Friday, February 26, 2010

Verse of the Day

"Trust in the LORD forever, for in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock." (Isaiah 26:4)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Plain Jayne by Hillary Manton Lodge

This post is part of another Glass Road Public Relations blog tour.

About the book:

(Eugene, OR) Hillary Manton Lodge enters the inspirational fiction category with her refreshing and witty "Urban Amish" story of Plain Jayne. Jayne, a journalist whose writing quality has suffered of late, is encourage to take a three-week leave of absence from her job with a major daily to mourn the loss of her deacon father.

Steadfastly ignoring the death of a father who never expressed love—verbally or otherwise—Jayne instead follows a hunch to find a revealing story about the Amish. Her initial interview with the attractive and intriguing owner of an Amish furniture store lead to the opportunity to live with his Amish family. What transpires is anything but the gentle Amish fiction already on the market.

Publishers Weekly called the tale, "Smart, fast-paced and chock-full of endearing characters. . .a keeper, plain and simple."

Jayne's "English" point of view allows readers entrance into this cloistered section of the American community. With Jayne's ever-ready wit and self analysis, readers are certain to be entertained while learning more about the Amish.

About the author:

Hillary Manton Lodge writes witty stories about normal people learning to live, laugh, heal, and understand the concept of God in a crazy world. She is a graduate of the University of Oregon's School of Journalism and works as a freelance photographer while chasing her passion for writing fiction. She and her husband live in Oregon.

Margie's comments: Due to a very busy editing schedule this last month, I haven't finished reading Plain Jayne yet. But I have read enough to agree with Publishers Weekly's assessment of the book. I love the characters, each one in their own way pulling me deeper into their story. And the setting and premise of the book is unique. Can't wait to see how Jayne's life will change in three short weeks. Plain Jayne is definitely not your typical Amish fiction.

Verse of the Day

He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down ( relax My hold on you)! [ Assuredly not!] (Hebrews 13:5 AMP)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Verse of the Day

When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me? (Psalm 56:3–4)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Verse of the Day

The LORD says, "I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control." Many sorrows come to the wicked, but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the LORD. So rejoice in the LORD and be glad, all you who obey him! Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure! (Psalm 32:8–11 NLT)

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Country House Courtship by Linore Rose Burkard

I'm privileged to be a part of Glass Road PR's blog tour for The Country House Courtship by Linore Rose Burkard.
The Country House Courtship

About the Author:
Publishers Weekly acclaimed the work of Burkard in its review of The House in Grosvenor Square, saying, "Ms. Burkard's command of period detail is impressive..On the whole, it's a tasty confection."

Burkard, a fan of classic romances and graduate of City University of New York, began writing stories when she couldn't find true Regency romance within the inspirational fiction category. "I knew that many women like me want stories that are historically authentic and offer glimpses of God's involvement in our lives," she says.

Raised in New York, Burkard now lives with her husband and five children in a town full of antique stores and gift shops in southwestern Ohio. To learn more about her, visit

About the Book:
In The Country House Courtship, Beatrice, sister of the heroine in The House in Grosvenor Square, is intent upon landing as wealthy a husband as her sister managed. Yet her youthful heart is about to encounter life lessons that will leave her re-aligning priorities and re-considering the individual upon whom she can depend and love.

Margie's comments:
I love historical fiction, and some of the earliest romances I remember reading were Regency era. My favorite historicals are those that feature England, Scotland, and Ireland, mostly in the 18th and 19th centuries. So when Linore Burkard started publishing in this genre with the English Regency as her books' settings . . . well, I was hooked on a new author.

She not only writes Regency romance, she also writes in the style of Jane Austen. Which includes a little bit of "head-hopping," not a pure POV. While I can push aside my preference for the latter when I'm reading Dickens or Austen, I find it a little difficult reading that style in today's fiction. However, Linore's stories are so good I manage to put that slight irritation in the background and enjoy the story.

Linore's characters are very real, and I love getting pulled into the story through their eyes. Beatrice tries her brother-in-law's patience, and her immaturity shows in what she thinks she wants. Yet her visit to her sister puts her into friendships and associations with several "eligible" bachelors. It isn't until she's faced with truth that she finally learns what she truly wants in life . . . and in a husband.

