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Friday, December 21, 2007

TANNER'S BASKETBALL WOES...

My friend Jennifer Tiszai, who's new to Indiana this year, mentioned going to a basketball game on her blog today. It made me laugh thinking about my son Tanner's own little basketball catastrophe this week. He loves playing Upward Basketball for our church's team. It's such a positive environment for him to learn the game.

Last year he had a coach that wasn't overly strong on the coaching part but he was kind and encouraging to the kids and for the age group I thought that was sufficient. This year Tan has a coach that loves the game of basketball. You can tell that this man was or is an athlete. He's still very trim and sporty and exhibits all the qualities of the most passionate "college" coach. Right down to making them do a push up if they miss the basket. Too bad he's teaching 1st and 2nd graders. Anyway, my son, who if you're new to my blog you may not know he has asperger tendencies, is very quirky. He's soooo modest it worries me what's going to happen when he gets older and has to shower in front of classmates in gym.

Anyway, he's on this team and the coach decides he's going to have the kids play shirts and skins. And guess who was on the skins team? Oh man! Tanner was soooo upset. He wanted to quit that night. I'm not a mother that lets her kid quit on a whim. He signed up for the team, he'll finish the season. My only concern is will this overly zealous coach ruin my son's love of the game or could it possibly help loosen him up a bit? Hmmm, I'll keep you posted. :)

Distant Heart by Tracy Bateman

This week the CFBA
blog tour is proud to introduce
Distant Heart.


Tracey Bateman is the award-winning author of more than twenty-five books, including Defiant Heart, the First in the Westward Hearts series. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and recently served on the board as President. She lives in Lebanon, Missouri, with her husband and their four children.
In the second book in the Westward Hearts trilogy, will the promise of a new life out west heal the scars of Toni's past?

This series tells the stories of three strong women as they struggle to survive on the rough wagon train and lose their hearts to unlikely heroes along the way/ Think Little House on the Prairie meets Francine river's Redeeming Love and you begin to get a sense of the riveting historical series that Tracey Bateman has created.

In this second installment, we follow Toni Rodden, a former prostitute who sought to escape her past and build a new life, and a new reputation, when she joined the wagon train. Despite much resentment and distrust from the other women, Toni has finally earned a place on the wagon train and found a surrogate family in Fannie Caldwell and her two siblings. For the first time in her life, Toni actually feels free.

But while Toni once harbored dreams that her new life might include a husband and family, she soon realizes the stigma that comes with her past is difficult to see beyond and that she'll never be truly loved or seen as worthy. As the trip out west begins to teach her to survive on her own, she resolves to make her own living as a seamstress when the train finally reaches Oregon.

But despite Toni's conviction that no man will be able to see beyond her marred past, Sam Two-feathers, the wagon scout and acting preacher for the train seems to know of a love that forgives sins and values much more than outward appearances. Will Sam have the confidence to declare his love? Will Toni be able to trust in a God that can forgive even the darkest past? Faith, love, and courage will be put to the test in Distant Heart.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

LOVE INSPIRED WEDNESDAY...Meet Debra Clopton and win a copy of her newest release...Operation Married by Christmas


I'm back with Love Inspired Wednesday's and this week I have a good one. I just finished Operation Married by Christmas. . . This is the second Debra Clopton book I've read. I started with Meeting Her Match right after the ACFW conference in September. I was so impressed with Debra's honest and real presence that I was eager to see if her style of writing matched her sweet personality.

Meeting her Match was very good. I was immediately drawn into the fictional town of Mule Hollow and right away ordered Operation Married by Christmas to see how Debra progressed with the lovable characters.

I wasn't disappointed. I loved Operation Married by Christmas. A story about a young woman who has left three men at the altar and comes home (wearing the wedding dress from her most recent escapade) only to run into the first man she left at the altar. It would seem that she never got over her love for him and the story is about the two of them coming to terms with their hurt and fears. It's a wonderful story of forgiveness and even how to take responsibility for our own actions, even when we feel we're the one wronged.

I'll be posting reviews of these books soon, but for now, I'd like to introduce Debra Clopton. :)

Debra, tell us about yourself. Your family, day job…basically, anything you want to share.

I write full time now and love it. I was married to my high school sweetheart for 22 years but have been a widow for four years now, a fact that has greatly influenced how I approach my writing. I have two wonderful sons ages 20 and 22 and in April will add a daughter-in-law to the family!




Boys are wonderful, and how fun that you're going to have a daughter soon. :)

What made you want to write a book? And why romance?

I’ve been an avid romance reader most of my life, I love happy endings. I despise books that don’t end well or someone I care about dies in the end. This sort of thing leaves me as stressed out at the end of the book as I may have been when I started it and that isn’t why I read. Also, I love that true romance edifies marriage between a man and a woman. To me a great romance makes a woman appreciate her mate and can help a young girl look for heroic qualities as she searches for her future husband. I want readers to read my books and say “that’s the kind of man I want to marry”. I love writing heroes who make the heroine feel safe, strong and fulfilled. My husband did that for me and so my heroes are modeled after him. Plus, I love writing romance that is fun and I try to never let it get boring!

I agree. I hate being frustrated when I'm reading. Who wants to feel stressed out when they put the book down? Now, what’s a typical day in your life and share your writing schedule with us.

I’m usually at the computer by 7 drinking a cup of coffee and checking email. By 8 or 9 at the latest I’m writing. I write all day, taking breaks every hour. I write at least 8 hours a day and many days, especially if I have a deadline, I write 12 hours or more. I love it!

Tell us about your writing journey and the day you found out you’d sold your first book.

This is sort of complicated but here goes. I wrote for 13 years—three of those years right before I sold my first book I didn’t actually write, I’d felt God urging me to give my full attention to my family so I did. At the end of that time my husband, the love of my life, died suddenly and I became a widow. I thank God everyday for the gift he gave me when He pressed upon me the need to focus on my family during those 3 years. I always tell others if you feel God leading you to stop writing by all means pause your career. You can always go back, but God may have a reason for asking you to lay your dream aside for a little while. Wayne died on July 5, 2003 and in my grief, needing something to help me during those dark lonely hours I was now faced with, I started reading Christian fiction. But, and by no means am I putting these author’s work down--because their work is a blessing to many and meets a need out there...it just wasn’t meeting my need. For me it seemed that all the Christian fiction I was reading was so heavy with the heartaches and “realisms” that the characters were suffering from that it was just too real to me and the fresh heartbreak I was dealing with. I didn’t need “real”, I needed escape, I needed something to help me smile. That’s when I felt compelled to start writing again. I pulled my last book that I’d written off the shelf, tweaked it a bit and sent it in. That was December of 2003 and, long story shortened, it was a romantic comedy about a wacky hairdresser who went to a small town in Texas to try and marry off all the cowboys! THE TROUBLE WITH LACY BROWN was a Golden Heart finalist and Joan Golan of Steeple Hill was judging. Since my story was targeted toward their Love Inspired line I hoped it would catch her attention. It did and she had Krista Stroever call me the week it arrived in New York with an offer! LOL…I was totally surprised—I knew the finalist were going to the editors desk that week but I wasn’t expecting the call to come so soon if it came at all. As it turned out I was the first GH finalist to sell that year. So after all those years of waiting for the call I was totally caught off guard. But I was happy! However, the call was bittersweet to me in that it was only 7 months after my husband’s death therefore while I was thrilled I was also so sad that Wayne wasn’t there beside me...but I knew in spirit he was and is. The reason I go on about this is because God has a plan for all of us and on the day I got the call I knew God was opening a new window for me. In His timetable He’d given me a new path for my life at exactly the time that I needed it most. I know my purpose is to write fun books that touch the hearts of readers. I write to help my readers laugh and escape the harsh realities of life for the little while they are reading one of my books. I strive to build a world where they can rest easy. Truly, the day I got the call changed my life.

