Why does it seem like menostay and not menopause?

You know you’re on the edge of menopause when:
~you’re fanning yourself with the telephone book while everyone else is wearing Snuggies and teeth-chattering sounds like a symphony
~you wake up in the middle of the night thinking you were dreaming about snorkeling in Hawaii, but no…it’s just another episode of the night sweats
~you carry a personal fan, the kind that sprays a mist, and you tell the first person who complains that the fan’s actually a Transformer and will morph into a hormonal raging Terminator
~you apologize in advance for being cranky the moment you wake up

I wish ten years ago someone would have told me about peri-menopause; I might have saved money on therapy. Who knew that feeling like the Tasmanian Devil one minute, then forgetting why you did the next, all the while drenched in sweat because your body felt like the portals of hell just opened up in it…could be attributed to ovarian issues?

I didn’t. So, years later when my OB/GYN gave me the “the good news is you still have your ovaries; the bad news is you still have your ovaries–but they’re tired now” talk, she gave me a prescription for some magic hormone pill that would make it all better.

Fast forward six weeks, and I’m eating brownies by the dozens and having meltdowns because my clothes are shrinking. I threw the pills away. Hot flashes I could deal with. Expanding thighs? Not so much.

Because I didn’t like how the hormones made me feel, I’ve been coping with the symptoms on my own. Until now…now I can rely on Estroven, an all natural supplement that lets me choose the formula I need:

Estroven® plus Multi-Vitamin

Estroven® plus Multi-Vitamin combines menopausal symptom relief with a multi-vitamin for women. Estroven® plus Multi-Vitamin contains a unique Mood & Memory blend to support mood and memory function, as well as mild to moderate hot flashes.

Estroven® Maximum Strength

Estroven® Maximum Strength was created for women who may be experiencing more bothersome menopause symptoms.

Estroven® Nighttime

Estroven® Nighttime helps promote natural sleep patterns to help you sleep through the night and wake feeling refreshed without morning grogginess.*

Estroven® plus Energy

The Estroven® plus Energy formula naturally supports the energy you need to stay productive and energized all day, while reducing hot flashes and night sweats.*
(Check out their Product Offerings)

The Estroven website offers information about menopause symptoms, and there’s even a self-survey to let you know how you’re handling (or not) menopause. Download their Wellness Guide while you’re there.

What I really appreciate about this company is it recognizes that, armed with the right information, women can make their own decisions about their journey into this stage of their lives. And we don’t have to resort to whispered conversations as if the subject is taboo.

Not only does Estroven offer special reward through a Brand Ambassador Program, you can find information about offers by liking them on Facebook.

 “I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Estroven and received a gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

What does your school need? Tell BING and win bucks!

I’ve been teaching in public high schools for over twenty-two years. I’d like to tell you that every year, there is more money to fund needs than there are needs to fund.

But then that wouldn’t be the truth. And this year, more than ever, schools are experiencing the same budge issues are most American families. In our district, positions lost due to attrition were not refilled, more teachers are needed to relieve overcrowded classrooms, and supplies? Well, there’s a shallow well and too many buckets.

So, as a classroom teacher, I’m delighted when I find companies willing to extend a hand for the future of education and, ultimately, all of us.

In their latest philanthropic campaign supporting kids’ education, Bing wants to help teachers and students by providing them with supplies and financial support needed to ensure a successful learning experience. Bing will potentially give away over $1 million dollars through their new “Our School Needs” program. This user-generated content competition easily enables students and teachers in elementary, middle and high schools to submit a request for what their school needs most by submitting a photo, essay or optional video.

Students and teachers can learn more about the contest and submit an entry on behalf of their school by visiting www.bing.com/ourschoolneeds.

From now until October 22nd, you can upload photos, essays and videos telling Bing what your school needs for a chance to win up to $100,000!

What does your school need? Every school needs something, from a library to computers to even more teachers. Hear what others are saying in this heartfelt video and get inspired to create your own.

Special Giveaway!

As part of this outreach, five lucky winners will receive a $50 donation to use at DonorsChoice.org to support a local classroom! Click here to enter to win.

