Saturday, October 30, 2010

Winner(!!!) and Author Photo!

And the winner of her choice of one of Vickie McDonough's books is...

Cathy W.!!!!

Cathy has already emailed me and chosen Christmas Mail Order Brides! Happy reading Cathy!

And now I meant to post this yesterday and forgot, so I am posting today! :-) Last weekend I attended the Idaho Book Extravaganza and got to meet Robin Lee Hatcher!


The quality isn't that good unfortunately. But it was great to meet her and listen to her talk.

I also got to meet author Donna Fletcher Crow and literary agent, Janet Benry along with her husband, Ron Benry, author of the book, The Idiots Guide to Writing Christian Fiction.  I didn't think to bring my copy of the book to have him sign, so instead he signed the back of his business card for me! I thought that was so nice, I am going to try to scan it on here for you to see, hang on....


I thought that was so nice! I am going to put in the front of my book. :-)

Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Books, Links and BLOG PARTY NEWS!

Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! I am soooooo excited! Do you see that little ticker on the sidebar? Swivel thy head and look to the right. Only 15 more days!!!!!!!!!!!! I was going to wait until 14 days out before putting my blog button up, but really could NOT resist and added it to today. AND I am doing a contest with this button so read on to find out more!!!!

First: What I read this week (cause I know you are dying to know! :-)



And they are:
Intervention by Terri Blackstock
The Preacher's Bride by Jody Hedlund
Nightshade by Ronie Kendig

Links!!

I did the unthinkable. Yes. I joined Facebook. If you wish to "friend" me. Feel free to click on the link provided. I am under "Casey Miranda"

CONTEST ALERT! I put my jewelry business up on Facebook as well! And while I haven't had a lot of time to work on the page, I hope to remedy that this coming week. BUT if you "like" this page, you will be entered to WIN a free bracelet! How fun is that?? But hurry, this only lasts until the end of November with the winner picked on December 1st. If I get more than 100 I will draw TWO winners! 

Okay, the moment you have all been scrolling down for!

I am SO excited about this party, I am going a bit crazy and driving my family insane along with me. But...I am going to go even CRAZIER! Here is how it works: Grab my birthday party button for your blog, then EMAIL ME telling me you did so. This gives you an entry to WIN a pre-blog party present! Who doesn't like presents, right? Snag my button, enter to win a prize, but you have to EMAIL ME, okay?

I love your comments, so share your thoughts if you so desire. A casual Friday chat! :-)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Book Review: Code Traige by Candace Calvert

Help me! I need a prescription STAT! Because I am seriously addicted to Candace Calvert’s Medical Hope series fiction!
The pace, action, romance, suspense, drama, characters, faith, story! I could go on and on about the things I love about this book (or the entire series).
There is something about a medical drama that yanks at my attention. I don’t have to understand the medical terms to get the anxiety of the moment. I don’t have to intimately know a hospital to see the staff and workings, the drama or the tension, it is all plainly explained before my eyes, infused with a great story to make it stand up and stand out! And no inappropriate, gag worthy moments prevalent in the television medical industry!
How often do you come across a romance between a married couple? But oh the love story swept me away. It didn’t have to be overtly romantic to make me swoon, the characters themselves explode from the page with a romance all their own. And combine a gorgeous, tormented couple and you have a recipe for a great love story with plenty of turmoil.
Emotions run high, with a drug crazed father, a woman determined to claim the man she lusts after and enough medical drama to go around. I can’t get enough! I highly recommend this work of excellent fiction!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Whatever Happened to the Day...

Random thoughts on time gone by and why we have the things we do in today's world.

Whatever happened to the day when kids actually played and used their imaginations with blocks and stuffed animals that needed animation from their own mouths...instead of mechanical plastic toys that usually plunk them in front of the television or baby their impatient attitudes?

Whatever happened to the day when you waited until you got home to talk on the phone? What has turned our society into something so impatient that now we have to have a tiny machine next to our brain because we might miss a call.

Whatever happened to the day when you didn't need social media or book trailers to sell a book. Because a book sold itself because a book was the only form of honest and fulfilling and clean entertainment.

Whatever happened to the day when you could watch a movie on tv that had language in it and know it would be edited out. It would be a once a year treat at Thanksgiving when the movie played with cleanliness and fun.

Whatever happened to the day when if you badmouthed your elder you were popped in the mouth? No matter if they knew you or not. And your mother always  found out later.

Whatever happened to the day when we actually had patience. Food didn't have to be cooked in under a minute. Internet didn't need to be gigs faster and we didn't need to have a million things in front of our eyes needing to be done at one time.

Whatever happened to the day when kids actually were active and went outside. Had chores and stayed busy instead of watching video games and gaining weight.

