Wednesday, June 30, 2010


This is a photo taken by my publicist --how weird to say that! -- while I was signing at ICRS (the International Christian Retail Show.

Summerside really made the experience a dream come true. You see, I'm a bit of a Christian fiction geek. I grew up with stories of my best friend and her family going to what was then called CBA every summer. I knew that was the place to get books and music before they officially released. I always thought I would know I'm a writer when I got the chance to sign a book at ICRS.

There's no question I'm a writer. But it's not because I signed 300 books and hung out with amazing people for a day. It's because it's a call God has placed on my life.

And if I needed a reminder I got it yesterday when I got up EARLY to drive home. Then this morning I mowed and deadheaded flowers. A far cry from the "glamour" of signing Stars in the Night and hanging out with amazing people like my editors Beth Adams and Susan Downs and fellow authors Tricia Goyer, Susan May Warren, Jim Rubart and Mary Connealy. Those are the times I know God is giving me a kiss from heaven. But the real work starts again tonight, when I poise my fingers over the keyboard and write the next chapter in the next book.

Don't forget about the contest I'm running that coincides with the release of Stars in the Night.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Stars in the Night Launch Contest

Today I'm in St. Louis signing Stars in the Night at the International Christian Retail Show. I'm so pumped and hope a few booksellers will stop by so I can give them a copy of the book and my thanks for all they do for Christian fiction. Without them, I really wouldn't have a way to get my books out.

So in honor of this debut signing, I'm releasing details of my book launch contest:

The grand prize consists of several DVDs of my favorite classic movies, popcorn, cracker jacks, a signed copy of Stars in the Night, and if we reach over 200 entries, a copy of each of my other six World War II based romances. These DVDs are special because they include some of my favorite movies of all time. Bringing Up Baby and The Philadelphia Story are great romantic comedies, both with Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart joins them in Philadelphia Story. Just last week, we rewatched one of my favorite musicals: Singing in the Rain, which you'll also find in these collections along with Easter Parade and Meet Me in St. Louis. And then you can't do better for dramas than Casablanca and Mrs. Miniver. For the final set, I'm adding Frank Capra's collection. You'll have hours of wonderful classics to watch.

Five first prizes: a copy of all my WWII books: that means winners receive a copy of Stars in the Night, Canteen Dreams, Sandhill Dreams, Captive Dreams, A Promise Kept, A Promise Born, and A Promise Forged. That's plenty of World War II era romances and romantic suspense to fill your summer with reading.

Five second prizes: a signed copy of Stars in the Night.

So how do you enter?

I'm so glad you asked. There are many ways you can enter for a chance at one of these great packages.
  • Help spread the word about Stars in the Night and the contest through facebook, myspace, shoutlife, and twitter.
  • Mention the contest and Stars in the Night on your blog
  • Ask your library to order Stars in the Night and any other of my books.
  • Go into your local bookstores and take a photo of Stars in the Night on the shelf if it’s there or ask the bookstore to order it. If it is there, take a photo and email it to me at cara at caraputman dot com.
  • Post links to order Stars in the Night at CBD, Amazon, or B&N on your blog or social network and let me know you've done that.
  • Also, once you've read Stars, post a review on CBD, Amazon, or B&N and let me know you've done that.

    Each time you do one of the above items, come back here and leave a comment. That will be your entry. So you have the possibility of entering eight to eleven times.

    Not bad!

    So please help me celebrate and spread the word!

The contest ends July 31st.

Friday, June 25, 2010

New Guidepost Series Giveaway

Last week I received book one in the new Guidepost mystery series that I'm writing for. Because I received two copies, I'm going to give one away to someone who leaves a comment. I've written book four and am in the midst of book ten. Here's some information about the series.
About Patchwork Mysteries
Set in a historic village nestled in beautiful New England, every novel in this good, old-fashioned page-turning "Whodunit" series reveals the power of dreams and shows that faith in God always triumphs over anxiety and fear.
Whether she's making a log cabin quilt or delving into a real log cabin to find a clue, Sarah Hart's curiosity and faith always lead her in the right direction. Each book in the Patchwork Mysteries series will bring you an intriguing mystery, always centered around a quilt, with fascinating characters set in a place you will want to return to again and again for its rich history and beautiful landscape in all seasons. You'll come to see that the key to solving an intricate mystery or making a fine quilt is knowing how to put all the pieces together—just what Sarah Hart does best!
Books in the Series
Family Patterns

