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Here is our latest video we did for Tyndale House Publishers.  The book is She Did What She Could by Elisa Morgan.  A very easy read with a simple message, but one that you can’t help to walk away from being changed.  🙂

Here we are on another stop with the Blog Tour Spot for Coming Attractions by Robin Jones Gunn.  A nice beach read and just in time this summer.  You can find it on Amazon and find out more info on Robin here.Attractions-Cover-194x300

In this third book in the Katie Weldon Series, Katie is rolling into her final semester at Rancho Corona with one major question for her boyfriend: “Are you serious?” She’s come to the conclusion that she really, truly loves Rick and it’s time for him to make a declaration about his future intentions. The biggest obstacle to such a conversation is the craziness of their schedules. Katie’s close friend, Nicole, is spending more time with Rick than Katie is, and the once mysterious Eli is now the person to whom Katie is opening her heart. What is happening to her should-be-predictable world?

Soon Katie finds she’s the one who is asking herself, “Are you serious?” Katie ponders what that means in her life-from her relationship with Rick to what she plans to do after graduation. Could it be that God is asking her the same question about her relationship with Him?

Where did you get the idea for the book?
The idea was with me for many years. I wanted to find out what happened to Katie and Christy and the rest of the God-Lovers gang. But after I finished writing “I Promise”, Christy and Todd had just walked down the aisle and my 14 years of writing about these characters ended. The day I typed the last line I clearly sensed the Lord impressing on me that I had finished what He invited me to do when I started writing for teens. So I asked Him, “What’s next, Lord?” What followed was the Glenbrooke Series, the Sisterchicks Series and 4 non-fiction books. But no more teen novels.
Every week for the next seven years I received requests from readers all over the world asking me to write more novels for teens. With every letter I’ve asked the Lord, “May I, please?” The answer was always silence. I even approached two different writers about the possibility of them writing about these characters. Both times the projects didn’t develop. So I surrendered again, stepped back and asked God, “What’s next, Papa?”

The answer came in a unique way one afternoon a few summers ago. I was stretched out on the couch for a little nap with my eyes closed. In my heart I distinctly sensed the Lord saying, “I’m giving Katie back to you.” I opened my eyes and looked around to see who spoke because the words seemed so clear. The sun streamed through a high window bathing me in light and a sweet sense of peace. Out loud I said, “Am I making this up or are you directing me, Father?” Just then the music on my computer switched to a song I have long considered Christy and Todd’s love song. I felt a rising sense of excitement. God was doing a new thing.

From there all the doors swung wide open and I am overwhelmed and grateful and thrilled that I was able to write these three Katie Weldon novels. “Peculiar Treasures” released from Zondervan in March, 2008, and picked up where “I Promise” ended. Then came “On a Whim” and now “Coming Attractions”.

The question I’m asked now every single day is, “Will there be more?” My answer once again is, “I don’t know. I’ll keep asking God and see what He says!”

What are the major themes of the book?
Katie is a college student and in each book she is facing all the struggles that come with that season of life; what am I going to do next? Do I really love Rick? Does he really love me? Are we supposed to get married? What about this nudging I have toward one day going to Africa? How can I resolve this ongoing unsettled relationship with my parents? How am I going to get the money I need for tuition? Where am I going to live after I graduate? Who are my true friends?

The themes, as with all the novels I’ve written, revolve around friendships and moving ahead in relationships with others as well as an authentic relationship with God.

And a little bit about the author…

Tell me a little bit about your background and your family.
If you’ve read a Christy Miller book you might see some similarities here. (Write what you know, right?) I was born on a dairy farm in Wisconsin. My parents moved to southern California when I was five. I grew up in a strong, church going family. My dad was a junior high history teacher and coach. My mom directed a pre-school at our church. My sister and I squabbled over clothes and chores, my brother and I liked to make forts in the orange grove next to our house and sleep out in a tent in the backyard in the summer. The three of us were all born within five years and I’m in the middle. We’re still close. In high school I started a Christian club at my school and went on missions trips to Mexico with our church. I had some really great God-Lover friends and we spend many hours at the beach and around campfires singing praise songs. I attended Biola University for two years. I traveled to Europe when I was 21 to attend a Bible school in Austria and work for a mission organization in Germany. My husband and I married while he was finishing seminary and we immediately began a journey together of doing youth ministry for 22 years. Our son was born five years after we were married and then four years later our daughter arrived. We moved a lot. The favorite year for all of us was the year we living on Maui. We’ve been in Portland, Oregon area now for 15 years where my husband is a counselor. Our God-loving son is married to a wonderful young woman and our daughter is living back in California, working and loving life and loving God in new and deeper ways. I feel so blessed. Really.

