Friday, January 27, 2012

LOVE OUT LOUD

This is the first devotional by Joyce Meyer's that we've used, and so far we are liking it. There are 365 devotions, and they are all about loving God and others. Each one is a bite-sized message to start the day with, and it fits in perfectly with the kids and I learning 1Corinthians 13. Looking forward to the rest of the year.

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:





FaithWords (November 2, 2011)




***Special thanks to Sarah Reck, Web Publicist | FaithWords & Center Street | Hachette Book Group, for sending me a review copy.***





ABOUT THE AUTHOR:







Joyce Meyer is one of the world's leading practical Bible teachers. A #1 New York Times bestselling author, she has written more than eighty inspirational books, including The Secret to True Happiness, 100 Ways to Simplify Your Life, the entire Battlefield of the Mind family of books, her first venture into fiction with The Penny, and many others. She has also released thousands of audio teachings, as well as a complete video library. Joyce’s Enjoying Everyday Life radio and television programs are broadcast around the world, and she travels extensively conducting conferences. Joyce and her husband, Dave, are the parents of four grown children and make their home in St. Louis, Missouri.



Visit the author's website. Visit the author's twitter. Visit the author's Facebook.






SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:





Jesus said, "You must love the Lord your God with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." - Luke10:27



If one had to choose a single verse in the Bible that is a formula for successful living, this would be the one to live by, says Joyce Meyer: love God, yourself and others - in that order.



Many Christians get mixed up about love. They know they should love God and others, but many do not understand that loving oneself is one-third of God's equation. They mistakenly think of it as selfishness or self-aggrandizement.



Joyce Meyer believes that this misconception is one of the greatest pitfalls in the Christian journey. Loving oneself in a balanced, healthy manner is essential in order to have healthy relationships with God, ourselves and others.



Drawing upon her previous work and teaching series as well as original devotions, the author of Power Thoughts examines the three loves that we've been commanded to exhibit.





Product Details:







  • List Price: $16.99




Hardcover: 384 pages

Publisher: FaithWords (November 2, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0446538477

ISBN-13: 978-0446538473



AND NOW...Press the Browse Button to Read THE FIRST CHAPTER:







Wednesday, January 25, 2012

MEET ADDISON!

It's finally here! Addison Blakely: Confessions of a PK is the newest book by Betsy St. Amant, and her first trade-length novel. Addison lives a fishbowl existence as a preacher's kid, and must deal with her father's overprotective parenting as she sorts through issues of love and faith. Reading Addison was so much fun, I didn't want it to end. I really look forward to reading more young adult stories from Betsy! She really knows how to deliver a good read and make us remember those high school days. Highly recommend for the teen in your life!

On a personal note: Congratulations, Betsy! You have a real winner :D Also, everyone here wants to know how you got them to make the cover look like you ;)


BLURB:
Sixteen-year-old Addison Blakely has tireless played the role of PK—preacher’s kid—her entire life. But after Wes Keegan revs his motorcycle into town and into her heart, Addison begins to wonder how much of her faith is her own and how much has been handed to her. She isn’t so sure she wants to be the good girl anymore. Join Addison Blakely as she attempts to separate love from lust, facts from faith, and keep her head above water in her murky, fishbowl existence.

BIO:

Betsy St. Amant lives in Louisiana 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. She has a BA in Christian Communications and regularly freelances for her local newspaper. Betsy is a fireman’s wife, a mommy to a busy toddler, a chocolate-loving author and an avid reader who enjoys sharing the wonders of God’s grace through her stories.

GET YOUR COPY HERE!

Monday, January 23, 2012

I CONVERTED!

I never thought it would happen to me. Thought I was strong enough to withstand the subtle lure, the temptation, the HYPE. But no....one unguarded moment caused me to stray from the only way I'd ever known, and I was reeled into the addiction of an e-reader.

