Lilly Maytree is in Alaska today...

Lilly Maytree is in Alaska, today...looking for adventure and divine appointments. Want to follow along? Enter her ARMCHAIR TRAVELERS PORTAL



Tuesday

The Next Big Thing...


I was blog tagged by Lynn C. Willis, last week (thank you, Lynn) and invited to participate in The Next Big Thing! So, here we go, dear readers, with some answers that pertain to my own soon-to-be-released novel...
THE PANDORA BOX
Another inspirational adventure from Pelican Book Group...

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Hmm... I am from a previous generation, and (to tell you the truth) haven’t been to a movie theater in several years. So, I’m unfamiliar with most of the latest stars. However, my editor recently mentioned her choice of  Matthew McConaughey, so I would probably add Sandra Bullock. Then, again, I’d much prefer readers to “choose their own.”

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 

The confession of a dying Nazi war criminal sends journalist, Dee Parker on the treasure hunt of a life-time… oblivious to the fact that the CIA has been watching the case for years.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? 

First draft, about a year.  Many rewrites interspersed over several more. Final draft after I discovered the definition of a Christian worldview (thank you, Chip MacGregor)... six months.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre

Having thought I came up with the “inspirational adventure” genre all by myself, I wouldn’t know. But if there are others out there, please pipe up, as I would love to read them!

Who or What inspired you to write this book? 

This book has been bubbling and simmering at the back of my brain for many years. The idea came to me one night as I was following an errant cat down onto some fishing docks in the Pacific Northwest, and stumbled onto an old relic of a sailing vessel that was rumored to have been chartered by the notorious Hermann Goering during WWII.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? 

Many of us are working at dream jobs that turned out not to be so dreamy. So, I was wondering how many would take a chance on treasure hunting if we suddenly got a hot lead no one else had ever heard about. Which is what I happen to be doing myself, in real life, at this very moment... if I were going to be perfectly honest about it.


Well, there you have it. Thanks so much for dropping by for this little “game of tag” dear readers, and I hope you’ll keep your eye out for THE PANDORA BOX when it hits the shelves. Meanwhile, I'm going to pass the baton to five of my own favorite authors, and hope you will join me in seeing what they have lined up next for their readers, too. I know I can't wait to find out!





Monday

A Titanic Event...


Hello, dear readers… today I have the pleasure of visiting with Janice Thompson, on this very special day when her wonderful new book, QUEEN OF THE WAVES, is released from Summerside Press, in the new American Tapestries Series. Welcome, Janice, I'm glad you could stop by.


Thank you, Lilly, it's good to be here.

Well, considering your'e best-known for your "Love, laughter, and happily ever afters," how did you come to write about such a serious subject as the sinking of the Titanic?

Well, my agent asked me to put together a story idea focused on the Titanic. Since he caught me on my way home from the theater, where I direct musicals, I quipped: "Only if I can throw in a song and dance number involving an iceberg!" He laughed and responded with, "No, we have to play this one straight."

At first, I wasn't sure if I could come up with a serious plot line, but twenty-four hours later, I had the story idea and the first chapter. My editors at Summersside (Rachel Meisel and Susan Downs) read the idea and loved it. When they saw me at the ACFW conference, I got the news that they were going to publish it, and I was especially thrilled to hear that my book would be among the first to release in the new line. What a privilege!

It certainly is. Congratulations! I understand this year marked the 100th anniversary of the Titanic. Why do you think we're still so fascinated with the so-called "unsinkable" ship after all this time?

You know, Lilly, I would imagine that people five hundred years from now will still be interested. It's such a tragic story, and one that affected thousands of people. Meeting Cathy Peeling (whose great-uncle was the captain of the Titanic) really put this in perspective for me. Her uncle passed away that night. This completely changed the make-up of her family. And she's just one person out of thousands. 

