Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Giveaway Day 12

And so my month of giveaways comes to a close. If I look around my house, I'm sure I could find another couple dozen books to giveaway. I hope you've enjoyed learning about these books as much as I've enjoyed sharing them with you. Today I have two Love Inspired Suspense titles from Terri Reed. And Sharon Dunn has included one of her full length titles Romance Rustlers & Thunderbird Thieves. I love the way she mixes humor into this series.

I hope you'll participate one more time. It's been fun to meet so many of you this month.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas giveaway: the what & hows

This month I'm giving away lots of books. It's been a year filled with great story, and I want to share some of those with you. The photo shows you just a few of the books I'll giveaway over the next weeks. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Giveaway Day 11

Today I'm giving away two books by friends Tricia Goyer and Kathryn Cushman. Tricia writes in so many different genres it's truly amazing. The Memory Jar  is Amish and set in Montana. Who knew, right? And Kathryn writes gripping stories that run deep.

The Memory Jar: Every year, 30--40 young Amish men descend on the cozy little town of West Kootenai, Montana, arriving in the spring to live there for six months and receive 'resident' status for the hunting season in the fall. They

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Giveaway Day 10

Today I have a collection of four Love Inspired Suspense titles from my friend Sharon Dunn. Several years ago I wrote two books for them, and I love the format of these. They're a great size to throw in a bag or purse. Here's more about these four titles:

Night Prey (2011 Carol Award Winner): As director of the Birds of Prey Rescue Center, Jenna Murphy wants to protect the wild raptors she feels such a strong connection to. When injury to the birds escalates to a break-in and threatening note, she enlists the help of childhood friend Keith

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Reason We Celebrate

In case anyone else needs a reason to remember the true meaning of Christmas, here's Linus from Charlie Brown's Christmas to help us all remember.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Giveaway Day 9: Suspense!

These are two more great suspense writers. Jim writes with a strong supernatural aspect: think Frank Peretti Clear & Present Danger. Steven James writes FBI with a twist, though this is the first in his new Jenkins Bank series. Soul's Gate is also the first in a series and literally made me yearn for a deeper relationship with God. I can't say that about many books I read in 2012. Placebo took a look into the what ifs of science and twisted them into knots.

Soul's GateReece Roth once was able to

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Giveaway Day 8: Romance!

Today, I'm bringing you two great books. The first is The Trouble with Cowboys by one of my favorite contemporary romance writers Denise Hunter. The second is Smitten, a novella collection by authors Colleen Coble, Denise Hunter, Diann Hunt and Kristen Billerbeck. It is a FUN collection of related stories about a town in Vermont that is trying to save itself from destitution.

 The Trouble with CowboysAnnie Wilkerson is Moose Creek's premiere horse

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Giveaway: Day 7

Today I'm delighted to bring you the set of my friend Tricia Goyer's Spanish Civil War series. I learned a lot by watching her write this series. In its pages, she transports the reader to a complex war that became a testing ground for many new techniques applied in World War II.

For reasons beyond her control, Sophie finds herself alone in the war-torn Spanish countryside. What was once a thriving paradise has become a battleground for fascist soldiers and Spanish patriots. She is caught up in the escalating events

Monday, December 17, 2012

Where is God in Tragedy?

Because I have kids who bracket the ages of those murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary, it’s been a time of questions and lots of putting myself in those families’ shoes. 

One of the curses of being a writer is the empathy that floods me in events like this. I feel the pain and horror. I’ll be sitting in church watching our children’s Christmas program and grieving for the families that lost a child and the empty spots in the angel choirs. I think of the unopened presents that are under a tree. What’s a family to do with those when they are still too stunned? I think of the momma cuddling her precious child’s teddy bear, curled on the now empty bed. I think of the medical examiners who had to do the autopsies on those small bodies.

But as I prayed aloud with my kids Friday afternoon, I could feel the shift in my spirit as I prayed for God to do what He does. The miracle that we can’t imagine in these moments. That act of stealing victory from Satan and turning a horrible, beyond-words evil act into something He uses for good. I’ll admit I am clueless as to how He does it...but  I know to the very core of my soul that He does. So I pray for Him to be real to the families and the communities, to all those who were first responders and confronted with the tangible after effects of evil. And I pray to do what God does best: Transform an evil act into something good and beautiful.