The spiritual thread throughout is strong and real. And the research into the era is top-notch. I'm very excited to see this time period and setting getting recognition in the Christian fiction market. You won't be disappointed in Linore's stories. Her previous books are Before the Season Ends
 and The House in Grosvenor Square

Verse of the Day

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; (Proverbs 2:6 ESV)

The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple. (Psalm 119:130 ESV)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Marlene Bagnull about the Colorado Christian Writers Conference in May

Write His Answer
February 2010

Dear Christian called to “write His answer” –

I’m praising God that the brochure for the May 12-15 Colorado Christian Writers Conference is off press and that secure online registration is open at

Although this is my 14th year directing the conference (27th year directing the August 12-14 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference that I founded), I never cease to be amazed at the ways I see God at work. He brings together a faculty and program that I could never do in my own strength. This year:

CCWC features a faculty of 60 professional authors, editors, agents, and publicists including Jeanette & Mark Littleton
Choose from 13 Wednesday earlybirds, 8 continuing sessions, plus 42 workshops or 4 hands-on clinics! ALSO - 4 (yes, FOUR) one-on-one 15-minute appointments with the faculty of your choice for those who attend the entire conference. BONUS fifth appointment for first 50 registrants.

But CCWC is about so much more than numbers and opportunities to strengthen your writing and marketing skills, to get valuable feedback on your work, to pitch to editors and agents, and to form deep friendships with others who share your passion for words and for the Lord.

CCWC is about connecting with Him and learning to wait on Him for the answers He will give us.

I know God is going to meet us on the mountain in life-changing ways for His promise in Ephesians 3:20 can be relied on. “By His mighty power at work within us [He] is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes” (Eph. 3:20 TLB). Father, thank You in advance for all You will do through this year’s CCWC. Thank You for calling us to write Your answer through personal experience stories and articles, screenplays and poetry, fiction and nonfiction for children and adults and for those who know You and those who do not yet know You. Keep our eyes on You and help us to be faithful to our calling.

In Christ – Marlene

P.S. If you register through midnight March 10, you’ll save $20 off your conference registration fee. Secure online registration is open.

Marlene Bagnull, Litt.D., Director
Write His Answer Ministries 951 Anders Road Lansdale, PA 19446 Phone & Fax: 484-991-8581 Cell: 610-209-2623 Email: URL:

Verse of the Day

But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress. (Psalm 59:16 ESV)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Verse of the Day

But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. (1 Peter 4:13)

For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. (2 Corinthians 4:17)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Verse of the Day

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous runs into it and is safe. (Proverbs 18:10)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Verse of the Day

But now, GOD's Message, the God who made you in the first place . . . "Don't be afraid, I've redeemed you. I've called your name. You're mine. When you're in over your head, I'll be there with you. When you're in rough waters, you will not go down. When you're between a rock and a hard place, it won't be a dead end." (Isaiah 43:1–2)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Verse of the Day

Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence. . . . The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime; and His song will be with me in the night, a prayer to the God of my life. (Psalm 42:5, 8)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Verse of the Day

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD. "For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit. (Jeremiah 17:7–8)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hunter's Moon by Don Hoesel

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Hunter's Moon

Bethany House (February 1, 2010)


Don Hoesel


Don Hoesel was born and raised in Buffalo, NY but calls Spring Hill, TN home. He works as a Communications Department supervisor for a Medicare carrier in Nashville, TN. He has a BA in Mass Communication from Taylor University and has published short fiction in Relief Journal.

Don and hopes to one day sell enough books to just say that he's a writer. You can help with that by buying whatever his newest novel happens to be.

He lives in Spring Hill with his wife and two children.


Every family has secrets. Few will go as far as the Baxters to keep them. Bestselling novelist CJ Baxter has made a career out of writing hard-hitting stories ripped from his own life. Still there's one story from his past he's never told. One secret that's remained buried for decades. Now, seventeen years after swearing he'd never return, CJ is headed back to Adelia, NY. His life in Tennessee has fallen to pieces, his grandfather is dying, and CJ can no longer run from the past. With Graham Baxter, CJ's brother, running for Senate, a black sheep digging up old family secrets is the last thing the family and campaign can afford. CJ soon discovers that blood may be thicker than water, but it's no match for power and money. There are wounds even time cannot heal.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Hunter's Moon, go HERE
Review to come later.

