Saturday, February 27, 2010

Life Lessons from a Horse Whisperer

A champion trainer and true horse whisperer, Dr. Lew Sterrett has used patience and a firm but gentle hand to earn the trust of more than 3,500 horses. In this book, Lew tells the stories of his work with these horses and the lessons each one has taught him. Sometimes heartbreaking and often uplifting, Lew has condensed his lifetime of learning into messages for the Christian life. Today, Lew shares these messages with more than 50,000 people each year through horse training presentations at Miracle Mountain Ranch and nationally through his Sermon on the Mount Ministry.

The author's engaging style and adroit mixture of well-tested anecdotes and thoughtful instruction make this a winning read-and not just for horse lovers.

This book is an easy read and very enjoyable. If you love horses like I do, this book will be right up your alley. You'll be transported to the real world of horse training, with applications to daily life in a way that is an enjoyable read. I really enjoyed the way this book was written, and felt like I was listening to Dr. Sterrett spin his stories and his wisdom.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Writing Transitions

This week I've been in Texas at a writer's retreat. I'm in edit mode for my first book in a Guidepost mystery series, and I'm in dream mode for books after this one.

I'm sitting in a beautiful retreat center, surrounded by gorgeous antiques and amazing historical authors. They cover the gambit of CBA fiction and time periods. And here I sit. Trying to dream up what my next books could look like. Another World War Two romance? A new suspense? How about a legal suspense this time? Or some combination of those three?

It's like picking up a brand-new notebook and opening the cover. In front of me is an unmarred page, filled with perfect lines and unlimited potential. The only thing that limits me

My doubts. I could never write like X author.

My fears. What if I can't pull off the idea if I do sell it.

My insecurities. Nobody would want to read it...

Fortunately, my God is much bigger than any of this. So I raise my hands in surrender. And I whisper to Him, "Here I am again, Lord. Use me. Fill me with Your ideas and creativity. Show me where You want me to go. What You want me to write."

And I pick up the pen, poise it over the blank page. And smile.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Abigail: a review

Abigail has always been a special Biblical character to me. A strong woman who saved her household because of her wisdom and faith in God. She was beautiful, but that wasn't her primary value. No, to me, I've always wanted to have the wisdom and humility she showed. So I was delighted to receive a copy of Jill Eileen Smith's latest book from her publisher to review.

Jill has taken on a tough challenge. Taking a woman who is mentioned in a few chapters and expanding her life to fill a 300 page book. The extent of her research on the times is evident from the very first pages as I was transported to ancient Israel. I was quickly captivated by both the woman and the story. The one caution I have for readers is to remember that this is one woman's imagining of what else might have happened to this woman and how she came to be the Abigail shown in the pages. It isn't the Bible, but it is a fascinating story.

From Jill Eileen Smith, bestselling author of Michal, comes the latest biblical fiction in The Wives of King David series: Abigail. Abigail's hopes and dreams for the future are wrapped up in her handsome, dark-eyed betrothed, Nabal. But when the long-awaited wedding day arrives, her drunken groom behaves shamefully. Nevertheless, Abigail tries to honor and respect her husband despite his abuse of her.

Meanwhile, Abigail's family has joined David's wandering tribe as he and his people keep traveling to avoid the dangerous Saul. When Nabal suddenly dies, Abigail is free to move on with her life, and thanks to her brother, her new life includes a new husband--David. The dangers of tribal life on the run are serious, but there are other dangers in young Abigail's mind. How can David lead his people effectively when he goes against God? And how can Abigail share David's love with the other wives he insists on marrying?

Smith draws on Scripture, in-depth historical research and her vivid imagination to unveil the story of Abigail and David in rich detail and drama, for a riveting page-turner that will keep readers looking forward to the next book in this trilogy.

“Drawing on Scripture and historical research, Smith crafts a tale that will attract readers who enjoy their inspirational fiction set in biblical times.”—Library Journal

Jill Eileen Smith has more than twenty years of writing experience, and her writing has garnered acclaim in several contests. Her research into the lives of David's wives has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Guest Post: Share a Laugh—Bless a Friend

In Honor of Celebrating Friendship Month
By Frankie Sherman

I live in a sleepy little town in the Deep South. Sometimes after my morning workout I’ll have breakfast at our local restaurant with some of my girlfriends. These women are diverse in age and background, but as southern as sweet tea.

