Wednesday, August 27, 2008

CFBA Presents - A PASSION REDEEMED by Julie Lessman

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Passion Redeemed
(Revell - September 1, 2008)
Julie Lessman


Julie Lessman is a debut author who has already garnered writing acclaim, including ten Romance Writers of America awards. She is a commercial writer for Maritz Travel, a published poet and a Golden Heart Finalist. Julie has a heart to write “Mainstream Inspirational,” reaching the 21st-century woman with compelling love stories laced with God’s precepts. She resides in Missouri with her husband and their golden retriever, and has two grown children and a daughter-in-law. A Passion Most Pure was her first novel.


No man can resist her charms. Or so she thought. Charity O'Connor is a woman who gets what she wants. Her stunning beauty and flirtatious ways have always succeeded with men. Until Mitch Dennehy, that is.

Brilliant and dangerously handsome, Mitch is a no-nonsense newspaperman who wants nothing to do with her. Charity burned him once, destroying his engagement to the only woman he ever truly loved. He won't play with matches again. But Charity has a plan to turn up the heat, hoping to ignite the heart of the man she loves. And she always gets what she wants--one way or another.

Or does she? Will her best-laid schemes win his love? Or will her seductive ways drive him away forever? Book 2 in the Daughters of Boston series, A Passion Redeemed will captivate your heart and stir your soul with a story of faith and redemption rising from the ashes of temptation, desire, and shame.

Praise for the first book in the series:

"Full of romance, humor, rivalry, and betrayal, A Passion Most Pure will captivate readers from the first page." --Historical Novels Review

"Superb! Incredible! I loved Julie Lessman's A Passion Most Pure from the second I picked it up until the very last moment I stopped reading." --Armchair Interviews

"I devoured this book and loved every single page. . . . This is a thick, juicy read, and one I would pick up again in a heartbeat."

If you would like to read an excerpt from A Passion Redeemed, go HERE.


You've heard of the "sophmore slump" - the dreaded nemesis of an artist who has turned out such a remarkable first offering that people wonder if the next can even compare. Well, let me assure you, Julie Lessman has successfully avoided the slump and turned out a captivating second novel.

We first met Charity O'Connor in A Passion Most Pure, and she was not a nice person. Self-absorbed and more than a little aware of her powers over men, Charity steals not one, but two of her sister's boyfriends. How do you redeem a character like that? Quite simply, by showing us what made her the way she is. Lessman skillfully reveals the tragic events in Charity's past that make her so desperate for love, and in so doing, draws us over to Charity's side, rooting for her happiness.

But things aren't easy for Charity. Even after she realizes why she acts the way she does and starts looking to God for help, she's got a long way to go. And she finds that even though she's turned from her old manipulative ways, she hasn't escaped the consequences.

If you're looking for a book full of passion, redemption, faith and hope, A Passion Redeemed is for you. But one disclaimer: You really have to read book one, A Passion Most Pure first in order to fully enjoy it. Both books are terrific and will leave you chomping at the bit for the release of book three, A Passion Denied in May 2009. Bravo to Julie Lessman for creating this great series!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Presenting WHERE THE HEART LEADS by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming back another lovely lady, author Kim Vogel Sawyer. Kim’s latest book, Where the Heart Leads is the long-awaited sequel to Waiting for Summer's Return.

Kim Vogel SawyerTHE BIO

Kim Vogel Sawyer, an award-willing and best-selling author, is fond of C words like children, cats, and chocolate. Her debut novel, Waiting for Summer's Return, hit the bestseller charts, was endorsed by Janette Oke, and became a Crossings Book Club Main Selection. Between June of 2006 and March of 2008, she has celebrated the release of ten novels. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in Kansas and have three daughters and four grandsons.


JA: Please tell us about your latest book, Where the Heart Leads.
KVS: This book is a sequel to my first Bethany House historical, Waiting for Summer’s Return, which released in June of 2006, so there’s been a slight time gap in between. :o) Where the Heart Leads features a grown up Thomas Ollenburger, who has fulfilled his father’s desire and earned a college degree. The only question now is…what should he do with this hard-won education? Thomas is torn between to worlds—the small town of Gaeddert, Kansas, and the lively city of Boston. Of course, he also feels affection for two women, one from each location. Thomas has been taught to follow God’s will, but right now he isn’t sure where God is leading. When he becomes involved in the presidential campaign for a candidate with questionable morals, his confusion mounts. Where does he belong?

JA: We first met Thomas in Waiting for Summer’s Return. Did you always plan to have him at the center of the sequel, or did he demand his own story?
KVS: Bethany House prefers I write stand-alone stories, so a sequel was never planned. However, reader feedback consistently requested a sequel to continue Summer and Peter’s story. When I began thinking about a sequel, focusing on Thomas and letting Summer and Peter play secondary roles felt natural. This is a very different story from Waiting for Summer’s Return, but I hope readers will enjoy this second peek into Gaeddert and the lives of the Ollenburgers.

KVS - Where the Heart LeadsJA: Thomas is torn between two women. I think we can all relate to times when we’ve reached a crossroads. How does Thomas’s faith come into play when dealing with his dilemma?
KVS: Thomas is a young man who respects his father and his father’s teaching. He believes in God, and he believes he needs to follow God’s will. But like so many other young people, up until this point he has pretty much relied on his parents’ beliefs rather than solidifying the relationship with God for himself. So Thomas has to do a great deal of growing in this story as he develops a personal, all-his-own relationship with his heavenly Father.

JA: What do you want people to take away after reading Where the Heart Leads?
KVS: God wants to be involved in every facet of our lives. He has a perfect plan for each of us, and we can only find true fulfillment when we are in the center of His will. When we seek Him, we find life’s answers.

JA: What’s next for you in the writing arena?
KVS: The next book will release in January of 2009. Titled A Promise for Spring, it features Emmaline Bradford, a young woman arriving from England to join her betrothed, Geoffrey Garrett, on a sheep ranch in Kansas. The conditions are not at all what she expected, and her desire to return to her homeland is strong. Geoffrey finally makes a promise—if she will stay through the winter, he will let her choose where she wants to live: Kansas or England. When spring arrives, will Emmaline sail back to England, or will she carve out a life with Geoffrey?

