Thursday, April 30, 2009

HAVE YOU EVER HAD ONE OF THOSE DAYS....

....where you need a lot of extra prayer?

That's my family today. While I can't publicly disclose the dirty details, here's what I can say:

*Someone did a bad thing to us, and left us to bear the consequences

*We need favor this morning

*We need quick resolution, and no further damage

Your prayers are MUCH appreciated!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

OINK, OINK!

Anyone else sick of hearing about the swine flu? Every time I turn on the news, there it is. While I understand the serious nature of the outbreak--and believe me, I'm a hypochondriac so I'm doubly concerned--I'd love to hear about something else for a while. 
Luau Pig Pictures, Images and Photos
Speaking of pigs, my tots and I are reading Charlotte's Web. When we got to the part about Farmer Zuckerman wanting to slaughter Wilber for Christmas dinner, my children were quite disturbed. 

"Well, you eat pigs," I said.

Eyes go wide. 

"Remember last night at Grandma's? We ate a pig for dinner."

Children shudder.

"The pork roast was a pig. So is the sausage you love for breakfast, and bacon too!"

I may have scared the children into being vegetarians now that they know they're eating Wilber. Sheesh, it's not like we serve it whole with the apple in its mouth.

Anyhoo, back to the pandemic. I'd like to leave you with a parting thought, a word I run to whenever I'm tempted to dwell on bad news, a soothing word that restores peace to my soul.

You will not be afraid of the terror by night,
Or of the arrow that flies by day;
Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.
A thousand may fall at your side
And ten thousand at your right hand,
But it shall not approach you.
~Psalm 91:5-7


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A FLICKERING LIGHT

Absolutly fascinating! I'll never look at photography the same, but that's secondary to the honest feelings, and sometimes painful journey, of Jessie Gaebele. Set in the early 1900's, A Flickering Light is beautiful in words as well as story, and will keep you anxiously turning pages to find out how Jessie will handle herself in the middle of a forbidden, emotional entanglement. If only all books could be so honest, and the amazing thing is that the story is based on real people. 




Here's the blurb:

Returning to her Midwest roots, award-winning author Jane Kirkpatrick draws a page from her grandmother’s photo album to capture the interplay between shadow and light, temptation and faith that marks a woman’s pursuit of her dreams.

She took exquisite photographs,

but her heart was the true image exposed.

Fifteen-year-old Jessie Ann Gaebele loves nothing more than capturing a gorgeous Minnesota landscape when the sunlight casts its most mesmerizing shadows. So when F.J. Bauer hires her in 1907 to assist in his studio and darkroom, her dreams for a career in photography appear to find root in reality.

With the infamous hazards of the explosive powder used for lighting and the toxic darkroom chemicals, photography is considered a man’s profession. Yet Jessie shows remarkable talent in both the artistry and business of running a studio. She proves less skillful, however, at managing her growing attraction to the very married Mr. Bauer.

This luminous coming-of-age tale deftly exposes the intricate shadows that play across every dream worth pursuing—and the irresistible light that beckons the dreamer on.

Author Bio:

Jane Kirkpatrick is a best-selling, award-winning author whose previous historical novels include All Together in One Place and Christy Award finalist A Tendering in the Storm. An international keynote speaker, she has earned regional and national recognition for her stories based on the lives of actual people, including the prestigious Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Hall of Fame. Jane is aWisconsin native who since 1974 has lived in Eastern Oregon, where she and her husband, Jerry, ranch 160 rugged acres.


CLICK HERE to get more info and to purchase the book!

Monday, April 27, 2009

HAIR TO SPARE

"You have to promise not to cry," said my hair dresser with her scissors gleaming. LOL! Did I dare go through with it?

Last Friday I went in for my annual haircut. Long, unruly, and so heavy it gave me headaches, it was time for the hair to go. Go where, you ask? Well, recently we heard about Wigs for Kids, an organization that helps kids who are in need of hairpieces, and all they require is 12 inches. My oldest daughter is saving hers as well, because we have hair to spare.

Here's before:





And here's after:
 
Though it's a bit shorter than I really like, this time it was worth it! If you have hair to spare, CLICK HERE to donate!

Friday, April 24, 2009

ELISHA'S BONES

Ahhhh--hear that? It's the sound of a satisfying read. I feel like I traveled the world with the hero, Jack Hawthorne, searching for the mysterious bones of Elisha, the prophet. Excellent setting, strong 1st person voice, and a tight plot lured me into hours spent hunched over the pages. I loved the introspection woven into the action, and I came away wishing I was an archaeologist with a penchant for trouble. Thumbs up, baby!


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Elisha's Bones

(Bethany House March 1, 2009)

by

Don Hoesel



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Don Hoesel was born and raised in Buffalo, NY but calls Spring Hill, TN home. He is a Web site designer for a Medicare carrier in Nashville, TN. He has a BA in Mass Communication from Taylor University and has published short fiction in Relief Journal.

He lives in Spring Hill with his wife and two children.

Elisha's Bones is his first novel.


ABOUT THE BOOK

Every year, professor of antiquities Jack Hawthorne looks forward to the winter break as a time to hide away from his responsibilities. Even if just for a week or two. But this year, his plans are derailed when he's offered almost a blank check from a man chasing a rumor.