Our School Needs: Everyone Deserves a Great Education!
What Does Your School Need?
What: User‐generated content competition that will identify and fulfill the dreams of 4 schools: 1 grand prize winner and 3 first prize schools. Bing will give up to a million dollars in prizes and donations to schools in need!
Why: Every child deserves a great education. Bing enthusiastically supports the teachers, educators and parents who make it happen with products, programs and donations that help provide a great learning environment. This competition is a great opportunity to let teachers and students show everyone through essays, photographs and videos (optional) what they think their schools needs the most.
When: Students and teachers can submit entries from now until Friday, October 22nd (Winners will be announced Tuesday, November 9th)
Where: http://www.Bing.com/education
How: There will be 3 categories: grades k‐6, 7 – 9 and 10 – 12. . The overall grand prize winning school will receive $100,000 and each category will have a first prize of $50,000.
• Step 1: Teachers and students can create an entry for their school, including a story of what their school needs, photos and a video (optional). Students under 18 will need a parent/guardian or
teacher submit the entry on their behalf.
• Step 2: Entries are made available for everyone to see and rate online. The 5 top rated submission in each category (15 total) is guaranteed a slot in the final panel. Top rated submissions and the
top editors picks will then be turned over to a distinguished panel of judges who will determine the 15 finalists.
Step 3: Voting begins on October 27. Stay tuned for more information about this phase of the contest and for your opportunity to participate in the Blog Tour for the Voting phase!

“I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Bing and received a DonorsChoose.org giving code and gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

The Bing “Our School Needs…” Contest: How-to-Submit 101

To help teachers, students and parents entering the “Our School Needs…” Contest we did a quick tutorial on what makes a great submission.

Vodpod videos no longer available.


GUEST POST: Things You Should Know About Book Promotion by Dean DeLuke

Things You Should Know About Book Promotion

1.   It won’t be done for you. Whether you are self-published or have a contract with a Simon and Schuster imprint, you can’t expect that your promotion will be done for you. It takes time and often takes personal cash expenditure as well. Sure, if you’re James Patterson, you may be assured a virtually unlimited marketing budget. For the rest of us debut authors, figure out in advance what you can afford, and devise a detailed marketing plan around that budget. Even established authors are electing to spend some of their own money on outside marketing firms these days.

2.   It is enormously time consuming. For writers with secondary or primary “day jobs,” the task can become daunting. So develop a budget for time spent as well as for cash expense. Writing guest posts, interviews, social networking, book signings—it all takes time. Lest you find your professional and personal life in shambles, decide how much time you can realistically spend, and stick to that budget the same as you would your financial budget. Even for the full-time writer with no competing job, there’s always that next book that should be on its way to completion.

3.   Continued promotion can give a book a second wind. Rebecca Wells’ Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood was not a huge seller its first year out. But the author committed a full year to touring, giving very entertaining presentations to ever-increasing audiences. We all know the result: book sales took off and Ya Ya Sisterhood became a national phenomenon.

4.   Devise a wish list of your ten top media placements. Be realistic, but include a couple stretch goals as well. Keep a file of all newspaper articles or reviews, radio or TV appearances, and have your publicist present those as part of your package as you reach higher up the media ladder (or do it yourself if you are acting on your own behalf). Start locally and build to a more regional exposure with successive media placements.

5.   Consider enlisting both traditional and online publicists. A good virtual publicist can greatly increase the visibility of your book in the online world, in a way that is very efficient in terms of both time and expense. I selected Pump Up Your Book Promotion for my online campaign.

6.   Carefully read at least one good reference text on book publicity. Read it like you would a text book and take notes for use in devising your own publicity campaign. My personal favorite is Publicize Your Book, by Jacqueline Deval.

This all takes time and effort, and as writers, we would much rather be spending the time writing. But the sad fact is that there are a lot of excellent books that never sell because they never had the marketing necessary to give them a fair chance. And conversely, we can all list some rather mediocre stories that rise to stardom because of the right marketing mix.

Dr. Dean DeLuke is a graduate of St. Michael’s College, Columbia University (DMD) and Union Graduate College (MBA). He completed residency training at Long Island Jewish Medical Center and also participated in a fellowship in maxillofacial surgery at the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead, England.

