Friday, October 31, 2008

SHE'S DONE IT AGAIN!!!

As many of you heard, my friend and crit bud ERICA VETSCH received a contract with Barbour/Heartsong Presents at the conference for her historical, Bartered Bride. This book is the first in the Kennebrae Brides series. Well, I have more good news to report:

Barbour has contracted the next two books in the Kennebrae Brides series!!!! 

I AM SO EXCITED!

The books are titled Marriage Masquerade and Engineered Engagement, and though I can't give you a sneak peek, I can tell you that these are both fun and energetic historicals, with characters you'll remember long after you're done reading. 

So please join with me in giving Erica a round of applause!!!! 


applause Pictures, Images and Photos

Thursday, October 30, 2008

GRADE YOUR BLOG or WEBSITE!!!

Check this out: you go to Website Grader and enter your url. It'll quickly generate a score for your website or blog. This blog scored a 79, and I can already see some areas for improvement (LOL, like that I shouldn't be using a free Blogger site!) Plus, I need to figure out how to use meta tags and meta keywords. Hmm. Might have to save that for a different day ;)


HOORAY, I CAN VOTE!!!

What about you???



You Should Be Allowed to Vote



You got 14/15 questions correct.

Generally speaking, you're very well informed.



If you vote this election, you'll know exactly who (and what) you'll be voting for.

You're likely to have strong opinions, and you have the facts to back them up.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Dangerous Heart

Avon Inspire (October 14, 2008)

by

Tracey Bateman



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tracey Bateman published her first novel in 2000 and has been busy ever since. There are two other books in the Westward Hearts Series, Defiant Heart (#1) and Distant Heart (#2)

She learned to write by writing, and improved by listening to critique partners and editors. She has sold over 30 books in six years.
She became a member of American Christian Fiction Writers in the early months of its inception in 2000 and served as president for a year.


Tracey loves Sci-fi, Lifetime movies, and Days of Our Lives (this is out of a 21 year habit of watching, rather than enjoyment of current storylines).

She has been married to her husband Rusty for 18 years, has four kids, and lives in Lebanon, Missouri.


ABOUT THE BOOK

For the past seven years, Ginger Freeman has had one goal: find Grant Kelley and make him pay for allowing her brother to die. Growing up motherless with a father who leads an outlaw gang, Ginger isn’t exactly peaches and cream. So when she finally tracks down Grant on a wagon train headed west, she figured providence had stepped in and given her the chance she’s been waiting for.

On the wagon train, finally surrounded by a sense of family and under the nurturing eye of Toni Rodde, Ginger begins to lose her rough edges. She’s made friends for the first time and has become part of something bigger than revenge. Not only has her heart softened toward people in general, but God has become a reality she never understood before. And watching Grant doctor the pioneers, she’s realized she can’t just kill him and leave the train without medical care. Putting her anger aside, before long, Ginger’s a functioning part of the group.

But when the outlaw gang, headed by her pa, shows up and infiltrates the wagon train, she is forced to question her decision. Only self-sacrifice and her new relationship with God can make things right. But it might also means she loses everything she’s begun to hold dear.

If you would like to read from the first chapter of Dangerous Heart, go HERE

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

LIFE IN THE BACK SEAT STINKS

I finally have to admit what's been brewing in my spirit for a while now: my spiritual life has taken a back seat to other seemingly necessary demands on my time. (Read between the lines--writing, reading, blogging, etc.) When did it all spin out of control? When did other things become more edifying than soaking in the Word and spending time in prayer? Well, that's the tricky part, they really aren't more edifying and my spirit man is a runt these days. It's not that I haven't been to church or read my Bible or prayed, it's just that I haven't been guarding the time for it or being diligent the way I was when I was first saved.

Last week I listened to one of the ACFW sessions: Habits of a Healthy Writer, by Sharon Hinck. She spoke about creative ways to worship and really went into some details that convicted me. I sat there and thought, "Wow, I'm a fraud! All these people at the conference probably do all this stuff....and then there's me." Truthfully--and painfully, I might add--I seem to pray on the fly. As for worship, I've been saving it for Sundays, and those brief moments in the car when a cool song comes on that I can sing and drive to at the same time.

Thank God for His mercy! Because of Jesus I no longer bear the guilt, but can walk free. I mean, really free! After acknowledging what I'd felt in my spirit for weeks, I spent time in prayer and in the Bible, and here's the golden nugget for today:

Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. ~Romans 14:19

Man--this touched me in a powerful way. You see, sometimes the weekends can get chaotic around here with all of us home, vying for our own agenda. I have a tendency to pursue things which don't make for peace, like taking off and writing on Saturday mornings when my dear hubby needs to rest from the work week. Sooo, this calls for further examination, and most likely some adjustments in my routine.

Isn't that the great thing about God? He shows us what we need, when we need it.

Are you nurturing your spirit and protecting your time with Him? It's totally worth it =)

Monday, October 27, 2008

THE LAST FEW DAYS...

