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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

CFBA Blog Tour - Melanie Dobson and Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa

Don't forget the new rules of the spotlights here. Random questions will be inserted in each spotlight for you to find and answer in the comments in order to be entered. So, be on the lookout!

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa
Summerside Press - (March 1, 2010)
by Melanie Dobson


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


MELANIE BEROTH DOBSON is the author of the inspirational novels Together for Good (2006), Going for Broke (2007), The Black Cloister (2008), Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana (2009), Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa (2010), Refuge on Crescent Hill (2010), and The Silent Order (2010) as well as the co-author of Latte for One and Loving It! A Single Woman's Guide to Living Life to Its Fullest (2000).

Prior to launching Dobson Media Group in 1999, Melanie was the corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family where she was responsible for the publicity of events, products, films, and TV specials. Melanie received her undergraduate degree in journalism from Liberty University and her master's degree in communication from Regent University. She has worked in the fields of publicity and journalism for fifteen years including two years as a publicist for The Family Channel.

Melanie and her husband, Jon, met in Colorado Springs in 1997 at Vanguard Church. Jon works in the field of computer animation. Since they've been married, the Dobsons have relocated numerous times including stints in Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Colorado, Berlin, and Southern California. These days they are enjoying their new home in the Pacific Northwest.

Jon and Melanie have adopted their two daughters —Karly (6) and Kinzel (5). When Melanie isn't writing or entertaining their girls, she enjoys exploring ghost towns and dusty back roads, traveling, hiking, line dancing, and reading inspirational fiction.

LOVE FINDS YOU IN HOMESTEAD, IOWA
by Melanie Dobson
Published by Summerside Press

ABOUT THE BOOK

Times are hard in 1894. Desperate for work, former banker Jacob Hirsch rides the rails west from Chicago with his four-year-old daughter, Cassie. When a life-threatening illness strands the pair in Homestead, Iowa, the local Amana villagers welcome the father and daughter into their peaceful society. Liesel, a young Amana woman, nurses Cassie back to health, and the Homestead elders offer Jacob work. But Jacobs growing interest in Liesel complicates his position in the Amanas. Will he fight to stay in the only place that feels like home, even if it means giving up the woman he loves? Or will Liesel leave her beloved community to face the outside world with Jacob and Cassie at her side?

What item would the heroine of this novel love if it was available?

Readers, buy your copy of Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa today!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

I’ve been intrigued by the Amana Colonies and culture since I lived in Iowa during my high school years. There is no place else in the world quite like the picturesque and peaceful Amanas so it was an honor for me to visit and write a story of what life would have looked like in these communal villages during the late 1800s.

The story is about a lively Amana woman who thrives in her community and a broken man from Chicago who longs for the security of a home for his daughter. As I worked on the story, I contrasted the contented Amana people with the stress and worry following the financial Panic of 1893. The collision of these two very different worlds is the premise of my book.

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

Liesel Strauss is the heroine in this novel, and her personality reminds me a lot of my youngest daughter. Liesel thrives on her friendships, and she's content in her surroundings. She's also delightful to be with--funny and full of life. I'm a much more driven person than Liesel, and I often find myself getting grumpy instead of being content, but writing from Liesel's perspective on life brought me a lot of joy. I admired Liesel just like I admire the mix of both peace and energy that my daughter exudes wherever she goes.

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

If bubble gum ice cream was invented in 1894, my heroine would have been a huge fan. Liesel loves having fun and delights in all aspects of life both big and small. If she’d been born in the 1920s, she would have been blowing bubbles.

4. Are there any themes in Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

In today's culture, we often sacrifice our friendships and community for the busyness of life. The heart of this book is the importance of community and how the Amana people both cared for each other during the communal era and still care for each other today. Even though most of us can’t live in the Amana Colonies, writing this story was a good reminder to me to take a step back from the never ending craziness found in the world and savor the peace and joy that Jesus offers all who choose to follow Him. And it also reminded me to spend more time cultivating the relationships with the friends and family members I’m blessed to know and love.

