image: header
image: gownflare

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Guest Blogger Louise M. Gouge and A Suitable Wife

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

LOUISE M. GOUGE, an award-winning Florida author, writes historical fiction for Harlequin's Love Inspired imprint. In addition to numerous other awards, Louise is the recipient of the prestigious Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award for her 2005 historical novel, Hannah Rose (first place) and her 2011 Regency novella, The Gentleman Takes a Bride, (second place). Please visit her Web site at http://blog.Louisemgouge.com.

A SUITABLE WIFE
by Louise M. Gouge
Published by Harlequin Love Inspired Historical

ABOUT THE BOOK

It’s an impossible attraction. Lady Beatrice Gregory has beauty, brains—and a wastrel brother. With her family fortune squandered, her only chance of a Season is as a lowly companion. London’s glittering balls and parties are bittersweet when Beatrice has no hope of a match. Still, helping Lord Greystone with his charitable work brings her genuine pleasure…perhaps more that she dares to admit. Even when every marriageable miss in London is paraded before him, the only woman to capture Lord Greystone’s attention is the one he shouldn’t pursue. Attaching himself to a ruined family would jeopardize his ambitions. Yet Lady Beatrice may be the only wife to suit his lord’s heart.

Readers, buy your copy of A Suitable Wife today!

AND NOW A WORD FROM OUR FEATURE AUTHOR


Readers often ask me where I get my story ideas, and it’s a question I love to answer. Ideas come from everywhere, and I never know when one will hit me hard and demand to be written.

I once saw a man and a boy tossing a football outside my window. I began asking “what if?” and the answers blossomed into a story. When I mentioned it to my friend, she said, “You go home and write that!” I did, and that story became my first published novel and its sequel.

Another idea came while I was reading Moby Dick for a college class. When I found out Captain Ahab had a wife, I immediately thought “what kind of girl would marry that crazy old whaling captain?” The answer grew into my master’s thesis, Ahab’s Bride. Then I wrote two more books to continue the story, and my Ahab’s Legacy series was born.

I have been inspired by bits of real history, such as learning that my home state of Florida was a British colony during the Revolutionary War. Why didn't this colony join the thirteen colonies in their rebellion against England? The answers gave me my first series from Harlequin’s Love Inspired Historical imprint.

My most recent series came from a minor character in another historical novel. This poor but aristocratic woman was a companion to a wealthy, haughty lady who treated her rather badly. I began wonder “what circumstances would require a well-born lady hire herself out as a companion that way?” Three stories came to mind, and I've had great fun writing them.

Right now I’m wondering about a certain biblical character, and I hope to find all the right questions. . .and answers. . .to develop another series. We’ll see.

Sometimes when people find out that I’m a writer, they begin to tell me a story and want me to write it. At times like that, I think of my friend who encouraged me way back when. Like her, I respond, “Why don’t you go home and write that story?” You may not consider yourself a writer, but maybe you've had an idea. Or maybe you could write your family history. Think of how grateful future generations will be to know all about our times and your part in them!

* * * * *

Thank you, Louise, for sharing with us today.

Reader Question: What do you think might make a good idea for a story? What might keep you from writing it?

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name [at] domainname [dot] com) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a free autographed copy of the book featured above. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

Louise is also giving away a copy of the book on her blog.

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

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Guest Blogger Ann Lee Miller and Avra's Gold

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ANN LEE MILLER earned a BA in creative writing from Ashland (OH) University and writes full-time in Phoenix, but left her heart in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, where she grew up. She loves speaking to young adults and guest lectures on writing at several Arizona colleges. When she isn’t writing or muddling through some crisis—real or imagined—you’ll find her hiking in the Superstition Mountains with her pastor husband or meddling in her kids’ lives.



Find Ann also at:
The Art of My Life Blog
Twitter
Facebook

AVRA'S GOD
by Ann Lee Miller
Published by Flawed People Press

ABOUT THE BOOK

In the tradition of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, four friends navigate college and the drama churned up by their Florida beach band to cement friendship and more.

Avra wants love, but drummer Cisco—self-medicating from his parents’ divorce with sex and intoxicants—is a poor choice. Cisco hungers for fresh-baked cookies and the scent of family he finds at Avra’s.

Kallie shares her classically trained voice only with lead vocalist Jesse and fights to keep her heart safe. Jesse feeds on fame and hides more than insecurity beneath his guitar.

The friends surf ego, betrayal, and ambition and head for wipeout. But somehow, when they're not looking, Avra’s God changes them all.

Readers, buy your copy of Avra's God today! Also available at Barnes & Noble and Smashwords, with reviews at Goodreads and Shelfari.

AND NOW A WORD FROM OUR FEATURE AUTHOR

Pressing Real Life into Fiction

As a writer, I’m a vulture, feeding off the carcass of my life and other people's lives. Usually, it’s just bits and pieces—an experience here, a personality trait there, a deeply etched emotion, a pivotal relationship.

For example, in Avra’s God, I draw heavily from my own spiritual pilgrimage and my life experiences as a young adult to paint Kallie and her story. Aly from Kicking Eternity has the same frustration I had learning to drive stick shift. The whole story takes place at a church camp where so many of my warmest memories were formed. I actually still go to teen camp every summer.

In The Art of My Life Henna shows up as a secondary character who grows pot in the back yard and has obviously smoked one doobie too many over the years. She is a lovable, comical character who fractures cliches much like my mother did in her waning years with Alzheimer's. I use a funny story that actually happened. Mom insisted that while she was in the grocery store someone stole eighteen pair of her panties out of her laundry basket which was setting in the passenger seat of her car. And the would-be thief replaced her pristine grandmamma undies with eighteen ratty pair.

Starr, who has a more predominant role in The Art of My Life is a repressed ballet teacher. I took ballet as a child to correct my inward-turning feet. I also struggle with repression. Starr and I rebelled from bohemian upbringings into conservatism. Starr’s hyper-critical attitude toward her son, however, I borrowed from my father’s personality. Both Starr and I heard from our fathers, “I’ll give you something to cry about,” when we cried.

Cal went to jail in The Art of My Life, had a love affair with marijuana. Close relatives have done the same. Aly fights my leftover Catholic guilt. Fish holds grudges like I do. Aly falls overboard like I did as a kid. Leaf and my late father were Willie Nelson look-alikes.

I, like my characters, have always inhabited the bottom rung of the middle class. We all drive beater cars. I lived on a sailboat as a kid, and boats show up in all my books so far. Because I am a spiritual person, my characters wrestle or refuse to wrestle with issues of faith.

As a novelist I find myself revisiting themes from my own life. Kicking Eternity delves into enabling someone involved in substance abuse. The Art of My Life focuses on an adult child overcoming diminished self-esteem due to a critical parent. Forgiving people who have deeply hurt us and overcoming self-condemnation when we breach our personal moral code are issues I lived that recur in my books. Avra's God highlights the trek back to trust after cheating and lust for fame, issues close friends have dealt with.

