Thursday, September 30, 2010

Day off...

I am blogging today on the Writer's Alley today about secondary characters. Hope you can check it out if you get a minute.

Also, be on the watch tomorrow as I unleash a SALE at my Bug's Beads site.

I will be back tomorrow with my read count, blog award and a link to an interview with me. So see you back here then. :-)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

And So It Begins...

Or so it began two weeks ago. ;-)

I started my first substantive edits a few weeks ago and rewrites on Monday. Even though this is my second novel, it is my first real experience of changing and moving and cutting words in an order that actually makes sense! (Don't ask about my previous experiences, just know it resembled something like Swiss cheese)

There is a certain amount of fear that comes with editing. What if I don't see what needs to be fixed? What if I can't figure out my subplot? What if my story is too depressing and I am just wasting my time?

What if? What if? What if? What if?

WHAT IF?

I admit those are my two most used/hated words in my vocabulary. And usually when I start thinking along the what if lines I find myself in front of a spider solitaire game.

Coming into my edits for the first time on a full length novel the one thing I have learned is: one page at a time.

Just. One. Page. At. A. Time.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. (or so I've heard, I have yet to try it myself)

I can't think about the other 336 pages that need to be fixed, I need to focus on that one page. The dialogue, showing, plot, setting, emotions. The big picture is simply overwhelming, but I can do one page.

I still won't doubt I fight the What If syndrome, but one page a time seems to be a helpful cure. *wink*

Do you have any helpful editing tips?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Revell Blog Tour and Book Review: A Memory Between Us

There aren’t many historical novels that can pull off a great love story while entertaining the reader and giving them a taste of the era without overwhelming the reader.


I believe that A MEMORY BETWEEN US is one of those few books. I thought the information on WWII was interesting, but not overwhelming. It gave me just what I needed to know without making me skim. The love story was incredible. The chemistry between the characters while the memories of their past ripping at their relationship was ingenious! At several points in the novel I seriously thought that the story was going to feel over, but no. It just moved onto another area of tension, taking me right along with it.

Topics were tackled in this novel that I don’t often see in historical fiction, but I thought they were discussed with a grace and utilized in the best way to heighten tension and bring forth emotions. The character’s journeys were deep and wide and very believable. None of us are perfect on the first time around and I loved that about this story. It isn’t the normal status quo.

I will say one other thing: never have I anticipated a kiss more.

This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publisher for my copy to review.

Available September 2010 from Revell a division of Baker Publishers at your local bookstore.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Giveaway and Author Interview: A Woodland Christmas

Welcome back to Writing for Christ, Darklene Franklin! I am excited to have you here for a second time. :-)
What has changed in your writing life since you were last here?
I finished a three-book historical romance set in Vermont (the second book, Bridge to Love, is set for release in November). I am currently working on sequels to my first published book, Romanian Rhapsody, and they should both come out next year. I also received a contract for another Christmas novella for next year and a chance to write devotionals for Heavenly Humor for the Teacher’s Soul.
Next year’s Christmas story (The First Christmas in Christmas at the Barncastle Inn) marks the 4th year in a row I’ve written a novella. I’ve been very  blessed.
I also became a grandma for the second time. Welcome to the world, Isaiah Jaran Franklin!
What recent read stood out to you as truly spectacular?
I just finished Deceit by Brandilynn Collins, and it’s the best I’ve read by Brandilynn. Made me want to come back for me.
Do you have favorite authors?
Of course!  In the CBA, I read everything I can find by Stephen James, Liz Curtis Higgs, Kim Vogel Sawyer and Philip Yancey.  I read a lot of Christian historical/romance fiction, most of it outstanding.
What do you find the most enjoyable part of writing or connecting with readers?
I love connecting with readers. I love talking books with a fellow enthusiast. We share a common passion for story that I find compelling. And I’m honored when someone takes the time to contact me.
What do you find the most ideal atmosphere for writing? Do you ever get those surroundings? :-)
I  have worked in almost every atmosphere since I began writing—bus to work, soccer games, even breaks at a writers meeting . . . but now I have my ideal. I live alone and set my own hours, so I have few interruptions.
Okay, something fun for those writers out there: In what point of your writing career did you surprise yourself by writing the most words ever in the shortest amount of time?
The first time (and one of only a few times) I managed 5,000 words in a day. That’s been within the past year. I am seeking a better writing routine, one that allows my critique partners more time to look through my things, so I’m going to try writing 4 days a week and doing revisions 2 days a week before sending out for critique.  Currently I write the rough draft straight through, and then go back and do revisions.

Thanks for being here again! It has been a joy and we wish the very best with your novels.

Okay, readers here is your chance to enter to win Darlene's latest release.

PLEASE LEAVE AN EMAIL ADDRESS! If I draw your name and there is no email, YOU WILL NOT WIN!

For extra entries:
~Be a follower
~Be a subscriber

Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- Random.org. I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items of said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter!

Contest closes on October 9th

Sunday, September 26, 2010

And the Winner is...

Ariel Wilson!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

With a unanimous decision between Julie and myself, the winner is Ariel's photo! Ariel you have some great books to choose from for your prize.

*some of you might be wondering why she isn't holding the book, due to the small number of entries I decided to forgo that restriction. It made no difference whatsoever in the judging.*

And now I have to share the other photos with you. This was so much fun and THANK YOU to Julie for helping judge. Here are the other entries....



Thanks ladies for participating!!!! It has been fun. :-)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Of Yarn Shopping, Meeting Authors and Winners!

This last Wednesday I  traveled 70 miles to a charming little yarn store. Next to reading, knitting is my favorite pastime, so about once or twice a year I get to travel to this store and stock up.

Yarn for socks. 3 pairs in this case



Yarn for my new short sleeve sweater (love making those things!)

And because I am such a knitting nerd, a pic of my now full yarn basket. :-)



While I was in this small (and I do mean small) town doing my shopping, I was given the chance to meet CHRISTY Award winning author, Jill Williamson, author of By Darkness Hid and By Darkness Fled. We met for lunch, had a wonderful visit, talking books, publication and the ACFW conference she just attended. What a joy to meet another Christian author and only 70 miles from where I live! It was a pleasure meeting you Jill!


And now the winner of Carie Lawson's Beyond Summer ebook is....

Ann Lee Miller!!

And the winner of Kay Strom's Call of Zulina is....

LaTawnia!!!

Congratulations to the winners!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, September 24, 2010

What I Read This Week

4 books this week. Which takes my complete total of books read in 2010 to 170! Since I am so close to 200, I am extending my goal to that number. I think I can acheive it pretty easily. :-)

Now how is everyone else doing?













