Monday, June 30, 2008

CFBA Presents - HIDDEN by Shelley Shepard Gray

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
(Avon Inspire - May 27, 2008)
Shelley Shepard Gray


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

Thursday, June 26, 2008

CFBA Presents - CALICO CANYON by Mary Connealy - WIN IT!

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Calico Canyon
(Barbour Publishing, Inc. - July 1, 2008)
Mary Connealy


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 tormenters 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


I absolutely loved Petticoat Ranch so I had very high expectations for Calico Canyon. I'm happy to say I wasn't disappointed. In fact, I found this book to be even stronger than the first, which is saying something.

Mary Connealy knows her way around emotions. She can make you laugh out loud one minute and tug on your heart the next. In Grace and Daniel she's created two characters you love and root for, even while they are contemplating knocking each other silly. It's a match reminiscent of classic movie pairings like Tracy and Hepburn or Gable and Lombard. Grace and Daniel are just as much fun... and romantic.

She also has some interesting secondary story lines which will almost certainly pop up in her next book in the series, Gingham Mountain. While this book can stand alone, I think you'll enjoy it more if you read Petticoat Ranch first. Not only will you have a proper introduction to Grace, but you'll get to read another fast-paced and fun romance.


Because I think you'll enjoy reading Mary's books in order, I'm giving you your choice again. Just reply to this blog by July 2nd. I'll choose a winner at random and let him or her choose either Petticoat Ranch or Calico Canyon. Make sure to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win. (To prevent spammers from trolling for your email, please use this format with the brackets--you [at] yourmail [dot] com--or something similar.) Good luck!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


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 Vincero 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

Monday, June 23, 2008

Meet Marlo Schalesky - Interview & Book Giveaway

Marlo Schalesky PhotoIt’s my pleasure to introduce Marlo Schalesky, author of Beyond the Night. Let’s meet Marlo!


Marlo Schalesky is the award winning author of six books, including her latest novel Beyond the Night, which combines a love story with a surprise ending twist to create a new type of story. She has also had over 600 articles published in various magazines, had her work included in compilations such as Dr. Dobson’s Night Light Devotional for Couples, and is a regular columnist for Power for Living. Marlo recently earned her Masters degree in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary and is currently working on more “Love Stories with a Twist!” for Waterbrook-Multnomah Publishers, a division of Random House. She owns her own construction consulting firm and lives in Salinas, California with her husband and four young daughters.


JA: Your latest book is Beyond the Night. Please tell us about it.
MS: I’d love to! First, here’s my “teaser” blurb:

They say love is blind. This time, they’re right.
A poignant love story . . .
A shocking twist . . .
Come, experience a love that will not die.

A Nicolas Sparks (The Notebook) type love story meets an M. Night Shymalan (The Sixth Sense) twist in this moving story of two people trying to find love in the dark. A woman going blind, a man who loves her but can’t tell her so, a car crash, a hospital room, and an ending that has to be experienced to be believed.

And this is from the back cover:
As a woman lies unconscious in a hospital bed, her husband waits beside her, urging her to wake up and come home. Between them lies an ocean of fear and the tenuous grip of memories long past. Memories of wonder. Of love. Memories of a girl named Madison and a boy named Paul…

Madison Foster knew she was going blind. But she didn’t want pity—not from her mother, not from her roommate, and especially not from her best friend Paul—the man she secretly loved.

Paul Tilden knew a good thing when he saw it. And a good thing was his friendship with Maddie Foster. That is, until he started to fall in love.

With the music of the seventies as their soundtrack and its groovy fashions as their scenery, Maddie and Paul were drawn together and driven apart. Then one night changed everything…forever.

And only now, when life tiptoes past the edge of yesterday, along the rim of today, can they glimpse the beauty that awaits them…beyond the night.

JA: In the story, Maddie is going blind. You have very personal, poignant experience with that subject. Could you share how that influenced the story?
MS: When my grandfather was going blind, he took a shotgun to the backyard and ended his life. He was a good man, kind and wise. Blindness didn’t change that. It wouldn’t have changed it. But the fear of it did.

It didn’t have to be that way. Today, there are 1.3 million people in the United States alone who are legally blind. Another nearly 9 million are visually impaired. Every day in this country people find out they are going blind. Seniors, mothers, fathers, children. Last year, it was my own mother. For her, it’s just a matter of time.

