Monday, December 31, 2007

Janna's 5th Most Entertaining book of 2007

Here is another book that Janna loved. She raves about this one, and I can't wait to read it after I've turned in Captive Dreams. Janna is giving away a copy, so be sure to go to her blog and leave a comment to be entered.


Reading "Loving Liza Jane" is like taking a breath of fresh air as you read. Shar MacLaren is one of the rare authors that creates characters that are so real you want to call them on the phone to chat, settings so real you want to hop in your car and drive there for a visit and situations that are so believable that you laugh and cry along with the characters. "Loving Liza Jane" is a fantastic book that takes us back to a simpler time where Liza Jane is a school teacher in a one room schoolhouse in Kentucky. Romance abounds and situations are delightful - if you like historical romance - you will love this book! And remember to take a deep breath while you are reading - Shar will share some fresh air with you while you read. Now let's meet Shar MacLaren...

  1. Sometimes people think of authors as being bigger than life and not "real", so I thought we would start off with a very important question, one that will show people just how real you are! "What dessert can you not resist when it is time to indulge?"
Oh, please believe me when I say authors are real people. In fact, I’ve been a real person for almost 60 years now. Can you believe it? Wow, I’m old. Okay, onto your question...DESSERT? Hmm, I cannot resist anything CHOCOLATE! Give me a hot fudge sundae with extra hot fudge, please. OR—a big thick piece of chocolate cake with creamy, chocolate frosting. And maybe a scoop of chocolate ice cream on the side. Is there anything better?

2) Shar, I describe your writing as a breath of fresh air in today's marketplace. Your characters are so real I just feel like I could sit and visit with them. How do you develop characters like that - do they become that real to you too?

You know, I don’t know if there’s a secret formula for how I do that other than to say I always aim to write what I love to read, and I love to read novels that touch my emotions, reach deep into my soul, tug at my heart. I think I am constantly asking myself--as I write--am I achieving my goal as a writer? Am I developing characters that will stick with my readers, even after they’ve finished the book? It’s a process.

3) Did "Loving Liza Jane" start out as a trilogy or build into that?

It was always going to be a trilogy. Up until “Liza” I had always written contemporary stories and had several completed manuscripts, but they weren’t really going anywhere. Since I love to read historical romance I started thinking about writing it. The three “Little Hickman Creek” stories came to me in bits and pieces. As I wrote one book, I began thinking about the next in the series and how it would play out. I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer, and I often don’t know myself what’s going to happen from page to page. I just sit here and read as I write, and think, oh, isn’t this interesting!

I’ll admit, though, when I first decided to try my hand at writing period romance, I was scared to death. I mean, what if I royally screwed up history? Haha. That’s why when you read my books you won’t read a lot about wars, politics, and historical events.

4) Now that both Liza Jane and Sarah have been released and Emma will quickly be joining us - what can you tell us about the new trilogy you are working on?

At present, I’m working on a three-book series titled The Daughters of Jacob Kane. The first in the series is called Hannah Grace. The series will focus on each of three sisters who live with their father, Jacob, and their grandmother, Helena, in the cozy (fictional) coastal town of Sandy Shores, Michigan where they all help run the family’s general store, Kane’s Whatnot. The year is 1903, and at the story’s opening, Hannah, the oldest at 21, is practically engaged to the town’s only physician, Ralston VanHuff, a rather stuffy fellow in Abbie Ann’s eyes (Hannah’s youngest sister). But he’s eligible—and already in her 20s, Hannah thinks her options are limited. Never mind that Ralston is boring and predictable, not to mention weak in his Christian faith and showing little interest in growing it.

Enter Gabriel Devlin, Sandy Shores’ newly appointed sheriff--tough, determined, outspoken, and terribly handsome, and to top matters, a fine Christian man.

Of course, sparks will fly and tempers rise, as both individuals work to ignore their growing attraction. Gabe is DONE with women, especially the money-hungry kind that have little use for God, much less understand the meaning of a personal relationship with Him. And Hannah, well, she’s nearly betrothed to Ralston, so what business does she have looking at the new sheriff?

Having just ended a relationship gone sour mere weeks before accepting his new job post, Gabriel is determined to keep his focus this time. No more women, he tells himself. But the skinny, pasty-skinned redhead with wild curls has caught his eye, and he’s having a hard time ignoring her, especially once she agrees to help him with the youngster who crawled under a blanket at the back of his wagon, unbeknownst to him, and rode into Sandy Shores. Starting a new job is one thing, but starting it with somebody’s runaway kid in tow is altogether different. Complicating matters is the boy’s selective mutism, a result of abuse or some traumatic event that terrified him speechless. Who is he, where does he come from, and why won’t he talk? Moreover, what can be done to earn his trust? Besides learning the ropes of his new job, Gabe must also investigate the story behind the scrawny little vagabond.

In the process, many secrets about the child’s sordid past begin to unfold, all of which involve personal loss, robbery, and murder. Add to that the thickening bond between the threesome, Hannah, Gabe, and the noiseless wayfarer, and you have a tale rife with mystery, tension, and layers of rich emotion.

I love visitors, so feel free to come “see” me any time. My Web sites and Blog addresses are as follows:

My books are currently available at Barnes & Noble or your local Christian bookstore. If you can’t locate them on shelves, feel free to order through a clerk or any online bookstore—such as,, Books-a-Million, etc.

*****Available titles are Through Every Storm, Loving Liza Jane, Sarah, My Beloved, and coming in April ‘08, Courting Emma. Hannah Grace is scheduled for a January ‘09 release.

Shar has agreed to give away a copy of "Loving Liza Jane" so be sure to leave a comment if you would like to be entered. This was a short interview because she is under such heavy deadlines right now, but she has agreed to come back for a longer interview after Courting Emma is released so be sure to come learn more about her then too!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Janna's 4th Most Life Changing Book of 2007

Janna's 4th most life changing book is written by one of my writing friends and amazing woman, Rachel Hauck. While I have not read Lambert's Code, Janna has definitely picqued my interest. And I LOVE Rachel's NashVegas books. She has a talent for diving under the surface while writing wonderful characters. Be sure to leave a comment on Janna's blog to be entered in the contest for one of three books!


"Lambert's Code" is an amazing book because it is a rare romance that cuts past Prince Charming placing the glass slipper on Cinderella's foot and takes the romance to the place after the honeymoon when it's not always "happily ever after". In "Lambert's Code" Prince Charming is actually Ethan and Cinderella is actually Julie and they live in a community surrounded by other Lambert family members. Luckily for them that includes Grandma and Grandpa Lambert who have worked hard for many years to maintain a really great marriage. So when Ethan and Julie start to see marital problems developing, Grandma and Grandpa let them in on the Lambert Code they have used all these years to keep their marriage on track. The rest is up to Ethan and Julie and God.

