Marian P. Merritt - Lagniappe

Where the Bayous Meet the Mountains

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Several weeks ago, my dear friend Deborah Vogts tagged me to play this blog game where I post 8 random things about myself. This proved harder than I thought!

But, here are:

Eight Random Things about Me

1. I graduated from college at 36 with a degree in Physical Therapy (with two children ages 2 and 11). Yeah, I know, I'm of the adage, better late than never. I did graduate with honors. Does that count?

2. I own a 9 year-old miniature Schnauzer named Nikki. She sits next to my desk when I write and is programmed to run to her bed when the Microsoft shut-down music plays.

3. I love the water. Being around it that is. I'm not a fan of getting my face wet. Don't go there!

4. I've just completed my fourth year of Bible Study Fellowship (BSF). I had planned to go through the whole seven year program, but God had other plans. We're moving to a town that doesn't have BSF classes. I can't wait to see what He has in store!!

5. I dabble in oils. Painting that is. The Bob Ross technique. Yes, ALL my trees are happy trees!

6. As a teenager, one of my summer job duties was pumping diesel for recreation and shrimp boats. Yep, you can take the gal out of the bayou, but…

7. My family and I are moving this summer to Colorado. I'm really excited about living somewhere, for the first time in my life, that has four seasons!

8. At 43, I took a motorcycle course and bought my own motorcycle, a Harley Sportster. A year later, I traded up to a 2004 Harley Road King, which I have since sold to buy my husband a Honda Civic. What's wrong with that picture?

I tagged Denise McEwen.

Winner of IN BETWEEN

The winner of Jenny B. Jones' debut novel is. . .

Diana Hughes!!

Congratulations Diana!

Check out the featured author section on my website for an interview with new author, Amy Wallace, and register for a chance to win her debut novel, Ransomed Dreams.

The link is:

Let me hear from you!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Interview with Janice Thompson - New Release Gone with the Groom

Janice's latest release, Gone with the Groom, is now available.

Here's an interview with Janice.

1. What book is coming next?

There will be three more Annie Peterson mysteries after this one: PUSHING UP DAISIES, THE PERFECT MATCH, and CATERING TO DISASTER. They will all be released as part of the new mystery line at Barbour Publishing (Heartsong Presents Mysteries).

What book are you working on now?

I just turned in a Heartsong romance titled WHITE AS SNOW – about a young woman who can’t stand football. She lives in the Pittsburgh area, and eventually (of course!) falls in love with a professional football player. I had a lot of fun writing this one. Why, you ask? Because I’m not a football fan! Figure skating, yes! Gymnastics, of course! Football. . .are you kidding?

3. What book are you reading now?

I just read a really funny book by Ray Blackston call FLABBERGASTED. It was kind of like chick lit for guys. I ear-marked all of the pages that made me laugh out loud. By the time I got to the end, I think I’d ear-marked over forty pages! I also just read a really great non-fiction book by Lee Ezell called FINDING GOD WHEN LIFE’S NOT FAIR. In it, she talks about the death of her husband, and her bout with cancer, ten weeks later. I could relate to so much of what she was going through (refer to question below)

4. How do you deal with your other obligations (family, church, etc.) when it’s crunch time near deadlines?

This has been a tough year for me. During the writing of GONE WITH THE GROOM, I lost my father to bone marrow cancer. It was an awful time for our family. Then, the week before the book was due, my married daughter (Randi) became very ill during her 33rd week of pregnancy and the baby (Madysen) had to be delivered early. She was only four and a half pounds, but (thank God!) is just fine now. Then, about the time the book went to the edit stage, my sister passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly. This week, as I began marketing the book, one of my best friends suddenly passed away. It seems like every time a tragedy strikes, I’m on some sort of deadline. I don’t resent that fact, (though at times it’s tough to keep going). I find the writing to be a blessing, particularly in light of the fact that I “need” the humor of light-weight stories like GONE WITH THE GROOM to bring a smile to my face. God always helps me with the obligations/deadlines part. I’m totally dependent on Him for those things. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

5. What’s your favorite worship song, and why?

If you had asked me this question one year ago, I would have answered “Amazing Love.” It’s been my favorite for years. But this year, I’m very drawn to a song called “Praise You in this Storm” (by Casting Crowns). The lyrics are so true of my life right now:

I'll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
and every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

(Praise You in This Storm, words by Mark Hall/music by Mark Hall and Bernie Herms)

Trust me when I say that it is possible for believers to go on praising, even when the storms are blowing out of control around you.

