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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Trial By Fire review and giveaway...

I'm excited to have Cara Putman with me today. Cara is a dear friend who has been such a blessing to me with my own writing journey. It has been so fun to watch her grow as a writer and to see her shine.

Cara has had a whirlwind writing journey. She's written 9 books since 2005. Yes, I said 9. :) This month her second Love Inspired Suspense Trial by Fire releases.

Here's my review of the book and then a short interview with Cara follows. Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of this book. :) I'll draw a name October 30.

Indiana writer Cara Putman has another new book out this month. Trial by Fire releases October 13 from the Love Inspired Suspense line. If you've read Cara's first book, Deadly Exposure, you might remember Caleb Jamison's sister, Tricia. Trial by Fire is Tricia's story.

However, one of my favorite things about this book is the continuation of Dani and Caleb's story. We don't just get a small little cameo from them like in most short series, they're a part of this storyline--in a smaller way, but still very much a part of the plot. I loved that.

The story starts with Tricia's mother's house targeted by an arsonist. Or rather her garage. Even though Tricia works as a county prosecutor, her brother, a police investigator, is sure someone is targeting him from a case he's worked.

Fireman Noah Brust thought he'd never have to see Tricia Jamison again. At least he hoped. After working with her on a trial the previous year, and subsequently having his father's reputation as a fireman ruined, he has no use for Tricia or any attorney for that matter.

Like most great characters, Tricia is hiding some serious hurts from her past. That and a few issues she runs into on her current case prosecuting a wife beating scumbag, makes the issue with the arsonist the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back. She's unable to process everything and finds herself vulnerable.

Even though he'd like nothing more than to avoid Tricia, Noah finds himself a target of the arsonist. He realizes the two of them would do better working together on this case than against each other. While Noah still harbors some bitterness for the beautiful attorney, her vulnerability moves him more than he'd have thought.

I can honestly say this is Putman's best work. I loved the twisty turny plot that kept us guessing and the romance...well, he's a fireman. Need I say more? LOL. Seriously, this is a great quick, romantic suspense you can take with you anywhere.

Now a little about Cara's writing journey:

CARA: After God gave me permission to chase this dream in April 2005, I started writing seriously in June. I attended my first ACFW conference in September and had a wonderful time learning and meeting with agents and editors. Out of that conference, I had invitations to submit to a couple houses. That has resulted in my first four books. But that first contract came at the 2006 ACFW conference. That book, Canteen Dreams, released in October 2007. Last week I received author copies of my eighth book and the edits on my ninth book. I’m also waiting on contracts for books ten and eleven — from different publishers!

SABRINA: Wow, things happened pretty fast for you. However, we know it couldn't have been easy. You worked hard and had to be very disciplined to get as many books published as you've had. Still, from the outside looking in it seems to come very easy to you--what has been the most difficult part of your journey? Or maybe what might surprise those of us who stand in awe at your ability to produce books so fast. :)

CARA: What would surprise you the most right now is that I am struggling to get started on this next book. I came home from conference and spent 3+ weeks pretty sick. Now I’m under the gun, and it’s time to apply my tried and true techniques: 1) Get my rear-end on the chair and write; 2) Ask for help now before I am overwhelmed, and 3) start narrowing extra stuff out of my schedule. Sigh. I hate doing that last one.

SABRINA: How do you juggle all your obligations? Family, homeschooling, being an attorney, teaching, church, etc...

CARA: I’m not sure I’ve got this figured out yet. Right now, it means that I don’t get a lot of sleep — especially as I look at trade length deadlines on January 15 and March 1. I’m home primarily with the kids. I love that flexibility and ability to pour into my children. I teach an occasional class at Purdue, still work with some of my legal clients, and write. Most of the time I have the ability to squeeze these around my commitments with the children. And Eric and I squeeze in the occasional date night, too, though not nearly as often as we’d like.

SABRINA: I'm exhausted just thinking about it. LOL. Since this is your second Love Inspired Suspense is there anything in particular you've learned from the editors in regards to writing for this particular line? Or advice for writers targeting the LI line.

CARA: Here are the two things I have definitely learned about the line and romantic suspense from my editors: 1) make sure the romance is balanced 50-50 with the suspense. That’s been a tough one for me :-) and 2) get the suspense action started in the first chapter. The line is very focused on that right now. And they know what their readers like. Read a few of the great titles coming out from LIS and you’ll have a great idea of what they like.

SABRINA: Thanks for the advice, Cara. Can you share what's in store for you in the coming months and years as far as future projects?

