Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Choice by Suzanne Wooods Fisher

Today we join the blog tour sponsored by LitFuse Publicity for Suzanne Woods Fisher's book The Choice.

Suzanne is a wife and mom, raiser of puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind, and an author of Christian books, both non-fiction and fiction.

Her relatives on my mother's side are Old Order German Baptist Brethren, also known as Dunkards. That's where her interest in Anabaptist traditions began. Suzanne's grandfather was born into a family of 13 children, started his career as a teacher in a one-room school house in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, and ended it as one of the very first publishers of Christianity Today. "We called him "Deardad" even though he was a very stern fellow. Still, Deardad's life inspired me to write."

After college, Suzanne was a freelance writer for magazines and became a contributing editor to Christian Parenting Today. Her work has been featured in Today's Christian Woman, Marriage Partnership, Worldwide Challenge, among others. She took the plunge into books a few years ago and now she's hooked. To learn more about Suzanne, visit her website at <


One  moment, Carrie Weaver is planning to elope with Lancaster Barnstormer  Solomon Riehl, leaving their Amish community behind. The next, she is  staring into a future as broken as her heart. Now Carrie faces a  choice. An opportunity. But will this decision, this moment in time,  change her life forever?
  "Fisher kicks off a refreshing new series, Lancaster County  Secrets, with characters that are strong, both in body and spirit.  They also have weaknesses that develop into strengths with the  choices they make."
 4 stars, Romantic Times 

My Review:
Many times, when we make decisions, we don't always consider the consequences of our choices—not only for ourselves but for many others as well. The Choice considers these consequences in a wonderful story of God's leading and provision when all seemed lost. Carrie has to make difficult decisions at the spur of the moment. And it seems that her own wishes and dreams will not be made real. Yet she begins to see how God's plans are always best, even when we don't understand what He's doing to accomplish those plans. An excellent story that brings to life a people and a way of life that is foreign to most of us. I loved the characters and the simple way of life portrayed while being challenged to consider my choices in life in light of God's plans for me.

To Follow the Blog Tour click here.

Join Suzanne Woods Fisher on February 15 for an Author Talk, Book Bomb, and Contest. Click on the button below for details.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Becca by the Book by Laura Jensen Walker

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Becca By The Book

Zondervan (January 1, 2010)


Laura Jensen Walker


Laura Jensen Walker is an award-winning writer, popular speaker, and breast-cancer survivor who loves to touch readers and audiences with the healing power of laughter.

Born in Racine, Wisconsin (home of Western Printing and Johnson’s Wax—maker of your favorite floor care products) Laura moved to Phoenix, Arizona when she was in high school. But not being a fan of blazing heat and knowing that Uncle Sam was looking for a few good women, she enlisted in the United States Air Force shortly after graduation and spent the next five years flying a typewriter through Europe.

Her lifelong dream of writing fiction came true in Spring 2005 with the release of her first chick lit novel, Dreaming in Black & White which won the Contemporary Fiction Book of the Year from American Christian Fiction Writers. Her sophomore novel, Dreaming in Technicolor was published in Fall 2005.

Laura’s third novel, Reconstructing Natalie, chosen as the Women of Faith Novel of the Year for 2006, is the funny and poignant story of a young, single woman who gets breast cancer and how her life is reconstructed as a result. This book was born out of Laura’s cancer speaking engagements where she started meeting younger and younger women stricken with this disease—some whose husbands had left them, and others who wondered what breast cancer would do to their dating life. She wanted to write a novel that would give voice to those women. Something real. And honest. And funny.

Because although cancer isn’t funny, humor is healing.

To learn more about Laura’s latest novels, please check out her Books page.

A popular speaker and teacher at writing conferences, Laura has also been a guest on hundreds of radio and TV shows around the country including the ABC Weekend News, The 700 Club, and The Jay Thomas Morning Show.

She lives in Northern California with her Renaissance-man husband Michael, and Gracie, their piano playing dog.


Sales clerk, barista, telemarketer, sign waver...

At twenty-five, free-spirited Becca Daniels is still trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up. What Becca doesn’t want to be is bored. She craves the rush of a new experience, whether it’s an extreme sport, a shocking hair color, or a new guy. That’s why she quit her bookstore job, used her last bit of credit to go skydiving, and broke her leg.

