Growth of an Author: Getting to Know Fay Lamb

February 25, 2012

 I am honored to share with you today my interview with Fay Lamb, author of the recently released romantic suspense book, “Because of  Me.” I’ve known Fay for a number of years, and worked with her as a fellow staff member at our church. I have been privileged to be able to read several of Fay’s works. It is Fay to whom I am grateful for introducing me to the American Christian Fiction Writers organization and for becoming my mentor in writing. And it is God to whom I am thankful for sending such a wonderful Christian friend my way.

 Fay, when did your start writing seriously?  Since I’ve been writing most of my life, this is a good question. I didn’t get serious about it until I was in my late twenties. I wrote seriously as a teenager and a young adult. One of the stories I’m still working on was started when I was a teenager. However, in my late twenties I realized that God had given me this desire to put words on paper and some natural ability because He had a job for me to do. I also knew that in everything we do, we are to do it mightily for the Lord. So, leaning upon Him, I began to get serious, to study the writer’s craft, and to produce work that I felt glorified my Lord and Savior. Now that doesn’t mean I haven’t had setbacks, because I have, but God has seen me through them.

What is your biggest challenge in writing, aside from finding a publisher?   The biggest? I think it was an internal struggle to accept the fact that writing is a ministry and a career. I’ve been busy all my life, working outside the home, raising two sons and a husband, and busy in church with projects others felt were my “calling.”  When I finally decided that the only two things in my life that came before my writing were God and my family, writing went to the top of my to-do list. My service to the Lord became a much wider spectrum than the local church. Yes, local church service is important, but sometimes, well-meaning people believe they know where God is leading you when—and here’s the secret—they really don’t have a clue as to what God’s doing in your life. I was listening to others and not to the Lord, and I was miserable. Eventually, God was the One who took me out of those other ministries. That day came when I broke down in front of my pastor and said, “I’m done.” Those were two of the most powerful words I’ve ever spoken, and probably two of the hardest. I don’t like to give up on anything. I hate to let anyone down, but that day I gave it all up. I know I hurt the feelings of people I love, and it destroyed some relationships, but sometimes when we’re working against God’s will for us, He will bring us to the end of ourselves. On that day, that’s where I was. Once I fell into line with the path God had for me, I discovered that God’s main ministry for me is to work with writers at all levels of their career, and the doors to my own writing opened wide.

How long have you been a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW)?  I’m not good with dates. When I first became a member, the organization was called American Christian Romance Writers. I dropped out for a time and quickly learned that there is no place better for a Christian writer to learn and to fellowship than at ACFW.  I rejoined in 2007, and I don’t think I’ll ever be foolish enough to let my membership lapse again.

What was your role in the formation of the Scribes critique group?  Well, I just happened to be at the right place at the right time. I was looking for a place to serve within ACFW. I started under the old critique system. That system wasn’t working because individuals were actually put into groups with individuals they didn’t know. Groups were falling apart, and ACFW really wanted to establish some meaningful critique relationships for its members. The newer system started in 2009, and to be honest, I thought, “This is never going to work.” I’m very happy to tell you, that I was wrong. The large group system is one of the best offers ACFW has for its members. In the large group of 275+ individuals, writers are meeting others with the same goals: publication. They come together and the goal becomes: publication for each other. In the large group, friendships are formed, and those friendships often result in the formation of small groups under the Scribes’ system.

What is your favorite “how-to” book on writing? Without a moment’s hesitation I would tell any writer to buy a copy of James Scott Bell’s Plot and Structure. I love Mr. Bell’s teaching and especially the fact that he uses movies to make his point. I’m a fan of his LOCK system which is set out in the book as well. Often when I see authors meandering through a story, I suggest the LOCK system. It’s a panster and a plotters best friend because it resides somewhere in the middle of those two extremes, allowing creativity while you’re essentially building a lose outline of your manuscript.

What do you see as your most helpful “lesson learned” about writing?   Deep point of view. It takes your story to an all new level. It’s the writer’s answer to a camera’s lens. With deep point of view, you get inside your point-of-view character’s head and you experience the story through him or her. The deeper you get into that character’s head, the more your readers are going to feel as if they are that character and not simply on the outside of the story looking in.

What is your favorite comfort food?   Now, that’s a question I know that you know, Pat. You’ve been to The Moonlight Drive-In enough times with me to know I take comfort in ice cream. Or is it the fried pickles. Maybe it’s their wonderful sweet iced tea. Well, let’s just say all of the above.