CARA: I’m working on a series that ties my two loves together: World War Two and suspense. I also have a legal romantic suspense series under consideration at a house. I don’t know if that door will open, but I would love to write this series for them. I am also seeking God right now and asking Him what He has next for me. We were challenged at ACFW by Debbie Macomber to dream impossible dreams. And for someone who’s always dreamed big, it struck me how far I had moved from that. So I’m back to asking God what His dreams for me are, so I can line mine up with His.

SABRINA: Dreaming big is something I need to work on myself. Thanks so much for the advice and for sharing your story with us. I look forward to your new books.

Remember to leave a comment for a chance at a free copy of Trial by Fire. Drawing is the 28th.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Leaving Yesterday CFBA Tour and Review

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Leaving Yesterday

Bethany House (October 1, 2009)


Kathryn Cushman


I graduated from Samford University with a degree in pharmacy, but I’ve known all my life that I wanted to write a novel “some day”. For me, “some day” came about five years ago, when I started writing and never looked back.

My third attempt became my first published novel.

A Promise to Remember was a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers Book-of-the-Year in the Women’s Fiction category, and Waiting for Daybreak was a finalist in Women’s Fiction for the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award. Leaving Yesterday just arrived on scene and I’m very excited about it!

On the homefront, I’ve been married to the wonderful and handsome Lee for over twenty years now, and our two daughters are currently braving the worlds of elementary and high school. We’ve lived in Santa Barbara for the last seventeen years. When I’m not writing or reading or braving seventy degree holidays, you’ll find me watching the younger daughter play softball, or the older daughter building amazing high school theater sets


Alisa Stewart feels like she's lost two sons: her youngest to a terrible tragedy and her eldest, Kurt, to a life ruined by addiction. But now Kurt has checked himself into rehab and found a healing faith that seems real. It's like he's been raised from the dead.

But then a detective arrives at Alisa's door asking questions about a murder--the death of a drug dealer before Kurt entered rehab. Alisa fears losing her son again, and when she finds evidence linking him to the killing, she destroys it. Her boy is different now. He's changed and deserves a second chance.

But when another man is charged with the crime, Alisa finds herself facing an impossible choice: be silent and keep her son or give up everything for the truth.


Leaving Yesterday was the second book by Katie Cushman that I’d read. Since then I picked up A Promise to Remember. I was first introduced to this author with the book Waiting for Daybreak last year as an entrant in a contest I judged.

I remember last year thinking “wow, this is an author to watch” I was right. As an avid fan of Women’s Fiction and writers like Karen Kingsbury and Denise Hunter, Cushman hits the nail on the head with all three of her books, but especially with Leaving Yesterday.

Leaving Yesterday revolves around a mother that has been hurting for her wayward drug addicted son for a few years after already losing her youngest son to a violent crime.

You’ve read the blurb above so I won’t go into detail here, but let me say that this writer has a unique ability to draw us in and refuse to let us go. I was so into this story I could hardly pull myself away to make supper. I literally read the book while stirring the gravy one night. LOL.

I think what really grabs me is how the writer has characters who make human/poor choices. Choices that as a reader I wasn’t sure how she was going resolve by the end of the book.

As a mother I could relate to this woman. I pray if my son ever does something criminal I’ll be strong enough to do what’s right, however, I could easily understand the choices this mother made. And I hurt for her. I hurt for her son. I hurt for her estranged husband and I hurt for their younger daughter. The whole situation was heartbreaking, but again so well written I was emotionally invested in this story.

I would definitely suggest this writer to anyone who loves well written women’s fiction or family drama type books. You won’t be disappointed.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Leaving Yesterday, go HERE

Monday, October 05, 2009

Though Waters Roar

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Though Waters Roar

· Bethany House (October 1, 2009)


Lynn Austin


Along with reading, two of Lynn's lifelong passions are history and archaeology. While researching her Biblical fiction series, Chronicles of the Kings, these two interests led her to pursue graduate studies in Biblical Backgrounds and Archaeology through Southwestern Theological Seminary. She and her son traveled to Israel during the summer of 1989 to take part in an archaeological dig at the ancient city of Timnah. This experience contributed to the inspiration for her novel Wings of Refuge.

Lynn resigned from teaching to write full-time in 1992. Since then she has published twelve novels. Five of her historical novels, Hidden Places, Candle in the Darkness, Fire by Night, A Proper Pursuit, and Until We Reach Home have won Christy Awards in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, and 2009 for excellence in Christian Fiction.

