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Thursday, May 31, 2012

ACFW Genesis 2012 Finalists Have Been Announced!

It thrills me to be able to do this, because I get to also give a personal shout-out to the folks I know. Here are your 2012 Genesis finalists:

Special congrats to Michelle Massaro, Kathleen Maher, Brandy Vallance, Becca Witham, Rich Bullock, Kelli Hughett, Caleb Breakey, and Carla Laureano.

Genesis 2012 Finalists

Contemporary Fiction
* Michelle Massaro
Anne Prado
Chris Storm

Contemporary Romance
Brenda Anderson
Amy Matayo
Cindy Wilson

Historical Fiction
Nancy Kimball
* Kathleen L. Maher
Terri Wangard

Historical Romance
Karen Barnett
* Brandy Vallance
* Becca Witham

* Rich Bullock
Christen Civiletto Morris
Matthew Sheehy

Romantic Suspense
Arlene Coulter
* Kelli Hughett
Pat Trainum

Speculative Fiction
* Caleb Jennings Breakey
* Carla Laureano
Amanda G. Stevens

Women’s Fiction
Susan Hill
Rachel Moore
Erin Taylor Young

Young Adult
Kathleen Freeman
Teresa Lockhart
Rondi Olson

The list of finalists can also be found on ACFW’s website:

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Guest Blogger Robynn Tolbert and Star of Justice


Born in Kansas and born again at age six, ROBYNN TOLBERT wrote stories for her own amusement for the next thirty years. When a job as a foster care caseworker became too stressful and a career with a floral trade magazine became too comfortable, her thoughts turned to writing an actual book. Success led to success, and she completed a second novel and started her third. Robynn, aka Ranunculus Turtle, lives in Kansas with a clowder of cats, a patient dog, and a garden.

by Robynn Tolbert
Published by Splashdown Books


She joined the knighthood for the scholarship program.

A thwarted assassination attempt drags Caissa Ocren into a secret war between elemental spirits and dragon worshippers. More accustomed to solving puzzles than wielding swords, she undergoes a crash course in survival from a mercenary minstrel, a shape-shifting druid, and a legendary spirit warrior.

An ancient book may hold the answers she seeks, but understanding requires the memories of a wizard. With time against her, Caissa faces the hardest lesson of all – how to serve when the cost is her life.

Readers, buy your copy of Star of Justice today!


I wrote Star of Justice about eight years ago, when my day job instituted a “summer hours” program. Work an extra hour four days a week and get four hours off on Friday. Excellent, but what to do with those four hours? I had no friends. I had no internet. I had no cell phone. I decided to write a book. I’d started lots of books in college—twenty years earlier—so that wasn’t a concern.

I wrote four hours a day every Friday. I enjoyed it. I’d never finished a book before, you see. Started lots of them, but finish? No. This one I thought I could finish, if I just kept plugging away.

A month passed, and one of my dogs was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. Didn’t know dogs could get that until he did. We started the various medications to ease his discomfort and prolong his life. Writing became a way to avoid listening to him cough.

Another month passed, and Mom was diagnosed with precancerous cells in her remaining breast. She’d had a breast removed because of cancer years earlier, so we were watching for it. The surgery was scheduled for early November. I would drive out to her farm every Saturday and read her the pages I’d written during the week. It became important to finish the book before that surgery date. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I wanted her to know I’d completed one book, just in case.

I wrote every minute I wasn’t at work or in bed. My back hurt. My eyes hurt. My head hurt. I gained weight: a lot of eating takes place in my story, and it’s rude to let people eat alone.

The dog’s coughing worsened. Mom’s surgery date loomed.

The day before she went in, I finished the book. I like to think I finished it well. Mom certainly enjoyed it.
Her surgery went splendidly, and she came out with two new breasts created using her own tissue (a technique called a tram-flap, but that’s another story). My dear dog Wicket took The Long Step once I understood that his congestive heart failure would kill me before it killed him (it nearly did that winter when my over-stressed immune system broke down and left me vulnerable to every contagion that crossed my path). I put my finished book into the proverbial drawer and moved on with my life.

Looking back, those things that seemed determined to knock me off course were the very things that kept me on the path to completion. Ultimately, they set me on the path to publication.

