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Monday, September 29, 2008

Spotlight on Linda Goodnight and A Time to Heal / A Bride by Christmas

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

LINDA GOODNIGHT is a winner of the RITA Award for excellence in inspirational fiction, and has also won the Booksellers' Best, ACFW Book of the Year, and a Reviewers' Choice Award from Romantic Times Magazine. Linda has appeared on the Christian bestseller list and her romance novels have been translated into more than a dozen languages. Active in orphan ministry, this former nurse and teacher enjoys writing fiction that carries a message of hope and light in a sometimes dark world. She and husband Gene live in Oklahoma. Readers may contact her through her website: http://www.lindagoodnight.com/.

A TIME TO HEAL
by Linda Goodnight
Published by Steele Hill/Harlequin

THE COSSACK BRIDE in A BRIDE BY CHRISTMAS
by Linda Goodnight
Published by Barbour Publishing

ABOUT THE BOOKS

A Time to Heal
Only one person knows why Kat Thatcher left her Oklahoma hometown ten years ago. Why she ran to the city and became a workaholic doctor. Why she put off marriage…indefinitely. And that person is now staring her in the face on her first day back in town! Seth Washington is as handsome as ever. Way too available. And wanting to talk about the past—which Kat prefers to leave alone. Seth insists the Lord is on their side and always was. Kat's starting to believe, but will that be enough for love?

The Cossack Bride in A Bride by Christmas
Spunky Christian heiress Anastasia Federov is on the run from a guardian who plans to marry her for her money. Hoping to choose her own husband before the forced Christmas wedding, Anastasia places a newspaper ad. Though uninterested in marriage Kansas rancher Jace Brackett hires Anna to nanny his troublesome little sister while searching for a suitable groom. And then the evil guardian gets wind of Anna's whereabouts...

Buy Your Copy of A Time to Heal and A Bride by Christmas Today!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

A TIME TO HEAL came about from watching my son work so hard to become a surgeon. I got to thinking how much a doctor sacrifices in time, relationships, etc. Thus, the idea for a doctor who has simply burned herself out.

The idea for THE COSSACK BRIDE in "A Bride by Christmas" just came to me. However, I intentionally made her of Ukrainian/Cossack heritage because my husband and I are active in Ukrainian orphan ministry and have hosted a number of the kids in our home. We love the culture and the children and I was thrilled to have a place to honor that.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that are theirs and theirs alone?

As I mentioned in number one, both my heroines were influenced by instances in my life. I'm one who believes most of what I write comes, at least in part, from something I've experienced. I may expand on it, twist it and change it and ask the what-if questions that take me far away from real life experiences, but ultimately the characters come from within me, so they are influenced by my experiences.

In THE COSSACK BRIDE, Anna is spunky and strong like me, but unlike me she is finishing school refined. I can sing. Anna cannot but she loves to try!

In A TIME TO HEAL, Kathryn has a lot of my personal insecurities and the tendency to blame herself for anything bad that happens. It was easy for me to get inside her head and feel her hurts.

3. If one of your characters were an ice cream flavor, what he/she be and why?

I love this question!

Kathryn would be Rocky Road, no doubt about it, because she's spent her life struggling over bumps, many of her own making. But she's marshmallow soft and sweet once you get down into the inside.

Anna is Ben and Jerry's Vanilla toffee crunch. Though sweet as vanilla cream on the outside, Anna has just the right amount of grit on the inside to give her substance.

4. What themes exist in A Time to Heal and A Bride by Christmas that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

This is always such a hard question for me. When I write I never think about theme. I just tell the story that's inside me the best way I can and pray that God uses it to bless or help or encourage or entertain. Even after a book is finished, I don't really know the theme(s) unless I go back and analyze—which I never do unless I'm asked in interviews. :) Since you've forced me to actually think. Here goes:

A TIME TO HEAL – God's healing and redemptive power is always there for those who choose to accept it. I always, always want readers to get that from my stories. God has healed me of so many past mistakes and hurts and even of things that were beyond my control as a child. I want readers to know the peace and love and joy that come only from a relationship with Jesus.

THE COSSACK BRIDE – I hope some of my very smart readers will write and share what they think the theme is because I don't know!

5. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

A TIME TO HEAL – The deeply emotional parts are both my favorite the most difficult parts. In order to write the emotion, I have to let myself feel it, and sometimes that hurts. I cry. My heart pounds. My throat gets tight and thick, and I ache inside. And yet, when I'm finished with the scene--which in this book is the moment when Kat and Seth face their shared past and find a tender, beautiful means of closure--I'm usually more pleased with that section than any other part of the book.

Small town America is filled with fascinating people like my 'gossip sisters.' I grew up in and still live in a small town, so I have a blast writing colorful characters, too.

In THE COSSACK BRIDE, I'm almost ashamed to admit there were no difficult parts. The feisty little heroine was so much fun she carried me quickly through the novella. I especially enjoyed writing the family Christmas scene with all the unspoken meaning and undercurrents running between Anna and Jace. I hope you like it too.

6. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

Although I have traditional romance books coming out sooner, my next inspirational book, HOME TO CROSSROADS RANCH, comes out in March '09 from Love Inspired. This is the journey of a single foster mom, her fight for her kids, and the reluctant rancher who can't seem to resist helping out--against his better judgment.

Also coming up are:

MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS from Steeple Hill, a single title Mother's Day anthology with Deborah Bedford scheduled for April '09.

THE BABY BOND, from Love Inspired in May '09, in which a funny, footloose firefighter bonds with an infant he saves from a deadly fire, then butts heads and hearts with the baby's fire-phobic guardian.

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Thank you, Linda, for being in the spotlight with us.

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of either A Time to Heal or A Bride by Christmas. There will be TWO drawings for this spotlight.

If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post. Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname dot.com/net). Wouldn't want you to miss out on winning a book. :)

And if you want to make certain you don't miss anything, check the box that says 'email follow-up comments to:' when you leave a comment and they'll be sent to the email address associated with your blogging account. That way you'll be notified of any comments and will know when I announce the winner.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fall into Reading Book Challenge

I had the distinct pleasure to meet and chat briefly with a woman who did an amazing job with helping to organize the ACFW bookstore this year in Minneapolis. Her name is Janna Ryan, and each year she issues a reading challenge for the Fall.

She has included my 2nd book, Quills & Promises, on her list of 40 books for her own goal to read by Christmas.

Take a look at her blog for all the details. Enter the challenge yourself; post a comment with your list or even just your top 3 and enter a drawing she's having to win 3 books by Christmas.

I might be able to read 3 books by then, but with a book due in December to my editor, I don't know how far I'll get. :)

But join the fun, if you wish.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

CFBA Blog Tour - Cindy Woodsmall and When the Soul Mends

Today's author is also fondly known as my "big sis." We met at ACFW conference a few years ago, and when I told her I had 3 brothers but no sisters, she unofficially adopted me. We've been "sisters" ever since. Her writing has been heralded as some of the best Amish stories in years. The intricate stories she crafts will stay with you long after you finish the last page. I'm sure you'll love her as much as I do.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
When the Soul Mends
Waterbrook Press - September 16, 2008)
by Cindy Woodsmall


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

CINDY WOODSMALL Cindy Woodsmall is a veteran homeschool mom. As her children progressed in age, her desire to write grew stronger. After working through reservations whether this desire was something she should pursue, she began her writing journey. Her husband was her staunchest supporter as she aimed for what seemed impossible.

