Monday, August 31, 2009

Life going too fast? Two books to help slow down

766823: Make Love, Make War: NOW is the Time to Worship Make Love, Make War: NOW is the Time to Worship
By Brian Doerksen

* Acclaimed songwriter Doerksen believes that God has called Christians to spread peace and wage spiritual warfare. Offering insight into how he's answered that challenge with the "weapon" of music, he shares the inspiration behind 12 of his songs, including "Come, Now Is the Time to Worship"; "Hallelujah"; and "Refiner's Fire." Includes tips for aspiring songwriters.

I've long sung along to the author's songs on Sunday mornings, so was curious to read this book and see what lingered beneath the surface. I am in awe of song writers because they convey so much in such a few words. When they can usher us into God's presence with those words, I am grateful. This book is an honest, thought-provoking look beneath the surface of some of the best loved worship songs of the last ten years. I was challenged as I read the stories. Even though I am not a worship-leader, I think many will appreciate the song writing tips at the end of each chapter. If you're ready to dive deeper and be challenged by the stories behind the songs, then this book is for you.

768889: Not So Fast: Slow-Down Solutions for Frenzied Families Not So Fast: Slow-Down Solutions for Frenzied Families
By Ann Kroeker

Discover how simplifying and slowing down can rejuvenate relationships and replenish souls. Not So Fast: Slow- Down Solutions for Frenzied Families includes inspiring stories from families who've made the change.

Ever feel like the pace of life has you meeting yourself coming and going? Feel like your children are running so fast they don't have time to be kids? Tried to slow down, but don't know how? Then this book can be a great help to you. It is an easy to read with bite sized chapters that can be read while waiting for your child to finish a lesson or sports practice. The author has given lots of ideas and possible solutions in the book -- enough to help you creatively adapt it to your family. She addresses many issues including slowing down spending, sexuality, high tech, adding time to create and love. There's so much in this book. Lots to ponder and adapt to your family.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Interview with Jamie Carie & Giveaway

I'm tickled to introduce you to one of my Indiana writer buds and a fabulous writer. Just this month Jamie Carie had a new book release. Love's First Light is brilliant! There's no other word for it.

Jamie, Love's First Light is another dramatic addition to your books. How did you land on France as a setting?

I have always been interested in France and its history, but it was a friend of mine who told me about Carcassonne and the castle there (who can resist a medieval castle?) that really sparked my curiosity. After doing some research I decided that the French Revolution was too compelling to pass up. The aristocrats were the "bad guys" during those years and I thought it would be so interesting to make my hero a brilliant scientist/aristocrat on the run from the guillotine.

What research challenges did setting the book during the French Revolution present?

Many! This book was a real challenge that I didn't anticipate until it was too late to do anything but trudge forward. The complexities of the political upheaval (monarchy, church and revolutionist - all corrupt) were daunting to wrap my mind around. I tried to stay historically accurate in depicting the actions and motivations of the players in the French Revolution. I also researched the geography of Paris and Carcassonne, the science and technology of that time period, and all those little details from how they baked bread to what sort of herbs an apothecary would have used. And the science of the time! I read and reread material on light, color, mathematics, astronomy, biographies on the scientific leaders of that day. I remember looking at my husband at various points and wailing, "I've reread this paragraph four times and I still don't understand what it means!" Then I would call my neighbor who is a chemist and beg for help.

Were you able to visit France? If not, how did you get the details so clearly established in your mind to be able to paint the picture for the reader?

No visit, but what a dream vacation that would be! When I can't visit a place in person I first pray and ask God to give me a feel for the time and place. Then I use Google Maps, travel websites (check out this one on Carcassonne), books and movies and novels set in France. After all of that I almost feel like I've really been there.

Your hero is a who is fascinated with color. How did you land on that theme?

When I started to imagine Christophé, I thought he could be a similar character to John Nash in A Beautiful Mind. While I didn't want him to be schizophrenic, as John Nash was, I did want him to be a tortured genius type. After that first scene, it was easy to imagine him slipping into science to stay sane. I think when we are traumatized there are disconnects in our mind and heart that kick in to protect us so that we can continue to function. Christophé clings to two things - his science (experiments /mathematical equations) and his connection to God which comes in the form of The Lord's Prayer and Communion. Then God gave me a moment in the book where his science and faith meet - the rainbow. And, in particular, the color red. There were so many analogies to be made. The blood of Christ. The only answer that would ever save him. I love it when God surprises me through my stories and characters. It's one of the best parts of being a writer, don't you think?

Emilie is an amazing character. Have you ever had to forgive someone like she did?

I've been thinking a lot about forgiveness lately. I think there are the big ones, as in some sort of cruelty or evil against you beyond your control such as physical/emotional/sexual abuse, adultery, murder, etc. and then there's the little everyday grievances that can range from annoying to genuinely hurtful. The Bible is pretty clear about our need (I like the word need because it's for us as much as the person who hurt us) to forgive those who abuse us. Emilie finds the key to forgiveness, I think, and that is the focus. Are our eyes (thoughts, words, emotions) focused on the offender? Or is our focus on the Lord? God has promised that if we look to Him, cling to Him in the midst of pain and suffering, He will provide what we need, everything we need.