Since all my books give male characters heavy play and The Art of My Life has a male protagonist, people ask me where I get my insight from. Like most parts of writing, I get it from real life. I've been surrounded by guys my whole life. My closest relationship growing up was with my father, toxic though it may have been. My only sibling is male. Three of my four children are guys. My husband grants me access to dive in and poke around in the male psyche. But I’m still learning. This year’s big discovery is that most guys could care less about matching—they don’t really give a flip whether they walk out the door with brown pants, brown shoes, and a coordinating shirt. Just last week my sons told me you have to “train” a beard. Who knew?

Though I draw large portions of each book from real life, many, many research hours—internet searches, interviews, reading non-fiction books—have to be invested. For Kicking Eternity I studied meth addiction and for Avra’s God, recovering from an affair. For The Art of My Life I relied heavily on friends who run a charter sailing business to answer hundreds of questions. A trip to New Smyrna Beach, Florida, where the books are set was necessary to take photos and verify locations and details. I watched an oil change at Walmart, spent a way-out-of-my-comfort-zone afternoon at a tattoo parlor, and took a sail, along with dozens of other research ventures.

I need to write about things I care deeply about because it takes a lot of passion to propel me through the year it takes to write a book. Writing about issues and experiences I've lived lends my stories depth and a bedrock of truth.

* * * * *

Thank you, Ann, for sharing with us today.

Reader Question: What from your life would you like to relive in a story?

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name [at] domainname [dot] com) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a free eBook copy of the book featured above. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

Anyone who leaves a comment with an e-mail address will receive a free e-copy of prequel: Kicking Eternity. Or you may request your free copy at AnnLeeMiller.com.

This week, the drawing is open to anyone worldwide.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Guest Blogger Ava Pennington and One Year Alone with God

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

AVA PENNINGTON  is a writer, Bible teacher, and speaker. She is the author of One Year Alone with God: 366 Devotions on the Names of God, endorsed by Kay Arthur. She is co-author of Faith Basics for Kids, including Will I See You Today? and the award-winning Do You Love Me More? Ava has also written for numerous magazines such as Today’s Christian Woman and Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse, and contributed to more than twenty anthologies, including sixteen Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Visit her website: www.AvaWrites.com.

ONE YEAR ALONE WITH GOD: 366 Devotions on the Names of God
by Ava Pennington
Published by Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group

ABOUT THE BOOK

In the daily devotional One Year Alone with God: 366 Devotions on the Names of God, author Ava Pennington examines the biblical names of God through 366 daily readings and helps readers discover what those names mean for their own faith.

Readers will learn how a particular name of God provides insight into his character, how those attributes affect them individually, and how they should relate to others. Pennington examines each of God’s names for three days, applying these three perspectives to our lives.

Each devotion looks at a particular name of God and includes a passage of Scripture, questions for reflection, and a prayer.

One year from now, will you be able to say that you know God better than you did before? Revitalize your devotional life with an intimate journey through the names of God.

The next 366 days will pass quickly—make each one count!

Readers, buy your copy of One Year Alone with God today! Also available at Barnes & Noble and Christianbook.com

AND NOW A WORD FROM OUR FEATURE AUTHOR

Wooed to the Dark Side?

I write non-fiction. All sorts of non-fiction, including devotions, personal stories, Bible studies, humor, editorials, and teaching pieces, to name just a few genres. I’ve published a devotional endorsed by Kay Arthur—One Year Alone with God: 366 Devotions on the Names of God and co-authored two picture books—Do You Love Me More? and Will I See You Today?

But I don’t write fiction.

Oh, I’ve tried my hand at it a few times. I wrote a novel seven years ago. Finished it, actually. But I promise you, I will never show it to another person. My dear hubby has instructions to burn it in the event of my demise. Still, it was a terrific (maybe terrifying is more accurate) exercise in learning how much I didn’t know about writing fiction.

I did start writing another novel a few years later. Didn’t get very far before I put it away. I wasn't ready. There was still so much I needed to learn.

A friend suggested I join American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). I hesitated. After all, ACFW is for novelists, and I write non-fiction. Even if I did want to write a novel someday, I wasn’t ready to be wooed to the dark side just yet. I was doing quite well…or so I thought. Besides, how could learning to write better fiction help a non-fiction writer?

How could it not?

Whether the skill set involved voice, POV, plot, structure, dialogue, or character development, my non-fiction writing benefitted as I studied the craft. My articles are tighter. Descriptions are more vibrant. Teaching is clearer. Creative non-fiction short pieces are more animated, demonstrated by publication in more than twenty anthologies.

My fiction abilities are also improving. I wrote a short story published last year in Christian Fiction Online Magazine (have you CFOMed yet?). Of course, the more I learn, the more I learn how much I need to learn.

My first love is non-fiction. Writing One Year Alone with God: 366 Devotions on the Names of God wasn’t work, it was (cliché alert!) a labor of love. Spending time with the Lord, searching for the right words to describe His character and His ways, and experiencing the joy of sharing what He has been teaching me about Himself was an experience like none other. I hope you’ll find it a blessing in your own relationship with Him.

Still, that unfinished novel has been calling my name.

I may yet be wooed to the dark side. :)

* * * * *

Thank you, Ava, for sharing with us today.

Reader Question: In what way are you stepping outside your comfort zone?

This week, there is no giveaway. But please do interact with our author, Ava, and thank her for taking the time to visit. As much as readers enjoy getting to know authors, we authors love to hear from readers too!

Friday, November 16, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: A Change of Fortune by Jen Turano

BOOK REVIEW
Title: A Change of Fortune
Author: Jen Turano
Publisher: Bethany House

All right, so it's no secret that I'm a historical fiction author, which means so much of my world is surrounded by reading and writing and researching historical fiction. I've been reading and studying it for so long, it's difficult to "wow" me in terms of quality stories and writing. Most of that is because I simply don't have the time to explore a large number of different authors hoping to find those gems, but it's also because with 2 little ones under foot, I have to split my reading and writing time out of the limited snippets of time I have available. So, when I find a top-notch author worthy of occupying a spot on my rather small bookshelf, I am sure to sing his/her praises.

This is the case with debut author Jen Turano. Not only do I have the privilege of sharing the wonderful state of Colorado with Jen, but I've even shared a meal with her--the first of which I hope is only the beginning.

For those unaware, there is a "sneak peak" at Hamilton in Jen's A Gentleman of Her Dreams novella, but that glimpse didn't even begin to peel back the layers of his amazing personality. And Eliza? Just how much trouble can a woman robbed of her fortune get into? If you want to know, you'll have to read this book. And trust me when I say you will not be disappointed. Eliza and her antics will keep you turning pages until the last, but a word of warning. Be sure you aren't drinking or eating while you're reading, or you might soil the book (or shower the eBook screen). You also might want to avoid reading if your spouse is sleeping next to you, lest your guffaws stir him/her awake.

