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Friday, April 26, 2013

Morgan L. Busse and Son of Truth

MORGAN L. BUSSE writes speculative fiction for the adult market. She is the author of Daughter of Light (a Christy Award finalist for 2013) and Son of Truth (April 2013), the first two books in a series from Marcher Lord Press. Morgan lives in the Midwest with her husband and four children. You can find out more about Morgan at
Twitter: (@MorganLBusse)

by Morgan L. Busse
Published by Marcher Lord Press


Arise now, guardian...

The war in the north is over, but the war for all the Lands has just begun. As the Shadonae solidify their hold on the city of Thyra, Rowen Mar, the last Eldaran and savior of the White City, awakens to find herself hunted by those she has saved.

Meanwhile, the assassin Caleb Tala finds himself in the presence of the Word. The time of reckoning has come, and he must pay the price for all the lives he has taken. But in his moment of judgment, Caleb is given a second chance to change his life.

These two hold the power to save the Lands from the Shadonae. One must escape slavery, and one must choose to forsake everything before the world is consumed in darkness.

Readers, buy your copy of Son of Truth today!


Balancing Act

When people find out I’m an author along with being a pastor’s wife and mother of four children, the first thing they ask is how do I find time to write? Great question!

I first started writing almost ten years ago. At the time I had a toddler and a newborn baby at home. I never planned on being a writer, but at the encouragement of my husband, and after I had an idea that eventually became my first novel, I started writing. Usually I wrote during nap-times (if I didn’t need one myself) or in the evening when my husband had meetings at the church.

It was a slow progress. I usually only wrote a page or two in during those few precious hours. However, I found I could brainstorm all the time, especially when doing housework. There is nothing like four loads of laundry to fold or a counter full of dishes to wash with music in the background to get my imagination going. I was known to place my laptop on the wash machine and type out ideas, character descriptions, or dialogue in between matching socks.

I wrote this way for six years, slowly learning the craft of writing, reading books on writing, plugging along on my novel, and attending conferences when I could. One thing I learned while balancing kids and writing (by this time twins had joined our family) was that I did not want to miss out on my kids’ lives. I would always have my writing, but my children were growing up fast and I didn’t want to miss out.

I applied some life convictions my husband held about ministry to my writing life. My husband never wanted our children growing up hating the church because it took daddy away from them. So he purposely placed boundaries around our family and around ministry.

I chose to have those same convictions. I did not want my children growing up believing that writing was more important than they were. That has not always been easy. There were days when I was so tired of changing diapers and cleaning up spilled milk that all I could think about was the day when I could be a full time writer.

However, I knew eventually my children would grow and be in school, and I would finally have time to write. So I served my children and took my laptop out when they napped or after they were in bed.

Eventually they started school and I was ready to become a full time writer. Then my husband lost his job and our world came crashing down around us. Six months into unemployment, I knew I could help my family by going back to work full time. But I also knew that I could not balance family, work, and writing. I would need to give something up, and that something had to be writing.

Even now I remember that night on my knees, crying as I told God I would walk away from my writing. No more query letters to agents, no more conferences, no more writing. Mentally I tucked my writing away into a small place in my heart and moved on. I knew my writing would be there someday, something I could come back to, but my family needed me now. The next day I started my job.

It is funny how when we finally give our dreams over to God that He has a way of giving them back to us. Two weeks into my job, I received an email from a publishing company I had sent a proposal to almost two years earlier. The editor loved the manuscript and wanted to know if I was still interested.


I talked to my husband and prayed about it, then sent back my reply: Yes. Definitely yes!

Six months later, my husband found another job and I was able to come back home and start writing again.

I still find myself challenged to balance writing, family, and ministry, especially now with deadlines. So this is how I do it: first, I have priorities. My family is my first priority. There are a lot of writers out there, but I am the only mother to my four children. And I am the only wife to my husband. Those relationships need me, and I need them. In fact, when the writing life becomes overwhelming, I find they are my shelter and one of the things that keep me sane. :)

Second: I don’t procrastinate (at least not a lot). I look ahead a year and know I need to be writing now or else I won’t have my book finished in time. I write for about 2 hours a day and spend an additional hour or two on marketing, blogging, etc…

Thirdly (and most importantly): I pray. I pray about the books I write. I pray for my family. I pray for my publishing company and my fellow authors. I pray for my church. Prayer keeps me connected to God and in tune with what He is telling me (along with reading His word).

To be honest, there is never enough time in a day for everything we want to do: whether you are a writer, have a full time job, or are a stay-at-home mother. I find time to write because God graciously gives me time each day. Knowing what is most important and following what God is telling me helps me balance the calls God has placed on my life.

Reader Question: How about you? Do you find it difficult to balance everything in your life? What do you find helps you?

* * * * *

Thank you, Morgan, for sharing with us today.