You asked if I have had to forgive like Emilie? Not for the same reasons, but yes, both in the big sense and the everyday hurts. But the knowledge that I've also been on the other side, that I have caused pain to people too, makes it easier to forgive. I think that the constant forgiving of each other is the only way to stay in and build relationships.

What was the most surprising thing you learned while writing this book?

I'm a huge patriotic soul! I'm a "go America" kind of person! So when I read about the French Revolution I was in awe, once again, at the plan God has for this nation. The American Revelation was a few years before the French Revolution, and the poor, desolate people of France saw what we had won and wanted it for themselves. What amazed me as is how sorry and sad their ending was compared to ours. We had men like George Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Franklin (none perfect, I know!) but they had a heart on fire for a new kind of government, freedom, and they loved this ideal so much, more than they loved themselves. In the French Revolution, I learned that the men who fought against the monarchy were as corrupt, godless, and grasping as those they fought against. There was no love but love for self. And there was no love for God. The result was a blood bath of horror and terror. The 4th of July is especially glorious for me as I continue to learn and realize our heritage as a nation. Our nation is so blessed! A beacon of light in the darkness. Salt to the whole world.

What's next for you?

I just turned in a novel entitled, Angel's Den, out February 2010. It's a little like the movie Sleeping With the Enemy starring Julia Roberts. It's about a woman who marries the perfect picture and then the devastation of finding all her hopes and dreams turned into a nightmare that she must endure. I had no idea how God was going to save Emma, but He showed me and it was better than anything I could have dreamed up - not your typical formulaic romance. ☺

The trailer on your blog for that book has me incredibly interested! (look below for a sneak peek) Anything else you'd like to add?

I'm just amazed at all you do, Cara! You are truly a wonderful woman and writer. Thanks so much for the interview!!

Back-To-School Package from Waterbrook

Now that the kids are back in school, here's some information about three new novels...I haven't had time to read them yet, but LOVE Tina Forkner's first book so can't wait to read Rose House. And The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper has a witty tone that is fun to read. I've never read anything by Beth Pattillo, but have heard good things so am looking forward to trying Knit for Love. Without further ado, here are the books...

The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper
The future is clearly mapped out for New York socialite Eugenia “Gennie” Cooper, but she secretly longs to slip into the boots of her favorite dime-novel heroine and experience just one adventure before settling down. When the opportunity arises, Gennie jumps at the chance to experience the Wild West, but her plans go awry when she is drawn into the lives of silver baron Daniel Beck and his daughter and finds herself caring for them more than is prudent–especially as she’s supposed to go back to New York and marry another man.

As Gennie adapts to the rough-and-tumble world of 1880s Colorado, she must decide whether her future lies with the enigmatic Daniel Beck or back home with the life planned for her since birth. The question is whether Daniel’s past–and disgruntled miners bent on revenge–will take that choice away from her.

Summary for The Sweetgum Ladies Knit for Love
Once a month, the six women of the Sweetgum Knit Lit Society gather to discuss books and share their knitting projects. Inspired by her recently-wedded bliss, group leader Eugenie chooses “Great Love Stories in Literature” as the theme for the year’s reading list–a risky selection for a group whose members span the spectrum of age and relationship status.

As the Knit Lit ladies read and discus classic romances like
Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights, and Pride and Prejudice, each member is confronted with her own perception about love. Camille’s unexpected reunion with an old crush forces her to confront conflicting desires. Newly widowed Esther finds her role in Sweetgum changing and is surprised by two unlikely friends. Hannah isn’t sure she’s ready for the trials of first love. Newcomer Maria finds her life turned upside-down by increasing family obligations and a handsome, arrogant lawyer, and Eugenie and Merry are both asked to make sacrifices for their husbands that challenge their principles.

Even in a sleepy, southern town like Sweetgum, Tennessee, love isn’t easy. The Knit Lit ladies learn they can find strength and guidance in the novels they read, the love of their family, their community–and especially in each other.

Rose House
A vivid story of a private grief, a secret painting, and one woman’s search for hope.
Still mourning the loss of her family in a tragic accident, Lillian Diamon finds herself drawn back to the Rose House, a quiet cottage where four years earlier she had poured out her anguish among its fragrant blossoms.

She returns to the rolling hills and lush vineyards of the Sonoma Valley in search of something she can’t quite name. But then Lillian stumbles onto an unexpected discovery: displayed in the La Rosaleda Gallery is a painting that captures every detail of her most private moment of misery, from the sorrow etched across her face to the sandals on her feet.

What kind of artist would dare to intrude on such a personal scene, and how did he happen to witness Lillian’s pain? As the mystery surrounding the portrait becomes entangled with the accident that claimed the lives of her husband and children, Lillian is forced to rethink her assumptions about what really happened that day.

A captivating novel rich with detail,
Rose House explores how the brushstrokes of pain can illuminate the true beauty of life.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Knight

Oh. My. Goodness. The Knight is the first of Steven's books that I've read, but it will not be the last.

This book is an incredible, suspense filled race through four or five days in FBI agent Patrick Bower's life. This is the third book in the series, and though I haven't read the others, I was able to be completely absorbed in the plot and the characters. The pacing is breath-taking, the psychological aspects un-put-down-able, and the race to find the killer had me on the edge of my seat.

