Tuesday, March 31, 2009
I just finished A Promise Born!
I even got to write a couple scenes in one of my favorite cities: Washington, D.C.
As the photo shows, my desk shows the wear and tear. I even straightened the surface a week ago...not that you can tell.
Can you believe a book got written here? Yikes! First order of business after editing this puppy? You guessed it. Find the bottom of this desk. Then dust the house. The dust bunnies are threatening to take over.
Monday, March 30, 2009
I hope ECPA tries again. Some random thoughts on ways to improve it in the future:
A corollary to the first two: it felt like an impersonal tradeshow. Everything about the Dallas Convention Center is large and oversized -- hmmm, must be in Texas LOL. I walked around several times trying to see it through the eyes of a reader. I think having a central selling point of some sort and then having clusters of authors might work better -- and the idea of selling books at the end of workshops for the participating authors is spot on. Make it easy for people to find the author they just interacted with. I was very surprised to have several of the folks who sat in on our workshop track us down later. It took some extra effort on their part.
Frankly, I hope ECPA tries again. It was so much fun to meet a couple of my readers and make some new friends while connecting with old. :-)
So I hope they tweak, adjust, and move forward. I think getting outside the traditional box will be important as we strive to continue to interact with readers and solidify their connection and commitments to our books.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Childhood sweethearts Kinna and Jimmy Henley had simple dreams—marriage, children, a house by the sea… Everything they needed for happily ever after. What they didn’t plan on was years of infertility, stealing those dreams, crushing their hopes.
Now, all that’s left is the memory of young love, and the desperate need for a child to erase the pain. Until…
When Kinna rescues an elderly woman from the sea, the threads of the past, present, and future weave together to reveal the wonder of one final hope. One final chance to follow not their dreams, but God’s plan.
Can they embrace the redemptive power of love before it’s too late? Or will their love be washed away like the castles they once built upon the sand?
I can't wait to read this book after I turn my next book in next Wednesday. Marlo has written it out of her experiences with infertility. One in six families are affected by infertility, but it's another one of those topics that the church struggles to address. When we struggled with secondary infertility, I would have loved having a book to read to give me another perspective and some distance. Margo and I bonded last year at ChiLibris as I attended with my miracle baby, Rebecca, and she was pregnant with her miracle baby.
I have two copies to give away, so leave a comment. If we reach 15 or more comments, I will give both copies away.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Laura Jensen Walker is an award-winning writer, popular speaker, and breast-cancer survivor who loves to touch readers and audiences with the healing power of laughter.
Born in Racine, Wisconsin (home of Western Printing and Johnson’s Wax—maker of your favorite floor care products) Laura moved to Phoenix, Arizona when she was in high school. But not being a fan of blazing heat and knowing that Uncle Sam was looking for a few good women, she enlisted in the United States Air Force shortly after graduation and spent the next five years flying a typewriter through Europe.
By the time she was 23, Laura had climbed the Eiffel Tower, trod the steps of the Parthenon, skied (okay, snowplowed) in the Alps, rode in a gondola in Venice, and wept at the ovens of Dachau. She’d also learned how to fold her underwear into equal thirds, make a proper cup of English tea, and repel the amorous advances of a blind date by donning combat gear and a gas mask.
Laura is a former newspaper reporter and columnist with a degree in journalism who has written hundreds of articles on many subjects ranging from emu ranching and pigeon racing to goat-roping and cemetery board meetings. However, realizing that livestock and local government weren’t her passion, she switched to writing humor, which she calls a “total God-thing.”
Her lifelong dream of writing fiction came true in Spring 2005 with the release of her first chick lit novel, Dreaming in Black & White which won the Contemporary Fiction Book of the Year from American Christian Fiction Writers. Her sophomore novel, Dreaming in Technicolor was published in Fall 2005.
Laura’s third novel, Reconstructing Natalie, chosen as the Women of Faith Novel of the Year for 2006, is the funny and poignant story of a young, single woman who gets breast cancer and how her life is reconstructed as a result. This book was born out of Laura’s cancer speaking engagements where she started meeting younger and younger women stricken with this disease—some whose husbands had left them, and others who wondered what breast cancer would do to their dating life. She wanted to write a novel that would give voice to those women. Something real. And honest. And funny.
