Thursday, May 28, 2009

CFBA presents ROSE HOUSE by Tina Ann Forkner

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Rose House
(Waterbrook Press - May 5, 2009
Tina Ann Forkner


Tina Ann Forkner writes contemporary fiction that challenges and inspires. She grew up in Oklahoma and graduated with honors from CSU Sacramento before settling in Wyoming. She lives with her husband, their three bright children and their dog and stays busy serving on the Laramie County Library Foundation Board of Directors. She is the author of Ruby Among Us, her debut novel, and Rose House, which recently released from Waterbrook Press/Random House.


A vivid story of a private grief, a secret painting, and one woman’s search for hope

Still mourning the loss of her family in a tragic accident, Lillian Diamon finds herself drawn back to the Rose House, a quiet cottage where four years earlier she had poured out her anguish among its fragrant blossoms.

She returns to the rolling hills and lush vineyards of the Sonoma Valley in search of something she can’t quite name. But then Lillian stumbles onto an unexpected discovery: displayed in the La Rosaleda Gallery is a painting that captures every detail of her most private moment of misery, from the sorrow etched across her face to the sandals on her feet.

What kind of artist would dare to intrude on such a personal scene, and how did he happen to witness Lillian’s pain? As the mystery surrounding the portrait becomes entangled with the accident that claimed the lives of her husband and children, Lillian is forced to rethink her assumptions about what really happened that day.

A captivating novel rich with detail, Rose House explores how the brushstrokes of pain can illuminate the true beauty of life.

If you would like to read an excerpt from HERE


If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Rose House, just leave a reply to this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on June 3rd. 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!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

ABC's Updated V Series to Star Elizabeth Mitchell & Morena Baccarin

Summer will soon be here. Which means it's a time to frolic in the sun, a time to be with family and friends... and a time to consider the upcoming Fall TV season.

The new series I'm most excited about? V. Yes, it's a remake of the '80s series about visitors from somewhere out in space. They seem friendly at first... but isn't that how all alien visits start out?

I was jazzed to find out that Morena Baccarin (Firefly, Stargate SG-1) plays Anna, the leader of the Visitors. But today I just learned that Elizabeth Mitchell (LOST) is also in the cast, as FBI agent Erica Evans. I think we can expect some cool head-to-head confrontations with these two.

Of course, that brings up another thought for those of us who love LOST: Does this mean that Juliette (Mitchell's character on LOST) won't be in the final season? Did she actually die? Or will she have an abbreviated role? Or is Mitchell just one busy lady? I have no idea, but I look forward to finding out.

Now for your viewing pleasure, here's the ABC trailer for V -

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Amy Grant - She Colors My Day

I've been an Amy Grant fan for a long time. So it's funny that my son decided not to like her music, simply because "I can't like everything you do, Mom." So it's nothing personal, Amy. Just the mildest case of teenage rebellion ever!

Enjoy this sweet video for Amy's new song, She Colors My Day.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Johnny Depp - Why is The Rum Gone?

There are some insanely talented people out there making videos just for fun. My son came across this one on YouTube and I just have to share it. If you love Pirates of the Caribbean and Johnny Depp, you'll get a kick out of this.

Hope that brought a smile to your face!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Passionate Historical Romance from Julie Lessman

A Passion Denied, the third installment in The Daughters of Boston series, is the story of Elizabeth O’Connor. In her desire to be a thoroughly modern woman of the Roaring Twenties, she goes by the name Lizzie, bobs her hair, and confesses her love to the man of her dreams, John Brady. But Brady, as most people call him, has secrets he’s not sharing with her. The demons of his past hold him back and make him feel incapable and unworthy of loving a woman like Elizabeth.

While this novel centers on Lizzie and Brady, it’s not theirs alone. All the couples we’ve loved in Ms. Lessman’s previous books are back: Faith and Collin, Charity and Mitch, and Patrick and Marcy. Each one has issues of their own to deal with. That Ms. Lessman is able to deftly juggle so many characters and different storylines is a testament to her talent as a storyteller. If you haven’t read the first two books of the series, I suggest you do so before reading this one. You will enjoy the experience so much more!