The plot kept me guessing. Every time I thought I'd honed in on the killer, something would happen and I would second-guess. The actual killer came from left field, but was so believable. And the characters were multi-dimensional. The main character was more than a FBI agent, with multiple issues going on in his life. And there were multiple supporting characters -- at almost 500 pages, the author had plenty of time to develop them.

I have found a new favorite suspense author! And I LOVED the way this book had all the elements of a great suspense without gratuitous swearing, sex, or violence -- though the squeamish shouldn't read it.

The previous two books in the series have received critical acclaim, and “The Rook” just received the Christy Award for the best Suspense Novel of 2008!

732707: The Knight, Bowers Files Series #3The Knight, Bowers Files Series #3

By Steven James

Agent Bowers is used to tracking the country's most dangerous killers, but now it looks like a killer is tracking him. When he realizes the murderer is using clues from an ancient manuscript as a blueprint for his crimes, Bowers faces a race against time to decipher who the next victim will be and to stop the final shocking murder--which he's beginning to believe might be his own.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


The global war on terror has reached catastrophic proportions, leading the U.S. Special Operations EOD team–Task Force Valor–to Chernobyl, where ghosts of past disasters are nothing compared to the nuclear nightmare about to unfold.

With CIA Agent Mary “Phoenix” Walker heading her first Special Ops mission and Master Sergeant Bobby Sweeney fighting demons on and off the battlefield, Task Force Valor races to stop a terrorist threat in the Ukraine before Europe is turned into a radioactive wasteland.

But when the terror reaches American shores, the team is powerless to help until they can save themselves. And when they finally track down the source of the chaos, what they find is worse than anything they could have imagined.

About the Author
Chuck Holton has traveled the world, experienced combat, served in the Elite 75th Ranger Regiment, and is the author of six books, including Allah’s Fire, Island Inferno, Bulletproof, Stories From a Soldier’s Heart, and A More Elite Soldier. His journeys have taken him from the depths of the Atlantic, to the mountains of Burma, from the dogsleds of Alaska, to skies of Iraq. Chuck lives in Appalachia with his wife, Connie, and their five children.

Leave a comment for an opportunity to win a copy of this book!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Calming First Time Nerves

Attending a conference is nerve-wrecking.

Let’s face it, you’re taking huge risks by going.

You've invested a lot of money: registration, hotel, airfare, some meals, and other incidentals. You’ve invested who you are – by attending you’re joining the ranks of those who have moved from wanting to write, to those who have taken steps to actively chase a dream. You’re risking your heart because you’ve gone public with your dream.

Bundle that with the fact that you might not know many people and you might be pitching the book of your heart to an editor and agent, and suddenly your stress is through the roof.

It’s okay.

Sit back, take a deep breath, whisper a prayer for peace and help.

You’ll be okay.

As someone who’s been in your shoes, and helps those first-timers attending ACFW each year, I’d like to offer a bit of advice.

1) Pray, pray, pray. If God has lead you to attend ACFW or another writer’s conference, then He has a purpose and a plan for your time there. It may not be what you intend. But pray and ask for His will to be done. Ask for opportunities to serve others – nothing better to take your thoughts off your fears than to focus on others. And ask Him for peace to carry you through the days.

2) Prepare, prepare, prepare. ACFW has a conference blog that is packed with fabulous advice on everything from how to get from the conference to the hotel, where to find food for Friday’s free night, and how to get ready for that editor appointment. Take advantage of that repository of advice. Get your one-sheet ready if you have time. Polish that first chapter, and have it in your bag for appointments. Have business cards to leave with those you meet. Get your toolbox loaded and ready.

3) Research, research, research. Take the time to know what the houses you are pitching are currently publishing. How does what you write line up with that? Is it a new niche? Different from current authors? Etc. Google the editors so you can learn what you can. Same with the agents. Some of the agents have blogs. Read them. It is a wealth of information not just about the industry and their firms, but also on personality. You can tell so much from how a person writes for a blog.

4) Relax, relax, relax. ACFW, at least, is one big family. You may not think you know anyone, but you’re wrong. You’ll spend the conference giving and receiving hugs from folks you’ve met on the loop or first timers loop. Reach out to others with a smile, and they’ll be delighted to reciprocate. At my first conference, the friend and I who had driven down together grabbed a gal who was flying solo for lunch. Before conference officially began, we’d connected in a very cool way.

5) Volunteer, volunteer, volunteer. By serving others you will find yourself relaxing, meeting others, and having a great time. There are so many ways to do it that don’t take much from you, but help the conference run efficiently and smoothly.

6) Rest, rest, rest. Sometimes you just have to skip a workshop because you’re brain is on overload. Or you can’t fathom the thought of another meal surrounded by people. That’s okay. Escape to your room. Put your feet up. Take a bath. Read a book. Do whatever it takes to recharge. We understand.

7) And at ACFW don’t forget the prayer room. It is open all the time, and the perfect place to escape when you’re rattled and overwhelmed.

Can’t wait to meet you in Denver!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Husband Project Challenge #5

Text or E-mail Some Sweet Nothings

“I turn on my computer. I wait patiently as it connects. I go online. My breath catches in my chest until I hear three little words, “You’ve got Mail.” I hear nothing, not a sound on the streets of New York. Just the beat of my own heart… I have mail, from you.”
Meg Ryan as Kathleen Kennedy in “You’ve Got Mail”

Your Project
Send a flirty text or e-mail to your husband.

