Friday, January 27, 2012

Looking for an alternative to Twilight?

Today, I'm delighted to introduce you to my friend Heather Burch. Isn't that cover incredible? It's for her debut YA novel, Halflings. I got to know her through first time orientation for the ACFW conference last year. Then I got to spend time with her at the conference. I was delighted to win a basket she donated for the silent auction. And part of that is the copy of her book which is winging its way to my house as I type. I could wait to post this interview until I've read the book, but her book is available now, so wanted to introduce you to her as soon as I could!

Thanks Cara for asking me to stop by and answer a few questions.

Heather, Halflings is your debut novel. How did you come up with the idea for this book?

It had been in the back of my mind for a long time. I wanted to someday write a story about teenagers saving the world. I'm also an X-Men fan so the idea of teens with supernatural abilities was too much to resist. One day I was working on a completely different project and the entire multi-book story arc started forming. I fell in love with the characters right away. They took over my thoughts and very quickly I forgot about the other project and gave Halflings my full attention.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Chasing Mona Lisa Review with Giveaway information

In Chasing Mona Lisa, Goyer & Yorkey bring back characters from the Swiss Courier and add a host of new characters to a thrilling tale set in Paris and beyond during World War II. This time, the hunt is on to save art that is disappearing into the Nazi abyss while also trying to be in place when Paris changes hands.

I love how this duo finds true happenings from World War II and incorporates them into a story that doesn't stop moving. The characters are so real and identifiable. These aren't perfect people and they are thrust into situations I can only imagine, but in their responses I find shadow of myself.

This is a great book for lovers of World War II or readers who love a historical novel set against the backdrop of real events.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Here's a quick way to train for a mini-marathon

The first weekend in May, Eric and I will run the Indy 500 mini-marathon. This will be my third time, Eric's fourth. While I'm by no means the fastest runner, I actually enjoy the way training forces me to do something those dreary winter months when it's easy to keep my posterior planted on the couch. So how do I get ready?

I'm so glad you asked. This month (January) I've tried to get on the treadmill three times a week...if for nothing more than to remind my body how to move. I quickly learned I needed new shoes and then had to take the week to break those in. But now I'm ready to move to the next level. Official training.

But starting February 1st, I'm pulling out a three-month training program that has worked great for me.

Monday, January 23, 2012

In honor of romance...some reviews!

My anniversary is this week, so I'm in a romantic mood. So I wanted to tell you about two books I've read recently that I loved! One is The Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter, a contemporary romance set in Montana with a cowboy flair. The other is The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, a delightful regency by Julie Klassen.

In The Accidental Bride sets up an almost impossible situation...two people who planned to elope as teens, now find themselves married through a fake ceremony. As I was reading I kept waiting to see how she would pull it off -- boy did she! Shay can't stand the thought that her neighbors are watching her to see what another man wiill leave her. Travis just wants a do-over of the past tired of living with his regrets. The valid marriage license seems to be the ticket to make Shay give him a chance. She needs money to save her ranch and he needs time to prove his love is real.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Want to take your writing to the next level?

I'm thrilled that my friend Tricia Goyer and I will be co-teaching a continuing education class at ACFW's conference this fall. This is just one of six sessions -- the only thing that makes me sad about teaching is that I can't attend one of the other sessions!

Here's more about our sessions:

In this class multi-published, award-winning authors Cara Putman and Tricia Goyer will show you that while there may not be one right way to write a novel, there are the best tools to use to take you from unpublished to holding your freshly published book in your hands. We will cover many of the essential aspects required to move from good writing to a story that gets an editor or agent’s attention.

 If you're interested in writing, if you have a complete manuscript resting on your hard drive, if you're not sure how to get started or what to do next, or if you have 20 published novels, the ACFW conference will have something for you. Check out the website to learn more.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Looking for a Game Changer on Prayer?

The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson is a game changer for me on the way I approach prayer. While prayer is a practice Christians are urged to do as soon as they make a profession of faith, Batterson brings a new approach with the concept of circling our dreams with expectation. And the challenge that if our dreams are small enough that we don't need God's intervention, then we need to ask God for bigger dreams. This book released at a time that I received a major disappointment...the perfect time to dig deeper and ask God how to approach the reality that dreams don't always come packaged the way I'd like.

Mark Batterson writes with a style that is similar to Max Lucado. His writing is very approachable and filled with stories that illustrate his points. He also pulls from a variety of illustrations. For me, it makes the book easy to come back to and memorable.

I'm also challenged to circle my kids, my spouse, my marriage, my work, every area of my life with more intention. Through the tips in this book I'm ready to keep going, circling both my dreams and my disappointments in prayer trusting and believing that God will move -- not always with the answer I expected or in the timing I craved, but that He will move.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Shadow of Your Smile Review

Photo Credit

“The Shadow of Your Smile” is one of those novels that pulled me in and kept me reading. Noelle and Eli have been married for years, but after the tragic death of their daughter, they have stayed together, but they haven’t lived. So much history stirs the characters' choices until a marriage is almost ruined. 