Billionaire Gordon Reese thinks he knows where the bones of the prophet Elisha are--bones that in the Old Testament brought the dead back to life. The bones of the prophet once raised the dead to life... but they vanished from history in a whisper.

Bankrolled by a dying man of unlimited means, Hawthorne's hunt spans the globe and leads him into a deadly conspiracy older than the church itself. A born skeptic, Jack doesn't think much of the assignment but he could use the money, so he takes the first step on a chase for the legendary bones that will take him to the very ends of the earth.

But he's not alone. Joined with a fiery colleague, Esperanza Habilla, they soon discover clues to a shadowy organization whose long-held secrets have been protected . . . at all costs. And he soon discovers those sworn to keep the secret of the bones will do anything to protect them. As their lives are threatened again and again, the real race is to uncover the truth before those chasing them hunt them down.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Elisha's Bones, go HERE

Thursday, April 23, 2009

MY HERO HAS FLEAS!!!

What would we do without crit partners?! Thankfully, I have two partners: one who critiques one scene at a time, and one who reads the whole whoppin' book. Between the two of them, they keep me from big and small mistakes, silly and ghastly mistakes, and this time my hero gets a flea bath before I send him to my agent.

You see, one of those silly repeating actions showed up, the kind that's not noticeable when writing/reading in pieces, but rears it's flea-filled head when going through multiple chapters at once. Know what it is? My hero scratches his neck when he's nervous. Or when he's thinking. Or when I've got nothing else for his hand to be doing. LOL!!!!

So today, in honor of my hero, here's a quiz. Now when you take it, don't answer for your husband/boyfriend/significant other--fill in the answers for the hero in your current WIP!







Keep Him :-)



This guy's got marriage on the brain - and should propose soon...

That is, if you play your cards right. Keep doing what you're doing.

Marriage material guy doesn't like drama - or hot today, cold tomorrow relationships.

So keep it flowing peacefully, and you'll capture his heart.



How to make sure you're ready: Make sure that you love marriage-minded-guy because he's a fantastic catch - not because he's eager to walk down the aisle.



Come back and tell us about your hero!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

REMEMBER

Last night my daughter's choir performed at a Holocaust Remembrance Day function for our local Jewish community. Since parents weren't really invited, I had to do my best to go unnoticed. More than once I teared up at the stories told, and I had the strangest feeling as I stood in the midst of God's chosen people, a feeling that I still can't quite pinpoint.

When the performance was over, one of the survivors had a brief moment where she stood alone and I took the opportunity to greet her. A gracious woman, Sophia shared her story. At four years old, she was put on a train by her father and sent north to Russia. The rest of her seven siblings, along with her parents, were all killed. She grew up nearly alone, hungry, sometimes bald even, and by the age of fourteen she was on her own.

I told her I have a soft spot for the nation of Israel and the Jewish people, and she shared her concern about the United States drifting away from its protective role of Israel. Sophia also mentioned that in these times, she feels that Christians are their brothers. We hugged, and I'd felt a kinship that I'd never previously known. Incredibly powerful moment, the kind of moment that puts life into perspective.

Even though I'm a day late, I encourage you to remember the Holocaust, and the Nation of Israel.

I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the
earth shall be blessed.
~Genesis 12:2-3~




Tuesday, April 21, 2009

SO NOT HAPPENING

I had more fun reading this book than any other in the past several months. Now hold on--it's not a knock to any other story/author, I'm just saying this is the ultimate in laugh-inducing entertainment! I never knew I could enjoy a YA book so much, and find ways to relate to the main character who is...well...decades younger than me. The heroine goes from the high life in New York to cow kissing in farm country--talk about character growth! But this isn't your ordinary fish-out-of-water story. There's mystery, romance, and laughter all rolled into one fantastic book. If you've had a hankering for lit (and really, since there's so little out there nowadays who would turn down a good laugh?) then you have to read So Not Happening. And score, there's a sequel!!!!!

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


So Not Happening (The Charmed Life)

Thomas Nelson (May 5, 2009)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Jenny B. Jones writes adult and YA Christian Fiction with equal parts wit, sass, and untamed hilarity. When she's not writing, she's living it up as a high school speech teacher in Arkansas.


Visit the author's website.



Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (May 5, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1595545417
ISBN-13: 978-1595545411

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


One year ago my mom got traded in for a newer model.

And that’s when my life fell apart.

“Do you, Jillian Leigh Kirkwood . . .”

Standing by my mother’s side as she marries the man who is so not my dad, I suppress a sigh and try to wiggle my toes in these hideous shoes. The hideous shoes that match my hideous maid-of honor dress. I like to look at things on the bright side, but the only

positive thing about this frock is that I’ll never have to wear it again.

“. . . take Jacob Ralph Finley . . .”

Ralph? My new stepdad’s middle name is Ralph? Okay, do we need one more red flag here? My mom is marrying this guy, and I didn’t even know his middle name. Did she? I check her face for signs of revulsion, signs of doubt. Signs of “Hey, what am I thinking? I don’t want Jacob Ralph Finley to be my daughter’s new stepdad.”

I see none of these things twinkling in my mom’s crystal blue eyes. Only joy. Disgusting, unstoppable joy.