I saw another review liken Jen to author Mary Connealy writing regency, and that is an excellent comparison. Humor isn't easy to write in historical novels, and even less so in the Regency/Colonial era. Jen pulls it off with hilarious success. I tip my hat to Jen Turano on this smashing debut!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

CFBA Presents Jen Turano and A Change of Fortune

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Change of Fortune
Bethany House Publishers (November 1, 2012)
by
Jen Turano

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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

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

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

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

ABOUT THE BOOK

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

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

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

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

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

MY REVIEW

All right, so it's no secret that I'm a historical fiction author, which means so much of my world is surrounded by reading and writing and researching historical fiction. I've been reading and studying it for so long, it's difficult to "wow" me in terms of quality stories and writing. Most of that is because I simply don't have the time to explore a large number of different authors hoping to find those gems, but it's also because with 2 little ones under foot, I have to split my reading and writing time out of the limited snippets of time I have available. So, when I find a top-notch author worthy of occupying a spot on  my rather small bookshelf, I am sure to sing his/her praises.

This is the case with debut author Jen Turano. Not only do I have the privilege of sharing the wonderful state of Colorado with Jen, but I've even shared a meal with her--the first of which I hope is only the beginning.

For those unaware, there is a "sneak peak" at Hamilton in Jen's A Gentleman of Her Dreams novella, but that glimpse didn't even begin to peel back the layers of his amazing personality. And Eliza? Just how much trouble can a woman robbed of her fortune get into? If you want to know, you'll have to read this book. And trust me when I say you will not be disappointed. Eliza and her antics will keep you turning pages until the last, but a word of warning. Be sure you aren't drinking or eating while you're reading, or you might spoil the book (or eBook screen). You also might want to avoid reading if your spouse is sleeping next to you, lest your guffaws stir him/her awake.

I saw another review liken Jen to author Mary Connealy writing regency, and that is an excellent comparison. Humor isn't easy to write in historical novels, and even less so in the Regency/Colonial era. Jen pulls it off with hilarious success. I tip my hat to Jen Turano on this smashing debut!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Return to God - Post-Election Musings


(Cross-posted already on Facebook)

So...it's been almost a week since the sad report of our president receiving a 2nd term and given the opportunity to continue his downward spiral plan for America. As I've said before, I wasn't happy about either candidate, but at least Romney had the experience and the passion to start the process of setting American right financially and desired to pass laws that would help us on a moral level.

I can't count the people with whom I've spoken who said they voted for Obama solely because they couldn't bring themselves to vote for a non-Christian. What?!? So, instead, they voted for a man who "claims" Christianity, yet who is proud to say the Muslim prayers touch his soul and are the most beautiful thing on earth? Nevermind the reports that he's actually a foreign national and not an American citizen. But that's a whole other issue.

It saddened me last week when a man with morals, principles, and character lost to a man who supports gay marriage, abortion (even up to the point of birth), and a welfare mentality. But it saddens me more when people (and even bonafide Christians!) voted for Obama because is "said" he's a Christian, yet there isn't a single shred of evidence in his life that shows this.

Call me crazy, but I've always believed the proof is in the pudding, or the fruit will showcase the type of tree. Sorry, but Obama is NOT a Christian. I'll even go so far as to say he's a Muslim in secret with the desire to eliminate the one true God from America. He has an agenda to discredit America while doing everything he can to bring as many American citizens under government control/dependency as he can, thereby shifting us into a socialist instead of a capitalist country.

Our freedoms are being stripped away one by one, and far too many are sitting back, letting it happen.

Now, more than ever, those of us who truly ARE Christians (in our lives, our faith, and our beliefs, not just our words) need to bathe our country in prayer. We can't simply sit idly by and allow evil to take control. We've sat back long enough and allowed immoral behavior to become commonplace in our families, our children, and our neighbors. Families are falling apart, marriage is being redefined, babies are being murdered, the sacred sexual relationship--designed for husbands and wives--is being celebrated as a "try-it-before-you-buy-it" buffet smorgasbord, and immorality is favored over taking a moral stance.

It's OUR turn to take a stand for what's right and not let the "politically correct" sway us or cause us to sacrifice our values simply because our culture has decided to embrace the "well it's ok for them even if it's not ok for me" mentality. Right and wrong has been pushed aside for fifty shades of gray when it comes to morality. If we truly love our country and the one true God who blessed it from the start, we need to stop being doormats and start pushing back. If we don't stand up for something, we'll fall for anything, and that's sadly where this once-blessed nation has gone.

2 Chronicles 7:14 should be our daily guide. "...and if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land..."

We sure could use some divine healing!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

November 2012 New Releases in Christian Fiction

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

A Wild Goose Chase Christmas by Jennifer AlLee — An heirloom quilt, secret messages, a hyper dog, and a possible treasure make for an unforgettable Christmas. (Contemporary Romance from Abingdon Press).

Freefall by Jodie Bailey — A soldier teams up with a retired commando, an undercover agent, and her ex-husband to uncover a drug smuggler, and while one man wins her love, another tries to destroy her. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired).

Christmas Stalking by Margaret Daley — Bodyguard Ellie St. James has one objective : protect her client without letting her know, but there’s an expected complication–Colt Winfield. They must trust each other to guard Colt’s grandmother, but someone wants to stop them. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired).

The Greenfield Legacy by Amanda Deed , Paula Vince, Meredith Resce and Rose Dee — How can one decision cause so much pain? Can it also bring hope? Four women. One story. (Contemporary Women’s Fiction from Even Before Publishing (Wombat).

Treacherous Skies by Elizabeth Goddard — A test pilot turned Learjet recovery man retrieves a jet only to find the kidnapped daughter of a Colombian drug lord concealed inside. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired).

Betrayal by Robin Lee Hatcher — It’s the turn of the twentieth century and drifter Hugh Brennan is a man well acquainted with betrayal. Hugh finds himself drawn to the attractive widow, Julia, yet when he looks into her eyes, he recognizes the same hurt that haunts him. Julia Grace has little reason to trust men, but she’s going to have to trust someone if she’s to keep her ranch from the clutches of her dead husband’s half-brother. Is it possible God had a hand in bringing Hugh to her door? (Historical Romance from Zondervan).

Christmas Countdown by Vicki Hinze — FBI profiler, Maggie Mason and friend, Dr. Ian Crane, set out to catch a serial killer who’s trapped them in a deadly game of cat and mouse. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired).

Legacy of Love by Christine Johnson — An unemployed housekeeper searches for a lost fortune in the home of the mysterious man who first of all evicted her from her childhood home and then gives her a job. (Historical Romance from Love Inspired).

Judge by RJ Larson — Biblical Fantasy Adventure: Kien Lantec struggles to fulfill his Creator’s commands, and to save his love, Ela of Parne, from a deadly vision. (High Fantasy/Spec Fiction from Bethany House (Baker).