Her first novel, When The Heart Cries, released in 2006 to much acclaim and became a Christian Book Association best seller. Cindy was a 2007 ECPA Christian Book Award finalist, along with Karen Kingsbury, Angela Hunt, and Charles Martin.

Her last book, When the Morning Comes, hit the New York Times best-sellers extended list and the Christian Book Association best-sellers list.

Cindy's real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity.

Cindy, her husband, their three sons and daughter-in-law reside in Georgia. Her husband is a registered land surveyor and a vice president at an engineering firm. Their oldest son has a bachelor's degree in nuclear medicine and works at a local hospital. Their second son and his wife are both students at the University of Georgia. Their teen-aged son keeps the household energized with his love of music, books, and writing.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Returning to the home she fled in disgrace, will Hannah find healing for the wounds of the past?

After receiving a desperate and confusing call from her sister, Hannah Lapp reluctantly returns to the Old Order Amish community of her Pennsylvania childhood.

Having fled in disgrace more than two years earlier, she finally has settled into a satisfying role in the Englischer world. She also has found love and a new family with the wealthy Martin Palmer and the children she is helping him raise. But almost immediately after her arrival in Owl's Perch, the disapproval of those who ostracized her, including her headstrong father, reopens old wounds.

As Hannah is thrown together with former fiancé Paul Waddell to work for her sister Sarah's mental health, hidden truths surface about events during Hannah's absence, and she faces an agonizing decision. Will she choose the Englischer world and the man who restored her hope, or will she heed the call to return to the Plain Life–and perhaps to her first love?

If you would like to read an excerpt, go HERE.

"A skillfully written story of forgiveness and redemption. Woodsmall's authentic characters illustrate beautifully how wounded souls can indeed be mended."
Susan Meissner, author of The Shape of Mercy

"Like the stitches on a well-loved quilt, love and faith hold together Cindy Woodsmall's When the Soul Mends, the brilliantly written third story in the Sisters of the Quilt series. With deft plotting and characters that seem to jump off the page, this novel offers the timeless truth that forgiveness is the balm which heals all wounds and a blanket for the soul."
Kathleen Y'Barbo, author of Beloved Castaway

"What a vibrant, strong, emotional story! When the Heart Cries will grip you and not let go, I promise. Highly recommended!"
Gayle Roper, author of Allah's Fire and the Seaside Seasons series

"Reaching deep into the heart of the reader, Cindy Woodsmall pens a beautifully lyrical story in her debut novel When the Heart Cries."
Tamera Alexander, bestselling and RITA-award-winning author of Rekindled

Buy your copy of When the Soul Mends Today!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

CINDY: Hi, Tiff. Thank you so much for this interview. I'm thrilled to bring the conclusion of Hannah's journey to readers, and I've been blessed over and over again by the support and faithfulness of readers.

1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

I had an Amish-Mennonite best friend growing up, and neither set of parents were pleased with the relationship. But one evening as an adult, I was listening to a song by Avalon called "Testify to Love." I was preparing dinner and dancing a bit to the music. I flipped the ketchup bottle into the air, and when it landed in my hand, a plotline came to me. I’d begun dabbling in writing a few weeks prior to that, but I knew the moment that woman came into my mind that she had a unique background. I didn’t know what that background was at the time. In my mind’s eye she was in the kitchen and a man stood at the entryway to the kitchen. As it turned out, she became Hannah, a young woman who had been raised Old Order Amish. She's the main character in all three books. And the man was Martin, who is a main character in books two and three—a wealthy engineer who'd been raised by Hannah's shunned aunt. The story began unfolding that night and I began writing.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that are theirs and theirs alone?

Each step I take in life is influenced by where I've been and what I've seen, heard, and experienced. So my characters start out as an influence of who I am. This seems to be the truest when following the internal journey of the characters. After some development within their story journey, the characters become who they are. It's a little like raising children. They begin with their own personality, but they're greatly influenced by their parents and environment. After traveling through their life/story journey, they become their own people—toddler-hood is forgotten, elementary school is over, teenage rebellion has dissipated, and they stand as adults with their own expressions of the value of life. My characters do the same thing and I have to follow their lead by writing according to their true selves—even though that sounds like an oxymoron since they aren't real.

3. If your heroine were an ice cream flavor, what would she be and why?

Hmmm, I have no idea. I guess I'm not an ice cream connoisseur. I can tell you my children's favorite ice creams. LOL! But narrowing a person, even a fictional one, down to one specific flavor? Ah, my little sis, you don't have enough time for me to analyze the ice creams and categorize the personalities of the hero/heroine to fit into said flavors.

4. What themes exist in When the Soul Mends that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

In life we find ourselves in places where we can't deny the longings of our hearts, but we can't follow them either. Sometimes where we find ourselves is a long way from where we thought we were going, but life is always a gift to be honored.

A theme that developed on its own as I wrote is this: Love doesn't have to be perfect when forgiveness is applied. Every dream doesn’t have to work out perfectly for life to be fulfilling and peaceful.

5. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

One of my greatest challenges was getting past the opening. And I found that to be true for all three books. In book one an on-scene tragedy happens, and that took tears and physical headaches on my part. I felt very strongly that I couldn't open books two and three a few weeks, months, or years after the previous book ended. It seemed that for the integrity of not losing any part of Hannah's Amish past—or, for book three, her Englischer past—I needed to open each book where the previous one ended. The goal for books two and three was to share enough info so that new readers weren't confused, but to keep the pace moving forward so continuing readers didn’t feel like I was retelling the previous story. That made their openings tough to write.

My favorite parts of these books were Hannah's ability to adapt to her surroundings and her willingness to find ways to help people in each circumstance. The epilogue in When the Soul Mends is one of my favorite sections.

6. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

I've just finished writing the novel The Hope of Refuge. I've turned it in to my publisher and it will come out in 2009—probably in the fall.

Raised in foster care and now twenty-six years old, Cara struggles against poverty, loss, and a stalker. When vague memories reveal snippets of life inside an Amish community, she follows every lead to discover the truth about her childhood. What she finds is more harsh than all her years of having no family.

The story is one of losses sustained due to poor choices made by her parents, and even as an adult, Cara continues to pay. But one Amish man dares to fulfill the command he thinks he's received from God: "Be Me to her."

* * * * *

Thank you, Cindy (big sis), for being in the spotlight with us.

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of When the Soul Mends.

If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post. Make sure you leave your email address (name [at] domainname [dot] com/net) or that there's a way to contact you. Otherwise, you won't be entered. Wouldn't want you to miss out on winning a book. :)

And if you want to make certain you don't miss anything, check the box that says 'email follow-up comments to:' when you leave a comment and they'll be sent to the email address associated with your blogging account. That way you'll be notified of any comments and will know when I announce the winner.

This week, the contest is open to anyone worldwide.

* * * * *

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Spotlight on Michelle Sutton and It's Not About Me

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

MICHELLE SUTTON is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, is Volunteer Officer on the ACFW Operating Board, the Editor-in-chief for Christian Fiction Online Magazine, and Sheaf House's Marketing Director. She is also an edgy fiction writer, book reviewer, avid blogger/alliance member, mother of two teenagers, wife, pet owner, social worker by trade, and follower of Jesus Christ.

IT'S NOT ABOUT ME
A Second Glances Novel #1
by Michelle Sutton
Published by Sheaf House Publishers

ABOUT THE BOOK

Annie has it all. But one night her safe world is destroyed. As she fights to put the pieces of her shattered life back together, she is caught in a war between two brothers who both claim to have her best interests at heart.