Because although cancer isn’t funny, humor is healing.
A popular speaker and teacher at writing conferences, Laura has also been a guest on hundreds of radio and TV shows around the country including the ABC Weekend News, The 700 Club, and The Jay Thomas Morning Show.
Another book in this series is Daring Chloe
She lives in Northern California with her Renaissance-man husband Michael, and Gracie, their piano playing dog
ABOUT THE BOOK
At 35, Paige Kelley is feeling very "in between." She's still working her temp job after two years, still not dating three years after her divorce, and still melting at every chubby-cheeked toddler she sees while her biological clock ticks ever louder. Paige even moves back home to help her ailing, high-maintenance mother.It's not exactly the life she'd dreamed of!
When her Getaway Girls book club members urge Paige to break free and get on with her life, she's afraid. How will her mother react? How can Paige honor her widowed mother and still pursue her own life? The answers come from a surprising source.
A trip to Scotland and a potential new love interest help launch an exciting new chapter in her life, and lead Paige to discover that God's plan for her promises to be more than she ever imagined.
This latest release in the Getaway Girls collection delivers a smart, funny, and warm account of one woman's challenge to reconcile who she is - a dutiful Christian daughter - with the woman she longs to be.
I enjoyed this book, though it doesn't really fall into a genre. It's not really chick lit and doesn't fit women's fiction though it has overtones of both and a hint of romance. Really this story boils down to a 35 y.o. woman trying to reestablish who she is while honoring a domineering mother. The story is sweet, and the idea of the book club awesome. I'm thinking my bookclub needs to tackle some experiences based on the books we read. So check out the first chapter, link below.
If you would like to read the first chapter of Turning The Paige, go HERE
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
This series is frankly one I wish I had conceived and written. I love the tone of the books – if you like black and white movies like The Maltese Falcon or Casablanca, you have an idea of the flavor.
In Miss Fortune, not only does the reader get to explore a great mystery involving ancient Greek gold, East German and Russian spies, and the FBI, but there are flashes to a story of lost love. In Miss Match, Allie finds a way to take her FBI agent to a Berlin that’s ready to fall to the Germans to help him find someone who desperately needs his help.
One warning, if you have to read a series in quick succession because you hate not knowing out it ends, don’t read book two yet. Miss Fortune is a delightful read on its own. However, Miss Match ends quite abruptly and left me emailing the author to know when book three releases. I may have to beg for a copy of the manuscript because I have to know what happens!
|Miss Fortune, Allie Fortune Mystery Series #1|
By Sara Mills / Moody Publishers
In 1947 Allie Fortune is the only female private investigator in New York City, but she's kept awake at night by a mystery of her own: her fianci disappeared in the war and no one knows if he's still alive. Until Allie finds out, she will have no peace. When there's a knock on her office door at four in the morning, Allie suspects trouble as usual, and Mary Gordon is no exception. Mary claims someone is following her, that her apartment has been ransacked, and that she's been shot at, but she has no idea why any of this is happening. Allie takes the case, and in the process discovers an international mystery that puts her own life in danger.
Meanwhile, the FBI is working the case as well, and she is partnered up with an attractive, single agent who would be perfect for her under other circumstances-if only she knew whether her fianci was still alive.
|Miss Match, Allie Fortune Mystery Series #2|
By Sara Mills / Moody Publishers
FBI agent Jack O'Connor receives a letter from Maggie, a woman he used to love, saying she's in trouble in Berlin. The FBI refuses to get involved, so Jack asks Allie Fortune to help him investigate. Allie and Jack pose as a missionary couple who want to bring orphans back to the United States.
A child finds important documents that everyone in the city - Soviets and allies alike - want for themselves. Maggie refuses to tell Jack what the documents are, saying if things go wrong, they are better off not knowing. Through the course of the search, Allie's past is brought back to her, half a world away from home.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
In The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived, Scott guides readers in a step-by-step application of the life-changing principles, skills, and methods that Jesus used throughout his earthly life. Although believers may spend a lifetime learning from Jesus’ teachings, it’s easy to overlook the powerful lessons demonstrated in His life. But when these incomparable lessons are learned and put to use, they enable ordinary people to achieve extraordinary success and happiness.
