Friday, December 14, 2012

Easy Way to Give and Get!

Most of you may know that I spent some time in Ukraine--11 months, to be exact. I fell in love with the people, and I fell in love with some precious orphans we used to go visit. That's why this project Jill Williamson is doing is very special to me. She's trying to help a couple raise enough money to adopt an orphan from Eastern  Europe. So, without further ado, I give you the amazing, two-time Christy-Award winning author, Jill Williamson!

Jill Williamson is a chocolate loving, daydreaming, creator of kingdoms. She writes weird books for teens. She’s a Jesus follower, a Whovian, and a recovering fashion design assistant, who was raised in Alaska. She now lives in Eastern Oregon with her family and a whole lot of deer (and cows).

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s almost Christmas! I love Christmas. I wanted a Christmas wedding. I wanted to carry a bouquet of poinsettias, I wanted a Christmas tree where people could put the wedding gifts, I wanted hooded cloaks for me and my bridesmaids to wear, and I wanted to leave the reception in a one horse open sleigh.
Alas, I got married in June. :-( But if I could travel back in time, I’d tell myself to do it anyway. Nothing better than Christmas in June, right?
Christmas makes me think of giving. I’m a writer. And writers have a unique opportunity in the giving department. Whenever a person opens one of our books, it’s like we’ve been invited into their home to speak to them. It’s precious. And humbling. Like Spiderman learns: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Writers are charged with doing our jobs well, and respecting the power we are given. And it’s a gift that publishers and readers give to us too. I’m thankful for that.
I recently learned that some dear friends of mine were trying to adopt a girl from Eastern Europe. Adoption is expensive, and until they raise over $40,000, little Sydney can’t come home. Just learning about their desire to adopt and the fact that they’ve been unable to have children of their own put tears in my eyes. I wanted to help. But I don’t have much extra money right now. Plus it’s Christmastime, and we wrecked our van hitting a cow. (We live in free range territory.) So what could I possibly give?
Sydneysoon to beHaydon
Well, whoever said the only way to give was by donation?
So, I self-published an enovella, which means short ebook. It’s book length is 120 pages. Of course, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo will keep their cut, but 100% of my proceeds will go toward Sydney’s adoption!
Many things had to fall into place for this to happen, and many have given to Sydney’s cause already. Jeff Gerke gave me permission to do this project when Marcher Lord Press holds the rights to my storyworld. In doing so, he also gave up his right to make money off the story. Kirk DouPonce donated a cover, and teens from his church volunteered to model. Rebecca LuElla Miller, the freelance editor I hired, gave me a big discount on editing. As did Kerry Nietz on ebook design. My agent, Amanda Luedeke, waived her right to her 15%. And Chris Kolmorgen had an hour-long, (midnight for me, 2:00 a.m. for him) brainstorming session with me, helping with some last-minute content editing.
The result is Chokepoint: Mini-Mission 1.5. This project is part of The Mission League series with Marcher Lord Press. It takes place after book one and before book two, but reads good on its own too. Here’s a little bit about the project:

Ever since I returned from Moscow, life is a full court press. Mission League field agents are everywhere. All the time. Watching. Waiting for me to fulfill a sixty-year-old prophecy. When some baddies try to guy-nap me, the field agents threaten to move me and Grandma Alice to some random hick town, to give us new fake identities until the prophecy is fulfilled.

Not going to happen.

I’ve got one chance to stay in Pilot Point. I have to prove to the agents that I can stay safe. Have to make this work. For basketball. For Kip. For Beth.

So, bring it, baddies. It’s game on.


Chokepoint is $2.99 and is available on Kindle, Nook, or Kobo. All the proceeds go to Sydney’s adoption.
Click here to view Chokepoint: Mini-Mission 1.5 on Amazon Kindle
Click here to view Chokepoint: Mini-Mission 1.5 on B&N Nook
Click here to view Chokepoint: Mini-Mission 1.5 on Kobo
And click here to visit Kevin and Wendy’s blog Haydon Family Growing’s On. to learn more about their adoption adventure.

How about you? Do you do something to give to a cause each year? What are some other ways you give? Please share in the comments.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Excerpt from Talking to the Dead by Bonnie Grove

I wanted to share with you this new book by Bonnie Grove, Talking to the Dead. My friend read the book and loved it so much, she decided to create a blog tour for it! I figured if she liked it THAT much, it must be good! So I agreed to help get the word out about this book!