And that’s why, grounded and grumpy, Becca bristles when teased by friends for being commitment-phobic. In response, Becca issues an outrageous wager—that she can sustain a three-month or twenty-five date relationship with the next guy who asks her out. When the guy turns out to be “churchy” Ben—definitely not Becca’s type—she gamely embarks on a hilarious series of dates that plunge her purple-haired, free-speaking, commitment-phobic self into the alien world of church potlucks and prayer meetings.

This irrepressible Getaway Girl will have you cheering her on as she “suffers” through her dates, gains perspective on her life’s purpose, and ultimately begins her greatest adventure of all.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Becca By The Book, go HERE

Margie's comments: I can always count on a fun read with Laura Jensen Walker's book. Even when she deals with difficult subjects. And Becca by the Book doesn't disappoint. I love the Getaway Girls, have enjoyed reading the earlier books in this series. The author nails Becca's character, as well as making the others come alive. Overall, a very good read.

Verse of the Day

I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And will glorify Your name forever. (Psalm 86:12)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Verse of the Day

As your day, so shall your strength, your rest and security, be. (Deuteronomy 33:25 AMP) I'm so grateful for this verse. God gives me exactly what I need for each day.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Verse of the Day

"I have refined you but not in the way silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering." (Isaiah 48:10 NLT)

Kelly's Chance by Wanda E. Brunstetter

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Kelly’s Chance
Barbour Books; Reprint edition (January 1, 2010)


Wanda E. Brunstetter


A Note From Wanda:

Ever since I was a child, I wanted to be a writer. When I was in the second grade, I wrote my first poem about a moth. Luckily, I received encouragement from my teacher. During my teen years, I wrote skits that my church teen group performed during special holidays.

It wasn’t until 1980 that I took a course on writing for children and teenagers. I became serious about a career as an author. Soon after that, I began to write stories, articles, poems, and devotionals, which appeared in a variety of Christian publications. Later, I had 5 books of puppet/ventriloquist scripts published. *These books are currently available by contacting me. (

My first novel was released by Barbour Publishing’s book club, Heartsong Presents, in Dec. 1997. I have now written nearly fifty books, with over 4 million books in print. Many of the novels I've written are Amish-themed.


Life for Kelly McGregor is a daily drudge of driving her overbearing father’s mules along Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Canal. She dreams of one day owning an art gallery where her own drawings and paintings are on display. But these dreams don’t include marriage. . .not after seeing what her father has done to her mother. How then can Mike Cooper, a general store owner, make her realize he is different than her father and wants to support her artistic talent? Will Kelly learn that dreams can walk hand in hand with a love created by God?

If you would like to read the first chapter of  Kelly’s Chance , go HERE.

Margie's comments: If you're looking for a sweet historical romance, Wanda Brunstetter's Kelly's Chance is a good choice. Wanda's historical books are well researched, as are her Amish books. I enjoy reading about part of the country that I know little about. And I love history. So it's always a treat to pick up one of Wanda's historicals. Today, Wanda answers a couple of questions about this new series.

Can you give some background on your research for the Brides of Lehigh Canal series and why you wrote it?
Wanda: My husband grew up in Easton, PA, which is near the Lehigh Canal. He played there a lot when he was a boy and swam in the canal. The first time I walked the towpath there with him, I became fascinated, and after our first ride on a canal boat I knew I had to write about the canal era.

What scripture inspired you in writing Kelly's Chance and what do you hope your readers learn from the story?
The scripture that spoke to Kelly in the book is found in Romans 8:28: "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose." It's my hope that readers will realize after reading Kelly's Chance that it is possible to move beyond our past and be open to God's will for our lives.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Verse of the Day

Friends, when life gets really difficult, don't jump to the conclusion that God isn't on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner. (1 Peter 4:12–13 MSG)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Verse of the Day

The LORD Almighty has sworn this oath: "It will all happen as I have planned. It will come about according to my purposes. The LORD Almighty has spoken – who can change his plans? When his hand moves, who can stop him?" (Isaiah 14:24, 27 NLT)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Verse of the Day

