ago, Cindy Woodsmall posted here that she writes her Amish books without ever having read an Amish genre book. And now you post that you had an ‘inspirational’ book published that even you thought could not find a home. Perhaps, as long as a book is good enough, it can define its own subgenre.

    After all, scripture has appeared in novels since there have been novels. Faith and religious people do not alone make a book inspirational, (c.f. Elmer Gantry), and lack of scripture does not make a book non-inspirational. The restriction comes when you want what you wrote to reside within a given subgenre which has guidelines that prohibit what you wrote.

    Did you consider translating the Latin Bible quotes into the type of English that your characters use in the book? That is, just enough Old English to make it seem like a pre-KJV translation. I would expect that priests, when giving bible sermons, would have translated the Latin into the vernacular for the faithful. Not all of it but just the main quotes the sermon was based upon. This is just an idea.

    First line:

    “If you’re really serious about changing the world, edit reality.”


    Vince Mooney

    vmres (at) swbell (dot) net

  51. Amanda,

    You said your first book sold. Would you give us an idea of how long it took you to write it and market it?
    I admire your confidence in not trying to fit into a slot and sticking with how the story naturally flowed.

    Here's my contest entry:

    1. Making a fashion mistake is fatal.

    2. Contemporary mystery/romance

    3. Cathy Duling Shouse

    cathy underscore shouse at yahoo

  52. Hi Amanda,
    I feel like I've found the Mother Ship! Ever since I started writing I've wanted to integrate my faith with a "secular" story--in hopes of surprising someone who hadn't intended to pick up an inspirational. I'd love to have them say, "You mean Christians like sex? You mean they actually feel something below the neck?" Which is not to denigrate inspirationals, I love them! I just love hearing that more writers than I are looking to cross over and show faith in real life.

    Thanks for this post and I wish you the very best luck with your book. Can't wait to read it!

    Here's my first line entry:

    "It's a research boat, and the bunny slippers are non-negotiable."

    Single Title Contemporary

    Lizbeth Selvig

  53. Thank you so much for telling us your story, Amanda! It gives me hope because my heroines are guided by their religious convictions and I feared no agent or editor would ever consider publishing my work.

    I wouldn't label my stories as inspirationals. I think it would be very easy for me to bump them more in that direction, but I fear I have too much death, destruction, and mayhem (and some pretty graphic sex within the sanctity of marriage) to give anyone the impression I write purely with a bent toward inspiring my readers to a deeper relationship with God.

    Ms. Barbara Poelle, thank you for offering a critique to the winner! I'm sure you're inundated with queries, so I know how special it is for you to take the time to do this.

    1st Line from THE PIRATE'S HOURI:

    "Get your filthy hands off of me."

    Historical Romance

    1st Line from SWEET SALVATION:

    "I told you to keep your mouth shut."

    Historical Romance

    Happy writing, everyone!
    Lis'Anne Harris

  54. Amanda,

    See sometimes it pays to break all the rules! : )

    Good luck with your book.

    Here's my first line:

    1. Suspecting about being adopted was different than almost knowing.

    2. Middle grade mystery

    3. Rose Ross Zediker

    RRossZediker at yahoo dot com

  55. Great job, girl!
    I'm so excited for you!

    Faith is an integral part of inspirational romances, then again, faith is also an integral part of life.
    Even non-believers experience faith in something.
    I LOVE the idea that they're so open to the Word of God!
    Shows progress ;)

    Unfortunately for the contest, I'm at work right now...I'll post my first line later.

    Is there a cutoff time for this?

  56. Congratulations!
    Glad your hard work paid off!

    Thanks for bringing us this contest!

    1. “I’ve missed this” A man’s voice leapt out of the silence making Sheena whirl around so fast she lost her footing at the edge of the crag.

    2. Historical Inspirational

    3. Eva Maria Hamilton

  57. I love this time period. Thanks for offering the book.

  58. Didn't mean to go Anonymous...

    For the contest:
    1. Cinderella could not believe it-she'd lost her shoe, and it was glass too.