Parrish the Thought: A Christine Sterling Mystery by Catherine Leggitt — The Golden Years have never been so dangerous! Unlovable people plague Christine Sterling’s world. Most difficult of all is Amanda Colter, a surly Goth teenager accused of murdering prominent Nevada City matron, Bessie Parrish. (Cozy Mystery from Ellechor Publishing House ).

Love Will Find a Way by Pamela S. Meyers — Someone doesn’t want Lovin’ Spoonfuls from April Love Catering to open and will go to any measure to stop it — including murder. (Cozy Mystery from OakTara Publishers).

Prophetess by Keven Newsome — One act of violence is not enough to fulfill Xaphan’s plans. One near escape does not justify Winter’s growing gift. There is more. She can feel it. The warnings swell within her. He’s searching for someone. A person of promise…a person of prophecy. And Winter must find her first. (Supernatural Suspense from Splashdown Books).

The Return of Miss Blueberry by Rachael Phillips — Callie Creighton ditches her Chicago lifestyle to be her hometown best friend’s bridesmaid during Plymouth’s Blueberry Festival. A decade after Callie fell off the Miss Blueberry float, will she fall for the gifted bad boy of her high school class who now claims he has turned to Christ? (Contemporary Romance from Heartsong Presents.

Soul’s Gate by James L. Rubart — What if you could send your spirit into other people’s souls to fight for their freedom? (Supernatural Suspense from Thomas Nelson).

Snowflake Sweethearts by Carrie Turansky — Bringing her daughter to the one place she feels safe, single mother Annie Romano returns to Fairhaven, Washington. Though hoping to start a new life as a personal chef, Annie accepts a different job. Alex Jameson, the handsome man she secretly loved as a teenager, needs a live-in caregiver for his ailing grandmother. A big-city workaholic in town temporarily, Alex doesn’t seem to realize how much he needs family, faith or love. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired).

A Bride Sews With Love in Needles, CA by Erica Vetsch — As Harvey Girl Meghan Thorson waits on doughboys at the El Garces Hotel in Needles, California, she meets Caleb McBride, a local horse breeder whom the townsfolk have branded a coward and profiteer. Will threads of love unite this couple, or will pride keep them forever apart? (Historical Romance from Barbour).

Guest Blogger Dave Bond and Sweet Music

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

DAVID BOND  is blind. He lost his eyesight due to diabetic complications in 1988, less than two years after getting married. He was previously involved in different areas of the construction industry, from manual labor, to project management. One of his jobs involved drafting, in the days before CAD. He graduated from Reading Area Community College with an AS in Technical Illustration, and later, after losing his sight, graduated from Lancaster Bible College with a BS in Bible and a minor in Biblical Counseling. He was the Program Director for a ministry to victims of crime for five years until 2000.

David has been involved in writing since the early 2000’s. He was first published in an anthology, but began learning the craft of fiction following that. Authors like Gilbert Morris, and Richard Paul Evans, and a wide variety of authors have helped shape his style over the years.

David’s Christian faith is an important component in his writing. His stories involve characters who struggle with real-life issues, and who ultimately realize the God of the Bible is able to help them.

His stories are not meant to preach, but to model. Christians, or people unsure about Christianity, will find entertainment, emotional conflict, and resolution in his books. But always, Biblical principles and Godly character are demonstrated in the lives of his characters.

David lives near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, along with his wife and teenage son. They have a beagle who loves peanut butter, and can chew up any toy on the planet!

ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE: BOOK 2 (SWEET MUSIC)
by David Bond
Published by Desert Breeze Publishing

ABOUT THE BOOK

Keith Weaver (Jessie’s brother from The Attaché), now a construction contractor, is hired by Allison Albright’s parents to remodel their house. Keith faces difficult financial and personal issues, with choices in front of him with no easy solution. Allison is engaged to a wealthy land developer. After postponing their wedding, setting a new date isn’t high on her fiancé’s priority list. Then, a diabetes diagnosis rocks Allison’s world, but so does Keith Weaver.

Readers, buy your copy of Sweet Music today!

AND NOW A WORD FROM OUR FEATURE AUTHOR

The Life Of A Fiction Writer—Lonely, Arduous, and Rewarding!

First, the rewarding part: For new authors like me, which is a nicer way of saying, an unknown author, or an author nobody has heard of, the rewards aren’t much to brag about. I call the infrequent royalty checks, “pizza money.” The last check actually was enough to buy a pizza and a bag of chips! The real rewards for me are the satisfaction of knowing I’ve plotted out a story, created characters and a story line, and been able to type, “The End” at a given point in time!

Of course, I do hope to attain to a higher financial plateau some day. I have a plan, based on what some other new authors have done, which will hopefully translate to more exposure. Which, is the key for new authors. No matter how good our writing is, how well developed our stories are, without exposure in markets like Amazon, very few people are going to buy our books.

Okay, now onto the arduous part of the life of a fiction writer. The above embodies some of the struggles we face, but you can also add the ever-dreaded writers’ block phenomenon. Along with finding that in chapter 14, you failed to incorporate a vital element into the story, forcing you to rewrite scenes, and even previous chapters. Perhaps one of the worst things is losing chunks of work. I had just finished chapter 22 in an early novel I was working on, and accidently deleted chapters 21, and 22. Some authors have learned to bounce back from this, but this was early in my writing journey. The loss of this text was so devastating, it took me away from writing for over a year.

The film, “Finding Forrester,” featuring Sean Connery as an eccentric, reclusive writer, isn’t too far off the mark for some writers, including me. Although, I know many of my fellow writers like to take their laptops to a Starbucks WIFI capable shop and spend an hour or two writing, I could no more do this than walk a tight wire across Niagara Falls! A perfect writing day for me is when my wife is at work, and our son is in school. I don’t even listen to music, despite my love of music. Quiet, isolation is the formula I need to be able to concentrate. Since I don’t work from a detailed outline or plotting diagram, but mostly from the seat-of-the-pants, I often sit in my chair and think for long periods of time. My wife has stopped asking me when she sees me doing this, knowing I am thinking through a scene or plotting the next scene or chapter.

I’m pretty sure most writers of fiction land on a certain “formula” they’ve discovered works for them. And just as we have preferences in our writing environment, we also have differences in our goals and our motivations. One fellow writer has been writing a novel for years, and may still have years before the manuscript is finished. I am coming down the home stretch as I work on book 5, of 6 contracted books. I’ve had to keep to a tight schedule to complete a novel roughly every 4-5 months. Because I am disabled and unable to work in a regular job, I have the time to keep to this schedule. Which, is another aspect of my particular writing experience, and one I may perhaps expound on in some future post.

* * * * *

Thank you, Dave, for sharing with us today.

Reader Question: We authors sometimes get hung up crafting main characters, heroes and heroines, who are all but perfect. How do you as readers feel about characters who are not perfect, not always beautiful or handsome, not always slender or well muscled? Maybe even disabled?

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 eBook copy of the book featured 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 anyone worldwide.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Love Books? Love to Read? A Contest and a Magazine Just for You!

Do you love books? Love to read?

Book Fun Magazine just launched its second issue. Best of all, it's FREE!