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

My least favorite part of writing any novel is testing and growing my characters because I never want anything bad to happen to them. The trials that Jacob and his young daughter Cassie faced broke my heart and those scenes were difficult to write, but these hardships made writing their victory so much sweeter. My favorite part of this novel wasn’t the actual writing—it was spending five days researching in the Amana Colonies. I loved learning about the Amana heritage, tasting the amazing pastries pulled out of a hearth oven, and walking along the pristine canal that wove past several of the villages.

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

Refuge on Crescent Hill is my next novel, and it releases in May. This is a contemporary romantic suspense set in a dilapidated Ohio mansion—a mansion hiding a number of both past and present secrets. The Silent Order, my next romantic suspense novel through Summerside, releases this fall. The Silent Order is set in 1928, and the story is about a detective named Rollin Wells who hides out in the home of an Amish family as he tries to find out who exactly in Cleveland wants him dead.

* * * * *

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

NEW!! Readers, find the question buried somewhere in the spotlight and answer it in the comments, then leave your email address for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa. If you do not answer the question, you will not be entered.

Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname dot.com/net). You won't be entered in the drawing without it. If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post.

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

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Change is in the Air -- Spring is Here!


Well, actually, it's not HERE in Colorado. We just had a snow storm dump 7 inches on us in the Springs. More fell in areas to the north. Stubborn winter not wanting to let go. But this is normal. Welcome to the springtime in the Rockies. :)

Anyway, while I'm waiting for the warmer weather to arrive, I figured I'd do a little spring cleaning around A Fiction-Filled Life. Specifically, in regard to the weekly spotlights and book giveaways.

There has been a lot of discussion in the blogging and writing world about people who spend all their time trolling blogs looking for giveaways so they can enter. They might not have any interest in the blog, the author, or even whatever feature accompanies the giveaway. They just enter and never return.

Considering the familiar names I have here and how often y'all return again and again to read, I know that isn't the case. Still, in the interest of my authors who I spotlight and the work that goes into each interview or review, we're going to make a minor change.

From this point forward, you MUST comment on something pertaining to the spotlight in order to be entered into the drawing.

No more comments with just "enter me" and your email address. Comments must also include something about the author, the book, the interview, or anything related to the post. What you say is up to you. But anyone not participating in this manner will be disqualified.

And once in a while, I'll be throwing in random questions somewhere in the post, just to see if you're reading everything. *winks* So, be on the lookout for those sneaky questions or instructions as you read. You just never know where or when they might pop up.

Thanks so much for your continued support week after week. This blog wouldn't exist with you, and I greatly appreciate you taking the time to visit. I know my spotlighted authors do too.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Please Vote for Patterns and Progress

I've mentioned the ACFW Book Club on here a few times. And I have a link at the top of my books page directing you to subscribe if you love to read fiction and discuss books with others. I'll include that here as well.



This week, my 6th book, Patterns and Progress, is up for the ACFW Book Club vote for June reading. In fact, there is a fantastic list of books there by some of my friends and fellow Heartsong authors. Even a couple from friends writing for Love Inspired. I haven't yet cracked that book line yet, but I'm working on it. :)

Anyway, I'd love to have your vote for Patterns and Progress. The club is free to join (especially if you already have a Yahoo account) and a lot of fun. Discussion takes place at the end of each month, and there's a live chat with the author of the selected book following the close of the discussion.

It's an honor to have my book up there with the other titles. I'd love to see my book be selected and be invited to chat about it with the book club readers.

Thanks so much for your support.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Blog Tour - Sarah Sundin and A Distant Melody

Today, I'm pleased to feature another one of my web site clients on my blog today. I'm joining with many others this week on a week-long blog tour spotlighting Sarah Sundin's debut novel, A Distant Melody.

First, the standard details...then my review and author interview.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SARAH SUNDIN’s first novel, A Distant Melody, released in March 2010 by Revell. She lives in northern California with her husband and three children. When she isn’t ferrying kids to soccer and karate, she works on-call as a hospital pharmacist and teaches Sunday school and women’s Bible studies.