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 or book 1 in the series, Daughter of Light. Your choice. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

This week, the drawing is open to contiguous US residents for a print copy and international or Alaska/Hawaii residents for an eBook copy.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Angela Breidenbach and A Healing Heart


ANGELA BREIDENBACH is a speaker, coach, and author of A Healing Heart, April 2013 from Abingdon Press in the Quilts of Love series. Her family tradition is to create the life story on a photo memory quilt for each graduating senior. She is certified in mentor/peer counseling as a CTA life coach, as a Stephen Minister, and a weight loss/nutrition coach. Angela serves as an assisting minister (worship/prayer leader) for her congregation in Missoula, MT.
Twitter: @AngBreidenbach
Facebook Page:

A HEALING HEART, Quilts of Love series #6
by Angela Breidenbach
Published by Abingdon Press


Workaholic, Mara Keegan, suffers a heart attack and must trust her business to the one man who tried to destroy it, Joel Ryan. During her recovery, Mara works to fulfill a promise to her graduating daughter by creating a photo memory quilt. Will Joel's photo be on the quilt? Mara must learn about heart health from the inside out!

More Praise for A Healing Heart

A heart-warming and romantic story of new beginnings and hope through the fog. A story of real life filled with true emotion and characters you can't help but love.
—NY Times bestselling author, Tosca Lee, Tosca's latest book: Iscariot

A Healing Heart is an emotional story of learning to let go of the past and embracing the future. Angie Breidenbach deftly creates lifelike teenagers, a frazzled mother, and a caring hero you will love. This charming book tugs at your heart and encourages you to reevaluate what's important in your life."
—Vickie McDonough, author of 25 books and novellas, including End of the Trail

"Restoration and hope drive this emotionally charged novel by Angela Breidenbach. Mara Keegan's healing journey will keep you turning the pages as she uncovers promises of a life she never thought she would have again. Family dynamics, made richer through the process of gathering photos for a memory quilt, come full circle as Mara learns to let go, let God, and let love into her heart; a truly healed heart."
—Lindi Peterson, award-winning author of Her Best Catch and Summer's Song

"Breidenbach's latest novel, A Healing Heart, paints a knee-bending word picture of our Healer God. Whether the physical, spiritual, or emotional heart, the Big Guy can handle it. Laden with conflict, sweet romance, and humorous contradictions, the story propels the reader forward while giving her pause to wonder . . . 'What places in my heart need healing? What wounds will I allow God to stitch?' A Healing Heart sports an endearing and motley cast of characters, and the frigid Montana landscape contrasts nicely with the hero's warm, sigh-worthy persona. It's a unique and touching addition to the Quilts of Love series."
—April W. Gardner, librarian and award-winning author

"Some stories provide pure entertainment, while others teach a lesson. A Healing Heart by Angela Breidenbach does both and is one of those books that every over-achieving, God-loving woman should read. Not only did I enjoy this book, I found myself reflecting on my own life and how much of myself I saw in the story."
— Debby Mayne, author of Sweet Baklava, Waiting for a View, and the Class Reunion series

Readers, buy your copy of A Healing Heart today!



Trust is one of the hidden issues often misunderstood. When someone betrays another and forgiveness becomes more a war within the victim than the perpetrator. A backstabbing comment is one thing, but when it strikes deep into your core?

For Mara Keegan in my new release, A Healing Heart, Joel Ryan nearly destroyed her business. Now he’s showing up replacing her beloved (and trusted) business coach. I think had the heart attack not happened, Mara would have had a much tougher time accepting Joel. She battles with forgiveness. Why should she forgive someone who didn’t car how many lives he destroyed?

I’ve felt that way toward someone before. I’m so glad a mentor/coach shared with me that forgiveness and trust are two different things. I began to work on forgiveness to free my heart from the prison of bitterness. A very similar struggle for Mara. The only way I could forgive such a terrible affront was to take it to prayer. I can’t forgive on my own. Forgiveness comes through the help of the Holy Spirit. So I ask for help.

As I began to feel the healing of forgiveness, I could release the bitterness I’d been harboring. But I didn’t need to trust that person. I found out trust is earned, not given. I always wanted the person who’d offended me to earn my trust back. That one person didn’t. But other people did. How interesting people can choose their own behavior, right? How wonderful it is for some people who choose to repair relationships. I have the greatest respect for those folks and wanted to portray the hope of restored relationships.

Some of the most spectacular experiences in my life are those restored relationships. The fact is trust is built over time—a long period of time—where you can test the safety of that trust in small increments as you build confidence.

Reader Question: What would someone have to do to prove worthy of your trust after they betrayed you?

* * * * *

Thank you, Angela, for sharing with us today.

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.

This week, the drawing is open to contiguous US residents for a print copy and international or Alaska/Hawaii residents for an eBook copy.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Christy Award Finalists Announced!