I read my first book by you just a couple weeks ago. Meeting Her Match. Even though I don’t know you personally, I felt like I could see you in Sheri. Do you put a little bit of your own life in the Mule Hollow Books? And what about Mule Hollow? Is there a Mule Hollow in your life?

Yes, I’m in all of my books in little ways…but definitely in the way my speaking voice comes out on the page! Talk about voice, you can hear me loud and clear so I get that all the time :). But also, you will see snap shots of some of my life in the books although believe me, my life isn’t quiet as exciting as my characters—for instance Sheri had an encounter with an alligator in MEETING HER MATCH and so did I but hers was a lot more exciting than my own experience! And about Mule Hollow it is completely made up. However the small town I live in is a wonderful place full of great people but it isn’t Mule Hollow. I love that readers really wish they could move to Mule Hollow and I’ve had several people write to me asking if I could fix them up with a cowboy--I love that! I’m thinking maybe I should start an online dating service or something!


LOL, hey, I bet you'd be busy. I also just finished Operation: Married by Christmas. It was very good. The romance was fabulous. I could feel their pain and longing in each page. You did a great job making us believe their backstory. What makes your romances so good or what’s the key to writing a good romance?

Thank you so much for the nice comment! And I love this question, Sabrina. I believe understanding the dynamics of why two people are attracted to each other is key in building a romance. It is obviously part physical—very important to the dynamics of the sexual tension that makes real life and books exciting. But, the glue that binds it all together runs so much deeper and I believe foremost that two people have to make each other want to be better people. Also, something about the person has to make you feel alive in a way no one else can—got to have those sparks! Also, each hero and heroine has to be someone your readers connect with or it doesn’t work as a book. To achieve this I study movies with great dialog and story and also the same with books that I read. But I think for me I get it better through movies. I study why the relationships work on screen and why they don’t and I think it helps me with my work.

Any tips or advice for new writers that you wish you’d have known back before you were published?

Okay, take this with a grain of salt since I am still learning and growing myself! But I believe you need to always be open to learning and to changing the things that will make you a better writer. Learn what works for you, be true to how you would say it on paper—that’s your voice. Many new authors strive to please too many critique partners and so they don’t stand out. So my advice is: learn your voice and what works with it, what makes it better and then hone that voice until it stands out not blends in! People always say, “But how do you do that? How do you know if you have a voice?” Like I said earlier everyone has a voice, a way they say things, the way they see things. You just have to figure out how to get that to the page in a captivating way and then there you go--you have a voice. Yeah, I know, easier said than done .

You’ve created a great little town in Mule Hollow. How many more Mule Hollow stories do you have planned?

Thank you, I’m hoping everyone wants to visit Mule Hollow! I’m working on book 10 in the series (praise the Lord!)and since readers have embraced the books we’re keeping it going for now to fill that demand.

I’m so excited about the three books I have coming out in 2008 with Love Inspired and yes they are all set in Mule Hollow! The first book (Jan 08) NEXT DOOR DADDY is very special to me. I feel like it is one of my best books to date. It is about a widow and a widower who both have loved and lost their soul mates. Their journey to loving again is to me a very special one. It is a little different than my other books since it is heart wrenching in parts, but I balanced this out with tons of humor so that it is in keeping with my normal style. To do this I added a daredevil eight year old and a houseful of wonderful animals that are sure to make readers laugh! That book is followed by HER BABY DREAMS in April, this book is lighter and the hero was totally fun to create. He just won’t take no for an answer! Then comes THE COWBOY TAKES A BRIDE in July and it has the spunkiest, heroine who is a down and out actress with big dreams and she’s hoping Mule Hollow will help make them come true. All are fun books but each one is different and I hope meets readers expectations. You can read about them at my website debraclopton.com so please come on by and leave me a note!

I’ve enjoyed this interview Sabrina. Thanks for having me! I do hope readers will check out my website debraclopton.com and my new blog debraclopton.blogspot.com where I put out my newest news. And if you haven’t been to Mule Hollow yet—I hope you’ll grab a book and come visit me and the gang! God bless you all.

Thank you so much, Debra. This has been one of the most fun interviews. You're so kind to share of yourself with us. Now if you'd like to win a copy of Operation Married by Christmas, email me the answer to this question. What is the name of Debra's dog. :) The answer is on her website. And please leave a comment for Debra. :) Happy Sleuthing.

WHAT LIES WITHIN BY KAREN BALL

THIS WEEK
THE CFBA IS PROUD TO PRESENT
I WILL BE POSTING A REVIEW AND GIVING AWAY A COPY OF THIS BOOK AS SOON AS I FINISH IT. :) BUT FOR NOW, YOU CAN PURCHASE THE BOOK HERE.

Friday, December 07, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas


Hey all, just thought I'd share a couple pics. Here's a small glimpse of our Christmas tree. When my husband and I were first married we had a big tree with all white lights. It was decorated in red and silver and very elegant and classy. Then I had Tanner. :) All you parents see where this is going.
We now have all manner of homemade paper, wood, metal, and plastic ornaments. Of course now we have to have colored lights to go with the multitude of crayola color and you can't see it but we have a pretty snowman tree skirt that matches our homespun stockings. It's very pretty and charming but a true sign that a family lives here. :)
Crystal, if you're reading this, that's your bell you made me last year. Cara's angel is also somewhere on here.
And you can see that since we don't have a fireplace our stockings are hung by the Love Inspired books. :)
I'll post some pictures of us playing in the snow later this weekend. (Yep, I'm giving in and letting him play in the snow. Woohoo...progress!

Letting them grow up!

We finally have our snow and I love it. I'm one of those Midwest girls that needs snow for the holidays. Without it it just seems like any other time of the year. So we have this snow and it's pretty and fluffy and Tanner, my eight year old, is dying to go out and play in it. Sigh. Here lies the problem. My name is Sabrina and I'm an overprotective mom. LOL. Seriously, I love to go out and play with Tanner in the snow. Last year we got this great snowman kit that I'm dying to try out. We also have sleds and shovels and all kinds of fun snow gear. (Yes, I sled too!)

Sadly, Tanner's eardrum ruptured two weeks ago and I'm afraid he isn't quite over his illness yet. I'm worried that if I let him go out and play in the cold damp snow he'll end up really sick. He is furious with me. He stomped his foot yesterday and said, "Mom, you're still treating me like I'm 5 or something." LOL. I had to try really hard not to chuckle and grab him for a hug. Even when he's mad I still see my little baby. In reality, he finished is antibiotics and the doctor said he's healing fine.

I know he's growing up and I do need to coddle him less. But where do you draw the line? How do I stop seeing him as the little infant that I cuddled close for what seemed like such a short time? Sigh. If you have any great words of wisdom, I'll take 'em.

p.s. My little man didn't even ask for any toys this year for Christmas. He asked for a guitar. That's it. He said he just really really wanted a guitar. He thought if he gave Santa less options he was more likely to get what he wanted. :) That's my boy! Always thinking.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Bluegrass Peril by Virginia Smith


This week the

is introducing

Bluegrass Peril
(Steeple Hill December 4, 2007)
by
Virginia Smith
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Virginia Smith left her job as a corporate director to become a full time writer and speaker in the summer of 2005. Since then she has contracted eight novels and numerous articles and short stories.She writes contemporary humorous novels for the Christian market, including her debut, Just As I Am (Kregel Publications, March 2006) and her new release, Murder by Mushroom (Steeple Hill, August 2007). Her short fiction has been anthologized, and her articles have been published in a variety of Christian magazines.An energetic speaker, Virginia loves to exemplify God’s truth by comparing real-life situations to well-known works of fiction, such as her popular talk, “Biblical Truths in Star Trek.”