I loved this book because it was so much more than I was expecting - when I pick up a Heartsong Presents or Love Inspired book I am usually expecting a fluffy, light Christian romance. Many of the HP and LI books have been proving me wrong lately by having great spiritual truths and nuggets placed throughout different books. But this one really blew them all away. Rachel managed to pull off a rare feat here, she wrote a great romance about two people in love that were struggling, struggling to find a way and a reason to stay together and to me the best love stories available are the ones where a marriage makes it - this book shows you one way that can happen. Real life answers to real life problems that any couple can use - I think divorce rates would drop drastically if ever married couple read this book. Now let's meet Rachel Hauck...

1) Sometimes people think of authors as being bigger than life and
not "real", so I thought we
would start off with a very important
question, one that will show people just how real you are!

"What dessert can you not resist when it is time to indulge?"

RH: Oh, I love cake. And any thing cinamon! And, let me just say, authors are so not bigger than life. We are an insecure, weird lot if ever there was one. But, we love, love, love readers and fans. It's why we do what we do!

2) I picked "Lambert's Code" as one of my Top 7 Most Life Changing books of 2007. Its a follow-up to "Lambert's Pride" which you co-wrote with Lynn A. Coleman. It's really good too, but there is a depth to the self-destruction and then pursuit of marriage in Lambert's Code that really hit home for me. What made you decide to go that direction with Lambert's Code?

RH: Lambert's Code was originally Lynn's story, but due to her schedule, she gave the book to me. So the idea of dealing with a married couple had been determined by her, but I took it in a new direction when the story became mine.

Lynn wanted to show how marriage only works if both are submitted to the Lord and each other. I created the story of barrenness and infertility. I know it can really take a toll on a marraige. While children are indeed a blessing and gift from God, having them cannot be an idol. In our culture we demoralize children through abortion while idolizing them through fertility treatments and surrogate parenting.

Like all things, even the desire for children must be submitted to God. In scripture, when ever a woman took child bearing into her own hands by offering her husband one of her maids, trouble ensued.

I'm not against fertility treatments. Not at all. I'm for each couple doing what God
puts on their hearts. But, I'm also aware that God can use childless couples in ways
He cannot use other families.

The goal in this book was for Ethan and Julie to find peace about their situation and
love each other as God's gift to them.

3) What made you want to write a really great handbook for marriage - did you have a married couple in your life that modeled this for you?

RH: My parents were a great example, but my husband also inspired me. I didn't intend
to write a handbook, but a story about a married couple's journey. They are weak, flawed, but through it all God's love prevails.

4) I personally used to think of alot of Heartsong Presents books as fluffy, Christian romance. Over the last few months my mind has been changed positively by some of the depth and spiritual meat I've been reading in various Heartsong Presents books. Tell us about the lady that got Lambert's Code but was obviously wanting her fluffy, Christian romance...

RH: Christian romance has come a long way. Former Heartsong editor Tracie Peterson worked hard to raise the bar for writing
and story. Hats off to her, Rebecca Germany and Barbour Publishing for wanting excellence.

As for my disgruntled Lambert's Code reader... a woman wrote to me how upset she was to get a handbook on "how to fix your marriage" when she wanted to read a romance. She sent the book back to the publisher. Funny.

But Lambert's Code is very much a romance. About two people continuing to love each other through the hard times.

5) Recently you've started the Diva Nash Vegas series, tell us a little about this series and how many books total we'll have to read?
RH: There are two NashVegas books. I know the title must be confusing for some,
I'll explain. NashVegas is a nickname for Nashville. The natives know the name well.

Lost in NashVegas is about songwriter, Robin McAfee
and Diva NashVegas is about superstar, Aubrey James. They are really great stories. When I finished Diva NashVegas I told my editor, "I love Aubrey James!"

6) What upcoming projects are you working on?

RH: My next book, Sweet Caroline, releases in February. It's set in the South Carolina lowcountry. I love this book because it's about Caroline Sweeney, a woman who is trapped in the humdrum of life. But she doesn't mind. However, God is wooing her and calling her out of her comfort zones. It's funny and romantic. A little more focus on romance than the NashVegas books.

Rachel, thank you so much for being with us today and sharing some from your past about Lambert's Code. Where can readers
find you online?

Janna, you can tell them to visit my website and And visit Amazon for all my books.

Readers, for the 2nd time in my lists I have actually picked a book that is out of print, but Rachel has a couple of copies left that she is going to give away so leave a comment if you would like to win Lambert's Code. I also happen to have an extra copy of Lambert's Pride and I will be drawing forthat one as well so you have 3 chances to win. Leave a comment with a way for me to reach you in case you win - and check out for ordering Rachel's Diva Nash Vegas books!

Janna's 4th Most Entertaining Book of 2007

The winner is auraliascolorsfan.

I love Sharon Hinck and her books, and so did Janna. The Restorer makes her top 7 list for 2007. And the sister she talks about below is none other than yours truly. Don't forget to jump over to Janna's blog to enter to win a copy of The Restorer. Leave a comment here to win a copy of The Restorer's Son.



Wow! What a book! Ironically, "The Restorer" had a lot of people a little standoffish at the beginning because this book is not your typical woman's romance book. I was not one of those people, I devoured this book as soon as I got a copy in my hands. My sister however was one of those people - why be standoffish you ask? Well, not everyone is enraptured by the thought of reading a sci-fi/fantasy/fiction book. The incredible thing is that I think "The Restorer" has actually made a lot of converts! I have heard some readers say that while they didn't think they would ever read a fantasy book, now they can't wait to read the next books in this series. Now I hope that settles in some of your minds that weren't sure this book would be something that you would enjoy - that it might be worth your time to check it out and see! Now on to why I liked it so much...
The heroine is a regular wife and mother who when wanting to spend some devotional alone time with God goes into the attic. While there she gets sucked into a portal that zaps her into some alternate world where good and bad abound. She discovers that here she is no regular person, but she has an incredible call on her life to save people (she is The Restorer) but she doesn't exactly know what that is or how to go about fulfilling that call. Now I feel I can tell you all that without ruining anything for a new reader... what I can't tell you is about the twist that comes in the middle that will make you gasp and love the book even more or about how she comes to start fulfilling her role as The Restorer. I can tell you that this book is full of amazing spiritual truths and nuggets and that it will make you think, really think, about many things in your life. I can honestly say that if you read this book based on my recommendation, I think you will thank me when you are done! I have to say too that I believe I have found a kindred spirit in Sharon Hinck - in the process of doing this interview with her I discovered that she was involved in Christian dance for years (as am I) she has connections to not just Nebraska, but Seward, NE (I lived there for years when I was younger and you have to understand that Seward is quite small and not many people have connections there)! Now let's meet Sharon Hinck...