It's official! The prestigious Christy Award finalists have been announced! Join with me in congratulating all of the honored nominees!

Contemporary Romance

The Breath of Dawn
by Kristen Heitzmann
Bethany House Publishers

Lethal Legacy
by Irene Hannon

Wildflowers from Winter
by Katie GanshertWaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

Contemporary Series, Sequels, and Novellas

Two Destinies
by Elizabeth Musser
David C Cook

You Don’t Know Me
by Susan May Warren
Tyndale House Publishers

Waiting for Sunrise
by Eva Marie Everson

Contemporary Standalone

The Air We Breathe
by Christa Parrish
Bethany House Publishers

Borders of the Heart
by Chris Fabry
Tyndale House Publishers

Not in the Heart
by Chris Fabry
Tyndale House Publishers

First Novel

Into the Free
by Julie Cantrell
David C Cook

Tangled Ashes
by Michèle Phoenix
Tyndale House Publishers

Wedded to War
by Jocelyn Green
River North Fiction


Flame of Resistance
by Tracy Groot
Tyndale House Publishers

Wedded to War
by Jocelyn Green
River North Fiction

A Wreath of Snow
by Liz Curtis Higgs
WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

Historical Romance

Against the Tide
by Elizabeth Camden
Bethany House Publishers

Be Still My Soul
by Joanne Bischof
WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

Love’s Reckoning
by Laura Frantz


by Terri Blackstock

The Last Plea Bargain
by Randy Singer
Tyndale House Publishers

Rare Earth
by Davis Bunn
Bethany House Publishers

by Dani Pettrey
Bethany House Publishers

*This category includes four nominees due to a tie in scoring.


Daughter of Light

Daughter of Light
by Morgan L. Busse
Marcher Lord Press

Soul’s Gate
by James L. Rubart
Thomas Nelson

by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Bethany House Publishers

Young Adult

Child of the Mountains
by Marilyn Sue Shank
Delacorte Press

by John W. Otte
Marcher Lord Press

Interrupted: A Life Beyond Words
by Rachel Coker

Sunday, April 21, 2013

ACFW Conference for Christian Fiction - Registration Open!

Are you a writer or author of Christian fiction? Do you WANT to write Christian fiction? Well, I have news for you! ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) is the premier Christian fiction organization which holds an annual conference in September at rotating cities throughout the US and...

Registration is now officially OPEN!

Some very important information to read BEFORE you start to register:

*PLEASE NOTE: You are encouraged to study the workshop sessions carefully before registering. Due to severe space limitations, conferees will need to attend only the sessions chosen at registration.

*ALSO NOTE: In an effort to be as environmentally responsible as possible, handouts for sessions will not be available onsite. You’ll receive handouts for your sessions via email the week prior to conference. If you purchase the complete syllabus, that CD of handouts will be included in your registration packet.

*Don’t forget to download the conference app for your iPhone or Android to get the most up-to-date information while onsite:

*Please read all the instructions prior to registering. To read the instructions and register, visit

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sharon Srock and Terri: Women of Valley View


SHARON SROCK lives with her husband, Larry, and two dogs in Rural Oklahoma. She is a mother, grandmother, and Sunday School teacher. Sharon has one and three-quarters jobs and writes in her spare time. Her favorite hobby is traveling with her grandchildren. She is a member of the ACFW and currently serves as treasurer for her local chapter. Sharon’s debut novel, The Women of Valley View: Callie released in October 2012. The second in the series, The Women of Valley View: Terri releases in April 2013.

Connect with her here:
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by Sharon Srock
Published by HarbourLight Books


Despite a bustling day care center and a new foster child, Terri Hayes hungers for a family of her own. Then a plumbing mishap leaves her homeless and questioning God’s plan. Steve Evans’s gracious offer of his basement apartment as a temporary solution is an answered prayer.

Steve is a successful writer and a good father, but Terri is horrified when Steve’s book research leads him to a harsh confrontation with the parents of her foster child. She needs to distance herself from Steve, but her efforts fall short as his two scheming daughters plot to make Terri their new stepmother.

Will harsh words and sneaky plans drive Kelsey’s family further apart and put a wedge between Terri and Steve? Or does God have another plan in store?

Readers, buy your copy of Terri: Women of Valley View today!

Download a PDF file for an introduction to the women in Sharon's novels.



I won’t share the name my favorite fiction author, I’ll only say that I’ve read everything she’s ever published and lived in awe of her ability to crank out story after story, on average 3-4 a year.

About five years ago--before God shoved me, kicking and screaming, into my own fiction writing abyss—I saw a video interview with this writer. The camera never left her face as the questions were asked and answered. I remember watching and thinking…what is she doing?

She was talking, she was answering questions, but her words were almost hesitant and her eyes seemed focused someplace else. Every once in a while her head would tilt or jerk as if she heard something from a distance. If you’ve ever watched Star Trek, The Next Generation, picture Data. Worst case…I thought she was high on some really good drugs…best case…incredibly insecure and camera shy.