They are running a contest right now, giving away 140 books by more than 100 authors. I'm one author who has donated 2 books. The Signature Library Contest details are in the magazine. One winner will get first pick of 30 different books, the next person 20, 5 people will pick 10, and the last 10 will pick 5 until the books are gone.

All you have to do to enter is register for free for the magazine. A bonus is 80 pages of great articles too!

Now, here is where you can help me:

While you are there, if you would click on my book cover for either Colonial Courtships or Stealing Hearts (both listed with my name on the covers, Amber Stockton) you will help me win a competition between the authors.

If you click on the article on the cover entitled Signature Library Contest, a two-page display will open up. My 2 books are on the first page! Here is the link for the magazine:

http://www.bookfunmagazine.com/i/90331

Please spread the word and get your friends to register and click too.

Good luck! And thank you!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

CFBA Presents Elizabeth Ludwig and No Safe Harbor

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
No Safe Harbor
Bethany House Publishers (October 1, 2012)
by
Elizabeth Ludwig


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Elizabeth Ludwig is an award-winning author whose work has been featured on Novel Journey, the Christian Authors Network, and The Christian Pulse. Her first novel, Where the Truth Lies, which she co-authored with Janelle Mowery, earned her the 2008 IWA Writer of the Year honors. This book was followed in 2009 by “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” part of a Christmas anthology collection called Christmas Homecoming, also from Barbour Publishing.

In 2010, her first full-length historical novel Love Finds You in Calico, California earned Four Stars from the Romantic Times. Books two and three of Elizabeth’s mystery series, Died in the Wool (Barbour Publishing) and Inn Plain Sight (Spyglass Lane), respectively, released in 2011.

Coming in 2012 is Elizabeth’s newest historical series from Bethany House Publishers. No Safe Harbor, the first book in the Edge of Freedom Series, will release in October, with two more books following in 2013 and 2014.

Elizabeth is an accomplished speaker and teacher, and often attends conferences and seminars, where she lectures on editing for fiction writers, crafting effective novel proposals, and conducting successful editor/agent interviews. Her popular literary blog, The Borrowed Book, enjoyed a wide readership in its first full year, with more than 17,000 visitors in 2011. Along with her husband and two children, Elizabeth makes her home in the great state of Texas.

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Thrill of Romantic Suspense Meets the Romance of 1800s America

Lured by a handful of scribbled words across a faded letter, Cara Hamilton sets off from 1896 Ireland on a quest to find the brother she'd thought dead. Her search lands her in America, amidst a houseful of strangers and one man who claims to be a friend--Rourke Walsh.

Despite her brother's warning, Cara decides to trust Rourke and reveals the truth about her purpose in America. But he is not who he claims to be, and as rumors begin to circulate about an underground group of dangerous revolutionaries, Cara's desperation grows. Her questions lead her ever closer to her brother, but they also bring her closer to destruction as Rourke's true intentions come to light.

If you would like to read the first chapter of No Safe Harbor, go HERE.

MY REVIEW

I don't often read romantic suspense. In fact, I can count on less than one hand the number of books I've read in this genre. But when I saw a new novel from Elizabeth set in the 1800s, I had to check it out. Sure glad I did! Of course, I've almost never been disappointed by a novel published by Bethany House, but when it's outside the normal genres I read, it made me slightly cautious. After reading just the first chapter, though, all my concerns faded like the sun setting over the distant mountains.

There aren't many authors who are able to create a strong sense of time and place to the point that you know the story couldn't possibly be set anywhere except its setting. Ludwig delved so intricately into the lives of Cara, Rourke, and Eoghan, and the plight of the Irish, that I felt as if I *were* one of them, struggling in the 1890's against mysterious obstacles and people sending mixed messages. Cara had no idea what she was getting herself into. She only wanted to find her twin brother, whom she thought was dead. But the tale that unfolds is one full of adventure, well-crafted subterfuge, believable danger, unexpected twists and turns, and a development of romance that only God could orchestrate.

If you love romantic suspense or historical novels, you're going to love this book. Don't delay. Pick up your copy today!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Guest Blogger Marianne Evans and Devotion

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

MARIANNE EVANS is an award-winning author of Christian romance and fiction. Her hope is to spread the faith-affirming message of God’s love through the stories He prompts her to create.

Evans’s novel, Hearts Communion, earned Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year honors in the Romance category and readers have lauded her work as: ‘Riveting.’ ‘Realistic and true to heart.’ ‘Compelling.’ Evans has also won acclaim in such RWA contests as The Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, where she has been a finalist twice, the Ancient City Romance Writers Heart of Excellence contest, where two of her novels earned distinction as finalists, and the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence contest.

A lifelong resident of Michigan, Evans is active in a number of a number of Romance Writers of America chapters, most notably the Greater Detroit Chapter where she served two terms as President. She’s also active in American Christian Fiction Writers and the Michigan Literary Network.

Connect with Marianne:
Website: www.marianneevans.com
Blog: marianneevans.blogspot.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Marianne-Evans/308711716744
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Marmo212

DEVOTION
by Marianne Evans
Published by HarbourLight (Pelican Book Group)

ABOUT THE BOOK

From This Day Forward
Christian Music agent Kellen Rossiter has everything he ever wanted: A-list clients from coast to coast, a loving wife who honors and respects him, and a faith life that’s never wavered—until now.

Juliet Rossiter has the perfect life: a rewarding schedule serving the underprivileged, a husband who loves her as Christ loved the church, and a blessed future as a mother—at least that's what she thinks.

For Better or Worse
But what happens when their rock-solid marriage begins to crumble under the weight of an unexpected and powerful temptation? How does love survive when its foundation is shaken?

'Til Death Do Us Part
When human frailty and the allure of sin deal a harsh blow to their relationship, it will take more than love to mend the shattered trust and heartbreak. It will take a lifetime of devotion.

Watch the Video Trailer.

Readers, buy your copy of Devotion today!

AND NOW A WORD FROM OUR FEATURE AUTHOR


Less…is MORE!

I hope you all don’t mind, but there’s a topic I’d like to talk about that may start out seeming quite risqué, but that’s not my intent—at all. It’s simply a subject worth looking at…no matter what you read, no matter what you write.

Here we go.

There are only so many ways to describe the act of making love. After a while, really, doesn’t the idea of reading about sex—for the sake of sex—become a bit boring? I think that’s part of why certain genres of writing are pushing the envelope into darker and darker territory. The titillation factor diminishes after a while, so new avenues are explored.

Now, let’s look at the other side of the issue. Consider the idea of engaging yourself in a love story. A plot rich with romance, strife, hope, battles, tears, fears and triumph. Storytelling. How could that ever become stale, or boring? The canvas for that kind of entertainment is endless. Writing about sex isn’t storytelling. Writing about the characters, their motivational core, their risks, beliefs, fears…that’s storytelling.

