Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Feeling the Need to Simplify

Yes, me.

Don't worry. My pulse is still working quite well. But I've hit one of those times where I feel the need to streamline.

I think part of it comes from living in the same place for more than seven years. That has never happened in my life. Never. And I'm feeling the creep of stuff. I have this theory that people should pretend they're moving every few years, just so they have to purge. Even if they have absolutely zero plans of changing addresses.

It helps that our only real storage is the walk in closets in each bedroom. That's not a whole lot for five people.

So I'm getting ready to start going through things and being ruthless.

Which leads to my do you tackle the piling creep of things? Any secrets for bringing control and order back to chaos? I'd love some tips!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Start the week right

To launch your's the link to a vide from the David Crowder Band. I dare you not to start worshiping as you listen. And be amazed -- all over again -- at God's amazing love for us. How He loves us!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Scattered Petals Blog Tour

In Scattered Petals, author Amanda Cabot offers readers the last book in her beloved Texas Dreams series.

Longing for adventure, Priscilla Morton leaves Boston and heads for Texas, never dreaming that the adventure she seeks will leave her badly injured and her parents dead. Priscilla is determined to rebuild her life and make a home for herself in the beautiful Hill Country. But the bandits who took her parents' lives also destroyed her hope for the future.

Ranch foreman Zachary Webster knows what the future holds for him, and it's not a woman like Priscilla. She deserves a cultured East Coast gentleman, not a cowboy who's haunted by memories of his mistakes. The best thing he can do is leave her alone.
When necessity draws them together, Priscilla and Zach begin to forge a life that, like the scattered petals of her childhood, is filled with promise. But then the past intrudes, threatening their very existence.

Amanda Cabot is an accomplished author under various pen names and a popular speaker. The author of Paper Roses, she is also a charter member of Romance Writers of America, the co-founder of its New Jersey chapter, a member of the ACFW, and an avid traveler.

My thoughts: I have not finished this book yet, though I'm itching to get back to it because the author has picked an intriguing time period and created a problem that seems absolutely insurmountable for Priscilla to overcome. The writing is beautiful and pulled me in from the first page, giving me the sense I was on the stagecoach and then at the ranch with the characters. And the emotional tone that is conveyed pulled me into the characters and makes me want to know how their story will end. This is a historical romance, and a great read for those who like that genre.

Available March 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. I received a copy of the book from the publisher.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Loving Life

Yesterday was my birthday.

All day I received well wishes on facebook and via email. I even had three people call and sing "happy birthday" to me. Today, I feel loved and appreciated. Isn't it amazing how a simple word or two that says we were thinking about someone can change a day?

Is it the same for you?

I hope so, because I am constantly writing short notes to other people. I even stick them in snail mail. Gasp! There's something special about receiving an old-fashioned, hand-written greeting. Then there's the really cool card my sister sent me. She had it made on a card service. The front is a photo of the two of us when we were probably one and a few months over two. Adorable photo. But the message is priceless. Then there was the Starbucks gift card tucked inside. My sis knows me well. And it was timed perfectly because one of my birthday presents was a content edit letter from my editors at Guidepost. Believe it or not, that was a cool present, too. I am certifiably strange.

My challenge to you on this Friday. Take a minute today and let somebody know that you appreciate them. That your life is richer because of what they've added to it. Sharon Hinck wrote a book called Stepping Into Sunlight, which had that idea of blessing others with little thoughts and deeds.

I don't know about you, but I'm ready to start a revolution of kindness and appreciation!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

It's all about Him

Every go somewhere and walk away thinking about something you're pretty sure nobody planned on you focusing on?

That is the story of my life!

Seriously. Last week I took my 9 yo daughter and three of her friends and their moms to the Rock and Worship Road Show. It was a truly great Christian concert. Seven bands and lots of great music. David Crowder Band. Fee. Mercy Me. Sidewalk Prophets. Francesca Batistelli. etc.

But what I'm still focused on is the way that the show wasn't about egos. Instead, it was all about worshipping God and bringing glory to Him. Mercy Me closed the concert by walking off as the audience was singing one of their current worship songs.

That's what I want my life to be. That no matter what people say or think about me, that I am always pointing to God. That my life is about reflecting glory to Him. That it takes people five minutes to realize where my heart is focused. Some days I do well at this. Other days not so well. But my heart's cry is to bring glory to Him. For all the ways He has changed my life.