* * * * *

Thank you, Robynn, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question: What trials have unexpectedly helped you achieve your goal?

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 in the format of your choice 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, May 23, 2012

Guest Blogger Lacy Williams and The Homesteader's Sweetheart


By day, LACY WILLIAMS is a stay-at-home mom battling dirty diapers and dog-hair dust-bunnies. By night, she is a novelist whose debut book (Marrying Miss Marshal) was a finalist in the RT Book Reviews 2011 Reviewers’ Choice Awards. Her current projects include a screenplay and potty-training her little girl.

by Lacy Williams
Published by Love Inspired Historical


A wealthy social butterfly falls in love with her grandfather’s poor neighbor and his eight children.

Readers, buy your copy of The Homesteader's Sweetheart today!


What’s the best birthday gift you’ve ever received? I’ve gotten some doozies. Of course there was the bike when I was a kid (six? I can’t remember the exact birthday). On my twenty-first birthday, my husband gave me a beautiful diamond tennis bracelet. It was close to my twenty-seventh birthday when I found out we were going to have my daughter.

Personally, I love giving gifts more than receiving them. The Christmas season is my favorite time of year. There is just something about finding the perfect gift for someone you love, and the anticipation of how they will enjoy it… Some of the best moments from my daughter’s two-year birthday last December were watching her face when she opened a present that she loved (she got a stuffed Donald Duck that she carried around for days).

But what if no one had ever given you something special? That question was one that I wanted to answer in THE HOMESTEADER’S SWEETHEART. The hero, Jonas White, was an orphan who grew up on the streets of Philadelphia in the late 1800s. Because of his background, he’s a compassionate, steady man, but he’s never had anyone special in his life (other than his kids), so he’s never received a really nice gift in his entire life. Until the heroine, Penny Castlerock, becomes a part of his life. Here’s a short excerpt that shows some of Jonas’s feelings about his gift. This scene is from the middle of the book, and Jonas and Penny have started becoming close but Jonas questions whether he could deserve someone like her.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

"Careful," Jonas warned Oscar from his perch on the skeleton frame of the Smiths' new barn roof. The teen nodded, lips pressed around a handful of nails.
Jonas had reluctantly agreed to the barn-raising. He needed to be careful around Penny. Didn't want to fall further in love with her, not when things could never work between them.
Now, mid-morning, he was part of the roofing crew, and he couldn't help but be aware of Penny on the ground as she weaved among the visiting women, Breanna sometimes by her side and sometimes off playing with the other children. Breanna with her new dress…
Nor could he ignore an awareness of his sons, each wearing a bright, clean, new shirt. Usually, the boys wore hand-me-downs, with Oscar and Maxwell receiving the new items because they were biggest. The joy they'd expressed last night when Penny had gifted them with the shirts and again this morning as they'd donned the brand-new clothing pinched his heart. He wished he could do more for them.
He hadn't yet worn the pale blue shirt she'd given him along with a sweet, sincere smile. He'd sat on the edge of his bed for a long time last night, moonlight streaming through his window, fingering the garment Penny had made for him.
It had been a very long time since anyone had given him a gift, other than the little trinkets he received from the children at Christmas.
And no one had ever given him something so fine. He kept thinking of all the time she must have spent making it.
Almost like a wife or mother, making clothing for the ones she loved.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

I’d like to let everyone know that I’m having a special promotion in honor of the release of THE HOMESTEADER’S SWEETHEART and my birthday. I’m giving away bonus scenes and goodies from some of your favorite authors (including Camy Tang, Regina Jennings, Jordyn Redwood) and giving away books from a bunch more. Visit for full details.

Thanks for hosting me!

* * * * *

Thank you, Lacy, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question: What is the best gift you have ever received?

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 US/Canada residents only.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Guest Blog Lena Nelson Dooley and Mary's Blessing


LENA NELSON DOOLEY is an award-winning author with has more than 690,000 books in print. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the local chapter, DFW Ready Writers. She’s a member of Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas.

