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Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Election, by Jerome Teel

It's that time again. This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is reviewing Jerome Teel's latest book, The Election...I've recently become a frequenter of Jerome's blog, Christian Political Fiction. Whenever I find something interesting in the political newsfront, I check Jerome's blog to see what he says about the topic. Although, I haven't read his new book,The Election, it is on my to be purchased list. My friend Cara Putman has a brief interview with Jerome. Hop on over to the Law, Books, and Life and see what Cara's been able to learn about Jerome.


Jerome Teel is a graduate of Union University, where he received his JD, cum laude, from the Ole Miss School of Law. He is actively involved in his church, local charities, and youth sports.

He has always loved legal-suspense novels and is a political junkie. Jerome and his wife, Jennifer, have three children-Brittney, Trey, and Matthew-and reside in Tennessee, where he practices law and is at work on a new novel.


They seek ultimate power.

Nothing can stand in their


Ed Burke has waited a lifetime to become president of the United States. He's not about to let his nemesis, Mac Foster, stop him now...especially when he's sold his soul for the Oval Office.

Claudia Duval has lived a rough life. And finally, things have turned around for her after meeting the wealthy Hudson Kinney. But is all what is seems?

When a prominent citizen is murdered in Jackson, Tennessee, attorney Jake Reed doesn't want to know the truth. He just wants to get his client off. But as he investigates, he uncovers a sinister scheme. A scheme that would undermine the very democracy of America...and the freedom of the entire world.
The Election, by Jerome Teel, is a fast-paced, highly readable mystery filled with suspense, intrigue, and political conspiracy. Teel skillfully weaves together themes of faith, family, suffering, and providence in a way that not only compels, but enlightens."

David S. Dockery-President, Union University

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Review of Dandelion Dust

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is posting about Karen Kingsbury's latest book, Like Dandelion Dust. Let's learn a little bit about Karen and this wonderful book.

USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury is America's #1 inspirational novelist. There are nearly 5 million copies of her award-winning books in print, including more than two million copies sold in the past year. Karen has written more than 30 novels, nine of which have hit #1 on national lists, including award-winning Oceans Apart, One Tuesday Morning, Beyond Tuesday Morning, the Redemption Series and Firstborn Series, and several other bestsellers, one of which was the basis for a CBS Movie-of-the-Week and Gideon's Gift, which is currently in production as a major theatrical release for Christmas 2007.

Karen lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, Don, and their six children, three of whom are adopted from Haiti.

About the Book:

Jack and Molly Campbell enjoyed an idyllic life (great house in a fancy neighborhood, high-paying job, and a beautiful little boy) in their small hometown outside Atlanta with their adopted 4-year-old, Joey. Then they receive the phone call that shatters their world: a social worker delivers the news that Joey's biological father has been released from prison and is ready to start life over with his son. (It's discovered that Joey's birth mother forged the signature of Joey's birth father, making it a fraudulent adoption.) When a judge rules that Joey must be returned to his father (a man who cannot separate love and violence), the Campbell's, in a silent haze of grief and utter disbelief, watch their son pick a dandelion and blow the feathery seeds into the wind.

Struggling with the dilemma of following the law, their hearts, and what they know to be morally right, the Campbell's find that desperation leads to dangerous thoughts. What if they can devise a plan? Take Joey and simply disappear....LIKE DANDELION DUST.

Click here to purchase this great book.

Review by Mimi Pearson

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Congratulations, Jennifer Cary! You won your own copy of The Reluctant Burglar. You're going to love this book. The other day when I finished it I was sad to put the characters away. LOL.

Thanks, everybody, for playing along. (even you shy girls that didn't post) ;) Hope you'll stop by again.

And thanks so much to Jill Elizabeth Nelson. You're a peach! Can't wait to read the next book.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Author Interview + Book Give-away! Welcome Jill Elizabeth Nelson

If Desiree Jacobs knows anything, it’s art. Her father, whose security company is internationally renowned, taught her everything he knew. Most of all, he taught her about honor, integrity, and faith.

Special Agent Tony Lucano knows Desiree Jacob’s father is an art thief. But what he can’t figure out is Desiree. Is she an innocent victim…or a clever accomplice?

Then her father is murdered. And along with his company, he leaves Desiree a hidden container full of stolen paintings. But she can’t put people out of jobs, and embarrass international museums that have been displaying clever forgeries. No. She must find out why her honest father would turn criminal. And she must return the priceless art to the rightful owners without their knowledge. Even if it means facing down a ring of cutthroat art thieves…or accepting help from the man she most distrusts.