JA: As well as being a prolific writer, you’re also a sought-after speaker. What’s your favorite topic to speak on?
KVS: I absolutely love sharing my testimony. Years ago (in 2000), God began prompting me to speak, and I balked big time. I don’t like being in front of crowds, and I told Him repeatedly, “I have nothing of value to say!” But He kept prodding me. Finally in 2002, I finally caved in and said I would do it, but He would have to give me words to speak. He answered resoundingly on September 21, 2004, and every time I share my testimony, I get to celebrate the wonder of the moment when He reached through my shadows of pain and shame and swept the darkness away. It is so gratifying to see the shadows of other women lifted when I share the truth of God’s healing touch.

JA: One of your speaking topics is Lessons Learned from Chocolate. So what can we learn from this delightful indulgence? (Please, give me an excuse to eat more!)
KVS: LOL This is a fun one because I share how opening the wrappers on a specific brand of chocolate candy opened the door to increased Bible study. Amazing how spending more time in God’s Word brings change into your life. I also share those changes. And yes, I always bring chocolate when I share this topic!

JA: When you get a chance to relax, what’s your favorite thing to do?
KVS: I love to get lost in a good book. I also enjoy traveling. (As I answer these questions, I am bouncing across a pot-holed Yukon highway in a tour bus as part of a land-cruise of Alaska.) I also adore spending time with my daughters and grandsons.

JA: Last but not least, how can people keep up with your latest publishing news?
KVS: I keep my website up-to-date with new releases and any other publishing news. So please stop by and take a peek—I love having visitors!

Thanks for taking time out of your vacation to visit with us, Kim. May God continue to bless your writing journey!


If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Where the Heart Leads just leave a reply to this blog. IMPORTANT NOTE: There will only be a giveaway if we have more than 20 comments. So let all your friends know! I’ll pick a winner at random on August 27th. 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, August 19, 2008

CFBA Presents - MERCILESS by Robin Parrish

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
(Bethany House - July 1, 2008)
Robin Parrish


Robin Parrish had two great ambitions in his life: to have a family, and to be a published novelist. In March of 2005, he proposed to his future wife the same week he signed his first book contract.

More than ten years he spent writing for various websites, including,, and Infuze Magazine, which is a unique intersection between art and faith which he also conceived of and created.

One of his more "high concept" ideas for Infuze was to return to his love for storytelling and create a serialized tale that would play out every two weeks, telling a complete, compelling story over the course of nine months. That serialized story eventually came to the attention of several publishers, who saw it as a potential debut novel for Robin Parrish.

In 2005, Bethany House Publishers brought Robin full circle by contracting him for the rights to not only that first book, Relentless -- but two sequels including Fearless and Merciless. A trilogy that unfolded in the consecutive summers of 2006, 2007, and this year, 2008. One massive tale -- of which that first, original story would form only the foundational first volume of the three -- spread across three books.

Robin Parrish is a journalist who's written about pop culture for more than a decade. Currently he serves as Senior Editor at, a community portal that fuses social networking with magazine-style features about entertainment and culture. He and his wife, Karen and son live in North Carolina.


The world as we know it has ENDED.
DEATH and CHAOS creep across the globe and only the POWERLESS can RISE UP to stop it.

But can anything stop the onslaught of the DARKWORLD

From the earth's depths crawls a figure with skin like granite, flames for eyes, and the face of Grant Borrows.
Oblivion has arrived.

Every clock around the world has stopped. Time has frozen.

The Secretum have fulfilled the prophecy, unleashing on earth the most powerful being to walk the earth in thousands of years. His name is Oblivion and his touch is death.

He can't be slowed.
He can't be stopped.
And he can't be killed.

But as long as any live who trust in hope and love and freedom, the fight is not over.

They have only one chance before he brings forth the Darkworld.

Oblivion is: Merciless

"Robin Parrish is the kind of writer who understands how to entertain from the word go. His stories are sure to shape fiction for years to come."
~TED DEKKER, author of ADAM

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


I hoped to post a review of Merciless, but it wasn't until I was holding the book in my hand that I realized it's the end of a three part series. Sometimes, this doesn't matter and I can enjoy the book anyway. After reading the first couple of pages, I came to two conclusions:

  1. You HAVE to read the first two books for this one to make sense.
  2. If you enjoy supernatural thrillers, this is going to be one great book. If Parrish keeps up the pace he sets forth in the opening, we're in for one great ride.

So, I'm setting aside my copy of Merciless for now until I can pick up Relentless and Fearless and get up to speed. If any of you have read the first two books, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Presenting A PASSION REDEEMED by Julie Lessman!

I’m thrilled to welcome back popular author Julie Lessman! Not only is she a talented writer of fiction, she gives some of the best interviews around. So sit back, relax, and enjoy your time with Julie!


Julie - HeadshotJulie Lessman is an author who has garnered much writing acclaim, including ten Romance Writers of America awards. She resides in Missouri with her husband and their golden retriever, and has two grown children and a daughter-in-law. She is the author of The Daughters of Boston series, which includes A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed, and A Passion Denied. You can visit Julie at her Web site at


JA: Please tell us about your latest book, A Passion Redeemed.
JL: Gladly! A Passion Redeemed is Charity’s story—the sister everybody loves to hate—but I have to tell you, it is my FAVORITE of all three books in the series! Charity is sooo wonderfully flawed, that she was a real pleasure to redeem. And in answer to all the readers who have e-mailed that they wanted to slap Charity, rest assured that she gets hers in A Passion Redeemed and then some! :o)

Here’s a brief overview of A Passion Redeemed:

Depth of beauty … shallow of heart, Charity O’Connor is a woman who gets what she wants. She sets her sights on a man who wants nothing to do with her, and although the sparks are there, he refuses to fan the coals of a potential relationship with a woman who ruined his life. Charity burned him once, destroying his engagement to the only woman he ever truly loved. He won’t play with matches again. But Charity has a plan to turn up the heat, hoping to ignite the heart of the man she loves. And she always gets what she wants—one way or another.

