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Thursday, June 28, 2007

CFBA Blog Tour of the Divine Appointment

I haven't received my book yet, but I'm eagerly awaiting this one. ;)

(Howard Books June 5, 2007)

"They aren't hiding just one something, but a bunch of somethings..."
Small town southern lawyer, Elijah Faulkner is a dying attorney that actually takes pleasure in fighting injustice by working hard for the little guy. But when he takes on a case to defend a philandering doctor with a pregnant wife in a seemingly open-and-shut murder trial, Eli is not so sure he is on the 'right' side.

Back in Washington D.C., supreme Court Justice Martha Robinson has died, presenting an unprecedented opportunity for conservative President Richard Wallace to impact the direction of the highest court in the land. He believes God put him in the presidency for just such a time as make a Divine Appointment. Not everyone is thrilled with the president's nominee, however. And some will stop at nothing, including murder, to prevent his confirmation by the Senate.

A lobbyist with a vendetta, a small-time Mafioso, an investigative reporter with a Watergate complex, and a powerful Washington political machine combine to create a fast-paced suspense novel that explores the anatomy of a murder, and the ripple effect that it creates across the country.

"Jerome Teel has crafted an intriguing political thriller...nice twists and turns to keep you reading. he paints vivid mental pictures that bring characters and locales to life."--Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee's 7th District

The book link is:


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. He is also the author of The Election, another political thriller that we reviewed November of '06.Jerome and his wife, Jennifer, have three children...Brittney, Trey, and Matthew...and they reside in Tennessee where he practices law and is at work on a new novel.You could visit Jerome at his Website, or at his blog Christian Political Blog.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Reluctant Runaway by Jill Elizabeth Nelson

This week on the CFBA blog tour we're featuring Jill Elizabeth Nelson's new book, Reluctant Runaway, I had the privilege of having Jill on a while back so I'm reposting that interview. I love Jill's writing and hope you'll go out to purchase the book as soon as you can. ;) The drawing at the end of the blog is still current, so leave those comments. ;)

Stolen Indian artifacts. . .

A dead museum guard. . .

A missing wife and mom. . .

A baby in mortal danger. . .

Museum security expert Desiree Jacobs and FBI agent Tony Lucano scramble to unearth the horrifying secret that links every incident. The investigation thrusts them into the path of something dark and sinister.

Something that craves blood sacrifice.

From the high society of the U.S. capital to the streets of Desi's beloved Boston to the mountain desert of New Mexico, Desi and Tony must thwart forces of darkness—relying on God’s guidance and strength—to save a young woman and her baby from a villain more desperate than they can imagine.

I received The Reluctant Runaway several weeks ago and have been dying to do this interview with the author Jill Elizabeth Nelson. Some of you will remember that I loved Jill's debut novel Reluctant Burglar. I thought it had a little bit of everything. Intrigue, suspense, romance, drama. I would have been hard pressed to find any fault at all with the book. So when I heard about the second book I wondered if it would hold up to the praise of book one. You know how sequel movies are never as good as the original and almost always leave you feeling dissatisfied???

I can honestly say Jill blew that theory out of the water. Again, her book has it all. This time she even threw in some cult like behavior for good measure. ;) She obviously did her homework and researched the locations in the book very well. I felt like I could feel the desert rock under foot as Desi made her way through the rough terrain.

The romance between Desi and Tony doesn't leave me disappointed either. I love the chemistry of these characters. I still stand by my first opinion of this series and say that these characters could do justice to a T.V. series. I know I'd watch it.

After you read the short interview with Jill, please leave me a comment about what you thought of the first book or why you'd like to read this book and I'll draw from the names for a free copy of The Reluctant Runaway. ;)

Hey, Jill. I thought we’d go for a more fun, quirky interview…since we already did the mature/serious one. back in October. LOL.

I have to reiterate how much I enjoyed both the Reluctant Burglar and the Reluctant Runaway. Last year I thought RB was one of the best books I read and I mean that. (I still say it would make a killer TV. series)You can bet Reluctant Runaway will make the top ten list next year. ;)

Anyway, tell me something about yourself that readers or even friends might be surprised to learn about you.