Generations of people were affected by this tragedy. And so many feel a connection. Ship builders. Dress designers. Modern-day cruisers. The rich. The poor. The dreamers. Those who long to travel. We can all envision ourselves aboard Titanic on that fateful journey. Perhaps the greatest lesson to be learned from it is this: We cannot put our trust and confidence in man-made things; only in the Lord.

That is so true, Janice, and something I think is just as pertinent for us today as it was a hundred years ago, too. Isn't it odd, though, that for such a tragic moment in history, so many stories are told of finding love on the Titanic? What do you think makes it so romantic?

I think it's the "unknown variable" that makes it all so interesting. It's the fact that we can only speculate. Who were those people? What were they feeling? What were their hopes and dreams? What were they feeling before the ship set sail? After? How strongly did they feel it? Who did they feel it with? These are the questions that motivate us. 

As I sat to write this story, I envisioned people from every walk of life, all converged in one small world for a brief moment in history. Together, in that place, emotions surely ran the whole gamut (from exhilaration, to distress, and grief). Placing a love story in the middle of all of that emotion just seems to make sense.  

It definitely adds to the appeal, that's for sure. But what a writing change for you! Especially since historically accurate novels take a lot of research. How much time and effort did you actually put into that?

Oh, my goodness! Talk about a lot of work. Not only did I spend months researching Titanic's story (reading every available book and watching every conceivable documentary), I also drove from Houston to Branson, Missouri, to the Titanic Museum. Talk about an eye opener! The exhibit covers everything you could imagine, and includes all sorts of artifacts from the ship. 

When you write about an event such as this, particularly one that has been so well documented in movies and books, you need to get your facts right. Even the "little" things (like, how long did it take to load everyone onto the ship) can bog the writer down. Dozens and dozens of times, I would stop writing just to look something up. And don't even get me started on the clothing and hats! I created a board on Pinterest to study 1910 fashion!

That's amazing. Is there a spiritual thread that runs through the story? Some message that you hope readers will come away with?

Absolutely. Several of my characters (primarily Tessa) face their own destiny. They come to grips with the brevity (and value) of life. They see first-hand what's truly important, and what isn't. In my story, Tessa learns that her picture of God has been skewed (since childhood). She discovers a relationship with Him while aboard the ship, but that relationship is tested the night the ship goes down.

Well, it sounds like a marvelous story, and I can't wait to read it. It's been a pleasure having you stop by to talk with me about it, and you can bet I'll be posting a review over on Lilly's Book Club page as soon as I finish. 

Thank you, Lilly. I always love hearing from readers, but as you can imagine, I'm especially interested in hearing how they like QUEEN OF THE WAVES, because it was a real change of pace for me. 

I'm headed out to get my copy, now. Meanwhile, here's a bit about the book, and a link to your website where people can find out more about you and your other wonderful books...


When pampered Jacqueline Abington secretly elopes with the family gardener, she asks another woman to take her place on the much-anticipated maiden voyage of the Titanic.Tessa Bowen hails from a poor corner of London but has been granted the opportunity of a lifetime—a ticket to sail to America aboard a famed vessel. But there’s a catch; she must assume Jacqueline’s identity. For the first time in her life, Tessa stays in luxurious quarters, dresses in elegant gowns, and dines with prestigious people. Then a wealthy American man takes an interest in her, and Tessa struggles to keep up the ruse as she begins falling for him. When tragedy strikes, the game is up, and two women’s lives are forever changed.

Tuesday

The Mysteries of Jayne E. Self...


Hello, dear readers... today, I'm back with one of my favorite colleagues, Jayne E. Self, author of the recently released DEATH OF A HIGHLAND HEAVYWEIGHT (be sure to catch my review over at Lilly's Book Club page). There's some things I've been wanting to ask her, so, I'll get right to it. Welcome, Jayne!

Thank you, Lilly, it's good to be back.

You are involved in so many things. Besides being an author, pastor's wife, and the Assistant Director of Canada’s largest Christian writers’ conference, Write!Canada, how do you squeeze writing time in? Do you write a little each day, or go for stretches when you put most things aside while you complete a book?

