Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Surrender Bay by Denise Hunter

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

(Thomas Nelson November 6, 2007)


Denise lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped.

Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!

In addition to Surrender Bay, the second Nantucket book releases in April 2008. The title is The Convenient Groom and features Kate Lawrence, a relationship advice columnist, whose groom dumps her on her wedding day. Denise is currently at work on the third Nantucket book (Oct 2008) which is untitled so far.

When Sam's estranged step-father dies, she inherits his ocean-front cottage in Nantucket--not because he kindly bequeathed it to her, but because he neglected to ever create a will. Sam returns to the island she left 11 years ago with her daughter Caden to fix up the house and sell it, but she isn't counting on is the fact that Landon Reed still lives two doors down from her childhood home.

As their long-dormant romance begins to bud again, Sam must face the fact that Landon still doesn't know why she really left the island. Will the secrets she's hidden all these years tear them apart? Or is Landon's love really as unconditional as he claims?

"I've always thought Denise Hunter was an amazing writer but this wonderful story sets her firmly at the forefront of compelling love stories. How Landon breaks down Samantha's determination that she is unworthy of love kept me glued to the pages. An amazing story!"

--Colleen Coble, author of Fire Dancer (Smoke Jumper Series)

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Return by Austin Boyd

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

(Navpress Publishing Group July 13, 2007)


Austin Boyd


Austin Boyd writes from his experience as a decorated Navy pilot, spacecraft engineer and an astronaut candidate finalist. Austin lives with his wife Cindy and four children in America’s “Rocket City”--Huntsville, Alabama, where he directs business development for a large NASA and defense contractor. His creative talents include inspirational fiction and poetry, finely crafted reproduction colonial furniture, archery and long distance cycling. He serves his community as an advocate for a crisis pregnancy center and as a motivational speaker in the area of lifestyle evangelism.

THE RETURN is part of the Mars Hill Classified Series with The Evidence and The Proof



Six years after completing a manned mission to the Red Planet, Admiral John Wells is set to make another journey to Mars. But this time his crew is not alone, as John's team encounters a secret colony comprised of individuals pursuing John Raines' strange religion, the "Father Race."

While John begins to uncover a web of lies on Mars, his wife and daughter are struggling for survival on earth. Now John must survive his dangerous mission and find a way back home, even as a shocking plan begins to unfold millions of miles away on earth.

Austin Boyd is back with his third thrilling novel in the Mars Hill Classified series, full of high-tech intrigue, memorable characters, and adventure that transports readers to another world.

From the Back Cover:

With nothing left for him on Earth, Rear Admiral John Wells didn't hesitate to lead a third NASA team to Mars, but he never dreamed that one day they'd look out their laboratory module into the lights of a slow-moving vehicle not their own. In the third installment of the Mars Hill Classified series, life on Mars becomes increasingly more unpredictable as the past collides with the future and nothing, not even the dead, is as it seems.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, the fate of hundreds, including John Wells' family--presumed dead these last six years--rests precariously in the hands of Malcolm Raines, self-proclaimed Guardian of the Mother Seed and Principal Cleric of Saint Michael's Remnant, and his insidious plans for the Father Race.

Wells will find himself in a race against time and all odds to expose the truth: about Mars, about Malcolm Raines, and, if he's very brave, about himself.

"Austin Boyd is one of the brightest new voices in Christian fiction. His long association with the space program lends authenticity as he reveals the turmoil in the minds and hearts of those who are willing to risk everything by making that journey. In The Return, we learn that both human emotions and God's presence reach far beyond the pull of Earth's gravity."
--Richard L Mabry, author of The Tender Scar

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Illuminated by Matt Bronleewe

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

(Thomas Nelson August 7, 2007)


Matt Bronleewe is a recognized producer, songwriter and author. The former member of the band Jars of Clay, has earned numerous awards producing and co-writing albums that have sold a combined total of over 20 million copies. His songs have recently been recorded by Disney pop sensations Aly & AJ, American Idol finalist Kimberley Locke, and more. Bronleewe has worked with Grammy Award-winning artists such as Michael W. Smith, International pop singer Natalie Imbruglia and Heroes star Hayden Panettiere.

Born in Dallas, Texas, Bronleewe was raised on a farm in Kansas, where he lived until he left for college in 1992. At Greenville College in Illinois, Bronleewe formed the band Jars of Clay with his dorm roommate and two neighbors, and the group soon found success. Though Bronleewe opted to leave Jars of Clay early on to pursue an academic career, he soon found himself in Nashville, co-writing, producing, and playing music professionally.

