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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Carla Laureano and Five Days in Skye Giveaway

I am thrilled and honored to have my friend and fellow author visiting here at A Fictional Life this week. Not only does she share my beloved state of Colorado, but she's a mom down in the trenches with me, juggling little ones at home in the midst of a writing career. Enjoy this little peek in Carla's life.


CARLA LAUREANO has held many job titles—professional marketer, small business consultant, and martial arts instructor—but writer is by far her favorite. She currently lives in Denver with her patient husband and two rambunctious sons, who know only that Mom’s work involves lots of coffee and talking to imaginary people.

by Carla Laureano
Published by David C Cook


Hospitality consultant Andrea Sullivan has one last chance to snag a high-profile client or she'll have to kiss her dreams of promotion good-bye. When she's sent to meet Scottish celebrity chef James MacDonald on the Isle of Skye, she just wants to finish her work as efficiently as possible. Yet her client is not the opportunistic womanizer he portrays himself to be, and her attraction to him soon dredges up memories she'd rather leave buried. For James, renovating the family hotel is a fulfillment of his late father's dreams. When his hired consultant turns out to be beautiful, intelligent, and completely unimpressed by his public persona, he makes it his mission to win her over. He just never expects to fall under her spell.

Soon, both Andrea and James must face the reality that God may have a far different purpose for their lives—and that five days in Skye will forever change their outlook on life and love.

Readers, buy your copy of Five Days in Skye today!


Four Steps for Creating Memorably Flawed Characters

Nothing makes me put down a book faster than characters who are too good to be true. You know the type: they always know just what to say, never make a mistake, succeed in every endeavor. As a reader who is keenly aware of her own flaws, I can’t relate to those types of people. Frankly, I find them a little boring.

Interesting characters, on the other hand, are fully fashioned human beings, complete with deep-seated needs, fears, and flaws. As a writer, I’d like to say that coming up with a convincing flaw is the hard part. Unfortunately, I’ve got plenty of my own from which to draw. But how do I write deeply flawed characters still make them likeable? Or better yet… memorable?

There are the four questions I typically ask myself when I’m developing a character’s “fatal flaw:”
  1. Is the flaw relatable?

    Not many of us would accept a serial-killer-as-hero whose flaw is, you know, killing people. (Unless you’re a fan of Dexter or Bret Easton Ellis, in which case, that might not bother you.) Aside from the moral issues, it’s not a fault to which readers can relate.

    But a mom (let’s call her Jen) who is habitually impatient with her kids? That strikes close to home. We immediately relate to the emotions the character experiences—what mom hasn’t watched the clock tick towards the school bell while the kids still haven’t put on their shoes or combed their hair? Suddenly, that point of commonality draws us in. We are Jen, and we’re curious to see what’s going to happen next.

  2. Is the flaw understandable?

    Not understandable in the sense of comprehensible, but is there a good reason for it? A character who treats others badly makes for an unlikeable hero or heroine, unless we understand the reason behind the behavior.

    Maybe Jen’s own mother demanded she always be on time and punished her if she wasn’t. Better yet, what if Jen was supposed to come home straight after school, but didn’t—and her father had a heart attack? If she had’ve been there, she could have saved him. Now the root of Jen’s flaw is not impatience, but fear and guilt. Not only do we sympathize with Jen, there’s great potential conflict to explore within the story.

  3. Does the flaw put the story goal into jeopardy?

    Jen’s problems are interesting, but unless they somehow affect her ability to get what she wants most (what I would call the story goal or the stakes), they’re irrelevant. How they affect the story goal might depend on genre, but they will always relate to that big obstacle that must be overcome before the end of the book.