And that blur in the photo? My little girl getting a bag signed by Francesca. Made her day! My daughter's that is.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Here Burns My Candle Review & Giveaway

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing

Here Burns My Candle
Liz Curtis Higgs

This book reminds me of those by Michael Phillips. From the opening pages I was swept into Scotland of the mid 17th century. While influenced by the book of Ruth, it is a rich story about a family torn by loyalties to different sides as Edinburgh and Scotland are caught in the middle of a battle to determine who is the rightful king. A story for all who like books set in a different time and place, with a Scottish flair.
A mother who cannot face her future.
A daughter who cannot escape her past.

Lady Elisabeth Kerr is a keeper of secrets. A Highlander by birth and a Lowlander by marriage, she honors the auld ways, even as doubts and fears stir deep within her.

Her husband, Lord Donald, has secrets of his own, well hidden from the household, yet whispered among the town gossips.

His mother, the dowager Lady Marjory, hides gold beneath her floor and guilt inside her heart. Though her two abiding passions are maintaining her place in society and coddling her grown sons, Marjory’s many regrets, buried in Greyfriars Churchyard, continue to plague her.

One by one the Kerr family secrets begin to surface, even as bonny Prince Charlie and his rebel army ride into Edinburgh in September 1745, intent on capturing the crown.

A timeless story of love and betrayal, loss and redemption, flickering against the vivid backdrop of eighteenth-century Scotland, Here Burns My Candle illumines the dark side of human nature, even as hope, the brightest of tapers, lights the way home.

Watch the book video:

If you would like to read the first chapter of Here Burns My Candle, go HERE. And leave a comment if you would like a chance to receive a copy of this book. I have one copy to giveaway.

Friday, March 19, 2010


So have you caught on that surrender is a theme for me this year?

Last week I spent time thinking about it in relation to the writing life as I prepared to speak at an ACFW chapter meeting. Next week I'm speaking to a MOPS group, and the same theme echoes in my heart as I pray over what I'll say to those moms.

As I was researching, I realized there are basically two roads of surrender. The first involves voluntarily bowing our knee, our will, our plans, to the leading of another. The second involves the forced surrender of our lives, will, and plans. For the first, think of that moment when you surrendered your heart to Christ. God didn't force you to take that step, even though He may have prompted and lead. You got to choose. For the second, think of Lee and his army surrendering to Grant and the Union. Or consider what will happen when time ends and we all stand before God's throne. The Bible promises that every knee will bow at that moment. Some because we willingly bow to the King we have lived our lives for. Others because their knees will be forced into submission.

Those pictures have stuck with me and humbled me the last couple weeks. There is such a contrast in those images. I pray I live me life in the first definition, yet I know there are times I don't. I try to foist control from God, and it rarely results in lasting pleasure and satisfaction.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Distant Melodies

In A Distant Melody, readers meet two young Americans, about to be separated by an ocean during World War II: Never pretty enough to please her gorgeous mother, Allie will do anything to gain her approval--even marry a man she doesn't love. Lt. Walter Novak--fearless in the cockpit but hopeless with women--takes his last furlough at home in California before being shipped overseas. Walt and Allie meet at a wedding and their love of music draws them together, prompting them to begin a correspondence that will change their lives. As letters fly between Walt's muddy bomber base in England and Allie's mansion in an orange grove, their friendship binds them together. But can they untangle the secrets, commitments, and expectations that keep them apart?

A Distant Melody is the first book in the Wings of Glory series, which follows the three Novak brothers, B-17 bomber pilots with the US Eighth Air Force stationed in England during World
War II.

My review: I'm always excited to find someone who likes World War Two with a passion that mirrors mine. Sarah is that kind of person. Her love for the time period comes out in this book that breathes the challenges and excitement of that time. Women are facing more opportunities, but some like the heroine are still trapped by expectations. The central question of the book is whether two people will be able to break free of other's expectations and live the lives they want while traveling the paths God has for them. I have enjoyed this book, and you will, too, if you're looking for a new World War Two novelist that is heavy on the romance.

Go here to read my interview with Sarah Sundin.

Sarah Sundin is an on-call hospital pharmacist and holds a BS in chemistry from UCLA and a doctorate in pharmacy from UC San Francisco. Her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England during WWII. Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children. This is her first novel.