Lena loves James, her children, grandchildren, and great grandson. She loves chocolate, cherries, chocolate-covered cherries, and spending time with friends. Travel is always on her horizon. Cruising, Galveston, the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, Mexico. One day it will be Hawaii and Australia, but probably not the same year. Helping other authors become published really floats her boat, with eighteen signing their first book contract after her mentoring. Three of her books have been awarded the Carol Award silver pins from American Christian Fiction Writers, and she has received the ACFW Mentor of the Year award at their national conference. The high point of her day is receiving feedback from her readers, especially people whose lives have been changed by her books.

Her 2010 release, Love Finds You in Golden New Mexico from Summerside Press, recently won the Will Rogers Medallion Award for excellence in publishing Western literature for fiction. Lena is currently under two 3-book contracts with Charisma House/Realms. The first book released in October 2011. Maggie’s Journey appeared on a reviewers Top Books of 2011 list. The second is Mary’s Blessing, which released this month.

In addition to her writing, Lena is a frequent speaker at women’s groups, writers groups, and at both regional and national conferences. She has spoken in six states and internationally. She is also one of the co-hosts of the Gate Beautiful blog radio show.

Lena has an active web presence on Shoutlife, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Linkedin and with her internationally connected blog where she interviews other authors and promotes their books.

Official Fan Page:

by Lena Nelson Dooley
Published by Charisma House/Realms


“Lena Nelson Dooley paints a vivid picture of all the tragedies and triumphs of nineteenth-century life. The charming characters, godly themes, and tender love story will leave you wanting more and eagerly awaiting her next book.” —Margaret Brownley, New York Times best-selling author of Brides of Last Chance Ranch

When her mother dies, Mary Lenora must grow up quickly to take care of her brothers and sisters. Can love help her to shoulder the burden?

Mary Lenora Caine knows she is adopted. As she was growing up, her mother called her “God’s blessing.” But now that she’s gone, Mary no longer feels like any kind of blessing. Her father, in his grief, has cut himself off from the family, leaving the running of the home entirely in Mary’s hands.

As she nears her eighteenth birthday, Mary can’t see anything in her future but drudgery. Then her childhood friend Daniel begins to court her, promising her a life of riches and ease. But her fairy-tale dreams turn to dust when her family becomes too much for Daniel, and he abandons her in her time of deepest need.

Will Daniel come to grips with God’s plan for him? And if he does return, can Mary trust that this time he will really follow through?

Readers, buy your copy of Mary's Blessing today!


Of Great Importance in My Writing Life

One of the most important things in this author’s life is my readers. I love all of you. Hearing from you is a high point of my day. Even if you didn’t like some aspect of my book, I like to hear from you. I want to connect with you in every way I can. And you can find me on a lot of online venues—Facebook, Twitter, Shoutlife, Pinterest, Goodreads, my blog, and my web site.

I’m really interested in book clubs and reading groups. I enjoy connecting with you through the electronic technology of telephone calls or Skype video. I’m happy to answer questions about the stories, why I wrote them, and any other question you may have.

My newest series McKenna’s Daughters. The heroines were born on one of the last wagon trains on the Oregon Trail. Their mother died giving birth, and because of the circumstances, they were separated. It’s not until they are about eighteen years old that they learn they have two sisters. And the desire to find their sisters is strong in each of them.

Books one and two are stand alone novels, which can be read in any order. But you’ll probably want to read book one and two before book three releases in January 2012.

Maggie’s Journey released in October 2011. I’ve heard from a lot of readers. Many of they have been adoptees. They were interested in that aspect of the book, which was set in1885 in Washington Territory. Maggie journey took her to Little Rock, Arkansas, by train.

Maggie had grown up the spoiled daughter in a wealthy family. She had no idea she was adopted. Most people were intrigued by the way she found out. One Christian reviewer put Maggie’s Journey on her Top Books of 2011 list.

Mary’s Blessing released this month. Mary has always known she was adopted, but because her mother died when she was eleven years old, no one told her the circumstances. That information really affected her when she found out. Her mother had called her God’s Blessing, but she didn’t feel like anyone’s blessing. Her spiritual and romantic journey intertwine in an interesting and surprising way.

If you didn’t get a chance to read book one, we’ll give away a copy to one lucky (or I should say blessed) reader.

* * * * *

Thank you, Lena, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question: Have you ever let an author know when something in a book bothered you? Have you ever contacted an author and let that person know how much their book meant to you? In either case, what happened?

