Friday, April 15, 2011

Seekerville Welcomes Guestblogger Tosca Lee & GIVEAWAY!

Hey all, Cheryl here, welcoming to Seekerville good friend Tosca Lee who is a great gal, awesome author and eater of all things yummy! Tosca has generously offered to donate two autographed books today to two lucky commenters.

If you haven't read Tosca's award-winning, critically-acclaimed debuts Demon, A Memoir, and Havah-the story of Eve, be sure to comment for a chance to win an autographed copy of one of these stellar Inspirational novels.

Tosca's style reminds me of a modern day C.S. Lewis. Her gripping prose is beautiful, deep, edgy and lyrical. If you don't happen to win the drawing, be sure to try out her books.

In addition to being a former model, beauty queen and avid fisher-woman, Tosca has been A Christy Award finalist and ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Silver Award winner—and received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. All well-deserved I say!

Now, for an exclusive interview with Tosca whose most recent adventure included Piranha fishing in the Amazon. LOL! Good news....she brought back a few for Seekerville's new aquarium. ;-)

Cheryl: I was chatting with a few of your characters the other day and Havah, the lead female of your second book, named the same and critically acclaimed, mentioned you've been busy with some exciting projects. Havah starting dropping big names such as Judas Iscariot, Ted Dekker and Oscar in the makers of bacon of which there is a mysterious shortage lately. In addition to gushing about what a gifted storyteller you are, Havah said you:

1. Have co-written a book with Ted and is happy to report that both of you lived to tell about it.
2. Have brought Judas back to life through the power of story.
3. Have consumed epic quantities of those delectable strips of pork while on deadline yet maintained your modelesque figure.

Can you confirm or deny any of the above? After all, Havah aka Eve did happen to be standing near a fruit tree when the statements were made.

Tosca: That Havah is a wonder woman--how she manages to grow and harvest food, take care of so many kids and keep up with the news is way beyond me! But then, I can't fault her for her taste in authors, can I? Well, if you must know, it's true. I did consume epic quantities of bacon while both writing about Judas and working on the Books of Mortals series with Ted Dekker. Last year while I was researching Judas in Israel, however, is a completely different story. Not a pork belly, chop, or rind to be found. By the end of my first week in Israel, I would have knocked off someone's grandma for a piece of sausage in the morning. I am a bad person.

Cheryl: LOL! No one who eats bacon and sausage is bad. Just smart. LOL! In addition to bad-to-the-bone bacon that's oh-so-good, what other yummy foods do you crave while on deadline?

Tosca: Cheetos. Buttered popcorn. Burgers. Fries. Pizza. Steak. Enchiladas. I crave all of these same foods when not on deadline, too. Oddly, chocolate (I prefer the dark variety) has an extremely long shelf life in my house.

Cheryl: Oh my goodness. You are making me drool. I know from experience that you make the best pea soup in the world. Care to share the recipe?

Tosca: Mmmm. Split pea soup. Here you go:

2 big cans chicken broth
1 onion, chopped
1 smoked ham hock or shank
1 bag (sometimes I do a double batch and use two) of dried split peas
marjoram and celery seed to taste (I do about a teaspoon of each)
pepper, thyme, crumbled rosemary and a dash of sage (in smaller amounts to taste)
Salt to taste (with the smoked ham hock and chicken broth, I find there's seldom need to add salt)

Bring to a boil and then simmer, letting the peas break up. Stir often to make sure they are not sticking to the bottom of the pot. You can actually burn this soup! When peas have started to break up, add chopped celery (I use nearly an entire bunch) and some finely-chopped carrot. You may need to add some water if the peas are making the soup too thick.

Simmer on low, stirring often, until peas are mush and the celery and carrots are soft. This soup freezes very well and gets better each time you heat it up!

Cheryl: Awesome! When you're not hovering over your keyboard weaving lyrical masterpieces into soul-brushing prose that is both breathtakingly poetic and edgy, you enjoy Piranha fishing in the Amazon, trips to Israel and other unique travels. Tell us about other adventures you like to embark on when you're not turning out those wonderful books?

Tosca: I like fishing, though I don't get to do it much! My favorite fishing memories: catching a 60 pound halibut in Alaska, and learning to fly fish in Maine. I like taking helicopters over scenic areas--Bora Bora, Kauai, or small planes (Alaska, Maine). I enjoy traveling just about anywhere, and tend to go on some of my more exotic trips with my mother (Transylvania, India, Greece, the Amazon). When I just need to get away for a few days, though I go west. My soul longs for cabins in the west and casitas in the Southwest.

