Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Big Picture by Jenny B. Jones

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Big Picture

(NavPress Publishing Group April 15, 2008)


Jenny B. Jones

Jenny B. Jones is the author of A Katie Parker Production series. The other books in the series are In Between and On The Loose. Though now an adult, she still relates to the trauma and drama of teen life. She is thrilled to see her writing dreams come true, as her previous claim to fame was singing the Star Spangled Banner at a mule-jumping championship. (The mules were greatly inspired.)

Jenny resides in Arkansas, where, as a teacher, she hangs out with teens on a regular basis.

Sometimes there’s a fine line between comedy and tragedy—and Katie Parker is walking it.

School is winding down for the summer but Katie Parker is having a bad day. After leaving the drive-in, where her imploding love life was the main attraction, Katie arrives home to a big surprise on the Scott's front porch.

Her mother, Bobbie Ann Parker, a former convict and recovering addict, wants to take Katie away from her family, friends, and church. Now Katie's life will be changed by a series of dramatic choices as she struggles to understand what family and home really means.

Katie is forced to walk away from In Between, leaving behind a family who loves her, a town drive-in to save, and a boyfriend who suddenly can’t take his eyes off his ex. When the life her mother promised begins to sink faster than one of Maxine’s stuffed bras, Katie knows she needs to rely on God to keep it together.

But where is he in all this? Can Katie survive a chaotic life with her mother—and one without the Scotts? And if God is there, will he come through before it’s too late?

A Katie Parker Production series offers teen girls real-world fiction balanced by hope and humor. The The Big Picture helps us realize that the difficult chapters in our journey are only part of God's big story for our lives.

You can read the first chapter HERE

"A heroine to love. Jones just gets better with every book, and The Big Picture is her best one yet."
~BARBARA WARREN, author of The Gathering Storm

"Such inspiration in a package of fun and faith!"
~EVA MARIE EVERSON, author of the Potluck Club series

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Healing Promises by Amy Wallace

About Amy Wallace

Amy is a RITA Finalist for Ransomed Dreams, President of my local ACFW chapter, a self-confessed chocoholic, and all around great gal. She is a contributing author of several books, including God Answers Moms’ Prayers and Chicken Soup for the Soul Healthy Living Series: Diabetes. Amy is a homeschool mom and lives with her husband and three children in Georgia.

Sign up for Amy's Dark Chocolate Suspsense newsletter on her Heart Chocolate website.
Buy Ransomed Dreams
Buy Healing Promises

About Healing Promises:

Facing a new threat.
When FBI Agent Clint Rollins takes a bullet during a standoff, it might just save his life. But not even the ugly things he’s seen during his years working in the Crimes Against Children Unit could prepare him for the overwhelming powerlessness of hospital tests revealing an unexpected diagnosis. If only Sara weren’t retreating into doctor mode…he needs his wife now more than ever.

Frozen in fear.
Sara Rollins is an oncologist with a mission–beating cancer when she can, easing her patients’ suffering at the very least. Now the life of her tall Texan husband is at stake. She never let the odds steal her hope before, but in this case, the question of God’s healing promises is personal. Can she hold on to the truth she claimed to believe?

Faith under fire.
As Clint continues to track down a serial kidnapper despite his illness, former investigations haunt his nightmares, pushing him beyond solving the case into risking his life and career. Clint struggles to believe God is still the God of miracles. Especially when he needs not one, but two. Everything in his life is reduced to one all-important question: Can God be trusted?

Read Ransomed Dreams first chapter!
Read Healing Promises first chapter!

My take:
Ransomed Dreams clinched my heart strings and introduced me to the characters in Healing Promises. Now, my heart is wrenching for Clint and Sara, on a different level. Amy manages to take us from the point of view of Clint who's dealing with cancer, to his wife Sara, who's struggling to help him and balance everything else in life - and feeling like she failing at every turn. Then we're shifted into the mind of a madman who's preying on precious children.

I literally shivered reading some parts of the serial killer's scenes.

We're living with the experience of cancer through Clint. Has the author gone through this herself? I don't think so, but if I'd read this book and not known Amy at all, I'd definitely wonder.