JN: When I get to laughing really hard, I start a high-pitched squeak sound like Mutley from those old Dastardly and Mutley cartoons. My family thinks it’s so funny they laugh at me . . . not with me.

Isn't family fabulous? LOL. Is there any of “Jill” in your main character Desi?

JN: Only a smidgeon. Desi can be an I’ll-do-it-myself control freak, and I have to admit I can be somewhat the same way. All right. A lot the same way. The Lord and I are working on this. You could say I’m a “recovering Desiree.” LOL.

On the other hand, I only wish I could invent the clever repartee that she does on the fly. Generally, the smooth response doesn’t occur to me until after the fact. At least, we both love classic films.

I, too, would love to be as smooth and efficient as Desi. Now, if you could be doing anything right now…what would it be?

JN: Sitting in a lawn chair in a wooded area on a sunny, warm day, feeling the breeze on my face, and listening to the birds sing while I invent stories on my laptop. Nothing compares to that peaceful environment to facilitate concentration and creativity.

Sounds relaxing. What’s something you’ve always wanted to do? Any skydiving or bungee jumping in your future?

JN: My daughter bungee jumps. She can have it! Gill Grissom (CSI) rides roller coasters. He can keep those. And I prefer to stay in my seat in an airplane, thank you very much. But I would like to have unlimited funds and endless vacation time to travel the world on mission trips. Last year, my husband and I were in Thailand for a couple of weeks. Next year, we hope to go to the Philippines and Thailand. I’d like to do lots more.

What would be the perfect date night with your husband…pizza…fine dining…walk in the park…etc…

JN: A delicious meal at a fine seafood restaurant, followed by an exciting action movie. (I’m not a chic flick kind of gal.) On the other hand, a nice walk on a balmy day then dill pickle chips and a movie at home is just great, too. Of course, my husband doesn’t care for my kind of chips. He eats Lays au gratin.

Are you still working full time? Or are you writing full time now?

JN: When I’m not at my laptop, I work forty plus hour weeks as a housing manager at a senior housing complex. So you could easily say I hold down two full time jobs. Good thing I love them both!

Share something new that you’ve learned recently about the writing/publishing world.

JN: The more things change, the more things stay the same. Multnomah just went through a major change in being purchased by Random House. The absorption into a larger company and merger with Waterbrook (RH’s other inspie imprint) had its bumpy moments, but not as much as one might think. A number of processes changed as a result, and yet I find preparing a manuscript for publication the same hurry-up-and-wait business it’s always been—flurries of activity, followed by waiting for someone else to get their part done.

I adore your book covers. Very appealing and eye catching. Did you have input on the final design?

JN: I love my publisher. They give me input on everything. Their in-house cover designer came up with several options—using live models, by the way—then I got to pick what I liked best. With Reluctant Runaway, I selected my favorite and made a suggestion for a slight change, which they went with right away. I’m thrilled with my covers! I’m double-thrilled with the preview I’ve already had of the cover for my January release, Reluctant Smuggler.

Feel free to share anything about the book or future projects.

JN: Reluctant Runaway was such a fun book to write because I got to actually visit Albuquerque, where much of the action takes place. I so enjoyed the high desert topography and climate. The upcoming January release, Reluctant Smuggler, is special because . . . well, let’s just say we have some pretty awesome developments for Desi and Tony.

Be sure to stop by my web site for lots of great changes and updates since the release of Reluctant Runaway. My Stealth and Wealth page has a new art IQ contest posted for a monthly chance to win a signed copy. Also, my books page not only has excerpts to read, but a book trailer to view. I’ve also added a whole new page of speaking topics. Check ‘em out!

Thanks, Jill. I appreciate you taking the time for this. And I can’t wait for book three. ;)


There you have it folks. Now leave those comments for a chance to win a gently used copy of this fab book. ;)

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Good friend and writing partner, Cara Putman, just sold her first contemporary suspense, Deadly Exposure, to Steeple Hill for their Love Inspired Suspense line. Cara has had a whirlwind year since receiving her first contract at the 2006 ACFW Conference for her Heartsong Presents book, Canteen Dreams. Since then she's sold two more books to Heartsong and now this one will make her fourth contracted book in less than a year. Please stop by her blog to congratulate her and learn about her upcoming releases.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

CFBA Book Tours

This week we have two books on the CFBA Book Tour. Please check out their site for a review and links to purchase the books.

I already interviewed Rachel Hauck about her newest release, Diva Nash Vegas, read my interview posted Sunday May 20th.

You'll find Rachel is one of my favorite Chick Lit writers and I know you won't be disappointed with this fun read.

Sadly, with the contest I'm working on I haven't had time to read Nikki Arana's As I Have Loved You yet, but as soon as I do I'll post my own review and hopefully an interview with the author, for now, check out the CFBA blog to learn about these fascinating authors.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Meet Ramona Cecil

Hey, folks, please welcome fellow Indiana Hoosier, Ramona Cecil. I've known Ramona for a couple years now and one thing I've learned about her in that time is she's passionate about her writing. She has a great desire to create a well crafted story and take the reader on a journey with the characters. I've had the pleasure of reading her book, Larkspur, and loved it. I thought it was wonderful and you can check out her website for my review.

So, Ramona, tell me about jobs...anything you'd like your readers to know.

I'm a wife, mother, and grandmother and live in a small, Indiana town. I grew up in a rural area with parents who both had an interest in writing. Sadly, life intruded and neither enjoyed any real writing success. But they noticed my interest in writing early on and always encouraged me. I've written poetry since I was small. Between the mid-1980's and 1990's, over eighty of my inspirational verses were published by Dicksons Inc., a major producer of inspirational and Christian gift items.

I have worked many jobs including keypunch operator(remember the old punch cards that had to be fed into a giant computer?)to accounts payable clerk, to working at Wal-Mart in the toy department. My young grandson loved that one! LOL

What do you do in your free time? Hobbies or fun things you like to do with your family...

Our two grown daughters live away, so we don't get to see them as much as we would like. My husband and I like to take long drive(getting more expensive with the high gas prices),try out new restaurants, and visit places of historical interest. That works well, since I write mostly historicals.

I know you wrote poetry for years. Tell me about the experience that led you to write your first novel.

In the mid 1980's when our daughters were small, we took them to Conner Prairie, a living history museum near Indianapolis, Indiana. It was there, while visiting the "doctor's" house, that the idea for Larkspur was first planted in my imagination. In the kitchen, the "doctor's wife" introduced us to her hired-girl, a teen-aged girl working at the family's new-fangled iron stove. We were then invited to visit the surgery, then a separate log building behind the house. There, we were met by a young man who introduced himself as the doctor's apprentice. Well. . .my romantic imagination took off, and I thought "There's a story here!"

See that's why I'm not a historical writer. I visited the same place and thought, sheesh, can you imagine not having running water and indoor plumbing. LOL. I'm such a wimp. ;) Tell us about Larkspur and how it has changed over the years.

I had no idea what the craft of writing involved. All my life, I'd been a voracious
reader. I'd always made up stories in my mind, so assumed I could write one. But banging away on an electric typewriter was tedious and the pressing duties of motherhood and occasional jobs dragged me away from my story. I think I did a couple of rewrites(still having no idea of the proper way to craft a story)before I shoved it into a drawer somewhere to languish for years. It was about 1999 when our youngest daughter left home and I got a computer that I began to seriously consider trying to write again. For a long time, I didn't even get online. I just used my computer as a word processor. I continued to work on my own for a couple of years. I rewrote Larkspur again, a medieval that will never see the light of
day, and several novellas. Knowing I needed help, I finally got online and found American Christian Romance Writers. I couldn't believe I'd found an entire group of people who did what I wanted to do. I quickly joined a critique group and began the process of actually learning the craft of writing. I took advantage of the wonderful writing courses offered by great, multi-published Christian writers. In 2003, I entered Larkspur in the Northeastern Indiana Opening Gambit Contest and it won third place. Encouraged, I submitted it to a publisher. It was rejected. That was a real blow, but great suggestions came along with the rejection. I had already begun writing Sweet Forever, a sequel to Larkspur. I put Larkspur away and didn't plan to do anything more with it. Then, I noticed a contest posted to the ACFW loop. A small publishing company that just published historicals was sponsoring a contest for inspirational stories. I decided to dust off Larkspur, rewrite it implementing some of the suggestions I'd gotten along with the rejection. I thought it would be a good way for to get my work looked at by another publishing company. I never seriously thought I'd win. But I did! Part of first place prize was a contract to have my story published. It was more than I could take in. At long last, Larkspur was actually going to be a published book I could hold in my hands! Oh, it had gone through many rewrites, but it was basically the same love story I'd envisioned twenty-three years earlier!