Ha! Made you nervous, didn't I ;)

After my birthday, I was the proud owner of a shiny new Nook Tablet. At first, I thought sure, I'd get a few books, but would mostly enjoy having the gadget for web surfing purposes and playing games on the run. Then it hit me, book by book, I actually enjoy reading on this device! The ease of holding it in one hand and turning pages, etc make it more convenient to read that a physical book. Once I rooted the Nook (after many long, arduous hours of research) I also enjoy using it as a tablet, and it's become an amazing substitute for my laptop. In fact, my laptop never goes on unless I am doing List Hostess work or writing. (And typing this blog post, LOL.)

While I still enjoy physical books--especially those I will want to pass to my kids, or non-fiction which I like to mark up, underline, and slather with Post-its--the majority of the books I will purpose will be electronic.

How about you? Have you joined the craze? What do you like/not like about e-readers?

Monday, January 09, 2012

FRESH!

Fresh year, fresh laundry, fresh veggies, fresh manuscript. The word itself conjures an image of a thing untouched and unspoiled, full of possibilities. AH, say it one more time with me, "FRESH!" (My crit partners know that when I get stuck on a word, it's there for the duration, haha. Guess what my word today is?)

It so happened that I had the pleasure of opening a FRESH document to start the new year. Though I'd written the first three chapters several months ago, the timing worked out for me to continue the novel last week. OH how I adore reeling off words and scenes when the story is still wide open.

This time I'm trying something a bit new. Instead of having a thorough outline and laboring over each scene, I'm whipping out the draft based on a decent synopsis, all in record speed. Once I have the whole story down, I'll go back and take my time making each scene (that I know for sure will stay in the book) the best it can be.

Trust me, this puppy is Ugly. Capital U. Calling it a rough draft would be giving rough drafts a bad name. It's more like a....practice draft! In any case, there are a few songs I'm loving to have on in the background while I write, and in the process I'm rediscovering a love for instrumental--both classical and movie soundtracks. Would you be shocked to know that the theme to Conan the Barbarian is one of my faves? Haha, true confessions.....

Here's the video, and I'm not embedding it so we can all see a shirtless Arnie. LOL! Only so you get the gist of the song.



What are you starting fresh on this year?

Thursday, January 05, 2012

CHERRY BLOSSOM CAPERS

First, I must say congratulations to my fabulous friend, Gina Conroy! This is her first book, and what an entry she's making into the literary world. I was fortunate to read an early incarnation of Buried Deception, and the final story is awesome! Snappy dialogue and a fast-paced mystery make for a great read. I must confess that I haven't yet read the other novellas, but I heartily recommend Buried Deception. SO looking forward to more great books from Gina!

Check out Gina during her TV interview!!!




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 authors are:





Featured Author:





Authors of the other novellas in the Cherry Blossom Capers are:






and the book:





Barbour Books (January 1, 2012)





***Special thanks to Gina Conroy for sending me a review copy.***




ABOUT THE AUTHORS:




Gina Conroy:






Gina Conroy used to think she knew where her life was headed; now she's leaning on the Lord to show her the way. She is the founder of Writer...Interrupted where she mentors busy writers and tries to keep things in perspective, knowing God's timing is perfect, even if she doesn't agree with it! ;) She is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, and her first novella, Buried Deception, in the Cherry Blossom Capers Collection, releases from Barbour Publishing in January 2012. On her blog Defying Gravity and twitter she chronicles her triumphs and trials as she pursues her dreams while encouraging her family and others to chase after their own passions. Gina loves to connect with readers, and when she isn’t writing, teaching, or driving kids around, you can find her on Facebook and Twitter.




Visit the author's website.










Since the time I could read Nancy Drew, I have wanted to write mysteries. In 2005 I attended a book signing at my local Christian bookstore. The rest, as they say, is history. There I met Colleen Coble. With prompting from my husband, I shared my dream with Colleen. Since those infamous words, I've been writing books.