Who will Annie choose? And will she finally come to know the One whose love will never fail, even in her darkest hour? Will she learn the truth about life—that it's not about "me"?

* * *

When a young woman's life is shattered by a brutal attack, she is torn between two brothers, both of whom claim to love her. She is attracted to both, but which one does she love? How can she choose when her decision may cause a permanent rift between them? And more important, will she give her heart to the One who will sustain her even when human love fails?

MY REVIEW

Michelle often claims to write "edgy" fiction. With this debut novel, she fits the bill! In her story, she explores the deep and often heartwrenching aspects of relationships from a wide variety of perspectives while hitting on the major issues facing today's teens. Her characters are true-to-life, multi-faceted and avoid the "cookie-cutter" label in their ups and downs, their struggles and triumphs. Many kudos to Michelle for tackling tough issues like premarital sex, abuse, alcoholism and the doubts about where God is during the dark times. She effectively conveys that He's right there, waiting to forgive and welcome us with open arms. Great job, Michelle!

Buy Your Copy of It's Not About Me Today!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

I had a friend who was attacked in a similar way as Annie. I thought it would make for an interesting scenario, and then to have the boyfriend unable to handle the guilt made it all the more interesting. Bring in older brother and you have a love triangle. I love those types of stories and I love romantic tension in novels.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that are theirs and theirs alone?

My faith journey was very similar to Annie's, but I wasn't a "good girl" like she was. My childhood was tougher and so my experiences were different. Most of my characters' traits were uniquely theirs. I don't really have any characters in any of my books that are just like me. Similar in some ways, maybe, but not that much.

3. If one of your characters were an ice cream flavor, what he/she be and why?

My hero would probably Maple Walnut ice cream. He's sweet, but wholesome. Annie would be Rocky Road. Poor girl had it rough in so many ways.

4. What themes exist in It's Not About Me that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

Real love sticks with you through the hard times and doesn't abandon you in your time of need. Compromising never pays off. Friendship is essential to making it work. And God is a key ingredient to lasting love. Oh, and never shove a spoon in a blender when it's operating. (LOL!)

As for ones that weren't overt...hmmm...maybe that people aren't always what they seem and that you can never lose when you do things God's way.

5. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

The hardest part to write? Probably the attack scene. It even scared me! And my favorite involves a botched banana milkshake. It's a yummy scene. :)

6. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

The next story is It's Not About Him, which is Jeff and Susie's story. Jeff and Susie are essentially characters you'd love to dislike, but are still redeemable people.

* * * * *

Thank you, Michelle, for being in the spotlight with us.

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE copy of It's Not About Me.

If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post. Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname dot.com/net). Wouldn't want you to miss out on winning a book. :)

And if you want to make certain you don't miss anything, check the box that says 'email follow-up comments to:' when you leave a comment and they'll be sent to the email address associated with your blogging account. That way you'll be notified of any comments and will know when I announce the winner.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada only.

* * * * *

Monday, September 22, 2008

Spotlight on Sara Mills and Miss Fortune

I will be returning home late tonight from the AMAZING ACFW conference in Minneapolis this year. As I posted last week, we had a massive book signing at the Mall of America featuring over 125 authors, panels, interviews, and a host of tables where shoppers and fiction loves stopped by to chat with us and get their books signed or pick up freebies and enter contests.

Today's spotlight author just happened to be my table buddy...at least for the 30 minutes she actually stayed there. :) Her mother and another family member appeared and she went shopping. But, we had a lot of fun at the start of the signing. Sara's written a very unique debut story that I'm featuring today. If you're a fan of FILM NOIR, you'll love this!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SARA MILLS is a freelance writer, wife, mother of three, and motorcycle racing enthusiast who lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in beautiful Alberta, Canada. She has two novels coming out with Moody Publishers in fall 2008 and spring 2009.

Sara collects swords, raises Golden Retrievers and has a house full of hamsters, guinea pigs, turtles and puppies. Sara loves swords, motorbikes, film noir, Humphrey Bogart and The Maltese Falcon.

MISS FORTUNE
by Sara Mills
Published by Moody Publishers

ABOUT THE BOOK

They call her the P.I. Princess

It's 1947 and Allie Fortune is the only female (and perhaps the best) private investigator in New York City. But she's kept awake at night by a mystery of her own--her fiance disappeared in the war and Allie is haunted my by the unknown than by finding out the worst. Her work is a welcome distraction, and she's just been hired by a client who isn't telling the whole truth. Mary Gordon's claims of innocence don't fit with her ransacked apartment, being shot at, and the two Soviet agents hot on her trail.

Meanwhile the FBI is working the case because a legendary and mysterious treasure has gone missing...again. The only catch for Allis is her new 'partner' Jack, an attractive single agent who knows how to make her smile.

As Allie and Jack chase after the gold, they must contend with the Soviets who also want the priceless treasure back--after all, they stole it fair and square.

Buy Your Copy of Miss Fortune Today!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

I've loved Humphrey Bogart movies since I was a young teenager. My two favourites, Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon are watched regularly at my house. My husband just sighs and walks away when he sees me reach for those cases, but there's something about movies from the era before special effects and Arnold Schwarzenegger that speak to me. Without relying on explosions or martial arts, movies had to be smart, the characters had to be sharp, dialogue witty, and most of all, the stories had to be stellar.

So one night I was watching The Maltese Falcon in the middle of the night (I occasionally suffer from insomnia) and I started to wonder how different the story would be if Sam Spade had been a woman. She'd never have fallen for Miss Wunderly's charms and lies. She'd have been smart and tough and she would have solved the case in half the time it took Sam because she wouldn't spend all of her time smoking cigarettes and calling her secretary Precious.

I paused the movie and sat in my darkened living room thinking about how much fun a female Sam Spade could be. Intrigued but not yet ready to dash to my computer, I changed disks and put on Casablanca. The sweeping love story, a tale full of hard choices and sacrifice was what finally made the whole idea click in my mind. If I could just combine the P.I. detective story of the Maltese Falcon with the love story from Casablanca, and make Sam Spade more of a Samantha, I could have the best of all worlds.

That night Allie Fortune was born, and right from the first, she took on a life of her own.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that are theirs and theirs alone?

Allie Fortune suffers from chronic insomnia and that's an issue I used to have, once going for a week on three hours of sleep. Like Allie I have a deep independent streak that can occasionally lean towards pig-headedness. On the other hand I am not generally an observant person and I could never pull off the little trick Allie plays on all of her blind dates. (You have to read the book if you want to understand that last bit, I can't give it away. Sorry.) Also, for the record, my mother is a lovely woman, nothing, nothing like Allie's mother.

3. If one of your characters were an ice cream flavor, what he/she be and why?

Jack O'Connor would be York Peppermint Pattie. He's all rich and chocolatey with a cool minty center.

4. What themes exist in Miss Fortune that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

I think the strongest theme is that God's love is not shown through the circumstances of life, but is shown in the gift of salvation at Calvary. Circumstances change, God's love never does.

5. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

I actually loved writing Miss Fortune all the way through. I think I had the hardest time with trying to suck the reader into New York in the 1940's. I spent a lot of time trying to get the details right so that reading Miss Fortune feels like watching a black and white movie.

6. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

Miss Match, Book 2 in the Allie Fortune mystery series is coming out in March of 2009.