But now I know it wasn’t either of those two extremes. It was the voices.

She wasn’t high or shy, she was carrying on two conversations, maybe three, at the same time. One with the person doing the interview, the others with the people living inside her head.

Before you call the men in the little white jackets with the really good drugs in their pockets, let me explain.

Writing fiction will take you to a whole, new level of crazy. Think about it in the terms of your own life. Imagine living with a group of people for two or three years straight, without a vacation. Eat with them, sleep with them, worry about them, pray for them, kill them, bring them back to life, argue with them, loose arguments with them…Are you getting the picture?

Welcome to my world. Sometimes I think romance writers must have the best of this craziness. Their stories generally revolve around two characters, so maybe they’re only living with two extra voices in their head. I have a whole community. And they NEVER shut up. They lay in wait for my eyes pop open in the morning. They whisper around my prayer time. They go to work with me. I worry about their problems. I find myself praying for the situations I put them in. They go to bed with me at night. If I could blame the twenty pounds I've gained since I started writing on them, I would. How does the excuse, I’m eating for thirty, sound?

Now I understand the distracted look in the eyes of my favorite author. I’ve seen it staring at me from my own mirror. She wasn’t high or shy, she was listening to the voices and plotting the next story, for which I must thank her. So, if I seem a little distracted or zoned out at times, please forgive me. It seems to be part of the process.

Reader Questions: Do you have an imaginary friend?

* * * * *

Thank you, Sharon, for sharing with us today.

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.

This week, the drawing is open to contiguous US residents for a print copy and international or Alaska/Hawaii residents for an eBook copy.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Barbour Publishing Announces New Fiction Focus

This press release will be permanently hosted on the official ECPA press archive at

Barbour Makes Strong Commitment to Fiction with Development of New Team

Contact: Shalyn Sattler
740.922.6045 ext. 109

Uhrichsville, OH—Barbour Publishing is pleased to announce the strategic development of a dedicated in-house fiction team. With fiction continuing to be one of the company’s strongest categories, the goal of the team is to take the Barbour fiction line to the next level by providing targeted direction and leadership in the area of acquisitions, as well as partnering with talented writers and helping them to further develop their craft.

The newly established team consists of Publisher and Vice President of Business Development Dan Balow, Editorial Director Kelly McIntosh, Senior Fiction Editor Rebecca Germany, and newly promoted Acquisitions Editor for Fiction, Annie Tipton. In Tipton’s new role, she is responsible for developing and implementing Barbour’s fiction strategy and acquiring new full-length titles.

“Fiction is very important to Barbour. In fact, it accounts for over a third of our annual sales,” stated Dan Balow. “Creating this fiction team and promoting Annie Tipton to the role of acquisitions editor will give us the vision and resources to make one of Barbour’s strengths even stronger. Rebecca Germany guided fiction to where we are today. This team will work together to make it even more successful.”

Barbour Publishing is the leading publisher of promotional Christian books and releases 300–350 titles annually in a variety of categories, including devotional, inspirational, Christian living, fiction, reference, youth, and children. For more information, visit

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Sundays in Fredericksburg with 4 Guest Authors


EILEEN KEY retired after teaching school for thirty years. She is a freelance writer and editor. Her publications include stories in God Allows U-TurnsGod's Way for TeachersOur Fathers Who Art in HeavenSoul MattersPrayers for the Armed Forces, and numerous articles, devotionals and book reviews. Her first novel, Dog Gone, from Barbour Heartsong Presents, released in the fall of 2008. A Barbour novella, Door County Christmas, released in the fall of 2010. Mother of three, grandmother of three, Eileen resides in San Antonio, Texas, where she is an active member of Grace Community Church.

LYNETTE SOWELL is the author of over a dozen titles for Barbour Publishing, with one title winning the Carol Award and two others finaling. When Lynette’s not writing, she works as a medical editor and part-time newspaper reporter. Lynette lives on the doorstep of the Texas hill country with her husband and a herd of cats who have them well trained. You can keep up with Lynette at,, and

CONNIE STEVENS lives in north Georgia with her husband of thirty-nine years. She has been a member of ACFW since 2000 and had her first book published in 2010. She loves wandering through century-old cemeteries to find interesting names, and exploring antique shops and old houses for inspiration for her historical novels. She has been known to forget what time it is—or for that matter, what decade it is—when immersed in research. Visit Connie’s website at and look for her on Facebook at

MARGIE VAWTER is a professional freelance editor who proofreads for CBA publishers, edits for individual clients, and writes. An avid reader, she also judges for several prestigious awards in the inspirational marketplace and serves as conference director’s assistant for the Colorado and Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conferences. Her first fiction, a novella in Sundays in Fredericksburg, released in April 2013. And she has two nonfiction books also releasing in 2013. She lives with her husband, Roger, and cat, Sinatra, in southwest Missouri

by Eileen Key, Lynette Sowell, Connie Stevens, and Margie Vawter
Published by Barbour