1) Sometimes people think of authors as being bigger than life and not "real", so I thought we would start off with a very important question, one that will show people just how real you are! "What dessert can you not resist when it is time to indulge?"

mbarrassing confession here. If I were at an all-you-can eat buffet with tons of choices, the one thing I’d go back for, for desert, would be mashed potatoes and gravy. But if I have to stick with the desert category, I’d go with angel food cake. My mom used to make it for my birthday.

2) The buzz on "The Restorer" has been amazing and well deserved. I actually could've put "The Restorer" on both the Most Entertaining and the Most Life Changing lists because of how much people are enjoying it and how much it is changing the way people think. Did you have any idea your book would have this kind of impact or be so well received?

I’ll let you in on a secret. God nudged me to pray about this series in a targeted and specific way for years. After I wrote it and put out my first feelers about publication, and heard that it would be a tough sell in the CBA, I explained that news to God and planned to tuck it in a filing cabinet and move on to writing other kinds of books. He simply didn’t let me do that. He stirred me to keep sharing the manuscript with friends, praying for people to be touched by the story, and praying for an open door so it could reach a wider audience. Then He orchestrated an amazing chain of events to answer those prayers. When I pray for the readers of these stories (and I still do that regularly) I continue to feel a sort of “holy yearning” that is hard to explain – and not at all a normal experience for me. Because of God’s persistence with me in asking me to pray, I suspected He was up to something...but it still amazes me when I get reader mail that shares how specifically He used these stories to impact someone’s faith-walk.

3) Some people are leery of "sci-fi" or "fantasy" writing. What made you decide to write in that style?

I love hero-journey stories, and fish-out-of-water stories, so as the elements of the story began to unfold, that’s what the genre ended up being. I have shelves full of sci-fi and fantasy books, (along with many other genres! My bookshelves suffer from multiple personality disorder) and have always loved the genre, but actually wasn’t sure what genre I WAS writing, because The Restorer was a blend of elements. Ultimately, setting the story in an alternate world gave me a chance to look at familiar concepts in new ways, and freed me to explore the passionate relationship between God and the individual in a unique way.

4) The enemy in "The Restorer", the people called The Rhusicans, were an interesting plot in the story because their weapon of choice is to poison people's minds. As humans we allow all kinds of mind poisons into our lives (tv, radio, books, bad associations, etc...), The Rhusicans were an interesting way to bring that up. How did you come to develop The Rhusicans?

I love that you mention the sources of mind poison. While writing The Sword of Lyric series, I actually kept in mind the whole mass-media marketing industry – the “create a need” mentality. “Your laundry isn’t white enough, your hair isn’t shiny enough, you won’t be loved unless you drive this kind of car” sort of messages. Rhus is the botanical name of poison (as in poison ivy or poison oak) and the Rhusicans became an embodiment of the whispers we hear from “the devil, the world, and our sinful nature.” Plus, as a neurotic aspiring writer, I am often pummeled by negative voices, so the concept hit close to home. :-)

5) The sequel "The Restorer's Son" has come out and I've even heard some comments from people that they like the sequel even better than the original. Now we are all waiting for the third book in the series... will this be the end or is there more to come in this series?
You never know. The characters and storyworld continue to live in my mind. I’ve been delighted by the response to The Restorer’s Son. It was definitely one of my favorite writing experiences; and if you’ve ever wrestled with God, you’ll enjoy watching God’s love unfold to one character in particular.

6) What projects can we be looking from you after this?
The Restorer’s Journey releases in February, as does Symphony of Secrets (a contemporary fiction set in the professional music world about a professional flutist and her teen daughter – with some light mystery and a hint of romance – published by Bethany House). Then in September of 2008, Stepping Into Sunlight releases from BHP, about a Navy chaplain’s wife who is recovering from a violent crime and struggling to heal from post traumatic stress while her husband is on his first deployment.

Thank you so much, Sharon - not only for being with us today, but for writing such a great book! How can readers get in touch with you if they would like to?

I love hearing from readers. You can contact me through my website. I also have fun extras to explore at my website, so please visit me!
I send out a regular ezine to my Book Buddies, and you can subscribe for free, and I also post musings at my blog on a semi-regular basis.
My books are available at

Sharon has agreed to give away a copy of THE RESTORER so if you haven't had the pleasure of reading it yet, then remember to leave a comment and let me know you would like to be entered and how to get in touch with you if you win. If you are one of the many who have been fortunate enough to have read it already, then please leave a comment telling us what you thought about it!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Janna's 3rd Most Entertaining Book of 2007

Here's a great interview with author Lisa Samson. Remember to leave a comment at Janna's blog to be entered in the contests.


Hollywood Nobody is a book that caught me by surprise. I didn't expect to love it, but I did. You take unique settings (movie sets in remote places), unique people (Scotty Dawn - a 15 year old, homeschooling, Christian girl moving around with her single mom Charley who does food art on movies and all the other crazy, unique people around her), unique writing style (most chapters incorporate an entry from her blog, Hollywood Nobody and then go on in regular writing style) and very unique circumstances (that I can't really go into without revealing the whole plot :-) and you get a book that is really a page turner! I was thrilled to find out that we will be seeing Scotty Dawn and Charley in more Hollywood Nobody books as you will see in the interview - so now lets meet Lisa Samson...

1) Sometimes people think of authors as being bigger than life and not "real", so I thought we would start off with a very important question, one that will show people just how real you are! "What dessert can you not resist when it is time to indulge?"

Apple Crisp with ice cream. Or. Peach cobbler. Actually any kind of cobbler. And I like pie. Peach, blackberry, blueberry. I love crust and sugary, fruity syrup.

2) Talk about an original book - a celebrity blogger that happens to be 15, a homeschooler, and doesn't exactly have a regular life - I have to ask - what was your inspiration?

My own insanity? Honestly, it just popped into my head almost in an instant. I was sitting in a parking lot at a convention having been approached by NavPress to quite possibly do a YA series and "Have you got any ideas?" Uh, the answer to that would be, "No." So I took out my computer and bam, it just kind of downloaded. I feel like I can't take much credit for it, to be honest!

3) This book is a comedy, drama and mystery all wrapped up in one. Was it difficult to write in a style that switched back and forth between blogging, dialog and regular writing?

I'm horribly ADD. This was a dream come true! The fact is, I get easily bored with writing, so I have to switch it up. A lot.

4) Hollywood Nobody is listed as teen fiction contemporary, but I think most women would love this book, am I just a kid at heart or does this book have a wider audience than originally indicated?

It's "officially" intended for 16 - 20 year olds, but I knew younger kids would read it too. And I wanted it to transcend, honestly, to women as well. I wanted to write a smart book. By that I mean, one that presupposes the reader is an intelligent girl/young woman. I hope that's what happened. My 18-year-old daughter was with me every step of the way too. She was an enormous help.

5) How many more Hollywood Nobody books will be in this series?

Three more. Finding Hollywood Nobody (Who is the biker guy?) Romancing Hollywood Nobody. (Romance abounds for Scotty and Charley!) And finally, Discovering Hollywood Nobody. (What really happened to Babette? And Seth? Isn't he a little old for Scotty?)

