Friday, September 28, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Lisa Tawn Bergren is the author of 28 books, with over 1.3 million sold. She is a publishing consultant, writer, Bible study leader, mother and wife. Her hobbies include travel (mostly from an armchair), reading, watching movies, cooking and exploring with her family. Lisa's most recent books include The Begotten, The Betrayed, God Gave Us Heaven, What Women Want and The Busy Mom's Devotional. She resides in Colorado Springs, Colorado. To sign up for her monthly email (which includes a new, unpublished devotional) go to www.LisaTawnBergren.com and join her newsletter list.
The Betrayed and The Begotten will be featured in Target stores September 4th on the Breakout Books display.
Back cover blurb:
The year is 1339, and a secret a half millennium old is on the brink of being exposed.
Centuries ago, Paul's letters became part of the foundation of the Christian cannon. Only a few know of another letter, potentially written by Paul. Kept secret for generations, suppressed by the authorities of the Church, it speaks of men and women who, though begotten of men, possess mysterious spiritual gifts. The letter survived. So has the Church's fear of it.
The time has come for the Gifted to gather. Even as they grow in power, so do their enemies. They must race against time to find the rest of the Gifted, and to decipher the prophecy that foretold of their coming. For only by combining their powers will they vanquish those determined to destroy them and uncover the secret of the letter that will determine the fate of the Church...and the world.
"Never has a novel been more timely...Bergren has given us an amazing story-one that proposes a fantastic 'what if'...A wonderful read!"
--Angela Hunt, author of Magdalene
"[A] classic battle between good and evil." --Publisher's Weekly
"Lisa Bergren's The Begotten is a rich and carefully crafted medieval mystery, reflecting extensive research. I felt transported to another time and place, ushered into a fascinating world. Lisa tells a compelling story, and tells it extremely well."
--Randy Alcorn, author of Heaven, The Treasure Principle, and Deadline
"A full-bodied, absorbing tale that combines authentic historical detail with a universally appealing and gripping story that will have readers cheering...crossover appeal for J.R.R. Tolkien and Madeleine L'Engle enthusiasts."
**The Begotten was a finalist for this year’s Christy Award, one of three finalists for the Best Suspense of the Year award.**
Back cover blurb
The Year of Our Lord 1340
The secret, a half millennium old, has been revealed. An illuminated letter, long buried by the Church--prophesying a fellowship of men and women possessing powerful spiritual gifts--is the catalyst for a profound war that will bring either a new age of enlightenment or a darkness the world has never before seen. As the Gifted gather and gain strength, and find further clues as to where God is leading, their enemies grow more intent on controlling them.
Watching the Gifted from afar in Venezia is Cardinal Boeri, who is determined to use the blessed powers of the Gifted to secure his own place in the hierarchy of the Church. The doge, the duke of Venezia, has reasons of his own to seize control. But the greatest menace is the evil Lord Abramo Amidei, driven to turn the healer Daria d'Angelo to his own fold or destroy her in the process. He is determined to tear apart the firm fabric of her faith as he preys on the weaknesses of those she loves. For Amidei knows that together the Gifted are undeniably strong and growing stronger. But if he succeeds at dividing them, the Gifted--and then the world--will be his.
"A thrilling historical drama brimming with pathos and adventure from first word to last...a heart -stopping page-turner."
--Liz Curtis Higgs, author of Thorn in My Heart
Are you a member of a book group? A Reader’s Guide is included in the back of each book.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
I loved it.
I loved all of the books in the Fountain Creek Chronicles Series. You must read these in order, however if you're a rebel and decide not to, you won't be lost. Each novel is a story of its own. However the characters are mentioned in each preceding book.
One reviewer below said that the characters in the books come alive. That is so true. I cared what happened to each heroine and each hero.
