Author Spotlight Thursday: Susan May Warren and Darek Christiansen

Take a Chance on Darek Christiansen

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Hello, yeah. Hi. So, I’m Darek Christiansen, and Susie told me I had to show up and introduce myself. So here I am. Listen, it’s no mystery that I don’t want to be here. I really need to be getting home to Tiger, my five year old son. But apparently the resort needs a little public relations, so here I am.

I run the Evergreen Resort – a handful of cabins and an outfitting service for campers and canoeists located on a lake in the north shore of Minnesota. It’s a family operation – my parents inherited it from my grandparents. I never really wanted to take it over, but I had to do something to give my son a stable life after I lost my wife in a terrible car accident.

Unfortunately, the man who killed her lives in our town. Okay, he was actually my best friend, but that seems so long ago, it’s hard to imagine that Jensen and were ever anything but enemies.

Okay, so yes, I struggle with forgiveness. And the guilt that I never really wanted this life – I was going to be a HotShot, a fire manager, fighting wildland fires. But life doesn’t give you what you want – it gives you what you deserve.

Which means I’m not going to end up with the cute new Assistant county prosecutor who just arrived in town. Even if she did buy me in the town fundraiser/bachelor auction. Because what she doesn’t know is that I’m the last man she should hang out with.
But deep inside, I’m hoping she’ll take a chance on me. Because what I really want (and don’t tell anyone) is to start over. To build a new life. I am just not sure how to get there.
I hope you’ll go on the journey with me in Susan May Warren’s newest novel about me, and my family, and life on a resort in the north shore of Minnesota.

Take a Chance on Me. In stores May 1st.

Woe! It’s Wednesday

Last week publisher Broadman and Holman announced a vast restructuring of their fiction department. Read the announcement here. Basically, they’ll only be publishing fiction with tie-ins to movies or other events.

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What it means to me personally is not a whole lot. I have a few friends who are were published by B&H and I’m sure they’re shocked and wondering what in the sweet name of heaven are they going to do now.

What it means to me as a wanna-be published writer is one less place I can hope to place my manuscript.

What it means to you is even less defined but no less real. Fewer publishers means fewer spots available and just a little harder for a good story to get some attention in an already crowded marketplace. Perhaps that book that was going to change your life is now stuck in publishing purgatory.

Yes, that’s probably more than a little overly melodramatic.

Makes the self-publishing option more attractive. But talk about a crowded field there. It’s nearly impossible to get noticed in the pages and pages of self-pubbed offerings.

Just when I’d made my peace with the new odds came the announcement of the semi-finalists of a contest I’d entered. My name wasn’t on the list. Go ahead. Kick me when I’m down.

What’s next? Target going out of business?

It’s enough to make a girl shut down the computer and go pour a glass of wine cup of highly caffeinated coffee.

Going to drown my sorrows in a latte.

Book Talk Tuesday: The Hunger Games

I finally got around to reading The Hunger Games when we were on vacation in March. I immediately followed it up with book 2 in the series, Catching Fire. I’m taking a little break from the intensity before I tackle book 3, MockingJay. hunger

 

You’ve probably heard a lot about this series, even if you haven’t read it or seen the movies. I’ve heard (and even agree) with those who say they have no desire to read or watch them. The subject matter is too disturbing (children killing children). It’s almost prophetic, given our propensity for reality television programming and the fact that the Hunger Games are broadcast live to the entire population of Panem, a new country forged on the North American continent.

 

I think Collins has done a magnificent job capturing what life would be like under a totalitarian government, given our technology. Not to mention human nature.

Katniss Everdeen is her family’s provider of food in District 12, the area encompassing present day Appalachia. Life is hard. Her father died in a coal mine explosion. Her mother nearly died from grief and depression. Katniss hasn’t forgiven her mother for all but abandoning Katniss and her sister, Prim.

Panem has instituted an annual ritual called the Hunger Games. Each of the twelve districts must send one boy and one girl, called Tributes, to the Capitol for the Games. It is a televised battle to the death with one winner. It is designed to remind the populace that the Capitol is all-powerful and what will happen to all children if any of the districts get restless and decide to revolt.

