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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Guest Blogger Lillian Duncan and Deception

Today's guest is facing some recent challenges, as her husband just underwent triple-bypass surgery. I'm honored Lillian took the time to be with us here today!


LILLIAN DUNCAN writes stories of faith mingled with murder and mayhem. To learn more about her writing and her books, visit her at or DECEPTION (published by HarbourLight Books) is her latest release.

by Lillian Duncan
Published by Harbour Light Books


As identical twins, they played the game of DECEPTION. Now, it’s not a game. It’s a matter of life and death.

Twins are supposed to have an unbreakable bond, but Patti and Jamie have serious “relationship issues.” When a niece she knows nothing about calls, Patti must unravel the yarn of Jamie’s life and her disappearance. Patti is determined to find her sister. Each step brings her closer to the truth, but pulls her further into a web of danger and deception.

Readers, buy your copy of Deception today!


QUIET PLEASE. Writer at work.

I like quiet when I write. It allows me to stay focused on my writing. The tranquility soothes my soul and allows my creativity to flow. HaHaHa!! Sounds good, but not in my house.

I have two dogs and four parrots so if you think it’s quiet in my house, think again.

It’s 5:03 AM as I write this and my Jack Russell terrier is in her cage, complaining and whining that I have the audacity to ignore her. She’s about ten months old and she is all Jack Russell, meaning she wants to play all the time. It works out all right when my husband is around to distract her but when he’s not all her wonderful, loving exuberance is focused on me. Lucky me!

My other dog isn’t too demanding, he’s content to lay near me and sleep. Only problem-he snores and loudly.

Then there’s the birds. We have four of them, two of them are relatively quiet but not Rocky and Jasper.

Rocky is a yellow-fronted Amazon—loving and adorable and likes to sing! Unfortunately, he sings the way I do—loud and off-key. So, while I’m trying to write, he serenades me with his versions of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and Happy Birthday. Believe me, not conducive to my creativity.

Then, we come to Jasper. He’s an African Grey who lives up to his reputation of being a talker. And even though he’s downstairs when I write and I’m up, it makes no difference. When I’m home he spends much of his time calling my name, so as I write he calls out my name again and again and again. If I ignore him, he gets louder and louder.

So, as much as I love the quiet it doesn’t happen in my house very often—no matter what time of the day I write. Oh, and did I mention my husband? Believe me he’s not the quietest husband around either—but he’s one of the best!

But noisy are not, I wouldn’t trade my sweet little pets for all the quiet in the world. They bring fun, love and laughter into our home. And who doesn’t want that?

Life can be ironic. I like quiet but my house is noisy than most. I hate to drive, but managed to arrange it so I had to drive more than 90 minutes each way to work and back for at least fifteen years before I retired from that job. I consider myself shy, but now find myself searching out speaking engagements to promote my writing. Go figure.

Oops, gotta go—I hear the puppy!

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Thank you, Lillian, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question: What are some of the ironies in your life?

No giveaway this week, but please interact with the author.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Author Interview Janice Thompson and I Must Decrease

Today, I'm featuring an interview and special post from friend and fellow author, Janice Thompson. She's offering an amazing and humorous book full of tips, devotionals, scriptures, clever tricks and snack ideas, and great encouragement for those looking to shed the pounds. Here's what she has to say:

Happy mid-February, when all of those dieting promises you made on January 1st seem like a distant memory! I'm popping in today to tell you about the release of my light-hearted Christian dieting book, I MUST DECREASE, which is free on kindle for the next five days. Below, you will find a Q & A telling you all about it. Snag it while you can, and feel free to use the Q & A on your blog to help me spread the word. May HE truly increase as we decrease together!

Janice, can you tell us a little about your non-fiction e-book book, I MUST DECREASE?
Sure! As a comedic author, I usually write light-hearted stories. I'm known as the funny girl. I get the giggles and chuckle my way through most situations. Not everything is funny, however. When it came to my weight, however, I had very little to laugh about. Most of my readers didn't realize the health crisis I was facing as a result of the added pounds. I needed to get things under control, so I started counting calories and watching what I ate. Out of that came my non-fiction book, I MUST DECREASE (which released in paperback in 2005). The book is set up in a daily devotional format and it meant to bring humor (as well as dieting tips) to Christians who need/want to lose weight.

Can you tell us about the layout of the book?