And they are:
Redemption by Karen Kingsbury and Gary Smalley
Shelter of Hope by Lyn Cote
Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana by Melanie Dobson
Pursuit of Justice by DiAnn Mills (review directly below this post)

You still have today to enter to win Carie Lawson's novel, so be sure and enter!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Book Review: Pursuit of Justice

The third book to wrap up the “Call of Duty” series, PURSUIT OF JUSTICE surrounds itself in intrigue and a family controversy that promises to be difficult to untangle.
I must admit that I was personally not as impressed with PURSUIT OF JUSTICE as the previous two books in this series. While the book is a normal novel length, I didn’t fly through it on the wings of the suspense. I thought the heroine was kind of flat. She just didn’t have a great deal of dimension and depth to her. I couldn’t really see her growth beyond accepting Christ. The tension between her normal life and the job just wasn’t there.
The hero, Carr, was an interesting character and I saw his struggles and identified with them. Though I have never been charged with murder, I understood his anger and desperation.
I wasn’t completely disappointed in this book. There was still the suspense and danger angle. Who really committed the crime, etc. So many dead bodies, though!
In the previous books I have not minded reading about a woman in a macho type role, it was very well portrayed, this one however, in my humble opinion, was just not carried off to the degree as its preceding titles.
This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers for my copy to review.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Special Interview with Debbie from Love Me Tender (by Janice Hanna)

Hollywood Heartthrob, “Man About Town” Column

Welcome, readers! This is Sunset Sam, columnist for Hollywood Heartthrob magazine, here to interview several characters from LOVE ME TENDER, a new book by author Janice Hanna Thompson. I read the book in preparation for this interview and had a hip-hip hoppin’, be-be-boppin’ time reading about the characters down at Sweet Sal’s Soda Shoppe in Laguna Beach. I’ve been to Sweet Sal’s many times, of course. Everyone in Hollywood knows it’s all the rage. Where else can you get a big, thick cheeseburger, hot, salty fries and the thickest chocolate malts in the country? Now that I’ve enticed you with the food, let’s have a little chat with some of the key players in our story. We’ll start with Debbie Carmichael, daughter of the owners of Sweet Sal’s.

Debbie, could you tell us a little about what your day-to-day life is like?
Most of the girls my age are in college, but I decided to stay in Laguna Beach and help my parents out at our family run soda shop. I have the best life ever! I live across the street from the Pacific Ocean, and love spending time at the cliffs, watching the waves lap the shore. When I’m at the soda shop, the jukebox is always playing. I’m gaga over Elvis’s new song, “Love Me Tender.” It’s all the rage with teen girls right now. Of course, I’m also head over heels for Bobby Conrad, but don’t tell my friends, okay? They think I’m more mature than most of the other teen girls who hang out Sweet Sal’s. Of course, I’m a little distracted by that new guy, Johnny Hartman. He’s so sweet and handsome, and I hear he’s a great singer, too!

Johnny, I read in another article that you came all the way from Topeka Kansas to Hollywood to make it big. How does Hollywood compare to Topeka?
There’s really no way to compare Topeka to Los Angeles. People out here (in California) are more up on current styles, the hottest tunes and the hippest actors and actresses. Back home, folks are so grounded. That isn’t always the case here in L.A. I hope I don’t sound too stuck up when I say that back in Topeka, I was a big fish in a small pond. And because my dad’s a pastor, I had plenty of opportunities to sing in church. But out here in L.A. no one even knows who I am. My agent, Jim Jangles, is working hard to get me a gig on television. I’m auditioning for Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts soon. Say a little prayer for me!

Bobby, I understand you were slotted to sing at the fundraiser at Sweet Sal’s Soda Shoppe, but had to cancel. Could you explain your sudden departure?
Yes, I was scheduled to sing at the fundraiser, but just got word that I’ll be filming my new movie that same weekend. I was really disappointed to have to tell the Carmichaels the news, but hopefully they understand. I think it’s going to be okay, because my agent, Jim Jangles, is sending his latest prodigy—a kid from Topeka named Johnny Hartman—in my place. I hear he’s quite a singer.

Sal, could you tell our readers about some of the Hollywood stars you’ve met over the years?
First of all, thanks for including me in this interview! It’s been decades since I was a teen, but I still secretly read Hollywood Heartthrob magazine. (Shh! Don’t tell my husband, Frankie, or my daughter, Debbie!) I’m blessed to be the co-owner of Sweet Sal’s Soda Shoppe in Laguna Beach, and I’ve met a lot of stars who’ve come through on their way to places like Dana Point and San Diego. Here’s a list of some of my favorites: Doris Day, Gregory Peck, Frank Sinatra, Audrey Hepburn, Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Ozzie and Harriet. There are dozens more, of course. I want to personally invite all of your readers to stop by Sweet Sal’s Soda Shoppe so that they can see the photos on our walls! And while you’re here, why not enjoy a creamy chocolate malt?

Debbie, a little birdie told me that you and the other girls in Laguna Beach are gaga over Elvis, Pat Boone and Bobby Conrad. Now that you’ve gotten to know (and love) Johnny Hartman, what would you say sets him apart from the other great singers you’ve known?
Oh, no doubt about it. . .Johnny isn’t just a great singer, he’s got a heart of gold. I especially love his strong faith. Unlike so many of the other singers in town, he doesn’t put himself first. With Johnny, it’s God first. . .all the way! And when he sings. . .man! That voice! It’s a smooth as velvet. (And it doesn’t hurt that he’s so dreamy! Talk about handsome!)

Johnny, you’ve been asked to fill in for Bobby Conrad at the Laguna Beach fundraiser. Can you tell us how you’re feeling as you look forward to the big day?
I don’t mind admitting I’m a little nervous. Who wouldn’t be? Thousands of girls from Orange County and beyond are looking forward to seeing Bobby Conrad in person. Now I’ve been asked to fill in for him. I’ll be lucky if they don’t boo me off the stage or toss rotten tomatoes at me! Hopefully my new love song—the one I wrote for the gorgeous Debbie Carmichael—will win them over. I hope so, anyway!

Bobby, many Christians have a hard time hanging onto their faith once they achieve stardom. You seem so grounded. What’s your secret?
I always try to honor God in everything I do—whether it’s movies or songs for the radio. There’s a verse that I love, and it’s one I try to live by: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” The way I look at it, if I make a choice to put God first, He’s going to bless me above and beyond anything I could ever ask for, anyway. Even if He didn’t bless me, though, I would still serve Him. It’s really the only way to live a fulfilling life. (And trust me when I say that people out here in L.A. are looking for ways to live a fulfilling life!)

