Sunday, December 28, 2008

Wild Rose by Ruth Axtell Morren

If you’ve read my blog for very long, you know I’ve raved about this author before. Now I’m going back and reading the ones that came out before I discovered her. Here’s one from 2004, Wild Rose.

Geneva Patterson has lived in the tiny harbor town of Haven’s End all her life. And all her life she’s been an outcast. Not only was her father a poor woodsman, her mother was part Indian. When Geneva’s mother dies, and then her father, Geneva is left alone to fend for herself. She takes to wearing men’s clothes to keep the bad characters of the town away from her, but her best defense is her dog, Jake. She lives an isolated existence, until Captain Caleb Phelps moves in next door.

Caleb was sent out as a boy to learn life on the sea. His rich shipping magnate father has always been impossible to please, but when suspicion is cast on Caleb, his father believes the worst—that Caleb stole a large sum of money from his father’s company. To make matters worse, Caleb’s own fiancĂ© turns against him, calling off the engagement, and Caleb is ostracized. He escapes to the tiny town of Haven’s End.

At first Caleb only sees Geneva as a farmer, hardly noticing she’s a young woman. And Geneva thinks of Captain Caleb as the ideal man, a true gentleman, but someone who would never look twice at her. They form a friendship, but what will happen if Captain Caleb’s name is cleared? Will he go back to Boston and the fancy parties and high society befitting the son of a wealthy businessman? What will become of Ginny?

As usual, I couldn’t figure out how the author was going to get these two to fall in love and get married, but as always, she did it, and beautifully. This is another wonderful love story by Ruth Axtell Morren, exemplifying the meaning of “satisfying.” Frankly, she should have won a Christy Award for this one. Hurry. Don’t wait. Get it!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winner of Living Rich for Less

And the winner of Living Rich for Less by Ellie Kay is . . .

Tracy Ruckman! Congratulations, Tracy!

If you didn't win this book, and if you've ever been called a "born spender," you need to go out and get this book. It will change the way you look at money!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Living Rich for Less by Ellie Kay

I just finished reading this book, and I recommend it to anyone trying to cut expenses or get out of debt. So if you'd like to learn how to live a good life and not break the bank, then leave a comment and you'll be entered in the drawing for a copy of Living Rich for Less.

The author gives a lot of great advice and tips for saving money. My husband and I are both pretty frugal, so we were already doing a lot of the things she mentions. However, I did learn a lot, like why most people pay way too much (as we are) for homeowners insurance and how to cut that cost. I also liked Ellie Kay's 10/10/80 philosophy. She explains why everyone should give 10%, save 10%, and spend wisely the other 80%.

So if you're trying to turn over a new financial leaf in the New Year, you should read this book. It really inspired me to save more and stay frugal. So leave a comment to be entered in the drawing!

Winner of Before the Season Ends

The winner is . . . .


Congratulations, Bev! I just know you're going to love this fun romance! And everybody else should go out and buy it, or tell your hubby/mom/sister/best friend that this is what you REALLY want for Christmas! :-)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Before the Season Ends by Linore Rose Burkard

This book was released this month by Harvest House, but was previously self-published by the author. I read the self-published version and LOVED it! And now Linore is giving away a copy here! But only if at least 10 people leave a comment. So tell your friends! And if you don't win a copy, you really need to go out and buy one. It's just the type of book people love to read in troubled times like this. Such a fun book! Anyway, here's my review again.

Do you like a funny, exciting plot and quirky, memorable characters reminiscent of Jane Austen? If so, you’ll love this story, Before the Season Ends, by Linore Rose Burkard.

Miss Ariana Forsythe, a nineteen-year-old beauty, is being packed off to her wealthy aunt’s home in London to escape an unsuitable match in her little hamlet of Chesterton. Ariana, excited about this new adventure, is also wary of the lack of morality she’s afraid of meeting with in fashionable London. She must guard herself against all the blackguards and rakes, especially the infamous Mr. Phillip Mornay.

Ariana is a delightful heroine, artless and funny and worthy of her sparring partner, Mr. Mornay. The two of them are so good together, I couldn’t help being reminded of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett. The story zips along and never fails to entertain and delight. The author, moreover, has obviously done her research, and the whole thing is full of authentic speech and clothing and descriptions, enough to make you feel you are right there in Regency England.

I thoroughly enjoyed this Regency romance from beginning to end. It’s exactly the kind of story I like to read but rarely ever find. Funny, touching, romantic--I highly recommend it.

Linore has already finished the sequel, and it sounds just as great!

Leave a comment for a chance to win!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

December 2008 New Releases

Hard to believe we'll soon be writing 2009 instead of 2008. Here are the final New Releases for 2008, courtesy of Jill Eileen Smith.

There is nothing like the holiday season to cause a mixture of joy and stress and the need for that take-me-away feeling only found in a good story. This month we've got six new releases to choose from designed to do just that!

Also, don't forget to check out my new Spotlight on author Siri Mitchell.

1. A Promise for Spring by Kim Vogel Sawyer from Bethany House. Can their promise of love survive more than just years of separation?

2. Before the Season Ends by Linore Rose Burkard from Havest House Publishers. A heroine who embodies "Principles" meets the man who is all "Pride." What happens when they clash in Regency London makes adventurous innocence well worth reading!

3. Deceptive Promises, Delaware Brides, book 3 by Amber Miller from Barbour/Heartsong Presents. Living during the American Revolution, Margret Scott gets involved with a spy and a life of deception that could endanger herself, her family, and the man she loves.

4. Flashover by Dana Mentink from Steeple Hill. Ivy Beria's life explodes when arson robs her of her job and the man who set it hunts her down.

5. Missouri Brides by Mildred Colvin from Barbour Publishing. Three women tied together by family find true love on the Missouri prairie of the 1800s.

6. The Owling, Shadowside Series - Book 2 by Robert Elmer from Zondervan. Life gets even more confusing for fifteen-year-old Oriannon when her former music mentor, Jesmet, miraculously returns from the dead and promises his students a special power called Numa.

Happy reading ~

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Yikes! Wrong blogspot

I gave out the wrong blog address for my interview! It's already up if you want to check it out. Here's the correct address:

Saturday, November 29, 2008

My first interview

I'm actually being interviewed on a blog Monday, December 1st. Check it out at Keli Gwyn's blog, Romance Writers on the Journey.

Keli is my new critique partner, and she's just about the sweetest person you can imagine. So when she asked if she could interview me on her blog (which gets a lot of hits, by the way) I was pretty thrilled. But then I felt a little silly, since I'm not published yet. But anyway, if you want to learn more about me, and get my writing advice (for what it's worth) it's going to be all right there in cyberspace for anyone and everyone to see.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Making of a Gentleman by Ruth Axtell Morren

I so love this author! In the three books I’ve read, she always delivers such a satisfying romance story! Her endings are perfect. And this book is no exception.

Florence Hathaway is a twenty-eight-year-old spinster in Regency England. She spends her time helping the poor prisoners at Newgate Prison and telling them about the One who can save their souls. On the morning the hangman is set to end one prisoner’s life, Florence is suddenly taken hostage during a daring escape. Her own life is at the mercy of a convict with everything to lose if he is caught.

Jonah Quinn has little to live for and no one to turn to for help. If caught by the authorities, he will hang. So when the spinster offers to teach him to become a respectable gentleman, with fine clothes and proper manners, he has no other choice. But can a country bloke like him ever pass for a true gentleman?

These are not your ordinary hero and heroine. At first I wondered how the author would ever pull it off! The hero wasn’t terribly heroic, and the heroine was not exactly alluring. But I found myself completely invested in these characters. I could hardly tear myself away from reading about them and wondering how things were going to turn out. I thoroughly enjoyed it as Morren once again pulled off an astounding transformation, and realistically, too. I highly recommend this book!

Monday, November 03, 2008

November '08 Releases

Here's the latest report from Jill Eileen Smith.

Christmas shopping possibilities or just a great escape from the stresses of life - we've got eight new releases this month to help you do just that. Check them out.