To add to his list of accomplishments, Bronleewe has expanded his love of story telling beyond music into authorship. He is currently penning a 5 book series for Thomas Nelson Fiction. Illuminated, in stores now, begins the adventurous series about rare manuscripts and the mysteries within.

Bronleewe currently resides in Brentwood, Tenn., with his wife and three children. He continues to write and produce music, and he also volunteers through his church to help disadvantaged youth in the community. Bronleewe enjoys reading, taste-testing good food and watching sports, as well as indulging his interests in art, architecture, design and science.


August Adams has failed his family before. He's sacrificed relationships in pursuit of adventure, fame, and money. Now the very lives of those he loves depend on his ability to decipher a centuries-old puzzle encrypted in the colorful hand-painted illuminations that adorn three rare Gutenberg Bibles.

It's a secret that could yield unimaginable wealth, undermine two major religions, and change the course of Western civilization. Two ruthless, ancient organizations are willing to do anything to get their hands on it. And August has the span of one transatlantic flight to figure it out.

If he fails, those he holds most dear will die. If he succeeds, he'll destroy a national treasure.

The clock ticks, the suspense mounts, and the body count rises as August pits his knowledge and his love for his family against the clock, secret societies, and even Johannes Gutenberg himself.

"...this rare breed of suspense thriller combines mysterious hidden clues, secret societies, buried treasure, double agents, and the Knights Templar...if you turned National Treasure into international treasure, traded DaVinci codes for Gutenberg Bibles, married it to Indiana Jones, and added the pacing of 24 you'd be in the neighborhood of Illuminated...on a scale of one to 10, this one goes to 11."
-Aspiring Retail Magazine


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Crimson Eve by Brandilyn Collins

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

(Zondervan October 30, 2007)


Brandilyn Collins is a best-selling novelist known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense™. These harrowing crime thrillers have earned her the tagline “Don’t forget to b r e a t h e…® ” She’s so well known in the industry there’s actually a club for her non-readers. That’s right. The Big Honkin’ Chickens Club (BHCC) members are proud of the fact that they’re too wimpy to read Brandilyn’s intense fiction. Now and then one of them tries. Bribing works pretty well. (Just ask Deb Raney.) Somehow they live to tell the tale.

Brandilyn writes for Zondervan, the Christian division of HarperCollins Publishers, and is currently at work on her 17th book. Her first book, A Question of Innocence, was a true crime published by Avon in 1995. Its promotion landed her on local and national TV and radio, including the Phil Donahue and Leeza talk shows.

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

Visit her website to read the first chapters of all her books.


Carla stared at the gun and David Thornby—or whatever his name was. Her mind split in two, one side pleading this was some sick joke, the other screaming it was all too real.

“Please. You must have the wrong person. There’s no reason for someone to want me dead. I don’t have any enemies.”

“Then you’d best rethink your friends.”

Realtor Carla Radling shows an “English gentleman” a lakeside estate—and finds herself facing a gun. Who has hired this assassin to kill her, and why?

Forced on the run, Carla must uncover the scathing secrets of her past. Secrets that could destroy some very powerful people...

Brandilyn Collins fans and reviewers are saying Crimson Eve is her best book yet:

“Collins tops herself by creating a suspenseful nonstop thrill ride … Truly the best Christian Fiction suspense title so far this year.”
Library Journal, starred review

“Crimson Eve is Collins at her very best. It left me feeling as if I’d climbed Mount Everest without oxygen … I didn’t think Brandilyn could outdo herself after reading Coral Moon. She did.”

“I’ve never edited a more tightly crafted, deftly woven, compellingly written book.” –a Crimson Eve editor, with 20 years experience

“This is your best book! I could not stop reading!” – one of many readers with similar responses

Read about Violet Dawn and Coral Moon, books one and two in the Kanner Lake series.

Do you know someone who’s never read a Brandilyn Collins novel? Surely no such person exists. However, should you scrounge up such a friend—someone who enjoys suspense—here’s a special offer from Brandilyn. Be among the first 50 people between now and October 21, 2007 to e-mail her assistant at with the person’s name, e-mail address and street address. (Due to exorbitant overseas mailing costs, United States residents only, please).