ABOUT THE BOOK:
WHO KILLED HER BOSS?Local police had tagged single mom Becky Dennison as their prime suspect. But she'd only been in the wrong place at the wrong time...admittedly, with her boss's lifeless body. Sure it looked bad, but Becky had no motive for killing...even if she had opportunity.When the director of the retirement farm for thoroughbred champions is murdered, Becky Dennison teams up with the handsome manager of a neighboring horse farm, Scott Lewis, to find her boss's killer. Soon the amateur detective are hot on the trail of the murderer...even as their feelings for each other deepen.The amateur sleuths uncover a trail of clues that lead them into the intricate society of Kentucky's elite thoroughbred breeding industry. They soon find themselves surrounded by the mint julep set - jealous southern belles and intensely competitive horse breeders - in a high-stakes game of danger, money, and that famous southern pride.And for Becky and Scott, this race on the Kentucky tracks has the greatest stakes of all: life or death!

Romantic Times awarded Bluegrass Peril * * * * FOUR STARS! * * * *
This was a great book. I didn't know what to expect since I had read Murder by Mushroom by Virginia. (Which I loved, by the way) I wondered if she'd be able to pull off a suspense when she had only written a cozy for this line. Wow! She didn't disappoint me. It was a great, fast paced read that I devoured in one sitting. Virginia came across as a veteran suspense writer with this one. I can't wait for more from this great writer. :)
If you'd like to enter to win a copy of the book, leave me a comment and I'll draw a name next week. Also, next week is Debra Clopton's interview and free book drawing, followed by A Big Apple Christmas Blog Tour. Stop by often.

Friday, November 30, 2007

FREE BOOKS AND A REMINDER...

In the spirit of Christmas, I'm giving away a boatload of books in December. I'm mailing out Bayou Justice, For Her Son's Love, and Canteen Dreams, tomorrow to three lucky ladies...Stormie, Janna, and Melinda.

I'm also giving away a copy of Auralia's Colors if you leave a comment on the post before this one. Also, Debra Clopton is going to be on with an interview and I'll be giving away one of her books. Oh, and the girls from Big Apple Christmas are going to be sharing a Christmas memory with us and I'll be giving away a signed copy of that book also.

I'm planning on giving a way a lot more, so stop by often. :) And if you're in the Lafayette area tomorrow, December 1st, then you'll want to stop by the Carpenter's Son Christian Book Store. Cara Putman will be having her first booksigning. Oh and few other great authors will be there too. :) Colleen Coble, Brandt Dodson, Jamie Carie, Denise Hunter to be exact. It will be from 1-3 p.m. at 1165 S. Creasy Lane, Lafayette, IN. Stop by and support some great Indiana talent.

WIN AURALIA'S COLORS BY JEFFREY OVERSTREET

Leave a comment to be entered to win a copy of the book. :)
THIS WEEK THE CFBA BLOG TOUR
IS INTRODUCING

AURALIA'S COLORS

(WaterBrook Press September 4, 2007)

by

Jeffrey Overstreet


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Jeffrey Overstreet lives in two worlds. By day, he writes about movies at LookingCloser.org and in notable publications like Christianity Today, Paste, and Image.

His adventures in cinema are chronicled in his book Through a Screen Darkly. By night, he composes new stories found in fictional worlds of his own. Living in Shoreline, Washington, with his wife, Anne, a poet, he is a senior staff writer for Response Magazine at Seattle Pacific University.

Auralia’s Colors is his first novel. He is now hard at work on many new stories, including three more strands of The Auralia Thread.


ABOUT THE BOOK:


As a baby, she was found in a footprint.

As a girl, she was raised by thieves in a wilderness where savages lurk.

As a young woman, she will risk her life to save the world with the only secret she knows.

When thieves find an abandoned child lying in a monster’s footprint, they have no idea that their wilderness discovery will change the course of history.

Cloaked in mystery, Auralia grows up among criminals outside the walls of House Abascar, where vicious beastmen lurk in shadow. There, she discovers an unsettling–and forbidden–talent for crafting colors that enchant all who behold them, including Abascar’s hard-hearted king, an exiled wizard, and a prince who keeps dangerous secrets.

Auralia’s gift opens doors from the palace to the dungeons, setting the stage for violent and miraculous change in the great houses of the Expanse.

Auralia’s Colors weaves literary fantasy together with poetic prose, a suspenseful plot, adrenaline-rush action, and unpredictable characters sure to enthrall ambitious imaginations.

Visit the Website especially created for the book, Auralia's Colors. On the site, you can read the first chapter and listen to Jeffrey's introduction of the book, plus a lit more!

PRAISE FOR THE BOOK:

"Film critic and author Overstreet (Through a Screen Darkly) offers a powerful myth for his first foray into fiction. Overstreet’s writing is precise and beautiful, and the story is masterfully told. Readers will be hungry for the next installment."
--Publishers Weekly

“Through word, image, and color Jeffrey Overstreet has crafted a work of art. From first to final page this original fantasy is sure to draw readers in. Auralia's Colors sparkles.”
-–Janet Lee Carey, award-winning author of The Beast of
Noor and Dragon's Keep



“Jeffrey Overstreet’s first fantasy, Auralia’s Colors, and its heroine’s cloak of wonders take their power from a vision of art that is auroral, looking to the return of beauty, and that intends to restore spirit and and mystery to the world. The book achieves its ends by the creation of a rich, complex universe and a series of dramatic, explosive events.”
-–Marly Youmans, author of Ingledove and The
Curse of the Raven Mocker

Remember, leave a comment to be entered in the drawing for a copy of this great new book. :)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Finding Father Christmas...Makes A Perfect Christmas Gift

I've been doing some marathon reading this weekend. My TBR stack was brimming over and I was feeling a little overwhelmed with all the choices I had for my holiday weekend read. I got through three Love Inspired's that I'm going to share with you later this week and I still had room for one more short story. I found Finding Father Christmas on my shelf and seeing that it was a novella and should be a fairly quick read I figured I'd give it a shot.

I wasn't prepared to be drawn into the story like I was. I don't know why, since I've read many Robin Jones Gunn books and have loved them all. I think it was that this book was a novella and I'm the first to say that sometimes the word count is so small that I feel like the story is rushed.

That was not the case with this book. I was transported to another place and felt like I knew the characters or at the least would have liked to know the characters. :) The writing was so fresh and almost poetic that I couldn't put it down. I finished the book in just a couple hours and was thrilled to see that there's another book planned. Engaging Father Christmas. I can't wait to pick that one up.

The story finds Miranda Carson to England in search of her unknown father. It opens with Miranda stopping at the Tea Cosy for a spot of tea and a scone. As I was reading I couldn't help but think how great this book would be in a lovely basket and paired with some flavorful teas and cookies. What a nice Christmas gift it would make.

Here's the blurb from Robin's website and you'll want to go to her website to see the trip that inspired the book.

In Finding Father Christmas, Robin brings readers a poignant Christmas novella about a woman, desperate for a place to belong, who travels to England a few days before Christmas, looking for the father she never knew.

Miranda Carson's search for her father takes a turn she never expected when she finds herself in London, with only a few feeble clues to who he might be.

Unexpectedly welcomed into a family that doesn't recognize her, and whom she's quickly coming to love, she faces a terrible decision. Should she reveal her true identity and destroy their idyllic image of her father? Or should she carry the truth home with her to San Francisco and remain alone in this world? Whatever choice she makes during this London Christmas will forever change the future for both herself and the family she can't bear to leave.

Be sure to add Finding Father Christmas to your Christmas list!

Friday, November 23, 2007

YADA YADA PRAYER GROUP GETS DECKED OUT


THIS WEEK THE CFBA IS FEATURING
Thomas Nelson (October 2, 2007)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Neta Jackson Neta Jackson's award-winning Yada books have sold more than 350,000 copies and are spawning prayer groups across the country. She and her husband, Dave, are also an award-winning husband/wife writing team, best known for the Trailblazer Books--a 40-volume series of historical fiction about great Christian heroes with 1.8 million in sales--and Hero Tales: A Family Treasury of True Stories from the Lives of Christian Heroes (vols 1-4).
Dave and Neta live in Evanston, Illinois, where for twenty-seven years they were part of Reba Place Church, a Christian church community. They are now members of the Chicago Tabernacle, a multi-racial congregation that is a daughter church of the well-known Brooklyn Tabernacle.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Turkey dinners, tree trimming, and decking the halls--it's that time of year again! And I Jodi Baxter, can't wait to celebrate. My kids are coming home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and then all of us Yadas are getting decked out for a big New Year's party.

