Monday, June 30, 2008

Hidden by Shelley Shepard Gray

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


Avon Inspire (May 27, 2008)


Shelley Shepard Gray

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Hidden is Shelley’s first foray into inspirational fiction. Previously, Shelley lived in Texas and Colorado, where she taught school and earned both her bachelors and masters degrees in education. She now lives in southern Ohio where she writes full time. Shelley is an active member of her church. She serves on committees, volunteers in the church office, and is part of the Telecare ministry, which calls homebound members on a regular basis. Shelley looks forward to the opportunity to write novels that showcase her Christian ideals.


Hidden is a remarkable story about the unlikely love between a modern girl on the run and an Amish boy from the family who shelters her.

When Anna decides it's time to leave her abusive boyfriend, she doesn't know where to turn. Rob is a successful and respected person in her community. He has completely won over her parents with his good looks and prestigious position at a top law firm. Only Anna has seen his dark side. But when Rob hurts Anna yet again, she realizes that she must finally help herself.

Desperate, she runs to the one place she’s always felt completely safe, the Amish Brenneman Bed and Breakfast, where years ago she and her mother once stayed, and where Anna met life-long friend Katie Brenneman. When Anna shows up years later unexpectedly, the family welcomes her in, with few questions asked, and allows her to stay, dressed as the Amish in Plain clothes, and help around the inn.

But Katie’s older brother Henry doesn’t take too kindly to the intrusion. Anna wonders if it’s because he’s already had his heart broken. To Henry’s shame, from the moment he sees Anna, he feels a strong attraction. To cover his infatuation, he tries to ignore her, knowing no good would ever come from keeping an eye on a fancy woman like her. But as he sees that Anna has a good heart and is not the selfish, spoiled woman he imagined her to be, he feels his heart pointing towards her.

Anna comes to realize that she’s found a home and true love in the last place she’d expected. How can she deny the life she left behind? And will her chance for happiness be stolen away by the man who can’t seem to let her go?

If you would like to read the Prologue, go HERE


Christy here:

I LOVED this book. One perspective is that of an outsider going into an Amish community. The Amish family the story is centered around adheres to all the Old Order Amish way of life, while providing a Bed and Breakfast for outsiders and allowing them the luxury of electricity.

What's interesting about this book is we will see the character's perspective going into this community that is so different from our own. I liked the author's choice of scripture and that she pulled out a paragraph from an Amish publication. It spoke volumes to me.

The romance between Henry and Anna was sweet. Anna was an easy character to root for against her ex-boyfriend Rob. With a little action toward the end a lot of tension leading up to that climax, I was enthralled by the story and stayed up late last night to finally see how it would end. I look forward to the next book from Mrs. Gray in this series.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver

Christy here:
My husband has been telling me, "You need to slow down."

I work full time, I still co-teach Sunday School. I try to make it to prayer meeting on Wednesday night. I try not to be so tired in the evenings because I want to spend time with my daughter and my husband. I wonder how my parents are doing. I wonder how my friends are doing and I want to talk to them all! I want to have plenty of time to write. But there are only 24 hours in a day. I can't pack everything into one day.

Days go by and turn into a week and I haven't spoken to my mother, even on the telephone. If my husband wasn't so good about going to the grocery store on the days he's off, I guess we'd starve or live off fast food, because I never feel like going to the store when I get off work. The weekends are packed with trying to clean the house, spending quality time with my daughter and husband. Pieces of me are spread so far thin, it's a wonder there is anything left to go around!

My writing, my passion, my one true goal, gets pushed to "whenever". Some weeks, whenever just doesn't come. And if it does come, I waste my time checking email, blogging or just piddling. I'm the only one that can make that dream happen. Well, I'm dependent on others, but I have to finish revisions and submit the manuscript, or it will never be viewed by the requesting editor!

What I'm taking so long to say is that Joanna Weaver's book was timely. Too timely almost. I'm thinking, Lord, did you have something to do with this?

Of course He did. He's planned it all out. I believe He even Mrs. Weaver's book, one I promise will speak volumes to you whether you're a student, a stay at home mom, working mom, or grandma.

I'm familiar with the story of Mary and Martha. I've thought how lucky those too ladies were to host Jesus in their home. But in the past, I've skimmed over the story. I never saw it for what it is. Thank goodness, Joanna Weaver takes this piece of the bible and studies it line by line. She has a way of explaining Mary and Martha in terms that I can identify with.

Martha was the type of person who obsessed over every detail. The flower arrangement had to be perfect and it had to match the napkins and tablecloth. Mary had helped during the day, but she knew the purpose of the evening. Martha was in too big of a hurry to make sure everything was perfect and everyone was happy to realize those things weren't important.