Sarah welcomes her son Jason as he moves back to Maple Hill with his wife and twin daughters. He's bought an abandoned Victorian house that once belonged to his great-grandfather, and it has a mystery all its own. Sarah and her twelve-year-old granddaughters discover an old quilt hidden in a secret room. Is this a clue that will lead Sarah to solving a 100-year-old family mystery?
Time to Share
When Sarah photographs nearby Mount Greylock for research she is doing on a wall quilt, she discovers an old root cellar. Sarah decides to investigate it and finds stolen items from recent burglaries in the area, as well as an old daguerreotype. Sarah senses that the thief could be connected to the young couple in the daguerreotype. Sarah researches the couple and uncovers an old secret that will surprise everyone in Maple Hill.
Muslin Mystery
When Sarah agrees to restore an old quilt for a wealthy recluse, she's surprised by a message that is formed when the blocks of quilt are put together. It's a cry for help, but Sarah doesn't know who wrote it or how long ago. Her client won't reveal any information about it, and a stranger warns her that she may be in danger. Will Sarah pursue this mystery or listen to the stranger for fear for her own life?
Meet the Key Characters
Sarah Hart
Sarah Hart has lived in Maple Hill all her life. After the loss of her husband five years ago, Sarah built a new life for herself by drawing upon her enduring faith in God's grace and the nurturing support of her family and friends. She still lives in the same classic old Queen Anne style house, but she now takes in boarders, and has started a thriving quilt-restoration business. Sarah has a warm and welcoming smile for everyone. As you get to know her, you'll find her natural curiosity contagious—and you'll feel as if you have been friends for years.
Jason Hart
Jason and his family have just moved from Los Angeles back to Maple Hill to be closer to his mother, Sarah. He's planning to restore the old Victorian home that once belonged to his mysterious great-grandfather.

Maggie Hart
Maggie has been married to Jason for thirteen years. She is delighted with the move to Maple Hill, where they can raise their girls in a safe community where friendships are lasting and family values abide.
Audrey & Amy Hart
Audrey and Amy are Sarah's twelve-year-old twin granddaughters. At first, both are unhappy about the move as they struggle to adjust to small town life. But Maple Hill and its mysteries will soon win them over!

Vanessa Sawyer
Vanessa runs a fabric store called the Wild Goose Chase where Sarah shops for her quilting supplies. The two have become good friends, and Vanessa often helps Sarah sort through the clues to the many mysteries she solves.
Martha Maplethorpe
Martha is Sarah's best friend. The two of them have been closer than sisters for most of their lives. Martha loves a good laugh, is in awe of Sarah's sleuthing abilities and tries to help out in any way she can.
How Does the Series Work?
Preview the first novel, Family Patterns, free for 30 days. If you decide to keep the book, you'll be billed later at the low Guideposts price of only $13.95, plus shipping and processing.
Additional books in the series will follow every 4-6 weeks at the same low price and with the same 30-day free trial. If you're not completely satisfied, simply return the book within 30 days and owe nothing. The FREE tote bag is yours to keep.
Patchwork Mysteries series is an Editors' Pick!

Patchwork Mysteries is a brand new series about a quilter who pieces together all kinds of mysteries. Set against the backdrop of a small New England town, these books will draw you in and keep you guessing all the way to the end.
- Beth Adams
Senior Editor, Guideposts Books

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Chasing Lilacs: CFBA Tour

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Chasing Lilacs
FaithWords (June 17, 2010)

Carla Stewart

Chasing Lilacs is an unusual book because the main character is a twelve-year-old girl. But don't let that keep you from reading it. I found myself connecting with Sammie and her journey through a tough summer. In many ways, she spends the summer raising herself because of her mentally ill mother and her at work father. It's a summer of exploration and a summer of change. Most of all it's a time to learn how to risk and trust. This is a story that will draw you in and keep you reading and rooting for Sammie.


Carla Stewart’s writing reflects her passion for times gone by. She believed in Jesus, the power of the written word, and a good cup of coffee. She's a country girl living now in a mid-sized city with her engineering husband who just happens to be her best friend and biggest fan.She and her husband have four adult sons and delight in the adventures of their six grandchildren.