Each day's devotion offers the following:

  • Ticklers: A humorous quote or "thought for the day" to tickle your funny bone.
  • Tidbits: A "Did You Know?" area offering tidbits of information from multiple sources.
  • Traps: Common misconceptions and/or food "traps" we often fall into
  • Tricks: "Tricks of the trade" to help you stick with your plan
  • Treats: Clever snack and food ideas for the healthy eater
  • Testimonies: Personal testimonies of others who've faced the weight loss challenge and won (including some prominent personalities)
  • Treasures: Daily scripture reference
  • Tips: Devotional for the day, based on the daily scripture above
  • Turning Your Focus: A variety of ways you can reach out to others
  • Today's Food Choices: A reminder to write down your daily food choices
  • Thoughts on Paper: Encouragement to keep a daily journal entry

Why did you choose the title I MUST DECREASE?
The title came as a result of a prayer time at church. I'd gone up for prayer and the gentleman praying for me used the scripture (John 3:30) as he prayed for me:
"He must increase, but I must decrease."
For whatever reason, it got me tickled. I'd never thought about that particular scripture having anything to do with dieting before, but it suddenly felt right as a title for the book.

Why did you choose the humorous approach?
Being overweight is nothing to laugh at, but most people who want to lose weight are tired of the serious, "Thou shalt not" approach. Many are ready for a lighthearted look at weight loss, so I created a practical but fun devotional that offers scriptural advice in a way that encourages and never condemns. I decided to share light-hearted ways that dieters could lose weight and still keep their humor intact. This way I could keep my funny bone engaged while losing weight.

I MUST DECREASEcontains tips and testimonies from several well-known (and much-loved) Christian authors, including Mary Connealy, Lena Nelson Dooley, Martha Rogers, Kristin Billerbeck, Laurie Alice Eakes, Carrie Turansky, Marcia Gruver, Deb Ullrich, Gina Bishop, Pam Hillman and Lynette Sowell. I adore these ladies and am so grateful for their input.

Who can benefit from this book?

I would say that anyone concerned with his or her weight (or the weight of a loved one) could benefit from reading. Whether you want to drop five pounds or 150 pounds, this is the book to help you achieve that goal.

Can you tell us about the special feature?

This e-book version of my devotional contains a few of my favorite low-cal recipes. Bon Appetite!

What do readers think about I MUST DECREASE? Here's what one Amazon reader had to say: "This Book Works! I loved this book. As soon as I started reading I was not only motivated to lose weight, but inspired that I actually could this time. I lost 39 lbs and feel free from the bondage that food can put you in. This is a lite-hearted book with biblical principals as well as helpful hints to rid yourself of unwanted pounds without "Dieting" or "Dieing" to eat. The journal pages have been so instrumental to my progress, do not read the book without using the journal section daily!" May 26, 2011 (by megamomma)

Why did you decide to offer the book for free for the first five days?
I love the kindle select program and thought it would be fun to jump-start the process by giving away the book from February 22nd - February 26th. Readers can download the book for free by following this link to I MUST DECREASE.

Can you tell us about your I MUST DECREASE Facebook group?
I would love to! More than a year ago I started a private group on Facebook for a handful of ladies (like myself) who wanted to have the camaraderie of fellow Christian dieters. The group has since grown! Men and women are welcome to join us, but if you do, be prepared to share recipes, fun tips and tidbits from your personal journey. What happens in I MUST DECREASE stays in I MUST DECREASE! That's why the group will always remain private. To apply to the group, follow this link to I MUST DECREASE.

What happens when the "freebie" days end?
The book will still be available for purchase on Amazon (and eventually on Barnes and Noble).

Award-winning author Janice Thompson also writes under the pseudonym Janice Hanna. She has published nearly eighty books for the Christian market, crossing genre lines to write cozy mysteries, historicals, romances, nonfiction books, devotionals, children's books and more. She particularly enjoys writing light-hearted, comedic tales because she enjoys making readers laugh. In addition, she enjoys public speaking and mentoring young writers. Janice is passionate about her faith and does all she can to share the joy of the Lord with others, which is why she particularly enjoys writing. Her tagline, "Love, Laughter, and Happily Ever Afters!" sums up her take on life.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Guest Blogger Linda Rondeau and The Other Side of Darkness


LINDA WOOD RONDEAU is an award-winning author who writes for the reader who enjoys a little bit of everything. Her stories of redemption and God’s mercies include romance, suspense, the ethereal, and a little bit of history into the mix, always served with a slice of humor. Walk with her unforgettable characters as they journey paths not unlike our own. After a long career in human services, mother of three and wife of one very patient man, Linda now resides in Florida where she is active in her church and community. Readers may visit her web site at

by Linda Wood Rondeau
Published by Pelican Venture


Haven: a perfect vacation spot filled with mystery and romance except for a killer bent on revenge.