A signed copy of Crimson Eve will be sent to your friend—free—along with an e-mail from Brandilyn announcing the book is on its way, courtesy of you. (Don’t worry. Brandilyn won’t spam these email addresses. She just wants your friend to know who to thank.) No worries that this story is third in the Kanner Lake series. Each book stands alone. Brandilyn is convinced your friend will so love Crimson Eve, he/she will surely reciprocate with expensive chocolate.

Margie's Review—As an original writer for Brandilyn's promotional blog featuring the characters from the Kanner Lake series, Scenes and Beans, I've been privileged to have a part in this wonderful series. This third book, Crimson Eve, is in my opinion the best of the series so far.

Instead of starting with a murder, this book opens with someone trying to murder realtor, Carla Radling. Carla finds herself on the run, not fully understanding the reason why . . . until she finds her house has been searched and the diary holding the secrets of her past was still hidden in her closet.

In Brandilyn's usual fast-paced style, the story kicks into high gear until the exciting climax. People do die in the book. What Brandilyn Collins book would
be complete without some dead bodies? LOL But on the way, Carla, thinking she is all alone in what could be her last battle in life, learns she has true friends in Kanner Lake, those who are willing to risk their lives in order to help her. No matter what her secrets or mistakes are. Plus she finds the Friend who is above all others.

I highly recommend this series, and especially this book, to all readers of mystery and suspense. But don't forget to fasten your seat belt!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Nobody by Creston Mapes

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


(Multnomah Fiction September 11, 2007)


Creston Mapes


Creston Mapes is a talented storyteller whose first two novels, Dark Star and Full Tilt, made him a finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year awards and the Inspirational Readers Choice awards. Creston has written for major corporations, colleges, and ministries, including Coca-Cola, TNT Sports, Oracle, Focus on the Family, and In Touch Ministries. Committed to his craft and his family, Creston makes his home in Georgia with his wife, Patty, and their four children.

He's been married for twenty-one years to the girl he first loved way back in fourth grade. They have three lovely girls and a boy in a very close-knit family, spending a lot of time together - watching old classic movies, going on outings, and taking in various school and community events and activities. Creston loves to go for morning walks with his dog, read, paint watercolors, meet friends for coffee and Bible study, watch hockey, take his wife on dates, and spend time in God's Word.


Not everything that happens in Vegas has to stay in Vegas!

They said, “He’s a nobody.”
They were dead wrong.

When reporter Hudson Ambrose hears an early morning call on his police scanner about an injured person at a bus stop on Las Vegas Boulevard, he rushes to the scene to get the scoop.
His world is blown off its axis when he discovers a murdered homeless man with a bankbook in his pocket showing a balance of almost one million dollars. Should he wait for the police, knowing the case will get lost in reams of red tape, or swipe the bankbook and take the investigation–and perhaps a chunk of the money–into his own hands?

With sirens bearing down on the scene, Hudson makes an impulse decision that whisks him on a frantic search for answers, not only about the mysterious dead man, but about the lost soul lurking within himself.

Uncovering bizarre links between a plane crash, a Las Vegas pit boss, a dirty cop, and a widowed Atlanta business mogul, Hudson is forced to find out: who was Chester Holte, what was he doing on the streets, and why are his homeless friends convinced he was an angel in disguise?

“Nobody was absolutely riveting from the opening scene to the final page. With compelling characters, a plot that surprised me at every turn, and a subtle, yet profound message that moved me to tears, this book goes straight to the top of my highly recommended list.”
- Deborah Raney, author of Remember to Forget and Within This Circle

“A taut, entertaining novel of mystery, intrigue, and spiritual truth. Creston Mapes delivers a winner in Nobody.”
- James Scott Bell, bestselling author of No Legal Grounds and Try Dying

“Nobody had me fascinated from the first paragraph and kept the surprises coming to the very end. Somehow, as the pages flew by, it also managed to convey a beautiful picture of faith the size of a mustard seed. From now on I’ll read anything by Creston Mapes the instant it hits the shelves.”
- Athol Dickson, Christy Award—winning author of River Rising and The Cure

Monday, October 8, 2007

William Tell Overture for Moms

Check out this You Tube video. This has absolutely nothing to do with self-editing! But it's fun :).

Thanks to my friend Janet for sharing this with me :).

Have a great day in the Lord's love!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Trophy Wives Club by Kristin Billerbeck

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


Avon Inspire (September 4, 2007)


Kristin Billerbeck


Kristin Billerbeck was born in Redwood City, California. She went to San Jose State University and majored in Advertising, then worked at the Fairmont Hotel in PR, a small ad agency as an account exec, and then,
she was thrust into the exciting world of shopping mall marketing. She got married, had four kids, and started writing romance novels until she found her passion: Chick Lit. She is a CBA bestselling author and two-time winner of the ACFW Book of the Year. Featured in the New York Times and USA Today, Kristin has appeared on the Today Show for her pioneering role in Christian chick lit.

