Monday, June 30, 2008

Hidden by Shelley Shepard Gray

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


Avon Inspire (May 27, 2008)


Shelley Shepard Gray


Hidden is Shelley’s first foray into inspirational fiction. Previously, Shelley lived in Texas and Colorado, where she taught school and earned both her bachelors and masters degrees in education. She now lives in southern Ohio where she writes full time. Shelley is an active member of her church. She serves on committees, volunteers in the church office, and is part of the Telecare ministry, which calls homebound members on a regular basis. Shelley looks forward to the opportunity to write novels that showcase her Christian ideals.


Hidden is a remarkable story about the unlikely love between a modern girl on the run and an Amish boy from the family who shelters her.

When Anna decides it's time to leave her abusive boyfriend, she doesn't know where to turn. Rob is a successful and respected person in her community. He has completely won over her parents with his good looks and prestigious position at a top law firm. Only Anna has seen his dark side. But when Rob hurts Anna yet again, she realizes that she must finally help herself.

Desperate, she runs to the one place she’s always felt completely safe, the Amish Brenneman Bed and Breakfast, where years ago she and her mother once stayed, and where Anna met life-long friend Katie Brenneman. When Anna shows up years later unexpectedly, the family welcomes her in, with few questions asked, and allows her to stay, dressed as the Amish in Plain clothes, and help around the inn.

But Katie’s older brother Henry doesn’t take too kindly to the intrusion. Anna wonders if it’s because he’s already had his heart broken. To Henry’s shame, from the moment he sees Anna, he feels a strong attraction. To cover his infatuation, he tries to ignore her, knowing no good would ever come from keeping an eye on a fancy woman like her. But as he sees that Anna has a good heart and is not the selfish, spoiled woman he imagined her to be, he feels his heart pointing towards her.

Anna comes to realize that she’s found a home and true love in the last place she’d expected. How can she deny the life she left behind? And will her chance for happiness be stolen away by the man who can’t seem to let her go?

If you would like to read the Prologue, go HERE

Daily Bible reading: Tuesday, July 1—Deuteronomy 13–15; Acts 4:1–22
Wednesday, July 2—Deuteronomy 16–18; Acts 4:23–37
Thursday, July 3—Deuteronomy 19-–21; Acts 5:1–21
Friday, July 4—Deuteronomy 22–24; Acts 5:22–42
Saturday, July 5—Deuteronomy 25–27; Acts 6
Sunday, July 6—Deuteronomy 28–29; Acts 7:1–21
Monday, July 7—Deuteronomy 30–31; Acts 7:22–43

Calico Canyon by Mary Connealy

I'll be doing today's post in several installments. Since my brother and his family are visiting, I'm finding that I'm severely "cramped" for time right now. (smile) So . . . I didn't think to post the CFBA blog tour for the end of last week until it was very late in the day! Yikes! And there was no time to do it over the weekend either. So . . . sorry, Mary, that this is a little late.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Calico Canyon

Barbour Publishing, Inc (July 1, 2008)


Mary Connealy


MARY CONNEALY is an award-winning author and playwright, married to Ivan a farmer, and the mother of four beautiful daughters, Joslyn, Wendy, Shelly and Katy. They live in Decatur, Nebraska. Mary is a GED Instructor by day and an author by night. And there is always a cape involved in her transformation.

Mary has also written Petticoat Ranch, Golden Days, and her latest, Alaska Brides that will debut in August.


Let yourself be swept away by this fast-paced romance, featuring Grace Calhoun, an instructor of reading, writing, and arithmetic, who, in an attempt to escape the clutchs of a relentless pursuer, runs smack dab into even more trouble with the 6R's—widower Daniel Reeves, along with his five rowdy sons. When a marriage is forced upon this hapless pair—two people who couldn't dislike each other more—an avalanche isn't the only potential danger lurking amid the shadows of Calico Canyon. Will they make it out alive? Or end up killing each other in the process?

Running from her abusive foster-father, a man intent on revenge, the prim and perfectly proper Grace Calhoun takes on the job of schoolmarm in Mosqueros, Texas.

As if being a wanted woman isn't bad enough, Grace has her hands full with the five rowdy and rambunctious Reeves boys─tough Texan tormenters who seem intent on making her life miserable. When, in an attempt to escape from the clutches of her pursuer, Grace is forced to marry widower Daniel Reeves, father of the miniature monsters, she thinks things couldn't get any worse. Or could they?

Daniel Reeves, happy in his all-male world, is doing the best he can, raising his five boys─rascals, each and every one. Since his wife's death in childbirth, Daniel has been determined never to risk marriage again.