But God's idea of "decked out" might just change the nature of our party plans. A perplexing encounter with a former student, a crime that literally knocks me off my feet, a hurry-up wedding, and a child who will forever change our family...it's times like these that I really need my prayer sisters.

This holiday season, we Yada Yadas are learning that no one can out celebrate God. So let's get this party started!

THE YADA YADA PRAYER GROUP GETS DECKED OUT is a festive novella featuring America's favorite prayer group, the Yada Yadas!

Sometimes dubbed "chick-lit" for their bright covers and catchy titles, this series provides far more depth than witty banter and wacky situations. Inspired by a prayer group of real women, each book will have you laughing, crying, and perhaps praying anew.

In this highly anticipated installment, the Yada Yada sisters-a group of multi-cultural friends-and their families prepare for the event of the season.

But yes, eager readers, this novella—which picks up a year and a half after the end of book #6 The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Rolling concludes the series with some twists and turns that will amaze and encourage you. Plus, it sets the stage for Neta’s new series with new characters and new situations but also occasional roles for the beloved Yada Yada sisters in familiar Chicago neighborhoods with all their cultural richness.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Cara Putman and her first release...Canteen Dreams

It is with great joy that I bring today’s interview to you. Most of my blog readers know that Cara Putman is a dear friend and crit partner since I’ve sang her praises before. Today I get to interview her and give away an autographed copy of her first release, Canteen Dreams. This is the first of four books that will be released in a little over one year. Cara has been on a fast track since meeting Colleen Coble in 2005. Cara met Colleen and Cara’s husband Eric mentioned to Colleen that Cara wanted to write a book. The rest as they say is history. :0)

Since that time, Cara has finished Canteen Dreams, Sandhill Dreams, and still has Captive Dreams to complete for her three-book commitment to Heartsong Presents. She also has a Love Inspired Suspense, Deadly Exposure, coming out next year. Whew…she’s a powerhouse to be sure. I have complete confidence that we’re going to see great things from Cara in the next few years. So, without further delay, here’s our interview. And read to the bottom to find out how to win a copy of Canteen Dreams.

Cara has been all over the blog sphere these days so I opted for a more fun quirky interview and I hope you’ll learn something new about Cara in the process.


Cara, if you could pick one moment in you and your husband’s marriage that would be a perfect book “scene” what moment would it be.

CP: In a prior life, I worked for a non-profit where I traveled most weekends to teach primarily college students how to get involved and be effective in politics. One of those seminars took me to Kamloops, British Columbia -- a truly rough assignment with Tim Horton donuts all around. Eric went with me and we planned to take a few days after to enjoy the area since we'd never been. While I was lecturing, Eric went exploring. The morning after I finished teaching, we got on the Rocky Mountaineer train and spent a wonderful day traveling to Banff. And we had a couple fantastic days in Banff. It's a beautiful resort town surrounded by range after range of the Canadian Rockies. It was wonderful.

SF: Oh. I know where Banff is. What a gorgeous place. I’m sure it was a fabulous trip. Now, if you could be any character in any book, who would you be?

CP: Uhhhh, now that's an easy question. Not. At one time, I would have said Scarlett O'Hara, because I loved the dresses and glamour of the pre-Civil War south. Then there was a time I wanted to join Laura Ingalls Wilder on the frontier. Then I realized I really love the amenities of modern life. Eric says he would be John Clark from the Tom Clancy books. I'd lean toward Jack Ryan, a reluctant but effective warrior. But I would love to be Deborah or Esther from the Bible. That's never changed. Deborah was a woman who filled what was traditionally a male role as she followed hard after God's calling on her life. And Esther rose from a position of insignificance to one of power, but never forgot God. And when He called her to do the impossible, she did, trusting in him. I hope I would respond as these women did when God calls me to go somewhere I don't think I can go.

SF: Wow, you are a very multi-layered girl, Cara. ;) Back to you and your hubby—-Your favorite date night with Eric.

CP: Any date. Really. In life that moves so fast, it's great to get time away just the two of us. Dinner and a movie. Coffee at a bookstore. Time to connect is the important part.

SF: It’s cool how compatible you two are. You seem to have such similar interests. Now, if you couldn’t be a writer or a lawyer, what would you be doing?

CP: Journalist. I always wanted Katie Couric's job on Good Morning America. Then I took a detour in college after working at a TV station for two years. While I worked around media for several years, I never got back into the active journalism aspects again. So, it was really fun to write Dani Richards in Deadly Exposure since she's a broadcast journalist.

SF: I could absolutely see you with Katie Couric’s job! Was there anything hard about writing Canteen Dreams?

CP: There really weren't any. That book almost wrote itself. The hardest part was going back in the rewrites and smoothing out some of the tension in the romance. I had a lot to learn, but had wonderful editors to work with who helped me id the problem areas.

SF: What was the easiest part of writing Canteen Dreams?

CP: The book wrote itself in three weeks. I've always loved World War Two history, and the early 40s. The songs and movies are some of my favorite even if I wasn't born for another 30 years. So, I enjoyed the process of stepping back in time and telling the story of the North Platte Canteen and my grandparents.

SF: Is there anything your readers might be surprised to know about you or your family?

CP: Another great question, Sabrina. Our idea of the perfect vacation is escaping
the crazy pace of day-to-day life. Eric and I both run at a really fast pace, so it's wonderful to escape and spend time playing lots of games with our kids. And we all love games. Board games. Card Games. Active games. We can spend hours playing together. I love that!

SF: Thanks, Cara, for stopping by. You know I’m one of your biggest fans and feel blessed to call you a friend. (Cara’s one of those girls that is such an encourager. She’s sweet and kind when she needs to be, and good with a kick in the pants when she needs to be. :0) Anyway, if you’d like to win a copy of Canteen Dreams go to Cara’s blog look for a post that Cara posted from her mom, Jolene Catlett, and find the answer to this question, Cara's mother isn't surprised Cara ended up writing and ultimately became published...not since she began journaling in ______. Find the answer and email me. I'll draw a name from the correct answers. :) Happy sleuthing.

CP: Thanks so much for having me, Sabrina! I so appreciate the friendship that has grown between us as we both chase our writing dreams. Can't wait to hold your book someday soon!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Try Dying by James Scott Bell

The CFBA Blog Tour is hosting James Scott Bell this week. I will not be posting about the book as I'm still waiting to receive mine. If I get them, I'm supposed to have a few to give away. At that time I'll host an interview and drawing. Until then, click here for a great James Scott Bell interview with Cara Putman.

Also, the winner of Robin Carrol's Bayou Justice is Stormi and the winner of a Margaret Daley book of her choice is Janna. I'll try to find you guys but if you read this please email me your snailmail. :) Thanks for playing.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

DEADFALL BY ROBERT LIPARULO

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing

DEADFALL

(Thomas Nelson November 6, 2007)
BY:
Robert Liparulo
I haven't finished this book but look for my personal review here and on Amazon. I'll say that I was drawn into the action of the book after the first paragraph! Liparulo is a gifted writer and I'm excited to share my opinion of this well crafted novel. I'm sorry I won't be giving away the copy only because I have a fetish for beautiful hardcover books. LOL. But the author is having a contest on his website so read to the end and see how to get your own copy of Deadfall. :)
Finally, I'm announcing the winners of Robin Carroll's Bayou Justice and a Margaret Daley book later this week. I'm also going to be giving away a copy of Cara Putman's new release--Canteen Dreams so stop by often. Now about Deadfall!