Even as my heart shatters for those families.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas Giveaway Day 6: More Great Suspense

Okay, please don't be too jealous, but while we were in Germany, I got to read When a Heart Stops-- before it was in print. That was Lynette's gift to me :-) Now I'm going to gift one person with these two books. The third isn't out yet -- but it's a goodie! So this will give you a chance to get caught up on the series before the third releases in the spring. Both are romantic suspense ala Dee Henderson and Irene Hannon.

When the Smoke Clears: As a member of the North Cascades Smokejumpers, Alexia

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Giveaway Day 5: Contemporary Romance

Today I'm bringing you a two books that are collections of shorter contemporary romances. My collections Ohio Brides and Cornhusker Dreams are part of this line. 

In Gateway Weddings, three Missouri women enter the gateway to life, love, and longing. Valerie Bishop, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, is afraid to leave her home. Can ex-con Healy Ferguson show her the path to freedom? Sailor Kern is enamored of romance author Chandler

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Giveaway Day 4: Great Historical Fiction

Today I'm bringing you two books and authors who are perfect for those who love historical novels that are rich with layers and detail. Both of these ladies are uber-talented and you should add their books to your TBR piles.

 Tamera Alexander's To Whisper Her Name is a sweeping tale set in antebellum Nashville. A USAToday bestseller, here's more: Olivia Aberdeen, destitute widow of a man shot as a traitor to the South, is shunned by proper society and gratefully accepts an invitation from "Aunt" Elizabeth Harding, mistress of Belle Meade

Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday Meditation: Your prayer has been heard

Yesterday morning our pastor taught out of Luke 1. In an example of the Bible being alive and active, a passage that I thought I knew inside and out took on fresh life and meaning. Look at Luke 1:13. Before we go there, let me admit that this is not where the pastor had us. He summarized it before moving ahead in the chapter, but this is what really hit me. Okay, back to Luke 1:13:

But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard..."

Friday, December 07, 2012

Christmas Giveaway #3: Young Adult Titles

In a year I'll have a teenager. My first, and the thought is daunting. I'm not sure there can ever be enough good tools to help parents navigate those teen years successfully with their children. That is why I am THRILLED to bring you this collection of non-fiction books.

Praying for Your Future Husband is an amazing book by Tricia Goyer and Robin Jones Gunn that I used with tweens at our church. It's perfect for teens, but can be used with younger girls. The idea behind the book is to help girls turn their

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Christmas Giveaway Day Two -- Suspense

Today I'm bringing you books by two of my favorite people. Robin is someone I routinely brainstorm with. We also frequently read each other's books before our editors see them. Randy is one of the nicest people I know and he writes AMAZING legal suspense. I told him last month he's the reason I don't write legal!

So I am positively thrilled to have copies of their books to give away. Here's a little more about both of them:

Monday, December 03, 2012

Christmas Giveaway #1: Two Robin Lee Hatcher Books

Today I'm giving away two new books from Robin Lee Hatcher. Here's more about the two books. 

BetrayalIt's the turn of the twentieth century and drifter Hugh Brennan is a man well acquainted with betrayal. Hugh finds himself drawn to the attractive widow, Julia, yet when he looks into her eyes, he recognizes the same hurt that haunts him. Julia Grace has little reason to trust men,

Friday, November 30, 2012

5 Christmas Gifts to Make with Your Family

Painting by my son 
It’s that time of year. Gift-giving season is upon us. Whether you have lots of money or a little to spend, people love receiving home-made gifts. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

1) Get your children involved by using hand prints or foot prints to make a calendar. We’ve done this a couple times. For example, January can be a snowman made from a small foot. February is hearts crafted by painting the fisted hand by the pinky. November is a hand-print turkey. October is a ghost. Do the prints on colored construction paper, then go online and print off the next year’s month-by-month calendar. You paste the calendar to the back of the next month’s artwork. Then take it to a copy shop to be spiral bound. Don’t forget to have the child sign and date their artwork. Grandmas and aunts love these.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Pause to Soak in His Presence

It's the week after Thanksgiving. We're racing toward Christmas. Even with Thanksgiving occurring a week early, it feels like a race. When did we decide that this organized (or not so organized) chaos was restful, relaxing, conducive to a joyful season?