FBI agent Jack O'Connor receives a letter from Maggie, a woman he used to love, saying she's in trouble in Berlin. The FBI refuses to get involved, so Jack asks Allie Fortune to help him investigate. Allie and Jack pose as a missionary couple who want to bring orphans back to the United States. A child finds important documents that everyone in the city-- Soviets and Allies alike -- want for themselves. Maggie refuses to tell Jack what the documents are, saying if things go wrong they are better off not knowing. Through the course of the search Allie's past is brought back to her, half a world away from home.

* * * * *

Thank you, Sara, for being in the spotlight with us.

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of Miss Fortune.

If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post. Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname dot.com/net). Wouldn't want you to miss out on winning a book. :)

And if you want to make certain you don't miss anything, check the box that says 'email follow-up comments to:' when you leave a comment and they'll be sent to the email address associated with your blogging account. That way you'll be notified of any comments and will know when I announce the winner.

This week, the contest is open to anyone worldwide.

* * * * *

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

MAJOR ACFW Multi-author Christian Fiction Book Signing at the Mall of America

Following is an ACFW press release:

HUNDREDS OF NOVELISTS COMING TO MINNEAPOLIS

Booksigning by 100+ novelists at Mall of America September 20

(MINNEAPOLIS, MINN.) Hundreds of authors and aspiring authors will attend the annual
American Christian Fiction Writers conference at the Sheraton Bloomington Hotel September 18-21, 2008. They'll study the craft of writing from a Christian worldview, get the word out about their books, and meet with editors from nearly every major publishing house in their industry.

They're also coming to get signed books. On Saturday, September 20, 1:00-3:00pm in the Best Buy® Rotunda and Bloomingdale's Court of the Mall of America, over 100 bestselling and award-winning authors such as Angela Hunt, James Scott Bell, Rene Gutteridge, Deborah Raney, Tamera Alexander, Judith Miller, Nancy Moser, and Brandt Dodson will sign copies of their books for conference attendees and the public.

"ACFW is very excited to partner with the Mall of America in hosting a booksigning of such magnitude," said ACFW President Robin Miller. "As a reader myself, I'm thrilled at the opportunity to meet so many authors and have my books autographed. I intend to do much of my Christmas shopping at the booksigning."

For more information regarding the signing or conference, please contact Cara Putman at (765)418-3427 or pr@acfw.com. To learn more about ACFW, visit www.acfw.com.

* * * * *

TIFF HERE:

I always have such an amazing time at this conference, but this year could be the best yet! The learning, networking, fellowship time and even the goofy clowning around time...especially with my wacky slippers! It's all part of a magical and memorable experience.

But what's new this year is that instead of our book signing being held in the hotel in which we are staying, Barnes & Noble will be hosting it at the Mall of America. OVER 100 CHRISTIAN FICTION WRITERS will be signing books at the Mall of America. Whoa! What an impact that will have on the general shopping population! I pray it will be a lasting and obvious one.

I will be signing both Promises, Promises and Quills & Promises, and I'll also have a guestbook if you'd like to subscribe to my quarterly newsletter beginning January 2009.

If you're able to join us, the authors participating are:

Tamera Alexander
Jennifer AlLee
A.K. Arenz
Diane Ashley
Karen Ball
Janet Lee Barton
James Scott Bell
Joseph Bentz
Terri Blackstock
Robin Caroll
Patricia PacJac Carroll
Jeanie Smith Cash
Eleanor Clark
Debra Clopton
Gloria Clover
Brandilyn Collins
Mary Connealy
Lyn Cote
Kathryn Cushman
Margaret Daley
KM Daughters
Susan Page Davis
Mary Davis
Janet Dean
Megan DiMaria
Brandt Dodson
Lena Nelson Dooley
Cecelia Dowdy
Sharon Dunn
Wanda Dyson
Lynette Eason
Meredith Efken
Leanna Ellis
Sharon Ewell Foster
Miralee Ferrell
Tina Ann Forkner
Darlene Franklin
Jonathan Friesen
Rhonda Gibson
Terri Gillespie
Debby Giusti
Beth Goddard
Cathy Gohlke
Rene Gutteridge
Cathy Marie Hake
Kelly Eileen Hake
Karen Harter
Rachel Hauck
Roxanne Henke
Cynthia Hickey
Patti Hill
Sharon Hinck
Joan Hochstetler
Steven Hunt
Angela Hunt
Denise Hunter
Jennifer Johnson
Jenny B. Jones
Golden Keyes Parsons
Deb Kinnard
Julie Klassen
Kathleen Kovach
Harry Kraus
Harry Kraus
Patti Lacy
Maureen Lang
Jeanne Marie Leach
Tosca Lee
Julie Lessman
Michelle Levigne
Sherri L. Lewis
Elizabeth Ludwig
Christine Lynxwiler
Richard L. Mabry
Sharlene MacLaren
Gail Martin
Debby Mayne
Vickie McDonough
Andrew McGuire
Susan Meissner
Becky Melby
Dana Mentink
Amber Miller <-- THAT'S ME!
Judith Miller
Sara Mills
Siri Mitchell
Nancy Moser
Janelle Mowery
Elizabeth Musser
Mark Mynheir
Jill Nelson
Mae Nunn
John Olson
Donita K. Paul
Trish Perry
Marta Perry
Allie Pleiter
Cara Putman
Deborah Raney
Sandra Robbins
Paul Robertson
John Robinson
Martha Rogers
Cynthia Ruchti
Gail Sattler
Kim Vogel Sawyer
Shelley Shephard Gray
Virginia Smith
Lynette Sowell
Candice Speare
Kathryn Springer
Denice Stewart
Sarah Anne Sumpolec
Michelle Sutton
Camy Tang
Donn Taylor
Janice Thompson
Cindy Thomson
Missy Tippens
Carrie Turansky
ML Tyndall
Amy Wallace
Susan May Warren
Linda Wichman
Beth Wiseman
Cheryl Wyatt
Kathleen Y'Barbo

If you can't make it, please consider praying. We've never done anything on this scale before in the general public. I pray that seeds are planted, and that at the very least, people will consider Christian fiction as a viable form of reading entertainment and be touched by the stories they read.

CFBA Blog Tour - Kelly Eileen Hake and The Bride Bargain

Today, I'm honored to feature a good friend of mine and fellow "young" author who shared the struggles and triumphs with me of being young and published in a world where the majority of authors have children and families, some even adult children with their own families. It's not easy, but Kelly's been a great person to offer a sympathetic shoulder....even if she *is* 9 years younger and *did* receive her first contract as a teenager to my age 30. :)

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Bride Bargain
Barbour Publishing - September 1, 2008)
by Kelly Eileen Hake


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Life doesn't wait, and neither does KELLY EILEEN HAKE. In her short twenty-three years of life, she's achieved much. Her secret? Embracing opportunities and multitasking. Kelly received her first writing contract at the tender age of seventeen and arranged to wait three months until she was able to legally sign it. Since that first contract five years ago, she's reached several life goals. Aside from fulfilling fourteen contracts ranging from short stories to novels, she's also attained her BA in English Literature and Composition and earned her credential to teach English in secondary schools. If that weren't enough, she's taken positions as a college preparation tutor, bookstore clerk, and in-classroom learning assistant to pay for the education she values so highly. Currently, she is working toward her MA in Writing Popular Fiction. No matter what goal she pursues, Kelly knows what it means to work for it!