I look at my opening paragraphs and I can find fault with the way my to-do list is set up. Work is first. Worship is crunched somewhere between work and family. Did the Lord crunch me on His to-do list? No. He's got equal time for us all. Shouldn't He be at the TOP of my priorities?

This makes me think of a lady I worked for many years. When I began working for her, I was a Christian, but I will admit, my walk wasn't worthy of the Lord. I sat down with my new boss during a one-on-one meeting and she listed out her priorities to me. If she had asked me what I thought her priorities were, I would've put work at the top of the list for she was a woman who did her job well, had an organized and highly productive team. I was the newest member.

To my surprise, her list went like this: God, Husband, Children, Family... Work was somewhere down the line. But the key here is God was first on her list. This reflects the story of Mary and Martha. God was first on Mary's list, but for Martha, He was somewhere down the line.

Joanna Weaver opens up this book with the tale of the sisters and addresses so many topics we ladies face in between. She analyzes the Lord's intended balance of work and worship. The book is easy to read and draws you into the world of Mary and Martha, every woman's world. The question is, where do you fall? Is it where the Lord wants you to be?

About Joanna:
Joanna Weaver was voted the Most Promising New Writer of 1997 at the Mount Herman Writer’s Conference. She has authored Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World and written for publications such as Focus on the Family, Home Life, Aspire, and The Evangel. A pastor’s wife for more than eighteen years, she and her husband have counseled many couples, both those approaching their wedding and those struggling in marriage. The Weavers live in Montana and have taught young married classes and spoken on the topic of marriage throughout the northwestern United States.

About Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World:

An invitation for every woman who’s ever felt she isn’t godly enough, isn’t loving enough, isn’t doing enough.

The life of a woman today isn’t really all that different from that of Mary and Martha in the
New Testament. Like Mary, you long to sit at the Lord’s feet…but the daily demands of a busy world just won’t leave you alone. Like Martha, you love Jesus and really want to serve him…yet you struggle with weariness, resentment, and feelings of inadequacy.

Then comes Jesus, into the midst of your busy life, to extend the same invitation he issued long ago to the two sisters from Bethany. Tenderly, he invites you to choose “the better part”–a joyful life of intimacy with him that flows naturally into loving service.

Check out Joanna's blog.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Calico Canyon by Mary Connealy

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Calico Canyon

Barbour Publishing, Inc (July 1, 2008)


Mary Connealy

Christy here: Want a book with a lotta heart? Want a book that's action packed with several plots? Want a book driven by characters that you can't help but love? If you want that and more, I suggest picking up this book by Mary Connealy. Book 2 in the Lassoed in Texas Series, Calico Canyon.

Mary graciously sent me Petticoat Junction, Book 1 in the series, several months ago. I've started it and like it, but I had to put it down to read this one in preparation for this tour. Don't worry if you haven't read Book 1. You can pick right up with Calico first and love it as a stand alone book.

The opening scene with Grace fighting off the Reeves boys in her own classroom was hilarious. This book takes place in the 1800s following the Civil War, but as I read about the boys antics, I pictured the movie "Overboard" with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. Remember that movie? Remember the principle of the school being chased out of the front door with toilet paper wrapped from head to toe? Remember good old dad, Kurt Russel saying: "Aww, they're just trying to have a little fun." That was hilarious and this book was even better.

This is a classic book where we watch the character's lives change. We live it with them. We see them change for the better. I only wished there were more romantic scenes between Grace and Daniel, but the author was true to life. With five wild boys around, there won't be much time for candlelight dinners.

While I was dying for more scenes with Daniel and Grace, laughing over the boys and them tumbling all over the ranch, I was pained by Hannah's situation, Grace's sister, of living homeless in cold, hard Chicago. Old Master Parrish's character as the villain was quite disturbing. I wanted to whack the crap out of him with a large hammer. Forget the ruler he carried around. Let him whack my daughter's hand.... Okay, getting a little too involved here... sorry...

What I'm thinking, back to Hannah, is will she have the next book? Or maybe one after that? I'd say she earned her time. Besides, she's own her way to Mosqueros Texas. I bet we'll be seeing her before too long....

Read Mary's latest book. Like me, you're going to love it!


MARY CONNEALY is an award-winning author and playwright, married to Ivan a farmer, and the mother of four beautiful daughters, Joslyn, Wendy, Shelly and Katy. They live in Decatur, Nebraska. Mary is a GED Instructor by day and an author by night. And there is always a cape involved in her transformation.