Getting Creative

  • Use an e-card service ( or to send a cute and flirty note.
  • Don’t know how to text? Ask any teenager in the general vicinity.
  • Most phones have a camera feature where you can send a photo message. Be sure to keep it G rated so that he doesn’t get in trouble at work.
So how's it going for you? Any funny stories or success stories to share? Don't forget to leave your comments this week to be entered for the chance to receive a copy of this book.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

husband Project Challenge #4

Heart vs. Stomach

A Treat Just for Him

“You can tell a lot about a fellow’s character by his way of eating jellybeans.”
Ronald Reagan

Your Project:
Get a food treat for your husband that he’s not required to share with you or any other family member.

Getting Creative
Stumped for ideas? Here are some thoughts:

  • Get his favorite pint of Ben & Jerry’s and hide it behind the frozen chicken. Even if you buy it on Tuesday, you’ll have it ready and waiting for his special night later in the week.
  • Is there a certain cut of meat that your husband loves? How about having the butcher cut something just for him? Most supermarkets will even do the marinade for you – one less thing to think about.
  • Is there a certain candy that your husband loves from his childhood? Check out They have all the nostalgic candy you could want (Black Jack Gum, anyone?) while also carrying any modern favorite you could be looking for.
  • My husband’s family loves something called “noodles and mashed potatoes” (we lovingly refer to it as “The Starch Fest”). I learned how to make this special dish just for him.
  • My guy loves the smell of baking almost as much as he enjoys eating the treat. Have some brownies in the oven when he gets home from work or working out. (I know, it negates the workout, but isn’t chocolate always worth it?)
  • Our friend Scott mentioned that he loves cranberry sauce, but eats it only at Thanksgiving. His wife intentionally made the holiday treat for him this past July.
  • Are you a wife who is an expert at low-cal salads and other forms of chick-food? Check out The Ultimate Guide to Man Food for ideas
So how's it going for you? Any funny stories or success stories to share? Don't forget to leave your comments this week to be entered for the chance to receive a copy of this book.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Husband Project Challenge #3

You da’ Man

Spreading Great Gossip About Your Guy

Your Project:
Say something nice about your husband to someone else. Make sure you tell him what you said, and to whom.

Getting Creative
Who are the important people in your husband’s life? Your kids, his parents, his friends? Be intentional about who you chat with when you brag on him – it’s almost as important as actually doing it.

Having a hard time coming up with something? I still brag on my guy for things he did years ago. He loves when I tell the story of how brilliantly he proposed (there were waterfalls and stuffed portabella mushrooms involved…).

Here are some other areas to think about when crafting your brag:
  • His parenting skills
  • His patience level
  • The way he treats your mom
  • His culinary ability
  • His job
  • His loyalty to you

So how's it going for you? Any funny stories or success stories to share? Don't forget to leave your comments this week to be entered for the chance to receive a copy of this book.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Husband Project Challenge #2

Back in the Day

Do Something He Enjoyed Before You Got Married

“Lust is easy. Love is hard. Like is most important.” ~ Carl Reiner

Your Project:

Initiate an activity that your husband used to love. Whether it’s his favorite hobby, sport, or pastime, it’s time for you to get involved – be his buddy today.

Getting Creative

Many a man’s hobby has gone by the wayside due to matrimony. Is it possible that it’s time you learned to golf or fly fish? Don’t try to beat him, just join him.

Possibly the only thing your husband would enjoy more than playing chess with you is teaching you how to play chess. Ask for a lesson so he can teach you something that he is an expert at (or really loves). Just your willingness to learn will be a huge boost to your guy.

Pick up a magazine about your guy’s now dormant hobby. Ask him questions about why he loves it so much. Learn a couple of technical terms so that you are better able to discuss it.

Do a little research. Find out what the definitive website is on your husband’s favorite subject. Maybe there’s an event in town, a lecture to attend, or a game to watch.

So how's it going for you? Any funny stories or success stories to share? Don't forget to leave your comments this week to be entered for the chance to receive a copy of this book.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Montana Rose

You know how much I love Mary's books. So here's your chance to read the first chapter of her next book, Montana Rose. And if you leave a comment, one lucky person will receive a copy of this book. Be prepared to laugh!

Fire up your love of romance with Montana Rose.

When surrounded by a mob of ill-bred, foul-smelling, women-hungry men, the newly widowed and seemingly spoiled Cassie “China Doll” Griffin has no choice. Marrying handyman Red Dawson seems the only alternative to Cassie’s being hitched to a brutal rancher. But can this “China doll” bear exchanging smooth silk for coarse calico? Red was reluctant to be yoked to an unbeliever, but sometimes a man has no choice. Will Red change Cassie’s heart by changing her name? Wade Sawyer is obsessed with saving Cassie from a marriage of convenience. How far will he go make her his own?

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

ABOUT Mary Connealy:

Mary's writing journey is similar to a lot of others. Boil it down to persistence, oh, go ahead and call it stubbornness. She just kept typing away. She think the reason she did it was because she was more or less a dunce around people—prone to sit silently when she really ought to speak up(or far worse, speak up when she ought to sit silently).