6) What other projects
are you working on for after the Hollywood Nobody series is wrapped up?

I'm turning the screenplay of the recent motion picture Bella into a novel. This is very different for me. And then, back to my one-a-year adult novel. My yearly novel is truly my art. Although, I do enjoy the other projects. My next book to release is Embrace Me, from Thomas Nelson, a novel that deals with image and power and religion.

My website is, and you can buy my books at any online bookseller, Amazon, B&N, and

To win a copy of Hollywood Nobody, leave a comment on this post - if you've already read it be sure to tell us all what you thought - Good Luck! You can check out the 1st chapter of this book on a previous post I did in November - its really good.

Janna's 3rd Most Life Changing Book of 2007

To enter the contest to win one of Davis Bunn's books, be sure to leave a comment on Janna's Blog.


One Shenandoah Winter is the moving story set in another time and place about certain individuals in a poor mountain community with the need for a doctor. A doctor answers the call and comes to work there, but though his efforts are appreciated, his bedside manner leaves the little community perplexed and leaves assistant mayor, Connie, riled. Poppa Joe is one of the original community members and at age 83 now, still wanting to be fully independent. He takes the doctor under his wing and that is the beginning of harsh judgements on all sides being uncovered and even found unbased. Forgiveness and redemption from the past are strong in this book and you will find yourself wanting to change your world in small ways when you are finished with this one!

Now r
emember, these books don't have to have been released in 2007, just read by me in 2007... that is important to note because "One Shenandoah Winter" was released in 1998 and is sadly out of print :-( although Davis Bunn did mention to me that the publisher is thinking about doing a re-release in another year or two, so obviously the publisher knows its good too! If you are able to get your hands on this book I highly recommend it - I will be giving away an extra copy I got my hands on (yeah! though its not new, its worth it :-) and Davis has agreed to give away a copy of one of the more recent books he talks about in his interview "My Soul To Keep" - so when you enter this drawing you are entering for a chance at two different books! Now lets meet T. Davis Bunn...
1) Sometimes people think of authors as being bigger than life and not "real", so I thought we would start off with a very important question, one that will show people just how real you are! "What dessert can you not resist when it is time to indulge?"

I can lose myself in anything chocolate, but my all-time favorite is a dessert my wife calls 'la bomba'. It's a French thing where the outside is a fresh-baked flourless bittersweet chocolate brownie, and at its center is a cube of pure bitter chocolate that melts while the outside cooks. Top that with vanilla ice cream and I'll follow you anywhere.

2) I picked "One Shenandoah Winter" as one of my Top 7 Most Life Changing Books of 2007 because the character development and plot lines that you wove in this story were amazing and so real! You mentioned that this book was really a stepping stone in character development to other books you have written since then. Tell us about one of your recent books that "One Shenandoah Winter" influenced...
This past September, Bethany House released a book entitled 'My Soul To Keep'. It's my second book taking place inside Hollywood (the first was 'Heartland', released in 2006). To my mind, this marks a real triumph for me as a writer, where a lot of the character and spiritual concepts I began working on in 'One Shenandoah Winter' were taken to a new artistic level. As you can tell, I'm pretty pleased with this one.

3) "One Shenandoah Winter" is out of print (released in 1998) but well worth the read if you can find it, but your life as an author extends well before and well after this one book and many people might remember a collaboration you did with Janette Oke on "Another Homecoming" and "Return To Harmony" and the "Song of Acadia" series. But the number of books you have written alone is amazing, what projects are you currently working on?

Right now I alternate between a book for the mainstream, which has a strong Christian moral, and a book for the Christian audience, which has a solid Christian message. I have just completed first drafting my next manuscript for Bethany House, entitled 'All Through The Night'. This is a really vulnerable time for me, no matter how many books I write. The baby is with outsiders now, learning to toddle around on its own two legs. In about a month I'll get it back, dressed in clothes I didn't buy, and talking words I didn't teach it, and I'll be asked by my editors to redo this or change that, and ohhhh, it's haaaard. Writing a lot of books doesn't change this bit at all. It's soooooo hard.

4) In "One Shenandoah Winter" a main theme that really impacted me was how Connie realized that she was very judgmental to people even though she didn't know the whole story. She started changing that and I realized that I too can tend to be judgmental when its not my place and like Connie, after I read this book, I wanted to change that about me. Do you find themes like this a starting point in your books, or do they just start to work their way into a book as you write?
In some cases I will start a book with nothing clear in my mind and heart except the theme. Sometimes it's the theme and one really powerful image or scene. Like, in 'The Quilt', I knew it was to be a story about giving thanks, because that is one of the big lessons my grandmother taught me, and I wanted to model a character after my mother's mother. And then I decided that Miss Mary had to die, and she would do it before her work was done, so the last gift she gave to others was of this unfinished work, the responsibility to carry on for others.

Thanks for taking the time in your very busy deadline schedule to talk with us today, how can people reach you if they have enjoyed your writing as much as I have?

You are very welcome, and thank you! My email address is, and my website is

Remember to post a comment if you would like the opportunity to win one of Davis' books and good luck!

Article about Canteen Dreams

The North Platte Telegraph is running an interview with me today. You can check it out here. And today I will be on KNOP's noon show. That should be fun, especially since I worked there for about two years in college. I loved that job!

Here's a teaser on the article:
The actions taken by North Platte residents during World War II are almost as infamous of the war itself to the 6 million troops who passed through The Canteen en route to battle tyranny overseas.

To many of those soldiers, their stop in North Platte sits high among the many memories that fateful era in American history created. Some of those soldiers who fought heroically against Germany and Japan even referred to those citizens who manned The Canteen as heroes themselves.

Their story has been told, but not everyone knows of the act that defines, “random act of kindness.” Cara Catlett Putman, a North Platte native now living in Indiana with her husband and children, hopes to change that with her new book, “Canteen Dreams.”...

And tomorrow is the book-signing. Canteen Dreams has sold well in town - woohoo! So I can't wait to meet people who have read it or want to read it.

My dad has read it this week -- I never thought he would; it is a romance after all! But he paid me the nicest compliment. He said it left him wanting more. That is the dream of every author in my mind. You want the book to end and be satisfying, yet leave the readers wishing there were many more pages with those characters.

And for those of you who wonder the Dodgers were a football team, too, in 1941! It's not a typo :-)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Most Life-Changing Book from 2007

Another great interview from Janna's blog. Be sure to visit the interview on her site to enter the contest to win a copy of the book:


I wasn't sure what to think when I started this book, but if this tells you anything - I started it in the afternoon and finished it before I went to bed. It is not a mystery/suspense or the kind that leaves you hanging on the edge of your seat. It was such a character study of who we think we are versus who we really are and our perceptions of other people. I bawled like an absolute baby through the last 5 or 6 chapters and then I didn't want it to be over, even though the ending was as perfectly satisfying as it could've been. I can not recommend this book highly enough - it is not every day that you read a book that makes you want to change your ways and be a better person, but this book did. Do yourself and those people around you a favor and go read this book! Now come meet Nikki...