Over cups of hot coffee, we share things that only women can appreciate, and men would never understand. It’s times like these I am extremely grateful for this wonderful gift of friendship. No wonder our Creator designed us for fellowship.

In between bites of a wholegrain muffin, my dear friend, Martha, told us about putting her mother in a nursing home and how difficult it had been. Yet in the next breath she reminded us of God’s incredible sense of humor.

It seems her mother hasn’t a clue that she’s a patient there, but firmly believes she’s on staff as an employee. In addition, she had been complaining to management because they weren’t paying her, and had threatened to walk out. Martha is now bringing her mother money in a bank envelope and telling her that the nursing home is doing a direct deposit, and she’s cashed her check. So far Mrs. Floyd continues to see herself as a valued employee and is very helpful. Martha’s just praying her mother won’t ask for a pay raise!

We laughed with Martha till our sides hurt as she told that story. Our laughter made the truth of the situation easier. That’s “why we need girlfriends!”

Anyone who has put a parent in a nursing home realizes how heart wrenching that is. Something precious has ended. Roles have reversed and it hurts like a piercing knife.

This will be a hard journey for Martha, she’ll certainly need her girlfriends, and we’ll be there for her.

I am so glad God gave us a sense of humor and laced it with laughter. When utilized for goodness it will restore a hurting soul. Who’s hurting in your circle of friends today? Now, go share some laughter. Both of you will feel better.

“He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy,” Job 8:21 NKJV.

Frankie Sherman is a national speaker, comedian, and Bible teacher for conferences, retreats, and women's events. She fell in love with Jesus at Vacation Bible School and takes every opportunity to tell others about the joy of being alive in Christ. She is a former choreographer for the Georgia Peach Bowl and the Florida Citrus Bowl Halftime Show. Her specialty is in theater musical/productions. Her first Bible Study, Why We Need Girlfriends is based on the relationship of Mary and Elizabeth, from Luke's gospel. Two women brought together by extraordinary circumstances by an extraordinary God. Frankie is from South Carolina—loves sweet tea, BIG hair and her grand-girls. She believes there will never be another Elvis. And knows that her Jesus will return for her soon.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

"A mile a minute - that is how fast your child can disappear." Haunting and truthful words posted on the website for Klaas Kids.

On Friday, February 19th, Margaret McSweeney will interview Marc Klaas, father of Polly Klaas who was kidnapped and murdered in 1993. As a legacy to his daughter, Marc founded KlaasKids Foundation to help stop crimes against children. Please tune in to Kitchen Chat with Margaret McSweeney Friday at 11:00 am CST! Call in with your questions! 1-877-864-4869.

Here is an excerpt from Marc's journal that is posted online:

"There is nothing that can prepare one for a murder trial. My family sits as the last few hours in Polly's life are dissected, analyzed, de-constructed, reconstructed, cross-referenced and compartmentalized. The constant assault on our sensibilities by horrible revelations that defy the principles of civilization seem overwhelming much of the time. It is impossible to withstand or rise above the continual dehumanizing facts that are revealed in a constant, monotonous stream of revelation. There is no room for anything but the processing of nightmarish information. The killer laughs throughout the video tape and I want to shout, yet I must sit unflinching and stone-faced for fear of causing a mistrial. Every day my family is drawn into the world of murder, mayhem, rape and deprivation and there is no way out."

Learn about effective ways to keep your children safe from harm and find out what you can do to help stop crimes against kids. Please tune in and call in with your questions for Marc this Friday 11-12 CST on Kitchen Chat.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Love Finds You in Bridal Veil, Oregon blog tour

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Love Finds You in Bridal Veil, Oregon

Summerside Press (January 1, 2010)

Miralee Ferrell

Against a backdrop of thievery and murder in Bridal Veil Falls, Oregon, a historic logging community, a schoolteacher is torn between the memories of a distant love and the man who could be her future.

Sixteen-year-old Margaret Garvey had given her heart to Nathaniel Cooper the night he disappeared from town. Four years later, just as she's giving love a second chance with Andrew, a handsome logger, Nathaniel suddenly returns. He steams back into Bridal Veil on a riverboat to work at the nearby sawmill to town with a devastating secret.

While grappling with the betrayal of those she trusted most, Margaret risks her reputation and position by harboring two troubled runaways who might be involved in the murder of a local man.