A DISTANT MELODY
by Sarah Sundin
Published by Revell

ABOUT THE BOOK

Lt. Walter Novak flies a B-17 bomber in battles over Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II, while Allie Miller serves in the Red Cross against the wishes of her wealthy parents and controlling fiancé in California. Walt and Allie meet at a wedding and begin a correspondence. As letters fly between Walt's muddy bomber base in England and Allie's mansion in an orange grove, their friendship binds them together. But can they untangle the secrets, commitments, and expectations that keep them apart?

Readers, buy your copy of A Distant Melody today!

MY REVIEW

Hmm, where should I begin? As an author who has written more than one wartime romance, the premise for this debut novel by Sundin grabbed me from the start. There's just something about love that blossoms in spite of such tragedy that gives you a sense of hope and inspiration. And just like I included letters exchanged between the key couples, Sundin does the same. The language and the sentiment evident in Allie and Walt's letters are perfect for the time period.

The proof of Sundin's extensive research of B-17's and wartime pilots is clear. She takes you back 70 years and dumps you in the middle of the heartache, the action, the excitement and the suspense of WWII, expertly guiding you along the journey with the vivid characters she's created. Allie's story with her family tears at your heart, but the love and friendship she develops with Walt help heal those wounds.

If you're a fan of wartime romances, grab yourself a copy today, sit back and prepare for an adventurous flight back in time--you'll be glad you did!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

1. This is your debut novel. Congratulations! What gave you the inspiration for this story?

This story came out of a “what if” question in a contemporary novel I wrote (very badly). What if a man and woman met at an event, truly clicked, and parted before exchanging contact info? Wouldn’t it be romantic if he went through great effort to track her down? Obviously it wouldn’t work in a contemporary setting—he’d “Google” her—but it made a sweet premise for a historical. My husband and I watched a History Channel special on the US Eighth Air Force based in England which flew over Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II, and I had my link. My great-uncle was a B-17 bomber pilot with the Eighth, so I had access to family stories plus his personal letters. My research fascinated me so much, the story expanded to become a trilogy, with each book focusing on one of three brothers.

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

My experiences only come into play in a general way. For example, like Allie, I was shy and had low self-esteem when I was younger, but unlike Allie, I had accepting parents and a supportive church family, and I was never as socially isolated as she. But I was able to use the feelings of awkwardness and rejection, and build on that.

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

Allie would describe herself as plain vanilla. She’s quiet, shy, and considers herself plain-looking. However, I think she’s one of those really good vanillas with bits of vanilla bean. She has a big heart and wants to serve God. I love how she grows over the course of the year into a strong and confident young woman.

4. Are there any themes in A Distant Melody that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

The main theme that arose is summed up in 1 Samuel 15:22, “To obey is better than sacrifice.” Both Walt and Allie are willing to make sacrifices to please God, but they tend to choose sacrifices according to their own purposes rather than the Lord’s. They each have to learn to obey. Other themes that arose include the importance of honesty and the counter-cultural notion that beauty is not required for someone to be worthy of love.

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

For me, the hardest part to write is always the first chapter—you have to do so much in so few pages. One scene that was emotionally difficult to write was late in the book when Walt receives some bad news similar to bad news I once received. My first draft of that chapter was short and flat. I realized I didn’t want to delve into his emotions, but I had to—for Walt’s sake and for the story—and for myself. My favorite part to write was the rowboat scene when Walt and Allie were sharing some fun banter and having a deep connection. Plus there was humor. I love writing humor. Oh, and Walt surprised me! He plucked a cattail and began poking Allie. I didn’t plan for him to do that. I told him to behave himself and act like a gentleman. He refused. So I left it in.

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

The second book in the Wings of Glory series, A Memory Between Us, releases September 2010: Maj. Jack Novak has never failed to meet a challenge—until he meets Lt. Ruth Doherty, a striking nurse with a shameful secret. While Jack leads his squadron in the most savage air battles of the war, Ruth trains to become a flight nurse to better support her orphaned siblings. Can they confront their deepest sins, face their greatest fears, and learn to trust and to love?