Available March 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. I did receive a copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Living with Less

Ever feel challenged by the great need in the world and your expectations for what you should have? I know I am. Consistently. And then something like the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile happen and I wonder how to respond. Or I see someone with a bigger house -- our culture says I should want that, but I don't. Not really. At least not without a maid.

Today I'd like to welcome Jill and Mark Savage. Jill and Mark's newest book Living with Less so your Family has More just released and I've invited them to share a little bit about this great resource!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

We have been married for 27 years…17 of them happily. After finding ourselves in a marriage counselor’s office around year 8 or so, we realized that we really didn’t know how to be married. We worked hard to turn things around and now we like to share that hope with other couples.

We have five children ranging from 13 to 25. Our oldest three are married. Anne (25) and her husband, Matt, live in Zion, IL, and are expecting our first grandchild in April. (We are very excited!) Evan (22) and his wife, Julie, have been married a year and a half and they live just a few miles from us. Erica (19) married her husband Kendall last September. They live in Augusta, GA, and wherever else the Army takes them.

We have two teenagers still at home. Kolya just turned 16. He’s learning to drive and we’ve nearly worn a hole in the carpet on the floor in the passenger seat trying to find that non-existent brake pedal. Kolya is the newest member of the Savage family. We adopted him at the age of nine from Russia.

Austin is 13 and in the 8th grade. He wants us to make sure and tell the world that this “living with less” life is a real bummer because he’s the ONLY kid in 8th grade who doesn’t have a cell phone.

Tell us about your newest book Living With Less So Your Family Has More?

The world screams the message that bigger is always better, but we have found that is not often true. When it comes to raising a family, less materially can actually result in more relationally. Children don’t need the best houses, the best lessons, the best cars, or the best clothes. What they really need is the best home life and the best family relationships we can give them.

Why did you want to write this book?

We didn’t start out with the “less is more” mindset. We started as a double income family wanting to have the “best” of everything. Then Mark decided to pursue ministry. We went from the “high life” to the “frugal life” very quickly as we moved to another state for him to go to Bible College full-time.

That experience introduced us to the concept that less is more. We definitely had less money, but we had more time. We had less stress and more peace. We had less activities and more fun.

Since that experience, we’ve continued to live primarily on one income for the past twenty years. We’ve had to battle cultural peer pressure and make different decisions for our family than many other families in our neighborhood have made. But we’ve never felt that we were materially depriving ourselves or our kids…instead we’ve focused on what we’ve actually been able to provide for them emotionally and relationally.

What do you hope your readers will gain from this book?

We hope the reader is encouraged to evaluate how they are living their life, spending their money, and thinking about family matters. Our goal is to introduce families to the “less is more” concept and then equip them with the attitudes and actions to actually make that happen.

For families that are already committed to less is more, we hope to bolster their resolve and help them stay focused on the long-term goal of providing relationally for their kids.

In today’s economy, there are many families being forced to live with less. We want to help them see the opportunity they have with this unexpected downsizing they’ve been forced to do.

And for those who have just been a little discontent with their life and saying things like, “I’m tired of the rat race of life,” or “Is there more to life than drive-thru meals for dinner?” we hope to help them see other choices they have and how they can lead their family in a different direction.

What unique elements will the reader find in Living With Less So Your Family Has More?

For couples who want to read the book together, we’ve included discussion questions at the end of every chapter. This helps move the readers to discussion and eventually actions. Even a single parent can use the discussion questions for personal evaluation.

Readers will find this book a practical guide to changing your attitude and your actions to live a successful “less is more” life. They’ll find our writing style to be a warm, casual, honest discussion where we not only share our victories but our mistakes along the way. We are an average couple living successfully on an average income who want to help others to see the possibilities before them.

This is a Hearts at Home book. What is Hearts at Home?

Hearts at Home is an organization that encourages, educates, and equips women in the profession of motherhood. Hearts at Home encourages moms through annual conferences, our extensive website (, a free electronic newsletter, a radio program, and an entire line of books designed to meet the needs of moms all over the world!

Any closing thoughts?

It’s healthy for parents to occasionally pause and evaluate their vision for their family and the choices they are making. We hope this resource will help them do that together and that it will lead them to live a life of little regret.

CFBA Tour: Dead Reckoning

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Dead Reckoning

Abingdon Press (March 1, 2010)


Ronie Kendig


Underwater archeologist Shiloh Blake is consumed with passion for the water and inflamed at the injustices of life. When her first large-scale dig traps her in the middle of an international nuclear arms clash, she flees for her life.