What do you like to do in your spare time? Hobbies?
Travel, travel, travel. And when I read, it’s all about Hawaiian history or poetry and hymns. I’ve incorporated the travel in all the Sisterchicks books over the years as well as the Christy, Sierra and Katie books. In “Coming Attractions” I sent Katie off to Africa and I’m going to follow her there in real life. I’m going to Kenya, Lord willing, in November to teach at an International Writers Conference http://www.littworld.org

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
Actually, last month I did feel as if I had a superpower. God gave me the superpower to forgive someone and wow! What a supernatural change that made in my heart.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A missionary. I wanted to travel to foreign lands and translate God’s Word into a language that unreached people could understand. I tried applying for a position in Africa when I was in my twenties. The only opening they had for someone of my very limited abilities and talents was a “laundry supervisor”. It wasn’t what I had in mind as my life work for Jesus, but I applied and was rejected. The fun part of this story is that when I was teaching at a LittWorld Conference in England 11 years ago I met an African woman named Wambura who had read my books as a teen in Kenya. When I told her my story of rejection she said, “Oh, Robin, you did not need to come to Africa to wash our clothes. God sent your stories and they have washed our hearts.” !!! When I go to Kenya this November I’m spending 4 days with Wambura. She says she wants to help fulfill God’s will for my life so she’s going to let me do her laundry. :)

Where are you headed next?
Well, Africa in November. Career wise, I have several options available to me at the moment and am thinking and praying and waiting on the Lord to make some big decisions. I’m not able to reveal specifics yet. I keep readers updated in my e-newsletter, which they can sign up to receive by going to http://www.robingunn.com

Sunset-Beach-cover-194x300The Blog Tour Spot takes us to the beach this week, Sunset Beach by Trish Perry.  Having just been to the beach, we participated in the Flickr tour.  Hope everyone had a great 4th!

rest-cover-201x300And here we are with another tour from The Blog Tour Spot with this week’s Rest by Keri Wyatt Kent.  We chose to read this book mainly because, well, we need it.  Rest is something that has been quite a luxury, around my house anyway, for the past 6 almost 7 years.  Yes, that’s the age of my oldest child.  In Rest, Kent does a great job of explaining why we need rest especially on our Sabbath.

Unfortunately, our Sabbath gets a little hairy when my husband gets what we call “a case of the Sundays.”  I’ve asked him to please, please choose any other day, just not our Sabbath.  However, it stems from having a great weekend at home with the fam and his honest anticipation of what Monday morning will bring.  A short disclaimer – my husband loves his job, it’s a great job, but Monday morning just seems to carry a weight…which I’m sure it does for most people.

Our typical Sunday is pretty restful, but there’s always room for improvement….late service church, Thai food at my mother-in-law’s, come home to an afternoon nap, play and catch up on work.  What I loved best about Kent’s book were these words, “…progress, not perfection.”  I like that.  I think I’ll apply it to a few other things, too. 🙂

Yet another blog tour is stopping at our spot and we are delighted to introduce Tour de Force by Elizabeth White.  Again, we took a stab at the photography element and are sad to say we have absolutely no dancers around us.  We took the “artist” route with the photography component and who other to be the artist than 6 year old Max.  Great job, buddy. 

But more about Tour de Force

Gillian Kincade is a soloist with Ballet New York, a sought-after guest artist, and a committed Christian. Though she may be an anomaly in the world of dance, Gilly believes her devotion to God isn’t compromised by following her dreams. Then she meets Jacob Ferrar.

Jacob is the brilliant young artistic director of the Birmingham Ballet Theatre and a born-again Christian. When he offers Gillian the lead in his latest ballet she accepts, knowing it won’t necessarily further her career, but it will touch her soul.

On the chaotic road to opening night, Gilly and Jacob develop a deep professional respect for each other and begin to fall in love. Then their brilliant first performance is destroyed by a terrible accident, and suddenly both must face an uncertain future. Together, they dance the fine line between personal vision and God’s will, listening for the guidance of the Father’s heart.

Even more compelling than the book itself is usually the mind from which it comes…learn more about Elizabeth White and while you’re at it, take a look at all her other books, too.

