March 7, 2018

The Birth of A Novelist

I don't know how many of my novelist friends can pin down the day they became a novelist. I can. March 7, 2007.  My friend Lisbet and I had been all dreamy-eyed, discussing the cross-continental romance between her sister (in Norway) and my brother (in America) and we decided someone ought to write a story about two people continents apart who fall in love over correspondence. That giddy musing turned into me going home, jotting a couple of notes (HAHAHA!), firing up the old computer in the kids' upstairs den, and sitting down to write. I planned to contact a publisher located in my state, because, after all, we were neighbors, and they would want to publish my book, right? I went to work, excited about what just might be the next best-seller. 

*Cough Gasp Cough*  Pardon me.

About 100 pages into the story, I realized my story, the one I'd been staying up until nearly dawn each night writing and was now irrevocably invested in, was in serious trouble. I had no clue how to proceed and figured it was time to seek out help. I searched online and found writing sites ( and writer's organizations (,, and from there, soaked up all the coaching, craft books, and critique I could get my hands on. (A word to the wise: not all critiques are beneficial, but ought to be considered for value and weighed against the instinct you must train into your writing gut with an obscene amount of high quality reading.)

In short, eleven years later, I have 3 full length published books (thanks to Rachelle Gardner and Ashberry Lane Publishing) and a Christmas novella (ebook), and a couple of novels in the works. That first story went through the proverbial ringer numerous times, and then came my agent's 10 page revision letter... but that first one did eventually become a book. The title went through several changes, as well as the opening, the storyline, and much more. My writing skill as well as my understanding of the publishing industry had to grow. A LOT.

So, since today marks the anniversary of the day I turned into a novelist, I thought it would be fun to pull out the first page (below) of that very first draft of what is now the book, Like There's No Tomorrow. (For those who know the story, Megan was later renamed Claire.)

Thank you, Gary & Merethe, for inspiring me to become something I didn't know was in there.

Here's the opening of that first draft, started 11 years ago today. :)

 Megan Kendal sat speechless in the backseat of her own car. 
Anyone acquainted with the formidable little Scotswoman, especially those traveling with her now, knew she usually had no trouble unleashing her probing questions and fiery opinions on anyone within reach. But today, she was speechless. 
As the station wagon containing her whole family, including her brother Ian, headed toward Glasgow, she was still in shock. And not just Megan, but her teenage sons as well, who couldn’t remember their father ever coming to church with them. 
Ian and David had spent today the way they had spent many recent days: fishing at Loch Blane; and now Megan’s mind was churning with questions: What had happened? What did they talk about? How had Ian managed to get David to come to church with the rest of the family? Without thinking, she leaned forward to take a sniff of her husband who sat in front of her in the driver’s seat.
No smell of whiskey. 
She sat back, ashamed of her suspicions. Did she really think David would have to be drunk to go to church? She glanced over at 15-year-old Jack and understood the look on his face; he’d had the same thought. 

March 2, 2018

Johnny Devine, Living Large (Print, that is)

I'm pleased to share the ENORMOUS news that 
The Memoir of Johnny Devine is now available in Large Print!

It's a hefty 415 page hardcover edition and weighing in at a whopping 1.3 lbs, according to Amazon.

(Whose job is it to weigh books? So, what do you do? Uh, I'm a book weigher. But I'm really discreet about it. You don't want the bigger ones to feel self-conscious, so I try to be sensitive and avoid weighing the heavy ones right after the skinny ones...)

So you get a book you can finally see without straining your eyes, but it's heavy enough to pull a hamstring. (?)

Seriously, I love large print. Not only do these books make reading easier, but when I go to reserve a popular title through the library, the large print versions are often available when the regular ones have 187 holds. Win-win!

The Memoir of Johnny Devine (Large Print) is available at Amazon for a hefty price ($36.95), but my guess is those who typically buy large print are prepared for that. Hopefully you've won the lottery or inherited a fortune from book addict. (Oh wait... that's a good one...)

The Memoir of Johnny Devine, a Novel, is a dramatic story-within-a-story of a Hollywood bad boy reformed and a good girl in need of reform. Set in the 1950s, it’s a powerful tale of love, redemption, intrigue, and the miracle of grace. Recipient of RT Book Reviews rare 5-star Top Pick, Seal of Excellence, Best Inspirational Romance 2015, and OCW Cascade Award for Historical Fiction.

I was pleased to find that the Cincinnati Library website includes a feature called Why This Title Appeals to Readers. They took the time to scan the 99 Goodreads reviews and pull the most frequently or commonly used terms people use to describe the "feel" of the Johnny Devine. According to CL, this book appeals in Tone: Moving, Strong sense of place, and in Writing Style: Engaging. I'm delighted to know readers are able to take away some of the things authors work so hard to include in our stories. 