Wow, if that doesn’t make you want to go out and buy this book, I don’t know what will. Let’s meet the author behind this clever story. The Reluctant Burglar is Jill Elizabeth Nelson’s first published novel.

Hi, Jill. Thanks for being here today. I’m looking forward to getting to know you today. Please tell us a little about yourself and your family, and your job as a reviewer.

JN: My first and only marriage is still
going strong after 25 years. We have four kids who’ve pretty much flown the coop. Yet, the chickadees keep coming home to roost. Puzzling phenomenon. We must not give them enough incentive to stay away.

By day, I masquerade as secretary to the CEO of a health care corporation and as housing manager for a senior apartment complex. By night I throw off my mask of conformity and turn into a wild and crazy writer who can hardly wait to jot down all the cool things my characters are telling me, so I can share them with my readers.

But before I entered the realm of published novelist, I enjoyed three great years as a book reviewer for Romantic Times magazine, a secular periodical catering to women readers. Publishers would send me their inspirational fiction several months before the books were available on the shelves, and I got to share with an international market of readers what I thought about these books. How cool is that!?

When my own book contract came along, the magazine required me to step down from my reviewer position—conflict of interest. I’m thankful for my years as a reviewer. The position put me in touch with what was happening in the inspirational fiction market and helped me position my work for a sale.

Wow, you work full time and still find time to write. Impressive. Do you have any hobbies or interests you’d like to share?

JN: Reading, writing, camping trips with my family. My version of camping is a motor home with an electrical hook-up. Not very primitive, but very relaxing to be out in nature away from the regular daily bustle. I bring my laptop and write without even the temptation of checking my email.

No temptation to check your email…you are a strong woman. LOL. Now, how long have you been writing and how long did you write before you were published?

JN: I’ve been writing since I penned—er, penciled—my first mystery novel in sixth grade. No trace of that youthful manuscript exits today, and the world is grateful. Since then, my writer’s journey has taken me in many different directions. I’ve worn the hats of journalist, columnist, essayist, poet, storyteller and book reviewer. Somewhere along the route, in my early days, I earned a BA in literature and creative writing.

The dream of becoming a published novelist was born and died several times before the fulfillment. Sometimes that’s the way it has to be because the Lord knows we’re not ready for the dream to become reality. But about six years ago, when my children started flying the nest, I began writing a novel that wouldn’t let me alone until I got it on paper. That isn’t the one that eventually sold, but working on it primed the pump, and I kept writing manuscripts until the contract happened. God’s timing, not mine.

Are you one of those writers that had to go through lots of rejections before you were published or was it a fairly simple process?

JN: I assume you mean “published” in book length. Yes, I had about four years of rejections until my first novel sold. During that time, I published many articles, essays, short stories, and book reviews. Publishing short pieces was and continues to be a part of my writing ministry, but in my pre-book contract days, it was also a way to build credits and name recognition in writing circles.

Getting to the point of receiving a book contract offer isn’t a simple process. It just isn’t. A lot of factors contribute, especially old-fashioned hard work and perseverance. I always recommend that aspiring authors join writers groups, either on-line or in person. We need the accountability and the encouragement these groups can provide. And the networking opportunities are vast, particularly in on-line groups such as American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) where the membership includes agents and editors.

Back to you. What were you doing when you found out you sold The Reluctant Burglar? How did you celebrate?

JN: In the fall of 2005, my cell phone rang during the awards banquet at the Christian Writers Group conference. (I was naughty and left it on because I was expecting to hear one way or the other.) I dashed into the hall, clutching the phone. My also naughty agent began the conversation as if she was preparing me for a let-down, and then she announced, “And they’re offering you a three-book contract!” I had an Aaaaah! Moment, then settled in to hear the details. It was a blast being able to share my news with a whole conference full of fellow writers, many of them personal friends. I feel like that was a special gift to me from the Lord. And an intriguing God-incidence stood out to everyone when my news became common knowledge—the conference theme was “Answer the Call.” Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor?

What kind of writing schedule are you on?

JN: My general writing goal is 1,000 words per day at least five days per week. I never do exactly that. On days when I’m a little “stuck” and need to brainstorm plot, I might only write a few hundred words. On days when everything’s clicking, I might do 1,500 or 2,000. My contract gives me six months to write each book in the series. Those months seem to slide by pretty fast.

I read that you put your writing on hold while you raised your family. I work outside the home and finding time to write without making my family sacrifice is a big struggle for me. What advice would you give women like me? (no pressure, lol)

JN: I admire women who can raise young children and write, too. It didn’t work for me. But then, I wasn’t able to be a stay-at-home mom. Working full time, then coming home to the needs of a large family left no room for writing. The dream was dormant inside me during those years anyway. I’m sure that was God’s grace.