Kelly's dual careers as English teacher and author give her the opportunity explore and share her love of the written word. A CBA bestselling author and dedicated member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Kelly is a reader favorite of Barbour's Heartsong Presents program, where she's been privileged to earn numerous Heartsong Presents Reader's Choice Awards; including Favorite New Author 2005, Top 5 Favorite Historical Novel 2005, and Top Five Favorite Author Overall 2006 in addition to winning the Second Favorite Historical Novel 2006!

Her Prairie Promises trilogy, set in the 1850s Nebraska Territory, features her special style of witty, heartwarming historical romance.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Set down upon the wild American plains during the 1850. Clara is desperate for a home and a future for herself and her aunt. When Clara Fields and her aunt are kicked off their wagon train, a store owner in Buttonwood offers a chance at redemption. If Clara is able to wed his grandson off to any of the local girls within a month, he'll sign over his two-story house.

Desperate to provide for the woman who raised her, Clara agrees to find a bride for the man's son--a stalwart bachelor. How hard can it be to find a bride for one handsome Doctor? Apparently more difficult than she imagined when Saul Reed seems determined to ramain single.

Will Clara's faith and wits help her wrangle a resolution to The Bride Bargain? Striking a bargain with a lonely trader to fool a head-strong doctor could lead Clara to an unexpected avenue of romance.

If you would like to read an excerpt, go HERE.

Buy your copy of The Bride Bargain Today!

* * * * *

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of The Bride Bargain.

If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post. Make sure you leave your email address (name [at] domainname [dot] com/net) or that there's a way to contact you. Otherwise, you won't be entered. Wouldn't want you to miss out on winning a book. :)

And if you want to make certain you don't miss anything, check the box that says 'email follow-up comments to:' when you leave a comment and they'll be sent to the email address associated with your blogging account. That way you'll be notified of any comments and will know when I announce the winner.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada only.

* * * * *

Monday, September 15, 2008

Book Blogger Appreciation Week is Here!

Book Bloggers: You work hard. You read books, you write reviews, you maintain relationships with your readers, publicists, and authors. You are constantly running to the post office to mail your giveaways and participating in carnivals to help boost traffic. You sometimes want to faint when you see the size of your TBR pile, but faithfully you read. And you do it because you love it. Book blogging is for most a hobby. But it's a hobby that takes a lot of work and time. It's a labor of love.

Amy has organized a massive campaign to honor all those blogs who feature books, authors, reviews and so much more.

Stay on top of the festivities at this web site: www.myfriendamysblog.com for the latest information on giveaways, drawings, prizes, posts and celebrations surrounding this auspicious event.

For a complete listing of participating blogs, take a look at this page.

I'm honored to be among the participants, although my schedule didn't allow me to post much more than this or be part of any giveaways. I hope you take a look at the other blogs, though, and follow along all this week on Amy's blog. If you love books, like I know you do, you'll love discovering the great treasures to be found this week.

Enjoy!

Blog Tour - Snowbound Colorado Christmas

Today, I'm the middle stop along a 9-stop blog tour for some of my fellow Heartsong and Barbour authors with their new release...just in time for Christmas shopping season. Three of these authors I've known for several years, and one shares the great state of Colorado with me as her residence. :) Here is the schedule for the rest of the tour:

September 16 – Tricia Goyer
http://triciagoyer.blogspot.com/

September 23 – Lisa Buffaloe
www.ShoutLife.com/LisaBuffaloe

September 23 - Deborah Khuanghlawn
http://books-movies-chinesefood.blogspot.com/

September 30 – Linda Crow
http://www.2nd-cup-of-coffee.blogspot.com/

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Susan Page Davis is the author of ten historical novels, six romantic suspense, and two young adult books. She has co-authored a cozy mystery series with her daughter, Megan Elaine Davis. Susan's historicals have won awards in the Book of the Year and Inspirational Readers' Choice Contests. She's a homeschooling mother of six and grandmother of five. She and her husband Jim live in Maine, where Jim is a news editor. Visit her at her web site: http://www.susanpagedavis.com/.

Lena Nelson Dooley holds a BA in Speech and Drama, and she completed many graduate hours as well. She has served as a drama director for several churches. In addition, she has been the administrative assistant to two different pastors.

Snowbound Colorado Christmas is her 18th book release. Four more books will release in 2009. She is often a speaker at women's events, writers' meetings, and conferences. She's an award-winning, bestselling author. At present she serves as vice-president of DFW Ready Writers, the local chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. She has a website, http://www.lenanelsondooley.com/. In the monthly newsletter, she gives away copies of her books and features reviews of her recent reads as well as what's new that month in Christian publishing. Her blog, http://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com/, is popular with readers, because she promotes authors and their most recent works.

Award-winning author and speaker Darlene Franklin resides in the Colorado foothills with her mother and her Lynx Point Siamese cat Talia. She is the mother of two children. Her daughter has gone ahead of her to glory; her son lives in Oklahoma with his family. She loves music, reading, and writing. She is the author of five novels, and has contributed more than 150 articles to numerous magazines, anthologies, and devotionals. She has also written curriculum for children's Sunday school. Visit her web site: http://www.darlenehfranklin.com/.

A native Virginian, Tamela Hancock Murray has been writing all her life. She interned on Capitol Hill and at the U.S. Department of State before graduating with honors in Journalism from Lynchburg College in Virginia.

An award-winning, bestselling author, Tamela has over 20 fiction and nonfiction books to her credit. Upcoming releases include LOVE FINDS YOU IN MAIDEN, NORTH CAROLINA, and THE MASTER'S MATCH. She has discussed her work on radio and television. Her professional affiliations include Trois Riviere Fiction Writers and American Christian Fiction Writers. Tamela enjoys being an agent with Hartline Literary Agency, and she takes turns with her fellow agents writing a column for Christian Fiction Online Magazine http://www.christianfictiononlinemagazine.com/.

When she's not writing, Tamela spends wonderful times with her husband and their two daughters, as well as extended family and friends. Visit her web site: http://www.tamelahancockmurray.com/.

SNOWBOUND COLORADO CHRISTMAS
by Susan Page Davis, Lena Nelson Dooley, Darlene Franklin, and Tamela Hancock Murray
Published by Barbour Publishing

ABOUT THE BOOK

Relive the Christmas of 1913 in Denver through four stories told through the eyes of young people in love as snow falls in a record-setting blizzard. During Christmas the Christmas of 1913, Colorado is buffeted with snow and four couples find that taking refuge also means taking a look at the past and giving love a chance for the future.

Buy Your Copy of Snowbound Colorado Christmas Today!

AUTHORS INTERVIEWED

1. Who came up with the idea for the collection?

Lena: (The Best Medicine) Actually, I asked other authors on the email loop for Barbour authors for volunteers to be in a Christmas collection proposal. The four that I put together for this one were Tamela Hancock Murray, Susan Page Davis, Darlene Franklin, and myself. We sent several emails about possible ideas. I think I suggested being snowbound, but Tamela found the actual historical blizzard in 1913 Colorado that we decided to use for our stories.

2. Did you find it hard or easy to work within the series framework?

Darlene: (Dressed in Scarlet) I found Lena's theme--"a snowbound Christmas" (Tamela discovered the historical blizzard in Denver, the worst in the city's history)—-easy to work with. I LOVE snow. I started by searching for Bible verses about snow and came across Proverbs 31:21. "She is not afraid of the snow for her household; for all her household are clothed with scarlet." That sparked the idea of a heroine who used her red woollies to make hats and mittens for her household during a blizzard.