Whatever happened to the day when Jesus's name was sacred. Shared in reverent tones and people weren't afraid to share their love for Him. His name was proclaimed from the street corners and you weren't throw in jail because of it. When the Bible was a sacred document and studied with a hunger to know and love Him more.

Whatever happened to the day when we lived. And lived life to the fullest according to God's plan. What happened to living that turned into just being?

Being that is just mediocre. Nothing special, nothing great. Whatever happened to those that stood on principle and the Bible's standards?

Whatever happened to living our lives for Christ? Instead of believing that one moment at the alter would guarantee a permanent spot in the Throne Room. And we thus lived our lives like a common sinner. Whatever happened to our morals?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Book Review: Wrangler in Petticoats

Who would have thought a gun toting, fast draw female and a paint slinger artist would make such a great story?
The story barrels out with an immediate cliffhanger-literally- as Sally dangles for her life. And as she tumbles into Logan’s life, neither will ever be the same.
I loved the interaction between characters. Their internal monologue filled with snarky quips and punctuated dialogue. The pace of the novel is quick and to the point. Both of Sally’s and Logan’s obsessions with their chosen professions grate on each other’s nerves and occasionally on that of the reader, but as I came to understand the characters, I also had a deeper appreciation for them. And no character is perfect so to see one grow stronger while the other experienced a moment of weakness delves into the strength of their development.
But my favorite part was the subplot. Mandy and her husband Sydney, I really can’t wait until her story is completely unearthed. And the depth of these subplots! Each subplot was its own story that seamlessly interested to weave a tapestry of a story that makes me so very eager for the next novel. Page turning moments through the entire book, but quickly escalated at the very end. There was no putting this book down during the last 50 pages!
I would definitely say that WRANGLER IN PETTICOATS in Mary Connealy’s best!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Giveaway and Author Interview: Killing Time

Welcome to Writing for Christ, K. Dawn Byrd! Thank you for being with us today.
How long did you write before you were published?
I wrote for about two years before becoming published.  I spent an entire year prior to that studying every book I could find on the craft.
How did you come up with the idea for your story?
I've always been an avid reader and planned to write a book one day. When I began work as a counselor in a jail, I thought that would be a neat setting for the book. I began to jot down notes about the environment such as sights, sounds, and smells. Before I knew it, my heroine had formed in my mind, begging me to tell her story.

When you held that book in your hands, what was your first thought?
I haven't actually held the book. My publisher, Desert Breeze Publishing, publishes only in eformat. It's fine with me to have never held the book because I read only E. If it can't be read on my BlackBerry or Eken, I don't read it.
What are you working on now?
I'm writing the modern day story of Hosea and Gomer. I had two requests for proposals from publishers at the ACFW Conference for this manuscript. So, we'll see how it goes.
Where can readers find out more about your books?
What message(s) do you want to be clear to your readers?
In my writing, I attempt to show that God is all sufficient. Though my characters face many obstacles, God is always faithful.
What are two things that people wouldn't normally know about you as a writer and or person?
  1. I used to ride a Harley Davidson, but sold my bike in order to have more time to write.
  2. I own two hairless Chinese Crested dogs.
Thank you for being with us today.  Any final words for readers?
God loves us with an everlasting love. We're children of the King. Look up!

Here is your chance to enter to win, Dawn's novel, Killing Time. Please note that this is an ebook giveaway.

Readers to enter to win Dawn'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:
Subscribe to Dawn's blog (top right hand corner on her page)

Since this is an e-book, this giveaway is open to anyone.
Contest is 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 November 5th

Saturday, October 23, 2010

TWO Winners!!

And now the winner of Sarah Sundin's A Memory Between Us is....

Kait!!!

And the winner of Jill Elizabeth Nelson's Legacy of Lies is....

Charlotte!!!!

Congratulations to the winners! Have a great weekend everyone. :-)

Friday, October 22, 2010

What I Read This Week and FINAL Business Card Reveal! :-)

Wow, there were a ton of comments on my business card post (directly below this one) and it was all really helpful. The first one pretty much won hands down, but did have a few suggestions made on the design. I saw those this morning- after I had finished new changes last night. :-) So in just a bit I will be "revealing" the final draft. They have been printed, so no turning back for this trip!

But first...

What I read this week:






And they are:
Love Finds You in Paradise, Pennsylvania by Loree Lough
Surrender the Wind by Rita Gerlach
The Healer's Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson
Wrangler in Petticoats by Mary Connealy

Business Card FINAL DRAFT!! :-)


Better?? THANK YOU for your help, it made a HUGE difference!

Since I will be gone this weekend, I might be late in announcing winners. I will try my hardest to get them announced though. Until then, enter away!  :-)

And I always want to know how much you have read during the week, so don't forget to log a comment letting me know.

