Wednesday, July 21, 2010

CFBA Presents STARS IN THE NIGHT by Cara Putman

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Stars In The Night
(Summerside Press - July 1, 2010)
Cara Putman


A Word From Cara:

I graduated from high school at sixteen, college at 20, and completed my law degree when I was 27.

My writing journey started in 2005 when I decided to write my first novel. Now I have eleven books published with more on the way.

People say I've accomplished a lot and that I must have life by the proverbial tail. Hardly! I grew up as a home schooled kid when home schoolers were misunderstood and oddities.

I struggle with balancing my writing and law career, plus being a good mom and wife.

I often fear people won't like my books.

I've walked through the deep pain of miscarriage.

Really, I'm just like you – I don't have it all together and have gone through tough times. But in His strength, I've discovered a strength I never knew I had. A strength I want you to discover, too.

In the end I'm just an ordinary mom who has seen God do some wonderful things as I've been obedient to step into the calling He's led me into.

Stars in the Night Background

Stars in the Night was an idea that had begun to percolate in my mind. I’d written two World War II series and was actively looking for my next setting. My husband, a huge World War II history buff, and I were kicking ideas around, and I’d decided Hollywood was probably the next place for me. I’d gone to the library and gotten a stack of research books when I got the call. An editor I knew but had never worked with wanted to know if I might be interested in a new line they were starting. As we talked, I got so excited. And then she emailed me their guidelines, which listed that Hollywood was a location they were interested in setting books.

Only God could have known ahead of time. But because I followed His prompting I was ready to run with an idea. Stars in the Night is the result.


Hollywood 1942. When attorney Audra Schaeffer's sister disappears, Audra flies to Hollywood to find her.

Any day Audra might have been flattered by the friendly overtures of Robert Garfield, a real-life movie star. But on the flight from Indianapolis to Hollywood, Audra can think of little else than finding her missing sister. When Audra arrives in the city of glitz and glamour, and stars, and learns her rising starlet sister has been murdered, all thoughts of romance fly away.

Determined to bring the killer to justice, Audra takes a job with the second Hollywood Victory Caravan.

Together with Robert Garfield and other stars, she crisscrosses the southern United States in a campaign to sell war bonds. When two other women are found dead on the train, Audra knows the deaths are tied to that of her sister.

Could the killer be the man with whom she's falling in love?

If you'd like to read an excerpt of Chapter 1 of Stars In The Night, go HERE.

Visit Cara's website to enter the Stars In The Night launch contest!


I was very excited about reading Stars In The Night. When I received my copy in the mail, I immediately dove in. And then life happened. You don't need to hear all the gory details. Suffice to say, I have not finished reading the book. However, what I have read, I love. Cara Putman has come up with a compelling story in a fascinating setting, and I can't wait to finish reading it.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Just for Fun - The Old Spice Guy Loves Libraries

Isaiah Mustafa became a seemingly overnight sensation with his deadpan pitches for Old Spice body wash. Now, the beautifully buff, vocally-velvet actor is doing his part to support libraries. I don't think he's going to stop there. What do you think? How long before we find a book on the shelf with his name on the spine?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I'm Signing Books at Borders... Come and Join Me!

Just in case you hadn't heard (and I don't know how you could have missed it, since I've been shouting from the rooftops) I've got a book signing scheduled. Here's all the info:

Saturday, July 17, 5:00 - 8:00 PM

Borders Books in Summerlin
10950 W. Charleston Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV  89135

If you're in the neighborhood and want an autographed copy of The Pastor's Wife, this is your chance! I'd love it if you'd stop by and say hi. Oh, and grab some free chocolate. Because writers almost always hand out free chocolate.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Shack: A Cinderella Self-Publishing Story with a Not-So-Happy Ending

Whenever writers talk about self-publishing, those on the "pro" side of the room usually point to a handful of fantastical success stories: Eragon by Christopher Paolini,  The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans, and most recently, The Shack by William Paul Young. But alas, there's not much love left in The Shack.