Also, don't forget to check out my new Spotlight on debut author Michelle Sutton.

1. Dark Pursuit by Brandilyn Collins from Zondervan. An elderly, muddle-minded suspense author must create the plot of his life to save his granddaughter from the killer who has trapped her.

2. Home Another Way by Christa Parrish from Bethany House. The only way for Sarah Graham to find her future is to make peace with her past.

3. Misfortune Cookies, An Until The Fat Ladies Sing Mystery Book One by Linda P. Kozar from Heartsong Presents Mysteries. Bodaciously big beautiful friends Lovita and Sue Jan crack open a fortune cookie to a sinister message, spies, Szechwan and sizzlingly handsome strangers.

4. Of Mice...and Murder, The Maxie Mouse Mysteries Book One by Mary Connealy from Heartsong Presents Mysteries. Carrie hates mice and loves the big city. So why is she living in a huge mouse infested house in her dinky hometown-with a dead guy in her pantry?

5. My Son's Wife by Shelia E. Lipsey from Kensington/Urban Christian. Look at others like God looks at you, with the heart. First Lady Audrey has a hard time doing this, especially in her own family.

6. Redeeming Gabriel by Elizabeth White from Steepe Hill/Love Inspired Historical. Divided by war, united by love: Union spy Gabriel Laniere is in Mobile, Alabama, on a mission, but he discovers the lovely Camilla Beaumont has a secret of her own.

7. The Bossy Bridegroom, South Dakota Weddings series Book Three by Mary Connealy from Heartsong Presents. He was raised a tyrant. She was born to be a doormat. The perfect marriage, until as new Christians, they try fixing the mess they’ve made of their lives.

8. The Clueless Cowboy, South Dakota Weddings series Book Two by Mary Connealy from Heartsong Presents. A lady rancher finds a burned out city boy next door. She needs to keep him alive, and protect her heart, until he gets rested and abandons her.

Happy reading ~

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Must Reads and Books Coming Soon

Since I write--and love to read--European historicals, here is a list of great European historicals from authors I know. Enjoy!
Must Reads

In the Shadow of the Son King by Golden Keyes Parson

The Falcon and the Sparrow by Marylu Tyndall

A Passion Redeemed by Julie Lessman

One Holy Night by J.M. Hochstetler

Then Came Hope by Louise Gouge

A Constant Heart by Siri Mitchell

Family Guardian by Laurie Alice Eakes

Books to Anticipate – future releases

Gallimore by Michelle Griep
(December 2008)

Before the Season Ends (December 2008)

The House In Grosvenors Square (August 2009)
by Linore Rose Burkard

Wind of the Spirit by J.M. Hochstetler / (March 2009)

The Red Siren (Jan. 2009)
The Blue Enchantress (August 2009)
by Marylu Tyndall

Surrender the Wind by Rita Gerlach/ (Fall 2009)

A Prisoner of Versailles by Golden Keys Parsons / (Fall 2009)

Seasons In The Mist by Deb Kinnard (April 2010)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Bride by Christmas Winner!

This fun novella collection, A Bride by Christmas, goes to . . .

Mommy4life! Congrats! Send me your mailing address ASAP! Thanks!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Bride by Christmas - Giveaway

I'm giving away a copy of this 4-novella volume of Christmas romance stories. Please leave a comment for a chance to win.

Do you like Christmas stories? You'll love these four novellas by Linda Goodnight, Kelly Eileen Hake, Vickie McDonough, and my sometime critique partner, Therese Stenzel. (Yay, Therese!) Here are the story titles: An Irish Bride for Christmas, Little Dutch Bride, An English Bride Goes West, and The Cossack Bride. As you can see, you'll get to find out a little bit about other cultures as they clash with the American Great Plains, just in time for Christmas.

Here are the short summaries of each story.

Anastasia Fedorov leaves home and searches for a husband thwart her guardian's devious plans for her inheritance. Jace Brackett hires Anastasia to nanny his troublesome little sister. Could the employer be the answer to the employee's prayers?

Jerome Sanders orders up a Dutch bride to earn a grant that will save the family farm. Idelia van der Zee is delighted when a letter arrives asking for her hand. But will she balk when Jerome's true motive is revealed?

Jackson Lancaster must find a wife or lose custody of his niece. Larkin Doyle is grateful her employer took in an orphan she believes was abandoned. When Larkin meets Jackson could romance blossom?

Katherine Wiltshire needs a husband to help her secure her claim to her deceased father's land. Haunted by a criminal past, Charlie Landing must prove himself as the new sheriff and acquire a wife. When the two find themselves engaged, can they trust God with their future?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Shape of Mercy - Winner!

Wow, this book was really good. I finally eked out enough time this weekend to finish it. I hope you can get your hands on a copy, especially if you have a hard time with forgiving yourself. Scroll down to my last post to read more details about this intriguing book, about a girl who transcribes the diary of someone accused of being a witch in the Salem witch trials.

And the winner of my extra copy is . . . Lori! Congrats!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner

I'm giving away a copy of this book, so leave a comment if you want to be in the drawing.

This isn't the type of book I normally read, but the premise intrigued me. It's a contemporary story about a college student who transcribes the diary of an 18-yr-old girl named Mercy Hayworth. Mercy lived near Salem in the 1600's and was convicted of being a witch during the Salem witch trials and hung. The contemporary heroine, Lauren Dorough, is the only child of mega-rich parents, and she is so caught up in Mercy's story that it begins to affect every aspect of her life.

Like I said, this isn't the type of book I normally read. But I'm always deploring the same old, same old in Christian fiction, so the very "different-ness" of this book drew me in. If you're looking for something different, this might be the book for you. The author, Susan Meissner, is highly acclaimed, which also made me want to read this book. I haven't finished it and am only about halfway through it, but I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

Leave a comment if you'd like to be included in my drawing for this book.

Winner of In the Shadow of the Sun King

Our winner of Golden Keyes Parsons debut novel, In the Shadow of the Sun King, is Janna! Congrats!

And I'll be announcing another giveaway within 24 hours, so come back!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

WIN In the Shadow of the Sun King by Golden Keyes Parsons

Leave a comment to win this fabulous Christian historical.

The Clavell family finds themselves at the mercy of King Louis XIV’s merciless dragoons, soldiers who terrorize the Protestant Huguenots and try to force them to convert to Catholicism, the state religion. Madeleine Clavell, who knew King Louis when they were both very young, believes she can persuade him to call off the dragoons. Her husband, Francois, and her mother, Elizabeth, both try to dissuade her from traveling to Versailles, but Madeleine is desperate. Surely the king cannot be heartless. Surely he must remember what they once meant to each other and he will show mercy to her and her family. It is a gamble which could cost her everything.

I had no idea that such persecution went on in France in the 1600’s. I found it very intriguing to “experience” through this story what it was like to be persecuted simply for believing a different doctrine. A dramatic story of love, betrayal, and persecution!

This is a powerful, fast-paced story that kept me guessing what might happen until the very end. I thoroughly enjoyed this family’s story. I can hardly wait to read the next book in the series, to find out how things turn out for each of the family members. I highly recommend In the Shadow of the Sun King.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Nick Harrison, Senior Editor at Harvest House

Nick Harrison of Harvest House publishers graciously agreed to answer a few questions for me about Linore Rose Burkhard's book, Before the Season Ends. (Scroll down to see Linore's interview.) I believe his answers will be of interest to all historical writers. So here's Nick Harrison.

1. How did Linore Rose Burkard's book, Before the Season Ends, first come to your attention? What made you decide to acquire it for Harvest House?

To be honest, I’m not really sure I remember. I may have been googling “Christian Regency novels” or something like that. I review so many manuscripts and proposals, it’s really hard to remember how they originally came to us. I’m pretty sure I found Linore on the internet though.

2. Have you acquired other self-published books? If so, how did you those books come to your attention?

Yes, we’ve done several. We acquired Melanie Jeschke’s Inklings and went on to publish two more books by her. Another self-published novel was The Gate Seldom Found by Raymond Reid. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. And particularly when a self-published novelist shows us their novel has sold well with just their modest efforts at promotion, that rouses our interest.