When I get home I will have a picture with Robin Lee Hatcher (hopefully) so don't wander too far!  :-)


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Just Once More...

Okay, which one do you like best? They all have the same font and words, just the picture is different. Thoughts? Suggestions? I would appreciate it!  Thank you. :-)

A


B


C



You should be able to click on the photo to enlarge it. Still too busy? Thank you again, your input it valued!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

CFBA Tour & BOOK REVIEW: While We're Far Apart by Lynn Austin



This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
While We're Far Apart
Bethany House (October 1, 2010)
by
Lynn Austin
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
It was during the long Canadian winters at home with her children that Lynn made progress on her dream to write, carving out a few hours of writing time each day while her children napped. Lynn credits her early experience of learning to write amid the chaos of family life for her ability to be a productive writer while making sure her family remains her top priority.

Along with reading, two of Lynn's lifelong passions are history and archaeology. While researching her Biblical fiction series, Chronicles of the Kings, these two interests led her to pursue graduate studies in Biblical Backgrounds and Archaeology through Southwestern Theological Seminary. She and her son traveled to Israel during the summer of 1989 to take part in an archaeological dig at the ancient city of Timnah. This experience contributed to the inspiration for her novel Wings of Refuge.

Lynn resigned from teaching to write full-time in 1992. Since then she has published twelve novels. Five of her historical novels, Hidden Places, Candle in the Darkness, Fire by Night, A Proper Pursuit, and Until We Reach Home have won Christy Awards in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, and 2009 for excellence in Christian Fiction. Fire by Night was also one of only five inspirational fiction books chosen by Library Journal for their top picks of 2003, and All She Ever Wanted was chosen as one of the five inspirational top picks of 2005. Lynn's novel Hidden Places has been made into a movie for the Hallmark Channel, starring actress Shirley Jones. Ms Jones received a 2006 Emmy Award nomination for her portrayal of Aunt Batty in the film.

ABOUT THE BOOK
In an unassuming apartment building in Brooklyn, New York, three lives intersect as the reality of war invades each aspect of their lives. Young Esther is heartbroken when her father decides to enlist in the army shortly after the death of her mother.

Penny Goodrich has been in love with Eddie Shaffer for as long as she can remember; now that Eddie's wife is dead, Penny feels she has been given a second chance and offers to care for his children in the hope that he will finally notice her and marry her after the war.

And elderly Mr. Mendel, the landlord, waits for the war to end to hear what has happened to his son trapped in war-torn Hungary. But during the long, endless wait for victory overseas, life on the home front will go from bad to worse.
Yet these characters will find themselves growing and changing in ways they never expected--and ultimately discovering truths about God's love...even when He is silent.
If you would like to read the first chapter of While We're Far Apart, go HERE.

My Review:

Three families. Tied and bound together by a war determined to tear them apart.
The characters in WHILE WE’RE FAR APART are dimensional and interesting to read and their personal journeys kept the story moving forward. The emotions between Penny and her parents, Jacob and his faith and the children with their father and their turmoil about his leaving for war added tension.
I thought meshed together, how everything intersected made for a good story. Especially in the last 100 pages as secrets were revealed, characters strengthened and tempo heightened.
That being said, I thought this book took me a bit too long to read. The pacing for the majority of the book was a bit slow and while the characters were all interesting in their own right, their process together through the story just didn’t grab and yank at my attention.
It’s hard to write this review because my opinion is torn, so I will simply sum it up this way: while this book isn’t my favorite, I did like it. The ending was satisfactory and the changes shown within each of them were good, it was obvious from beginning to end. That is what I appreciated about this novel.
This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers through CFBA for my copy to review.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Care to Share Your Opinion??


I am working on a business card for my writing as I will be attending a small workshop this weekend. What is your opinion of what I have so far? I will print this on a beige cardstock, so it won't be a purely white background.

Your opinion is welcomed, thank you!

Revell Blog Tour and Book Review: Don't Look Back

Oh. My. Goodness. Talk about a wild ride! Breathless does not even begin to describe this book!
I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I started DON’T LOOK BACK, I certainly did not expect to be up late and awake early, hungry for the next turn and high stakes drama. This has to be hands down the fastest paced, nerve wracking and can’t-put-it-down suspense book I think I have ever read. 
Jamie Cash is being stalked. What ensues is not a story for the faint of heart. I must admit I was a bit surprised at the physical description of some of the crime scenes, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was gory, just very gripping!
Chilling is definitely a word I would use to describe this book. What a villain! I felt every single emotion Jamie went through. My blood ran cold and my heart beat stilled. The anguish, the high stakes that constantly got higher, I admit there were times I wanted it all to slow down! I literally could not put this book down. It is a masterful romantic suspense. A satisfying story from beginning to end, I HIGHLY recommend it. THIS is what romantic suspense is all about. A must read!
 This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers for my copy to review.
Available October 2010 from Revell, a division of Baker publishers.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Giveaway and Author Interview: Winner's Choice by Vickie McDonough