“Does anyone have an objection?” The pastor smiles and scans the small crowd in the Tulsa Fellowship Church. “Let him speak now or forever hold his peace.”

Oh my gosh. I totally object! I look to my right and lock eyes with Logan, the older of my two soon-to-be stepbrothers. In the six hours that I have been in Oklahoma preparing for this “blessed” event, Logan and I have not said five words to one another. Like we’ve mutually agreed to be enemies.

I stare him down.

His eyes laser into mine.

Do we dare?

He gives a slight nod, and my heart triples in beat.

“Then by the powers vested in me before God and the family and friends of—”

“No!”

The church gasps.

I throw my hands over my mouth, wishing the floor would swallow me.

I, Bella Kirkwood, just stopped my own mother’s wedding.

And I have no idea where to go from here. It’s not like I do this every day, okay? Can’t say I’ve stopped a lot of weddings in my sixteen years.

My mom swivels around, her big white dress making crunchy noises. She takes a step closer to me, still flashing her pearly veneers at the small crowd.

“What,” she hisses near my ear, “are you doing?”

I glance at Logan, whose red locks hang like a shade over his eyes. He nods again.

“Um . . . um . . . Mom, I haven’t had a chance to talk to you at all this week . . .” My voice is a tiny whisper. Sweat beads on my forehead.

“Honey, now is not exactly the best time to share our feelings and catch up.”

My eyes dart across the sanctuary, where one hundred and fifty people are perched on the edge of their seats. And it’s not because they’re anxious for the chicken platters coming their way after the ceremony.

“Mom, the dude’s middle name is Ralph.”

She leans in, and we’re nose to nose. “You just stopped my wedding and that’s what you wanted to tell me?”

Faint—that’s what I’ll do next time I need to halt a wedding.

“How well do you know Jake? You only met six months ago.”

Some of the heat leaves her expression. “I’ve known him long enough to know that I love him, Bella. I knew it immediately.”

“But what if you’re wrong?” I rush on, “I mean, I’ve only been around him a few times, and I’m not so sure. He could be a serial killer for all we know.” I can count on one hand the times I’ve been around Jake. My mom usually visited him when I was at my dad’s.

Her voice is low and hurried. “I understand this isn’t easy for you. But our lives have changed. It’s going to be an adventure, Bel.”

Adventure? You call meeting a man on the Internet and forcing me to move across the country to live with his family an adventure? An adventure is swimming with dolphins in the Caribbean. An adventure is touring the pyramids in Egypt. Or shopping at the Saks after-Thanksgiving sale with Dad’s credit card. This, I do believe, qualifies as a nightmare!

“You know I’ve prayed about this. Jake and I both have. We know this is God’s will for us. I need you to trust me, because I’ve never been more sure about anything in my life.”

A single tear glides down Mom’s cheek, and I feel my heart constrict. This time last year my life was so normal. So happy. Can I just hit the reverse button and go back?

Slowly I nod. “Okay, Mom.” It’s kind of hard to argue with “God says this is right.” (Though I happen to think He’s wrong.)

The preacher clears his throat and lifts a bushy black brow.

“You can continue,” I say, knowing I’ve lost the battle. “She had something in her teeth.” Yes, that’s the best I've got.

I. Am. An. Idiot.

“And now, by the powers vested in me, I now pronounce you Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Finley. You may kiss your bride.”

Nope. Can’t watch.

I turn my head as the “Wedding March” starts. Logan walks to my side, and I link my arm in his. Though we’re both going to be juniors, he’s a head taller than me. It’s like we’re steptwins. He grabs his six-year-old brother, Robbie, with his other hand, and off we go

in time to the music. Robbie throws rose petals all around us, giggling with glee, oblivious to the fact that we just witnessed a ceremony marking the end of life as we know it.

“Good job stopping the wedding.” Logan smirks. “Very successful.”

I jab my elbow into his side. “At least I tried! You did nothing!”

“I just wanted to see if you had it in you. And you don’t.”

I snarl in his direction as the camera flashes, capturing this day for all eternity.

Last week I was living in Manhattan in a two-story apartment between Sarah Jessica Parker and Katie Couric. I could hop a train to Macy’s and Bloomie’s. My friends and I could eat dinner at Tao and see who could count the most celebs. I had Broadway in my backyard

and Daddy’s MasterCard in my wallet.

Then my mom got married.

And I got a new life.

I should’ve paid that six-year-old to pull the fire alarm.

Monday, April 20, 2009

THE GOOD NEWS IS...

...I read two entire books over the weekend. That means:

A. There were relatively few distractions and we were having a pleasant, low-key time, and
B. I must be increasing my read-speed!

One of the books, which I'll blog on tomorrow, was the most fun I've had reading in months. Not that the other dozen+  books weren't really good, but this one made me want to cry for the demise of chick lit. Sigh.

OH, the bad news of the whole situation is that my OCD must be in overdrive. While trying to relax and enjoy the experience, a STUPID song kept looping through my head and I had absolutely NO control whatsoever. EVERY stinkin' time I picked up something to read, even when I changed books, locations, reading positions, etc. this ridiculous ditty crept into my head and played in the background. Ever had that happen? It's worse than annoying...it makes you question your own sanity.