Fire by Night was also one of only five inspirational fiction books chosen by Library Journal for their top picks of 2003, and All She Ever Wanted was chosen as one of the five inspirational top picks of 2005. Lynn's novel Hidden Places has been made into a movie for the Hallmark Channel.


"Thank goodness you're such a plain child. You'll have to rely on your wits."

So went the words of Grandma Bebe. And for all of my growing-up years, I scoffed at the beauty of my sister and what I saw as her meaningless existence. But my wits hadn't served me well in this instance, for here I was, in jail. And while I could have seen it as carrying on the family tradition (for Grandma Bebe landed in jail for her support of Prohibition), the truth is, my reasons for being here would probably break her heart.

So how did I end up becoming a criminal? I've been pondering that question all night. Perhaps the best way to search for an answer is to start at the very beginning.

Harriet Sherwood has always adored her grandmother. But when Harriet decides to follow in her footsteps to fight for social justice, she certainly never expected her efforts to land her in jail. Nor did she expect her childhood enemy and notorious school bully, Tommy O'Reilly, to be the arresting officer.

Languishing in a jail cell, Harriet has plenty of time to sift through the memories of the three generations of women who have preceded her. As each story emerges, the strength of her family--and their deep faith in the God of justice and righteousness--brings Harriet to the discovery of her own goals and motives for pursuing them.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Though Waters Roar, go HERE

Friday, October 02, 2009

Intervention by Terri Blackstock

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


Zondervan (September 22, 2009)


Terri Blackstock


Terri Blackstock’s books have sold six million copies worldwide. Her suspense novels often debut at number one on the Christian fiction best-seller lists, and True Light, published last year, was number one of all Christian books—fiction and non-fiction. Blackstock has had twenty-five years of success as a novelist.

In 1994 Blackstock was writing for publishers such as HarperCollins, Harlequin and Silhouette, when a spiritual awakening drew her into the Christian market. Since that time, she’s written over thirty Christian titles, in addition to the thirty-two she had in the secular market. Her most recent books are the four in her acclaimed Restoration Series, which includes Last Light, Night Light, True Light and Dawn’s Light. She is also known for her popular Newpointe 911 and Cape Refuge Series.

In addition to her suspense novels, she has written a number of novels in the women’s fiction genre, including Covenant Child, which was chosen as one of the first Women of Faith novels, and her Seasons Series written with Beverly LaHaye, wife of Tim LaHaye.

Blackstock has won the Retailer’s Choice Award and has appeared on national television programs such as The 700 Club, Home Life, and At Home Live with Chuck and Jenny. She has been a guest on numerous radio programs across the country and the subject of countless articles. The story of her personal journey appears in books such as Touched By the Savior by Mike Yorkey, True Stories of Answered Prayer by Mike Nappa, Faces of Faith by John Hanna, and I Saw Him In Your Eyes by Ace Collins.


I received my copy of Intervention on a Friday afternoon. I started to crack open the book that night and thought better of it. I knew from experience that if I started the book, a book written by Terri Blackstock, it was likely that I might not be able to put it down for the evening. :)

I had an unusually quiet Saturday. No football game to attend, so I started the book that afternoon around 12:30. By 10:30 that night, I’d finished it. Or rather devoured it.

The story starts with an intervention. Eighteen-year-old Emily Covington’s widowed mother Barbara is trying once again to save her daughter from herself and a devastating addiction. The intervention starts as one would expect. Emily is angry and refusing to go to the treatment center that her mother put a second mortgage on her home just so Emily could attend.

With the help of the interventionist, Emily finally decides to go. Giving the impression that Emily is ready for a change.

Imagine Barbara’s surprise when on the way to the center, Emily disappears and her interventionist is found dead at the airport.

Positive that her daughter is not a killer, Barbara and her 14 year old son, Lance are on the first flight, determined to find Emily before Detective Kent Harlan can arrest her for the murder.

One thing that drove me a little crazy was Barbara’s inability to see how she was interfering with the investigation. I wanted to shake her and say, quit making more work for the detectives so they can concentrate on finding Emily. However, after I finished the book I thought about it for a moment and I realized Barbara probably reacted like many parents would. She was prepared to do anything to save her daughter and no detective or cop was going to stop her. You have to admire that spunk and determination.

I won’t spoil the end for anyone, but let me say that Blackstock delivers with this one. Suspense ran rampant. Pick up your copy. You won’t be disappointed.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Intervention, go HERE

Watch the book Trailer: