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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Interview with Author Debbie Roome


Author Debbie Roome has written several books, including Embracing Change, Magnitude 7.1 and 6.3, and Cyber-Bullying is Never Alright.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ASPIRING WRITERS?

Writing is a way of life. Everything I see and experience has potential to end up in a story one day. Try carrying a notebook wherever you go and write down flashes of inspiration. Remember also that you can learn to write on demand. You don’t have to wait for an entire story to fall into your mind. It may come bit by bit.

WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO START WRITING?/WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE A WRITER?

I wrote my first ‘book’ when I was six. It was about a pixie named Agarel and filled a spiral bound notebook. I sold my first story to the children’s section of a major Johannesburg newspaper when I was eight. At school I won many awards and certificates for poetry and creative writing and went on to do freelance work for newspapers and magazines in Zimbabwe and South Africa. I moved to New Zealand in 2006 and determined to make writing my full time career. I write everyday and have never been more fulfilled.

WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE AUTHORS?

I read widely, but current favorites are Richard Paul Evans, John Grisham, and Nicholas Sparks. I like some of Ted Dekker’s books and also enjoy Robin Cook’s medical thrillers.

YOU LIVED IN SOUTH AFRICA. DID YOUR EXPERIENCES LIVING THERE INFLUENCE YOUR WRITING OF YOUR NOVEL, EMBRACING CHANGE?

I lived in South Africa for 15 years and Embracing Change includes
some of my own experiences. The book opens with Sarah, the main
character flying out of Johannesburg to live in New Zealand. Her
thoughts about leaving family and familiar sights and sounds were very
much my own when I emigrated. I also focus on the racial tension in
South Africa and the story weaves hope, forgiveness and understanding
into a thought-provoking message that spans two continents.

IS CHRISTIAN FICTION A POPULAR GENRE IN NEW ZEALAND?

Christian fiction is popular amongst Christian readers but accounts
for a very small percentage of the New Zealand market. The population
of the country is only 4 million and when you narrow that down to
Christians that enjoy fiction, the number is small. Most of the
Christian fiction available here is written by American authors.

DID YOU LEARN ANYTHING IN YOUR RESEARCH FOR WRITING EMBRACING CHANGE THAT SURPRISED YOU?

One of the chapters is set in Soweto which is the area of Johannesburg
where the black people live. I learnt a lot about the conditions they
endured during apartheid including a power station that polluted the
area but only supplied power to the white suburbs.

IF YOU COULD TRAVEL ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD, WHERE WOULD YOU GO?

I love travelling and have explored a number of countries and
continents. However, I have never been to the USA and that has been my
dream for years. I would like to spend a few days in New York and then
travel around meeting some of my writing friends.

DO YOU HAVE ANY PETS?

I have a Jack Russell named Nelson. He’s my hairy child and terribly
spoilt according to the rest of the family. He has his own beanbag and
duvet in my office and loves to keep me company when I’m writing.


brunette woman is shown on cover, standing in field of purple flowers

Cover shows a man holding a wireless computer mouse, presumably sittting near a computer. Text on front cover is as follows: Dealing with the Pain of Cyber Abuse.

To learn more about Debbie and her books, please visit her Web site.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Making Your Blog More Accessible--Writing Alt. Text

Writing Alternative Text
If you're an author, then you should be adept at writing description, so writing alt. text should be a piece of cake.  :)  Just keep in mind what you'd want to hear read back to you.  
  • Avoid making descriptions too long (it's an image description not a novel). I write that, and then my example, of course, is long. ;) If it has to be long, it is what it is, but if you can condense the description, I'd suggest doing so.
  • Describe objects in the foreground and the background (is the season shown on the book cover, for example, fall leaves).  
  • Describe any text in an image.
Example
Author Dora Hiers graciously allowed me to use the cover of her excellent romantic suspense novel, Journey's Edge, as an example for writing an alt. text description. 
A woman's face is shown in the background. A ledger is shown in the midground. In the foreground, a young girl stands amidst a field of flowers, while a man watches her and holds a knife behind his back. Also, text on the front cover is as follows: When your daughter is kidnapped, can you trust her safety to the one man you swore to never trust again?
Title: Cover of Journey's EdgeAlt. Text: A woman's face is shown in the background. A ledger is shown in the midground. In the foreground, a young girl stands amidst a field of flowers, while a man watches her and holds a knife behind his back. Also, text on the front cover is as follows: When your daughter is kidnapped, can you trust her safety to the one man you swore to never trust again?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

How Accessible is Your Blog?

Do you include alt. text for images on your blog(s)?

Alt. text describes images on your blog.  Programs known as screen readers read the alt. text to blind/low vision users.

For a while, I had been inserting alt. text descriptions into html code for Blogger, but then the interface changed.

Recently, I learned the new way to add alt. text and wanted to share this with other bloggers:

  • Left click once on an image once you've inserted it (in compose mode). 
  • A menu will pop up. Click once on "properties."
  • Enter a title of the text and the alt. text. 
For example,
title: cover of [book name]
alt. text: (describe what's on the cover)

I Corinthians 9:22b: " I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some." NIV

Jenna's Cowboy is free on Amazon!

As of today, April 4, 2012, Jenna's Cowboy is free on the Kindle. I really enjoyed this entire series.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Winner of Copy of Broken Trust

Pegg T. is the winner of the copy of Broken Trust. Thanks to all who participated in the giveaway. I hope you come back and participate in the newest giveaway.

Book Giveaway - from now until April 30th!

From time to time I review books, and I decided it would be nice to giveaway a review copy (hard copy, paperback) to followers.

So what I ask is that between now and April 30, 2012, that you'd

(1) Become a follower of my blog. If you already are, that's fine.  :)
(2) Leave a comment and tell me what your favorite book is.

Once you do that, you'll be automatically entered in a random drawing to win a review copy of Race Against Time by Christy Barritt.

If you post anonymously, please post your e-mail address so I contact you in case you're the winner. Winner to be announced on May 1, 2012. Giveaway open to U.S. residents ONLY. It's not that I don't like readers outside the U.S., but I have to pay to ship the book, and well, I'm a blogger not a billionaire!  :)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Review of Race Against Time

I recently read Race Against Time, written by Christy Barritt and published by Harlequin (Love Inspired Suspense). It is the story of widowed, single mom Madison Jacobs who is targeted by a serial killer. It’s a good thing for Madison that her neighbor is Detective Brody Phillips. While trying to solve the case, Brody must also attempt to keep Madison and her son Lincoln safe. But as the two grow closer, Madison and Brody must come to terms with their feelings for one another, all the while, on the lookout for a maniacal killer. 
house shown by water's edge

The author did a great job of leaving clues throughout the story as to the identity of the killer. Also, the beginning of the story does a good job of hooking readers, right from the start. One scene felt perhaps a teensy bit contrived, but it could have just been me. Overall, the story was a good balance of romance and suspense. 
photo of author christy barritt

If you would like to learn more about the author, please visit her Web site - www.christybarritt.com.

*Please note that I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my review. However, I was not required to write a positive review. The opinion expressed here is my own
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