Julie Lessman is one of those rare female writers who really gets how to show things from the male perspective. This isn’t to say the women in her stories aren’t great, because they are. But I’m constantly amazed at the life she is able to breathe into her passionate, flawed men. Ladies, I dare you not to develop just a little bit of a crush on at least one of them.

A Passion Denied is a tender love story wrapped around the mystery of one man’s past. It will make you laugh, bring a tear to your eye, and make you think. The characters are so real, you may just find yourself thinking about them long after you read the last word. In short, it’s everything a good book should be.

(the following is straight off Julie's website)

I’m Julie Lessman, an Inspirational Romance author with a passion for God and a passion for romance. Since the age of twelve, I’ve been in love with the idea of being “in love.” It happened the moment Scarlett seared Rhett with a look on the winding staircase of Twelve Oaks. Suddenly I was a goner, spellbound by the emotional ebb and flow of romantic relationships.

As an adult, I quickly learned that true romance is spiritual as well as physical and emotional. And one pass through the “Song of Solomon” in the Bible told me that God was the biggest romantic of them all, deeply passionate in His love for each of us. Through my love affair with Him, I have discovered that romance can transcend to another dimension where romantic passion and spiritual passion merge, creating a 3-D love story: the hero, the heroine, and the God that brings them together. I hope you enjoy my stories ... and may they bring you closer to the Father’s heart.



To find out more about Julie and her books, visit her blog, Julie Lessman: Passion With A Purpose.

Friday, May 22, 2009

CFBA presents DECEPTIVE PROMISES by Amber Miller

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Deceptive Promises
Barbour Publishing, Inc (2008)
Amber Miller


Hi, I'm Amber, but my friends call me Tiff, short for Tiffany, my first name. I am in my 30's, married the love of my life in July 2007, live in Colorado and just had an incredibly beautiful daughter named Victoria.

I love to travel and visit new places. Ultimately, my dream is to own horses and live in a one-level rancher or log cabin nestled in the foothills of the mountains. For now, I will remain where I am and do what I love—design web sites and write.

I got involved with web design in 1997, when I was asked to take over running the official web site for the television series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. That eventually led to a series of negotiations where I was offered the job of running world-renowned actress Jane Seymour's official fan site. That has branched into doing web sites for a variety of clients, including: authors J.M. Hochstetler, Trish Perry, Kathy Pride, Louise M. Gouge, Susan Page Davis, and Jill Elizabeth Nelson, actor William Shockley (the voice of AT&T and Toyota) and many others. With the help of a handful of other web site "technos," Eagle Designs was born! Feel free to visit and see our other clients.

Amber's very first book, Promises, Promises, released in February 2008. It's a historical fiction set in Delaware during the Colonial period and the Great Awakening. The other 2 books in the series are Quills And Promises (July 2008) and this one, Deceptive Promises (December 2008). In 2009, they will be repackaged for a state set entitled Liberty's Promise. She has also sold another series set in historical Michigan during the Industrial Revolution. The 3 books in that series will begin releasing in May 2009 and will be repackaged in 2010.



Is deception fair in wartime Margret Scott must deal with this question as she finds herself attracte to the enigmatic Samuel Lowe. As the tensions grow between the colonists and the British soldiers and loyalists, Margret cannot always tell where Samuel's loyalties lie.

"If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot hath hasted to deceit; Let me be weighed in an even balance that God may know mine integrity." -Job 31:5-6

Samuel's duties have him working for both sides of this war, and he often finds himself torn between what is right and what is wrong. He promises Margret she can trust him, and Margret promises him she does. But can promises born in deception be trusted? Can a relationship built in uncertainty survive?

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

Thursday, May 21, 2009

American Idol - And the Winner is...

Tonight's American Idol finale was probably the best ever. Here are my personal highlights:

BEST DUETS - Allison & Cyndi Lauper - It was great to see a still-quirky but appropriate Cyndi sing a soulful version of Time After Time with young Allison.

