Sunday, January 31, 2010

Music to Encourage and Inspire on Your Sunday

On Sundays I want to share with you songs that encourage me on my walk with Jesus Christ. Songs that encourage us to serve and love the Lord more. I know not everyone can view these videos, so I will only post one on Sundays that I find one worthy to share.

Today is Sidewalk Prophets and The Words I Would Say. I hope it motivates and encourages you as much as it does me.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Book Review: Plain Pursuit

Carley Marek is forced to take a vacation by her boss, so she heads for Pennsylvania Dutch country and her Amish reformed friend. Entering the tranquil countryside and community of the Amish soon proves to be anything, but relaxing. From a shunning no one wants to forgive to a dying child in need of a kidney transplant, Carley is about to discover what she never expected to find.


I hate clich├ęd Amish stories and there are so many out there. But, I am so thrilled to share with you a simply wonderful story. A tale fresh with new perspective on the Amish culture. I am a huge stickler when it comes to getting facts right on the Amish, but Beth Wiseman does a marvelous job on accuracy. It was like a breath of fresh air and a story I loved from page one to the end. There was one moment that must have been a typo when it came to changing character perspective, because there was no break, but aside from that it was a great read. The ending will even make you want to cry (in a very good way!) 5/5 stars!

According to FTC rules: I received this book from Thomas Nelson as an influencer- I received no compensation for this review.

Friday, January 29, 2010

I got 4 books read this week!

15 down in one month!!  I want to thank everyone who has come by to participate in this challenge, it is so fun to see it grow!  Here is what I read this week.

A Lady Like Sarah by Margaret Brownley
Plain Pursuit by Beth Wiseman
Listen by Rene Gutteridge
Under the Distant Sky by Al and Joanna Lacy




In case you don't already know, I am doing a giveaway until February 5th to win Third Times a Charm by Virginia Smith- so enter today!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Book Review: Beneath a Southern Sky


A missionary wife, widowed in the jungle, leaves for the states, mourning her husband’s loss. But after two years pass, bringing with it the birth of her daughter, Danica moves on and remarries, only to have her “dead” husband reappear from the grave.


The description of this book really made me sit and up listen. How could a story with this magnitude be brought to a satisfying conclusion?

Deborah Raney is a masterful storyteller, bringing to life characters and their situations until you feel as if you stand beside them, battling their same struggles. My heart just broke several times during the novel, hurting so desperately for the situations Danica found herself in. I read this book in a little over a day unable to put it down until the last page was turned and as I put the book on my “keeper” shelf, all I could think about was leaving those characters, their situations and all they had been through. And the ending, one I never say coming, never could have predicted. This book is truly a stunning example of masterful storytelling. The kind that will “stick to you” and continue to reel you in with its marvelous craft and lesson. A must read for all fiction lovers, you will not be disappointed in this novel!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Operation Encourage an Author

Let me see a show of hands... how many of you as readers think that authors are untouchable heavenly beings that simply crank out novels with hardly any effort and they somehow magically float down to earth to entertain use with perfect prose and stunning characters. Now I don't think any of us have that exact picture of authors, but many of use think that somehow because you have the ability to put words on paper you are extra special and untouchable.

Here is the biggest misconception about authors, they effortlessly write the novel you hold in your hands. Writing drains so much from an author. Have you ever stared at a computer screen filled with words, trying to manipulate them to where they say exactly what you want them to say? Then have you ever heard back from an editor telling you that you need to go fix that exact phrase you thought was golden?

Writing is not an easy profession, but authors do it because they love it. They do it because it is their passion in life, the drive to share their story with the world.

As readers we love to read, but often our favorite authors don't know they are apprecaited and often they get more negative reviews than positive.

I recently read A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman. It moved me so deeply, that I just had to tell her. I wroter her email and she wrote back telling me how encouraging I was, how wonderful it was to hear it had moved me on such an intimate level.