For me, writing is an addiction and I’m a binge writer. Although there are always stories tripping over each other in my brain, taking the time to sit and write them down comes in clumps. If I don’t see a large block of uninterrupted time on the horizon (like during school holidays when the house hops with comings and goings) I don’t even try to write. During the last few busy months I have applied myself to my website and blogs, which is easier to do in fits and starts.

Do you ever get time for pleasure reading? If so, what are your favorite types?

When I do get time to read, I go through genre phases. Right now, I’m into mysteries by Donna Leon and Louise Penny, and procedurals by Kathy Reich. But I will drop everything for Elizabeth Peter’s Amelia Peabody books and Diane Gabaldon’s Outlander series.

Good reading, for sure. Liking mysteries as much as you do, what is your favorite part of writing one of your own?

Discovery. I love delving into my characters and discovering what makes them them: what quirks they harbour, what hurts they hide, what faith they embrace or deny. I want to know where God is at work in their lives.

And I love discovering my settings, too. Where I’ve lived has made a significant impact on who I am. I believe the same is true for my characters. So maybe I’m back at discovering character?

Which is the most important place to be, if you ask me. What are you working on right now?

I’m in a bit of a lull. As I said, I need a big block of time to write, and I’m not sure if I see one in my near future. I want to finish working on Hit ’n Miss, which is about a former homicide detective turned pastor. Actually, it's the second in a my Dean Constable series. The first, Caught Dead, was twice short-listed for Canada’s Best New Author Contest in 2008 and 2009 and in 2010 my denominational magazine (The Presbyterian Record) ran it as an online serial.

I also have a third Seaglass Mystery percolating on the back burner of my brain. Along with another project half done. I do my best thinking, plotting, and planning while summering in Nova Scotia, though, but I did not get there this year.

Well, I hope we don't have to wait too long to see them, because they all sound fascinating. In the meantime, I want to tell you how much I liked DEATH OF A HIGHLAND HEAVYWEIGHT, and will share a bit about it with readers over on my book club page. Thanks so much for visiting with me, today, Jayne, and here's wishing you the best with all your wonderful projects!

Thank you, Lilly, it's nice to be here.

If you would like to know more about Jayne and her work, you can visit with her over at www.JayneSelf.com



Wednesday

Somewhere in time…


Some places I have not been are more real to me than ones I have actually visited. This is because of the fabulous job some adventurers have done in bringing them to life on paper. And even though many of them no longer exist, you can visit there by just "jumping into the picture" for awhile. 

I also have something of a hobby of collecting pictures that most resemble the settings of my books, during the research and writing of each project. Such was the case for GOLD TRAP, and I ended up compiling a small slideshow of various places Meg found herself in throughout the book. 

video

So, I thought I would share it with you. And while all the places and people in these pictures are real, of course, Meg and her story are not. Still, it is possible that what happened to Meg could happen to anybody if they should ever find themselves in similar circumstances. However, what happened to Mary Kingsley when she went there, in real life, borders very close to fantastic. 

Just one more reason why I love historical fiction.

Tuesday

More About Stella…



Stella Madison reminds me of somebody… at least that's how she started off. But then things got complicated, and the next thing I knew she was in a fix. I tried my best to wrap it all up, but now I see one thing can lead to another, and how I am just not satisfied, myself, without telling what happened to her next. 

You see, I have become convinced that most of us do not plan on getting ourselves in trouble. It just happens. And while there are any number of ways to get yourself out of it, each one comes with its own set of consequences. Life (as so many are quick to say) is choices. But the thing I am fascinated with about Stella, is how often we have no idea of the importance to our entire lives a seemingly insignificant decision can be. For better, or worse. So, I'm wondering…

Just how far a person might go to fix something, if they made an incredibly terrible mistake. Especially if other people were involved. Are feelings really fixable?