...I've had a hankering to cook. No--really! After reading Bon Appetit I've had an unusual urge to bake. That's what started the blueberry muffin thing last week. Though spending time in the kitchen is not something I usually enjoy, the great detail used in the book sparked something inside me, and I also realize it's a nice way to bless my family. Not that I'll ever be chef-worthy, but a girl can try =)  This week I'd like to try making blueberry bread pudding from The Great Minnesota Hot Dish, by Theresa Millang

My whole point is that I'm finding it a nice diversion to spend a bit more time preparing meals. By writing first thing in the morning, I have more time to spend on homey-type things, and my husband and kids seem to enjoy the by-products (like the homemade chicken pot pie.) Do I think the cooking thing is a lasting phase? Probably not, and it'll go the way of my drawing phase, my quilting phase, and my sewing phase. Still, it's nice to try new things.

What are your diversions? Gardening, rock climbing, hang gliding?

In honor of this, here's my NOT-SO-FAMOUS BLUEBERRY MUFFINS:

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 and grease your 12-hole muffin pan.

2. In a big bowl, mix 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt with a fork.

3. In another bowl, beat 1 egg with a fork, then stir in 1 cup milk and1/4 cup olive oil. Add 1 cup fresh blueberries.

4. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until moistened. Don't overmix--lumpy batter is good.

5. Lick spoon (okay, this is what I do, but don't get salmonella.) 

6. Spoon into muffin pan and bake 20-25 mins. Remove immediately from pan when done.


Friday, October 24, 2008

5 DAYS IN A ROW...

...waking up at 5 a.m. 

11,000 words revised
9 loads of laundry
1 homemade chicken pot pie
12 homemade blueberry muffins
2348736259 trips to chauffeur the kids
4.5 hours of dedicated exercise
0 pounds lost--that's right, ZERO!!! 

Where's the justice, I ask you--where?! Not only is justice blind, it's also...well...unjust. After I'm done heaving a heavy sigh--one filled with regret over the creme puffs that surely kept me from my goal, or was it the muffin?--I will pause to say that at least I accomplished much by waking before the crack of dawn. (How's THAT for a cliche?)

Anyhoo, there's always next week. As for the weekend, I'm counting on my honey to bring home the ice cream.......
THE WINNER IS....

The winner of Bon Appetit is Keisha! Congratulations, I think you're really going to enjoy it.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

LESS THAN DEAD

I LOVE THE BUG MAN! True confession: I only started reading this book tonight, but I know from previous experience that The Bug Man novels are the top of the line for anyone interested in forensic suspense. I'm SURE I'm going to enjoy this book too because it follows Nick Polchak, a forensic entomologist, who I find to be an odd, yet engaging, hero. Yes, the bug aspect makes me a little squeamy, but I love it. And Tim Downs has a way of drawing you in with the setting until you feel like you're part of the story.

OK, friends....I'm off to read.....



This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Less Than Dead

Thomas Nelson (September 9, 2008)

by

Tim Downs



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tim Downs is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Indiana University. After graduation in 1976 he created a comic strip, Downstown, which was syndicated by Universal Press Syndicate until 1986. His cartooning has appeared in more than a hundred major newspapers worldwide.

His first book, a work of non-fiction, was awarded the Gold Medallion Award in 2000. His first novel, Shoofly Pie, was awarded the Angel Award in 2004, and his third novel, PlagueMaker, was awarded the Christy Award for best suspense novel of 2007. First The Dead, the third book in this Bug Man series came out earlier this year.

Tim lives in Cary, North Carolina, with his wife Joy.


ABOUT THE BOOK


Some secrets just won't stay buried.
When strange bones surface on a U.S. senator's property, the FBI enlists forensic entomologist Nick Polchak to investigate the forgotten graveyard. Polchak's orders are simple: figure out the mess.

But Polchak, known as the "Bug Man" because of his knowledge of insects and their interaction with the dead, senses darker secrets buried beneath the soil.

Secrets that could derail the senator's presidential bid.

Secrets buried in the history of a quaint Virginia town.

Secrets someone is willing to kill to protect.

With the help of a mysterious local woman named Alena and her uncanny cadaver dogs, Polchak sets out to dig up the truth.

But with a desperate killer hot on his trail, he'll be lucky to wind up anything less than dead.


If you would like to read the first chapter of Less Than Dead, go HERE

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

BON APPETIT

It's not just the cover that'll make you hungry.

Bon Appetit is the sequel to Let Them Eat Cake, by Sandra Byrd. The story follows Lexi Stuart as she goes to a baking school in France. The descriptions of the food and baking are so vivid that it actually makes me want to break out my apron and whip up one of the recipes included in the book. Not only that, but I actually crave the goodies that show up in the pages--talk about a visceral response! I think you'll also enjoy the spiritual thread that's woven throughout the story, which enhances the heroine's journey of finding her place in the world, and hopefully finding love......



Here's the best part:


I'M GIVING AWAY A COPY!!!!! Enter to win with your email address at the end of this post!!!! Drawing on Friday.

DOUBLE YOUR CHANCE TO WIN by visiting BETSY'S blog!!!!