When she spots a man trailing her, the questions are, Who is he? And how is he always one step ahead? Is the man trailing her an enemy or a protector sent by her CIA father?

Reece Jaxon is a former Navy SEAL and now serves his country as a spy. His life is entangled by the beguiling Shiloh Blake as he hunts down the sources to a nuclear dead drop in the Arabian Sea near Mumbai, India. The only way to end this nightmare and prevent a nuclear meltdown is to join forces with Reece. Will Shiloh violate her vow to never become involved in her father's web of intrigue and mystery? Will she reconcile with her past and with him? Will she allow God to help her throught this ordeal of danger, mistrust and uncertainty?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Dead Reckoning, go HERE.

Be sure to go here to read my review and leave a comment to be entered in a giveaway of one copy of the book.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Reader Letters

Writing is a ministry for me. Poise my hands over the keyboard and type. Spend hours thinking about the characters and plot. What will challenge readers? What will make for a page-turning, entertaining novel? What will readers connect with?

Usually, there's something I learn as I write each novel. I don't
always know ahead of time what that will be, but God never fails to teach me as I write in obedience.

Then I hit send on the manuscript, my editors help me whip it into shape and eventually it reaches readers. Sometimes I have no worries -- like A Promise Forged. What's not to like? A young heroine gets to play professional baseball during
World War Two. The hero is a rougher character at the beginning, but both grow as the book progresses. And it's just plain fun.

Then there are other books like A Promise Kept, which contain a
huge piece of my heart. Because that one has a small subplot dealing with miscarriage, I felt like I poured my heart out on the page, and then waited with bated breath to see how readers reacted. It was nerve-wrecking and it didn't help that I miscarried again in the weeks after it released.

Last week I received a batch of reader letters from my editor at Heartsong Presents. I love getting reader mail. Seeing what worked for readers and what might not have connected.

This time a special letter from one reader was included. She poured her heart out on the page, ministering to me with her experience after miscarriage and her road to healing. God's timing was so perfect since the due date of the baby we lost last summer was last week. I am so grateful for this woman risking her words on the page to reach out in love. And to God for His perfect timing.

So if you ever wonder if writing an author is well-received, know that it is. Writing is done in a cave. And unless you let us know how the writing is received, we have no idea. A book doesn't really become a book, after all, until it is interacted with by readers.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Reviews & Giveaways: Angel's Den and Dead Reckoning

Angel's Den is a historical set in the early days of the United States. The characters follow the Lewis and Clark trail in 1808, a couple years after the original trip. They trip was fascinating, written in a way that I felt like I was traveling the trail with them. But the real strength of this book is the characters. Emma finds herself married to the most handsome man west of the Appalachians. She can't believe her luck until the fairy tale turns into a nightmare. A mesmerizing story of grace is woven as Emma finds her way to eventual freedom.

Dead Reckoning is a wonderful international thriller. The suspense is high, the romance perfectly toned, and the pacing tight. I found it hard to believe that this was a debut novel. And the rumors I'm hearing is that Ronie's future books are even better -- hard to believe. Shiloh Blake, an underwater archaeologist, finds herself embroiled in an international incident. In the effort to stay alive she finds herself thrown into an unwanted relationship with a CIA agent. Read this book and expect a page-turning ride that races to the last page.

I received copies of these books from the publishers for review purposes. I loved them so much, I want to give you the chance to read them. Leave a comment letting me know which one interests you, and I'll enter you in the giveaway.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

CFBA Tour & Giveaway: Once in a Blue Moon

This week, the

is introducing

B&H Books (March 1, 2010)


Watch the book trailer:


Leanna's sister recommended that she write, since she ‘wrote in her journal all the time.’ The idea took root and began to grow. So after five years of teaching, she quit and started writing, with no clue about the book business. Ignorance is bliss. If she’d known the odds against her, she might not have ever started writing.

For about three years, she wrote with a collaborator, but because she had so many ideas she began to write more stories on her own. She suffered numerous rejections. Deservedly so. But she was growing as a writer and learning. She went to as many conferences as she could manage. During that time, she met her future husband, fell in love and became engaged. She also began to final in contests and then actually began to win! The contests helped her get noticed by editors and agents. In March, the year Braveheart won the Best Picture Oscar, Victor/Victoria opened on Broadway, she sold her first book. It was her Cinderella year. She sold her book, got married and won RWA’s Golden Heart Award in Hawaii.