So, Maddie’s journey through blindness and fear grows out of my family’s experiences. It also, in a broader sense, comes out of my own. For even though blindness is a specific malady, Maddie’s condition is also a metaphor for the dark times we all face. For the difficulties that come and rattle our faith, for those times when we can’t see what’s ahead, when life is masked by shadow and doubt.

For Maddie, losing her physical sight prompted her journey through doubt and fear. For me, it was infertility and miscarriage.

If there’s one thing I know about it’s living the life God has given you when it’s not the life you dreamed. Infertility taught me how to do that. It taught me that life takes unexpected turns and dark, difficult times come. And it taught me that it’s not the darkness that will destroy you, but the fear of it.

So, in many ways Beyond the Night explores my own questions, my own doubts, my own faith journey in facing the darkness, facing fear, with hope and dignity. That’s why Beyond the Night is about overcoming the fear of the unknown, rather than letting it overcome you. It’s about finding the light, the hope, the promise that lies beyond the darkness. And I think we could all use that, whether we’re going physically blind or not!

JA: A significant setting in Beyond the Night is Stanford University, your alma mater. What made Stanford perfect for this book?
MS: Setting the story partially at Stanford was SO MUCH fun! :+} It allowed me to pluck out some neat memories from my husband’s and my own love story and sprinkle those things throughout Paul and Maddie’s story. Mem Chu, Tressider, and the Quad … it was fun to go back relive moments through Paul and Maddie’s eyes. And when Paul and Maddie take their trip to the city (that is, San Francisco), well, let’s just say Sam Wo’s is a place not to be missed!

Plus, for Maddie’s situation, I needed a university that would both work with its students to keep them enrolled but was also highly dedicated to its educational standards, a place where most students are pursuing a specific vision for their lives, a vision, which for Maddie, is interrupted by blindness. Stanford fit the bill there too.

So, if readers want to find out more about the connection between Stanford, me, my hubby, and Paul & Maddie’s story, I encourage them to check out the fun, informal Stanford video tour on my website (just click the video player on the bottom right side of my front page!)

JA: What do you hope people take away after reading Beyond the Night?
MS: Funny thing is that if you’d asked me that when I first proposed this book, I would have said something about the enduring qualities of real love. And that still is part of what Beyond the Night is all about. But as I started to write, I soon discovered the story, at its heart, was really about overcoming fear – fear of the unknown, fear of death, fear of getting hurt, fear of letting go – the kinds of fear that regular, not-particularly-fearful people still have to face in their everyday lives.

Marlo Schalesky CoverThen, as the story progressed, I began to see that overcoming fear isn’t really about “getting up the courage” or trying to be brave. Not at all! What truly defeats fear is a glimpse of the breathtaking wonder of a vivid God. It’s about the awe of knowing that “no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has risen to understand what God has prepared for those who love Him” (my translation from the Greek of 1 Corinthians 2:9). Just as light drives out darkness, so fear is driven out by hope, and hope is found in God’s amazing love.

So, that’s really what I’m hoping people will take away after reading Beyond the Night – that glimpse of God and His breathtaking love, that glimmer of beauty, that “wow” of seeing a bit more of the wondrous love of God – the love that drives out our fears.

JA: What’s next for you in the writing arena?
MS: The second in my new “Love Stories With a Twist!” books. The new one will release in March 2009 and is called If Tomorrow Never Comes. Here’s a bit about it:
They say you should reach for your dreams.
This time, they’re wrong…

Childhood sweethearts Kinna and Jimmy Henley had simple dreams—marriage, children, a house by the sea…everything they needed for happily ever after. What they didn’t plan on was years of infertility, stealing those dreams, crushing their hopes.

Now, all that’s left is the memory of young love, and the desperate need for a child to erase the pain. Until…

Kinna rescues an elderly woman from the sea, and the threads of the past, present, and future weave together to reveal the wonder of one final hope. One final chance to follow not their dreams, but God’s.

Can they embrace the redemptive power of love before it’s too late? Or will their love be washed away like the castles they once built upon the sand? The past whispers to the present. And the future shivers. What if tomorrow never comes?

JA: Besides being a writer, you also do quite a bit of public speaking. What’s your favorite topic to speak on?
MS: I love to talk about Renewing the Wonder in a Vivid God. I love to help people see beyond this dark night (whatever darkness they’re facing now) to glimpse the beauty and light that awaits them, if only they hang on, persevere, and seek the face of God in the trials of life. It’s so easy to get bogged down in today’s difficulties, or even just the ins-and-outs of everyday life, and we forget that God is weaving together the big events, the little moments, the everyday occurrences, in our lives into a wondrous tapestry that’s meant to reflect his beauty. Sometimes the threaded strings are dark, sometimes they just seem a mess, but God’s hand is at the loom. Someday, we will see the glory, glimpse the light, and know what God has planned for those who love Him.