Kris & Keith Urban - Two strong male voices, two guitars... what's not to like?

FAVORITE SURPRISE MUSICIAN - Steve Martin - Michael and Megan sang a sweet little duet, written by the banjo playing Martin, and accompanied by his band. Loved the song and loved Steve. I may even buy his album: The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo.

BEST GAG - Kara versus Bikini Girl - When what's her name came out, she was sporting a new bikini and a new pair of breasts. Apparently, she got augmented since the last time we saw her. I really didn't want to hear her try to sing again. But then they raised the wall behind her, and I thought, Oh good, Mariah's going to put her to shame. But NOOOOO, it was even better than that. It was Kara! Not only did she show off a great set of pipes, but at the end she briefly flashed her own totally tone bikini clad bod. Good for you, Kara!

AND NOW, THE WINNER... Kris Allen! Yeah, I know, I've been an Adam Lambert fan all this time. And I still am. But over the last few weeks, I've become a Kris fan, too. Going into this show, I really didn't care which one won. And when Kris's name was called, I actually shrieked with glee. I'm thrilled for him and his family. And I know I'll still get to hear more from Mr. Lambert in the near future.

So that's it. Another season, another winner. Thanks, American Idol, for a great show. See ya next time!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Musing on Dreams with Patti Lacy - WIN HER BOOK!

I'm so happy to welcome back today's guest blogger: my friend, and very cool author, Patti Lacy!

on Dreams…

Since Daddy was a boys’ dorm director at Baylor back in the early 1960s, two hundred brothers threw me over their shoulders, coaxed me to ride my trike down slick halls, let me operate the switchboard, taught me risqué songs…oh, the trouble…and fun…I had!

Daddy’s work then moved us like pieces about the Deep South checkerboard, and I attended a different school yearly until junior high. Books—and their characters—became the playground friends I didn’t make. I ferreted out clues for Nancy Drew, braided Black Beauty’s glorious mane. Oh, the places I went!

When I wasn’t reading, I dreamed about the mysterious lands in Tales of the Orient or the lovely home where Beautiful Joe lived. Dreams nourished and sustained me through some lonely times, and I thank God for that.

Fantasies morphed into more traditional middle-class desires during my teenaged years. I dreamed of marrying the perfect man, having five husky sons, living on a ranch complete with well-appointed stables and kennels while pursuing important jobs.

Hopes of wearing the robes of a judge or the faded jeans of a geologist vanished like mist over a Louisiana bayou when the Still, Small Voice whispered for me to teach, as my parents did. Then I found a good man who married me in spite of my flaws, and God gave us two children, one boy and one girl.

In 1995, God yanked us from our comfortable Southern porch and deposited us in Terre Haute, Indiana. Just hearing the words Midwest and blizzards and below zero prickled my skin. All my relatives whispered that we’d lost our noggins. After all, none of the clan had ventured north of the Mason-Dixon line—except for Chicago, and that didn’t really count. Wasn’t a big city a big city, even up North?

The Midwest offered amazing friends—and an incredible story about God’s ability to work good through ALL things. Ten years later, the Still Small Voice whispered for me to write that story. I shook my head and stomped my feet, but the Voice persisted. Three years later, Kregel Publications took a chance with my first attempt at writing, An Irishwoman’s Tale.

Dear friends, I have simplified my life by praying one dream: to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God, whose dream weaving makes filthy rags out of my own misguided notions. And oh, it’s an exciting way to live, rising every day and saying, “What do you have for me now, Lord? What do you have for me now?”

To find out more about Patti and her books, visit her website at


In 1955, Ann Qualls gave birth to her daughter Patti in the front seat of a Buick. By pure coincidence, Ann claims, their daughter was named Patti Day Qualls, PDQ.

This moniker has served Patti well, as she’s moved at least ten times, traveled to forty states, and changed occupations with a liberality unusual in native Texans. However, Patti thinks her latest profession will stick awhile.

