Monday, August 13, 2007

Please (don't) pass the mushrooms?

Hello! Virginia Smith here, stepping in for Margo Carmichael,
who has graciously agreed to host me on her blog as a part of
my virtual book tour celebrating my latest release,
Murder by Mushroom.

I’ve been given free reign over my topic for today,
so I’ve chosen one of the discussion questions included
at the end of Murder by Mushroom.

The question reads as follows: have you ever been surprised to
discover that the thing you desired was packaged differently
than you imagined?

In Murder by Mushroom, the hero and romantic interest, State Trooper Dennis Walsh, had a very definite idea of the type of woman with whom he wanted to spend the rest of his life. Quirky, socially inept Jackie Hoffner didn’t even begin to fit the bill. And yet by the end of the book, he discovered that she was, indeed, the woman God had picked out for him. (I’ll let you read the book to see how he managed to figure that out!)

I’ve had times when the thing I wanted turned out far differently than I imagined. Writing was one of them. I wrote my first short story in my early twenties while on maternity leave awaiting the birth of my son. That story lit a fire in me, the first flickering flame that quickly became a roaring passion for writing. Almost instantly, a full-fledged longing blossomed – I wanted to be a published author. Wanted it badly. I dreamed of my life as a career author, flitting here and there to booksignings, seeing my name top the New York Times Bestseller list. I would spend my days on sandy beaches under a colorful umbrella, casually typing out my next bestseller on my laptop while tanned waiters brought me fruity drinks with umbrellas – paid for, of course, with all the money the publishers threw at me. (Oh, yes. I dreamed big!)

God had plans for me and for my writing, but they were different than mine. That first story was rejected, and many after it. I spent twenty years struggling to produce a publishable piece of fiction, and watching my dream fade away like a giant bonfire dwindles to embers.

And then, when my dream was no more than a mere whisp of smoke curling from the nearly-dead fire, the Lord stepped in. He showed me a better way – His way. I realized that He had lit that little flame to begin with, but then I fanned it into something that He never intended. Humbled, I surrendered myself and my dream – my writing – to Him.

That’s when the first book contract arrived. And the next. And the next. My dream has been fulfilled, but success doesn’t look a thing like I expected. I have an announcement: I shall not be retiring to the Caribbean to live off my royalties anytime soon.

But that’s okay, because every day I enjoy an overwhelming sense of peace and satisfaction as I sit at my computer and pound away at my next book. No umbrellas. No fruity drinks unless I get them myself. No bestseller list (but I can still hope for that, can’t I?) God has granted me the desire of my heart, and along with it, the joy of knowing that it is His dream for me, too.

Since surrendering her dream to God, Virginia Smith ( has received contracts for seven books. Her latest, Murder by Mushroom (Steeple Hill, August 2007) received a 4-star review by Romantic Times, and has been hailed as “a delightful cozy – great summer reading!” She invites you to pop over to her website and find out about her August contest to give away a 30GB video iPod!

Thank you, Virginia. Murder by Mushroom looks darling and I look forward to jumping into it. And I do love mushrooms!

So, what are you reading now--ABA and CBA?

I am in the middle of a nonfiction book by Anita Renfroe called If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother. I’m really enjoying it. Next on my night stand is Life, Libby and the Pursuit of Happiness by Hope Lyda. I don’t know if I dare say this, but a recent secular book I’ve really enjoyed is the 7th Harry Potter book. (Do you think I’ll get blackballed for that?!)

Blackballed? No. Debated--definitely! LOL (Scroll down to July 17th entry, then scroll down to Comments there. : )

I’ll totally alienate myself when I admit that I adore Terry Pratchett’s Discworld fantasy novels. They make me laugh until tears roll down my cheeks. I also really enjoyed The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve.

I enjoyed the surprise ending, too.

And I like general market mysteries, such as the Pennsylvania Dutch mysteries by Tamar Myers, and the horsey-set mysteries by Dick Francis.

THANK YOU so much for taking part in my blog tour for Murder by Mushroom.

Our pleasure!

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