When God throws Grace and Daniel together─two people who couldn't detest each other more─the trouble is only beginning.

Will this hapless pair find the courage to face life together in the isolated Calico Canyon? Or are their differences too broad a chasm to bridge?

If you would like to read the first chapter go HERE

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sir Kendrick and the Castle of Bel Lione by Chuck Black

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Sir Kendrick and the Castle of Bel Lione

(Multnomah Books - June 17, 2008)


Chuck Black


Chuck Black first wrote Kingdom’s Edge to inspire his children to read the Bible with renewed zeal. This captivating expanded parable led him to write the Old Testament allegories, Kingdom’s Dawn and Kingdom’s Hope. Chuck added three more titles to the series, Kingdom’s Call, Kingdom’s Quest, and Kingdom’s Reign which were released in May of 2007.

Chuck is a former F-16 fighter pilot and currently works as an engineer for a firm designing plastic consumer products. He has a degree in electrical and electronic engineering and served eight years in the United States Air Force. Chuck and his wife Andrea have six children and live in North Dakota.

It is Chuck’s desire to serve the Lord through his work and to inspire people of all ages to study the scriptures in order to discover the hope and love of a truly majestic King and His Son.


A dangerous new order threatens the mission of the Knights of Arrethtrae. Only loyalty to the King can bring victory!

As the Knights of the Prince await His triumphant return, they are steadfast in their mission to take His story into the kingdom and recruit as many as are willing. But when a new and dangerous threat is revealed, their mission is jeopardized.

Sir Kendrick and his young charge, the impetuous Sir Duncan, are sent on a mission to discover the identity and origin of a secretive new order known as the Vincero Knights. They travel to the city of Bel Lione where Lord Ra has been enticing young people in the kingdom to join his festivals, after which many choose not to return home. Their families keep quiet for fear of repercussion.

When Sir Duncan disappears while trying to discover the truth of Lord Ra’s castle, Sir Kendrick attempts to find and enlist the help of a mysterious warrior. Time is short for he must save Duncan and call upon the knights of Chessington to join in the battle against the evil Lord Ra.

Journey to Arrethtrae, where these knights of noble heart live and die in loyal service to the King and the Prince. These knights are mighty, for they serve a mighty King. They are . . . the Knights of Arrethtrae!

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

Margie's comments: I have a degree in elementary education, but I've also taught junior high and high school. So whenever I hear of a new book out for young people, I try to get a hold of it. When it's allegorical, I like it even better.

While it took a while for me to get into the story, I enjoyed the overall read. As I was finishing the book this morning, I was satisfied knowing that the allegory touched on several themes throughout. The one that I especially like is the theme of how amazing God's grace is. He takes the most unlikely, unqualified sinners and makes them into warriors for Him. God's grace, love, salvation, and service are all clearly dealt with in this short book. (It is a quick read!)

The writing style put me off a little, which is why it took so long for me to get into the story. But it won't keep me from sharing this book with my thirteen-year-old nephew when he comes to visit next week. And I'm sure my twenty-three-year-old son will want to read it as well.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Suspicious Minds by Christy Barritt

Today The Writer’s Tool is part of Christy Barritt’s blog tour for the release of her second book, Suspicious Minds, in the Squeaky Clean Mystery Series. I enjoyed the first book in this series, Hazardous Duty, very much, and I’m looking forward to reading Suspicious Minds (when I get home later this week *smile*). Since I haven’t had time to read the book yet, I asked Christy to join us today with an interview.

First, here’s a brief summary of the story:

Rock and roll may never die, but the King is definitely dead . . . again.

In this smart and suspenseful sequel to Hazardous Duty, crime-scene cleaner Gabby St. Claire finds herself stuck doing mold remediation to pay the bills. But her first day on the job, she uncovers a surprise in the crawlspace of a dilapidated home: Elvis, dead as a doornail and still wearing his blue suede shoes. How could she possibly keep her nose out of a case like this?

Elvis turns out to be Darnell Evans, a down-on-his-luck impersonator whose luck just got a lot worse, and there is no shortage of suspects. When his widow begs her to help, Gabby takes on the case of who-killed-the-King. In the meantime her would-be rival, Chad Davis, is turning into one hunka hunka burnin’ love and starting to dish out some serious TLC, which is the last thing Gabby needs right now.

Realizing the futility of running from God and from her responsibilities, Gabby decides to reconsider her priorities her life. But when the ersatz Elvis killer catches on to her investigation, will she survive long enough to be able to?