3. Do you foresee Regency romance becoming a new trend in Chrisitan fiction?

I hope so. We’re giving it our best shot with Linore’s book….and a sequel she’s working on right now.

4. Is Harvest House looking to publish more of these books in the future?

The verdict on Regency novels won’t be in until we see how Linore’s books do. But right now we do see a strong trend toward historical romance novels which we think will be with us for awhile. Certainly the success of the Amish novels confirms that. We have recently taken on two previously self-published novels in that genre, in fact. They sold well for the author and we think we can expand on his previous success by getting the books even more exposure.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Self-Published Success Story

A few weeks ago I posted a review of Linore Rose Burkard's Christian regency romance, Before the Season Ends. She self-published her novel, then Harvest House offered her a contract. The book, will be re-released in December.

Go Here to see the new Harvest House cover.

Below is the interesting interview with Linore. In a few more days I will post the interview with her editor, Nick Harrison of Harvest House, which I believe will be of great interest to all historical writers.

Now, here is Linore Rose Burkard.

1. Your book, Before the Season Ends, was self-published three years ago and managed to grab the attention of someone at Harvest House, a Christian publisher who bought the rights and is releasing it in December. How did that come about?

Once I self-published, Melanie, I took courses on promoting and marketing, and I just went out there and started establishing a web presence as best I could. I joined forums, chat groups, any group I could find that had some link to my book ( an Inspirational Regency Romance), started a web site, newsletter, and wrote articles to spread over the web via article banks. At the same time, I began networking and making friends. No one succeeds entirely on their own, but there are things every author must do on their own to get that web presence going, and I did what I could.

2. What inspired you to create these memorable characters and the fun, fast-paced plot of Before the Season Ends?

I was influenced primarily by Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen. I wanted desperately to read a book that had the fun and some of the wit of those authors while also offering a refreshing, Christian worldview. After waiting years for that book to appear on the shelves, one day it me hit that if I was ever going to read the book, I'd have to write it, myself! So I wrote the kind of book I was looking for, and apparently lots of other people were happy to find it existed, once I did. (By God's grace!) It's fun, adventurous, historical, and combines innocence and smarts in the heroine in just the right amounts.

3. Your book has a style that I would characterize as unconventional. Can you explain your reasons for writing as you do?

I think you're nicely trying to say that I head-hop a lot! And yes, I do. I see my scenes like a movie playing in front of me, and when you see all your characters at once this way, you want to share how each of them are feeling in the scene, just like in a movie. I like the "dimensional" feeling this gives to a scene, and the reality that no one lives in a vacuum. Lots of time, the only humor in a scene lies in getting the reaction to something by other people, not the main character, and I'm always looking for that humorous side to things.

4. I hear you're working on a sequel. Who and what is it about and when will it be available?

Well, I can't give too much of a spoiler, since Before the Season Ends is about to reach a much wider audience when the Harvest House edition comes out. But I can say that the characters people come to love in the first book are in the sequel, and that the story is full of action. I think my books sort of "snowball"--that is, they may start out seeming calm, but once things get rolling, they increase in speed until the end, when it all comes to a head. I like to think this makes them more and more fun as they go along, and other people seem to confirm this in their responses and reviews. The House in Grosvenor Square is especially that way. It's another London Regency adventure/romance and lots of fun.

5. How did you learn the craft of writing, and what advice can you give aspiring authors?

The best way to learn to write is to do it. Don't stop working on a piece until it says exactly what you want it to. And take lots of time before you judge a piece. Put it down and out of your sight for as long as you can. If you're not published yet, and you can't tell if your book is any good, put it away. Don't even think about it! (Except perhaps for getting other opinions.) When you pick it up again, and you're really removed from the story, you'll know soon enough, when reading it fresh, if it grabs you or not. If you enjoy it, chances are others will too. I know I have a winner when I'm reading something I started quite awhile ago, and then it stops--and I'm like, "Hey! I want to read the rest of this!" I actually get annoyed at myself for not finishing things when I'm reading and really enjoying the story--and then it ends abruptly. If you don't get that sort of reaction, keep editing or writing new things until you do.

6. Your bio says you homeschooled your five children and your ninety-year-old grandmother lives with you. What is your day like? How do you find time to write?

One of the blessings of having grown up in a large family is that I can go in and out of concentration with little effort. I can work with things going on around me. There are times when I really need an extended period of quiet, but usually I can hop right back into whatever scene or article I'm working on, after an interruption. And that's what my day is like, in a nutshell: It's full of INTERRUPTIONS. I happen to believe these interruptions are the things that make up my real life; they are as much my calling as writing. I make out schedules, I think ahead for ways to keep the kids happy while I'm especially busy, but mostly it's a matter of recognizing that small periods of time are valuable. I may write for an hour, stop to make breakfast for my youngest, write for half an hour, then read her a book. Meanwhile, I've got to keep track that the kids are doing what they're supposed to be, but right now I've got it pretty easy. I've got one away at College, one commuting from home to College, and one in Christian school. So that leaves only two that are homeschooling, and one is a kindergartner. (I love teaching a child to read. It's a joy.) So it's sort of a back and forth process, between me and the children and me and my work. I also write in waiting rooms, in cars if I have to wait for someone, while traveling, etc. Small periods of time are wonderful because your brain will cooperate and give you much more than you can get down in ten minutes, say, but you might not have got it if you hadn't "given" that ten minute interval to writing.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

In the Shadow of the Sun King by Golden Keyes Parsons

I just have to say something about this new book from new author, Golden Keyes Parsons, even though I haven't had a chance to read it--yet. (When I do, I'll post a review here.) I've heard raves about this book. I just met Golden for the first time in person this past week, and I have to say that I really hope this book does well! And not only because I like her, but also because I love European settings, and I've heard a few Christian publishers say that they don't want any historicals set in Europe. Their reason? They don't sell well. So please help me prove them wrong! Tear yourself away from the American prairie! If you like the look of the cover and the sound of this back cover blurb, then go out and buy it! Buy it because it sounds like a great story.

Seventeenth-century France is a dangerous time and place for a Huguenot. By order of King Louis XIV, all French Protestants must immediately convert or face imprisonment--or death. The king's dragoons ferret out the nonconformists, pillaging villages and destroying homesteads.

When the king's soldiers descend on the Clavell estate, the family's fate hangs in the balance. Quickly, quietly, they send their two sons into hiding, trusting that the young age of their daughter will guarantee her protection. But the dragoons will not be dissuaded; they hold the manor hostage looking for clues of their guilt or innocence. However, Madeleine Clavell, the lady of the manor, holds a secret--one possible chance to save the family. She and the king share a past.

Once a beautiful young lady in the French court whom Louis loved, Madeleine travels to Versailles to plead for mercy from the fickle king, hoping to regain his favor and save her family. It's a gamble, but she is left with no other choice. Madeleine soon faces an agonizing decision--one that changes her family forever.

Monday, September 22, 2008

ACFW Conference Report

Hey, all! I had a fabulous time at the ACFW Conference this past weekend! I got to see my mentor, Mary. Met the ladies from the Seekerville blog that I've been talking to all year--my unofficial mentors. That was great fun. Met my fabulous agent face to face and had a great meeting with her. Had a blast with my roommate, went to the Mall of America and the humongous Christian author booksigning there, and ate some awesome desserts that are totally not on my diet!

But what I really wanted to tell you is that I have a ton of books to tell you about. Lots of books to review, lots of new books to read, so stayed tuned.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Road of Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam

Before I hie me to the conference tomorrow morning, I want to share a little about this book, The Road of Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam.

You may remember a few weeks ago when I posted a review of Susan May Warren's book, Wiser than Serpents, I mentioned the International Justice Mission, which Susan described as "a team of real-life Jack Bauers rescuing victims caught in the web of slavery." Since I can hardly imagine anything worse than what these women are subjected to as victims of sexual slavery, I agreed to blog about this book.