    • a. Romance: Jen is a single mom, and her love interest is perpetually late. Perhaps he had a similar upbringing, but chooses to deal with it the opposite way as Jen. Not only could this be a source of contention between them, but perhaps the hero sees her impatience with her children as a sign that she’s not mate material.
    • b. Women’s fiction: Jen’s impatience with her kids drives a wedge between her and her daughter, who rebels, bringing back terrible memories of the consequences of her own rebellion.
    • c. Suspense: Building on the situation above, Jen’s daughter purposely misses the bus—and disappears somewhere between school and home.
    • d. Romantic suspense: Combine a and c. The love interest is the town’s police chief, whose own strict upbringing makes him unconsciously blame Jen for her daughter’s disappearance. Ah, now we’re getting somewhere. This is a story I’d like to read!

  4. Is the flaw surmountable?

    As much as we’d like to believe that every issue can be resolved in three hundred or so pages, that isn’t always the case. I need to choose flaws that have the potential to be overcome in a satisfying way, whether it’s through therapy, God’s grace, or the power of love. I try not to wrap everything up in a neat little package—real life just doesn’t work that way—but I want some sort of change to occur. Regardless of how the issue is resolved, Jen must be appreciably different in thought or action by the end of the book.
If I can answer yes to all four questions, then I know I have a good flaw that will make for a memorable character. Like people, characters may have many flaws, but generally only one major one that will relate to the central conflict of the story.

Reader Question:  Who are your favorite characters? How do their flaws make them endearing and memorable?

* * * * *

Thank you, Carla, 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 in Carla's themed gift basket giveaway. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

To celebrate the release of Carla's book on June 10th, she is giving away a fabulous Scotland-themed gift basket including a paperback copy of Five Days in Skye, a beautiful coffee table photography book filled with images of Scotland, CDs of music that inspired the story, as well as plenty of imported British goodies for your own afternoon tea break! Enter below for your chance to win! A winner will be chosen at random and announced on her blog [] on release day.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

ACFW Lifetime Achievement Award - Frank Perretti

Frank Peretti to be recognized as Lifetime Achievement Recipient at ACFW’s Carol Finalists Press Conference at ICRS

Palm Bay, FL -- The 2013 ACFW Carol Award finalists for the best in Christian Fiction will be announced during a press conference by The American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) at 10:30 Monday morning, June 24 in Media Room 106 at ICRS in St. Louis, MO at the America’s Center Convention Complex.

The Carol Awards—named for Christian Fiction pioneering editor Carol Johnson—honor multiple categories of fiction traditionally published in the previous calendar year. Judges include readers, multi-published authors, retailers, and librarians.

The ACFW press conference at ICRS will also spotlight a key figure in the world of Christian fiction. This year’s recipient of ACFW’s Lifetime Achievement Award is prolific author and innovator Frank Peretti. The official announcement will be made during the press conference and will include a short tribute to Peretti’s influence and impact with his groundbreaking novels.

“The very essence of what Christian Fiction could encompass forever changed with the release of (Peretti’s) This Present Darkness,” says ACFW Executive Board member Allen Arnold. “That wasn't Frank’s goal. He quietly wrote the story that God stirred his heart with. But that novel ripped wide the veil between the seen and unseen.” Arnold adds, “That novel brought men and teens in droves to the Christian Fiction aisle (no small feat). It showed how Christian Fiction can be muscular and unabashedly speculative with angels and demons fighting around us and impacted by our prayers. More than 25 years later, Frank continues to quietly write novels from his home in the wilderness...novels that quicken the pace and stir the souls of any who dare dive in.”

Members of the press and ICRS attendees are invited to attend the press conference and hear more about why Frank Peretti was chosen for ACFW’s Lifetime Achievement Award and to be the first to hear the list of finalists of the 2013 Carol Awards.

Peretti and winners of the Carol Awards will be honored at the ACFW conference in Indianapolis at the award gala on Sunday night, September 15 at the Hyatt Regency. Keynote speaker for the 2013 conference is Robin Jones Gunn. Authors, aspiring authors, industry guests, and representatives from every major CBA publishing house and literary agency will gather for this premier Christian fiction conference.