When did the joy of gifting something to one we love become replaced by the pressure to find the perfect gift? When did the amount of the gift matter more than spirit it is gifted in? At times like these I need a reason to remember that God can calm my heart when I feel like I'm spilling in a bazillion different directions.

Grab a mug of tea or cup of coffee. I'll share my peppermint mocha creamer. It's low-sugar. And let's sit together and soak in this truth.

The Lord is with us. With us. Emmanual. The God with us. Savor that. He's with us. Not watching us. With us.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Perfect books for suspense/mystery lovers

Today I want to introduce you to a couple new books by two of my friends who write great conflicted characters. Ronie Kendig shines in military set suspense -- with fantastic characters and a bit outside the box. While Sibella Giorello writes an FBI set series with an equally conflicted heroine. 

Trinity combines Kendig's trademark discarded heroes with the military war dogs. The result is a book I couldn't put down and thoroughly enjoy. Kendig writes military very well, placing the reader in the middle of the action and not letting go. At the end there were a couple times I had to stretch what I thought could really happen, but I willingly did it because I wanted the characters to win. And the twists and turns were great. Combine a broken hero with a broken heroine, an international crisis on the horizon and one amazing dog and this is a great military thriller/suspense. Thoroughly enjoyed it and CANNOT wait for the next book!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Ready for A Merry Little Christmas with Anita Higman?

Today, I'm delighted to have Anita Higman join us. Anita is a friend of mine who has a Christmas book releasing just in time for some holiday cheer. This would make a great Christmas gift!

Franny and Charlie come from very different backgrounds, but are both looking for something very different from the way they've grown up. Do you think as humans, we all have a "grass is always greener on the other side" mentality?

Yes, that is a human frailty that is easy to succumb to, and I’ve been guilty of it as well. But God is good about reminding me that he’s placed me on my own unique life-road, and it may have little to do with anyone else’s journey. Besides, in many cases when we get a closer look at someone else’s “lush green grass” it usually turns out to be turf.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Trust: another perspective

This week I'm rerunning some of my earlier posts. I hope you enjoy this video. It's still a great reminder of how we live, and how God wants us to live!
Here's a great clip from Francis Chan, author of Crazy Love.

As I watched this the other day, God took it a step further in my mind. I think some of us do cling to the balance beam. But others of us are trying to do a full routine for God. Everything He puts in front of us we tackle with gusto. Then something happens.

Life throws us for a loop.

The perfect life we'd been living is suddenly shaken to our core. Then we get up to do that skill again, and we can't. We now have a mental block because our mind tells us we'll get hurt again. And God watches, waiting and encouraging. He says, "You can." We say, "I can't." And in the process we lose the ability to live the full life He has for us. Until we can climb up on that balance beam, dust the chalk off, and trust Him to catch us if we try and fall again.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What does it mean to have an Inheritance from God?

This is a post from last year. Still very true...

One of the things I am studying right now is exactly that question. What does it mean to be a daughter of the King -- and by extension to have an inheritance from Him? I'm trying to get a head-start on a Beth Moore study I'll be leading for the ladies at our church starting in January.

The springing off place for me and the study is Psalm 16:6: the boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I love that verse!

For years, I've been stressing to the ladies at our church the importance of understanding who we are in Christ. What it means to be a co-heir. To

Monday, November 19, 2012

Being Thankful...all the time

This week I'm rerunning a few of my older posts. Regardless of where we are, thankfulness is important. May you experience a fresh sense of thankfulness this week.

Ever had a season where you just couldn't dig deep to find a reason to be thankful? I bet we all have. Here are a few verses that really put it in context...

Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

 Colossians 2:6-7 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Three Children's Christmas Books I Love

I know Thanksgiving is next week, but I'm thinking about the Christmas books I want to read to my kids this year. It's always fun trying to decide which ones we'll enjoy together as a family. Here are a few of our favorites, and I want to know which ones you love, too.