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 Maggie's Journey. 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 US/Canada residents only.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Guest Blogger Becky Wade and My Stubborn Heart

All right, so I have a funny story to share about today's author. She's a debut author with Bethany House, just like our author from last week. Becky, though, happens to share the name with a friend of mine at my church...a lady who does not write at all. Yet, when that Becky went into the bookstore a couple weeks ago, she saw this Becky's book on the shelf and had to pick it up. And she came up to tell me a couple days later. So, I'll be certain to email her a link to this guest post. She'll likely enjoy reading it too. :)


BECKY WADE makes her home in Dallas, Texas with her husband, three children, and one adoring (and adored) cavalier spaniel. Her inspirational contemporary romance, My Stubborn Heart, has just been released by Bethany House.

During her childhood in California, Becky frequently produced homemade plays starring her sisters, friends, and cousins.  These plays almost always featured a heroine, a prince, and a love story with a happy ending.  She's been a fan of all things romantic ever since.

Becky and her husband lived overseas in the Caribbean and Australia before settling in Dallas, Texas.  It was during her years abroad that Becky's passion for reading turned into a passion for writing.  She published three historical romances for the general market, put her career on hold for several years to care for her kids, and eventually returned to writing sheerly for the love of it.  Her first contemporary Christian romance, My Stubborn Heart, has just been released by Bethany House.

These days Becky can be found failing but trying to keep up with her housework, sweating at the gym, carting her kids around town, playing tennis, hunched over her computer, eating chocolate, or collapsed on the sofa watching TV with her husband.


by Becky Wade
Published by Bethany House


Kate Donovan is burned out on work, worn down by her dating relationships, and in need of an adventure. When her grandmother asks her to accompany her to Redbud, Pennsylvania, to restore the grand old house she grew up in, Kate jumps at the chance.

Upon her arrival in Redbud, Kate meets Matt Jarreau, the man hired to renovate the house. Kate can't help being attracted to him, drawn by both his good looks and something else she can't quite put her finger on. He's clearly wounded--hiding from people, from God, and from his past. Yet Kate sets her stubborn heart on bringing him out of the dark and back into the light... whether he likes it or not.

When the stilted, uncomfortable interactions between Kate and Matt slowly shift into something more, is God finally answering the longing of her heart? Or will Kate be required to give up more than she ever dreamed?

Readers, buy your copy of My Stubborn Heart today!


Writers and Food

Tiffany graciously invited me to blog about any topic related to the life of a fiction writer so I decided on the auspicious subject of FOOD.  More particularly, what writers eat, drink, and snack on during writing and how they go about all this nibbling, lunching, and sipping.  I (very un-scientifically) polled my fellow Bethany House authors about their food quirks and the following are the categories that developed.


Deeanne Gist:  "When on deadline, I order healthy food already prepared and boxed in individual portions. I have it delivered. If I don't, then I would subsist on Ding Dongs. Not good."

Tamera Alexander:  "Salads! And gluten free snacks. Our dinners are pretty simple since my husband is diabetic. We do a meat and lots of veggies. Makes cooking a lot easier too. Which leaves more time to write!"


Mary Connealy: "My husband does 90% of the cooking these days. So I sit and type and wait for those three little words all women love to hear above all others...........Dinner is ready!"

J. Mark Bertrand: "My wife will come in at six and say, "Ready for dinner?" I'll ask for a few more minutes [to write], and next thing I know it's a quarter to ten."


Becky Wade: "I fix myself a boring sandwich almost every day for lunch, bring it to my desk, and eat it while I'm writing.  I'm usually just plodding through it so I can get to dessert.  Chocolate, of course!"

Deeanne Gist:  "I eat at my desk, but usually check emails at that time.  When I'm done eating, I go back to writing."


Ann Tatlock:  "I scrounge the fridge for leftovers, though I very often end up throwing together a salad with cottage cheese and crackers. I take time away from my desk and sit at the kitchen table, reading the newspaper. Then I'm fine until my husband comes home and asks the inevitable: "What should we have for supper?" Arrgg!! Who wants Chinese tonight?!? Call for pizza! Does Applebee's deliver?"