Faith-affirming fiction, as some of you may know, is my mantra. I hope and pray it expresses everything you need to know about me as a writer, and what you can expect from the stories I write. As an author of Christian romance and fiction, as well as someone who used to write secular romance, I’d love to share some insights I’ve gained during my journey as an author.

First of all, less is more. Yep. Anticipate. Build. Let a verbal exchange, a touch, a gesture of love, speak as eloquently as any scene that plays out in a bedroom. Whatever happened to imagination? Whatever happened to the slow but sure closing of a door as the senses unfold to the promise of that which isn’t just experienced physically, but as a flow of the spirit, and the heart?

Just a little something to think about as you claim the next installment from your TBR pile! After all, truly, what sounds better to you? Fifty shades of gray or the overriding arc of a dazzling, multi-colored rainbow?


* * * * *

Thank you, Marianne, for sharing with us today.

Reader Question: How do you feel about romantic tension and interplay in Christian romance and fiction? What appeals to you? What turns you off?

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 autographed copy of the book featured 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 only. If you live outside the US, a PDF copy will be provided to you.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Guest Blogger Donn Taylor and Deadly Additive

Donn and I met a few years ago, and we've managed to connect a few times at the annual ACFW conference. Not only does he write poetry along with his fiction novels, but he has a notable past career as one of our amazing military veterans who has sacrificed his time and safety to keep us safe here in America. Thank you, Donn!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

DONN TAYLOR led an Infantry rifle platoon in the Korean War, served with Army aviation in Vietnam, and worked with air reconnaissance in Europe and Asia. Afterwards, he completed a PhD degree at The University of Texas and taught English literature (especially Renaissance) at two liberal arts colleges. His novels The Lazarus File and Rhapsody in Red have received excellent reviews, and he has also authored Dust and Diamond: Poems of Earth and Beyond. His new book is another suspense novel, Deadly Additive. He is a frequent speaker at writers’ conferences such as Glorieta and Blue Ridge. He and his wife live near Houston, Texas, where he continues to write fiction, poetry, and articles on current topics.

DEADLY ADDITIVE
by Donn Taylor
Published by HarbourLight (Pelican Book Group)

ABOUT THE BOOK

To soldier-of-fortune Jeb Sledge, the assignment seemed simple: Rescue an heiress and her journalist friend from Colombian guerrillas and collect a sizable paycheck for his troubles. But things rarely go as planned. After stumbling upon a mass of dead bodies, Kristin Halvorsen isn't about to leave Colombia without the proof she needs for the story of a lifetime, and Sledge soon finds himself ensnared in a chemical weapons conspiracy that involves civilians, guerillas and high-ranking government officials. But neutralizing the factory isn’t enough. Where are the weapons that have already been fabricated? Who are the intended targets? How potent and far-reaching are the effects? A pursuit through South America, the U.S. and Caribbean embroils Sledge and Kristin in a mission to prevent a catastrophic attack—and leaves Sledge fighting to save both their lives.

Readers, buy your copy of Deadly Additive today!

AND NOW A WORD FROM OUR FEATURE AUTHOR

Pleasures of Research, Often Unexpected

One of the joys of fiction writing is the research one does to make sure that the writing is accurate. Some of this comes through to the reader through settings that have the ring of truth and through avoidance of anachronisms and other errors. But for the writer—or for any other researcher—much of the pleasure comes from things that may not make their way into the completed manuscript. This pleasure comes from discovery of some odd truth one would never have suspected when he began his research. Once in a while, though, such a discovery leads to an entirely new project.

Such was the case with the journalist Ronald Downing back in the mid-1950s. His London newspaper had him researching the yeti, the Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas. His research led him to an obscure Polish refugee, living in England, who was said to have actually seen those strange creatures. The first interview revealed a story more remarkable than the yeti, and other interviews over the next year produced an equally remarkable book.

When the Germans and Soviets invaded Poland in 1939, the Soviets arrested Slavomir Rawicz, a young lieutenant of Polish cavalry. He was one of the lucky ones. Instead of being summarily executed, he was tried, sentenced, and eventually sent to a Soviet labor camp some 200 miles southwest of Yakutsk, in Siberia. He and six other prisoners escaped from there and walked—yes, walked—south past Lake Baikal, through the Gobi Desert and China, through Tibet into Nepal and eventually into English hands. Several died along the way. And in the Himalayas the survivors did see, in passing, creatures resembling the fabled yeti.

Thus what had begun for Ronald Downing as one project became an entirely different one, and he told Slovomir Ravicz’ story in a book titled The Long Walk (The Lyons Press, 1956, 1997). It is one of the most fascinating books I have ever read, and I revisit it every few years.

My own adventures in research have been less dramatic, but also filled with unexpected discoveries. For The Lazarus File, a novel of spies and airplanes in Colombia and the Caribbean, I spent hours researching the Colombian terrain and weather. Somewhere in there I stumbled onto the photograph of a lone house on top of a barren hill. The image stayed with me and eventually grew into one of the chief features of my fictional landscape, one that recurred throughout the novel.

In researching my latest novel, Deadly Additive, I was surprised to learn that during the 1980s, then-communist Nicaragua’s airline was largely owned by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), and that Peru’s Shining Path guerrillas were tutored by the Abu Nidal terrorist organization.

There is also satisfaction in research that prevents embarrassing errors. Some years ago, my critique group had a good laugh over a novel whose protagonist drove west out of Houston, Texas, and found himself immediately in the desert. (Five hundred miles of prairie and Texas Hill Country had apparently disappeared from the earth.) A quick glance at any atlas or encyclopedia would have saved the author that error.

I came close to making the same kind of error in The Lazarus File. The story told of several detailed flights in the Douglas DC-3 aircraft, one of the most common aircraft used by drug smugglers. I remembered an old movie in which James Stewart looked out the pilot’s window of a DC-3 to see if his gear was down, and I thought that might be a good detail to add. But caution prevailed. I managed to track down a flyable DC-3, talk with the pilot, photograph the instrument panel, and sit in the pilot’s seat. Lo and behold! The landing gear was not visible from the pilot’s seat. That incident also taught me never to use a movie as a research source.

I’ve been talking about research from a writer’s viewpoint, but anyone can enjoy the pleasures of research, and it doesn’t have to be writing-related. There is a certain satisfaction in just finding facts like, for instance, that Texarkana, Texas, is closer to Chicago than it is to El Paso, or that President John Kennedy’s 1961 use of the term West Berlin with Premier Khrushchev (instead of simply “Berlin”) convinced the Soviet leader he could do as he pleased in East Berlin. And there is satisfaction in learning, while the Soviet archives were actually open, the truth about questions Cold War historians had argued over for years. (See, for example, John Lewis Gaddis’s We Now Know.)

Research does provide deep pleasure, but superficial research contains a danger voiced long ago by the poet Alexander Pope:

A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.

In our researches, either for writing or for pleasure, let us all drink deeply and avoid the embarrassment caused by shallow draughts.

* * * * *

Thank you, Donn, for sharing with us today.

