Friday, August 28, 2009

Rose House by Tina Ann Forkner

I'm giving away a copy of Rose House by Tina Ann Forkner. Leave a comment if you're interested in winning!

Here are what other authors are saying about the book:
“In Rose House, Tina Ann Forkner brings us back to the beauty of California wine country and draws us into a story fit for the misty gothic moors. Just as the Rose House itself sits within a mass of beautiful, entwined roses and vines, so is the story nestled in a masterful weaving of secrets, betrayals, hope, and healing.”
–Allison Pittman, author of Stealing Home and Saturdays with Stella

“Tina Ann Forkner pens a compelling tale of betrayal and grief, of hope and forgiveness in Rose House. The unique setting and her lyrical descriptions enticed me into the scene, where I was captivated by the appealing characters and the story’s underlying mystery. I couldn’t put it down.”
–Ane Mulligan, Editor and Co-Owner of Novel Journey

“With Rose House, Tina Ann Forkner paints a breathtaking canvas of lush prose brushstrokes. Don’t get lulled into a sense of calm; the storyline casts suspenseful shadows on this masterpiece of women’s fiction. Delightful!”
–Patti Lacy, author of An Irishwoman’s Tale and What the Bayou Saw

“Captivating, mysterious, and romantically enticing, Forkner’s Rose House keeps the pages turning.”
–Alice J. Wisler, author of Rain Song and How Sweet It Is

Leave a comment to win it!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Everything Austen Challenge--Northanger Abbey

Hello, all you Jane Austen fans! We're almost one-third of the way through our Everything Austen Challenge. How are you all doing? Also, it's not too late to join us, if you're an Austen fan. All you have to do is watch 6 movies, or read 6 books, or a combination of 6 movies and books, having to do with Jane Austen and you win! What is the prize, you may ask? At the moment, I'm not sure! But I need to come up with a prize, don't I? Okay, if you'll post your goal, and if I get more than 6 participants, I promise to have some sort of prize for those who meet the challenge.

Anyway, I want to tell you about reading Northanger Abbey. It sort of stands alone among JA's books because it is so different, a little tongue-in-cheek and spoofy, if you will, as JA tries to shed light on the cliched gothic romances of her day. I prefer JA's other books, but I enjoyed Northanger Abbey very much. It was fun and funny and had a nice moral message, and it made me remember what it was like to be 17 and naive.

Catherine Morland sets out with some neighbors of hers, a childless couple. They are kind but shallow and unsuspicious of the dangers that lurk for our fair heroine, Catherine. Luckily, Catherine meets with a fine young man who is very sensible, with a wry sense of humor and good looks and a healthy income, which is always essential. Catherine meets with ill-use by her new best friend's brother, as well as the hero's self-seeking father, but all turns out right at the end. A very enjoyable read.

Now I am looking forward to watching a couple of JA movies, and I'm starting Mansfield Park in my quest to read all 6 Jane Austen books. It's been a very long time since I've read Mansfield Park. I saw the movie a year or so ago, and it intrigued me, since I couldn't remember the story being like the movie! It should be interesting to see how much I've forgotten, and how much the movie invented.

Share your progress! Leave comments if you want to win a prize on Jan. 1st!

Monday, August 24, 2009

August '09 New Releases

I almost forgot to post the August new releases! Here they are. Pick one out for a late summer read.

1. All That Glitters, Scenarios for Girls, book 2, by Nicole O’Dell from Barbour Publishing. The reader will decide if Drew Daniels does the right thing when sudden popularity causes her to forget about things that were once important to her.

2. Forgiven, Sisters of the Heart Series, Book 3, by Shelley Shepard Gray from Avon Inspire, a division of Harper Collins Publishing. Tragedy strikes when a brother and sister find themselves facing two difficult situations.

3. Surrender the Wind, by Rita Gerlach from Abingdon Press. When a patriot of the American Revolution inherits his grandfather's estate in England, he inherits more than a crumbling manor house.

4. Sweet Waters, Otter Bay Series Book 1, by Julie Carobini from B&H Publishing Group. Sweet Waters is the story of a newly-jilted woman who talks her sisters into moving back to their hometown only to discover family secrets that threaten the fairy tale image she'd always had.