For women who have the awesome privilege of being home with their little ones, an hour or two a day at the computer might be possible. Notice I say “might.”

Whatever your situation is in the motherhood arena, if the call to write is heavy on you as well, be happy with small but steady progress. Be consistent. Be persistent. Cut yourself lots of slack so the inevitable interruptions don’t stress you out. Enjoy the writing journey as much as you enjoy your kids. Don’t make the two roles competitive. Besides, raising kids gives women LOTS of fodder for books. Count your little blessings, and then put them to bed. LOL

Small but steady progress…my new mantra! I read that you literally dreamed up your character in RB. Tell us about that? Do you typically dream up your books?

JN: I don’t typically sleep-dream my novel scenarios. I do typically wake-dream them, often while lying in bed trying to sleep, but my brain is still going a hundred miles an hour concocting scenarios for imaginary people. Only a writer can get away with such confessions and not be considered a candidate for a white jacket.

For the Reluctant Burglar concept, I woke up one night with my whole body tense after dreaming that a woman had sneaked into a home in the wee hours of darkness to return a genuine painting that had been stolen and replaced by a clever forgery. I didn’t know much about her except that she was an expert at what she did, and if she were caught, disaster would follow for lots of people. My imagination began to play with that nugget, and Burglar was born.

Tell us a little about this book and what it meant to you to tell this story?

JN: I love stories where people risk much to do the right thing, and I hate hearing about art or antiquities desecrated or stolen. Putting these elements together into a tale of intrigue with a sassy heroine and an intense hero came pretty naturally. I’ve really enjoyed writing about Desi and Tony.

I write what I like to read. My personal style always includes some level of adventure and romance mingled with pathos and humor. This particular series lets me indulge all my preferences and put it into a package with spiritual meaning incorporated throughout. As my web site says, I write romantic suspense for people who enjoy a fast-paced adventure with more meat on its bones than just a slick plot.

The spiritual theme of Reluctant Burglar is sorting out what to do when it looks like any choice will invite disaster. It’s a story illustration about learning to trust God’s higher knowledge, not our own wisdom and understanding.

This is a part of a series. Would you like to share a little about the other books?

JN: The To Catch a Thief series has a lot of juicy elements that made it attractive to a publisher and, hopefully, to readers—a spitfire heroine righting a wrong in an outrageous way, mortal and moral danger, the unique angle of the high end art world, and a hero that even my winsomely conservative editor describes as—ahem—“hot.”

Reluctant Runaway, which is about ready to head for the typesetter, comes out in March 2007. This one delves into the world of cults and outlaw motorcycle gangs. Interwoven themes are the need for belonging, discerning the truth in a deceitful world, and generational consequences to people’s actions—for good and for evil.

In Reluctant Smuggler (releasing August 2007), our heroes are pitted against a Mexican drug lord engaged in a deadly art for drugs scheme. The theme focuses on the essential role of hope in sustaining our faith, and the disastrous consequences to society when hope is absent.

Each of the books has a specific art focus. Burglar spotlights the European masters, and Runaway exposes readers to American and Native American art. Smuggler takes readers south of the border to explore Hispanic art and culture.

What other projects are you working on?

No “other” projects right now. My plate is full with the current series assignment. I’m about at the half way point in the Reluctant Smuggler manuscript. Things are getting right interesting for my characters. . I hope my current publisher will continue the To Catch a Thief series

What has been the most fun part of publication and the least favorite part?

Writing. The process offers enough joy and despair to be a love/hate relationship in itself, especially when you actually have to meet a deadline, and you have no clue other than a miracle how that will be accomplished. God is good. He gives me grace to do what would be impossible in my own abilities.

Wow, thank you so much, Jill. I appreciate you being here and I loved this story. This is the first book in a long time that I thought, “I wish this were a movie.” It was a very well thought out book. Can’t wait to read the next one. I hope you’ll come back next year to talk about Reluctant Runaway.

Now if you’d like to win an autographed copy of The Reluctant Burglar go to and find the name of Desiree Jacob’s father. Email me the name and I’ll draw from the entries on Wednesday. Good luck!

Thanks so much, Sabrina. I'm always happy to hear from people who enjoy books, whether they've read mine or not. Drop by my web site. My contact page has my email link, and I'm
especially excited when I see I've got new newsletter subscribers.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Congratulations to Heather Gunn!