Mary has also written Petticoat Ranch, Golden Days, and her latest, Alaska Brides that will debut in August.


Let yourself be swept away by this fast-paced romance, featuring Grace Calhoun, an instructor of reading, writing, and arithmetic, who, in an attempt to escape the clutches of a relentless pursuer, runs smack dab into even more trouble with the 6R's - widower Daniel Reeves, along with his five rowdy sons. When a marriage is forced upon this hapless pair - two people who couldn't dislike each other more - an avalanche isn't the only potential danger lurking amid the shadows of Calico Canyon. Will they make it out alive? Or end up killing each other in the process?

Running from her Abusive foster-father, a man intent on revenge, the prim and perfectly proper Grace Calhoun takes on the job of schoolmarm in Mosqueros, Texas.

As if being a wanted woman isn't bad enough, Grace has her hands full with the five rowdy and rambunctious Reeves boys─tough Texan tormentors who seem intent on making her life miserable. When, in an attempt to escape from the clutches of her pursuer, Grace is forced to marry widower Daniel Reeves, father of the miniature monsters, she thinks things couldn't get any worse. Or could they?

Daniel Reeves, happy in his all-male world, is doing the best he can, raising his five boys─rascals, each and every one. Since his wife's death in childbirth, Daniel has been determined never to risk marriage again.

When God throws Grace and Daniel together─two people who couldn't detest each other more─the trouble is only beginning.

Will this hapless pair find the courage to face life together in the isolated Calico Canyon? Or are their differences too broad a chasm to bridge?

If you would like to read the first chapter go HERE

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sir Kendrick and the Castle of Bel Lione by Chuck Black

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Sir Kendrick and the Castle of Bel Lione

(Multnomah Books - June 17, 2008)


Chuck Black


Chuck Black first wrote Kingdom’s Edge to inspire his children to read the Bible with renewed zeal. This captivating expanded parable led him to write the Old Testament allegories, Kingdom’s Dawn and Kingdom’s Hope. Chuck added three more titles to the series, Kingdom’s Call, Kingdom’s Quest, and Kingdom’s Reign which were released in May of 2007.

Chuck is a former F-16 fighter pilot and currently works as an engineer for a firm designing plastic consumer products. He has a degree in electrical and electronic engineering and served eight years in the United States Air Force. Chuck and his wife Andrea have six children and live in North Dakota.

It is Chuck’s desire to serve the Lord through his work and to inspire people of all ages to study the scriptures in order to discover the hope and love of a truly majestic King and His Son.


A dangerous new order threatens the mission of the Knights of Arrethtrae. Only loyalty to the King can bring victory!

As the Knights of the Prince await His triumphant return, they are steadfast in their mission to take His story into the kingdom and recruit as many as are willing. But when a new and dangerous threat is revealed, their mission is jeopardized.

Sir Kendrick and his young charge, the impetuous Sir Duncan, are sent on a mission to discover the identity and origin of a secretive new order known as the Conquistero Knights. They travel to the city of Bel Lione where Lord Ra has been enticing young people in the kingdom to join his festivals, after which many choose not to return home. Their families keep quiet for fear of repercussion.

When Sir Duncan disappears while trying to discover the truth of Lord Ra’s castle, Sir Kendrick attempts to find and enlist the help of a mysterious warrior. Time is short for he must save Duncan and call upon the knights of Chessington to join in the battle against the evil Lord Ra.

Journey to Arrethtrae, where these knights of noble heart live and die in loyal service to the King and the Prince. These knights are mighty, for they serve a mighty King. They are...the Knights of Arrethtrae!

If you would like to read the first chapter, go HERE

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Hunted by Mike Dellosso

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Hunted

(Realms - June 3, 2008)


Mike Dellosso


Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Mike now lives in Hanover, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Jen, and their three daughters. He writes a monthly column for Writer . . .Interrupted. He was a newspaper correspondent/columnist for over three years and has published several articles for The Candle of Prayer inspirational booklets. Mike also has edited and contributed to numerous Christian-themed Web sites and e-newsletters.

Mike is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, the Relief Writer's Network, and International Thriller Writers. He received his BA degree in sports exercise and medicine from Messiah College and his MBS degree in theology from Master's Graduate School of Divinity.

You can read a great interview with Mike, over here on TitleTrakk


A town's deadly secret will drive one man to the edge of his faith...

After learning of the disappearance of his nephew, Joe Saunders returns to his childhood home of Dark Hills to aid in the search effort. When Caleb is found, badly mauled and clinging to life, Joe embarks on a mission to find the beast responsible. But the more Joe delves into the fabric of his old hometown, the more he realizes Dark Hills has a dark secret, shrouded for three generations in a deadly code of silence.