BLURB:

Deciding to leave her familiar home in Seattle and her could-be boyfriend Dan, Lexi moves to a quaint village in France to pursue her dream of becoming a pastry chef. Life among the French initially proves to be less than easy as Lexi is challenged by her coworkers, missing her friends, and failing to master the perfect baguette.

Determined to find her place, Lexi settles into the culture and life becomes la perfection. She finds a church, meets a new friend, and makes the acquaintance of a child named Celine—as well as Celine’s attractive, widowed father, Philippe. Even Patricia, the gruff pastry cook, shows a softer side as she mentors Lexi in the art of baking.

Fast, fun, and packed with French culture, foodie appeal, and unique recipes readers will love accompanying Lexi on her journey inBon Appetit as she tries to choose between two countries, two men and the faith to lean on God while savoring the surprises life brings!







About the author: Best-selling author Sandra Byrd enjoys a successful career writing adult, teen, and children’s books, including the Friends for a Season, Secret Sisters series and the French Twist series, including the first Lexi Stuart novel, Let them Eat Cake. She is also a regular contributor to newspapers and magazines. Sandra lives in Washington state with her husband and two children.

Enter the drawing today!!! But, just in case someone else wins (wink, wink) CLICK HERE to order.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

LATE TO BED, EARLY TO RISE...

...helps Georgiana write her book before she cries.

I never claimed to be a poet.
coffee Pictures, Images and Photos
Yesterday and today I woke up at 5 a.m. to write. What I discovered is that when I waited until late at night to pound out the words, not only was my brain already taxed, but I spent the entire day fretting because I hadn't written yet. The other benefit to rising before the sun is that no one else in my family would dream of waking so early. Peace and quiet are precious commodities in my home. 

Sooo, after much eye rubbing and caffeine, I actually stuck to my decision to write in the morning. Both days produced over 2000 words, and even though it's technically revising instead of writing from scratch it still felt good. Can I continue this trend? Well, I'm not banking on it, but it's good for now.

Anyone else out there who dares to rise before dawn?? Who's with me???

Monday, October 20, 2008

ALL THE PLUMBERS IN THE HOUSE PULL YOUR PANTS UP!

I'm not an SNL fan and I'm sure you've probably already seen this, but it's funny enough I had to post it. If you'd been here while my husband and I watched it on my laptop, you'd have seen us reinacting it ourselves: him as the moose, me with the imaginary gun....

MURDER ON THE OL' BUNIONS

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Murder on The Ol' Bunions

Barbour Publishing, Inc (2008)

by

Sandra D. Moore



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

SAndra has been writing for years with historicals being her main focus. By the time she had a polished manuscript in hand, historicals were unpopular. She didn't give up though and decided to try her hand at writing a mystery. A cozy mystery.

Her first book, Murder on The Ol' Bunions , released in April of 2008. Book two of the LaTisha Barnhart Mystery series, Polly Dent Loses Grip, and book three, Eat, Drink and Be Buried will follow in April 2009 and 2010, respectively.

She's almost always running a contest, so drop by her Website, you just might win a free gift!



ABOUT THE BOOK


LaTisha Barnhart’s bunions tell her something’s afoot as she delves deeper into the murder of her former employee, Marion Peters. When LaTisha becomes a suspect, the ante is upped, and she is determined to clear her name and find the culprit.

She’s burping Mark Hamm’s bad cooking to investigate his beef with Marion. . .getting her hair styled at a high falutin’ beauty parlor to see what has Regina Rogane in a snarl. . .playing self-appointed matchmaker between the local chief and a prime suspect. . .and thinking Payton O’Mahney’s music store lease might be the reason he’s singing out of tune when discussion of Marion’s murder arises. LaTisha’s thinking she just might use the reward money to get her bunions surgically removed. But she’s got to catch the crook first.

Small town intrigue, a delightful, vivid cast, and a well-crafted mystery make S. Dionne Moore’s debut novel a must-read! I loved it!~Susan May Warren~Award-winning author of Reclaiming Nick

“S. Dionne Moore has the rare quality of pulling together great characters and compelling plots.”
~Kelly Klepfer~ www.novelreviews.blogspot.com


If you would like to HEAR the first chapter, go HERE and click on the bookcover trailer box!

If you would like to READ, the first chapter of Murder on The Ol' Bunions , go HERE.

Friday, October 17, 2008

500 POSTS?!

Who knew I had so much to say? (I think I said the same thing when I hit 400 posts.) Speaking of 500--that might be how many times our team loses in a row. We went to a football game tonight and lost. Again. Oy. But I observed lots of things while waiting for the pain to end:

*A gaggle of teen girls can scream loud--make that very, very loud. Someone should research this phenomenon and develop a secret weapon because shrills like that could do serious damage.

*The wearing of socks with flip flops now seems to be an acceptible fashion choice. This is good for me because I hate wearing regular shoes. In fact, I came home and looked it up and there is such a thing as a flip flop sock. Look here:








*Children do better with a pen and paper handy--only don't turn your back because without a doubt they will find it more fun to color on themselves.

*People who yell at the coaching staff do themselves a disservice because everyone turns to look at said yeller and begin to talk about them.