Verse of the Day

"Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink – even if you have no money! Come, take your choice of wine or milk – it's all free! (Isaiah 55:1 NLT)

Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, "If you are thirsty, come to me!" (John 7:37 NLT)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Verse of the Day

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom. (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Verse of the Day

Look at what I've done for you today: I've placed in front of you Life and Good Death and Evil. And I command you today: Love GOD, your God. Walk in his ways. Keep his commandments, regulations, and rules so that you will live, really live, live exuberantly, blessed by GOD, your God, in the land you are about to enter and possess. (Deuteronomy 30:15–16 MSG)

Deliver Us from Evil By Robin Caroll

 Today I'm spotlighting Robin Caroll's newest release from B&H Publishing Group, Deliver Us from Evil

Robin Caroll has authored eight previous books including Bayou Justice and Melody of Murder. She gives back to the writing community as conference director for the American Christian Fiction Writers organization. A proud southerner through and through, Robin lives with her husband and three daughters in Little Rock, Arkansas.

 I recently asked Robin a few questions, which she graciously answered. 

How did you get started writing, and where has that journey taken you that you may not have expected starting out?
When I decided to start writing my stories geared toward publication, I first wrote a secular romantic suspense. I had no idea what I was doing, mind you, but I didn’t feel passionate about the story. About a year later I realized why—I needed to put a faith thread in my stories because my faith is such a part of me. When things began happening—getting an agent, getting the first contract, it all began to move very quickly. My first book was released in October 2007…I had 3 books release in 2008…3 books release in 2009…I’ll have 3 books release in 2010. I didn’t expect things to keep moving as they have been, but I’ve never felt so blessed in my career journey. I can truly say I’m living my dream.

How do you balance family life with writing?
MOST days, I try to work from 8am-2pm, to write around my children’s schedule. I leave Sundays open for church and family time. However sometimes life intrudes and I can’t work due to a child’s illness, or a special project they need help on, holidays, etc. I make up my writing time when I can. And as deadlines approach, I may have to work when they’re home. I’m blessed to have such a supportive family.

How does your walk with the Lord affect your writing? And how do you balance time with the Lord with your writing schedule?
I find some of the issues God’s dealing with me on end up in my books. LOL I never “plan” the spiritual thread in my books, I wait for God to show me what He wants. Sometimes, He’s so good to me that He gives me the spiritual thread early in the book. Often, however, I won’t get it until I’m halfway through the book, so I have to go back and weave it in. I think God’s just working on sharpening my skill as a writer. LOL

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?
Well….I get a germ of an idea…just a topic or a character, or I get an image in my head. I’ll let it stew in my subconscious for a bit before I bring it out and play with it a little. Then, I get some of my brainstorming partners and we start hashing out a very wide and general plot. Once I’ve got a general idea of the story overview, I do character interview sheets on at least 4 of my main characters. These pages are extremely in-depth and allow me to know my characters inside and out. I begin writing. As I finish each chapter, I send it to my critique partners, but keep writing. When they send my chapters back, I hold them in a folder until the next day. I always read my crits first thing in the morning. I make any changes needed, then continue writing. Once the book is complete, I read it through from start to finish, making notes of things I need to add in, remove, etc. I start playing with word choices while I’m making notes. When I finish my read-through, I go back through, using my notes. Once I’m done with that, I have cold readers who read it from start to finish, as do I. I take their comments, along with my own, and make any changes. And then I turn the ms in to my editor.

Would you tell us a little about your future projects?
Deliver Us From Evil is the first book in a trilogy. While each book stands alone on its own, there is character crossover. The second book, FEAR NO EVIL, focuses on the global social issue of gangs, and releases in August. The third book, IN THE SHADOW OF EVIL (tentative title) addresses the issue of scams in the building industry and releases February 2011. I’m currently working on a proposal for a new series.