I'm half way through the book, wondering if Clint is going to survive this illness. What's the author's will for him? It's like wondering what God's will is for us. Look around you. What are your friends and family going through? Why are certain people aflicted with certain illnesses? Especially the ones who appear to have taken such good care of themselves. We've all known some health nut who develops cancer. Why? This is Clint.

In Healing Promises, Sara is an oncologist. She treats people with cancer. Some of her most beloved patients have died. Some with a close relationship with God. Sara doubts God, questions Him. Will He save her husband or will she be attending his funeral, too? And through her eyes, we get the feeling, she expects to be a widow one day.

I can't give you the end, but I wouldn't even if I was there yet. I will tell you Amy Wallace delivers on another powerful, faith filled novel. You're chasing child predators with the FBI agents and praying for a miracle right with the family battling a sometimes terminal illness. Healing Promises is another book you'll want to add to your bookshelf.

Now, run over to F.A.I.T.H. and leave a comment under the Friday post when Amy was our guest blogger. Leaving a comment will enter you to win her latest book Healing Promises and RITA nominated Ransomed Dreams.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Contest on FAITH

Today a contest starts on the F.A.I.T.H. blog.

Tomorrow, I'll do a book review of Healing Promises, book 2 in the Defenders of Hope Series by RITA Finalist Amy Wallace.

So If you don't have a chance to go to F.A.I.T.H. today, come by here tomorrow, check out my review and then go over to enter the contest. I'll announce the winner Sunday on F.A.I.T.H.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Winter Haven by Athol Dickson

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Winter Haven

(Bethany House April 1, 2008)


Athol Dickson


Athol Dickson's university-level training in painting, sculpture, and architecture was followed by a long career as an architect then his decision several years ago to devote full time to writing.

Athol Dickson’s writing has been favorably compared to the work of Octavia Butler (Publisher’s Weekly), Daphne du Maurier (Cindy Crosby, and FlanneryO’Connor (The New York Times).

His They Shall See God was a Christy Award finalist and his River Rising was a Christy Award winner, selected as one of the Booklist Top Ten Christian Novels of 2006 and a finalist for Christianity Today's Best Novel of 2006.

He and his wife, Sue, live in Southern California. Visit for more information.


Boys who never age, giants lost in time, mist that never rises, questions never asked...on the most remote of islands off the coast of Maine, history haunts the present and Vera Gamble wrestles with a past that will not yield. Will she find refuge there, or will her ghosts prevail on...Winter Haven

Eleven years ago, Vera Gamble's brother left their house never to be seen again. Until the day Vera gets a phone call that his body has been found...washed ashore in the tiny island town of Winter Haven, Maine. His only surviving kin, Vera travels north to claim the body...and finds herself tumbling into a tangled mystery. Her brother hasn't aged a day since last she saw him.

Determined to uncover what happened in those lost years, Vera soon discovers there are other secrets lurking in this isolated town. But Winter Haven's murky past now seems bound to come to light as one woman seeks the undeniable and flooding light of truth.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My Soul To Keep by Melanie Wells

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing...

My Soul To Keep

(Multnomah Books - February 5, 2008)


Melanie Wells


A native of the Texas panhandle and the child of musicians, Melanie Wells attended Southern Methodist University on a music scholarship (she's a fiddle player), and later completed graduate degrees in counseling psychology and Biblical studies at Our Lady of the Lake University and Dallas Theological Seminary.

She has taught at the graduate level at both OLLU and DTS, and has been in private practice as a counselor since 1992. She is the founder and director of LifeWorks counseling associates in Dallas, Texas, a collaborative community of creative therapists.

When the Day of Evil Comes is her first published work of fiction, and the first of a three-book series. The second work, The Soul Hunter was released in May, 2006. Melanie lives and writes in Dallas.


As nasty as I knew Peter Terry to be, I never expected him to start kidnapping kids. Much less a sweet, funny little boy with nothing to protect him but a few knock-kneed women, two rabbits and a staple gun…

It’s psychology professor Dylan Foster’s favorite day of the academic year…graduation day. And her little friend Christine Zocci’s sixth birthday. But the joyful summer afternoon goes south when a little boy is snatched from a neighborhood park, setting off a chain of events that seen to lead nowhere.