Welcome to Writing for Christ, Vickie McDonough! Thank you for being with us today. 
 How long did you write before you were published?
I started writing in January of 2001, and my first book—a novella collection—was released in April of 2004. I am blessed that selling came fairly quickly for me.
How did you come up with the idea for your story?
I’m not sure if you mean my first book or my most recent one, so I’ll go with the lastest. Second Chance Brides is book 2 in my Texas Boardinghouse Brides series, and the sequel to The Anonymous Bride. This story came to mind fairly easily, because it’s the continuation story of two women from the first book. It tells the tale of Shannon and Leah, two mail-order brides who arrived in Lookout, TX and discovered they’d come to marry the same man—one who never ordered a bride. Stuck in Lookout, their only options are to find a job—not an easy task for a woman in 1886—or find another man to marry. Men are plentiful, as are proposal, but is it too much to hope to marry for love?
When you held that book in your hands, what was your first thought?
It always very thrilling to hold one of your new books, but scary at the same time. I realize people will actually read this book, and I hope and pray they will enjoy it, and laugh some, cry a little, and be inspired.
What are you working on now?
I’m writing the second book in a South Carolina historical series for Heartsong Presents. Book one, Mutiny of the Heart, releases in December.
Where can readers find out more about your books?
My books are always on my website. http://www.vickiemcdonough.com/   They are also usually available online at http://www.christianbook.com/  and http://www.amazon.com/
What message(s) do you want to be clear to your readers?
  • That you can receive God’s forgiveness, no matter what you’ve done
  • That God is walking with you even though things circumstances seem dark
  • God’s dreams for us are far bigger than the ones we dream for ourselves.
 What are two things that people wouldn't normally know about you as a writer and or person?
I never planned to be a writer, but I believe God led me—or rather, shoved me—into the writing world. I trust God to open the doors He wants opened and to enable me to pen stories that will captivate readers, but I still struggle too. Everytime I finish a book, I wonder if it’s any good. Will readers laugh at the things I thought were funny? Will they find a certain character endearing or dislike her? Do I have enough conflict to keep the reader reading? It’s a fine line between trusting God and letting my concerns overwhlem me.
Thank you for being with us today.  Any final words for readers?
Thanks so much for stopping by today and spending some time here. I find that fiction readers often view authors as celebrities, but our families and close friends will tell you that we’re just ordinary people who have overworked imaginations and can sit and type for long periods at a time. I’d like to encourage you to pray for your favorite authors. The pressure of deadlines can be immense, and struggling to balance your writing life with family and church life can be a real struggle at times too. So, maybe when you pick up your next book, say a prayer for the author.
Thanks for hosting my today, Casey!
Vickie McDonough
www.bustlesandspurs.com (regular contributor)
I’m also on Facebook and Twitter

Readers, Vickie has offered as today's giveaway, the reader's choice of one the three books pictured here:
The Anonymous Bride
Second Chance Brides
Christmas Mail-Order Brides

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 October 30th.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

And the Winner is...

And the winner of A.K. Arenz's Mirrored Image is....

Inspired Kathy!!!

Congratulations and you should have an email in your inbox already from me. :-)

Also, for those interested there is an interview with author Susan Meissner that I did on the Writer's Alley this morning. Be sure and check it out!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, October 15, 2010

What I Read This Week

Really quick, no, like really quick here is my update on what I read this week. Don't forget to let me know so I can add it to the total, we are almost to 50% complete! And I have just 40 pages for this weeks edits waiting for me, so a quick update and off I go. Does it sound like I am trying to convince myself of something? Probably so...


And they are:
The Hope of Refuge by Cindy Woodsmall
Code Triage by Candace Calvert
Finding Stefanie by Susan May Warren
While We're Far Apart by Lynn Austin
Dead Reckoning by Ronie Kendig

BOOK REVIEW & FIRST Wild Card Tour: Lady in Waiting by Susan Meissner

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!

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




Today's Wild Card author is:
and the book:
WaterBrook Press; Original edition (September 7, 2010)
***Special thanks to Cindy Brovsky of WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, Inc., for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Susan Meissner has spent her lifetime as a writer, starting with her first poem at the age of four. She is the award-winning author of The Shape of Mercy, White Picket Fences, and many other novels. When she’s not writing, she directs the small groups and connection ministries at her San Diego church. She and her pastor husband are the parents of four young adults.