JA: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
MS: Okay, well, I suppose I’ll just break the news here . . . I’m pregnant. And that is a HUGE surprise. I still can hardly believe it. After spending most of my adult life (15 years) dealing with infertility, never ever being able to have a baby without extreme medical intervention (some of which worked, many of which didn’t), finally coming to end of that journey (I thought), turning the big 4-0, and giving away every last bit of my maternity clothes, nursing clothes, baby clothes, baby equipment, everything … I’m pregnant. Can you hear God chuckling? I’ve been in shock (happy shock, but shock!), and hoping that nothing goes wrong (after having four miscarriages last year to end our hopes for a last baby, it’s been a bit scary wondering if this baby would make it . . .but we’ve made it out of the touchy first trimester and so far so good! Feel free to pray for me and new baby, please!) So, that’s the latest, exclusive news for me . . . Surprise! :+}

JA: Have you read any books lately that make your toes tingle?
MS: I’ll tell ya what’s been tingling my toes lately . . . morning sickness, all day. It’s been awful! And it’s really cut into my enjoyable reading time. But, as I’ve moved into my second trimester, I’ve started to feel a bit better, so I’ve gotten my books out again. Right now, I’ve started Daring Chloe by Laura Jensen Walker and I’m really enjoying that. I’ve also just gotten my advanced reading copy of Shade by John B. Olson, and I’m really looking forward to that one. Plus, I recently finished reading Tamara Leigh’s Faking Grace (an early copy that I read to endorse it), and found that to be such a fun read. Other than that, I’ve been reading the editing letter for my next book, If Tomorrow Never Comes, and my toes have been tingling plenty from that. Time to roll up my sleeves and make that story shine! :+}

JA: Last but not least, how can people keep up with your latest publishing news?
MS: Well, I hope people will visit my blog at News shows up first there (and I post helpful info on rekindling the wonder in our walks with God about once a week).

And, I’d love for people to sign up for my e-newsletter, which I put out a few times a year (or whenever there’s exciting news like a book release!). You can sign up on the front page of my website at There’s a sign-up box there on the right hand column.

And while you’re there, check out the cool video trailer for Beyond the Night, a fun video tour of Stanford, and an audio message from me. There’s lots of fun info on the website, too, so I hope people will browse around and see what’s available!

Thanks for stopping by, Marlo. May God continue to bless you in your writing journey and with the newest addition to your family!



If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Beyond the Night just leave a reply to this blog (Residents of the US and Canada only this time). I’ll pick a winner at random on June 30th. Please leave an email address so I can contact you if you're the winner. (To prevent spammers from trolling for your email, please use this format with the brackets--you [at] yourmail [dot] com--or something similar.) Good luck!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Deep In The Heart Of Trouble
(Bethany House - June 1, 2008)
Deeanne Gist


Deeanne 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, been a member of the press, penned freelance journalism for a few well-known publications such as People, Parents, Family Fun and more. She was the CFO for her husband's engineering company. Amd 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


In the world of historical romance, there are some authors who just get everything right. Deeanne Gist is one of those authors. From the the first line: Essie Spreckelmeyer didn't have a man, nor did she need one. until the satisfying conclusion when I sadly said goodbye to Essie and the citizens of Corsicana, Texas, I was completely absorbed in this fantastic novel.

Corsicana is an actual town in Texas, and Gist has wisely chosen just enough historical information to make us feel as though we're walking the streets with Essie and Tony. Add to that a great cast of secondary characters (particularly the romance-novel-loving Mrs. Lockhart) and a bit of a mystery toward the end, and you end up with a novel you won't want to put down.

If you haven't already, read Courting Trouble, the beginning of Essie's story, first. You can read Deep in the Heart of Trouble on its own, but you'll be cheating yourself out of some great fun, not to mention a wonderful twist on the typical historical romance.


I'm so serious about you reading these books in order, that I'm giving you a choice. Just reply to this blog by June 23rd. I'll choose a winner at random and let him or her choose either Courting Trouble or Deep in the Heart of Trouble. Make sure to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win. (To prevent spammers from trolling for your email, please use this format with the brackets--you [at] yourmail [dot] com--or something similar.) Good luck!