1) Sometimes people think of authors as being bigger than life and not "real", so I thought we would start off with a very important question, one that will show people just how real you are! "What dessert can you not resist when it is time to indulge?"
Hey, you started with the toughest question first. Hmmm. Dessert? I’m going to have to say ice cream! Yep, simple, plain ole ice cream. Always fighting fluffiness, I seldom eat dessert, so when I decide to indulge I usually choose ice cream.

2) I picked "As I Have Loved You" as one of the most life changing books of 2007 because when I finished reading it I wanted to change how I thought and things I do to become a better person. Do you find yourself changing as you write or do your books come out of personal experience and things that have already changed you?
My first book, The Winds of Sonoma, was about how I met my husband. There are scenes in that book that actually happened! So it is a great example of a book coming out of my personal experiences. That is also true of As I Have Loved You. It was inspired by a true story, my oldest son’s first serious relationship.
But more than because of personal experiences, I write because I feel passionately about my subject. Those emotions translate to the page. In As I Have Loved You, it is about the need for us as Christians to love. The Lord has gifted us all in different ways, but the greatest gift of all is to love, even when we are given a reason not to.
You also asked if the things I write about have changed me. I would say that they have affected me deeply enough to write about them. Then as I write I get an even deeper insight into the experience and that helps me glean the truth in it. That truth becomes the internal story. All my books have an internal and external story. Some would say the book of Hosea is a story about a man who married a prostitute, the external story. But it is really about God’s love for Israel. That is the internal story. In As I Have Love You the external story is about a single mother’s struggle with her son and his choice of the “wrong” girl. But it is really a story about the power of God’s love and the unseen consequences of our judging others. One of my favorite internal stories is in the book The Fragrance of Roses, which won the 2007 American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year. Part of that internal story is that God answers every prayer, but seldom in the way we expect.

3) You deal with many deep themes in this book, but one that really stuck out to me was the judging of the mother vs. the unconditional love of the son. How did you come to choose this theme as a main point in the book?
As I mentioned above this was inspired by my oldest son’s first serious relationship. And that is what observing him in that situation taught me. In the prologue of that book there is a supernatural event that empowers the boy to love with a love that can change the heart of man. I don’t state it there, but we all know that the only love that can change the heart of man is the love of Christ. I don’t want to give away anything here for those who have not read the book, but there is a scene in it where the girl thinks she being given water by the boy, but it is Jesus who is ministering to her. Those sentences reveal the internal story.
Because the heart of the book came from my own experiences people ask me if I really did the things that mother did. No, but I thought of doing many of them, which in some ways is just as bad. I am happy to say though that I did become close to that girl. She actually lived with us for a time.

4) I read this book in about a 24 hour span because it just really grabbed me, but it was real themes, not suspense that had me on the edge of my seat. What made you choose women's fiction (which you obviously excel at) as your choice of genre when chick-lit, mystery/suspense, and romance are so popular right now? Though in my opinion you have threads of all of those genres in this book, you just weave them together incredibly well...
As an author, you have to write the book you’ve been given. The book begins to show itself as I write it. In a way I guess you could say that my books choose me! But this very issue came up with my first book, The Winds of Sonoma. It is about how I met my husband, but it didn’t follow the formula of a genre romance. So publishers weren’t sure how to categorize it. Technically it was women’s fiction with a strong romance thread. They ended up promoting it as a romance. It won numerous awards. In The Fragrance of Roses the opening chapter has a mysterious boy. So you get that feel of mystery, but it is really women’s fiction. I am currently writing a book about the need for Christians to reach out to the moderate Muslims who live among us. The book opens with an
honor killing. When you have a murder on the first page it suggests suspense or mystery. Though I am choosing to write it with a strong tone of suspense it is still really women’s fiction because it is the heroine’s story. You go on a journey with her.

5) This book is a stand alone but you have another series of books that has been incredibly popular as well, tell us about that.
You are speaking of the Regalo Grande Series. Book one was my debut novel, The Winds of Sonoma. It is a truly beautiful love story. All my books have lots of symbols in them. In that book the wind is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Every time the wind blows, God is acting in the lives of the characters. The second book in that series is In The Shade of the Jacaranda. In it I use the internal story to express my deeply held belief that God has a plan for every child that is born. The final book of the series is The Fragrance of Roses. It is about a child’s struggle with leukemia. The internal story is that God hears and answers every prayer, though His ways are not our ways and our prayers are often answered in unexpected ways. I also used the story to raise public awareness about the need for more minorities to donate blood to bone marrow registries.

6) What projects can I look forward to reading and considering for my 2008 lists?
As I mentioned, I am currently working on a book titled Fear No Evil. It is about the need for safe houses for Muslims who convert to Christianity. Writing about Muslims is VERY controversial and I hope I can find a publisher for it. It was turned down by two publishers who offered me contracts to write for them if I would write about something else. But I said no. I told my agent I have zero interest in writing about anything but this. I feel God has called me to write this story. American Christians know so little about moderate Muslims. The theme is that God desires that none die lost. That is a story worth telling.
Thank you so much for this chance to share my writing journey with you. For those who would like to continue on the journey, they can sign up for my quarterly newsletter at my website: I just sold the movie rights to The Winds of Sonoma and I’ll be reporting on how that unfolds over the coming months. Filming is supposed to start next summer. For those of you that have read my books, I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me at

To buy a copy of Nikki's books you can go to amazon to order or you can leave a comment today to win a copy of "As I Have Loved You" - good luck!

Another Most Entertaining Book of 2007

Another entertaining book from Janna-- one that I'm quite partial to :-) Be sure to visit the interview on her site to enter the contest to win a copy of the book:

Today we are stepping back in time and place to visit book #2. We're going to head to North Platte, NE in the 1940's as America is getting involved in World War II. Here we'll meet Audrey and Willard who pick a very confusing time in the world to decide to try and fall in love. Audrey works at the North Platte Canteen as Willard struggles with wanting to go fight in the War like his younger brother. Conflict, confusion, romance and lots of emotion surround both of them as they try and work things out. Its a great historical romance that will have you wishing for an easier (and more complicated thanks to the War) time. Check out the previous interview I did with Cara here on the blog too. Now come meet Cara Putman...

1) From our previous interview we have already discovered that warm Dutch Apple pie is the dessert you can't walk away from - this begs the question : Do you prefer that ala mode or with milk?

Love the pie warmed in a bowl with milk poured over it. I’m weird!

2) A lot has happened since our last interview, you had your first book signing in Indiana and the bookstore sold out! Now you have a book signing here in North Platte, Nebraska - tell us when and where people can come see you in person?