When disaster strikes the town and threatens the welfare of its citizens, Margaret will be faced with the most important choice of her life.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Love Finds You in Bridal Veil, Oregon, go HERE


In October 2007 Kregel Publications published The Other Daughter with excellent reviews. The Romantic Times Review magazine gave it Four out of Four and a half stars, with a very strong review. Two different major motion picture studios are currently considering the book as a possible family movie, and my second book in the series (Past Shadows) is on my publishers desk being reviewed for a possible contract offer now.

In February of 2009, Love Finds You in Last Chance, California was published by Summerside Press.

And Finding Jeena will release in April 2010 from Kregel Publications.

Miralee Ferrell lives in Washington with Allen, her husband of more than 37 years, ans has two grown children. She serves on staff at her local church ans is actively involved in ministry to women.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Help! What do you think....

This week I'm working through a SWOT document from Barefoot Marketing. Jim Rubart is helping me with some of my marketing as I get ready to redesign my website in preparation for my first trades that release this summer and fall. Fortunately, I worked through part of it before attending the Masters Seminar on Marketing in December. Otherwise I would be overwhelmed. These are not your grandmother's questions.

Jim is pushing me to define who I am, why people read my books, why they like me, etc. I could really use your help because I'm either blind, overly-critical, or in self-denial. Or maybe a combination of all three.

If you've read any of my books, what did you like about them? Would you pick up another? Why or why not? What do you expect from a Cara Putman book?

BTW: here's my latest cover for my next Heartsong Presents. Didn't they do a great job! I think you get the idea of girls' baseball and a touch of romance :-)

And for grins and giggles, here's one of the questions with a video clip. Watch the video, then answer this question in your journal or notebook: What is your game? The one God has designed uniquely for you to play? In what areas do you need to "come out of the shadows?"

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Double Trouble: A Review & Contest Info

Are you looking for a spring break read? Then Susan May Warren's latest book may be perfect for you.

PJ Sugar is back and just as stubborn about telling anyone what the P and J stand for. But she's also a heroine I love to follow. She has sass, she has insecurities, she has a hope to live up to her dreams. And she has to choose between two men. What isn't there to like. Oh, and don't forget trying to fill someone else's shoes on an assignment

This book has great humor and the right taste of suspense/mystery to keep it fun. Add in the romance -- sort of -- and you've got a fun read.

Keep reading for the link to an excerpt and a really fun contest...

With one solved case under her belt, PJ Sugar is ready to dive into her career as a private investigator. Or at least a PI’s assistant until she can prove herself to Jeremy Kane, her new boss. Suddenly PJ’s seeing crime everywhere. But is it just in her head, or can she trust her instincts? When she takes on her first official case—house-sitting for a witness in protective custody—Jeremy assures her there’s no danger involved. But it soon becomes clear that there is someone after the witness . . . and now they’re after PJ, too.

Read an excerpt HERE!

Be sure to enter the contest. The Grand Prize is awesome!
One Grand Prize winner will receive a $150 SUPER SLEUTH prize package that includes:
  • A brand new iPod Shuffle (perfect for those all-night stakeouts)
  • A $10 iTunes gift card (we recommend the ALIAS soundtrack)
  • A $10 Amazon gift card (why yes, they do sell spy pens)
  • A $10 Starbucks gift card (for fuel, obviously)
  • A pair of designer sunglasses (be stealthy AND super chic)
  • A gorgeous scarf from World Market (can also be used as a blindfold, and/or for tying up bad guys)
  • AND signed copies of both Nothing But Trouble & Double Trouble. (romance! danger! intrigue! sooo much better than Surveillance for Dummies!)
I received Double Trouble for the purpose of reviewing it.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Love is in the Air: New Marriage Books

It's that time of year: you know, when we begin to think about love. Yes, Valentine's Day is right around the corner. This year I'm making an effort to read some books on marriage and these books haven't been an effort.

It's Not About You. It's Not About Me. It's About US...A User's Guide has a really long title, but I have loved and been challenged by the content. The author approaches marriage issues by contrasting the consumer mindset, which let's face it most Americans have, with the covenant mindset. Now before you decide that's not where you want to go, he does a great job of addressing both through telling stories. He shares the story of a troubled couple in each chapter, highlights what the issues are, and then shares strategies based on moving from a consumer (me, me, me) mentality to one that is focused on othering. I've been reading this book while on the treadmill, so haven't fully engaged in the exercises yet, but I am excited to apply what I'm learning. This book is packed with information that can help strengthen your marriage -- even if you already have a stellar one.