She wrote six books between her first baby’s birth and when the second baby turned one. Then she hit a wall. Not literally. But creatively. It’s not that she didn’t have any ideas, but her ideas didn’t fit the romance market. These new characters, random and weird as they were, began to take over the part of her brain that wasn’t domesticated. These stories were about all types of women, and so she began to let her writing grow in new and different ways.

Leanna Ellis sold more than 1.3 million romantic novels writing as Leanna Wilson, winning a Readers’ Choice award and the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart award for her work. Elvis Takes a Back Seat is the first book published under her married name, marking a new creative direction in her writing. Like Francine Rivers before her, Leanna has left behind a successful career as an author of secular romances to write novels of faith that glorify God. A former schoolteacher, Leanna is now a homeschool mom and lives with her husband and children in Keller, Texas.


Bryn Seymour was nine years old when her mother died under mysterious circumstances on the same day Apollo 11 made its historic lunar landing. Forty years later—divorced, working as an obituary writer, and duly cynical—she meets Howard, a conspiracy theorist who knew her mom and believes a small Texas town may hold clues to what really fueled her demise. Seeking closure, Bryn goes along for this men-in-black ride. But upon meeting Howard’s son Sam, an outspoken Christian, she can’t decide whose beliefs are more pie-in-the-sky.

The gravity of life has pulled Bryn down for decades. But a perfect love could be her first step to soaring. It only happens once in a blue moon.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Once in a Blue Moon, go HERE

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Celtic Wisdom: an Interview

In time for St. Patrick's Day, I wanted to introduce you to my friend Cindy Thomson and her beautiful book Celtic Wisdom. This is the kind of book you can display on a coffee table, yet small enough to enjoy in a few sittings. And it is a fascinating look at how the Irish found the Christian faith. Without further ado, let's get to the interview...

Cindy, Celtic Wisdom is a beautiful book filled with treasures of from Ireland. How did you get the idea for the book and what was your aim when you wrote it?

Thanks, Cara. As you know, when you write historical novels you do a lot of research that never makes it into the book. I knew all these little tidbits that people kept telling me surprised them. Things like St. Patrick was not Irish, the Loch Ness monster was first written about in an ancient manuscript in connection with St. Columba, The words of Be Thou My Vision, that inspiring old hymn, actually comes from an 8th century Irish I thought why not make a fun book, a gift book, something people would learn from but also want to give as a gift.
I pitched it and then the editor helped me develop it into the kind of book they would want to publish. Of course, there was much more research, and documentation, to do with this book. It is certainly not just a collection of things I had leftover from writing a novel, but that’s where the idea came from.

You have a love for all things Irish. Where did that love and passion get birthed?

Out of my love for genealogy research. This hobby eventually led me to my Irish roots. As I began to learn more about the country’s past, I found a home in the Celtic view of Christianity and the ancient Christians that kept the faith alive (just like Thomas Cahill described in HOW THE IRISH SAVED CIVILIZATION.

This book is gorgeous! In fact it’s sitting on my coffee table since it’s almost St. Patrick’s Day. Did you have the photos and design ideas or did your publisher do some of that work, too?

Thank you! I think it’s gorgeous too! I did not design the book. Lion (my publisher) excels at these kinds of books. They did ask for my feedback on the design and wanted to know if there were certain themes I wanted in the photographs, so I had a small hand in it, but they have wonderful designers over there. If readers would like to get a peek inside at the color photographs, Lion has a sample here.

What do you hope they will uncover as they read this book?

I hope readers will learn something about the ancient Irish Christians that they didn’t know before. I hope they will be inspired by their stories and examples and embark on their own spiritual journey. And, like you said, the photos are inspiring as well.

You’ve also written a novel. Tell us a bit about Brigid of Ireland.

BRIGID OF IRELAND is based on 5th century legends surrounding the life of St. Brigid. Brigid, who has her own chapter in CELTIC WISDOM, is one of the three patron saints of Ireland, and was a major influence in the spread of Christianity right after St. Patrick’s time. One of the legends about her intrigued me: Her mother was a slave to her father. Before Brigid was born, her father’s wife urged him to sell this pregnant slave. He did, but he would not give two slaves for the price of one, so he ordered Brigid to return to his household. I imagined that this separation caused Brigid some grief. The legend also says that her mother was a Christian. Other legends talk about Brigid being extremely generous (much to her father’s chagrin) and about her founding a duel monastery (for men and women.) She was a strong leader, but I wondered how she got to that place. I imagined that she had to struggle with her faith and I connected that with her search for her mother. Of course, there’s always a villain, and in this story it’s a druid named Ardan who does not like the growing influence Brigid is having in the land. He sees her weakness (her longing for her mother) and tries to use that to control her.