    2. Historical fairy tale

    3. Kathy L Wheeler

  59. Didn't mean to go Anonymous...

    For the contest:
    1. Cinderella could not believe it-she'd lost her shoe, and it was glass too.

    2. Historical fairy tale

    3. Kathy L Wheeler

  60. Amanda, first of all, just let me admit the envy bug hit the moment I read you sold your very first book. Second, after reading about your book, I can see why. Spectacular premise. Can't wait to read it.


    First Line: Sophia Summersville snatched the two envelopes from their mail slot and ran out of the infamous New Orleans haunted post office in a very unlady-like fashion.

    Genre: Contemporary Paranormal Romance

    Name: Melisa Reynolds

  61. "Shalom"

    Historical Romance

    Renee Lynn Scott

    One word, that's it. Eeek!

  62. Good to see that Seekerville's been busy while I've been away from the computer.

    The cut off for the contests is tonight at midnight so time to post when you're home from work, Kelly.


  63. Terrific story! I love to hear success stories--especially when it doesn't seem like success will come.

    1. "This was her last chance."
    2. YA Paranormal
    3. Carrie Chandra

  64. I think it's a pretty safe bet to say that my most favorite novels have been cross genre novels. I'm going to have to add this one to my 'to read' list!

    For the contest...

    1. Her breath steamed slightly in the pre-dawn air, a reminder that fall had arrived and winter would be upon them all too soon.

    2. Historical Drama

    3. Heather Atkinson

  65. This looks like an awesome new series! Love anything to do with Christianity and Scotland! I love how it sounds. My contest info is below! I can't wait to read this story
    First line:
    How many times have you wanted to do something, stopped your impulses, and later wished you hadn’t.
    Contemporary fiction
    Name: Emily Chapin

  66. Whoops,

    Forgot to post my email- so reposting my first line.

    First Line: Up until she reached Terminal C18 and spotted the three men lounging against the grungy white wall across from the ticket counter, Beth Brown had managed to convince herself that she’d been spooked by a nightmare.

    Genre:Paranormal Romantic Suspense

    Name: Theresa Monsey
    Email: tlmonsey @

  67. Wow...this is terrific. OK, I admit it, the half-naked men DID fairly leap off the screen at me...but I knew that coming from Seekerville, it would be edifying. (IS there a smiley with a halo over its little head?)

    I love the premise of your book, Amanda, and can't wait to read it!! In thinking of other secular authors with elements of faith, since most of what I read these days IS Inspirational Fiction, I have to go back a ways. Grace Livingston Hill, Emilie Loring, Eugenia Price, Harlequin's Essie Summers - just to name a few. These were the authors I cut my teeth on!

    As for the contest:

    1. Tires screeched on the pavement.
    2. Contemporary Romance
    3. Regina Merrick

    Thanks so much for sharing today! (Off to find Amanda on Facebook!)


  68. First off, I feel like I'm breaking the rules when you wrote:

    "Simply comment on this blog with the following information: 1.,2.,3..."

    But as everyone else seems to have taken "simply comment" to mean additional comments A-OK, I will go against my better follow-rules-exactly judgement and tippy-tap away.

    Great post! And I LOVE the idea of more cross-genre stories. I believe there is a huge market, if only there was a more practical way to sell it (shelve it, if you will). Not to mention that categories such as "mainstream w/romantic elements" are still not a perfect fit for some...such as my humbly submitted entry:

    1.) My husband had circled an unusual newspaper ad for "handsome, young man seeking to escort experienced, wealthy woman" and thoughtfully penciled in next to it: You can have this guy, but I get Uma Thurman.

    2.) women's fiction (hen lit)
    3.) Lisa Clark & L. Davis-Craig

  69. Amanda, thanks for the contest and congratulations on your release! The books sounds very exciting!

    My first line:
    Ellie groaned as her fishnet stockings snagged on the surrounding bushes.

    Paranormal Romance
    Abigail Sharpe

  70. Great first lines everyone. Mine current is under a cloak of anonymity right now or I'd put it here too.

    My fave reads: Scottish historicals but I'd have to say my fave opener so far is:
    "It's a research boat, and the bunny slippers are non-negotiable."