I recently took a workshop titled "Dissecting a Novel" given by Tamera at the ACFW Conference. She suggested highlighting parts in the books that moved you, tagging your favorite scenes... Well, if I started dissecting Tamera's series, I suppose the entire book would be highlighted, dogeared, and tabbed. These are books I want to loan to my friends and family, recommend they purchase because they are so good. And I have done just that. But they can't go far from my bookshelf because I may want to enjoy the stories again.
If you enjoy Historicals, and you haven't done so already, I suggest you introduce yourself to Ms. Alexander's Fountain Creek Chronicles, then sit back in a comfy chair, because upon opening the first page, you'll be taking a trip to the old West. And in "Remembered" you'll be taking a voyage to France. Now that's some awesome travelling, and you don't even need a passport.
(Fountain Creek Chronicles, Book 3)
(Bethany House, 2007)
Tamera Alexander is a bestselling novelist whose deeply drawn characters, thought provoking plots, and poignant prose resonate with readers. Alexander’s books have won multiple awards, including Romance Writers of America’s 2007 RITA® for Best Inspirational Romance, the 2007 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, 2007 Bookseller’s Best, and Library Journal’s Top Christian Fiction of 2006.
Her books have received acclaim from Library Journal, True West Magazine and Historical Novels Review, and Rekindled debuted on the CBA fiction bestseller list. She has a professional background in business management and conference coordination. A leader of women's ministries for over twelve years, she is currently active in music ministry, facilitating small groups, and mentoring other women. A graduate of Harding University, Tamera lives with her husband and their two teenagers in Greeley, Colorado.
Her other two books in the Fountain Creek Chronicles are Rekindled (Book 1) and Revealed (Book 2)To celebrate the release of Remembered, as well as the 3-volume boxed set of Fountain Creek Chronicles (Rekindled, Revealed, and Remembered), Tamera is currently giving away boxed sets in a contest on her website. Check out the contest at http://www.tameraalexander.com/ .
ABOUT THE BOOK:
"Alexander again delivers a most amazing story. The characters are more than words on the page; they become real people. Though there are French words sprinkled throughout the story, they enhance the emotions rather than distract the reader." --Romantic Times
Anyone's who's read the other Fountain Creek books won't want to miss this one, but it easily stands alone. The characters will take you by the hand and lead you heart-first into their stories, and by the time they release you at the end, you'll feel as though you've taken up residence just across the Creek from them, as surely as they have in your heart." --Roseanna White, christianreviewofbooks.com
Monday, September 24, 2007
ACFW conference was kicked off Wednesday by an Early Bird Session with Margie Lawson. Unfortunately, I didn't sign up for that, but spent the rest of the conference hearing how magnificent Margie's class had been. Darn. Why do I always miss the important stuff?
No worries. Thursday I attended a meeting for First-Time Attendees. Brandilyn Collins and Cara Putnam welcomed us and shared some insider information. This was proceeded by a month of emails, just for the first-timers, where we could send Cara and Brandilyn questions. These ladies made sure to answer all our questions on the email loop, included some other ACFW members in the loop who shared their opinions and wisdom. When Thursday arrived, our group of about 150+ didn't have many questions. We were ready to step out into the real world of writer's conferences and have a blast. I hope my fellow first-timers had a successful time, as I did.
Following the first-time attendees meeting, the conference began with a First Act Play. A group of writers acting as ACFW board members kicked off our weekend with a hilarious performance. Below is a picture of the gang. I'm sorry I don't know everyone, but the chick in the ball hat is my fellow FAITH sister Angie Breidenbach, in the role of Randy Ingermanson.
Here's a hazy picture of a Texas sunrise. Please forgive the glare of my camera and the dirty window. It was as close as I could come to the real thing. I knew if I tried to run downstairs to get outside, I'd lose my point of view and the sun would already be up. God doesn't mess around, you know.
Here I'm at a morning worship service. That's Rachel Hauck at keyboards and on lead vocals. She's got a great voice and I sat beside her in one of the workshops. I took the opportunity to tell her how much I enjoyed Diva NashVegas and shared with her some of my favorite scenes. (you can check out my review of that book under my label of "Books I Recommend")
Saturday, I took Dissecting a Novel - a workshop taught by author Tamera Alexander. Check back with me later in the week as her third book will be toured on the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and I'm planning to feature all three of her books - stories you MUST read!