JA: Charity played a major part in your first book, A Passion Most Pure. Without giving it away for those who haven’t read it, she wasn’t the most likeable person. What unique challenges did that present in telling her story?
JL: Well, I basically had to take a Scarlett O’Hara-type character and make people love her, a considerable challenge that worried both my agent and editor. They were concerned that people hated Charity so much in A Passion Most Pure (I think it was author Camy Tang who said she wanted to see her maimed!), that she would not be a likable heroine. But to tell you the truth, Charity ends up being one of my favorite O’Connors, and in book 3, A Passion Denied, my sister and I both liked Charity the best because she is a real hoot!

Julie Lessman - A Passion RedeemedHow did I make her likable? Since this is her story, I was able to show a side of her nobody saw in book 1—through tender relationship with her grandmothers and others, through wounded introspection and her painful past, and through other character’s love for her. Her great grandmother tells the hero that “She’s an enigma, our Charity. A real puzzlement. She begrudges fiercely and loves fiercely.” Though readers only saw the “grudges fiercely” side of Charity in book 1, they definitely see the “loves fiercely” side of her in book 2—not only in her love for the hero, but for grandmothers, her dear friend Emma, and finally, her family.

JA: As for the man that Charity sets her sights on, he’s determined to have nothing to do with her. What’s your favorite thing about this man (who I’m not naming, again out of deference to those who haven’t read the first book… what are you waiting for? Read it!)
JL: OMIGOSH, I absolutely LOVE this hero! He’s gruff, hot-tempered and no nonsense—what’s not to love? And he’s Irish! But I think the thing I love about him most is his relationship with God, which grows throughout the book. He grouses at God just like I do at times, coming just shy, no doubt, of a thunderbolt from Heaven!

JA: What do you hope people take away when they finish reading A Passion Redeemed?
JL: I seriously hope that women, especially young, single women, will come away knowing that lust is not love, and that only when God is our primary focus in everything—romance, career, marriage—can the rest of our life come into true focus as well.

JA: What’s next for you in the writing arena?
JL: I just finished final edits on the third book in the series, A Passion Denied, and boy, was that a hard one to write! But most of my friends and critique partners like it the best of all three books, so we shall see what the public thinks!

Currently I am putting together another 3-book proposal for my publisher that will finish off the saga of the O’Connors. Book 1 will be the story of the youngest daughter, Katie, which will be fun because she is a pistol who comes of age in the Roaring Twenties, right before The Great Depression. Books 2 & 3 will be about the O’Connor brothers, Sean and Steven, during the exciting era of speakeasies, gangsters, G-men and era criminals like Bonnie & Clyde and John Dillenger.

JA: I loved A Passion Most Pure, but some readers thought it got a little racy. What was the overall reaction it received? Any particularly memorable fan emails?
JL: Oh, my, yes!! I have to admit, I was worried when I got my first 1-star review on Amazon (and thankfully the only 1-star I received on Amazon so far, which is offset by 46 5-star reviews!) because it began with the sentence, “This is simply a horrible book.” My daughter even joked about readers picketing outside of our house. Fortunately, the negative reviews have been few and far between, but the wonderful e-mails and reviews have been in the hundreds!

My favorite reader response? Gosh, there have been so many, but the following lines from a reader’s e-mail made me cry because THIS is the reason I write. The reader said:
“I just wanted to write to let you know that in all my life, I've never before read a book that has inspired me to change my life as much as this one has! The desire to turn my life over to God has never been this strong. Thank you for making such a strong impact on both me and my family!!” Oh, my—brings tears to my eyes every time! :o)

JA: I’m going to go off the “writing” path for a moment and say how much I love your book covers. Bravo to the Revell art department! They are simply beautiful. How thrilling is it when you get the artwork in your hands for the first time?
JL: Thanks so much, Jennifer. Well, it’s a cold chill that morphs into a warm rush! Trust me, two years of prayer with my prayer partners went into the cover for A Passion Most Pure, and Revell’s excellent artist, Cheryl Van Andel, allowed me maximum input, so I honestly feel the covers are anointed.

Julie - coverFor A Passion Most Pure, the heroine’s hair was originally down, which looked like a prairie romance, so I explained it needed to be up since this was 1916 Boston, and Cheryl graciously complied. I also asked her to make the hair more red and the eyes more green, which she also did. But the most important change was with the hero’s picture. The cover art originally had this namby-pamby picture of Collin and I almost started crying. I asked her if she had any other shots, and she said only one, but that everybody at Revell thought he looked too angry in that shot. I asked her to send it to me anyway, and WOW, it was exactly the look I was going for. Collin IS angry because he wants the heroine, but he can’t have her, so the smoldering look conveyed the romantic tension in the book.

On book 2’s cover, the hero’s hair was slicked down, making him look like a pompous English dandy, so I begged my artist husband (God bless him, he lives with a high-maintenance maniac) to lengthen the model’s chin, trim his sideburns and give him unruly blond hair. We even spent 30 minutes scanning the Internet for the perfect hairstyle (a celebrity who shall remain nameless), which my husband slapped onto the hero’s head. Ahhh … MUCH BETTER!! I sent my husband’s rendition to Revell, and Cheryl kindly went along with the changes. Oh, and since the heroine is supposed to be well endowed, I actually asked Cheryl to “endow” her a bit more, which she did! :o)

JA: When you’re not writing, what’s the most fun thing you can think of doing?
JL: Reading—preferably on a sunny beach with my husband by my side!

JA: Last but not least, how can people keep up with your latest publishing news?
JL: Thanks so much for asking, Jennifer, AND for allowing me this time to connect with you and your readership. I LOVE to hear from readers, so they can contact me through my Web site at, either by sending an e-mail via my site OR by signing up for my newsletter at The newsletter comes out three times a year and will keep readers updated on The Daughters of Boston series, as well as give them a chance to win books, get sneak peeks at the publishing process, and info on book releases and signings.

Thanks for coming back and hanging out with us, Julie. May God continue to bless your writing journey!


If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of A Passion Redeemed just leave a reply to this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on August 25th. 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!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Meet James E. Robinson - Interview & Book Giveaway

It’s my pleasure to introduce author James E. Robinson. The Flower of Grass is his first foray into fiction. Let’s meet Jim!


