Wednesday, March 28, 2007

This Week From CFBA ~ Reclaiming Nick - WIN A FREE COPY!

( Tyndale Fiction, 2007)
Susan May Warren

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Award winning author SUSAN MAY WARREN recently returned home to her native Minnesota after serving for eight years with her husband and four children as missionaries with SEND International in Far East Russia. She now writes full time from Minnesota's north woods. Visit her Web site at

ABOUT THE BOOK: RECLAIMING NICK is the first of The Noble Legacy series. Book Two, Taming Rafe, will be available January 2008.
A Modern Day Prodigal Comes Home...

But when his father dies and leaves half of Silver Buckle--the Noble family ranch--to Nick’s former best friend, he must return home to face his mistakes, and guarantee that the Silver Buckle stays in the Noble family.

Award-winning journalist Piper Sullivan believes Nick framed her brother for murder, and she’s determined to find justice. But following Nick to the Silver Buckle and posing as a ranch cook proves more challenging than she thinks. So does resisting his charming smile.

As Nick seeks to overturn his father’s will--and Piper digs for answers--family secrets surface that send Nick’s life into a tailspin. But there’s someone who’s out to take the Silver Buckle from the Noble family, and he’ll stop at nothing--even murder--to make it happen.

“Susan May Warren once again delivers that perfect combination of heart-pumping suspense and heart-warming romance.”--Tracey Bateman, author of the Claire Everett series
If you would like to hear more about Nick, he has his own blog. Also, the first chapter is there...

My review:

Susan May Warren ranks right up there with the best at creating an overall tone and voice for a book that plops you smack into the setting like you've been there all your life. In RECLAIMING NICK, she stretches the tension between the hero and every person in the book to the point where you don't know if you want to strangle him or soothe him. The conflicts in the story feel real, not contrived, as if you could perfectly well understand these life situations happening to a family. The story unfolds with excruciatingly delightful patience--no backstory dump here--that had me champing at the bit to get to the next chapter. You'd better watch every nuance, every casual reference in this one, because when the reveal comes, you'll see the clues were all there. (And did I mention the drop-dead gorgeous cowboy on the cover? THUD)
Leave a comment to this post and enter to win a free copy of RECLAIMING NICK. Winner will be announced on Monday, April 2nd.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Ye olde routine

I love a routine. I have one for just about everything. When I do laundry, towels are first, then jeans, then colors, then whites. When I clean the living room, I pick up, dust, and always vacuum last. When I do bookwork, the invoices come first, then payments, then deposits, then pay bills, then do a back-up.

In my writing routine I have a set order of things too.

1. Fire up the laptop.

2. While it is booting, get Diet Coke from 'fridge. (brain food)

3. Log in and check emails.

4. Check each of 12 blogs that I follow regularly. (This doesn't take too awful long, as most don't post something new every day. And I don't often post comments on most of them, so checking in is quick.)

5. Go to and work the jigsaw puzzle of the day. For some reason, this activity just pleases me.

6. Open up the ms.

7. Read through the previous chapter, then dive in with either edits or new work, replacing the Diet Coke can when it gets empty.

Do you have a routine you go through when you set down to do a project?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Saturday Fun

You know the Bible 100%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes

See how you do. The quiz is multiple choice.

Thanks to Angela Hunt's blog "A life in pages" for the quiz.

Friday, March 23, 2007

How Deep Is Your Moat?

Thanks to The Lord of the Rings, (books and movies) Age of Empires II, (computer game) and Stephen Biesty’s Cross-sections Castle Book, my family is enamored of all things medieval, especially castles.

When we built our house ten years ago, we adopted a castle mentality. Peter was under such attack every day at his job, I determined that our new house would be a safe place to come each night. Bringing our children home to home-school, further enhanced this mindset.

Each night when Peter returned, we pulled up the drawbridge, turned the crocs loose in the moat and hunkered down for a night with just our family. We were safe inside the walls.

You might be asking, “Well, what’s wrong with that? Quality, family time is a good thing, right?”

Not necessarily, or at least not to the exclusion of all else.