Reader Question: Most of us have done research in school or business, or just to satisfy our curiosity. What is your most pleasurable find in research?

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 autographed copy of the book featured 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 anyone worldwide.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Guest Blogger Susan Page Davis and Lady in the Making

Susan and I recently sat together at the ACFW Awards Gala in Dallas, as one of her books was nominated for a Carol Award. She does multiple giveaways of her books every month through her web site, and several readers get the privilege of enjoying a free copy of their choice of her books. Be sure to visit her web site and use the "Enter Monthly Contest" form on the left side of the main page.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SUSAN PAGE DAVIS is the author of more than 40 novels. A native of Maine, she now lives in western Kentucky. She’s the mother of six and grandmother of eight. Her books have won many awards, including the Will Rogers Medallion, the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award, and the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Carol Award

LADY IN THE MAKING
by Susan Page Davis
Published by Barbour Publishing

ABOUT THE BOOK

Millie Evans has changed, choosing to leave rather than join an outlaw gang with her brother. Hoping for a new future, she boards a stagecoach and finds that one of the passengers is David Stone—a man she and her brother once tried to swindle. As she tries to convince David she’s changed, her brother’s gang holds up the stagecoach. Fighting beside David goes a long way to softening his heart, but he’s still not convinced. Someone is trying to keep him from reaching England to claim his inheritance. Is Millie involved? Millie must trust God to show David the truth, but will he see before it’s too late?

Readers, buy your copy of Lady in the Making today!

AND NOW A WORD FROM OUR FEATURE AUTHOR

Welcome! It’s a privilege to be a guest here this week!

As an author, I’m a late bloomer. My first novel was published the year I turned 50. I’d written a lot of nonfiction articles for magazines and newspapers—I was a news correspondent for about 25 years. But I didn’t think I could join the ranks of published fiction authors.

I decided to try when I realized I had a story in my head. It was a rather complicated story about a policeman and a difficult case he was trying to solve. I told my husband about it, and he encouraged me to write it down. It turned out to be a 100,000-word book. That story has never been published, but I have been writing fiction ever since.

About two years after I made that first effort, I began to sell short stories to national magazines. Selling to Woman’s World, GRIT, and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine gave me confidence and justified all the money I’d spent on ink cartridges and postage!

During that time, I continued to write more books and market them to publishers. Nearly four years passed before an editor finally bought my first-to-be-published novel, Protecting Amy, and it took another year and a half for it to go through the publication process. Since then I have sold about 40 books. It’s been a great blessing to our family and a joy to me personally to become a fiction author.

I read somewhere that an author doesn’t really find her “voice”—that is, her tone or “attitude” of telling a story—until she’s written at least a million words of fiction. By the time Protecting Amy was published, I had written much more than that.

I was always a good student, and I’d learned to whack out full-length news stories in half an hour or so when I needed to, but I had a lot to learn about the craft of writing fiction. And I’m still learning. Every year I take classes and attended workshops and conferences that help me become a better writer. I read a lot and listen to what good writers have to say.

The wonderful thing is, writing is a skill you can develop and improve over a lifetime. Your stories will only get better as you learn more about how to present them to the reader. I do hope you enjoy A Lady in the Making.

This story is the third in my Prairie Dreams series. It can be read enjoyably on its own, but you might like it even better if you’ve read The Lady’s Maid, about two English women who join a wagon train going West, and Lady Anne’s Quest, about a lady searching in 1855 Oregon for her missing uncle.

Today’s featured book, A Lady in the Making, continues the story of that uncle, David Stone, who is heir to an English estate and title.

Although I used to live in Oregon and have done a lot of research on its history, I had to do quite a lot more, just to get David and Millie out of Oregon in this book. The time period (1857) is early for big, well-organized stagecoach lines, so I had to figure out how they would get from The Dalles, Oregon, to St. Louis, Missouri. It was doable, but things like Indian unrest in Idaho and troubled relations with the Mormons in Salt Lake City made it challenging. Once they cross the Mississippi, the characters can hop a train, but they are traveling a few years too early for the Transcontinental Railroad or bridges across the Mississippi. They also have to deal with unknown enemies who would like nothing better than to stop David Stone in his tracks. It’s all part of the writer’s job to get her characters into hot water—and then get them out again!

* * * * *

Thank you, Susan, for sharing with us today.

Reader Question: Do you like historical novels better when they emphasize action and adventure, or when the romance takes center stage?

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 autographed copy of the book featured 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 anyone worldwide.

Monday, October 01, 2012

October 2012 New Releases in Christian Fiction

Two of the books listed below are my 2 newest releases. Colonial Courtships and Stealing Hearts. Click on my Books page for more information and ordering links.

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

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

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

Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden — A woman struggling to create a respectable life in 19th century Boston is derailed when she falls in love with a dashing spy. When he draws her into his dangerous world, she must find the courage to infiltrate a remote wilderness mansion to unravel a plot that threatens to destroy them both. (Historical Romance from Bethany House).

Shattered Silence by Margaret Daley — When a serial killer is targeting illegal aliens in southern Texas, Cody Jackson, a Texas Ranger, and Detective Liliana Rodriguez race to discover who is behind the murders and bring peace to the area. (Suspense from Abingdon Press).

A Lady in the Making by Susan Page Davis — David Stone sets out to claim his estate and title, and finds himself a fellow passenger with the woman who tried to cheat him out of his fortune. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing).

Where the Trail Ends by Melanie Dobson — A young woman traveling the Oregon Trail in 1842 must rely on a stranger to bring her to safety. But whom can she trust with her heart? (Historical Romance from Summerside Press (Guideposts)).

The Carpenter’s Inheritance by Laurie Alice Eakes — In 1893, Lucinda Bell is that rarity–a lady lawyer, but her choice to take on only civil cases might not be the safest choice for her life or her heart. (Historical Romance from Heartsong Presents (Barbour).

Flight of Fancy by Laurie Alice Eakes — Cassandra may be more interested in balloon flights than ball flirtations until Lord Whittaker is near, when love seems a fine alternative to the physics of flight until disaster strikes. (Historical Romance from Revell (Baker).

Colonial Courtships by Laurie Alice Eakes, Carla Olson Gade, Lisa Karon Richardson, and Amber Stockton — Set during the years 1752-1762, will adventure thwart the four Ingersoll brothers’ plans or set them on a course of love?
(Historical Romance from Barbour).

Love Finds You at Home for Christmas by Annalisa Daughety and Gwen Ford Faulkenberry — Love finds a home in two heartwarming stories of Christmas past and present. (Romance from Summerside Press (Guideposts)).

Twice a Bride by Mona Hodgson — Love lost doesn’t mean love lost forever. Can unexpected romance deliver a second chance for two deserving widows? (Historical Romance from Waterbrook/Multnomah (Random House).

The Trouble with Cowboys by Denise Hunter — Horse trainer Annie Wilkerson must write a write a lovelorn column to make ends meet. There’s only one problem–Annie’s never been in love so she turns to ladies’ man Dylan Taylor for help but ends up with more trouble than she bargained for. (Contemporary Romance from Thomas Nelson).