First, here's a bit about Bonnie:

Bonnie Grove started writing when, as a teenager, her parents bought a typewriter (yes, during the age of dinosaurs). She clacked out a terrible romance novel filled with typos and bad grammar that her mom loved, and she's been turning out improving prose ever since.
Her non-fiction, Your Best You: Discovering and Developing the Strengths God Gave You, came out of her experience working with families in crisis. She believes people have the knowledge and ability to make changes in their life without being told what to do or how to do it. And, oddly enough, has managed to write a book that helps people do just that.
Her novel, Talking to the Dead, came out of that crazy place inside her head that has more questions then answers. Questions about grief, love, sex, God, therapy, and how laughter can make everything seem okay--even if just for a moment or two. It has won a few awards, and has been internationally published in languages she doesn't speak.
Bonnie has completed several novels since Talking to the Dead, and is currently working her butt off to ensure they see they make their way into your hands.
Bonnie is married to a cute guy named Steve, they have two children, and they make their home in Saskatchewan.

Now here is the excerpt from Talking to the Dead.

Chapter 1

Kevin was dead and the people in my house wouldn’t go home. They mingled after the funeral, eating sandwiches, drinking tea, and speaking in muffled tones. I didn’t feel grateful for their presence. I felt exactly nothing.

Funerals exist so we can close doors we’d rather leave open. But where did we get the idea that the best approach to facing death is to eat Bundt cake? I refused to pick at dainties and sip hot drinks. Instead, I wandered into the back

I knew if I turned my head I’d see my mother’s back as she guarded the patio doors. Mom would let no one pass. As a recent widow herself, she knew my need to stare into my loss alone.

I sat on the porch swing and closed my eyes, letting the June sun warm my bare arms. Instead of closing the door on my pain, I wanted it to swing from its hinges so the searing winds of grief could scorch my face and body. Maybe I hoped to die from exposure.

Kevin had been dead three hours before I had arrived at the hospital. A long time for my husband to be dead without me knowing. He was so altered, so permanently changed without my being aware.

I had stood in the emergency room, surrounded by faded blue cotton curtains, looking at the naked remains of my husband while nurses talked in hushed tones around me. A sheet covered Kevin from his hips to his knees. Tubes, which had either carried something into or away from his body, hung disconnected and useless from his arms. The twisted remains of what I assumed to be some sort of breathing mask lay on the floor. “What happened?” I said in a whisper so faint I knew no one could hear. Maybe I never said it at all. A short doctor with a pronounced lisp and quiet manner told me Kevin’s heart killed him. He used difficult phrases; medical terms I didn’t know, couldn’t understand. He called it an episode and said it was massive. When he said the word massive, spit flew from his mouth, landing on my jacket’s lapel. We had both stared at it.

When my mother and sister, Heather, arrived at the hospital, they gazed speechlessly at Kevin for a time, and then took me home. Heather had whispered with the doctor, their heads close together, before taking a firm hold on my arm and walking me out to her car. We drove in silence to my house. The three of us sat around my kitchen table looking at each other.

Several times my mother opened her mouth to speak, but nothing came out. Our words had turned to cotton, thick and dry. We couldn’t work them out of our throats. I had no words for my abandonment. Like everything I knew to be true had slipped out the back door when I wasn’t looking.

“What happened?” I said again. This time I knew I had said it out loud. My voice echoed back to me off the kitchen table.
“Remember how John Ritter died? His heart, remember?” This from Heather, my younger, smarter sister. Kevin had died a celebrity’s death.

From the moment I had received the call from the hospital until now, I had allowed other people to make all of my bereavement decisions. My mother and mother-in-law chose the casket and placed the obituary in the paper. Kevin’s boss at the bank, Donna Walsh, arranged for the funeral parlor and even called the pastor from the church that Kevin had attended until he was sixteen to come and speak. Heather silently held my hand through it all. I didn’t feel grateful for their help.

I sat on the porch swing, and my right foot rocked on the grass, pushing and pulling the swing. My head hurt. I tipped it back and rested it on the cold, inflexible metal that made up the frame for the swing. It dug into my skull. I invited the pain. I sat with it; supped with it.

I opened my eyes and looked up into the early June sky. The clouds were an unmade bed. Layers of white moved rumpled and languid past the azure heavens. Their shapes morphed and faded before my eyes. A Pegasus with the face of a dog; a veiled woman fleeing; a villain; an elf. The shapes were strange and unreliable, like dreams. A monster, a baby—I wanted to reach up to touch its soft, wrinkled face. I was too tired. Everything was gone, lost, emptied out.