And what happens when Noelle is injured and can't remember Eli? The opportunity for a new romance in a mid-life marriage doesn't proceed smoothly. But this isn't the only story or romance. Others are intertwined in a way that reinforces Noelle and Eli's journey. Are we willing to risk after we've been hurt? Are we willing to trust others or will we retreat into the safety but lifelessness of our inner hearts. It's the kind of book that engaged my emotions and never let go.

This is a great addition to the Deep Haven series, but stands completely on its own... though it did make me want to track down more novels in the series. 

More about the novel....
A beautiful blanket of snow may cover the quaint town of Deep Haven each winter, but it can’t quite hide the wreckage of Noelle and Eli Hueston’s marriage. 
After twenty-five years, they’re contemplating divorce . . . just as soon as their youngest son graduates from high school. But then an accident erases part of Noelle's memory. Though her other injuries are minor, she doesn’t remember Eli, their children, or the tragedy that has ripped their family apart. What’s more, Noelle is shocked that her life has turned out nothing like she dreamed it would. As she tries to regain her memory and slowly steps into her role as a wife and mother, Eli helps her readjust to daily life with sometimes-hilarious, sometimes-heartwarming results. But can she fall in love again with a man she can’t remember? 
Will their secrets destroy them . . . or has erasing the past given them a chance for a future? Read the story behind the story here: 


Sometimes love requires a little forgetting ... Come back to Deep Haven and find out what's been happening in your favorite quaint hamlet. If you're new to the Deep Haven series - this is the perfect book to start with - each book in the series is a stand alone story.

Susan is celebrating the release of The Shadow of Your Smile by giving away a prize pack worth over $200 from 1/9-1/28.

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A $200 Visa Gift Card (Use that to rekindle a little romance, treat yourself to a spa day, snap up those shoes you’ve been eyeing, or purchase a few great books!)
  • The entire set of Deep Haven Books 
The winner will be announced on 1/30/12 on Susan’s blog,Scribbles! Just click one of the icons below to enter and tell your friends about Susan's giveaway on FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.
Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Friday, January 13, 2012

Devotional for Boys

Triple Dog Dare is designed to fill a year with devotions for boys. Written by Jeremy V. Jones, it is similar to Truth & Dare, only clearly targeted at the slingshot toting sex. The layout is one verse a day, followed by a summary truth, a short devotional, and a triple dare to apply the truth. Then there's a chance to journal, but without the pretty lines in the girls' version. Each week focuses on a different emotion like Fear, Shame, Pride, etc. and in the bottom right-hand corner, there's a graphic that acts like a flipbook. It's a very cool devotional.

My older son is 8, so hasn't quite picked it up on his own yet, but wants to. A little prompting from me, and I know he'll dive into it. Why?

Watch this trailer and see for yourself:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Great Devotional for Tween Girls

It's been awhile since I've talked about books. So with the arrival of the new year (Happy 2012), I thought I'd tell you about a couple devotionals my older kids are working through this year. Both are designed for kids in the 9 to 12 year old range. You can take a peek at both of these devotionals here.

The first is Truth & Dare by Ann-Margaret Hovsepian. This book has a great lay-out. At the beginning of each day's devotion, there is one verse for the girls to read. Then there's a short story or illustration to go with it. That's followed by a Dare: a way to apply the Truth to their thoughts that day and then a triple-dog dare that helps girls bring what they've learned down to their everyday lives. At the end of the page there's a short journaling session. The book reads like they're sitting down with a big sister or older friend, and gleaning from her faith and experience. It also deals with the issues that confront them. Everything from fashion to music to touching the world.

My daughter (11) has a hunger to serve God and grow in her relationship with Him. This devotional gives her an opportunity to do that in a way that isn't too much. Instead, she is reading and interaction with the devotions solely on her own and because she wants to. I love that!

Here's more: "Dare to discover the secrets to a life that sparkles for God. You've got what it takes to make an impact on the world. This devotional is filled with powerful wisdom on everything from godly friendship and serving others to getting along with your parents and worshipping God. It's advice for real life from the greatest BFF of all: your heavenly Father."

Friday I'll tell you about one for boys.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Handling Disappointment...

It's been an interesting few days at the Putman household. First, I had disappointing news, then my eldest had a disappointing gymnastics meet.

Disappointment is terrible. Especially when you've worked as hard as you know how to work and hear that your efforts aren't quite there. They don't reach the level needed. Yet there's no clear direction on how to improve.

I cried out to God that I would do the work, I just don't know what that work is. For my daughter she can't feel the pike on her vault. How can you fix something you can't feel?

I'm such a doer. I want the four step plan, so we can take action, do something to move closer to the goal. Yet I get the sense that's not really an option this go around. I'm trying to pray. To circle the dreams with prayer and praise as Mark Batterson puts it in his new book The Circle Maker. I appreciate how God prepared me to handle these disappointments by reading this book and other things.

Here's what I know. Disappointment can push me to work harder, to go deeper as I chase my dreams. Disappointment can also push me away from my dreams. It's a choice I make. What about you? What happens when you face disappointment? Do you have strategies for handling it?