Visit the author's website.
Product Details:
List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook Press; Original edition (September 7, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0307458830
ISBN-13: 978-0307458834
AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Jane

Upper West Side, Manhattan

ONE

The mantle clock was exquisite even though its hands rested in silence at twenty minutes past two.

Carved—near as I could tell—from a single piece of mahogany, its glimmering patina looked warm to the touch. Rosebuds etched into the swirls of wood grain flanked the sides like two bronzed bridal bouquets. The clock’s top was rounded and smooth like the draped head of a Madonna. I ran my palm across the polished surface and it was like touching warm water.

Legend was this clock originally belonged to the young wife of a Southampton doctor and that it stopped keeping time in 1912, the very moment the Titanic sank and its owner became a widow. The grieving woman’s only consolation was the clock’s apparent prescience of her husband’s horrible fate and its kinship with the pain that left her inert in sorrow. She never remarried and she never had the clock fixed.

I bought it sight unseen for my great aunt’s antique store, like so many of the items I’d found for the display cases. In the year and half I’d been in charge of the inventory, the best pieces had come from the obscure estate sales that my British friend Emma Downing came upon while tooling around the southeast of England looking for oddities for her costume shop. She found the clock at an estate sale in Felixstowe and the auctioneer, so she told me, had been unimpressed with the clock’s sad history. Emma said he’d read the accompanying note about the clock as if reading the rules for rugby.

My mother watched now as I positioned the clock on the lacquered black mantle that rose above a marble fireplace. She held a lead crystal vase of silk daffodils in her hands.

“It should be ticking.” She frowned. “People will wonder why it’s not ticking.” She set the vase down on the hearth and stepped back. Her heels made a clicking sound on the parquet floor beneath our feet. “You know, you probably would’ve sold it by now if it was working. Did Wilson even look at it? You told me he could fix anything.”

I flicked a wisp of fuzz off the clock’s face. I hadn’t asked the shop’s resident and unofficial repairman to fix it. “It wouldn’t be the same clock if it was fixed.”

“It would be a clock that did what it was supposed to do.” My mother leaned in and straightened one of the daffodil blooms.

“This isn’t just any clock, Mom.” I took a step back too.

My mother folded her arms across the front of her Ann Taylor suit. Pale blue, the color of baby blankets and robins’ eggs. Her signature color. “Look, I get all that about the Titanic and the young widow, but you can’t prove any of it, Jane,” she said. “You could never sell it on that story.”

A flicker of sadness wobbled inside me at the thought of parting with the clock. This happens when you work in retail. Sometimes you have a hard time selling what you bought to sell.

“I’m thinking maybe I’ll keep it.”

“You don’t make a profit by hanging onto the inventory.” My mother whispered this, but I heard her. She intended for me to hear her. This was her way of saying what she wanted to about her aunt’s shop—which she’d inherit when Great Aunt Thea passed—without coming across as interfering.

My mother thinks she tries very hard not to interfere. But it is one of her talents. Interfering when she thinks she’s not. It drives my younger sister Leslie nuts.

“Do you want me to take it back to the store?” I asked.

“No! It’s perfect for this place. I just wish it were ticking.” She nearly pouted.

I reached for the box at my feet that I brought the clock in along with a set of Shakespeare’s works, a pair of pewter candlesticks, and a Wedgwood vase. “You could always get a CD of sound effects and run a loop of a ticking clock,” I joked.

She turned to me, childlike determination in her eyes. “I wonder how hard it would be to find a CD like that!”

“I was kidding, Mom! Look what you have to work with.” I pointed to the simulated stereo system she’d placed into a polished entertainment center behind us. My mother never used real electronics in the houses she staged, although with the clientele she usually worked with—affluent real estate brokers and equally well-off buyers and sellers—she certainly could.

“So I’ll bring in a portable player and hide it in the hearth pillows.” She shrugged and then turned to the adjoining dining room. A gleaming black dining table had been set with white bone china, pale yellow linen napkins, and mounds of fake chicken salad, mauvey rubber grapes, and plastic croissants and petit fours. An arrangement of pussy willows graced the center of the table. “Do you think the pussy willows are too rustic?” she asked.

She wanted me to say yes so I did.

“I think so, too,” she said. “I think we should swap these out for that vase of Gerbera daisies you have on that escritoire in the shop’s front window. I don’t know what I was thinking when I brought these.” She reached for the unlucky pussy willows. “We can put these on the entry table with our business cards.”

She turned to me. “You did bring yours this time, didn’t you? It’s silly for you to go to all this work and then not get any customers out of it.” My mother made her way to the entryway with the pussy willows in her hands and intention in her step. I followed her.

