Guest Author - DiAnn Mills

DiAnn Mills' latest release...

When The Nile Runs Red

Paul Farid was once a member of the royal family who openly persecuted any Sudanese who failed to practice Islam. Now he’s a Christian who puts his life on the line to aid the persecuted Sudanese. His wife, Larson, is a doctor committed to giving her life for peace.

Colonel Ben Alier has fought for twenty-one years against the government’s mandates to control the oil, religion, slavery, and politics of Sudan. He neither trusts nor rests any hope in the newly formed government.

Ben’s health deteriorates while Larson finds out she is going to have a baby. Their worlds collide, and as the relational tensions escalate so does the physical danger.

About DiAnn...

Award-winning author, DiAnn Mills, launched her career in 1998 with the publication of her first book. Currently she has over forty books in print and has sold more than a million copies.

DiAnn believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure.” Her desire is to show characters solving real problems of today from a Christian perspective through a compelling story.

Video - DiAnn Speaks to Us...

Click on link.

Questions and Answers

What inspired you to write this novel?

I had previously written a nonfiction book about the Lost Boys of Sudan – Lost Boy No More. From that research, I wrote the novel When the Lion Roars, but the story would not let me go.

Through numerous interviews and extensive reading, I grew to love and admire the courageous Sudanese people and was burdened by their incredible needs. I had to bring them back in When the Nile Runs Red.

Why Sudan?

This country went through nearly two decades of civil war strife. In 1983, the northern government launched a holy war against the south. This grew out of the views of the Islamic north against the mostly Christian black African south. The war had three aspects: religion, politics, and oil. The atrocities committed against the southern people are too many to list, but the war was fought in the south through genocide.

How did you conduct your research?

I grabbed my backpack and sun screen and traveled to Juba, Sudan, the southern capital. There I stayed at a Christian compound and met with southern Sudanese from all walks of life: refugees, political leaders, and church leaders. I talked to as many people as I could, snapped pictures, and listened to what was being said.

Regarding your trip to Sudan, what touched you the most?

The incredible faith. I could look into a Sudanese’s eyes and see the pain of persecution and the hope of Jesus. Here, we say we love Jesus while we live in our huge homes, drive our fancy cars, are well-fed, are not hunted down for our faith, or are concerned about medical care. The Sudanese understand that all they have and need is Jesus.

Can you give us a brief description of your characters?

Paul Farid was once a Muslim who actively persecuted the southern people, but now he’s a Christian who flies dangerous missions into war-torn areas to deliver food and medical supplies.

Dr. Larson Kerr Farid risks her life to bring healing to the Sudanese. Just like her husband Paul, her life is often in danger. But there is a problem between her and Paul with no easy solution.

Colonel Ben Alier has been fighting and leading the southern army of Sudan for nearly two decades. Often referred to as a warlord, Ben fights his own demons.

The three are friends, an unlikely friendship forged by their love for Sudan.

How do you build your plots?

Always out of character with two simple words: what-if? John Gardner said to create the best possible characters and allow the worst possible things to happen to them. That says it all. It’s easy to coat our darlings with easy trials and struggles, but the hard stuff, the struggles that define the character are what has to happen. I’m a huge fan of Donald Maass and wouldn’t consider writing a paragraph without using techniques found in his books Writing the Breakout Novel and Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook.

What are you goals for this novel?

To increase awareness about the situation in Sudan and to share my passion for the Sudanese people through a compelling story.

The proceeds for this novel go back to aid the Sudanese.

What do you hope the readers will gain?

To lose themselves in the novel. That’s every writer’s goal. But I also want the reader to sense a call to action and support the Sudanese cause.

What is your next project?

I’m currently writing a romantic suspense series with a working series title of “Behind the Sunglasses”.

How can readers learn more about what you are doing?

Check out my website at . I have sections about Sudan, and for readers, and writers. Those signing up for my newsletter get to download a chapter of an upcoming release.

Aside from your passion for writing, what else are you doing?

Speaking to groups about the situation in Sudan.

Teaching at writer’s conferences.

Conducting Fiction Mentoring Clinics. These are small groups who work closely together for three work-filled days to develop their craft.

Thanks, DiAnn, for sharing your work with us.

American Christian Fiction Writers Conference

Writing buddies... Annette Irby, Gail Sattler, and me.
Annette Irby (from Washington state) writes Christian Romance.
Gail Sattler (from Vancouver, BC) writes Romantic Comedy.
I arrived home last night from the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in Dallas, Texas. What a fabulous time! Five hundred people gathered to learn, share, and celebrate the impact Christian fiction is making in the world.

Of course, I'm slightly exhausted and my mind is reeling from all that happened during the past week. I came home with nuggets that will help improve my writing, but even better was the time spent with writing friends from across the country. I received both positive and helpful input from editors and agents. The publishing industry is a difficult one to break into and their words were encouraging.
As promised, I've included some photos.

DiAnn Mills, a favorite author, hails from Texas. Her book, When the Nile Runs Red, was recently released. Check back on Saturday to find out more about this exciting novel and what DiAnn is doing with the proceeds.