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

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Kimberley Woodhouse and Denali Dreams Giveaway


KIMBERLEY WOODHOUSE is a multi-published author of fiction and non-fiction with Moody, Focus on the Family, B&H Publishing Group, Barbour Publishing, and Bethany House Publishers. A popular speaker/teacher, she’s shared her theme of Joy Through Trials with over 150,000 people at over 1,000 venues across the country. She lives, writes, and homeschools in beautiful Colorado with her husband of more than two decades and their two awesome teens.

Connect with Kim - and and

by Kimberley Woodhouse and Ronie Kendig
Published by Barbour


Vast and rugged, Denali National Park brings adventure and love into the lives of four courageous women. Will cancer survivor Karon reach Mt. McKinley’s summit? Will heiress Jolie survive against the terrain and an assassin? Will flightseeing tour guide Deline save her stalling business? Will love conquer all for ranger Deanna?

Readers, buy your copy of Denali Dreams today!


Behind the Scenes: Writing with a Co-Author
Kimberley Woodhouse

We get a ton of questions whenever we travel on tours, or just simply through our website. Some are about our Extreme Makeover: Home Edition or one of the other television experiences, a lot are about our daughter Kayla’s rare condition, and a lot are about the writing process.

Over the past year, I’ve received more and more questions about writing with a co-author. My daughter and I wrote No Safe Haven and Race Against Time together, Ronie Kendig and I collaborated on a collection entitled Denali Dreams, and Tracie Peterson and I wrote All Things Hidden releasing from Bethany House January 2014. I wouldn’t say that I’m now an expert on the subject, but I can definitely share my two cents with readers. I know as a reader, I often wondered what went on behind the scenes as well, so I totally understand the curiosity!

Each experience has been totally different, but they’ve all been fun. All the readers who write in want to know how it’s done. In summary? I don’t have a set formula, each collaboration has been unique. But I will say this: the authors need to pray for one another, they need to trust one another, they need to be good communicators, and they need to agree to a plan. :)

Writing with my daughter, Kayla (who became the youngest published full-length novelist from a royalty paying publisher with the release of No Safe Haven), was incredible. I wrote the adult characters’ POVs and she wrote the teens’. We wrote it in twenty-eight days total and had you been a fly on the wall, you would’ve seen lots of scribbling on white boards, jump-drives flying across the room as we shared scenes back and forth, and lots of laughter and M&Ms (Kayla’s favorite).

Writing with my dear friend, and not to mention best-selling author, Ronie Kendig was also incredible. In Denali Dreams (a collection of four novellas set in Alaska about the Talkeetna Rangers), Ronie and I plotted out our stories over the phone, developed our characters, and decided how the stories would tie in to each other. She wrote two of the novellas, and I wrote two. We wrote them in about a week. (Yes, we’re both pretty fast.) And we talked on the phone a lot. Another amazing experience—not just because I love the stories, but because I love Ronie so dearly. If you haven’t read any of her other books, you need to GO BUY THEM NOW. Seriously. She’s awesome.

And last but definitely not least, writing with Tracie Peterson. Wow. What could I possibly say? She’s best-selling and award-winning. Her 100th book will be releasing in 2014. She is one of my closest friends, but I would never have dreamed that I’d be given the opportunity to write with her. With All Things Hidden (1935 Matanuska Colony in Alaska), we did tons and tons of research together. We plotted. And plotted. And plotted some more. The string of emails with all our multi-colored notes back and forth was over forty pages! Then, we wrote a seriously long synopsis together (about thirty pages, again going back and forth), then our drafts of the manuscript went back and forth. It was another incredible experience and I learned so much from it.

Happy Reading!


Reader Question: For our giveaway this week, I'd like to ask you-the readers-a question. What is your favorite co-author/collaboration? Leave the title of the book/series and the authors’ names for a chance to win a copy of No Safe Haven, Race Against Time, or Denali Dreams. (One copy of each book will be given away.)