As Joe unravels the truth behind a series of unexplained animal attacks, murder, and corruption at the highest level of law enforcement, he is led to a final showdown where he must entrust his very life into God's hands. Will his young faith be strong ehough to battle the demonic forces of The Hunted.

If you would like to read the first chapter, go HERE.

Mike Dellosso could very well be the next Frank Peretti-if you liked The Oath and Monster, you are going to love The Hunted.
--C.J. Darlington, Cofounder and book editor,

A spine-tingling tale of hidden secrets, buried hopes, and second chances. A story best read with all the lights on and an extra flashlight--just in case!
--Amy Wallace, author of Ransomed Dreams

Mike Dellosso's pins-and-needles thriller hurtles the reader down a dark and twisted path. I dare you to take this one home!
--Jill Elizabeth Nelson, author of the To Catch a Thief suspense series

With hints of Frank Peretti and Stephen King, The Hunted is a chilling debut."
--Creston Mapes, author of Nobody

A vicious enemy, a family secret, a thirst for revenge, and a need for reconciliation all drive The Hunted from intriguing beginning to thrilling conclusion."
--Kathryn Mackel, author of Vanished

Read this someplace safe as you experience the incredibly descriptive world of The Hunted. And sleep with the lights on.
--Austin Boyd, author of Mars Hill Classified trilogy

Monday, June 16, 2008

Deep in the Heart of Trouble by Deeanne Gist

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Deep In The Heart Of Trouble

(Bethany House June 1, 2008)


Deeanne Gist

"When she'd asked the Lord for help, she never imagined He'd send angels disguised as bloomer-girls..."

I wanted to share that line, just one of many of my favorite lines from Deeanne Gist's fourth book, Deep in the Heart of Trouble. This is my first time reading Ms. Gist and I must share I was thoroughly impressed. The book is worn out, dog-eared and may end up having some areas of its prose highlighted, because this is a book I will probably come back to and use to study as I continue in my pursuits to become a published author.

But I'm not here to talk about me. I want to talk about this book. Deep in the Heart of Trouble. What a title! Love it! And look at that cover. I love everything from the girl's smile to her beautiful dress, even down to her boots. The cover is fun, but open up the book and there's so much more.

I was glued to the book by chapter 15, but I hooked at chapter one. The spectacle of a woman causing such a stir over a bicycle costume was hilarious, and then learning that the "hero" of the story had been stripped of his inheritance had me reading more and more to find out what happened next. Ms. Gist pulled me out of today's stress and worry over work and every day hassles to another time, over one hundred years ago, and that's exactly what a tale of fiction should do.

But the heroine, Essie, is a woman well ahead of her time. Why she's teaching the ladies of her Velocipede Club about the restrictions and health consequences of a corset. She's teaching them not only to ride a bicycle, but how to shoot as well!

And the hero Tony is someone, unwilling at first, to see the benefits of such an independent woman, but Essie soon wins his heart by the way she takes over when a young girl is bit by a rattlesnake. Reluctantly, about the time Tony begins seeing beyond Essie's outrageous hats and sees the person inside, Essie's seeing Tony as a man and less her employee.

I loved this book because it doesn't hide the fact that even as Christians, mistakes will be made. We are all human and sometimes we get angry. We lose our temper. We make mistakes. The presence of Christ is in this book, but it's comfortable-as He is; reassuring-as He always is; and not preachy-as He never is.

It's no wonder Deanne Gist won a Christy award. Lost in the novel, I forgot for a long while that I'm a writer wanting to learn all I can about the craft and was able to simply disregard all else to enjoy the entertaining love-humor-adventure-mystery story of Essie and her man, Tony Bryant Morgan.


Deanne Gist has been a busy lady. She had a career in elementary education. She raised four children. In fifteen years she has: run a home accessory/antique business, member of the press, penned freelance journalism for a few well-known publications, People, Parents, Family Fun and more. She was the CFO for her husband's engineering company, she did all this in her home.

She also founded a publishing corporation for the purpose of developing, producing and marketing products which would reinforce family values, teach children responsibility and provide character building activities. In answer to Gist’s fervent prayers, God sent a mainstream publisher to her door who licensed her parenting I Did It!® product line and committed to publish the next generation of her system, thus freeing Gist to return to her writing.