My critique buddies... Annette and Ocieanna Fleiss.

Ocieanna writes historical fiction and lives in Washington state.

Another one of my favorite people in the world is Cynthia Ruchti.

Cynthia lives in Wisconsin and is one of the writers and producers of the radio ministry, The Heartbeat of the Home, for which I'm a guest writer.

Annette, Cynthia, and I were priviledged to sing vocals with the worship team during the conference. Not only fun, it became a blessing for us! We were thrilled to be asked back to sing next year when the conference moves to Minneapolis.

It's time to jump into my other world, but I'll soon be back working on my latest project.



Getting Ready!

“I’m getting ready!”

“Ready for what?” you ask.

Ready for the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) conference in Dallas, Texas. I leave Seattle with three other writers on September 19th, not to return until the 23rd.

This will be my third ACFW conference and I’m excited! I’m more prepared and confident than several years ago. I know what to expect, not to mention, far more people.

The conference provides an opportunity to immerse myself in learning more about the craft of writing and the publishing business. The days are intense from early morning until midnight. But, what’s a girl to do? I don’t want to miss a thing. It’s great to hang out with other people who are passionate about books – both reading and writing them.

There are numerous classes to take, appointments with editors and agents, and a fabulous keynote speaker. I’m able to share time with current friends and I always meet interesting new people. And where else can you talk one-one and be mentored by so many published authors? Their books sit on the shelves of Barnes and Noble and many other bookstores.

My appointments are made and my proposals are written. If an agent or editor is interested in one of my projects, they’ll request a few chapters and a proposal be sent to them. If they like what they read at that point, they’ll ask to see the full manuscript. It’s a very long process which takes months, but one many have gone through before.

I’ll fill you in after I get back.
I may even have photos.

Hope to see you here!


Remembering Loved Ones - What You Can Do for Those Who Grieve

On September 13, 2002, my stepdaughter died in a tragic car accident.

Angie was visiting friends at a college in Oregon the week prior to starting her sophomore year at a college here in Washington. The car was hit with such force, that despite wearing a seatbelt, she flew through the sunroof. She died immediately.

A chaplain from the sheriff’s department knocked on our front door at two o’clock the following morning. I went numb. Our nightmare began.

Angie was only nineteen years old. A beautiful young woman with ambition, she dreamed of what she could accomplish in her life. She freely shared her strong faith and relationship with God. Young people packed the memorial service. They spoke of the impact she’d made on their lives.

Time does help to soothe wounds, but you never forget. You never fully recover from the death of a child.

Angie’s presence is missed. You think and wonder about what could have been. What she might have done with her life. Would she have married? Had children of her own? How would our lives have been even more blessed?

Every year at this time, emotions tend to run close to the surface. There is a deep need for my husband to talk about his daughter. To share memories—special moments—funny times—her childhood.

But, it’s hard to find someone willing to listen. He tries, but often the conversation is quickly turned.

Friends and relatives seem to have forgotten. Few ask how he’s doing.

Why don’t they?

Are they caught up in the business of their own lives?
Do they believe healing has taken its course?
Maybe they don’t know what to say.
Perhaps they’re afraid they’ll dredge up memories that are too painful to talk about. But, just the opposite can be true.

People who have lost someone they loved - a child, spouse, parent, or friend – NEED to talk. And they NEED to be heard. Not every day. Not even every week or month. But, sometimes…

They need people to laugh with them over silly stories, while still empathizing with their loss. Even if the same antidotes have been told many times before.

They want to celebrate the life shared on earth and the life given in heaven.

It's been my experience that people who grieve don’t expect anyone to fix it for them. Or say anything that will bring great understanding or healing.

They just want someone to care.


Silver and Gold Friendships

“Make new friends,
but keep the old.

One is silver and the other gold.”

I still keep in touch with friends I grew up with in our small Wisconsin hometown. We may only send Christmas letters and photos, but it’s still a way to share our lives with each other.

In college I met another group of wonderful people. This summer I received word that one of my roommates died from cancer. The other three roommates (the five of us had shared a house) were able to be together for the funeral in the Midwest. Although I’d not seen the friend for many years, I deeply felt the loss. It was difficult for me to not be with the rest of my “roomies.”

I’ve lived in the Seattle area for thirteen years, but still keep in contact with two friends back in Minneapolis. Jane lived next door and we raised our five girls together (her three and my two) from the time they were babies / toddlers until my family moved to the Pacific Northwest. I met Barb when our youngest were both around four years old. We don’t call often, but when we do, several hours can slip by before we hang up. It feels like we’ve never been apart.

Even though I’m blessed to have amazing friends here, I’ve also strived to do my part in keeping long distance friendships alive. But, not everyone has been willing or able to put in the effort it takes to maintain the relationship. I understand. People’s lives are full and it takes a lot of energy just keeping up with daily life!

Some things – like certain friendships - are meant for only for a season. That’s okay.

I still think about friends from my past and wish them well. How can I not? They’re a part of my history and why I’ve become who I am. They’ll always be a part of me.

Yes…one is silver and the other gold.


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