My eleventh novel released in April 2011, and I have also written one non-fiction title (the Complete Idiots Guide to Business Law). Look for three more titles in spring 2012.


In addition to writing, I am an attorney, lecturer at a Big Ten university, active in women's ministry, and all around crazy woman. Crazy about God, my husband and my kids. I graduated with honors from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Go Huskers!) and George Mason Law School.


Visit the author's website.







Lynette Sowell is the award-winning author of four novels and six novellas for Barbour Publishing. In 2009, Lynette was voted one of the favorite new authors by Heartsong Presents book club readers. Her historical romance, All That Glitters, was a finalist in ACFW's 2010 Carol Awards. When Lynette's not writing, she divides her time between editing medical reports and chasing down news stories for the Copperas Cove Leader-Press. Lynette was born in Massachusetts, raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, but makes her home on the doorstep of the Texas hill country with her husband and a herd of cats who have them well-trained. She loves reading, cooking, watching movies, and is always up for a Texas road trip.
You can find Lynette at her Facebook author page.


Visit the author's website.








FRANCES DEVINE is first a Christian, second a Mom, grandmother and great grandmother. After that, the most important thing in her life is books. Like most authors, she can’t remember a time when she didn’t love to read. And right from the beginning, she was crazy about mysteries. When she was in her sixties, she decided it would be fun to write them and the Miss Aggie series was born. She has also written two historical romance series and several novellas. Frances grew up in Texas and still loves her home state, but when she moved to Missouri in 1984, she fell in love with the changing seasons, the trees and hills. The Misadventures of Miss Aggie series is set in the Missouri Ozarks. Frances loves to hear from her readers at fdevine1@gmail.com. She also welcomes comments on her blog .



Visit the author's website.









SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:





Collection Summary, releasing January 2012




Four townhouse neighbors encounter romance and mystery near our nation’s capital. In State Secrets, White House assistant chef Tara Whitley and FBI agent Jack Courtland stop a plot to sabotage a State dinner—and find love still hidden in their hearts. In Dying for Love, attorneys and opponents Ciara Turner and Daniel Evans uncover love while searching for justice. In Buried Deception, archaeologist Samantha Steele and security guard Nick Porter dig up love while uncovering a forged artifact. In Coffee, Tea and Danger, amateur sleuths Susan Holland and Vince Martini find love while investigating a string of mysterious accidents.



Featured Novella: Buried Deception by Gina Conroy




Mount Vernon archaeology intern and widow Samantha Steele wants to provide for her children without assistance from anyone. Security guard and ex-cop Nick Porter is haunted by his past and keeps his heart guarded. But when they discover an artifact at Mount Vernon is a fake, Nick and Samantha need to work together, set aside their stubbornness, and rely on each other or the results could be deadly. Will Samantha relinquish her control to a man she hardly knows? Can Nick learn to trust again? And will they both allow God to excavate their hearts so they can find new love?



Product Details:




List Price: $7.99




  • Paperback: 352 pages

  • Publisher: Barbour Books (January 1, 2012)

  • Language: English

  • ISBN-10: 1616266465

  • ISBN-13: 978-1616266462






AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER OF "BURIED DECEPTION" OF CHERRY BLOSSOM CAPERS:









“Buried Deception” of Cherry Blossom Capers




Alex, come back!” Samantha Steele’s heart jolted, and she darted after her seven-year-old son. The little renegade ignored her pleas and ran full-throttle toward the dig site behind the slave quarters at Mount Vernon Estates. She glanced at Callie, her nine-year-old, who huffed after her. Why’d her sitter get sick the first day of her archaeology internship?

Samantha pursued Alex through the upper garden toward the archaeology pit where tourists gathered. Her chest tightened. Squatting in the dirt, her boss seemed oblivious to the runaway locomotive about to cause a train wreck.

Samantha prayed that her first encounter with her boss wouldn’t be her last, but two years earlier, God didn’t intervene.