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not writing?    Well, I tat, but I haven’t been doing a lot of that. I think spending time with friends. I have some gal pals who keep me from being too much of a hermit. I’m able to act silly with abandon around them when we get together on Saturday nights to watch television, discuss our favorite actors—and recently my son gave me a Wii. I suspect I’ll have lots of fun with the gal pals beating up on me in the Wii games.

Fay Lamb works as an acquisition editor for Pelican Book Group, offers services as a freelance editor, and is an author of Christian romance and romantic suspense. Her emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Because of Me, her debut romantic suspense novel is available at all book retailers and Treble Heart Books/Mountainview Publishing, www.trebleheartbooks.com/MVLamb. A signed copy of her book may be purchased from her through her website, www.FayLamb.com.

Fay’s passion is working with and encouraging fellow writers. As a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), she co-moderates the large Scribes’ Critique Group and manages the smaller Scribes’ critique groups. For her efforts, she was the recipient of the ACFW Members Service Award in 2010.  In 2012, Fay was also elected to serve as secretary on ACFW’s Operating Board.

Fay and her husband, Marc, reside in Titusville, Florida, where multi-generations of their families have lived. The legacy continues with their two married sons and five grandchildren.

About “Because of Me”

This book is not your typical Christian fiction.

Michael’s fiancée, Issie Putnam, was brutally attacked and Michael was imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. Now he’s home to set things right.  Two people stand in his way: Issie’s son, Cole, and a madman.  Can Michael learn to love the child Issie holds so close to her heart and protect him from the man who took everything from Michael so long ago?

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Planting the Seeds

February 17, 2012

As I sit on my back porch looking at the seedlings I’ve planted in cardboard egg cartons, and contemplating the miracle of the growth of these plants, I am reminded that no matter how much soil, fertilizer and water I use, germination isn’t going to occur without God’s intervention. There’s only so much I can do to make this happen. But there is something I must do. I must plant the seeds.

I’d saved empty egg cartons for months and purchased the seed packets. About a week after I’d filled the containers with potting soil, placed them in a sunny location, carefully divided the seeds and dropped them in, gently covered them with more soil, and moistened them with water from our rain barrels, tiny green sprouts begin to emerge from the earth. These once-dead kernels had come to life. Each morning as I enjoyed my morning coffee on the porch, I’d notice how much the plants had grown.

“So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.” 1 Corinthians 3:7-8. NKJV

“And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us, And establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands.” Psalm 90:17 NKJV

God is blessing my little garden, and this is good. But there’s so much more. Will I plant the God’s spiritual seeds where they need to be planted? We plant His truths in our hearts through consistent reading of the Bible, study and meditation on the Word, and prayer. Then we can plant seeds in the hearts of family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers. How to do this best? It is by being bold in acknowledging and praising God for who He is first, then sharing what He has done in our lives, by being thoughtful and courteous in all our interactions, weaving God’s truths into the stories we write, and, most importantly, by showing (not just telling) people that we care.


Interview with Deborah Malone, Author of “Death In Dahlonega,” with Free Book Drawing

February 11, 2012

 I am thrilled to be able to share my interview with Deborah Malone, author of Death in Dahlonega, on my blog today.  Deborah has worked as a freelance writer and photographer, since 2001, for the historical magazine “Georgia Backroads.” She has had many articles and photographs published during this time. Her writing is featured in “Tales of the Rails” edited by Olin Jackson.

She has also had a showing of her photographs at Floyd Medical Center Art Gallery as well as winning several awards for her photography.

She is a current member of the Georgia Writers Association, and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She has an established blog, Butterfly Journey, where she reviews Christian Fiction. Death in Dahlonega, was a winner in the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Category Five writing contest.

Here is my interview with Deborah: 

Pat:  Do you work with an outline, or write “by the seat-of-the-pants”  (SOTP)?

Deborah:  Thank you for having me as a guest, Pat. I work mostly by SOTP – I know the general gist of the story. I usually outline the next chapter or two ahead of where I am. But I don’t do a big outline. I don’t think I could. LOL

Pat:  What were your biggest challenges in getting your first book published?

Deborah:  This is a good question. Every author has their individual challenges/journey to publication. One of mine was editing my book. I kept getting different opinions on what needed to be done before it could be published. I finally hired an editor that was familiar with cozies and that was a big help. The second thing was I didn’t have an agent. I decided to try the small presses before shopping for an editor. It was a good choice for me.