Sal, we were sorry to hear about your husband’s health problems. How is he doing now?
Praise the Lord, Frankie seems to be doing a little better. His heart attack several months ago really shook us up. And we got behind on the mortgage, which has made me a little nervous. Still, I choose to trust God. And now that everyone in town is banding together to put on the fundraiser to save the soda shop, I’m feeling more hopeful than ever!

Debbie, is there anything you’d like Hollywood Heartthrob readers to know as we end this interview?
Yes, I would like people to know that it is possible to live in Hollywood—to be a big star, even—and still be a person of faith. I’ve witnessed it in Bobby Conrad’s life, and in Johnny’s, too. I’d also like to share that putting your trust in God is really the only way to go. Some problems are just too big for us to handle on our own. When my dad got really sick, I made up my mind to try to “fix” the situation. What I’ve learned is this—only God can truly “fix” anything. And trust me when I say that His “fix” is far greater than anything we could ever dream up!
Thanks so much, folks! It’s been a great interview.
Well, there you have it, Hollywood Heartthrob fans. This is Sunset Sam, signing off for this week. See you next time!






******

Note from Janice Hanna Thompson, author of LOVE ME TENDER:
Hi everyone! Thanks for stopping by to share in the excitement of LOVE ME TENDER, my latest inspirational romance. When I heard about the new “When I Fall in Love” line at Summerside, I flipped! Why? Because I love the ‘50s, and I love music! (The line is based on song titles from the 1930s to the 1970s.) I happen to be a playwright with a really fun musical comedy titled JOHNNY BE GOOD, a story that’s near and dear to my heart. I decided to put a twist on that stage play and turn it into a rockin’ romantic novel! With that in mind, I hope you enjoy this “Hollywood Heartthrob” interview with four of the main characters from the novel.

Book can be purchased on my site at www.janicehannathompson.com or at www.amazon.com.
GIVEAWAY INFO: Janice Hanna Thompson is hosting a giveaway on her facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/jhannathompson). To enter, leave a comment on her page with the name of your favorite ‘50s star (movies or music) and explain why you liked him/her. The drawing to win the Be-Boppin’ ‘50s Basket (filled with great ‘50s memorabilia) will take place on the weekend of October 29th – 31st. Why? Because that’s the same weekend Janice is directing a local (Houston) production of JOHNNY BE GOOD the musical comedy that served as inspiration for LOVE ME TENDER.
To visit Janice’s webpage, go here: www.janicehannathompson.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

BOOK REVIEW & CFBA Tour: In Every Heartbeat


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

In Every Heartbeat
Bethany House (September 1, 2010)
by
Kim Vogel Sawyer
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kim Vogel Sawyer is the author of fifteen novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women's fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in central Kansas, and have three daughters and six grandchildren.





ABOUT THE BOOK
As three friends who grew up in the same orphanage head off to college together, they each harbor a cherished dream.
Libby Conley hopes to become a famous journalist. Pete Leidig believes God has called him to study to become a minister. And Bennett Martin plans to pledge a fraternity, find a place to belong, and have as much fun as possible.

But as tensions rise around the world on the brink of World War I, the friends' differing aspirations and opinions begin to divide them, as well. And when Libby makes a shocking discovery about Pete's family, will it drive a final wedge between the friends or bond them in ways they never anticipated?

If you would like to read the first chapter of In Every Heartbeat, go HERE.

My Review:
If you read and fell in love with the characters and story from My Heart Remembers by Kim Vogel Sawyer, you aren’t going to want to miss her latest extension of that story, IN EVERY HEARTBEAT. Though they do not have to be read in order, it warmed my heart to encounter favorite characters in this book such as Isabelle, Maelle, Matt and Petey. Introducing a few new characters as well that warmed my heart.
When I read Sawyer’s fiction I feel like I have come home. Her cadence of the words, the rhythm of the characters and their human ability to stand up from the page and speak to my heart.
I am continually amazed at the way Sawyer’s characters grow and I feel like I mature with them, without being pushed or preached at. But I also love how in the end they still have growing to do. She doesn’t stilt or rush the process.
This book was a joy to read. I come home when I read her fiction, cozy in the knowledge that I will be entertained, spiritually fed and eager for the next book. This is more than a prairie romance, this is a joy and an art bundled up in one highly recommended novel.
Thanks to the publishers for my copy to review through CFBA. This review is my honest opinion.

Book Review: A Hope Undaunted

What keeps a reader immersed in a story? More than just great characters that dance to life, but a passion that drives the story forward. A passion for God and the family that is held together in His love. A HOPE UNDAUNTED is just that kind of story.
I admit I didn’t like the heroine Katie, much at the start, she had such a long way to go before becoming likeable. I dangled by a thread while reading, bouncing back and forth like a ping pong ball as three men battled for Katie’s affection. At one point in the novel I didn’t know which way it was all going to go and was breathless.
There were moments of angst and laughter as I traversed with the characters. The O’Connors have become my family. I know and love them better, the more time I spend with them. I rejoiced and nearly cried, my heart wrenching for Katie at the crux of her relationships. But in the end my heart sang with the affection I feel for these characters.
But when I closed the last page and put the book my shelf, I was saddened. To leave them behind, these characters I have grown to cherish and adore is heart wrenching. Which I must say is the best part of a truly wonderful novel. Don’t let this one pass you by! A treasure!
This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers for my copy to review.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Giveaway and Author Interview: A Suitor for Jenny

I am thrilled to annouce my guest today with giveaway is author, Margaret Brownley!

Welcome to Writing for Christ! Thank you for being with us today.


 Tell us a little about yourself!

Hi everyone and thank you for having me. What a lovely idea, writing for Christ!

Let’s see. Where shall I begin? I’ve always wanted to be a writer and wrote my first book in fifth grade, a mystery with no ending. When I announced to my family that I wanted to be a writer no one took me seriously, probably because I failed 8th grade English. Undaunted I wrote angst-driven stories throughout my teens. Every year I entered the Seventeen short story contest, and didn’t even merit honorary mention. I finally resigned myself to not having what it took to be a writer and went on to do other things. Marriage and raising a family took up most of my time but the writing bug remained. Tired of writing amusing notes to my children’s teachers I volunteered to be the editor of our church newspaper. After making the church picnic read like a Grisham novel, my then pastor took me aside and suggested I try writing fiction, which of course is what I always wanted to do.

