Thursday, June 30, 2011

DiAnn Mill's Voice to be Found Here! Attracted to Fire ~ Review

I do believe DiAnn Mill’s voice lies in her romantic suspense and her romantic suspense that involves covert affairs with our nation’s top undercover agents. I know I’m sure to be in for a fast-paced thrill of a ride.

“Attracted to Fire” takes the reader into the world of a secrets and lies, the consequences to bad decisions and man’s evil nature, but is surrounded by characters that in turn love the Lord and are out to fight the battle against their foes.

The novel is quick on the draw. One I read while exercising and the hour flew. There is a surety to the plot (and while I don’t know much about such matters) there is an authority that the author knows what she is talking about and has done her research.

I especially enjoyed the two main characters, Ash and Meghan. I thought the love interest might have been a bit rushed, but I enjoyed watching them grow together through the story. It does not, however, take away from the bodies dropping like flies through the story. (smile)

A great deal of tension, who I thought “did it” was actually not correct and I was happy to be proven wrong.

“Attracted to Fire” is a great thriller. I enjoyed the ride, characters are enjoyable (and even funny on occasion) and the messages are true. A good read!

This is my honest opinion. Thanks to the author who provided an ARC for me to review.

**If this book interests you, I have it available for swap on my swap page to the right of your screen**

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday!


I have been a fan of MaryLu Tyndall since the moment I read The Falcon and the Sparrow. Her latest books have all been fantastic (and so is her backlist. ; - ) And I can't wait for this book to make it to my hot little hands. Due June 2012 (a bit more of a wait to be sure. Sigh)

Here is more about the story from MaryLu's blog:

Adalia Winston, a runaway slave, arrives in the bustling port town of 1811 Charleston, South Carolina, having escaped her vicious owner on the island of Barbados. Only one quarter Negro, she is able to hide her heritage and use her herbal medicinal skills to procure a job with a local doctor. When she meets Morgan, the handsome, spoiled son of a rich plantation owner, she finds herself swept up into the extravagant, pampered lifestyle of the Charleston elite, relishing the attention and opulence of a world she never dreamed existed. But in her efforts to be a part of popular society and capture the heart of Morgan, has she pushed the God who has never left her into second place, while being ashamed of the person He created her to be? And when her owner comes to stake his claim, will Morgan and her new friends stand up for her when they discover who she is, or will her world come crashing down around her?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Appreciating 'The Waiting Place' by Eileen Button ~ Review

How often do we rush through life without taking time to stop and appreciate the places God has put us in? Often to teach us to grow and rely on Him more.

“The Waiting Place” is not a lecture on how to recognize or look for the waiting places in our lives, but is rather a collection of stories (essays) from the author’s life that describe through her words, the places and times of waiting in her life.

She crafts the stories with deftness for language and beauty of prose. It’s not just exposition, but reads like an actual story. I laughed several times over her humor.

While it might not be as important in a nonfiction book, I felt I got to know the author behind the words and was also gently reminded to take advantage of those times of waiting in my own life and appreciate them all the more.

There are Catholic references in the book, which is really more of an FYI to the buyer. I am not Catholic, so I didn’t agree with the bits of theology in a few places.

I have a hard time categorizing this book. It’s not self help, it doesn’t have a great deal of “talking” to the reader about how they should look out for waiting places in their lives. It’s more a series of examples through the most powerful form of teaching…story.

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

Monday, June 27, 2011

Giveaway and Author Interview: Throw the Devil Off the Train

Welcome back to Writing for Christ Stephen Bly, I am excited to have you here for a second time. J

What has changed in your writing life since you were last here? 

The biggest change is that I have to do my writing from a hospital bed. Have been in the hospital more days than not since February, due to complications of prostate cancer. Just completed 6,000 words on my next novel, Stuart Brannon’s Final Shot.

What recent read stood out to you as truly spectacular?

You mean besides my recent release, Throw The Devil Off The Train? Other than that novel, I haven’t been reading fiction in recent days, but my wife has been reading aloud 365 Daily Fascinating Facts of Faith: The Who, What, When and Where of Christianity by Barbour Publishing. Our daughter-in-law gave it to us for our long hospital hours and we’ve truly treasured it. 