What is the song, you ask?

Brace yourself, you're not going to believe this.

Ready? Prepare to be infected, it's catchy. (The song starts at about 28 seconds.) Here it is:





The weird thing is, my kids and I don't really watch this show. But sure enough whenever I turned the page

Your backyard friends, the Backyardigans!

And when the heroine was in danger

Together in the backyard again, in the place where we belong,

Or it a critical moment where the heroine was about to get kissed

Where we'll prob'ly sing a song, and we'll maybe dance along

And during the black moment when the heroine's world was crumbing

We're your backyard friends, the Backyardigans {insert piano riff}

Now y'all know I'm crazy. Sheesh. Any suggestions for scrubbing the song from my mental playlist? Honestly, it's like my brain got stuck on a scratch in a CD. Anyhoo, just had to share my plight on a Monday morning. 

Read any good books this weekend?

Saturday, April 18, 2009


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


Boneman's Daughters

Center Street (April 14, 2009)

by

Ted Dekker




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Ted is the son of missionaries John and Helen Dekker, whose incredible story of life among headhunters in Indonesia has been told in several books. Surrounded by the vivid colors of the jungle and a myriad of cultures, each steeped in their own interpretation of life and faith, Dekker received a first-class education on human nature and behavior. This, he believes, is the foundation of his writing.

After graduating from a multi-cultural high school, he took up permanent residence in the United States to study Religion and Philosophy. After earning his Bachelor's Degree, Dekker entered the corporate world in management for a large healthcare company in California. Dekker was quickly recognized as a talent in the field of marketing and was soon promoted to Director of Marketing. This experience gave him a background which enabled him to eventually form his own company and steadily climb the corporate ladder.

Since 1997, Dekker has written full-time. He states that each time he writes, he finds his understanding of life and love just a little clearer and his expression of that understanding a little more vivid. Dekker's body of work encompassing seven mysteries, three thrillers and ten fantasies includes Heaven's Wager, When Heaven Weeps, Thunder of Heaven, Blessed Child, A Man Called Blessed, Blink, Thr3e, The Circle Trilogy (Black, Red, White), Obsessed, Renegade, and Chaos.



ABOUT THE BOOK

Would you kill an innocent man to save your daughter?

They call him BoneMan, a serial killer who’s abducted six young women. He’s the perfect father looking for the perfect daughter, and when his victims fail to meet his lofty expectations, he kills them by breaking their bones and leaving them to die.

Intelligence officer Ryan Evans, on the other hand, has lost all hope of ever being the perfect father. His daughter and wife have written him out of their lives.

Everything changes when BoneMan takes Ryan’s estranged daughter, Bethany, as his seventh victim. Ryan goes after BoneMan on his own.

But the FBI sees it differently. New evidence points to the suspicion that Ryan is BoneMan. Now the hunter is the hunted, and in the end, only one father will stand.


If your an avid Dekker fan, and would like wallpaper and counters for your blog, go HERE.

You can listen to an audio clip HERE

Watch the VIDEO:




If you would like to read the first chapter of Boneman's Daughters, go HERE

Friday, April 17, 2009

FATAL ILLUSIONS

I confess, I haven't finished reading yet! I'm about halfway through, and so far so good. Highly enjoyable and tense enough that I couldn't read it last night because I started scaring myself, and every noise became someone who'd snuck into our home. LOL!! Suspense and emotion nicely woven together. Check out the first chapter below.


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Fatal Illusions

Kregel Publications (March 5, 2009)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Adam Blumer graduated from Bob Jones University with a degree in a print journalism. Since childhood he has been writing stories and has since been published in a variety of periodicals. He lives in Michigan with his wife and their two daughters.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications (March 5, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0825420989
ISBN-13: 978-0825420986



AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Prologue

As dusk settled over the suburban Cincinnati neighborhood, the sodium-vapor lights along the quiet street blinked and came to life on cue. They chased the shadows from the grade school parking lot, now littered with dried leaves that scraped across the pavement and swirled in their seasonal dance of joy.

Across the way, a man in a jet-black jogging suit eased behind a tree and checked his watch as the chilly breeze tousled his hair. He breathed deeply, noting the intoxicating aroma of burning leaves, and impatiently studied the faces of the pedestrians now strolling toward the school auditorium. Anxious children tugged at reluctant parents, their excitement barely contained.

“Yes, yes,” he overheard a woman tell a child. “We’ll get there in plenty of time. No need to rush.”

He smiled. He had been that overzealous child once, but that was a long time ago. He’d grown up, things had changed, and not every change had been welcome.

His smile faded as he continued to search for a certain bespectacled face. He’d been watching her for weeks and knew everything about her: when she got up in the morning, when she went to bed, where she went each day, how she spent her time. He even knew she was failing English for the second time, even after her teacher had given her a two-week extension on her term paper. Going through her trash, he’d discovered her addiction to Snickers bars, her affection for Ruffles potato chips and cream soda, and her preference for Pantene shampoo, which added luster to the blond hair she wore long and wavy.

A familiar red nylon jacket caught his eye, and he sucked in his breath. Concealing himself further behind the tree, he waited for her to pass.