Friday, June 13, 2008

The ACFW Conference: It’s Not What You Think!

My name is Jennifer AlLee. I’m 43 years old. I’ve been all over the country, seen a lot of things, done a lot of stuff. But until last year, I was a conference virgin.

Pretty amazing, huh? Even though I’d been diligently studying my craft for years, writing manuscripts, seeking publication, I was clueless when it came to writers conferences. But then I joined ACFW, and a whole new world opened up to me.

ACFW Conference Ad 2008What? You mean I can actually be in the same room with agents and editors and no one will tell me I’m in the wrong place? And they’ll talk to me? I can sit with one at a table and share a meal? Published authors will breathe the same air as me and be happy about it? I had to be a part of this.

For me, the months leading up to the conference were full of excitement and stress. I was like a kid planning out my trip to Disneyland, making lists of what I’d do and see so I wouldn’t miss a thing. I got business cards. I submitted my manuscript for a paid critique. I made one sheets (after finding out that I needed one sheets and then finding out what the heck a one sheet is). I practiced my pitch. I planned my wardrobe, second-guessed it, then planned it again. Finally, I was ready.

Being in Dallas, surrounded by hundreds of people who are not only fellow writers, but fellow Christians, was an incredible experience. Yet, despite all the preparation I’d done, the things that blessed me the most were the things I never expected. Here are some of the things I learned:

  • Flexibility is a must - I had my one sheets, but in the end, I never gave any of them out. But that’s okay. I would have hated to need one and not had it, but at the same time, forcing it on someone is not cool.
  • Be a sponge - Seriously, soak it all up. There’s so much knowledge floating around, you can’t possibly attend the conference and not leave a better writer and a better person. Between the classes, the times of fellowship, and the worship, this conference feeds every part of you. Which leads me to my last point....
  • Expect God to bless you in ways you don’t expect - This was huge for me last year. Before I left for Dallas, I thought the conference would be a success if I got submission requests from one or more editors. In that respect, things didn’t go so well. But God had so much more for me! Whenever I was feeling discouraged, He put me together with someone who lifted me right back up. Because of that, I got to be great friends (and critique buddies) with Patti Lacy and Lisa Richardson. I was blessed by the prayers of Mary DeMuth and Meredith Efken. And I can’t leave out the hugs and infectious smiles of Shar MacLaren, Ane Mulligan and Leanna Ellis, which have to be experienced to be truly appreciated.

When I get to Minneapolis in September, I’ll be one year older, and a bit wiser. This time around, I'm leaving my stress at home. I’m ready to learn everything I can, reconnect with young friendships begun last year, get real-life hugs from my cyber-buddies, and soak up God’s presence. I can’t wait to see what He’s going to do this year!

Want to find out more about ACFW and the conference? Click Here!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Negro League Baseballers Have Their Day

Sometimes, you just come across a story that makes you feel good. Check out this article on the Yahoo! Sports page.

I confess, I don't know much about baseball. But that doesn't matter with a story like this. Emilio “Millito” Navarro (age 103), Joe B. Scott (age 87), Neale “Bobo” Henderson (age 78), along with 27 other aging Negro League baseball players, have finally been included in a Major League draft. After all these years, these athletes are being acknowledged for their talent and given a place on the Major League roster.

It reminded me of just how far we've come as a country. Is everything perfect? Nope. But we're getting a little closer to the day when a person will be judged solely on merit rather than race, gender, or any other superficial identifier.

Hmmm, that's a little deep for my little old Musings blog. This concludes our American Minute. We now return you to regularly scheduled programming.

Not so fast! (added 6/12/08) If you want to know more about this historic MLB event, visit this link: Many thanks to Katy Widrick for providing it!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

CFBA Presents - 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


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


This is the first book I've read by Tamera Alexander, and I enjoyed every bit of it. Compelling characters must deal with the aftermath of the Civil War as well as their own personal secrets. The majestic mountains and setting of Colorado Territory come alive through Alexander's vivid descriptions.

The developing relationship between Elizabeth and Daniel crackles with energy as they each face their fears and shortcomings to drop their facades and be the people God intended them to be. The secondary characters are well developed, particularly Josiah, a former slave whose story is just as engrossing as that of the main characters.

From A Distance is a wonderful beginning to the Timber Ridge Reflections series. I look forward to the next book, and many more from this talented author!

Monday, June 2, 2008

CFBA Presents - 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


If you've ever suffered through a junior high American History class, you probably think you know all you’ll ever need to know about the forming of our country. If only history class had been as captivating and enthralling as this novel!