James RobinsonJames E. Robinson is an award-winning songwriter, and a successful singer, producer, musician, author, counselor, and speaker. His songs have been recorded by major artists in country, Christian, and rock music, among them John Michael Montgomery, Restless Heart, The Martins, B.J. Thomas, Neal McCoy, Al Denson, Asleep At The Wheel, and many others. He has also recorded three CDs of his own: Prodigal Song, Clean, and Healer of My Heart. Jim has written numerous #1 inspirational hits; songs such as Be, Come and Fill This Place, and Healer of My Heart have been adapted into major choral arrangements and performed in places of worship worldwide.

A graduate of Christ Center School of Counseling and Addiction Studies, Jim also works as a professional Recovery Counselor in private practice in Nashville. Combining music, speaking, and educational workshop presentations, he travels and performs in churches, treatment centers, schools, and correctional facilities throughout the country.

In 2003, Jim published his first book, Prodigal Song: A Memoir, which garnered high acclaim. Midwest Book Review called it "a moving and life-affirming portrayal, spiritually rewarding and reader inspiring." Jim also publishes a monthly article on the Internet site Other articles have appeared on These posts typically generate hundreds of Web site hits for Jim's ministry site: and many new subscribers to Jim's e-newsletter list. For an inclusive list of Jim's articles, go to:

Jim’s debut fiction novel, The Flower of Grass, has been acquired by Lion Hudson/Monarch Books for 2008 release. He is currently working on his second novel and two nonfiction books.


JA: Your fiction debut is The Flower of Grass. Please tell us about it.
JER: My father-in-law, Z. Bryan Haislip, is a wonderful poet. Just a couple of years ago, when my family and I were visiting him in his home in North Carolina, he read me a short piece he’d written about his daughter Teresa (now my wife!) when she was only seven-years-old. Bang…the whole essence for the story of The Flower of Grass hit me like a bomb. The imagery of his poem struck a nerve deep in the heart of my own life story, and I “saw” pretty much the entire thing—Love, life, the quick passing of time…family, faith, the essential yet complex beauty woven into human relationships…the sadly beautiful state of being both flesh and spirit, all framed in a very simple love story that is really much more than a love story. I wanted to write a book that harkened back to the somewhat florid fiction of the twenties, thirties, southern writers who weren’t afraid to use the beauty of language to describe nature and life and relationships. It’s a very old-fashioned book, I suppose. I was somewhat amazed someone wanted to publish it! I’m very grateful to Tony Collins and everyone at Lion Hudson of the UK and Kregel in the U.S. for championing the book.

JA: You have quite a testimony. Would you like to share some of it?
JER: Well, it’s an interesting journey indeed, and difficult to tell briefly! But I grew up in a wonderful small town in Tennessee called Camden. I dreamed of being a writer and rock star, not necessarily in that order. My mother suffered from mood disorders and addiction, and when I graduated high school I tried running from everything—from my family, from myself more than anything—and ended up with a rock band out in Los Angeles. Things got rather rough, I lost nearly everything, but I somewhat miraculously sobered up almost twenty years ago. After that I was a staff songwriter on Music Row in Nashville for nine years, then began writing and recording my songs the way I really wanted them to be (my memoir, Prodigal Song, which tells my story in much more detail, is available at, as are my music CDs). I also went back to school and became a licensed addictions counselor, so that my own life experiences might help others. The Flower of Grass is my first novel…but the truth is, I’ve dreamed of writing fiction ever since I was a little boy.

JA: How much of yourself went into the creation of this book?
JER: There’s a great deal of my life experience that inspired the novel; people who know me and my life story will be aware of lots of parallels. As writers we’re always told to “write what we know,” and the novel certainly reflects the land, people, and psychological/family dynamics that I am passionate about and work with in my counseling. But what some writers have said proved to be very true for me: Once the story began, and I’d created the characters, everything and everyone in the story took on lives of their own, identities unique to the novel and to the substance of the story. No characters are actually “based on” anyone…but are more “inspired by,” if that makes sense. I did indeed use my hometown of Camden as a sort of visual model for people and places in the novel; as a matter of fact, Tranquility was the actual name of the first settlement town that eventually was renamed Camden. But as the story progressed, all of the characters took on their own identities, personalities, etc. They became very real for me, and Tranquility became a very separate place from the one in which I grew up. In The Flower of Grass, Tranquility is a dying place, the kind of small town you often see in any number of areas throughout the country, with failing economies and empty town squares, decaying buildings, dwindling populations; Tranquility became a kind of metaphor for the fading of youth. My real hometown of Camden, though, is a very healthy small town, a wonderful place. My wife and kids and I live only about a hundred miles away, and go whenever we can to visit family and friends. It’s an enviable place to live, in a lot of ways. A part of me will always belong there.

James Robinson CoverJA: What do you hope people take away after reading The Flower of Grass?
JER: I felt compelled to tell an old-fashioned love story, in the style of some of the books I’ve dearly loved as a reader. It was only in the last fifteen years or so that my father-in-law turned me on to some older, Southern writers, many of them women. Great stuff. Although I knew I’d be breaking a lot of modern writing “rules,” I wanted to write a book that honored those kinds of works, because I simply loved the poetic language and visuals…some of the stuff would be considered “purple prose” these days, I guess, but I love it. There was a real sense of reverence for the beauty of nature and the southern landscape in those older books, a kind of romanticized passion for the woods and meadows and rivers. So I went with somewhat florid prose, lengthy descriptive passages, even some “head-hopping” and “omniscient point-of-view”…stuff supposedly out of favor with modern publishers and audiences. I’m very thankful for Tony Collins and Lion Hudson’s willingness to run with it. Because my hope was to delve into deeper themes within a simple love story, themes of faith and commitment, the wounds inflicted on us by life, by our own families…the delicate nature of human relationships, and the sometimes torturous duality of being human, of being creatures of both flesh and spirit. I think the book also turned out to be about our longing for youth, and the rekindling of the dreams of youth. I think lessons about God’s love always come through more powerfully when told within the framework of stories about how we humans love one another.