Hmm. She was so close. He could have reached out, could have touched her hair. But he steadied his breathing and let the moment pass, deciding that reason must win the battle with emotion. There were simply too many people around who might see him and remember his face. He watched as she strolled into the school with her two charges in tow, carefree and unsuspecting.

Just the way he wanted her.

He took another deep breath, surprised by how calm he felt tonight. He knew what he needed to do and realized he had the resolve to execute his plan. Now all he needed was the opportunity, but waiting had never been easy for him. He could hear his mother’s chiding words strumming across the strings of his memory.

You’re so impatient, Donny. So restless. Don’t you know that good things come to those who wait?

Time to get inside.

***

Someone was watching her. For weeks, she’d felt unseen eyes following her every move. Evaluating. Judging. But when she would whirl around, no one was ever there—just brittle leaves scudding across the empty sidewalks.

“C’mon, you two. Hurry up.”

Clutching their hands with icy fingers, Erin yanked Daphne and Thomas along to match her stride. It was bad enough that she was stuck taking care of these first-grade brats on a Friday night. Worse, the evening’s entertainment promised to be a childish, elementary school musical, and she had better things to do with her time.

She’d been planning to give Sheryl a cut and dye job tonight. Her hairdressing service brought in more money than babysitting, but her mom had said she owed the Spensers a favor.

Yeah, whatever.

Erin wished for her father right now. Divorced from her mom and recently remarried, he had moved three states away, leaving them with the mortgage and a barely enough paycheck from her mom’s job as a nighttime gas station attendant. Her mom had said he was a no-good lowlife, that they were better off without him, but Erin wasn’t so sure. She had fond memories of her dad taking her ice-skating, just the two of them. He had shown her the spins he’d mastered as a young man, when he had almost qualified for the Olympics.

Almost. Dreams are never easy, he’d told her. You have to work hard and never, ever give up.

One more year and she would graduate from high school. Maybe then she could free herself from her mother’s stranglehold and open the beautician’s shop she’d always wanted.

The lights of Bridgetown Elementary glimmered against the darkening sky, the crisp wind swirling the leaves at her feet. She wished she’d worn her jean jacket instead of the thin, red windbreaker. She pushed her wire rim glasses up on her nose and glanced at her watch, realizing that in her reverie she’d slowed her stride.

“C’mon, we’re going to be late if you two don’t hurry,” she said.

“Slow down!” Daphne cried. “We can’t keep up.”

Erin peered down into Daphne’s frustrated hazel eyes. “Look, I’ll let you wear my watch if you’ll get a move on.”

Daphne squealed. “Cool!”

Though they were five minutes late, the program hadn’t yet started. But Erin realized that they should have come much earlier if they’d wanted to get a good seat. The place was packed, and she didn’t see an open row anywhere.

Biting her lip, she spied a friend coming down the aisle toward her. Laurie was a stagehand—and, as it happened, she was also the solution to their problem. She had been saving seats for her mother and sisters, but they’d all been waylaid by food poisoning or something, and wouldn’t be coming.

Three seats. Right in front. Perfect.

Erin couldn’t help smiling smugly as Laurie escorted them to the front row like celebrities at the Academy Awards, minus the red carpet pre-show, of course. She felt the indignant glares drilling into her back from those who had arrived a half hour early to get their seats. She felt a rush of pleasure at the realization that she was the cause of their indignation.

Let them sulk. Sometimes good things happen when you least expect it.

Her mind replayed a similar thrill she’d felt just a month ago, when she’d been summoned to give testimony in a big court case downtown.

***

She’d done up her hair special, dry-cleaned her special navy twin set, and worn her new high-heeled shoes, which made her short, lithe figure seem several inches taller. Approaching the stand, she had, for once in her life, felt important; felt as if every eye in the room was glued to her, mesmerized by this long-haired, blonde goddess with the porcelain skin and sapphire blue eyes. She hadn’t realized until later how important her testimony had been.

“And you saw the defendants enter Margaret Stowe’s house?” Stan Loomis, the prosecuting attorney, had asked.

“That’s right.”

“And you’re sure it was Walter and Virginia Owens. You’re positive?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Remember, Miss Walker, you are under oath. You saw their faces?”

She had bitten her lip as she tried to remember.

She had just finished house-sitting for Mrs. Stowe, as another way to make some extra money. The old lady was loaded. She had said good night to Mrs. Stowe and had walked off, feeling giddy at the sizable check. Almost to her car, she’d dropped her keys and bent to pick them up. Hearing voices, she’d glanced back and had seen two people walking up the sidewalk to Mrs. Stowe’s front door.

A man and a woman, wearing long, dark overcoats. They had looked wealthy. The man had placed his black-gloved hand at the middle of the woman’s back.

“You don’t think she’ll mind?” the woman had asked, a musical quality to her husky voice. “It’s late.”

“You’re right. It is late. Too late.” The man’s voice had sounded rough, like a smoker’s. “She can’t turn us away now.”

Standing beside her car, Erin had watched as the man knocked. When the door opened, a band of light had slashed across their faces for an instant before they disappeared inside.

Staring unflinchingly at Stan Loomis, she had said, “Yes, it was them. I’m sure of it.” She’d pushed away the fact that the encounter at Mrs. Stowe’s house had occurred the week before she’d gotten her new glasses.