Eight months later, she submitted A Bride Most Begrudging to Bethany House Publishers and they picked it up for their new "edgy inspirational" line of historical fiction. After its release in July 2005, Bride hit eight best seller lists and has sold over 100,000 copies and won the Christy Award for BEST ROMANCE 2006. The Measure of a Lady was her 2006 summer release. It hit five best seller lists and won the Christy Award for BEST ROMANCE 2007. Gist is contracted to have a new book come out every summer. Courting Trouble was her 2007 summer release and it hit three best seller lists.

Deeanne lives in Texas with her husband of twenty-four years. They have two kids in high school, two in college.


A Texas-Sized Tale of Unexpected Love

Essie Spreckelmeyer is the last woman anyone in Corsicana, Texas, expected to see with a man on her arm. Independent and outspoken, she’s known more for riding bicycles in outrageous bloomers than for catching a man’s eye.

And the last man who seems willing to give her a second glance is Tony Morgan, newly hired at Spreckelmeyer’s oil company. The disinherited son of an oil baron, Tony wants most to restore his name and regain his lost fortune--not lose his heart to this headstrong blonde. She confounds, contradicts, and confuses him. Sometimes he doesn’t know if she’s driving him toward the aisle or the end of his rope.

That’s how life is ...Deep In The Heart Of Trouble

If you would like to read the first chapter, go HERE

“Christy Award winner Gist’s historical romances have increasingly gained popularity, combining witty dialog, well-balanced plots, and fully developed characters who seem almost real. Recommended for CF and romance collections.”
-- Library Journal

"Gist does it again! Her signature prose is consistent and she delivers a thoroughly delightful and entertaining story that’s worthy of our time and attention. Not only won’t you want to put this book down, you’ll want to enjoy this story again and again."
-- JUNE TOP PICK, 4-1/2 STARS, Romantic Times, Jennifer Reyes

"Gist has once again written a delightfully humorous historical romance. After reading the first book in this series of two, I was anxious to get my hands on this one. Let me tell you, I was not disappointed ... It is a spectacular, feel-good story which I highly recommend. You will definitely be glad you read it."
-– FIVE STAR RATING, The Romance Studio, Brenda Talley

Sunday, June 15, 2008

His First Sermon: Forgiveness

Sunday at church I was inspired and saw things through a different looking glass. Allow me to share...

Sunday I settled in the church pew and eagerly awaited the pastor West Hall Baptist had finally called.

Pastor D'Amico started in Job 3:1. And he was talking about when we're hurt. When someone else hurts us, wrongs us. I think all of us, from time to time, struggle with forgiveness. Perhaps someone has hurt you with their words. A person's actions can sometimes cause grave consequences. It's the right thing to do, to forgive someone. Saying the words, "I forgive you... I forgive him... I forgive her..." are often said, but how heartfelt are the words?

In many cases, it's down right difficult to forgive someone. Truly forgive them. And when I think I have found forgiveness, and felt at peace about the issue, it never fails someone questions or brings up a subject that raises anger and contempt in me and I'm sure I'm not alone.

I always come back to this scripture, Matthew 6:14-15:
"For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."

Does this passage mean that if I can't forgive a man's actions against me or my family, or sometimes its a man's lack of action that hurt as well, that I'll go to Hell? If I believe in Christ, that He died on the cross for my sins, that He is sitting at God's right hand, that if I can't forgive someone of His sin that caused me or a loved one pain, that I won't spend eternity with Him?

It was a question with out an answer and it's been dangling in front of me for longer than I care to admit.

Back to Sunday. Pastor D'Amico opens up with Job 3:1-5. Job cursed the day of his birth. Job was hurt.

When Jesus was on the cross, He said, "Father, why have you forsaken me?"
Then darkness fell upon the earth. Darkness = Separation from God. The Spirit is no longer One at the time of darkness.

Matthew 6:22-23
"The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.
But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!"
If we don't take our hurt to Jesus, a darkness will settle in our heart.

It's all about the cross. The cross of Jesus Christ keeps everything in the right perspective. The answer to my question, to your question maybe, about forgiving someone is this:

And Pastor D'Amico put it so simply and beautifully - "Take the hurts of our lives to the cross of Jesus Christ... WE are unable to forgive - only THROUGH Jesus Christ can we forgive them."

He's always there, isn't He? Always listening to our questions. Cradling us when we cry. Alone or in the middle of the crowd, the Spirit is within us, never leaving us. He is at the right hand. Interceding for us. He is the light in the darkness. Through Him, is forgiveness for me, you and for that person who wronged you.

It can be as easy as it sounds.

