Wednesday, November 24, 2010

THE LIGHTKEEPER'S BRIDE

Historical suspense is definitely a genre that's growing on me! The Lightkeeper's Bride has all the action and danger I love in a suspense, plus the interesting historical backdrop of the early 1900's. It's part of the Mercy Falls series, but can stand on its own. Looking forward to the next book already!



This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Lightkeeper's Bride
Thomas Nelson (October 19, 2010)
by
Colleen Coble




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:





Author Colleen Coble’s thirty-five novels and novellas have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Romance Writers of America prestigious RITA, the Holt Medallion, the ACFW Book of the Year, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, the Booksellers Best, and the 2009 Best Books of Indiana-Fiction award. She writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail and love begin with a happy ending.



A word from Colleen: God has been faithful, though the path has not been easy. Nothing worth doing is ever easy. God wouldn’t let me give up, and I like to think the struggle made me stronger. God has given me so much in my life, most importantly my great family, a loving church family at New Life Baptist Church, and my wonderful publishing family at Nelson Books.



ABOUT THE BOOK



A thrilling romantic mystery set in the lush Victorian age.



Central Operator Katie Russell's inquisitive ways have just uncovered her parents' plan for her marriage to wealthy bachelor Bartholomew Foster. Her heart is unmoved, but she knows the match will bring her family status and respectability.



Then Katie overhears a phone conversation that makes her uneasy and asks authorities to investigate. But the caller is nowhere to be found. Mysterious connections arise between the caller and a ship lost at sea.



Against propriety, Katie questions the new lighthouse keeper, Will Jesperson. Then a smallpox epidemic forces their quarantine in his lighthouse. Though of low social status, Will's bravery and kindness remove Katie's suspicion and win her love. Katie and Will together work to solve the mystery of the missing girl and the lost ship as God gives the couple the desire of their hearts.



If you would like to read the first chapter of The Lightkeeper's Bride, go HERE.

Friday, November 19, 2010

INVASION!

Could the government possibly get any more intrusive than requiring a digital strip search of its citizens if they want to fly? I mean, c'mon! I'm all for enhanced security, but there must be a better way. It would seem, in my most humble opinion, that the best and brightest minds are not the ones handling this problem. Even thinking about what we'll have to go through in order to board a plane gives me the willies. And it makes me mad. For the foreseeable future I'll be staying home.

There seems to be conflicting information as to whether every single person will eventually be subjected to the indignity of the enhanced security measures, or only random travelers. At this point, most airports don't have the nekked scanners, but probably require the pat downs.
For the sake of the poll, let's assume it's everyone.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section, and vote in the poll in the sidebar. I'm anxious to see where everyone falls on the spectrum.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

DINING WITH JOY

There are several things you can count on when reading a Rachel Hauck book, the first being characters written so real that you believe you know them, and heros you fall in love with. Setting so beautiful you can hear, feel, and experience what the characters are. Finally, a well-crafted novel, period. Dining with Joy satisfies on all these levels. The premise--a cooking show host who can't cook--absolutely tickled me when I first saw it. It was easy to empathize with the heroine, who was living a lie but for seemingly all the right reasons. The situation plays out in unexpected ways, and the resolution satisfies. Through all the obstacles the characters face, you can clearly see the hand of God working, encouraging, sending a word in due season. The only drawback was how hungry I was when the hero cooked! Romance fans must experience Dining with Joy.



Back Cover:

"Chef" Joy Ballard longs for a simpler life. But when a good-looking outsider arrives and spices things up, life becomes deliciously complicated.

Host of a regionally syndicated cooking show, Joy Ballard has a little secret: she can't cook. But when her show is picked up by a major network and given a prime time slot, her world heats up faster than a lowcountry boil.

Enter Luke Redmond: handsome, creative, and jobless after having to declare bankruptcy of his Manhatten restaurant. When her producers ask him to co-host the show, Joy sees Luke as her way out. But Luke sees much more than just a co-host in Joy.