I grew up in the Texas Panhandle with two younger sisters and loving parents. Small town school. Great neighbors. Today, those small-town, fundamental things resonate within me -- the twang in people's voices, the art of being neighborly and just being a decent human being.

Growing up, I preferred the company of books over TV and playing outdoors. I imagined myself in many different careers, but given my down-to-earth raising, I settled on nursing. I didn't faint at the sight of blood and did well in science, so it seemed a natural choice.

I worked as a registered nurse off and on through the years, but primarily I stayed home with my four rambunctious boys and dreamed of the day when I could write the novels I loved to read. When our youngest son was in high school, I quit my job as a nursing instructor and settled in to pen my first novel. It's been quite a journey. One I wouldn't trade for anything.

I'm committed to writing the stories of my heart and am truly thankful to Jesus, my Savior, for allowing me this freedom. May all the glory be His.

Chasing Lilacs is her first book!

It is the summer of 1958, and life in the small Texas community of Graham Camp should be simple and carefree. But not for twelve-year-old Sammie Tucker. Sammie has plenty of questions about her mother's "nerve" problems. About shock treatments. About whether her mother loves her.

When her mother commits suicide and a not-so-favorite aunt arrives, Sammie has to choose who to trust with her deepest fears: Her best friend who has an opinion about everything, the mysterious kid from California whose own troubles plague him, or her round-faced neighbor with gentle advice and strong shoulders to cry on. Then there's the elderly widower who seems nice but has his own dark past.

Trusting is one thing, but accepting the truth may be the hardest thing Sammie has ever done.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Chasing Lilacs, go HERE.

My copy of this book was provided by the author's publicist.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Patriotism...What is it?

Last week we celebrated Flag Day and in a couple weeks we celebrate the Fourth of July.

It's got me thinking in red, white, and blue. Not hard when my Dad served in the military so long and my husband is an Eagle Scout.

But I'm wondering: what is patriotism in today's world? What does it mean to you? I tend to think in World War II terms (I know, that's hard to believe, right?!?) Or in terms of Post 9/11. Times when people come together willing to do whatever it takes to protect our country and to protect the weak.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm unique. Do my family's sacrifices during the Gulf War color my definition?

So today's question, what is patriotism to you?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Maid to Match CFBA Tour

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Maid to Match
Bethany House (June 1, 2010)

Deeanne Gist

I loved this book. I've come to trust Deeanne's writing, to the point that when her books arrive, they jump to the top of my to be read pile. I know that when I pick up one of her books, I will find characters I love, lots of conflict, a romance I can root for, and a journey to enjoy. Maid to Match was no exception. In fact, this book was a richly drawn look into the world of servants in turn of the century America. Add the Biltmore estate outside Ashville, NC, and you have a wonderful setting for the story.

If you're looking for a romance that will leave you satisfied yet wishing the story didn't have to end, then Maid to Order is the perfect book for you!

After a short career in elementary education, Deeanne Gist retired to raise her four children. Over the course of the next fifteen years, she ran a home accessory and antique business, became a member of the press, wrote freelance journalism for national publications such as People, Parents, Parenting, Family Fun, Houston Chronicle and Orlando Sentinel, and acted as CFO for her husband’s small engineering firm--all from the comforts of home.

Squeezed betwixt-and-between all this, she read romance novels by the truckload and even wrote a couple of her own. While those unpublished manuscripts rested on the shelf, she founded a publishing corporation for the purpose of developing, producing and marketing products that would reinforce family values, teach children responsibility and provide character building activities.

After a few short months of running her publishing company, Gist quickly discovered being a "corporate executive" was not where her gifts and talents lie. In answer to Gist’s fervent prayers, God sent a mainstream publisher to her door who licensed her parenting I Did It!® product line and committed to publish the next generation of her system, thus freeing Gist to return to her writing.

Eight months later, she sold A Bride Most Begrudging to Bethany House Publishers. Since that debut, her very original, very fun romances have rocketed up the bestseller lists and captured readers everywhere. Add to this two consecutive Christy Awards, two RITA nominations, rave reviews, and a growing loyal fan base, and you’ve got one recipe for success.

