Saturday, February 27, 2010

THE HISTORY OF THE MEDIEVAL WORLD


It's not often that I post about textbooks. In fact, this may only be the third time, but there's a great reason I chose this book. Susan Wise Bauer's approach to education is documented in The Well-Trained Mind, a book I read years ago when we first started thinking about homeschooling. I fell in love with the idea of a classical education and the ideas Ms. Bauer and her mother (co-author) presented. When I had the opportunity to preview The History of the Medieval World, I jumped at it.

Admittedly, this is several grade levels above my girls, as we are now working through Ms. Bauer's The Story of the World geared toward younger children, so I haven't read this book cover to cover. But I can say with assurance that the well-researched information, clear presentation, and array of maps make this a resource we will use in the future.

This is a great text for both homeschoolers and history lovers. Also, be sure to check out The Well-Trained Mind FORUM, where you will find hundreds of other committed educators/homeschoolers, and Ms. Bauer's BLOG.

Here's the official blurb:

A masterful narrative of the Middle Ages, when religion became a weapon for kings all over the world.

From the schism between Rome and Constantinople to the rise of the T’ang Dynasty, from the birth of Muhammad to the crowning of Charlemagne, this erudite book tells the fascinating, often violent story of kings, generals, and the peoples they ruled.

In her earlier work, The History of the Ancient World, Susan Wise Bauer wrote of the rise of kingship based on might. But in the years between the fourth and the twelfth centuries, rulers had to find new justification for their power, and they turned to divine truth or grace to justify political and military action. Right thus replaces might as the engine of empire.

Not just Christianity and Islam but the religions of the Persians and the Germans, and even Buddhism, are pressed into the service of the state. This phenomenon—stretching from the Americas all the way to Japan—changes religion, but it also changes the state.

BIO:

Susan Wise Bauer is the best-selling author of the Story of the World series for elementary students, author of The Well-Educated Mind, The History of the Ancient World and The History of the Medieval World, and the co-author of The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home. She is a faculty member in English at the College of William & Mary in Virginia, where she teaches writing and literature.

CLICK HERE to get your copy!

Friday, February 26, 2010

THOUGHTS ON THE BIG R

This week I've come across several blog posts on rejection, and a few nakedly honest messages on the ACFW e-loop. Rejection is something that's on my brain a lot recently too, so I wanted to add my thoughts.

Lately our family has been inundated with "stuff." I won't go into details, but suffice it to say that our lives became a vortex of yuck. During that particular week, I was certain the rejection I'd been waiting for would come, and by the timing of it I'd know beyond any reasonable doubt that my season for writing was finished. Daily I watched the in-box. Waited. Prayed.

And it didn't come.

Needless to say, I'm glad it didn't come in the midst of all the other things going on in our lives, but odds are it will at some point. When those rejections on my manuscripts hit, it's like a TKO to the head. And the heart. For days I might not pray, and when I do I explain to God that He just doesn't get it.

Then last week He spoke a truth to me I'll never forget. He DOES understand. He is perfect, loving, all-knowing, all-powerful, awesome in every conceivable way.

And still He is rejected daily. He is rejected by those He has loved with a perfect love, those He created, those He willing gave up His life for.

Jesus did not have an easy go of it, and neither will we. Doesn't make rejection hurt any less, but in my hurt (our hurt) we have someplace to go, to One who fully identifies with where we are. I pray that we can all persevere through the disappointments because they will come. Hopefully I can handle it better than in the past, and still have the desire to press on rather than deciding to take up pottery or some such thing.

My question to you: if you knew you'd never be published--or for you pubbed writers, that you'd never be published again--would you still commit the same time, dedication, and intense passion to your writing? Would it change what you do?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

THEY CALL IT BLOGGING....

....but it's all about people.

If you read Monday's post then you already know I'm on a relationship-with-people kick. Hopefully it's not a temporary kick, but a jumpstart to get to know those in my life, both on and off line, better than before. Investing in relationships will take time and effort, and I'm looking forward to getting to know people on a deeper level.

That means you!

Blogging is one way to get to know others with like interests, and I've recently discovered there are many great bloggers out there, beyond the ones I've visited daily for the last several years. I'm broadening my horizons.