To be honest, I haven't read the book. I haven't had a chance yet, since I just received it. But I strongly believe that we as Christians should be all about rescuing these girls from their hell on earth. What nobler cause could there be than helping these innocent children--for sometimes they are as young as 5 or 6--escape a life of pain and suffering? What would Christ do for these children, many of whom are orphans? He certainly wouldn't ignore them.

Here's a brief summary of the book.

At twelve years old, Somaly Mam was an orphan who was sold into prostitution and spent years in the brothels of Cambodia where she witnessed and experienced the full-blown horrors of the human sex trade – rape, torture, and nearly unfathomable abuse. After her eventual escape, she could not forget the young girls (some as young as 5) left behind in the brothels, and so she returned to serve them. Her new book, "The Road of Lost Innocence," is her newest means of advocacy. It tells her personal story, ultimately inviting people of conscious, such as our Christian community, to become involved (or to continue involvement) in this war against an epic evil, a modern battle for "the least of these." Truly, not only is this book worth reading, it's worth sharing.

Here's an excerpt from page 166: "We find women chained to sewers. Girls come to us beaten half to death. They are so young. Increasingly we see that the meebons have addicted them to drugs so they won't ever try to escape. When I was young we were terrorized with snakes and heavy fists, but these girls suffer a more brutal sort of torture. They have marks that are worse than anything I have ever endured."

I encourage you, if you are touched by the plight of these girls, to go to the IJM website and find out what you can do to help.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Winner! and going to Conference! Yay!

The winner of A Passion Redeemed is Krista Phillips! Congrats, Krista! Everybody else, you should get a copy of this book. It's fabulous.

I will post one more time this week, then I'm going to the ACFW Conference! Yay! If you're a Christian fiction writer, start saving up now for next year. This is a great conference. It's so much fun to get together with other Christian writers. If you haven't been you need to go! Anyway, I'll be gone Thursday through Sunday, then I'll post about my experience.

Say a prayer for me, for safe travel and for me and my luggage to get there on time and at the same time!

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Passion Redeemed by Julie Lessman

I have an extra copy of this book, so leave a comment for a chance to win!

If you like your Christian romance with a bit more realism and sensuality, seasoned with grace and a deft hand, you will absolutely love this book! Julie Lessman’s talents as a fiction writer are a force to be reckoned with! I can’t say enough in praise of this book. The characters are so real, so full of personality, so well-rounded, I could literally hear them speaking. And everything just seems to come together realistically, but at the same time, perfectly. Reading this book was like sinking into a comfortable sofa with a piece of gooey chocolate cake—there was nothing more I could want.

The first book in Julie Lessman’s Daughters of Boston series, A Passion Most Pure, ended with Charity O’Connor as the bad girl everyone has unfortunately encountered before. She’s manipulative, deceitful, and determined to get what she wants. But in this book we find out just why she is the way she is. We get inside her head and see that she loves with her whole heart, just as deeply as her sister, Faith. She’s capable of kindness and disappointment and desperation. And I couldn’t help but cheer for her, especially when she began to realize that she needed to change.

This is an epic love story, and a God story. I enjoyed it greatly. Two thumbs way up! I highly recommend it!
Don't forget to leave a comment to be included in the drawing for this great historical romance!

Winner of Falcon and the Sparrow

The winner is . . . Donna M! Congratulations! Send me your mailing address and I'll get it out to you!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Falcon and the Sparrow by M. L. Tyndall

I'm giving away my extra copy of this delightful romance, so please leave a comment to be included in the drawing.

Another great Regency romance! I’m really enjoying this new-to-Christian-publishing genre! I like to think Jane Austen would smile in pleased amusement at the way Regencies are suddenly popping up in Christian fiction. And now for my review.

Dominique Dawson seems like a timid sparrow when she turns up on Admiral Chase Randal’s doorstep as his son’s new governess. Still mourning the death of his beloved wife, Chase has no use for timid women. He wants only to retreat to his life at sea, where he’s most at home and where memories of his wife don’t haunt him quite so much. Appearances are deceptive, for her courage displays itself in ways that surprise him—and his worldly friends. And she brings joy and light to himself, his servants, and most of all, his young son, who quickly comes to adore her.

Dominique indeed feels like a timid sparrow, frightened of her own shadow, when she contemplates what she has come to London to do—to spy on the unsuspecting Admiral and steal any war secrets he might have on the premises. Reluctantly she has agreed to commit treason against England in order to save her beloved brother, Marcel, who is imprisoned by the French. But the more she comes to love her young charge, William, and more alarmingly, his father the Admiral, the more anguished she is at the pain her betrayal will cause them both.

This is an exciting, page-turning romance. The author, Marylu Tyndall, is incredibly skilled at making you feel caught up in the same tangle of deceit that Dominique is facing. I enjoyed the internal struggles and morality questions, as well as the pure romance. A worthy story. Two thumbs up!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

New Releases, September 08

A big thank you to Jill Eileen Smith for compiling this list of new releases.

Also, don't forget to check out Jill's new Spotlight on award-winning, best-selling author Wanda Brunstetter!, who also happens to have a new release this month.

1. A Bride by Christmas by Linda Goodnight, Kelly Eileen Hake, Vickie McDonough, Therese Stenzel from Barbour. In an era when a single woman had little hope of support and security outside marriage, four young women find themselves talked into weddings on the eve of Christmas celebrations.

2. A Connecticut Christmas by Janet Lee Barton, Rhonda Gibson, Gail Sattler, Diane Ashley from Barbour. Snowbound Village, Connecticut, is full of holiday charm, especially at the mall’s Christmas Collectibles Shop where romance is in the air.

3. A New Joy, Book 2, New Hampshire Brides by Susan Page Davis from Heartsong Presents. Returned from captivity in Canada, Jane is sure she doesn't want a husband--until trapper Charles Gardner comes courting.

4. A Passion Redeemed, Daughters of Boston Series, Book 2 by Julie Lessman from Revell. A Passion Redeemed is the sequel to a sweeping saga of a close-knit Irish family in 1919 Boston, continuing the struggle between two sisters who love the same men.

5. A Time To Heal by Linda Goodnight from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. A burned out physician returns to her home town to rethink her future and encounters the high school sweetheart with whom she shares a painful secret.

6. Alaska Brides: Golden Dawn/Golden Days/Golden Twilight by Cathy Marie Hake, Kathleen Y'Barbo, Mary Connealy from Barbour. Trek into the wilds alongside three women who have strong faith, determination, and no need for a husband.

7. An Unexpected Love Book 2 in the Broadmoor Legacy series by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller from Bethany House Publishers. Sophie Broadmoor sets out to find love on her own terms only to realize that life often deals you unexpected obstacles.

8. At His Command Homecoming Heroes Series Book 3 by Brenda Coulter from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. A disabled combat helicopter pilot comes to terms with his new life as he falls for a troubled but outwardly cheerful Army nurse who has adored him for years.

9. Back to Life Second in the Series of 2, "The Trophy Wives Club" by Kristin Billerbeck from Avon Inspire. What happens when you become a 35-year old widow? And your husband's first wife comes into your life to join you in mourning? Lindsay Brindle is about to find how to get "Back to Life".

10. Courting Miss Adelaide by Janet Dean from Steeple Hill. Charles Graves believed his heart was closed forever, but he swore to stand by Adelaide Crum, the lonely woman who was fighting for the right to love a motherless child.

11. Family of the Heart by Dorothy Clark from Love Inspired Historical. Sarah Randolph knew her heart was safe from romantic entanglement with her new employer Clayton Bainbridge. Who could abide a man who would not even look at his toddler daughter?

12. I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires, Stand alone sequel to William Henry is a Fine Name by Cathy Gohlke from Moody Publishers. As Civil War rends his family and the nation, seventeen-year-old Robert vows to rescue his estranged mother and the girl he loves from behind enemy lines.

13. It's Not About Me by Michelle Sutton from Sheaf House. When tragedy strikes in a young woman's life, two brothers fight to win her heart, but will she let the Lord heal her soul?