Her 2010 books, Beguiled and Maid To Match are now available for order.

Gist lives in Texas with her husband of twenty-seven years and their two border collies. They have four grown children. Visit her blog to find out the most up-to-the-minute news about Dee.


Falling in love could cost her everything.

From the day she arrived at the Biltmore, Tillie Reese is dazzled, by the riches of the Vanderbilts and by Mack Danvers, a mountain man turned footman. When Tillie is enlisted to help tame Mack's rugged behavior by tutoring him in proper servant etiquette, the resulting sparks threaten Tillie's efforts to be chosen as Edith Vanderbilt's lady's maid, After all, the one rule of the house is no romance below stairs.

But the stakes rise even higher when Mack and Tillie become entangles in a cover-up at the town orphanage. They could both lose their jobs, their aspirations...their hearts.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Maid to Match, go HERE.

Join this SPECIAL GETAWAY (Click on the Button):

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Countdown is on...

Stars in the Night
releases July 1st.

To say I'm excited is an understatement.

To say I'm nervous is another understatement.

To say I am so glad that God is in charge of my career is a relief.

I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it again. I know that one reason God has me on this road at this time is that so much is so far beyond my control. Much as I love to be a control freak, I can't. All I can control really is the way I commit to writing.

I could blog, tweet, facebook, shoutlife, etc., until the cows come home, and it might not make one lick of difference in sales. I can come up with creative contests (details coming next Monday) and still not see a single blip in sales. That's life.

But God can control who buys the books. He can control whether the person who needs to read it, actually comes across the book. He can control whether the story I write is the right one. He can weave themes together that I don't even anticipate until I read back through the final draft. He can show things to y'all that I didn't realize I'd even written.

That's what makes this so very cool. And scary. And overwhelming. And forces me once again to a point of surrender. A point of accepting that if this is the very last book I write or see in print, it's okay. I am a daughter of God, and as long as I chase hard after Him and His purposes for my life, that's all that matters.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Thanks, Dad! & GIveaway

I wish I had a scan of a photo of my dad as a young man. I love this photo. Dad's in his flight suit and helicopter helmet. He looks so young and has this great smile. It really captures his spirit.

This week K-LOVE has been running a contest for dads. The challenge was to describe your dad in seven words.

Seven words.

That's not a lot of words to try to describe a man who is key in my life. But I'm a writer so took up the challenge. It actually didn't take too long. I'm not sure that it's overly descriptive but it hits his character at the core.

My Dad constantly lays down his life. For others (but those are words eight and nine).

Here's another try:

Hero. Fighter. Soft-heart. Devoted Father. Hard worker.

So how would you describe your father? You can use more than seven words.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Two More Books I've Read Lately

For those of you who like romantic suspense, go grab Kit Wilkinson's latest novel Sabotage from Love Inspired Suspense while it's available. Kit crafts a novel centered in Virginia horse country. When Emilie Gill's groom turns up dead, she finds herself the focus of the investigation. Then more begins to happen and she finds herself relying on her temporary groom for support. She slowly opens her heart to the possibility she can trust others.

This novel had great characters and an interesting setting for anyone who loves horses and the Olympics. I enjoyed the mix of suspense and romance, too.

The other book I just finished was ACFW president's Cynthia Ruchti's debut novel, They Almost Always Come Home. This novel is a departure from what I usually read, but a book I couldn't walk away from. Libby's husband Greg has gone on a solo jaunt into the wilds of Canada. The first problem is he doesn't come home when he's scheduled. The second problem is that Libby's not sure she wants him to return.

Most of the book is told through the first person vision of Libby. Because she ends up chasing her husband through the wilds of Canada, the book is filled with introspection as she engages in her first camping/outdoor adventure. Her travel companions are her best friend and cancer survivor Jen and her father-in-law Frank. The book has moments of levity and is vividly written. Every time I thought it might get too intense and depressing, the lens would shift to something more funny.

Libby's journey isn't easy, either emotionally or physically. But it is a journey worth joining her on...especially if your reading taste leans toward women's fiction.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Want to Start a Book Club?