He currently divides his time between the practice of oral and maxillofacial surgery and a variety of business consulting activities with Millennium Business Communications, LLC, a boutique marketing, communications and business consulting firm. An active volunteer, he has served on the Boards of the St. Clare’s Hospital Foundation, the Kidney Foundation of Northeast New York, and the Albany Academy for Girls. He has also performed medical missionary work with Health Volunteers Overseas.

He has a long history of involvement with thoroughbred horses—from farm hand on the Assunta Louis Farm in the 1970s to partner with Dogwood Stable at present.

His latest book is Shedrow, a medical thriller with a unique twist.

You can visit his website at www.shedrow1.com or connect with him at Facebook at www.facebook.com/deandeluke.


Mike and Maggie Davidson, parents of two sons in high school, lead-if not the perfect life-certainly one close to it.  Brian, a senior, plays on the school’s baseball team and hopes for a scholarship. Jamie, a junior, is a member of the drama club.

Of course what seems to be perfect from the outside, is -like most families-not so perfect on the inside.  Even before Jamie’s surprising announcement, Maggie and Mike were experiencing a tug-of-war rooted not so much in whether or not they should worship, but about how they worship. Mike continues to be involved in the Catholic Church, even serving on the church’s Contemporary Issues Committee. He wants his family to attend worship with him, but Maggie is pulling away from the Catholic Church. Mike, it seems, see her distancing herself from the church as her distancing herself from him as well.

With this strain as the backdrop, Jaime comes out to his mother.  As a mother, I appreciated Shay’s handling of this announcement. Maggie’s doing the laundry when Jaime tells her that the date he’ll be going on is not with a girl, but with Luke.  The startling juxtaposed with the mundane was a nice touch.

Shay ‘s characters aren’t flat talking heads for an agenda, aren’t stick figures designed to play themselves out as victims, which-honestly-would have made the writing easier! She creates a real family whose life doesn’t stop while they figure out what to do when Jaime announces that he is gay.  Mike and Maggie still struggle in their relationship with one another. Brian, as would be expected, loves his brother but is mad at Jaime for making their lives difficult. Not to mention, as the high school jock, the tormenting he’ll be subjected to by his friends.  And Mike, even while he expresses his disapproval, disappointment, and despair, is portrayed as a man and father very much in conflict. He loves his son; he loves his church. How can he and is it even possible for one to be reconciled to the other?

Since the story was set in New York, I more readily bought into Jamie and Luke holding hands in the school hallway and attending prom as a couple.  As much as I hate to admit it, I’m not sure that gay students in my school would be so courageous.

Ultimately, Shay crafts a story of a family on the brink of brokenness who find their way back through hope.  She rises about stereotypes and easy solutions, and shows us that real love means rising above our own expectations of others and  loving them right where they are.

Definitely a book I’d recommend.

You can buy The Perfect Family HERE

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (September 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 160282181X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1602821811

Meet Kathryn Shay and THE PERFECT FAMILY, the book of her heart

Thanks to Fictionary for inviting me to post on your blog.  First, let me introduce myself and my new book. I’m Kathryn Shay and I’ve been published by Harlequin and The Berkley Publishing Group for the last fifteen years. The Perfect Family, released from Bold Strokes Books this month, is my thirty-seventh book.

NOTE FROM CHRISTA: Tune in tomorrow when I review Kathryn’s  novel, The Perfect Family. Definitely a breakout book!

The Perfect Family follows the Davidsons, an average American family with a good life and they consider themselves lucky to have each other. Then their seventeen year old son tells them he’s gay and their world shifts.  They have no idea what they will go through after Jamie’s disclosure: Jamie’s father Mike can’t reconcile his religious beliefs with his son’s sexuality. His brother Brian is harassed by his jock buddies and angry at Jamie for complicating all their lives. Maggie, his mother, fears being able to protect her son while struggling to save her crumbling marriage.  And Jamie feels guilty for the unhappiness his disclosure has caused. Their story is full of both conflict and love, ending on a redeeming note.

My path to this book, a mainstream fiction novel, began in 1995 when my first Harlequin Superromance was published. I was a full time high school teacher, mom and wife at the time.  I was thrilled with the sale and couldn’t believe this had finally happened to me—I’d been getting rejections for almost two years.  Once it did, Harlequin was interested in a career, not just one book, and I went on to write first, one book a year, then two or maybe even three.  I sold a single title book to Berkley in 2001 and my second round of publishing began. At this point I should have stopped teaching, but I couldn’t because I loved that job too much. What followed were several years of a balancing act I wouldn’t like to repeat and wouldn’t recommend to anyone. By the time I wrote The Perfect Family, I was happily retired and ready to take on this new project.