Why would He now?

“Watch out!” Her warning came late as Alex crashed into a dark-headed man in a navy uniform. God’s answer to prayer wasn’t a surprise. The God she knew remained distant, often

turning up the heat when all she wanted was to escape the fire.

Something thumped against Nick Porter’s hip. His drink blew its top, spilling Coke on his security uniform as he dropped his sack. His double cheeseburger and fries tumbled out. “Hey,

watch it!”

The kid who’d plowed into him jumped back.

Two weeks on the job and he’d made a mess of things.

A petite brunette in khaki shorts scurried to his mangled meal. She stuffed it back in the sack, hunching as she offered it. “So sorry.”

Nick’s stomach growled. Just what he wanted. A side of dirt with his burger.

She nudged the freckle-faced kid forward.

The boy resisted. Nick’s frown softened. So much like—

She sighed. “My son is sorry, Officer.”

“It’s Nick Porter, and I’m just security.” Security. He hated the sound of it.

“What happened to the Mount Vernon police?”

“One of many cutbacks.”

She wrote on a business card and handed it to him. Samantha Steele.

“Send me the dry-cleaning bill.”

“Don’t worry about it.”

The blond girl waved her brochure. “This says there’s no food allowed except in the designated eating areas.”

“This one yours, too?” He pointed to the cherub-faced girl. “Charming kids, Mrs. Steele.” He couldn’t hide his sarcasm, the one emotion that remained.

“It’s Ms. Steele. My husband died two years ago.”

Nick spotted Samantha’s naked ring finger. Stupid. As a cop, he never missed a detail. “Sorry.” He paused. “I lost my wife, too.” Why was he confessing to a stranger?

Her eyes sympathized as if she understood his pain.

Impossible.

The kid dug into his pocket. “Here.” Tiny fingers tickled Nick’s palm as the boy released the coins. “I’m really sorry, mister.” The boy’s hazel eyes pierced Nick’s soul.

Nick fought the stirring as memories surfaced. A heaviness descended as they walked away. He should’ve thanked the kid, or at least refused his money. If he could rewind the last few moments, he would. But God didn’t give second chances.

If He did, they certainly weren’t free.

Gripping Alex’s hand, Samantha plodded toward the mansion to catch the tour before her orientation. She inhaled the magnolia breeze, her nerves calming. Something about that security guard unsettled her. Sure, he had Cary Grant looks, but minus the cleft chin and charm he was nothing to swoon over. Besides, she wouldn’t play anyone’s leading lady again. Oh boy.

Classic-movie night with her town house neighbors at Cherry Blossom Estates was getting to her.

The three of them followed the tour into the large mint-green dining room. Samantha admired the intricate white agricultural moldings and crystal dinnerware as the African-

American docent dressed in period attire shared the history.

Alex looked up. “This ceiling is huge.”

“They’re double the size of ceilings at the time.” Samantha studied the detailed carving. “Washington was a great innovator.”

“They had elevators?” Alex whipped his head around. “Can I ride?”

Callie rolled her eyes. “An innovator, not elevator.”

“May I have your attention?” The guide adjusted her head scarf. “Please don’t touch anything.” Her plump figure squeezed through the crowd.

“When my younguns misbehave, I take a switch to them.” The woman’s words grew thick as biscuit gravy. “Can’t have them disrespecting the president now, could I?”

Samantha withdrew from the woman. But Alex pointed to her name tag. Althea Washington. “Are you related to George Washington?”

“She can’t be related; she’s a slave, bozo.” Callie elbowed Alex.

Samantha’s face flushed. “She’s only playing a slave.”

“Next time I sees Masta Washington, I’ll introduce you so you can ask him yourself.” Althea returned to the front. “We’ll pass through the little parlor with the harpsichord President Washington bought for his stepdaughter, Nelly Custis.” Her Southern accent morphed to normal. She glared at Alex. “Please, keep your hands to yourself.”