  71. and of course I always forget to leave my email

    reneelynnscott at gmail dot com

  72. Amanda,

    I am appalled I mean APPALLED that you would have a half naked man on your cover. Seriously.


    I think that the secular houses want more and more inspirational. They have a lot of readers that don't want gratuitous sex, or hard scenes, and they know they can count on Christian writers. Also I beleive they are more accepting sometimes of the stories that are more edgy in Christian Inspirationals.

    First Line --
    Strapped at her ankles and wrists; a prisoner in a birthing bed somewhere in the lowest corridor of a hospital with an unknown name, she lay panting.

    Genre-- Inspy Sci-fi

    Name-- Tina Pinson

  73. First line = "Kay Nelson pronounced herself dead."
    Genre = Contemporary
    Name = Gracie Bea Winterton

  74. First Line:
    Strange how when courage dies fear attacks

    Historical Romance

    Marianne Harden

  75. I love it. I would buy more cross-overs if they were availabe.

    This is the first line from Husbands May Run, but They Can’t Hide.

    1. Trapped like a holed rabbit at the end of a hunter’s gun barrel, Savannah Stebbins buried herself deeper in the quilts, both to warm her freezing toes and to hide from the man beside her.
    2. Western Historical
    3. Connie Queen

  76. First line: Facing her family—facing him—after so long would challenge her acting abilities beyond any role ever scripted.
    Genre: Historical fiction
    Name: Nicole Miller

    What an encouraging story and I can't wait to pick up a copy of The Highlander's Sword!

  77. Bobbye Terry's original comment was edited for the PG rating of our blog but will, however, be sent in its entirety to the judge:

    Wow, thanks for introducing me to your blog and giving writers this awesome opportunity. The following line is the first line, Chapter One of "Coming to Climax," a women's fiction novel with strong thriller and romantic elements.: It is not erotica, just a frustrated woman on her way to Climax, Virginia.

    1. “Coming to ####ing Climax is harder than it was twenty years ago.”

    2. Women's fiction

    3. Bobbye terry w/a Daryn Cross
    June 14, 2010 12:28 PM

  78. 1. “Pretend you’re dead,” a deep voice said near Cassandra Ashley’s ear as she stepped from the back staircase.

    2. Historical Romance

    3. Erin McClune

  79. First line -- "I see, you’ve been assigned to the monster’s room today," Beatrice, the head nurse on the ward, said when Maggie reached the nurse's station.

    genre -- Historical/ Women's Fiction

    name -- Tina Pinson

  80. Congratulations on the release!

    Here's my first line:

    William Battencliffe wagers five thousand pounds that Miss Julia St. Claire will become the next Countess of Clivesden.

    Genre: Regency historical
    Name: Aislinn Macnamara

  81. First line: “I suppose I should be grateful,” Ivy said."

    Historical Fiction

    Katie D Johnson

    Your new book looks great!

  82. I would love to read your book! I love books set in Scotland and read as many as I can find.

    I don't know if I should include my first line in the contest or not, because of my genre. If it doesn't belong here, just ignore it.

    First Line: As bright as a firefly on a summer evening, little Frances appeared everywhere on the Slocum farm at once.

    Genre: Middle grade historical fiction

    Name: Kathy Hurst


  83. Hi Amanda! Same name, how cute :)

    I’m definitely gonna check out your book, you have my curiosity officially piqued :) And yes, to echo Renee(SteelerGirl83) you HAVE TO check out Julie Lessman’s books!!! ALL of them!! Julie’s work screams PASSION- “passion with a purpose” that is ;) And will just “bless the socks off you!”

    Also, in keeping with the Scottish theme of your book, you MUST check out Kathleen Morgan’s “These Highland Hills” series, especially the first book in the series “Child of the Mist”- there is NOTHING that can make a girls heart (this girl anyway) swoon quite like a big, handsome highland :)

    Great to meet you Amanda! Praying the Lord will bless and guide you on your journey!