The Still, Small Voice encouraged Patti to write after a brave Irish friend shared memories of betrayal and her decision to forgive. In 2008, An Irishwoman’s Tale was published by Kregel Publications. Patti’s second novel, What the Bayou Saw, released in 2009.

The secrets women keep and why they keep them continue to capture Patti’s imagination. She writes full time, teaches Bible studies and seminars, and attends book signings. Patti and her husband Alan, an Illinois State faculty member, live in Normal. They have two grown children and a dog named Laura.

ABOUT THE BOOK - What the Bayou Saw

Since leaving Louisiana, Sally Stevens has smothered her childhood with a sunny disposition and sugar-coated lies. No one, not even her beloved husband Sam, knows what happened to her and her best friend, Ella Ward, when they were twelve years old.

Now a teacher in Normal, Illinois, Sally has nearly forgotten her past. Then Shamika, one of her students, is violently attacked, and memories of segregation, a chain-link fence, and a blood oath bubble to the surface like a dead body in a bayou.

Finally entrapped in her web of lies, Sally—and Shamika—embark on a quest to find Ella in post-Katrina New Orleans. With the help of friends, family, and God, Sally can glimpse a life free of the mire of deceit and truly begin to live with joy. But will she pay the price for a lifetime of deception?


If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of What the Bayou Saw, just leave a reply to this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on May 21st. 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!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

American Idol - Could Kris Be In The Final Two?

Tonight, we get down to the final two. From the beginning, I've been saying that Danny and Adam will be in the finale. But last night, Kris kinda blew my mind. He's been the quiet, come from behind guy. I didn't even notice him the first few weeks. But he's been growing on me, and last night, I think he sailed past the other two. Adam and Danny both had one song that was great, but another that didn't quite hit the mark. But both of Kris's performances were solid, entertaining, and engaging.

So I find myself with a bit of a dilemma.

I find myself having a hard time picturing a finale without Kris.

And even though I still love Gokey, I find myself really wanting to see a Kris/Adam finale.

At this point, I'm thinking it could go any way: Danny/Adam, Kris/Adam, Kris/Danny... It's sure going to be fun finding out.

Added Wednesday night: Wow, it really happened. It's a Kris/Adam finale! Congrats to them, and to the talented Danny Gokey. I'm sure all three will have successful recording careers. That's all I can say now, cuz my mind is still blown from the season finale of LOST. Whoa!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Dreaming With Leanna Ellis

It's my joy to welcome back an outstanding author and all around great gal, Leanna Ellis!

A Year of

What a perfect title for Jennifer’s blog this year, but also for my book, Ruby’s Slippers, and for me too! I’m always saying, “Go for your dreams.” I’m a big believer in pursuing dreams. When I was a kid my dream was to be a Highlandette, which was my high school’s dance/drill team. I would march around my house, kick my skinny legs and smile just like a high-stepping Highlandette. I remember going to the football games, watching the Highlandettes march out onto the field during half time. I dreamed I’d one day march onto the field wearing that red starched skirt and white boots.

For many years I took dance and started teaching at my local dance studio when I entered high school. So I was well prepared when the time came to try out for Highlandettes at the end of my sophomore year. For two weeks we practiced after school, learning the routines. The tryout was in two phases. Cuts would be made, then another tryout for the selection of 55 girls who would be the next Highlandettes.

I made it through the first cut. But some of my friends didn’t. They were crying, and I was rattled. Before I’d dried my own tears and finished hugging those cut, I was called to start the next phase of the tryout. My heart was back in the locker room with my friends. Suddenly I couldn’t remember the routine. With tears streaming down my cheeks, I marched out of the gym, knowing I hadn’t made the team. I was heartbroken.

For days I cried. My mother said, “Get over it.” And maybe I should have. But during the next year, I learned a valuable lesson. One week I would think, “I’m not going to try out again. No way.” But then I’d see my friends who were now Highlandettes performing, I’d remember my dream, and I’d change my mind. I did want to be a Highlandette. Slowly over the year, a solid determination formed inside me.

