Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Roman Carnival by Serafim Gascoigne

Roman Carnival is an exciting read for parents and teens. It is full of interesting facts about life in AD 65, what they wore and what they ate. It helps children to be aware of how a passion can lead to obsession. The underlying metaphysics is that we inherit not only the physical characteristics of our parents, but a part of their spirit too. Buy it today (March 22, 2011) for a special bonus.

Father Serafim is a presbyter of the Eastern Orthodox Church, serving a parish in Seattle, Washington. He is a published author with Macmillan, Sybex and IDG. Ideas for his supernatural/fantasy novels are drawn from his travels in eastern Turkey and Siberia and his knowledge of ancient languages and cultures.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Diane Craver's Book Giveaway Contest

Where Love Once Lived is included in Diane Craver's Book Giveaway Contest. Click on Early Spring Giveaway below for the details. All you have to do is leave a comment to be included in the drawing for one of the books or ebooks. You could comment on the great review Diane wrote for Where Love Once Lived.

CONTEST ENDS: Friday evening, April 8th!
What you need to do to win: Leave a comment on ANY March or April post up to Friday, April 8th!!!!

Giveaway: Winner gets to choose ONE ebook from this list: Light of the Heart, Letting Go, Where Love Once Lived, Defending Glory, OR Summer Love. I’ll buy the Kindle edition or another electronic format of the winner’s choice!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hearing From Readers Is Fun!

One of the fun things for a writer is to hear from readers. Here is an email received recently followed by my response.

From: Vivian
Sent: Friday, March 11, 2011 8:14 PM
To: sidfrost@suddenlink.net
Subject: Where Love Once Lived

Sid, I am glad that you left your card with me when you came to visit in January.  I asked at the library for your book and found that it was in circulation, so I put it on reserve.  I finally got a copy March 6 and enjoyed it very much.  It is an excellent novel, and I wonder if this is what earned you first place in the Southwest Writers conference? 

Your characters are well developed.  I suspect they are not all fictitious!  Your training as a Stephen Minister is especially apparent in the dialogues of Brian, Karen, Phil, and his Dad, and even the feisty Cathy and Liz.  They are affirming, supportive, and non-judgmental.

I hope to see more of our neighbor and promise to read whatever you write!  You might not appreciate my “editing,” but I need to know how Brian resumed ownership of his company in California.  Perhaps he delegated that responsibility to Ron while he went honeymooning in Germany!

Best regards, Vivian

Here is my response:

Thank you so much for writing and telling me about reading Where Love Once Lived. As you probably know writing is a lonely business and writers don’t hear as much from readers as they would like to. And when we do get comments, the readers don’t go into much detail. Of course I savor every “enjoyed it” and “great”, but I am especially pleased to get feedback such as yours.

I don’t know if you’ve check on my blog, The Christian Bookmobile, http://christianbookmobile.blogspot.com/, but this is where I talk more about the book. The blog is aimed toward Christian readers and writers. It also has a touch of Austin history in it.

Some of the characteristics of some of the characters in the book were taken from people I know or have known. The idea for writing the book came to me because a bookmobile librarian named Jean Siedo. Liz’s appearance and actions on the bookmobile were copied from the real person. However, Jean had a husband and two daughters. I made Liz’s husband an alcoholic because I was married to one, and placed Liz’s grandson in prison because my son was in prison for DUIs.

George McCullough, Phil’s dad, has the same memories as I do of the time he grew up in the Clarksville area. The only difference was that I grew up on the white side of the imaginary line.

In real life, my mother had Alzheimer’s and my father reacted the way Brian’s father did in the book.

I tried to close up all the loose ends in the book, but I guess I didn’t do a good job on the California company. While writing the sequel, however, I noticed it and had Brian ask his daughter to manage the company. She said no, since she wanted to finish her MBA in Austin. However, she suggested Darrell Johnston, the young man who organized the collection for Liz’s trip to England. I haven’t written that part yet, but I know Brian likes the idea and I think Darrell will accept the offer.

By the way, the honeymoon in Germany doesn’t go as smoothly as you might think. There needs to be a major conflict for the new book. But, this time the conflict is not between Brian and Karen.

Thanks, again for writing, and please recommend the book to your friends.


As I prepared this article, I noticed I hadn't responded to one of Vivian's questions. I sent her this:

I just noticed I forgot to respond to your question in the first paragraph re the Southwest Writers Conference. Yes, Where Love Once Lived won first place in the Inspirational or Spiritual Novel category in the 2007 contest. It also took first place for Romance in the Writers League of Texas contest in 2007. Thanks, again, for writing.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Latest Book Review Warms My Heart

Diane Craver, an author of at least ten books, and a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers association, wrote the following review of Where Love Once Lived:

Where Love Once Lived is a story of the worst kind of deception that changes the life path of not only the two main characters, Brian and Karen, but of several other characters. I couldn't stop turning the pages to see how God would work in Brian's life as he tries to erase the heartache he caused Karen in the past. The characters became so real to me that I felt deeply troubled about what had happened to both of them as young lovers.