* * * * *

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

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of A Distant Melody.

Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname dot.com/net). You won't be entered in the drawing without it. If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post.

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 the winners are announced each time.

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

** Available March 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

CFBA Blog Tour -- Ronie Kendig and Dead Reckoning

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Dead Reckoning
Abingdon Press - (March 1, 2010)
by Ronie Kendig


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

RONIE KENDIG has been married since 1990 to a man who can easily be defined in classic terms as a hero. She has four beautiful children. Her eldest daughter is 16 this year, her second daughter will be 13, and her twin boys are 10. After having four children, she finally finished her degree in December 2006. She now has a B.S. in Psychology through Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. Getting her degree is a huge triumph for both her and her family--they survived!

This degree has also given her a fabulous perspective on her characters
and how to not only make them deeper, stronger, but to make them realistic and know how they'll respond to each situation. Her debut novel, Dead Reckoning released March 2010 from Abingdon Press. And her Discarded Heroes series begins in July from Barbour with the first book entitled Nightshade.

DEAD RECKONING
by Ronie Kendig
Published by Abingdon Press

ABOUT THE BOOK

Underwater archeologist Shiloh Blake is consumed with passion for the water and inflamed at the injustices of life. When her first large-scale dig traps her in the middle of an international nuclear arms clash, she flees for her life.

When she spots a man trailing her, the questions are, Who is he? And how is he always one step ahead? Is the man trailing her an enemy or a protector sent by her CIA father?

Reece Jaxon is a former Navy SEAL and now serves his country as a spy. His life is entangled by the beguiling Shiloh Blake as he hunts down the sources to a nuclear dead drop in the Arabian Sea near Mumbai, India. The only way to end this nightmare and prevent a nuclear meltdown is to join forces with Reece. Will Shiloh violate her vow to never become involved in her father's web of intrigue and mystery? Will she reconcile with her past and with him? Will she allow God to help her throught this ordeal of danger, mistrust and uncertainty?

If you would like to read the prologue and first chapter of Dead Reckoning, go HERE. You can also sign up as a Follower when you get to that page, and get announcements of the first chapters for all the great books we tour!

Readers, buy your copy of Dead Reckoning today!

MY REVIEW

I must admit, I have never been a big fan of reading international espionage and intrigue type books. However, I adore them in TV and movies. Scarecrow and Mrs. King ranks at the top of my favorite TV shows for the spy world.

That being said, this debut novel from Ronie kept me captivated. And as a historical fiction reader and author, that's saying a LOT! She writes as if she's been a published author for years instead of this being her first published novel. Not only does the intrigue story keep you turning the pages, but the deep delving into the wounds and hurts of the characters helps you connect and relate to both Shiloh and Reece on so many levels.

Kendig does an awesome job at portraying the realistic emotions associated with common wounds we all face. With an international setting, she
writes a novel with just the right amount of twists and turns, and a perfect pacing as the international terror plot unfolds. Readers of this genre should add Ronie Kendig to their list. No doubt about it!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW


1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

The inspiration came from a book I'd written called Midnight Zone that did not find a home. MZ was the story of Shiloh's parents, and I was reallly excited to explore what their child--Shiloh--was like as an adult.

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

Not much since the story is a spy thriller and set in India. I think there's some of my strength and resiliency in Shiloh, but other than that, her fierce determination, her raw courage are hers alone.

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

I imagine Shiloh would be something simple like vanilla--she's just not a complicated person and likes things simple. Reece, the hero, wouldn't eat ice cream.

4. Are there any themes in Dead Reckoning that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

That no matter what course our life takes...no matter how messed up things may seem, God does have a plan. He didn't just drop us on this earth and forget about us. He will use all the pains, all the heartache and make something great and beautiful out of those experiences.