The end of my junior year in high school was my last chance to be a Highlandette. I started the two weeks of learning the routines. It was during one of those practices that I pulled my hamstring. It’s very hard to do a high kick routine with a pulled hamstring. But I pampered my leg, wrapped it well, and kept focused on my goal.

Nothing was going to distract me. Nothing. So the day of the tryouts, I prayed, “Please, God, no matter what happens, let me be satisfied with my performance.” You see, during the last year, that’s what had eaten a hole in my heart, knowing I hadn’t done my best in the final tryout. I didn’t want to have any regrets. I wanted to give it my all.

All these many years later, the lessons I learned during my last two years of high school have become almost a mantra for me in another dream -- writing. You see, I learned to focus on my goal. I’m talking laser focus. And I learned to never give up that dream. Hang onto it, nurture it, go for it with everything you have.

Well, I suppose you’re wondering how that tryout turned out. I will say that I marched out of the gym with a smile on my face. I was proud of my performance. I could live with that. No matter what. The next day, when I drove to the high school to await the names being posted in the school’s windows, I held my breath. Four posters were taped to the windows at exactly 2:00pm. I scanned each one, but my name wasn’t there. Lifting my chin, determined to be proud of my performance anyway, I turned to leave, stopping to congratulate my friends who had made the team. Then, a girl named Cindy called my name. She hugged me. She was crying and smiling. I could feel my heart breaking because I knew she had made the team as she’d been a Highlandette for a year. But she kept hugging me, looking at me strangely. My brain slowly clicked into what she was saying, “You made it!”

“No,” I told her. “My name’s not up there.”

So together we looked at the posters. “No,” she said, “down here.”

I hadn’t seen the fifth one posted on the last window. And there it was – my name – I was a Highlandette. The first of many of my dreams had come true.

I bet you have a dream too. Reaching a dream isn’t easy. It demands focus and giving you’re all. But it also requires you not to give up. So hang on, try again, keep trying until you see that dream become a reality.

To find out more about Leanna and her other books, visit her website at

ABOUT THE BOOK - Ruby's Slippers

When Dottie Meyers loses her ‘no place like home’ during a Kansas tornado, she wakes up to find a pair of ruby slippers left by her father who abandoned his family thirty years ago. With her sister hot on her trail to find the treasured ruby slippers, Dottie travels a yellow brick road with three friends to find her father. No wizard can solve her problems. Only the love of a heavenly father can heal her wounds and give her the desires of her heart.

There’s no place like … the heart for God’s healing touch.


If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Ruby's Slippers, just leave a reply to this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on May 18th. PLEASE NOTE: For this contest I can only accept entries from the USA. 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, May 10, 2009



Her children stand and bless her.
Her husband praises her:
“There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
but you surpass them all!”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
Reward her for all she has done.
Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.

Proverbs 31:28 - 31

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Australians and Slumdogs and Nuns, OH MY!

Anymore, it's very rare that I see a movie during its theatrical run. There are lots of reasons: money, time, money... So I've become a huge fan of Netflix. It may just be the best business model of the 20th century.

This last week I finally got to see some movies I missed. These three movies were about as different as you can get, but they did have one common thread: a young boy whose story will tug at your heart.

AUSTRALIA - I knew a bit about this film, but it was so much grander than I expected. If you're familiar with the work of Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge, Strictly Ballroom) you can see all his signature marks: quick cuts, saturated colors, hyper-realistic scenes, and bits of narration. Not only is this an epic tale full of action and danger, it's also a tender love story. Ladies, try not to swoon the first time Hugh Jackman shows up clean shaven. Ahhh....

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE - Wow. After so much attention during Oscar season, I knew I had to see this movie. But I was also worried. Sometimes a picture has trouble living up to the hype when it's so big. But this one not only lived up to it, it exceeded it (for me, anyway). Some of the scenes are very hard to watch, but the payoff at the end is worth it. I loved the way the writer handled flashbacks to tell the story of sensitive Jamal and his polar-opposite brother. And the final Bollywood-style musical number during the credits was fabulously uplifting. My only beef was in the subtitles. Not only were they tiny, but they were almost designed to blend into the background. This may have worked on a huge theater screen, but it didn't do so well for me on my not-so-big TV. Thankfully, the majority of the dialogue is in English.