14. John 3:16 by Nancy Moser from Tyndale House. Roman Paulson hates God, and yet . . . circumstances spur him to hold up a "John 3:16" sign at a football game--and lives are changed, including his own.

15. Lonestar Sanctuary Lonestar Series Book 1 by Colleen Coble from Thomas Nelson. A young woman and her daughter flee danger to a ranch for abused horses.

16. Loving Cee Cee Johnson by Linda Leigh Hargrove from Moody Publishers/Lift Every Voice. In this sequel to The Making of Isaac Hunt, reporter Cee Cee Johnson discovers the true meaning of love and forgiveness.

17. Lying on Sunday by Sharon K. Souza from NavPress. When your husband dies in another woman’s bed, you can get down, get mad or get on. Abbie Torrington does all three, then discovers her real life is about to begin.

18. Rhapsody in Red by Donn Taylor from Moody Publishers. A history professor with musical hallucinations and a female Wiccan professor of comparative religions have to solve a campus murder before vengeful homicide police can pin it on them.

19. Single Sashimi, The Sushi series by Camy Tang from Zondervan. Venus helps her old nemesis in order to launch her video game company, but one wild youth group, a two-faced assistant, and her grandma's matchmaking might drive her insane!

20. Unpretty by Sharon Carter Rogers from Howard Books/Simon and Schuster. The city of Lehigh, West Virginia, faces the insidious threat of a sadistic cult bent on eliminating all "unpretty" things in the world...

21. Up Pops the Devil by Angela Benson from Avon A. Tempted to sin…but will he give in?

22. Where the Heart Leads by Kim Vogel Sawyer from Bethany House Publishers. Thomas Ollenburger has a hard-earned college diploma in hand...but what is he supposed to do with it?

23. White Christmas Pie by Wanda E. Brunstetter from Barbour Publishing. Herein lies all the ingredients for a heartwarming, bittersweet Amish Christmas romance.

24. Wyoming Christmas Heroes by Jeanie Smith Cash, Linda Lyle, Jeri Odell, and Tammy Shuttlesworth from Barbour. Annie has moved to a new state is about to give birth alone. Chris's snowmobiling trip puts her life in danger. Holly's daughter has become strangely accident prone. A fire threatens Stacy and her young son. Who will come to these women's rescue?

Happy reading ~

Winner of Wild Goose Chase

The Winner of Wild Goose Chase is . . .

Janna! Congratulations!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wild Goose Chase

I'm giving away a copy of Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson, author of In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, so leave a comment to be included in the drawing.

Ever yearn to hear more from the Holy Spirit? Ever feel like you may be "missing it," missing God's direction and God's will for your life? Well, Mark Batterson encourages you to leave your life of self-absorption and irresponsible responsibility and live a life of "chasing the Wild Goose."

On page 11, the author says "Jesus' disciples didn't just live an exciting life post-Pentecost; they turned the world upside down. And that's what you can be a part of, too. Wild Goose Chase is an invitation to be part of something that is bigger than you and more important than you."

On page 16 he says, "I'm not convinced that your date of death is the date carved on your tombstone. Most people die long before that. We start dying when we have nothing worth living for. And we don't really start living until we find something worth dying for."

If you're looking for your own "spiritual adventure," then start with this book. It's a challenge to break out of your life's routine and start living in the spirit--a life of action and adventure.

Leave a comment if you want to win my extra copy! I'll pick a winner next Tuesday.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Before the Season Ends

I was intrigued when I heard about this book by Linore Rose Burkard. She self-published this Christian Regency Romance and somehow it caught the attention of an editor at Harvest House, and now they are releasing it in December. I've never heard of this happening--a self-published Christian fiction book "making it" to be published by a big-name Christian publisher. To see the Harvest House cover and description, click here.
To see the self-published cover, which is quite beautiful and captures the spirit of the heroine, click here.

In September I will interview the author here on my blog and will ask her how that happened. Now here is my review of this excellent story.

Do you like a funny, exciting plot and quirky, memorable characters reminiscent of Jane Austen? If so, you’ll love this story, Before the Season Ends, by Linore Rose Burkard.

Miss Ariana Forsythe, a nineteen-year-old beauty, is being packed off to her wealthy aunt’s home in London to escape an unsuitable match in her little hamlet of Chesterton. Ariana, excited about this new adventure, is also wary of the lack of morality she’s afraid of meeting with in fashionable London. She must guard herself against all the blackguards and rakes, especially the infamous Mr. Phillip Mornay.

Ariana is a delightful heroine, artless and funny and worthy of her sparring partner, Mr. Mornay. The two of them are so good together, I couldn’t help being reminded of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett. The story zips along and never fails to entertain and delight. The author, moreover, has obviously done her research, and the whole thing is full of authentic speech and clothing and descriptions, enough to make you feel you are right there in Regency England.

I thoroughly enjoyed this Regency romance from beginning to end. It’s exactly the kind of story I like to read but rarely ever find. Funny, touching, romantic--I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Winner of Children's Books

The winner in my random drawing for the three beautiful children's books is Debbie!

Congratulations, Debbie!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

God Gave Us Heaven

I'm giving away three beautiful, hardback children's books this week. So please leave a comment to be included in the drawing.

Here is another sweet picture book from Lisa T. Bergren entitled God Gave Us Heaven. When a young polar bear asks the questions that all little ones wonder about heaven, her parents give her the answers in language she can easily understand.

God Loves Me More than That and When God Created My Toes, both by Dandi Daley Mackall, are two more adorable children's books. In fun rhyming fashion, a little girl celebrates God's love for her, and His love for all of us.

If you have little ones, or little grandchildren, I highly recommend these beautiful picture books. Very relaxing reading for parent and child.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

New Releases, August 2008

Here are the August releases as compiled by Jill Eileen Smith. Thanks, Jill!

We've got 14 new Christian novels this month. Though technically summer lasts into September, August holds more hot, kick-back days to read to your heart's content! And we've got plenty of good choices to pick from!

Also, don't forget to check out my new Spotlight on best-selling author Rachel Hauck!, who also happens to have a new release this month.

1. A Lady of Secret Devotion, Ladies of Liberty series Book 3 (independent series where each book stands alone) by Tracie Peterson from Bethany House Publishers. Cassie Stover gets caught up in an intriguing mystery that may cost her her heart, if not her life.

2. An Irishwoman's Tale, First book of related books by Patti Lacy from Kregel Publications. A family crisis sends an impetuous Irishwoman and her chatty Southern friend back to the breathtaking cliffs of County Clare.

3. Bluegrass Hero by Allie Pleiter from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. Farm owner Gil Sorrent has his hands full when bathshop owner Emily Montague's soaps clean up his farmhands.

4. Criminal Obsession by Tamara Tilley from Evergreen Press. The most terrifying part was she knew it was just a game to the killer.

5. Double Jeopardy Book 2 of The McClains: Bound by faith, honor and love by Terri Reed from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. Anne Jones witnessed a murder. Now she’s in hiding. But someone knows where—and who—she is. Her new handsome boss has vowed to keep her safe. Yet she will have to disappear again lest she put both their lives in jeopardy...

6. Hidden Deception by Leann Harrison from Steeple Hill. Haunted by the past, Elena struggles to trust God for the future.

7. Hidden Treasures Book Two of the McBride Sisters' series by Kathryn Springer from Steeple Hill Love Inspired.
Searching for a valuable painting on the Halloway's estate is risky business for photographer Meghan McBride . .but when she comes face to face with Cade Halloway, who's there to sell the former family vacation home, she discovers the real risk is losing her heart.

8. Love Starts With Elle Lowcountry book 2 by Rachel Hauck from Thomas Nelson. Elle Garvey loses everything to gain it all. Heath McCord heals from his painful past in order to find true love a second time.