Pat:  Do you have any advice for new writers?

Deborah:  There is always the advice to attend writer’s conventions, read writing books, etc. Those are great, but the one thing I want to say is “don’t give up.” It is a long road for everyone and you have to hang in there. I have fibromyalgia and an adult daughter that is severely disabled, and this limits the time I can write, but if you’re willing there is a way. Here are a couple of books that helped me the most. Write in Style by Bobbie Christmas and Goal, Motivation and Conflict by Debra Dixon.

Pat:  Are you working on a sequel or new novel?

Deborah:  Absolutely – my next one will be “Murder in Marietta” and then the next one is “Terror on Tybee Island.”

Pat:  What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Deborah:  Now that I’ve been published, I don’t have much free time. I do like photography though. Also, I’ve really enjoyed meeting people through marketing Death in Dahlonega.

Pat:  Deborah, it’s been a pleasure talking with you, and I wish you the best in your Trixie Montgomery series.

A brief synopsis of Deborah’s book:

A friendly adventure turns to murder and mayhem in the north Georgia mountains. Historical writer Trixie Montgomery is asked to cover Gold Rush Days in the picturesque Georgia mountain town, Dahlonega. Trixie seizes the chance to mix business with pleasure and asks her best friend, Dee Dee to tag along.  Their well laid plans go awry when Dee Dee is discovered standing over the lifeless body of prominent citizen, John Tatum – the very man she’d had a run in with earlier that day – holding a bloody pickax in her hands. Can Trixie find a way to finish her assignment and keep Dee Dee out of the slammer?

I hope you’ll check out Deborah’s intriguing novel available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and Lamp Post Publishing.  Please answer the question: “What is your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?” Type your answer in the comment section below to have your name entered in a drawing for a free copy of  Death in Dahlonega. The drawing will be held on February 17th.


It’s All About Pride

February 4, 2012

I’ve had conversations with young women in love, married and not, who have stated or implied that they argue with their spouse or boyfriend frequently. It’s not that they’re necessarily coming to me for advice, although I’ve had people ask how in the world my husband and I have managed to stay together for forty-seven years, and we both have hair left on our heads. Well, okay, I have more than he does, but it’s not that I pulled his out.

I think the longevity of our relationship is particularly amazing to some because I married young. Quite young. Let’s face it. It hasn’t all been peaches and cream, especially before we were both saved. We’ve had our share of struggles. Even after we were saved, there have been a few little humps and bumps in the road. But it certainly isn’t the washboard we traveled before.

Relationships adjust and mature (hopefully) as individuals change and grow. It takes effort to maintain a healthy union over time. Each person has their own “right” viewpoint, and everyone has a “right” to their point of view. However, it’s no one’s “right” to constrain the other person to your own perspective. God did, after all, make us different people.

What is it that causes a couple to struggle with conflict? I couldn’t possibly do justice to this subject in the space of a blog post, nor am I an expert. But I know the One who is the best Relationship Counselor ever. So I will point you to a few places that you may find answers for yourself. From what I have seen, the most prevalent problem that arises translates to “it’s all about me.” What’s at the core of that? Pride. So, what does God say about pride? Let’s see: (all Scripture NKJV)

• Proverbs 28:25 “He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife, But he who trusts in the LORD will be prospered.”

• I Peter 5:5 in part says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

• Proverbs 21:19 “It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman.”

• Proverbs 26:21 “As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.”

Selflessness is a picture of our Lord and Savior, whom we are to strive to emulate. In the three short years of His ministry, His every action was for the benefit of others. His ultimate loving act, His submission to die on the cross for the remission of our sin, provides us with the spiritual freedom we have today. God tells us in both Matthew 19 and Mark 10 that when a man and a woman marry, they become as one flesh. This does not refer only to the intimate physical part of the relationship, but indicates that the couple should live in harmony. How to do that?

• Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. Galatians 5:26

• Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Romans 12:15-17

• Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; Romans 12:9-11

• “… with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,” Ephesians 4:2

• “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

• “…submitting to one another in the fear of God. Ephesians 5:21

Now having said all that, please be sure to read Ephesians chapter 5, and understand that the husband is the head of the family. This scripture also addesses how the husband is to treat the wife.  In this “modern” time, women tend to want to rule the roost. Please don’t tell me I’m “old-fashioned.” 1 Peter tells us that “the Word of the Lord endures forever.”

And, oh yes, I am looking in the mirror as I write this.


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