Come on down to Fredericksburg, Texas, where four generations of couples encounter romance in Sunday Houses. Having become a schoolteacher to avoid marriage, Amelia Bachman finds her resolve crumbling before a smitten carpenter. Determined not to fall in love, Mildred Zimmermann carefully nurses an army medic crippled in love and war. Somewhat of a homebody, Trudy Meier isn’t sure she has the courage to love a roving reporter. Gwendolyn’s beautiful wildflower field is threatened by a geologist’s search for knowledge. Will these four women risk their hearts for the love a stranger?

Readers, buy your copy of Sundays in Fredericksburg today!


Eileen Key
A Change of Perspective

Writing is a solitary journey, and sometimes we writers are asked to move from behind our computer screens and step out of our comfort zones. I find myself quaking in my boots when asked to speak to a group about me, myself and I. Yes, I’m proud of my work; yes, I can tell you how a book is published. But golly gee, talk about me? Hard to do.

Yet as I left a speaking engagement recently, I realized I was using the power of my testimony to brag on what the Lord has done in my life. I’m constantly amazed at His good and wonderful gifts. Telling others how He has led me on this writing journey only enforces the scripture in Psalm 37:4 “Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

I am delighted to be a daughter of the King and I am blessed to be a part of our writer’s community. American Christian Fiction Writers has been a wonderful gift to me—given directly from His hand. Acquiring my agent, Tamela Hancock Murray, was a gift to me—given directly from His hand. All of my sales are gifts—given directly from His hand.

When I focus on His hand reaching out to give me gifts, suddenly I’m eager to be “outta da box” and in front of others to tell them of His wonderful goodness. It’s the change of perspective which has helped me overcome my fear. Jesus is the tale not me.

Reader Question: What wonderful gifts has the Lord given you?

Lynette Sowell
Sunday Houses

During the summer of 2010, I didn't want to go to Fredericksburg, Texas. Not at first. My plan for an ideal summer vacation was renting our favorite condo for three nights at the Texas Gulf Coast, where we could walk the beach, browse the shops in town and watch the sunset from under the palm trees. Not visiting the small town with German roots in the Texas Hill Country.

My husband and I decided to take a stay-cation that year instead, and planned a few day trips within two hours or so of home. We chose Fredericksburg for one of our destinations, mostly because we'd never been there and had always heard of its charm.

The hot July Texas sun beat down on us as we walked Main Street and wandered through shops, enjoying the air conditioning, la delicious lunch, and rounded out the afternoon with ice cream sundaes. We'd noticed the town was steeped in history, including the Admiral Nimitz Museum and the Museum of the Pacific War. The idea of a Pacific War museum almost smack-dab in the center of Texas didn't make sense to me until later and I'd grown to know Fredericksburg and its history better.

Sweating, but happy and full of ice cream, we paused at the windows of a realty office on the way back to our truck. "Stay in one of our Sunday houses during your next visit to Fredericksburg," a sign proclaimed. I went inside and got a brochure.

Sunday houses? What in the world are Sunday houses?

My husband is accustomed to life with a writer. Anything, anyone, anywhere, any time can end up as fodder for a story idea. The idea of the Sunday houses followed me home and wouldn't leave.

I'd written a book set in Texas before, Riverwalk Christmas, and one of my dear writer friends, Eileen Key, had told me, "If you ever come up with another Texas idea, let me know."

Then in late 2010, Barbour opened up submissions for novella collections and I told Eileen about my idea. She rounded up her posse, and the rest is what they call history.

Sometimes life disappoints us, even if it's something as simple as not being able to take the vacation you'd planned. In this case for me, this literal "re-routing" of my summer plans ended up taking me down a wonderful road.

Reader Question: Have you ever had a disappointment turn into a blessing?

Connie Stevens
Hope's Dwelling Place

Since this was my first novella, I depended on the members of our team with more experience. It didn’t take long, however, to be drawn into the excitement of brainstorming the four stories, especially since we decided to make this collection generational.

My story appears first in the collection, and it is set in 1897. My main characters are Amelia, the new schoolmarm, and Hank, the son of a local farmer who has no intention of following in his father’s footsteps.

When working out the details of this generational collection, the team had to frequently be in touch to exchange information regarding the names and ages of the characters and specific timelines. As a bit of different twist, I also have three orphaned children in my story—Hank’s young cousins, who not only play a major role in my story, but also add to the next generation. Margie Vawter’s story is set twenty years after mine, at the end of World War I, and one of her main characters is the daughter of my characters. Fast forward another generation to Lynette Sowell’s story, set during World War II. One of her main characters is the son of one of the orphaned cousins from my story. Eileen Key wrote the final segment in the collection, and her story is set in current day. I was intrigued to read and critique her manuscript with her heroine as the great granddaughter of my characters.