On Reaping Day, the unthinkable happens: Prim’s name is called. Katniss volunteers to take her sister’s place. The boy tribute is Peeta, a young man Katniss has never spoken to but they share a connection.

Just in case you haven’t gotten around to either reading the books or seeing the movie, I won’t go on and spoil it for you.

I will say that Katniss is an incredible young woman and an excellent role model for teenagers in this day and time. She sacrifices herself for her sister. She has to obey the government but she refuses to allow them to own her. She remains her own person throughout both books.

There’s a love triangle between Katniss, Peeta, and another young man, Gale, from District 12. I’m at a loss to who will win the showdown coming up in Mockingjay. And I can’t wait to read all about it.

Author Spotlight Thursday: Susan May Warren and Take a Chance on Me

For a few weeks, I’m going to be posting interviews with some of the characters from Take a Chance on Me by Susan May Warren. First up, I’m pleased to introduce you to Ivy Madison:

Hey. I’m Ivy Madison and I’m super glad to be here. I’m the new assistant prosecutor in Deep Haven. The truth is, I’ve always wanted to live in a small town. Call it a idealistic dream, but the fact is, I grew up in Minneapolis, shuffling to different foster homes, and the minute I heard about Deep Haven, a little town in Northern Minnesota, I thought…hey, I could put down roots there. People would know me, and it would sort of be like…family.

Not that I need family. I’m just fine on my own, but…well, okay, someone who knows you, that you could spend holidays with might be nice. Or maybe I’ll get a dog. Whatever, I’m just glad to be here. And yes, it happens to be the same town Jensen Atwood lives in – I might even look him up. He doesn’t know I’m the lawyer who got him his plea bargain/community service sentence – that was a fine bit of lawyering if I do have to say so myself. But I was just a clerk back then, and no one was supposed to know. But I know, and maybe someday I’ll tell him I was the one who saved him from four years in prison.

It’s just the start of something great here in Deep Haven – a new life, a jumpstart on my career.

So what made a mistake on my very first night here. I plead ignorance – and it wasn’t exactly my fault because this nice lady named Noelle told me to bid on Owen Christiansen in the bachelor auction. Only, it wasn’t Owen, and if I hadn’t been in the bathroom, I might have heard him introduced as Darek Christiansen. His older brother. The surly, angry one. So, he was cute…I should have listened ot the quiet foreboding around me as the crowd went silent. But he looked so forlorn I know what it feels like to be the awkward center of attention.

So I bid on him. And now I have to spend an evening hanging out with him. But I’m not going to let it get me down. So what he’s a bit grumpy. I never have to see him again, do I? If he’d just let his guard down and take a chance on me, though, he’d find that I’m a pretty nice girl. I can fit in. I’ve had to.

My biggest fear is that something will happen that causes me to have to leave. But this is Deep Haven – nothing bad happens, here, right?

Read my story about starting over in Susan May Warren’s new novel, Take a Chance on Me.

Woe! It’s Wednesday

On my old blog, when someone I love passed away I often posted my own tribute on my blog.

I have two people this week.

I called him my BGF (Best Gay Friend) but in reality, he was my only gay friend. We had some wonderful chats about heaven and faith and Jesus and what salvation looks like and what happens when we die. He assured me on several occasions that he knew Jesus as his savior.

I won’t point a finger at his gravestone and declare him in hell.

He said he believed and that’s good enough for me.

He knew for a long time that he was dying. I gave him instructions to greet some of my friends and family members and tell them I miss them.

My other friend who passed away is his complete opposite.

Female.

Conservative.

Mother.

Her illness was advanced by the time she was diagnosed and I didn’t get a chance to give her greetings to relay to my loved ones.

Of these two friends, one of them swore like a longshoreman. The other fainted (metaphorically) in the presence of coarse language.

What a hoot and holler they’re having in heaven right now.

Just the thought of the two of them together makes me smile. Something I haven’t been able to do all day.

I’ll miss them.

Goodbye Daniel and June. You enriched my life. I miss you. See you soon. Love, Carrie