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

Once I made the decision to go for broke, I wrote four books before I sold my first. It took me five years to sell my first book. I was working at the time and had three active children so I had to get up at 4 a.m. to write (still do). Back when I started we didn’t have the Internet and all the wonderful writer resources available today. I was pretty much on my own and had no idea what I was doing. I finally joined a writers group and one of the members dragged me to my first writer conference. What an eye opener that was. I didn’t even know what a SASE was, let alone viewpoint.

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

It was a dream come true and I couldn’t believe it. My first thought? Thank you, God! This was followed by, I wish my 8th grade teacher could see me now. My third thought? Take that, Seventeen magazine! Stupid thing I did? Quit my day job. I was a writer, right? I stood to make millions! Now you know why I write fiction.

3: Tell us about your new book

A Suitor For Jenny is the 2nd book in my Rocky Creek series. Here’s a blurb;

When looking for a husband, it's best to go where the odds are in your favor.

And that would be Rocky Creek, Texas, 1880. But Jenny Higgins's plan to find husbands for her two sisters hits a snag when enthusiastic applicants fail to meet her stringent requirements.

Rejecting her sisters' choices for mates and riding herd on her growing feelings for Marshal Rhett Armstrong, she refuses to give up.

Jenny thinks choosing a husband is not a job for the heart. It'll take one strong and handsome marshal to convince her otherwise.



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

Readers can visit the ol’ homestead: http://www.margaretbrownley.com/ . I also blog regularly on http://www.petticoatsandpistols.com/

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

That it’s still possible today, as it was more than a hundred years ago, to triumph against all odds. I also hope that my readers go away with a renewed belief in the power of faith, love and God’s guiding light.

6: What are two things that people wouldn't normally know about you as a writer and or person?

Since I’m on Facebook and Twitter my life’s an open book so there’s not much people don’t know about me. Some think I’m a terrific cook (probably because I raised a chef) but I’m only so-so at best. As a writer, I write by the seat of my pants—no outline, nothing. No one’s more surprised at the way my books end than I am. Come to think of it, since I don’t plan in advance, even dinner is a surprise.

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

I just want to thank all my readers for the lovely cards, letters and emails. I treasure them all. With all the wonderful books out there I’m amazed and humbled that you took the time to read mine. God bless you all.

Have a Little Faith!



My website: http://www.margaretbrownley.com/

Stagecoach Etiquette for Readers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prY2q9Oasp4

Blogs: http://www.petticoatsandpistols.com/

Readers to enter to win Jen's book, PLEASE LEAVE AN EMAIL ADDRESS! If I draw your name and there is no email, YOU WILL NOT WIN!
For extra entries:
~Be a follower
~Be a subscriber
And a NEW one:
~Follow or Subcribe (not both for extra entries) Operation Encourage an Author.

Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- Random.org. I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items of said prize.
Thanks for coming by to enter!

Contest closes on October 1st.

BOOK REVIEW & FIRST Wild Card Tour: Whisper on the Wind

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!My Review:

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!




Today's Wild Card author is:
and the book:
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (August 4, 2010)
***Special thanks to Maggie Rowe of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Maureen Lang has always had a passion for writing. She wrote her first novel longhand around the age of 10, put the pages into a notebook she had covered with soft deerskin (nothing but the best!), then passed it around the neighborhood to rave reviews. It was so much fun she's been writing ever since. Eventually Maureen became the recipient of a Golden Heart Award from Romance Writers of America, followed by the publication of three secular romance novels. Life took some turns after that, and she gave up writing for 15 years, until the Lord claimed her to write for Him. Soon she won a Noble Theme Award from American Christian Fiction Writers and has since published several novels, including Pieces of Silver (a 2007 Christy Award finalist), Remember Me, The Oak Leaves, On Sparrow Hill, and My Sister Dilly. Maureen lives in the Midwest with her husband, her two sons, and their much-loved dog, Susie.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:
List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (August 4, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1414324367
ISBN-13: 978-1414324364

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Part I

September 1916

Scope of War Broadens

Rumania joins Allied Powers with hopes of shortening the war

Germany has declared war in response, claiming Rumania disgracefully broke treaties with Austria-Hungary and Germany. The Allied Powers, at the forefront including France, Britain, and Russia, welcome additional men and arms. They remind the world which country was the first to break a treaty when Germany marched into Belgium in direct defiance of an agreement to respect Belgium’s neutrality should international strife begin.

Fifteen nations are now at war.

La Libre Belgique


Chapter One

“Oh, God,” Isa Lassone whispered, “You’ve seen me this far; don’t let me start doubting now.”

A few cool raindrops fell on her upturned face, blending with the warm tears on her cheeks. Where was her new guide? The one she’d left on the Holland side of the border had said she needed only to crawl through a culvert, then worm her way ten feet to the right, and there he would be.

Crickets chirped, and from behind her she heard water trickle from the foul-smelling culvert through which she’d just crept. Some of the smell clung to her shoes and the bottom of her peasant’s skirt, but it was Belgian dirt, so she wouldn’t complain. The prayer and the contents of her satchel reminded her why she was here, in this Belgian frontier the occupying German army strove to keep empty. For almost two years Isa had plotted, saved, worked, and defied everyone she knew—all to get to this very spot.

Then she heard it—the chirrup she’d been taught to listen for. Her guide had whistled it until Isa could pick out the cadence from any other.

She edged upward to see better, still hidden in the tall grass of the meadow. The scant mist cooled her cheeks, joining the oil and ash she’d been given to camouflage the whiteness of her skin. She must have grown used to its unpleasant odor, coupled with the scent she had picked up in the culvert, because now she could smell only grass. Twigs and dirt clung to her hands and clothes, but she didn’t care. She, Isabelle Lassone, who’d once bedecked the cover of the Ladies’ Home Journal with a group of other young American socialites, now crawled like a snake across a remote, soggy Belgian field. She must reach that sound.

Uneven ground and the things she’d hidden under her cloak and skirt slowed her crawl. Her wrist twisted inside a hole—no doubt the entrance to some creature’s home—and she nearly fell flat before scuttling onward again. Nothing would stop her now, not after all she’d been through to get this far, not after everything she’d given up.

Then her frantic belly dash ended. The tall grass hid everything but the path she left behind, and suddenly she hit something—or rather, someone.