If you're one of the three people in America who haven't already heard about it, here's a a very quick and simple history of The Shack. William Paul Young wrote it for his kids. He gave copies to friends. They all loved it and said, "You should publish this." He tried. No publisher would touch it. Finally, two pastors, Wayne Jacobsen and Brad Cummings, found out about the book, created Windblown Media, published The Shack, and a star was born. Unfortunately, no contracts were drawn up specifying how the money end of this deal would work. It was all verbal agreements and handshakes. You can see where this is going...

In 2008, after the book had sold about a billion copies, Hachette Book Group got involved and cut a deal to market and distribute The Shack. At that point, contracts were finally signed. But now, several million dollars in royalties later, there is no joy in Shack-ville. You can read the whole sad tale in this Los Angeles Times article, but suffice to say, there's a whole lot of suing going on.

What had become the shining example of how successful a self-published author could be has now transformed into a cautionary tale. The fairy tale has become something of a Greek tragedy. To me, it's just another example of how important it is to have an agent (or at least a lawyer) represent you. Part of the mess going on right now seems to be because these three men signed a standard contract that they did not fully understand. Now that they've taken a closer look at how the money's split, they don't like it. Getting someone who understood contract language involved up front would have eliminated those issues.

I wish everyone in this situation well. While I wasn't wild over The Shack like many of my friends were, I still recognize that it ministered to a lot of people. And now it gives those of us in the publishing industry (and those hoping to break in) a brand new lesson. Sadly, one it never intended to teach

Friday, July 9, 2010

Just for Fun - How about a Blizzard?

With record high temperatures across most of the country, this is the perfect time to take a look at an American institution.... Dairy Queen. See, just the name made you smile, didn't it?

One of my favorite treats at DQ is the Blizzard. And my favorite Blizzard is the Chocolate-dipped Strawberry. But for the last year, I haven't seen it on the menu. Sad, huh? Not so fast... wipe away those tears... since DQ is celebrating 25 years of the Blizzard, they've expanded the selections, bringing back tons of old favorites. Including mine!

Yep, there she is in all her glory. The Chocolate-dipped Strawberry Blizzard. Sure, it uses up half my daily allotment of fat and calories, but what a lovely treat it is. In honor of Just-for-Fun-Friday, I raise my cardboard Blizzard cup and salute you!

How about you? Are you a Blizzard fan? What's your favorite flavor?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

New Releases in Christian Fiction - July 2010

Here's the list of new Christian fiction from ACFW authors. Lots of fun stuff here!

1. A Shore Thing; Otter Bay, Book 2 by Julie Carobini-- A Romance from B&H. A fiery, eco-friendly young woman leads the fight against a large development in her beachfront hometown while falling for the architect assigned to the job.

2. Back on Murder; A Roland March Mystery, Book 1 by J. Mark Bertrand -- A Suspense/Mystery/Thriller from Bethany House. Homicide cop Roland March attempts a comeback as corruption and a high profile case threaten to sink him.

3. Beautiful Bandit; The Lone Star Legends Series by Loree Lough -- An Historical from Whitaker House. When rancher Josh Neville rescues a terrified woman who calls herself Dinah, she unwittingly leads notorious killers to his door, putting him and everyone at the Lazy N in jeopardy.

4. Beyond Summer; Blue Sky Hills Series, Book 3 by Lisa Wingate -- Women's Fiction from Peguin Group/NAL. Tam Williams discovers the blessings of community when her father is jailed, and the family moves to downscale Blue Sky Hill where her new friend, Shasta might lose her home to her father's shady mortgage company.

5. Bride in Training; Man's Best Friend Series by Gail Gaymer Martin -- A Romance from Love Inspired. Troubled lives lead to loneliness, Emily and Martin learn, until the Lord teaches them he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.

6. Cattleman's Courtship by Carolyn Aarsen -- A Romance from Love Inspired. Cara Morrison has to fix the past before she can face the future.

7. Doctor in Petticoats; Sophie's Daughters Series, Book #1 by Mary Connealy -- A Romance from Barbour. A burned out doctor is called in because he's a man, while the town's lady doctor does all the work and keeps the doctor from cracking up.