I had arrived home from the hospital empty handed. No Kevin. No car—we left it in the hospital parking lot for my sister to pick up later. “No condition to drive,” my mother had said. She meant me.

Empty handed. The thought, incomplete and vague, crept closer to consciousness. There should have been something. I should have brought his things home with me. Where were his clothes? His wallet? Watch? Somehow, they’d fled the scene.

“How far could they have gotten?” I said to myself. Without realizing it, I had stood and walked to the patio doors. “Mom?” I said as I walked into the house.

She turned quickly, but said nothing. My mother didn’t just understand what was happening to me. She knew. She knew it like the ticking of a clock, the wind through the windows, like everything a person gets used to in life. It had only been eight months since Dad died. She knew there was little to be said. Little that should be said. Once, after Dad’s funeral, she looked at Heather and me and said, “Don’t talk. Everyone has said enough words to last for eternity.”
I noticed how tall and straight she stood in her black dress and sensible shoes. How long must the dead be buried before you can stand straight again? “What happened to Kevin’s stuff?” Mom glanced around as if checking to see if a guest had made off with the silverware.

I swallowed hard and clarified. “At the hospital. He was naked.” A picture of him lying motionless, breathless on the white sheets filled my mind. “They never gave me his things. His, whatever, belongings. Effects.”

“I don’t know, Kate,” she said. Like it didn’t matter. Like I should stop thinking about it. I moved past her, careful not to touch her, and went in search of my sister.

Heather sat on my secondhand couch in my living room, a two seater with the pattern of autumn leaves. She held an empty cup and a napkin; dark crumbs tumbling off onto the carpet. Her long brown hair, usually left down, was pulled up into a bun. She looked pretty and sad. She saw me coming, her brown eyes widening in recognition. Recognition that she should do something. Meet my needs, help me, make time stand still. She quickly ended the conversation she was having with Kevin’s boss, and met me in the middle of the living room.

“Hey,” she said, touching my arm. I took a small step back, avoiding her warm fingers.

“Where would his stuff go?” I blurted out. Heather’s eyebrows snapped together in confusion. “Kevin’s things,” I said. “They never gave me his things. I want to go and get them. Will you come?”
Heather stood very still for a moment, straight backed like she was made of wood, then relaxed. “You mean at the hospital. Right, Kate? Kevin’s things at the hospital?” Tears welled in my eyes. “There was nothing. You were there. When we left, they never gave me anything of his.” I realized I was trembling.

Heather bit her lower lip, and looked into my eyes. “Let me do that for you. I’ll call the hospital—” I stood on my tiptoes and opened my mouth. “I’ll go,” she corrected before I could say anything. “I’ll go and ask around. I’ll get his stuff and bring it here.” “I need his things.”
Heather cupped my elbow with her hand. “You need to lie down. Let me get you upstairs, and as soon as you’re settled, I’ll go to the hospital and find out what happened to Kevin’s clothes, okay?”
Fatigue filled the small spaces between my bones. “Okay.” She led me upstairs. I crawled under the covers as Heather closed the door, blocking the sounds.

End of excerpt.

I forgot  to mention, this book is on sale for a limited time for $2.51 on Kindle! Check it out!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Welcome to the Fall Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt! You have found it! A chance to win 31 new releases and a new Kindle Fire! The scavenger hunt begins on October 25 at 1 p.m. CST and ends October 28 at 1 a.m. CST. You will make 31 stops at different blogs, and along the way you will meet new authors and their new or soon-to-be-released novels! If you haven't already done so, go to Stop #1 which is Lisa Bergren's website to get started!

The way this scavenger hunt works is you collect the clues, written in red on each post, beginning at Stop #1 and ending at Stop #32, where you will fill out the Rafflecopter form. You must provide the completed clue quote, gathered from 31 stops, within 24 hours of email notification or another winner will be randomly drawn. No need to email/submit it, unless you are notified on 10/29/12.  I'm so glad you stopped by here on your search. Be sure to read to the bottom, as there are extras you can win.

Also, 2nd and 3rd Prizes are a $50 Amazon, B&N, CBD or gift certificate.  (Contest is open to international entrants. If the winner lives outside the United States, they shall win the equivalent in gift certificate funds to the prize in US dollars.)