Hey everybody! I'm sorry I didn't post this earlier. My family has been struggling with colds. Yuck.

Anyway, congratulations to Heather Gunn for winning the autographed copy of Finding Faith. I know she's going to enjoy this book. Heather once you read it be sure to drop me a line and let me know what you thought. ;)

Thanks, Denise. You were a wonderful guest. You're welcome anytime.

FYI I'm working on an interview with Jill Elizabeth Nelson. Author of The Reluctant Burglar. This is a great book, written by a clever and witty woman. I hope you'll stop by Monday to meet her and enter for your chance to win an autographed copy of her book!

One last final note. I did finally send in my book Prescription for Murder a few weeks ago. Pray for me to have patience. Even if it's a rejection, I'd rather know sooner than later. ;)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Welcome, Denise Hunter

One Woman Sacrificing Everything For Her Career... Paula Landin-Cohen, an investigative reporter, feels like a fish out of water in the small town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Then she's offered her dream job, as a TV reporter in Chicago. There is so much to gain and so much to lose...including the only man she's ever loved.

A Young Girl's Longing for Acceptance...Linn Caldwell has made a lot of mistakes-bad mistakes. She can never forgive herself for all the pain she's caused others. How can she dare to get close to anyone again?

And The Road To Forgiveness... What will happen if Paula and Linn's secrets are revealed? Will the men they love ever be able to forgive them?

Have you ever started a book and thought, ohhh. I can't wait to see how the author resolves this. That was me this weekend. I started this book Friday afternoon. I finished it Saturday afternoon. It was "that" good.

Finding Faith has great characters that you feel like you know. Believable conflict and a touch of romance and suspense. There were even issues in this book that are taboo and though hard to think about, Denise came to a very realistic resolution. There were sad moments along with joyous moments. My emotions were all over the place with this book. I'd highly recommend it. That's why I'm so excited to have fellow Hoosier, Denise Hunter here to talk about her book and herself.

Many of you know her from the Girls Write Out blog she co-writes with writing buddies, Colleen Coble, Diann Hunt, and Kristin Billerbeck. If you haven't checked it out, do so soon. Denise Hunter lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons. If you haven't seen her in person, she's a darling, petite woman who appears very shy.

Denise, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to be here. Having had the privilege of meeting your family, specifically those darling boys, I know you have plenty to keep you occupied. For that handful of people who don't know you, tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

DH: I'm happily married to a business owner, and as you mentioned, I have three boys. I like to read, watch chick flicks (I've watched You've Got Mail dozens of times), and eat dark chocolate. Not very original, but there it is. I play drums on our church's worship team and lead a book discussion group there as well. I started writing 10 years ago and have been very blessed to publish 12 novels/novellas in that time.

Did I read you're from Ohio? How did you meet your husband and end up in Indiana?

DH: Yes, we're actually both from Ohio. We met when he was asked to fill in as music director at the church where I grew up, and the rest is history. It was a bit awkward because he was 21 and I was only 17. We went to a high school play on our first date, and the lady selling tickets says, "One adult and one child?" ACK! It was so humiliating. We married three years later and he got a job in Indiana shortly after that.

Oh Denise...that's too funny.;) I recently listened to an interview you did on WBCL with friends Colleen Coble and Diann Hunt.(go to the mid morning page and search the archives for Author Author to hear this interview)You all were asked to say something about the other two that people might not know. Colleen said you're "girly" (which is hard in a house full of boys) and Diann said she admired you as a wife and mother. That you always put your family first and do what's best for them. That's no little thing. Especially when writing, if you let it, can consume so much time. How do you make time for both a successful writing career and all that goes with raising three boys?

DH: Well, I always wanted to be a stay at home mom, and I'm that, first and foremost. When I started writing, the boys were little and I wrote only during their naptimes. Talk about slow progress! But even if you only write two pages a day, eventually you have a book. My plan was to get a writing career started so that by the time they were all in school, I'd be writing regularly. God has blessed me by granting that dream. I try not to write when the kids are home, though in the summer, that's sometimes impossible. My publishers have been very gracious to give me the time I need.

It sounds like you have your priorities straight. Because ultimately, even if all the career stuff goes away, our family is what's important. So what's a typical day for you?

DH: As boring as it may sound, I'm very much a routine person. After I drop my kids off at school, I come home and do my Bible study then start writing-usually emails . I call it warming up. After I'm done with emails, I read and edit what I wrote the day before, then I write until I've met my quota, which is currently 6 pages. I get up every so often to throw a load of laundry in the washer. My life is so glamorous. When I finish a chapter, I send it to my critique partner, Colleen Coble, and when she sends it back, I make the suggested changes. I'm usually done writing by noon, which gives me time to get housework and errands done before I have to pick up the boys. After that, it's after-school activities, homework, dinner, showers, and the day is gone.