JA: What’s next for you in the writing arena?
JER: I have another novel started. I’m going to try a very different kind of work, more “modern,” if that’s the word. But I think that in everything I write, my fascination with human psychology will show through. I’m really more interested in the interior motivations, feelings, and thought processes of people than I am with their external actions. How characters respond to challenge, loss, emotional trauma, love…the internal searching for God, for meaning, connectivity, creativity. This is the stuff that will drive my characters, and hopefully give them depth and texture. I want to put real people into real-life situations, and then see how they deal with their fears, shame, etc. Real life is messy, and that goes for Christians as well as everyone else. I want to avoid easy, over-simplified solutions, and really look into the complex struggles of being creatures of both flesh and spirit.

JA: Besides being an author, you’re also a professional counselor, speaker and songwriter. Do you find your multiple callings dovetail with each other?
JER: I’m a busy guy. I am a therapist in private practice, I write songs professionally, I have a ministry…and most importantly, I have a wife and two young children. I try to be as physically, spiritually, and emotionally available to them as possible, because I have learned that without this sort of effort the family can be at risk. So in some ways, trying to wear as many “hats” as I do can be a real challenge. However, from a creative point of view, I see all the various things I do as being much more complimentary that conflicting. To me, everything I do is strongly related; counseling, for instance, is a very creative thing, in its own way. I think understanding human psychology, for instance, is critical to my desire to create multi-dimensional, complex characters. And I’m convinced that all my years of studying songwriting taught me invaluable lessons about the visual power of words, and the need for tight, evocative storytelling.

JA: What’s your idea of the perfect day?
JER: A shady knoll, a glassy lake, a fishing pole, a good book, temperature around 78 degrees...and no other humans for miles around. OR (and this is a much likelier scenario these days!)…me, the wife, and kids going wild in The Magic Kingdom.

JA: Who are some authors that inspire you?
JER: There’s a wide range here…I like so many different types of work. I’m a classics buff, but I really like edgy stuff, too. I’ll just throw out a few names: Cather, Miller, Hemingway, Shakespeare, Glasgow, Buechner, Dickens, Bradbury, Marquez, Welty, Fowles…oh, good grief…this is a hopeless task!

JA: Last but not least, how can people keep up with your latest publishing and ministry news?
JER: Two primary websites should do it: is our primary ministry site; folks can sign up for our monthly e-newsletter if they like. And my author site is

It’s been a pleasure spending time with you, Jim. May God continue to bless your writing journey!


If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of The Flower of Grass just leave a reply to this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on August 22nd. 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, August 12, 2008

CFBA Presents - THE JEWEL OF GRESHAM GREEN by Lawana Blackwell

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Jewel of Gresham Green
(Bethany House - August 1, 2008)
Lawana Blackwell


A full-time author, Lawana Blackwell's books include her beloved Gresham Chronicles and Tales of London series.

"I had told myself long ago that three books in a series are enough for my attention span, and so after The Dowry of Miss Lydia Clark, I devoted myself to the trio of books in the Tales of London series, then wrote A Table By the Window, my contemporary novel. All along, I received letters from readers asking me to continue the Gresham series. Many, many wrote that the dairying village of Gresham and its people sent them back to a more peaceful time in the midst of their busy days.

"Prayerfully, I decided to return to Gresham, setting the story fifteen years after Julia Hollis and her children first left London for abandoned coaching inn which became Larkspur Inn. I believe readers would like to see how the children—Philip, Aleda and Grace, Elizabeth and Laurel—turn out as adults. But I like to inject fresh faces into every book, hence Jewel Libby and her daughter Becky find Gresham a haven from a bad man. Writing the book was like coming home, visiting old friends."

Blackwell lives in Louisiana with her husband, Buddy, a supervisor at an oil refinery. They are empty nesters who love to visit their three grown sons, Joseph, Matthew, and Andrew, and three lovely daughters-in-law, Kristine, Penny and Heather, granddaughter Madelyn, and grandson Chandler.

Her other interests include visiting her parents and siblings in Mississippi, vegetarian cooking, and naturally, reading.


To protect her precious daughter from the danger nipping at their heels, Jewel Libby must flee the only home she's ever known. Caring friends direct her to the vicarage in the peaceful dairy village of Gresham, but she arrives there to find Vicar Andrew Phelps and his wife immersed in troubles of their own.

The children of Vicar Andrew Phelps and Julia Hollis from the popular Gresham Chronicles series have grown up and are dealing with their own challenges. Philip Hollis, now a successful London surgeon, has a controlling wife who resents his close family ties.

Aleda Hollis lives in a cottage on the outskirts of Gresham, where she enjoys her privacy and a writing career. When Andrew becomes ill and in need of Philip's skills, and Aleda's quest for privacy unwittingly advances an evil man's schemes, it's Jewel Libby, a newcomer to Gresham, who becomes an unexpected support and source of strength to the family. An unlikely romance adds to the intrigue of this jewel in their midst.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Jewel of Gresham Green, go HERE

Monday, August 11, 2008

Meet M. L. Tyndall - Interview & Book Giveaway

Today’s special guest is author M.L. (MaryLu) Tyndall. Not only is she a fabulous author, but she’s one of the nicest gals you’ll ever meet. Her latest novel, The Falcon and the Sparrow is available now from Barbour Publishing. Let’s meet MaryLu!


ML TyndallMaryLu Tyndall dreamt of pirates and sea-faring adventures during her childhood days on Florida’s Coast. She holds a degree in Math and worked as a software engineer for fifteen years before testing the waters as a writer. Her love of history and passion for story drew her to create her first trilogy, The Legacy of the King’s Pirates Series. MaryLu now writes full time and makes her home with her husband, six children, and four cats on California’s coast, where her imagination still surges with the sea. Her passion is to write page-turning, romantic adventures that not only entertain but expose Christians to their full potential in Christ. For more information on MaryLu and her upcoming releases, please visit her website at or her blog at


JA: Please tell us about your latest book, The Falcon and the Sparrow.
MLT: Hi Jen, thanks for having me! The Falcon and the Sparrow is a story of betrayal, intrigue, love, and loss. It follows the tale of a young girl who is being forced to spy on her homeland Britain or her only brother will be killed by Napoleon. In the process, Dominique falls in love with the Admiral she is spying on and struggles with her own insecurities and fears as well as God’s purpose for her life.