I recently won Swinging on a Star by Janice Thompson and she sent me the book directly, so I had her address. I try to make it a point to write a hand written note to authors that I have their direct home address. I got an email from Janice later, telling me how my card came on the exact day she needed. Only God could have orchestrated such an event, but He used my card from the love I had for her book to encourage her.

Deborah Raney gave me permission to post part of an email I had with her recently after I read her book Beneath a Southern Sky and loved it.

"Casey, I got your sweet, encouraging note today. I am thrilled that you were so touched by Beneath a Southern Sky. Your words were a real encouragement to me today as I head down the homestretch with the book I'm working on (due on my editor's desk Feb. 8). Thank you, thank you for taking the time to write. That gave me enough writer's fuel to go for a LONG time! : )"

I have written to many "distant" authors over the past couple years and every single one has written back, because while this profession is their passion, it is often a very lonely business spent in a world amongst imaginary characters and to know that their work has impacted a reader's life gives them the encouragement they need to keep writing. Why write if you don't think anyone enjoys your work?

I challenge you, what is the book you are reading right now? After finishing it, if it was a good book and you enjoyed it, plunk yourself down in your chair before the computer. Don't use the excuse that you can't find their address, authors always have websites and every website has a "contact me" button. Spend five minutes writing your favorite author. I guarentee you, that your note will encourage that author and give them "fuel" to keep going.

Note to my readers today: if this is something that impacted you, let me know, I am debating starting another blog with the exact purpose to connect readers and authors with encouraging words.

Operation Encourage an Author Today!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Author Interview and Book Giveaway: Third Times a Charm



Virginia Smith recently contracted her twelfth book in four years. Previous

books in the Sister-to-Sister series include: Stuck in the Middle and Age
before Beauty. In 2008 she was named Writer-of-the-Year at Mount
Hermon Christian Writers Conference. Stuck in the Middle was a finalist
for American Christian Fiction Writers’ 2009 Book of the Year Award. ATaste of Murder was a finalist for the 2009 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. Ginny and husband, Ted, divide their time between Kentucky and Utah, escaping as often as possible for diving trips to the Caribbean. Admittedly, her adventurous outings are often as much fun as they are “book research.”

 


1: How long did you write before you were published?




I wrote for more than twenty years before my first publication. I first started writing in the genre I loved to read – science fiction and fantasy. Of course, nobody told me that sf/f is one of the hardest genres to break into! I wish I’d known that. I collected 143 rejection letters before my first contract.



2: When you held that first book in your hands, what was your first thought?



It’s hard to describe the feeling. Not quite as emotional as holding your first child, but it’s a powerful moment. There’s a feeling of triumph, of accomplishment. I remember thinking, “I can’t believe it. It’s my book! That’s my name on the cover!”



I was home alone when the UPS man brought the box of books, and I could hardly wait for my husband to get home. I dedicated that first book to him, and I hadn’t told him. So as soon as he got home, I showed him the dedication, and he got tears in his eyes. That book really was as much as celebration for him as for me, because he had supported me for so long, and believe in me through all those rejections.





3: What are you working on now?



I just finished a romantic suspense book called Into the Deep. I’m excited about that one because it has a scuba diving theme, and takes place partly in Mexico. The research was a lot of fun! I’m taking a break from writing for a month or two, so I can spend some time talking about Third Time’s a Charm. After that, I’ve got a couple of ideas floating around in my head!






4: Where can readers find out more about your books?



I have a great website – www.VirginiaSmith.org . I spend a lot of time keeping it updated, and I’ve always got a giveaway going on the Reader Fun page. (Right now there’s a terrific Prize Bonanza Giveaway to help celebrate the release of Third Time’s a Charm, including a bunch of prizes related to the book, plus a $50 Visa gift card!)



I also spend way more time than I should on Facebook. I do talk about my books every so often, but mostly I just stay in touch with friends and family and readers. http://www.facebook.com/ginny.p.smith





5: What message(s) do you want to be clear to your readers?