The Velveteen Rabbit: I realized the other day when I picked up a copy at Kohl's that I hadn't introduced my younger two to the story. And the older two didn't remember it. Time to remedy that. The story begins with Christmas, but is really a story of so much more including the power of love. How a stuffed animal becomes real through the love of a little boy. I get sentimental just thinking about the story.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Courting Cate Review

I have loved Leslie Gould's books that she coauthored with Mindy Starns Clark. They are a great mix of Amish with mystery and great characters. So I was excited to see that Leslie had a new book releasing: Courting Cate. Courting Cate is an interesting mix of the old idea that the oldest daughter has to marry first. In this case, Cate has no interest in marrying and the local bachelors are only interested in her sister. Then a new bachelor arrives and everyone decides he's the right man for Cate. If you like books set in the Amish lifestyle with a strong romance, then this is a book you should try.

Courting Cate
When This Couple Gets to Courting, Sparks Will Fly!
In Paradise, Pennsylvania, Cate Miller is known more for her sharp tongue and fiery temper than her striking appearance. Her sweet and flirty sister, Betsy, on the other hand, seems to have attracted most of the bachelors in Lancaster County!
But the sisters’ wealthy father has made one hard-and-fast rule: older Cate must marry first, before younger Betsy can even start courting. Unfortunately, untamable Cate has driven away every suitor–until Pete Treger comes to town, that is.
Prodded by the men of the area, Pete turns his attention to winning Cate’s hand. But is his interest true or is there a scheme at play?
Book 1 in The Courtships of Lancaster County series.

Leslie Gould is the co-author, with Mindy Starns Clark, of the #1 bestselling The Amish Midwife and The Amish Nanny. She is also the author of numerous novels, including Garden of Dreams, Beyond the Blue (winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice for Best Inspirational Novel, 2006), and Scrap Everything. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Portland State University and has taught fiction writing at Multnomah University as an adjunct professor. She resides with her husband and four children in Portland, Oregon. Learn more at

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

3 Ways to Encourage Greatness in Others

There are those moments in life that leave me wondering and humbled.

Last night I received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the community college I attended.

As I considered what I would say, I came to appreciate all over again how very blessed I have been. Throughout my life, I have been surrounded by people who believe in me. People who always challenged me to be more and never looked down on me because I was young. (I Timothy 4:12).

My parents never told me I couldn't start college early. Then when I was 16 and ready to do it, my mom took me to Mid Plains to see how we could make it happen. The admissions team didn't know what to do with a 16 year old homeschooler, but they made a way for me. Mrs. McGahan opened so many doors for me through student government. Mr. Babcock

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fun Historical: A Change of Fortune

This week, the

is introducing

Bethany House Publishers (November 1, 2012)



Jen grew up in the small town of St. Clairsville, Ohio, where she spent an idyllic childhood riding her purple spider bike, ice-skating on a little pond and reading Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon books in her tree house. High School was, surprisingly enough, fabulous as Jen spent time with her girlfriends. She headed off to college with no idea of what she wanted to be when she grew up, but settled on pursuing a career in fashion because she thought it sounded glamorous. Her parents thought she’d lost her mind, but they resigned themselves to her choice and after earning a BA degree in Clothing and Textiles, Jen set off to take the fashion world by storm, only to discover retail was certainly not the glamorous career she’d imagined it would be. She moved to Buffalo, New York to take a job in the buying office of a large department store, learning all there was to know about cookware, which again, was hardly glamorous, especially to a girl who did not have a knack for cooking. She met her future husband, Al, a few months after taking this job and eight months later, they were married. After moving into management at another department store and working that for a few years, the company went out of business and Jen decided she’d had enough. One year later her son was born and Jen hung up her heels for good and concentrated on being a mom.

She began dabbling in writing when her son, then in elementary school, said he liked her made up stories as much as those in his books. It was then that she  fired up the computer and never looked back.

Jen loves to write humorous stories with quirky characters and a dash of intrigue and finds historical romances especially appealing, seeing as how she’s been reading them since she was a teenager. Her mother gave her a copy of Kathleen Woodiwiss, The Flame and the Flower, and Jen was hooked on the genre. When not reading romance, she loves to read mysteries, young adult and her favorite series of all time, Harry Potter.

Besides writing, Jen enjoys spending time with her family and friends.