The police are baffled, but Christine’s eerie connection with the kidnapped child sends Dylan on a chilling investigation of her own. Is the pasty, elusive stranger Peter Terry to blame? Exploding light bulbs, the deadly buzz of a Texas rattlesnake, and the vivid, disturbing dreams of a little girl are just pieces of a long trail of tantalizing clues leading Dylan in her dogged search for the truth.

“Like water rising to a boil, My soul To Keep’s suspense sneaks up on you…before you know it, you’re in the thick if a frightening drama…Superbly crafted.”
---ROBERT LIPARULO, author of Deadfall, Germ, and Comes A Horseman

“Written with passion, a good dose of humor and, dare I say it, soul, this novel reminds us that we all, with grace and good fortune, bumble our way toward salvation.”
---K. L. COOK, author of Late Call and The Girl From Charmelle

Saturday, April 12, 2008

What's your birthverse?

My birthday is April 1st. Here's what mine says:

Ephesians 4:1 NIV
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.

What's yours? Visit BirthVerse, then come back and share.

Pretty cool, huh?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Trouble the Water by Nicole Seitz

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Trouble the Water

Thomas Nelson (March 11, 2008)


Nicole Seitz

Nicole Seitz is a South Carolina Lowcountry native and the author of The Spirit of Sweetgrass as well as a freelance writer/illustrator who has published in numerous low country magazines. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Journalism, she also has a bachelor's degree in illustration from Savannah College of Art & Design. Nicole shows her paintings in the Charleston, South Carolina area, where she owns a web design firm and lives with her husband and two small children. Nicole is also an avid blogger, you can leave her a comment on her blog.

Seitz's writing style recalls that of Southern authors like Kaye Gibbons, Anne Rivers Siddons, and Sue Monk Kidd, and this new novel, which the publisher compares to Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees, surely joins the ranks of strong fiction that highlights the complicated relationships between women. Highly recommended, especially for Southern libraries.

In the South Carolina Sea Islands lush setting, Nicole Seitz's second novel Trouble the Water is a poignant novel about two middle-aged sisters' journey to self-discovery.

One is seeking to recreate her life yet again and learns to truly live from a group of Gullah nannies she meets on the island. The other thinks she's got it all together until her sister's imminent death from cancer causes her to re-examine her own life and seek the healing and rebirth her troubled sister managed to find on St. Anne's Island.

Strong female protagonists are forced to deal with suicide, wife abuse, cancer, and grief in a realistic way that will ring true for anyone who has ever suffered great loss.

"This is another thing I know for a fact: a woman can't be an island, not really. No, it's the touching we do in other people's lives that matters when all is said and done. The silly things we do for ourselves--shiny new cars and jobs and money--they don't mean a hill of beans. Honor taught me that. My soul sisters on this island taught me that. And this is the story of true sisterhood. It's the story of Honor, come and gone, and how one flawed woman worked miracles in this mixed-up world."

"...a special sisterhood of island women whose wisdom and courage linger in the mind long after the book is closed."-NEW YORK TIMES best-selling author SUSAN WIGGS

Monday, April 7, 2008

Beautiful, heartbreaking, forever-fighting...

This is a biomedical mom.

My friend Therese told me about her website a few months ago. Procrastinator that I am, I put it off. I would forget, or email bogged me down, or there was always something going on.

Tonight I am online going from one site to the next and I decide to visit this website. Biomedicalmom. Therese is an intelligent woman, a stay at home mom who reluctantly accepted that position. She has two beautiful children. Her oldest has Autism.

I spent Sunday evening at a birthday party for Therese's youngest. Sawyer turned 2 and her older brother Parker was surrounded by all girls. He didn't care. He wanted Sawyer's birthday card and in the end, got one of his own. There were seven kids there, ranging from 10 years to 2.
At one time they found Parker's sauna and decided it made a pretty cool doll house.

The kids didn't care that Parker and Quince have Autism.