I admire you structured, routine type people.LOL. How many books do you strive for each year? And do you schedule "off" time?

DH: It depends on my deadlines. Right now, I have a book due every 9 months, which is great. Before I sit down to write a novel, I get out my family calendar and mark the days I'm planning to write-usually 5 days a week unless there's a holiday. I don't write on the days my kids are home from school, so I guess those are my "off" days. Everything else, doctor appointments etc, I schedule around my writing time.

Now enough with the pleasantries. LOL. The real reason you're here. This book, Finding Faith, is fabulous. I'm eager to talk about this story. I can honestly say this is one of the best books I've read all year. It amazes me that you're able to come up with such intricate, detailed stories. Colleen has often compared you to Karen Kingsbury. That in itself is such an honor. However, I think you're writing is getting to a point that your style and talent are no longer going to be compared to other writers, more that you're going to be the author that writers hope to be compared to.

DH: Well, that is such a nice thing to say!

There are some deep issues in this book. I know you don't want to give anything away, but tell us about the story and the characters.

DH: Finding Faith is the story of Paula, a Chicago TV news reporter, who has a deep dark secret that if uncovered, could put her marriage in jeopardy. When she covers a "switched at birth" story, her secret threatens to be revealed. Paula is a Type A personality whose career has been her first priority. Because of this, she's made poor choices, and in the story, those decisions come back to haunt her. There's also a subplot with a young lady named Linn who's made her own share of bad decisions. She finally finds a man to love, but fears he's outside of her reach. Finding Faith has drama, romance, a bit of suspense, and a surprising twist.

More than once I had tears in my eyes. Your ability to make me care for these characters was masterful. I'd think "don't do that, it's going to make things worse" all the while knowing that as humans we all have the ability to make things worse when we try to "fix" things without the help of God. Were the choices made in this book hard to write? Emotionally challenging?

DH: When I first started writing novels, I didn't want to make anything bad happen to my characters. I'm a nice person, and it seemed so cruel. LOL But story requires conflict, otherwise you have a sagging middle, a depressed writer, and then out comes the chocolate. It's not pretty. It's easier to be tough on my characters! Honestly, delving into the emotions comes naturally to me. Not that I have a huge well of pain to draw from, but everyone has experienced the basic emotions to some degree, and I draw from that when I write.

The study questions are fabulous. Do the authors write these or someone at the publishing house?

DH: Typically the author writes them, but for Finding Faith, my editor offered to write them because I was swamped at the time. She did a fabulous job!

You introduced a few new people in this book. Will we be seeing these characters in another series? Or are you done with them for now?

DH: I did leave a little wiggle room for another book, but other opportunities have come along, so I'm going to leave those characters where I left them.

Tell us about your current projects. And what kinds of things are you hoping to write in the next few years.

DH: I'm very excited about my current projects! WestBow Press (Thomas Nelson) has contracted me to write 4 romances set on the island of Nantucket. Each story will take an attribute of Christ and play out through the romance between the hero and heroine. On the surface, they're love stories, but there's a deeper meaning in the way the hero loves the heroine the way Christ loves us. The first one, Surrender Bay, is due out in October, 2007 and they'll be released every 6 months.

Oh...I can't wait until October '07! Finally, just for fun, tell us what authors you love to read? No pressure. LOL. Who's books do you race to the bookstore to get?

DH: Deb Raney, Francine Rivers, Lynn Austin, Nicholas Sparks, to name a few.

Great authors. You have great taste...Now for the fun part, Denise is graciously giving away a signed copy of Finding Faith. But you have to work for it! Go to her website at and find the name of Denise's husband. Then email me the name. It's pretty simple, really. I'll draw a name from all the entries this Thursday.

And thanks so much, Denise. This was fun. Hope you stop back again.

DH: Thanks so much for having me! Best wishes with all your writing endeavors!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Finding Faith

I can't go to sleep and it's all Denise Hunter's fault. LOL. Her newest book, Finding Faith, has long been on my tbr list and I've finally started it... I can't put it down. I should have known-I remember when I read her book Mending Places and had the same trouble. Regardless, I'm enjoying this book, immensely.

I'll be posting a review of it Monday and hope to have my interview with the dynamic author posted on Tuesday or Wednesday. Hope you'll stop back to meet this fabulous writer.