JA: Your heroine, Dominique Dawson, finds herself torn between loyalty to her homeland and the need to save her brother. Was there a certain “aha moment” that inspired this character?
MLT: The main inspiration for Dominique came from deep inside of me. Of all the heroines I have written about, Dominique is most like me: shy, insecure, and timid. I wanted to show that despite her weaknesses, God never left her, but instead He gave her the strength she needed to cope with a very harrowing situation that would terrify even the bravest of souls. I spent hours trying to come up with the most impossible situation I could think of to thrust Dominique into. And what could be more gut-wrenching than being forced to choose between saving the life of your only brother or betraying someone else you love dearly, along with your own country? I know. I’m very mean to my characters!

ML Tyndall CoverJA: Set during the resurgence of Napoleon, this story takes us to France and Britain. How much research was necessary to nail the historical facts?
MLT: If a location and time period are new to me, I usually spend a couple of months doing research. Ultimately, it would be best to travel to the location, but in this case, and much to my disappointment, I didn’t have the time or money. So, I rely heavily on good old research books from the library, on internet sites and articles, and, in this case, on friends who are also expert historians.

JA: What do you hope people take away after reading The Falcon and the Sparrow?
MLT: My main goal was to show that no matter if you’re the type of person who’s always scared, or shy, or who thinks poorly of yourself, or maybe you’re the type of person who believes you can’t possibly make a difference for God, if you rely on Him, if you follow Him with all your heart, He will be your strength, and He will use you in powerful ways you never dreamed of.

JA: What’s next for you in the writing arena?
MLT: I am working on a 3 book series entitled Charles Towne Belles about three sisters living in Charleston, South Carolina in 1718. The first book, The Red Siren, is about a lady who becomes a pirate by night in order to acquire enough wealth to protect her sisters from unwanted marriages. It will release in February 2009.

JA: On your website, you say “I am now living the adventure I had always sought.” I found that a moving and insightful statement. Would you care to share what it means to you?
MLT: I spent most of my life searching for meaning. I grew up in a broken home and wanted nothing to do with God, but I knew something was wrong with the world. I knew deep down there had to be something more than the menial existence and the heartache I saw all around me. Of course I believed the lie Satan told me and still tells people that if I followed God, I would be bored and live a restricted life. When I had exhausted all other means of finding purpose and adventure, I finally turned to God. Or I should say, He found me wallowing in the dark deep pit I had dug for myself and pulled me out! Since then, I’ve experienced things other people only dream about. But the key is to Love God, to Fear Him, to follow Him with all your heart, soul, mind, body and strength.

JA: Who are some of your favorite authors?
MLT: Linda Chaikin, Francine Rivers, Rafael Sabatini, Jane Austen

JA: Is there something people would be surprised to know about you?
MLT: I had six different fathers growing up and I’ve only met my real Dad once.

JA: Last but not least, how can people keep up with your latest publishing news?
MLT: Visit my website at or my blog at and don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter.

Thanks for taking time to share your heart and your talents with us, MaryLu. May God continue to bless your writing journey!


Normally, I wouldn't pick up a book set during the Napoleonic conflict. It's just not a time in history that appeals to me. Having said that, I am so glad I had the opportunity to read The Falcon and the Sparrow. The writing is crisp and tight, sweeping the reader along as Dominique encounters one harrowing situation after another. Her struggle between her desire to save her brother’s life and her disgust at betraying not only her country, but the family she has come to love, keeps her in a constant state of unbalance. But through it all, Dominique clings to her faith and to God, who is always with her, even when she doesn’t feel His presence.

Tyndall creates multi-faceted characters that demand your attention. Aside from six-year-old William, who is a pretty straight-forward child, no one is as they appear to be on first glance. It’s a real pleasure to discover the shades and nuances of each personality.

The fast moving plot picks up greater speed at the end. After some unexpected twists and turns, the resolution is both satisfying and enjoyable. Bravo to MaryLu Tyndall!


If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of The Falcon and the Sparrow just leave a reply to this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on August 18th. 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!


Friday, August 8, 2008

CFBA Presents - ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT by Davis Bunn

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
All Through The Night
(Bethany House - July 1, 2008)
Davis Bunn


Davis Bunn is an internationally acclaimed author who has sold more than six million books in fifteen languages. His audiences span reading genres from high drama and action thrillers to heartwarming relationship stories, in both contemporary and historical settings.

Honored with three Christy Awards for excellence in historical and suspense fiction, his bestsellers include My Soul To Keep, and Full Circle. A sought-after lecturer in the art of writing, Bunn was named Novelist in Residence at Regent's Park College, Oxford University.

He and his wife, Isabella, make their home in Florida for some of each year, and spend the rest near Oxford, England, where they each teach and write.


A loner, trying to forget. A community--and a woman--who need for him to remember...
Broken relationships and unfulfilled promises scatter themselves across Wayne's past like burned-out craters. His background in military special-ops is something he's trying to forget. But when he gets himself sweet-talked into helping a quirky group of seniors who've been scammed, he discovers it will take a lot more than muscle and nerve. Breach a conman's high-security estate to recover stolen money? No problem. Become part of the community? Love again? Not on your life.

A lawyer with her own painful past is intrigued by Wayne and asks him to take on another unusual case--Tatanya's wealthy employer believes he's been visited angel? Did a messenger from God in a pinstripe suit truly bring a divine warning, or is this merely another cruel hoax? Tatanya is willing to trust Wayne with her boss's life, but she's not sure she's ready to trust him with her own wounded heart.

With a financial analyst's skills and a warrior's tenacity, Wayne races to unmask dangerous forces hiding behind a corporate veil. But he will need all his resources--and then some--against an unseen enemy bent on destroying his fragile bid for a second chance at life...and love.

All he wanted was to put his past behind him. But now it's the only thing that will save them...

If you would like to read the first chapter of All Through The Night, go HERE

Monday, August 4, 2008

Sure They're Cute... But 14 MILLION?

Brad and AngieYou knew it would happen. From the minute the world went on Brangelina baby watch, there were three big questions:

  • When will they be born?
  • What will their names be?
  • How much will the first pictures go for?