From Jesus’ earthly life readers will learn:
- How to break through the barriers that prevent them from achieving extraordinary success at work and relational success at home.
- How to experience a level of happiness and fulfillment that nothing the world offers can duplicate.
- How to use adversity and opposition as a springboard for greater success.
- How to love others in a way that increases their love as well.
To be entered in the giveaway of this book, leave a comment sharing how Jesus has been the Greatest Man Who Ever Lived in your life.
Monday, March 23, 2009
I got back from CBE yesterday. I'll post some thoughts on that later. And look for some reviews and great giveaways. One of the things I did at CBE is collect a few autographed books from my favorite authors to share with you.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jill Eileen Smith is the author of several articles, poems, and stories, and her unpublished novels have placed in five writing contests in the past five years. A children’s story, which she wrote for her church led her youngest son to faith in Christ several years ago; much like a gospel tract led her to the Lord at a similar age.
That story, “Seeking Treasureland,” is now available. Jill is a member of several online writing groups and helps promote fellow authors’ works through monthly interviews on the "Spotlight" page of her website. She, along with her husband and children, are active members in their local church. A stay-at-home mom, she homeschooled the couple’s three sons for twelve years through high school, seeing them go on to higher education.
In her spare time, Jill teaches piano, reads, does picture scrap-booking, and enjoys trying out new recipes, especially those that include dark chocolate. Jill and her family make their home in Southeastern Lower Michigan.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Can their epic search for true love survive a father's fury?
The daughter of King Saul, Michal lives a life of privilege--but one that is haunted by her father's unpredictable moods and competition from her beautiful older sister.
As a girl, Michal quickly falls for the handsome young harpist David. But soon after their romance begins, David must flee for his life, leaving Michal at her father's mercy in the prison that is King Saul's palace.
Will Michal ever be reunited with David? Or is she doomed to remain separated from him forever?
Against the backdrop of opulent palace life, raging war, and daring desert escapes, Jill Eileen Smith takes you on an emotional journey as Michal deals with love, loss, and personal transformation as the first wife of King David. Jill Eileen Smith has more than twenty years of writing experience, and her writing has gathered acclaim in several contests. Her research into the lives of David's wives has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times.
If you would like to read the first chapter of Michal, go HERE
Monday, March 16, 2009
Before you pick up Shadows of Lancaster County, make sure you have a block of time to read it. This book is a delightful rush: the present twists into the past in a way that pulled me through from page one to the end, the pages flipping ever faster as the end neared.
When Anna's brother vanishes from the genetics lab where he works DNA research and gene mapping, Anna has no choice but to depend on her Silicon Valley training, her instincts, her faith in God, and the help of the Amish community to find him.
That sentence summarizes one layer of the plot. But so much more is involved. And the so much more is what makes this book an absolute page-turner. Anna has tried hard to run from her past. Now it's calling her back. Either she ignores it and let's her brother's disappearance remain a mystery, or she rushes back and risks everything she's worked hard to build. This book reached a point toward the end where I simply could not put it down. It didn't matter the list of things I needed to accomplish -- life had to wait while I raced through the twists and turns with Anna.
Every time I thought I knew where the plot was going with its high-tech DNA plot, the author surprised me. The book pushes the frontiers of genetic research and pulled me into that world.
I've thoroughly enjoyed Mindy's mysteries, but this book is one I'll read again and again. It's a wonderful addition to the suspense genre.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Attend seminars, book signings and readings led by more than 200 leading Christian authorsincluding Gary Chapman, Max Lucado, James Denison, Stormie Omartian, Jack Graham, Donald Miller, Liz Curtis Higgs, Randy Alcorn, Thelma Wells, Calvin Miller, J. I. Packer, Don Piper, Lee Strobel, and many more!
