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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Win a copy of Violet Dawn

Something sinuous brushed against Paige’s knee. She jerked her leg away.

What was that? She rose to a sitting position, groped around with her left hand.

Fine wisps wound themselves around her fingers.


She yanked backward, but the tendrils clung. Something solid bumped her wrist. Paige gasped. With one frantic motion she shook her arm free, grabbed the side of the hot tub, and heaved herself out.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

It’s been a great privilege to be one of the original writers for Brandilyn Collins character blog, Scenes and Beans. Brandilyn created the blog to give readers a chance to get to know the characters from her newest book, Violet Dawn.

In Violet Dawn, Brandilyn uses her expertise to meld together past and present to give you a fast paced, thrilling and sometimes panic filled adventure. If ever there was a writer who succeeded in joining the exhilarating journey of suspense with the expert characterization of a general fiction, Brandilyn has done it with this one.

Usually in a suspense the thrill is figuring out the killer/thief/bad guy before more doom becomes the main character. In a general fiction, the reader is brought along on a journey. By the end of the book, you feel like you know the characters and feel for them in whatever dilemma they find themselves in. In Violet Dawn, you have the refreshing collaboration of both.

The book starts out in present day with a young woman who makes an unexpected discovery in her hot tub. (Warning to any hot tub owners, you may not be eager to enjoy a nice long soak after reading this story)

Through the course of the book, you get to know the characters of Kanner Lake, Idaho. They range from an eccentric sci-fi writer, retired logger, successful realtor, to a whole variety of folks. People you can meet over at Scenes and Beans.

Throughout the book, you get to know a young girl, Rachel, who, sadly, is living in an all to real and horrible situation. By the end of the book, you want to save this girl from her circumstances. Instead, you finally figure out what Rachel’s story has to do with the current problems of Kanner Lake.

This is not a book for the faint of heart. There was a point in this book that I put my hand to my chest, tears in my eyes and nearly prayed for one of the characters. Seriously, the imagery was that awesome!

As always, Collins did an extraordinary job with this story and I have absolute faith that this story will be exceptionally touching to people who have survived some kind of abuse or emotional hardship in their life.

Now for the fun part. Go to the Scenes and Beans website and find the name of the pastor for Kanner Lake. Email me the name and I’ll put you in a drawing for an autographed copy of Violet Dawn. You could have your very own copy of the book by next weekend. Hint, there’s a cast of characters on the main page of the blog! And don't put the answer on your comment. You'll give it away for the next person. ;) Happy sleuthing!

p.s. Because the publicity for this book was so huge, I know a lot of my readers have this book. If you do and you've blogged about Violet Dawn, feel free to leave your link.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


HOT OFF THE PRESS-- My dear friend, Cara Putman, just called from the ACFW conference. She found out tonight that she sold her first book, Canteen Dreams. I am so excited for her. She's worked so hard this last year. Hop on over to her blog and congratulate her. I just interviewed her last week. Now you can say you knew her when!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Pleased to introduce Cara Putman

I know you're probably getting tired of me saying how much I love certain writers I spotlight, but today is no different. I have the privilege of introducing you to another good friend. I've known Cara Putman for a little over a year now and I've learned so much about her in that short time. She's an extremely hard worker. If she sets her mind to something, rest assured she's going to accomplish it. I don't think she'll mind me saying she's very goal oriented. Professional. And eager to accomplish those goals she's set for herself.

Currently, she's the Indiana ACFW chapter president. Along with that, she's also an original writer on the Brandilyn Collins Kanner Lake character blog. That's not to mention all the other hats she wears. Cara, thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to be here. Please tell us about your family, friends, career. Anything you'd like to share.

CP: I'm an attorney in Lafayette, Indiana, who's long had a secret desire to be a writer. For as long as I can remember I have inhaled books, and I even tried writing novels as a young teenager. One centered on the Lost Colony of Roanoke, and the other in Boston during the Revolutionary War. I LOVE history, so that's what I wrote. My mom tells me she still has those somewhere, but I'm not sure I want to uncover them.

In April 2005, I went to a book-signing at our Parables store and met Colleen Coble. As I was chatting with her, my husband came up and asked Colleen "Has Cara told you she wants to be a writer?" The rest, as they say, is history. The really cool thing is I would have never told her that was a secret desire of mine, but Eric did.

Eric and I have been married for ten years, and have two wonderful children. Abigail is in first grade and will turn six in October, and Jonathan will be three in November. Before we moved to Lafayette, Eric and I lived in DC for eight years where I worked for several conservative non-profits, went to law school at night, and then clerked for a federal judge. I've also paged at the Unicameral in Lincoln, Nebraska, worked for one of the smallest NBC affiliates, and made more onion rings at Runza restaurants than should be legal.

Some of my readers know that I credit Colleen with encouraging me to follow my dream of writing. I love that we have that in common. You touched on this above, but have you always had that drive in you to write? And why did you put it on hold for so long?

CP: I've always had a desire to write, but as I hit college, it moved to the back burner. Then came the early years in a career, lots of travel, marriage, and law school. Yet there was always this yearning in my heart to see if I could do it. Every couple years I would pull the dream out, blow the dust off of it, and hold it up to God. "Is now the time, Lord?" If He said, "Not yet," I'd tuck it back on the shelf and work on whatever He had in front of me.