8. Driftwood Lane; 3rd in Series of Stand Alones by Denise Hunter -- A Romance from Thomas Nelson. A love story set on Nantucket Island.

9. Firestorm by Kelly Ann Riley -- A Romance from Steeple Hill. A firefighter falls in love while trying to find her father's killer.

10. Flash Point; Emerald Coast 911 by Stephanie Newtonr -- A Suspense/Mystery/Thriller from Love Inspired Suspense. Courage Under Fire.

11. Heart of a Cowboy; 2nd book in the Helping Hands Homeschooling by Margaret Daley -- A Romance from Love Inspired. Zachary Rutgers is perfectly happy with being a loner until he discovers he has a son and must deal with buried feelings concerning Jordan Masterson.

12. Love Finds You in Calico, California by Elizabeth Ludwig -- An Historical from Summerside Press. A young seamstress struggling to survive in a booming mining town is pressed into a marriage of convenience with the local livery owner.

13. Minnesota Moonlight 3-in-1 Collection by Becky Melby & Cathy Wienke -- Romance from Barbour. An ex-con, a storm chaser, and a footloose musician˜three unlikely heroes for three women learning to trust God...and the men He's brought into their lives.

14. Nightshade; Book #1 of the Discarded Heroes series by Ronie Kendig -- A Suspense/Mystery/Thriller from Barbour. This Former Navy SEAL is fighting a new battle--the home front!

15. Prodigal Patriot; Vermont #1 by Darlene Franklin -- A Romance from Barbour Heartsong. How can Sally and Josiah battle through the barriers separating Tory and Patriot to find love and forgiveness?

16. Ransome's Crossing; The Ransome Trilogy, Book 2 by Kaye Dacus -- A Romance from Harvest House. Disguising herself as a midshipman to get to her secret fiance, Charlotte Ransome faces danger--and love--crossing the Atlantic.

17. Rodeo Redemption; The Rodeo Royalty Series, Book 1 by Teri Wilson -- A Romance from White Rose Publishing. Josie Turner would rather forget she was ever crowned Rodeo Queen. Can former rodeo cowboy Luke Anderson mend Josie's heart and can one rodeo weekend help them both find redemption?

18. Seeds of Summer; Seasons of the Tallgrass - Book #2 by Deborah Vogts -- A Romance from Zondervan. When a former Miss Rodeo Kansas queen returns home after her father's death to care for the family ranch and her two younger siblings, what follows is a summer full of change, life-lessons and an unexpected romance with the new minister in Diamond Falls.

19. So Over It; Book 3 in The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series by Stephanie Morrill -- General Fiction from Revell. Senior year is over and Skylar Hoyt is ready to forgive and forget. Or at least forget.

20. Song of Solomon by Kendra Norman Bellamy -- A Romance from Urban Books. How can he convince her that she's his God-given mate when she's already wearing a wedding ring?

21. Stars in the Night by Cara Putman -- An Historical from Summerside Press. Step back to 1942 Hollywood as Audra Schaeffer tries to find her sister and a killer before it is too late.

22. The Crimson Cipher by Susan Page Davis -- An Historical from Summerside Press. When Emma's father is murdered, she's hired to do the job he could have had--helping track them down by breaking their ciphers.

23. The Engineered Engagement; Book Three in the Kennebrae Brides Series by Erica Vetsch -- An Historical from Barbour Heartsong. Sparks fly when a shipbuilder finds himself engaged to the wrong girl.

24. The Seeker; The Shaker Series # 3 by Ann H. Gabhart -- An Historical from Revell. The story brings alive the strikingly different worlds of the Southern gentry, the simple Shakers and the ravages of war in 1860s Kentucky.

25. The Way to a Man's Heart; The Miller Family Series, Book 3 by Mary Ellis -- A Romance from Harvest House. When all the men beat a path to Leah's diner, her parents don't breathe a sigh of relief until she narrows her suitors from half a dozen down to one.