But as I hung out with the adults and heard two mom's sharing stories about the response they received from parents, at school, at church, I was upset and amazed.

I suppose I expect everyone to do the right thing. To act in a mature manner. I don't like to think about the fact that adults will keep their kids away from other kids. If they have a learning disability, they may be toxic to their kids, right?


How we act in grade school, how we treat others in high school, isn't always a far cry from the way we treat others as adults.

I am blessed to have a daughter who is typical.

But I am even more blessed to have such a wonderful friend who has such precious children. These are kids that my daughter calls "friend."

If you'd like to learn more about Therese and her family, and being a biomedical mom, visit her site. Sign her guest book and tell her how you learned about her. I can't wait to see her smile!

Amber Morn by Brandilyn Collins

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing

Amber Morn
(Zondervan Publishing Company - April 2008)

Brandilyn Collins is a best-selling novelist known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense™. These harrowing crime thrillers have earned her the tagline

“Don’t forget to b r e a t h e …®”

Brandilyn writes for Zondervan, the Christian division of HarperCollins Publishers, and is currently at work on her 19th book. Her first, A Question of Innocence, was a true crime published by Avon in 1995. Its promotion landed her on local and national TV and radio, including the Phil Donahue and Leeza talk shows.

She’s also known for her distinctive book on fiction-writing techniques, Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors (John Wiley & Sons), and often teaches at writers conferences.

Brandilyn blogs at Forensics and Faith. Visit her Website
to read the first chapters of all her books.

The whole thing couldn’t have taken more than sixty seconds.

Bailey hung on to the counter, dazed. If she let go, she’d collapse—and the twitching fingers of the gunman would pull the trigger. The rest of her group huddled in frozen shock.

Dear God, help us! Tell me this is a dream . . .

The shooter’s teeth clenched. “ Anybody who moves is dead.”

On a beautiful Saturday morning the nationally read “Scenes and Beans” bloggers gather at Java Joint for a special celebration. Chaos erupts when three gunmen burst in and take them all hostage. One person is shot and dumped outside.

Police Chief Vince Edwards must negotiate with the desperate trio. The gunmen insist on communicating through the “comments” section of the blog—so all the world can hear their story. What they demand, Vince can’t possibly provide. But if he doesn’t, over a dozen beloved Kanner Lake citizens will die...

Amber Morn is the climactic finale to Collins’ widely read Kanner Lake series. All first three titles in the series, Violet Dawn, Coral Moon, and Crimson Eve, were bestsellers. Library Journal placed Crimson Eve on its Best Books of 2007 list, and hailed it the “Best Christian suspense of 2007.”

A few early reviews of Amber Morn:

“… essential reading … a harrowing hostage drama.” – Library Journal

“… heart-pounding … breakneck pace … satisfying and meaningful ending.” – RT Bookreviews

“This cataclysmic ending left me breathless … Kanner Lake is the Best Suspense Series of 2007/2008.” –

“Collins has saved the best for a last .. a powerful ensemble performance.” --

“… a staccato tempo … Sometimes you just have to close the book in order to come up for air.” – Dale Lewis

“…a masterpiece of page-turning suspense with a cast of dozens.” – Peg Phifer

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Generation Next Marriage by Tricia Goyer

I didn't know what my generation was called until I read this book. From page 5 of Generation NeXt Marriage here's the breakdown:

GI: Born 1900s to 1920s
Silent: Born 1920s to 1940s
Boomer: Born 1940s to 1960s
Xer: Born 1960s to 1980s
Millennial: Born 1980s to 2000s

I am a GenXer.

Furthermore, Tricia gives more facts about GEN XERS:

  • Gen Xers consist of 41 million Americans born between 1961 and 1981.

  • Gen Xers are serious about life. When it comes to marriage we want to do it right.

  • Gen Xers are stressed out, we want to do it all... now.

  • Gen Xers love to volunteer, to give, to help, to make a difference!

  • Gen Xers are self-reliant, yet highly spiritual.

  • According to a recent George Barna study only 28 percent Gen Xers (ages 20-37) attend church , compared to 51 percent of Builders (58+).