In Washington's Lady, Nancy Moser shines a light on the reluctant First Lady of America. Her life was plagued with heartbreak and the deaths of many that she loved. Yet she also experienced great joy with the love of her life and soul mate, George. She was a woman of contradictions, having great strength during adversity, but fearful of the specter of death that loomed over her life. She showed grace and affection to the soldiers under her husband's command, but she was loathe to become a public figure. Martha Washington was a unique woman, flaws and all.

History truly comes alive in Moser's capable hands. I learned so much reading this story, not just about Martha, but about George and the struggles to form our country. And I enjoyed it immensely. At the end of the book, Moser includes a section titled Fact or Fiction in Washington's Lady. It's another glimpse at the care and diligence taken in presenting the fascinating tale of an extraordinary woman and the family and country she loved.

Win SANDHILL DREAMS by Cara Putman!

Cara PutnamWhat a pleasure to welcome back Cara Putman! Her latest novel, Sandhill Dreams is the second of her World War II series for Heartsong Presents. Let’s hear from Cara!


Cara describes herself as “an attorney, wife, mom, women's ministry leader, and all around crazy woman. Crazy about God, my husband, and my kids, that is.” In her "spare" time she serves as publicity officer for American Christian Fiction Writers ( and adviser to the Indiana chapter.


JA: Your latest book is Sandhill Dreams from Heartsong Presents. Please tell us about it.
CP: Here’s the blurb:

With her dreams shattered, will Lainie Gardner allow God and a soldier at Fort Robinson to breathe life into new dreams that will bring her more joy than she imagined?

Cara Putman - Sandhill DreamsLainie Gardner dreamed of becoming a nurse. Of serving her country. Of doing something important in the war. But rheumatic fever changed all that, and instead of running home, Lainie is determined to find a job at Fort Robinson in Nebraska’s sandhills.

Tom Hamilton had dreams, too. Dreams of preparing the horses at Fort Robinson for duty on the warfront. Instead, he is assigned to train war dogs and their handlers, meaning that each day he must face the fear he’s had of dogs since he was bitten as a child.

Lainie and Tom wonder why God seems to have denied them their dreams. But is it possible new dreams will bring them more joy than they ever imagined?

JA: Lainie and Tom both have to deal with disappointment and questioning God after their dreams don’t come to fruition. What would you tell someone facing that kind of discouragement?
CP: It sounds trite, but I’ve learned it’s true. God doesn’t close a door without opening another. His plan is so much better than ours, and if we can hang on, we’ll soon see that’s true in our lives.

JA: You were able to visit the real Fort Robinson. How was that experience?
CP: It was awesome. I’d been once as a young teen, but when I went back last spring, I got to spend the day with the museum’s curator. I’d hoped to take an hour of his time. Instead, he spent the day with me, opened his files of records and veteran interviews to me, and walked me around the site of the war dog training camp and the prisoner of war camp. It really made the days during the war come alive. And thanks to his book on that time in the history of the Fort, I was able to incorporate all kinds of details to make the novel accurate. In fact, I got some plot ideas from his book and our conversation.

JA: What do you hope people take away after reading Sandhill Dreams?
CP: That God never loses sight of us. Even when we feel like He has abandoned us and our dreams lie in ashes at our feet, He still sees us and calls us by name. And we can take comfort in that!

JA: Your first book in the series, Canteen Dreams was set in North Platte, Nebraska, where you lived. Can you tell us about the genesis of the story?
CP: Canteen Dreams started because of three things. After meeting Jim Peterson, then acquisitions editor for Heartsong Presents, I knew they still needed Nebraska stories and he was open to World War Two. If I was going to propose some ideas, I wanted it to be different from the more traditional prairie story. As I thought about it, I knew I wanted to honor my grandparents and their generation, while my grandparents are still alive. I also love the story of the North Platte Canteen and the role the town of North Platte played during the war. Put the three together, and Canteen Dreams was born.

JA: What’s next for you in the writing arena?
CP: This summer I’m writing the Complete Idiots Guide to Business Law and the first book in an Ohio World War Two series. I’m also working on ideas for legal thrillers and waiting to hear if the follow-up to my first romantic suspense, Deadly Exposure, is going to be contracted.