“Suspicious Minds plays havoc on the nerves and the funny bone as crime-scene cleaner Gabby St. Claire wisecracks her way between dead bodies and flying bullets. A treat not to be missed!”
—Jill Elizabeth Nelson
Author, To Catch a Thief series

Christy Barritt is a freelance writer, author and speaker.

Her newest book, Suspicious Minds (Kregel, 2008) is a lighthearted mystery about a sassy crime-scene cleaner who likes to stick her nose into police business. The first book in the series was Hazardous Duty, a finalist in the ACFW Book of the Year contest. She’s also the coauthor of Changed: True Stories of Finding God in Christian Music (Standard, 2005).

When she’s not working on books, Christy writes articles for various publications. She’s been published with The Lookout, Brio, Campus Life, The Plain Truth, Marriage Partnership, Evangel, The Secret Place, Devozine, Encounter, Kidz Chat, and more. She writes a weekly feature article called "Thumbs Up," which salutes someone doing something positive in the community, for the Chesapeake Clipper, part of the Virginian-Pilot.

Christy enjoys teaching and speaking at various functions, from writers groups to women’s luncheons. She has a passion for sharing the truths and lessons that she’s learned throughout her life.

For two years, she was an assistant editor at Standard Publishing. When her father became ill, she moved home to be closer to him. The move propelled her back to her first love—writing—and she hasn’t stopped since.

She’s married to Scott, a teacher and funny man extraordinaire. They have one son, Eli Samuel, and two dogs, Duchess and Benji.

When Christy’s not writing, she enjoys having coffee with friends, taking crazy road trips that usually involve no maps and flipping coins, and making her 24-month-old son giggle.

Thank you for joining us today, Christy. How did you get started writing, and where has that journey taken you that you may not have expected starting out?
I’ve always wanted to write. I wrote two or three books before I graduated high school (note: these books will never see the light of day!). I went to college specifically to study communications and land a job at a Christian publisher afterward. I did just that. Unfortunately, I put my own writing on hold when I worked as assistant editor. When my father became ill, I moved twelve hours back home. The move propelled me to begin writing again. I’ve been doing it ever since. The journey has taken me a lot of places—both physically and emotionally—that I would not have expected. It’s been fun and heartbreaking at the same time. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

How do you balance family life with writing?
This is always challenging and something I’m constantly re-evaluating to see how I’m doing. I have a two-year-old son who keeps me very busy! My goal is to finish working by four p.m. every day and to save evenings and weekends for my family. That doesn’t always work, but it’s a good guideline for me. Communication is key!

How does your walk with the Lord affect your writing? And how do you balance time with the Lord with your writing schedule?
My walk with the Lord greatly influences my writing. I try to be very sensitive to where the Lord is pointing me with my writing. Sometimes, I feel him telling me to stop one project and work on another. Some projects I’ve worked on only to discover later that the prose was meant for me and me alone. I try to be in constant communion with God, talking to him throughout the day. In America, we seem to think our relationship with God is good if we read our Bible and pray for fifteen minutes a day, as well as attending church. These things are important but I feel that being a Christ follower is a 24-7 thing. That said, I still have a long way to go! Thank goodness God loves me anyway. :)

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?
I tend to see my novels like scenes from a movie. I usually start out with a hook. I spend a good chunk of time writing the first two or three chapters, trying to develop my opening so that it’s interesting and catchy. The idea for the rest of the book grows from that opening. From there, I’ll research whatever needs to be researched. I’m a seat of the pantser so I try to let the characters lead me on their journey. My best books, IMHO, are the ones I can’t get out of my mind. They’re the ones that I think about at night as I’m trying to fall asleep, in which scenes keep flashing in my head. I want my stories to entertain ME as I’m writing them. I figure that’s a good start to entertaining others after the book is published. :)

What kinds of things do you have to revise once the editor at a publishing house gets done with your manuscript?
Sometimes themes or characters need to be developed more. Sometimes there may be a flaw in logic or in the sequence of events. Other times you may need to add more details to a scene so readers can visualize it better. My manuscript is always stronger after the editorial process. I’m so thankful for it!

Would you tell us a little about your future projects?
I’m working on a cozy mystery called The Death of the Couch Potato’s Wife. It’s a fun little book that pokes fun at Homeowners’ Associations in suburbia. I’m also working on book number three in the Squeaky Clean Series, tentatively titled Organized Grime. Crime scene cleaner Gabby St. Claire takes on the world of being green when her best friend, an animal right’s activist, is accused of eco-terrorism.