It sounds like a great book. I love how one idea can take root and grow into a richly layered novel. Last question, if you could go anywhere in the world, where would that be and who would you take?

Here’s something a lot of people don’t know: I have never been to Ireland. So of course that’s where I want to go and take my husband Tom.

Thanks so much for joining us, Cindy

You can learn more about Cindy and her books here: and

Monday, March 08, 2010

Stars in the Night Cover!!!!!!

Here it is....the cover art for Stars in the Night. Stars in the Night is romantic suspense set in Hollywood during World War Two. I'm marrying my two loves with this book. And isn't the cover gorgeous?!?!?!?! Summerside did a great job!

Rumor has it you might be able to find it in Wal-Mart as early as June, but everywhere in July.
When Audra Schaeffer's sister disappears in Hollywood, Audra flies there to find her, but has to identify her body instead. Determined to find the killer and bring him to justice, Audra takes a job with the second Hollywood Victory Caravan. Together with Robert Garfield and other stars, she crisscrosses the southern United States as the stars sell war bonds. When Robert's ex-wife and another woman are found dead on the train, Audra knows the deaths are tied to her sister's. Is the killer is the man she's falling in love with? And can she identify the killer before he targets her?

Friday, March 05, 2010

Meet Author Sarah Sundin

Today I'm delighted to have fellow author and World War Two buff Sarah Sundin join me. Sarah and I both belong to ACFW, and we met through the online loop. I took note when she sold a three-book series set during World War Two. Shocking isn't it :-) Her first book releases this month, so without further ado, let's move to the interview and learn more about her book, A Distant Melody.

Sarah, this is your first novel. Tell us a bit about your road to publication.

In 2000 I started writing and churned out two awful contemporary romances. However, I learned through this process, and began attending a critique group and writers’ conferences and reading books on writing craft. In 2003 my critique partners said the first novel in my World War II trilogy was ready, so I submitted A Distant Melody at Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference. I received good feedback from published authors, editors, and agents—and began accumulating a stack of “good” rejection letters. They liked my writing, my story, and my characters—however, historicals weren’t selling. This continued through 2007.

I often felt discouraged, but the Lord made it obvious that He wanted me to finish the trilogy, so I kept plugging away. Then at Mount Hermon in March 2008, I heard, “We need historicals.” And there I was with my trilogy close to complete. I submitted to Vicki Crumpton at Revell, and in September I was offered a three-book contract.

How did the germ for the idea of A Distant Melody come to you?

The story arose from a “what if” question in another novel I was working on. What if a man and woman met at an event, truly clicked, and parted before exchanging contact info? Wouldn’t it be romantic if he went through great effort to track her down? Obviously it wouldn’t work in a contemporary setting—he’d “Google” her—but it made a sweet premise for a historical.

My husband and I watched a History Channel special on the US Eighth Air Force based in England which flew over Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II, and I had my link. My great-uncle was a B-17 bomber pilot with the Eighth, so I had access to family stories plus his personal letters. My research fascinated me so much, the story expanded to become a trilogy, with each book focusing on one of three brothers.

What drew you to the World War Two era? And what surprised you the most as you did your research?

Besides the cute clothes and men in uniform? First of all, there are so many dramatic stories and settings—a novelist’s dream. This was a time when ordinary men had to do extraordinary things, and when women first explored non-traditional roles—while remaining ladies. I think what surprised me most was how little I knew from high school and college history classes. Also how things changed during the war. For example, we all know food was rationed, but the details change. Coffee wasn’t rationed until November 1942, all rationing was eased up before the 1944 elections (isn’t that interesting?) and tightened up again afterward.

That's what I love about the time period, too. The way the country came together -- and the research to get the details right is so important! I’ve learned that my characters always teach me something as I write. What did you learn from yours?

My characters tend to deal with issues I think I’ve overcome—then when writing the book I realize I have a lot more to learn. In A Distant Melody, my characters deal with low self-esteem, being honest, and the importance of obedience, no matter the cost. Sometimes they said things or did things that surprised me—and taught me a lot. Bizarre, isn’t it?