The book signing will be Saturday, December 29th, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. I’ll be signing books at Bible Supplies, 1923 West A Street, in North Platte. This is the Christian book store that I haunted as a teen. It got to the point that when he saw me come in, Craig would hand me the latest publisher catalogs to show me when new books were releasing. I’m so excited to be back in North Platte. And watch the noon show on KNOP on the 29th for an interview with me

3) Canteen Dreams ties together many elements - history, romance, drama - tell us a little about where the inspiration for the setting and the romance came from...
I’m a history buff, and World War Two is my favorite time period. So setting the story during World War Two was pretty natural. Then the Canteen was such a neat occurrence…the deeper I dug, the more I amazed I became at these people’s sacrifices. The romance started with my grandparents with a pinch of my own romance…and then my imagination took over.

4) You have two more books coming out in the Dream Series, tell us a little about both of those upcoming books...
Sandhill Dreams releases in May and is set at Fort Robinson during the war. If you liked Audrey’s best friend Lainie, you’ll love this story. It’s all about Lainie and the soldier she meets who is part of the War Dog Training at Fort Robinson. I LOVED writing and researching this book.

Then Captive Dreams releases in September. It’s set outside Holdrege, at the Kearney Army Air Base, and at the Camp Atlanta Prisoner of War Camp. I thought Graham from Canteen Dreams would be the hero. But Sid, the hero’s side-kick from Sandhill Dreams begged to take the lead. My editor graciously allowed me to make the switch.

5) I know you are under a deadline for the 3rd one (Captive Dreams) right now, that means you must have other projects waiting in the wings - what's up next for you?

That’s a great question. I have a proposal for the sequel to Deadly Exposure (my Love Inspired Suspense that releases in May). My editor there liked it but wants some changes made to the proposal. So I’ll tweak that in January as well as develop an idea I have for a legal suspense series set in the fictional town of Cherry Hill, Indiana, and start writing the first in a proposed legal suspense series set in fictional Poetry, North Carolina. For a town with such a lyrical name, there are all kinds of crazy things happening!

6) Your Nebraska roots inspired this series, does that mean you'll have an Indiana series anytime in the future since you have been a resident there for so long?

If I can find the time to fully develop the Cherry Hill series, it will be set in Indiana an hour west of Indianapolis. I’m in love with the setting we created and the main characters. I just need the right motivation for the suspense thread.

And I’m still hoping I’ll write another World War Two series. Not sure that will be set in Indiana, but I’m always on the look-out for those home front stories.

To buy Canteen Dreams you can visit either Carpenter's Son bookstore in Lafayette, IN or Bible Supplies bookstore in North Platte, NE or you can order directly from Heartsong Presents. To win a copy of Canteen Dreams now you can post a comment with a way to get ahold of you in case you win!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Janna's 1st Most Entertaining Book of 2007

My sister Janna is listing her top seven most entertaining and most life-changing books of 2007. We have similar taste, and I "helped" her connect with several of the authors. This week I'll be posting several of her interviews with authors. Enjoy the first one with my friend Camy Tang!

"SUSHI FOR ONE" by Camy Tang! This book is such a fun read that not only introduces many of us to a different culture, but at the same time it is very relatable to many of us that come from a close family (like myself). It is categorized as "Fiction / Christian / General" on the back of the book, and I've heard some refer to it as Chick Lit which is a very popular category right now, but I have to say for all the Chick Lit I've read this year - "Sushi For One" is the most enjoyable I've read yet! When you pick up this book you will be pulled into Lex's world of friends, family and finding Mr. Right (or not)... Now come meet Camy Tang -

1) Sometimes people think of authors as being bigger than life and not "real", so I thought we would start off with a very important question, one that will show people just how real you are! "What dessert can you not resist when it is time to indulge?"
Creme brulee!!! I love custards and creams, probably because, like many Asians, I'm a little lactose intolerant--naturally I'd want what I shouldn't eat! My mom started making homemade creme brulee a few years ago, and I could eat an entire recipe! Good thing she only makes it for special occasions.

2) I picked "Sushi For One" as one of my Top 7 Most Entertaining Books of 2007, but in an increasingly popular genre of chick-lit - why did I pick this one? To me Sushi broke out of the cookie cutter mold of chick-lit and was very original - Did you incorporate a lot of your own family life into "Sushi For One"?
I incorporated the experiences of all the people I know and their families. All of us have at least one nagging relative who thinks a woman's life isn't complete without a man, and who also thinks they know the perfect person for said woman to marry. Grandma Sakai's bullheadedness is, sadly, quite realistic even though her character is fiction. As for the rest of Lex's family, I wanted to create a large family that readers would be enveloped by and yet would also find intriguing with the different aspects of Japanese and Chinese American culture.

3) One of the unique things about Sushi is that while it has the Asian/American settings and culture threading through it, many of us can identify with the overwhelming family involved in all aspects of our lives - do you have huge holiday gatherings with your family like Lex does?
My family isn't as large as Lex's, but my sister-in-law does have a gigantic family that has huge parties. I also have friends who have large families--and large get-togethers--exactly like Lex's. However, whatever the size of an Asian American family gathering, it's usually filled with food, just like in the parties Lex's family gives. The spread at an Uncle's birthday party in the middle of the book is exactly the yummy stuff served at my own family parties. In fact, for my book launch party, my church family made all the dishes listed in that scene! It was fabulous.

4) In Sushi Lex compiles a list of what she wants in the man she marries based on Ephesians. You are married now Camy, but did you have a list like Lex? No, although I think it would have been good if I'd had at least a wise list of traits a good husband would hopefully have. I work with the teen girls at my church youth group, and I do recommend to them that they think seriously about characteristics their future husband should have--a strong faith, willingness to communicate, ears open to listen to her, etc. If a girl has a few standards in mind, she hopefully won't be taken in by a charming, uncommunicative, condescending sort of guy.

5) I can't wait until February when "Only Uni" comes out - who is this book about?
This is Trish's story. In Sushi for One, she wrestled and lost against some difficult things (mostly to do with how an unhealthy relationship can influence a girl away from friends and family), so Only Uni will follow her spiritual journey--with a lot of wacky bumps along the way.

6) How many more books in the Sushi series can we look forward to?
The third book, Single Sashimi, is Venus's story, but Jenn's story wasn't contracted, so I'll be writing a novella on Jenn that I can offer free to subscribers of my newsletter YahooGroup:

7) What projects are you working on for after the Sushi series is wrapped up? I can't say much since nothing is contracted at this point, but I'm working on some Asian Young Adult romances (think Amy Tan meets Princess Diaries). They're a lot of fun! I'm also working on another Asian romance for my 18-35 readers --this one involving dogs. :) I'll be holding a website contest for my newsletter subscribers in March to celebrate the launch of Only Uni, so I hope readers will subscribe! I'll also have a blog tour for Only Uni at the same time. I still give away Christian fiction on my blog three times a week, so anyone interested in a good read should stop on by:
Thanks for having me here, Janna! Camy

Here's the link on Amazon to buy Sushi for One:

Be sure to leave a comment with a way to reach you in case you win
if you would like to be entered in the drawing Camy is doing for
"Sushi For One". You don't want to miss a chance to win this great book!