In Third Time’s a Charm, the main message is that we have a heavenly Father who is with us always. Even when we ignore Him, He never leaves us. He’s always there, longing for us to let Him be a part of our lives.



That message is very personal for me. Like Tori, the main character in Third Time’s a Charm, my parents divorced when I was young. I didn’t see my father very often, so for a long time I did feel like he had deserted me. For a long time, that affected my understanding of how constant God’s love is for me. But I’ve learned, as Tori does, that no matter how lonely I felt, He was there all the time.


Thank you for being with us today. Any final words for readers?



Third Time’s a Charm is the third book in the Sister-to-Sister Series (though you don’t have to read Stuck in the Middle and Age before Beauty first in order to enjoy this one!) I always say there’s a little piece of me in every character I’ve ever written, and that’s true of this book as well. When I first started writing the series, I was a little worried about writing Tori’s story, because of the three sisters, she is the least like me. Imagine my surprise when I got into the book, and discovered that beneath the surface, she’s far more like me than I thought! I hope you enjoy reading Third Time’s a Charm as much as I enjoyed writing it.


To enter to win Third Times a Charm:
~Leave a valid email address
~Open to all
~Void where prohibited

To get extra entries:
~Be a follower
~Be an email subscriber

Winner will be annouced Febuary 6th and will be drawn from random.org
Thanks for stopping by to enter!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Book Review: Listen

The words of Marlo are being plastered on the Internet, but who is doing it? Who would have ever thought that little words could cause so much turmoil?


Listen was a page turning, occasionally bone chilling story. I was afraid when I started the book, it would be the author’s agenda to get across the evil of gossip, but rarely was that word even used. And though the author wanted to make a point, she never preached it, masterful storytelling.



But I also had a few problems with the book. Several transitions were very poorly done, to where I was searching, not knowing if I had missed something. I felt like I was watching lives unfold, which was great storytelling, but in that unfolding some little details were left dangling and I was a bit confused. I would have liked a stronger Christian message, but in the end the transformation was complete in the characters, I just would have liked to see more of it throughout the book



Altogether, I really enjoyed this book. It was a great mystery that had me completely in the dark until the very end. Good writing and a gripping story. I give it a thumbs up 4/5 stars.


According to FTC rules: I recieved this book from Vicky at Tyndale Publishers for purposes as an influencer- thank you!

Friday, January 22, 2010

What books did you read this week?

I got 3 books read this week. I have read 11 books so far this year- 89 to go! How did you do?




Love Finds You in Poetry, Texas by Janice Hanna

Beneath a Southern Sky by Deborah Raney
Southern Storm by Terri Blackstock

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Book Review: Swinging on a Star


I want to say here and now, I simply adore Bella and her quirky Italian family!
The struggles aren’t over for Bella in her wedding planning business. A medieval wedding is in the works and nothing must stop this wedding. Not the food network showing up to film Aunt Rosa, not the neighbor kid on the roof taking pictures and not even the best man living with her family- and did I mention he is a hot Hollywood movie star, trying to avoid paparazzi? And the struggles aren’t going to end any time soon, because Bella just might be coordinating a wedding from a jail cell!
I loved this second book in the Weddings by Bella series. This wonderful cast of characters are a blast to spend time with and you can ALWAYS expect the unexpected, which I just love! There wasn’t as much humor in this book as the first, but I still enjoyed it for the sake of the story and it kept me smiling and at one point howling! (Not going to tell- you have to figure it out!) I just hope that there is more coming in this series, I don’t know what I will do if this isn’t! Guaranteed, read this one and the first, Fools Rush In, and you will fall in love with the Rossi clan every bit as much as I did.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Interview with Author Laurie Alice Eakes Part 2



Welcome back to part 2 on helpful writing tips with Lauire Alice Eakes. Visit Laurie at : www.lauriealiceeakes.com And now here is part two:

6: What is the most common mistake the beginning writer makes?
That’s a whole post all on its own. To make is concise, rushing things. People fall in love with the craft and with their work and send it out the door before it’s ready to go. The manuscript gets rejected, not because the author isn’t any good or the story isn’t great, but because it’s underdone.