* * * * *

Thank you, Kim, 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 ONE OF THREE free autographed copies of these three books: Denali Dreams, No Safe Haven, Race Against Time. 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 US/Canada residents.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Martha Rogers and Love Stays True Giveaway


MARTHA ROGERS is a free-lance writer and was named Writer of the Year at the Texas Christian Writers Conference in 2009 and writes a weekly devotional for ACFW. Martha and her husband Rex live in Houston where they enjoy spending time with their grandchildren and attending football, baseball, and basketball games when one of the grandchildren is playing or performing. She is a member of several writing groups. A former Home Economics teacher, Martha loves to cook and experimenting with recipes and loves scrapbooking when she has time. She has written two series as well as several other novels and novellas. The first book in her new series, Love Stays True, will release in May, 2013..

LOVE STAYS TRUE (The Homeward Journey
by Martha Rogers
Published by Realms


In April, 1865, the day following the surrender at Appomattox, Manfred McDaniel Whiteman and his brother Edward are released from in an exchange of prisoners. They are given a few provisions before they begin a long journey by foot to their home in Bayou Sara, Louisiana.

At home, Sallie Dyer is waiting word of her beloved Manfred. Though just a young girl when Manfred left, Sallie has grown into a caring you woman who is determined to wait for her love—despite her father’s worries that she is wasting her life on someone who may never come home.

On their journey, Manfred and his brother encounter storms, thieves, and destruction, and are even thrown in jail in one town. Sallie carries a heavy burden of guilt and fears Manfred will reject her when he learns what she has done. Will these two young lovers be able to reunite despite all obstacles?

Readers, buy your copy of Love Stays True (The Homeward Journey) today!


Research Your Family History

Whether you’re a reader or writer of historical fiction, researching family history can be one of the most rewarding aspects of history. Research is fun and leads me into areas where I’ve never been before.

The first novel in my new series, Love Stays True, releases this month, and it has the most extensive research ever in one of my novels. It all began with a few simple letters and some writings in a journal. The letters were to my great-grandmother from her father and from her suitor who later became my great-grandfather.

Those letters led me on a hunt to learn more about my ancestors. What I learned intrigued me to the point that I had to write Sallie and Manfred’s story. So I took what facts I had and wove them with fiction to relate the events leading up to their marriage in 1865.

Writing historical novels makes me what to “get it right.” So many times I’ve picked up a novel set in some past time period and gasp when I come across something that doesn’t sound right for that time, and it jerks me right out of the story. I have to laugh at some of the old westerns my husband loves to watch. Most of them never really give you a time period, but sometimes the fashions and references to events give the viewer an idea. Then things happen that make me wonder who was doing the research when episode was written.

Research will take you on a journey that may or may not snag your interest and lead you on side roads and down rabbit trails simply because you come across something interesting and want to follow up on it.

Whether fiction or non-fiction, research is the part of an author’s life because we have to get it right. If we don’t, be sure some alert reader is sure to spot the error and let us know about it. Those of us who research for information for our historical novels have learned to verify everything. It sure saves a lot of trouble and rewriting in the long run.

Genealogy is fun, but it can become an obsession and very time consuming. One little clue leads to another discovery and then that leads you on another trail. It’s like a treasure hunt and the tidbits found are like diamonds shining in the sun, and that can lead to addiction.

Whether you write or not, your family history is precious and invaluable to those who come after you. If you haven’t done any research yet, maybe it’s time for you to start with your own story and leave a legacy for your grandchildren and children to enjoy in years to come.

Reader Question: What is the most interesting thing you have learned either in your family or history in general?

* * * * *

Thank you, Martha, 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 Love Stays True (The Homeward Journey). 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 US/Canada residents.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Delia Lathan and Lexi's Heart Giveaway


DELIA LATHAM was born and raised in a place called Weedpatch, and now is a Christian wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend, but especially loves being a princess daughter to the King of Kings. She’s a Dr. Pepperaholic and loves hearing from her readers. Contact her through her website (, her blog (, or her Facebook author page (

Delia writes inspirational romance and women's fiction, and is currently contracted through White Rose Publishing and Vinspire Publishing.