Finally, would you discuss Suspicious Minds? The research, the idea, and the scope of the project?
The idea for Suspicious Minds was sparked after I did an interview for the newspaper with an Elvis impersonator. Talking to him was so eye-opening! People literally treated him like a celebrity and even setting up the interview was a challenge because he was so “in demand.” That’s why I decided to pursue a plot about a dead Elvis impersonator. I also wanted to explore the theme of loneliness. I just think that as each generation becomes even more tied to the computer, the lonelier we’re becoming. We can do everything from home without ever having to leave our computer or interacting with anyone. In some ways, this is nice and convenient. But we all need people in our lives to keep up sane and healthy. I think this issue will only grow in the coming years. I know it’s something I’ve struggled with myself. So, with those two thoughts in mind, I started the book and decided to see where crime-scene cleaner Gabby St. Claire and the gang took me. I’m not a big plotter—I like the story to grow organically. It’s more fun to write that way, also. There’s more revision involved, but it’s worth it, IMHO.

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

Daily Bible reading: Tuesday, June 24—Jeremiah 50; Philippians 2
Wednesday, June 25—Jeremiah 51–52; Philippians 3
Thursday, June 26—Joel; Philippians 4
Friday, June 27—Deuteronomy 1–3; Acts 1
Saturday, June 28—Deuteronomy 4–6; Acts 2:1–21
Sunday, June 29—Deuteronomy 7–9; Acts 2:22–47
Monday, June 30—Deuteronomy 10–12; Acts 3

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Hunted by Mike Dellosso

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Hunted

(Realms - June 3, 2008)


Mike Dellosso


Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Mike now lives in Hanover, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Jen, and their three daughters. He writes a monthly column for Writer . . . Interrupted. He was a newspaper correspondent/columnist for over three years and has published several articles for The Candle of Prayer inspirational booklets. Mike also has edited and contributed to numerous Christian-themed Web sites and e-newsletters.

Mike is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, the Relief Writer's Network, and International Thriller Writers. He received his BA degree in sports exercise and medicine from Messiah College and his MBS degree in theology from Master's Graduate School of Divinity.

You can read a great interview with Mike, over here on TitleTrakk.


A town's deadly secret will drive one man to the edge of his faith...

After learning of the disappearance of his nephew, Joe Saunders returns to his childhood home of Dark Hills to aid in the search effort. When Caleb is found, badly mauled and clinging to life, Joe embarks on a mission to find the beast responsible. But the more Joe delves into the fabric of his old hometown, the more he realizes Dark Hills has a dark secret, shrouded for three generations in a deadly code of silence.

As Joe unravels the truth behind a series of unexplained animal attacks, murder, and corruption at the highest level of law enforcement, he is led to a final showdown where he must entrust his very life into God's hands. Will his young faith be strong enough to battle the demonic forces of The Hunted?

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

Mike Dellosso could very well be the next Frank Peretti-if you liked The Oath and Monster, you are going to love The Hunted.
--C.J. Darlington, Cofounder and book editor,

A spine-tingling tale of hidden secrets, buried hopes, and second chances. A story best read with all the lights on and an extra flashlight--just in case!
--Amy Wallace, author of Ransomed Dreams

Mike Dellosso's pins-and-needles thriller hurtles the reader down a dark and twisted path. I dare you to take this one home!
--Jill Elizabeth Nelson, author of the To Catch a Thief suspense series

With hints of Frank Peretti and Stephen King, The Hunted is a chilling debut."
--Creston Mapes, author of Nobody

A vicious enemy, a family secret, a thirst for revenge, and a need for reconciliation all drive The Hunted from intriguing beginning to thrilling conclusion."
--Kathryn Mackel, author of Vanished

Read this someplace safe as you experience the incredibly descriptive world of The Hunted. And sleep with the lights on.
--Austin Boyd, author of Mars Hill Classified trilogy

Margie's comments: If you like supernatural thrillers, you're going to like The Hunted. Oh my! This is one reader who can't read this kind of book in bed before she goes to sleep. (smile) And I generally do like well-written books in this category.

Mike Dellosso has done a great job with his debut novel. The pace is fast, the emotions evoked are intense. I love the characters, especially Joe and Maggie. The inward tension produced by guilt and failure is real, and they find real solutions when they learn to trust God and each other.