The second book I wanted to mention was Love & War by John & Stasi Eldredge. Because I've been reading US, I haven't gotten far in Love & War yet, but here's why it intrigues me. The focus of the book is an acknowledgment that marriage is hard, but also that we can fight for the love and happiness we desire in our marriages. It is a call to both men and women to chase that great adventure God has for us in marriage. And they share that vision by being vulnerable about their marriage and its challenges. It gives the book an easy-to-read, relateable style that keeps me turning the pages. As John says, God uses our marriages to deal with the issues and brokeness in our lives, the areas we've run from and ignored.

Bottom-line, if you're looking for a tune-up or a last ditch effort to save your marriage, I suggest you check out these books.

Note: I received both books for the purpose of reviewing them.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Thin Places...

Thin Places. Mary DeMuth calls those the places in our life that Jesus creeps into no matter how bleak. No matter how dark. For a snatch of time or moment we “sense God intersecting our world in tangible, unmistakable ways. They are aha moments, beautiful realizations, when the Son of God bursts through the hazy fog of our monotony and shines on us afresh.”

Her memoir Thin Places has challenged me to think about thin places in my life. For a long time, if you’d asked I would have said I didn’t have any. My life was filled with much more lightness than darkness, almost a shield of blessing.

Then I miscarried three years ago and again last summer. In each and the seasons that follow I have needed to see God at a deep soul level. I have practically demanded He show up in real ways and show me how He is using those losses for His glory. How He turns what was intended for evil into good. And He has.

I’ll share one moment. I sat on a plane to Denver in September. A beautiful lady who shone with the love of Jesus sat next to me. In moments we talked like life-long friends. My miscarriages slipped in. Then she turned to me. “I feel I can share this with you.”

She’d just left her daughter behind, a daughter who had minutes before learned she’d miscarried. And because of my experiences, Jesus could shine through as I ministered to this grieving grandma and by extension her daughter.

Monday, February 08, 2010

That's all the Controversy was about????

Like many of you I've heard the ridiculous carrying on about one ad that was aired during the Super Bowl. During the last couple weeks you would have thought an ad featuring Tim Tebow and his mom that aired four times prior to the Super Bowl and once during the first quarter was the sign of the beginning of the end. I actually watched part of the pregame show while jogging to see what all the hooplah was about.

What a bunch of overblown, wanna-be censors. Good grief! Can anyone really find something worth censoring about a woman talking for twenty seconds about her son?

As I read an email from Focus on the Family last night, I had to smile. They made a simple ad and paid a huge sum of money -- just like all the other advertisers -- for their thirty seconds. And God took that and has multiplied it with all kinds of free publicity. Just go to YouTube and you can find the clip from the Jimmie Kimmel show -- I don't watch the man, but his spoof was hilarious and mentioned FOTF by name. That's the kind of thing only God could do.

Frankly, I found the content in several of the other ads offensive, and we voted by flipping channels. Did I really want the image of a man wearing a thong in my mind. Eeeewwww!

So I'm grateful today for the First Amendment. It's a scant 45 words, but in the wisdom of our Founding Fathers protects the rights of FOTF to produce and pay for an ad just as much as it protects the rights of others who are willing to do the same. I may not like all the messages that are spewed, but I certainly like the freedom.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Watch Over Me Review

Watch Over Me is a powerfully offering from Christa Parrish. She has quickly become an author whose books I will read -- unusually since her books aren't suspense, straight romance, or a historical time period I love. This one is classified as contemporary fiction, but with overtones of women's fiction.

Even so, Watch Over Me pulled me in from the end of the short first chapter. There are so many layers to the story: a marriage in trouble, an abandoned newborn, a disabled and seriously sick teenager nobody wants, a town that's not sure how to respond. At its core though, this is a wonderfully crafted story about abandonment, the pain it causes, and the road to healing. About crawling from the lonely places we hide, and risking to reach out and love...again...and again...and again. And the writing is beautiful, lyrical, and engaging. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will return to its pages.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Review: Beguiled

Love the rich historical romances of Deeanne Gist? But also wish for some suspense and that her style of romance could be paired with a twisting suspense? Then you will enjoy Beguiled, a new release by Deeanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand. This book pairs romance with romance in page-turning results.