“For the benefit of the jury, would you please point out who you saw?”

Her hand had trembled as she pointed to the pale-faced Owenses, who sulked beside their defense attorney. They didn’t flinch. They didn’t move. But their eyes—they hated her. They wanted her dead. Ever since, those eyes had stared back at her in her dreams.

Those dark, hateful eyes.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Secret

(Bethany House May 1, 2009)

by

Beverly Lewis



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Not until her own children were well into middle school did Bev seek to publish her work, first in magazines such as Highlights for Children, Dolphin Log, and Guideposts for Kids. Her first book followed in 1993—Mountain Bikes and Garbanzo Beans—presently retitled Big Bad Beans (book #22 in the popular CUL-DE-SAC KIDS series of chapter books—see list of Bev's children's books).

Beverly's first venture into adult fiction is the best-selling trilogy, THE HERITAGE OF LANCASTER COUNTY, including The Shunning, a suspenseful saga of Katie Lapp, a young Amish woman drawn to the modern world by secrets from her past. The book is loosely based on the author's maternal grandmother, Ada Ranck Buchwalter, who left her Old Order Mennonite upbringing to marry a Bible College student. One Amish-country newspaper claimed Beverly's work to be "a primer on Lancaster County folklore" and offers "an insider's view of Amish life."

Booksellers across the country, and around the world, have spread the word of Bev's tender tales of Plain country life. A clerk in a Virginia bookstore wrote, "Beverly's books have a compelling freshness and spark. You just don't run across writing like that every day. I hope she'll keep writing stories about the Plain people for a long, long time."

A member of the National League of American Pen Women, as well as a Distinguished Alumnus of Evangel University, Lewis has written over 80 books for children, youth, and adults, many of them award-winning. She and her husband, David, make their home in Colorado, where they enjoy hiking, biking, and playing with their three grandchildren. They are also avid musicians and fiction "book worms."






ABOUT THE BOOK

In the seemingly ordinary Amish home of Grace Byler, secrets abound. Why does her mother weep in the night? Why does her father refuse to admit something is dreadfully wrong? Then, in one startling moment, everything Grace assumed she knew is shattered.

Her mother's disappearance leaves Grace reeling and unable to keep her betrothal promise to her long-time beau. Left to pick up the pieces of her life, Grace questions all she has been taught about love, family, and commitment.

Heather Nelson is an English grad student, stunned by a doctor's diagnosis. Surely fate would not allow her father to lose his only daughter after the death of his wife a few years before. In denial and telling no one she is terminally ill, Heather travels to Lancaster County-- the last place she and her mother had visited together.

Will Heather find healing for body and spirit? As the lives of four wounded souls begin to weave together like an Amish patchwork quilt, they each discover missing pieces of their life puzzles--and glimpse the merciful and loving hand of God.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Secret, go HERE
THE "P" WORD

What word evokes more cringing among Christians than any other word in the English language? It also happens to be the one thing you'll never pray for--unless you're pious and...well, strange. C'mon, take a guess. It starts with P and ends with atience.

PATIENCE {insert scary music}

In tonight's Beth Moore Bible study, she said something hugely profound that hit me like a sucker punch. While I don't recall it word for word, the essence was that we spend our time waiting for (The Thing), rather than waiting on God. When we wait on the Lord, He renews our strength, and yet we wait for The Thing. 

Everyone has a Thing. I have a more than one Thing--a lot more. I'll take this opportunity to confess that I've made an idol of one certain Thing, and it's made my heart not a very pretty place. Or a soft place, for that matter. The sad part is, I don't foresee my family's situation changing (yes, it's a family Thing.) Sometimes it's so easy to get angry with God, thinking that He's forgotten and that He's not working behind the scenes--which is completely untrue.

On the other hand, He doesn't promise to give us every single Thing we pray for. In His wisdom, He knows what's best, and what He has planned for us. Maybe not knowing is the hardest part. The other hard part is the waiting...which involves PATIENCE.

Prayer and Bible reading are great for softening our hearts and preparing us to receive God's will. My question to you is, how do you wait upon the Lord? What does "waiting upon the Lord" even mean to you? Is it active, passive, theoretical? Do you have a Thing? Love to hear your thoughts on this as I work my way through this season.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

DEADLOCK

Set everything else aside while reading the latest thriller from Robert Liparulo, because there's NOT a good place to set the book down or even to take a breath! From the moment the book opens until you close the last page, you'll be absorbed in the action, rooting for the good guys and ready to take a whack at the bad ones. Highly recommend for thriller fans!


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Deadlock

Thomas Nelson (April 2009)

by

Robert Liparulo



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Robert Liparulo is a former journalist, with over a thousand articles and multiple writing awards to his name. Readers of his action-thrillers were not surprised when his visual storytelling style caught the eye of Hollywood producers. Currently, three of his novels for adults are in various stages of development for the big screen: the film rights to Comes A Horseman were purchased by the producer of Tom Clancy’s movies; and Liparulo is penning the screenplays for GERM and Deadfall for two top producers. He is also working with the director Andrew Davis (The Fugitive, Holes) on a political thriller. Novelist Michael Palmer calls Deadfall “a brilliantly crafted thriller.” March 31st marked the publication of Deadfall’s follow-up, Deadlock, which novelist Gayle Lynds calls, “best of high-octane suspense.”