I’ve recently been doing a bit of genealogy research, and I’ve discovered that my mother’s family came from Scotland. Her ancestors, the Masons, belong to Clan Sinclair, of Caithness, Northern Scotland. The family seat was Castle Sinclair-Girnigoe.

In viewing photographs of Castle Sinclair and other Scots castles, it has occurred to me there is nothing hospitable about these edifices. Castles are a defensive weapon, made for shelter and repelling attack. From the crenellations to the archery loops to the iron-clad portcullis, every facet of a castle is designed to protect the occupants during a siege and to discourage the enemy from approaching.

Herein lies the problem of the home/castle mentality. In my zeal to protect those I love from hurt and attack, I turned my house from home to fortress. I may occasionally lower the drawbridge for a carefully planned and conducted tour, but I don’t leave the gates wide open.
Lately, I’ve been wrestling with the call to be hospitable given us in Scripture. How can I maintain the safety of my refuge, and still be obedient? I’ve often fallen back on the excuse, “I don’t have the spiritual gift of hospitality.” (Sound familiar?) Under closer examination, this excuse is just that, an excuse. And a cover-up to mask feelings of inadequacy and insecurity, but that’s another story. ;-)

However, in searching the Scripture, I can’t find a passage or verse that says hospitality is something that should only be practiced by those who have a ‘gift’ for it. The truth is, possessing one strong spiritual gift doesn’t get you ‘off the hook’ where the other gifts are concerned. If I have the gift of teaching, am I not also to be kind? If I have the gift of mercy, am I not also required to share the gospel? And the fruit of the Spirit isn’t love OR joy OR peace. It is these AND so much more. There’s no picking through the fruit to find one you’re comfortable with!

We are commanded in Scripture to be given to or characterized by hospitality. (Romans 12:13) And not only that, but to practice hospitality WITHOUT complaining. (I Peter 4:9) {Does God know my heart, or what? He’s covered every contingency and loophole!}

In Acts 2:46-47, we are told the disciples demonstrated hospitality by eating together in one another’s houses, and by sharing what they had with any who had a need. As a result, God blessed them and the church, adding believers daily to their number. Nowhere is a hospitality committee mentioned. And nowhere does it refer to a drawbridge, a moat or a secret password to get past the guards.

I challenge you to consider: How deep is the moat surrounding your home and life? When the opportunity to exercise hospitality arises, are you more likely to shout from behind the portcullis, “Halt! Who goes there?” Or in the words of Gandalf do you say, “Speak, Friend, and enter!” (Told you Lord of the Rings was big at my castle…er, house.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

This Week From CFBA ~ It Happens Every Spring

GARY CHAPMAN is the author of the New York Times best seller The Five Love Languages and numerous othe rbooks. He's the director of Marriage & Family Life Consultants, Inc., and host of A Growing Marriage, a syndicated radio program heard on over 100 stations across North America. He and his wife, Karolyn, live in North Carolina.
CATHERINE PALMER is the Christy Award-winning, CBA best-selling author of more than forty novels--including The Bachelor's Bargain--which have more than 2 million copies in print. She lives in Missouri with her husband, Tim, and two sons.

IT HAPPENS EVERY SPRING is the first of The Four Seasons fiction series, based on the ever-changing cycles of relationships detailed in Gary Chapman's nonfiction book The Four Seasons of Marriage. The novels will focus on four couples, each moving in and out of a different season.

Word travels fast at the Just As I Am beauty shop.
So when a simple homeless man appears on Steve and Brenda Hansen's doorstep, the entire shop is set abuzz, especially when Brenda lets him sleep on their porch.
That's not all the neighbors are talking about. Spring may be blooming outdoors, but an icy chill has settled over the Hansens' marriage. Steve is keeping late hours with clients, and the usually upbeat Brenda is feeling the absence of her husband and her college-age kids.Add to that the unsavory business moving in next to the beauty shop and the entire community gets turned upside down. Now Brenda's friends must unite to pull her out of her rut and keep the unwanted sotre out of town. But can Steve and Brenda learn to thaw their chilly marriage and enjoy the hope spring offers?
Gary can be reached through the Contact link on his website: Gary Chapman
Catherine can be reached through her website: Catherine Palmer

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Remembering Jane Orcutt

Please take a moment to pray for the family and friends of author Jane Orcutt who went to stand in the presence of her Lord on March 18th, 2007.