Excellent read! Definitely worth a cyber-trip to Amazon or any other bookseller online . . . or a run to your nearest B&N or Borders or independent bookseller. It's a book that is very hard to put down.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Deep in the Heart of Trouble by Deeanne Gist

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Deep in the Heart of Trouble

(Bethany House June 1, 2008)


Deeanna Gist


Deanne Gist has been a busy lady. She had a career in elementary education. She raised four children. In fifteen years she has: run a home accessory/antique business; been a member of the press; penned freelance journalism for a few well-known publications—People, Parents, Family Fun, and more; was the CFO for her husband's engineering company—all in her home.

She also founded a publishing corporation for the purpose of developing, producing, and marketing products which would reinforce family values, teach children responsibility, and provide character building activities. In answer to Gist’s fervent prayers, God sent a mainstream publisher to her door who licensed her parenting I Did It!® product line and committed to publish the next generation of her system, thus freeing Gist to return to her writing.

Eight months later, she submitted A Bride Most Begrudging to Bethany House Publishers and they picked it up for their new "edgy inspirational" line of historical fiction. After its release in July 2005, Bride hit eight best seller lists and has sold over 100,000 copies and won the Christy Award for BEST ROMANCE 2006. The Measure of a Lady was her 2006 summer release. It hit five best seller lists and won the Christy Award for BEST ROMANCE 2007. Gist is contracted to have a new book come out every summer. Courting Trouble was her 2007 summer release and it hit three best seller lists.

Deeanne lives in Texas with her husband of twenty-four years. They have two kids in high school, two in college.


A Texas-Sized Tale of Unexpected Love

Essie Spreckelmeyer is the last woman anyone in Corsicana, Texas, expected to see with a man on her arm. Independent and outspoken, she’s known more for riding bicycles in outrageous bloomers than for catching a man’s eye.

And the last man who seems willing to give her a second glance is Tony Morgan, newly hired at Spreckelmeyer’s oil company. The disinherited son of an oil baron, Tony wants most to restore his name and regain his lost fortune—not lose his heart to this headstrong blonde. She confounds, contradicts, and confuses him. Sometimes he doesn’t know if she’s driving him toward the aisle or the end of his rope.

That’s how life is ...Deep In The Heart Of Trouble

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

“Christy Award winner Gist’s historical romances have increasingly gained popularity, combining witty dialog, well-balanced plots, and fully developed characters who seem almost real. Recommended for CF and romance collections.”
-- Library Journal

"Gist does it again! Her signature prose is consistent and she delivers a thoroughly delightful and entertaining story that’s worthy of our time and attention. Not only won’t you want to put this book down, you’ll want to enjoy this story again and again."
-- JUNE TOP PICK, 4-1/2 STARS, Romantic Times, Jennifer Reyes

"Gist has once again written a delightfully humorous historical romance. After reading the first book in this series of two, I was anxious to get my hands on this one. Let me tell you, I was not disappointed ... It is a spectacular, feel-good story which I highly recommend. You will definitely be glad you read it."
-– FIVE STAR RATING, The Romance Studio, Brenda Talley

Margie's comments: I have not read any of Deeanne Gist's books, so I cannot give a recommendation for her books. I was present when she won her first Christy Award, as the annual awards banquet was held in Denver that year.

Daily Bible reading: Tuesday, June 17—Jeremiah 32–33; Matthew 26:26–50
Wednesday, June 18—Jeremiah 34–36; Matthew 26:51–75
Thursday, June 19—Jeremiah 37–39; Matthew 27:1–26
Friday, June 20—Jeremiah 40–42; Matthew 27:27–50
Saturday, June 21—Jeremiah 43–45; Matthew 27:51–66
Sunday, June 22—Jeremiah 46–47; Matthew 28
Monday, June 23—Jeremiah 48–49; Philippians 1

Friday, June 13, 2008

House of Dark Shadows and Watcher in the Woods by Robert Liparulo

Today we're focusing on two books by Robert Liparulo. If you'll remember, when I interviewed Bob last fall, he mentioned he was working on a YA series. So I'm excited to see the first two books in print.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing a double pair

House of Dark Shadows
Watcher In The Woods
(Books 1 and 2 in the Dreamhouse Kings Series)

Thomas Nelson (May 6, 2008)


Robert Liparulo


Robert is an award-winning author of over a thousand published articles and short stories. He is currently a contributing editor for New Man magazine. His work has appeared in Reader's Digest, Travel & Leisure, Modern Bride, Consumers Digest, Chief Executive, and the Arizona Daily Star, among other publications. In addition, he previously worked as a celebrity journalist, interviewing Stephen King, Tom Clancy, Charlton Heston, and others for magazines such as Rocky Road, Preview, and L.A. Weekly.