I think for someone as tender-hearted as Stella, it's imperative. 

But we'll see.

Thank you for sharing this wonderful week of the release of HOME BEFORE DARK with me, dear readers. Added to the marvelous adventure I'm on, it feels like life couldn't get much better right now!


Friday

Welcome Home, Stella!



Today is the day you can finally meet Stella Madison, dear readers. You can find her first (of many adventures),


over at the Pelican Book Group site, where she is available for only a dollar. The Dollar Download program at our wonderful company are ebooks that you can read in one sitting. Perfect for waiting rooms, or something you can finish before bedtime. I'm very excited about this little book, myself... but then that's to be expected. 

So, in honor of Stella's birthday, I'll be giving away five copies. To enter the Captain's Hat drawing, simply leave a comment on this post (don't forget a contact email where I can reach you if you are a winner). I might also point out that since I am about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime, Stella has very graciously agreed to help us fix up the GLORY B. More on that over on my




It's "Video Log Friday" over there, too, and I should have the next episode of our great adventure up by this afternoon.

Meanwhile, have a blessed weekend, and I'll be back on Monday!


Wednesday

Two Days Away...


Some people are so well-organized, so self-disciplined, and so sure of themselves,  they never seem to take a misstep. But what does a person like that do when someone else trips them up? Are the above qualities enough to save you if you accidentally fall overboard? 

Rather not think about these kind of things? 

No one is ever thinking about them when they happen.

They just happen.

Living in a city that turned into something of a jungle at night, Stella Madison's number one priority was that she always be HOME BEFORE DARK.


To celebrate Stella's debut, I will be giving five copies of HOME BEFORE DARK away. To get your name put into the Captain's Hat for the drawing, simply "like" my Facebook author page, and then copy and paste the link into the comment section of this post (don't forget to leave an email address I can contact if you're one of the winners). To tell you the truth, I'm asking because I've lost it, again, myself. So...


Is anyone there? One rap for, yes, two raps for, no...

Monday

Introducing Stella Madison...



This Friday, I will be revealing one of my favorite people to the world. In a very short  introduction by way of something called a "Dollar Download" over at the Pelican Book Group site. And while you may say, "Hmmm…. this doesn't exactly look like a typical Lilly Maytree adventure," I hope you will look, again. The truth is, it is only an introduction to Stella. And while this little book  probably tells the most important thing you can learn about her, I'll let you in on a secret. Something she doesn't even know about, yet.

Stella IS in for an adventure. 

An all-out, hold-onto-your-seats type of an adventure no one in their right mind would attempt. But I'll tell you something else. There are times when life's circumstances put us into positions where we have to make a choice between things we would never even have considered before. This might not have happened to you, yet (of course-- I hope to heaven it doesn't). But if it does…

Maybe you can remember what happened to Stella, and it will help a bit. Because if you look closely at her, she isn't as mysterious as she first appears to be. In fact, she looks a lot like the rest of us, when it comes to trying to get out of a scrape. But that's all I'm going to say about it, today. On Wednesday, I will tell you more. Along with what you can do to win a copy of Stella's story, so that you can judge for yourself. 

It's called HOME BEFORE DARK, and the release date is Friday. Yes, yes… I know what date that is. Which is just the sort of luck Stella usually gets stuck with. That is, until she runs into the Colonel, who might -- or might not -- be more trouble than she can handle. Ah, me… we'll just have to wait and see.

Friday

Fun For Summer...


It's "Video Friday," again, over at my


 dear readers, and I hope you will paddle on over and see what the Captain and I have been up to this week on the MYSTERY TOUR

In the meantime, I've been keeping up with my summer reading, and finished some wonderful books I'll be sharing throughout the month of July, over on LILLY'S BOOK CLUB page

I'm also reading a few manuscripts for writer friends, and -- I have to tell you -- I'm into one right now that is so good, I had to take it off my working pile, and put it on my morning devotion table. I keep wanting to underline things just so I won't forget. I don't mind saying it's making an incredible change in my life, right when I really need it. And while I can't share much more about it  at the moment, you can believe I'm going to sing hallelujah from the rooftops when it comes out. So, I'll keep you posted.

