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Friday, December 7, 2007

Christmas Greetings from DiAnn Mills

DiAnn Mills' newest release, A Texas Legacy Christmas, is just the book to get you into the holiday spirit. A heart-warming story of love, loss, and reclaimed souls, A Texas Legacy Christmas stays true to DiAnn's inimitable style. Read her take on the story and leave a comment for an opportunity to win a copy of this book of seasonal cheer.

Christmas is the time of year when we remember friends and family, when a bit of nostalgia roots in our hearts and blossoms into sentimental moments. Our faith in God and the birth of Jesus shape our ideals of what we want for the world, our country, and our community. Peace on earth becomes an action instead of a greeting.
The Texas Legacy Series comes to a close with the Christmas book. The characters, whom I have grown to love and respect, will always be with me, but now it’s time to finish the story. We think of Christmas as the beginning of our Christian faith, a time for all of us to reflect on the past and to step forward. I think this is a perfect time to say goodbye to our friends in Kahlerville, Texas.
For me, writing about historical Texas brings that era to life. In the beginning when I wrote Leather and Lace, I fell in love with Casey and her dream of forsaking the outlaw life. But the story would not let me go. Grant needed his story told in Lanterns and Lace, and Bonnie’s sweet story had to be told in Lightning and Lace. I fell in love with Zach Kahler, Bonnie’s son, and I could not let the series end without showing how that wayward boy had grown into a fine man.
So Zack had a story of his own, an amusing and heart-wrenching tale set at Christmas time in 1911. He introduced me to a pair of orphaned six-year-old twins from the streets of New York who wiggled their way into his heart. And those children weren't the only ones who snatched up his heart. A Texas Legacy Christmas captures what all of us dream about in an old-fashioned Christmas--love, laughter, family, and a warm feeling of nostalgia.
My books are character-driven. I believe in strong men and women who step off the page and into a reader's heart. For me, characterization is the most important aspect of writing. I want the reader to sympathize with the protagonists and understand the antagonists. This is not easy or a quick fix! It requires spending time with characters and developing their personalities and temperaments. How characters react and respond to the happenings in their lives reveal who they are.

Our lives are much like the lives of these characters. We grow and change while seeking to turn our weaknesses into strengths. Our faith is challenged, and even though we may stray, God’s love is permanent. Fiction is my way of planting seeds about truth. Writing about Texas history has allowed me to grow truth and memorable characters in the hearts of my readers. And maybe, just maybe, the story might make a difference in someone’s life. DiAnn Mills,
Congratulations to Hannah for winning Kathleen Y'Barbo's Beloved Castaway! I know you'll love it as much as I did.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Kathleen Y'Barbo on Beloved Castaway

Beloved Castaway Article
By Kathleen Y’Barbo

BELOVED CASTAWAY, originally called OUT OF THE FIRE, came to life in late 2002 after reading a verse from Scripture: Jude 22-23 KJV: "And of some, have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh."

I "saw" the story's first scene where a woman flees slavery aboard a decrepit ship called the Jude whose old wooden hull and brittle canvas sails must literally escape a fire engulfing New Orleans harbor. Isabelle, the heroine, represents us all. She's a slave and yet she yearns to be set free. I think we’re all born with the innate sense of belonging to God, even if we don’t always know what to call it or how to achieve it. Once we realize we do not have to be a slave to our former lives, being set free is a simple matter and a complicated process all at the same time.

While Isabelle is seeking a new life, Josiah, the hero, is running from his. In a way, he's also like us. Sometimes God calls us to things that we don't think are meant for us. Like Josiah, we run from our father and seek what we think is our destiny, only to find we were on the wrong path altogether. It is only when some of us hit bottom that we see where we were meant to go. In this story, the Jude literally hits bottom on a reef, setting Josiah's new life - one he is well-suited for - into motion.
I hope that readers come away from BELOVED CASTAWAY with a profound sense of God’s sovereignty and mercy. May the experiences of Josiah and Isabelle give you hope that no matter how difficult the circumstance, God can redeem it.

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