“Say nothing.” She barely heard the words from the broad-shouldered figure. He was dressed as she was, in simple, dark clothing, to escape notice of the few guards left to enforce the job their wire fencing now did along the border. Isa could not see his face. His hair was covered by a cap, and his skin, like hers, had been smeared with ash.

Keeping low, the guide scurried ahead, and Isa had all she could do to follow. Sweat seeped from pores suffocated beneath her clothes. She ignored rocks that poked her hands and knees, spiky grass slapping her face, dirt kicked up into her eyes by the toe of her guide’s boot.

He stopped without warning and her face nearly hit his sole.

In the darkness she could not see far ahead, but she realized they’d come to a fence of barbed wire. A moment ago she had been sweating, but now she shivered. The electric fences she’d been warned about . . . where bodies were sometimes trapped, left for the vultures and as a grim warning to those like her.

Her guide raised a hand to silence whatever words she might have uttered. Then he reached for something—a canvas—hidden in the grass, pulling it away from what lay beneath. Isa could barely make out the round shape of a motor tire. He took a cloth from under his shirt and slipped it beneath the fence where the ground dipped. With deft quickness, he hoisted the wire up with the tire, only rubber touching the fencing. Then he motioned for her to go through.

Isa hesitated. Not long ago she would have thought anyone crazy for telling tales of the things she’d found herself doing lately, things she’d nearly convinced her brother, Charles, she was capable of handling despite his urgent warnings.

She took the precious satchel from her back and tossed it through the opening, then followed with ease, even padded as she was with more secret goods beneath her rough clothing. Her guide’s touch startled her. Looking back, she saw him hold the bottom of her soiled cotton skirt so it would touch nothing but rubber. Then he passed through too. He strapped the tire and its canvas to his back while she slipped her satchel in place.

Clouds that had barely sprinkled earlier suddenly released a steady rainfall. Isa’s heart soared heavenward even as countless droplets fell to earth. She’d made it! Surely it would’ve been impossible to pass those electrified wires in this sort of rain, but God had held it off. It was just one more blessing, one more confirmation that she’d done the right thing, no matter what Charles and everyone else thought.

Soon her guide stopped again and pulled the tire from his back, stuffing it deep within the cover of a bush. Then he continued, still pulling himself along like a frog with two broken legs. Isa followed even as the journey went on farther and took longer than she’d expected.

She hadn’t realized she would have to crawl through half of Belgium to get to the nearest village. Tension and fatigue soon stiffened her limbs, adding weight to the packets she carried.

She heard no sound other than her own uneven breathing. She should welcome the silence—surely it was better than the sound of marching, booted feet or a motorcar rumbling over the terrain. Despite the triumph she’d felt just moments ago, her fear returned. They hid with good reason. Somewhere out there German soldiers carried guns they wouldn’t hesitate to use against two people caught on the border, where citizens were verboten.

“Let me have your satchel,” her guide whispered over his shoulder.

Isa pulled it from her back, keeping her eye on it all the while. He flipped it open. She knew what he would find: a single change of clothes, a purse with exactly fifty francs inside, a small loaf of bread—dark bread, the kind she was told they made on this side of the blockades—plus her small New Testament and a diary. And her flute. Most especially, her flute.

“What is this book?” His voice was hushed, raspy.

“A Bible.”

“No, the other one. What is it?”

“It’s mine.”

“What is it doing in this satchel?”

“I—I wanted to bring it.”

“What have you written in here?”

Instantly flushed with embarrassment, she was glad that he couldn’t see her face any better than she could see his under the cover of darkness. No one would ever read the words written in that diary, not even the person to whom she’d written each and every one. Well, perhaps one day he might, if they grew old together. If he let her grow old at his side.

“It’s personal.”

He thrust it toward her. “Get rid of it.”

“I will not!”

“Then I will.” He bolted from belly to knees, hurling the little book far beyond reach. It was gone in the night, splashing into a body of water that no doubt fed into the culvert she knew too well.

Isa rose to her knees, the object of her gaze vanished in the blackness. The pages that securely held each intimate thought, each dream, each hope for her future—gone. Every page a visit with the man she loved, now forever lost.

“How dare you! You had no right.”

The guide ignored her as he resumed the scuttle forward.

Fury pushed Isa now. That diary had meant more to her than this dark figure could know. When at last he stopped and stood beneath the low branches of a forest to scrape the wild heath off his clothes, Isa circled to confront him.

At that moment the clouds parted enough to allow a bit of moonlight to illuminate them. And there he was, in glorious detail—older, somehow, and thinner, but the black brows, the perfectly straight nose, the square jaw, and the eyes that with a single look could toss aside every sensible thought she might have. The very man about whom—and to whom—that diary had been written.

Her heart skipped wildly, rage abandoned. “Edward!”

All he offered was confused scrutiny, a glance taking her in from head to foot. She took off her hat and her blonde hair tumbled to her shoulders. In the dim light he might not be able to see the blue of her eyes, but surely he saw her familiar smile, the shape of her face, and the welcome that sprang from the deepest part of her.

The look on his face changed from confusion to recognition. Then astonishment.

“Isa?”

She threw herself toward him, and he received her as she dreamed he might one day, with his strong arms enveloping her, his face smiling a welcome. His eyes, if only she could see them better in the darkness, must be warm and happy. She longed for him to kiss her and raised her face, but there the dream ended. He pushed her away to arm’s length.

If there had been any warmth in his eyes a moment ago, it was gone now, replaced by something not nearly as pleasant.

“What are you doing here? I thought it was a fool’s mission to bring somebody in. A girl, no less. And it’s you, of all people!”

She offered a smile. “Well, hello to you too, Edward. After more than two years I’d expected you to be happy to see me. A guide was supposed to take me to you; no one told me it would be you.”

“We’ll retrace right now, young lady.” He took one of her hands and moved away so easily that he must have believed she would follow.

“I’m not going anywhere, except home. If you knew what I’ve been through to get here, you wouldn’t even suggest such an absurd notion.”

“Absurd? Let me give you the definition of the word, Isa. Absurd is smuggling someone into a country occupied by the German army, into a starving prison camp. Do you know how many people have been killed here? Is the rest of the world so fooled by the Germans that you don’t even know?”

“Edward, I’m sure no one on the outside knows everything that’s going on, except maybe Charles. He was in France, caught behind the lines. And now he’s working with the British, not far from where you were born. In Folkestone.”

“Your brother? Working? Now there’s a new concept. He should have talked you out of coming here.”

Isa wouldn’t admit just how hard Charles had tried. “I found my guide through him. Mr. Gourard—”

“Gourard! He was here—he was with us the day my father was shot.”