9. Miss Aggie's Gone Missing The Misadventures of Miss Aggie: Book One by Frances Devine from Barbour Publishing's Heartsong Presents Mysteries. In attempts to rescue Miss Aggie Pennington-Brown from her many misadventures, Victoria Storm and her elderly boarders find hair raising and sometimes hilarious adventures of their own.

10. Quills & Promises Delaware Brides, book 2 by Amber Miller from Barbour/Heartsong Presents. Separated from Madison when he leaves to fight the French and Indians, Elanna Hanssen must choose between her heart and her head, especially when Madison's integrity is questioned.

11. The Falcon and the Sparrow by M.L. Tyndall from Barbour Publishing. Against the European upheaval of the Napoleonic wars, a young timid lady is forced to betray her own country or watch her brother die.

12. The Flower of Grass by James E. Robinson from Monarch Books (Kregel in the U.S.). A classic love story framing deeper themes of mortality and passing time, the true nature of faith, and the delicate balance of human relationships.

13. The Fruit of My Lipstick All About Us series by Shelley Adina from FaithWords. Teenager Gillian Chang is prepared for anything boarding school can dish her--except love.

14. Unbridled Dreams by Stephanie Grace Whitson from Bethany House Publishers. Liberty Belle's dream to be a headliner for Buffalo Bill's Wild West has come true. . . so why isn't she happy?

Happy reading ~

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Gunfight at Grace Gulch

The premise behind Gunfight at Grace Gulch by Darlene Franklin is quite intriguing. A feud began in 1891 between the Graces and the Gaynors, which continues, at least in the hearts of some of the descendants, to this day. So when the newspaper editor is murdered during a reenactment of a famous gunfight, a mystery is born.

The heroine of the novel, Cici Wilde, is the owner of a vintage clothing store in Grace Gulch. She is being romanced by theater director Audie Howe, as well as one of the suspects in the murder, her long-time friend, Cord Grace. Lots of revelations and fun twists.

If you like cozy mysteries with a touch of light romance, you should enjoy this one from Heartsong Presents Mysteries and Darlene Franklin. To join the HP Mysteries book club, simply go here and you will receive four books every month. To order Gunfight at Grace Gulch, call the publisher at 1-740-922-7280.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Calico Canyon by Mary Connealy

This book is a rollicking good time, one hilarious, suspenseful page after another. Don’t miss this romantic comedy by the author of Petticoat Ranch.

Grace Calhoun is the prim and proper school teacher whose life is made a living torture by Daniel Reeves’ five boys—ten-year-old twins and five-year-old triplets whose mother died giving birth to the triplets. Daniel is right proud of his boys and doesn’t take to the new school teacher complaining about them and trying to nag him into making girls out of them. In fact, he ends up getting Grace fired. But it doesn’t matter, because the day Grace gets fired is the day her past catches up with her. Someone is after her and he’s ready for the ultimate revenge.

I felt for poor Grace, getting trapped in the Canyon with Daniel and his unruly boys all winter. But she ended up holding her own. It was Daniel who was in for a miserable time! This book was so good, I’m keeping it to read again later. So funny and realistic at the same time. I highly recommend it.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Wiser than Serpents by Susan May Warren

One of my favorite books of all time is In Sheep’s Clothing, the first book in Susan May Warren’s Mission: Russia series. The newest book in the series, Wiser than Serpents, is another great page-turning, suspenseful romance. And as an added bonus, a portion of the proceeds for this book will go to International Justice Mission, an organization of lawyers, criminal investigators, social workers and volunteers who rescue victims caught in the global slave trade that goes on right under our noses.

Now for my review.

Yanna Andrevka goes undercover to try to save her sister, who was kidnapped by ruthless slave traffickers. And who comes to rescue her? None other than David Curtiss, the American Delta Force captain she’s been secretly in love with since their college days together in Russia. But now they’re both in trouble, because the kingpin of this human slavery ring, known as the Serpent, knows who they are and has an uncanny way of finding where they are. And he wants them dead.

Yanna and David are on the run and fighting their long-standing attraction to each other. But David must resist the urge to show Yanna how he feels about her, because she’s not a Christian and isn’t even open to discussing it. And Yanna has been hurt so many times, she’s not sure if even David—if he cared about her—would be enough to heal her brokenness.

And if you’re a fan of Vicktor and Gracie like I am—I admit it, I was giddily excited when I saw that there was a story thread involving my two favorite characters from In Sheep’s Clothing!—then you will get a glimpse of their continuing saga, as they—hopefully—inch their way toward matrimony. Oh, how I wanted them to run off to Vegas! But I don't want to give anything away.

I highly recommend this deliciously satisfying book, the third in the Mission: Russia series. Can’t wait for the next one!

Susan will be giving away 3 SIGNED sets of the Mission: Russia (In Sheep’s Clothing, Sands of Time, and Wiser Than Serpents) series. To enter the contest…click on over to Susan’s blog tour post here and tell us which ministries/charities you support and why! Susan will randomly select three winners!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

New Releases, July 2008

Here are the new releases, compiled by Jill Eileen Smith.

We've got 11 new Christian novels this month - a great selection for those lazy days of summer! Also, don't forget to check out my new Spotlight on author Mary DeMuth!.

1. Beach Dreams, The Beach House Series Book 3 by Trish Perry from Harvest House. Tiffany gets away from it all at a California beach house; but a viper-like roommate, a handsome (unavailable) visitor, and uncovered secrets make her life no day at the beach.

2. Calico Canyon, Lassoed in Texas Book #2 by Mary Connealy from Barbour Trade Fiction. A prissy school marm is forced into marriage to the father of her most unruly students.

3. Fudge-Laced Felonies First book in the Summer Meadows series by Cynthia Hickey from Barbour Heartsong/Mysteries. Summer Meadows sets out to find the owner of a stash of diamonds and gain Ethan Banning's love.

4. Maine Brides by Susan Page Davis from Barbour. Can faith bridge the road to love and bring three men who have been cast off by society to new lives alongside women who love them?

5. Masked by Moonlight by Allie Pleiter from Steeple Hill Historicals. Nothing could tempt Matthew Waterhouse to reveal his secret identity, until the English gentleman met Georgia Waterhouse, whose pseudonymous newspaper accounts had made his daring "Black Bandit" exploits famous.

6. Mission: Motherhood, Homecoming Heroes continuity series Book One by Marta Perry from Love Inspired. When Caitlyn Villard becomes the guardian of her twin five-year-old nieces, she's forced to return to Prairie Springs, Texas and the military community she'd run from, finding the man and the life of her dreams where she least expects.

7. Seaside Cinderella by Anna Schmidt from Love Inspired Historical (Steeple Hill). Lucie McNeil's quiet life on Nantucket is a blessing for the tragedy-haunted Irish immigrant, but everything changes when her employers' handsome son steps ashore bringing her haunting past with him.

8. Table for One by Georgiana Daniels from The Wild Rose Press. In a town where the ratio of single Christian women to men is 7:1, blundering stockbroker Lucy Brocklehurst searches for love through a series of misadventures.

9. The Molech Prophecy by Thomas Phillips from Whitaker House. When Tommy finally surrendered his life to Christ, leaving the world of crime behind him, he never expected the pastor of his church to force him back into his old ways.

10. The Prince Charming List Book Three of the "Prichett" Series by Kathryn Springer from Steeple Hill Cafe. Heather Lowell comes to Prichett to manage the Cut and Curl for the summer and discovers that life in a small town holds some BIG surprises!

11. The Power of Love/The Courage to Dream Love Inspired Classic
(Two novels in one) by Margaret Daley from Love Inspired Steeple Hill. The Power of Love: Can Police Chief Gabriel Stone help Rebecca Michaels with her troubled son and special needs baby enough to guide her back to the Lord and find hope for the future? The Courage to Dream: Returning to her Southern roots is a bitter journey for Rachel Peters, but old flame Michael Hunter is determined to reunite her with the faith and love she left behind.

Happy reading ~

Monday, June 30, 2008

Allie Pleiter, Masked by Moonlight

Today I'm featuring author Allie Pleiter. Leave a comment for a chance to win her new book, a historical romance titled Masked by Moonlight.