In addition to keeping the family tree straight over four generations, there are some unique common threads that connect the four stories as well, besides the Sunday houses. A gazebo built by Hank, and a field of wildflowers sown by Amelia appear over the generations, and the team had to make sure we remained consistent in the location of landmarks. Even though the gazebo falls into disrepair and eventually crumbles away over the many decades, its foundation remains—much like the foundation of our faith.

Additionally, the foundation of friendship between four authors was bonded and strengthened as the team put their heads together during the writing of this collection. It was sad to say goodbye to our characters when we finished the editing process, but our friendship remains with each other—probably the sweetest thing about writing a novella collection with three other authors.

Reader Question: Have you ever collaborated on a project with other people? What kind of friendship bonds were created by working together?

Margie Vawter
The Writer and Research

Research is probably one of my favorite parts of writing historical fiction. I’m one of those people who didn’t mind learning dates, etc., in history class in either high school or college. In fact, I minored in history, where in addition to two-semester courses in American and English history, I also studied world history.

The hard part for me is narrowing down a time period to write about. Ever since I was a child, I’ve been drawn to English history. Maybe because there’s so much more of it than there is in America. And maybe because my paternal great-great-grandparents didn’t immigrate to the States until the 1870s and my maternal grandfather not until the mid–1910s.

For A Shelter from the Storm, I drew from family history for the time period and story spark. A story that has always fascinated me was that of my maternal grandmother’s first marriage, which lasted less than a year as her husband Harold contracted the Spanish influenza and died. She didn’t marry my grandfather, Nelson, until several years later. But the spark for the story came from Harold’s death. While I used their first names, nothing else in A Shelter from the Storm parallels my grandparents’ love story.

One very interesting tidbit of information that sealed the story for me came about as I was researching World War 1 nurses. I had already decided on Winters for Nelson’s last name. I came across a 2007 obituary in The Boston Globe about a woman who was influential in getting nurses into active duty with the navy during World War I. Her name was Charlotte Winters. (You can read about it here: Chills went down my spine. I had inadvertently picked the perfect last name for Nelson. She became Nelson’s sister-in-law, though she’s not an active character in my story.

This is one reason why I love research.

Reader Question: What time period and/or country in history interests you most?

* * * * *

Thank you, Connie, Eileen, Lynette, and Marjorie for sharing with us today.

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name [at] domainname [dot] com) along with your answer to any one of the reader questions above for your chance to win either a free autographed copy of the book featured above or a McGuffey's Reader. There will be at least TWO winners, perhaps more if the authors decide to choose more than one. If you do not answer a question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

This week, the drawing is open to contiguous US residents for the physical products (books) and international or Alaska/Hawaii residents for an eBook copy.

Friday, April 05, 2013

April 2013 New Releases in Christian Fiction

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

Diamond in the Rough by Jennifer AlLee and Lisa Karon Richardson — Grant Diamond is a professional gambler on the run from his past. When he comes across a wagon wreck, the chance to escape his pursuers is too good a gamble to pass up, and he assumes the identity of the dead wagon driver. His plan takes an unexpected turn when local heiress Lily Rose mistakes him for the missionary she had asked to come work with the Wiyot Indians. Seeing Eureka as a promising place to lay low, Grant plays along. (Historical Romance from Whitaker House).

A Healing Heart by Angela Breidenbach — Workaholic mother, Mara Keegan, has a heart attack and must trust her business to the one man who tried to destroy it. (Contemporary Romance from Abingdon Press).

Avenger by Heather Burch — Nikki knew Damon Vessler would not let his prized creation go easily—she simply never imagined the lengths he’d go to get her back into his clutches, and turn Nikki’s heart toward darkness. A Seeker at her heels, trained on her blood, Nikki flees with Raven alongside her for protection, while Mace and the other Halflings fight the battle that has erupted on earth. (Young Adult from Zondervan).

Son of Truth by Morgan L. Busse — The war in the north is over, but the war for all the Lands has just begun. As the Shadonae solidify their hold on the city of Thyra, Rowen Mar, the last Eldaran and savior of the White City, awakens to find herself hunted by those she has saved. Meanwhile, the assassin Caleb Tala finds himself in the presence of the Word. The time of reckoning has come and he must pay the price for all the lives he has taken. But in his moment of judgment, Caleb is given a second chance to change his life. (Speculative Fiction from Marcher Lord Press).

Rock Harbor Search and Rescue by Robin Caroll and Colleen Coble– In Rock Harbor Search and Rescue, a middle grade fiction novel based on Colleen Coble’s bestselling Rock Harbor series for adults, kids will enjoy the mixture of pets, adventure, suspense, and a mystery. (Children/Middle Grade from Thomas Nelson).