Jane is survived by her husband and two sons.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Color me a doofus

Today, I found a typo in the second paragraph of my Genesis Contest entry.
I've already sent my Genesis entry in.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Blog Tag!

Okay, last night Kaye Dacus tagged me. The tag was to put up a picture of the contents of the 'fridge.

In the door, the purple bags are milk. We buy bagged milk, which is much cheaper than the usual gallon plastic. Under the egg shelf is a bin full of mostly batteries, and the tall bottle in the back is raspberry flavoring for some of the most amazing (and easy) fudge you've ever had. (Thanks, CJ, for the recipe.)

The middle shelf is loaded with cans of Pop. (Or soda, depending on what part of the country you're from.) The diet coke is on the two rows on the right, the rest is for the DH.

I tag Donna and CJ. :)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

What's Your Pirate Name?

In keeping with the Pirate Theme of this week's book review...try out your own Pirate Name.

My pirate name is:

Red Grace Kidd

Passion is a big part of your life, which makes sense for a pirate. Even though you're not always the traditional swaggering gallant, your steadiness and planning make you a fine, reliable pirate. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from
part of the network

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

This Week From CFBA ~ The Reliance by MaryLu Tyndall

I'm so excited about this week's blog review from CFBA. In September of 2006 I reviewed book one of the Legacy of the King's Pirate's series by MaryLu Tyndall, The Redemption. You can read that review by clicking here.

Today I'm happy to review the second book in this series, The Reliance. I'm a bit leery when it comes to sequels, especially if I really enjoyed the first book, as I so clearly did with The Redemption. Will the sequel stand up as well as the initial book?

I'm pleased to say that MaryLu Tyndall strikes gold again with The Reliance. If anything, she ups the ante on the characters to almost the breaking point, taking the reader on an even more breathtaking ride than in the first book. The author draws you in through all your senses until you can feel the rocking of the ship, taste the tang of the salt air, and hear the snapping of the sails and creak of ropes. Guns spew fire and smoke clogs your airways.

Circumstances tear Charlisse and Merrick apart, sending Merrick into a tailspin of despair. Half the time I wanted to knock him upside the head, and the other half I wanted to comfort him and tell him it would be all right. Charlisse suffers at the hands of her captor, and battles despair of her own. She runs the gamut of emotions where her husband is concerned, from love to sorrow to bitterness and anger. She suffers great loss and receives great blessing.

The bad guys are bad, the good guys are sometimes bad, and God is always good! Religion and emotion clash like two frigates gun to gun.

This past Sunday, a girl from my Bible study and I were discussing this book. She said she read it all the way through in one afternoon, then promptly started it over, because it was so good.

This book is sheer enjoyment, delightfully written and bursting with the truth of God's unfailing faithfulness. I heartily endorse The Reliance and hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did. I can't wait until the third book in the trilogy, The Restitution, comes out.

You can visit MaryLu Tyndall's fantastic website by clicking here.

Monday, March 12, 2007

An inch...a a time.

Today I sent three more chapters of Drums to my crit partners. I ironed out some timeline problems, added a new character, and smoothed out the bumps I've been learning about through the critique group.
Editing can be a daunting task. For some, even more daunting than pounding out that first draft. It's like standing at the foot of a cliff. The summit is hundreds of feet overhead and there's no other way to get to the top except by chalking your hands and putting your toe in a crack on the rockface. All you can see is the cold stone in front of your nose.
Today, after I polished the chapters as best I could for this latest round of crits, I realized I had reached the 1/3 mark with the edits. I've climbed partway up the cliff and the view is getting better and better. 96/305 pages. Ten chapters.
My other goal, of having the plot cards done for Pam on Rye by 3/20/07 is pretty much on schedule. I'm casting about for a great opening line.
Once the crits are done on Drums, I will work on a synopsis and proposal packet. Then it will be time to send that baby out. But for now, I'll keep climbing that cliff. I bet the view at the top will be beautiful.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Reluctant Burglar ~ Jill Elizabeth Nelson

Well, folks, I just finished a wild ride. Every time I thought I had it figured out, the plot took a twist that had me hanging on for dear life. I'm talking about Reluctant Burglar by Jill Elizabeth Nelson.