Her last three books were:

Split Ends: Sometimes the End is Really the Beginning (April 17, 2007)

She's Out of Control (Ashley Stockingdale Series #1) (Nov 13, 2007)

Calm, Cool & Adjusted (Spa Girls Series #3) (Oct 1, 2006)


Haley Cutler is the consummate trophy wife. Perhaps "was" is the more accurate term. Haley married Prince Charming when she was only twenty years old – back in the day when highlights came from an afternoon at the beach, not three hours in the salon.

When Jay first turned his eye to Haley, she was putty in his slender, graceful hands. No one ever treated her like she was important, and on the arm of Jay Cutler, she became someone people listened to and admired. Unfortunately, after seven years of marriage, her Prince Charming seems to belong to the Henry the XIII line of royalty. When Haley loses Jay, she not only loses her husband, she loses her identity.

With her first independent decision, Haley leaves LA and moves home to Northern California. Feeling freedom just within her grasp, Haley learns that her settlement payments must go through one of Jay's financial advisors, Hamilton Lowe. Haley believes he's nothing more than a spy. And the feelings of distrust are mutual. Yet somehow, Hamilton finds himself handing over the monthly checks in person, and Haley can't deny that there's a kind of tenderness and protectiveness in Hamilton that she's never experienced in a man before.

But before Haley can even consider another relationship, she must learn to accept her inherent worth, and what it is to be loved for who she is, not what's on the outside.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Begotten and The Betrayed by Lisa T. Bergren

Today we welcome Lisa T. Bergren, talking about her new series, The Gifted. Join us as Lisa shares about her writing, and specifically how faith and family are an integral part of her work.

Lisa: I came up with the series concept after reading The Da Vinci Code, and thinking long and hard about the things I both loved (pacing, mystery, suspense) and hated (heresy that made me want to throw it against a wall). I also was heavily influenced by the Lord of the Rings trilogy on film—the grandeur of an epic story, with a cast of characters, deeper symbolism, adventure. So I started talking to my friends who know Scripture, and I asked them about a good biblical mystery…two mentioned the “previous letters” mentioned by Paul in 1 Corinthians and I was off and running. Considering that Paul talks a lot about spiritual gifts in his letters to the Corinthians, I gave my characters all the unique and powerful spiritual gifts he mentioned in the Scriptures—healing, prophecy, wisdom, faith, miraculous powers—and placed them in perilous times, the 14th century, pre-Reformation, pre-Renaissance. My Gifted are hunted both by the Church, who seeks to control them, and forces of evil, who wish to kill them. All in all, I think it makes for a classic Good vs. Evil read—with inspiration and application for us in the 21st century.

Margie: How did you get started writing, and where has that journey taken you that you may not have expected starting out?

Lisa: When I was in 3rd grade, I won a poetry contest, and thought my future was certain. And while I always enjoyed writing and thought having to read a book for school was the best kind of homework, I never really thought I'd do it for a profession. In fact, it took me three or four published books before I could bring myself to call myself "an author" or "a writer." I felt like I was a fraud and someone would surely find out sooner than later.

Margie: How do you balance family life with writing?

Lisa: Family and faith comes first, so writing has to slip in the cracks. When I'm on deadline, I make sure the family is on board and I schedule some intense weekends or days when I plow through my rough draft. Once I get my rough draft done, then I can be more sane...a few hours a day, and soon it's done and ready for the publisher!

Margie: How does your walk with the Lord affect your writing? And how do you balance time with the Lord with your writing schedule?

Lisa: I find that Bible study constantly impacts what I'm writing. God is so sweet about revealing things I need to learn through Scripture, and invariably, my characters end up learning some of the same things. Again, since faith and family come first, writing has to fit around worship and Bible study. I used to skip church when I was on deadline...but God showed me that it's was just a teeny bit HYPOCRITICAL to be a "Christian writer" who "can't possibly make it to worship today because I have to get my Christian novel done." Priorities, priorities. It's a relief to me to have that in order in my head and heart.

Margie: Since my blog is geared to writers who want to improve their self-editing, could you briefly take us through your process of writing a novel—from conception to revision?