Robert is an avid scuba diver, swimmer, reader, traveler, and a law enforcement and military enthusiast. He lives in Colorado with his wife and four children.

Robert's first novel painted a scenario so frighteningly real that six Hollywood producers were bidding on movie rights before the novel was completed. His acclaimed debut novel, Comes A Horseman, is being made into a major motion picture by producer Mace Neufeld, and his short story "Kill Zone" was featured in the anthology Thriller, edited by James Patterson.

Bob has sold the film rights to his second book, GERM. And he is writing the screenplay for a yet-to-be-written political thriller, which sold to Phoenix Pictures, for Andrew Davis (The Fugitive, The Guardian) to direct!

And his third book, Deadfall, debuted to rave reviews!


House of Dark Shadows
(Dreamhouse Kings Book 1)

Dream house...or bad dream?
When the Kings move from L.A. to a secluded small town, fifteen-year-old Xander is beyond disappointed. He and his friends loved to create amateur films . . . but the tiny town of Pinedale is the last place a movie buff and future filmmaker wants to land.

But he, David, and Toria are captivated by the many rooms in the old Victorian fixer-upper they moved into—as well as the heavy woods surrounding the house.

They soon discover there's something odd about the house. Sounds come from the wrong directions. Prints of giant, bare feet appear in the dust. And when David tries to hide in the linen closet, he winds up in locker 119 at his new school.

Then the really weird stuff kicks in: they find a hidden hallway with portals leading off to far-off places—in long-ago times. Xander is starting to wonder if this kind of travel is a teen's dream come true . . . or his worst nightmare.

Watcher In The Woods
(Dreamhouse Kings Book 2)

It's not just the house that's keeping secrets.
Pretending everything's all right is harder than it sounds. But the Kings know that even if they told the truth about the bizarre things happening in their house, no one would believe them. They're hyper-focused on rescuing their lost family member before anyone finds out what's going on.

But when a stranger shows up to take their house, their options start dwindling fast. Why would he be so interested in a run-down old place? And what secret is he hiding—just as he hides the scars that crisscross his body?

The mystery gets stranger with each passing day. Will the Kings be able to find a way to harness the house's secrets and discover who is watching their every move before another gets snatched into an unknown world?

The Dreamhouse Kings Series has three contests that you will not want to miss...Dream the Scene, a weekly "Thanks For Reading" Trivia contest, and the Dreamhouse Kings Street Team contest. There are also free bookplates that you can request, and a chapter of each book that you can download!

You can get all those goodies HERE.

Margie's review: When I picked up House of Shadows to read earlier this week, I wondered if the author would begin these YA books with his signature first scene vividly depicting a crime in progress. . . . And, yes, he did. But that's all I'm going to say about that. *grin*

Both books are typical of the author's first three books in that the first scene sets the tone for the entire book. They are fast-paced thrillers that keep my heart pounding in high gear throughout. Definitely not books to read in bed just before falling asleep . . . because you won't. I know. I've tried it.

The stories are well-planned, the characters are refreshingly true to their ages—I could see my own children in the characters when they were 15, 12, and 9—and the setting is perfect, becoming a character in its own right.

I highly recommend these books, not only for the YA audience but also for anyone who loves thrillers. But trust me when I say you can't put them down. I've read both books in less than three days, neglecting to work on my own projects and deadlines. However, I don't regret it. It was time well-spent.

Now, I can't believe we have to wait until January for the next installment of the Dreamhouse Kings! Sigh.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I Heart Bloomberg by Melody Carlson

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

I Heart Bloomberg

David C. Cook (April 1, 2008)


Melody Carlson


Melody Carlson is the best-selling author of more than 100 books for adults, children, and teens, including three of her latest, These Boots Weren't Made For Walking, A Mile In My Flip-Flops, and Mixed Bags. She and her husband, the parents of two grown sons, make their home near the Cascade Mountains in Central Oregon. Melody is a full-time writer as well as an avid gardener, biker, skier, and hiker.

Favorite Bible verse: John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." It’s the “whosoever” part that gets me. That’s who I write for – “whosoever” and to me that means everyone and anyone.

Carlson, author of more than 100 books, begins her 86 Bloomberg Place series with I Heart Bloomberg that functions mostly to set up future story lines. Three women rent rooms at 86 Bloomberg Place:


Kendall's managed to wrangle her grandmother's house—free and clear—except for the rules. No male roommates. But that's ok, with the right ad she'll pull in some girls, their rent and if she's lucky, she won't have to go to work any time soon.