7: What are two things you wished you had known before you started writing?
I wish I’d known about professional organizations like ACFW or RWA. Getting involved with other writers and learning from them, not to mention learning about the pitfalls of the business-yes, many charlatans exist out there-would have saved me a lot of trouble.
And I wish I’d known more about the business and how it worked-the submission process, guidelines, and all that. Learning to write is really important, but you can have the best book in the world and get nowhere with it because of taking bad advice or sending it to the wrong places and a gazillion other pitfalls of not knowing how the system works.

8: Why did you choose this profession?
I think the profession chose me. Somewhere in the back of my mind, no matter what I studied in college, no matter what jobs I held, I knew writing was what I really wanted to do.

9: What advice/ encouragement do you have for the writers reading this today?
Write and finish. Have a teachable heart. When someone tells you a part of your story isn’t working, pay attention. It doesn’t mean they’re right, but they could be. In contrast to that, don’t take so much advice to heart that you change everything. You have to follow your gut instincts, too.
And I do want to encourage. If this is what God wants you to do, then you will succeed.

10: Any other helpful advice?
Although you need to finish a manuscript and polish it before sending it out, don’t polish it so much the life is gone and you never send it out. Rejection is scary to face, yes, but you can’t get acceptance without risking rejection.

Thank you for giving such helpful advice, Laurie. Writing is a challenging journey and I know from personal experience that any advice is helpful!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Interview with Author Laurie Alice Eakes Part 1





Laurie Alice Eakes always has loved books, so writing came naturally from that love. Her writing took to a fast start after publication, winning an award for her first book for National Reader’s Choice Award for Best Regency. It was also a finalist for Best First Book. Laurie writes for Heartsong Presents, a division of Barbour publishing, Baker/ Revell and Avalon Books Learn more about Laurie at http://www.lauriealiceeakes.com/




I am pleased to share with you an interview I had with Laurie recently about writing. She has graciously shared some tips with us on the craft. Thank you Laurie!




1: How long did you work on your writing before you were published?
I suffered from fits and starts and a bit of attention deficit disorder, so it’s hard to say how long, as I had big gaps of no writing. Somewhere around four to six years, if I put the time together.




2: What are two mistakes you wish you had never made?
Letting three of my early books get published as e-books. They weren’t ready for the world and aren’t particularly edifying reads either. I’m glad the publishers are no longer in business.
The other mistake is thinking that, because I have always been a reader, I knew how to write a book and didn’t bother to pay attention to the craft.




3: What resources did you find the most helpful for learning the craft?
I am blessed in that I was able to attend the Seton Hill University Master’s program in writing popular fiction. That’s where I really learned the craft. Outside of that, I learned a great deal from analyzing books and doing critiques. Not being critiqued as much as critiquing others’ work to figure out what worked and didn’t work for me as a reader. Also, three books, out of the dozens I ended up reading, worked for me: Techniques of the Selling Writer, Goal, Motivation and Conflict, and Writing the Break-out Novel by Dwight Swain, Debra Dixon, and Donald Mass respectively.




4: How does an author "find their voice"?
I had to really think about this one. Voice, to me, is that innate part of writing that you have or you don’t. Like any other kind of art, it needs to be trained and exercised. When I took voice lessons, I learned to practice scales over and over again. Sometimes learning to write, getting control of one’s voice, is a matter of repetition, doing writing exercises to strengthen those writing vocal chords.
The short answer is: by writing-different kinds of scenes, different genres, even different persons like first and third.




5: How do you protect your writing time?
Pretty poorly. I write full-time now, so have a lot of it, often so much that I can squander it. People intrude, and I have a hard time saying no, if someone needs help. But deadlines are great motivators, and I can get protective of my time, telling people to back off, like a cat keeping others from her food.