Cara here. To see Janna's 7 most life-changing, make sure to check out her blog. By the way, this is the first time I've seen the cover of Single Sashimi. Wow! Another gorgeous cover. Congrats, Camy!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

We're having a delightful time in snowy Nebraska with family. I've decided all over again that I am blessed. We spent Christmas day with my Grandparents, my aunt and uncle, my cousins, my parents and siblings, and eleven little ones. Each year the family grows! And we have such a good time together!

This week, Check back for some great reviews and interviews that my sister has lined up with her favorite authors from this year. Shar McLaren, Rachel Hauck, yours truly, and about eleven total. Should be a great week. Until then, cuddle up with your family and celebrate the true meaning of this season.

Friday, December 21, 2007

God is an Encourager

God is an encourager.

Have you ever noticed that?

Right about the time I'm convinced I'm writing drivel, that I can't hear from Him anymore, that surely this is the worst thing I've ever done, He sends encouragement from unexpected places. This morning (Friday) I opened my email to a most encouraging note...from a completely unexpected place.

The woman who wrote it -- I know who she is, but I truly don't think she knows who I least not in any real way. We write for the same house, but haven't really crossed paths. Yet the note she sent me was jam-packed with encouragement. Right when I needed it most. The kind that makes me think maybe I am ready for the next step God seems to be preparing for me.

And earlier this week I gave one of my first readers the first 110 pages of Captive Dreams. I know Canteen Dreams is a great's the story of my heart. And while it could always be better, readers have really connected with it in a way that is blowing me away. And I really like Sandhill Dreams and how it turned out. I love the historical backdrop and the struggles I've forced the characters into. My first readers and editors have loved it, too. Always a good sign...the rest of y'all have to wait until May.

Captive Dreams has been harder. Almost felt like a job at times, as I struggle to locate the historical details that make the time come alive to me and hopefully, by extension, to the reader.

So I've struggled with this story. I even warned Sue she might not like it. Instead, she returns it a day later asking for more. Now the pages are lined with notes, so I know Sue actually read it carefully, and she's still in love with the characters and story. Wooh!

Me, I'm too close to it. I know everything I want to add and change. Yet the core of the story is working. And I desperately needed to know that as I race toward deadline.

So this morning, I am so incredibly thankful that God saw my deep need to know that I was on the right track. That I haven't missed Him. That He is pleased. And this week He sent two of His servants to convey that message in terms I cannot ignore.

And for fun...

Supposedly, I'm cut out for New York City. Hilarious since I've only been there twice for one day business trips on Wall Street. That would be during my corporate fundraising days. I would love to visit someday and see more than that area in town.

You Belong in New York City

You're the energetic, ambitious type.
And only NYC is fast enough for you.
Maybe you'll set yourself up with a killer career
Or simply take in all the city has to offer.

Generation NeXt Marriage is here!

Yesterday I received my copy of Generation NeXt Marriage in the mail. Last Christmas I worked on the questionnaires and chapters as Tricia drafted them. It was great to hold this puppy in my hands. This is a practical and honest guide for married couples about how to build our marriage relationships for the long haul.

The lay-out of the book is fun, filled with trivia, tidbits, 80s songs, and lots of graphics. It's also filled with quotes from Gen Xers. If you're looking for a marriage book that's a bit different, then I highly recommend this one.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ane Mulligan's Review of Canteen Dreams

Putman's attention to historical detail breathes vitality into this story and sweeps the reader back to the days of WWII when people displayed patriotism with pride. Her vibrant characters set in a world at war will quickly find their way into your heart. -Ane Mulligan
Published on Novel Journey at the end of the December 12th post.

I keep waiting for a bad review LOL, but so far I've been blessed with reviewers that enjoyed the book and my writing.

The Miracle of Life

In just a few days, we will celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. I love the miracle of that virgin birth, and the amazing love that it displays. That Jesus, the Son of God, would agree to come down and start life as a newborn. Why? So that when His time came, He could say that He had been tempted in all ways as we have been tempted. That He had experienced all the ups and downs and joys and sorrows of life as we do.

Truly the greatest gift.

Yesterday, we got an early Christmas present. Eric, the kids and I traipsed into the ultrasound room at my doctor's office and got to meet the new little one. I'm 19 weeks, and the baby's tracking along perfectly.

I have to admit I was a bit nervous. My last ultrasound was the one that confirmed that our last baby hadn't made it. But this time, the screen was filled with everything your supposed to see. Two arms, two hands, ten fingers. Two precious little feet, and ten toes. One head, two eyes, a button nose, and cute mouth -- even looks like this one likes to suck his/her thumb. Yep, the child refused to cooperate on letting us know his/her gender. The tech is leaning -- slightly -- toward a girl. Abigail is ecstatic. Jonathan was despondent. I'm hanging on to all the cute outfits I've bought this time.

Back in September that was my statement of faith that everything would be okay this time. Eric smiled at the stack of summer outfits I'd picked up on clearance -- I've never had a summer baby before.

So we're all very excited. Everything looks great. Now we just have to wait another 19 weeks. If this baby is anything like Jonathan, he/she will come two weeks early which could disrupt Eric's mini-marathon plans. So we'll just pray this one comes a few days earlier than that :-)

Merry Christmas, as we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. And anticipate the arrival of little Putman #4.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

CFBA: Distant Hearts by Tracey Bateman

Distant Hearts is the second book in the Westward Hearts trilogy. Will the promise of a new life out west heal the scars of Toni's past?

This series tells the stories of three strong women as they struggle to survive on the rough wagon train and lose their hearts to unlikely heroes along the way/ Thin Little House on the Prairie meets Francine river's Redeeming Love and you begin to get a sense of the riveting historical series that Tracey Bateman has created.

In this second installment, we follow Toni Rodden, a former prostitute who sought to escape her past and build a new life, and a new reputation, when she joined the wagon train. Despite much resentment and distrust from the other women, Toni has finally earned a place on the wagon train and found a surrogate family in Fannie Caldwell and her two siblings. For the first time in her life, Toni actually feels free.

But while Toni once harbored dreams that her new life might include a husband and family, she soon realizes the stigma that comes with her past is difficult to see beyond and that she'll never be truly loved or seen as worthy. As the trip out west begins to teach her to survive on her own, she resolves to make her own living as a seamstress when the train finally reaches Oregon.

But despite Toni's conviction that no man will be able to see beyond her marred past, Sam Two-feathers, the wagon scout and acting preacher for the train seems to know of a love that forgives sins and values much more than outward appearances. Will Sam have the confidence to declare his love? Will Toni be able to trust in a God that can forgive even the darkest past? Faith, love, and courage will be put to the test in Distant Heart.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What's your color?