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

I'm not sure "difficult" is the right word, but the most draining scene to write was a torture scene because it demanded a slower pace and a much closer attention to detail and a high emotional content for it to be succesful.

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

My next release will be Nightshade, Book #1 of the Discarded Heroes series with Barbour Publishing. "They've championed freedom and risked their lives---but too often, America's veterans are forgotten and discarded. Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, former Navy SEAL Max finds himself engaged in a new battle---to save his family. How can he protect his wife from a dangerous enemy when she wants him out of the house?"

* * * * *

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

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of Dead Reckoning.

Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname dot.com/net). You won't be entered in the drawing without it. If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post.

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 the winners are announced each time.

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

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spotlight on Diana Brandmeyer and Hearts on the Road

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

DIANA LESIRE BRANDMEYER has a background in education and psychology. Her credits include My Devotions, The Metro East Family Gazette, Little Visits Family Devotions and The Lutheran Witness. She received her degree from Webster University. She is the author of Hearts on the Road, A Time to Dance, Mystery of the Smithton Necklace and The Trouble with Ralph. Recently voted Heartsong Presents Book Club Favorite New Author 2010. She lives in Southern Illinois where the corn grows at a rapid rate behind her home.

She’s married and has 3 grown sons all on their own now, each of them bringing someone special to join the family. Yay! Daughters-in-law!

Diana loves having pets, right now there is only one in the house, a cat named Wendell and an occasional granddog named Rusty. You can also visit her blog: www.pencildancer.com.

HEARTS ON THE ROAD
by Diana Brandmeyer
Published by Barbour Publishing / Heartsong Presents

ABOUT THE BOOK

Love cannot be trusted.

Abandoned by her father, betrayed by her fiancé, and forsaken by God, truck driver Randi Davis crisscrosses Wyoming with a broken heart, vowing never to love another man. Suddenly Matthew Carter, a pastor in search of a mobile ministry, is thrust into her life and into her cab. And there’s nothing she can do about it. Soon Randi and Matthew find themselves at cross-purposes. His life on the road has just begun. Her eight-year-old niece needs a parent to come home to every day. Is this the end of the road for Randi and Matthew’s romance? Which road leads to God’s ultimate plan?

Readers, buy your copy of Hearts on the Road today!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

1. This is your debut novel. Congratulations! What gave you the inspiration for this story?

My husband and I were coming home from a trip in our fifth wheel and we stopped at a truck stop for fuel. A small pickup truck came into the parking lot pulling a trailer that said, “Truckers for Christ” on its side. That’s where the idea began.

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

It’s hard to separate what is the author and what is the character for me. We traveled around the states a lot and those experiences infiltrated some of the story. Driving through Wyoming was a lonely time for me and I think that influenced some of Randi’s choices. I would never want to drive a big rig, so that's all Randi.

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

Randi would be rocky road. She’s stumbling through life, thinking her obstacles are too big to get over. Matthew would be vanilla with that thin line of chocolate running through it. He’s security with a tiny bit of uncertainty.

4. Are there any themes in Hearts on the Road that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

Abandonment it the big theme. I do hope the reader sees that God never leaves us. The other theme would be forgiveness.

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

The technical parts of the book were hard because it’s not an easy career, truck drivers can be a bit rough to talk to and the true trucking side of the truck stops tend to make me blush. My favorite part? The loading dock scene.

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

Right now I’m under contract with Concordia Publishing House. I’m co-authoring a nonfiction book about blended families. It is scheduled to come out sometime in 2011.

* * * * *

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

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of Hearts on the Road.

Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname dot.com/net). You won't be entered in the drawing without it. If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post.

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 the winners are announced each time.

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

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Spotlight on Ann Shorey and The Promise of Morning

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ANN SHOREY has been a story collector for most of her life. Her writing has appeared in Chicken Soup for the Grandma’s Soul, and in the Adams Media Cup of Comfort series. She made her fiction debut with The Edge of Light, released in January 2009. When she’s not writing, she teaches classes on historical research, story arc, and other fiction fundamentals at regional conferences. Ann lives with her husband in Sutherlin, Oregon. The Promise of Morning is the second book in her At Home in Beldon Grove series.