LEXI'S HEART (Heart's Haven Holidays, book 1)
by Delia Latham
Published by White Rose Publishing (a division of the Pelican Book Group)


Her heart. His faith. Love Reborn.

Forty-three-year-old Lexi Carlisle’s abusive marriage ended three years ago. Deeply scarred by the experience, and helplessly watching her beloved mother succumb to Alzheimer’s, Lexi is devastated. After selling her fancy home, she rents a cottage in Heart’s Haven, a special place unlike any other. Slowly learning to live again, she despairs of ever delivering the message of love that burns within her heart for her ever-worsening mother. But Mitch Gaynor, a handsome Christian author, reminds Lexi that with God all things are possible, planting within her battered and distrustful heart the seed of hope for a miracle. But can she open her fortressed heart to God? And is Mitch a part of His plans for her future?

Readers, buy your copy of Lexi's Heart (Heart's Haven Holidays, book 1) today!


What I Do and Who I Am

“What do you do?”

For some reason, that question has become one of the first things we ask a new acquaintance. I wonder why that is? Surely we don’t identify people by their occupations. Or do we?

I think we do, more often than not. And that’s sad. But sadder still is the fact that we identify one another by our success at that occupation.

“I’m a writer.” That’s my answer when people ask what I do. And they offer a polite smile and a nod. Because writers abound, don’t they? Everybody’s writing something—a memoir, a journal, an autobiography, the “next BIG novel.” But…then the real question is posed: “Are you published?” Ahhh…now they’re getting to their real interest. Am I successful at what I do? Because somehow, folks are of the mistaken notion that a writer isn’t really a writer until his or her name is on the cover of a book.

I know this, because when I say, “Yes, I’m a multi-published author,” their entire demeanor is transformed. Their eyes light up and their smile suddenly becomes sincere, because my name on the cover of a book means I’m a success, and wow—they just met a published author!

My, how we skew our priorities these days!

Writing is what I do. Would you like to know who I am?

I’m a small-town girl, raised in a little farming community called, of all things, Weedpatch. I’m a Christian, and proud to be a princess daughter to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I’m a wife of almost forty years who fell in love with my (future) husband when I was eleven years old. I’m a mother of four wonderful individuals who make me so, so proud. And I’m a grandmother to four of the most amazing little human beings in the entire world.

I also happen to enjoy writing stories about romance that also glorify my Father, the King.

Do I bring in truckloads of money writing? Nope. Does that make me a failure in life? Again, nope.

I do what I do because God gave me the talent and an affinity for writing. Hopefully my words will brighten someone’s day, uplift a downtrodden soul, encourage the discouraged, or make someone believe in love. That’s my ministry…my way of using the talents given to me.

I am who I am because God saw fit to bless me with parents who loved me, and saw that I had a roof over my head and food to eat. There was barely enough money for real necessities, and none for luxuries, but I didn’t know we were poor. Funny how one never misses something they’ve never had, isn’t it?

I am who I am because my parents raised me according to godly principles; I had a pastor who taught straight from the scriptures and wasn’t afraid to call sin sin. I had the privilege of being taken under the wings of not one but two deeply devoted Christian women who became lifetime mentors and helped develop me as a person. I thank God for them every day.

I am who I am because God gave me a wonderful husband who cares about his family and believes in the sanctity of marriage. He then blessed me with children to love and teach and befriend and enjoy, and then magnified that blessing by giving me babies to love and spoil as I grow older and move into the next chapter of my life.

I am the lady next door, who waters your plants when you’re sick or on vacation. I smile when I pass by you in the department store. I stand behind you in the grocery line, and I’ll even let you go ahead of me if you’re only holding a couple of items and my basket is overflowing with stuff.

Yes, I’m a writer. That’s what I do, and I love doing it.