So, Mary had all these things, she want to say, in her head; the perfect zinger to the rude cashier, which you think of an hour after you’ve left the store, the perfect bit of wisdom when someone needs help, which doesn’t occur to you until they solve their problems themselves, the perfect guilt trip for the kids, which you don’t say because you’re not an idiot. She keep all this wit to herself, much to the relief of all who know her, and then wrote all her great ideas into books. It’s therapeutic if nothing else, and more affordable than a psychiatrist.

So then a very nice, oh so nice publishing company like Barbour Heartsong comes along and says, “Hey, we’ll pay you money for this 45,000 word therapy session.” That’s as sweet as it gets.

Mary's journey to publication is the same as everyone’s except for a few geniuses out there who make it hard for all of us. And even they probably have an Ode to Roast Beef or two in their past.

Mary has signed an exclusive contract with Barbour that will have her writing eighteen (18) books for them over the next four years! This book is the first in the Montana Marriage Series. The second book will be the
Husband Tree, and the third will be Wildflower Bride.

Husband Project Challenge #1

30 Minutes is All it Takes

Create Some Free Time When He Gets Home

“There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want.”
~Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes

Your Project:

Focus on your husbands transitional 30 minutes today. Would he like to be left alone to rest and rejuvenate, or does he want some undivided attention from you? The point is to let your husband know you value what he does out in the world, and that he has a safe loving place to come home and get refreshed at the end of the day.

Getting Creative
There are plenty of reasons why it might not be easy for you to give your husband some transition time at the end of the day. You need to look at what can work for your relationship. Be creative, like the stories listed below. Brainstorm with your friends until you find a situation that will work for you and your guy.

  • My friend, Joann, purposely scheduled her daughter’s dance classes twice a week at the same hour that her husband gets home from work. That way, her hubby comes home to an empty house. He gets some quiet, and she gets a more peaceful man.
  • One husband has his workshop out in the garage. His wife encourages him to go and hang out there for a while before dinner. (Since starting this arrangement, her husband has started helping out with the after-dinner clean up. Nice side benefit.)
  • Crockpots are The Husband Project’s best friend. Set your crockpot to be finished thirty minutes after your husband gets home from work. Let him know that you don’t need anything until dinner is ready. Don’t know a crockpot from a flower pot? Check out the recipes in The Ultimate Guide to Man Food at
  • Does your husband already have a great transition routine after getting home? Find some other little thing to bless that time. Maybe it’s making sure the TV is available, his favorite sweats are clean and ready to be changed into, or there’s a cold soda waiting for him in the fridge. It may be so small that he doesn’t even notice. That’s okay – you’ll know what you did.
  • What if your husband works from home? Maybe the best way to help him relax is to ask what he would like the schedule to be. Does he want dinner before or after he gets some time to recharge? Ask him what would make his night better.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Interview with Camy Tang

Deadly Intent is a change for you...Why did you decide to write romantic suspense?

I have read Steeple Hill's Love Inspired line—and especially the Love Inspired Suspense line—for many years, so when I had a chance to submit a proposal, I jumped at it. I love reading suspense, and I thought I'd give it a shot. Luckily, the editors liked my proposal and contracted Deadly Intent.

What part of writing this book surprised you by being more fun than you expected?

Even though the main story is about a murder and finding the killer, I had a lot of fun creating the Grant family: Augustus Grant, owner of the Joy Luck Life spa; the three sisters, Naomi, Rachel, and Monica; and their mother's sister, Aunt Becca. The more time I spent with them, the more interesting family dynamics came out.

What research did you have to do that you weren't sure how to explain when checking out the books from the library (for example, I got a stack of arson books for Trial by Fire.)

I can't say I got a lot of eyebrows raised by my librarians, but my HUSBAND sweated a few bullets when I did some research on the Tiffany jewelers website! LOL I wanted to find the necklace of my victim, Jessica Ortiz, which was supposed to be a Tiffany diamond necklace.

I had to admit that I cheated a bit in writing Naomi's character, because I had already done a lot of research into massage therapists for another series proposal many years ago (before I was published). My other proposal was about a posh resort in Hawaii (where I grew up). I happily razed the entire North Shore of O'ahu to put my fictional resort there, and researched massage therapy as a career for one of my heroines. The proposal never went anywhere, but I used that research for Deadly Intent.

Tell us about the book....what did you learn from the characters? What do you hope readers will take away?

The theme verse of the book is Zephaniah 3:17: "The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save."

For every book, I have a "theme song" that I play to get me in the mood for the characters. I confess that I initially hit on the worship song "Mighty to Save" as Naomi's "theme song" for the book, and then found the Zephaniah verse to go with it.

But as I was writing Deadly Intent, the verse became more and more prominent as a major element in Naomi's spiritual thread. It ended up being an integral part of her surrender to God—her trust that He is, indeed, mighty to save.

I hope that my readers will also come to that point of surrender in their own lives, and be able to trust that God is with them, that "He is mighty to save."

Thanks for having me here on your blog, Cara!