Lady Eliza Sumner is on a mission. Her fortune was the last thing she had left after losing her father, her fiance, and her faith. Now, masquerading as Miss Eliza Sumner governess-at-large, she's determined to find the man who ran off with her fortune, reclaim the money, and head straight back to London.

Mr. Hamilton Beckett, much to his chagrin, is the catch of the season, and all the eyes of New York society--all the female ones, at least--are on him. He has no plans to marry again, especially since his hands are full keeping his business afloat while raising his two children alone.

Eliza's hapless attempts to regain her fortune unexpectedly put her right in Hamilton's path. The discovery of a common nemesis causes them to join forces and, before she knows it, Eliza has a whole retinue of people helping her. Eliza's determination not to trust anyone weakens when everyone's antics and bumbling efforts to assist her make her wonder if there might be more important things than her fortune and independence.

When all of Hamilton's and Eliza's best-laid plans fall by the wayside, it will take a riot of complications for them to realize that God just might have had a better plan in mind all along.

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Change of Fortune, go HERE.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Steven James is back with Placebo

I love Steven James' Patrick Bowers series. I love the fresh take on an FBI investigator and all the sub-plots which recur and deepen through the series. When I learned he had started a new series, I was curious to read it...even as I wondered if he could live up to my high expectations.

Placebo is the start of a new series, this time with Jevin Banks as the main character. I'll admit that I was convinced I knew by page 66 exactly where the story was going -- though it didn't -- but I wouldn't be surprised if another book in the series goes where I anticipated.

Jevin Banks is an illusionist who made it big and then disappeared from the show scene when his wife and twin boys died. Now he spends his energy exposing frauds on a national television show. He thinks his trip to a retreat/research center will be one more opportunity to expose frauds. Instead, he's dropped in the center of a quest to see how our lives are interconnected through quantum

Friday, November 09, 2012

Courting Cate Review

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Courting Cate
Bethany House Publishers (November 1, 2012)
Leslie Gould

I really enjoy the Women of Lancaster County series that Leslie Gould co-wrote with Mindy Starns Clark. Those stories are rich and multi-layered. Courting Cate has a different feel because it doesn't focus on a mystery, but many other elements are the same. Readers who love a good romance mixed with conflict will really enjoy this book.


Even though I knew I wanted to write fiction by the time I was in the sixth grade, as I grew older I pursued other things instead, such as majoring in history and communications, and then working as a museum curator, then a public relations specialist, and finally as a magazine editor. Once I finally started writing fiction, it was another ten years until I sold my first novel. By that time I’d been married for nearly 20 years and had four children of my own to read to.

In the decade since my first contract I’ve written fifteen books, from Beyond the Blue, a story about international adoption set in Vietnam, to Courting Cate, a retelling of Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew” set in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. No matter what I write, I aim to reveal truths about God’s love, beauty, and redemptive work in our lives. My goal is to connect more deeply to God, family, and friends through my writing. My hope is that my stories encourage readers to deepen their own connections too.


When Amish farmer Pete Treger moves to Paradise Township, Pennsylvania, seeking a better life, he meets sisters Cate and Betsy Miller. Both are beautiful, but older sister Cate is known more for her sharp tongue and fiery temper than her striking appearance. Betsy, on the other hand, is sweet and flirty--and seems to have attracted most of the bachelors in Lancaster County!

However, the sisters' wealthy father has made one hard and fast rule: elder sister must marry first, before the younger can even start courting. Unfortunately for poor Betsy, and for the men who want to court her, her older sister, Cate, doesn't have any suitors--until Pete comes to town, that is.

Though he finds both sisters attractive, something about Cate's feisty demeanor appeals to him. Soon the other bachelors in the district convince Pete to court Cate. She hardly seems receptive to his overtures, though. Instead, she's immediately suspicious of his interest.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Courting Cate, go HERE.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Ready to have Your Mind Expanded? Soul's Gate Giveaway

Every once in awhile I read a book that impacts me on a deep level. One where I find myself praying through the pages asking for God to expand my vision and expectations. Last week I read a book like that. Soul's Gate, by Jim Rubart, could open your spiritual eyes if you let it.