DOUBT - I don't want to say too much about Doubt, because the meat of this movie is in the discovery. It's really a character study, and the actors are incredible. To see Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman go toe-to-toe is something else. Amy Adams is pitch perfect as the young Sister who only wants to see the good in the world. And Viola Davis took a small part and made it huge. The movie was directed and the script adapted by the author of the Broadway play, John Patrick Shanley, and you can tell. Rarely do you find such smart dialogue in a movie. This is the kind of film that will keep you thinking long after you push the STOP button.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Dreaming with Bonnie Leon - WIN HER NEW BOOK!

It's my pleasure to welcome back today's guest blogger, author Bonnie Leon!

Dreams are funny things. Do you ever wonder where they come from or if they really matter? And if we have a dream what can we do about it? Sometimes we shrug them off as silliness, but there are other moments when we are caught up by the joy and hope held within a dream.

Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Many believe this scripture means we get whatever we want. Of course that can’t be true, because God knows best. He knows the beginning and the end. We do not. However, asking within His will gives us confidence to move forward with assurance. The fulfillment of God’s wish for his child not only offers us joy, but it can change the world.

Sometimes we’re caught up in compelling ideas and expect God to follow us down a path of our own choosing. Wouldn’t it make more sense to dream Godly dreams and then follow Him? To accomplish this we need to be like-minded with the Lord, spend time with Him, intertwine our heart with His, listen to His voice rather than our own, and shut out the squawking of a world that drowns out the words of God.

We all receive God-given dreams. Sometimes we don’t recognize them or we’re afraid of where they might take us. Often fulfilling dreams requires us to step into the unknown, which can be downright scary. Yet, we know that with God all things are possible and that He would never send us out alone. It is true that those who accomplish great things are often the ones who take the greatest risks and trust the most.

When you step into God’s will, be prepared to be dazzled. After all, He is the God of the universe, the one who placed our dreams within us. What a wonder to discover that His will for us is also our dream.


Bonnie Leon is the author of fifteen novels, including the popular Queensland Chronicles and the Sydney Cove series and the bestselling Journey of Eleven Moons. She also stays busy speaking for women’s groups and teaching at writing seminars and conventions. Bonnie and her husband, Greg, live in Southern Oregon. They have three grown children and four grandchildren.

ABOUT THE BOOK - Enduring Love

Just when things seem to be looking up for John and Hannah Bradshaw, their world is turned upside down.

Years ago, when John was in prison, he was told his first wife, Margaret, died. So how is it that she shows up in Sydney Town looking to pick up where they left off?

Hannah is distraught. Her marriage is now null and void, and she and John feel they must separate to allow John's first marriage to continue.

But is Margaret hiding something? And just what will she do to get what she wants?

The suspenseful, romantic conclusion to the Sydney Cove trilogy.


If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Enduring Love, just leave a reply to this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on May 14th. 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!

American Idol - Musical Guests Are Everywhere!

Yesterday's American Idol results show had so many musical guests in you'd have thought it was the Grammy's.

First, Slash did his guitar thing while the final four sang School's Out. Once more, poor Danny looked totally uncomfortable and out of place. As for Slash, with his saucy top hat and his black hair obscuring most of his face, he looked like a rockin' version of Cousin It.

Next to hit the stage, Paula Abdul premiering her new song I'm Just Here for the Music. Apparently, she was also here for the lip syncing. There's no possible way Abdul could have done all that dancing and not be completely out of breath. Also, I don't think that synthesized voice thing goes over all that well in a live performance. But it was nice to see her bust a move.

Even though they don't have a new album, quirky group No Doubt hit the stage. Gwen may be a mother of two, but she's still full of spunk and vinegar. And she was sporting a very cool lime green bra (I know this because the straps were sticking out from under her white tank top). Now she was quite obviously singing live, as evidenced by her lack of breath in certain spots (which just supports my above theory about Paula).