Photo op with one of my favorite authors and I look all squinty. Oh well, the class was good and I received a lot of good information.
* * *
Jennifer had two manuscripts final in the Genesis contest. She placed 3rd in the Contemporary Romance category for By His Plan. She placed 2nd in the Historical Romance category for Promised Blessings.
Way to Go, Jenn!!!
More good news! Ane Mulligan, fellow ACFW/WORD member, took 2nd place in the Genesis Women's Fiction category for her manuscript When the Wind Blows.
Here's Jennifer running from an adoring fan (Angie Breidenbach)!
Proud FAITH Sisters!
Missy and Lindi ~ We missed you!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Lyn Cote's journey to becoming a published author was a long one - she started her first book when her daughter was 13 months old and her first novel was published when her daughter was about to enter high school. But Lyn was writing for a market that hadn't taken shape yet - the inspirational fiction market.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Now available for the first time in one edition--All three novels from Lyn Cote's beloved Blessed Assurance series.
In Whispers of Love, Civil War widow Jessie Wagstaff must fend for herself and her son. When a stranger, Lee Smith, befriends Jessie's son, even though she recognizes nine-year-old Linc's need for a father figure, she's reluctant to let a new man into their life. When the Great Chicago Fire blazes, every heart is pushed to its limits.
"A beautiful tale of love, forgiveness, and acceptance."
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
The Ex Files
(Touchstone June 19, 2007)
Victoria Christopher Murray
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Victoria Christopher Murray always knew she would become an author, even as she was taking quite an unlikely path to that destination. A native of Queens, New York, Victoria first left New York to attend Hampton Institute in Virginia where she majored in Communication Disorders. After graduating from Hampton, Victoria attended New York University where she received her MBA.
Victoria spent ten years in Corporate America before she decided to test her entrepreneurial spirit. She opened a Financial Services Agency for Aegon, USA where she managed the number one division for nine consecutive years. However, Victoria never lost the dream to write and when the “bug” hit her again in 1997, she answered the call.
Victoria originally self published Temptation. “I wanted to write a book as entertaining and compelling as any of the books on the market, put God in the middle, and have the book still be a page-turner. I wasn’t writing to any particular genre – I didn’t even know Christian fiction existed. I just wanted to write about people I knew and characters I could relate to.”
In 2000, Time Warner published Temptation. Temptation made numerous best sellers list across the nation and remained on the Essence bestsellers list for nine consecutive months. In 2001, Temptation was nominated for an NAACP Image Award in Outstanding Literature.
Since Temptation, Victoria has written four other novels: JOY, Truth Be Told, Grown Folks Business, and A Sin and a Shame. All of her novels have continued to be Essence bestsellers; her last three each reaching #1. In addition, Victoria has received numerous awards including the Golden Pen Award for Best Inspirational Fiction and in 2006, she was awarded the Phyllis Wheatley Trailblazer Award for being the pioneer in African American Christian Fiction.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
The Ex Files:
A Novel About Four Women and Faith...
There are four ways a woman can handle heartbreak. She can fall apart, seek revenge, turn cold, or move on. The Ex Files is the story of these four women:
When Kendall Stewart finds her husband and her sister in bed together, she vows to never let anyone get that close again. But when she is faced with saving the life of the woman who destroyed hers, will she be able to forgive?
When an NBA superstar tells his mistress, Asia Ingrum, that he's decided to honor his marriage vows, her shock quickly gives way to revenge...but her decision may come back to haunt their five-year-old daughter.
Every night Vanessa Martin wonders why her husband committed suicide. Even worse, she contemplates joining him in eternity. Will Vanessa be able to gather the strength to live again?