    Amanda Stanley

  84. Thanks for the contest!

    1. Crazy -- the word sparked, flared then pulsated like a radar warning on someone’s face when Alexandra Maloney dared meet anyone new and unsuspecting.

    2. Paranormal Romance

    3. J. El Morgan

  85. 1. “By the Gods,” Niallghus MacTaggert swore as pain ripped through him.

    2. Paranormal

    3. Donna Pruneau

  86. A wonderful post that gives me more hope than you can imagine :-)

    First line:
    All Morgan wanted to do was wash off the grit from the train ride, eat a good meal at Marvella’s, and find out what had happened in town while he’d been gone.

    Western historical romance

    Nancy Connally

  87. Ok, I just got back from work and now there are 87 comments! Wow!! Trying to get caught up here with your comments and questions. I'm seeing some great first lines - keep them coming!

    Kirsten - good luck with your football playing hero. I knew a guy in the Army once who when he wanted to swear but couldn't would say, "Red Mother Bear!"

    Emily - oh Pancake!? Yeah, never heard that one. But I did have a colleague once from Texas who when upsett would say, "God... bless America!"

  88. Amanda, your book sounds really great!

    And I loved all these first lines. Makes me want to go peek at mine. From what I remember, none of them are half this entertaining!

  89. Amanda, thanks so much for joining us today! What a fun post! :) And thank you to your agent for such a generous offer!

    I've really enjoyed reading all the great first lines. It'll be a difficult decision.

  90. Okay, I went back and read a couple of my opening lines, and they're not half bad.

    I feel better now.

  91. Thanks for sharing this. I think the greatest concern I have is that too many kisses, etc... in too detail a description- can be a place that many women are led astray from their husbands.(emotionally, if not physically)
    But I find your post very interesting nonetheless.

    First line of my book... I have several (books started, I mean.) but my favorite is:

    Most stories start at the beginning, but some, though they are hard to find, start right in the middle and this is such a story.

    natashasiegrist at hotmail dot com

  92. Loved the story of how you got published, Amanda! I also loved the idea for you novel and how you used scriptures. I look forward to reading it! And thanks for hosting such an innovative and fun contest.

    1. "One minute the men were talking to her father, the next they shot him dead."
    2. historical romance
    3. Jacqui Nelson
    Jacqui [at] JacquiNelson [dot] com
    www [dot] JacquiNelson [dot] com

  93. Amanda,
    Wonderful post! I didn't have a ton of time to read it, but I'll definitely come back to it tomorrow : )

    I wanted to pop in and let you guys know that Senior Awards Night was last night. I ended up getting called up 13 times (7 cash awards, 3 paper awards, and a plaque and stole for graduation from the honors program)!! That's by far the most of anyone *grin* I recieved almost $6,000 last night, making for a grand total (including the 2 I already recieved previously) of about $7,500!! I just HAD to stop by and tell you because you're all so important to me.

    Heading to bed to read some, but I can give you more details tomorrow if you want! Night!
    1 more day of school!
    4 days 'till graduation!

  94. KC - thanks for asking about my fabulous agent Barbara Poelle. I actually met her at the same conference I met my editor. I pitched to them both, they both asked for a full manuscript and so I sent it off to both Barbara and Sourcebooks. I honestly didn't think much would come of it, but I was determined to try. About a month later Barbara called me (sooo exciting!) and offered representation and a few days later she sold it to Sourcebooks! I can't begin to tell you how supportive Barbara is - whoever wins the contest will get some great feedback!

    To answer your other question, I submitted my first manuscript with short pitches for two other books, but I had not written them yet. Working on that now!

  95. Congratulations on your release, Amanda. I'm thrilled Sourcebooks understands there is no separating God from life. He's everywhere!

    First line: "Father cannot ignore a summons from the Royal Society, and I believe he fears leaving me to my own devices more than he despises exposing me to the ‘rogues and reprobates’ of the Ton."