I saw this post last week over at SheReads. With permission I'm reposting it here because I thought it was filled with fabulous advice on how to start a bookclub. I love reading, but something special happens when I'm able to discuss a book I enjoyed or that challenged me with others. SheReads is a great site that focuses on one book a month -- usually with great giveaways and hundreds of comments. A real dialouge between authors and readers. So be sure to check it out.

Without further ado, here's the article posted over there by Ariel.

All About Book Clubs...

A number of you have written in over the last few weeks requesting specific information on how to join She Reads or create your own book club. Your wish is my command! Here are a handful of ways (all of them free) that you can get involved:

Set up a time to speak with this month’s featured author.

Starting this month we are providing the opportunity for your book club to speak with our featured author via speaker phone. This month’s selection is The Mailbox by Marybeth Whalen. Several of you have already written in to say your book club will be reading it this summer. One way to experience the book on a deeper level is to have Marybeth call in a the beginning of your meeting to discuss her novel. You’ll get the chance to ask questions, learn about the inspiration behind the novel, and connect with her personally. If your book club would like to speak with Marybeth this summer, click here.

The_Mailbox_front_cover(2)“A rural mailbox stands alone on an isolated North Carolina beach, and within its unobtrusive confines lay the hopes and dreams, the heartaches and joys of countless strangers. Tending the lone mailbox on this deserted beach is an anonymous reader called the Kindred Spirit… drawing hearts toward healing and hope.”

Start a new She Reads book club.

Here are a few tips on starting a new book club:

1. Invite friends and family to join your She Reads book club. Ask women from your church, neighborhood, small group, workplace, etc. Don’t be afraid to invite a diverse group of people—the diversity can add to the depth of the discussion. However, keep it small enough for intimate discussion and relationships to be formed. An ideal number is 5 – 10 women. Your group can meet in a home, at a church, in the work place, or at a park. Be versatile and be creative.

2. Choose one of the She Reads selections each month. (We recommend going through one novel per month, but each group has a different pace. Proceed at the level you are comfortable with) Encourage all members to purchase and read the the book before your first meeting.

3. Register your book club on the She Reads site by having each member sign up for our monthly newsletter.

4. Choose a meeting time that doesn’t change—for example the first Tuesday evening or the third Friday evening of the month, etc. Try to come up with a time that suits everyone.

5. Before your first meeting, read the novel, look over the provided discussion questions, and choose recipes to serve, ice breakers to play, and other activities provided at the She Reads site. Be prepared to contribute to your book club.

6. At the first meeting see if your members want to rotate hosting duties, and have members sign up to take turns leading the discussion. Go around the room and ask each person to share why they joined the book club. Also lay out some ground rules. For instance: If you can’t attend, let someone know. Don’t interrupt when someone else is sharing. Respect the opinions of others, etc.

7. Enjoy the time spent with a great book and dear friends!

Don’t have a local book club? Participate online!

Accessibility to a group of like-minded readers can be tough. That’s why we’ve partnered with Time Warners’ Christian Momlogic Book Club to provide an online forum to discuss our featured novels. We’ve kicked off the partnership this month with The Mailbox. Click here to join. The discussion is already underway with 76 member so jump in at any time!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Some Summer Read Recommendations...

It's been awhile since I've posted reviews, so I wanted to let you know about a couple books I've been reading that I really enjoyed. Very different genres, but you expect nothing less from me right? :-)

The Mailbox, Marybeth Whalen's debut novel, reminded me of a Nicholas Sparks novel from the opening scene. Teenage love is found and then lost and years later there's the glimmer of hope that they can recreate what was lost then. But as with most love stories, there are so many obstacles standing in their way it looks impossible. The author weaves the story back and forth between the first summer the current day, slowly bringing the two timelines together. In some books that technique is jarring, but in this one it helped me dive deeper into the characters and their psyches.

The writing is simple, the mailbox an engaging hook, and the idea of a Kindred Spirit we share our deepest selves with sweet. The spiritual thread was also woven into the story in a natural way that reflected the hero and heroine's growth. But what really struck me was the quest for the heroine to find out how very strong she is. She doesn't see it as the book threads from chapter one almost to the end, but by the end she's able to make a choice which requires her to have a core, inner strength she didn't know existed.

This book makes a perfect summer read with a hidden depth that makes the story that much richer. I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to reading more novels by this author.