Sheridan Hart is finally finding her way after a lie destroyed her seventeen-year marriage. Her new love is ready to get married, but will she commit to this younger man or is her ex-husband taking up too much space in her heart?
When their pastor asks Kendall, Asia, Vanessa, and Sheridan to meet weekly for prayer, they can't imagine they will have anything in common. But then a devastating tragedy strikes and these strangers are forced to reexamine their choices. Will they find true friendship, or will prayer -- and their union -- fail them?
Friday, September 14, 2007
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
LIFE, LIBBY, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS
(Harvest House Publishers March 1, 2007)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Hope Lyda has always wanted to write. Ever since she was a young tyke with a spiral notebook in hand, she had the urge to fill it. Sadly, Peggy Meets the Midgets did not cause Hope to be deemed a child prodigy, so she continued her path of education. She was grade-obsessed but also truly enjoyed sharing laughs with her circle of creative friends.
Hope attended the University of Oregon and graduated with a double major in Journalism: Advertising and Telecommunications and Film. With aspirations to write screenplays or teleplays, she of course ended up doing public relations for non-profits until she entered the publishing field in which she has worked for 10 years.
Her passions are quiet ones—she loves a good read, an afternoon of free thinking time, writing, journaling, road trips, travel, and pondering life from her back yard pergola. She loiters in bookstores frequently, though has never been arrested for such. Her big hope is to encourage others to embrace their dreams and understand their faith journeys through the practice of journaling and the art of creative living. She hopes to also inspire such things through the themes in her fiction including Hip to Be Square and Altar Call. (There are also visions of a nice Casita with a hammock in Mexico—but one thing at a time.)
When not living in her head, she resides with her husband, Marc, in the Pacific Northwest.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Libby Hawthorne makes exotic trip itineraries but never leaves Seattle. She’d like to attend church but winds up at a bookstore. She longs for love—but who has the time? Delayed happiness has been worth it, because she’s about to get her dream promotion...
When a corporate merger leaves her demoted and disillusioned, Libby realizes she needs to start living authentically...and soon. But just as she tries to uncover her purposed life, her cruel and unusual boss, Cecilia, demands that Libby hide Seattle’s most famous homegrown rock star in order to keep her new, bad job. For the first time in years, Libby doesn’t have a step by step plan to guide her. She must trust her faith and her heart. But what is she supposed to do with her growing admiration for Blaine Slater, a new VP from Chicago, or the surprising kindness of the rock star living incognito in her Seattle apartment? Through the humorous twist and turns, Libby uncovers a big life truth—the detours we are afraid of might just be the perfect path to happiness.
Friday, September 7, 2007
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Billy, a Sophomore in High School, then a wrestler and weight lifter, met me at a party and called me a couple of days later asking for a date.
Here we are in the early days of our dating life, hanging out in Billy's room (I think it was Thanksgiving or Christmas)
A few months later, he took me to my very first Prom.
Ten years ago today, we married. Here we are posing on the front lawn in front of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church.
Here we are, with better hair (even though my eyes are closed) in Las Vegas last year.
Happy Anniversary, Turtle!
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Camy Tang is a member of CFBA and is a loud Asian chick who writes loud Asian chick-lit. She grew up in Hawaii, but now lives in San Jose, California, with her engineer husband and rambunctious poi-dog. In a previous life she was a biologist researcher, but these days she is surgically attached to her computer, writing full-time. In her spare time, she is a staff worker for her church youth group, and she leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service.Sushi for One? (Sushi Series, Book One is her first novel. Her second, Only Uni (Sushi Series, Book Two) comes out in February 2008!
Contest ends October 31, 2007!
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Lex Sakai’s family, big, nosy, and marriage-minded, is ruled by a crafty grandmother. When her cousin Mariko gets married, Lex will become the OLDEST SINGLE COUSIN in the clan, a loathed position by all single female family members.
Lex has not dated for years.
Grandma homes in on this fact and demands, bribes, and threatens Lex to bring a boyfriend (not just a date) to her cousin’s wedding.