The Grant family’s exclusive Sonoma spa is a place for rest and relaxation—not murder! Then Naomi Grant finds her client Jessica Ortiz bleeding to death in her massage room, and everything falls apart. The salon’s reputation is at stake...and so is Naomi’s freedom when she discovers that she is one of the main suspects! Her only solace is found with the other suspect—Dr. Devon Knightley, the victim’s ex-husband. But Devon is hiding secrets of his own. When they come to light, where can Naomi turn...and whom can she trust?

About Camy:

Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. She used to be a biologist, but now she is a staff worker for her church youth group and leads a worship team for Sunday service. She also runs the Story Sensei fiction critique service. On her blog, she gives away Christian novels every week, and she ponders frivolous things like dumb dogs (namely, hers), coffee-geek husbands (no resemblance to her own...), the writing journey, Asiana, and anything else that comes to mind. Visit her website at for a huge website contest going on right now, giving away fourteen boxes of books and 24 copies of her latest release, DEADLY INTENT.

Deadly Intent Review & Giveaway

Deadly Intent is Camy Tang's first romantic suspense, and I have to say she did a great job! Welcome to the Love Inspired Suspense ranks, Camy!

The Grant family's exclusive Sonoma spa is a place for rest and relaxation -- not murder! When Naomi Grant finds her client bleeding to death in Naomi's massage room, everything falls apart. The salon's reputation is at stake...and so is Naomi's freedom when she discovers that she is one of the main suspects! Her only solace is found with the other suspect -- Dr. Devon Knightley, the victim's ex-husband. But Devon is hiding secrets of his own. When they come to light, where can Naomi turn...and whom can she trust?

Naomi loves serving others as a massage therapist and struggles with her new role managing the spa for her father. Her task is compounded when she discovers the body and finds herself in the middle of a deadly game with few people she can trust. And she's not sure she's willing to trust God or Dr. Knightley. God seems to have abandoned her, and Dr. Knightley has too many secrets.

The book weaves seemlessly between the suspense and romance, with the balance tipping a bit toward the suspense -- just the way I like it. And Naomi's struggles to see God and believe He cares as her life falls apart was so easy to relate to. Who hasn't had times when no matter how deep our faith, our hearts cry out to God, who seems incredibly silent? Dr. Knightley is a great hero. Someone you want to root for but just aren't sure about. And his growth across the book was believable and true to character.

I thoroughly enjoyed Camy's series for Zondervan, but found this to be a perfect summer read.

Camy has graciously agreed to send an autographed book to one lucky leave a comment about how you've seen Zephaniah 3:17 apply to your life: The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Night Watchman Giveaway

I love Night Watchman! Mark Mynheir is a detective in Florida and the details of this book come through with accuracy because of Mark's background. We've waited a long time for this book, so be sure to leave a comment to be entered to win a copy.

When everything is ripped away...

Eleven months ago, Ray Quinn was a tough, quick-witted Orlando homicide detective at the top of his game-until a barrage of bullets ended his career.and his partner's life.

Now medically retired with a painful handicap, Ray battles the haunting guilt for his partner's death. Numbing the pain with alcohol and attitude, Ray takes a job as a night watchman at a swanky Orlando condo community.

But when a pastor and an exotic dancer are found dead in one of the condos in an apparent murder-suicide, Ray can no longer linger in the shadows. The victim’s sister is convinced her brother was framed and begs Ray to take on an impossible case─to challenge the evidence and clear her brother’s name.

Ray reluctantly pulls the thread of this supposedly dead-end case only to unravel a murder investigation so deep that it threatens to turn the Orlando political landscape upside down and transform old friends into new enemies. As Ray chases down leads and interrogates suspects, someone is watching his every move, someone determined to keep him from ever finding out the truth─at any cost.

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

Mark Mynheir was born and raised on the east coast of Central Florida. Like most boys growing up, Mark enjoyed sports, mainly football and martial arts.

In 1983, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and went through basic training at Parris Island, South Carolina. After serving four years in the Marines, Mark changed gears and pursued a career in law enforcement.

During his career as a police officer, Mark has worked as a narcotics agent, a S.W.A.T. team member, and a homicide detective.

Over sixteen years ago, during a health crisis involving his oldest son, Mark gave his life to Jesus Christ. Shortly after his conversion, he felt God leading him in a new direction: writing. Now he balances dual careers as a police officer and novelist.

He has authored
Rolling Thunder (The Truth Chasers Book One), From the Belly of the Dragon (The Truth Chasers Book Two), and The Void (The Truth Chasers Book Three).

Mark is married to the love of his life and has three fantastic children, and they all currently reside in Central Florida.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Husband Project...

I've got a new book, the Husband Project by Kathi Lipp. Don't you love this cover?!?! Next week, I'm going to do something a wee bit different...we're going to have a five day mini-challenge. You see the book is set up for a 21 day challenge on ways to bring some fun back to our relationships.

We're going to do the teaser variety. So check back every day next week to see what the challenges are. Leave comments on what worked or the funny moments that happened. I'll pull a winner for a copy of this book at the end of next week.

Be sure to check out her website this week. It's got lots of fun and free things on it. And I noticed she's running a special on the book -- perfect if you want to do the challenge with some friends: 10 books for $10 each.

I don't know about you, but I could use the challenge :-)

Monday, August 10, 2009

My Source of Strength in Pain

Strength. I’ve always thought of myself as a strong person. Ask anyone who knows me and they’d likely agree. I tend to take life and adapt it to the way I want things to go.