5. The Blue Enchantress, the Charles Towne Belles Series book 2, by MaryLu Tyndall from Barbour. An adventure-seeking woman and a security-minded captain are shipwrecked together.

6. The Last Woman Standing, by Tia McCollors from Moody. A man, his woman, and his ex-wife search for love again.

7. Truth or Dare, Senarios for Girls Book 1, by Nicole O’Dell from Barbour. Peer pressure threatens to drive Lindsay Martin to doing something she doesn't want to do; the reader will decide.

8. Under the Tulip Poplar, by Diane Ashley and Aaron McCarver from Heartsong Presents. When Rebekah Taylor and Asher Landon struggle to find their ways to the other, will they allow God to direct bring their separate dreams together as one?

9. You Make Me Feel Like Dancing, Book #1 in the VA VA VA BOOM series, by Allison Bottke from David C. Cook. When life is a dance and Disco is a state of mind, it’s Mamma Mia goes Vegas!

Thanks to Lynette Eason for providing this list!

Winner of North! Or Be Eaten

And the winner is ... Debra E Marvin!

Congratulations, Deb!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

North! Or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson--Giveaway!

This book is the second in a series. I got it for my daughter, and she loved it so much she forced me to get the first book in the series, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness for her birthday.

That's high praise, folks! My daughter doesn't get that excited about very many books.
Here's the summary of North! Or Be Eaten.
Readers thrilled to the phantasmagorical adventures in On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, Book One of the Wingfeather Saga. Now in Book Two, Janner, Tink, and Leeli Igiby, mom Nia, ex-pirate grandfather Podo, Peet the Sock Man, and trusty dog Nugget flee north to rebel headquarters.

Their escape brings readers to the very brink of Fingap Falls, over the Stony Mountains, and across the Ice Prairies, while villains galore try to stop the Igibys permanently. Fearsome toothy cows and horned hounds return, along with new dangers: a mad man running a fork factory, a den of rockroaches, and majestic talking sea dragons.

Andrew Peterson’s lovable characters create what says made Book One “one of the best fantasy novels in a very long time,” and Book Two contains even more thrills, exploring “themes universal in nature, ranging from the classic good versus evil, to the importance of family, and burdens of responsibility.”

If you'd like to win this book, please leave a comment and I'll put you in the drawing.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Kimberley Woodhouse--Welcome Home!

Kimberley Woodhouse, the author of Welcome Home: Our Family's Journey to Extreme Joy, has graciously agreed to an interview. If you haven't already, please read my review of this wonderful book about her family's experiences before and during and after the time the ABC show, Extreme Makeover Home Edition was considering building her family a new home.

Kimberley, thanks so much for allowing me to interview you on my blog. If you don’t mind, will you share a little bit with my readers about how Kayla and Josh are doing, healthwise, since you ended your family’s story in the book, and since the TV show about you was filmed?

Josh and Kayla are doing incredibly well. Since we’ve been in the house, Josh hasn’t had one asthma attack, and Kayla’s health has skyrocketed. One year ago, the doctors felt Kayla was strong enough after her brain surgery to swim competitively. So, we are now proud members of Cheyenne Mountain Aquatics swim team, and they swim 4-6 hours every day between swim team and the YMCA. They LOVE it, and they are having so much fun. (And – they’re REALLY good at it.) 

Your book was so full of details about the various “big events” in your family’s life. Did you keep a journal all those years when your children were little?

Yes, I tried to keep a journal of events—how I felt, how we coped, how we made it through. They are precious memories and notes to me now.

Are you often recognized when you run your errands as “the woman from Extreme Makeover”? Do people treat you differently?

Again, yes. Especially when we leave the state of Colorado (people are used to us now here in CO) – but we get recognized everywhere we go. And people definitely treat us differently. That’s been a big adjustment for me, because I think, “I’m still just… me.” 

Do you schedule time every day to write, or how do you fit it in?

I do try. Try being the operative word. But most of it gets done on my laptop at one of the pools. I also homeschool my precious kiddos, so that is a big chunk of my day.

Now that you have a non-fiction book on bookstore shelves, how is your fiction career coming along? What is your current writing project?

Well, I have two. I’m currently working on another non-fiction – a parenting encouragement. And I’m also working on another fiction – romantic suspense set in Alaska.