The Perfect Family had many iterations, initially written in first person, then switched to third, giving the characters more dimension and finally adding a secondary storyline. It was five years in the making before I sold it last summer.  And now, it’s out!

I love this book with my whole being.  It’s truly the book of my heart.  I have a gay son and when he came out, I decided I to write a coming out story. The Perfect Family is fiction, but touches on some of the things my own family went through. I wished then I’d had a book like The Perfect Family to help me understand that a family’s struggle when a teen comes out is common, but he deserves love and support from them. I was also a high school teacher for many years and I know teenagers. I know how they react to people who are different from them, how sexual orientation can freak them out and how they can be cruel. But they can also be unbelievably loyal and supportive. I tried to show all this in the book.

And we have a gift for readers. My son is a singer/songwriter and made a CD in high school about “loving a boy” and other adolescent issues.  We’re offering it free at the publisher’s website when you order a book from them at http://www.boldstrokesbooks.com/products.php?product=Perfect-Family%252C-The-%25252d-by-Kathryn-Shay and it will also be offered on my website, http://www.kathrnyshay.com while copies last.

I’ll check back to see if there are any comments during the day.

Kathy Shay

P.S. Also, many people ask about my next book. I’m working on new projects now, but I’d also like to say here that if readers are interested in my backlist, I’m making plans to put nine previously published in print books up on Kindle and Smashwords around the time The Perfect Family is released.

Dig deep…Meet Joshua Graham, author of BEYOND JUSTICE

Some people remaBeyond Justice.JPGrk about the heart-wrenching moments in my books, how they grip them and even put them in tears, and ask how I come up with these ideas.  Well, before I set out to write BEYOND JUSTICE, I asked many of my friends to share their greatest dreams and fears with me.  I got a good variety of answers.  Then I asked myself those very questions.

Finally, as I decided on what my worst nightmare was, and combined them with some of those detailed by my friends, I decided to put my protagonist Sam Hudson through those very trials.  We writers have to be very cruel to our characters.

You see, I set out to create a character that I cared about, someone I would enjoy having along with me on a family vacation (as Sol Stein put it in his book Stein on Writing).  Then I put him through the worst imaginable Hell on earth.  That is where the opening epitaph in BEYOND JUSTICE comes from:  “The descent into Hell is not always vertical.

The opening chapters of BEYOND JUSTICE were probably the most difficult passages I ever had to write in my life.  In order to make  Sam’s emotions authentic, I had to put myself in his shoes.  To achieve honest emotions, I imagined everything as if it were in my own house, my own wife and children.  Believe me, these details are things that you don’t ever want to imagine, much less relive and record in graphic detail.  But I had to do it.  And I remember sitting at the computer, tears rolling down my face as I wrote that first chapter.  I had to stop for a moment and regroup before I could continue with the next chapter, which was just as difficult to write, if not more so.

It’s kind of like method acting.

For just about every scene, I ask the same question of my POV characters as an actor on the stage or set might:  “What’s my motivation?”  You see, the scene is never about the scene.  Not superficially, anyway.  There’s always something internal going on in the character that is not apparent externally.

Want an example in real life?  Imagine you’re waiting on line at Starbucks and you realize the person right in front of you is that person whose guts you can’t stand.  Let’s call him Ken.  Ken is a bossy, rude, and self-important guy who always cuts you off, always ignores what you say, and he’s ill-tempered.

And he’s your boss.

He sees you and says hello.  You’re stuck having to make small talk with him.  You might smile while you talk, but what are you really thinking, feeling inside?

The truth is, people don’t always say what they mean, or mean what they say.  The choice of words and body language is affected by the inner motivation.  Sometimes the effect is subtle:  “We should do lunch!”  (God, please don’t let him take me up on it), “Your article on blah-dee-blah-blah? Yeah, it was interesting.” (Meaning, it sucked like a Hoover.)

Back to Hell on Earth.