“Oh, Edward.” She leaned into him. “He told me your father was killed.” Tears filled her eyes, an apparently endless supply since she’d been told the news. “I’m so sorry.”

He pushed her away, but not before she saw his brows dip as if to hide the pain in his eyes. “Look, we can’t stand here and argue. The rain was working with us to keep the sentries away, but if we have to go through that fence when it’s this wet, we’d better go now before it gets worse. We’ve got to keep moving.”

“I’m not going back.” If he knew her at all, he would recognize the tone that always came with getting her way.

He stood still a long moment, looking one direction, then the other, finally stooping to pick up her satchel—now lighter with the absence of one small diary—and heading back to the grassland.

She grabbed his arm. “No, Edward! I won’t go. I—I’ll do anything to stay. I’ve been through too much to give up now.”

He turned on her then, with a look on his face she’d never seen before—and his was a face she’d studied, memorized, dreamed of, since she was seven and he twelve. That the war had aged him was obvious, and yet he was still Edward.

He dropped the satchel to clutch both of her arms. “Do you think I’ll let you walk into a death camp? That’s what Belgium is, even your precious Brussels. Go back home, Isa. Your parents got you out. Before all this. Why would you be foolish enough to come back?”

“I came because of you—you and your family. And because this is my home.”

His grip loosened, then tightened again. He brought his face close, and Isa’s pulse pounded at her temples. But there was no romance in his eyes. They were so crazed she couldn’t look away if she wanted to.

“Isa,” he said, low, “I’m asking you to go back.”

Her heart sped. “Only if you come out with me,” she whispered. Then, because that seemed to reveal too much and yet not enough, she added, “After we get your mother and Jonah.”

He dropped his hands and turned away, facing the grassland instead of the trees.

She could tell him what she had hidden inside her flute; surely that would change his mind about the wisdom of her actions. But something held her back. If she gave it to him now, he might simply accept the flute but return her to the border anyway. No, she wouldn’t reveal her secret. Not yet.




Isa picked up her satchel and started walking—deeper into Belgium, away from the grassland, into the wood that no doubt served a nearby village. Beneath her skirt and blouse, the other goods she carried tightened her clothes so she could barely breathe, but she didn’t stop. She didn’t even look back.

Before long she heard Edward’s footfall behind her. At first they did not speak, and Isa didn’t care. Her journey had ended the moment she saw his face. This was where she’d longed to be. She’d prayed her way across the Atlantic, escaped the wrath of her brother and all those he worked with. Days of persuasion led to downright begging, until she’d tried going around them and contacted Brand Whitlock, the American ambassador to Belgium, to arrange her passage home to Brussels.

But her begging had accomplished nothing.

Yet her journey had not ended there, thanks to the whispered advice of a clerk who worked in Folkestone with her brother. When Charles went off on an errand, another man approached her and spoke the name of a guide who started Isa on the final leg of her journey to Edward’s side.

“We’re coming to the village road,” Edward said flatly. “I was told your papers would give your name as Anna Feldson from Brussels, which match mine as John Feldson. We are cousins, and I am bringing you home from visiting our sick grandmother in Turnhout. There is a German sentry on the other side of this village, and we’ll no doubt be stopped. There won’t be anyone on the street at this hour, which is a good thing because even the locals won’t trust us. Nobody likes strangers anymore, especially this close to the border. So if we do see anybody, keep to yourself and don’t say a word.”

She nodded. A few minutes later the trees parted and she saw shadows of buildings ahead. The rain had let up to a drizzle again, and the moon peeked out to give them a bit of light. She wasn’t soaked through but knew a wind would send a chill, especially now that the anxiety of crawling through the underbrush was behind them.

Edward stopped. “I’m only going to ask once more, Isa, and then I’ll not ask again.” Now he turned to look directly into her eyes. “We have enough darkness left to make it safely. Let me take you back to the border.”

“I can’t,” she whispered. When the crease between his eyes deepened, she said, “This is where I belong, Edward. It must be where God wants me, or I never would have succeeded.”

“God.” He nearly snorted the word before he turned from her and started walking again toward the village.

“Yes!” She hurried to catch up. “If I told you all the ways He’s protected me so I could get this far, you wouldn’t doubt me.”

Edward turned on her. “I refuse to hear it, Isa. God’s not in Belgium anymore; you’ll find that out for yourself soon enough.”

His words stung. God had used Edward to show her His love to begin with, and she knew He wasn’t about to let Edward go. Had Edward let go of God, then? When? And why, when he must need God more than ever if things here were harder than she had imagined?

They walked through the quiet village without incident, the soft leather soles of their wet shoes soundless on the cobbles. The village was so like many others of Belgium: a few small homes made of familiar brick, a stone church with its tall bell tower, and a windmill to grind grain into flour. So different from the frame homes or sprawling businesses Isa had left behind in New York, but so dear that she wanted to smile as deeply as Edward frowned.

At the other end of the narrow village street, there was indeed a German officer stationed on the road. Isa’s heart thudded so loudly in her ears she wondered if she would be able to hear over it, or if the soldier would hear it too.

But he said nothing, not a word, at least not to her. He looked at them, looked at their papers, then asked Edward in rather bad French why they were traveling so early in the morning, having come so far from Turnhout already.

Edward replied that the steam tram was unreliable but that they hoped to reach the next village in time to catch it anyway.

The soldier waved them through.

“That was easier than I expected,” Isa whispered once they were well away.

“Don’t underestimate other soldiers based on that one. A suspicious one with a rifle can do as he pleases.”

But Isa was too relieved to be gloomy. “Amazing how I can still understand you through your clenched jaw, Edward.”

Edward didn’t look at her. “We have to be in Geel in less than an hour if we expect to make the tram.”

They made their way in silence, under sporadic drizzle and meagerly emerging sunlight. When at last they came to the next town, it was quiet until they reached the tram station, where soldiers outnumbered civilians. So many soldiers did what the rain couldn’t: dampened Isa’s spirits.

She had a fair understanding of German, but she could barely keep up. Not that she needed to; the soldiers ignored her, speaking of mundane things to one another, hardly worthy of interest. She prayed it would stay that way, that she and Edward would be invisible to each and every armed soldier.

A commotion erupted from the front of the platform. German commands, a snicker here and there. Silence from the civilians.

A man not much older than Edward was forced at gunpoint to open the packet he carried, to remove his coat and hat, even his shoes. A soldier patted him from shoulder to ankle.