Lisa: I always begin with a locale and an era I want to explore. With this Gifted series, I actually began with the biblical mystery--the lost letter of Saint Paul--and thought, "If a letter was to appear from Paul, what would be the content?" Since he mentions other letters in Corinthians, I took the spiritual gifts passage, and then asked, "When would be the most evocative time period to set this?" Pre-Reformation was an obvious answer, since the Church had a tight hold on her flock, and really didn't care to let "spiritual gifts loose." You want to have as much potential conflict--and therefore potential for great pacing--in your concept as possible. From there I began researching, going deep and wide for about a year to get some semblance of a handle of life in Italy, c.1340. I purchased about $1000 of research materials, but a lot is available online (and I felt I could justify the expense because it was supporting three books). Research always gives me great plot fodder. Nothing like bizarre historical facts to get you thinking of twists and turns a story could take! Then I outlined my characters, each of their "backstories," and outlined book 1, chapter by chapter. A couple of sentences on each chapter always helps me get right back into my story, even if it's been a couple weeks since I've had the chance to write. I usually go back, edit what I last wrote, take a peek at what I planned next, and roll right along. I need 3-5 hours of writing to get anything done and move the mss. forward. I plug "BLANK" whenever I don't know a name or word I'm looking for into my rough--this keeps me going on the story. I also will plug "RESEARCH THIS" or "CHECK THIS" when I'm making stuff up and I want to make sure I go back and verify it's correct. I know writers who have to stop and get those details down, right then, but if I did that, I'd never publish again.

: What kinds of things do you have to revise once the editor at a publishing house gets done with your manuscript?

Lisa: Depends on her edit! I've cut out entire subplots, added others, and made significant character development changes. Usually my plot is fairly on track and just needs a little tweaking. But I'm always glad for a good edit--if your editor won't tell you what's wrong with your book, then you're at the mercy of the public! I'd much rather go thru the redline process first; it makes me feel much more confident. With multiple characters as in The Gifted Series, I have to go back and read the preceding book(s) to make sure I'm remembering everything right!

Margie: Would you tell us a little about your future projects?

Lisa: I think I'll do a Colorado 1880s series next. Then on to something bigger, more on the scale of The Gifted. But my backyard is calling! (I live in Colorado.)

Margie: Finally, would you discuss The Gifted novels? The research, the idea, and the scope of the project?

Lisa: See above...In addition, I got to go to Italy three times! It was dreamy, and helped so much on the research and getting things right. You can talk about a piazza in a town, based on travel book description, but to be there, to feel it, experience it, helps you see how your action is taking place--and what just wouldn't work. I went with my husband to Rome-Tuscany-Venice a couple of years ago, back to Venice with my eldest daughter for 10 days 6 months after that--which was MARVELOUS mother/daughter time as well as writing time--and then back to Rome-Tuscany-Venice-Provence, France last spring. I'll never write another book without going there. But I know when you're first starting out, the budget is hard to swing. I wrote about Norway and the Caribbean without having gone! It IS possible.

Margie: Thank you so much, Lisa! We appreciate your time and the opportunity to spotlight your work.

Margie’s comments on this series:

I love historical novels with a touch of mystery and intrigue. And Lisa Bergren’s latest series delivered a very satisfying read. The Begotten is set in Italy, 1339. Besides giving a great view of the Middle Ages, I was pulled into the story of the rich descriptions of everyday life, the Church, and the Italian countryside. The characters are real and I identified with those of The Gifted who wanted above all to serve the Lord, even at a high cost. In the first book of the series, The Gifted are drawn to one another because of their special giftings, fulfilling an ancient prophecy. The opposition is strong and very real. The Betrayed carries the story further as The Gifted are forced into hiding by those who oppose them. Yet the group continues committed to serving God with their gifts, and much good is done as they discover more of the prophecy and their future. I highly recommend these books. The Begotten was a Christy Award finalist this year in the suspense category—an honor that is well deserved.

A reader’s guide is included in the back of each book, making these great choices for reading groups, if you are a part of one.

To learn more about this series and Lisa, visit

Also, as president of the ACFW Denver chapter, HIS Writers, I’m pleased to announce that we’ll be hosting Lisa at our January 12 meeting at Borders in the shopping center on the northwest corner of I-25 and 104th Ave. Borders and Lisa’s publisher, Penguin, are joining forces to promote the booksigning. After the booksigning, Lisa will be speaking. If you’re in the Denver area, please plan to join us. I’ll post more specific details later.