For their part, Anna, Lelani, and Megan all have their reasons for wanting to move in: Anna has got to get out from under her overprotective parents; Lelani can't take another day in her aunt's tiny crackerbox house overflowing with toddlers; and Megan needs a place free of her current roommate from Hades.

Though they come with assorted extra baggage filled with broken hearts and dreams, they will discover they also have a vast array of hidden strengths. And they struggle to become the women they want to be, they'll find new hope and maybe even Kendall will learn a thing or two about life, love, and the true meaning of friendship.

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

Monday, June 9, 2008

Summer Blog Tour

Early in July, I'm scheduled to do a spotlight on Megan DiMaria's debut novel, Searching for Spice. In the meantime go here to check out Andrea Boeshaar's post and giveaway of Megan's novel. When I reviewed Megan's book early last year to give her advice on whether it was ready for publication or not (it was), I was thrilled to find a book where the main character was close to my age. I'll give a longer review here later, but just to get your attention . . . Linda is dying to have an red-hot affair . . . with her husband of twenty-five years. But he's clueless. *smile*

So for a really good read and the chance for a free book, go to Andrea's blog and leave a comment.

Daily Bible reading: Tuesday, June 10—Jeremiah 15–17; Matthew 23:1–22
Wednesday, June 11—Jeremiah 18–19; Matthew 23:23–39
Thursday, June 12—Jeremiah 20–21; Matthew 24:1–28
Friday, June 13—Jeremiah 22–23; Matthew 24:29–51
Saturday, June 14—Jeremiah 24–26; Matthew 25:1–30
Sunday, June 15—Jeremiah 27–29; Matthew 25:31–46
Monday, June 16—Jeremiah 30–31; Matthew 26:1–25

Friday, June 6, 2008

From a Distance by Tamera Alexander

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

From A Distance

(Bethany House June 1, 2008)


Tamera Alexander


Tamera Alexander is a bestselling novelist whose deeply drawn characters, thought-provoking plots and poignant prose resonate with readers. Tamera is a finalist for the 2008 Christy Award Remembered, and has been awarded the coveted RITA® from Romance Writers of America Revealed, along with Library Journal’s Top Christian Fiction of 2006 Rekindled. Having lived in Colorado for seventeen years, she and her husband now make their home in the quaint town of historic Franklin, Tennessee, where they enjoy life with their two college-age children and a precious—and precocious—silky terrier named Jack.

A Note from Tamera:

Stories are journeys, and each story I write is a journey for me.

Rekindled began with a dream—the image of a man returning home on horseback. He came upon a freshly dug grave and when he knelt to read the name carved into the roughhewn wooden cross, he discovered the name was…his own. The inspiration for Revealed grew from two characters in Rekindled whose stories needed to be told. But even more, whose stories I needed to tell. Writing Revealed was a very personal journey for me, and a healing one. For Remembered, I met that story’s heroine (figuratively, of course) while strolling the ancient cobblestoned pathways of a three hundred-year-old cemetery in northern Paris, France. And From A Distance came from a question I was struggling with in my own life at the time, “What happens when the dream you asked God for isn’t what you thought it would be?”

For me, the greatest thrill of these writing journeys is when Christ reveals Himself in some new way, and I take a step closer to Him. And my deepest desire is that readers of my books will do that as well—take steps closer to Him as they read. After all, it’s all about Him.

In the Potter’s Hand,



What happens when dreams aren’t what you imagined,

And secrets you’ve spent a lifetime guarding are finally laid bare?

Determined to become one of the country’s premier newspaper photographers, Elizabeth Westbrook travels to the Colorado Territory to capture the grandeur of the mountains surrounding the remote town of Timber Ridge. She hopes, too, that the cool, dry air of Colorado, and its renowned hot springs, will cure the mysterious illness that threatens her career, and her life.

Daniel Ranslett, a former Confederate sharpshooter, is a man shackled by his past, and he’ll do anything to protect his land and his solitude. When an outspoken Yankee photographer captures an image that appears key to solving a murder, putting herself in danger, Daniel is called upon to repay a debt. He’s a man of his word, but repaying that debt will bring secrets from his past to light.

Forced on a perilous journey together, Daniel and Elizabeth’s lives intertwine in ways neither could have imagined when first they met . . . from a distance.