Now let's hear from Allie:

I’m a big fan of favorite things lists—our Chicago Tribune does one every week, and we all know how successful Oprah’s “Favorite Things” show has become. So, I thought I’d whip up a list of my own, showcasing a few writing-related things as well as some other goodies you might enjoy. Precious few of these have anything to do with my current release Masked by Moonlight, but don’t let that stop you from running to your local bookseller or online source and buying it—maybe even before you check out some of these amazing favorites of mine:

Allie Pleiter’s Favorite Things

Favorite Sweet: Dark chocolate – Lindt Excellence 70% cocoa
Dark chocolate—and that means chocolate with a cocoa composition of 70% or higher—is now actually considered a health food. I eat 1 ounce (that’s three squares of a Lindt Excellence bar) every afternoon. Note: in order for the complex elements of the cocoa to do their job, experts say you should ingest no dairy products either a 1 ½ hours before or after your chocolate.

Favorite Editing Pen: Pilot Precise V5 Rolling Ball
These—especially the green and blue—are my favorite for making up manuscripts. Bright enough to stand out (especially because it’s not red so that the page looks doesn’t look “bloodied” from editing) but precise enough to be legible. They last a good long time and are reasonably priced and easy to find.

Favorite Reference Book: Rodale’s Synonym Finder
While lots of my reference material is on-line nowadays, nothing beats this enormous red book for getting to that perfect verb or adjective. There’s something about scanning a page full of words when you’re grasping for that phrase or book title that looms just out of reach. It’s one of the few books that stays on or near my desk at all times.

Favorite Christian Song: Untitled Hymn by Chris Rice
The first time I heard this song, I had to stop what I was doing. One of those simple yet deeply profound songs that doesn’t so much ring in your ears as it reverberates in your heart. To this day I can’t get through it without tearing up, and I’d demand it be played at my funeral (but not anytime soon, mind you.)

Favorite Kitchen Appliance: Keurig K-cup Coffee Brewer
If my family, dog, and laptop are safe when the house catches on fire, this’ll be the thing I grab. One perfect cup of coffee in something like seven seconds. And come on—190 varieties, including tea and hot chocolate for everyone else in your household who doesn’t need caffeine gushing through the veins within seconds of waking up…

Favorite Editing Trick: Random Page Order
It’s a catharsis and an editing step all in one! When you’ve edited your manuscript for content, whoop loudly and throw the entire thing in the air (catharsis part). This, by the way, can be fun for the whole family--especially those little people who are really tired of Mom paying attention to paper instead of them. Then pick up the pages in random order and edit each single page in that random order (editing step part). In other words, edit page 5 followed by page 112, followed by page 38, etc. This forces you to look at your writing instead of your story. It’s the single best piece of writing advice I’ve gotten in the past two years—now if I could just remember who gave it to me...

Favorite Bath Product: Midway Soapwerks’ Phenomenal Woman and Woodland Soaps
I discovered this amazing store while researching Midway Kentucky and soap for my August release, Bluegrass Hero. I have now become a soap snob. This stuff makes my skin sooo happy. I get to Kentucky about once a year now, and I buy an entire year’s worth of all their scents, but these two are my favorites. The “Woodland” scent became my model for the Lord Edmund’s Pirate Soap in the book.

Favorite Hotel Visited on a Research Trip and Research Tip: San Francisco’s Golden Gate Hotel Bed & Breakfast
I’m a big fan of staying at bed and breakfast hotels when researching books. As a woman traveling alone, I think they’re safer—someone really notices if you don’t show up for breakfast—and the owners are always terrific resources for locales or local culture. Especially when driving, they are often less expensive than a chain hotel with far healthier food choices (and no vending machines to indulge your late-night Cheeto cravings). As for the Golden Gate, how can you not love a hotel with its own cat and dog? Just the right combination of charming and updated—I spent a week there researching Masked by Moonlight and will go back this summer to do additional research for a sequel in the works.

Favorite New Feature on my Website: The Read-Aloud Feature
Stop what your doing and go right now to and click on the link next to the cover of Masked by Moonlight. You’ll get an audio file of my reading the first chapter of the book to you—how cool is that? Finally, my expensive theater degree put to good use…

Don't forget to check out Allie's new book, Masked by Moonlight.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Fatal Deduction by Gayle Roper

I'm giving away a copy, so leave a comment!
The first book I ever read by Gayle Roper was Caught in the Middle. I was excited to read such a well-written, page-turning romantic suspense and I knew I'd found an excellent Christian writer.

In Fatal Deduction, Gayle writes another great romantic suspense. The heroine, Libby, has to share a house with her twin sister, Tori. Not a happy prospect, since the two of them don't get along and never have. They only have to live together for six months in order to claim their rich aunt's inheritance, but a dead body turns up on the front doorstep her very first night there. What's worse, the murder seems to have something to do with Libby's twin. But Tori's not talking. Libby has to figure out what to do to protect herself, her sister, and her thirteen-yr-old daughter before the killer strikes even closer to home.

Throw in a love interest, a single dad who is her close neighbor, and you've got a winner. Love Gayle Roper. I highly recommend this and all her books, especially if romantic suspense is your thing. Let your comment and you might win a copy.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

And the extra copy of Skid goes to ...

Janet Dean! Congratulations!

Wish I could give a copy to everybody who signed up, but then I'd be broke and my hubby'd be mad. Come back in a day or few for a chance to win Gayle Roper's romantic suspense, Fatal Deduction.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Win a copy of Skid!

I know I've got too much going on when I forget I have an extra copy of a book to give away! I actually had an extra copy of Skid by Rene Gutteridge

to give away, and forgot all about it when I posted about the book a couple of days ago. So anyone who leaves a comment on either this blog post or the last one will be entered in my drawing. Don't forget to leave a way for me to contact you!

You can check out my summary on the previous post, or read this from
Blissfully unaware that Atlantica Flight 1945 from Atlanta to Amsterdam is about to make aviation history, First Officer Danny McSweeney focuses his energies on navigating the turbulent personalities of an eccentric female captain, a co-pilot with a talent for tactless comments and conspiracy theories, and a lead flight attendant with an outsized attitude that definitely exceeds the limits for carry-on baggage.

On the other side of the cockpit door, the unscheduled in-flight entertainment includes a potbellied pig, a jittery diamond courier, and the recently jilted Lucy Meredith, whose personal mantra of “What Would Oprah Do?” will be challenged by the sudden appearance of her ex and his new traveling partner. On her left sits Hank Hazard, whose unusually polite but constant requests–prompted by his covert role as a spy for the airline–test the limits of the crew’s customer service.

But as Lucy and the rest of the crew discover, Hank’s odd behavior is linked to a quiet faith that may play a key role in the fate of everyone on board. Especially when an unexpected traveler sets this already bumpy flight on a course toward the unfriendly skies.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Skid by Rene Gutteridge

I just started reading Skid by Rene Gutteridge. I've been a big fan of her books ever since I read Boo. I also loved My Life as a Doormat and her first book in her Occupational Hazards series, Scoop. Skid is the latest novel about the Hazard clan, a family of homeschooled kids, now grown up, and their hilarious misadventures.

Skid takes up the story of Hank Hazard, who is hired by an airline to spy out the airline's employees by testing the limits of their customer service. Add a very jittery first-time diamond courier, a potbellied pig, a legendary pilot, and a few eccentric passengers and you're in for a bumpy--but funny--ride. Check it out if you like comedy.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

New Releases, June 2008

In case you actually HAVE TIME to read books, here are some great new releases. Thanks to Jill Eileen Smith for compiling this list.

We've got 13 new Christian novels this month - a wide variety of choices.

1. Allison's Journey, Book 4 in the Brides of Webster County series by Wanda E. Brunstetter from Barbour Publishing. Allison Troyer feels as faceless as her tattered doll, but a trip to visit her aunt in Missouri could change Allison's life forever.

2. Final Justice, Book Six in the Reunion Revelations Continuity series by Marta Perry from Love Inspired Suspense. To protect an innocent child, teacher Jennifer Pappas must risk everything--her job, her love, and even her life.