Jim is an author who comes up with mind-twisting plots and what-ifs. Soul's Gate was no exception. The characters were interesting, but what grabbed me and is staying with me after closing the book is the idea that I want God to use me in a way like He did the characters. Imagine four people who fulfill an old prophecy. They are to come together to bring freedom to those who are in bondage. They have to start with themselves...and that means jumping in to other people's souls -- with permission -- to do warfare for them. Jim admits in an author note, that may not be possible. But so many other things in the book come straight from the Bible.

Bottom line, I closed the book with a cry in my heart and hunger to be used by God in fresh, new, mighty ways to bring His freedom to this world. Definitely a book that can impact readers as much as Frank Peretti's This Present Darkness.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

God is Still in Control

Last night was disappointing for many of us. But as I watched the results pour in, here's what I kept coming back to: God is in control.

Either I believe that or I don't. But it doesn't change the reality that the Lord of the Universe and the King of Kings has not suddenly disappeared. He is still sitting on His throne and He is at work. 

Proverbs 21:1 The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.

So here are a few things I commit to do more intentionally. Anyone want to join me?

Monday, November 05, 2012

4 Things to Remember on the Hard Momma Days

A few weeks ago, I asked people for feedback on what topics they’d like to see covered. One of the first suggestions struck home What about those days we feel like a failure as a mom?

Raise you hand if you’ve ever had a day like that. Can you see my hand waving? I have so been there.

The day where I struggle to get out of bed. Then I struggle to keep my temper as the house seems to disintegrate around me. Or the kids pick at each other until I’m ready to cry uncle. Don’t get me wrong…I have great kids. Some of the best I could ask for, but they’re still…well…kids. Or the days I look with longing out the window and wonder what it would be like to see at least a couple of my children off on the school bus. Then there are the days someone asks me how to homeschool – with this look of expectation that just makes me want to laugh or cry.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Behind the Scenes: A Wedding Transpires on Mackinac Island

I often start my books by thinking about a setting that I think readers will enjoy escaping to through the pages of a book. A Wedding Transpires on Mackinac Island was no exception.

I didn't grow up aware of Mackinac Island. I wasn't even sure what I was getting into the first time we drove the ten hours from Lafayette, Indiana, to the tip of Michigan's mitten. I knew is it took a long time to reach this tiny dot on the map. It didn't take me long to learn the island had worked hard to preserve a feel of days long ago. It took even less time to fall in love with this retreat. We've stayed at the Grand, in B & Bs and in Mackinaw City. Each time, I couldn't wait to reach the island and explore its roads, shops, and Fort. It was only natural that it became the perfect place to set a contemporary romance. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Review: You Don't Know Me by Susan May Warren

You Don't Know Me Cover
Susan May Warren is an author that I enjoy immensely. She writes prolifically. I honestly don't know how she writes as many books as she does -- and they're all creative and the type that pull me deeply into the story. With You Don't Know Me, she explores the theme of secrets and how it impacts those we love. 

Annalise Decker has it all. Everybody acknowledges it, but the reality is her life is a lie. And now her past is ready to catch her. Hidden by Witness Protection, her worst fears are realized when the man she testified against comes after her. No one knows she has a new identity and the truth could destroy everything she has and the people she loves. 

As the story spins out, the secrets others have harbored and the pain they create spins an intricate web. While there is a small sense of suspense, this is really a story of healing from the past, couples with a nice romance with strong secondary characters. An engaging, enjoyable read. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday Meditations: A Spacious Place

Monday meditations. It's been awhile since I've had one of these. The last few days I've been thinking about Psalm 18:19:

He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me. 

Often I think we feel trapped by life. By our circumstances. By the space between our dreams and our reality. By the sin we can't let go of. By the way we long to act and the way we really do. By the way we want to love like Christ, and the reality of loving in the depth of our humaness.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Be Swept Away: Two historical romances from favorite authors

Tamera Alexander is quickly becoming one of my favorite historical authors. There is something about her novels set in Antebellum Nashville that draw me in and keep me reading. Yesterday her latest, To Whisper Her Name released...I couldn't read it fast enough. Besides the GORGEOUS cover, the characters were wonderful.