One of the great things about this book is, when I wasn't scrambling after a new clue, I was grinning over the quips made by the heroine. References to Gilligan's Island and Wonder Woman showed me that the heroine, Desiree Jacobs (and by inference the author Jill E. Nelson) was a woman after my own heart. She's passionate about what she does, fiercely loyal to her family and employees, and has watched entirely too much television.

The hero, Tony Lucano...sigh...everything a hero should be. Honorable, strong, brave, at times conflicted, haunted by his past but willing to try again.
From the back cover: If Desiree jacobs knows anything, it's art. Her father, whose security company is internationally renowed, taught her everything he knew. Most of all, he taught her about honor. Integrity. Faith. So surely God will forgive her for despising the one man determined to destroy her father's good name?
Special Agent Tony Lucano knows Hiram Jacobs is an art thief. But what he can't figure out is Desiree. Is she an innocent victime...or a clever accomplice?
The Hiram is murdered. And along with his company, he leaves Desiree a hidden container full of stolen paintings. But she can't admit her father was a thief! That would destroy their business, put people out of jobs, and embarrass international museums that have been displaying clever forgeries. No, she must find out why her honest father would turn criminal. And she msut return the priceless art to the rightful owners without their knowledge. Even if it means facing down a ring of cutthroat art theives...or accepting help from the man she most distrusts.

You won't be disappointed if you pick up Reluctant Burglar. I was honored to meet Jill in person last month at a book signing here in Rochester, MN, and she's a terrific gal. Stop by her website to enter the latest Stealth and Wealth contest. Her newest title in the To Catch a Theif Series, Reluctant Runaway releases in less than two weeks.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

This week from CFBA ~ The Watchers by Mark Andrew Olsen

Just below the surface among the family of God lives another family tree--one traced in spirit, invisible and ageless, known as the Watchers. For two thousand years they've seen beyond the veil separating this world from the next, passing on their gift through a lineage mostly overlooked. Throughout history they've scouted the borders of the supernatural frontier, but now their survival hangs by a thread. And their fate lies in the hands of a young woman, her would-be killer, and a mystery they must solve....
"Congratulations. You just reached my own little corner of cyberspace.
Who am I?
Abby Sherman, that's who.
Who are you? And why are you checking me out?
Drop me a few pixels, and let's find out!"
With that innocent invitation, Abby Sherman unwittingly steps in the crosshairs of history, and thus begins her harrowing tale--taking her from ocean-front Malibu to the streets of London, the jungles in West Africa, the Temple Mount, Jerusalem, and to the very gates of heaven itself!A sneak preview of eternity becomes her one-way ticket to danger--and discovery….Two lives collide in a globe-circling adventure involving both peril and discovery: Abby, a young woman whose visions of heaven turn her into a Web-celebrity; and Dylan, a troubled young man sent by an ancient foe to silence her. From California beachfronts to Nigerian rain forests to Jerusalem and back again, THE WATCHERS is high-octane blends of action, mystery, and spiritual battle spanning centuries.
A woman's awe-inspiring vision launches her on a quest through distant lands and ancient history, face-to-face with eternity and into the arms of a family line on the brink of annihilation...A man who is hired to exterminate her discovers the folly of blind loyalty, then learns how to wage war in a realm he never believed had existed...An extraordinary saga of the unseen war against evil, the reality of the supernatural, and the transforming power of forgiveness.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MARK ANDREW OLSEN whose novel The Assignment was a Christy Award finalist, also collaborated on bestsellers Hadassah (now the major motion picture: One Night With the King), The Hadassah Covenant, and Rescued. The son of missionaries to France, Mark is a graduate of Baylor University. He and his wife, Connie, live in Colorado Springs with their three children.