Finally, Daughtry rounded out the parade of guests, debuting a song off a new album. The group's got a nice sound, but I don't remember a whole lot about the performance. Hmmm... wonder what Simon would say about that?

Finally, we got down to the real reason we were all tuned in... the Big Goodbye. Sadly, this was Allison's last night. Ironic that she'd go after a show where she really excelled, but that's the way this contest goes. Unless there's a BIG upset - and there's always room for that - I'm still predicting Danny & Adam in the top two. As long as Danny stays away from those monster-movie-scary high notes!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Until recently, there's been little available for the lover of Christian Regency fiction. But that's changed. Authors like Linore Rose Burkard are bringing Regency back!


Linore Rose Burkard creates Inspirational Romance for the Jane Austen Soul. Her characters take you back in time to experience life and love during the era of Regency England (circa 1800 - 1830). Fans of classic romances, such as Pride & Prejudice, Emma, and Sense & Sensibility, will enjoy meeting Ariana Forsythe, a feisty heroine who finds her heart and beliefs tested by high-society London.

Ms. Burkard's novels include Before the Seasons Ends and The House in Grosvenor Square. Her stories blend Christian faith and romance with well-researched details from the Regency period. Her books and monthly newsletter captivate readers with little-known facts, exciting stories, and historical insights. Experience a romantic age, where timeless lessons still apply to modern life. And, enjoy romance that reminds us happy endings are possible for everyone.

Publisher's Weekly affirms, "Ms. Burkard's command of period detail is impressive, evident in material details, but also in dialogue. Her novels even help non-Regencyphiles learn the difference between ladies' pelisses and spencers...On the whole, it's a tasty confection."

Ms. Burkard began writing when she couldn't find a Regency romance with an inspirational twist. "There were Christian books that approached the genre," she says, "But, they fell short of being a genuine Regency. I knew that many women like me want stories that are historically authentic and offer glimpses of God's involvement in our lives. So, I finally gave up looking and decided to write one myself."

Ms. Burkard was raised in New York, where she graduated magna cum laude from the City University of New York with a Bachelor of Arts in English literature. She lives with her husband and five children in a town full of antique stores and gift shops in southwestern Ohio. Her hobbies include working on four new Regency novels, family movie nights, swimming, and gardening.

ABOUT THE BOOK - The House in Grosvenor Square

England, 1813: As Ariana Forsythe plans her wedding, she must adjust to the realization that she will soon become the wife of an extremely wealthy man. She wonders if it's wrong to rejoice that her future husband is rich. But, she promises herself to use her new position to do what she can to aid the numerous street waifs she sees all too often in London. During a tour of her future home-the house in Grosvenor Square-Ariana impulsively makes plans to redecorate (just a little) according to her tastes . But when Philip arrives home later, he is informed that an expensive silver candlestick and a miniature portrait of George III have gone missing. Moreover, each time Ariana visits the house, another item disappears.

When Ariana suffers an abduction attempt by two villains, and other mysterious goings-on are unexplained, Mr. Mornay must unravel the mystery of who is after her, and why. He knows he has to prevent any harm from befalling his future bride, even if it means he must keep her under lock and key in his own house!

Romance, suspense, and a deft touch of humor are part of the wonderful story of Philip Mornay and Ariana Forsythe's march to the altar. Fans of Linore's first book, Before the Season Ends, will love this delightful addition to the Regency Inspirational Series, as will all readers of historical romance.


The House in Grosvenor Square is a charming tale full of mistaken identities, miscommunication, intrigue, and of course, the rich opulence of the day.

It's a pleasure to rejoin Ariana Forsythe and Phillip Mornay (the main character from Burkard's debut novel, Before the Season Ends). As Ariana and Phillip prepare for their upcoming marriage, they are beset by all manner of trouble. A housekeeper who tries to turn the staff against Ariana, a friend who feels more than friendship, and a kidnapper who keeps abducting the wrong woman are just some of the obstacles they must face. It's a story of deep emotions laced with a great dash of Austen-esque humor.