6. What do you crave (beverage or food) when you have writer’s stress?

I am addicted to Diet Dr. Pepper. And when I’m really needing a treat, I turn to Earl Grey tea (like Annie Peterson) or even Chai Latte. When all else fails, I reach for a piece of cheesecake.

7. Where did you birth the idea for this book (and the series)? When? How did it come about? Did any of the experiences in the story happen to you personally?

I have four daughters in their 20’s. Two of them got married in 2004 within four and a half months of each other. It was a stressful time, but I always knew I’d eventually be able to use the information in a story. Just about the time I thought I could rest, my third daughter got engaged. Her wedding just took place six weeks ago. Three down, one to go! As for how I decided to turn these books into mysteries (instead of traditional romances)… I asked myself the question, “What would you do if you had to pay for two weddings and didn’t have the money to do so?” Out of that, the first book (THE WEDDING CAPER) was born. After that, I got to thinking, “What would you do if the groom disappeared just before the wedding?) Out of that, GONE WITH THE GROOM was born. And so on, and so forth.

8. If your book was turned into a movie, who would play the main characters?

Wow. Never thought about that before. Who would play Annie Peterson? If she were still alive, I might pick someone funny like Madeline Kahn. If she were younger, maybe Carol Burnett? Diane Keaton might work, (though, Annie is really only turning 50, so even Diane might be a bit too old). As for the twin daughters, I think it would be fun to have someone like Jennifer Garner play dual roles. Or, hey…what about the Olsen twins? They could split the workload, and they’re about the right age. As for the husband (Warren) I wouldn’t want to go for anyone terribly famous, because I wouldn’t want him to outshine Annie. For Sheila? Someone quirky like Bette Midler or even Kathy Bates would do – in flamboyant colors, of course.

9. Which one of your characters is most like you, and why do you say that?

I’m a lot like Annie Peterson, truth be told. I find myself “in over my head” a lot, and I tend to think I can solve most any problem. She’s going through some empty nest issues, and I can certainly relate to that. Like Annie I also find myself turning to God for the real answers. I’d like to say I’m funny like Sheila, but I patterned that character after my best friend Kay, who always keeps me laughing. Kay is always coming up with funny sayings, and all-the-more, now that she knows I need material for Sheila to use.

10. What do you want your readers to know about you?

I love God with my whole heart, and no matter what troubles come my way, (no matter what mysteries I need to solve) I will never ever give up on my faith. Never. I will keep on keeping on, no matter what!

Please keep Janice in your prayers, she recently fell and severly fractured her ankle. She's undergone surgery and is currently immobilized. If you'd like to send her words of encouragement, you may do so at:

Friday, May 11, 2007


It's during those quiet moments with God that He speaks. This morning while studying the last chapters of Romans, the message of acceptance of all boomed loud and clear.

How often do I judge by first impressions, worship style, or appearance?

Many readers read the first paragraph of a book and immediately form an opinion, never giving the character a chance. Never reading further to experience the character's growth.

Are we doing the same to people we meet? Not bothering to take the time or put in the effort to get past that first impression. How often is that first impression wrong?

A quote by George Washington Carver helped me during my days working with patients. The real meaning in what we are as Christians, wives, mothers, writers, etc…is shown here:

"How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong, because someday in life you will have been all of these."
George Washing Carver

As I age, I can look back and see where I've been in these different positions. The people I remember during those times were the ones who showed me tenderness, compassion, sympathy, and tolerance…

How do you want to be remembered?

Monday, May 07, 2007

Win IN BETWEEN by Jenny Jones

Debut author Jenny Jones took time from her busy schedule to answer a few interview questions.

See what her claim to fame was before she became a published author!! clink on the featured author link.

If you'd like to be included in a drawing for Jenny's book, IN BETWEEN, leave a comment. Check back on May 21st when I'll post the winner.

Keep reading and Keep writing....