Tosca in Alaska in Maine.

Cheryl: Sounds like your life is a constant adventure! Lots of story fodder for future books I'll bet. Tell us about your upcoming releases?

Tosca: Coming up: Forbidden, the first book in the new Books of Mortals series with Ted Dekker (September--available for pre-order now). Iscariot, the first-person story of Judas Iscariot, the infamous betrayer of Christ, in 2012.To pre-order Forbidden, go to: Forbidden on Amazon or visit any of your favorite online stores.

Cheryl: Where can readers find you online or sign up to hear about new releases?

Tosca: At from there you can click on a variety of links to join me on Facebook and Twitter. You can view several of my videos via links on my website, or by simply searching for me on YouTube.

Cheryl: Where can readers obtain copies of Havah and Demon in case they don't win the drawing?

Tosca: From any bookstore or online store. If you'd like signed copies, they are also available at

Cheryl: Excellent! Bonus treat: Here is a link to a fabulous talk Tosca did at a church on creativity/fear/perfectionism.

Don't forget, you can pre-order Forbidden now on Amazon.

Tosca on Facebook (complete with Writer-Cam :D If you have not checked out Tosca's hilarious and down-to-earth-y Writer-Cam posts, you're missing out!

You can sign up for Tosca's newsletter here.

Tosca on Twitter

Read more about Ted and Tosca's co-writing project here.

Forbidden teaser:

For centuries perfect peace has reigned... until now.
Centuries have passed since civilization's brush with apocalypse. The world's greatest threats have been silenced. There is no anger, no hatred, no war. There is only perfect peace... and fear.

Until now.

FORBIDDEN: Book One of the Books of Mortals. An epic new journey that plumbs the depths of humanity--its darkest desires, its greatest hopes, its highest ambition.

Coming September 2011 from Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee.

To celebrate Tosca's first visit to Seekerville, we are having an enormous breakfast of bacon (turkey and pork) with eggs scrambled and fried in bacon grease. Sausage links and homemade butter yeast rolls with fresh-squeezed orange juice and Helen's special blend of coffee. For lunch we're having juicy steak enchiladas and Tosca's yummy split pea soup and soft drinks of your choice. For dessert, we have dark chocolate cakes, stamped with the Forbidden book logo with creamy caramel and dark chocolate filling swirled inside.

Enjoy! And don't forget to leave a comment for the chance to win an autographed copy of Havah or Demon autographed by Tosca.

Cheryl Wyatt & Tosca Lee


  1. Yum. Bacon. More yum.

    The books sound interesting. Not sure if they're my cup of tea [or coffee once Helen gets here], but I'd love to give it a shot.

    carol at carolmoncado dot com

  2. Okay, the coffee's ready. Have at it.

    Like Carol, not sure these books are my cup of coffee, but willing to give it a try.


  3. Do either of you enjoy Biblical fiction, allegory-esque or C.S. Lewis's writing?

    If so, you will LOVE Tosca's writing. It is truly breathtaking.

    Thanks for the coffee, Helen!

    Carol, I agree. Bacon is the bomb! YUMMO!


  4. Hi Tosca:

    Can you tell us about your name: Tosca? I think Tosca has the best ending in all of opera. Fantastic. There must be a story to your name.

    Also: Have you read Mark Twain’s book on Adam and Eve?


    vmres (at) swbell (dot) net

  5. Hmmm... I loved Sandi Rog's Master's Wall, Jill Eileen Smith's The Wives of King David Series and enjoyed... argh! The Rahab one that came out recently. Something like Pearl in the Sand maybe? And Narnia. Love Narnia.

    I will say the Judas one sounds really interesting...

  6. i'm all for the turkey bacon. heart-healthy, you know. :)

    i've heard wonderful things about tosca's books, so please enter me in the giveaway!

    and thanks for the split pea soup recipe, as well. that's a fav of hubby's.

    the character therapist
    charactertherapist (at) hotmail (dot) com

  7. Cheryl:

    The last biblical fiction book I remember reading was Taylor Caldwell's Dear and Glorious Physician.