Today I'd like to highlight a super cool lady with an award that Jill Kemerer gave to me :D Thanks, Jill--you totally made me smile! I'm only awarding to one person, because honestly I COULD award you all (but who'd read the whole list, LOL!) You've all found a special place in my day :D

On to the award:





Patti Lacy, who has cool pictures and interesting discussions with a dose of inspiration. I first met Patti when I toured her book and she stopped by to say thanks. What I love about her is that she didn't stop with the one visit, she continued to come by. Not just my blog, but I've seen Patti forming friendships around the web. If you haven't stopped by Patti's blog, I encourage you to click over!

What do you enjoy about various blogs? Is there a quality that your favorites have in common?

Monday, February 22, 2010

5 THINGS I LEARNED IN A CRISIS....

*I'm a crier. I don't want to be a crier, mostly because of the swollen eyes and headache that usually follows, but I can't help it. My eyes leak and there's nothing I can do.

*Overeating is a comfort. There--I said it. Several days ago I actually gathered up the raw courage to confront the scale. The results gave me a sucker punch in the gut--the 8 lb. larger gut.

*Time management goes so far to the backburner it isn't even on the stove. Writing--what's that?

*Family is a beautiful gift. Being part of a large extended family shows enormous love from above, and the blessings are amazing. Sometimes we (I) look to God for things in answer to prayer, but He seems to like to answer with people.

*In fact, it's all about people. I'm a hermit so this one really gets me. The time has come to branch out and get back into the world. Since I quit working "out there" I've enjoyed tucking myself away in the privacy of our home, but now I realize that relationships are a good thing that need to be cared for and cultivated. In the end, it's what we have to show for our lives. As I mentioned above, God answers prayer with people. Am I part of someone's answer? I need to be, even at the risk of being hurt.

Are you a hermit like me? Or do relationships come natural? Are there some you need to work on today? Don't put it off!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

This week, the


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance


is introducing


The Pastor's Wife
Abingdon Press (February 2010)
by


Jennifer AlLee






ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jennifer AlLee was born in Hollywood, California and for the first 10 years of her life lived over a mortuary one block from Hollywood and Vine. An avid reader and writer, she completed her first novel in high school. That manuscript is now safely tucked away, never again to see the light of day. Her first inspirational romance, The Love of His Brother, was released in November 2007 by Five Star Publisher.



Besides being a writer, she is a wife and mom. Living in Las Vegas, Nevada, her husband and teenage son have learned how to enjoy the fabulous buffets there without severely impacting their waistlines. God is good!





ABOUT THE BOOK



Maura Sullivan never intended to set foot in Granger, Ohio, again. But when circumstances force her to return, she must face all the disappointments she tried so hard to leave behind: a husband who ignored her, a congregation she couldn't please, and a God who took away everything she ever loved.



Nick Shepherd thought he had put the past behind him, until the day his estranged wife walked back into town. Intending only to help Maura through her crisis of faith, Nick finds his feelings for her never died. Now, he must admit the mistakes he made, how he hurt his wife, and find a way to give and receive forgiveness.



As God works in both of their lives, Nick and Maura start to believe they can repair their broken relationship and reunite as man and wife. But Maura has one more secret to tell Nick before they can move forward. It's what ultimately drove her to leave him three years earlier, and the one thing that can destroy the fragile trust they've built.



If you would like to read the first Chapter of The Pastor's Wife , go HERE

Monday, February 15, 2010

SO LONG INSECURITY

The thing I love most about books that make you dig into yourself and walk closer with the Lord are that you can underline, re-read, and chew on ideas while you apply them to your life. That said, I chew slowly and do not have a full review. However, I can say that I appreciate Beth Moore's heart and her voice shines through the pages. (Anyone who has listened to one of her video series can identify!) Also, she and her daughter have a blog you might want to check out HERE. Click back to the post on Feb 11 to start where her posts intersect with the book, complete with assignments. Very much looking forward to following along!


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 Long Insecurity: You’ve Been a Bad Friend to Us

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (February 2, 2010)

***Special thanks to Vicky Lynch of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. for sending me a review copy.***


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Over the past decade, Beth Moore has become an internationally known and respected Bible teacher, teaching over 250,000 women annually in Living Proof Live Conferences and regularly sharing God’s Word with an interdenominational community at her church in Houston; teaching the Bible on the nationally syndicated Life Today with James Robison; and through her best-selling books and Living Proof radio program.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (February 2, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1414334729
ISBN-13: 978-1414334721

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:



Mad Enough to Change

I’m seriously ticked. And I need to do something about it. Some people eat when they’re about to rupture with emotion. Others throw up. Or jog. Or go to bed. Some have a holy fit. Others stuff it and try to forget it. I can do all those things in sequential order, but I still don’t find relief.