This was only the second house I’d helped her stage, and I didn’t bring business cards the first time because she hadn’t invited me to until we were about to leave. She’d promptly told me then to never go anywhere without business cards. Not even to the ladies room. She’d said it and then waited, like she expected me to take out my BlackBerry and make a note of it.

“I have them right here.” I reached into the front pocket of my capris and pulled out a handful of glossy business cards emblazoned with Amsterdam Avenue Antiques and its logo—three As entwined like a Celtic eternity knot. I handed them to her and she placed them in a silver dish next to her own. Sophia Keller Interior Design and Home Staging. The pussy willows actually looked wonderful against the tall jute-colored wall.

“There. That looks better!” she exclaimed as if reading my thoughts. She turned to survey the main floor of the townhouse. The owners had relocated to the Hamptons and were selling off their Manhattan properties to fund a cushy retirement. Half the d├ęcor—the books, the vases, the prints—were on loan from Aunt Thea’s shop. My mother, who’d been staging real estate for two years, brought me in a few months earlier when she discovered a stately home filled with charming and authentic antiques sold faster than the same home filled with reproductions.

“You and Brad should get out of that teensy apartment on the West Side and buy this place. The owners are practically giving it away.”

Her tone suggested she didn’t expect me to respond. I easily let the comment evaporate into the sunbeams caressing us. It was a comment for which I had had no response.

My mother’s gaze swept across the two large rooms she’d furnished and she frowned when her eyes reached the mantle and the silent clock.

“Well, I’ll just have to come back later today,” she spoke into the silence. “It’s being shown first thing in the morning.” She swung back around. “Come on. I’ll take you back.”

We stepped out into the April sunshine and to her Lexus parked across the street along a line of townhouses just like the one we’d left. As we began to drive away, the stillness in the car thickened, and I fished my cell phone out of my purse to see if I’d missed any calls while we were finishing the house. On the drive over I had a purposeful conversation with Emma about a box of old books she found at a jumble sale in Oxfordshire. That lengthy conversation filled the entire commute from the store on the seven-hundred block of Amsterdam to the townhouse on East Ninth, and I found myself wishing I could somehow repeat that providential circumstance. My mother would ask about Brad if the silence continued. There was no missed call, and I started to probe my brain for something to talk about. I suddenly remembered I hadn’t told my mother I’d found a new assistant. I opened my mouth to tell her about Stacy but I was too late.

“So what do you hear from Brad?” she asked cheerfully.

“He’s doing fine.” The answer flew out of my mouth as if I’d rehearsed it. She looked away from the traffic ahead, blinked at me, and then turned her attention back to the road. A taxi pulled in front of her, and she laid on the horn, pronouncing a curse on all taxi drivers.

“Idiot.” She turned to me. “How much longer do you think he will stay in New Hampshire?” Her brow was creased. “You aren’t going to try to keep two households going forever, are you?”

I exhaled heavily. “It’s a really good job, Mom. And he likes the change of pace and the new responsibilities. It’s only been two months.”

“Yes, but the inconvenience has to be wearing on you both. It must be quite a hassle maintaining two residences, not to mention the expense, and then all that time away from each other.” She paused but only for a moment. “I just don’t see why he couldn’t have found something similar right here in New York. I mean, don’t all big hospitals have the same jobs in radiology? That’s what your father told me. And he should know.”

“Just because there are similar jobs doesn’t mean there are similar vacancies, Mom.”

She tapped the steering wheel. “Yes, but your father said . . .”

“I know Dad thinks he might’ve been able to help Brad find something on Long Island but Brad wanted this job. And no offense, Mom, but the head of environmental services doesn’t hire radiologists.”

She bristled. I shouldn’t have said it. She would repeat that comment to my dad, not to hurt him but to vent her frustration at not having been able to convince me she was right and I was wrong. But it would hurt him anyway.

“I’m sorry, Mom,” I added. “Don’t tell him I said that, okay? I just really don’t want to rehash this again.”

But she wasn’t done. “Your father has been at that hospital for twenty-seven years. He knows a lot of people.” She emphasized the last four words with a pointed stare in my direction.

“I know he does. That’s really not what I meant. It’s just Brad has always wanted this kind of job. He’s working with cancer patients. This really matters to him.”

“But the job’s in New Hampshire!”

“Well, Connor is in New Hampshire!” It sounded irrelevant even to me to mention the current location of Brad’s and my college-age son. Connor had nothing to do with any of this. And he was an hour away from where Brad was anyway.

“And you are here,” my mother said evenly. “If Brad wanted out of the city, there are plenty of quieter hospitals right around here. And plenty of sick people for that matter.”

There was an undercurrent in her tone, subtle and yet obvious, that assured me we really weren’t talking about sick people and hospitals and the miles between Manhattan and Manchester. It was as if she’d guessed what I’d tried to keep from my parents the last eight weeks.