Return tomorrow for part two of this interview when Laurie will discusses comman mistakes of beginning writers. Leave a comment telling what you learned from this interview.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

We Have A Winner!


The winner of The Raven Saint by M.L. Tyndall is......


Abi!!!!


Congratulations!!!


Thanks to all who entered, I know MaryLu appreciates the support and so do I! This book was a great read- pick one up at your local bookstore or hop on over to http://www.christianbookgiveaways.blogspot.com/ and enter to win on another site!


Be sure on come back on Monday, I will be conducting an interview with Laurie Alice Eakes, who will be giving advice on the writing craft. Have a great weekend!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Time To Log In With Last Week's Reads

Okay, I want everyone to know that I do other things than just read. :) This week I happened to finish a book I started at the first of the year, so I have the same number of books as last week. Also, if you want to join the challenge, please feel free to go here and give your total books you think you can read in a year. (Christian fiction ONLY) Then come back here to tell me you how many you have read since January 1st.
Okay, here are my reads for this week.




Swinging on a Star by Janice Thompson



The Secret by Beverly Lewis
A Steadfast Surrender
by Nancy Moser
Montana Rose by Mary Connealy (This is the ACFW book club selection for this month. Check it out the book club is a ton of fun and free!)
Check back in tomorrow as the winner of the Raven Saint by M.L. Tyndall will be annouced. This is your LAST day to enter if you haven't already!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Writing Resource #1


I want to share some writing resources that I have found extremely helpful in my writing journey. So...here is #1!


From the Inside...Out Discover, Create and Publish the Novel in You!
Don’t let the long title fool you. This book is a valuable resource and asset and should be on every writer’s shelf of "how-to" books.
It is written by Award winning, best selling authors, Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck. Both of these women know how to communicate the craft and put it in an easy to read and helpful format. This book is filled with just the right nuggets of advice for the struggling novelist who has an idea and just can’t seem to get started. It is filled with activities to do with your characters and your novel and puts everything before you that you need to know in bite size formula. It’s not easy to become overwhelmed when you read this book


Even if you have a novel in the works (like me when I read the book) this guide is extremely helpful. I discovered things about my characters and my story that I didn’t know before that made it a better novel.
You can find this book at Amazon. Check it out, it will be well worth the money you spend.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Book Review: A Passion Most Pure


Faith thought she knew her sister- until she finds her in the bushes with the man Faith loves. From page one the rift can only grow wider as these two sisters battle for the same man. The trials in this Irish American family only escalate as loving sisters turn on each other, their love for the same man bringing out the absolute worst in their relationship. Pushing all involved to the breaking point.


This was my first book by Julie Lessman and I was not disappointed. This book is long, 477 pages and I didn’t know if she could hold the tension through the entire novel. I was never bored during one page during the story. There were times I felt I was eavesdropping on the characters, my heart breaking at times and others so mad I could have throttled one or two myself. There is something to be said of an author who draws forth a reader’s emotions, Julie knows how to wield that all too fine tool and does it masterfully. This book certainly does seep passion from nearly every page, albeit appropriate, nothing sensual, but she knows how to spark the imagination and captivate the reader into the story. Never was I sorrier to see a book come to it’s end. I am so glad there is a sequel!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Giving God Your Creativity