Finally, would you discuss Deliver Us From Evil? The research, the idea, and the scope of the project?
The idea came to me when I watched an appalling documentary about child trafficking. As much as I wanted to change the channel, I couldn’t. I was horrified. I began doing research on child trafficking, and literally got sick. I had no idea this travesty occurred on such a large scale—right under my nose! At this point, a story idea took hold in my mind…a way I could use fiction to help raise awareness of this modern-day slavery. Thus, DELIVER US FROM EVIL was born.

About Deliver Us from Evil

A beautiful yet tough woman working in a beautiful yet tough setting, Brannon Callahan is a search and rescue helicopter pilot for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Strong faith and a decorated history of service have kept her one step ahead of on-the-job dangers, but there’s no precedent for what’s about to happen. After a blizzard takes down a small plane carrying U.S. Marshal Roark Holland (already haunted by a recent tragedy), Brannon must save him in more ways than one and safeguard the donor heart he’s transporting to a government witness on the edge of death. Otherwise the largest child trafficking ring in history—with shocking links from Thailand to Tennessee—will slip further away into darkness along the Appalachian Trail.

Thank you so much, Robin! I appreciate your time and the opportunity to spotlight your work.
Thanks so much for having me, Margie. It’s been a pleasure.

 I've read the first few chapters of Deliver Us from Evil, and can't wait to finish the rest of this action-packed book. I will post a review when I finish reading it.

For more information about Robin and her books, check out her Website.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Romantic Elements in Our Writing

This month, the ACFW Colorado bloggers are writing about romantic elements. To see my post on working the "Great Romance" into our stories, go here.

Verse of the Day

"Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
      Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
   I will strengthen you and help you.
      I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."
(Isaiah 41:10 NLT)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Verse of the Day

"I am the LORD, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me? (Jeremiah 32:27 NLT)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Beguiled by Deeanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


(Bethany House March 1, 2007)


Deeanne Gist

J. Mark Bertrand


Deeanne Gist, the bestselling author of A Bride Most Begrudging and The Measure of a Lady, has a background in education and journalism. Her credits include People magazine, Parents, and Parenting. With a line of parenting products called "I Did It!® Productions" and a degree from Texas A&M, she continues her writing and speaking. She and her family live in Houston, Texas.

J. Mark Bertrand has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston. After one hurricane too many, he left Houston and relocated with his wife Laurie to the plains of South Dakota.


In the shadows of Charleston, someone is watching her... Rylee Monroe, a dogwalker in Charleston's wealthiest neighborhood, never feared the streets at night. But now a thief is terrorizing the area and worse, someone seems to be targeting her.

Reporter Logan Woods is covering the break-ins with the hope of publishing them as a true-crime book. The more he digs, the more he realizes this beguiling dogwalker seems to be at the center of everything. As danger draws ever closer, Logan must choose: Chase the girl, the story, or plunge into the shadows after the villain who threatens everything?

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Beguiled, go HERE

Check out their video:

Review to come later.

Verse of the Day

GOD said, "My presence will go with you. I'll see the journey to the end. This also I will do, for I know you well and you are special to me. I know you by name." (Exodus 33:14, 17 The Message)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Verse of the Day

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. (Philippians 2:5–7)

If servanthood is beneath you, then leadership is above you. (Sermon Snippet from E-Word Today)

Monday, February 1, 2010

ACFW February New Releases

1. Abigail: A Novel, The Wives of King David, Book 2, by Jill Eileen Smith   from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Turmoil marks her life - what price will she pay for love?

2. A Valentine Wish, by Betsy St. Amant   from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. Lori, chocolate-lover extraordinare, is unemployed, single, and out of brownie mix. But when a secret admirer pops up at her new job running a chocolate boutique, she might have the ingredients for a special Valentine's after all!

3. Deliver Us From Evil, by Robin Caroll   from B&H Publishing. When a female helicopter pilot rescues a US Marshal escorting a heart, they must race against time to uncover the largest child trafficking ring in history.

4. Hometown Promise; First in the Kellerville Series, by Merrillee Whren   from Steeple Hill Love Insired. Kellerville: Finding family, community and love in one small town

5. Love's Winding Path, by Lauralee Bliss   from Heartsong Presents, Barbour Publishing. A prodigal's life is never out of God's reach and His love as two lonely adventurers are about to discover.