Having Brian buy and drive the bookmobile was a clever and unique device to use in the book. Brian thinks that the bookmobile and returning to the place where he and Karen were college sweethearts would remind her of former romantic times. Instead she becomes upset with Brian. She can't forget how he had hurt her deeply thirty years ago when he dumped her with no explanation. Frost includes a group of college friends (named the Combine) which works very well in the story. It's interesting how they are all together again, and Karen agrees to go with Brian to see all of them.

The scenes between Brian and his best friend Phil's father, George McCullough, are heartwarming. As Brian struggles with getting his faith and Karen back, he seems to receive the best advice and understanding from the elder McCullough.

I highly recommend Sid Frost's Where Love Once Lived, and I look forward to reading more books by this talented author.

This wonderful review can be found at Amazon.com and other places. Thank you, Diane.

Monday, March 7, 2011

My First Television Interview

Because of being one of the speakers at the Booked for Lunch fundraiser, I was invited to be  on the Author! Author! segment which is part of Sun City's Channel 79 News and Views. The segment was filmed Friday, March 4, 2011 and will air Monday and Tuesday, March 14-15, 2011.

Preparing for the Interview
I was given the following notes to prepare for the interview:

·         After introductions, name of the book or books, type of book and a brief synopsis
·         When did you decide to write a book?
·         How long did it take you to research/gather ideas?
·         What was the best part of writing and what was the worst part?
·         How many times did you edit or re-write?
·         Did anyone else help you with the book?
·         How did you get it published?
·         Last thought...

Although I received the notes six weeks in advance, I didn't look at them until the day before the interview. By now, I've talked about the book enough to know I do better if I speak from my heart rather than from notes.

Meeting the Interviewer
The interview was held in the Sun City Oaks in what used to be a restaurant. When I came in they were finishing with another interview so I waited quietly until it was over. I was greeted by Pattie Fludd who said she would be the reporter interviewing me. She talked to me briefly and went over the questions with me again. She had not read the book, but knew it was a Christian novel.

The cameraman was about 10 feet in front us with the director sitting in a chair next to him. Behind them was a table with five or six people in what appeared to be a meeting of some type. I wondered if the sound from there would affect the interview, but when the cameraman held up his hand everything got quiet. When he lowered his hand the interview began. No mike check. The cameraman wore earphones and we weren't live, so I suspect they would have restarted if needed.

The Interview
I looked toward the interviewer mostly, but once I held the book up for the camera. I also noticed the positive looks from the director from time to time. The only surprise for me was when Pattie asked what the worst part of writing the book was. Even though I hadn't worked on the questions, my memory was that she was supposed to ask what was the best and then what was the worst. So, when she asked about the worst, I changed it to best and what surprised me was I said the best part was when the characters came alive for me. I then answered her question about the worst part by saying it was getting it published.

When Pattie asked if I had any last thoughts, I talked about how to buy a copy of the book.

The whole interview lasted less than fifteen minutes and I had much more I could have said.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Where Fitness Meets Faith by Kimberley J. Payne

Kimberley Payne, a former personal fitness trainer, used her knowledge of the human body to develop devotionals to strengthen one's faith in God. Educated in kinesiology, she learned about muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments, and she knows how one affects the other and how to exercise them properly. In addition to exercise, the author also uses examples of caring for our bodies and spiritual minds. For example:

When I am mindful of what I eat I truly enjoy it. I look to it as a source of pleasure and nourishment. When I treat food with respect I treat my body with respect. It is the same with my Christian behaviour. Some days, I tend to get lazy with my worship of God and just go through the motions. I may attend church but my mind is tending to other matters. When I am not mindful of my prayers and just pay lip service to them, they come only from my mind but not my heart. It is not enough just to practice spiritual rituals. I must worship God with my heart as well as my mouth.

As a writer, Kimberley describes how daily devotions helps her with her craft:

Generally after my morning walk, I return home to hot coffee and my pen and paper. I spend one hour writing. I record any enlightenment God has shown me and I reflect on the prayers I had offered up. It’s a time for me to not only talk with God, but to listen for a response.

The author recommends finding a quiet space, reading, walking, and writing. One way to start the writing process, she says, is to list five new things each day for which you are grateful.