I know what you mean. I think God has something for me to learn as I write each book. And sometimes those lessons come as I let the characters do what they want to. Tell us about A Distant Melody.

During World War II, Lt. Walter Novak flies a B-17 bomber in battles over Nazi-occupied Europe, while Allie Miller serves in the Red Cross against the wishes of her wealthy parents and controlling fiancé in California. Walt and Allie meet at a wedding and begin a correspondence. As letters fly between Walt's muddy bomber base in England and Allie's mansion in an orange grove, their friendship binds them together. But can they untangle the secrets, commitments, and expectations that keep them apart?

If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go and who would you take?

England with my husband. I don’t think I could go there often enough. London is one of the few large cities in the world I actually like, much less love. And I’d really love to explore the English countryside, away from the tourist spots.

I'll go with you. The five days I had in London wasn't enough! Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Thanks for this opportunity, Cara! It’s fun chatting with another World War II buff. Here are my links:

Web site:


Thursday, March 04, 2010

Things I'm thinking about: surrender

Last night I led the women's Bible study at church....pretty spur of the moment, so I'm so glad the Holy Spirit showed up in my weakness. It was one of those times I had as many ah-ha moments as those in the class. Great back and forth and sharing. One of the concepts that sticking with me was an examination of three Biblical characters who didn't exercise wisdom.

Esau with his birthright.
David with Bathsheba.
Sarah with Ishmael.

Think about it. Esau's lack of wisdom was deciding that God's best and order wasn't good enough for him. He didn't value it, so he sold his birthright for a bowl of stew. David's real issue at the heart was going against the rules that had been established for his protection. If he'd been with his troops where the king was supposed to be rather than bored at home, he would have never seen Bathsheba and never stepped down the path of compounding sin. And Sarah decided that God's timing simply couldn't be enough. That He needed her help because He was taking too long.

When I think about it like that, it's hard to argue that I would never replicate their sin. I'd lie if I said I haven't undervalued the gifts God has given me. I'd lie if I said I've never fought against the rules that feel so constraining and limiting. And I'd lie if I said I've never tried to help God out.


So that cycles me back to the reality that the hardest part of walking out this Christian faith is the daily act of surrender. Surrendering the "supposed tos" and "this isn't how I imagined things" . Surrendering the day to day journey to God. Trusting that He loves me. And that the things that aren't going as planned aren't punishment. That it isn't necessarily a consequence. But that God's allowed them in His perfect plan.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Dead Reckoning Review and Tour

Dead Reckoning is Ronie Kendig's debut novel and an absolute page-turner. I'm already hearing rumors that her second novel is even better which I frankly find hard to believe. This book rockets to a quick start from the first chapter and is a race that travels through exotic locales in a race to stop a nuclear disaster. The characters are multi-dimensional, and I especially loved Shiloh, a young woman who is thrown into a crazy situation but uses skills drilled into her as a child to try to survive. It doesn't hurt that an operative is assigned to her who is easy to love and hate. The writing is great! The author uses words to advantage to pull us deep into the action. If you like books with a global sweep and lots of suspense with blushes of romance, then you will enjoy this book. Here's more about the book...

When Shiloh Blake’s first large-scale underwater archeological dig traps her in the middle of an international nuclear arms clash, she is forced to flee for her life into the streets of Mumbai, India. Is the man trailing her an enemy, or is he sent by her CIA father to protect her? Whoever he is, the only way to end this nightmare and prevent a nuclear meltdown is to join forces with former Navy SEAL Reece Jaxon.

Ronie Kendig has a BS in Psychology and is a wife, mother of four, and avid writer. Her novels include Dead Reckoning (March 2010, Abingdon Press) and Nightshade (July 2010, Barbour Publishing), Book#1 in The Discarded Heroes series. She speaks to various groups, volunteers with the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and mentors new writers. Ronie can be found at

Monday, March 01, 2010

Where I spent last week

I'll load more later today, but this is where I spent last week retreating with writer friends.
I'm so grateful to Eric and my Mom for making it possible for me to go. After two back to back deadlines, I needed to get away and rest, edit, and exercise. Yes, the food was so awesome, I made sure I ran my three miles each morning with long walks in the afternoons with friends. Helped lots of folks brainstorm plot points -- love doing that too. I've decided that's where my left brain shows up. :-)


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