26. Where the Dogwoods Bloom by Myra Johnson -- A Romance from Barbour Heartsong. Jilly Gardner left Blossom Hills ten years ago, determined never to return, but when Cam Lane calls to ask for her help, she finds she can't say no.

CFBA Presents NIGHTMARE by Robin Parrish

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
(Bethany House - July 1, 2010)
Robin Parrish


Robin Parrish is a journalist who's written about the intersection of faith and 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 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 with Bethany House Publishers. They contracted him for the rights to The Dominion Trilogy: Relentless (2006), Fearless (2007), and Merciless (2008). His science fiction thriller, Offworld came out in 2009. This summer debuts Nightmare, and he's working on another for 2011. Robin and his wife and children live in North Carolina.


The Nightmare is Coming...

Ghost Town is the hottest amusement park in the country, offering state-of-the-art chills and thrills involving the paranormal. The park's main ride is a haunted house that promises an encounter with a real ghost.

When Maia Peters visits during her senior year of college, she's not expecting to be impressed. Maia grew up as the only child of a pair of world-renowned "ghost hunters," so the paranormal is nothing new and to her most of the park is just Hollywood special effects. In fact, the ride feels pretty boring until the very end. There, a face appears from the mist. The face of Jordin Cole, a girl Maia knows who disappeared from campus a few months ago.

Convinced what she saw wasn't a hoax and desperate to find answers to Jordin's disappearance, Maia launches into a quest for answers. Joined by Jordin's boyfriend--a pastor's kid with very different ideas about paranormal and the spirit realm--Maia finds herself in a struggle against dangerous forces she never expected to confront on the edge of the spirit realm that try to keep the truth from emerging.

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


Do you believe in ghosts? Your perspective might change after you read Nightmare. In his latest novel, Robin Parrish introduces us to Maia Peters, the college-age daughter of two world-known paranormal investigators. Although Maia used to investigate with her parents, she wants to break away from the family business. But Jordin, a rich classmate with her own reasons for wanting to touch the other side, pulls her back in, putting both of them in a kind of danger they never thought possible.

Parrish starts the book off with a bang when Maia discovers a real ghost in what's supposed to be an amusement park attraction. He then takes us back to the year before when Maia first meets Jordin. The book continues in this fashion, alternating between the present day search for Jordin and the past "ghost hunts" Jordin and Maia went on together.

Kudos to Bethany House for the graphic presentation of the novel. Rather than put the flashback sections in italics (which I've seen more times than I can count), they made the physical look of these pages different. This makes it extremely easy to keep track of what time period you're in... and it looks cool, too.

I was immediately drawn to this book and found it hard to put down. For me, the flashbacks moved the fastest and were the most engrossing. The present day sections slowed down a bit and stretched the boundaries of believability (even for a supernatural novel). While I found Maia's prickly personality slightly irritating at first, she grew on me. Like many real-life people, you have to spend some time with Maia to understand and appreciate her, making her a very realistic character.

Nightmare is the kind of book that gets people talking. From the online chatter I've seen so far, the conversation is broken into two groups: those who applaud Parrish for his bold, outside-the-box novel, and those who think Nightmare's subject matter is not appropriate for Christians. As a person who used to live above a mortuary and grew up hearing stories about my grandparents hanging out with Bela Lugosi, I have my own personal take on ghost stories. While I do believe that spiritual phenomenon exists, I'm not afraid of it. (I also wouldn't go looking for it, but that's a whole other subject.) As Parrish emphasizes, the blood of Christ is far more powerful than any paranormal activity. Readers who stick with the book to the end should be pleased with the outcome. I know I was. And I look forward to whatever Parrish comes up with next.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Stars & Stripes & Muppets Forever!

After seeing this link posted by one of my Facebook friends,
I think it's a perfect way to celebrate the 4th.
May you all have a blessed Independence Day!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Just for Fun - Gandalf, Hobbits, and those infernal Vuvuzelas

You don't have to be a soccer fan to know how irritating vuvuzelas are. And you don't have to be a Lord of the Rings fan to get a laugh out of this video. Happy Friday!