I'm happy with the way this edition turned out. If you get a chance to read one of these, let me know how you liked the larger print. I almost expected to see a center section of film stills, autographed photos of Johnny, and his Hollywood Boulevard star. 

December 13, 2017

.99c Christmas Romance

Savanna's Gift is priced for Christmas at .99c!

Grab it along with a mug of cocoa, or gift it (or both, at that price). This may be just the quick (but not rushed) romantic holiday read you needed at the end of a busy day. ;) And if you don't mind, please take a moment to pass it on:

Forced to return to the ski lodge where she once worked, Savanna Holt is reminded of one special Christmas and how ambition led her to make the worst mistake of her life: Leaving Luke Nelson.Stunned to discover Luke never left, but worked his way up from lift operator to manager, Savanna sees the opportunity as a gift from God. She's determined to win Luke back. But Luke wants no reminders of his past hurt, or a relationship with the woman who put ambition before love. Can Savanna convince Luke she's changed and her interest isn't because of his position? And when her dream job beckons, will she sacrifice her dream for a second chance at love?

November 6, 2017

Southern Writers: The Gift of Encouragement

Southern Writers Magazine is a publication, in digital, print, and online formats, for readers and writers and is full of valuable writing tips and encouragement. And in the Nov/Dec special 2017 holiday issue, SWM saved the "Last Word" for me, bless their hearts. I'm tickled pink to be included alongside so many top-notch authors! And I declare, I'm not even from the south!

(Okay, enough is enough. This yankee could never pull off the charm and hyperbole that only those from the south have in their DNA.)

If you need a little reminder of the value of your God-given gifts---especially if you're not winning gold medals with them at the moment, you'll want to read my article.

Check out that list of topics on the cover! If you're a writer (or harboring fantasies of becoming one), let the 2017 holiday issue be a little Christmas gift to yourself. Give yourself some sugar! You deserve it. :)

(Psssst..... here's a link to a free back issue.)


October 3, 2017

RADIANT LIGHT: Top Ten Tuesday . . . Ten Bookish Boyfriends

RADIANT LIGHT: Top Ten Tuesday . . . Ten Bookish Boyfriends

Featuring some reader favorite heroes, including Johnny Devine. See if you think this reviewer captured the essence of these fictional leading men.


September 4, 2017

.99 cent eBook Sale, All 3 Titles!

In honor of 
National Read a Book Day, 
all ASHBERRY LANE TITLES (eBook) are just .99c

Like There's No Tomorrow
Like a Love Song
The Memoir of Johnny Devine

(or Click HERE for all 3 on Amazon/Kindle)


"I had the pleasure of reading [The Memoir of Johnny Devine] and it instantly went to the top of my all time favorites list. I won't share much about the plot as it's just way too fun to discover so I'll just say this - I started it at noon and finished it a bit after midnight and somewhere in between HAD to cook dinner and sort of have a life (which was really difficult!) so OH BOY...this book was so fantastic. Absolutely no surprise that it got 5 stars from RT book reviews. It's one that I read on eBook and plan on getting in paperback as well to have on my keeper shelf and to share with friends!"  -Joanne Bischof, Author

April 13, 2017

Film Review: ‘The Case for Christ’ (2017, Drama) PG

When an entire theater breaks into spontaneous applause at the closing credits, it’s probably a film I’ll want to recommend. And see again.

The title (if you somehow haven’t heard that ‘The Case for Christ’ is the title of a best-selling book) might make a viewer think the film is some kind of documentary.

This is no documentary, but rather an intense, gut-wrenching drama. Based on a true story, an award-winning investigative journalist and self-proclaimed atheist sets out to disprove the existence of God after his wife becomes a Christian.

Lee Strobel’s passion and drive will resonate with anyone who has ever felt determined to be vindicated. Even as a Christian, I genuinely sympathized with this man as he worked hard to gather evidence and disprove Christ’s resurrection. Strobel is logical to a fault, and to this viewer, logic is his — and the film’s — strength, ironically. I applaud the filmmakers for letting us follow Strobel at every turn and allowing us to see what he discovers at every angle and crossroads of his investigation, through the eyes and mind of a man driven (and earning a living) to believe nothing but instead “check it out.”

The writing and acting are superb—on par with Hollywood's best. L. Scott Caldwell (Alfie) was genuinely convincing as the “happenstance” heroine who suddenly plays a pivotal role in the Strobels’ life and future. Christensen (Leslie) and Vogel (Lee) quite naturally give dimension and heart to a couple that could be real—and just so happen to be. We (I speak for the entire theater, I think) loved them instantly.