Most of the time.

But every once in awhile life throws me a curveball.

The latest came in July. The day before I left for a writers retreat and extended family vacation. I started bleeding. Normally, this isn’t any big deal, but four days earlier I’d learned I was pregnant. I have three amazing children, but I also have one in heaven from a miscarriage a couple years ago, so the bleeding scared me to death.

My strength disappeared. And I’m struggling to re-find it after my doctor confirmed I miscarried. Again.

I thought I was over the first miscarriage. I thought it was behind me. That I’d grieved, turned it over to God, moved on. But the moment I started bleeding, it all flooded back. In a rush, I was overwhelmed, terrified, and felt so utterly alone.

So now I get to choose again. Do I succumb to the horrible pit of emotions and questions….and I’ll be the first to admit how angry, sad and worn out I am. I don’t understand and don’t know that I will this side of heaven why God allowed it. I can’t see how He can use a second miscarriage in a way that one alone wouldn’t have covered.

Yet, He is God. He is sovereign, and once again I find myself clinging to that amid the tears and grief.

The truly ironic thing is that in my June release from Heartsong Presents, A Promise Kept, the heroine deals with a miscarriage. It is part of the fruit of my first miscarriage. In it Josie experiences the pain of miscarriage and has to find the strength to move on while keeping the promise she made to her husband. It’s not an easy road for her, but it’s a real road. It’s a journey that too many women travel, often alone. Often without acknowledgment from others. Often with hidden grief.

My prayer that is if you have experience that loss, you will find your strength by placing yourself in God’s hands.

Friday, August 07, 2009

The Hope of Refuge Giveaway

Raised in foster care and now the widowed mother of a little girl, Cara Moore struggles against poverty, fear, and a relentless stalker. When a trail of memories leads Cara and Lori out of New York City toward an Amish community, she follows every lead, eager for answers and a fresh start. She discovers that long-held secrets about her family history ripple beneath the surface of Dry Lake, Pennsylvania, and it’s no place for an outsider. But one Amish man, Ephraim Mast, dares to fulfill the command he believes that he received from God–“Be me to her”– despite how it threatens his way of life.

Completely opposite of the hard, untrusting Cara, Ephraim’s sister Deborah also finds her dreams crumbling when the man she has pledged to build a life with begins withdrawing from Deborah and his community, including his mother, Ada Stoltzfus. Can the run-down house that Ada envisions transforming unite them toward a common purpose–or push Mahlon away forever? While Ephraim is trying to do what he believes is right, will he be shunned and lose everything–including the guarded single mother who simply longs for a better life?

About the author:

Cindy Woodsmall is the author of When the Heart Cries, When the Morning Comes, and The New York Times Best-Seller When the Soul Mends. Her ability to authentically capture the heart of her characters comes from her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families. A mother of three sons and two daughters-in-law, Cindy lives in Georgia with her husband of thirty-one years.

Cindy was recently covered on ABC Nightline. These are questions that ABC Nightline, Time magazine, and other media outlets are asking. But really the only way to understand the appeal is to read a fantastic book. Enter The Hope of Refuge by New York Times bestselling author Cindy Woodsmall. In the start of a brand new series, Cindy offers rich characters and insights into this often cloaked world, which you’re sure to enjoy. If you'd like to watch the piece by ABC's Nighline click on the picture of the video below:

If you're interested in purchasing The Hope of Refuge, you can visit Random House & see all of the different options where you can purchase the book online.

I have a copy to giveaway, so leave a comment!

And if you'd like to meet Cindy, check out her tour:
New York Times bestselling author Cindy Woodsmall is on tour, and she may be coming to a city near you! Don’t miss your opportunity to meet Cindy and have her sign her newest title The Hope of Refuge at one of the following events.
Tuesday, August 11 7 – 8:30pm
Barnes & Noble
5141 Peachtree Parkway, The Forum
Norcross, Georgia 30092
(770) 209-4244

Wednesday, August 12 7 – 8pm
Barnes & Noble Opry Mills
515 Opry Mills Drive
Nashville, Tennessee 37214
(615) 514-5000

Thursday, August 13 6 – 8pm
Barnes & Noble
2540 Futura Pkwy. #135
Plainfield, Indiana 46168
(317) 838-7941

Friday, August 14 6 – 8pm
Barnes & Noble
1550 West 75th
Downers Grove, Illinois 60516
(630) 663-0181

Saturday, August 15 1 – 3pm
Baker Books
2768 East Paris Ave SE
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49546-6139
(616) 957-3110

Sunday, August 16 2 – 4pm
Barnes & Noble Booksellers
3700 Rivertown Parkway Ste. 2058
Grandville, Michigan 49418
(616) 531-1825

Monday, August 17 7 – 8:00pm
Barnes & Noble Booksellers
1739 Olentangy River Road
Columbus, Ohio 43212
(614) 298-9516

Tuesday, August 18 7– 8:30pm
Joseph Beth Booksellers
2705 E. Carson Street
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15203
(412) 381-3600

Wednesday, August 19 6 – 8pm
Hackman’s Bible Book Store
1341 Mickley Road
Whitehall, Pennsylvania 18052-4610
(610) 264-8600

Thursday, August 20 1 – 3pm
Rachel’s Country Store (Amish dry goods store)
6352 McClays Mill Road
Newburg, Pennsylvania 17240
(717) 530-9452

Can’t make the tour? You can still follow Cindy’s adventures on Youtube <> , Facebook, and Twitter <> . See you there!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Great Suspense from Brandilyn Collins

Last week, I shared some thoughts on a suspense that I read that left me with a heavy and hopeless feeling. Now I want to share about one that I loved.