But I’m also a real person who—just like you, I hope—tries to do what’s right (or write…*g*), and actually manage to most of the time. Who has bad days when all I want to do is cry, and good ones when my feet barely touch the ground. The words of a wonderful song by Collin Raye says it perfectly. Here they are, from me to you:

I laugh, I love, I hope, I try
I hurt, I need, I fear, I cry
And I know you do the same things, too
So we're really not that different, me and you

Reader Question: Let's really get to know one another. I sincerely hope you love what you do, but I'm more interested in the heart of your. So....who are YOU?

* * * * *

Thank you, Delia, 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 eBook copy of Jewels for the Kingdom (Heart's Haven, book 1) in the format of 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 anyone worldwide.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Bound by Grace eBook SALE - $.99 all of May!

Last month, it was Copper and Candles for $.99. This month it's Bound by Grace, book 1 in my newest Brandywine Brides series! You love reading books? Well, books bring the leading couples together, and the family in this series connects to the family in my debut series, Liberty's Promise...with an heirloom book playing a significant role.
If you have a moment and can help me spread the word, here’s a Tweet to use:
Amber Stockton's Bound by Grace, just $.99 all of May! You love reading books? Books bring these couples together. 
Be sure to also check out the other 29 books on sale for $.99 this month at the Truly Yours Digital Facebook page:
Bound by Grace is also available on all other eBook formats too:

Friday, May 03, 2013

Susan Page Davis and What a Picture's Worth


SUSAN PAGE DAVIS is the author of more than forty novels, including the Prairie Dreams, Ladies’ Shooting Club, and Frasier Island series, and selected books in the Patchwork Mysteries, Miracles of Marble Cove, Texas Trails, and Secrets of Mary’s Bookshop series. She is a native of Maine, now living in western Kentucky. To learn more about Susan and her books, visit:

by Susan Page Davis
Published by Annie's Books


One of the most successful vendors in Shannon’s craft market is Fredo Benson, an eccentric and moody painter. All goes well until Shannon goes to his loft one evening to turn out lights and discovers detailed sketches of her home—sketches of the gardens, the mansion she inherited from her grandmother, and most concerning, items from inside the mansion.

That night her craft store is broken into, but nothing appears to be stolen. The following morning, Fredo doesn’t show up for an art class he was to teach. Shannon takes her 19-year-old son and goes to Fredo’s apartment, where they find the artist dead. Do his sketches hold clues about his reasons for stalking her? And how is his death connected to the store break-in? Who was Fredo really working for?

What a Picture’s Worth is published by Annie’s Books. To learn more about the Creative Woman series, go to:

Today, Susan is giving away a copy of What a Picture’s Worth. Leave a comment here to enter the drawing.


A lot of my writing time is spent getting the details right. I get the story down, but then I have to make sure everything in it is as accurate as I can make it. That’s because I know how I feel when I come across something in a book that I know isn’t right.

Having lived more than fifty years in Maine, I came to Kentucky three years ago as a complete stranger, a newcomer to all things Kentucky. I notice things that are different. In our part of the state, there are many oak trees, of several different varieties—many more oaks than in Maine. But there are also fewer evergreens. The cedars look different, the pines look different, and I don’t see many of my old friends, spruce, fir, hackmatack, beech, and white birch. But I see other trees that I never saw in Maine—sycamore, persimmon, and redbud, to name a few.

We saw the snake yesterday. My husband and I like to walk for exercise, and when we walk in a certain direction, we walk as far as a small bridge and look over the railing. About half the times we go there, we see the snake. It’s huge. It suns itself on a log, but slithers into the water when we arrive and swims into the murky shade beneath a fallen tree. I think it’s a diamondback water snake.

Snakes in Maine didn’t scare me. There are no poisonous snakes in Maine, my parents taught me when I was small. I didn’t mind seeing them or even picking them up. But here in Kentucky there are at least four kinds of poisonous snakes in my area, and the water snake is one. I’m a lot more cautious than I used to be. I don’t go running through the long grass in shorts and sneakers anymore. I wear long pants if I’m going into the field or the woods, and I walk slowly. If I write a Kentucky story (I haven’t yet), it may very well have a snake in it, because snakes are one of the things that makes Kentucky different for me.