    Genre: Regency historical

    Name: Gillian Layne

  96. Awesome on getting your book published! And great first liners!

    Here's my first line:

    1. Just one more minute and maybe Ellie could've caught Jeremiah before he boarded the plane--to bid him farewell, wish him luck and give him a reason not to die.

    2. Genre: Inspirational Romance Fiction

    3. Lori Cecil

  97. Jessica - thanks! I was hoping the title wouldn't be too much!

    Julie - hi! Thanks for stoppping by! You got intense passion in a CBA? Ok, I gotta read this!

    Walt - I'm from the South Sound area (bounced around a bit) and yes , this is a fabulous place to live!

    Dianna - good luck getting your manuscript published. I think readers are more open than folks give us credit for. At least I am for however much that counts!

  98. I love the fact that your book has so much faith and was picked up by a non-Christian publisher! Just goes to prove what an important part of life faith is to everyone.

    1. Young, beautiful, blond, and dead.
    2. Inspirational Romantic Suspense
    3. Terri Weldon

  99. I wasn't sure if we were allowed to send in more than first liners, but I a few finished, unpublished novels.

    1. A heavy weight was bearing down on Tage Kinsley’s chest, as something cold and wet slithered over his forehead, trickled down his temple and into his ear canal with a familiar scent of gasoline?…Motor oil?

    2. Inspirational Romance

    3. Lori Cecil

  100. Last one, I promise!

    1. Edging her way to the rim of the cliff, Randi Doyle stared down at the jagged, watery death below just as her minivan burst into flames--could she move on?

    2. Inspirational Women's Fiction

    3. Lori Cecil

  101. I'm sorry, I forgot to add, thank you so much for the opportunity!

  102. This comment has been removed by the author.

  103. Ahhh. Good to be

    Eight year old Mary Ann stood shakily in the wide doorway of the hospital room, wiped the hot tears from her red puffy eyes; Candy's fight was over, but hers was just begining.

    Contemporary Women's Fiction

    Kelly Freestone

    Thanks for this, ladies!

  104. I love your husband's comment about scripture and half-naked men. Made me laugh out loud.

    Please enter me in both contests since I wanted to comment anyway! thanks.

    rmjagears AT gmail DOT com

    1."The weight of dead animal bowed Annie Gephart’s slim shoulders."

    2. Historical Romance

    3. Melissa Jagears

  105. I really enjoyed reading about your writing experiences and the lack of it too as you humorously talked about. You really put a smile on my face. It's nice to read someone who comes across as down to earth with realistic characters who, drink, swear and get to "know" each other. ha-ha! Your book sounds fabulous! Having a hunk on the cover is great eye candy too! As far as the contest goes-
    1. The ghostly echo of scorpion claws skittered beneath her boot-clad legs, the sensation so vivid Toni Granger smelled the syrupy venom.
    2. Paranormal Romance
    3. Sheila Fields

  106. I enjoyed reading all the first lines. Here's one of mine.

    If the preacher took another step toward her, Cammie would deck him.

    Romantic suspense

    Teri Dawn Smith

  107. I love Nicholas Sparks' books for his unabashed faith element in mainstream fiction. A Walk to Remember was beautiful and uplifting.

    I'm so encouraged to see the book of your heart found a home, Amanda. That should give us all hope.

    First line:
    John Brown’s body swung thirteen plank steps above where Duncan Sharpe stood among his Virginia Military Institute classmates.

    genre: historical fiction

    name: Kathleen L. Maher


  108. d'oh! and I'd love to win a copy of your book.
    mahereenie at yahoo dot com

    thanks, Amanda. :D

  109. Christi - thanks! Sometimes it's nice to not know what you can't do. More options that way.

    Linda - thanks for the laugh!

    Melanie - thanks for stopping by!! I have heard some great things about your book. I am REALLY looking forward to reading it. Excellent first line. I'm going to have to get me the rest! Oh, and I LOVE your title - The Healer's Appentice!

  110. Wow. LOVE that cover. Can't wait to read it! Thanks for visiting with us. I loved your call story!


  111. Put my kids to bed and now there are over a hundred responses. I'm feeling the love!

    Ruth - yes, religion was a HUGE part of life back then.