3. What part of the country do you live it? And why do you like that part of the country?

Tamela: (Fires of Love) I'm a native of Virginia and I love it here. The weather is temperate, yet we have all four seasons. Northern Virginia is hectic, crowded, and expensive. However, we're minutes from the Kennedy Center and the Smithsonian, so that has allowed us to expose our daughters to world-class operas and artwork of the masters. You'll find art galleries everywhere, and local companies perform ballets and plays. Several major concert venues and sports complexes are nearby, and we enjoy our annual trip to see car races as a treat for my daddy's birthday. We've hiked through mountains and forests in national parks. Our town offers conveniences such as two easily accessible major airports, fine international dining and day spas, yet horse and dairy farms are only a fifteen-minute drive away. Churches abound, and my husband and I have been able to send our daughters to a fine Christian school. By taking day trips, we also educate our daughters in culture and history, plus prepare them for interesting and varied life experiences while having lots of family fun.

4. Tell us about your novella.

Susan: (Almost Home) In "Almost Home," Patricia is stuck in the blizzard in a town ten miles from her Uncle Bill's ranch. She’s determined to get home, since her aunt is expecting her first baby. Trains and automobiles aren't running, and the liveryman refuses to rent her a horse in the storm. But Patricia runs into an old friend—Jared, who used to live on the ranch with them when his father was Uncle Bill's partner. Against his better judgment, Jared agrees to let Patricia ride one of his two horses, and they set out together. He soon regrets the decision and wonders if he can get her home safely to her family and deliver the special gift his father entrusted to him for Uncle Bill.

Be sure to visit http://triciagoyer.blogspot.com on September 16th for more information on these authors.

* * * * *

Thank you, Susan, Lena, Darlene and Tamela, for being in the spotlight with us.

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of Snowbound Colorado Christmas.

If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post. Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname dot.com/net). Wouldn't want you to miss out on winning a book. :)

And if you want to make certain you don't miss anything, check the box that says 'email follow-up comments to:' when you leave a comment and they'll be sent to the email address associated with your blogging account. That way you'll be notified of any comments and will know when I announce the winner.

This week, the contest is open to anyone worldwide.

* * * * *

Friday, September 12, 2008

CFBA Blog Tour - Ginger Garrett and In the Shadow of Lions

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
In the Shadow of Lions
David C. Cook - September, 2008)
by Ginger Garett


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

GINGER GARRETT is the critically acclaimed author of Chosen: The Lost Diaries of Queen Esther, which was recognized as one of the top five novels of 2006 by the ECPA, and Dark Hour. An expert in ancient women's history, Ginger creates novels and nonfiction resources that explore the lives of historical women.

Her newest release is Beauty Secrets of the Bible, (September 11, Thomas Nelson) based on the historical research that began in her work on Chosen. The book explores the connections between beauty and spirituality, offering women both historical insights and scientific proofs that reveal powerful, natural beauty secrets.

A frequent radio guest on stations across the country, including NPR and Billy Graham's The Hour of Decision, Ginger is also a popular television guest. Her appearances include Harvest Television, Friends & Neighbors, and Babbie's House. Ginger frequently serves as a co-host on the inspirational cable program Deeper Living.

In 2007, Ginger was nominated for the Georgia Author of the Year Award for her novel Dark Hour. When she's not writing, you may spy Ginger hunting for vintage jewelry at thrift stores, running (slowly) in 5k and 10k races, or just trying to chase down one of her errant sheepdogs. A native Texan, she now resides in Georgia with her husband and three children.

ABOUT THE BOOK

"I am the first writer, The Scribe. My books lie open before the Throne, and someday will be the only witness of your people and their time in this world."

So begins the narration of one such angel in this sweeping historical tale set during the reign of England's Henry VIII. It is the story of two women, their guardian angels, and a mysterious, subversive book ... a book that outrages some, inspires others, and launches the Protestant Reformation.

The devout Anne Boleyn catches the eye of a powerful king and uses her influence to champion an English translation of the Bible. Meanwhile, Rose, a broken, suicidal woman of the streets, is moved to seek God when she witnesses Thomas More's public displays of Christian charity, ignorant of his secret life spent eradicating the Bible, persecuting anyone who dares read it.

Historic figures come alive in this thrilling story of heroes and villains, saints and sinners, angels and mortals ... and the sacred book that will inspire you anew. Fans of Francine Rivers and Karen Kingsbury will love Ginger's intriguing combination of rich character development, artful settings, and inspiring historical insights.

If you would like to read an excerpt, go HERE.

Buy your copy of In the Shadow of Lions Today!

* * * * *

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE copy of In the Shadow of Lions.

If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post. Make sure you leave your email address (name [at] domainname [dot] com/net) or that there's a way to contact you. Otherwise, you won't be entered. Wouldn't want you to miss out on winning a book. :)

And if you want to make certain you don't miss anything, check the box that says 'email follow-up comments to:' when you leave a comment and they'll be sent to the email address associated with your blogging account. That way you'll be notified of any comments and will know when I announce the winner.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada only.

* * * * *

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Spotlight on Lynette Sowell and The Wiles of Watermelon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

LYNETTE SOWELL loves to spin adventures for the characters who emerge from story ideas in her head. She desires to take readers on an entertaining journey and hopes they catch a glimpse of God's truth along the way. Lynette is a Massachusetts transplant who lives in central Texas with her husband, two kids by love and marriage (what's a step-kid?), and five cats who have their humans well-trained. She loves to read, travel, spend time with her family, and also tries not to kill her houseplants, although her tropical hibiscus contemplated pressing charges after last winter. You can visit her at her web site by clicking on her name above or her blog by clicking here.

THE WILES OF WATERMELON
by Lynette Sowell
Published by Heartsong Presents Mysteries

ABOUT THE BOOK

After the most rain Greenburg, Tennessee has seen in years, Andi and Ben Hartley's watermelon patch yields more than watermelons when Andi's kitten discovers human remains in the field. Then Honey Haggerty, the fiery and notorious owner of Greenburg's yummiest down-home eatery, is found murdered. Fingers point at Ben and a lineup of other suspects. The more Andi discovers, the more she believes the two deaths are related. She races to find a killer--or is it killers?--before it's too late.

Buy Your Copy of The Wiles of Watermelon Today!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

When I heard Barbour was planning a cozy mystery book club, I knew I had to find a unique profession for my heroine. Salado, Texas is a cozy little town north of Austin, and one of my favorite shops there is a homemade soap store. We go there a couple times a year and stock up on facial scrubs, bath salts, glycerin soaps, etc. Smells amazing! So I thought that was a unique job for my heroine. The series really sprang from my heroine and her life in her small Tennessee town.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that are theirs and theirs alone?

I know authors draw on their own experiences many times when they shape their characters. Andi's struggle with fear is one I share, and I think many of us do. As believers, we know we have The Answer. But some lessons take a while to learn.

Also, I could never imagine NOT wanting a child for the reasons Andi did. And she's a pretty bad pet mom, although she finally gets the hang of it. Around here, our kitties are like family. So that's where we differ.

3. If one of your characters were an ice cream flavor, what he/she be and why?

Chocolate fudge brownie. She loves comfort food.

4. What themes exist in The Wiles of Watermelon that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

The verse about the love of money being the root of all kinds of evil is my theme verse for this story. Sad, sad things happen because of people thinking money answers their problems. Having it, and not having it can cause plenty of heartache. It can destroy relationships and fracture families.