The acting and writing also offer a refreshing break from 'Us Against Them' faith-based storytelling. There is no atheist/Christian stereotyping here—just a family who loves each other struggling with a sudden cross-purposed core value in their life. Conflict intensifies as the couple’s opposing beliefs become unavoidable. Powerfully genuine. Powerfully emotional.

And powerfully true.

It’s a deeply personal story, one that can’t help but touch every viewer on some level. If you’re not a Christian, be prepared to process some mind-blowing, indisputable facts. If you’re a believer, be prepared to hear evidence of Christ’s resurrection you may not have known.

This is not a faith film that preaches (to the choir or anyone else), uses unnatural dialogue, or tiptoes around the rawness of reality—the weakness, self-indulgence, and resentment humans are so capable of, believer or not. There is without question a need for clean, wholesome, family-safe, faith-friendly storytelling, and I don’t mean to say that this film is not clean or appropriate for family viewing. But it is also not a story created for the sake of offering a well-meant but sometimes inferior alternative to Christian viewers. This is a gutsy detective story that takes an unrestrained pickax to Christianity’s core root in an attempt to uncover truth and and comes away with not only a love of truth intact, but something far, far more precious. It will move, entertain, and leave viewers breathless. And applauding. 

10 stars, Highly recommended. And bring tissues.


A Pure Flix Entertainment release of a Pure Flix, Triple Horse Studios production. Director: Jon Gunn. Screenplay: Brian Bird, based on the book by Lee Strobel. Stars: Mike Vogel, Erika Christensen, Faye Dunaway

March 28, 2017

Oscar the Octopus: The Story Behind the Story

A few weeks ago, while I was babysitting my grandchildren, my 2-1/2 year old granddaughter and I hung out while baby brother napped. She wanted us to color, so out came the sketchpad which was already full of her "sketchings." She asked me to draw an Octopus, so I scrawled one out quickly, because, you know, the attention span of a preschooler. I asked her to name him and suggested we tell his story (storytellers can be so singularly focused...).

She agreed and asked for more creatures in our story and insisted that Oscar, the Octopus, needed a Mommy, and that Chickie, the Seagull (whom she also named), needed a baby. I dutifully obeyed and quickly scrawled out all the characters in our tale, with no more than a line or two of story on each "page."

I am a Plotter, not a Pantser, which, if you are a writer, know is the subject of debate and dilemma. I am not one to come up with a story by the seat of my pants but rather spend a great deal of time plotting and planning. So I was pleasantly surprised that we actually came up with the basic nutshell of a story. I chalk it up it to the inspiration of an intelligent child with a short attention span and a deep appreciation for family (she thoroughly adores her old baby brother and is surrounded by loving relatives).

The Story in a nut seashell: Hero wants something. Hero sets out to get said something. Hero has a dark moment, followed by an epiphany. Hero is rewarded for his perseverance and lives happily ever after (or HEA to us word nerds). All told in 8 pages, with just enough text per page for the big reader to finish reading aloud before the little reader is done looking at the picture and is turning the page.

Hello, Flash Fiction. :)

So this is how Oscar the Octopus, the tentacled little trooper, was born. The story is available on Kindle for .99, so take a minute download it and see what a novel-writing Grammy, a smart little cookie, a used sketchpad, and a handful of colored pencils created, and all while baby brother slept.


March 3, 2017

ONE DAY 99 Cent Sale: The Memoir of Johnny Devine

will be available for .99 (Kindle) 

“The romantic tension sizzles nearly from the beginning, and readers will often find themselves breathless from the sheer delight of it. The message of redemption is conveyed with such poignant elegance that it will linger long after turning the last page.”

-Carrie Townsend, RT Book Reviews, 5 Gold Stars, Top Pick
"I had the pleasure of reading this book and it instantly went to the top of my all time favorites list. I won't share much about the plot as it's just way too fun to discover so I'll just say this - I started it at noon and finished it a bit after midnight and somewhere in between HAD to cook dinner and sort of have a life (which was really difficult!) so OH BOY...this book was so fantastic. Absolutely no surprise that it got 5 stars from RT book reviews. It's one that I read on eBook and plan on getting in paperback as well to have on my keeper shelf and to share with friends!"

-Joanne Bischof, Author
The Memoir of Johnny Devine is a dramatic story-within-a-story of a bad boy reformed and a good girl in need of reform. It’s a powerful tale of love, redemption, intrigue, and the miracle of deliberate grace.
The Memoir of Johnny Devine

Camille's books are available in print and/or ebook at:
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August 24, 2016

Wait Until They Actually Call Your Name: Lessons in Surviving Award Ceremonies

For one moment, I couldn't breathe.

Two, actually.