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

“…a rich historical romance by possibly the best new writer in this subgenre.”
--Library Journal

“…a most amazing story. The characters are more than words on the page; they become real people.”
--Romantic Times

Margie's Comments: Tammy is one of our ACFW Colorado members . . . well, at least we still claim her even though she and her family now live in Tennessee. Her story of her journey to publication with Bethany House is a truly wonderful God story. I met Tammy at my first ACFW conference, in Denver—one she directed capably from behind the scenes. I look forward to yet another good read!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Washington's Lady by Nancy Moser

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Washington's Lady

(Bethany House June 1, 2008)


Nancy Moser


Nancy Moser is the author of three inspirational humor books and eighteen novels, including Solemnly Swear, Just Jane, and Time Lottery, a Christy Award winner. She is an inspirational speaker, giving seminars around the country. She has earned a degree in architecture; run a business with her husband; traveled extensively in Europe; and has performed in various theaters, symphonies, and choirs. She and her husband have three grown children and make their home in the Midwest.


It has been said that without George Washington there would be no United States. But without Martha, there would be no George Washington. He called her "my other self."

Who was this woman who captured the heart of our country's founder? She dreams of a quiet life with her beloved George, but war looms...

Though still a young woman, Martha Dandridge Custis was a wealthy, attractive widow and the mother of two small children with no desire to remarry. But when a striking war hero steps into her life, she realizes that she is ready to love again. She is courted by, then marries the French and Indian War hero.

Yet she wonders whether this man, accustomed to courageous military exploits, can settle down to a simple life of farming and being a father to her children. Even as she longs for domestic bliss, Martha soon realizes she will have to risk everything dear to her and find the courage to get behind a dream much larger than her own.

Her new life as Martha Washington took her through blissful times at Mount Vernon, family tragedies, six years of her husband's absence during the Revolutionary War, and her position as a reluctant First Lady.

Known for moving first-person novels of Nannerl Mozart and Jane Austen, in Washington's Lady, Nancy Moser now brings to life the loves and trials of the First First Lady of the United States.

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

Margie's comments: I didn't ask for this book to review, since when the list came out, I knew I was already behind. Books are like candy to me . . . each one has a sweetness that needs to be devoured. Just Jane was a birthday gift from my husband, and I've still not gotten to it. Yes, my TBR piles are huge! So I'm saving Washington's Lady as a reward for reading Just Jane. *smile* I've heard so many good things about Nancy's books, I can't wait to get home to read this. (No, I did not bring all of my TBR books to Georgia with me . . . just a few! LOL)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Georgia on my Mind

Ha! Well, only because Roger is working in Georgia for the next few months. And as of last Friday, I'm now in Georgia with him. After our very cool spring in Colorado, the weather here is quite a . . . well, hmmm . . . how do I say this nicely? LOL It's plain hot and humid . . . and I know it gets worse. After all, it's only June 2!

Hard to believe I grew up in this kind of weather. . . . only lots farther south . . . in Texas. (Unless you want to count Costa Rica or Peru, both places I lived as a very young child. *smile*)

I am trying to get caught up in every area of life . . . unfortunately, I think some areas are doomed to permanent failure. That's what happens when I get too many things going at once. But it does look hopeful for my clients who have been patiently waiting for me to get to their projects. That's hopeful for me, too, actually.

Now if Blogger would just cooperate . . . tried to do this early this morning. Uh-uh. Not happening. So . . . while Roger is going around the apartment and fixing all the blinds (not happy unless he has a project to work on!), I'm posting . . . and catching up on all my blog reading. And trying to clear out my inbox. Sigh. Well, at least this post is getting done, even if I'm not really saying anything. *smile*

This last weekend Roger and I shopped for things for the apartment, getting him and me set up to live and work easier. Have to have a desk, for one thing. This one will travel with Roger as he'll probably be at several locations before working at home again. I think we're pretty much set up now. So tonight we were checking out things to do in Georgia to keep us busy on the weekends while I'm here. If you have any great suggestions, please pass them along!

I am going to try to be more regular on my posting again. So keep tuned.

Here's the Bible reading schedule for this week:

Tuesday, June 3—Hosea 9–11; Matthew 19
Wednesday, June 4—Hosea 12–14; Matthew 20:1–16
Thursday, June 5—Jeremiah 1–2; Matthew 20:17–34
Friday, June 6—Jeremiah 3–5; Matthew 21:1–22
Saturday, June 7—Jeremiah 6–8; Matthew 21:23–46
Sunday, June 8—Jeremiah 9–11; Matthew 22:1–22
Monday, June 9—Jeremiah 12–14; Matthew 22:23–46

And if you haven't checked out my aunt Carol's blog yet, please do. It's been a real blessing to me: My Prayer a Day.