We must lay our hurts at the foot of the cross, and find the forgiveness He offers.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

House of Dark Shadows & Watcher in the Woods by Robert Liparulo

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing a double pair

House of Dark Shadows
Watcher In The Woods
(Books 1 and 2 in the Dreamhouse Kings Series)

Thomas Nelson (May 6, 2008)


Robert Liparulo


Robert is an award-winning author of over a thousand published articles and short stories. He is currently a contributing editor for New Man magazine. His work has appeared in Reader's Digest, Travel & Leisure, Modern Bride, Consumers Digest, Chief Executive, and The Arizona Daily Star, among other publications. In addition, he previously worked as a celebrity journalist, interviewing Stephen King, Tom Clancy, Charlton Heston, and others for magazines such as Rocky Road, Preview, and L.A. Weekly.

Robert is an avid scuba diver, swimmer, reader, traveler, and a law enforcement and military enthusiast. He lives in Colorado with his wife and four children.

Robert's first novel painted a scenario so frighteningly real that six Hollywood producers were bidding on movie rights before the novel was completed. His acclaimed debut novel, Comes A Horseman, is being made into a major motion picture by producer Mace Neufeld and his short story "Kill Zone" was featured in the anthology Thriller, edited by James Patterson.

Bob has sold the film rights to his second book, GERM. And he is writing the screenplay for a yet-to-be-written political thriller, which sold to Phoenix Pictures, for Andrew Davis (The Fugitive, The Guardian) to direct!

And his third book Deadfall. debuted to rave reviews!


House of Dark Shadows
(Dreamhouse Kings Book 1)

Dream house...or bad dream?
When the Kings move from L.A. to a secluded small town, fifteen-year-old Xander is beyond disappointed. He and his friends loved to create amateur films . . . but the tiny town of Pinedale is the last place a movie buff and future filmmaker wants to land.

But he, David, and Toria are captivated by the many rooms in the old Victorian fixer-upper they moved into--as well as the heavy woods surrounding the house.

They soon discover there's something odd about the house. Sounds come from the wrong directions. Prints of giant, bare feet appear in the dust. And when David tries to hide in the linen closet, he winds up in locker 119 at his new school.

Then the really weird stuff kicks in: they find a hidden hallway with portals leading off to far-off places--in long-ago times. Xander is starting to wonder if this kind of travel is a teen's dream come true . . . or his worst nightmare.

Watcher In The Woods
(Dreamhouse Kings Book 2)

It's not just the house that's keeping secrets.
Pretending everything's all right is harder than it sounds. But the Kings know that even if they told the truth about the bizarre things happening in their house, no one would believe them. They're hyper-focused on rescuing their lost family member before anyone finds out what's going on.

But when a stranger shows up to take their house, their options start dwindling fast. Why would he be so interested in a run-down old place? And what secret is he hiding--just as he hides the scars that crisscross his body?

The mystery gets stranger with each passing day. Will the Kings be able to find a way to harness the house's secrets and discover who is watching their every move before another gets snatched into an unknown world?

The Dreamhouse Kings Series has three contests that you will not want to miss...Dream the Scene, a weekly "Thanks For Reading Trivia contest, and the Dreamhouse Kings Street Team contest. There are also free bookplates that you can request, and a chapter of each book that you can download!

You can get all those goodies HERE.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Writing Retreat!

My crit partner, Christina graciously opened her Lake Hartwell Cabin to us last weekend. This time last week, I was scrambling to get my daughter to Grandma's and be back by the afternoon to meet my other crit partner Dianna to drive together to our weekend of writing, writing, writing!

Let me also mention, I won a critique for my local ACFW chapter. By Monday I was to turn in the first five pages of my WIP. I knew this weekend I would have ample time to work on those pages and have them ready to go come Monday. I hoped I would have more than the five pages accomplished. As a matter of fact, I was sure of it!

It was beautiful at Christina's cabin made me a little homesick for the house I grew up in on Lake Lanier. The water was clear and like a bath to swim in, which I did later in the afternoon. This picture below was taken shortly after sunrise. Unfortunately I didn't capture the beautiful rose hue the sky held when I first woke up. But you can see a little shadow of that pink over the water.

I ran back up to the house, eager to start my full day of writing.

I made coffee. I put my laptop on the screened in porch and prepared to write something marvelous. I read over things I had written. I read over files and files of revisions for the same story. I considered doing a character sketch. I thought about the weather there at Lake Hartwell. I read over some of my CP's work. We brainstormed a little. My CP's got to work writing. I moved from the table to the couch, back to the screened in porch.

The scene below invited me back to the water. My creative senses were dry. It didn't take long to realize this. Perhaps they needed a drink.