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Deep in the isolated Northwest Territories, four friends are on the trip of a lifetime. Dropped by helicopter into the Canadian wilderness, Hutch, Terry, Phil, and David are looking to escape the events of a tumultuous year for two weeks of hunting, fishing, and camping.

Armed with only a bow and arrow and the basics for survival, they've chosen a place far from civilization, a retreat from their turbulent lives. But they quickly discover that another group has targeted the remote region and the secluded hamlet of Fiddler Falls for a more menacing purpose: to field test the ultimate weapon.

With more than a week before the helicopter rendezvous and no satellite phone, Hutch, a skilled bow-hunter and outdoor-survivalist must help his friend elude their seemingly inescapable foes, as well as decide whether to run for their lives...or risk everything to help the townspeople who are being held hostage and terrorized.

An intense novel of character forged in the midst of struggle, survival, and sacrifice. Deadfall is highly-acclaimed author Robert Liparulo's latest rivetingly smart thriller.

Get Downloads and EXCERPTS at http://www.liparulo.com/
What people are saying:

"DEADFALL is drop-dead great!"
-In The Library Reviews

"What if Mad Max, Rambo, and the Wild Bunch showed up-all packing Star Wars type weapons? You'd have Robert Liparulo's thrilling new adventure Deadfall."
-Katherine Neville, best selling author of The Eight
"A brilliantly crafted thriller with flawless execution. I loved it!"
-Michael Palmer, best selling author of The Fifth Vial

"In Deadfall, Robert Liparulo gives us a fresh fast paced novel that instills a well founded fear of the villains and an admiration for the people who refuse to be victims. It truly deserves the name thriller.
-Thomas Perry, best selling author of The Butcher's Boy and Silence

"Another brilliantly conceived premise from Robert Liparulo. Deadfall will leave you looking over your shoulder and begging for more."
-DAve Dun, best selling author of The Black Silent



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Robert is an award-winning author of over a thousand published articles and short stories. He is currently a contributing editor for New Man magazine. His work has appeared in Reader's Digest, Travel & Leisure, Modern Bride, Consumers Digest, Chief Executive, and The Arizona Daily Star, among other publications. In addition, he previously worked as a celebrity journalist, interviewing Stephen King, Tom Clancy, Charlton Heston, and others for magazines such as Rocky Road, Preview, and L.A. Weekly.

Robert is an avid scuba diver, swimmer, reader, traveler, and a law enforcement and military enthusiast. He lives in Colorado with his wife and four children.

Robert's first novel painted a scenario so frighteningly real that six Hollywood producers were bidding on movie rights before the novel was completed. His acclaimed debut novel, Comes A Horseman, is being made into a major motion picture by producer Mace Neufeld and his short story "Kill Zone" was featured in the anthology Thriller, edited by James Patterson.

Bob has sold the film rights to his second book, GERM. And he is writing the screenplay for a yet-to-be-written political thriller, which sold to Phoenix Pictures, for Andrew Davis (The Fugitive, The Guardian) to direct!

He is currently working on his fourth novel.

"A NOTE from Bob: I’d like to give away five signed copies of Deadfall to readers of CFBA blogs during my tour. All they have to do is sign up for my e-mailing list (they won’t be inundated!) by going to my website (www.robertliparulo.com) and going to the “Mailing List” page. Or email me with “CFBA giveaway” in the subject line.

And a second NOTE from Bob: I wanted to let you know that I’m holding a contest on my site:

**one winner a week till the end of the year for a signed Deadfall
**one winner a week till the end of the year for an unabridged audio MP3-CD of Deadfall
***and on Dec. 31, I’m giving away an iPod Nano, pre-loaded with an unabridged audio recording of Deadfall

Winners are selected from my e-mailing list—sign up at my site. If a winner has already purchased what he/she wins, I will reimburse them for the purchase price (or give them another—whichever they choose), so they don’t need to wait to see if they win before buying Deadfall.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Surrender Bay by Denise Hunter

THIS WEEK CFBA IS PRESENTING
SURRENDER BAY BY DENISE HUNTER


I'll be posting an interview with Denise in the near future, but for now, here's my review from Amazon for the book:


I've read everything Denise Hunter has published. I've seen her transition from historical to woman's fiction and was amazed at the growth and finesse she showed. So it's no question, I was really looking forward to her newest book, Surrender Bay.

Immediately I was drawn into the life of Samantha Owens. A young single mom, doing the best she can to provide for her 11-year-old daughter. When she gets news that her estranged stepfather died, she learns that because he never had a will, she's inherited his oceanfront cottage in Nantucket. For the first time in her life, she has hope. Hope for a future for her daughter. She plans to renovate the cottage and sell it for top dollar. Using the money to pay for her daughter's future college fund.

Once back at the cottage, the painful memories of her childhood assault her full force. She struggles to get the job done as fast as she can. What she hadn't counted on was her childhood best friend, Landon Reed, still living two doors down. Landon and Sam were soul mates. Two kids that shared everything.

Landon has wondered for years why Sam ran away and he's never fully moved on or found anyone to love like he loved Sam.

What Landon doesn't know is that Sam is hiding a secret. A secret that she's sure will change the way Landon sees her.

This is where Denise Hunter did a fabulous job. This wasn't your typical romance book that you can figure out right from the beginning. As usual of her writing, she has a twist that kept me guessing until the end.

She masterfully created real life characters who make choices like real people make. The turmoil the characters felt was so real I felt like I knew them and wanted to comfort them.

Something worth mentioning is that even though it's published by Thomas Nelson, it's not overtly "Christian" in tone. There's no long-winded sermons or scriptures to skim over and there's no pat answers for the problems facing these characters.

However, this book moved me more than any I've read in a long time. Sam has to come to the realization that Landon's love can't be earned. She doesn't have to do anything to gain his love...just accept it. When you see the love between the characters and can feel the correlation between how God loves each of us...it was simply beautiful.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

CRIMSON EVE BY BRANDILYN COLLINS

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

CRIMSON EVE
(Zondervan October 30, 2007)
by

Brandilyn Collins


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Brandilyn Collins is a best-selling novelist known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense™. These harrowing crime thrillers have earned her the tagline “Don’t forget to b r e a t h e…® ” She’s so well known in the industry there’s actually a club for her non-readers. That’s right. The Big Honkin’ Chickens Club (BHCC) members are proud of the fact that they’re too wimpy to read Brandilyn’s intense fiction. Now and then one of them tries. Bribing works pretty well. (Just ask Deb Raney.) Somehow they live to tell the tale.

Brandilyn writes for Zondervan, the Christian division of HarperCollins Publishers, and is currently at work on her 17th book. Her first book, A Question of Innocence, was a true crime published by Avon in 1995. Its promotion landed her on local and national TV and radio, including the Phil Donahue and Leeza talk shows.

She’s also known for her distinctive book on fiction-writing techniques, Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors (John Wiley & Sons), and often teaches at writers conferences. Brandilyn blogs at Forensics and Faith.

Visit her website to read the first chapters of all her books.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Carla stared at the gun and David Thornby—or whatever his name was. Her mind split in two, one side pleading this was some sick joke, the other screaming it was all too real.

“Please. You must have the wrong person. There’s no reason for someone to want me dead. I don’t have any enemies.”

“Then you’d best rethink your friends.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Realtor Carla Radling shows an “English gentleman” a lakeside estate—and finds herself facing a gun. Who has hired this assassin to kill her, and why?

Forced on the run, Carla must uncover the scathing secrets of her past. Secrets that could destroy some very powerful people...

Brandilyn Collins fans and reviewers are saying Crimson Eve is her best book yet:

“Collins tops herself by creating a suspenseful nonstop thrill ride … Truly the best Christian Fiction suspense title so far this year.”
– Library Journal, starred review


“Crimson Eve is Collins at her very best. It left me feeling as if I’d climbed Mount Everest without oxygen … I didn’t think Brandilyn could outdo herself after reading Coral Moon. She did.”
–TitleTrakk.com

“I’ve never edited a more tightly crafted, deftly woven, compellingly written book.” –a Crimson Eve editor, with 20 years experience

“This is your best book! I could not stop reading!” – one of many readers with similar responses


Read about Violet Dawn and Coral Moon, books one and two in the Kanner Lake series.