When my soul is inflating until my skin feels like a balloon about to pop, I write. Never longhand, if I can help it. The more emotion I feel, the more I appreciate banging on the keys of a computer. I type by faith and not by sight. My keyboard can attest to the fact that I am a passionate person with an obsession for words: most of the vowels are worn off. The word ticked really should have more vowels. Maybe what I am is peeved. That’s a good one. How about irrationally irritated to oblivion? Let that one wear the vowels off a keyboard.

The thing is, I’m not even sure exactly who I’m ticked at. I’m hoping to find that out as I hack away at these chapters. One thing is for certain. Once I figure it out, I probably won’t keep it to myself. After all, you know how the saying goes: hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. And I’m feeling scorned.

But not just for myself. I’m feeling ticked for the whole mess of us born with a pair of X chromosomes. My whole ministry life is lived out in the blessed chaos of a female cornucopia. I’ve been looking at our gender through the lens of Scripture for twenty-five solid years, and I have pondered over us, taken up for us, laid into us, deliberated over us, prayed about us, lost sleep because of us, cried for us, laughed my head off at us, and gotten offended for us—and by us—more times than I can count. And after a quarter of a century surrounded by girls ranging all the way from kindergarteners to those resting on pale pink liners inside caskets, I’ve come to this loving conclusion: we need help. I need help. Something more than what we’re getting.

The woman I passed a few days ago on the freeway who was bawling her eyes out at the steering wheel of her Nissan needs help. The girl lying about her age in order to get a job in a topless bar needs help. The divorcĂ©e who has loathed herself into fifty extra pounds needs help. For crying out loud, that female rock star I’ve disdained for years needs help. When I read something demeaning her ex said about her recently—something I know would cut any female to the quick—I jumped to her defense like a jackal on a field mouse and seriously wondered how I could contact her agent and offer to mentor her in Bible study.

Several days ago I sat in a tearoom across the table from a gorgeous woman I love dearly. She has been married for three months, and they did all the right things leading up to that sacred ceremony, heightening the anticipation considerably. After an hour or so of musing over marriage, she said to me, “Last weekend he seemed disinterested in me. I’ll be honest with you. It kind of shook me up. I wanted to ask him, ‘So, are you over me now? That quick? That’s it?’”

I’m pretty certain her husband will perk back up, but what a tragedy that she feels like she possesses the shelf life of a video game.

I flashed back to another recent communication with a magazine-cover-beautiful thirty-year-old woman who mentioned—almost in passing—that she has to dress up in costumes in order for her husband to want to make love to her. I’m not knocking her pink-feathered heels, but I wonder if she is paying too much for them. I’m just sad that she can’t feel desirable as herself.

Then yesterday I learned that a darling fifteen-year-old I keep in touch with slept with her boyfriend in a last-ditch effort to hold on to him. He broke up with her anyway. Then he told. It’s all over her high school now.

I’ve got a loved one going through her third divorce. She wants to find a good man in the worst way, and goodness knows they’re out there. The problem is, she keeps marrying the same kind of man.

I’m so ticked.

If these examples were exceptions to the rule, I wouldn’t bother writing, but you and I both know better than that. I hear echoes of fear and desperation from women day in and day out—even if they’re doing their best to muffle the sound with their Coach bags. Oh, who am I kidding? I hear reverberations from my own heart more times than I want to admit. I keep trying to stifle it, but it won’t shut up. Something’s wrong with us for us to value ourselves so little. Our culture has thrown us under the bus. We have a fissure down the spine of our souls and, boy, does it need fixing.

This morning while I was getting ready for church, my cell phone nearly vibrated off the bathroom counter with six incoming texts from a single friend who was having a crisis of heart. I answered her with what little I had to give, even as I grappled with my own issues. I decided that what I needed was a good sermon to keep me from crying off my eyeliner, so I flipped on the television to a terrific local preacher. Lo and behold, the sermon was about what a woman needs from a man.

Deep sigh.