"A writer who can take your breath away with a single sentence. A welcome, fresh voice that must be read!"--Ted Dekker

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk, KU!

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My beloved Kansas University Jayhawks have a way of giving me a heart attack every week. A team mostly comprised of Freshmen and Sophomores, they have a run-and-gun style that pays big dividends or crashes and burns.

The Jayhawks, the number three men's basketball team in the nation, battled the Texas Longhorns today, down by double digits at the half. They won by four points in the end, and captured the Big Twelve regular season title. They will have the number one seed in the Big Twelve tournament this coming week.

Then...The Big Dance.

I am totally addicted to the NCAA men's basketball tournament. MARCH MADNESS! I watch multiple games a day, multiple days a week. I print out my brackets, filling them in with each game completed.

The last two years, Kansas has had an early exit from the tournament, getting booted in the first round each year. Much sadness in the Jayhawk nation. But, with the hope that springs eternal...This year will be different!

It kind of reminds me of writing books. You put together your best work, you package it up, and you send it off with all the hope of a Jayhawk junkie. And it gets rejected right out of the box. Once the publishing houses say no, it's back to the drawing board.

But with each novel, your performance improves, you learn more about your craft and your abilities, you stretch and change and grow. And when you send out the newest ms, you think, "This is the one. This time it will be different."

This year's Jayhawk team is scrappy, deep in heart, and has a 'never-say-die' attitude that allows them to overcome obstacles like being down by a dozen a the half against a team that is a GIANT in their conference. They have their eyes on a prize, and no bump along the way will make them stop striving for it. They aren't staying home from this year's tournament just because they lost in the first round last year...or the year before that.

Writers too have their eyes on a prize. No rejection, no-thank-you, or 'not-ready-yet' should derail them from striving for that prize of publication. Keep working, keep writing, keep reading.

And root for those Jayhawks!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

This Week From CFBA ~ A Valley of Betrayal

Tricia is a member of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance. She also has a blog, It's Real Life and a parenting blog Generation NeXt.
TRICIA GOYER is the author of five novels, two nonfiction books and one children's book. She also was named Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference Writer of the Year in 2003. In 2005, her novel Night Song, the second title in Tricia’s World War II series, won ACFW's Book of the Year for Best Long Historical Romance. In 2006, her novel Dawn of A Thousand Nights also won book of the Year for Long Historical Romance. Tricia and her husband, John, live with their family in northwestern Montana.

ABOUT THE BOOK:We are pleased to be able to review her exciting Chronicles of the Spanish Civil War, A Valley Of BetrayalFor reasons beyond her control, Sophie finds herself alone in the war-torn Spanish countryside, searching for her beloved Michael. His work as a news photographer has taken him deep into the country wracked by civil war. What was once a thriving paradise has become a battleground for Nazi-backed Franco fascist soldiers and Spanish patriots. She is caught up in the escalating events when the route to safety is blocked and fighting surrounds her.Secrets abound in the ruined Spain. Michael is loving but elusive, especially about beautiful maria. The American who helped Sophie sneak into Spain turns up in odd places. Michael's friend Jose knows more than he tells. When reports of Michael's dissappearance reach her, Sophie is devastaed. What are her feelings for Philip, an American soldier who comes to her rescue?Sophie must sift truth from lies as she becomes more embroiled in the war that threatens her life and breaks her heart. On her darkest night, Sophie takes refuge with a brigade of international compatriots. Among these volunteers, she pledges to make the plight of the Spanish people known around the world through the power of art.Acclaimed author Tricia Goyer creates a riviting cast of characters against the backdrop of pre-WWII spain. Love, loss, pain, and beauty abound in A Valley Of Betrayal, the first book in her new series, Chronicles of the Spanish Civil War.
I've not yet had the pleasure of reading this book by Tricia, but I did recently read her Arms of Deliverance. Wowowowow! What a terrific book. I'm adding A Valley Of Betrayal to my 'to be read' pile and hoping you will do the same.