Anyhoo--thanks for hanging with me for 500--yes, FIVE HUNDRED--posts! That's an awful lot of rambling, spouting off, and generally causing trouble. But it's all about good times....

....good times.
SINGLE SASHIMI

I knew I'd love it! The cousins are back in Single Sashimi, the 3rd book of the Sushi Series. This story features Venus Chau, who's not only a beautiful and brilliant game designer, but also a serious Type A who loves her own space. Camy does a fantastic job exploring family dynamics that center around a strong matriarch--a.k.a. Grandma. Even if you haven't read the first two books in the series you can jump right into Single Sashimi with maximum enjoyment.

Here's the blurb:

Drake Yu. Why would Drake call her after...what, five years? Six?

Venus heard in his voice that resonance that was almost a growl, that titanium-hard determination to get hwat he wanted. And he usually got what he wanted. The voice said: "I want you to work for me."

Not this time...If it was a choice between Drake and McDonald's--she'd choose french fries. She'd never work for him again. It would take an act of God.

Venus Chau is determined to start her own game development company and launch the next Super Mario-sized phenomenon. However, she needs an investor to back her idea. When Drake Yu, an old nemesis, approaches Venus with a contracting opportunity at his sister's startup, the offer tempts Venus to think the unthinkable.

Venus would rather throw away her PS3 than work for Drake again...but then Grandma bribes Venus to do this favor for Drake's wealthy family. With the encouragement of her three cousins, Lex, Trish, and Jennifer, Venus discovers that even a wounded heart can undergo a beautiful transformation...

NOW, please join me in welcoming Camy ((insert applause)):

Now that the Sushi series has come to a conclusion, tell us about your new book coming out from Love Inspired.

It’s a romantic suspense called Deadly Intent, and while I don’t have the official back cover blurb yet, here’s the blurb I submitted in my Art Fact Sheet: 

THERE WAS A DEAD BODY IN HER MASSAGE ROOM 

And massage therapist Naomi Grant is suspected of murder. She’s frustrated and helpless as a web of lies closes in around her, framing her. She doesn’t have time to worry about her shaky faith or think about her growing attraction to the victim’s ex-husband, Dr. Devon Knightley. 

Orthopedic surgeon Devon had only needed to claim his mother’s necklace back from his ex-wife, but suddenly he’s embroiled in a murder investigation and someone is trying to kill him. He wants to somehow protect Naomi from the trap being set around her, but can he keep them both safe against a villain with deadly intent? 

Sounds fantastic! 

Out of all your characters, which one did you enjoy writing the most? Is there a character who resembles you more closely than the others?

I really liked Venus the best, mostly because I really want to BE her! Who wouldn’t want to be disciplined, successful, and gorgeous? Oh, and OCD and a control freak. Wait, I already am that… 

OCD control freaks are always welcome here.

Please reveal your quirky writing habits, i.e. do you wear a feather boa, write under the bed by the light of a glow stick, only write while chewing apple gum...

Here is what I came up with while at the ACFW conference, inspired by my friend Danica’s tiara, which she won at this year’s RWA conference. I’d like to have a writing outfit of a tiara and a feather boa. I’m serious! I think it would boost my creativity, not to mention my self esteem. Although right now, it’s only the dog bowing down to me … 

Feather boas are awesome--we could be twins!

Do you have an overarching theme to your stories? What do you want readers to walk away with when they put down one of your books?

I didn’t intend for it to be this way, but I tend to have a theme of submission to God in all my books. In some fashion, my heroines have to submit something in their lives that they’re holding on to in order to enter into spiritual healing. 

I think this reflects my daily walk with God. I have a habit of holding on to things and God is constantly reminding me to submit to Him and trust Him. 

Think back--way, way back to when you were a newbie writer. What's the one thing--piece of advice, encouragement, or inspiration--that most propelled you forward to where you are today? 

The first time I attended Mount Hermon writing conference, I took the Fiction 101 track with Brandilyn Collins and Randy Ingermanson, and Brandilyn said that writers should be constantly trying to improve their craft, even after they get published. 

This has been a writing motto for me, in a way, because I make an effort to continue to improve my craft. I’m always reading new writing books that come out, taking new workshops and classes, and attending new writing conferences and events. I’m also analyzing best-selling books to try to understand the market appeal and refine my own style of writing. 

Thanks for having me here, Georgiana!

Thanks for dropping by today, Camy!!! And I'm already looking forward to your next book!!!



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. She used to be a biologist, but now she is a staff worker for her church youth group and leads a worship team for Sunday service. She also runs the Story Sensei fiction critique service. On her blog, she gives away Christian novels every Monday and Thursday, and she ponders frivolous things like dumb dogs (namely, hers), coffee-geek husbands (no resemblance to her own...), the writing journey, Asiana, and anything else that comes to mind. Visit her website at http://www.camytang.com/ for a huge website contest going on right now, giving away ten boxes of books and 30 copies of her latest release, SINGLE SASHIMI.

Run, don't walk to get your copy. Better yet, CLICK HERE!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

WINNER!