A Heart Made New by Kelly Irvin — Annie Shirack is trying to fight her feelings for David Plank, a young Amish man who’s struggling with an aggressive case of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. David loves Annie too much to let her into his life, only, he fears, to leave her. (Contemporary Romance from Harvest House).

The Preacher’s Bride by Laurie Kingery — Can a woman who has lost her faith, and the town’s new preacher find happiness together, or will Comanche raiders destroy all chance of peace and a love that lasts forever. (Western Romance from Love Inspired).

No Safe Harbor by Elizabeth Ludwig — Lured by a handful of scribbled words across a faded letter, a devoted sister sets off on a quest to find the brother she’d thought dead. (Historical Romance from Bethany House (Baker)).

Accidentally Amish by Olivia Newport — With her high-tech career in jeopardy, Annie Friesen runs from her fast-paced life straight into the hospitality of San Luis Valley’s Amish community. There she meets cabinetmaker Rufus Beiler, and the more time she spends with him, the more attracted she becomes. When Annie finds she shares a common ancestor with Rufus, she feels both cultures colliding within her. But is her love for Rufus strong enough for her to give up the only life she’s ever known? (Contemporary Romance from Barbour).

Critical Condition by Sandra Orchard — Book 3 in Undercover Cops series A nurse. An undercover cop. A killer who’ll stop at nothing to avoid being caught. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired).

Trapped! The Adulterous Woman by Golden Keyes Parsons — Completely unaware she is a pawn in a complicated scheme to frame Jesus, Anna’s foolish heart plunges her into a role that goes into eternity as a poignant example of the compassion and forgiveness of the Messiah. (Biblical Fiction from WhiteFire Publishing).

The Doctor’s Defender by Terri Reed — Fearing for her life, Dr. Brenda Storm must trust handsome bodyguard Kyle Martin to keep her safe, but can she trust him with her heart? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired).

Dead Wrong by Susan Sleeman — Book two in the Justice Agency series. When a killer threatens private investigator Kat Justice’s life only one man can help her say alive. A man who once broke her heart and it’s never recovered. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired).

Love in Three-Quarter Time by Dina Sleiman — The former belle of the ball must teach the dances she once loved and risk her heart in order to restore her family. (Historical Romance from Zondervan).

The Women of Valley View: Callie by Sharon Lynne Srock — A baby is dead and Callie feels responsible. Can she put her self-imposed guilt aside long enough to help the two girls who need her now? If she’ll step out on faith, God will rescue her as well as them. (General Contemporary from Harbourlight Books (Pelican).

Stealing Hearts by Amber Stockton — Grace Baxton struggles to forgive a thief who took precious family heirlooms, yet threatens to steal her heart. (Historical Romance from Barbour).

Queen of the Waves by Janice Thompson — Tessa Bowen reluctantly agrees to trades lives–and situations–with pampered Jacquie Abingdon, a London socialite. This decision places Tessa aboard the Titanic for a journey destined to change her life forever. (Historical Romance from Summerside Press (Guideposts).

His Love Endures Forever by Beth Wiseman — God has plans beyond what Danielle’s mind can imagine . . . loving plans to show a lost young woman that His love never goes away but endures forever. (Contemporary Romance from Thomas Nelson).

Christmas in Apple Ridge by Cindy Woodsmall — Experience the holidays with the Plain folk of Apple Ridge, Pennsylvania, in these touching novellas centered around love, romance, and restoration. (Contemporary Romance from Waterbrook/Multnomah (Random House).

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Guest Blogger Mary Annslee Urban and Tapestry of Trust

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

MARY ANNSLEE URBAN is an author of Inspirational Romance. Her goal is to write stories that stir the heart about love, honor and God's grace! Her debut book, Tapestry of Trust, White Rose Publishing, was released June 2012. Her second book with White Rose Publishing, She Came to See the Snow~A Colorado Christmas Romance, will be released Fall of 2012.

A Registered Nurse by trade, Mary has also been a freelance writer for newspapers in her area, has had articles published in magazines and online publications. A North Carolina resident, Mary and her husband have five children and 2 grandchildren and one on the way. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, traveling, long walks and anything chocolate!

TAPESTRY OF TRUST
by Mary Annslee Urban
Published by White Rose, a division of the Pelican Group

ABOUT THE BOOK

Surrendered Hearts. Interwoven Grace

Isabelle had always envisioned Charlie Hamilton as the hero depicted in the romantic tapestry hanging in the Hamilton home. Then Charlie abandoned her to make decisions no one should make alone. Now, six years later, Charlie's back, and despite Isabelle's best efforts, she can't ignore the longing his presence reignites. Charlie wants a second chance, but can Isabelle trust the man he's become? Can she surrender her threadbare heart long enough for God to weave Isabelle's own happily-ever-after tapestry?

Readers, buy your copy of Tapestry of Trust today!

AND NOW A WORD FROM OUR FEATURE AUTHOR

Along the Journey by Mary Annslee Urban

Being an author of fiction is a wonderful and sometimes frustrating pursuit in life. On any given day emotions can swing from top of the world to the bottom of the heap and back again. After hours of tweaking a chapter you might sit back, tap your chin and think, “Wow, did I write that?” Only to find yourself moments later scratching your head and wondering how the next chapter’s dialogue came to sound like it was written by a tongue-tied chipmunk.

Humility and cringe-worthy moments are common pieces of my writing puzzle. But it’s the satisfaction after editing and re-editing a book that keeps me moving forward. The final version, the one that the editor accepts and loves.

I’ve written several books, 2 are published and I can honestly say writing is tough. Storylines often sway in unexpected directions and new character personality traits can pop up when you least expect. Heroines and heroes may turn into a villains and vice-versa. A plot can thicken or end up going nowhere. Like planting a seedling, a story sprouts, grows and produces a creation that is far more complex than where it started. Often very different than what we expected.

Like most writers, my stories are crafted out of passion, determination and love. I learned that I must put myself in the story. See the plot through my characters eyes. Feel their emotions, frustration and pain. Bring out their insecurities and show their faith. And mostly bring them to the brink of collapse before rescuing them.  I want the reader to sense what we actually live, feel and experience: chaos, absurdity, humility, sadness, beauty, love… If, as I read, I don’t bring tears to my own eyes, I haven’t done my job.

Life is about fiction. From folks rewriting their own memories to daydreaming about their hopes and dreams. Fiction gives a writer a way to rewrite mistakes and sorrows or find forever love. Threads of truth blended within a story of fiction. Although frustrating at times, the passion to write burns within a fiction writer’s soul. And like food for my soul, I can’t imagine not writing. :)

* * * * *

Thank you, Mary, for sharing with us today.

Reader Question: What is YOUR passion? What in your life drives you to the point where you cannot consider not doing it? 

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 eBook copy of the book featured 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 anyone worldwide.