With Eyes of Love by Linda S. Glaz — Two families collide in a flood, but that collision doesn’t define who they are, he real change happens when Pearl Harbor is bombed. (Historical Romance from Heartsong Presents).

Josiah’s Treasure by Nancy Herriman — A feisty young female artist with a secret past battles to establish her own gallery in 1880′s San Francisco. (Historical Romance from Worthy Publishing).

Surrendered Love by Laura V. Hilton — Will a rebellious teen draw two old friends back together? (Contemporary Romance from Whitaker House).

Sundays in Fredericksburg by Eileen Key, Lynette Sowell, Connie Stevens and Marjorie Vawter — Come to Fredericksburg, Texas, where four generations of couples encounter romance in Sunday Houses. Having become a schoolteacher to avoid marriage, Amelia Bachman finds her resolve crumbling before a smitten carpenter. Determined not to fall in love, Mildred Zimmermann carefully nurses an army medic crippled in love and war. Somewhat of a homebody, Trudy Meier isn’t sure she has the courage to love a roving reporter. Gwendolyn’s beautiful wildflower field is threatened by a geologist’s search for knowledge. Will these four women risk their hearts for the love a stranger? (Contemporary Romance Novella from Barbour Publishing ).

The Heart Stone by Sherry Kyle — When the biological father of Jessica MacAllister’s son decides to break their custody agreement, Jessica and her son visit her Uncle George for advice and refuge… Following a year of grief, Evelyn Sweeney is finally ready to move on. Pondering her new path in life, her mind drifts to her first love, George MacAllister… When the lives of these two women cross, they discover that one heart-shaped ring binds their stories together. (Contemporary Women’s Fiction from Abingdon Press).

All in Good Time (The Gilded Legacy) by Maureen Lang — Can one impatient woman with a dream to provide a refuge for women in need melt the heart of an impervious, stingy banker? (Historical Romance from Tyndale House).

Love at Any Cost by Julie Lessman A spunky heiress without a fortune falls in love with a handsome pauper looking to marry well. (Historical Romance from Revell (Baker).

Stress Test by Richard L. Mabry, M.D. — They may not have enough evidence to convict him, but they have enough to ruin his life–if the kidnappers don’t end it first. (Medical Suspense from Thomas Nelson).

Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin by Pamela S. Meyers — Will she lose her heart to the man who stole her job? (Historical Romance from Summerside Press (Guideposts)).

Mending the Doctor’s Heart by Tina Radcliffe — A new job in Paradise, Colorado, seems like the perfect fresh start for Dr. Ben Rogers. Only problem is, Dr. Sara Elliott has been counting on getting the same job. Once they negotiate a shared trial run, Ben expects working with Sara to be less than pleasant. Instead, he finds himself drawn to her. She’s dedicated and compassionate, exactly the type of woman he used to want-when family was an option. But Sara’s life is just as emotionally complicated as his own. (Romance from Love Inspired).

Madeline’s Protector by Vanessa Riley — A chance meeting and a bullet wound change everything. (Historical Romance from White Rose (Penguin)).

A Lady’s Choice (American Tapestries Series) by Sandra Robbins — Sarah Whittaker travels to Washington, DC, where she joins forces with suffragists but finds herself imprisoned and near death in the Occoquan Workhouse. (Historical Romance from Summerside Press (Guideposts).

When the Morning Glory Blooms by Cynthia Ruchti — Three eras. Three women desperate for hope. Three reasons to believe it won’t come in time. (General Contemporary from Abingdon Press).

The Women of Valley View: Terri by Sharon Srock — A daycare owner hungry for a family of her own falls for a man with all the family he needs. (General Contemporary from Harbourlight Books (Pelican).

Georgia Sweethearts by Missy Tippens — A wary realist fulfilling the requirements of her aunt’s will is forced to share space with a charming dreamer. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired).

Captives (The Safe Lands) by Jill Williamson — One choice could destroy them all. When eighteen-year-old Levi returned from Denver City with his latest scavenged finds, he never imagined he’d find his village of Glenrock decimated, loved ones killed by enforcers, and many—including his fiancee, Jem–taken captive. Now alone, Levi is determined to rescue what remains of his people, even if it means entering the Safe Land, a walled city that seems anything but safe. (Speculative Fiction from Zondervan).

The House that Love Built by Beth Wiseman — Brooke has only loved one man. Owen’s heart is filled with bitterness. Can a mysterious house bring them together for a second chance at love? (Contemporary Romance from Thomas Nelson).

The Winnowing Season (Amish Vines and Orchards, Book 2) by Cindy Woodsmall — The tornado that devastated Kings’ Orchard pushed Rhoda, Samuel, and Jacob to make a new start in Maine. Are they strong enough to withstand the challenges of establishing an Amish community-and brave enough to face the secrets that move with them? (Contemporary Romance from Waterbrook Multnomah).