Birds are another. This place has an abundance of birds, and I love them! I see them on walks and outside my windows as I work. I hear them, day and night. We have most of my old friends of the bird world here, and lots that I never knew in Maine. Mockingbirds, for instance. Another of our walking routes takes us past some trees where there are nearly always mockingbirds. They sing to us. We whistle to them, and they whistle back.

But if I read a book that puts a mockingbird in Maine (which I recently did), I know it’s not right. Another story I read had pelicans on the beach in Maine. Nope. Almost never. I see something like that, and I know the author isn’t “best friends” with Maine. They might visit the Pine Tree State and love it dearly, but they’re grounded somewhere else, and they didn’t get the details right. I still enjoyed both of those books, but it would have been much nicer if the birds had been right. And it wouldn’t have taken two minutes to check online.

I’m sure I’ve made mistakes in some of my books. But I want to get it right. That’s why I have books on my shelf about very narrow subjects, like Wild Plants of the Four Corners, and Pacific Coast Tree Finder.

Right now I’m working on a mystery set in Pennsylvania. I’ve been to Pennsylvania several times, but I’ve never lived there. It would be easy to think the trees and birds and snakes here in Kentucky (or those in Maine) would also be in Pennsylvania. But I want to make sure, so I’ll be checking.

This week I am giving away a copy of What a Picture’s Worth. It’s set in Oregon, where they have Steller’s jays, not common blue jays. Comment and leave your contact information to be entered in the drawing.

Reader Question: In the last “new place” you visited, what jumped out at you as “different”?

* * * * *

Thank you, Susan, 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. 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.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

May 2013 New Releases in Christian Fiction

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

Follow the Heart by Kaye Dacus — An American woman is sent to England to marry wealth, but finds herself torn between the poor man she loves and the viscount who offers the wealth and stability that can save her family. (Historical Romance from B & H Publishing).

When a Secret Kills by Lynette Eason — Investigative reporter, Jillian Carter, comes home after ten years in hiding to join forces with Detective Colton Brady to put a killer behind bars. (Thriller/Suspense from Revell (Baker).

Always, Abby by Linda S. Glaz — A war orphan, a planned wedding, and a pretty face, all destined to unravel the best laid plans. (Historical Romance from Heartsong Presents).

Widow of Gettysburg (Heroines Behind the Lines) by Jocelyn Green — A Union widow must rebuild her life after war rips through her home, while her heart wages its own battle against a draw she feels toward the enemy. (Historical from River North (Moody).

Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck — Once Upon a Prince, the first novel in the Royal Wedding series, treats you to a modern-day fairy tale. Susanna Truitt never dreamed of a great romance or being treated like a princess—just to marry the man she has loved for twelve years. But life isn’t going according to plan. When her high-school-sweetheart-turned-Marine-officer breaks up instead of proposing, Susanna scrambles to rebuild her life. The last thing Prince Nathaniel expects to find on his American holiday to St. Simon’s Island is the queen of his heart. (Contemporary Romance from Zondervan).

The Marriage Barter by Christine Johnson — A widow must marry within three days to keep her daughter. (Historical Romance from Love Inspired).

Talon: Combat Tracking Team by Ronie Kendig — A veteran and a military intelligence operative team up to find a missing soldier. This time, survival depends on the courage of a traumatized combat tracking dog. (Romantic Suspense from Barbour Publishing).

Hill Country Cattleman by Laurie Kingery — An aristocratic young lady flees England ahead of scandal, only to find love in the arms of a rugged Texas cowboy. (Historical Romance from Love Inspired).

Captured by Moonlight by Christine Lindsay — Two women, one Indian, one English, each one captured and imprisoned by their past-Eshana by her traditional Hindu uncle for her faith in Christ, the other, Lieutenant Laine Harkness by her former fiancé, yet new life can come on the trade winds after the storm has passed. (Historical Romance Novella from Whitefire Publishing ).