I took off down to the water and ended up spending a few hours swimming and sunbathing, trying to think of where to go with my story. My CP's joined me after a while and we went for a boat ride. It was warm and refreshing. When I returned, I briefly sketched four new characters for another story I've been cooking on the back burner in my brain.

My CP's critiqued the first five pages that I intended to send in to the critique I'd won. They agreed that was the revision I should go with. They made some helpful suggestions and I made the changes I agreed with. While Dianna was able to scoot through several of her chapters and get them revised, and Christina plowed through chapter 19 of her rough draft, I twiddled my thumbs, frustrated with myself that I wasn't more productive.

By Monday when the weekend was over and I was back home, I had a creative push work its way through my thick skull. I got seven pages down to five of the first chapter and sent them off to my local chapter for a critique that will take place later this month. Of course the week at work has been insane, jerking any energy I may have for writing completely out of me. But I would like to close in assuring you all that the weekend was not a loss. Not one bit.

The weekend gave me the rest I needed. Christina didn't let me lift a finger. Both she and Dianna gave me the reassurance I needed to keep going. All in all, the weekend reminded me that my passion is for writing and one day it's something I want to be doing full time. It forced me to realize I have to fulfill promises I've made and submit my manuscript. I have to continue to strive to reach my goals, no matter what conflicts are thrown at me.

I Heart Bloomberg by Melody Carlson

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

I Heart Bloomberg

David C. Cook (April 1, 2008)


Melody Carlson


Melody Carlson is the best-selling author of more than 100 books for adults, children, and teens, including three of her latest, These Boots Weren't Made For Walking, A Mile In My Flip-Flops, and Mixed Bags. She and her husband, the parents of two grown sons, make their home near the Cascade Mountains in Central Oregon. Melody is a full-time writer as well as an avid gardener, biker, skier, and hiker.

Favorite Bible verse: John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." It’s the “whosoever” part that gets me. That’s who I write for – “whosoever” and to me that means everyone and anyone.

Carlson, author of more than 100 books, begins her 86 Bloomberg Place series with I Heart Bloomberg that functions mostly to set up future storylines. Three women rent rooms at 86Bloomberg Place:


Kendall's managed to wrangle her grandmother's house-free and clear-except for the rules. No male roommates. But that's ok, with the right ad she'll pull in some girls, their rent and if she's lucky, she won't have to go to work any time soon.

For their part, Anna, Lelani, and Megan all have their reasons for wanting to move in: Anna has got to get out from under her overprotective parents; Lelani can't take another day in her aunt's tiny crackerbox house overflowing with toddlers and Megan needs a place free of her current roommate from Hades.

Though they come with assorted extra baggage filled with broken hearts and dreams, they will discover they also have a vast array of hidden strengths. And they struggle to become the women they want to be, they'll find new hope and maybe even Kendall will learn a thing or two about life, love and the true meaning of friendship.

If you would like to read the first chapter, go HERE

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

From a Distance by Tamera Alexander

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

From A Distance

(Bethany House June 1, 2008)


Tamera Alexander

Christy here:
I'm not sure which quality of Tamera Alexander's writing I love most. Is it the way she knits sentences together? Or is it the way she introduces characters that are interesting, flawed, and have qualities that we as readers can relate to? I haven't figured this out yet, but I can tell you, this book is marvelous!

I started reading it, excited to be starting a new journey. I became even more intrigued when the hero, Daniel Ranslett, is introduced. The man has a past, revealed a little at a time by the author's clever plan. The heroine, Elizabeth Westbrook, is interesting in her own right. Here she is a Christian woman, on her own in the West, not telling anyone the full truth of why she's there.

Christian's aren't perfect? Imagine that!

I love historical novels because they are an escape to another time. In my escape, riding in a horse and buggy down a dusty road is romantic. I fell in love with the Colorado Territory in Tamera's first three books and I am thrilled to return again with this latest release.

Well done!



Tamera Alexander is a bestselling novelist whose deeply drawn characters, thought-provoking plots and poignant prose resonate with readers. Tamera is a finalist for the 2008 Christy Award Remembered, and has been awarded the coveted RITA® from Romance Writers of America Revealed, along with Library Journal’s Top Christian Fiction of 2006 Rekindled. Having lived in Colorado for seventeen years, she and her husband now make their home in the quaint town of historic Franklin, Tennessee, where they enjoy life with their two college-age children and a precious—and precocious—silky terrier named Jack.

A Note from Tamera:

Stories are journeys, and each story I write is a journey for me.