    Back when I was younger I read voluminously--contemporary, biblical, historical, whatever I could get my hands on. As time passed I began reading fewer historicals, and somewhere along the way stopped reading them altogether. I think it was about the time I BECAME history.

    I don't read nearly as much overall as I used to. The eyes can't tolerate the abuse they once did.

  8. I can attest that Tosca's split pea soup is divine! :) Welcome to Seekerville, Tosca!

  9. Tosca-I love Cheetos too! But, alas, I must watch my intake of calories-life is crazy like that after you turn 50--which you are no where near. And I don't mind fishing. I haven't done it in a while. Not sure if you are going to be answering questions today, but if so, what is your favorite place to travel to. Just curious.
    All of your books sound interesting. I'd love to win one!
    belindapeterson at tds dot net

  10. Amazing! I have to read that book!

    I love Tosca Lee. She was so nice at the ACFW conference a couple years ago - very encouraging. And Havah remains one of my all-time favorite books. I recommend it to people all the time.

  11. Hi Cheryl and Tosca!

    Bacon: the candy of meats.

    Tosca, It sounds like you have an amazing life. All the places you've been...fascinating. But I have to agree, nothing compares to the mountains of the west.

    I gave my brother the book Demon for his birthday and he couldn't stop raving about it. I'll have to borrow it now. Havah sounds amazing! I'll definitely pick that one up (well pay for it).


  12. I'd love to win one of her books! I've heard so much about them. Thanks for the interview.

  13. Tosca,

    What an adventurous life you lead!

    Can you share the story of how you and Ted partnered up to write and what your process is?

    RRossZediker at yahoo dot com

  14. sound so fun:) I love the adventures you go on...awesome! Also, we'll have to try your split-pea soup recipe...can't wait.

    Your books sound fascinating and deep...I would love to be entered for a chance to win:)

    lornafaith at gmail dot com

  15. That food sounds really good. I'm hawgry! Let's eat! (I just have coffee now).

    I haven't read any book by Tosca. This would be a great way to introduce me to her writing. Count me in on the giveaway of her books.


  16. Count me in; her books sound great!
    Enjoyed the post and learning more about this writer!

  17. Ohhhh!!! I'm SO hungry! Think I'll join in on breakfast today. The buffet is still out, right?

    Thanks for visiting us, Tosca. I'm intrigued! I'd love a chance to win one of your books. I always enjoy testing different reading genres. Sometimes I just need a break from my norm, you know? Especially when I'm eyebrow deep in revisions.

    So, you've co-written with Ted Dekkar. (sp???) I read one of his books and it ended a little open ended like he was leaving the result to the imagination of the reader. Does he do that in all his books?

  18. Welcome Tosca. Great interview.
    Ted Dekker, what a wonderful opportunity for you, Tosca, wow.

  19. All, Tosca's Internet access will be sporadic, but she will be able to check in at some point. Until then feel free to keep commenting and asking questions.


  20. {{{{{TOSCA}}}}}

    I'm at work, so can't play right now, but


  21. Tosca,

    Did all your travel adventures inspire you to write in any way. Was it the other way around?

    I'm inspired just thinking our you in the Amazon.
    Thanks for that. :)

    I'd love to win a book.

    cathy underscore shouse at yahoo

  22. I just have to say, Forbidden is AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Utterly amazing.

    Y'all don't know what you're missing if you haven't read Demon or Havah. Some of Tosca's writing makes me stop and want to slap her upside the head the prose is so lyrical and beautiful. Sigh. Gotta hate her now! lol j/k...I love Tosca!

  23. WELCOME TO SEEKERVILLE, TOSCA, and Cheryl, thanks for bringing her!!

    Like everyone else, I have heard SO much about Tosca. To me, her books sound incredibly unique, haunting and deep ... uh, like Tosca, I guess, and I fully intend to add them to my TBR. And, WOW, a series with Ted Dekker??? HUGE!!

    But fishing? Only if I can sit in the boat and read ... :)


  24. Tosca, welcome to Seekerville.

    Unlike my gorgeous buddy Julie, I love fishing.

    And cute guys that fish.

    And one particular fisherman.

    Thanks for a glimpse of Tosca-life. Amazing.

    (hey, y'all... Friday food frenzy... Carb-laden back table with Chocolate cake for my buddy Walt, layered with raspberry per his request yesterday AND....

    Fresh whipped cream.

    That didn't come from Mary's ol' cow.)