Father, may we bear Your likeness better today than yesterday. Cause us to remember that You are the source of creativity, imagination and organization. Help us do Your will
Whispers of Wisdom for Young Women (c) 2008 Barbour
I just love that quote, it really sums it up well don't you think?
I have been thinking of this lately. What would happen if we let God completely and totally use our creativity for Him? Then brings up the point, it’s not our creativity at all- it is a gift from God and He has given it to us to glorify Him.
God has given each one of us talents in a certain area and I know with at least my life, I often forget that this creativity was given by God. I love to write, but I often get so caught up in the moment of not finding the right word, not able to think of what should come next in the plot, that I forget that this God’s story in the first place. This creativity has come from Him, He will use it any way He chooses. And when I turn my strengths and weaknesses over to Him, I find I have much better success and enjoy my writing so much more- it has improved greatly too!
God recently brought me back down to earth. I hired a lady to edit 30 pages of my work and those edits were hard to take. They were wonderful critiques, but I didn’t want to hear that my creativity was flawed! And that is basically what it came down to. I wanted to be told that I was perfect and ready to be published- ca boom! But God ever so gently tapped me on the shoulder and reminded me that my creativity stems from Him alone and without Him I will get no where with my writing.
Turn your creativity over to God, He is the Author of all Life, He knew what He was doing when He placed that talent within you. Now turn it back over and with His will and guidance, go show the world what He is doing through you!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Reader's Choice Top Ten Voting Results!!!!!!!!!!


And the winner is....
with 40 votes:
Love Finds You in Lonesome Prairie, Montana by Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss
CONGRATULATIONS and thanks to all who voted!
We had a tremendous line up for the first time run at the top ten (out of a 113 votes)and now with great pleasure I present the rest of the readers choice. We even had three ties- so the books were listed by alphabetical by title.
#2: By Darkness Hid
#3:A Passion Denied
#4: The Blue Enchantress
#5: The Familiar Stranger (tie w/#6)
#6: The Shape of Mercy (tie w/#5)
#7: Never the Bride (tie w/#8)
#8: The Swiss Courier (tie w/ #7)
#9: Cry in the Night (tie w/ #10)
#10: How Sweet It Is (tie w/ #9)
This looks like an impressive line up of books! Wonderful things have been said, so pick up a copy today. I know I will with Love Finds You in Lonesome Prairie, Montana!
Thanks again for voting and congratulations to the Top Ten Reads of 2009!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Book Review: Fools Rush In

Mama Mia, what a novel! I have never laughed so hard over a novel in my entire reading life!


Bella Rossi doesn’t know what she has gotten herself into when she took over the family wedding planning service. Certainly not 800 boots, a deejay that isn’t a deejay- or is he?- her BBQ cook with singed eyebrows and one pesky neighbor who is always finding himself at the wrong end of her aunt’s broom.


I heard great things about this novel, so I picked it up, though still a little skeptical if the humor could hold it’s own the entire novel- could it entertain me? Oh did it ever! This book went everywhere with me, becoming my best friend through the two days it took me to read it. I laughed the entire way through, I couldn’t stop smiling- even just thinking about it. I quickly become Bella’s best friend, she has such a unique voice and way of seeing the world, all through her Italian lifestyle. The food descriptions alone had my mouth watering!

This family of quirky, lovable characters quickly worm their way into your heart and set up camp. What a wonderful family to escape to visit. I only wish they didn’t lurk between the pages of a book- then who says they have to? This book should be on everyone’s book shelf- it’s a keeper!

Friday, January 8, 2010

It's Friday...

Which can mean only one thing... Time to log in with your latest reads and let everyone know how you are doing on completing your reading goal for 2010!


I have read some GREAT books this past week- ones that I couldn't put down and literally became my best friends. I have to share the cover art with you (expect reviews on a few of them soon), plus you will know how I am doing on my own personal challenge. Don't forget to say how many books you read- let's start wittling the number down!






Fools Rush In by Janice Thompson




The Raven Saint by M.L. Tyndall










Cape Refuge by Terri Blackstock












A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman




4 down 96 to go! How did you do?


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2010 Goals- What are yours?

Okay, I know I am late with this thought, 2009 is already six days behind us, but it is something I have been wanting to talk about. Seems I have been giving my "New Years Resolution" everywhere else I go, so now I need to tell you here.


I don’t do "New Year’s Resolutions". I find that when I make them, I never accomplish them, there is nothing, but myself to hold me accountable. But a goal, now that I can undertake and see to completion.