Isa could barely watch and wanted more than anything to turn away. To run away. She told herself to look elsewhere, to allow the victim that much dignity, but was transfixed by the sight of such a personal invasion. Her throat tightened so that she couldn’t swallow, could barely breathe. She couldn’t possibly withstand such a search, and not just for modesty’s sake. “Edward . . .”

“Keep your eyes down and don’t say a word.”

“But—”

“Quiet.”

A tram entered the station and the man was allowed to board, everyone else soon following. Edward nudged Isa and they took seats.

The secret goods beneath Isa’s cloak and clothing clung to her skin, as if each sheet, each letter were as eager as she not to be noticed. She feared the slightest move would sound a rustle. Carefully, slowly, she stuffed her satchel beneath the seat, wanting to take comfort that it had escaped notice. If her flute was looked at with any scrutiny . . . She couldn’t bear to think of it.

The vehicle rumbled along far slower than the pace of Isa’s heartbeat. She wanted the luxury of looking out at the land she loved, the fields and the villages, the rooftops and steeples, the mills and the farms, but her stomach didn’t allow her eyes to enjoy any of it. At each stop a few soldiers departed, but new ones joined them. She tried not to study what went on, at least not conspicuously, but longed to learn how the soldiers chose which civilians to search. It appeared entirely random. More men were searched, but women weren’t spared. One holding a baby was made to unswathe her child, who screamed and squirmed when jostled from its secure hold.

Isa did as Edward told her, kept quiet, eyes cast downward or upon the passing landscape that under any other circumstances would have been like a gift from the finest art palette. One hour, then two. After the third she could stand it no longer. Surely they were near their destination? But she had no idea how far Louvain might be at the rate they were going with so many stops and searches. No doubt they could travel more safely by foot without losing much time.

Six times she nearly spoke, to urge Edward to take her out of this tram. Six times she held back. But one more search and she could resist her impulses no more.

“I—I must get off the tram, Edward. I’m sick.”

“Sick?”

“Yes, I must get away from—” She wanted to say away from the soldiers but dared not in case any of them spoke French and overheard. “I must get away from this awful tram. The stop and go is making me ill.”

“Another hour. Surely you can last?”

She shook her head even as from the edge of her vision she saw a soldier looking her way. How do you not look guilty when you’re completely, utterly, culpable?

Isa stood as the tram came to a slow stop at the next intersection. She kept her back to the soldiers, jumping to the ground just as soon as it was safe to do so. Then, without waiting for Edward, she walked forward as if she knew exactly where she was going.

She walked a block, well out of sight from the disappearing tram. There she stood . . . not amid one of the lovely villages, with their ancient way of life so quaintly preserved and appreciated. Instead, she found herself at the end of a row of destruction. Crumbling homes, demolished shops. Burned ruins of a town she once knew. Aerschot, where she’d dined and laughed and dreamed of walking the street with Edward’s hand in hers.

A moment later Edward’s shadow joined hers. “Are you positively mad?”

“We’re in Aerschot?” she asked, barely hearing his question.

“Obviously. And several hours’ walk from Brussels. Do you know how ridiculous that was? We don’t need any complications, Isa.”

She faced him. “Your contact didn’t tell you what I’d be carrying, did he?”

Suspicion took the place of the anger on his face. “What?”

“Well,” she began slowly, “I would try to show you, but among other things, I’m afraid I’d never get everything back in place.”

He let out what she could only call a disgusted sigh as he ran a hand through his dark hair—hair that seemed thinner and yet sprang instantly back into place, symmetrical waves that framed his forehead, covered his ears. He needed a haircut, but she found she liked the way he looked too much to think of changing anything, even the length of his hair.

“Isa, Isa,” he said, shaking his head all the while. “I should make you take out every scrap and burn it right here and now. Do you know what could have happened if you’d been searched on that tram?”

“Which is why we’re no longer on it.”

“You might have warned me!”

“I tried!”

He paced away, then turned to stand nearly nose-to-nose with her again. Not exactly the stance she’d dreamed of when she’d imagined him at such close proximity, but it sent her pulse racing anyway.

“You could have been shot. Do you know that? Shot.”

She nodded. “They warned me.”

His brows rose and his mouth dropped open. “Then why did you agree to the risk?”

“Gourard told me there are no newspapers, no information at all about what the rest of the world is doing to try to save Belgium and end this war. How have you lived so long without knowing what’s going on? I have the best portions of a couple of recent newspapers. And I have letters, too. Letters from soldiers. Don’t their families deserve to know they’re all right?”

“It doesn’t matter what I think. Gourard shouldn’t have taken your life so lightly or trusted such things to a young, naive child.”

“Child! I’m perfectly capable of deciding what risks I will or won’t take. I’m the one to decide what I will or won’t do for Belgium.”

“It was bad enough for you to come back, but to bring contraband—it’s beyond foolish.”

“Edward, don’t be angry with me. I’ll deliver the letters and then be done with it if you like, if it’s too dangerous for us. But I won’t abandon what I brought with me.”

“I don’t care about the risk for me. I’ve done so many things the Germans could shoot me for that one more thing doesn’t matter. It’s you. Maybe the Germans wouldn’t shoot you—being just a girl—but who knows?”

“I’m not—” . . . just a girl. But she didn’t bother with the words. She doubted they’d convince him.

She looked away, embarrassed. All she could think of when she agreed to smuggle the letters was how desperately she had wanted news of him and how other families cut off from their loved ones must be desperate too. She couldn’t have refused to take a chance with the letters and lived with herself. “I agreed to take the risk for the same reasons you’ve taken so many. Your mother and father didn’t teach values only to you and Jonah, you know.”

He emitted something between a moan and a laugh, then took her arm. “We’re going somewhere for you to take out the letters. And the newspaper clips.”

“But, Edward—”

He looked at her then, and she could see he was not to be argued with. “I’ll carry them in my cloak. It won’t be the first time.”




Monster Armored Cars Used by British in Charge on the Somme

Called “tanks” by those who’ve seen them, Allied soldiers themselves refer to these huge traveling fort machines as “Willies.” Driven like motorcars but able to scale barbed wire, leap trenches, knock down houses, and snap off tree limbs, they are a formidable weapon indeed and will no doubt play an important role in the defeat of the Germans.