Nancy Mehl:  "I take a lunch break. Two hours. I feel like I need the time to unwind completely."

Tamera Alexander: "I *try* to take a "true lunch break" and step away from the laptop and go sit outside on the deck with my lunch (weather permitting) or grab a book and crash in the keeping room for a few minutes."


Lisa Wingate:  "A nice warm cup of my mom's instant Chai Tea feels like a luxury, but is really pretty healthy.  I just say, "Mom, I'm out of Chai Tea," and within a few days another recycled instant tea jar appears with the mix in it and I'm all set for a month or so."

Elizabeth Camden: "I normally inhale coffee while working......but the heroine of my last manuscript loves Earl Grey Tea....and I developed an odd affinity for it too! I suppose this is an occupational hazard.  I often develop a bizarre affection for whatever my characters really love.  I bought a lot of pricey perfume while working on The Rose of Winslow Street, whose hero is a perfumer."

Nancy Mehl: "I drink coffee or tea while I write. Love it. Don't usually eat, unless it's popcorn."

J. Mark Bertrand:  "When I'm writing, I drink a lot of coffee. Someone gave us a Keurig machine for Christmas, so the last book I wrote probably cost more in coffee pods than the advance will cover! (I'm exaggerating, but those things are pretty expensive.) I'm back on french press and espresso now, which tastes better and isn't nearly as expensive."

Tamera Alexander:  "Iced tea––made with regular tea bags plus one Constant Comment tea bag, and sweetened with Xylitol––served in a wine glass. Every day. No fail. Keep it comin', babe! Why save wine glasses for special occasions? Every day is special. ;)"

Becky Wade: "A mug of hot tea after lunch.  English Teatime with creamer and Truvia.  Steaming hot!"


Regina Jennings: "I'm paranoid about having drinks near the laptop, what with errant footballs flying and naked Barbies in need of dressing flung my direction. Of course, M&Ms won't short out a keyboard, so I keep a supply handy. Peanut is the flavor of choice."

Elizabeth Ludwig:  "All right...I admit it...that's me. I eat trail mix with dark chocolate M&M's added in. Dark chocolate's okay though, right?? Antioxidants. That's what I tell myself. :-)"

Julie Klassen:  "I have a terrible sweet-tooth and on those days when I have to push myself to keep working, a dish of nuts or dried fruit or dark chocolate is sometimes just the "carrot" I need."

* * * * *

Thank you, Becky, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question: Attention blog readers!  Spill the beans.  Which of the above categories do you fall into?  What do you most like to eat or drink while writing?

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 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 US/Canada residents only.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Guest Blogger Dani Pettrey and debut novel Submerged

I am thrilled beyond words to feature today's guest blogger. Dani is a dear friend who was with me before I was even published--before either one of us were published. We both persevered, and we've both sold books. Of course, she landed a contract with one of the most prestigious publishing houses of Christian fiction. I dream of one day selling to Bethany House, but for now, I can live vicariously through Dani. :)

For now, let's chat with Dani and celebrate the release of her debut novel, Submerged. Congratulations, Dani!


DANI PETTREY is a wife, homeschooling mom, and author. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves--the thrill of adventure, nail biting suspense, the deepening of her characters' faith, and plenty of romance. She and her husband reside in Maryland with their two teenage daughters. Visit her website at

by Dani Pettrey
Published by Bethany House


A sabotaged plane. Two dead deep-water divers. One single clue.

Bailey Craig vowed never to set foot in Yancey, Alaska, again. She has a past, and a reputation--and Yancey's a town that doesn't forget. She's returned only to bury a loved one killed in the plane crash, but then dark evidence emerges and Bailey's own expertise becomes invaluable for the case.

Cole McKenna can face dangerous rescue dives. He can face the fear a murderer may be threatening his town. But facing the reality of Bailey's reappearance is a tougher challenge. She broke his heart... but doesn't seem to be the same girl who left Yancey ten years ago. And he's not the same guy she left behind.

Racing against the clock and a rising body count, Bailey and Cole must move beyond the hurts of their pasts to work together until the truth of what is hidden in the depths finally surfaces.

Readers, buy your copy of Submerged today!