For Stop #18 of the hunt, I’m hosting my great friend, the funny, personable, and multi-talented author Nicole O'Dell, 
who  is the amazing mother of six children, which includes teenagers as well toddler triplets! I am in awe of Nicole, as she is the host of a popular radio show about parenting and teen life on Choose NOW Radio and founder of  Choose NOW Ministries and still manages to write both novels and nonfiction. She's a youth culture expert who writes and speaks to preteens, teenagers, and parents on preparing for life's tough choices.  Nicole is the author of YA fiction, including the popular Scenarios for Girls interactive fiction series and the Diamond Estates Series, and non-fiction for teens including Girl Talk, 2/1/12, based on the popular advice column she writes with her two daughters. Hot Buttons, O’Dell’s non-fiction series for parents, pre-empts peer pressure by tackling tough issues and was recently endorsed by Focus on the Family. Visit for access to her bustling blog network and other resources.

I am featuring Nicole's upcoming release, The Shadowed Onyx, which releases 12/1 and is book three in her popular Diamond Estates series following The Wishing Pearl, book one and The Embittered Ruby, book two. This series is based on Nicole's own experiences at Teen Challenge as a teenager.

The Shadowed Onyx

 Seventeen-year-old Joy Christianson is the life of the party.

But when her best friend commits suicide, Joy’s already wavering faith slips completely out of reach—and darkness and depression lay claim to her soul. A group of “friends” lead her to the Onyx, meant to help her let go of the past and bring her into harmony with reality, and Joy finds herself embarking on an ominous journey of witchcraft. Caught in a world of evil and shadows, Joy isn’t so sure that there’s a way out, and soon finds herself at a crossroads.

Will Joy find the hope and light her heart longs for?

On Amazon 

On Barnes & Noble


A scavenger hunt exclusive from Nicole: Leave a comment at this post on Nicole’s blog mentioning the Diamond Estates series, and you'll be entered to win an entire set of all three books in the series!

Here is an exclusive from Nicole O'Dell, which she compiled while researching: Three Things Every Person Should Know About the Occult:

1. It's real.

 It's not a game. The powers of evil are as real as the power of good. Joy Christianson, in The Shadowed Onyx, stumbled into occult practices because she didn’t believe they were real at first. By letting her guard down, she opened the door for evil, and it walked right into her life and her heart.

  2. It's hard to walk away.

 I recently interviewed Kristine McGuire on my radio program. She left her church and her walk of faith to become a witch and has now released a book called Escaping the Cauldron. Her journey into the occult was much, much easier than her escape from it. Our enemy longs to suck you into his claws, and trust me, he won’t want to let you go.

  3. God says NO!

 “Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 19:31 “And when they say to you, ‘Consult the mediums and the wizards who whisper and mutter,’ should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?” Isaiah 8:19

 “Many also of those who had believed kept coming, confessing and disclosing their practices. And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of all; and they counted up the price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.” Acts 19:18,19

 “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery… of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-20

Now, before you go, don't forget to leave a comment! And as an added prize bonus, if you will
1. "Like" my author page on Facebook and
3. Leave a comment on this post saying you Liked them, I will put you in the drawing for 

1. A copy of my new novel, The Fairest Beauty, when it comes out, and
2. A handmade paper bead necklace, a one-of-a-kind made by me.
The beads are made from black and cream toile print paper. 

And of course, you will want to write down this Stop #18 clue: on its 

Your next stop is Nicole O'Dell's own blog!  Thanks for coming by! 

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Exciting Scavenger Hunt - You could win a Kindle Fire!

Love Christian fiction? Did you take part in the Summer Scavenger Hunt? Readers had so much fun discovering new releases from their favorite authors! Now, here comes another…mark your calendars!

 The hunt runs from 10/25-10/28 and will include 30+ Christian authors with new releases, and will feature exclusive material on each new release, not found anywhere else. The grand prize will include a copy of each new release, plus a new Kindle Fire!

In addition, many authors will include additional prizes for readers who stop by. For more information on how to complete the hunt, and the starting point, begin on Lisa Bergren's web site, after noon PST on the 25th.

 The hunt can be completed anytime that weekend. Lisa Bergren is the author of the wildly popular Medieval "River of Time" series. Check it out on Amazon!