Sabrina Here:
Okay, y'all. I know it's no surprise that I loved this book. It was a fast paced ride from page one. I literally started reading it late afternoon and stayed up late finishing it up the same night. It might have something to do with the fact I was so excited for this particular story to be released. The story is about Carla Radling, Kanner Lake Realtor. Carla is the character Lynette Sowell and myself wrote for on the Scenes and Beans Blog. So Carla's story was close to my heart. :)
I can't think of anything to say about Brandilyn's writing that hasn't been said a dozen times...she writes a tightly paced story that keeps you guessing until the end. It's no wonder she has to remind readers to BREATHE. LOL. Anyway, this was one of my favorite books of hers and I hope you'll run out and get your copy. And if you've never read anything by Brandilyn, which I find unbelievable, here's something cool:
Do you know someone who’s never read a Brandilyn Collins novel? Surely no such person exists. However, should you scrounge up such a friend—someone who enjoys suspense—here’s a special offer from Brandilyn. Be among the first 50 people between now and October 21, 2007 to e-mail her assistant at gayle.brandilyncollins@gmail.com with the person’s name, e-mail address and street address. (Due to exorbitant overseas mailing costs, United States residents only, please).

A signed copy of Crimson Eve will be sent to your friend—free—along with an e-mail from Brandilyn announcing the book is on its way, courtesy of you. (Don’t worry. Brandilyn won’t spam these email addresses. She just wants your friend to know who to thank.) No worries that this story is third in the Kanner Lake series. Each book stands alone. Brandilyn is convinced your friend will so love Crimson Eve, he/she will surely reciprocate with expensive chocolate.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Welcome Robin Caroll...Author of Bayou Justice

In celebration of the release of her first book, I've invited Robin Caroll as a guest blogger to share with us today. After the interview please leave a comment and once I receive Robin's book I'll draw a name for a free copy. :) It's common knowledge that Robin is a dillegent writer. Working hard to hone her craft, she's quite competent at getting book after book completed. She just finished her fourth contracted book that will also be released through Steeple Hill. I figured it would be fun to hear about her journey from unpublished to published.


Welcome, Robin Caroll!


Author of the much anticipated Love Inspired Suspense,



Thanks for hosting me, Sabrina. As per your suggestion, I'm going to share a little bit about the challenges on the transition from unpublished to published.

The biggest challenge for me, personally, is to have realized that once you sell your book, it’s no longer your baby, but a product to sell. It’s been sold to the publisher, but now you have to work with your editorial team to focus on selling to the target consumer. The title, the characters, the plot twists, the cover…everything is focused on appealing to your target consumer—the reader. I found this challenging because I had NO IDEA what all is taken into consideration during this process.
Editors know what the readers of their specific lines look for, what they expect, and they help steer you in the direction of providing exactly that. The entire team from editors, line editors, proofreaders, typesetters, art departments, etc. all work toward the same goal as you—to make your book the best it can be to appeal to your target reader. It’s an amazing process, and I love seeing how all these different team members work together and get the final product out there to the readers. I’m blessed to be going through this journey with the awesome team I have with Steeple Hill.

Another challenge I found was acknowledging the fact that deadlines can be our best friends, or our worst enemies. It’s one thing to set yourself a deadline, make one with your cps, or even one from your agent, but it’s a totally different feeling when you have a deadline to turn in a manuscript, or revisions, or line edits, or front & back material, or galleys….there are many people waiting on you, expecting you to turn in on deadline so they can do their job, and aside from the contractual obligations, there’s the whole aspect of if you fall late, you push everyone else in the lineup running behind as well.

One other thing that’s a transition, but it’s not really a challenge, is reviews. I didn’t realize how I’d actually be nervous to hear there was a review out on my books. I’ve done the contest thing and cringed and celebrated over judges’ comments and overall scores. I guess that was preparation for handling reviews. I’m blessed that for now, I’ve gotten really great reviews. But I know a bad one’s coming—that’s just a fact because not every reader is going to love my book. I’m trying to prepare for the not-so-great review so it won’t sting. I’m a big girl. Rejections, bad scores, and so-so reviews are part of this industry. I can take it. Well, check with me after I get one and let’s see how I did! Our heads can tell us one thing, but the reality sure can sting! LOL

Thanks, Sabrina, for having me. I’ve had fun!

Robin Miller is writing as Robin Caroll. Deep South Mysteries for an Inspired Heart BAYOU JUSTICE--October 2007 Steeple Hill BAYOU CORRUPTION--February 2008 Steeple Hill BAYOU JUDGMENT-May 2008 Steeple Hill BAYOU PARADOX-September 2008, Steeple Hill
Thank you, Robin, for sharing with us. Good luck with the books and I can't wait to review Bayou Justice next week. :) Now leave those comments and I'll put you in a drawing for a free copy of Bayou Justice. :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Love Inspired Wednesday


Buried Secrets by Margaret Daley

Hidden Treasure?

Fresh from her grandfather’s funeral, Maggie Somers was shocked to find his home—all she had left of him—ransacked. What wasn’t so shocking was that a Collier stood among the wreckage. Maggie had grown up hearing all about the Collier clan—liars and thieves who couldn’t be trusted. Yet, Zach Collier asked Maggie to have faith in him, to put their fund and their families’ to rest. His grandfather had also recently passed away. Zach was sure the man—like Maggie’s grandfather—had been murdered for something hidden among his possessions. Something Zach and Maggie had to uncover before they became targets.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Hey, folks, it’s back. After a long hiatus, I’m back with my Love Inspired Wednesday Review. At the ACFW conference I took the LNC “Why we write for Steeple Hill” Hosted by Lenora Worth, Margaret Daley, Irene Brand, and Debbie Clopton. During the class, I won a copy of Margaret Daley’s October Release, Buried Secrets. I think I’ve mentioned before that I haven’t read many of Margaret’s books. In fact, this is only my second book of hers. (which is ludicrous considering she’s written a bazillion books for them)

Since finishing Buried Secrets I’ve purchased three of Margaret’s
older titles just because I’ve become such a fan of her writing. She absolutely has the ability to write a succinct story, yet with an intricate plot that keeps you guessing until the end of the story. This to me is the epitome of what a Love Inspired book should be. An enjoyable, easy, fast read that doesn’t skimp on plot/romance/suspense.

It was so good that I read Buried Secrets in one evening and I’m now eager to get a copy of Heart of the Amazon, a book about Zach Collier’s twin sister. Overall, I'd recommend Margaret Buried Secrets to anyone that likes a great romantic suspense book. :)


What Margaret says about the book:
I had so much fun writing this book. It combines my love of the Southwest and archaeology. I call this book National Treasure meets Indiana Jones. There’s a mystery to be solved and a treasure to be found. There are villains after the hero and heroine, all against a backdrop of stark beauty and harsh conditions.

BookDrawing:
Check out Margarets blog and website. She's always doing interviews and giving away books. :) Oh and leave me a comment about your favorite Margaret Daley book and I'll enter you in a drawing for the end of the month. I'm giving away a couple LI books. Sadly, not Margaret's as my copies either have my name in them or I haven't read them yet. LOL. But I do have some other great LI books that you'll enjoy. So leave those comments folks. :)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

THE TROPHY WIVES CLUB...CFBA BLOG TOUR

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing
THE TROPHY WIVES CLUB
Avon Inspire (September 4, 2007)

by

Kristin Billerbeck

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Haley Cutler is the consummate trophy wife. Perhaps "was" is the more accurate term. Haley married Prince Charming when she was only twenty years old – back in the day when highlights came from an afternoon at the beach, not three hours in the salon.