Contact Ann through her website at www.annshorey.com.

THE PROMISE OF MORNING
by Ann Shorey
Published by Revell

ABOUT THE BOOK

When loss drives them apart, can their faith bring them back together?

Ellie Craig believed her marriage to Matthew, the pastor of Beldon Grove’s church, would flow from blessing to blessing. He’s always been the leader in their household, giving her a comfortable life. Then they lose three children in infancy and her world reels, leaving her vulnerable to the attentions of the recently returned son of Beldon Grove’s founder. When Matthew suddenly makes a decision that leaves Ellie alone with their older children, she realizes her actions have driven him away. Now Ellie must search within herself for the answers to her problems. Will she be able to open her heart to her husband? Or did her actions destroy any chance they had at happiness?

Fans of Ann Shorey’s captivating writing style will welcome The Promise of Morning, Book two in the At Home in Beldon Grove series.

Readers, buy your copy of The Promise of Morning today!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

The characters of Ellie and Matthew were inspired by my great-great-grandparents. In 1997, I visited the farm land they settled in Illinois in the 1830's, and the story grew out of my imagination of what their lives were like. My great-great grandfather was a circuit rider in Missouri and Illinois, so I wanted to use some of that background in The Promise of Morning.

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

I haven't shared many of my character's experiences. Thankfully, our lives are easier now than theirs were over 150 years ago. But in many ways, women's lives never change. Ellie's life is tied to her husband's decisions. Many women today experience the same thing through job losses, military service, etc. My tag line, "Yesterday's women--Today's issues" expresses my heart for women in all stages of life.

Matthew's stubbornness is his trait and his alone, and Ellie's heart is a little softer than mine.

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

I think Ellie would start out as vanilla and eventually become mint chip--much sharper flavor with surprises inside. Matthew is probably dutch chocolate--straightforward. He is what he is.

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

The theme of keeping promises is the one I hope the reader sees. When I wrote the story, the theme wasn't already in place--it developed as the characters made their decisions. Once the book was finished, I was struck by how much grief could have been avoided if the characters had kept promises. Of course, if they had there wouldn't be much of a story!

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

It's not possible to answer this without spoiling plot twists. One scene brings tears to my eyes even now. And I loved the ending scene.

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

The third book in the series, working title "To Number the Stars" will be out sometime next year. I don't have a date yet. Here's the pitch:

Twenty-two-year-old Luellen McGarvie is a misfit among her peers. Circumstances have left her heart scarred, and she believes marriage is not for her. Turning her back on traditional roles for women, she must battle family and social customs to follow her dreams.

* * * * *

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

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

Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname dot.com/net). You won't be entered in the drawing without it. If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post.

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 the winners are announced each time.

This week, the contest is open to U.S. residents only.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Spotlight on Amanda Cabot and Scattered Petals

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

AMANDA CABOT has always been a dreamer, and so it’s no coincidence that her first books for the CBA market are called Texas Dreams. Set in the Hill Country beginning in 1856, these deeply emotional historical romances showcase God’s love as well as that between a man and a woman. The first in the trilogy, Paper Roses, is in its second printing, and Scattered Petals was a March 1 release.

A former director of Information Technology, Amanda has written everything from technical books and articles for IT professionals to mysteries for teenagers and romances for all ages. She’s delighted to now be a full-time writer living in Cheyenne, WY with her high school sweetheart/ husband of many years.

SCATTERED PETALS
by Amanda Cabot
Published by Revell

ABOUT THE BOOK

Longing for adventure, Priscilla Morton leaves Boston in 1856 and heads for the Texas Hill Country, never dreaming that the adventure she seeks could have heartbreaking consequences. Although attracted to her, ranch foreman Zachary Webster knows Priscilla deserves a cultured East Coast gentleman, not a cowboy who’s haunted by memories of his mistakes. When necessity draws them together, Priscilla and Zach begin to forge a life filled with promise. But then the past intrudes.