 Here is a list of participating authors who are all giving away a copy of their new releases:

 Lisa T. Bergren
 Robin Lee Hatcher
 Liz Curtis Higgs
 Tamera Alexander
 Tracy Higley
 Julie Lessman
 Kristen Heitzmann
 Marta Perry
 Ronie Kendig
 Margaret Daley
 Melanie Dobson
 Ruth Axtell
 Winnie Griggs
 Kim Vogel Sawyer
 R.J. Larson
 Leslie Gould
 Sibella Giorello
 Melanie Dickerson
 Nicole O'Dell
 Jill Williamson
 Judith Miller
 Susan Sleeman
 Sandra Robbins
 Sharon Hinck
 Mary Lu Tyndall
 Laura Frantz
 Stephanie Whitson
 Vicki Hinze
 Janice Thompson
 Lyn Cote

Friday, September 28, 2012

Carol Award Winner! The Merchant's Daughter!

The 2012 ACFW Conference--that's the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference--ended with a bang for me. After finaling in both the Christy Awards and the Carol Awards two years in a row, The Merchant's Daughter pulled in a win! It was so exciting. I certainly didn't expect to win, as my competition was Judy Christie's Wreath and Jenny B. Jones's There You'll Find Me. Check out the sign:
It was a big thrill just to be a finalist.
So I'm sitting there, after putting on fresh lipstick "just in case." And they called the name of my book, and I was so shocked I could hardly believe it. I actually wasn't that nervous, but I was struggling not to cry the whole time I was giving my speech. I hadn't written a speech down, just a list of names I scribbled while at my table right before. "Just in case."
And I have such wonderful friends who celebrated with me and were so happy for me, God bless them. Here are a few pics:
These are my roommates, Love Inspired authors Missy Tippens and Audra Harders.
And here I am with author Carrie Turansky.
And with the Seekers from the Seekerville blog, Myra Johnson, Missy Tippens, Janet Dean, Pam Hillman, me, Audra Harders, Debby Giusti, and Mary Connealy, all wonderful ladies, amazing authors, and sweet friends. Love them so much! And lastly, here is a picture of all the Carol Award winners from all the different categories:
If you are a writer and have never been to the ACFW conference, it is really worth it. There are so many wonderful people there, lots of great workshops, and you are almost guaranteed to make some new best friends. Next year it will be in Indianapolis, and I already can hardly wait! :-) I am posting my new headshot Jodie Westfall, the ACFW photographer, made of me at the conference. It was actually fun getting these made. Jodie made it fun.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

The Fairest Beauty's New Trailer!!!

Here's the new trailer for my Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs retelling, The Fairest Beauty, which releases in December. Or if you want to see the whole screen, go to YouTube, What did you think?

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

NextGenWriters Conference - Register Now!

NextGenWriters Conference is a free, online conference designed to help authors under the age of twenty discover new craft techniques and improve their writing. Click here to find out how it works. Our presenter list includes some amazing new and returning authors this year. Registration is open now! Here is the direct link to register. See you there.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

FREE e-book sampler of YA books

Get this FREE e-book sampler, which has the first three chapters of these Young Adult novels from Zondervan: Halflings by Heather Burch, Replication by Jill Williamson, The Merchant's Daughter by Melanie Dickerson, Reckless Heart by Amy Clipston, Finally and Forever by Robin Jones Gunn, and Interrupted by Rachel Coker. This is a great way to check out some new authors and get an idea of what book you might want to read next!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

E-Book Sale!

Zondervan is doing an e-book sale on their YA books! My book, The Merchant's Daughter, is on sale for $3.99, and my good friend, Jill Williamson's book, Replication, which is fabulous by the way, is on sale for $2.99. Here is the facebook link to all the books that are sale So enjoy some books this summer on your e-reader. It's going to be 100 degrees here this week, so what else do you have to do that won't make you melt? :-)

Saturday, May 05, 2012

E-mail Glitch

Hi, everybody!!! I just want to let you know, if you have tried to e-mail me through my website recently, my website email has not been working, probably for at least a week. :-( So if you need to get in touch with me, please leave a comment here on my blog or message me on facebook. Thanks!!! I really do love hearing from my readers, and if I get your message, I will write you back! I promise! :-)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Family Fiction Magazine's Annual Poll and a Book Signing in Huntsville, Alabama

Check out Family Fiction Magazine's annual survey. Go vote for your favorite books, authors, genres, even movies and DVD's. Click here to go vote.

Also, I'm doing a book signing at the Books-a-Million in Huntsville, Alabama this Saturday, January 28th, from 1 to 3 p.m. I hope you can come by and say hello!

I'm also meeting with the Finding Hope Through Fiction Book Club in Atlanta this Monday night, Jan. 30th. For more information, contact me or Nora St. Laurent!