3. Florida Weddings by Lynn Coleman, Kristy Dykes, Kathleen E. Kovach from Barbour Publishing, Inc. The past casts a shadow upon the lives of three Florida women.

4. Jewel Of The Adriatic by K.M. Daughters (Pat Casiello and Kathie Clare) from The Wild Rose Press. A village where millions believe the Mother of God appears becomes a haven where two souls find faith and love.

5. Killer Cargo by Dana Mentink from Love Inspired Suspense. Maria de Silva and Cy Sheridan face danger and death when they stumble upon a lethal package.

6. New Beginnings, Book 4 in the Rachel Yoder Always Trouble Somewhere series by Wanda E. Brunstetter from Barbour Publishing. Spring has sprung and ten year old Rachel Yoder is filled with the hope of good things to come, but things go sour when she learns that her best friend is moving.

7. Out of Control, Book 3 in the Rachel Yoder Always Trouble Somewhere series by Wanda E. Brunstetter from Barbour Publishing. Despite Rachel Yoder's need to take control of her troubling situations, she needs to learn that there are some things she just can't control.

8. Picture This by Nancy J. Farrier from Barbour Heartsong Presents. When Jason and Maddy are sent on a photography assignment in the Arizona desert, Jason's Christian ideals collide iwth Maddy's questionable past to threaten any future they might have together.

9. Prodigal in the City by Louis N Jones from Conquest Publishers. He abandoned his Christian faith. Now, his life and his God-given destiny hang in the balance.

10. Suspicious Minds Squeaky Clean Mysteries #2 by Christy Barritt from Kregel. A dead Elvis impersonator and a rival turned wooer are just a couple of crime-scene cleaner Gabby St. Claire's problems in this thrilling sequel to Hazardous Duty.

11. The Hunted by Mike Dellosso from Realms (Strang Book Group). A town's deadly secret will drive one man to the edge of his faith.

12. Tuesday Night at the Blue Moon by Debbie Fuller Thomas from Moody Publishers. A grieving mom discovers the child she lost was switched at birth, but can she risk loving an angry stranger?

13. Washington's Lady, Book 2 Nebraska Brides by Nancy Moser from Bethany House. It is said that without George Washington there would be no United States, but without Martha, there would be no George...

Also, don't forget to check out my new Spotlight on author and ACFW President Robin Caroll!.

Happy reading ~

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Reading Time

I felt bad for complaining that I had no time for reading. Especially when I had an hour and a half in between giving blood--oops, I mean getting my teeth cleaned--at the dentist's office the next morning. I put a small dent in Skid by Rene Gutteridge. Tomorrow I'm going to kids camp with my two daughters. I'm taking a book just in case I get a little time to myself. Gotta be optimistic.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sorry for the lack of reviews!

I've been so swamped lately I haven't had any time for reading! Three books are waiting for me to read them and blog about them right now. If anybody tells me I have one more thing I have to do, one more appointment I have to make, one more activity I have to chaperone, I'm going to scream! I used to love spring. Now it's just an excuse to for people to fill up my calendar with a trillion things I have to do!

Okay, now that I've vented those feelings, I'll let you know which books I'll be blogging about--just as soon as I get room to breathe again. Which will be in a couple of weeks--no, wait, there's a wedding I have to attend--out of town--way out of town.

Oh yeah. List of books. Here it is: Skid by Rene Gutteridge--she writes contemporary romantic comedies, hysterically funny. Fatal Deduction by Gayle Roper--she writes wonderful contemporary romantic suspense, and very well, too. And Gunfight at Grace Gulch by Darlene Franklin--a historical cozy mystery, which I can't wait to dive into.

So now you know what's in my To Be Read Right Away stack. Anything in your To Be Read pile?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

New Winner

Well, the name I picked to win Never Say Diet never said where to send her free book, so I had to draw another name, and it was ... Grateful Gramma! Wow, this blog is lucky for her!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Generation NeXt Marriage

Generation Next Marriage by Tricia Goyer is a book about marriage for those born between 1960 and 1980 - Generation X. While this isn't exactly a how-to book from an expert on how to make your marriage better, it is an interesting overview about our generation's attitudes, successes and failures when it comes to marriage. I'm finding it very easy reading, and it also opens my eyes to potential problems and practical ways to love my hubby more.

Check it out, if you're a Gen X'er. There are a lot of first hand accounts of real people in real marriage situations and how they deal with the stresses of life in today's world. I think you'll enjoy it, and it just might make a difference in your marriage.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Winner of Never Say Diet

After writing down all the names, cutting them into strips, folding them identically, and letting my six-year-old pick one, the winner is ...

Malvina! Please email me ASAP at melaniedickerson [at] knology [dot] net and give me your snail mail address.

But you should all go out and get this book. Don't wait! Be proactive! Your new life can start today!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Never Say Diet

I've been reading this book, and it's really fabulous. It's the riveting story of Chantel Hobbs, who was tired of failed diets and created her own plan, resulting in a 200-pound weight loss and an appearance on Oprah.

Chantel shows how you can make the "brain change" that will enable you to lose weight and keep it off, taking back your life in the process. Her story is inspiring, and her advice is real and doable.

I'm giving away a copy of this great book, so leave a comment if you want to be entered in the drawing.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Win a House!

That's right! A friend of mine is giving away her house in Selma, Alabama. All you have to do is win her essay contest on "Small Town, U.S.A." You can write an essay, can't you? Well, the entry fee is $50, but if you win, that's going to be the best $50 you ever spent, I'd say.

Anyway, here's the website This is legitimate, folks. So don't hesitate to enter.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Winner of Do Hard Things

And the winner of my drawing for a copy of Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris is...

Grateful Gramma! Congratulations.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Do Hard Things--Teens Fighting Low Expectations

Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris is a must-read for all teens and their parents. The first paragraph reads,
Most people don't expect you to understand what we're going to tell you in this book. And even if you understand, they don't expect you to care. And even if you care, they don't expect you to do anything about it. And even if you do something about it, they don't expect it to last.
Well, we do.

These two boys have walked the walk. They moved across country when they were only sixteen to intern at the Alabama Supreme Court. At seventeen, they directed the grass-roots campaign for Alabama state politicians. They "recruited teenagers at almost every level of the capaign and encouraged them to take on high-level responsibility.... By the time the campaign was over, teens had not only worked tousands of hours on the campaign, but had also put together the largest grass-roots operation in any Alabama race that season."

What did you do last summer?

These nineteen-year-old homeschooled twins want to challenge their entire generation to do "hard things." Society doesn't expect much from teens, but that doesn't mean teens aren't capable. Alex and Brett want to challenge you to change the world. "It's about something God is doing in the hearts and minds of our generation.... It's about rebelling against low expectations."

Join the Rebelution!

I'm giving away a copy, so leave a comment to be entered in the drawing.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Hearts in the Highlands by Ruth Axtell Morren

I recently read this delightful historical romance, set mostly in London, England. The ending is SOOOOO ROMANTIC! I highly recommend it.

Maddie Norton works for the demanding hypochondriac, Lady Haversham, as her paid companion. Maddie's parents were once missionaries in the Middle East, and Maddie longs for that kind of adventurous life again. Instead, she faithfully sends her wages to her missionary brother, believing God has destined her for this life of service, since she's nearing thirty and has never married.

When Reid Gallagher comes to London to visit his aunt, Lady Haversham, Maddie gets a glimpse of his exciting life as an archeologist in Egypt. A widower who plans to never marry again, Reid believes his initial interest in Maddie is strictly platonic. But things get complicated when his aunt falsely accuses Maddie of trying to trap her nephew.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story, which, at the end, is pleasantly reminiscent of Jane Eyre in its plot twists. This author has such a talent for heart-tugging romance.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Scavenger Hunt

Okay, the scavenger hunt is back up and running and a winner will be chosen this Friday! So if you want to win these fabulous reads, go to Roseanna White's to get started.