Manhattan prosecutor Samantha Knowlton is stranded in a quirky but intriguing Adirondack town. But she must return to NYC to repair the unraveling case against convicted child killer, Harlan Styles.

Teacher Zack Bordeaux fears he is doomed to a life of mediocrity if he remains in Haven but would be willing to stay if it means a life with Sam.

Landscape artist Jonathan Gladstone feels bound to an estate he both loathes and loves, haunted by the deaths of his wife and son until he falls in love with a spirited attorney and rediscovers his artistic passion.

These three, betrayed and betraying, must find their way from the darkness of broken hope to the light found only in Christ, our surest haven.

View the book trailer.

Readers, buy your copy of The Other Side of Darkness today!


All Things to All Men

"…I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some."
(I Corinthians 9:22b KJV)

I couldn’t understand it. I had mimicked her stance to perfection. Yet, when I swung at the golf ball, it sailed far to the right or far to the left. Rarely did the ball manage to land in the fairway, unlike my mother-in-law who hit a straight drive every time. Why wouldn’t the ball behave for me as it did for her?

After a season of frustration and being ready to give up the game entirely, I finally realized that Kathryn’s swing worked well for a petite golfer. However, I stood a half-foot taller. No wonder her swing failed me. I spent the next season studying the game, trying to develop a swing that matched my build, age, and club length. With diligence and adaptability, I began to see more and more drives land in the fairway. One woman’s approach to golf was a disaster for another.

Parenting proved to require the same individuality as designing my golf swing. It never ceased to amaze me how three children created from the same DNA pool could be so vastly different not only in temperament, insight, and personality; but in responsiveness as well. Where one learned through insight, another needed rote memorization. Where one crouched in fear from a loud reprimand, another feared nothing. Like my golf swing, I found that my approach to discipline varied not only from child to child, but from offense to offense.

Christian writers have a message to drive home. Some choose memoir, telling their own story. Some write their message from the heart with advice to help the hurting. Those who tell their message in story form will also vary their delivery. Some write romance. Some write humor. And still others use fantasy to bring home truths. In each instance, the genre will fit the writer’s stance, experience, and voice.

Paul had a message to give the world. “Jesus saves.” Yet, he changed his stance depending upon  where he was and to whom he delivered the message. For the jailer, he’d forego the opportunity of escape. For the tempest tossed seaman, he endured shipwreck. For the Greeks, he appealed to their belief in an unknown God.  For the Hebrews, he reminded them of their heritage. He truly was all things to all men that he might win some.

In our spiritual lives, God uses whatever is necessary to reach us with His truth. Sometimes He will sing His lullaby as he cradles us in His arms. Sometimes he slaps our rigid behinds with a proverbial two by four. But in all ways and through all means, He will do all that is necessary to bring us to Him and keep us within His fold.

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Thank you, Linda, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question: How has God revealed Himself in a way that is unique to you?

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name at domainname dot com/net) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a FREE copy of the book above. An eBook will be sent for fewer than 10 comments left. More than 10, and a paperback will be sent to the random winner. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

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

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Guest Blogger Allie Pleiter and Falling for the Fireman

This lady needs no introduction, and she's a regular favorite here at A Fictional Life. Join me in welcoming author, Allie Pleiter.


ALLIE PLEITER An avid knitter, coffee junkie, and devoted chocoholic, Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and non-fiction. The enthusiastic but slightly untidy mother of two, Allie spends her days writing books, buying yarn, and finding new ways to avoid housework. Allie hails from Connecticut, moved to the midwest to attend Northwestern University, and currently lives outside Chicago, Illinois. The “dare from a friend” to begin writing has produced two parenting books, fourteen novels, and various national speaking engagements on faith, women’s issues, and writing. Visit her website at or her knitting blog at

by Allie Pleiter
Published by Harlequin Love Inspired


There's something achingly familiar about the look in fire marshal Chad Owens's eyes. Widowed mom Jeannie Nelworth knows firsthand what it is: loss, hurt and yes—bitterness. Ever since the fire that changed their lives, Jeannie's young son has borne that same look, pushing everyone away. So she's grateful when Chad tries to get through to the boy with the help of his trusty fire station dog.