6. The Marriage Masquerade, by Erica Vetsch   from Heartsong Presents, Barbour Publishing. Sometimes running away brings you right back where you started.

7. Meander Scar, by Lisa Lickel   from Black Lion. When Ann is ready to jump back into life with a new love, she discovers the devastating truth behind her husband's disappearance.

8. My Deadly Valentine, by Lynette Eason   and Valerie Hansen   from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. Two suspense-filled stories about stalkers and the men determined to protect the women they love.

9. On Wings of Love, by Kim Watters   from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. A dedicated nurse devotes her life helping others, only to discover the man who steals her heart doesn't want her help..

10. The Pastor's Wife, by Jennifer AlLee   from Abingdon Press. A woman must face the husband - and the congregation - she ran from six years earlier.

11. Walking on Broken Glass, by Christa Allen   from Abingdon Press. Leah Thornton stops numbing her pain with alcohol, but discovers the road to redemption might still be under construction.

Monday Meditation

Ummm . . . where did January go? Wow! One month of the new year already gone. I'm determined to get back on track with blogging. Didn't happen in January, so today is a good day to get started.

This morning I posted Isaiah 61:10 as the verse of the day. When I read it earlier in my quiet time, it reminded me to get my focus off what needs to be done this week and onto the Lord who makes everything possible. And I'm grateful for my salvation. I am wrapped in Christ's robe of righteousness, and because of that I can enter the throne room of God, my Father, and lay every burden at His feet.

Since I've not shared any devotional thoughts this year yet, I want to review what I learned last year about surrender. Every year I choose a word for that year that relates to my spiritual walk. When the Lord directed me to surrender, I balked a little. After all, He'd been teaching me surrender for a long time already, and I thought I had totally surrendered all to Him. Yet I wasn't finding the peace that comes in certain areas.

Well, now that 2009 is over, I can see I had/still have a whole lot to learn about surrender. The Lord is always faithful to allow the circumstances and people to "grow" us into Christlikeness. It seemed that everywhere I turned I was learning more and more about what it truly means to surrender a loved one, a particular situation or circumstance, even myself to Him. In the process I learned much more about God's faithfulness, goodness, and love.

But it wasn't until late in the year that I experienced that peace that exceeds my human understanding. When others began commenting on the peace they could see reflected in my eyes, my face, even my demeanor when talking about the circumstances I found myself in because of the choices of others, I could only praise God for the work of grace He'd done in my heart. I'd asked Him to change the circumstance, to change the people involved; instead of answering that request, He changed me. He showed me it was possible to surrender it all to Him. He's placed a love in my heart that I couldn't accomplish on my own. And most of all He's shown me that He is in control and He is working.

Late last year I was compiling devotional thoughts from Hannah Whitall Smith's writings. In the midst of the deepest trial I've  experienced, when I was struggling with what I knew the Lord wanted me to surrender completely to Him, I sobbed out that I didn't know how. I thought I had, but the situation continued to get worse. My devotions were due to the editor, so I turned to reading Smith's Secret of a Holy Life. And almost immediately came across this quote:

"There is no other way for you but to surrender utterly and to cast all your care on the Lord, and leave it there. You must not think of it or brood over it, but must dismiss it from your mind altogether, except whatever degree is necessary for proper self-care. . . . But if . . . your worst fears are confirmed, then you must bow your neck to the yoke and must accept your life as the very best thing that could have come to you.
            You can only conquer your trial by submitting to it. But if you will submit, it will become your joy and crown of rejoicing. Lay yourself as a living sacrifice upon God’s altar. Say 'Yes' to Him about it all. 'Yes, Lord, Yes. Your will, not mine. Your good and perfect will! I am content to suffer; I am content to be laid aside, I am content to be an invalid all my life, if it is Your sweet will.'"

Wow! It couldn't get much clearer than that. When I followed the advice given, I experienced the peace that others observed later. I'm not perfect, and I've slipped back into "worry mode" several times, but then I remember it's in the Lord's hands where it belongs, and I can go on.

I'm so grateful God is patient with my human frailties. I know my lessons on surrender aren't over yet. But God and I are moving on. For 2010, He's given me a related word . . . trust. Very clsoe to surrender, don't you think?

Verse of the Day

I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness. (Isaiah 61:10)