    Niki - best wishes to writing the book of your heart!

    Mary Connealy - I'm going to have to check out No Greater Love - sounds good. It's true, I had not thought of it, but God realy was the hero if the Indiana Jones movies!

    Jean - yes, Francine Rivers is amazing!

    Winona - good luck with your manuscript. I hope to go to Scotland someday too!

    Cathy - it took me about a year plus a bit to write the first manuscript. I edited that puppy a LOT. And while I appreciate your kudos for having confidence to buck the established mode, I wasn't thinking that at the time - I just didn't know any better!

    LizeeS - thanks! Welcome aboard the mother ship!

    lisanneharris - you had me at "mayhem"

  112. Melissa - sorry to ellicit envy in anyone. If it makes you feel better, I pitched the same book to several other editors at the same conference and heard nothing except the sound of crickets. It's about finding that one editor and agent who "get" your story and love your unique voice.

    Regina - half-naked men are verra edifying! :) (sorry couldn't resist)

    Lisa - comments welcome and appreciated! Best of luck with your cross-genre story!

    Tina - yeah because the Highlands are cold and that guy might catch a serious chill that way!

    Amanda - (oh yeah, we rock!) I'm going to have to check out those books. Yes, big handsome Highlander - my perfect hero!

  113. Thanks to everyone for all your blog posts and first lines. It take a lot of courage to put yourself out there - so good going!!

    Now for a confession. The first line of my second book is currently, "Horses are actually quite tall." Yeah, I know. Working on it. So while I am not going to win any contests with that one, I wish you all the best with yours!!!

  114. Amanda, great interview! I'd love to read your book!
    ~Cecelia Dowdy~

  115. Amanda, I have to confess, I kind of like the cover - I like stories about Highlanders! If the first line contest is still open, I'd like to enter this:

    1. Blind dates were the work of the devil.
    2. Genre: Women's fiction
    3. Margay Leah Justice

  116. I am very excited about reading this book! It looks fantastic. One author that I have read who seems to cross-over some is Ruth Axtell Morren. I especially enjoyed her book, Dawn in My Heart.

    As for the contest - I almost don't even want to post this. I haven't finished it and it's a very weak first attempt at writing a full book. It starts with a quote, so I'll put just a bit more than one sentence here:

    1. "I thought you loved me." The tears ran like a fountain from the depths of her blue eyes.
    2. Contemporary fiction
    3. Sheri Salatin

  117. Great post :) Sounds like an awesome story!

    Here's my entry into the contest:
    1. First Line: Maybe she could just bed him and leave him.
    2. Genre: Contemporary Romance
    3. Name: Sofia Li

  118. Amanda - I loved your book!! I'll admit with the amazing sexual tension between hero and heroine I was hoping for a bit, um, more in terms of the getting to know you phase...but that didn't detract from how I felt about the book over all :)

    First line: There was nothing left to sell.

    Genre - Historical western romance

    Name - Colleen Mold

  119. My entry:

    The purple kids huddled under the flagpole in the schoolyard.

    Genre: Young Adult

    LaShaunda C. Hoffman

  120. Congrats on a great crossover book. Maybe you've started a new genre.

    The humidity slammed into Isabella Mumphrey at the same instant the straps of her backpack wrenched at her shoulders.

    Action Adventure Romance

    Paty Jager

  121. Well, I thought I'd missed and this contest was over. Entries are still coming in, though so just in case the deadline hasn't passed yet, I'm showing you what I got. :)

    Emma Bevan’s heels tapped a staccato rhythm on the low boardwalk of Main Street, Casper, but what she really wanted to do was kick them up and whoop in exhilaration.