For the Love of Words

I was chatting with a fellow writer this weekend and we were discussing our love of words. Not only when they are strung together in story form, but individual words. It was so fun finding a fellow word-lover; someone who loves to learn about words and their nuances. What about you? Have you ever been watching a movie or show and a particular word catches your ear? Do you ever underline words when you read? If so, then you too might be a logophile.

Logophile: a lover of words

I admit it. I am fascinated by words—their origin, their meanings, and especially their sound. Think about it. Some words are punchy like snap and twig. Others are meant to be drawled out like southern or loquacious. My favorites are the ones that roll right off your tongue like glisten or whisper. And, of course, some are just plain fun to say:

shenanigans, frowzy, and loofa.

I’m unsure whether this love stems from a writer’s heart or a reader’s. I’m both. Long before I began writing seriously, I kept journals. I recently went back through a few and wasn’t the least surprised to find words and phrases doodled around the edges of the pages—words I’d heard that intrigued me, unfamiliar words that I later looked up in the dictionary, and, of course, the phrases that have lingered. While I still keep a journal, I’ve developed a Word and Phrase File for easier viewing and retrieval. My friend mentioned she keeps a similar file filled with the words and phrases she’s edited out of her manuscript, but still might use some day.

I’ve pulled a few from my file to share from one word-lover to another. Hope you enjoy!

Hullabaloo: a clamorous noise
Bumbershoot: an umbrella
Flummox: to exasperate
Wabbit: weary
Skosh: a tad

* * * * *

Thank you, Dani, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question: What about you? What are some of your favorite words? Do you ever jot them down?

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 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 US/Canada residents only.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Guest Blogger Alison Stone and Random Acts


Growing up, ALISON STONE never imagined becoming a writer. She enjoyed math and science and ultimately earned a degree in engineering. Go Yellow Jackets!

After the birth of her second child, Alison left Corporate America for full-time motherhood. She credits an advertisement for writing children’s books for sparking her interest in writing. She never did complete a children’s book, but she did have success writing articles for local publications.

Finally, Alison got up the nerve to try her hand at full-length fiction. After completing a handful of manuscripts, she sold her first book to Samhain Publishing in 2011, followed a few weeks later by a second sale.

Now, Alison has the best of both worlds. From her home office in Western New York, she writes fast-paced romantic suspense while her four children are in school. It never fails to amaze her how soon the afternoon bus arrives.


by Alison Stone
Published by Samhain Publishing


Second chances can have a terrible sense of timing. 

As a child, watching her mother always pick the wrong man left Danielle Carson wary of opening her heart to anyone—except Patrick Kingsley. But circumstances came between them and left Danielle with a broken heart. Now she buries the pain of what might have been by channeling all her energy into her career. When a family crisis brings her back to her hometown, she is forced to face the past—and the disturbing fact that her sister’s car accident was staged to mask a brutal beating.

A police officer and widower, Patrick guards his heart as fiercely as he guards his beloved daughter. Seeing Danielle again unexpectedly reignites their old flame, but no way will he introduce a woman into his daughter’s life. Certainly not one whose values on faith and family are so different from his own.

Despite their best intentions, they are drawn together—until Danielle learns Patrick had a hand in putting her sister in harm’s way. Her fragile trust is crushed, but Patrick is the only man who can help her stop the villain before everything they both love is destroyed. Faith, family…and their second chance at forever.

Readers, buy your copy of Random Acts today!


Doing something outside my comfort zone is well, uncomfortable. Surprisingly, transitioning from a writer to a published author has pushed me into uncharted waters.

Last week, my debut novel, Random Acts, was released. In the months leading up to it, word slowly got around that I was going to have a book published. Most people weren’t even aware I was a writer. It was something I did quietly in the confines of my home. I suppose I figured if people didn’t know I was a writer, I wouldn’t have to tell them about all the rejections.

As the release day grew closer, I was filled with excitement. I had finally achieved my dream. Everywhere I went, friends, teachers, and family told me they had pre-ordered my book. Yay! People were going to read my book.

Then it started to sink in. People were going to read my book! Little by little, nervous anticipation filled me. People were actually going to read it and see what I’ve been up to for all these years. What were they going to think?