Chosen is a book that was originally published a few years ago by NavPress, but has been rereleased this spring by David C. Cook. I've wanted to read it since first seeing it, but never actually picked the book up. Now I have.

I've been captivated by the story of Esther since I was a preteen reading the Bible. When there are only a couple books of the Bible that focus on women and one of them deals with a girl who becomes queen, it held a special fascination. Chosen is Ginger Garrett's retelling of Esther from the premise that Esther's lost diaries have been found.

As a history lover, I found the inserted articles from newspapers and journals confusing. I even emailed Ginger and asked her if any were real reprints. Some are which added to the mystic of the book.

What I found entrancing about this book was the way that it swept me to a Persian palace. With each entry in the diary, I could imagine sitting with Esther in the harem and then in the queen's palace. I could imagine the beauty treatments and the complete lack of control the chosen had. The book is filled with intrigue and turned the short, ten chapter book of the Bible into a vivid 300 page novel. And I think it's one that even if you're not sure you like Biblical fiction you would enjoy. Who doesn't want to spend time imagining that she could be chosen above all others to be queen?

Both books were provided by the publisher, but the reviews reflect only my opinions after reading the books.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Strength in a Generation

With the upcoming release of Stars in the Night and imagining next series, I'm reminded of the strength of the World War II generation. That was an amazing chapter in our nation's history. A time when everyone came together to work toward a common goal, regardless of where we lived. The stories of scrap metal drives, people saving their cooking grease, the victory gardens and rationing. Everywhere people changed how their lives were lived to fight toward a common goal.

Today, here's what I'd like to know....

When you think of the World War II generation, what do you think of? Now be might think, snore: that's ancient history. Or you might be captivated by the homefront...the Pacific Front...the European front...or a particular story. Inquiring minds want to know...Leave a comment today!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

What's Your Legacy?

Last week, John Wooden, legendary basketball player and coach died. It's hard to pick up a paper in Indiana or turn on the radio without hearing someone talk about him. From all accounts, he lived his 99 years well...leaving a strong legacy...not only as a coach who pulled the best from others...but a man of faith.

Then I heard on K-LOVE that Dana Key from DeGarmo and Key died. Another man who left a legacy by playing a role in changing the face of contemporary Christian music.

It's got me thinking. What's the legacy I will leave?

We're not guaranteed another moment. All we know we have is right now. So what are we doing with it? What am I doing with it?

I often feel like I live with a sense of urgency...probably because of that unknowing. God could grant me another 60 years here...or it could be another 60 minutes. And when I ponder, I wonder what will people say when I'm heaven bound. Will Eric say I was a good wife, the helpmate he needed for this life? Will my kids acknowledge that while I wasn't perfect I was a good mom who loved them deeply? What legacy will I leave in my community? The circles God's placed me in?

Am I doing the right things? The most important things? Will I leave a legacy like John Wooden? one where my faith shines through in such a way that even non-believers acknowledge its presence in my life? His presence in my life?

A few questions I'm pondering this week...

Here's an interesting article about one barrier in sports John Wooden knocked down.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Stars in the Night

In three short weeks, Stars in the Night releases. Yipes!

I am so excited...and honestly, nervous. It's a big step forward for me. And I love the characters. And the plot. And oh, the time period. Hollywood in 1942. The US is only months into officially being engaged in World War II. Glamour. Glitz. Heroism. And a murder or two. What's not to like? Especially when you add in some romance.

Next week, I'll announce a contest related to the release of Stars in the Night. But you, oh faithful blog readers, can get a head start. There will about seven different ways you can enter. One is to facebook/My Space/Shoutlife your friends letting them know when the book releases. Another is to ask your library to order the book. Many libraries allow you to do this through their website. And a third is to preorder the book yourself. Barnes and Noble continues to have the best price, but CBD isn't far behind.

But most of all, I covet your prayers. Life is a tad crazy with the release of the book, teaching at Purdue, and starting a new book for Guidepost this week. Then there's the important jobs of taking care of my family and getting some homeschooling in this summer -- though that may have to wait until July. Please pray that I would continue to write the books God has for me, and that He would open doors. That the books would reach the people He had in mind.

Thank you!

Friday, June 04, 2010

I can't Wait! ACFW Conference is Coming!!!!