    Genre: Historical Romance

    Entrant: anitamaedraper (at) hotmail [dot] com

  122. You have no idea how this post has encouraged me! I wrote a crossover novel and shelved it for all the same reasons you thought The Highlander’s Sword would never be published. My story, A Time to Hope, is a time-travel set within the maritime Revolutionary War…with spiritual elements. Since this is the story of my heart – the one that compelled me to become a writer – I thank you for sharing your publishing journey and giving me hope again! =)

    Contest info:
    1) Images reeled through Julia Blake’s mind as she emerged from the shadows of a restless sleep.
    2) Time-travel historical romance
    3) Lorie Langdon

  123. Loved your book. Also, I'm trying again ;)

    1. Sometimes being a Highland laird is a royal pain in the arse.

    2. Historical Romance/Scotland 1600's

    3. Victoria Roberts

  124. Wow, Amanda, I'm happy to hear you are able to get your kids to bed! LOL! I keep getting, Mommy, I'm just getting a drink. Or Mommy, what are you doing? LOL! Okay, it's only funny after they go to bed...

  125. Love this book Amanda. Love that you crossed over and it worked. Congrats and continue writing.
    Have added you to my new author list and book to my wish list.

    Thanks for the great giveaway and opportunity to enter.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

  126. Cindy Nord
    Historical Romance

    The warmth of day vanished with remarkable speed, thrusting the desert under a bone-chilling shroud of twilight.

  127. First Line:
    He must make their departure brief, or his strength would wane, and they would discover the truth.

    Genre: Historical Romance

    Barbara Lukow: blukow at q dot com

  128. Ahh! So sorry I missed your deadline. I posted on Mtn. time! Good luck, everyone!!

  129. I'm very interested in the "dividing line" (if such exists) between "secular" and "inspirational" fiction.

    My impression is that there are two main gategories of teen protagonists in today's fiction - those who never go to church, and those who seem to do nothing but.

    As an aspiring YA novelist, I wanted to depict a protagonist whose balance between faith and the world was similar to that of actual teens I have known.

    My protagonist, Kaitlyn Evans, is an aspiring musician who is strongly influenced by rock bands such as the Ramones, Green Day, Good Charlotte, etc. She also has influences in Christian music, but I myself am not very familiar with Christian rock, so I will have to research to determine what those influences are.

    Kaitlyn goes to an old-line Protestant church - probably Methodist. ALthough she feels a deep loyalty to Jesus, her church life does not define her identity. It's one part of her life among several.

    She's not "born again", and she doesn't attend the after-school prayer fellowship organized by the "Christian" students of her school.

    A lot of the novel will revolve around the theme of individuality in the face of the stupidity of adult authorities, and her own fellow-students.

    A major plot element involves the elite prep school Forest Academy (Kaitlyn is a Freshman there on scholarship) trying to ban the underground arts website "Forest Fire". Kaitlyn and her band help rally support for the site.

    But, also, an important subplot involves Kaitlyn getting kicked out of her church's contemporary worship band after she writes and performs the "Christian Punk" song "Blessed Are the Hypocrites"

    Well, nuff said on plot - don't want to tell the whole story. :)

    Bottom line - I think that in fiction, as in real life, the lines between faith and the world are twisted and permeable.



    Blessed Are the Hypocrites - lyrics:

    You come to Church on Sunday in the morning light
    But you know what you were doin' on Saturday night

    Blessed are the hypocrites - You have your reward
    Blessed are the hypocrites - Thus says the Lord!

    Who knows what any of you believes
    You've made His house a den of thieves

    He said do justice and love one another
    But any one of you would sell your own brother


    The Samaritan helped the stranger lying bloody in the street
    While the priest hurried by - had people to meet

    You pass the needy stranger on the road each day
    But you can't let their need take you out of your way


    Alternate chours:

    Blessed are the hypocrites - You have your reward
    But who lives by the dollar will perish by the sword!

  130. THanks for the contest! Great idea.

    1. They say you cannot die in dreams, but Olive knew for a fact they were wrong.
    2. Paranormal romance
    3. Noah McAlister

  131. I forgot to leave my email address, so here it is plus I posted the wrong 1st line! ooopppss :)
    First line:
    Life is a game;you can cheat, but it will cost you.
    Genre: Contempory/suspense fiction
    Name: Emily Chapin
    Email: chapinfamily5(at)verizon(dot)net

  132. I'd love to take a look at Amanda's book.