One theme that reemerged from the first book and carried into this book was Andi battling fear again. I knew she had fears, but why? Well, Andi wants a baby, but the thought of that child having the potential to stray and break their hearts just terrifies her. She's seen it happen in her family already. So she's avoiding that conversation with her husband, who's getting ready to hit the big 4-0 in a couple of years.

5. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

In one scene, Andi has a dream about what happened the night her aunt died. That was difficult to write, because we lost my brother-in-law to cancer last fall when I was writing this book. I thought of the real-life choices he made that made him spiral downward, just like Andi's aunt did.

Another scene that I enjoyed writing, but still felt bittersweet, was when Andi realizes who killed her aunt, and the chase that ensues. She confronts this person face-to-face before they, well, I can't spill the beans on what happens at the end of that scene (grin). But she looks on this person with compassion and she knows they're not a monster but someone who also made some really bad choices--all for money, and some for love.

6. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

My next book is The Perils of Peaches, book 3 in the Scents of Murder series. It releases in spring 2009 and it's the final book in Andi's story and the last time we visit Greenburg, Tennessee.

* * * * *

Thank you, Lynette, for being in the spotlight with us.

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of The Wiles of a Watermelon.

If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post. Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname dot.com/net). Wouldn't want you to miss out on winning a book. :)

And if you want to make certain you don't miss anything, check the box that says 'email follow-up comments to:' when you leave a comment and they'll be sent to the email address associated with your blogging account. That way you'll be notified of any comments and will know when I announce the winner.

This week, the contest is open to anyone worldwide.

* * * * *

Monday, September 08, 2008

Spotlight on Dorothy Clark and Family of the Heart

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

DOROTHY CLARK, a critically acclaimed, award-winning author, lives in rural New York, in a home she designed and helped her husband build (she swings a mean hammer!) with the able assistance of their three children. When she is not writing, she and her husband enjoy traveling throughout the United States doing research and gaining inspiration for future books. Dorothy believes in God, love, family and happy endings, which explains why she feels so at home writing stories for Steeple Hill.


FAMILY OF THE HEART
by Dorothy Clark
Published by Steeple Hill / Love Inspired Historical

ABOUT THE BOOK

In her silk finery, Sarah Randolph knew she was no more a nanny than the haughty widower before her. She'd made a profound error in judgment. How long would it be before Clayton Bainbridge cast her out? She vowed to pack up her trunks and return to Philadelphia at once. But that city held memories of her lost fiancé, and sweet little Nora Bainbridge desperately needed some mothering. Sarah might not be an expert in child rearing, but she knew a few things about grief. The pain in Clayton's stormy blue eyes told her that her journey here must be part of God's larger plan for them all...

Buy Your Copy of Family of the Heart Today!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

In my first Steeple Hill historical titled Beauty for Ashes there are two daughters, a toddler named Sarah and her baby sister Mary. Family of the Heart is, the now adult, Sarah's story.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that are theirs and theirs alone?

This is difficult to answer. I try not to let "me" get in my stories, but a bit of me sneaks in there in spite of my best effort. And, as there is a toddler in this one, I'm sure the mother in me reared her head. What aspects became traits that were theirs and theirs alone? Oh, that is easy. Sarah's courage. She is much braver than I.

3. If one of your characters were an ice cream flavor, what he/she be and why?

Hmm, perhaps Mocha, that wonderful blend of coffee and chocolate, as she is both an "eye-opener" and a comfort to the hero, Clayton Bainbridge.

4. What themes exist in Family of the Heart that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

Overcoming disappointments and tragedies of the past to find love and renewed faith in God.

Yes. God's faithfulness to us even when we turn our backs on Him.

5. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

Truthfully...there were none. I love the 1838 Cincinnati setting and, of course, the characters. It was a pleasure to write their story. Your favorite? The scenes with the toddler. And there's that mother in me rearing up again.

6. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

My next book is about Sarah's sister, Mary Randolph, a bold and forthright young woman who goes toe-to-toe with Samuel Benton, Captain of the St. Louis police, over the needs of the orphaned children of emigrants headed west in 1842. The book will be published by Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical, August 2009.

* * * * *

Thank you, Dorothy, for being in the spotlight with us.

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of Family of the Heart.

If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post. Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname dot.com/net). Wouldn't want you to miss out on winning a book. :)

And if you want to make certain you don't miss anything, check the box that says 'email follow-up comments to:' when you leave a comment and they'll be sent to the email address associated with your blogging account. That way you'll be notified of any comments and will know when I announce the winner.

This week, the contest is open to anyone worldwide.

* * * * *

Friday, September 05, 2008

Spotlight on Ramona Richards and Face of Deceit

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

RAMONA RICHARDS has been spinning tales since she was a kid, and she started getting paid for it when she was 18. The author of 5 books and numerous magazine articles, she has won awards for fiction and nonfiction, including first place in the 2008 From the Heart Romance Writers Best Proposal Contest (the Lories). A frequent conference speaker, Ramona loves working with other writers and speaking to women's groups. As an editor, she has worked on staff with a number of publishers and is now an editor with Thomas Nelson Publishers. She has also freelanced for more than 20 magazine and book publishers.

Her first Love Inspired Suspense book, A Murder Among Friends, received 4 ½ stars from Romantic Times magazine, and The Face of Deceit was an Romantic Times Top Pick for September 2008, also receiving 4 ½ stars. Her next book, The Taking of Carly Bradford, releases in May 2009.

Ramona lives with her daughter near Nashville, Tennessee, in a cottage swamped with far too many books, DVDs and CDs. She escapes occasionally to go hiking, scuba diving, or singing in her church choir.

FACE OF DECEIT
by Ramona Richards
Published by Steeple Hill / Love Inspired Suspense

ABOUT THE BOOK

Her parents were killed as she looked on, but artist Karen O'Neill has suppressed that childhood horror. Now, years later, someone is destroying her famous "face" vases. Art expert Mason DuBroc suspects that the creepy face Karen molds points toward murder. Karen must know something she shouldn’t. Something a crazed killer will do anything to keep buried . . . with Karen.

Buy Your Copy of Face of Deceit Today!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

The idea came while I was shopping in a local gift shop that has its own pottery studio attached. I saw a plaque with the raised image of a face on it, and I asked the potter whose face it was. Her response, "No one in particular," left me wondering. By the time I got home, I had the basic plot about a potter who witnessed a murder as a child, and as an adult, the face of the killer begins appearing in her art. That's how my heroine's "face vases" were born.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that are theirs and theirs alone?

If my characters were all based on me, my readers would get bored quickly! :) Most of my characters are based on a combination of people I know or observed, their experiences, tidbits I've learned from books, and some of my own background. In THE FACE OF DECEIT, for instance, Mason's first time on the wheel mirrors my first time with one, but he lost his parents when he was a teen. My parents celebrated their 48th anniversary.

3. If one of your characters were an ice cream flavor, what he/she be and why?

Mocha. She loves her Kona coffee and has a deep spirit and rich faith. She's had a very "rocky road" in her life, but she’s a survivor, and she inspires Mason.

4. What themes exist in Face of Deceit that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

That home is less about a house or a town than the people around you who do love and support you. In the end, I hope they see, as Karen does, that building a life is more about making wise choices and relying on God to work in your life than what happened to you in the past.

5. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

I LOVE writing the ending, of finally bringing all the pieces together. The hardest part for me to write comes near the end, when Karen and Mason think they've lost each other. I cried every time I had to work on it.

6. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

THE TAKING OF CARLY BRADFORD releases in May 2009. It's about Dee, who is slowly recovering from a devastating loss when she becomes involved in a child abduction case. It's the last book in my Jackson's Retreat series, set in New Hampshire, and finally gives the local police chief (who has been in all three books) a chance at romance.

* * * * *

Thank you, Ramona, for being in the spotlight with us.

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of Face of Deceit.

If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post. Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname dot.com/net). Wouldn't want you to miss out on winning a book. :)

And if you want to make certain you don't miss anything, check the box that says 'email follow-up comments to:' when you leave a comment and they'll be sent to the email address associated with your blogging account. That way you'll be notified of any comments and will know when I announce the winner.

This week, the contest is open to anyone worldwide.

* * * * *

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Spotlight on Patti Lacy and An Irishwoman's Tale

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

PATTI LACY, a displaced Southerner, has lived in the Midwest for thirteen years. In 2005, she resigned her community college teaching position and started writing full-time. An Irishwoman's Tale, her first novel, released in August 2008 and is selling in the United States and overseas, including Hong Kong, Japan, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, Sweden, and Norway. Her second novel, which digs deep into a murky Louisiana bayou to uncover long-buried secrets, will release in spring or summer of 2009. Patti is married and has two wonderful adult children and a dog named Laura.

Her book is sold at many fine retail outlets, including Barnes & Noble and Parable Christian stores, and most online bookstores.

AN IRISHWOMAN'S TALE
by Patti Lacy
Published by Kregel Publications

ABOUT THE BOOK

A shattered cup. Cheap tea. Bitter voices asking what’s to be done with the little eejit. Mary, an impetuous Irishwoman, won't face the haunting memories—until her daughter's crisis propels her back to County Clare. As Mary unearths horrible secrets, God reveals a way for her to bury a dysfunctional past

Buy Your Copy of An Irishwoman's Tale Today!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

In 1995, God yanked our family from our warm Southern porch and dumped us in the cold Midwest. To fight loneliness, I started a book discussion group. After one of the meetings, "Mary," a striking red-haired woman, paced up and down while I picked at the hors d'oeuvres I'd spent days baking. She made me nervous, and when I get nervous, I talk.

In the midst of a monologue about my children, Mary turned to me, her eyes narrowed to slits. "What is your first memory?" she asked.

"I don't know." I shrugged. "I've never really had to think about it."

"How pretty, not to think about it." Her eyes glazed, as if she were far away. "My first memory's been burned into me. Moon-shaped faces, guzzling bitter tea, asking what's to be done with the little eejit."

"How awful!" I took her arm and guided her out the door to our comfortable front porch chairs.

"Yes," she said in a monotone. "But it's what happened next that's really awful."

Hours later, I'd been gifted with a wonderful story of redemption in spite of not one but two dysfunctional homes. In 2005, I wrote my first draft of An Irishwoman's Tale.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that are theirs and theirs alone?

Since this book follows the life of Mary, my brave best friend, I didn't have to add much to her personality to create an engaging character. Sally, the secondary protagonist, has my propensity to embellish the truth and my chatty nature. We both crave chocolate and can hit a halfway decent backhand. Old Sally quickly developed empathy for Mary, which I might be reticent to do, and she lavishes love a bit more generously than I do.

3. If one of your characters were an ice cream flavor, what he/she be and why?

Poor Mary doesn't eat sweets! Can you imagine? If she did, I'll bet she'd choose pistachio nut because she loves the color green AND loves nuts. But Sally would eat every flavour and slosh hot fudge sauce and then nuts on the top of her sundae.

4. What themes exist in An Irishwoman's Tale that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

Romans 8:28: God works for good in the lives of those who love Him, who calls on His name. In spite of Mary's shattered and dysfunctional life, God crafted all the broken pieces into a dazzling work of art.

As the novel moved toward the climax on Ireland's storied Croagh Patrick, Mary seized the opportunity to live out 2 Corinthians 1:4, to comfort others with the comfort she has received from God.

5. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

Mary's rejection by her mothers. Since my family spread love as thick as wallpaper paste, it was hard to get the emotion right in those scenes.

I loved trying to capture mystical Ireland on paper! When everyone was awake, I cranked up my CD player and let Liam Lawton's and Eden's Bridge music wash over me.

6. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

April of 2009. The great Kregel team's working now on the title! Probably something about a bayou and secrets!

In 1960s Louisiana, segregation and a chain link fence separated twelve-year-old Sally Flowers from her best friend, Ella Ward. Yet a brutal rape and a blood oath bound them together.

Forty years later, when a community college student is raped, Sally must decide whether to dredge up childhood secrets long buried beneath bayou waters in order to help the young black woman she's grown to love.

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Thank you, Patti, for being in the spotlight with us.

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of An Irishwoman's Tale.

If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post. Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname dot.com/net). Wouldn't want you to miss out on winning a book. :)

And if you want to make certain you don't miss anything, check the box that says 'email follow-up comments to:' when you leave a comment and they'll be sent to the email address associated with your blogging account. That way you'll be notified of any comments and will know when I announce the winner.

This week, the contest is open to anyone worldwide.

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Monday, September 01, 2008

CFBA Blog Tour - Kristin Billerbeck and Back to Life

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Back to Life
Avon Inspire - September 15, 2008)
by Kristin Billerbeck


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

KRISTIN BILLERBECK was born in Redwood City, California. She went to San Jose State University and gained a bachelor's degree in Advertising, then worked at the Fairmont Hotel in PR, a small ad agency as an account exec, and then, she was thrust into the exciting world of shopping mall marketing.

She got married, had four kids, and started writing romance novels until she found her passion: Chick Lit. She is a CBA bestselling author and two-time winner of the ACFW Book of the Year for What A Girl Wants in 2004, and again in 2006 for With this Ring. Featured in the New York Times, USA Today, World Magazine, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Kristin has appeared on the Today Show. She is credited with jump-starting the inspirational chick-lit phenomenon. Most recently she has been names as a finalist for the Christy Award in the Lits category for The Trophy Wives Club.

Her other recent books include: She's All That.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Lindsey realized when she married Ron, a man 17 years her senior, that the odds were he'd see heaven before her, but she never expected to be a widow at 35. There's too much of life left for her to just sit around in mourning. But she can't seem to kick start the rest of her life.

That is until she gets some help from Ron's first wife, Jane, who shows up unexpectedly at her door one day as the executor of her husband's estate. Jane is everything Lindsey's not...independent, stubborn… and a lot older. Plus she has one surprise after another...including a son named Ron Jr. (she insists he's not "really" Ron's son). But an unlikely friendship develops as each woman begins to reevaluate what is really important, and owns up to the mistakes they've made in the past.

Told in the alternating voices of Jane and Lindsey, and with the return of many of the witty characters of The Trophy Wives Club, this book is a lighthearted, relatable read for when life goes in a direction you never planned. With faith and friends, there's always light at the end of the tunnel.

If you would like to read an excerpt, go HERE.

Buy your copy of Back to Life Today!

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Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE copy of Back to Life.

If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post. Make sure you leave your email address (name [at] domainname [dot] com/net) or that there's a way to contact you. Otherwise, you won't be entered. Wouldn't want you to miss out on winning a book. :)

And if you want to make certain you don't miss anything, check the box that says 'email follow-up comments to:' when you leave a comment and they'll be sent to the email address associated with your blogging account. That way you'll be notified of any comments and will know when I announce the winner.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada only.

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