Something seemed off about Ms. Washington’s role playing. “Stay close and act civilized.” Wouldn’t want to upset her if she had some screws loose underneath that head scarf.

Walking through the little parlor, Samantha squeezed Alex’s hand. Once inside the central passage, her grip relaxed. Marveling at the beautiful mahogany-grained walls, she imagined Washington entertaining guests with doors open as a summer breeze cooled the house.

Callie walked into the front parlor. Samantha followed, her arms swinging, carefree and—empty. Alex?

When did she let go? She spun. Surveyed the entryway. No Alex.

“Where’s your brother?”

Callie shrugged.

“Stay with the group.” Samantha hurried across the hall into the small dining room. Footsteps echoed. She peeked out, her heart beating a warning.

Just her luck Nick Porter’d be patrolling the mansion while Alex went AWOL.

Samantha waited until Nick disappeared; then she jogged up the staircase and surveyed the second floor. The sign on the first door said Closed for Renovations. She checked the

other rooms. All empty.

A door slammed. She turned. Alex scurried from the first room.

“Alex!” she whispered, following him downstairs and through the bedchamber. The study door closed. She raced in and gasped.

Perched on Washington’s chair, Alex reached toward the terrestrial globe.

“Stop!” She reached for him, holding her breath as if a tiny wind would send him falling onto the antique.

He froze.

She lowered her voice. “I’m not mad.” Yet. “Climb down.”

Alex eyed the globe, then jumped off and shuffled toward her like Sylvester with a mouthful of Tweety.

Heat exploded inside her. “Do I need to buy a leash?”

For the past two years she’d dealt with Alex’s unpredictable behavior. She understood he missed his father, so she’d been patient. “Let’s find Callie.”

Swinging around for the door, she slammed into a human wall. Her purse fell. Nick Porter retrieved it as she scrambled after her lipstick.

“Ma’am, you shouldn’t be in here.” He reached to help her up. Their eyes met. “You?”

“Sorry, we’re leaving.” But before Samantha grabbed Alex’s hand, he raced toward the presidential chair.

Climbed.

Reached.

Touched.

“Don’t!” Nick ran to him.

The globe went whirling.

Samantha gasped as the globe’s stand wobbled, her world teetering on the edge of destruction. She fought to breathe as she reached for the antique. It was too late. Like dominoes the globe toppled, knocking against the table by the window, which sent the brass telescope on top catapulting to the ground.

Nick snatched the telescope pieces from Samantha’s hands. It didn’t take a brain surgeon to see the antique was beyond repair.

He set the globe upright, examining it and the table that broke the globe’s fall. No scratches or nicks. Now he got his miracle?

“Sorry, Mommy. Are they still gonna let you work here?”

Nick stared at Samantha. “What’d he say?”

“I—I’m doing an archaeology internship. This summer.”

This wasn’t the last he’d see of her and Captain Chaos? “I’ll have to report this.”

“Wait. Maybe it can be fixed.”

As the kid crawled under the desk, remnants of Nick’s paternal heart wanted to comfort the boy. “You’d better come out.” Had he remembered to soften his tone?

The kid scooted from under the desk. Samantha stroked his hair. “I’ll make everything okay.” She took the eyepiece and barrel from him, tried to fit them together.

“What am I thinking? This isn’t a flea market item I can fix with glue. It’s Washington’s original brass telescope. It survived over two hundred years and millions of tourists, but it couldn’t survive my son.” Tears welled.

Nick shifted his weight, wishing she’d dam that river. He wasn’t heartless; he just never knew how to handle women’s emotions. “I’m calling this in now.”

“Isn’t there something we can do?” Her eyes locked on his like a deer caught in his headlights. He rushed to close the doors on either end of the room. He was insane to risk his job to help this stranger, no matter how much she needed rescuing.

There was something about her. . .needing him. Voices echoed outside the door. “Stay here.”