Lex does not want to date ... not since that terrible incident a few years back ... but, Grandma doesn't give her that choice.
Lex's options are slim because she has used her Bible study class on Ephesians to compile a huge list of traits for the PERFECT man (and the more she dates, the more she adds to the list).
The one man she keeps running into (and is completely attracted to) doesn’t seem to have a single quality on her list. It’s only when the always-in-control Lex loses control and lets God take over that all the pieces of this hilarious romance finally fall into place.
Luckily, being concerned about others is a high priority of mine. First and foremost, I'd disappoint my ACFW roommate, because I told her way back in May that I was going and we'd room together. Two weeks doesn't leave much time to find a decent replacement. Also, a non-refundable airline ticket can be the kick in the pants every poor coward needs.
I realized, as I polished off a piece of the white cake I made my husband (from scratch), that it was simply that Devil Satan paying me another visit. I've had to tell him to get the heck out of my house for the last several weeks now. I can see him working on every one around me, but they're not writers.
The devil infiltrates our thoughts and makes us doubt. God gives us an opportunity and Satan wants to trip us before we can reach the door, make us fall and break our legs, cripple us to keep us from fulfilling God's will.
This morning, I woke up and wrote. I pulled out an old manuscript I started a few years ago and realized it would work perfectly as book 2 in the series I've formulated. That means I've got good starts on all three books. Book one is finished, I'm rewriting it to be more CBA friendly. Apparently, I'm some kind of writer, or I wouldn't have the ideas I do and I certainly wouldn't be able to put them on paper.
However, I keep coming back to the fact that this has been one heck of a year for me. I've let other people read my stuff. What? You mean my writing isn't as excellent as my mom said it was? But I have potential? That's good. Good, good, good...
Critique partners are good, but I have to learn to handle the critiques from them, the contests I enter, the published authors I let read snippets of my work. No one has told me to stop writing. I'm not sure any one would, but I have gotten positive and useful feed back in return and that is what I must concentrate on, not the "I cants, I wonts, I'll never --"
Tonight, while checking email when I should've been writing on the book, I ran across Gina Conroy's blog and this article by Camy Tang on "Conference Confidence." Read it and come back to me.
Wasn't that a good article? I link to Camy, so you should check out the wealth of information she shares on her website. Anyway, my point is that I have been so directed on "pitching" my stories, I'd gotten myself freaked out.
I'm not a person that can block out the stress and write through it. I'm trying to become that person, but right now, I let my worries, both tangible and not, get in the way.
Listen, I know agents and editors are just people. I'm blessed that I will have appointments with folks that share my faith. But to be honest, as I was scarfing down an unmentionable amount of Cheetos Puffs, I was getting worked up for no reason and Camy's contribution on Gina's blog brought me down to earth.
I am a Sophomore writer. (Check out Randy Ingermanson's article to find out what you are.) I am what Randy's paragraph describes. It will be much more useful to me to take my proposal, and simply talk to the editor/agent about it. I'll have a one-liner ready in case someone else asks me what I'm writing.
But I refuse - REFUSE - to get all worked up about some conference and ruin the opportunity in front of me. God willing, I'll make some friends, leave good, lasting impressions, and perhaps an editor or agent will request my work. Seizing these opportunities will help me grow as a writer, and get better.
Monday, September 3, 2007
That's how I describe Brenda Coulter's latest Love Inspired release: A Season of Forgiveness.
Action packed from Chapter One, Victoria Talcott is rescued by the wrong guy at the right time. Daring Sam McGarry has every quality Victoria wants to avoid. Victoria's father is a retired policeman. She watched her mother worry about her father her whole life. At least her father was risking his life to keep the community safe. Sam McGarry jumps out of planes - by choice. He skis with daredevils for the pure excitement of it. How much does he value his life, taking risks like this? Victoria's afraid to fly. There's a number of things she avoids doing to keep safe. Sam McGarry would not fit into her safe world.
Except she can't forget about him - not his good looks and especially not his strong faith that gives her support just when she needs it.