My husband didn’t want out of the city.

He just wanted out.

My Review:

Having never read anything about Lady Jane Grey and intrigued by the concept of two different story lines in two different settings and times, this book did not languish on my to be read pile, but I am afraid to say it just didn’t live up to my personal expectations.
I did not devour this book. I read through it a couple chapters a day, but in the end I found the story to be slow moving, not a great deal of emotional or physical tension and it felt at times like it was being recited instead of letting me experience it with the characters.
Now what I did like is at the very end, I received a glimpse into the heart of the characters. As the final threads were being woven into place, I saw the changes the book had been working towards. And maybe that is what the story was trying to convey the entire time, but I personally would have liked a stronger connection between the two “Janes” the book was written about.
I thought the settings were well portrayed along with the secondary characters. My personal opinion (which is all a review ever is) is the overall story could have been more engaging, however in the grand scheme, I never wanted to rush the story, which speaks I think, for the quality as a whole.
This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers through FIRST Wild Card for my copy to review.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Contests to Take a Look At

Since I recently reviewed these books and have one in a giveaway right now, I thought I would let you know of a giveaway going on right now on other sites! Be sure and check it out. :-)



Sarah Sundin presents The Movies and Memories Giveaway in honor of book 2 in the Wings of Glory series. A Memory Between Us is available for purchase wherever fine books are sold. From the English countryside to the perilous skies over France, A Memory Between Us takes you on a journey through love, forgiveness, and sacrifice.

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To celebrate Sarah is giving one lucky winner A Movie and Memory Prize Package! One grand prize winner will receive:

* Make-your-own-photo book from Mypublisher.com (Capture your own Memories)

* Netflix Subscription (New or Nostalgic Movies delivered right to your house)

* Starbucks gift card (To keep your engine revvin’)

*Gourmet chocolate (A favorite in the 1940’s and now)

* British specialty teas in carved wooden box (Timeless tradition)

* Miniature model of a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber & C-47 cargo plane (Everyone needs a few toy planes)

*Big Band music CD (Break out your dancing shoes)

* WWII authentic poster playing cards (Cards – a perfect game for two)

* Keep Calm and Carry On (Uplifting sayings WWII, a boost for troubled times)

To enter simple click on the icons below (contest runs 9/27 - 10/17!)


Read my review of Sarah's book HERE
Enter MY giveaway for her book HERE




Suzanne Woods Fisher is thrilled to announce the release of The Waiting, book two in The Lancaster Secrets Collection. In The Waiting Jorie finds herself caught be two loves and two lives in this compelling page turner about complex people living the simple life.

The Waiting is the next stand alone story in The Lancaster Secrets Collection and follows in the footsteps of the best-selling, The Choice. The Waiting is in stores now and to celebrate Suzanne is hosting The Waiting KINDLE Giveaway.



One Grand Prize winner will receive a Kindle preloaded with Suzanne Woods Fisher titles and a Amazon.com gift certificate! The Prize Pack (valued at over $185.00) includes:

* A brand new KINDLE, Free 3G, 6", Latest Generation

* The Choice by Suzanne Woods Fisher

* The Waiting by Suzanne Woods Fisher

* A $15 dollar Amazon.com Gift Certificate

To enter, simply click on the icons below to fill out the entry form, then tell 5 or more friends about the contest. Oh, and enter soon! Winner will be announced on October 28th at Suzanne's Lancaster Secrets Book Club Party.

Join Suzanne for the Lancaster Secrets Book Club Party on October 28th! She’ll be announcing the winner of the The Waiting KINDLE Giveaway, hosting a book club discussion of The Waiting and The Choice, and giving away copies of both books and HEAPs of readerly prizes! Be sure to join us on Thursday, October 28th at 5:00 PM PST (6:00 MST, 7:00 CST & 8 EST) at Suzanne’s Author Page. 


Read my review of The Waiting HERE

And also, I am interviewing new Alley Author, Wendy Paine Miller today on The Writer's Alley. Be sure and stop by and welcome her to the blog!


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fighting UP Stream

You never hear of fighting down stream, it's always UP. A fish charging valiantly to reach the destination...during spawning season...with millions of other fish with the exact. opposite. idea.

Isn't that life? It sure is for me. Everything I have ever done has always been against the grain, in the opposite direction from the rest of the flow. From how I chose my schooling, to the way I dress, my faith, to who I am friends with, to what I do on the weekends and everything in between.

And the world is really good at reminding me that what I am doing is NOT the norm. It becomes so incredibly difficult at times to stand like the immovable tree planted by streams of water (Psalm 1:3). Because when the storm rages and the winds whip the water, it shakes the foundation, ebbs away the soil and tries with every power it possesses to destroy your resolve.