Meanwhile, have a great weekend!

Monday

How I Write Adventure Novels...


Writing about an adventure is not nearly as hard as actually going on one. For one thing, the temperatures are more stable. You don't freeze to death should you happen to fall into frigid arctic seas, or die of thirst should you get lost in a jungle. Nor do you feel  an ounce of guilt if you happen to leave one of your characters stranded in such a situation while you make a trip to the refrigerator, or maybe take a whole weekend off before you get back to them, again. You don't even lose much sleep wondering how you will get them out of the fix. 

On the other hand, even waking up with rain pouring into your tent on a family campout can be a major catastrophe. Or having more grounds than coffee in your cup of a morning, because some enthusiastic camp cook wanted to make it "the old fashioned way." I know about these things. Because I have been on a lot of adventures over the years. To tell you the truth, I happen to be on one, right now. A big one. 

I have even had some thoughts that I might not make it home, again, this time.

I wish I could say I was on some quest for the Holy Grail, but I'm not. I'm out here for my health. More specifically, I don't want to die of gold fever without ever having found any gold. However, I have learned something very important, already. The reason gold is so valuable is because it takes an amazing amount of work to extract even a little of it out of the earth. That is, unless you get lucky and find yourself a nugget. I say lucky because I equate the pull of such thoughts akin to gambling. Just a chance at it has the power to send you places you would never even consider while in your right mind. Mostly under horrid conditions, too. The fact that it has a giddy sort of contentment attached to it is a paradox.

I can talk about this objectively, right now, because I am on a temporary break from high mountain elevations, deserted mines, and wilderness streams running swift with snow-melt. I am in one of the most beautiful places in the country: the Pacific Northwest. Rocky islands with forests that reach right down to the sea. So many of them, you could hop from one to the other (if you had a good boat) all the way up to Alaska. Our next stop. There is gold in every river up there, and I have heard of a particular one that is showing lots of "color" this year. Of course, it will take quite the long time to get there that way.

Which is perfect for writing adventure fiction.

Here's a peek at the book cover of my next inspirational adventure novel. It's called THE PANDORA BOX, and has to do with the hazards of treasure hunting. Four friends, who think it will be so easy when they first start off. Except for a few strings they don't even know are attached, yet. But -- hey -- not many people are looking behind them on an adventure like this…

Ask me how I know.

Friday

Some Summer Pastimes...


It's "Video Log Friday" on my ARMCHAIR TRAVELERS PORTAL, dear readers. So, if you have time, paddle on over and catch up on what the Captain and I have been doing all week while we're out here in the Pacific Northwest. Meanwhile, have a blessed weekend, and I'll be back in touch on Monday.

Oh, yes... and if you need a good book to read on any of your own summer travels, there are a lot of good interviews and reviews over on LILLY'S BOOK CLUB page you might enjoy looking over. Not to mention some great ones lined up for July!

Question: Do you read more during the summer, or less?

Just wondering.

Tuesday

Catching Up With Things...


While the Captain and I have been out and about looking at boats from one end of this state to the other, in our continuing search for the GLORY B., a lot has been going on in in my writing world, as well. Not the least of which is an introduction to author, Lynn Dove, and her YA novels known as the Wounded Trilogy. I love young people. So, anytime I come across books I think they might enjoy, I like to speak up about them.

While I haven't read these myself, yet, (I've added them to my summer reading list) I've got a bit of an interview with Lynn Dove and something about the books over on LILLY'S BOOK CLUB page. So, if you have young people in your life (or, have ever been one, yourself) you might like to paddle on over there and have a look.

Meanwhile, happy Tuesday, dear readers. I'm off to catch up with paperwork so I can head out for another adventure, tomorrow. Possibly even a significant one.