JA: On top of everything else you do, you’re also the publicity officer for American Christian Fiction Writers. What would you like people to know about that group?
CP: If you are interested in writing or actively engaged in writing Christian fiction, then this group is for you. We exist to encourage, train, and develop writers. Our national conference is the only one that focuses exclusively on Christian fiction and is a great way to learn about the craft of writing and meet editors and agents. I wouldn’t have the contracts or have learned the craft I have without joining ACFW and attending the conference.

JA: Last but not least, how can people keep up with your latest publishing news?
CP: There are two ways. Visit my website: I’m constantly adding information about events, reviews of books, etc., to the site. And I update my blog Monday through Friday: You can come there to learn more about me, what I’m writing, books I’m reading, etc.

Thanks for stopping by again, Cara. May God continue to bless you in your writing journey!


After meeting Cara at the ACFW conference last September, I was quite anxious to read on of her books. Sandhill Dreams definitely lived up to my expectations!

Lainie Gardner is a young women with big dreams. Tom Hamilton had a purpose, a plan for his life. Neither Lainie or Tom expected their lives to go in a different direction, leaving them both wondering why God would do such a thing. This is such a universal theme and Putman handles it well. In Lainie and Tom she’s created interesting, sympathetic characters that grab the reader and carry them on to the end.

Although this is the second book in a series, it stands alone just fine. You’ll enjoy it, even if you haven’t read Canteen Dreams, but you’ll probably want to go get the first book when you’re done!


If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Sandhill Dreams just leave a reply to this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on June 9th. Please leave an email address so I can contact you if you're the winner. (To prevent spammers from trolling for your email, please use this format with the brackets--you [at] yourmail [dot] com--or something similar.) Good luck!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

What's New In Christian Fiction - June 2008

Here's some of the new Christian novels coming out this month. Also, don't forget to check out Jill Eileen Smith's new Spotlight on author and ACFW President Robin Caroll!.

1. Allison's Journey, Book 4 in the Brides of Webster County series by Wanda E. Brunstetter from Barbour Publishing. Allison Troyer feels as faceless as her tattered doll, but a trip to visit her aunt in Missouri could change Allison's life forever.

2. Final Justice, Book Six in the Reunion Revelations Continuity series by Marta Perry from Love Inspired Suspense. To protect an innocent child, teacher Jennifer Pappas must risk everything--her job, her love, and even her life.

3. Florida Weddings by Lynn Coleman, Kristy Dykes, Kathleen E. Kovach from Barbour Publishing, Inc. The past casts a shadow upon the lives of three Florida women.

4. Jewel Of The Adriatic by K.M. Daughters (Pat Casiello and Kathie Clare) from The Wild Rose Press. A village where millions believe the Mother of God appears becomes a haven where two souls find faith and love.

5. Killer Cargo by Dana Mentink from Love Inspired Suspense. Maria de Silva and Cy Sheridan face danger and death when they stumble upon a lethal package.

6. New Beginnings, Book 4 in the Rachel Yoder Always Trouble Somewhere series by Wanda E. Brunstetter from Barbour Publishing. Spring has sprung and ten year old Rachel Yoder is filled with the hope of good things to come, but things go sour when she learns that her best friend is moving.

7. Out of Control, Book 3 in the Rachel Yoder Always Trouble Somewhere series by Wanda E. Brunstetter from Barbour Publishing. Despite Rachel Yoder's need to take control of her troubling situations, she needs to learn that there are some things she just can't control.

8. Picture This by Nancy J. Farrier from Barbour Heartsong Presents. When Jason and Maddy are sent on a photography assignment in the Arizona desert, Jason's Christian ideals collide iwth Maddy's questionable past to threaten any future they might have together.

9. Prodigal in the City by Louis N Jones from Conquest Publishers. He abandoned his Christian faith. Now, his life and his God-given destiny hang in the balance.

10. Suspicious Minds Squeaky Clean Mysteries #2 by Christy Barritt from Kregel. A dead Elvis impersonator and a rival turned wooer are just a couple of crime-scene cleaner Gabby St. Claire's problems in this thrilling sequel to Hazardous Duty.

11. The Hunted by Mike Dellosso from Realms (Strang Book Group). A town's deadly secret will drive one man to the edge of his faith.

12. Tuesday Night at the Blue Moon by Debbie Fuller Thomas from Moody Publishers. A grieving mom discovers the child she lost was switched at birth, but can she risk loving an angry stranger?

13. Washington's Lady, Book 2 Nebraska Brides by Nancy Moser from Bethany House. It is said that without George Washington there would be no United States, but without Martha, there would be no George...

Happy reading ~