Whispering negativity's and doubts, of maybe I misunderstood my place? Maybe this isn't where I am supposed to be. What if I crossed wires and I will crumble at this? Until I start believing the lies.

Why is it we listen to the world's whispers? I too often get sucked up the world's agenda. Not being content where God has put me and safe in the knowledge that HIS is the only opinion that should matter to me. Why is it I doubt that?

Why is I don't trust and hold on tighter? Be content and trust. Because Satan wants to remind me of everything I can't do. Every way that I don't fit in.

Pfft.

Who cares about fitting in? Unfortunately I do. Sometimes. Not always, only in those moments of abject overwhelming situations. Like my editing this week.

So in those moments I need to run, not walk- RUN from my wandering, self inflated path, to the sheltering arms of my Heavenly Father. Because only there will I be...

HOME

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Revell Blog Tour and Book Review: The Waiting

An Amish tale set during the Vietnam war, this book doesn’t really give off the strong Amish “flavor”, but I think that is what sets it apart from the mainstream Amish fiction.
There is definitely a writing style to this book that can seem jarring until you get into the story and then if flows very nicely. Several major events happen right away in the story lending the reader to be sympathetic towards the characters. The emotions were a roller coaster ride and all the little subplots were woven together to form an enjoyable story without leaving loose threads.
I think what I enjoyed the most is the flavor of the novel. It is about the Amish, but it does not focus strongly on their beliefs, it is more character driven. I think what I liked the least is the story can feel detached at times and I wasn’t really drawn “into” the story during those times.
But the overall story I thought was good. I liked the different angles and basic approach to the Amish beliefs. The characters are strong and likeable and the plot moves forward easily. I would definitely say if you enjoyed the first book, The Choice, you will want to read THE WAITING.
This is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers for my copy to review.
Available October 2010 from Revell, a division of Baker publishers. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Giveaway and Author Interview: Legacy of Lies

Welcome to Writing for Christ Jill Nelson! Thank you for being with us today.
How long did you write before you were published?
I’ve dreamed of becoming a novelist since I was a young girl in the sixth grade. I was already a voracious reader, but sometime during that year, I came to realize that I didn’t want merely to be the person who received pleasure from a good book; I wanted to be the person who gave that pleasure to others. Over the years, the dream awakened and then died several grizzly deaths, but along about the year 2000, when my four children were becoming more and more independent, it was like the Holy Spirit blew on the embers of that dream in my soul, and the desire became a consuming fire. After that, it took until 2005 in order to receive my first book contract. It was with Multnomah Books, a division of Random House, to write my “To Catch a Thief” series.

How did you come up with the idea for your story?
I’ve always been fascinated by social dynamics in a small town. Having lived in rural communities all my life, I’m intimately familiar with the unique politics involved. Crafting a story about the shadow cast over a town by its founding family came readily to me. I was particularly interested to explore the affects past sins and secrets can have on a tight-knit community and how the illusion of power is always trumped by the immutable laws of God. We do reap what we sow, no matter how grand and invincible we imagine ourselves to be.
The scripture I used at the front of the book was Psalm 37: 10 – 11 from the NIV version of the Bible: A little while and the wicked will be no more; Though you look for them, they will not be found. But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace. I comfort myself with these words quite often when I see the injustices in the world.
Where can readers find out more about your books?
My web site offers the opportunity for readers to sample excerpts, click straight through for purchase, sign up for my quarterly e-newsletter, and play a game for a monthly chance to win a signed copy of my most current release. You can check these opportunities out at http://www.jillelizabethnelson.com.
What message(s) do you want to be clear to your readers?
I often go out on speaking and teaching engagements. There is one message I always want to leave with my listeners: If God will fulfill a life-long dream from this nobody-in-particular from nowhere-special, He can and will do the same for anyone!
Thank you for being with us today.  Any final words for readers?
Here’s a taste to whet your appetite for Legacy of Lies:

Secrets Buried Deep!
Evidence from a decades-old murder is the last thing Nicole Keller-Mattson expected to find in her grandmother’s back yard, but the finger-pointing and accusations leveled at her family came as no surprise. Everyone in Ellington is eager to blame the Kellers—but after an attack leaves Nicole’s grandmother in a coma, only Nicole can clear the family name. With the assistance of police chief Rich Hendricks, she stands a chance of solving the mystery . . . if she’s willing to accept Rich’s help. Nicole lost her policeman husband in the line of duty—getting close to another cop is too painful. But keeping her distance could be deadly.
Okay readers, here is YOUR chance to enter to win this novel- looks intriguing doesn't it?

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 my group blog (of which news members are joining THIS WEEK) The Writer's Alley


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 October 22nd.

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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