Liparulo’s bestselling young adult series, Dreamhouse Kings, debuted last year with House of Dark Shadows and Watcher in the Woods. Book three, Gatekeepers released in January, and number four, Timescape, comes out in July. The series has garnered praise from readers, both young and old, as well as attracting famous fans who themselves know the genre inside and out. Of the series Goosebumps creator R.L. Stine says, “I loved wandering around in these books. With a house of so many great, haunting stories, why would you ever want to go outside?”

He is currently working on his next thriller, which for the first time injects a bit of the supernatural into his gun-blazing stories. The story is so compelling, two Hollywood studios are already in talks to acquire it—despite its publication date being more than a year away. After that comes a trilogy of novels, based on the critically acclaimed short story he contributed to James Patterson’s Thriller anthology. New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry calls Liparulo’s writing “Inventive, suspenseful, and highly entertaining . . . Robert Liparulo is a storyteller, pure and simple.” He lives with his family in Colorado.


ABOUT THE BOOK

John Hutchinson thinks it's no coincidence that Brendan Page runs this modern Praetorian Guard, and that the billionaire military industrialist must have had something to do with the atrocities his son Declan committed in Canada. The Canadian and U.S. Justice departments disagree, but Hutch has been digging for dirt ever since.

Brendan Page has some dirty not-so-little secrets. he's built an empire on supplying futuristic weapons and highly trained soldiers to the world's most powerful armies. But he's saved his most destructive weapons for himself.

When Hutch discovers the secret of Page's success, Page decides to teach him a lesson. But the operation goes terribly wrong, and Hutch's son is kidnapped. While a lone man stands little chance against the best black op soldiers ever issued M-16s, Hutch manages to survive longer than Page anticipated. As far as Hutch is concerned, high-tech helmets, machine guns, and hand grenades are nothing compared to a man determined to save his son. It's a lesson he sets out to teach Page-and one that he can only hope works as well in the real world as it does in his heart.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Deadlock, go HERE

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

YEP, I BOUGHT ANOTHER ONE...

Do you know what I adore more than purchasing office products or the latest romance? Buying a new Bible. It's been about 8 years since I've had the pleasure of creasing a new Bible and smelling the pages, and this time I got new highlighters to go with it. I used to average one new translation per year, so you can see why I had the itch.

Here are the translations I've had/read:

The Good News Bible
NIV Study
New American Standard
The Spirit-Filled Life Bible

and my new one:

The New American Standard Study Bible

Ahh, there's nothing like hearing those uncreased onionskin pages open for the first time. There are tons of notes and maps that I can't wait to study. I ADORE highlighting and underlining and using Post-its when God shows me something specific.

Recently I haven't been digging into the Word the way I did when I was first saved. I used to spend endless hours buried in the Word because I felt like God was speaking to me. (Obviously He was, but it was intensely personal and vivid.) Will a new Bible put some oopmph back into my quiet time? Maybe. I think sometimes when we've used the same one for a long time the underlines and highlights are familiar and easily glossed over. Maybe I'm wrong.

Here's my question for you: how do you break in a new Bible? Do you start with highlighting your favorite passages, or do you break it in naturally? Do you change translations every now and then, or do you stick with your stand-by?


Monday, April 13, 2009

Y'ALL ARE GOING TO BUST MY HEAD

Why, you ask? Because I have a kabillion book reviews this week, LOL!!! I promise I have regular posts scheduled, as well, because I always have a lot of rambling to do. There were just soo many good books offered this week from various sources I couldn't pass them up--if you love reading then you know exactly what I mean. 

Anyhoo, as I pondered blogging this week, I realized that I have an eclectic little corner of cyberspace. Mostly it centers around writing and reading, but there are a few personal stories and odd happenings, a bit of scripture and lots o' quizzes, and even the occasional rant thrown into the mix. There's no schedule around these parts, which is kinda strange considering I have OCD issues. Yep, I'm a willy nilly blogger (I almost typed booger, if you can believe it.)

My question to you is, how do you run your blog? Where do you get your ideas? Are you willy nilly like me and blog by the seat of your pants? Or do you plan what you want to say, schedule your posts ahead of time, and have a coherent theme/message?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Thursday, April 09, 2009


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Chasing Charity

Barbour Publishing (April 2009)

by

Marcia Gruver



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Marcia Gruver is a full time writer who hails from Southeast Texas. Inordinately enamored by the past, Marcia delights in writing historical fiction. Her deep south-central roots lend a Southern-comfortable style and a touch of humor to her writing.

Awarded a three book contract by Barbour Publishing for full-length historical fiction, Marcia is busy these days pounding on the keyboard and watching the deadline clock. Diamond Duo, the first installment in the trilogy entitled Texas Fortunes, is scheduled for release in October 2008.

Marcia won third place in the 2007 ACFW Genesis contest and third in the 2004 ACFW Noble Theme contest. Another entry in 2004 finished in the top ten. She placed second in the 2002 Colorado Christian Writer’s contest for new authors, securing a spot in an upcoming compilation book. “I Will Never Leave Thee,” in For Better, For Worse—Devotional Thoughts for Married Couples, was released by Christian Publications in January 2004.