I know resolution- goal- same thing right? Actually, no. Resolution also means, fortitude, resolve, a decision to do something, without really intending to follow through (this is just a generalization not a classification :). Like the resolution, "I want to lose weight this year", that is just a promise filling empty air. But a goal, a goal pushes you forward, you see an end in sight- no matter how distant, it is still there. A goal is an ambition, an intent, a target.


I have two major goals this year that I intended at the first of this year to do come what may. I want to take my polish edits as far as possible on my first novel. Somehow to me this seems a more daunting task than my other goal. The end is more hazy, but I can still see the end, I know it’s there and I just have to keep pushing forward.


My second goal is to finish the rough draft of my second manuscript. This a pretty basic, simple demand on my life right now. I am writing 1,000 words a day and even before the end of the year gets here, I will have a full fledged novel that will just need to be edited down to as close as perfection as I can take it. But I have to be careful of this "simple goal". Something like this I could easily push to the wayside. To keep myself from throwing excuses to the wind, I sit down everyday and write. And I don’t stand up until those 1,000 words are done. You would be amazed at how fast thoughts flow your fingertips when you put yourself in such a constraint.


How about you? What goals do you have set for the new year and are they still sitting on the shelf as resolutions, gathering dust, or are they put before you as goals, ones you are striving mightily to accomplish?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Book Review: The Raven Saint

Grace Westcott considers herself holy, above reproach, until she is thrown against a man she cannot change. A pious woman, one who revers God, has to learn just what it means to be a servant of Christ.


Rafe Dubois got more than he bargained for in Grace Westcott when he kidnaped her. Certainly not a saintly woman of God. Will he be able to sell her as originally planned?


This was an excellent conclusion to M.L. Tyndall’s latest series, Charles Towne Belles. My only compliant is the overuse of the French language. It was often fatiguing and overbearing.


But the chemistry between hero and heroine was stunning. At first you think Grace isn’t flawed, but you soon learn just how far she has to grow, lending a beauty to the story that I greatly appreciated. Rafe was a tormented character, it was a joy to watch him transform. But this book didn’t have just transforming characters. Throw in a duel to the death, a one eyed cat, a murderous servant, a villainous father and his conniving wife and you have the ingredients of a fantastic story on the high seas! I read it through in two days and would gladly recommend it anyone who loves an epic adventure.

*Thanks to MaryLu for this copy to use as an "influencer".*

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Interview and Book Giveaway: M.L. Tyndall and The Raven Saint



M.L. Tyndall (MaryLu) has written for Barbour Publishing since 2007 when her first book came out, The Redemption. A Christy Award Finalist, MaryLu writes books primarily set on the high seas featuring many of the villains and heroes that tread those waters-such as pirates and privateers! Her latest series, The Charles Towne Belles was first released in 2008 with The Red Siren. The Blue Enchantress came out in 2009 and her latest one, The Raven Saint, has just released this month. MaryLu lives California, with her husband, children and numerous pets. She has graciously agreed to give away an autographed copy of her latest book, The Raven Saint to one fortunate winner!


MaryLu, thank you for taking the time to visit us today! I appreciate you taking the time to answer these few questions, letting us get to know you better.


Q: How long did you write before you were published?

A: I’ve always written stories. Ever since I can remember I loved to dream up romantic adventures and put them together in story form. I had a poem published in my high school year book, and I nearly completed a novel when I was sixteen about a white girl who ran away with a Cherokee Indian. Of course I never finished anything and I certainly didn’t expect to get published. Writing was just a hobby of mine. I also wrote a time travel book in my 20’s as well as a Science Fiction novel. So, you see, I always loved to write, but because getting published was a one in a million shot, I never studied writing in school. Instead, I studied Math and Computer Science (Blaaa!) in order to make a good living.


Q: When you held that first book in your hands, what was your first thought?

A: God is good! And that’s the truth. His mighty hand was all over the publication of my first novel, which was another one of those books I wrote as a hobby. It’s unheard of for someone like me with no formal training and no prior publications to submit her very first completed novel and get a contract not only to publish that one, but two more in the series. So you see why I truly believe this was a miracle.