Not only does Burkard write a story worthy of the time, but she writes in the same style. Her use of Regency vernacular and spelling, as well as phrasing and customs, all lend to the authenticity of the book. As soon as you get between the covers of this novel, you'll feel like you've traveled back to another time and place.

One caveat: I would highly recommend that you read Before the Season Ends first. Not only will you appreciate the story more, but it will help clear up who the many players are. You won't regret it!


Get Free Resources from Linore!

Linore offers all kinds of interesting articles and resources for English Regency fans, such as a behind-the-scenes look at "The Regency Debutante", "Lizzie Bennet's wardrobe," and "The Rise of the Silhoutte."


Excerpt PDF from "The House in Grosvenor Square"

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Reality Bites - What's Up on AI and DWTS

I love Tuesdays because I get to watch a new episode of American Idol, and then watch the results show for Dancing With The Stars. It's always fun, but tonight contained more than one surprise, as well as one downright shocker.


Being that it was rock 'n' roll night, I wasn't particularly concerned for any of the contestants. There are all kinds of levels of rock, and I figured each singer would pick a song that worked for them. Not so much.

ADAM - Whole Lotta Love - This was an absolutely perfect song for him. As usual, I'll be downloading it from iTunes tomorrow. The only problem for Adam is that when he's decked out in all his rock glory, he just might scare some people. I think part of the reason he goes so far with the hair and the eyeliner is because he really has a cute, almost baby face look about him. Check him out without makeup. Don't you just want to pinch those cheeks?

ALLISON - Cry Baby - A strong performance from Allison, who again looked great. A visit to Adam's hair gal gave her some nice low lights. And her personality is really starting to come out. I guess hitting the ripe old age of 17 has upped her confidence level.

FIRST DUET - KRIS & DANNY - Renegade - Neither one of these guys is what you'd call a hard rocker, so I thought this was a good choice for them. Together, their harmonies sounded great. But separately, they seemed to struggle. Danny looked uncomfortable and later implied that it was hard to hear himself sing, and Kris sounded rushed and out of breath. Still, an okay performance.

KRIS - Come Together - Again, I thought this was a good choice for Kris. His voice had a nice tone and he got to work the guitar. Not the most exciting performance, but good.

DANNY - Dream On - Ouch! I've been a Danny fan from the beginning, and have always said I expect to see him in the finale. But tonight was not good. At all. When he tried to hit that big monster note at the end, I cringed. A big, pull-my-ears-to-my-shoulders type cringe. I don't like it when Simon constantly compares everybody to Adam. I don't think it's fair to any of them. BUT, you do need to know your competition. And when you're competing against someone like Adam who can hit those crazy high notes, you have to think twice before tackling it. Danny took a risk, but I don't think it paid off.

SECOND DUET - ADAM & ALLISON - Slow Ride - I don't know how they decided who got to sing with who. Hat draw? Rock, paper, scissors? A hand from the programming higher-ups? But Adam and Allison were the perfect pairing for this song, and for the night in general. Not only did they sound great, but they were a lot of fun to watch. After tonight, it's pretty obvious Allison is determined to make it to the final show. Good for her.

WHO WILL GO? At this point, I like all four of them, and I think they can all have music careers, no matter what order they go in. Tonight, I really think Danny was the weakest, but I don't think he'll go. I believe we're going to say goodbye to Kris.


I love Ty Murray, the professional bull rider who is also married to singer, Jewel. He got into this competition because he would be competing against her, but then Jewel had to pull out after an injury. But did Ty follow her off the competition? No way! Arguably one of the stiffest dancers ever to hit the floor, Ty has worked like crazy to improve, and it shows. He shines in power dances like the tango and paso doble. But he still has a problem with anything where he has to move his hips. Which is why it was such a shock tonight that Lil Kim, not Ty, was voted off. While Kim is the better dancer, I think Ty's personality (and the talent of his partner, Chelsea) is what's keeping him around. I'm happy to see him stay, but at the same time I'm sad that the better dancer had to go. It'll be interesting to see what he does next week.