Where Fitness Meets Faith is a collection of Kimberley’s Today’s Faith devotional columns that relate pursuing a healthy lifestyle to building a relationship with God. It is short, but packed with useful information you can read over and over again. These sixteen devotions were first published as “Today’s Faith” column in the Millbrook Times and Cornwall Seaway News between 2003-2007.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

An Interview with Stacy Padula: Author of When Darkness Tries to Hide

Q: How did you become interested in writing?
A: I wrote my first book when I was in Kindergarten; it was a short story about a puppy. Then my writing just continued…I wrote books all through elementary school and continued beyond. I finished my first draft of When Darkness Tries to Hide when I was 15 years old. I had read a lot of different books while growing up that had been about high school. When I entered high school I was completely shocked by what was going on around me! It was nothing like Sweet Valley High or the Babysitters Club. There was an abundance of backbiting, backstabbing, substance abuse, and kids just being mean to each other. I felt that there needed to be a realistic book series out there for kids to read so that they could be prepared for the social battles of high school. So, I wrote The Right Person, which is the first book in the Montgomery Lake High series. I fell in love with my characters, and the subject matters, so I decided to write a sequel (which is now When Darkness Tries to Hide). I have recently finished the 5th book in the series, and I plan to keep writing as long as I am able to! 

Q: What should people know about When Darkness Tries to Hide?
A: The book picks up two months after where The Right Person left off. There is a terrible storm that brings destruction to the town and into the lives of some of the characters. One of the characters, Andy, gets injured and another character, Jason, feels responsible. (Although no one knows at first exactly why Jason feels that way.) The story follows many characters reactions to the accident, and how everyone comes together to help Andy. Jason is the central focus of the story, and the transformation he goes through as a result of feeling responsible for what happened to Andy. The main point of the story is the battle between light and darkness, and how people often do not realize they are living a dark life because everyone around them is living the same way, until a ray of light shines in and breaks through the darkness.

Q: Have any experiences from your own life affected the storyline of the book?
A: I have not written about anything that has happened to me exactly, but everything in the books is based on things I have witnessed teenagers go through, or emotional/social/physical/spiritual battles that I have fought in my life. The books are filled with lessons I have learned from my own experiences, but I have woven those lessons into the completely fictitious world of Montgomery Lake High. It is my hope that teens and pre-teens can learn from these lessons and not go through as much pain as I had to in order to learn them!

Q: What is it like waiting for each book to be published?
A: It is exciting!! My next book, which will be published apart from the series as a novel, is called Montgomery's Masquerade: The Battle for Innocence. It is a prequel to the series that takes place when the main characters were in 7th grade. I just got it back from my editor, who is actually from Pearson Publishing, and I am excited to review her edits and send it along to my publisher, Strategic Book Group. They had read the rough copy earlier this month and accepted it. The whole process has many steps, and a lot of approvals that need to be signed off on. It is excited to see the internal layout of the book. I get to work with my publisher's book designers to bring the book up to the vision that I have for it. This, along with approving the front and back cover designs, is a very exciting part of the process. I always get butterflies in my stomach when I open up the first printed copy of each book. The process can take anywhere from six months to a year, depending on many different circumstances. I enjoy being a part of the process. It is always a learning experience, and I find that very rewarding!

Q: Do you have a "life verse" that you have claimed?  If so what is it and why is that verse so meaningful to you?
A: Psalm 84:11 has significant meaning to me. It states that God withholds no good thing from those who walk uprightly. This verse is a reminder to me that anything that I pray for and do not receive is not really good for me, and that I only desire it because I have limited understanding of what is best for me. God knows what is best, and as long as I am walking with Him, He will not withhold anything good from me. So whenever God closes a door in my life, I recall Psalm 84:11 and find great comfort and peace within its promise.

Q: Who (or what) is your greatest encourager when you write and why?
A: I have a wonderful support system of family and friends who encourage me in my writing. What encourages me the most, though, is the world of Montgomery Lake High that exists within my mind. It is like God has put this world in my head, and these characters that are so real to me, and I write to express what is within me: a message of faith to reach out to the youth.

Q: Is there anything else that you would like your readers to know about you that would give us even more of a glimpse into your personality and passions?
A: “Passionate” would be the best word to describe me. When I'm into something, I'm into it with my whole heart. I love my life and think God has blessed me with the best friends, best dog, best job, and the best mother in the entire world. Writing is my favorite pastime. I have learned a lot about conquering fear this past year. The ocean moves me. I love North Carolina and feel like a part of my heart is there. I love to learn and figure out how things are connected. I see deeper meaning in everything. I believe love is the answer to life's toughest questions. I have "songs" with the majority of my friends and hope the lyrics always mean something to me. My faith is in Jesus Christ, and I'm in love with Him. I have a strange fetish for football movies. I am an avid skier. I have a lot of hope and believe nothing is impossible with God.