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. (Psalm 138:8 ESV)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Verse of the Day

We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary--we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! (Romans 5:3–5 MSG)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Verse of the Day

We plan the way we want to live, but only GOD makes us able to live it. (Proverbs 16:9 MSG) Joseph speaking to his brothers: "You planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good." (Genesis 50:20 MSG)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Verse of the Day

Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it's important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him. (Romans 12:3 The Message)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Verse of the Day

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me--watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." (Matthew 11:28–30 The Message)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Verse of the Day

Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be dismayed. Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will triumph. (Isaiah 50:7 NLT)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Verse of the Day

Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. (Numbers 13:30)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"Real" Characters

This is cross posted at The Inkwell, ACFW Colorado blog.

We've all read books where the characters literally jump off the page and become real-life people. As a young reader, that was Anne Shirley, better known as Anne with an "e" of Green Gables. And not only Anne, but Marilla, Matthew, Gilbert, Diana, and everyone else who peopled the pages of L. M. Montgomery's books.

Since then I've read other books where the characters were so real, I've caught myself praying for them as they work through their troubles on the written page. (Blushing a little here.) And wondering how they are doing for days or weeks after finishing the book.

As a writer, I want to accomplish the same thing for my readers—characters so real the reader believes they are.

In my current wip, I've based my main characters loosely on my maternal grandparents. In fact, the original idea came when my mother told me how they met, how my grandmother literally ran away to New York City to avoid giving in to the marriage plans of her Christian "superiors," and how my grandfather eventually went after her and convinced her to marry him. The romance intrigued me. However, once I started brainstorming, my bent for mystery came to the forefront and now I have an historical romantic suspense with very little, except my characters, sticking to the facts as Mom gave them to me.

Except in my mind my main characters need to act and react as I remember my grandparents acting and reacting. So . . . how to make them real? Every time I sat down to work on fleshing out these characters, I felt blocked. I had a plot. I had characters, but even to me, they were flat. Cardboard cutouts.

After taking several Nangie clinics at the Colorado and Philadelphia writers conferences, I knew how Angie Hunt likes to use the Meiers-Briggs personality inventory to create her characters. But the book containing those personalities intimidated me.

Then Jeff Gerke came out with his Character Creation for the Plot-First Novelist. Since I had my plot first with this book, I checked it out. Complete with templates and questions to ask your character and the directed focus of the worksheet, it was an answer to this writer's prayer. And Jeff encourages the use of the Meier's-Briggs personality inventory. He also includes a short summary of each personality so I could narrow down my research to the few that seemed to fit my characters.

Now my characters are real to me. Which goes a long way toward making them real to my readers (which right now consists of my fabulous crit partners!). I highly recommend Jeff's book and template to help you develop your characters.

Have fun!

Verse of the Day

"Your strength will come from settling down in complete dependence on me—the very thing you've been unwilling to do." (Isaiah 30:15 The Message)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Verse of the Day

"O LORD, no one but you can help the powerless against the mighty! Help us, O LORD our God, for we trust in you alone. It is in your name that we have come against this vast horde. O LORD, you are our God; do not let mere men prevail against you!" (2 Chronicles 14:11 NLT)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Verse of the Day

"I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. (Isaiah 48:17)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Verse of the Day

"I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised. . . . For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:10–11 NLT)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Silent Governess

Bethany House; Original edition (January 1, 2010)


Julie Klassen


Julie says: My background is in advertising and marketing, but I am blessed with a dream job—working as an editor of Christian fiction. I have been writing since childhood, but Lady of Milkweed Manor was my first novel. It was a finalist for a Christy Award and won second place in the Inspirational Reader's Choice Awards. My second novel, The Apothecary's Daughter, was a finalist in the ACFW Book of the Year awards. I am currently writing one novel a year.

I graduated from the University of Illinois and enjoy travel, research, BBC period dramas, long hikes, short naps, and coffee with friends.

My husband and I have two sons and live near St. Paul, Minnesota.


Olivia Keene is fleeing her own secret. She never intended to overhear his.