Another thing I'd like to commend Brenda on are her strong secondary characters. Sam's brother Ryan and Victoria's sister Corinne are two people I couldn't help caring about. I'm hoping the author has a story for each of them in the works.
If you want a story to romance you and take you on an adventure, you'll find it in A Season of Forgiveness. It'll be in stores in October. Amazon is taking pre-orders. Enjoy!
Sunday, September 2, 2007
My two year old's stubborn spirit became evident early on. We marveled at how quickly she learned. She loved to watch Barney. Because we liked to keep her happy, we bought every DVD we could find of Barney. Downey got where she could tell us which Barney episode she wanted to watch AND insert that into the DVD player!
But like most toddlers, and children, they aren't receptive when it comes to doing what they're told. Singing the "Clean Up, Clean Up" song that was featured on a Barney episode soon wasn't enough to motivate my little one to clean up her mess. She'd rather leave the mess of toys or paper/crayons and go on to the next adventure.
Though spanking may work sometimes, I feel it should be an absolute last resort.
I realized this when Downey started hitting back.
Then I began to see the temper tantrums she was throwing. Standing there screaming, hands balled in tight fists, she'd let me know she was angry - real fast!
That's when I knew. My little angel had learned by example.
Friends and family can be so sweet. "Christy," they say, "you're a good mother."
If only they knew how many times a day I fail! Downey gets her short temper from me! (And her father, he's not innocent in this at all!) If I had a nickel for every time during the day I stop what I'm doing - and send a sling-shot prayer up to God. "Please help me, Lord! Help me find patience! I know she's only two, but I know she realizes she's driving me crazy - And she's enjoying every minute of it!" - I'd be a woman with a whole lotta nickels!
So parents, just know every word you say, your little one is listening. If you say a curse word, you'd better believe your little angel is going to repeat it the very next day. If you lose your temper, your little one is going to act out his/her frustrations in the same manner.
This weekend, I explained to Downey we don't always get our way. At Sunday school, Downey's friend, Carley, stole her chair and then took Downey's toy. I feel I'm in a difficult spot - because I don't see everything that's happening with these kids. I miss the Carley took my toy part, or the Downey took my doll part. I'm having a hard time because I'm not just Downey's mom, who wants to defend her as much as possible, I'm also the teacher and will be fair to all the kids. I see my daughter isn't always right, just like me.
I'm learning about discipline (the how tos and what nots)right along with her.
I am helping Grandma realize she must use a firm tone with Downey to show our stubborn two year old that hitting Grandma is not acceptable.
Downey is not a Holy Terror. Let me assure you of this. She is a sweet child, who knows what the Bible looks like and is. She sings "Jesus Loves Me" and Barney's "I Love You, You Love Me" song. She is learning to share. She has a sweet, tender side, that's demonstrated in the way she cares for her dolls, feeds them, loves them. She loves her family and talks about them often, even when its been weeks that she hasn't seen Aunt Kari, Uncle Blake and Cousin Landon. She looks forward to going to Nana's and seeing Cousin Savannah. She loves Grandma, Paw-Paw, and Chelsea.
It's times like this that I know I'm not screwing my child up totally. I realize something I'm doing during the day is right, even though I look over the house and the laundry's still piled up, half-folded, there are dishes in the sink, and I'm stressed because I've wasted my writing time and haven't accomplished any of my goals for the day.
Yet, I'll never be able to return to these days when Downey lets me hold her and we watch her favorite "The Big Comfy Couch" program. (She hates for me to read to her! Gasp!)
The days when all we worry about is if we're going to go outside and play on the swing set or blow bubbles will soon be gone.
I'm trying to remember God put Downey in my life for a reason. I don't know what tomorrow will bring, so I need to cherish every moment. Don't sweat the small stuff and laugh when all I want to do is cry. I need to look into her eyes, touch her tiny fingers, and remember time goes way too fast.
Teach by example, and be the best example possible.