Their relationship begins to simmer on and off set. Until Joy's secret is revealed and her reputation is ruined on national television by her rival, Wenda Devine.

But could Devine's cruelty be a divine gift? Losing Luke--and her sister--forces Joy to consider where her worth really comes from. Could God be cooking up an even bigger adventure from the mess? And will Joy hang on long enough to find out?

AUTHOR:

RITA-finalist Rachel Hauck lives in Florida with her husband, Tony. She is the author of Dining with Joy; Sweet Caroline; Love Starts with Elle; and The Sweet By and By, co-authored with Sara Evans.

For more information about this book CLICK HERE!!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

I NEVER MEANT TO GET A JOB-JOB....

.....I just wanted to get out once a week!

But my new plan for escape is turning into more of a job-job than I anticipated! (Not entirely a bad thing, but may explain a little why my word count is suffering, along with a mushrooming laundry pile.)

My job is to manage the book and magazine inventory at three local stores. Originally I was supposed to work 5 hours every Friday, which last week turned into 16 hours. This week I have 3 partial days. I love having the extra cash (who wouldn't?) but we shall see how this goes.

Anything that interferes with homeschooling will not stand for long.

And for the record, my job is actually FUN!

Do you work outside the home, or outside your writing? How many hours?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

TOP 5 REASONS

With all the time I save by not blogging, you'd think I'd be more productive. As in, I'd be pounding out some word count and whatnot.

However, this week I haven't been motivated AT ALL. I try to look deep inside, draw from the depths where I know that I know that I know I should be writing. Though I may never be victorious in the quest for the golden contract, God has confirmed multiple times that yes, I am following His will when I write.

That said, I still don't feel like it. And I am not ashamed to take a break. Those of you blessed ones with contracts have your own motivators, of which I can only drool and ask the proverbial, "Why not me?" But instead of languishing in the murky pool of pity, green with envy--er, algae--I came up with the

Top 5 Reasons to Write....Even When I Don't Feel Like It:

5. Writing makes me look busy, and the kids have (mostly) learned not to interrupt me when I'm at the keyboard. Therefore it's great for a little R&R.

4. If I'm writing, I'm not doing laundry, dishes, or facing my biggest nemesis...the water stains in the toilet. (Yeah, yeah, TMI. Sorry.)

3. When I'm at the keyboard, I don't have to feel even a smidgen of guilt over the $7 kabillion my hubby has spent on computers, laptops, conferences, and assorted beloved office supplies because hey, I'm writing!

2. Writing is an activity I can say is best done inside, rather than running the trail in the blistering cold and wind. Yes, you too can avoid exercise because what is the writers mantra? Butt in Chair!

1. Writing is a great connection with the people who have become some of my closest friends--and THAT is the biggest blessing :D

Now you tell me, what keeps you motivated when you otherwise don't feel like it, especially when a thousand other things call for your attention? Those of you contracted people, think way, Way, WAY back before you knew you'd achieve a measure of success and answer the same question.

Friday, November 05, 2010

THE PERFECT BLEND

Cozy and thoroughly enjoyable! The entire atmosphere of The Perfect Blend is so intimate and snuggly that all you want to do is escape and munch on a few scones. The heroine's journey toward independence and love makes for a great read! Though the book is very well written in 3rd person with one POV, it makes me long for the day when 1st person is no longer taboo. If you're looking for lighthearted romance and a hunky hero, The Perfect Blend is for you!



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:



The Perfect Blend

Harvest House Publishers (September 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Karri James of Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Trish Perry is an award-winning writer and editor of Ink and the Spirit, a quarterly newsletter of the Capital Christian Writers organization in the Washington DC area. She has published numerous short stories, essays, devotionals, and poetry in Christian and general market media, and she is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers group.


Visit the author's website.




Product Details:

List Price: $9.99
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (September 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736930159
ISBN-13: 978-0736930154

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:




Steph Vandergrift was jilted in a truly beautiful place.