A Heartbeat Away by S. Dionne Moore — When a band of runaway slaves brings Union-loyal Beth Bumgartner a wounded Confederate soldier named Joe, it is the catalyst that pushes her to defy her pacifist parents and become a nurse during the Battle of Antietam. Her mother’s mysterious goodbye gift is filled with quilt blocks that bring comfort to Beth during the hard days and lonely nights, but as she sews each block, she realizes there is a hidden message of faith within the pattern that encourages and sustains her. Beth learns Joe’s secret and together they put the quilt’s message to its greatest test-but can betrayal be forgiven? (Historical Romance from Abingdon Press).

Gone South: A Novel by Meg Moseley — The sweet tea has gone bitter in Noble, Alabama, where newcomer Tish McComb soon learns that her family’s roots there aren’t seen as respectable-especially once she befriends a local prodigal daughter and things go from bad to worse. (Contemporary Women’s Fiction from Waterbrook Multnomah).

The Face of the Earth by Deborah Raney When Mitchell Brannon’s beloved wife of twenty years kisses him goodbye one morning, he has little idea that his life is about to change forever. (General Contemporary from Howard (Simon and Schuster).

No Way Out by Susan Sleeman — When Alyssa Wells discovers her police husband was murdered and the killer threatens her life, Alyssa turns to former US Marshall Cole Justice to keep her alive. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired).

Love’s Stormy Gale by Lynette Sowell — Two years ago, Olivia Shea was trying on her wedding gown, dreaming of marriage and motherhood. But her fisherman fiancé was lost at sea and Olivia fled, unable to stay in the New England fishing village. Now she’s back in Fairport, determined to face her fears by working on a whale boat tour. But the charter’s captain is the sole survivor of her fiancé’s ill-fated voyage-a man of danger and memories. Jonathan Barrotta’s scars from the night he nearly died run as deep as the vast Atlantic. To prove himself and to honor his friend’s memory, he vows to fulfill his dream of piloting his own boat… (Contemporary Romance from Heartsong Presents).

Sweet Dreams by Carla Stewart — Charm school in Texas wasn’t what cousins Dusty Fairchild and Paisley Finch dreamed of, but when they fall in love with the same handsome young man, things get sticky, and only after a tragic accident do they learn where their true hearts, and dreams, lie. (Historical from Faith Words (Hachette).

Catch a Falling Star by Beth K. Vogt — Is life about accomplishing plans . . . or wishes coming true . . . or something more? Dr. Kendall Haynes’s plans to have it all-a career, a husband, a family-are eluding her. Now that she’s thirty-six, she needs to stop wishing upon a star and face reality: Some dreams just never come true. Air Force pilot Griffin Walker prefers flying solo in the air and on the ground-until a dangerous choice ejects him from the cockpit. His life becomes even more complicated after the sudden death of his parents makes him the guardian of his sixteen-year-old brother. When their lives collide during a near tragedy, Kendall and Griffin must decide if they can embrace the unexpected changes God has waiting for them. (Contemporary Romance from Howard (Simon and Schuster).

Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade — Soft-spoken Meg is more interested in art than in business, but when her father dies she inherits his oil company, his fortune, and his Thoroughbred horse ranch. She asks the ranch’s caretaker, Bo, to shut the place down. But will Bo prove the only part of her father’s empire worth keeping? (Contemporary Romance from Bethany House).

Wedding on the Rocks by Rose Ross Zediker — When she traded small-town life for the bright lights of Chicago, Jennifer Edwards yearned to discover a world beyond Faith, South Dakota. So when her father’s illness calls her home to run their cattle ranch, she tells herself it’s temporary. Then why is she even thinking about a future with archaeology professor Brett Lange-the boy she left behind-whose life’s work is digging up the past? (General Contemporary from Heartsong Presents).