Why are we writers so cruel to our characters?  Why do we let bad things happen to good people?  I don’t hate my characters, I like them a lot.  But you never know what their  true ‘character’ is until they’ve been put under extreme stress.  People say a lot of good things, promise to follow you to the ends of the Earth, pledge their lives to you, but when push comes to shove?  Even Saint Peter, who said he would lay down his life for Jesus, denied him three times, despite his master’s prediction that he would do just that.

Character is not determined by the words, the good intentions, or the promises we say or make, but by the choices me make under extreme stress.

I daresay Sam turned out admirably.  I don’t say this out of conceit, but because while I knew how the book was going to end, I didn’t know till I got there how exactly he would respond to everything I threw at him.  But he showed me what he was made of, what defined him.  And I’m quite proud of him for that.

Readers of BEYOND JUSTICE tell me that they don’t know what they would do if they went through what Sam Hudson did.  I just pray none of us ever have to find out.  But that’s why I write these things.  To challenge myself and my readers to think, to imagine, and to consider things they might never otherwise.


Joshua Graham’s debut novel BEYOND JUSTICE is taking the world by storm, one reader at a time. Many of his readers blame him for sleepless nights, arriving to work late, and not allowing them to put the book down.

Joshua Graham.jpgPublishers Weekly described BEYOND JUSTICE as:

“…A riveting legal thriller…. breaking new ground with a vengeance… demonically entertaining and surprisingly inspiring.”

Suspense Magazine:

“This book was so much more than a mystery novel; it was an exercise in faith, understanding, joy and mercy in their purest forms.”

“…twists, turns and surprises to be found here.”

“…filled with so much in the way of emotion.”

“…Take the time to read this book. You will not be disappointed.”

Under other pen names, Joshua has been published in three Pocket Book anthologies.  Joshua’s short fiction works have been also been published by Dawn Treader Press.

He’s a graduate of the Oregon Professional Writers Masterclass run by Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

Joshua grew up in Brooklyn, NY where he lived for the better part of 30 years. He holds a Bachelor and Master’s Degree from Juilliard and a doctorate from Johns Hopkins University.

He has taught as a professor at Shepherd College (WV), Western Maryland College, and Columbia Union College (MD).  Today he lives with his beautiful wife and children in Southern California.

You can get your copy of BEYOND JUSTICE at Amazon.com

Keep up with Joshua:

On his blog: www.joshua-graham.com

On facebook at www.facebook.com/J0shuaGraham

The Beyond Justice Fan Page on facebookBeyond Justice 2.jpg

A funny thing happened on the way to being published

Submitting a manuscript to a publisher pushes the rejection button from every grade school essay, red penned, D I ever feared.

What kind of punishment will I get if I don’t get an A in English? Funny thing, my Georgetown roommate was an English major. My side of the room was filled with fruit flies and slides, his side had books, Monarch notes, and a typewriter, which we shared.

My first publication was co authored with my professor.

Betrayals of Hippocrates: Crimes Against Innocence has a road paved with luck.

I sent out 15 manuscripts to various publishers, sought the advice of writers at a conference in Connecticut.

I supported the paper recycling program of Newington with very nicely worded letters of rejection.

It was luck that I heard about Xlibris and the print on demand concept.

Since this fictional tale carries an important message about the path of good vs evil and the ethical question of who lives and who dies it is very relevant to our current healthcare crisis. Since Betrayals of Hippocrates: Crimes Against Innocence takes place in parts of Haiti, the reader can see how a medical thriller can bring up sensitive issues.

The getting published lament: read-edit-reread-edit-why didn’t spell checker pick this up? Rewrite-reorganize-relax. Done……  No, there is a typo on page 55.

I just found out it costs x dollars to re-print the book with the correction. Oh well, it will be published soon.

All the work is worth it to give readers a chance to explore ethics, life, and the human spirit in the form of a medical thriller.

Let the reader, whether a medical student, a book club member, or anyone who enjoys a “couldn’t put it down” novel, decide who should live, and who should die. Let the reader decide at what length should researchers go to find a cure, or could the cure for diseases have been found centuries ago, if not for the alterier motives of educated man?

Is  turning a deaf ear or keeping quiet about a human travesty a vote for man’s inhumanity to man to continue????  Explore these questions for yourself.