 Olivia Aberdeen is a widow in a desperate situation who is welcomed at Belle Meade Plantation. She knows she is a charity case, but fights to come into her own. Ridley Cooper is a huge part of that happening. He sees a depth and strength to her that she doesn't acknowledge and teased, cajoles, and drums it out of her. At the same time he has deep secrets that he can't reveal...and so he dances a line of telling almost the full truth as he works with the thoroughbreds at Belle Meade. Neither can marry the other for big and oh-to-real reasons despite the growing reality they may be in love.

Add in the rich history that is woven through the pages, an incredible cast of secondary characters, and this is a story that is going on my keeper shelf. Wonderful, truly wonderful book that is perfect for those who love a compelling romance set in another time.

Julie Lessman is another one of my favorite historical authors. Her books are set in Boston during the 1920s and follow the O'Connor family. Julie writes stories with a vividness and depth of passion that makes them so compelling. I get drawn into the world, and I love it when characters reappear from book to book. In her newest, A Love Surrendered, readers get to follow Stephen's story. Here's more:

Orphaned in Iowa, Annie Kennedy moves to Boston to stay with her spinster aunt. She longs for romance to fill the void left by her parents' death. But when she falls hard for Steven O'Connor, the man who broke an engagement to her sister, Annie is worried. Will he break her heart too when he discovers who she really is?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Review: The Memory Jar

The Memory Jar
Tricia Goyer brings a fresh voice and perspective to Amish fiction with the Memory Jar.  I really enjoy Tricia’s books and the way she brings a fresh perspective to her characters and stories. The Memory Jar is Amish with a twist, because it begins in Montana. It is a journey to wholeness and a journey to dreams. There’s plenty of love and romance to keep the pages turning. A very satisfying story for those who love gentler stories.
Book One in the Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series
Every year, 30–40 young Amish men descend on the cozy little town of West Kootenai, Montana, arriving in the spring to live there for six months and receive ‘resident’ status for the hunting season in the fall. They arrive as bachelors, but go home with brides! Sarah Shelter has lived in West Kootenai for the last ten years and wonders if she will ever fall in love.
Since the tragic death of her best friend, she carries her memories in a jar along with the small items connected to them. For just as long, she’s also been carrying around her emotions instead of allowing them to penetrate deep into her heart. Now she’s met a kind and gentle man who may be able to break down the wall. But can Sarah risk her heart to finally achieve her dreams?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Great Tools for Parents: Hot Buttons Series & Giveaways

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Review: The Sons of Jude

I thoroughly enjoyed Brandt Dodson's Colton Parker series and was very excited to see he had a new book out. This novel launches a new series: this one into the corrupt world of Chicago government and police. Frank Campello's partner is barely in the grave when he's assigned his new partner: Andy Polanski -- a turncoat on other police and the last person Campello wants to trust. When they're assigned a murder that leads to the gateways of Chicago power, they find they have to trust each other cause there's no one else to trust.

The action moves, but never flies in this story. There's a methodical approach to the crime and the assault on power. One dictated by the enemies they're taking on. There's a hint of romance, clash of values, and murders that pile up. And the ending is cliff-hanger as the police hunt for the corrupt among their own. An enjoyable read for those who like gritty crime dramas with plenty of realism.

Monday, October 15, 2012

No Safe Harbor Fun & Giveaway

Today we're going to have fun with my writing friend Elizabeth Ludwig. A couple years ago we attended a writers retreat in Texas. One thing that made that retreat so fun was getting to know other writers -- like Lisa. This month she has a new book out: a historical romantic suspense. Read to the end, leave a comment, and I'll give away one book. With a heroine named Cara how could I not share the book! It's set in New York city during 1897, and has threads of romance and suspense. So let's learn more about the hero and heroine.
 Brief physical description

I have two protagonists—Rourke (Walsh) Turner and Cara Hamilton.

Cara is Irish, with long red hair and beautiful green eyes. She’s sweet, but don’t let that fool you. She has a fiery side!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Ready for some historicals?