Carole is the winner of The Shape of Mercy!
THE ROOK

Attention fans of fast-paced action, this is your book! I wish I'd read The Pawn, book 1 in The Bowers Files series, but it's not necessary in order to jump in and enjoy The Rook. In addition to action, there's a very human side to the hero, Patrick Bowers, nicely portrayed through his relationship with his step-daughter. But enough from me, here's the blurb:

Special Agent Patrick Bowers is about to uncover the military's darkest secret . . . and his own dark past.

While investigating a series of baffling fires in San Diego, Special Agent Patrick Bowers is drawn into a deadly web of intrigue where nothing is as it appears to be. With a killer on the loose and one of the world's most deadly devices missing, Bowers is caught in a race against time to stop a criminal mastermind's trap before it closes around the people he loves.

Full of fast-paced action and mind-bending plot twists, The Rook is an adrenaline-laced page-turner that will hold you captive until the very end.

About the author:

Critically acclaimed author Steven James has written more than twenty books, including the bestselling thriller series The Bowers Files. One of the nation’s most innovative storytellers, Steven developed his skill as a performer at East Tennessee State University (MA in storytelling). He lives in Tennesseewith his wife and three daughters.



TO PURCHASE YOUR COPY, CLICK HERE!

The Rook

Steven James

978-0-8007-3269-1 $13.99, tradepaper

Revell

Everywhere August 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

OCTOBER IS....

....the LONGEST month of the year. Since we don't celebrate Halloween it makes October seem unusually drawn out. I know our family stands in the minority when it comes to the Big H, even amongst Christians, but I refuse to back down. Here are the top 5 reasons I loathe Halloween:

1. Cobwebs and spiders gross me out--we all know how much I loathe spiders!
2. Scary faces plastered all over the stores, along with scary music, is super annoying.
3. It's the most unnecessary holiday of the year, or at least 2nd to Groundhog Day.
4. I would never in a million, kabillion years send my children out to beg for candy.
5. Most importantly, a day that celebrates the spirit of fear and all manner of ugliness dishonors God, and we are admonished to avoid the appearance of evil. Plus, all research I've done on the roots of this day point directly away from our Lord.

Does this make me a curmudgeon? Even so, I stand by it! We don't even do the Harvest festivals, etc. because it's a cheap replacement, IMO. I certainly don't condemn by brothers and sisters who feel differently, but I must stand by the conviction God has placed in my heart.

Thankfully my tots have figured out how ridiculous the whole thing is because they don't like cobwebs, spiders, and scary faces either. Whew! The sad thing is, the gym where they have gymnastics is decked out with the stuff, and so is the athletic club--well, pretty much everywhere we go.

On the flip side, I love pumpkins--mostly because of the pie. And this is the month where the leaves turn and fall and it makes for great family photos. Also, I get to pull out sweaters and cute jackets that were packed away in the spring--or possibly even buy new ones!

Thoughts on the Big H? If you're like me, what do you tell the kids?

Monday, October 13, 2008

THE SHAPE OF MERCY
Reading this book was like a fine dining experience. Honestly, this is one of my favorite reads this year, and since I've devoured over 75 books this year that really means something! Susan Meissner created a story filled with memorable, thought-provoking characters where the both the plot and subplot wound tightly around the themes of stigmas and pre-conceived ideas. The story blends the Salem witch trials with the present day journey of a young woman who finds herself in the employ of an elderly librarian in possession of a diary of an accused witch. Absolutely fascinating! 

And here's the best part:

I HAVE A COPY TO GIVE AWAY! Enter your name at the end of the post for your chance to win. I'll draw on Wednesday.

Here's the blurb:

Lauren Durough is a college student longing to break free of family expectations when she stumbles into a project for eighty year old Abigail Boyles—transcribing the journals of Mercy Hayworth, a seventeenth-century victim of the Massachusetts witch trials. Almost immediately, Lauren finds herself drawn to this girl who lived and died four centuries ago. The strength of her affinity with Mercy forces Lauren to take a startling new look at her own life, including her relationships with the mysterious Abigail, her college roommate, and a young man named Raul.  But on the way to discovering the candid truth, Lauren must earnestly ask if she is playing the role of helpless defendant or the misguided judge?  Can she break free from her own perceptions and recognize who she really is?

In our high-pressure, success-oriented culture, readers will identify with Lauren’s struggle to forge her own identity separate from the plan her family designed for her. Offering intrigue, romance, and heartbreaking drama, this contemporary novel with a historical twist conveys the intense beauty that emerges when we see how our stories affect the lives of others.


AUTHOR BIO:From early school-day projects to becoming editor of a local newspaper in Minnesota, Susan Meissner’s love for writing has been apparent her entire life.  The Shape of Mercy is her latest novel in a string of books that delve into the deeper issues of life. She is the author of nine novels and lives with her family in San Diego, California.  Find out more about her at www.susanmeissner.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT AND I'LL DRAW A WINNER ON WEDNESDAY!

To purchase a copy, click HERE!