    Although old cow cream is just as sweet.

  25. Oh would I EVER love Havah. And Tosca sounds WAY too awesome of a lady. Sounds goooooooddd!


  26. Great interview, Tosca! :-)


  27. Definitely up for bacon (as long as it's not soy bacon). Everybody in my family is manic about bacon.

    As someone working on a story that involves Thomas, I would love to read the story about Judas. How do you research and get into the head of someone famous from that time period, particularly when the sources from period are scant?


  28. Bacon and sausage. My kind of gal.

    I'm still blown away by having read Demon and Havah. Looking forward to Judas, but now I have Forbidden to keep me happy until then. Great!

    Tosca, you are the only fiction writer I've ever gotten my husband to read, and he too was blown away.

  29. Welcome, Tosca! What a fun interview! Thanks so much for being here.

    The new book sounds great! I can't wait.

  30. I just checked out your website (and "liked" your page on FB). I laughed and cringed at your answer to "the worst writing advice you ever received." I cringed because I primarily write about historical Japan, because it's what I know and love. I laughed because I have an aunt who is former Miss America contestant and she birthed a public speaking career telling funny beauty pageant stories. (Admittedly, I would be too embarassed to ask my aunt about duct tape.)

  31. Buenos dias from Peru! It is SO nice to meet you all and thank you for the lovely comments. I do hope you'll try my books if you haven't--and the split pea, too. ;)

    Vince: Yes! I read Twain's book on Adam and Eve a few years ago. As for my name, Dad wanted to be an opera tenor. He had a passionate love affair with Maria Callas, who was his favorite soprano--she just didn't know it. ;)

    Lindi: Hands down, Bora Bora.But barring leaving the country, New Mexico.

    Rose: How I ended up partnering with Ted--I wrote to him to ask him for an endorsement for Demon's re-release. We struck up a conversation and it ended with, "Hey. Let's write something cool together. Wanna?"

    Linnette: I think the open ending might be a bit of an anomaly for him, though he has been known to go in and add a fourth book to a trilogy or even rewrite the ends to books.

    Walt: Josephus, Josephus, Josephus. ;D My other guilty pleasure when it comes to research are lectures from the Great Courses, and keeping a cadre of experts among my circle of friends and acquaintances!

    Have a question? I'll check back over the weekend. And be sure to come join me on my Facebook page--you'll find the links in the blog.

  32. I'm very picky about bacon. When it's good it's the best thing in the world. But when it's bad, I'd rather eat anything else. Turkey bacon doesn't interest me, I'll sail past that part of the buffet.

    Walt, I've never even heard of soy bacon, but I'm with you on principle alone. blech!

    I love Biblical fiction. Francine Rivers' Lineage of Grace Series is amazing. I loved Hadassah (the story of Esther).

    Let me tell you Cheryl, a comparison to C.S. Lewis is high praise indeed, in my book. He is one of my Top 5 All Time Favorites. Narnia is all the Lewis Fiction I've read, but I love his non-fiction works. He was an amazing man.

    I said all that to say this, If Tosca's writing is anything like C.S. Lewis's, then count me in. The Eve book sounds good, but I'm a bit intrigued by the Judas one too. Of all the characters I might try to understand, I just can't imagine trying to get into THAT head.

    Tosca~ I think most people would call Judas the ultimate traitor. It seems it would take a lot of courage to present him as a protagonist with whom readers are meant to identify. Was that the case for you? Or am I misunderstanding the idea behind that story? As I said, I'm intrigued.

    andeemarie95 at gmail dot com

  33. Hi, Andrea: For me, putting myself in the shoes of Eve, or Clay (in Demon) or even Judas is really about confronting my own faults and shortcomings and my own potential to make mistakes. In a way, we have all betrayed Christ. So in that sense, it wasn't so hard--I think a lot of people at the time of Christ misunderstood what he was doing... including his own disciples (repeatedly, even!). It's been a true journey for me. Space is limited here, but if you like, I answered this question a bit more extensively in this interview:

  34. Ok, it's weird for me to realize I've completely missed an established author. Ted Dekker, I've read. Tosca Lee? Um... But I've taken my cyber-heiney over to Powell's bookstore (sooo much better in person, even if it IS a whole city block and you need a map) to order her stuff. Hey, if Seekerville says it's good, it is.
    P.S. My best friend in high school won our county Miss comptetition and I was her make up gal for the Miss Oregon. I wonder why she didn't win...