Twenty-three years!!! Oh you give me hope, Ramona. ;) What has been the hardest thing you've learned on your writing journey?

That no matter what happens or how discouraged I might get from time to time, I can never give up.

What do you think is the biggest misconception for new writers?

Probably the same one I had----that reading great writing is all the instruction one needs to author their own story.

And what was the most valuable advice you ever received about your writing?

Never give in. Never, never never, never give in! And it's just as true now as when Winston Churchill first said it. I've heard that from many writers during the six years I've seriously been working at the craft. Just as important, was the advice to turn my writing over to God, believing that there are no limits to what He can do. I did. And every time my heart cried out to Him to show me if I was still supposed to do this, he brought another encouragement.

With my last post about the Genesis contest, I have to ask, how do you feel about contests and how they help or hinder a writer?

Hmm. That is a tough one. They can be so subjective. But I've entered several contests and have learned something from each one. I do think they can be beneficial if you remember that they are subjective. But if you notice the same comment repeated by several judges, know that is something you need to work on.

I agree! Now tell us about your new Heartsong.

Sweet Forever picks up with the younger brother of the heroine from Larkspur. Ten years later, in 1845, Jacob Hale is a young minister in Madison, Indiana, a bustling town on the banks of the Ohio River. The heroine is Rosaleen Maguire Archer, a troubled young woman deposited on the banks of the Ohio at Madison after a steamboat explosion. Believing God hates her because she was born illegitimate, Rosaleen rebuffs Jacobs efforts to bring her to Christ. Always looking over her shoulder for the sinister gambler that killed her husband, Rosaleen longs to travel to New York where she hopes to become a concert pianist. But a growing attachment to Jacob, involvement in the Underground Railroad, and a burgeoning desire to make herself acceptable in God's eyes, keep delaying her plans.

What else are you writing now?

I just finished Charity's Heart, which is, I think, the last in the saga of the Hale/Morgan family. Set in 1866 in the towns of Vernon and Madison, Indiana, it deals with forgiveness in the context of lingering animosities following the Civil War. The hero, Daniel Morgan, is a veteran of the Union Army and survivor of Andersonville prisoner of war camp and the Sultana steamboat explosion. The heroine, Charity Langdon, is a refugee of the war-torn South, forced to flee north during Sherman's march through Georgia.

I'm also working on a long women's historical, The Heritage, set in my own southern Indiana county during the War of 1812.

You're a busy woman! Who has helped you on your journey...people or organizations?

First, I must say, God. I asked Him to put people in my way to help me, and He did---and still does. I must thank my parents for encouraging my writing from my earliest days. I thank my husband who has always believed in me and makes what I do, possible, and my daughters, who are my constant cheer-leaders. There are many, many writers and critique partners I've come to know and love dearly since joining ACFW who have encouraged me and taught me so much. I cannot name them all, but must mention a few. Colleen Coble, Diann Hunt, Staci Wilder, Pat Loomis, Kim Sawyer, and Louise Gouge are some of the wonderful, selfless Christian writers God has placed in my way to help me along on my journey.

Finally, thank you, Ramona, for taking the time to answer these questions, I know you're a busy woman.

Sabrina, thank you for allowing me to tell the story of my writing journey. I pray that my testimony will encourage others who write the words God lays on their hearts and dare to dream they might one day see their stories in print.

Now, for anyone who'd like to win a copy of Ramona's book, Larkspur, go to her website and find the answer to this question: Name three of Ramona's books listed on her website that are Germinating in her Story Garden. ;) Then email me at least three titles and I'll draw for a winner. ;) Happy sleuthing.