Panel discussionsled by authors on the following topics:
What is the Gospel (with Richard Stearns, Mark Roberts, Tullian Tchividjian, Justin Taylor)
The Emerging Church (with Scot McKnight, Tony Jones, Kevin DeYoung, Alex & Brett Harris)
A Guided Tour of Heaven & Hell (with Randy Alcorn, Don Piper, J I Packer, Sam Storms)
Living Christianly in a Post-Christian Culture (with Donald Miller, Ruth Haley Brown, Randy Frazee, Mary DeMuth)
Does the God of Christianity Exist (Anti-theist author Christopher Hitchens debates four Christian apologists: Lee Strobel, Douglas Wilson, James Dennison and William Lane Craig)
Evening worship eventshosted by Max Lucado and Sheila Walsh and featuring authors Andy Andrews, Liz Curtis Higgs, Henry Blackaby, Lysa TerKeurst, Michelle McKinney Hammond, Donald Miller, Brett & Alex Harris, Don Piper, Jimmy Dorrell, Thelma Wells and music artists Heather Headley, Travis Cottrell, Cindy Morgan, Joy Williams, Nicole C. Mullen, and Lenny LeBlanc. A special film screening of Collision, will be shown each night featuring the "collision" of worldviews between atheist Christopher Hitchens and Christian Douglas Wilson. They will be present to sign their latest book together, Is Christianity Good for the World?
An interactive exhibit floorwith thousands of Christian books at Show discounts, an amazing KidZone featuring children's authors, characters and activities for the whole family; Bible History Experience with rare biblical antiquities and a live demonstration of an exact replica of the Gutenberg Press, an African American Pavilion, and the Bible Across America tour, where attendees can handwrite a verse for an historic Bible that will be presented to the Smithsonian Institute.
School and Family Programs
We invite you to bring your school group to the Christian Book Expo for a day of activities, book readings, meeting authors, attending workshops and viewing exhibits. Friday's programming is set up to accommodate school groups and field trips. We have posted suggested itineraries for various grade levels at our web site at: www.christianbookexpo.com/groups/schools.php
Friday, March 13, 2009
A new element has been discovered:
Lawrence Livermore Laboratories has discovered the heaviest element yet
known to science. The new element, Governmentium (Gv), has one neutron,
25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons, and 198 assistant deputy
neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.
These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are
surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.
Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert; however, it can be
detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into
contact. A tiny amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction that would
normally take less than a second, to take from four days to four years
Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2- 6 years; It does not decay,
but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the
assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places.
In fact, Governmentium’s mass will actually increase over time, since
each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming
This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe
that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical
concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as critical
When catalysed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium, an
element that radiates just as much energy as Governmentium since it has
half as many peons but twice as many morons.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
God's challenging me to quit doing things simply because I can or because people expect me to. A challenge for this people-pleaser, type-A. I don't want to wonder how my life would be if I gave everything to the things that matter rather than simply going through the expected motions. God, take me all the way in the path You have for me!
How is God challenging you to quit going through the motions?
Monday, March 09, 2009
This is a good question. One I wrestle with periodically. For years I had the desire to write, but kept getting a wait signal from God. The dream would go to the back burner and simmer for another couple years before it would reach a boiling point again.
At the same time I had another desire. I believed that one of the reasons I was placed on this planet was to impact the world for Jesus. I've done that through teaching Bible studies, Sunday school, and other venues. But it reached a point where the desire for more became my heart's cry. "Father, expand my borders. Make me ready to do more for You. Make me a person you can use to impact the world for You."
Then I got the clear signal from God to chase writing. Then I got that first contract. And then God called me to account, that I took that contract to lightly. When I asked Him why, He showed me that I undervalued it because I didn't see it as the answer to my prayer. I'd asked Him to expand my boundaries and my reach. And He did that by giving me book contracts -- as I worked in obedience to His call -- contracts that allow those simple truths He puts in my heart to be read by so many more thousands of people than I can ever reach in one Bible study.
Will I continue to teach Bible studies and Sunday school? Yes, from time to time, as much because of how they push me to go deeper with God. But I will also write the stories He places in my heart, because my deepest heart's cry and longing is to be used by Him.