Exposure by Brandilyn Collins is a wonderful, page-turner. It has all the trademarks of her suspense. Tight plot. Every word pulls its weight. And the multiple plotlines come together with amazing twists at the end.

Kaycee Raye is being stalked. The only problem is that she's known for her fears, so the police are reluctant to believe her when strange, scary things begin happening. While Kaycee is the star, there are multiple plots happening. And Brandilyn is the queen of hooks. She makes it impossible to put the book down, because as soon as she reaches a point of high tension, she turns to another plot.

By the way, my mom's visiting as I write this review and she called this book brilliant. She's absolutely right. If you can handle suspense at all, you have to read this one. It's incredibly well-written, and I'm not kidding when I say there is much of Brandilyn's style that I admire and hope to be able to emulate in my own way someday.

Someday I hope I write with the style and plotting Brandilyn uses so well. If you love suspense, you have to get this book -- but here's your fair warning, make sure you have a full day to read it.

276432: ExposureExposure

By Brandilyn Collins

Everybody knows newspaper columnist Kaycee Raye is a little crazy. So why should anybody believe her when she says she's being watched? Kaycee has no proof of her suspicion---evidence mysteriously disappears before the police can investigate! Is she going over the edge? Or is she being pushed? A story of suspense---and desperate faith. 352 pages, softcover from Zondervan.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Review & Giveaway: Sweet Waters

Julie Carobini is a delightful writer. I thoroughly enjoyed her first two books: Chocolate Beach and Truffles by the Sea. That's why I was so delighted to get her latest book, Sweet Waters.

This book is a story of homecoming. Tara Sweet has always been sensible and lead a frankly boring life. She had the same boyfriend for YEARS, worked at a mind-numbing collection job, and mothered her sisters because it was what she thought her job was. Then her mother suddenly marries someone and takes off for an extended honeymoon in Europe.

With that change, Tara decides to change everything by returning to her roots across the country in California. Things don't go as planned -- at all. First, she meets the hunky firefighter who takes her breath away, but battles shadows. Second, she runs into rumors about her father that she can't imagine are true. Third, she has to balance out her relationship with her sisters. And I've hardly scratched the surface.

What happens when the fairy tale turns out to be a soap opera? A fun twist in this book is that Tara takes life advice from a soap opera star. You can imagine for yourself how that works.

The publisher has labeled the book a romance, but it's much deeper than a straight romance. It's the perfect read when you want to escape and explore how the truth sets us free.

For an opportunity for a copy of this book, leave a comment with advice you would give a soap opera star.

448730: Sweet Waters, Otter Bay Series #1Sweet Waters, Otter Bay Series #1

By Julie Carobini

After her fiance dumps her, her sister relocates to Manhattan, and her mother remarries, Tara decides to move from Missouri to her childhood home of Otter Bay, California. But as she settles in and finds a new flame in firefighter Trent, she discovers shocking family secrets that could turn her fairy-tale life into a soap opera. 400 pages, softcover from B&H.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Heart of the Matter conference

Homeschool? Join me at the online Heart of the Matter conference that begins Monday morning. You can see the schedule here. I'm the final speaker on Friday afternoon. I'll talk about developing leadership in teens. To learn more about registering, check this out. What a great way to get recharged before the new school year starts. I can't wait to sit in on some of the sections, learn, and be inspired. The speakers look great!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Blue Like Play Dough Review

I had the pleasure of reading Blue like Play Dough as Tricia wrote it. What impressed me then and now is the incredible way in which Tricia is vulnerable and transparent about the

Ever had those days where you just weren't sure you could take it anymore? You were pushed, pulled and torn by the joys and chores of motherhood and the hope for more? The everyday push and pull of motherhood often leaves mothers feeling squeezed. Tricia addresses these feelings with a memoir that is real, touching, and so transparent.

The book flows through her days as a young single mother, to blending her family when she married her knight in shining armor, and into the delights of having three children. She even touches on homeschooling, pursuing her dreams, and faith. There is so much packed inside this book. But you don't have to take my word for it. I gave it to my sister-in-law for an early birthday present and she's been devouring the book.

You'll find laughter, understanding and hope as you mother your children. And I pray that as you read this book, you will come to the realization that Tricia did: that God has more in store for her than she ever imagined. Much more. But only when we let God mold our lives for His good.

421524: Blue Like Play Dough: The Shape of Motherhood in the Grip of GodBlue Like Play Dough: The Shape of Motherhood in the Grip of God

By Tricia Goyer

In the hectic life of an everyday mom, could God be doing something wonderful? Tricia Goyer thinks so. In her spiritual memoir, Blue Like Play Dough, this one time pregnant teenager shares her journey to becoming a busy mom and wife with dreams of her own. From laundry folding to multiple readings of "Goodnight Moon", Tricia invites women to see God's loving hand at work in every aspect of their lives. Paperback.


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