Friday, October 10, 2008

IT'S NOT ABOUT ME

Today I'm excited to feature It's Not About Me, by ACFW's very own Michelle Sutton! Thankfully my teen daughter finished the story quickly so I could pry it out of her hands and find out why she was giggling about boxers. 

First off, don't let the YA label fool you--Michelle lives up to her Edgy Inspirational Author title in a way that infuses a strong dose of reality into the reader. INAM digs into the nitty gritty of teen life in a way that's not commonly seen by we adults. Issues like violence against women, teen pregnancy, and alcohol abuse are faced head-on in this fast-paced story. The best part is, the story is unapologetically Christ-centered! This would be a great read for a mature teen, and one that Christians can share with their friends and know that the gospel message is going out.

And now, enough from me. Because we all know, it's not about me. (LOL, I'm cracking myself up!) Here's my Q&A with Michelle Sutton:

*How did you come to have a passion for writing Young Adult fiction, and have you tried other genres?
I love all kinds of fiction. This story just came out in a YA voice when I wrote it.
 
*What do you want readers to take away with them when they finish your book?
A better understanding of unconditional love, true faith, and real joy. And God can use even the most trying circumstances to make us more like Him.
 
*You are the reigning Christian book review queen, which prompts the question enquiring minds all over blogdom want to know: how many book reviews do you post each year?
I post about a hundred give or take ten. Not nearly as many books as I receive, I can tell you that for certain. On a good month I review 10 books, and a slower month maybe 7.
 
*I think it's widely known that you are one busy woman between your job, book reviews, being an editor for the Christian Fiction Online Magazine, and raising a family. How on earth do you find time to write novels too? Please, reveal your time management secrets!
Since I have taken on the magazine I am more insanely busy than ever. Promoting my book and preparing for conference has just about tipped me over the edge, but I am taking it one day at a time. I'm just thankful my boys are so low-maintenance. My husband does a lot of the cooking. So bottom line is if your spouse cooks and your kids are teens you may be able to take on more than you can chew now, too! Gotta get that kiddo grown.
 
*Now that you've achieved publication, what's next on your list of Big Goals in life?
I have by no means "arrived" and have much to do still. My big thing with this book is reaching people's hearts for Christ. I plan to ride the wave as long as I can and when things slow down I'll know I'd done my best to reach out to a lost and dying world. The thing is that I know SO many people who aren't Christians who will read my book simply because I wrote it and they know me. They are all going to "hear" the message in the story and then it's up to them if they want to respond or not.
 
*Any parting words of inspiration to your fellow authors?
Enjoy your pre-pubbed time while you have it. Once the ball starts rolling you have to run to keep up. Make sure you are ready. 


THANKS MICHELLE! And congratulations on your book--may it be the first of many!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

I WAS SADDENED THIS MORNING....

....to wake up and find out I didn't win the Nobel Prize for literature. Instead it went to some French dude named Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio. Too bad because I could have used the extra million dollars in my checking account.

In other news...

Yesterday I made a trip to Barnes & Noble, you know, to do my part to stimulate the economy. I bought a Writer's Digest in the hopes that I could pick up a new technique or two, or at least find something interesting to banter about on the blog. To my dismay, when I sat down to read it I realized that I'd already bought the same issue several weeks ago. WAH! Why didn't I notice before I shelled out the money? Am I that unobservant, or is it that the content of writer's magazines is so similar from month-to-month that it was bound to happen?

Anyhoo, what I love is finding that one nugget that inspires me to continue writing, helps me hone my skills, and makes me want to glorify God with increasingly better work. That's what conference provided for me, and I'm even more anxious to dig into the MP3s. 

Have any new nuggets that have inspired you lately?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

AN INTERESTING QUANDARY...

There's an interesting quandary that has come up multiple times over the last few days, and I expect it will continue to be a topic of conversation in the future. How do you review a book that you dislike? In the secular realm it's not as big a problem, but within the CBA we are Christians and should behave in a manner that glorifies God both with honesty, and with treating our fellow writers the way we would want to be treated. The other part of the problem is that if you've been around the Christian writer circuit for long, you personally know many of the authors whose work you're reviewing.

On Eileen Watson's blog, she discusses a book that was a difficult read because of the headhopping. I so appreciate the approach she took in opening a dialogue about what kept her from enjoying the book, but at the same time she didn't mention the title or author. She did not bash the author, nor did she embarrass them in a public forum. 

Some reviews point out both good and bad, and I think that's totally fair. The ones that get under my skin are the ones that come across mean-spirited in tone. The only thing I can think when I read them is that the negativity and tone of the review says more about the reviewer than about the book. 

This same topic came up during Angela Hunt's final keynote at the ACFW conference. She mentioned being discouraged at how destructive people are on their blogs in regard to other writer's work, and that you don't have to be psychologist to know that those who are insecure go around bashing others. She mentioned that we are all called to different things and are called to write different ways. We are called to  reach different audiences, and who are we to put down what God has chosen to use? (Sidenote: if you don't have the conference MP3s, go order them because her keynotes are SO worth the cost!)