Then we moved to Lafayette. I had a two year old and no job. No friends, no connections. Abigail and I spent a lot of time at the library, and I began checking out books on how to write. Before I could get started, I had a job at a law firm and another bar exam to study for. Then April 2005 came, and Colleen was so encouraging. I started praying and dreaming up plot lines. Registered for my first ACFW conference. Sixteen months later, I have two complete manuscripts and am incredibly excited about my current project, Book One in the Cherry Hill Mysteries series.

My favorite of your books is definitely your first Cherry Hill book. I think readers are going to love your characterization. On another note, I always ask this questions...I know it's tough, but who are your favorite writers?

CP: I LOVE Colleen Coble, Wanda Dyson, Brandilyn Collins, Mary Higgins Clark, Mary Jane Clark, and so many others.

Do you have a favorite verse? Something that speaks to you at this time in your life.

CP: Several. Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. NIV, I Timothy 4:12 Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity, Also Joshua 1:8-9 , and very recently Isaiah 43:18-19: it is so encouraging to know that God is doing something new and actively preparing the way for me.

Wow, Cara, I have three of these same verses highlighted in my bible. These are great examples of how God speaks to us at all different seasons of our life. No matter where we are or what we're going through.

Now the fun part. I'd like to share some of your writing talent with my readers. Could you give a brief buildup of the scene you're going to share?

CP: This is the opening scene from my current work in progress, Rush to Judgment, the first book in the Cherry Hill Mysteries series.

Hayden McCarthy winced as a flash of sunlight glinted from the barrel of the gun William Devine grasped. Every bad joke she'd ever heard about the only good lawyer being a dead lawyer looped through her mind as she fought the tremble that threatened to shake her limbs.
Now isn't the time to fall apart. Her heart pounded, and she forced a tight smile. You've survived the FBI and media hounding you. You can find a way out of this.

Her gaze flitted from the gun for a brief second, long enough to see if Judge Cochran had any plans. His face had blanched even whiter than usual, and he slowly shook his head as if afraid of what would happen if Devine turned his attention on him.

Where is the baliff? He'd left the courtroom moments before Devine pulled his gun. God, we need some help now. She tried to relax in the knowledge God didn't take coffee breaks unlike the baliff, but her pulse refused to cooperate. It only picked up its pace as she fought panic. Her hope of finding peace and healing in Cherry Hill evaporated with the realization that if she survived this it only meant more news trucks parked outside her apartment. God, all I want is people to forget my role in blowing the whistle on Jonas Walker, lobbyist and turncoat extraordinaire, and live in peace.

Her client whimpered from under the broad table, and Hayden refocused on the gun. Hayden pushed a quivering hand on top of Deanna Devine's head, praying she'd quiet down and stay under the counsel table. When the whimpering continued, she kicked Deanna with the pointed toe of her pump.

"You think you can save her? The judge certainly won't." Her client's soon-to-be ex-husband spat the words at her as he waved the gun from behind his table. "Looks like itÂ’s just you and me, Hayden."

How had William gotten that hunk of metal in the courthouse anyway? In D.C. deputy marshals would have forced him to kiss the cold marble floor in seconds. But she'd left D.C. for the calm of Cherry Hill, Indiana. And just think I'd moved here to escape the chaos and danger.

"Come on, Billy." The nasally sound of Judge Harry Cochran's words plopped like handfuls of mud into the silence. "There's no need to get violent."

"Shut up, Judge. I ain't pointing this at you. She's the one destroying my family."

Hayden struggled to recall the instructions she'd received in a personal safety class her parents had required her to take in high school. Was she supposed to grab his arm and twist? Sweep a leg around his knee? None of the moves had involved a gun, had they? And she hadn't practiced any in a pencil skirt even if she could remember the moves. Every instinct screamed to duck, but her knees refused to buckle. Instead, she stood like a tree rooted in place.

(don't you wish you could go buy this book? I have faith we'll be seeing it on bookshelves someday!)

CP: Thanks so much for inviting me to be part of this, Sabrina. I am so glad God has allowed our paths to cross. You are such a blessing to me!

And, Cara, you know you're such a blessing to me, too. I hope you all will put Cara on your list of future favorite authors. We're sure to see her name again. In the meantime, check out her blog at

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Thanks so much to Crystal Miller, my latest guest. =) Great job and very informative. I'm going to take a week off from the interviews this week just because I have a couple other things I'm working on. Then next week I'll have up my interview with another good friend, Cara Putman. She's a wife, mom, writer...oh and did I mention she finds time to be a lawyer. LOL. You'll want to stop back to meet this dynamic woman!

Now if you'll remember I'm writing for Carla Radling on the Brandilyn Collins character blog. One of my posts will be up on Thursday. Be sure to check it out and leave a comment. Just click on the blog link.

And finally, if you haven't picked up your copy of Violet Dawn yet--get one! It's fabulous. It's not just a great suspense,it also touches on the tragic life of a young woman and how she learns to cope with the wrongs done to her as a child. As always, Brandilyn Collins leaves you not only feeling for the victim, but able to relate to her on several levels. She does an impeccable job of bringing you into the story. A perfect example is her character blog. A way for readers to get to know the characters better. Be sure to get the book and check out the blog. If she's not your favorite suspense author...she will be!