And for more about the bloggers on this tour, click the links below:

4BoyBarbarians4Us
A Novel Menagerie
A Peek at My Bookshelf
Blog Tour Spot
Book Junkie Confessions
Books, Movies and Chinese Food
Cindy’s Stamping and Reviews
Drive Home Productions
Fictionary
Fresh Brewed Writer
Gatorskunz and Mudcats
Giving Up on Perfect
J’s Spot
Life is one daily adventure
Lighthouse Academy
Net’s Book Notes
Quiverfullfamily.com
Real Women Scrap
Refresh My Soul
Scraps and Snippets
Springs Writers
Steeler Girl’s Blog
Sueth sayings
The Law, Books and Life
The Sarah Jane Diaries
The Sassy Pear
The Writing Road
Wild Words . . . Photos and Fine Art

So our friends over at the Blog Tour Spot are awesome at helping authors promote their books via blog tours.  We’ll be participating in several this summer, and we’re excited about all the new IMG_3776components of participating on the tour.  There’s writing, photography, tweeting, reviewing, etc.  Good stuff.  This week it’s all about Snow Melts in Spring by Deborah Vogts, and I (Andrea) have taken a stab at the photography component.  The first to post to the Flickr account, I was nervous to say the least.  🙂  Check out the photos here.

But more importantly check out Snow Melts in Spring at Amazon and take the time to learn more about Deborah.  She is a country girl and shares my love for wide open spaces.  As a former country girl, but city girl currently, I secretly covet her life on the farm.  🙂

Here’s a little about Snow Melts in Spring

She loves the land.  Mattie Evans grew up in the Flint Hills of Kansas.  Although her family has lost their ranch, she still calls this land home. A skilled young veterinarian, she struggles to gain the confidence of the local ranchers.  Fortunately, her best friend and staunchest supporter is John McCray, owner of the Lightning M Ranch.  They both love the ranch, and can’t imagine living anywhere but in the Flint Hills.

Gil McCray, John’s estranged son, is a pro football player living in California.  He’s haunted by it.  The ranch is where his mother died and where every aspect of the tallgrass prairie stirs unwanted memories of his older brother’s fatal accident.  Gil decides leaving the ranch is the best solution for his ailing father and his own ailing heart.  But he doesn’t count on falling in love.

Falling in love isn’t an option.  Or is it?  When Mattie is called in to save a horse injured in a terrible accident, she finds herself unwillingly tossed into the middle of a family conflict.  Secret pain, secret passions, and secret agendas play out against the beautiful landscapes as love leads to some unexpected conclusions about forgiveness and renewal.

Good luck, Deborah, with your new book!

DriveHomeProductionsWHAT
It never fails…when I mention that Drive Home creates book videos, I get a confused look.  Books are meant to be read, not watched, right?  Well, not anymore.  Much like a movie trailer does for a movie, a book video or book trailer (yes, I know this term is trademarked by COS – hey guys!)  does the same.  However, as you can imagine it’s a bit trickier with a book.  There are no clips of video or actual dialogue, music, etc. to compile in a nice little package. Designers have to read the book, script it and make it visual.  And as you probably have seen out there, some book videos are good and some are not so good.  And just as a good video can inspire readers to read your book, a bad one can do the opposite.

WHY
Oh dear, the why question 🙂  Book videos are meant to be watched on the internet.  There are a few exceptions, but mainly on the internet.  And do you realize how much time you are on the internet?  It’s a ton for you and everybody else.  And did you realize that over 80% of internet users watch online video?  Advertisements can be tricky – users usually don’t like to watch those…unless they are entertaining or unless they are interesting.  We don’t make uninteresting videos 🙂  On the flip side, in the past how did an author promote a book?  In print or in person.  But here’s the kicker…are you listening?  A book video can be where an author can’t be.  It can tell a fraction of the author’s story in a way that backcover copy never can.  And it can help promote a book Before a reader even enters a bookstore and long After the hype of a release date is over.

WHERE
So where in the world do you place the video once it’s created?  Basically, where readers are.  We have a whole list of sites we like to place a video.  Then we usually have a few that the publisher requests.  And then there are those that the publisher/author will need to do themselves.  For instance, it really doesn’t do much good for us to post on our Facebook page.  Fans are friends with the authors they like and that’s where the video should be.  Also, sites like Amazon (which we highly recommend the video be placed there) require that the author/publisher place the video.  They don’t want a lot of wannabe’s posting videos that aren’t endorsed by the author.

WHO
Our edge – we really try hard to “get” your book.  Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, we know authors and publishers have spent countless hours leading up to a book’s release date.  As I mentioned earlier, there is no actual footage that we can put in a video for you.  It’s up to the creativity of the designer to take words and make them visual.  We literally scour our resourses to make sure the end product reflects the author’s and publisher’s vision. Our goal is simply this – to inspire readers to read your book.

HOW
Shoot us an email (info@drivehomeproductions.com) and let’s get started.  We’ll need an ARC, about 2-3 weeks time, and a starting vision for what you want us to create.  And if the author or publisher wants to be involved with the scripting, that’s wonderful.  We’d love it.  And if not, we’re capable.  After approval, we’ll distribute your video to sharing sites and watch it take off.

Any more questions?