When Jay first turned his eye to Haley, she was putty in his slender, graceful hands. No one ever treated her like she was important, and on the arm of Jay Cutler, she became someone people listened to and admired. Unfortunately, after seven years of marriage, her Prince Charming seems to belong to the Henry the XIII line of royalty. When Haley loses Jay, she not only loses her husband, she loses her identity.

With her first independent decision, Haley leaves LA and moves home to Northern California. Feeling freedom just within her grasp, Haley learns that her settlement payments must go through one of Jay's financial advisers, Hamilton Lowe. Haley believes he's nothing more than a spy. And the feelings of distrust are mutual. Yet, somehow, Hamilton finds himself handing over the monthly checks in person, and Haley can't deny that there's a kind of tenderness and protectiveness in Hamilton that she's never experienced in a man before.

But before Haley can even consider another relationship, she must learn to accept her inherent worth, and what it is to be loved for who she is, not what's on the outside.

****************************************
Q & A with Kristin Billerbeck

1. Does the Trophy Wives Club represent a departure in any way from your past books?

It does and it doesn’t. There’s romance, humor and a feisty heroine – which is normal for my books, but in this one, there are also some serious issues: a neglectful husband, an emotionally battered wife, and the fear of the unknown.

2. How did you go about creating the character of Haley?

I watched a husband take his wife for granted as though she were a plotted plant, and I thought, what would happen when that wife wakes up to her life? What might happen if she never did wake up and her life crumbles around her? I thought about the type of wife who tries to do everything right, but still can’t keep her marriage together, since it ultimately consists of two people.

3. Haley is able to draw strength she didn’t know she had from the refreshing example of a group of independent, professional women friends. What made you decide to focus in this way on the importance of female friendship?

Now that I’m older, I’ve watched marriages flourish, fail and flounder. One thing remains constant and that is your girlfriends. They will support you no matter what the situation is, and I wanted to pay homage to that.

4. Haley isn’t a committed Christian at the beginning of the book – she’s actually a skeptic. What do you think are the advantages to portraying a character who initially has no spiritual or religious leanings?

I don’t really think of it in terms of advantages, or crossing over. I just thought it went with Haley’s character. She was walking through life asleep and one day she’s forced to think about her actual opinions. Someone else has been telling her what they were and she was too weak to realize it. The stronger one person gets in a relationship, the more unbalanced, and the weaker the other person feels. That seemed to be where Haley was in her life. I wanted to be true to her, not preach a message. I write for women and I try to look at the harder questions in life and provide a humorous, lighthearted read at the same time. To me, story comes first.

5. The Trophy Wives Club has a clear inspirational message but isn’t heavy-handed in its use of religion. How do you think this helps the crossover appeal of the book?

I think this is indicative of my faith in general. I believe God meets us where we are. Some of us live godly, straight-and-narrow lives and some of us have to mess life up fantastically for Him to get our attention, but really, God doesn’t send floods or whales very often. He’s subtle.


I ended with this question because this is one of the reasons I loved the book so much. Kristin is right when she says God meets us where we are. Even among other Christians, we can be so different. We are so similar, yet so different. Something I allow my son to do a friend of mine might think I’m horrible. Then again, I may not agree with something she does with her children. I liked that Kristin’s heroine, Haley, was real. She spoke and acted like I would have acted. She was angry, and rightly so. Her scumbag ex-husband kicked her to the curb and she had no say over her situation whatsoever. I think the way Kristin had Haley progress from victimized wife to strong single woman was not only fabulous, it was believable.

If you love quick witted, snappy dialog, along with a great character driven plot, then be sure to pick up The Trophy Wives Club. I’d go so far as to say, if you know someone who’s been through divorce recently, even if they weren’t considered a “trophy wife”, they would enjoy this book. :)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

CFBA BLOG TOUR...REMEMBERED BY TAMERA ALEXANDER

This week the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
REMEMBERED

(Fountain Creek Chronicles, Book 3)
(Bethany House, 2007)

by

Tamera Alexander
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tamera Alexander is a bestselling novelist whose deeply drawn characters, thought provoking plots, and poignant prose resonate with readers. Alexander’s books have won multiple awards, including Romance Writers of America’s 2007 RITA® for Best Inspirational Romance, the 2007 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, 2007 Bookseller’s Best, and Library Journal’s Top Christian Fiction of 2006.
Her books have received acclaim from Library Journal, True West Magazine and Historical Novels Review, and Rekindled debuted on the CBA fiction bestseller list. She has a professional background in business management and conference coordination. A leader of women's ministries for over twelve years, she is currently active in music ministry, facilitating small groups, and mentoring other women. A graduate of Harding University, Tamera lives with her husband and their two teenagers in Greeley, Colorado.
Her other two books in the Fountain Creek Chronicles are Rekindled (Book 1) and Revealed (Book 2)

To celebrate the release of Remembered, as well as the 3-volume boxed set of Fountain Creek Chronicles (Rekindled, Revealed, and Remembered), Tamera is currently giving away boxed sets in a contest on her website. Check out the contest at http://www.tameraalexander.com/ .

From a Distance, the first book in Tamera’s next historical series (Timber Ridge Reflections) releases in spring 2008.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Though loss is often marked
in a single moment,
letting go of someone you love
can take a lifetime...

The threat of war--and a final request--send Véronique Girard from France to a distant and uninviting country. In the Colorado Territory, she searches for the man who has held her heart since childhood--her father. Pierre Girard left Paris for the Americas to seek his fortune in fur trading, vowing to send for his wife and daughter. But twenty-five years have passed and his vow remains unfulfilled. Sifting through shards of broken promises, Véronique embarks on a dangerous search for a man she scarcely remembers.

His grief finally healed, Jack Brennan is moving on with life. After years of guiding families west, he is now working as a freighter to the mining towns surrounding Willow Springs. What he doesn't count on is an unexpected traveling companion on his trips up into the mountains, and how one woman's search will cause havoc with his plans... and his life.
WHAT REVIEWERS ARE SAYING:
"Alexander again delivers a most amazing story. The characters are more than words on the page; they become real people. Though there are French words sprinkled throughout the story, they enhance the emotions rather than distract the reader." --Romantic Times

"...a rich historical romance by possibly the best new writer in this subgenre." --Library Journal

"Alexander has done it again with Remembered, third in the FOUNTAIN CREEK CHRONICLES. She's fashioned characters that are as rich and deep as the mountains and valleys they explore throughout the pages, coloring the story as adeptly as the heroine does her canvas. I was drawn immediately into the ages-old heartaches of both of the main characters, understanding at once Veronique's reticence to make a place for herself in the unknown wilds of America and Jack's uncompromising love for this land that he’s cut a swath through time and again. They both have a series of mountains to overcome in the search for Veronique’s father, but I enjoyed watching their faith and appreciation grow with each turn of the page. And woven adeptly through it all is the encompassing truth of the Lord's sovereignty—that sometimes He takes away, and sometimes He gives us what we need, not what we're looking for.
Anyone who's read the other Fountain Creek books won't want to miss this one, but it easily stands alone. The characters will take you by the hand and lead you heart-first into their stories, and by the time they release you at the end, you'll feel as though you've taken up residence just across the Creek from them, as surely as they have in your heart." --Roseanna White, christianreviewofbooks.com

"Remembered, the third book in the FOUNTAIN CREEK CHRONICLES, takes us back to Willow Creek and revisits beloved characters from the previous two books in the series, Rekindled and Revealed. Tamera Alexander has the remarkable ability to create places, and characters who endear themselves to us, even those just briefly mentioned. If I had lived in the late 1800s, I would love to have met these people and would surely have been inspired by the way they lived out their faith.

Remembered is a delightful read, well-researched and well-written. I expect to see great things from this author in the future." --Lindsey Freitas, bookloons.com

"Remembered is an absolutely wonderful continuation of the FOUNTAIN CREEK CHRONICLES." --Amanda Schafer, armchairinterviews.com

Tamera can be reached through the Contact link on her Website

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

ACFW Conference Recap...friends and connections made!