At the Oregon Christian Writer's Conference last week, after dinner Wednesday night, the Cascade Awards were given for published and unpublished works. What a tremendous boost to writers, to be acknowledged for the time, effort, and heart that goes into our work. 

My latest novel, The Memoir of Johnny Devine, was a finalist in the Historical Fiction Category, rubbing shoulders with Peter Leavell's West for the Black Hills and Sins of the Mother by Caryl McAdoo. The winner is announced with the first line of the book (or piece) followed by the title and the author. 

When the "Historical Fiction" category came up, I held my breath. For the life of me, I couldn't remember the first line of Johnny's story. 

Then I heard this...

"After all the women I've known and all the illusions of romance I've helped create on stage and film, you'd think I was Hollywood's leading expert on love. In fact, many people not only believed this, but banked on it." 

I think I stumbled to the stage before my name was actually read---awkward. (I never really know what to do in most important situations, so I'm really lucky if I actually do what I'm supposed to.) 

What an honor for Johnny to win this award, and what an honor to be included with such fine authors!

Back at my table, my husband and my publishing team (Ashberry Lane's Christina Tarabochia and Sherrie Ashcraft) were beaming and quietly congratulating me as the award program continued. I confess I was in a fog and didn't catch the winners in other categories I'd hoped to hear. 

Then the ceremony turned to the two special awards OCW gives each year. Prolific author and generous mentor Melanie Dobson was awarded the Trailblazer award and everyone cheered.

As the next award was presented, a hush settled across the room. Marilyn Rhoads began to describe the author receiving the 2016 Writer of Promise award. The bio sounded strangely familiar. As Marilyn went on, I heard muffled sobs beside me. Christina and Sherrie were crying--Sherrie audibly. Traci, my super cool conference roommate at the next table, was grinning at me with tears in her eyes. As more of Marilyn's description of this author and her work became clear, my lungs stopped working. (The best thing to do in a situation like that is to actually breathe in AND out so you don't pass out in front of 300 people, and to think of something to say--asap.)

When Marilyn said, "and her book, The Memoir of Johnny Devine is this year's Historical Fiction Cascade Award winner--" the room exploded in cheers and applause. 

Marilyn was looking my way, so I of course rose and climbed onto the stage, quaking from the thundering energy in the room. 

It wasn't until I reached Marilyn that we all realized she hadn't actually SAID MY NAME yet. Awkward, again, but funny this time--I hope.

As best as I can remember, I thanked the organization, the mentors, and the writing community that I've been blessed to know as a result of being part of OCW. I realized later that I neglected to thank the One whose promise is steadfast and true, and whose gifts and abilities are treasures to be used with confidence and for His glory. 

So to Christ, I give my deepest thanks and my renewed commitment to write as he leads and to surrender the work of my hands to his purposes. May he be glorified in each word I write.

And may I remember to breathe. 



I've published three novels and a novella (more about those on my website.) I've been writing all my life, but decided in 2007 to get serious about being published.

I love action movies and Jane Austen. (she’s dead, I know. I found that out when I tried to get her to endorse my novel)

They let me play Bass guitar and sing in a worship band.

I can produce 4 dozen homemade cinnamon rolls in a flash for a crowd of drooling young adults. Or publishing house editors.

I used to have a Harley. Now we have twenty-something kids. Decent trade, really. The window-rattling grumble isn't quite the same, but we are still enjoying the ride.

I am a proud Grammy. Don't even think about taking candy from my babies.

I hate shopping (Yes, I'm aware that I'm a girl)

I've lived in Oregon all my life, spent time in Eugene (Go DUCKS!), Springfield, Reedsport, and Smith River. Which is not really a town, but a river, about 70 miles long, a tributary of the Umpqua River in southwest Oregon.

Although it's not a town, it is a community with a strong sense of pioneer history. It's cool to say you've lived there, especially if you lived there during the days when you had to take a boat to school. No joke! The old farmhouse my grandfather and my mother grew up in still stands, nestled into a narrow, pasture carpeted valley, complete with a swimmin' hole and its own 'crick'. It may turn up in one of my novels.

There's a rumor that my ancestors had a connection with the Mafia back in Sicily. I used to fantasize as a kid about a big black limo with tinted windows pulling up and whisking me away from school. Ahhh. So THAT'S why I'm having so much trouble conjugating my dangling participles now.

NOT RANDOM: I am challenged by the truth and amazed by the grace of God. And it's either in spite of or because of that grace that I hold a PhD in Learning Stuff the Hard Way.

Camille's Books

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Like There's No Tomorrow, Like a Love Song, and The Memoir of Johnny Devine are available in print & eBook at Amazon, B&N, Audible, Smashwords, iTunes, & Kobo.