La Libre Belgique



World 1: Brussels, with the German arm breathing down on Isa and Edward as they fight for all that is right and true against the tyranny of the war.
                I was there. I felt the hatred and tasted the fear. I could sense the urgency and see the anxiety racing through the characters.
                This book was a great work of fiction and I loved the read. It wasn’t all action and that is what I think I loved the most about it. I was involved in the characters, their love story and connection- or their refusal to except it. The love between Isa and Edward is strong and filled with tension, but it was the love story between Major and Genny that captured me the most. I could see their attraction to each other and the growing love, but will they ever conquer the obstacles surrounding them?
                The ending was thrilling and kept me turning pages, anxious to know how this was going to turn out!
                More like 4 ½ stars, this book is filled with dimensional characters and a setting that took over the book and filled my head with a great story. One I recommend to all those who love great historical fiction.
                Thanks to the publishers through FIRST for my copy to review. This review is my honest opinion.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

When God Says Wait

I don't normally chat like this on Sunday, I consider it my day "off" from blogging, but there are times when words need to be released. Emotions hung out to dry and a good dose of finger wagging administered.

I think a few of you who patronize my blog are writers and some are members of ACFW right? This week is their annual conference. Hundreds of people attend, this is no small affair. Is home to two of the largest and more prestigious writing contests for unpubbed and pubbed authors and is filled to the gunnel's with authors, editors, agents and other newbies trying to find their way.

Need I say how bad I want to go??

Anxious. Determined. Pining. Gulp. Might I say a tad jealous? Do those even begin to describe me? Yeah, I am ashamed to admit they do.

I keep telling myself, "In God's timing." All will be well and good and I will get there in God's timing. There is obviously some reason for me not to attend this year, maybe not even next and it kills me to want to wait one more day, let alone another year.

I can berate myself up and down all day long that "there is obviously a reason to my not going. God knows best." And I will be the FIRST to say that He does. But that doesn't always help me in the here and now.

It's not easy to wait. Why can't waiting for God's timing be easy and emotion free?

Because then we, I, wouldn't grow.

And as hard as the next few days are or have been, I have to admit that God wouldn't be "doing" this to me if I didn't need to learn and grow from it.

I won't pretend it's easy. I won't pretend that I am fine. But I do know this: if I take my own path instead of the one God has laid out for me, I would miss some major blessings He has in store for me. And I would cheat myself of growing deeper in Him.

Besides it isn't just a want to go to the ACFW conference, I have a fear of attending too. Maybe this industry isn't for me. Maybe I really  don't  have what it takes.

I can grow SO much stronger between now and whatever conference year I attend. But wallowing in self pity won't get me there any faster. It just makes me weaker.

Are you suffering from conference woes? I still think we need to form some kind of group. "Conference Anonymous" or something like that. ;-)

And hey, be sure and check out this link tonight at 7:30 EDT. The ACFW Awards Banquet will be blogging live, so don't miss it!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

What We Did Today (and a winner too :)

Make hay while the sun shines right??


Before
During
After!

And why not have a little fun on the side?



And now the winner of Trish Perry's The Perfect Blend is....

CherieJ!!!!!!

Thanks for entering everyone, I still have a couple going on, so be sure and check them out. Talk to you again tomorrow. :-)

Friday, September 17, 2010

What I Read in the Last Two Weeks

Phew, it has been cr-a-zy around here lately! I can't wait to get back to my regular schedule with my blogging. I don't know about you, but it feels like my blogging has been all over the map! I hope you enjoyed the surplus of book reviews. :-)

Since I didn't update last week, here is what I read in the last two weeks. And don't forget to check out the contest info on the sidebar!!


Phew! I am glad that is done. :-) And now they are....

Love Finds You in Pendleton, Oregon by Melody Carlson
Ransome's Crossing by Kaye Dacus
Love Me Tender by Janice Hanna
A Memory Between Us by Sarah Sundin
The Thorn by Beverly Lewis
A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman
A Tailor Made Bride by Karen Witemeyer
The House on Malcolm Street by Leisha Kelly
Wife Wanted in Dry Creek by Janet Tronstad

Also, just a bit of news, if you are interested, check out what my "Dream Vacation" would be on the Writer's Alley today!

Have a great Friday everyone! And don't forget to get me your reading count!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Special Giveaway and Interview: The Call of Zulina

Help me welcome author, Kay Strom to the blog today! She is giving away a copy of A Call of Zulina, so be sure and read on.

Welcome to Writing for Christ! Thank you for being with us today.

Tell us a little about yourself!
Bio:
Kay Marshall Strom is the author of thirty-five published books. Four were chosen as book club selections, nine have been translated into foreign languages, and one was optioned for a movie. Although she is well established as a non-fiction writer, her current fiction has met with high acclaim, receiving praise from Publishers Weekly and a starred “Highly recommended” review from the Library Journal. In addition to her writing, Kay is an in-demand speaker. Her work as a 21st century abolitionist take her around the globe where she speaks out against social injustice, especially modern-day slavery. She and her husband make their home in the Pacific Northwest.

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

Depends on what you mean by “write.” All my life I’ve written stories. Tommy the Turtle was published in our school paper when I was in fourth grade. But of course you mean after I started writing for more universal publications, don’t you? Actually, it was just one year. I took my first manuscript (which was very raw) to a writers’ conference where I met an editor who saw a glint of potential in it. She helped me along, and my first book was released at the end of that year.

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

Wow! Am I dreaming? I’ve got to tell Mrs. Eckert about this! (Mrs. Eckert was my junior high teacher who always told me that one day I would be a writer—and bought me my own dictionary because I was such a wretched speller!)

3: What are you working on now?

My second historical fiction trilogy, this one set in India. The first book, Ashish: The Blessing of Faith, will be released in Sept. 2011.

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

On my website: http://www.kaystrom.com/. For this current Grace in Africa historical fiction trilogy, the site: http://www.graceinafrica.com/

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

Both in my fiction and non-fiction, I am first and foremost a storyteller. But I’m a storyteller with a passion. My goal is to tell a rollicking good story with a heart-cry for justice.

6: What are two things that people wouldn't normally know about you as a writer and or person?

• In unity with Christians in Egypt—and at their request—I have a Coptic cross tattooed on my right wrist.

• As a writer and speaker, and husband and I have the opportunity to take cruises to wonderful places in exchange for giving a few presentations on the ship. Fun, huh?

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

If you want to be a writer, write. Write and write and write some more. Never give up. Everyone gets better and better. No one gets worse and worse.

Okay readers, here is your chance to enter to win Kay's book, The Call of Zulina!


PLEASE LEAVE AN EMAIL ADDRESS! If I draw your name and there is no email, YOU WILL NOT WIN!

For extra entries:
~Be a follower
~Be a subscriber

Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- Random.org. I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on September 25th.

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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