Prior to becoming a stay at home mom, I worked as a manufacturing engineer. While employed, the only ones who truly knew what I did were those I worked with. My friends and neighbors simply knew I was an engineer and where I worked. They didn’t chat about how efficient the new workstations were or how colorful my bar graph was. But now they were going to read my book and form opinions. I mean, how many times had I heard them discussing the latest book club pick? Now they were going to do that to Random Acts.

Last week, Random Acts popped up on Kindles, Nooks, and iPads all around me. (I appreciated all the pre-order love.)  I’d drop my daughters off at dance and a friend would tell me she had read the first chapter and was enjoying it. My husband was at the motocross track with our boys and a friend told him she was enjoying my book. My daughter’s friend proclaimed the first chapter really good, creepy even.  A college friend called to rave about it. Yet, a little voice inside my head whispered, “Are they just being nice?”

Then I reminded myself of the positive online reviews.  They liked it. They really liked it! :)

Writing and sending my book out into the world has made me feel exposed in a way I hadn’t anticipated. I am thrilled people are reading Random Acts.  I really am. I hope more and more people read it and enjoy it. But I can’t control readers’ opinions. All I can do is put forth the best possible book right now. I worked hard to get here and I’m sure I’ll get used to this new feeling of putting myself out there. One thing is certain, the only way to truly grow in life is to step outside your comfort zone. Here’s to the next adventure!

* * * * *

Thank you, Alison, for sharing with us today.

Guest Question: When was the last time you expanded your comfort zone? What were you doing at the time?

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 above via Amazon, B&N, or Kobo (winner's choice). 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, May 01, 2012

May 2012 New Releases in Christian Fiction

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

Harvest of Rubies by Tessa Afshar — The prophet Nehemiah’s cousin, Sarah, has come to two conclusions about life: that God does not love her, and that her accomplishments are the measure of her worth. Caught in an arranged marriage, Sarah must learn to love – a task that could prove dangerous. (Historical from River North (Moody).

A Bride’s Dilemma in Friendship, Tennessee by Diana Lesire Brandmeyer — At the close of the Civil War in Tennessee, Heaven Wharton’s life is out of control, and Travis Logan is running from a painful past. Did God orchestrate their meeting, or is it one more problem in their search for true peace? (Historical Romance from Barbour).

Trauma Plan by Candace Calvert — Sidelined by injuries from a vicious assault, nurse chaplain Riley Hale is determined to return to ER duties. But how can she show she’s competent when the hospital won’t let her attempt even simple tasks? To prove herself, Riley volunteers at a controversial urban free clinic despite her fears about the maverick doctor in charge. Dr. Jack Travis defends his clinic like he’s commander of the Alamo. He’ll fight the community’s efforts to shut its doors, even if he must use Riley Hale’s influential family name to make it happen. (Contemporary Romance from Tyndale House).

Mary’s Blessing by Lena Nelson Dooley — When her mother dies, Mary Lenora must grow up quickly to take care of her brothers and sisters. Can love help her to shoulder the burden? (Historical Romance from Realms (Charisma Media).

The Black Sheep’s Redemption by Lynette Eason — Charles Fitzgerald is guilty until proven innocent according to the townspeople of Fitzgerald Bay. When Demi Taylor comes to town, Charles finds one more reason to urge his law enforcement family to hurry up and solve the case–Demi’s love. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired).

Wildflowers from Winter by Katie Ganshert — Young architect at a prestigious Chicago firm, Bethany Quinn has built a life far removed from her trailer park teen years. Until an interruption from her estranged mother reveals that tragedy has struck in her hometown and a reluctant Bethany is called back to rural Iowa. The unexpected inheritance of farmland and a startling turn of events in Chicago forces Bethany to come up with a new plan. Handsome farmhand Evan Price has taken care of the Quinn farm for years. So when Bethany is left the land, he must fight her decisions to realize his dreams. But even as he disagrees with Bethany’s vision, Evan feels drawn to her and the pain she keeps so carefully locked away. (Contemporary Romance from Waterbrook/Multonomah).