We are 105 days away from the ACFW conference. Don't believe me? Just check the countdown running on the side of my blog.

105 days. Wow!

Why do I get so excited about conference? At the conference I've met each of the editors I've worked with. At the conference I've gotten to know them, and hopefully they've gotten to know me. We got a sense of each other's personalities before contracts were offered.

At the conference, I learn from some of the best teachers on the craft of fiction writer. Last year Donald Maass taught the early bird. This year, James Scott Bell is. Last year I attended the published author track led by Allen Arnold, Thomas Nelson fiction publisher, and Karen Ball, the fiction guru at B&H. This year I'll sit in on the track by Michael Hauge, a Hollywood screenwriting expert. Even though I attended a retreat he taught at last year I can't wait to learn more from him this year.

But ACFW has tracks for all levels of writers. A track for those just starting led by Tracie and Jim Peterson. A track for those who've been writing a bit led by Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck. A track on mastering Structure, Symbols, and 3-D characters with Dr. Dennis Hensley. A track for more advanced writers with Gayle Roper. For those with a contract or at least one book out there's also a marketing track led by Chip MacGregor and Jim Rubart -- I attended an extended version in December and it was excellent! And those are just the continuing education tracks. That doesn't begin to touch on all the wonderful elective workshops.

I also can't wait to see friends that I only get to see once or twice a year -- usually at ACFW. Writing can be such a solitary business.

There's so much I love about conference. Volunteering. Celebrating as people receive their first contracts from Heartsong Presents and Barbour. Meeting with my agent and editors. Hugging my friends. Learning how to do this better. Leading First Time Orientation to ease the way for newbies.

If you're a writer, think about joining us. You won't regret it!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

CFBA Tour: Deceit by Brandilyn Collins

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


Zondervan (June 18, 2010)


Brandilyn Collins

I love Brandilyn's books and this one did not disappoint. First, you have a fascinating career: skip tracing. There's a strong heroine who is determined to prove that the town hero murdered her best friend. And there's Brandilyn's simultaneous plots. They run at the same time and collide in one tense ending. There's also the tiniest hint of a developing romance.

But I think what I found challenging about this book was the underlying thread about deceit. When is it okay to lie? As Christians is it ever okay? What if your job requires it? What if your past requires it? What if you have to lie to survive? And how does that look to the world? Are we suddenly no different from everybody else?

Read this book for a tight suspense plot which will keep the pages turning in quick succession. Turn the pages to see if Joanne is going to survive. But don't miss the deeper theme running throughout. Another great offering from one of my favorite's Brandilyn Collins.


Skip Tracer Joanne Weeks knows Baxter Jackson killed his second wife---and Joanne's best friend---seven years ago. But Jackson, a church elder and beloved member of the town, walks the streets a free man.

The police tell Joanne to leave well enough alone, but Joanne is determined to bring Jackson down. Using her skip tracing skills, she sets out to locate Melissa Harkoff, now twenty-two, who lived in the Jackson home at the time of Linda Jackson's disappearance.

As Joanne drives home on a rainy winter night, a hooded figure darts in front of her car. In her headlight beams she glimpses the half-concealed face of a man, a rivulet of blood jagging down his cheek. She squeals to a stop but clips him with her right fender. Shaking, she gets out of her car in the pouring rain. The man will not let her see his face. Before he limps off into the night he warns her not to talk to police.

As Joanne tries to find Melissa, someone seems to be after her. Who was the man she hit on the road. Is Baxter Jackson out to silence her? Or is some other skip she's traced in the past now out for revenge?

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

Brandilyn Collins is an award-winning and best-selling novelist known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense®. These harrowing crime thrillers have earned her the tagline "Don't forget to b r e a t h e..."® Brandilyn's first book, A Question of Innocence, was a true crime published by Avon in 1995. Its promotion landed her on local and national TV and radio, including the Phil Donahue and Leeza talk shows. Brandilyn is also known for her distinctive book on fiction-writing techniques, Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors (John Wiley & Sons). She is now working on her 20th book.

In addition, Brandilyn’s other latest release is Final Touch, third in The Rayne Tour series—young adult suspense co-written with her daughter, Amberly. The Rayne Tour series features Shaley O’Connor, daughter of a rock star, who just may have it all—until murder crashes her world.


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