And here are the answers:

  • July 12, 2008
  • Knox Léon and Vivienne Marcheline
  • 14 Million Dollars

Now, these are adorable kids, but come on... 14 million? For the record, I don't fault Brad and Angie for setting up the shoot. These aren't stupid people. They know the press will hound them for pics. By orchestrating exactly when and where these photos were taken ensures a level of safety not only for the twins, but the whole family. And when you consider that all the money from the photos goes to charity, I'd say they handled things pretty well.

Here's what floors me about this situation: People Magazine (in a joint deal with British tabloid Hello!) know that by having the exclusive to this lovely family portrait they will profit well over the 14 million they spent. What does this say about the public at large? Are we so celebrity obsessed that we must know every little thing about not only their lives, but the lives of their offspring? The silliest thing about this is that those kids will be popping up in magazines for years whether they want to or not. Eventually, everyone will know what they look like, and for a lot less than 14 million!

Since I don't want to take any money out of the pockets of the swift business minds that inked the Knox/Viv photo op, I'm not running a picture of the twins. Instead, visit People Magazine's website to see the cover. They really are cute kids.... check out the one in the bottom left. He (or she) looks like the happiest baby in America. I wish the entire photogenic family of eight many blessings and years of joy.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

What's New In Christian Fiction - August 2008

We've got 14 new Christian novels this month. Though technically summer lasts into September, August holds more hot, kick-back days to read to your heart's content! And we've got plenty of good choices to pick from!

While you're at it, take time to check out Jill Eileen Smith's Spotlight on best-selling author Rachel Hauck, who also happens to have a new release this month.

1. A Lady of Secret Devotion, Ladies of Liberty series Book 3 (independent series where each book stands alone) by Tracie Peterson from Bethany House Publishers. Cassie Stover gets caught up in an intriguing mystery that may cost her her heart, if not her life.

2. An Irishwoman's Tale, First book of related books by Patti Lacy from Kregel Publications. A family crisis sends an impetuous Irishwoman and her chatty Southern friend back to the breathtaking cliffs of County Clare.

3. Bluegrass Hero by Allie Pleiter from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. Farm owner Gil Sorrent has his hands full when bathshop owner Emily Montague's soaps clean up his farmhands.

4. Criminal Obsession by Tamara Tilley from Evergreen Press. The most terrifying part was she knew it was just a game to the killer.

5. Double Jeopardy Book 2 of The McClains: Bound by faith, honor and love by Terri Reed from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. Anne Jones witnessed a murder. Now she’s in hiding. But someone knows where—and who—she is. Her new handsome boss has vowed to keep her safe. Yet she will have to disappear again lest she put both their lives in jeopardy...

6. Hidden Deception by Leann Harrison from Steeple Hill. Haunted by the past, Elena struggles to trust God for the future.

7. Hidden Treasures Book Two of the McBride Sisters' series by Kathryn Springer from Steeple Hill Love Inspired.
Searching for a valuable painting on the Halloway's estate is risky business for photographer Meghan McBride . .but when she comes face to face with Cade Halloway, who's there to sell the former family vacation home, she discovers the real risk is losing her heart.

8. Love Starts With Elle Lowcountry book 2 by Rachel Hauck from Thomas Nelson. Elle Garvey loses everything to gain it all. Heath McCord heals from his painful past in order to find true love a second time.

9. Miss Aggie's Gone Missing The Misadventures of Miss Aggie: Book One by Frances Devine from Barbour Publishing's Heartsong Presents Mysteries. In attempts to rescue Miss Aggie Pennington-Brown from her many misadventures, Victoria Storm and her elderly boarders find hair raising and sometimes hilarious adventures of their own.

10. Quills & Promises Delaware Brides, book 2 by Amber Miller from Barbour/Heartsong Presents. Separated from Madison when he leaves to fight the French and Indians, Elanna Hanssen must choose between her heart and her head, especially when Madison's integrity is questioned.

11. The Falcon and the Sparrow by M.L. Tyndall from Barbour Publishing. Against the European upheaval of the Napoleonic wars, a young timid lady is forced to betray her own country or watch her brother die.

12. The Flower of Grass by James E. Robinson from Monarch Books (Kregel in the U.S.). A classic love story framing deeper themes of mortality and passing time, the true nature of faith, and the delicate balance of human relationships.

13. The Fruit of My Lipstick All About Us series by Shelley Adina from FaithWords. Teenager Gillian Chang is prepared for anything boarding school can dish her--except love.

14. Unbridled Dreams by Stephanie Grace Whitson from Bethany House Publishers. Liberty Belle's dream to be a headliner for Buffalo Bill's Wild West has come true. . . so why isn't she happy?

Happy reading ~

Friday, August 1, 2008

Meet Mary Connealy - Interview & Book Giveaway

Mary ConnealyIt’s my pleasure to introduce the always delightful Mary Connealy. Let’s meet Mary!


Mary Connealy is the author of Calico Canyon and Petticoat Ranch. Alaska Brides, a Heartsong anthology containing her book Golden Days will be out in August. She has recently signed an exclusive contract to write for Barbour Publishing for the next three years. Mary’s dream is to tell love stories that make people laugh. She lives on a farm in Nebraska with her husband, Ivan. She just moved her youngest child to college and the nest is so empty it echoes.


JA: Please tell us about your latest book, Calico Canyon.
MC: Calico Canyon – Lassoed in Texas Book #2 is a suspenseful, inspirational, historical western, romantic comedy. In Petticoat Ranch I talked about a man who’d never been around women, dropped into an all-girl world, so I decided to do the flip side of that story in Calico Canyon. I took prissy, Miss Calhoun, the school marm, and shoved her, completely against her will, into an all-male world.

MC - Calico CanyonThe thing with trying to do this is to focus on their complete fish-out-of-water story, make it as extreme as possible and still have the hero be heroic, the heroine be delightful and loveable. Not that easy when she doesn’t understand anything about his wild, ill-mannered boys, less about him and nothing about marriage.