“My daughter—I need to get her.”

“She’ll be fine.” Nick stepped out. “Room’s closed.” He shut the door.

“Did you see Callie?”

“She’s fine.” His gut knotted. “She won’t try a stunt like young Knievel here or turn George’s bed into a trampoline, right?”

Color pinched Samantha’s cheeks. “Callie would never—just because Alex is curious and clumsy doesn’t make me a terrible mom.”

“I never said that.”

“You didn’t have to.” She crossed her arms.

He shook his head. “We’ll stay put until the tour is finished. Then you’ll find Callie, and we’ll figure this out together.” Together? He definitely needed his head examined. “They have

insurance. I’m sure they’ll understand when we explain.” He took the eyepiece and barrel from her.

Samantha gripped Nick’s arm. “There has to be another way.”

An unexpected longing panged. He couldn’t abandon her now.

With a sigh, he worked the eyepiece into the barrel and sighted toward the Potomac. What? He looked again, his pulse accelerating. A hearty laugh erupted.

“My life’s falling apart, and you’re laughing?” Samantha’s nostrils flared.

“It’s not what you think.”

“Then what’s so funny?”

“The telescope is a fake.”

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

THE MAID OF FAIRBOURNE HALL

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall is about a privileged young woman in 19th Century England who disguises herself as a maid to avoid marriage to a vile man. Love the premise! But when I first started reading, I didn't connect with the heroine. A few more chapters in and I was absolutely hooked, and the character arc ended up being really well done. Julie Klassen has become one of my must-read authors. Historical fans--you will enjoy!

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Maid of Fairbourne Hall
Bethany House (January 1, 2012)
by
Julie Klassen




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years (first in advertising, then as a fiction editor) and now writes full time. Two of her books, The Girl in the Gatehouse and The Silent Governess won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. The Girl in the Gatehouse also won a Midwest Book Award and The Silent Governess was a finalist in Romance Writers of America's RITA awards.



She graduated from the University of Illinois and enjoys travel, research, BBC period dramas, long hikes, short naps, and coffee with friends. Julie and her husband have two sons and live near St. Paul, Minnesota.







ABOUT THE BOOK



Pampered Margaret Macy flees London in disguise to escape pressure to marry a dishonorable man. With no money and nowhere else to go, she takes a position as a housemaid in the home of Nathaniel Upchurch, a suitor she once rejected in hopes of winning his dashing brother. Praying no one will recognize her, Margaret fumbles through the first real work of her life. If she can last until her next birthday, she will gain an inheritance from a spinster aunt--and sweet independence. But can she remain hidden as a servant even when prying eyes visit Fairbourne Hall?



Observing both brothers as an "invisible" servant, Margaret learns she may have misjudged Nathaniel. Is it too late to rekindle his admiration? And when one of the family is nearly killed, Margaret alone discovers who was responsible. Should she come forward, even at the risk of her reputation and perhaps her life? And can she avoid an obvious trap meant to force her from hiding?



On her journey from wellborn lady to servant to uncertain future, Margaret must learn to look past appearances and find the true meaning of "serve one another in love."



If you would like to read the first chapter of The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, go HERE

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

TAP, TAP, TAP....

...is this thing on?

To those of you who might still be reading after lo these many months without a regular post, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Last year was busy, Busy, BUSY for me, which was part of the reason I hid out rather than being full-participation online. I've certainly missed blog hopping and seeing what all my friends in the writing world are up to!

Quick updates since you've last heard from me:

Received representation from Tamela Hancock Murray!
Lost almost 25 pounds, gained back 10 (groan)
Received bad diagnosis from doc (ugh, don't ask)
Continued homeschooling kidlets
Turned the big 4-0, trying hard to outrun the wrinkles

This year I resolve to poke my head out of my turtle shell. I *might* even get back on Facebook....

God bless you as you enter 2012, and I pray you have His peace and joy in abundance!
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