  35. Tosca,

    What were the difficulties of collaborating? What were the joy/unexpected surprises of collaborating?

  36. Virginia,

    I used to live in Portland. I worked at Big Pink (a.k.a the U.S. Bancorp tower) and would sometimes would go to Powell's during lunch. That place is phenomenal.


    For the true comments on soy bacon, listen to Bill Engvall.

  37. Good thing my brother is not here or he would be like, "Bacon, where?"
    That teaser, worked. I want to read that book!
    Great interview, thanks Cheryl and Tosca!

    I would love to win one of Tosca's books!

    crazi.swans at gmail dot com

  38. We often lure the unsuspecting to Seekerville for food.


    I get mine at Sam's Club, the Hickory smoked thick Wright Brand bacon...

    Now I want some and it's Friday.

    But tomorrow it's NOT Friday.

    Gettin' the griddle ready tonight!

    Who else likes to write Biblical fiction or speculative fiction? I remember reading Two from Galilee years ago and loving it. The very human dimension of Mary and Joseph's story was beautifully crafted.

    And Francine Rivers' Mark of the Lion series: masterful. A joy to read.

  39. Tosca, great interview!

    You've made me want to eat and go on vaction :)

    Your books sound gripping! Good luck with your latest release!

    Eva Maria Hamilton at gmail dot com

  40. Rad: It isn't easy to blend two styles, though early reports indicate we might have succeeded. :) It actually took twice as long to write Forbidden as it would have taken one of us to write it alone, because we each wrote the whole thing, in a way.

    It was great--a luxury, even--to rely on someone with such good instincts. You really get to know and appreciate one another's strengths as authors and as people.

  41. Read your interview at Christian Fiction Online and I have a question I hope you'll answer. The contrarian view I once heard about Judas is that he was the only one of the twelve who "understood." Is that the view you deal with or is it a view that he somehow became disenfranchsed, despite everything he had seen?

  42. Wow, who knew I'd come to Seekerville to read about Tosca and I come away realizing that Soy bacon exists... I shouldn't be suprised, I've heard of soy burgers. I'll stick with the hickory smoked version....

    Fun interview Cheryl & Tosca~

    Havah and Demon have been on my want to read list and am especially looking forward to Iscariot.

    Tosca, how long does it generally take you to write the book and do you edit as you go along?

    christylashea at gmail dot com

  43. Great interview, Cheryl and Tosca! I'm sorry to say I haven't read any of Tosca's books yet, but plan to (have heard great reviews, of course!). ~ YUM! That split pea soup sounds sooo good. ~ Thanks for visiting Seekerville today! ~ Blessings from Georgia, Patti Jo :)

  44. Walt: You'll have to read the book. ;) But I will say this--I definitely don't think he got it any less than the others. We are too adept at casting Biblical characters in two-dimensional light.

    Christy: Anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months--and I just cannot edit as I go. Of course, my first drafts also tend to be monstrous.

  45. Cathy: They do inspire me, though not always directly. Traveling is how I get my head on straight, or widen my vision, at least. Though trips like the one I took with Biblical Archaeology Society last year to Israel are sometimes inspired by projects. :)

    I think I've got everyone's questions--if I missed one, let me know. :)

  46. Thanks, Tosca. Looking forward to reading Iscariot. Alos, I have downloaded Josephus into my Nook. Thanks for the advice.

  47. Would love to read these book! I have read much about them, and they sound interesting

  48. Wow! Tosca and Ted. I think there really is a TNT combination here for the future.:)
    Great interview. Hi Cheryl!

    I havent' read your books yet Tosca and would love to win a copy. Read Ted all the time.

    Just got tickest for a Brad Paisley concert and I love that hat. It would be perfect for this event.:) Are you throwing it in too! :)


  49. a fabulous posting...enjoyed 'havah' very, very much...thanks for the opportunity to read 'demon' thanks :)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  50. Love the picture of you with the fish, Tosca. :)

  51. This isn't what I normally read, but you've stirred my interest.
    I'm also a fan of bacon, with breakfast, on a salad, BLT, or cheeseburger, on grilled cheese, I'll stop now.
    Thanks for the contest!

  52. What a great interview- loved it- learned a lot about Tosca Lee, her books and even a recipe thrown in there for good measure :) Thanks!