My personal preference when reviewing a book I don't particularly care for is to post the official CFBA blurb that comes with the story, or if it's not a CFBA book then I don't post at all. Now don't go looking to see if your book was posted that way, I also do that if I've run out of time and didn't finish reading it, or if I didn't get the book in the first place. (I'll bet that all this time you were thinking I just adored every book I could get my grubby hands on!)

The more we can handle the issue with grace, the more we can lift up Inspirational fiction as a whole. My question to you is, how do you handle reviewing a book that you don't like? Is this a problem you've encountered?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A CONSTANT HEART

Oh boy, what a treat! I've really enjoyed Siri Mitchell's chick lits (The Cubicle Next Door and Moon Over Tokyo) so I thought I'd give this one a try. I am truly impressed at Siri's ability to write with skill in both genres! A Constant Heart succeeded in illuminating life in the Elizabethan court alive for me. Written in 1st person and alternating between hero and heroine, I really felt the obstacles to Marget and Lytham's love, and their deepest desire to find a constant heart in a world of deception and facade. Highly recommend.




This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

A Constant Heart

(Bethany House October 1, 2008)

by

Siri Mitchell



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Siri Mitchell graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree and worked in various levels of government. As a military spouse, she has lived all over the world, including in Paris and Tokyo. Siri enjoys observing and learning from different cultures. She is fluent in French and loves sushi.

But she is also a member of a strange breed of people called novelists. When they’re listening to a sermon and taking notes, chances are, they’ve just had a great idea for a plot or a dialogue. If they nod in response to a really profound statement, they’re probably thinking, “Yes. Right. That’s exactly what my character needs to hear.” When they edit their manuscripts, they laugh at the funny parts. And cry at the sad parts. Sometimes they even talk to their characters.

Siri wrote 4 books and accumulated 153 rejections before signing with a publisher. In the process, she saw the bottoms of more pints of Ben & Jerry’s than she cares to admit. At various times she has vowed never to write another word again. Ever. She has gone on writing strikes and even stooped to threatening her manuscripts with the shredder.

A Constant Heart is her sixth novel. Two of her novels, Chateau of Echoes and The Cubicle Next Door were Christy Award finalists. She has been called one of the clearest, most original voices in the CBA.



ABOUT THE BOOK

In a world of wealth, power, and privilege...love is the only forbidden luxury.

“Trust was a valuable commodity at court. Traded by everyone, but possessed by no one. Its rarity was surpassed only by love. Love implied commitment and how could any of us commit ourselves to any but the Queen? Love implied singularity and how could any of us benefit another if our affections were bound to one in exclusivity? Love was never looked for and rarely found. When it was, it always ended badly.”

In Queen Elizabeth’s court where men and women willingly trade virtue for power, is it possible for Marget to obtain her heart’s desire or is the promise of love only an illusion?

A riveting glimpse into Queen Elizabeth's Court...

Born with the face of an angel, Marget Barnardsen is blessed. Her father is a knight, and now she is to be married to the Earl of Lytham. Her destiny is guaranteed ... at least, it would seem so. But when her introduction to court goes awry and Queen Elizabeth despises her, Marget fears she's lost her husband forever. Desperate to win him back, she'll do whatever it takes to discover how she failed and capture again the love of a man bound to the queen.

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Constant Heart, go HERE

Monday, October 06, 2008

ONE HEARTBEAT AWAY....

....from insanity! Seriously, "one heartbeat away from the presidency" is the most overused cliche of the slugfest we call a presidential election. I'm going to retch the next time I hear it. Surely I'm not the only one who has noticed this phrase and cringed.

In other news, what do you think of the financial meltdown? Thankfully we've paid most everything off over the last few years, and we have places where we could pare down living expenses should we need the extra dough. Hopefully it won't come to that, but you never know. I'm not a big Endtimes-It's-Bound-to-Happen-Any-Day-Now type, but we know that scripture says it will be perilous times.

While blockading our home and rounding up squirrels for dinner probably isn't necessary, surely there are some common sense things we could do, like stock up on staples--flour, sugar, rice, blank paper, shampoo--just in case. Kind of reminds me of the Restoration Series, by Terri Blackstock. It's not likely for anything catastrophic like that to happen, but it's good to be prepared for whatever may come. Incidently, I've stockpiled necessities every summer for the last several years, just so you don't think I'm nuts or a Y2K throwback.

Has the current economic situation altered your spending behavior at all? Or are you keeping on with the status quo? I'd love to know your take.


Friday, October 03, 2008

IT'S NOT ABOUT ME

Well, it's not. 

Today it's about Michelle Sutton's new book, It's Not About Me! I'm only going to post the CFBA review because next week I'm part of her tour, and will post my thoughts and a special interview! Be sure to watch for that on Friday. Until then....

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

It's Not About Me

Sheaf House Publishers (September 1, 2008)

by

Michelle Sutton



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Michelle Sutton has lived in Arizona and since 1991 and has two sons and a husband of 18 years. She began writing fiction in August 2003 when God inspired her to write a novel with realistic characters that would glorify Him. In 2004 she joined ACFW - American Christian Fiction Writers. In 2006 Michelle ran for Volunteer Officer on the ACFW Operating board and ACFW members elected her to serve a two year term. She sold her first manuscript Then Sings My Soul (now re-titled It's Not About Me) to Sheaf House and her debut novel was released in Sept. 2008. The second book in the Second Glances series - It's Not About Him - will be released the following fall (Sept. 2009.)