The main trouble between Daniel and Grace isn’t the fact that they loathe each other—although that’s huge. It’s the fact that Daniel completely blames himself for his first wife’s death in childbirth, plus how brutally hard it was for him to survive with newborn triplets. He is so deeply traumatized by it that he won’t risk having another woman be with child. But he has a God given, perfectly natural attraction for his new wife—once he calms down and accepts his fate of course.

So there’s a war inside Daniel and, torn between desire and terror, he handles it as badly as humanly possible. And Grace? Well she’d been rejected so many times in her life that she expects it. Convincing her to risk their heart would be hard for anyone, but nearly impossible for the man she married.

JA: Your heroine, Grace Calhoun, made a brief appearance in Petticoat Ranch. At that time, did you plan for Grace to get her own storyline?
MC: Yes, absolutely. In fact Grace did NOT appear in Petticoat Ranch as I originally wrote it. Nor did Daniel. I went back and rewrote the book specifically to create book #2 in this series. I did this all long before Petticoat Ranch got published.

JA: I love the internal conflict you gave Daniel Reeves and his constant push and pull with Grace. What’s your favorite thing about Daniel?
MC: I wanted Daniel to be the result of absolutely no female influence. For five years he’s completely committed his life to raising his sons the best way he knew how so I wanted him to have a really wonderful, loving heart, but be a savage. Just absolutely none of the refinement living with a woman might give you. And maybe that’s not done in a fair way. Men can have manners and be totally civilized. But Daniel wasn’t and neither were his boys.
Here’s a moment with Daniel I loved. He’s ‘teaching’ his son Mark.

“Grace...uh...that is, your here to stay. So, we’ll use our smarts to figure out a way to get along with her.”

“And Miss Calhoun is smart too, or least ways she kept acting like she was.”

Daniel shrugged his shoulders. “She might be smart. No sign of it anywheres I can see. And besides, there’s smart and there’s smart.”

“What’s that mean, Pa?” Mark scooped up a handful of snow and seemed to be studying the house.

Daniel had to bite back a smile. “It means—smart is what you do with it.” Daniel nodded his head at the house. “I’ve known a few real educated men, got through high school ’n everything, who didn’t have a lick of sense. And I’ve knowed some men who couldn’t read nor write, who didn’t have a day of book learning, but I’d trust ’em with big decisions about real important stuff, like my cattle, even.”

“So, we’ll just see what kind of smart Ma turns out to be.”

Daniel sighed again, this time the sound seemed to come all the way from his toes. “Yep, the good news is, since we’re stuck with her for life, she’s got a lot of time to learn.”

I think this was a pretty common mindset back then. Common sense, practical skills and hard work trumped a shiny diploma nearly every time. And Daniel’s respect for those practical skills over schooling were typical. But he’s trying, in his own lunk headed way, to teach his children.

MC - Petticoat Ranch JA: You do a great job tempering serious topics with humor. So tell us, have you always been funny?
MC: Humor just happens in my books. I seem to be unable to resist letting my heroine sass the hero. I love it when the hero, knowing he’s hit on a sensitive subject, looks his woman in the eye and chooses the worst possible way to respond to her. That’s entertaining to me, to write like that. And I pretty much write to entertain myself, like a normal person would play golf, so of course I’m going to go for the laugh.

JA: What do you hope people take away after reading Calico Canyon?
MC: I look at the different ways Daniel reacted to his sons and Clay reacted to his daughters and all the mistakes they made and all the wrangling they did with their wives and I hope the love comes through. People do their best and they fail and fail and fail. I think the primary motivator for most mothers especially is guilt. But if you truly love your child that will come through and it’s what makes a child into a good adult. Not the exact right word or the perfect level of discipline. Just your whole life with your children and your spouse heavily seasoned with love.

I also loved the moment when Clay finally finds out Parrish has been terrorizing Sally. I think this kind of trust lays a foundation for a child that they carry with them all their lives.
Clay looked at Sally and crouched in front of her. “Let me see your hand, darlin’.”

Sally held her palm up. The bruising was dark and there were several cuts in her tender flesh.

Pa gave her hand a kiss, then lifted her into his strong arms as he rose and hugged her tight. He pulled back far enough to look her square in the eye. “You could have told me. I’d’ve listened. You’re not a little girl to tell lies and I’d’ve trusted you.”

JA: What’s next for you in the writing arena?
MC: I’ve got a three book Heartsong series coming soon and a three book cozy series. And the sequel to Calico Canyon comes out in February. Gingham Mountain, it’s Hannah’s story. And Hannah, the way she kept collecting children in Calico Canyon, despite the hardship to herself, well, she finds a whole lot of children to save and an adoptive father who is nothing like her own. But he’s got his hands full convincing Hannah of that.

JA: You’ve signed an exclusive contract with Barbour Publishing for eighteen books over the next four years. Big congrats on that! What was it like when they approached you about this?
MC: I suppose nothing is a sweet as that first contract. Such a fantastic moment. But once you’ve got that contract you immediately start thinking am I a one-book wonder. My dream beyond getting a book published to begin with was, “I wish I could have a career.” Well, with eighteen books coming from Barbour, I’d say I have one. So it was a dream come true that I barely dared to hope for.

JA: Is there something people would be surprised to know about you?
MC: I honestly consider myself to be the most normal person imaginable. That fact that I have books in bookstores is so wildly beyond any hope I ever had that it’s stunning. I’m mostly a homebody. I have a full time job teaching GED. I was a stay-at-home mom for twenty-seven years. Pretty normal stuff. No great glamour involved in being a writer, just hours alone in front of a computer. That suits me fine.

JA: Last but not least, how can people keep up with your latest publishing news?
MC: My website has my books listed and their release dates and contact info if anyone wants to email me.
I’ve got three blogs. Two with groups of authors and we have so much fun on them. Seekerville about writing contests:
Petticoats and Pistols about western romance:
And my personal blog that has current news about my books:

Thanks for hanging out with us, Mary. May God continue to bless your writing journey!

If it seems like you’ve read this review already, you probably have. I posted it during Mary’s CFBA blog tour in June. But I thought it would be nice to run it again with Mary’s interview. Don’t worry… you’re not going crazy!

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.


If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Calico Canyon just leave a reply to this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on August 8th. 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!