I'll let you know how it goes!

Friday


Things are getting more and more exciting out here in the Pacific Northwest, dear readers, as we get closer and closer to what we came here for. If you'd like to catch a glimpse of what we've been up to, just paddle on over to the ARMCHAIR TRAVELERS PORTAL and take a look at this week's video log. Many thanks to all of you who are following along on my 2012 MYSTERY TOUR... here's wishing you a blessed weekend wherever you are! 

Wednesday

One Man's Treasure is Another Man's…


What people think about boats is personal. Some like all the bells, whistles, and latest high-tech instruments. Some like how fast they can go. Some like how slow. Some like them mostly as a place to hang out with their friends, and some especially like tinkering with the engine. Which is why it could take a while before we find the one that is a perfect fit for our personalities. But we know it's out there, somewhere, and we are looking hard, because this will probably be the last one we buy in our lifetime. And having had four, already, we know exactly what we want this time.

We are having a great time exploring places along the Puget Sound while we look for it. In the week we've been here, we've looked in Tacoma, Port Angeles, Paulsbo, Port Orchard, and Port Townsend. Every one of them lovely places. And we've seen some lovely boats and met some lovely people, too. But none of those boats were the GLORY B. We'll know it when we see it, though. And in the meantime…

Looking is half the fun!

To keep things rolling before we head out for the next destination on our MYSTERY TOUR, I've started a new contest over on my ARMCHAIR TRAVELERS PORTAL. So, feel free to paddle on over there if you'd like to get in on that. And in the meanwhile, if you hear of any boats for sale that you think might be what we're looking for… let us hear about it! And don't forget any of our Armchair Travelers who would like to meet us in one of our locations and go for a ride… pack your bags and we'll do some adventuring together. Boats are much more fun when you share.

Come to think of it, everything in life is like that.

Anybody out there think this "treasure hunt" is crazier than gold panning?

Monday

The Next Big Thing...

Are the Captain and I done looking for gold? Not on your life, dear readers. We're only finished with the Rocky Mountains for this year. But we're on a much bigger gold circuit on my 2012 MYSTERY TOUR, one that touches a few of the largest gold rushes in history. However, we are taking a side trip here on the west coast for the next couple of weeks to search for the GLORY B. ... which you can find out more about over on my ARMCHAIR TRAVELERS PORTAL

Meanwhile, tomorrow is the "big birthday party" for that most entertaining of all pigs, SASSY PANTS, who has been busy trying to make amends for some friendships she broke. To celebrate, I will be interviewing author Carol A. Brown over on LILLY'S BOOK CLUB page. And don't forget, you will be able to get many wonderful free gifts if you buy the book on this very special day.

So, if you have any kids (or friends) in your family, you might want to tell them.

I know I'm going to!

Thursday

What's Happening?


A bit of rest, a bit of family and friends… it just doesn't get much better. So, here we are on the west coast of the Pacific, catching up, and gearing up for the next leg of my    MYSTERY TOUR.    What is the mystery? I'm getting a glimpse, dear readers, and it looks very exciting from this side of the world (I admit, it's my favorite). But more on that, later.

For right now, there are things happening everywhere that I have either missed, or will be catching up on. Not the least of which is a very special "birthday party" for SASSY PANTS MAKES AMENDS, written by my good friend, Carol A. Brown. My review is up over at LILLY'S BOOK CLUB page, and I will also be doing an interview with Ms. Brown, later in the week. So, paddle on over if you get a minute, but whatever you do -- DON'T BUY IT, yet! Why? Because the big birthday party is scheduled for June 19th, and if you buy it then… you will get many wonderful free gifts to go along with your purchase. A veritable treasure box of good things. Want a sneak peak? You can see what the free gifts are here.

Meanwhile, I'll be getting our next video blog ready to post, tomorrow, and catching up on news from all quarters. Got news? Tell me about it!