But the man who's all about safety and prevention keeps himself protected—from loving and losing again. Seems as if Jeannie will have to add his kind, guarded heart to her rebuilding efforts.

Readers, buy your copy of Falling for the Fireman today!


I was thinking about it recently and I do live a fiction-filled life. I think some people believe I live a fictional life--that glamorous published author existence I haven’t seen yet but keep looking for--but that’s not reality. Dishes and wash and confounding algebra homework are my reality, even if I do own (and occasionally flaunt) a tiara.

The value of fantasy aside, I don’t think it’s what readers want to read, either. I love to be swept up into a whole new world--an ancient time, a faraway place, or an exotic culture--but if the characters don’t strike me as real, authentic people, I won’t engage with the story. They don’t even have to be human--we love Toy Story because we see ourselves in the characters. We love a pink plastic pig because he is real to us and worthy of our affections.

FALLING FOR THE FIREMAN is a good example of finding the truth that touches all hearts. I believe the author’s job is to find that truth, and use it to pull us into another world by drawing threads of truth from our own. I don’t need to be a mom who’s survived a fire to know that every mom fears for the healthy survival of her child. I don’t need to be a fire marshall to know the burning desire to protect at all costs. These are basic, universal human emotions. They are truth, and truth can be placed in any context to create a good story.

I could impress you for hours with facts and scenery and research, but if you as the reader don’t see truth, you won’t care about Chad and Jeannie. If I show you how Chad’s needs are like your own, or how Jeannie’s impulses are like every mother’s everywhere, you’ll engage with the story. We’ll share the wonderful moment where everyone is pulling for them to realize their love and claim their happy ending.

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Thank you, Allie, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question: What book did you read recently that rang especially true for you? Why?

ENTRY RULES Readers, IF there is a book giveaway, leave your email address (name at domainname dot com/net) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a FREE copy of the book above. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

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

February 2012 New Releases in Christian Fiction

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Love Finds You in New Orleans by Christa Allan — (Historical Romance from Summerside Press – Guideposts).

Picture Perfect Family by Renee Andrews — Missionary Daniel Brantley has returned to Claremont, Alabama to raise his orphaned nephew; however, Mandy Carter, the woman whose proposal he refused years before, isn’t about to let him take Kaden away. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired).

Into the Free by Julie Cantrell — A simple girl with anything but a simple story. (Contemporary Fiction from David Cook).

In Too Deep by Mary Connealy– In 1866 Colorado, Ethan Kincaid agrees to a marriage of convenience with the same casual disregard he gives every decision. Audra Gilliland, young mother of two, accepts his proposal because she wants to stop being a burden to her newly married stepdaughter. And suddenly both of them are in far deeper than they’d planned. (Historical Romance from Bethany House).

A Wedding to Remember in Charleston, South Carolina by Annalisa Daughety — Wedding planner Summer Nelson is throwing herself into her work to avoid the pain of her recent marriage separation. Husband Luke knows he made a mistake – but doesn’t know how to fix it. When a hurricane traps them together, the crisis might tear them apart forever. (Contemporary Romance from Barbour Publishing).

Heart’s Safe Passage by Laurie Alice Eakes, — When midwife Phoebe Lee is pressed by her pregnant sister-in-law to help save her husband from an English prison during the War of 1812, they end up aboard a British privateer crossing the Atlantic under the command of a man with a deadly mission. (Historical Romance from Revell).

Highland Crossings by Laurie Alice Eakes, Pamela Griffin, Jennifer Hudson Taylor, Gina Welborn, — Historic North Carolina takes center stage in a new collection of novellas that follows the lives and loves of four women…and the heirloom brooch that connects them through generations. Will Seona, Fiona, Seren, and Brynna find God’s path in a new world far from their Scottish home? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing).

When the Smoke Clears by Lynette Eason — When Alexia arrives home to find her ex-boyfriend dead in her mother’s basement, she realizes she needs help. Thanks goodness Hunter Graham is more than willing to offer it. (Romantic Suspense from Revell).

Sweeter than Birdsong by Rosslyn Elliott — A shy young woman must find her courage when she is thrown together on a dangerous errand with a musical genius. (Historical Romance from Thomas Nelson).