Friday, January 06, 2012

Incorporating Your Loves into Your Books

One of the things I love about writing is the ability to incorporate the things I love into my writing.

As a gal right out of college I headed to Washington, D.C., to launch my career in public policy. You see, there weren’t a lot of jobs in Nebraska for a girl with a degree in political science. That was all right with me though because I love D.C.

D.C. has an energy, ambition, and pace that appealed to me, the gal from smallish town Nebraska. And my parents acquiesced because the internship I’d landed was at a conservative non-profit that provided housing.

The Leadership Institute and Washington were the perfect places to start my career. But it was also a little lonely. I quickly made friends where I worked, but finding a good home church and community of friends outside work took more effort. Until I moved to Fairlington Village with my husband.

In Fairlington Village, we found a community – some of it ready made because many of our friends from work also owned condos or townhomes there. Ours was an end townhouse steps from a swimming pool and tennis courts. Even better we had friends within a couple blocks in just about any direction. We also could walk to neat shopping areas., the grocery store, Great Harvest, the post office, you name it. And when we got a puppy, it was a rare area where I felt safe being out any time of the day or night.

Sure, it’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but what made it so special was the people. So when some friends and I started brainstorming a novella collection set in Washington, D.C., I knew we had to model the community our characters lived in on Fairlington Village. I pulled on my man warm memories of our years there. Much like the community we modeled after it in Cherry Blossom Capers, our neighbors became a second family. Next door lived two middle-aged women who became grandmas to our oldest when she arrived. Across the parking lot lived an Air Force chaplain and his artist wife. I could go around the cul-de-sac and mention people who became special to us. Spontaneous BBQs and movie or game nights occurred frequently.

That’s one reason I had such fun writing Dying for Love in Cherry Blossom Capers. I was able to recapture some of that special feel in the neighborhood we created. Why does this matter to you? When you’re stuck in your writing, look for elements from your life that you can pull into your story. It may not be a location, but maybe it’s an experience, a job, a person you know well, a career. Incorporating elements that are important to you may provide just the spark to launch a new plot line. Or the research will inspire you with ideas and challenges to throw at your characters. Or maybe the details will be the precise one that brings the story to life for you.

And that is half the fun of writing…at least to me.

How about you? What techniques to you use to make a story come to life on the page?

Bio: Cara C. Putman lives in Indiana with her husband and four children. She’s an attorney and a ministry leader and teacher at her church. She has loved reading and writing from a young age and now realizes it was all training for writing books. An honors graduate of the University of Nebraska and George Mason University School of Law, Cara loves bringing history and romance to life. You can read about her community based on Fairlington Village in Cherry Blossom Capers, a January 2012 novella collection released by Barbour Publishing. Learn more about this and all her books at or

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Cherry Blossom Capers is Here!

My latest book has released!

Cherry Blossom Capers is a novella collection set in Washington, D.C. That means four of us each wrote a novella -- a story in 20,000 words. The stories are connected because the heroines live in the same neighborhood, the fictional Cherry Blossom Estates. While it may be fictional, it's based on the real Fairlington Village where my husband and I lived for several years.

This was such a fun project to work on. First, because it's my friend Gina Conroy's first publication! Yeah, Gina.

Second, writing is usually so solitary. Me and my computer...for hours. But this time the four of us brainstormed ideas. Then we read each others novellas. We are working together now on the marketing end. I LOVE that I'm not in it alone!!!!

Here's a bit more about my novella, Dying for Love:
Attorney Ciara Turner is horrified when she stumbles over a judge’s dead body in Alexandria. Will she be able to retain her composure and control when she joins her nemesis Daniel Evans in investigating the murder? Constantly on the opposite side of domestic cases, they have to work together to find the murderer…just in case the police and marshals run out of luck. As they are thrust back together, Ciara is reminded of how Daniel swept her off her feet as a clerk. Now she has to choose whether to risk her heart to love.

This book is available at,, and Barnes&

Monday, January 02, 2012

How would my parenting change?

On Friday I wrote about how I wondered about my legacy after the death of a young man from our church. The other direction my thoughts spiraled was to his parents. There was no warning that Saturday would be his last. No chance to say good-bye.

My heart broke for them -- not for the young man.

And I began to would my parenting change if I knew I only had so many more days, months, years with my children?

We aren't guaranteed a certain number. The one guarantee I have is that when the day comes, it arrived because God allowed it.

Would I be more fun? Would I slow down? Play more? Read another book? Care less about whether she gets 100% the first time she's introduced to algebra? Ease up on my insistence that he pronounce every word correctly?

I already ask God to help me pull the gifts and talents He's placed in my children to the surface. To reveal to me His plans and purposes for them. But would I spend more time praying I'd speak life into them? That I would accelerate their dreams rather than see all the ways they can't come true?

I don't know for sure. But I'm praying that God would show me the right balance. To be a Mom who parents for eternity while never taking one day with my children for granted.


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