There are so many great books releasing in October -- it's an absolute abundance of riches for Christian fiction lovers. Today I'm highlighting two books by writing buddies of mine: Melanie Dobson and Janice Thompson. Each has picked a moment in America's rich tapestry of history to highlight. Melanie's book is set in 1842 on the bitterly hard Oregon Trail and then Fort Vancouver. Janice's book is set on the Titanic -- you may have participated in her fun Facebook Titanic experience in April. Both books will transport you back in time and plant you in settings with characters that capture your heart and attention.
Melanie Dobson has written ten contemporary and historical novels. In 2011, two of her releases won Carol Awards: Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa (for historical romance) and The Silent Order (for romantic suspense). Prior to her writing career, Melanie was the corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family and a publicist for The Family Channel. She later launched her own public relations company. Melanie and her family enjoy their home in the Pacific Northwest. The entire Dobson family loves to travel and hike in both the mountains and along the cliffs above the Pacific. 
Where the Trail Ends
A young woman traveling the Oregon Trail in 1842 must rely on a stranger to bring her to safety. But whom can she trust with her heart?

Friday, October 12, 2012

3 Reasons I Love Writing Christian Fiction

Ignore the fact that the expression on my face in this photo with my buddy Tricia Goyer is just plain odd...I had to share it because Tricia is one of those reasons I love writing Christian fiction. Why you ask?

1) Christian fiction authors are a community. ACFW is a party with 700 in the writing family. Next month I'll be at a retreat for published authors that is also all about community. We share the journey with a minimum of competition. It is AMAZING to be part of this world.

2) I get to interact with the best folks. I'm working on my next World War II novel. I like to call it

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Wedding Transpires on Mackinac Island Video

While I was at ACFW, Novel Crossings invited authors to talk about their books. You know me...I am not shy in front of a camera. So it was fun to get to share about my book and Mackinac Island. Here's the snippet:

Cara Putman Talks About A Wedding Transpires on Mackinac Island on Novel Crossing from novelcrossing on GodTube.

Do you like watching authors talk about their books? I've considered trying vlogs. Are there any things you'd like me to share? Inquiring minds (mine) would love to know!

Monday, October 08, 2012

Dee Henderson is back!

This week, the
is introducing
Bethany House Publishers (October 2, 2012)

Dee Henderson is back! For those who have loved her other books, particularly the O'Malley series, you will enjoy Full Disclosure. It has the elements I love in her romantic suspense: a suspenseful puzzle that seems impossible to untangle, a heroine that I would love to meet in real life, and a hero who will fight for his lady. Add in some fun tie-ins to the O'Malley and other books and it's an enjoyable read. I had inklings of where the book was going, but the author kept me guessing until the end. There were so many threads I wasn't sure how they would all tie together, but they do. It's a book to be savored, because Dee is back!


Ann Silver is a cop's cop. As the Midwest Homicide Investigator, she is called in to help local law enforcement on the worst of cases, looking for answers to murder. Hers is one of the region's most trusted investigative positions.

October New Releases

October is the month where fall makes me want to curl up with a blanket, cup of hot chocolate, and a great book. Publishers seem to understand that because there is a long list of great fiction releases coming this month. Read below more a hint of what's releasing. More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Garters for Lace by Brandi Boddie -- Civil War veteran and preacher Rowe Winford arrives in town intent on leaving the tragic memories of his deceased family behind. Although Rowe has no plans to fall in love anytime soon, the plans of God rarely match those of man. Faced with adversity and rejection from the town and Rowe's family, can Marissa overcome her past, renew her faith, and experience the life of love that God has planned for her? Can this small-town saloon girl trade her fancy garters for a respectable life? (Historical Romance from Realms (Charisma Media).

Guardian by Heather Burch -- The mission to safeguard Nikki Youngblood depends on the fragile alliance of two half-angel, half-human guardians, both struggling with intense feelings for the girl who has been assigned to their care. (Young Adult from Zondervan).

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Review: When a Heart Stops

Lynette Eason is a romantic suspense writer who gets better with each book. When A Heart Stops is the second book in the Deadly Reunions series and focuses on a medical examiner who gets in teh way of a serial killer. The pace pounds through most of the book, and the pauses are perfectly placed interludes of romance. A book I thoroughly enjoyed!
More About the Book
A killer's deadly game needs new players . . . but someone's about to change the rules
As a medical examiner, Serena Hopkins is used to dealing with death. But that doesn't make it any easier when she's called to the eerie scene of a murder—especially when Serena realizes that she knows the victim. Nearly as unnerving is the presence of FBI agent Dominic Allen, her childhood crush.


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