Rekindled began with a dream—the image of a man returning home on horseback. He came upon a freshly dug grave and when he knelt to read the name carved into the roughhewn wooden cross, he discovered the name was…his own. The inspiration for Revealed grew from two characters in Rekindled whose stories needed to be told. But even more, whose stories I needed to tell. Writing Revealed was a very personal journey for me, and a healing one. For Remembered, I met that story’s heroine (figuratively, of course) while strolling the ancient cobblestoned pathways of a three hundred-year-old cemetery in northern Paris, France. And From A Distance came from a question I was struggling with in my own life at the time, “What happens when the dream you asked God for isn’t what you thought it would be?”

For me, the greatest thrill of these writing journeys is when Christ reveals Himself in some new way, and I take a step closer to Him. And my deepest desire is that readers of my books will do that as well—take steps closer to Him as they read. After all, it’s all about Him.

In the Potter’s Hand,



What happens when dreams aren’t what you imagined,

And secrets you’ve spent a lifetime guarding are finally laid bare?

Determined to become one of the country’s premier newspaper photographers, Elizabeth Westbrook travels to the Colorado Territory to capture the grandeur of the mountains surrounding the remote town of Timber Ridge. She hopes, too, that the cool, dry air of Colorado, and its renowned hot springs, will cure the mysterious illness that threatens her career, and her life.

Daniel Ranslett, a former Confederate sharpshooter, is a man shackled by his past, and he’ll do anything to protect his land and his solitude. When an outspoken Yankee photographer captures an image that appears key to solving a murder, putting herself in danger, Daniel is called upon to repay a debt. He’s a man of his word, but repaying that debt will bring secrets from his past to light.

Forced on a perilous journey together, Daniel and Elizabeth’s lives intertwine in ways neither could have imagined when first they met . . . from a distance.

If you would like to read the first chapter, go HERE

“…a rich historical romance by possibly the best new writer in this subgenre.”
--Library Journal

“…a most amazing story. The characters are more than words on the page; they become real people.”
--Romantic Times

Monday, June 2, 2008

Washington's Lady by Nancy Moser

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Washington's Lady

(Bethany House June 1, 2008)


Nancy Moser


Nancy Moser is the author of three inspirational humor books and eighteen novels, including Solemnly Swear, Just Jane, and Time Lottery, a Christy Award winner. She is an inspirational speaker, giving seminars around the country. She has earned a degree in architecture; run a business with her husband; traveled extensively in Europe; and has performed in various theaters, symphonies, and choirs. She and her husband have three grown children and make their home in the Midwest.


It has been said that without George Washington there would be no United States. But without Martha, there would be no George Washington. He called her "my other self."

Who was this woman who captured the heart of our country's founder? She dreams of a quiet life with her beloved George, but war looms...

Though still a young woman, Martha Dandridge Custis was a wealthy, attractive widow and the mother of two small children with no desire to remarry. But when a striking war hero steps into her life, she realizes that she is ready to love again. She is courted by, then marries the French and Indian War hero.

Yet she wonders whether this man, accustomed to courageous military exploits, can settle down to a simple life of farming and being a father to her children. Even as she longs for domestic bliss, Martha soon realizes she will have to risk everything dear to her and find the courage to get behind a dream much larger than her own.

Her new life as Martha Washington took her through blissful times at Mount Vernon, family tragedies, six years of her husband's absence during the Revolutionary War, and her position as a reluctant First Lady.

Known for moving first-person novels of Nannerl Mozart and Jane Austen, in Washington's Lady, Nancy Moser now brings to life the loves and trials of the First First Lady of the United States.

If you would like to read the first chapter, go HERE

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Update on Tonka

She went through surgery Friday and they found it was an obstruction. We couldn't imagine what it could be. The doctor saved the pieces for us. Later that evening it dawned on my husband that it couldn't be a piece of wood or bark - that's what it looked like - it had to be a corn cob!

Not that we give her corn cobs to chew on, but she is such a little scavenger she is always sitting by the dinner table hoping we'll drop something. Baby girl usually answers that prayer for Tonka. When we realized it was a broken up piece of corn in Tonka's tummy I realized the last time we had that for dinner, at least a month had passed! A month! I am not quick enough to come between the bulldog and food and wasn't able to get it away from her - obviously!

Prayers have been answered! God is so good. Thanks so much for those who were praying with us. Some may think it's silly to worry so much over a dog, but when they are with you every day for eight years, they quickly become part of the family and most pet-owners would agree.

Today is Sunday and Tonka has a bit of a spring in her step! She'll get her staples out next week. We can tell she's definitely on the road to recovery. However the next time we're serving corn on the cob as a side for dinner, I think I'll shave some kernels off for my daughter and make sure, just to be on the safe side, Tonka's far away from the dinner table!