Q: What are you working on now?

A:I’m working on a new series called Surrender to Destiny. The three books are set in Baltimore during the War of 1812 and follow the adventures of three women who, against their will, are thrust into the center of the war but who end up greatly affecting its outcome. It’s a series about finding your God-given destiny, and each story will be filled with adventure, action, and romance.

Q: Where can readers find out more about your books?

A: My website: http://www.mltyndall.com
My blog: http://www.crossandcutlass.blogspot.com
Facebook Fan club: http://www.facebook.com/reqs.php#/group.php?gid=38269435754&ref=ts


Q: What message(s) do you want to be clear to your readers?

A:The same message that I would shout from the rooftops if I could. There is a God. He loves you with all His heart. He died for you so you can live and He has a purpose for your life that is beyond anything you can imagine.


Q: Why did you choose this profession?

A: Actually, I think this profession chose me. I never had any plans to publish my work. I had a good career going at IBM, a great marriage, children, and several cats. When I felt led to write my first book about a pirate, I never dreamed I’d see that book on the shelves. I just kept taking baby steps, writing the novel, joining an online writer’s group, getting an agent.. etc... and God kept opening the doors. But now that I’m here, I have to say that I can’t think of anything I’d rather do for a living.



Thank you for being with us today. Any final words for readers?

If you made it down this far, thanks for listening!!! I love to hear from readers, so please drop by my website and send me a note. God Bless,



*Readers, please leave a comment with your email address to be entered to win a copy of MaryLu's great new release The Raven Saint. You will not be entered if you do not include your email address.
For an extra chance to win let me know if you are a follower or subscribe to my blog.
This contest is open to all. Void where prohibited. The winner is drawn randomnly and will be annouced on Saturday, January 16, 2010*
*This is an edited version of my original interview with author M.L. Tyndall*

Reader's Top Ten Pick of 2009

Fellow voters, here are your Top Ten Christian novels of 2009 to vote on!


The Swiss Courier by Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkley

A Passion Denied by Julie Lessman
The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner

By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson



Cry in the Night by Colleen Coble



Never the Bride by Rene Gutteridge and Cheryl Mckay





The Familiar Stranger by Christina Berry









Love Finds You in Lonesome Prairie, Montana by Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss



How Sweet It Is by Alice J. Wisler
The Blue Enchantress by M.L. Tyndall
Please vote on the side bar at the poll. DO NOT leave a comment with your vote or it won't be counted. Remember you are voting on the story you loved best (you can only vote once) and those votes will then rank the books from 1-10. Voting will be open for one week!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Nominations closed

Thanks to everyone who nominated their favorite read for 2009. The *Nominations are now closed*.

Voting will begin tomorrow for the top ten Reader's Pick of 2009. I will be alerting the novelists of the ten chosen novels their books have been nominated. Be sure and come back to vote!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Welcome 2010!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!
I hope this new year holds many promises yet to be discovered for you and your loved ones. May new goals be reached and new experiences undertaken.

Thank you all for helping me through this rough first month with my blog. I can't tell you how excited I get to see a comment from any one of you. THANK YOU!

Be sure and join me on Monday for a special giveaway (shhh, it's a surprise :), but trust me, you DON'T want to miss this!

Be sure and leave a comment on the last post, nominating your favorite 2009 Christian novel. Voting will begin after ten books have been nominated.

Again, HAPPY NEW YEAR and God Bless!

FTC Rules

According to new FTC rules I must let you, the reader know, that all views shared on this blog are strictly my own. Books to review are either provided for me by the author, publisher or ones I have purchased and I am under no obligation whatsoever to present anything, but my true opinion on any product. I receive no monetary compensation for anything written on this blog. Any giveaways on this blog are provided by the author/ publisher and I am not responsible for any views they express in their work or on this site. Giveaways are void were prohibited and chances of winnng are based on the number of applicants. A random winner is draw when a book is given away.

 
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