Actually, it was a great message if anyone had a mind to do what he was recommending, but knowing human nature and feeling uncharacteristically cynical, I could feel my frustration mounting. The preacher had done his homework. He offered half a dozen Scripture-based PowerPoint slides with state-of-the-art graphics describing what men should do for women. “Women want to be told that they are captivating. That they’re beautiful. Desirable.”

I won’t deny that. What woman wouldn’t thrive under that kind of steady affirmation?

But here’s my question: What if no one tells us that? Can we still find a way to be okay? Or what if he says it because he’s supposed to, but to be honest, he’s not feeling it? Are we hopeless? What if a man is not captivated by us? What if he doesn’t think we’re particularly beautiful? Or, understandably, maybe just not every day? Are we only secure on his “on” days? What if he loves us but is not quite as captivated by us as he used to be? What if his computer is full of images of what he finds attractive, and we’re light-years from it? What if we’re seventy-five, and every ounce of desirability is long behind us? Can we still feel adequate in our media-driven society?



Adapted from So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore. Copyright © 2010 by Beth Moore. Used with permission from Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.

Friday, February 12, 2010

THE WINNER!!!!

The winner of Betsy St. Amant's, A Valentine's Wish, is Andrea Schultz! Congratulations, and I hope you enjoy it. Thank you to all who entered.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A VALENTINE'S WISH



Today I'm soooo excited to present A Valentine's Wish, by Betsy St. Amant! When two long-time friends, Lori and Andy, realize they each want more from their relationship but don't know how to make it known, one of them gets the idea to send secret gifts to reveal his true feelings. But problems abound when Lori thinks her admirer is someone else! It was fun to settle in with characters familiar from Betsy's first book, Return to Love, but it can definitely be enjoyed as a stand alone. This is a perfect read for Valentine's Day and beyond, a book where chocolate, romance, and mishaps abound!



Congratulations, Betsy! You've done it again :D

The best part is, I get to share the joy. Betsy is offering a giveaway, so make sure to leave your name and email address for tomorrow's drawing!

BACK COVER:

Unless youth pastor Andy Stewart finds a suitable wife fast, he'll lose his job. Yet the woman of his dreams is his best friend. And Lori Perkins is still smarting over a failed engagement, so he can't just declare his love. His plan: he'll be her secret admirer and woo her anonymously with flowers and chocolates. And then, when romance is on her mind, Andy will confess his Valentine's wish—to spend his life with her. There's just one little problem. Lori seems to think her secret admirer is someone else!

A MOMENT WITH BETSY

The heroine, Lori, seems to have a penchant for all things chocolate. Please explain how you wrote this so realistically, and exactly how much research on chocolate did you do???

The realistic thing wasn't hard since I also, ahem, enjoy my chocolate. One reader was "upset" that Lori gained a few lbs during the story but no reference to zits, ever. HAHA. That's why it's fiction, folks! =) I did consume a few Hershey Kisses' during the writing of this novel. And longed for more.

I can identify with that longing ;) What was your favorite part of writing A Valentine's Wish?

I would say two scenes - one, Lori and Andy's movie night halfthrough the story. I can't elaborate past that for someone who hasn't read it yet! And secondly, the ending. I had to get creative because Valentine's Day fell on a Sunday this year, and so it took some finagling. My original ending wouldn't work, and I remember the panic that swept across me when I realized that and went scrambling for a new route. lol (I can laugh NOW.)

HAHA, oh the memories! At least you are laughing now that it all worked out. If A Valentine's Wish was a movie, who would you cast in the lead roles? I'm especially curious about Summer :D

Fun question! I'd definitely say Anne Hathaway for Lori, since the real Lori this character is loosely based on also resembles Anne at times. For Andy, I'd say Chris Evans from PUSH, CELLULAR and the NANNY DIARIES, and for Summer, I'd go with Zooey Deschanel from when she was blonde, like in the movie ELF.

I'll admit, I had to look up Chris and Zooey, but WOW--perfect people for the roles. That's exaclty how I pictured Summer. Now, I love that Lori and Andy were friends before becoming romantically involved. Were you and your hubby friends first, and for how long?

Yes, we are, for years actually! That's why I love this story so much. My husband was never an official secret admirer, but I found out after we were dating that he'd liked me for years and was just waiting his turn while I went through boyfriend after boyfriend. So sweet! Every Sunday at church we'd hug and say hey, several times I'd even leave the boyfriend with me on the pew to go chat with my (now) Hubby instead! haha.