So now that the tile is in (and looks great!), the next step is painting. That will happen in January hopefully. My friend, Crystal Miller, had this on her blog, so I tried it. Here's what it suggested:

You Should Paint Your Room Green

Natural and balance, green can bring both calm and growth to your life.

Your green room will promote a more spiritual and peaceful outlook.

Green rooms are perfect for meditation, yoga, or just day dreaming.

Hmmm, NEVER NEVER NEVER thought of myself as a green girl. Two of the walls in the room right now are Blueberry Muffin. I like that color a lot and will probably stick with it. Interesting none the less.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

Last night we got eleven inches of snow! The snow started in the morning, then cleared in the afternoon. But by 5 p.m. it had started again and didn't stop until this morning. I was glued to the internet, watching the progress of the storm, and the estimates of total snow slowly ease up over the course of the day. This is one time that the local weather guys nailed it. Very impressed with their accuracy in an extremely inaccurate business. Hmmm, maybe one of my characters will be a meterologist someday. Nah, too much science involved :-)

Being a good mother, I hustled my kids out this morning to play in the snow. We'd picked up new snow shovels for them a week or so ago. They loved the chance to help Daddy move the snow around the driveway. Fortunately, this was the light snow that could be moved fairly easily. There was just a lot of it. But never fear...

The men who are tiling our kitchen, downstairs bath, pantry, hall closet, and entryway brought a snowblower with them. I think Eric's discovered the next "toy" that he wants. After shoveling snow for an hour, the guys pulled out the snowblower. Eric made short work of the rest of the driveway, the sidewalk and our neighbors' sidewalks. It was pretty fun watching the snow fly. If we had snow like this more often it could be worth owning a snowblower. But 17 inches in February and 11 inches today doesn't quite make it worth it, especially when most snows in the time we've lived here have been sporadic and less than 4 inches.

As I look out the window now, the snow is flying again. I can't tell if it's just blowing off the roofs or actually fresh snow.

Jessie, the escape dog, snapped her metal lead outside this morning and went scampering in the snow. Sigh. I guess we'll have to add a fence in the spring. I am so done chasing her. (The photo is from the first snow ten days ago. That 3ish inches melted in the rain before this snow. What a weird December!

And finally, here's the tile without grout. I really should have taken some before and during pictures. I thought of it. really I did. But what can I say, the camera battery was dead. It's amazing what a huge difference the tile makes. Really warms up the large space.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Novel Reviews looks at Canteen Dreams

Kelly Klepfer has reviewed Canteen Dreams over at Novel Reviews. Here's what she had to say:

My Review:

I don't consider myself a history nut, but maybe I am. I loved reading about 1942 Nebraska and the North Platte welcome given to the soldiers just passing through. Putnam painted some scenes so powerfully that I could almost smell and hear the unfolding drama. Since Nebraska is in my own back yard, the read was even more entertaining as I've been to some of the same locations though half a century later.

A rich read that took me back to a gentler time. Heroism must be doing what you have to do regardless of the fear and sorrow that threatens to overwhelm you. If that's the case, there are a few heroes in Canteen Dreams.

Historical romance lovers should enjoy this story.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Need a Stocking Stuffer?

If you're looking for a stocking stuffer, Canteen Dreams would make a great gift. To see some of the reviews, click here.

I'm pleased to report that you can purchase the book from Carpenter's Son in Lafayette, Indiana or Bible Supplies in North Platte, Nebraska. I know that Carpenter's Son will ship the book, and you can order it by calling or ordering online. If you're more in the midwest, you can reach Bible Supplies here. If you order through Carpenter's Son I can autograph the book, and if you order through Bible Supplies, don't forget the booksigning there on December 29th.

In the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, Audrey Stone wants to help in the war effort. But what's a young schoolteacher from Nebraska to do? When her community starts a canteen at the train station, Audrey finds her place. She spends nearly every spare moment there, offering food and kindness to the soldiers passing through. Despite her busyness, Audrey does allow some time to get to know a handsome rancher. Willard Johnson worries about his brother who joined the navy to get off the ranch and see the world. When Willard's worst fear is confirmed, he feels he must avenge by enlisting himself. But will his budding relationship with Audrey weather the storms of war? Or will one of the many soldiers at the canteen steal her away from him? Can two such determined people find their place in the war and with each other?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Review: What Lies Within

I got my first exposure to Karen Ball at the 2005 ACFW conference. It was my first writing conference, and she was the keynoter. She did an amazing job of blending humor, heart-wrenching honesty, and spiritual depth in her talks.

What Lies Within is the first of her books that I have read all the way through. I picked up Shattered Justice a year or so ago when it first came out, and hate to admit that I just couldn't get in to it. I'm not even sure why, other than it started with the main character becoming a widower and his struggles balancing job and kids. Maybe with two young kids I just couldn't stomach the topic.

What Lies Within I enjoyed from page one. I really shouldn't be reading new books right now. I am under a tight deadline -- for that matter I shouldn't be writing reviews, but the book was that good.

Kyla Justice is a woman who has wrapped herself in shield of fear and anger. On the outside she's a successful businesswoman who could be engaged to a successful man who seems to love her. And she wants to fall into that relationship because it's safe. She doesn't feel anything.

Then she becomes involved in a building project that could cost her everything, but has deep meaning for the community in which the project is located. The local gang doesn't want them there, a land developed will do anything to stop them, and on every side events seem to conspire against finishing the building by deadline.

She takes the project on and has to learn to let go. Isn't that a lesson many of us have to learn. We jump into projects that we know we can handle. We are capable. But we need to let God direct us and let others help us. The scene where Kyla is confronted with the mirror image of who she is plays out very powerfully.

And the romance is filled with twists and angst. The romance wraps up almost too neatly in the final scene, but I think this is the final book in a trilogy, so from that vantage point it works.

I had a couple problems with the timeline on the book...and the prologue isn't really a prologue. Once I understood that it helped, but didn't cure the other timeline challenges. But the book is well written and packed with conflict.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Will Smith on Marriage

I've spent a couple days sequestered in a Chicago hotel working on multiple deadlines while Eric attends a conference. I've joked he has a conference and I have a computer. I actually have to get back to work, because I want to spend a couple more hours writing 2-3K more words before I leave. Oh and there's the final review of Deadly Exposure to finish...

But this morning I had Good Morning America on for a moment while I got ready. Just happened to see the end of an interview with Will Smith. I actually came back to it.

They were talking about his marriage, and he had a great quote. Basically, he said that people invest 60 hours a week in to what's important to them, and then expect 18-19 minutes on the weekend to keep the most important relationship of their lives going. Instead we need to invest the same energy and effort into our relationships so that they can thrive.

So what do you do to keep your relationships -- especially your marriage -- not only surviving but thriving?


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