    Tricia Goyer's Generation NeXt Marriage - The Couple's Guide to Keeping it Together addressed so much of what I go through every day. But to participate in this blog tour - I've got to bare my soul and take a chapter out of the book that really hit home with me.

    Long sigh here....

    Here I go.

Christy, born in 1975

married 10 years

Chapter 16: Dancing in the Sheets: Lovemaking.

I am the type of girl who will do all I can to help a coworker, a friend. I'll be there for my daughter. But when it comes to being a wife, I sometimes fall short.

When you're POPS - parents of a preschooler - time alone together has to be grabbed early in the morning or late at night. We have to give as much as we can of each other in quick snippets here and there. I feel guilty if my daughter's occupied in one room and my husband wants to steal a kiss in the other. And by the time bedtime for baby girl rolls around, after a long day for me at work, some days include going to church and running all over the world before going home, I'm dead tired. The last thing I feel is sexy and the only thing I want to do when I head to the bedroom is go to sleep!

Tricia suggests in her book some things to help those of us who are already pushed to the limit, not to ignore these intimate times, brief as they may be, between a husband and wife. Besides, what type of relationship our children see in us will have an impact on them and their future marriage.

1> Understand Passion.
2> Be Available.
3> Plan it.
4> Find Fulfillment.

I knew to do each one of these things, but it's so easy to hurry through life, running some race of which you can't see the finish line, and let those things that mean the most to us, come in last. My dear husband comes in last quite often.

But he is so patient. And he is always reminding me how much he loves me and seems to have a fire for me that hasn't gone out since we started dating nearly sixteen years ago.

Tricia's book helped me see I'm not the only woman out there who struggles. There are so many great chapters in this book that deal with balancing children, work and home, it's hard to list them all in one blog.

Each time I turned the page for a new chapter, Tricia related the chapter to some song from the 80s. Yes, I still sing along to these. Unforgettable lyrics where we're all searching for our soul mate. I am a Gen Xer. There's no way around it and I really don't want to hide it. But what I want to do is realize I don't have to do it all. I have priorities - priorities my husband reminds me he and my daughter are a part of every day!

Thanks Tricia! You reminded me I am not alone in this adventure of life, in this generation. We all have choices to make. We can have it all, but the way we go about it is what will lead to our success or our failure.

About the Author:

Tricia Goyer is the author of twelve books including From Dust and Ashes, My Life UnScripted, and the children's book, 10 Minutes to Showtime. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003. Tricia's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like Today's Christian Woman and Focus on the Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. She and her family make their home in the mountains of Montana.

Friday, April 4, 2008

When Zeffie Got a Clue by Peggy Darty

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

When Zeffie Got a Clue

WaterBrook Press (March 18, 2008)


Peggy Darty


Peggy Darty is the award-winning author of twenty-seven books, including two other cozy mysteries set in Summer Breeze, Florida: When the Sandpiper Calls and When Bobbie Sang the Blues. She has worked in film, researched for CBS, and led writing workshops around the country. Darty and her husband call Alabama home but spend a great deal of time in Colorado, Montana, and on Florida’s Emerald Coast.


It’s an ordinary afternoon in Summer Breeze, Florida, when a young, wide-eyed girl steps into I Saw It First, the trash-to-treasure shop Christy Castleman and her Aunt Bobbie have opened. Clutching a jewelry box, Zeffie Adams tells Christy she needs money to pay her grandmother’s medical bills, prompting Christy to offer this curious visitor more than the jewelry box is worth–or so she thinks.

But complicated questions form when Christy rips out the box’s lining and uncovers a clue to a cold case murder mystery from eight years ago. Despite warnings from her family and handsome boyfriend Dan Brockman, Christy decides to do a little detective work of her own. After all, the infamous murder happened close to her grandmother’s farm. How risky could it be to take the jewelry box back to the Strickland plantation and ask around about it?

Soon Christy finds there is more to the small box than someone wants her to know. A jewelry theft. A mansion murder. Dangerous family secrets buried in history. Can Christy convince others to let go of the past before it’s too late?