The Marshal’s Promise by Rhonda Gibson — Mail-order bride Rebecca Ramsey arrives in the New Mexico territory full of dreams-but they’re shattered when she discovers her intended husband has been killed. If it weren’t for U.S. marshal Seth Billings’s housekeeping job offer, she’d have nowhere to go. Caring for Jesse Cole’s would-be bride is the least Seth can do. If it weren’t for him, the young man would still be alive. Seth had promised to look after Rebecca-and to keep her safe from Jesse’s enemies. Now if only he can keep his heart safe, as well… (Historical Romance from Love Inspired).

“Whole Pieces” from 7 Hours by Ronie Kendig — Whole Pieces is a novella in the 7 Hours collection. After a brutal attack left him without a limb and his team dead, former Green Beret Haytham “Hawk” Wilson is angry at life and God. Every day he relives his decision to send the Afghan boy home rather than following orders to kill any who came upon his hidden team. Eaten alive by grief and regret over one order he failed, Hawk seizes the opportunity to go back and correct his failure. The decision is simple . . . until he gets there. (Supernatural Thriller/Suspense from Tyndale House).

Chameleon, The Ravensmore Chronicles, Book Two by Jillian Kent — After battling a chronic childhood illness that kept her home-bound for years, Lady Victoria Grayson journeys to London determined to have the adventure of a lifetime. Jaded by his wartime profession as a spy, Lord Witt understands, more than most, that everyone is not always who they pretend to be. He meets Victoria after the Regent requests an investigation into the activities of her physician brother. Witt and Victoria become increasingly entangled in a plot targeting the lords of Parliament. (Historical Romance from Realms (Charisma Media).

The Soul Saver byDineen Miller — Lexie is fighting a supernatural battle to save her marriage and her husband’s soul. Will she unmask the evil before it’s too late? (Supernatural Thriller/Suspense from Barbour).
Submerged by Dani Pettrey — A sabotaged plane. Two dead deep-water divers. One single clue. (Romantic Suspense from Bethany House).

Rainbow’s End by Cara Putman, Valerie Comer, Nicole O’Dell and Annalisa Daughety — Join a geocaching adventure in the spectacular Lake of the Ozarks wilderness, with Lyssa, the reluctant volunteer whose former nemesis is now her chief sponsor; Madison, a city girl paired with an outdoorsy guy who gets on her very last nerve; Hadley, who doesn’t know enough about guys to realize she’s met a womanizer; and cautious Reagan, who meets an equally cautious guy. Will they find the treasure they’re looking for… or something else entirely? (Romantic Mystery from Barbour).

After All (A Hanover Falls Novel) by Deborah Raney — Raney’s Hanover Falls series offers plenty of romance and mystery as three people find hope, forgiveness, and love in unexpected places. (General Contemporary from Howard (Simon & Schuster).

Fatal Disclosure by Sandra Robbins — An undercover DEA agent finds himself protecting the woman he loves from the smugglers who murdered his partner. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired).

The Ride of Her Life by Lorna Seilstad — The only man pragmatic Lilly Hart needs in her life is a six year old. Widowed two years ago, Lilly leaves the shelter of her intrusive in-laws’ home to stand on her own and provide for her young son by working for the summer as a cook at Lake Manawa. When a row ensues with the in-laws, a handsome stranger–who designs roller coasters, of all things–intercedes on her behalf. Little does she know she is about to begin the ride of her life. (Historical Romance from Revell).

Annie’s Truth by Beth Shriver — Annie Bieler seems to have it all—a loving family in a tight-knit Amish community and the affections of an attractive and respected young man. But when she learns that she was adopted after being found as an abandoned newborn, she sets out on a journey to find out who she is. (Contemporary Romance from Realms (Charisma Media).

Stardust by Carla Stewart — An East Texas widow sets her dreams on running the Stardust Tourist Court, but when her dead husband’s mistress arrives with a child in tow and polio strikes, her dreams are crippled. (Contemporary from Faith Words (Hachette).

My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade — A single Christian girls determines to renovate the broken heart of her contractor. (Contemporary Romance from Bethany House).

The Homesteader’s Sweetheart by Lacy Williams — To escape a dreaded arranged marriage, Penny Castlerock will face anything–even life on her grandfather’s farm. But it isn’t the rustic lifestyle that’s got the Philadelphia socialite tied in knots. It’s the handsome homesteader and his eight adopted children next door…. (Historical Romance from Love Inspired).