Rylee Monroe is a dog-walker in the old, historic district of Charleston. As a young child she lived among the well-to-do in that area, but after her parents disappeared or died, she was raised by a grandmother away from that section of town. Now she's returned, but her clients are being targeted by a burglar. She soon pairs with a crime reporter who has more than writing stories on his mind.

What I found most enjoyable about this book was the rich pool of characters. While Rylee and Logan Woods, the reporter, play the main roles, they are surrounded by supporting characters that are well drawn. Modern-day Charleston practically filled the role of a character as I felt like I'd been transported to the city and could use the book as a roadmap to get around the area. Rylee and Logan both wrestle with questions about their faith, but in a way that doesn't interrupt the story. Instead, the faith questions are woven into the fabric of the story. And the mystery thread? Loved it. And even though I figured out where it was headed, I didn't grasp the full scope for awhile and the pages still turned quickly.

All in all, this was a very enjoyable read!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Interview with author Robin Caroll & Interview

I am delighted to have my good friend Robin Caroll stop by today. We first met very briefly at ACFW in 2005. Colleen Coble had told me we needed to meet because we'd be great friends. Well, over the next few years her prediction has come true. We served together on the ACFW board for two years. We both write books for Love Inspired Suspense (though she's written more for them). We brainstorm together, challenge each other, pray for each other.

Robin has been a true gift to me on this writing journey. Today her first trade novel releases from B&H. I had the pleasure of reading Deliver Us From Evil as Robin wrote it. A search and rescue helicopter pilot working for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Brannon Calhoun is as beautiful and tough as the terrain surrounding her. When a blizzard crashes a small plane carrying U.S. Marshal Roark Holland, she must save him and the donor heart he's transporting to a dying government witness with crucial links to the largest child trafficking ring in history.

Be sure to leave a comment. I have one copy of the book to giveaway to one lucky reader.

Here's the trailer:

Today Robin joins us. Congratulations on the release of Deliver Us From Evil. Tell us a bit about the story and how you got the idea for the plot.

Thanks, Cara. This is truly a book of my heart and covers a topic I'm extremely passionate about. I watched a television special on child trafficking with my husband. As a mother of three daughters, I couldn’t stop the ache in my heart long after the show was over. I couldn’t get the image of these poor girls’ faces out of my mind. The horrors these children endure in their own poverty-stricken country is horrible enough, but to be brought to America and be further exploited and abused is appalling. When my outrage settled deep inside me, I knew I had to write a story about this most serious issue.

This is a big step for you with the move to trade, which means a larger word count. Was it easier or harder to write than the novels you’ve written for Love Inspired Suspense?

A little of both, actually. Easier in that I could expand character development and subplots because of the longer word count. Harder in that this book took a LOT more research and plotting.

Child trafficking is something we don’t often want to think about because it’s ugly and offensive. Yet you choose to highlight in Deliver Us From Evil along with political corruption. Why did you tackle these tough issues?

When I started researching the topic, I was appalled. I'm ashamed to say that I had no clue this travesty occurs so often--right under our noses! It's a hard topic and I did a lot of crying while researching and writing, but awareness is the first step in people getting involved to help stop child trafficking.

Brannon Callahan is beautiful, tough and spunky helicopter pilot. Have you ever flown a helicopter? If not how did you research the scenes where she is flying?

Years ago, my husband took helicopter flying lessons. We became great friends with his instructor and he took me up in his bird quite often. If I close my eyes, I can feel my stomach drop when he did an autorotation. Terrifying, but exhilerating. I can understand why Brannon would get such a rush from being a helicopter pilot.

What did your characters teach you while you wrote this novel?

Grace. LOL Literally. When I began writing the book, I had a strong sense of Brannon. Roark, on the other hand, was a bit stubborn. He planted his feet and refused to initially tell me why he was the way he was and how his past experiences had bent his personality. I had to really dig in with him. And I learned grace. That sometimes people are carrying guilt in their hearts that we, on the outside, can't see and that guilt often makes them act in a way that isn't becoming.

Now for the fun one: If you could travel anywhere in eh world right now, where would you go and who would you take with you?

Italy, and I'd take my family and my writing buds & their families....along with nannies and tutors--for a month-long writing retreat.

Oh, I hope that means I'd be going with you! Thanks again for stopping by and congratulations on the release of Deliver Us From Evil. You can learn more about Robin and her books at her website.


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