If you could give one piece of parenting advice to young mothers, what would it be?

Remember that you don’t have to measure up to what everyone else is doing or saying. You are unique as a parent – and your children are unique, too. God gave them to you – He will give you what you need to parent them. So, don’t quit. Keep going. Grab onto His joy, each and every day.

If you could give one piece of writing advice to beginning writers, what would it be?

Write. Write. And write some more. Keep your focus on Him.

Thanks, Kimberley.

Kimberley Woodhouse is a wife, mother, author, and musician with a quick wit and positive outlook despite difficult circumstances. A popular speaker, she’s shared at more than 600 venues across the country. Kimberley and her family's story have garnered national media attention for many years, but most recently her family was chosen for ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, The Montel Williams Show, and Discovery Health channel’s Mystery ER. Welcome Home: Our Family’s Journey to Extreme Joy, releases from Tyndale House Publishers September first. In addition to her non-fiction, she also writes romantic suspense and children’s books. Kimberley lives, writes, and homeschools in Colorado with her husband and two children in their truly “extreme” home.

To order the book, go to

Friday, August 14, 2009

Cowboy Christmas and the Winner of Mary's book

And the winner is .... PAIGE! Congratulations! You're going to love Mary's book, whichever one you choose. And I can't believe I somehow missed putting the picture up of Mary's book, Cowboy Christmas, which comes out in September. Here it is.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mary Connealy - Interview and Giveaway

Here is my interview with Christian Western Romance writer Mary Connealy. She's going to give away one of her books, so leave a comment if you want to be in on the drawing.

Mary, your books are so fresh and fun and different. Stephen King says all writers hate this question, but I can’t help but ask you: Where do you get your ideas?

My books have a jumping off spot usually from my own life but then I start with the what-if. I call Petticoat Ranch my husband’s story because he’s from a family of seven sons and we have four daughters and watching him interact with the girls is sometimes comical.

Calico Canyon I think of as my husband’s life growing up in that family of all boys.
Gingham Mountain is more my family when I was growing up. Eight kids in a two bedroom farm house.

Montana Rose was inspired . . . the original spark of an idea . . . by Janette Oke’s beautiful classic Love Comes Softly. The basic set-up. A widow, pregnant and alone in the west, more or less forced into an immediate marriage.
Of course, I’m not Janette Oke (like anyone was making THAT mistake) and my novel has taken an alarming turn to romantic comedy, suspense and chaos. I think of it as Love Comes Hardly. Or maybe Love Comes Loudly. Or, in the case of the poor, long suffering hero Red, Love Comes Unfortunately.

When did you start writing and why?

I started writing seriously, book length fiction, when my baby went to Kindergarten. I was inspired to do it by a friend who wrote a book. I just loved the idea and started one of my own. And once I started I couldn’t seem to stop, regardless of all the editors who seemed to be saying I should.

Your newest book, Cowboy Christmas, comes out in September. Will you tell us about it?

Elijah Walker's lost his father at the hands of a deceitful woman. The one thing he can’t abide is lies.
Citified Annette Talbot is on the run from something and Eli knows a liar when he sees one.
After a lifetime of being a good girl who does what she’s told, Annette’s obedient nature has led her straight into danger. She’s determined to live more bravely and she’s planning to start just as soon as she can be brave from behind her tough Wyoming rancher father.
Her father fails her but Elijah can’t ignore a damsel in distress. He’s powerfully drawn to the little liar. In self-defense he turns his back on her.
That leaves Annette her first perfect chance to stand up and face trouble.
She almost dies running away.
Walker can’t help protecting her, especially since God pretty much dropped Annette straight into his unwilling arms.
But helping her isn’t the same as trusting her, and that he will never do.
As Annette and Walker fight their attraction and danger draws near, Christmas approaches. The bickering twosome will get one special chance to heal old heartbreaks and follow their own star.

Do you have any other books coming out in the near future?

Montana Rose, which released in July is book one of a three book series. Cowboy Christmas isn’t in that series but book two, The Husband Tree releases in January 2010 and book three, Wildflower Bride comes in May 2010.

What book are you working on now? Give us a sneak peek into your future stories.