Last, Michelle is Editor in Chief of the new Christian Fiction Online Magazine. The debut issue released in July 2008. The magazine is sponsored by the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance.



ABOUT THE BOOK

Annie has it all. She's attractive, graduated with honors, was accepted at the college of her choice, has supportive parents, good friends, and a steady boyfriend who loves her. One night an unexpected visitor appears and Annie's safe world is destroyed by a brutal attack. As she tries to pick up the pieces of her broken life, she is torn between two brothers, both of whom claim to love her. She is attracted to both, but which one does she love? How can she choose when her decision may cause a permanent rift between them? And more important, will she give her heart to the One who will sustain her even when human love fails.

"...the exquisitely written spiritual content shows the reader that redemption is available, no matter what the circumstances."
- 4 Stars, Romantic Times!

Instead of dealing with timely issues like alcoholism, premarital sex and pornography in a preachy, oh-so-tired fashion, Michelle Sutton's It's Not About Me gets to the heart of the matter with a shocking dose of realism and poignant storytelling. From the first paragraph, Sutton weaves together a thoroughly entertaining story that'll keep readers intrigued for the long haul as they get to know Annie, Dan, Tony and Susie—young adults that probably don't look and sound all that different from themselves. Now that's a seriously refreshing turn for Christian fiction."
~Christa Ann Banister~, author of Around the World in 80 Dates, (NavPress 2007) and Blessed are the Meddlers (NavPress 2008)

It's Not About Me is a wonderfully entertaining and deliciously suspenseful read that will keep you turning the pages. Sutton doesn't back away from the drama and with all of the twists and turns, It's Not About Me is hard to put down. I cannot wait for the sequel! Bravo!"
~Victoria Christopher Murray~, Essence best-selling author of multiple titles including The Ex Files and the upcoming YA series The Divine Divas

“Annie captured my heart on the first page and kept me enthralled to the very end. This edgy, yet surprisingly poignant story travels the inroads of intimate relationships – man to woman, brother to brother, parent to child, friend to friend. But especially satisfying is the author’s delicate handling of the relationship between a searching soul and the loving Savior who alone possesses the power to work all things out for the good. A terrific debut for Michelle Sutton. I can’t wait to read more from this talented author!”
~Virginia Smith~, author of Just As I Am and Sincerely, Mayla

"Michelle Sutton's gritty writing style will very likely go straight to the hearts of teens, addressing what they deal with every day in what is all too often grim reality for our youth. Sutton is no doubt a refreshing and much needed voice in today's YA fiction."
~Tina Ann Forkner~, Author of Ruby Among Us
Waterbrook Press/Random House


If you would like to read the Prologue and first Chapter of It's Not About Me, go HERE

Thursday, October 02, 2008

I'M NOT A GENTLEMAN...

...but the hero in my story is 60% gentleman, and that's just about accurate. Instead of quizzing myself today, I quizzed my hero. He's a bachelor/drifter who tries to get it right--definitely not perfect, but an all-around good guy.



You Are 60% Gentleman



Generally you act like a gentleman, but sometimes you're careless with your manners.

Most people know that you're trying your best - and that's usually good enough.


How about it ladies--quiz your hero!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

JOHN 3:16

This book has THE most satisfying spiritual thread I've read in a long, long time. Truthfully, I even shed a few tears because I wasn't prepared for the twists and surprises along the way. There are few books where a large cast with several POVs can come off so well-rounded, and this is one of them. Make sure to read the author's note at the end because Nancy Moser ties it up in a way that makes you pause and think.


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

John 3:16

Tyndale House Publishers (September 9, 2008)

by

Nancy Moser



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Nancy Moser is the author of three inspirational humor books and eighteen novels, including Solemnly Swear, Time Lottery, a Christy Award winner, and her latest historical, Washington's Lady.

Nancy and her husband Mark live in the Midwest. She’s earned a degree in architecture, traveled extensively in Europe, and has performed in numerous theaters,
symphonies, and choirs. She gives Said So Sister Seminars around the country, helping women identify their gifts as they celebrate their sisterhood. She is a fan of anything antique—humans included.

Find out more at Nancy Moser.com and Sister Circles.com


ABOUT THE BOOK

Five people looking for a reason to keep living are about to find it in the last place they expect... In my usual "big cast" style comes a story of what happens when one man puts his faith on the line and holds up a John 3:16 sign at a sporting event. Roman Paulson's life revolves around his son, Billy, a University of Nebraska football hero with a promising life ahead of him. But when Billy's coach encroaches on Roman's relationship with his son, Roman fears he'll lose Billy forever. Roman isn't the only one whose world turns upside down. He's one of five unsuspecting people whose lives intersect on a bright fall day.

If you would like to read the first chapter of John 3:16, go HERE
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