That's funny! In fact, I think for your next book I would like to interview your hubby. That'd be a hoot.
What do you want readers to take away from A Valentine's Wish?

I want readers to enjoy a happily-ever-after love story, but also be reminded that no earthly love can possibly live up to the love of our Heavenly Father! And while it's fun to celebrate earthly love on Valentine's Day, we need not ever forsake the True Lover of our souls or his Love Letter to us, The Bible.

What is your favorite Valentine's Day memory?

Hubby always plans good dates. One doesn't really stand out above the rest right now, but I have good memories of all my VDays. Even growing up, my parents got me and my sister little goodie baskets to wake up to that day, with candy and a stuffed animal. I also remember exchanging Vday cards in elementary school among classmates. I always used Carebear or Snoopy cards from Hallmark, and remember having to be very careful which card I gave the not-so-appealing boys in the class so as not to give the wrong idea. HAHA. Ah, the cares of a seven year old. ::sigh::
Thank you, Betsy! I've really enjoyed A Valentine's Wish, from conception to completion. I know everyone else will enjoy it too :D


BIO:

Betsy St. Amant lives in north Louisiana, has a penchant for chocolate and polka dots shoes, and is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers group. Betsy is multi-published through Steeple Hill and has been published in Christian Communicator magazine and Praise Reports: Inspiring Real Life Stories of How God Answers Prayer. One of her short stories, ‘Kickboxing or Chocolate’, appears in a Tyndale compilation book, and she is also multi-published through The Wild Rose Press. Betsy has a BA in Christian Communications and regularly contributes articles to Crosswalk.com. She is a wife, new mommy, author, and avid reader who enjoys sharing the wonders of God’s grace through her stories.

NOW IS YOUR CHANCE TO WIN!!! Enter your name and email address in the comments section. I will hold the drawing tomorrow. BUT, in case you don't win, click here to get your copy now!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

LOVE THY NEIGHBOR?

For the past 8 years I hoped this was a figure of speech. You see, our neighbors enjoy owning really big ((read, LOUD)) trucks, and they run them--endlessly--just a few yards away from our living room. We've prayed extensively, tried reason and negotiation, and finally decided we have to move.

I. Couldn't. Take. It. Anymore.

But evidently we had unfinished business loving our neighbors, per God's command.

About a month ago they were working on one of the aforementioned trucks ((start, stop, rev, start, stop, rev, start, stop, rev)) when my nerves were finally stretched so tight I was ready to poke their eyes out. I begged my hub to go over and beat some sense into them.

Hubby sighed and put on his shoes, and I'm like, "Oh yeah, here it comes!" I peeked through the blinds, bobbing and weaving with my fists in the air like I'm ready to watch Smackdown. Hubby approaches the neighbor as I ready my cell phone to call 911 because the showdown has begun.

Then my hub reaches out and shakes the dudes hand, and the dude smiles. SMILES.

WHAT?! There was NOT supposed to be smiling involved. Then hubby comes back inside and tells me that he introduced himself and offered to help the guy finish working on his truck so the noise would stop sooner. The guy apologized, then stopped working on his truck. WHAT?!?!

Fast forward a few weeks.

Noisy dude is starting his truck. It runs for the first 20 mins (rumbling our floor), then the next 20 mins, then after an hour I go outside, prepared to share a piece of my mind. I approach, ready to let him have it, then suddenly......

......a peace comes over me. I calmly tell him our problem, and he sweetly apologizes. And for multiple days not a peep can be heard next door.

Until last week when it started again, I mentioned it to a 3rd party, kind of upset because I didn't want to cause trouble since we were starting to get along with them. Later that day I received a note on the door saying sorry for the noise, he didn't realize we were home.

Now we WAVE and smile at one another!!! This, in itself, is a miracle. I am here to tell you that loving your neighbor is not a figure of speech. It does not only mean loving your figurative neighbor. And before we move, I think God wanted this business finished. Honestly, now that we've started making peace (after 8 long years), the noise even bothers me less. (Although if you could hear these unmufflered monster trucks 5 yards from my window, you'd be amazed. Even the dude admitted that his wife is annoyed by the truck shaking the pictures on their walls.)