Enjoy your copy of Betrayals of Hippocrates: Crimes Against Innocence. You can visit Dr. Saranchak’s web site HERE.


Dr. Harry J. Saranchak earned a B.A. degree cum laude from Georgetown and followed it with an M.D. from University of Connecticut School of Medicine.

For 30 years he was a vascular and general surgeon in three Connecticut hospitals, and for 25 of those he was also educator and mentor to medical students, residents and colleagues—while receiving eight Golden Scalpel awards for teaching excellence. A Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, Dr. Saranchak co-authored seven medical journal articles from 1974 to 1984.

After retiring from his private practice at Grove Hill Medical Center in New Britain, CT, he wrote Betrayals of Hippocrates: Crimes Against Innocence.

Back to School without leaving home!

Long ago and far away when all my little dumplings were still home, the only way for me to have started or return to college would have been to pay for daycare, drive an hour in one direction, back again, and hope to be able to repeat the performance. Even now, though they’re all on their own, I have a full time job and couldn’t maintain sanity to attend a university for additional degrees.

So, what a difference the American Public University System can make. American Public University (APU) offers Moms a reason to get excited again about our education. Through their diverse, entirely online curriculum, Moms can participate in more than 100 degree programs tailored to their own schedules, whether that means after the kids’ bedtime or even during a dance class.

By providing class starts on a monthly rather than semester basis, APU offers greater flexibility than most universities. Plus, APU makes it easier to achieve your educational goals with some of the lowest tuition rates in the country: undergraduate classes cost just $750 per 3-credit course.

In addition to undergraduate degree offerings, APU also offers a wide variety of graduate programs for those looking to advance their careers. Over a lifetime, the typical bachelor’s degree recipient can expect to earn $800,000 more than a high school graduate,  while a graduate who earns a higher degree can expect to make over $1,000,000 more. Additionally, a 2008 National Survey of Student Engagement survey found that 97% of seniors enrolled at APU had an extremely favorable view of the university and would choose APU again.

They also offer LIVE CHATS so you can talk with other moms, and share your own back-to-school experiences.

“I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central on behalf of American Public University. Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

Meet MARYBETH WHALEN and her debut novel THE MAILBOX

Even at my age (over 50, less than 75), I still anticipate the arrival of the mail…the mail the post office delivers, not Google. It’s archaic and perhaps even silly because I’m old enough to know that, in addition to the useless and often shiny junk mail, I’ll find bills. Even so, there’s just something about the promise of the unexpected that intrigues me as I trot out to the end of the driveway after the mail lady has lowered our little red flag.

Naturally, before I even met her, the title of Marybeth Whalen’s book was enough for me to want to read it; the cover art made it even more appealing. It was a happy coincidence that I came to know Marybeth after I’d known her first novel was soon to be released. She and Ariel Allison, author of eye of the god, contacted me with the jaw-dropping news that Walking on Broken Glass was the April selection for She Reads. From that time until July, the three of us yammered it up on g-chat and email until I had the opportunity to meet them and experience the She Speaks Conference.

Marybeth’s debut novel uses the Kindred Spirit mailbox, a real landmark on the coast of North Carolina, almost as its own character in the novel. Of course, considering my own affection for mailboxes, I appreciated how she used this Kindred Spirit mailbox to draw both characters and the twenty years span of time together in the novel.

As a divorced and now remarried mother, I related to Lindsey’s struggles, her pain, and even her willingness to open herself to the possibility of greater pain.  Clearly, after twelve years of marriage, a divorce was not what Lindsey had envisioned for her marriage to Grant or for their two children. Her husband, however, broke their vows with his unfaithfulness, initiated the divorce, and later, transformed into a more manipulative and deceitful version of himself.

When Lindsey and her children return to Sunset Beach, to vacation in a place both familiar and memorable, the story carries us through a love story that began twenty years before and a faith that endures through disappointments and loss. Lindsey and Campbell, discover through their journeys, that the God of second chances never abandons His children.

1. Okay, spill it sister. Admit you’re a clone. A husband, six precious children (ages 18 to 5), a speaker, a writer of nonfiction and fiction…What ‘s a “typical” day in the life of Marybeth?