I’m on the three book series Barbour Publishing has contracted for after the Montana Marriages series. This books are the children from Petticoat Ranch all grown up. I think of it as the Sophie’s Daughters Series but we haven’t given the series an official name yet.

What does your family think about all your success? Has your success changed how “the locals” treat you?

My family has been so great. Melanie, if you knew me, you’d know I am just the most regular person imaginable, honestly. I am a ranch wife. I live a quiet normal life. A stay-at-home mom for twenty-seven years. Now I have a job teaching GED. All very orderly and nice and boring. That I got a book published is still amazing, seriously stunning to me. That people seem to really like them is beyond any hope I ever had. It’s like my dreams came true and now I can’t dream big enough to imagine what will happen next.
Everyone in the area seems so happy for me. Lots of the people from my hometown, where I’ve lived all my life, make such a fuss over my books. It’s wonderful

Do your husband and four daughters read your books? Do they ever “critique” them?

They do. My husband is great, though he usually reads them after they’ve released so he’s a little late to critique them then.
My girls are terrific fans. They’ve all been so encouraging and excited for me. And they’re probably even more surprised than I am that MOM has books that are actually on the shelves in Wal-Mart.

Do you have any advice for beginning writers?

The advice I always give is write. Write and keep writing. Yes take classes. Yes join a critique group. Yes read books on the craft. Yes enter contests and take the judges critiques seriously. Yes join professional organizations and attend conferences and make contacts, meet people. But bottom line, write. All that stuff you learn had to be practiced, honed. And you can’t do that without putting words on that computer screen. Finish a book. Toss it out into the world in contests and to editors, but don’t sit around biting your fingernails waiting. Start a new book. Just keep writing.

Any advice for writers who have been at it for a long time?

I’m a big believer in perseverance, Melanie. I wrote for ten years before I got my first book published and most writers has similar stories. Yes, you find an occasional troublemaker who gets her first book published but mostly not. Mostly you need to stay in there. Take the heartbreak and disappointment and heartbreak. Grow a tough hide. If you want to be published you’ve got to learn to handle that. And sometimes it’s really not easy. You’d better love writing. In fact, if you can stop, I’d say just stop if it hurts too much. I just can’t seem to stop.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Emma by Jane Austen

You probably know, as part of my participation in the Everything Austen Challenge I'm reading all six of Jane Austen's best-known novels in six months. I finished Emma a few days ago and want to record my impressions of it.

Emma is spoiled, comfortable, self-absorbed yet infinitely concerned about the feelings of her family members and friends. She is confident and cheerful. She's likeable and, at the same time, very flawed. She proudly claims she doesn't intend to marry, but is equally proud of her matchmaking abilities--or more accurately, the ability to predict who will fall in love with whom. But how can Miss Emma Woodhouse fail to fall in love herself, with so many interesting young men around her? And when she proceeds to take a young illegitimate girl under her wing and get her a well-to-do husband, she actually ends up doing the girl much more harm than good. But of course, everything turns out well in the end.

Emma could almost be boring at the beginning if you don't take the time to notice all the humor and the funny characteristics of the characters. To me, the genius of Emma is the characterization. How Jane Austen was able to come up with such interesting, over-the-top but true-to-life characters, I really can't imagine. The beauty of them is how they all interact with each other. So much comedy, so much fun. As a writer I was really fascinated with how she made the characters so consistent, and yet was able to spring surprises on the reader as she went, especially toward the end. I enjoyed this book so much. I can't wait to re-visit more of Jane Austen's wonders!

Right now I'm starting to read my second JA book, Northanger Abbey. It's a different book from her others, with the humor more obvious, as she sets out to spoof the gothic romances that were so popular in her day. It's a lot of fun already and I'm only on page 43! Stay tuned for my review!

Also, I'll be posting an interview with the wonderful Mary Connealy this week and she'll be giving away a copy of one of her books. So come back soon!

Please post how you're doing with the Everything Austen Challenge. I want to know what books you've read or movies you've watched!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

I'll be in Seekerville on Wednesday

I'm blogging on "What we can learn from Jane Austen" in Seekerville tomorrow (Wed.) so please come by and say hi!

And I just finished reading Emma! It was superb. I'll have to blog more about that later.