Friday, March 06, 2009
I don't know if you've ever read anything by Terri Blackstock, but I've enjoyed many of her books. I couldn't really get into the Last Light series. No idea why and I know MANY people loved it. Double Minds, to me, was a return to some of her earlier suspense, but more layered in a great way.
Parker James is a songwriter trying to make her way in Nashville. When an intern is killed at Parker's desk, Parker is determined to help her brother, the homicide detective, solve the murder. The plot take the reader into the music scene of Nashville as more and more people appear to have motives. While the suspense was great (I read the book in basically one sitting), the spiritual thread, questions and challenges were what kept me turning the pages. How would Parker balance her faith against the challenges and enticement thrown at her? I enjoyed this book, and hope Parker and her family and friends show up in another book -- though there's no indication at this time that they will.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Struggling to succeed in the Nashville music scene, talented singer/songwriter Parker James finds the competition fierce – even deadly. A young woman’s murder, industry corruption, and a menacing stalker draw Parker into danger and intrigue. Nothing is as it appears, and unraveling the truth challenges everything Parker believes about her talent, her future, and her faith.
The young girl with the Bohemian style was on the floor where she’d fallen, between Parker's computer case and her file cabinet. She wore a long, flowing skirt—lavender, the color of calm—and camel-colored Uggs. She lay on her back, her long, wavy blonde hair matted with blood.
For struggling singer/songwriter Parker James, the music business has just turned deadly. Her desk in the reception area of a busy recording studio has become a crime scene, and Parker finds herself drawn into a mystery where nothing is as it seems.
Unraveling the truth puts her own life at risk when she uncovers high-level industry corruption and is terrorized by a menacing stalker. As the danger escalates, Parker begins to question her dreams, her future, and even her faith.
Double Minds is a double treat—combining a compelling suspense novel with an inside look at the world of the Christian music industry in Nashville. Terri Blackstock grabs readers at page one and keeps them riveted until the final plot twist is untangled.
You can preview a Book Trailer on her site HERE
If you would like to read the first chapter of Double Minds, go HERE
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Terri Blackstock hasn’t always written for the Lord. Just over a decade ago she was an award-winning secular novelist writing for publishers such as HarperCollins, Harlequin, and Silhouette. With thirty-two titles published and 3.5 million books in print, she found that she was miserable. The compromises she had made in her career had taken their toll on her spiritual life, and she yearned to renew her relationship with Christ.
After much soul-searching and wrestling with God, she finally told the Lord that she would never write another thing that didn’t glorify Him. Thinking she might never be published again, she began planning ways to supplement her income, while she worked on her first idea for a Christian novel.
Because she enjoyed reading suspense novels, she tried weaving a faith message into a fast-paced page-turner with ordinary people in jeopardy. When Christian publishers expressed great interest, she realized that a secondary job would not be necessary. God was paving the way for her to enter the Christian publishing world.
Since that time, she’s sold 2 million Christian novels. She has over thirty Christian titles, many of which have been number one best-sellers. Her latest book, Dawn's Light is part of her popular Restoration Series. True Light, reached number one on the Top 50 of all Christian books the first full month it was in stores. Night Light was the winner of the 2007 Retailer’s Choice Award for General Fiction. Other reader favorites include her Cape Refuge Series, her Newpointe 911 Series, her SunCoast Chronicles Series and her “Seasons” books written with co-author Beverly LaHaye.
Terri is literally a native of nowhere since she was raised in the Air Force, She makes her home in Mississippi. Terri and her husband are the parents of three adult children--a blended family which she considers one more of God's provisions.
Terri has appeared on national television programs such as “The 700 Club” and “Home Life,” and has been a guest on numerous radio programs across the country.
Monday the rewrite for my next LIS was due...Trial by Fire is going to be a much better book after the rewrites, but it almost killed me getting them in on time. Hmm...Writing a suspense book almost killed me.
Well, what really got me was two very sick kiddos the week after Valentine's Day. Three pediatricians in three different offices in less than 48 hours. I tried very hard to live in the moment and focus on hugging and holding those two wee ones, when all my mind could think about was the rewrite and the book that's due on April 1. (in fact I should be working on that right now. Sigh!)