Typical seems to be a moving target. Every day is different and just when I get a routine down, something changes to mess it up. Take for instance school just getting out. I had a routine but then the kids got out of school and that routine is out the window! Instead I will tell you that a good day includes writing 1000 words (have found that that’s my sweet spot), going on a run, doing something fun with my kids, talking to my husband beyond just passing each other in the doorway, taming the laundry and dishes, and making dinner. Now, understand that said good day might happen once a quarter. The rest is just me surviving the chaos.

2. How/When did your involvement in Proverbs 31 begin? Your speaking ministry?

My involvement began in 1993 when the ministry was just a little home-done newsletter that we folded in a woman’s living room and sent out to people we knew. It’s certainly grown since then! When my third child was born with a severe birth defect that required a trach and g-tube in 1996, I resigned from the ministry and truly thought I’d never come back. God led me back 7 years ago and when I returned, I got involved with speaking– something else I never intended to do. I love how God surprises us with His plans!

3. What was your first nonfiction title? How many since then? What led you in this genre direction before fiction?

I have done two titles for Proverbs 31 as takeaway pieces for our She Speaks writers and speakers conference: For The Write Reason (for writers) and The Reason We Speak (for speakers). My husband and I did a book that came out last year called Learning To Live Financially Free. I started out in nonfiction because fiction felt too risky. I was afraid I wasn’t good enough and was too scared to put myself out there. I had to get over that.

6. What would most surprise the Marybeth of 20 years ago about the Marybeth of today?Goodness, a lot! That I actually did write a whole novel from beginning to end… and that it got published. That I have been married for 19 years and that we have 6 beautiful children together. That I speak regularly to groups and do not pass out– and actually enjoy it. That my love for writing wasn’t just a passing phase. Turns out it was the way God wired me and His plan for how I would uniquely impact other people for Him.

7. What is the “takeaway value” of The Mailbox for readers?

For one it’s just a good love story for those who love to lose themselves in a good love story. But beyond that it’s for any woman who has ever resisted God’s relentless love for her. She will recognize herself in Lindsey, the main character.

8. What can you share about your second novel? Release date?

I will have a new novel coming out in June of 11. It might be the sequel to The Mailbox or it might be the novel I just turned in. We shall see…

9. How is marketing fiction different from or is it the same as marketing your nonfiction?

Marketing fiction’s a little harder. With nonfiction there’s something to discuss– a specific topic about the book that you can be interviewed about via radio, tv, print articles, etc. With fiction there’s just the great love of story that has to come through and resonate with those who encounter you. I have tried to focus on the regional aspect of the book being set on the NC coast, and also to discuss some of the elements of the story— a father’s love for his daughter, teens struggling with anorexia, divorce, etc. That has helped. One thing I would say that is the same is the relationships I have formed are helpful in getting the book into people’s hands because they know me… and getting the buzz going that way.

10. What do you believe separates Christian fiction from “general” fiction? Do you think Christian fiction needs its own section in the bookstore?

I have found that people want to be warned if the book is spiritual in nature so yes, I do think it needs its own section. However, I think that if done correctly a non-Christian can enjoy a Christian fiction book just as much as a Christian. I had a Jewish woman who read The Mailbox and loved it so much she told me she was going to write to Oprah about it. 🙂 So that was such a boost to me to know that the story can touch the heart of any woman who has ever wanted to be known intimately and loved anyway. I don’t want to just write to Christians and my prayer is that non-Christians will discover God’s love for them through this book.

11. If you could write only one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?

The Mailbox— it’s the book I was meant to write and if I never do another one, I will always be humbled and amazed by the experience.

12. What dream(s) do you have for yourself/your family/your writing?

Just to get published was a dream come true so I am still reveling in that! I would be really happy to see Mailbox as a movie, I must admit. As for my family, just to raise all 6 of these kids to be God-chasing adults would be the best achievement I could ever aspire to.

13. What is your idea of a “Marybeth” day?

Spent on the beach with my family, followed by a nice dinner out and a good chick flick before sleeping at least 8 hours, preferably ten.

14. Anything else???

I can be found at www.marybethwhalen.com where I blog regularly, or at www.shereads.org, where we talk about the best Christian fiction books being published. Would love to see you there!