DO YOU LOVE YOUR NEIGHBORS? Also, prayers still appreciated for the quick sale of our home :D

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

This week, the


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance


is introducing


Hunter's Moon


Bethany House (February 1, 2010)


by


Don Hoesel






ABOUT THE AUTHOR:







Don Hoesel was born and raised in Buffalo, NY but calls Spring Hill, TN home. He works as a Communications Department supervisor 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.



Don and hopes to one day sell enough books to just say that he's a writer. You can help with that by buying whatever his newest novel happens to be.



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







ABOUT THE BOOK





Every family has secrets. Few will go as far as the Baxters to keep them. Bestselling novelist CJ Baxter has made a career out of writing hard-hitting stories ripped from his own life. Still there's one story from his past he's never told. One secret that's remained buried for decades. Now, seventeen years after swearing he'd never return, CJ is headed back to Adelia, NY. His life in Tennessee has fallen to pieces, his grandfather is dying, and CJ can no longer run from the past. With Graham Baxter, CJ's brother, running for Senate, a black sheep digging up old family secrets is the last thing the family and campaign can afford. CJ soon discovers that blood may be thicker than water, but it's no match for power and money. There are wounds even time cannot heal.





If you would like to read the first chapter of Hunter's Moon, go HERE

Monday, February 08, 2010

BACK TO THE BASICS

Notebooks. Lined, unlined, graph. Large, medium, pocket. As many of you already know, I have a longstanding love affair with office products, especially paper. For the last few years I've written only on the laptop, as I can type WAY faster than I can write by hand. But when I first began writing seriously, I still did it the old-fashioned way. (OK, not with a quill, but you get the idea.) It wasn't until about 3 years ago that I fully transitioned to the laptop.

With the start of a new book, the idea of writing in a notebook to me once again. There's something so earthy and fresh....and dare I say, organic?....about penning chapters by hand. Plus I feel more connected with the work. The side benefit is that I don't suffer from WADS when I scrawl on paper. I don't know that I can write an entire book this way, but it's sure working for me now.

Do any of you write by hand, or are James Patterson and I the only ones? If not, do you have another quirky process while you create?

Friday, February 05, 2010

PRAYERS APPRECIATED

This is one of those weeks I wouldn't wish on anyone. Though I can't go into details, I do ask for your prayers. That God's great mercy, love, and grace be upon our extended family. That His good and perfect will be done, and His wisdom and strength be plentiful. That those most affected would be cushioned by the Lord's peace in a deep and powerful way.

Thank you!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

This week, the


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance


is introducing


Never Say Never


Bethany House (February 1, 2010)


by


Lisa Wingate






ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Lisa lives in central Texas were she is a popular inspriational speaker, magazine columnist, and national bestselling author of several books. Her novel, Tending Roses, received dozens of five-star reviews, sold out thirteen printings for New York publisher, Penguin Putnam, and went on to become a national bestselling book. Tending Roses was a selection of the Readers Club of America, and is currently in its fourteenth printing.



The Tending Roses series continued with Good Hope Road, the Language of Sycamores, Drenched in Light, and A Thousand Voices. In 2003, Lisa's Texas Hill Country series began with Texas Cooking, and continued with Lone Star Cafe', which was awarded a gold metal by RT Bookclub magazine and was hailed by Publisher's Weekly as "A charmingly nostalgic treat." The series concluded with Over the Moon at the Big Lizard Diner.



Lisa is now working on a new set of small-town Texas novels for Bethany House Publishers. The series debuted with Talk of the Town and continued with Word Gets Around and Never Say Never. A new series is also underway for Peguin Group NAL, beginning with A Month of Summer (July 2008), and continuing with The Summer Kitchen (July 2009) and Beyond Summer (July 2010). Lisa's works have been featured by the National Reader's Club of America, AOL Book Pics, Doubleday Book Club, the Literary Guild, American Profiles and have been chosen for the LORIES best Published Fiction Award. In 2009, A Month of Summer was nomiated for the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year award.





ABOUT THE BOOK



Kai Miller floats through life like driftwood tossed by waves. She's never put down roots in any one place--and she doesn't plan to. But when a chaotic hurricane evacuation lands her in Daily, Texas, she begins to think twice about her wayfaring existence.



And when she meets hometown-boy Kemp Eldridge, she can almost picture settling down in Daily--until she discovers he may be promised to someone else. Daily has always been a place of refuge for those the winds blows in, but for Kai, it looks like it will be just another place to leave behind. Then again, Daily always has a few surprises in store--especially when Aunt Donetta has cooked up a scheme.