Book 2 of the Texas Dreams series, Scattered Petals, weaves a tale of drama, love and second chances as beautiful as the Hill Country itself.

Readers, buy your copy of Scattered Petals today!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

I knew I wanted Zach, who was introduced in Paper Roses, to have his own story, so I asked myself who would be the perfect woman for him. The answer came as a bit of a surprise. Who would have thought that a quintessential Texas cowboy like Zach would need a sophisticated East Coast lady? And who would have thought that Priscilla’s craving for adventure would bring her first tragedy, then healing and happiness?

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

Fortunately, I’ve never endured the tragedies that marked both Priscilla and Zach’s lives, so it’s safe to say that my own experiences played little or no part in developing their stories. However, like most authors, I know that part of me creeps into each book. While my characters are never based on real people (including myself), my heroes and heroines frequently embody my personal values. Because I believe in justice and happy endings, readers will find that my protagonists do, too. They’ll also find the recurring theme of the healing power of love, since that’s something I believe in. As for my villains, they tend to be the antithesis of the heroes and heroines, and I’d certainly like to think they’re not based on me.

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

Zach would be fudge mocha, a strong flavor with unexpected undertones. As for Priscilla, she’s strawberry sorbet – light, sweet but with a flavor you don’t soon forget.

4. Are there any themes in Scattered Petals that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

All of my books seem to have an underlying theme of the healing power of love. I don’t always have that in mind when I begin the book, but since I believe in love (and justice, but that’s another story), there’s usually at least a hint of healing. Scattered Petals, however, was designed as a healing story. Priscilla, who’s been attacked by a bandit, needs to heal both physically and emotionally, while Zach’s healing is internal.

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

The first scene was an extremely difficult one for me to write. It was also a critical one, since it forms the foundation for my heroine’s journey to love and healing, and so – as painful as it was to research and ultimately write – I did it. That scene and the rest of the first chapter are available as an excerpt on my web site.

This is the second book in the series, and for me it was great fun to return to Ladreville, the fictional town I’d created in Paper Roses. I had gotten to know – and love – the people of Ladreville (most of them, that is), and so it was a pleasure to watch the next chapter of their lives unfold. For me, writing the second and third books in a series is a bit like returning to a dear friend’s home – more comfortable the second time around. (Oh, dear, that sounds like a line from a song, doesn’t it?) Anyway, I hope my readers feel the same way and that they enjoy this second Texas Dreams adventure.

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

The third of the Texas Dreams books, Tomorrow’s Garden, is due out next March. It continues the story of Ladreville and its inhabitants. Readers will recognize the hero, who’s introduced in Scattered Petals, but the heroine is new to the town. Here’s the two sentence blurb I wrote for my publisher.

Though Harriet Kirk is certain that becoming Ladreville’s schoolteacher is just what she needs – an opportunity to put the past behind her and give her younger siblings a bright tomorrow – she hasn’t counted on the presence of all too handsome former Texas Ranger Lawrence Wood, a man who’s trying to forget his own past. And then there’s her rejected suitor.

* * * * *

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

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Monday, March 01, 2010

March New Releases in Christian Fiction

And yes, my latest release, Liberty's Promise, makes this list. Woo-hoo! :)

1. A Distant Melody, Wings of Glory, Book One by Sarah Sundlin An historical from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Allie is promised to a man she doesn't love, but a B-17 pilot captures her heart--will she honor her family's wishes or take a chance on love?

2. A Woman Called Sage by Diann Mills An historical from Zondervan. A woman bounty hunter fights bitterness and revenge to find the killers of her husband.

3. Beaded Hope by Cathy Liggett Women's fiction from Tyndale. A moving story about women helping women and lives changed across continents, inspired by a non-profit organization of the same name.

4. Beguiled by Deanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand A suspense/mystery/thriller from Bethany House. A dog-walker and a journalist pursue a thief (and each other) in atmospheric Charleston.