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Maureen Lang and All in Good Time


MAUREEN LANG writes stories inspired by love of history and romance. An avid reader since childhood, she started writing the stories she wanted to read. Before publication she won RWA’s Golden Heart and ACFW’s Genesis, and her published books have won the Inspirational Readers Choice Contest, a Holt Medallion, and have finaled in the Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards. She lives in the Midwest with her husband, children, and Labrador retriever. Visit with Maureen at

by Maureen Lang
Published by Tyndale House


Dessa Caldwell has a dream:
to open Pierson House, a refuge for former prostitutes in Denver’s roughest neighborhood. But after exhausting all charitable donations, Dessa still needs a loan. Her last hope hinges on the owner of Hawkins National Bank.

Henry Hawkins has a secret:
he owns the most successful bank in town, but his initial capital came from three successful stage coach robberies. Though he’s Denver’s most eligible bachelor, to protect his past, he’s built a fortress around his heart that no one can penetrate . . . until the day Dessa Caldwell strolls into his bank requesting a loan.

Though he’s certain her proposal is a bad investment, Henry is drawn to Dessa’s passion. But that same passion drives her to make rash decisions about Pierson House . . . and about whom she can trust. One man might hold the key to the future of her mission—but he also threatens to bring Henry’s darkest secrets to light. As the walls around their hearts begin to crumble, Henry and Dessa must choose between their plans and God’s, between safety and love.

Readers, buy your copy of All in Good Time today!


Reader's Choice

I recently listened to a debate about the merits of commercial fiction versus classic fiction. The defender of classics stated the richness of language, the depth of characterization, the detail of classic settings provided a much deeper reading experience than the shallow offerings of commercial fiction. Another way she described it was that classic fiction provided a symphony while commercial stories only offered “one note.”

While I do enjoy classics, I also enjoy a variety of commercial fiction—so obviously I disagreed with her either/or assessment. As a writer of commercial fiction, I was understandably offended. I’ve enjoyed so many commercial novels that may not go into the extensive detail of a classic, but nonetheless provides memorable characters, clever plots, vivid settings and evocative language.

On her behalf, I did understand what she was saying. I see a difference in the two writing styles—there does tend to be more time devoted to detail and exploration of settings and motivations in the classics, but I also know commercial fiction isn’t as flat as she wanted the audience to believe.

Her chance of winning an argument, at least with me, is even harder when I’m reminded that many readers today choose not to take the time to read the classics. They were, after all, written during an era when there were far fewer choices to fill whatever leisure time people could find. The classics defender admitted that her favorite, Jane Eyre, takes some time to “get into” but it is well worth the effort.

But that’s just it. In our microwave society, we want everything fast—including our entertainment. I’ve attended more than one writer’s workshop that attempted to teach us to open with a “hook.” Draw your reader in immediately, so they won’t put the book down. Today’s writer knows it’s a hard fight to keep a reader from choosing to do something else, or pick up another of the one-million-plus books that are on the market today, easily and instantly available. Readers can afford to be choosy, simply because there are so many choices—many at low cost or even free.

Our society offers to fill our leisure time in anything from movies to museums, sporting events to ballet. In my lifetime there’s been an explosion of leisure-time activities. Consider the differences in television viewing. I recall when I was a child that we had exactly four television stations, and one of those didn’t come in very well. Around midnight or shortly thereafter each channel played the Star Spangled Banner then signed off until dawn. Nowadays people have literally hundreds of 24-hour-a-day channels to choose from. I’m not sure that’s made the content any better, but it certainly does allow viewers to develop a wider taste.

As a parent, I learned that giving my kids choices made our days go a bit easier than just telling them what to eat or do. Of course, I had to make sure the choices they were given were healthy and wise, but I liked seeing them take a part in the decision. It was an exercise in free will in a good (albeit limited) way.

I celebrate that we have so many reading choices, particularly within the Christian market. Years ago, this wasn’t the case. It was a bit like watching television: we had the Bible (which remains a reading staple for growth and wisdom), non-fiction to support what we learned in the Bible, a few allegories to support biblical wisdom, and some very limited fiction choices (the classics among them). These days the Christian market offers every kind of genre imaginable, safe reads, at least, but hopefully with a nugget of spiritual wisdom as well.

Reader Questions (pick at least one): Do you take advantage of the extensive choices available these days? Do you lean toward the classics, or do you read commercial fiction as well? Do you read more than one genre—romance, mystery, contemporary, historical, etc.? Do you read only Christian fiction, or do you read some general market fiction as well?

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Thank you, Maureen, for sharing with us today.

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 any one of Maureen's books (you can view them at her web site). If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

This week, the drawing is open to contiguous US residents for a print copy and international or Alaska/Hawaii residents for an eBook copy.