If you would like to read the first chapter of Never Say Never, go HERE

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

LATE BLOOMER

Last week my dad dropped by, book in hand, saying he thought of me while reading a chapter that pertained to writers. Out of all my personal cheerleaders, Dad leads the pack. I scanned the spot he dog-eared--it's a chapter titled "Late Bloomers."

Me: Dad, are you saying I'm a late bloomer?

Dad: Well, it's too late for you to be an early bloomer.

Then he laughed his hearty Dad laugh--the kind you can't help but join--and believe it or not I was truly encouraged. As he said, you never know, what's in this chapter might be the thing that keeps you writing when you want to quit. Gotta love him!

The book is called What the Dog Saw, by Malcolm Gladwell. (Remember, I just blogged on that 10,000 hour thing by the same guy. Then I read this chapter by him. Guess I'm on a kick.) What I love about his theories is that he asserts genius is not simply what you're born with, but what a person developes over time.

Favorite quote in this chap:

"....sometimes genius is anything but rarefied; sometimes it's just the thing that emerges after twenty years of working at your kitchen table."

The main idea in this chapter is that late bloomers don't just start late, and it isn't that their talent goes unrecognized until later in life. It's that they just aren't much good until later in life because this type of person takes a more experimental approach to their art. Unlike early bloomers who tend to start with a clear idea where they want to go, late bloomers like to learn and discover along the way, thus taking longer to develop.

He applied the concept broadly, including artists and writers, and I suppose it could be broadened further to encompass all pursuits.

Admittedly, I'm a late bloomer. But I do think it's due, in large part, to the fact I didn't really study writing and begin to take it seriously until my mid-30's.

Where do you come down on this? If you're an early bird, is it because you had clearly defined goals? If you're a latie like me, is it because you experimented? Curious about your thoughts!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

BEGUILED

Beguiled is a good blend of suspense and romance, conflicting interests, and twists to keep you guessing. Definitely lives up to its title!


This week, the




Christian Fiction Blog Alliance




is introducing




Beguiled




(Bethany House March 1, 2007)




by




Deeanne Gist




and
J. Mark Bertrand






ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Deeanne Gist, the bestselling author of A Bride Most Begrudging and The Measure of a Lady, has a background in education and journalism. Her credits include People magazine, Parents, and Parenting. With a line of parenting products called "I Did It!® Productions" and a degree from Texas A&M, she continues her writing and speaking. She and her family live in Houston, Texas.


J. Mark Bertrand has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston. After one hurricane too many, he left Houston and relocated with his wife Laurie to the plains of South Dakota.




ABOUT THE BOOK



In the shadows of Charleston, someone is watching her... Rylee Monroe, a dogwalker in Charleston's wealthiest neighborhood, never feared the streets at night. But now a thief is terrorizing the area and worse, someone seems to be targeting her.



Reporter Logan Woods is covering the break-ins with the hope of publishing them as a true-crime book. The more he digs, the more he realizes this beguiling dogwalker seems to be at the center of everything. As danger draws ever closer, Logan must choose: Chase the girl, the story, or plunge into the shadows after the villain who threatens everything?



If you'd like to read the first chapter of Beguiled, go HERE





Check out their video:



Monday, February 01, 2010

HOW ARE WE DOING?

After a full month pursuing the goals I laid out at the beginning of the year, I wanted to revisit to see exactly where I'm measuring up.

HOME/FAMILY:

*Sell home--We have a hopeful buyer. Need more prayer

*Buy home--Still being frugal to save for all the expenses

PERSONAL:

*Start each day with Bible time--Ouch! Trying, but only hitting it about 4 days a week

*Lose 10 more pounds--rarely eat ice cream, and only drink soda on weekends. Woot! Haven't actually lost any pounds yet.

*Read less--Yes, I'm reading less, but not quite down to 1 per week. More like 1.5

Writing:

*Write 1600 words, 5 days a week--Started a new story. Hitting about 1200 a day. BY THE WAY...I started a WORD COUNT THREAD on the ACFW forum. Let's all start checking in!!!

*Begin agent search. Again. (Yes, for those who didn't know, I parted ways with my agent about a month ago.)--need to finish another book first.

HOW ARE YOU COMING ON YOUR 2010 GOALS?

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