Words Spoken True by Ann H. Gabhart — Adriane Darcy stands ready to do whatever she must to keep her father’s newspaper number one in the city including agreeing to marry a man she doesn’t love, the son of a powerful local political figure, but when she meets Blake Garrett, the editor of a competing newspaper, sparks fly that will change both their lives forever. (Historical Romance from Revell).

Before the Scarlet Dawn by Rita Gerlach– In 1775, A young woman longs for acceptance and leaves behind all she has in order to follow her heart and the man she loves into the Maryland wilderness. But will her love and faith protect her from the trial she must face? Will she find the true meaning of companionship? And how will she face the world when she is rejected by those closest to her? (Historical Romance from Abingdon Press).

Sheltering Love by Elizabeth Goddard — Alexa’s last chance to produce an award-winning documentary draws attention to a canopy biologist hiding in the trees. When their greatest fears collide in the heart of the wilderness, can they each bury the past long enough to nurture love? (Romance from Heartsong Presents (Barbour)).

Promise Me This by Cathy Gohlke– Michael Dunnagan is given a life, a hope and a future through his friend’s sacrifice aboard Titanic. Now he must keep his promise to help Owen’s family in NJ, and bring his sister from England to America. He never expected to fall in love with her, or that she would disappear into the horrors of WWI. Michael risks everything to find the woman he’s grown to love. (Historical from Tyndale House Publishers).

To Love and To Cherish by Kelly S. Irvin– The sudden, tragic death of Emma Shirack’s parents in a buggy accident and the return of a suitor who abandoned her years earlier test Emma’s Amish faith and her ability to forgive. Will a man she thought of as a friend be the one to help her to heal? (Romance from Harvest House).

Sixty Acres and a Bride by Regina Jennings– She’s Finally Found a Place to Call Home… How Far Will She Go to Save It? (Historical Romance from Bethany House).

Hometown Cinderella by Ruth Axtell Morren — (Historical Romance from Love Inspired).

Falling for the Fireman by Allie Pleiter– When fire marshall Chad Owens suspects that fire victim Jeannie Nelworth’s son may be channeling his emotions in a dangerous manner, will the pretty and but protective widowed mom be strong enough to help him? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired).

Second Chance by Eileen Hinkle Rife– Dareece Jackson, a teen from the projects, wants something in Mave Robertson’s purse…and he’ll stop at nothing to get it. (Contemporary Fiction from OakTara Publishers).

Song of My Heart by Kim Vogel Sawyer– Sadie Wagner has always been devoted to her family. So when her stepfather is injured and can’t work, she decides to leave home and accept a position as a clerk at the mercantile in Goldtree, Kansas. Goldtree also offers the opportunity to use her God-given singing talent – though the promised opera house is far different from what she imagined. With her family needing every cent she can provide, Sadie will do anything to keep her job. Thad McKane comes to Goldtree at the request of the town council. The town has been plagued by bootlegging operations, and Thad believes he can find the culprit. (Historical Romance from Bethany House).

A House Full of Hope by Missy Tippens– A widowed mom of four who’s put her life on hold until her kids are grown finds hope of love in the most unlikely of places when the former bad boy who ruined her sister returns to town seeking redemption. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired).

A Sweethaven Summer by Courtney Walsh– Campbell Carter has come to Sweethaven in search of answers about her mother’s history. Just before losing a battle with cancer, Suzanne Carter wrote letters to childhood friends from her hometown of Sweethaven, Michigan. Suzanne’s three friends-Lila, Jane, and Meghan-haven’t spoken in years, yet each has pieces of a scrapbook they made together as girls. Suzanne’s letters have lured them all back to the idyllic lakeside town, where they meet Campbell and begin to remember what was so special about their long Sweethaven summers. (Contemporary Fiction from Guideposts Books).

Blue Moon Bay by Lisa Wingate– A sweet deal for the sale of lakeside family property in Texas could make Heather’s career, but suddenly the family backs off, Heather rushes back to the site of a previous family tragedy and finds an old high school flame and her brother scheming to — what? (Cozy Mystery from Bethany House).

The Scent of Cherry Blossoms by Cindy Woodsmall– Love between a Mennonite woman and an Amish man threatens the lifelong relationship between two brothers. And two families. Annie is a young Old Order Mennonite woman whose grandfather co-owns a restaurant with the Zooks, an Old Order Amish family. Romance between the Mennonites and Amish is unacceptable. Inappropriate. Forbidden. But it seems that Annie and Aden have denied their feelings for each other for as long as they can tolerate. (Contemporary Romance from Waterbrook Multnomah).