She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Fellowship of Christian Writers, and The Writers View—and a longstanding member of ACFW Crit3 and Seared Hearts, her brilliant and insightful critique groups.

Lifelong Texans, Marcia and her husband, Lee, have one daughter and four sons. Collectively, this motley crew has graced them with ten grandchildren and one great-granddaughter—so far.


ABOUT THE BOOK


When, in full view of family and friends, Charity Bloom's fiance leaves her stranded at the altar and takes off with her best friend, Charity is humiliated. How will this raven-haired beauty ever recover from losing both her betrothed and best friend on what was supposed to be the happiest day of her life?

When tall, handsome roughneck Buddy Pierce finds oil on Charity's mama's land, he hopes to free the Blooms from their poverty-stricken state. But will Buddy find the real treasure lies above ground-in Charity herself?

Ruing the day he left his fiancee for Emily Dane, Daniel Clark is determined to recapture Charity's affection. But can he remove the three things that stand in his way-a manipulative mama, a spurned lover, and the stranger at his ex-fiancee's side?

When Daniel re-stakes his claim on Charity's heart, tongues wag and minds speculate amid schemes and scandals in Humble, Texas. Whom will she choose-the handsome roughneck or the deceitful rouge?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Chasing Charity, go HERE
I'M ALMOST BALANCED...

...at least for today. I actually thought I'd have one side of my brain dominate, but not so according to this quiz, and we all know how accurate Blogthings quizzes are. HAHA! The findings (left dominant, barely) indicate how I approach my writing. I've mentioned that I discovered how much I love to plot and rely on it to keep me focused, but I'm not so bound to it that I can't shake things up if I find it necessary along the way. So here's the experiment:

Take the test and see if it matches up to whether you're a plotter or a pantser. If my theory is correct, righty brains will be pantsers, and leftys will be plotters.

Ready....go!




You Are 55% Left Brained, 45% Right Brained



The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning.

Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.

If you're left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.

Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.



The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.

Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.

If you're right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.

Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

My Son, John

(Sheaf House Publishers April 2009)

by

Kathi Macias



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kathi Macias is an award-winning author of more than twenty fiction and nonfiction books. She has also ghostwritten and collaborated on books for a number of well-known individuals. She is a staff member for The Christian Communicator Manuscript Critique Service and a member of The Christian Proofreaders and Editors Network, Christian Authors Network, American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Writers Fellowship International, Advanced Writers/Speakers Association, for who she serves as membership chair, and orange County Christian Writers Fellowship. She is the 2008 winner of AWSA’s Golden Scroll Award.

A Former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Macias is a credentialed minister and served as an associate pastor at a large church in Southern California, where she did biblical counseling, trained small group leaders, and oversaw support/recovery ministries. She is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences, and has appeared on several radio and TV programs.



ABOUT THE BOOK


Murder.

Could there be a more chilling word?

Could it be any more horrible than to have a loved one killed, brutally and heartlessly, without obvious reason or motive?

When Liz Peterson's elderly mother is found viciously beaten to death in her home, Liz and her husband, Charles, along with their grown son, John, and teenage daughter, Sarah, are horrified beyond words. Their previously predictable, respectable lives seem to have vanished without a trace, as they struggle to make sense of a senseless act.

And then a second blow-more devastating, if possible, than the first-rocks them to their core. John is arrested for his grandmother's murder. As what's left of the Peterson family begins to crumble under the weight of loss and accusation, the Petersons' longstanding Christian faith is put to the test in a way they could never have imagined, and unconditional love is stretched to its limits. Will family ties and relationships withstand such a crushing blow, or will evil succeed in dividing and conquering this once close and inseparable family?

Watch the chilling trailer!!



If you would like to read the first chapter of My Son, John, go HERE

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

I DON'T HAVE DEMENTIA....

....it's just the way I write.

I came across this post today, and the gist of it is that Agatha Christie's later works point to her possibly having Alzheimer's. Some of the things that clued researchers in was her less precise writing (the increase in use of the word "thing", for example), meandering plots in later books, a 30% decrease in her vocabulary, and the use of repetitive phrases.

This concerns me because...well....I'm the Queen of Repetitive Phrases. Just the other day I wrote something about my heroine's pulse banging like a bass drum (or some such phrase) twice in the same chapter. Even worse, my hero's nerves were jagged--twice in the same paragraph.

Just wanted to let y'all know not to panic, I don't have Alzheimer's, that's just the way I write. LOL! So here's to great crit buds who don't make fun of my silly repeats.

Monday, April 06, 2009


Are there two more powerful words in the English language? 

Okay, there probably are, but these are the ones I'm celebrating today. Friday night I typed THE END on my manuscript and it felt oh-so-grand. There are a few housekeeping details to tend to over the next couple of days before I send it out for a final crit, but the bulk of the hard part is 
f-i-n-i-s-h-e-d. 

In other news:

Remember my near panic-attack last week? After eating truckloads of grapefruit, salad, other veggies, and drinking water by the barrel, I dropped the 3 panic pounds. This week I can focus on shedding the next 50 or so. LOL!!! Who's with me?
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