So I had to do something I hate. I asked for help. I called my mom and asked if there was any way she could come from Nebraska and help me out. I am so blessed that she said yes.
She arrived last Wednesday and left yesterday. In between she homeschooled the kids, did laundry, kept us fed, went grocery shopping, and did all the other things she could think of to free
some time for me to write. It was such a help!
See the challenge is that no matter how well we plan, life erupts and gets in the way. I couldn't predict that my kids would have pneumonia, ear infections, and RSV. That's the kind of scenario I don't want to predict. But I could ask for help...as much as I hate to admit I need it LOL
With Mom here, I had to pull a few very late nights, but I got the rewrite in the mail Saturday. And now I have a good start on the book that's due April 1. I'll still have to be disciplined and stay on task, but now I'm not panicked. And hopefully my editors won't when they read these books!
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Wind Dancer is a dramatic, pulse-pounding tale woven on the frontier of the American Revolution from Jamie Carie. I didn't have time to read this book, but it absolutely pulled me in. I couldn't wait to return and read more. Isabelle Renoir and her brother travel across the frontier on a mission to collect books for a priest. What should be a relatively "simple" trip turns into much more. Isabelle meets the a scout who can match her spark for spark.
This book is beautifully written with a plot that twists and turns. It has a romance that seems star-crossed yet had me absolutely rooting for the characters even when it looked like there was absolutely no way we could the pair would get together. And the spiritual thread is directed at the reader's heart in a way that is far from preachy because it is so intricately woven into the plot.
If you like historical romance and want one that is set in a fresh time period and place by an author who can take you there, this is one to buy and read over and over.
Monday, March 02, 2009
But today, I'm delighted to interview my friend DiAnn Mills. She has a new book releasing right now -- and it's a truly enjoyable suspense. If you've read her historicals, it's a bit different because it is set during modern times, but it has overtones of her books set in the Sudan.
Breach of Trust is a departure from your historicals. How would you describe it to a reader?
Breach of Trust is an extension of "Expect and Adventure." I love writing historical and suspense, and the Call of Duty Series offers me the opportunity to stretch my writing. This book is about an ex-CIA operative who is forced to choose between hiding to keep her loved ones safe or joining forces with the CIA again to bring a ruthless man to justice.
I loved following Paige and the idea of a CIA operative being thrust into the role of a small town librarian. What was the what if that launched this plot?
While driving through rural Oklahoma, my mind began to twist and turn with the "what-if" of an ex-CIA operative hiding out in a place that no one would ever suspect. What would she do to help with the boredom of leaving the adrenaline behind? And what kind of a back-story would cause this woman to forsake everything she once called hers? As a church librarian, the research was easy, and I know how easy it is to leave reality behind and seek out an adventure--with fiction or nonfiction.
How did you do the research necessary to make the spy angle seem so authentic?
I phoned the CIA office in DC and asked for their PR person. The poor man probably wished he'd never picked up the phone. Many things he could answer, and others he could not. I also have friends who are FBI agents and Secret Service. These courageous people who work to keep our country and world safe cannot tell how things are done, but they can answer basic questions. A bonus is when the research person recommends a book or a movie or says "that's not the way it's done." TV and many movies do not provide the answers. My point in Breach of Trust is "Could this happen?"
Paige is forced to confront a past she's tried to avoid. Why is it important for us to confront those pieces of us we'd rather ignore or forget about?
Great question! Life is about growth and change, facing our demons and learning from our mistakes. If we want to fulfill our purpose, then we must face the consequences of our actions, ask forgiveness, and strive for a closer relationship with God.
What did you learn from the characters while you wrote this book?
The importance of integrity and Truth in all of our lives. Sometimes we are called to unsafe purposes, but if God has called us to enter a danger zone then He will walk with us through it.
What advice would you have for someone who is considering writing a book?
1. Read the books in the genre which you want to write.
2. Read the books by writers who write about writing. :)
3. Write everyday
4. Pray for God's guidance and wisdom
5. Attend writing conferences and always be ready to help another writer.
Where can people find you on the web?