She focused on her surroundings so she wouldn’t break down and openly sob in front of people passing her on their way to work. Eyes blinking and chin quivering, she desperately sought distraction in the old stone buildings, lush spring greenery, and fragrant wisteria and lavender from the well-tended landscape nearby.

Rick told her she would love Middleburg, one of the most charming little towns in northern Virginia. When he proposed—

She breathed deeply against the urge to wail as if she were at an ancient European funeral.

When Rick proposed, he said she would even love his law firm’s stately, historic building. This was where she sat now, her dark bangs in her eyes. Despite the warm spring air, she huddled outside on the front steps, certain her brain—or surely her heart—would burst if she didn’t stop and collect herself.

A sudden leave of absence. That’s what the receptionist told her. Rick had taken a sudden leave of absence. And Steph knew she was whom he had suddenly left.

She swallowed hard. She stood and dusted off her short flared skirt in an attempt to look nonchalant while she sized up her situation. Where was she going to go? Where? She wiped away a tear, but another one swiftly took its place. She needed to not do this here, in the middle of this quaint old town.

God, what do I do now? Please tell me.

Distraction. She needed another distraction right now.

Across the street a middle-aged woman stepped out the front door of a small building, the white-painted stone of which was gorgeously weathered. She bent to lift a watering can, and her loose blond curls fell forward. She tended to the flower boxes that hung, moss-laden, from green-shuttered front windows. Then she seemed to sense someone watching her. She turned around and smiled at Steph before calling out to her.

“Good morning, dear. Are you all right over there?”

Steph took a few steps away from Rick’s building and tried to look purposeful. She managed to say, “Yes, I—” before her throat seized and then released a torrent of weeping and incoherent babbling.

So much for her stoic resolve.

Within seconds the woman was across the street and at Steph’s side. She smelled like vanilla and strawberries.

“You poor girl. Whatever is the matter?”

Steph tried to speak between heaving sobs. “…were s’posed to elope…left everything…job, family, friends…he’s not here…leave of absence…what…gonna do?” And then full-on wailing obliterated any further at-tempts at communication.

The woman enveloped Steph with her free arm, the other still holding the watering can, and steered her toward the little stone house across the street.

“You just come with me this instant. You mustn’t stand out here all alone like this.”

Yes. That was it. She was all alone. Rick had lured her away from everyone she loved. Everything she knew. She had left them all to marry him. It seemed like such a romantic notion, to elope after her parents had expressed their disapproval of Rick. And then what did the dirtbag do but desert her here?

The enticing smell of fresh-baked bread wafted all around them when they entered the little shop. Despite her anguish Steph sensed a rumble in her stomach. She thought she must be more beast than damsel to actually harbor hope for a pastry or two in the middle of this catastrophe.

“You have a seat right there.” The woman coaxed her into a wicker chair at one of the lace-covered tables in the dining area. “What you need is a nice, soothing cup of chamomile. Just give me a moment.” Before she went too far away, she stepped back to the table and placed a box of tissues within Steph’s reach.

Once Steph was alone again, reality descended. What was she going to do? Granted, she hadn’t walked out on a stellar career. She could get another job selling men’s suits in just about any department store, she supposed. But she didn’t know anyone here in Middleburg. Should she hang her head and drag herself back home to Baltimore? Why had she made such a scene before leaving? She hadn’t quietly sneaked away. No, she had to pull an all-out, in-your-face confrontation with her parents. A dramatic disconnect with her friends and roommates. And all of them had simply been trying to save her from exactly what just happened.

As she had always feared, her judgment was completely whacked. She had forgotten plans for any long-term career once she and Rick became serious. She thought she would spend the rest of her life married to an up-and-coming real estate attorney and raise their two perfect children and faithful dog in this adorable, classy town. Why had she believed that would happen simply because Rick said it would?

“Here we go, dear.”

It finally dawned on Steph that the woman had a faint accent. British? That would fit with this cute little shop, with its delicately flowered wall-paper and elegant china cabinets. The small, framed paintings hanging here and there looked like scenes of the British countryside.

The woman set a serving tray on the table and placed each item in front of Steph. A white porcelain china pot, painted with miniature violets, from which she poured tea into a delicate rose-covered cup and saucer. A plate with a couple of triangular biscuits on it. They smelled like butter and sweetness. And two dainty bowls: one holding strawberry preserves, and the other holding what looked like sour cream.

Steph realized she was able to stop crying as long as she stopped focusing on herself for a moment. She looked up and pressed a tissue against her nose. “Thank you so much. You didn’t have to—”

“No need for that. Go on, now.” The woman gestured at the food and tea and sat down across from Steph. Her gentle blue eyes reminded Steph of her mother during better times. “You’ll feel better if you have a bit to eat and some nice, relaxing tea.”

As soon as Steph lifted one of the biscuits, the woman said, “I’m Millicent Ashford Jewell. Everyone calls me Milly.”

“Steph.” She spoke around an absolutely delicious bite. She rubbed crumbs from her fingers and shook Milly’s hand. “Steph Vandergrift. Thank you for being so kind.”

Milly smiled and put a spoon of the cream on Steph’s plate for her. “Clotted cream. One of God’s great gifts, in my opinion. Marvelous on the scones.”

Clotted cream. Now that sounded downright nasty. But Steph was a self-admitted people pleaser, and she had never been one to ignore God’s great gifts. So she put a little of the cream on her next bite of scone. And then nearly moaned, it was so fantastic.

“But that’s just really thick whipped cream!”

Milly said, “I think you like it, right?”

“I love it.”

Milly stood. “I have a few matters to tend to in the kitchen. Feel free to walk back and get me if you need me. We don’t stand on ceremony around here.”

The shop door opened as Steph swallowed a sip of tea. She followed Milly’s delighted gaze toward the door and took another nibble of scone. Mmm. “Absolutely yummy.”

A crooked smile spread across the face of the young man who walked through the door. He looked directly at Steph and acted as if her comment were all about him. With a lift of his eyebrows and a tilt of the head, he said, “Well, thank you very much.”

Milly laughed and approached him. They hugged each other.

“Welcome back, stranger,” Milly said. “How was vacation?”

Steph didn’t pay much attention to their conversation after that. The man seemed to be in a hurry, which was fine by her. Otherwise she feared Milly might want to introduce them. She’d rather a man that attractive not look at her too closely right now.

Steph watched his warm brown eyes, which never seemed to lose their smile. She noticed he never once messed with his short, tousled blond hair or fussed with anything else about his looks. Yet, when he walked with Milly toward the kitchen, Steph saw how perfectly, yet casually, he was dressed and groomed.

Her heart was broken, thanks to Rick’s wimpy, childish retreat from her life. But Milly’s chamomile tea and warm scones made her feel a little better. And despite her circumstances and the many question marks in her immediate future, she was still able to appreciate a good-looking man. She leaned sideways to watch him at the kitchen door until he disappeared from view. He and Milly were out of earshot, so Steph surprised only herself when she whispered it again.

“Absolutely yummy.”

Monday, November 01, 2010

HAPPY NANO...I MEAN NOVEMBER!

With the whirlwind of October behind us, it's time to embark on a month of food, fun, and phenomenal word count!

I finished ACFW Novel Track with about 35,600 words. WAY short of where I wanted to be, but enough to feel accomplished. This month I'm ready to pound out 50,000 for NANO and I'm itching to type. Sadly, it will have to wait until school and shopping are done for the day. I don't mind abandoning last month's novel because it was chick lit, so I was writing it for fun and cracking myself up.

Also I'd like to work on controlling my eating habits once again--except on Thanksgiving Day. I've fallen so far off the bandwagon I've been run over by the wagon wheels and left in the mud.

What are your goals for November?
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