Okay, so Georgiana mentioned she's waiting for my conference memories post. LOL. Well, here it is. I'll start by saying, I'm not a photo taker, I'm not a scrapbooker, and I'm not one to take note of things. Hmmm, not great for a newspaper correspondent. LOL. Anyway, I don't have photos to share, but I have lots of memories.

The conference started off with a sweet card from my roommate, Cara Putman. She's the most considerate friend. She had a little card on my pillow welcoming me to the conference and just started my day off with a smile. Cara has moved from "writing" friend to just friend over the course of the last year or two and I felt blessed to have her as a roommate.

Thursday evening I met Kaye Dacus. I'd been to the 2005 ACFW conference but never had a chance to meet her so I was pleased to check that off my to do list. :) Waving at Kaye.

The food at the conference was fab! We had so many great entrees and let's not even talk about the dessert. Sheesh, that was good carrot cake.

Friday I had an editor meeting with Krista and an agent meeting with Kelly Mortimer. Both meetings went well. Krista requested I change Rock Bottom to third person--pray for me--but overall she acted like she really liked the concept of Rock Bottom and my romance, Inn For A Penny. Kelly Mortimer started off the meeting grabbing me and hugging me. (which for a non-touchy person, I was a little caught off guard) Her gregarious personality put me right at ease. She's friendly and kind and seemingly really in it to helping the unpublished writer.

I also got to meet one of my favorite authors, Rachel Hauck. I adore her writing and now I even adore her. She's such a doll and she has this really cool vibe. Especially when she's worshipping. When she led worship she was clearly in His presence and therefore took us with her on the journey as you lose yourself in the music. The prayer and worship alone were enough to go to the conference for.

Oh, and I got to meet up with Lynette Sowell. Lynette and I have been email friends for a little while since we both wrote for Carla Raddling on the Scenes and Beans Blog for Brandilyn Collins. It was so fun getting to know her and I feel like I came away with a new friend.

The conference ended with the awards banquet and while I didn't place in my category, I did get some great feedback from one of the judges so all was not lost. I feel like the direction I got will help make the story better so it's all good.

Oh and big congrats to Georgiana for placing second in the Lit category. I think Georgiana is the sweetest thing and I'm so happy for her.

Finally, I came away from the conference feeling a little refreshed and ready to tackle these works in progress. I was starting to feel slightly defeated and ready to take some time off. Now I'm actually looking forward to making the changes to my work and seeing the improvement that comes with learning and growth.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Blessed Assurance by Lyn Cote

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing



BLESSED ASSURANCE

Avon Inspire (October 1, 2007)

by

Lyn Cote

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lyn Cote's journey to becoming a published author was a long one - she started her first book when her daughter was 13 months old and her first novel was published when her daughter was about to enter high school. But Lyn was writing for a market that hadn't taken shape yet - the inspirational fiction market.

In 1996, Lyn Cote's first inspirational historical manuscript was a finalist in the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart Contest. This became her first historical novel, Whispers Of Love, in her BLESSED ASSURANCE series.

Most recently, Chloe, the first novel in Lyn's "Women of Ivy Manor" historical series was a 2006 RWA Rita Award finalist for Best Inspirational, as well as a finalist for the Holt Medallion and the National Readers Choice Contest.

Lyn also writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense. She lives in the lovely northwoods of Wisconsin with her husband and three cats. Aside from writing, she also likes to knit, crochet, read, and do lunch with friends.


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Now available for the first time in one edition--All three novels from Lyn Cote's beloved Blessed Assurance series

In Whispers of Love, Civil War widow Jessie Wagstaff must fend for herself and her son. When a stranger, Lee Smith, befriends Jessie's son, even though she recognizes nine-year-old Linc's need for a father figure, she's reluctant to let a new man into their life. When the Great Chicago Fire blazes, every heart is pushed to its limits.

In Lost In His Love, Jessie's son Linc, a social activist and reporter, charms his way through the upper class of San Francisco to build much-needed support for his fight against child labor. His main target is Cecilia Jackson, a beautiful heiress who doesn't recognize the crucial part she plays in this dangerous exploitation. As the secrets of her family's dark past are exposed, Cecilia must revive her own wounded spirit and find the strength to lean on the never-failing love of Christ. But when the 1906 earthquake hits, everyone's faith will be put to the test.

In Echoes of Mercy, Meg Wagstaff challenges the racial barriers of 1920s New Orleans in order to prove that her childhood friend did not commit murder. The stubborn lawyer prosecuting the case, Gabriel St. Clair, is an authentic Southern gentleman who makes the mistake of underestimating Meg, both her tenacity and her charm. Despite their many differences, sparks begin to fly. But when Meg discovers the truth, will Gabe be able to protect her from those who can't afford to have justice prevail?

"A beautiful tale of love, forgiveness, and acceptance."

~CBA Marketplace

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

THE EX FILES BY VICTORIA CHRISTOPHER MURRAY

CFBA BLOG TOUR TIME ;)
This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Ex Files
(Touchstone June 19, 2007)
by
Victoria Christopher Murray
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Victoria Christopher Murray always knew she would become an author, even as she was taking quite an unlikely path to that destination. A native of Queens, New York, Victoria first left New York to attend Hampton Institute in Virginia where she majored in Communication Disorders. After graduating from Hampton, Victoria attended New York University where she received her MBA.Victoria spent ten years in Corporate America before she decided to test her entrepreneurial spirit. She opened a Financial Services Agency for Aegon, USA where she managed the number one division for nine consecutive years. However, Victoria never lost the dream to write and when the “bug” hit her again in 1997, she answered the call.Victoria originally self published Temptation. “I wanted to write a book as entertaining and compelling as any of the books on the market, put God in the middle, and have the book still be a page-turner. I wasn’t writing to any particular genre – I didn’t even know Christian fiction existed. I just wanted to write about people I knew and characters I could relate to.”In 2000, Time Warner published Temptation. Temptation made numerous best sellers list across the nation and remained on the Essence bestsellers list for nine consecutive months. In 2001, Temptation was nominated for an NAACP Image Award in Outstanding Literature.Since Temptation, Victoria has written four other novels: JOY, Truth Be Told, Grown Folks Business, and A Sin and a Shame. All of her novels have continued to be Essence bestsellers; her last three each reaching #1. In addition, Victoria has received numerous awards including the Golden Pen Award for Best Inspirational Fiction and in 2006, she was awarded the Phyllis Wheatley Trailblazer Award for being the pioneer in African American Christian Fiction.
ABOUT THE BOOK:

The Ex Files:
A Novel About Four Women and Faith...
There are four ways a woman can handle heartbreak. She can fall apart, seek revenge, turn cold, or move on. The Ex Files is the story of these four women:When Kendall Stewart finds her husband and her sister in bed together, she vows to never let anyone get that close again. But when she is faced with saving the life of the woman who destroyed hers, will she be able to forgive?When an NBA superstar tells his mistress, Asia Ingrum, that he's decided to honor his marriage vows, her shock quickly gives way to revenge...but her decision may come back to haunt their five-year-old daughter.Every night Vanessa Martin wonders why her husband committed suicide. Even worse, she contemplates joining him in eternity. Will Vanessa be able to gather the strength to live again?Sheridan Hart is finally finding her way after a lie destroyed her seventeen-year marriage. Her new love is ready to get married, but will she commit to this younger man or is her ex-husband taking up too much space in her heart?When their pastor asks Kendall, Asia, Vanessa, and Sheridan to meet weekly for prayer, they can't imagine they will have anything in common. But then a devastating tragedy strikes and these strangers are forced to reexamine their choices. Will they find true friendship, or will prayer -- and their union -- fail them?
I can't wait to dive into this book. Once I finish it I'm going to post an author interview and do a book giveaway. . . stay tuned. ;)