5. Cowboy Protector by Margaret Daley A Suspense/Mystery/Thriller from Love Inspired Suspense. When Hannah Williams comes to help Austin Taylor with his injured daughter, she draws him into an intrigue that threatens their relationship--and their lives.

6. Dead Reckoning by Ronie Kendig Suspense/Mystery/Thriller from Abingdon. Trapped by a terrorist plot in Mumbai!.

7. Disarming Andi by Elizabeth Goddard A Contemporary Romance from Heartsong Presents. Contractor Andi Nielsen has another chance to discover what ís hidden inside the missile base she was hired to remodel. Is she prepared to detonate her feelings for the new owner?

8. Fatal Burn; Big Sky Secrets, Book 2 by Roxanne Rustand A Suspense/Mystery/Thriller from Love Inspired Suspense. In Montana's wide open spaces, danger and love are waiting....

9. Forget Me Not, Crossroads Crisis Center series, Book 1 by Vicki Hinze A Contemporary Romance from Waterbrook-Multnomah. Someone's robbed her of her identity and goes to great lengths to convince her she's someone else; someone who wants her dead.

10. Gold in the Fire/Light in the Storm by Margaret Daley A Romance from Love Inspired. Stories of love and loyalty

11. Groom in Training by Gail Gaymer Martin A Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired. Friends, Four-legged Friends and Love.

12. Kansas Courtship, After The Storm, No. 3 by Victoria Bylin An Historical Romance from Love Inspired. Dr. Nora Mitchell came to heal the town of High Plains. She stayed to heal Zeb Garrison's heart.

13. Katie's Redemption, The Brides of Amish Country by Patricia Davids A Romance from Love Inspired. A young woman returns to her Amish roots but can she find her way back to her faith.

14. Katy's New World, Katy Lambright Series by Kim Vogel Sawyer General Fiction from Zondervan. An Old Order Mennonite girl holds to her convictions while attending public high school.

15. Liberty's Promise by Amber Stockton Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing. Feel the heartbeat of a chaotic new country through the lives of three Pennsylvania women who seek to know to whom they can entrust their hearts.

16. Love Finds You in Bridal Veil, Oregon by Miralee Ferrell A Romance from Summerside Press. A schoolteacher must choose between a man from her past and one who could be her future, while risking her reputation to rescue two runaway orphaned children.

17. Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa by Melanie Dobson A Romance from Summerside Press. A widowed father and his young daughter find healing and hope in the communal Amana Colonies.

18. Morning's Refrain, Book 2 in Song of Alaska series by Tracie Peterson An Historical from Bethany House. Adventure and Romance in 1800's Sitka, Alaska.

19. Once in a Blue Moon by Leanna Ellis Women's Fiction from B&H Publishing. Faith is the first step to soaring.

20. Romance by the Book by Myra Johnson A Contemporary Romance from Heartsong Presents. A shy young woman's crush on her favorite romance author leads her to the man who will finally claim her heart.

21. Scattered Petals by Amanda Cabot An Historical from Revell. Tragedy broke her spirit -- will love mend her heart?

22. The Captain's Lady by Louise M. Gouge An Historical from Steeple Hill. Torn between love and duty, American Patriot James Templeton must deny his heart to help win his country's freedom.

23. The Easter Edition by Robin Shope A romance from White Rose. Bridal shop owner Carol Horn feels she will never find a love of her own until a new pastor comes to town, turning up by accident at her mother's funeral.

24. The Family Way by Michelle Levigne A romance from Desert Breeze Publishing. Pregnancy brings their shaky marriage to the breaking point, and Lisa and Todd must rediscover their love, their faith, and what true marriage means.

25. The Mockingbird's Call by Diane Ashby and Aaron McCarver A Romance from Barbour. Amelia Montgomery, torn between her family's traditions and her own convictions against slavery, must also choose between her duty and her heart as she works for the Underground Railroad.

26. The Promise of Morning, Book 2, At Home in Beldon Grove series by Ann Shorey An Historical from Revell. When loss drives them apart, can their faith bring them back together?.