But now that she has, what is Lord Bradley to do with her? He cannot let her go, for were the truth to get out, he would lose everything--his reputation, his inheritance, his very home.

He gives Miss Keene little choice but to accept a post at Brightwell Court, where he can make certain she does not spread what she heard. Keeping an eye on the young woman as she cares for the children, he finds himself drawn to her, even as he struggles against the growing attraction. The clever Miss Keene is definitely hiding something.

Moving, mysterious, and romantic, The Silent Governess takes readers inside the intriguing life of a nineteenth-century governess in an English manor house where all is not as it appears.

If you would like to read the prologue and first chapter of The Silent Governess, go HERE. You can also sign up as a Follower when you get to that page, and get announcements of the first chapters for all the great books we tour!
Margie's comments: I'm still reading The Silent Governess . . . and loving it! Julie does an excellent job of making her characters real. I know they will stick with me long after I finish reading the book. Julie's writing style is gentle without overlooking the hard things in life. The story flows effortlessly, and I continue reading long after I should because I want to know what happens next. I especially love that this historical is set in England—one of my favorite settings and time periods. Looking forward to finishing this book soon.

Verse of the Day

"I am The Strong God, live entirely before me, live to the hilt!" (Genesis 17:1 The Message)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Verse of the Day

"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. (Matthew 5:3 The Message)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Verse of the Day

"It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God's mouth."(Matthew 4:4 MSG)

Friday, January 1, 2010

ACFW January New Releases

1. A Stray Drop of Blood, by Roseanna M. White   from Whitefire Publishing. Born free, made a slave, married out of her bonds, Abigail never knows freedom until she feels the fire of a stray drop of blood from a Jewish carpenter.

2. A Deadly Wilderness, by Kelly Irvin   from Five Star/Gale/Cengage. A family that will stop at nothing to protect its secrets and a drug cartel hit man are just two of the pieces to the puzzle Homicide Detective Ray Johnson must solve to find a murderer—and save his own life.

3. Becoming Lucy - The Winds Across the Prairie Series, by Martha Rogers   from Realms Division of Strang Communications. An alleged murderer reclaims his life, but can he reclaim his beloved?

4. Burn, by Erin Healy and Ted Dekker   from Thomas Nelson. A supernatural thriller about a woman who gets an unwanted chance to extinguish her fiery past.

5. First Impressions , by Michelle Sutton   from Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc. Playing the role of a saloon girl taught her how to flirt, but it makes a lousy first impression on the man whose heart she longs to win.

6. Jenna's Cowboy- Callahans of Texas, 1, by Sharon Gillenwater   from Baker/Revell. Will Jenna's love enable Nate to put the horrors of war behind him and become the man she deserves?

7. Never Far from Home- 2nd in the Miller Family Series, by Mary Ellis   from Harvest House Publishers. Emma's rebellious Rumschpringe may lead to her banishment as friendship turns to love with the English sheepfarmer.

8. Plain Jane, by Hillary Manton Lodge   from Harvest House Publishers. Girl reporter Jayne Tate finds more than she bargained for when she goes to Amish Country to research a story.

9. Sworn to Protect, by Diann Mills   from Tyndale. Danika Morales has sworn to protect our nation's borders. But that oath has come with a price.

10. The Chic Shall Inherit the Earth - All About Us #6, by Shelley Adina   from Hatchette FaithWords. At exclusive Spencer Academy, Lissa Mansfield gains popularity when she replaces her nemesis, Vanessa, on the senior Cotillion committee, but graduation and major decisions about the future loom.

11. The Choice - Lancaster County Secrets, Book 1, by Suzanne Woods Fisher   from Revell. A tender story of love and forgiveness, "The Choice" uncovers the sweet simplicity of the Amish world--and shows it's never too late to find your way back to God.

12. The Husband Tree - Montana Marriages, by Mary Connealy   from Barbour. A tough lady rancher drags a reluctant cowhand on a cattledrive, along with her four daughters.

ACFW Colorado, The Inkwell Blog

I blogged today on "Out with the Old, In with the New" at the ACFW Colorado Inkwell. Check it out.

Happy New Year!

Verse of the Day

By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward--to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back. So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. (Philippians 3:13–15 MSG)