Do you have favorite authors?

There are many. I learned character development from John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, Fyodor Dostoevsky and Leo Tolstoy. I learned to write action scenes from writers such as C. S. Forester, Louis L’Amour and Dashiell Hammett. C. S. Lewis and Joseph Bailey inspired me in writing from a Christian worldview. William Saroyan’s writing encouraged me to forget the formulas and do it my way.
  

What do you find the most enjoyable part of writing or connecting with readers? 

I love getting into the zone of my characters, seeing them come alive in my mind and watch what they say and do. It’s my privilege to get it all down as quick as I can before they move on. 

I also enjoy contact with folks who know my characters almost as well as I do, who also consider them as friends. That’s a great delight for me. 

What do you find the most ideal atmosphere for writing? Do you ever get those surroundings? J 

I’ve written in my bunkhouse, out in the woods while camping, and while all alone in motel rooms. As I mentioned before, I’m now confined to a hospital bed where I’m poked and prodded, tossed and turned by a myriad of nurses, night and day. This is not my favorite or chosen environment, however, it helps me to know that I can write anywhere, under any conditions.  


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? 

I once had to write a complete 75,000 word novel, from beginning to end, in three weeks. . .due to circumstances that got out of my control. I did get it done, so I know I can do it. But I prefer two months at least.  

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 Stephen's latest novel, Throw the Devil off the Train.

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 July 8th.

**ATTENTION!!**
Stephen Bly passed away earlier this month from his battle with cancer. This interview was scheduled BEFORE this happened and he will be greatly missed. I grew up reading his YA titles and my sister after me. The CBA and Christian readers have lost a great writer. PLEASE keep his wife and family in your prayers and if you wish to leave a comment for them, you can visit his obituary on his blog: http://blybooks.blogspot.com/  

Friday, June 24, 2011

Cold Call Friday with MaryLu Tyndall!

Welcome MaryLu, to your “Cold Call” interview!! For those of you who don’t know what the “Cold Call” feature is, at the beginning of the month I have a poll, the winning author YOU then get to interview!! MaryLu Tyndall won this month’s vote and I am thrilled to present her here with YOUR questions. Without any further ado, heeeerrrre’s MaryLu!

If you had the opportunity to live on an actual ship out in the ocean, would you leave your home and do so?

In a heartbeat!  I adore the sea, always have.  I grew up on the beaches of South Florida and now live near the beaches of California. It’s almost like I’ve got some mermaid in me because I can never be far from the sea! But a ship!! Ah, there’s heaven to me. So, yes indeed, bring me that horizon!

Have you ever had the opportunity to “dress-up” for a special occasion as a pirate?

Does wearing a head scarf and an eye patch count? If so, then yes, I sometimes put on my Captain Jack hat and my eye patch while I’m writing. (Just to get into character, of course. Wink)  I’ve also been known to draw my flintlock pistol on an intruder now and then, in addition to wielding my 18th century cutlass about my house. But don’t tell too many people. They may come haul me away to the pirate funny farm. (which may not be a bad thing, either)

At what point in your life did you know that you had a talent for writing and who inspired you more to take that talent to the next level of publishing your works?

I have a talent for writing? J Well, gosh, thanks. Actually, I never really knew I had talent. Or should I say, I never thought I did. I did exceptionally well in English classes in college and dabbled with novels and short stories my entire life, but I never thought I was good enough to get published.  And as for the inspiration, I’d have to give the credit for that to God. He’s the one who told me to write a novel about a Christian pirate. So I did. Then He’s the one who told me try and get it published. I really didn’t think I stood a chance, but I obeyed anyway. I guess He knew something I didn’t, eh? 

What other books/stories do you have in the works for when this series is finished?

I’m working on a single title, Veil of Pearls, set in Charleston, SC 1811 about an escaped slave girl who falls in love with the wealthy son of a plantation owner. At only one-quarter black, she appears white and although she hates slave-owners, once she gets swept up into the glamorous world of Charleston society and falls for Morgan Rutledge, she is desperate to hide her past. It’s a story about putting popularity above God. It is filled with balls and soirees and plays as well as sea-faring adventures. I’m very excited about it!

How do you adequately research something/someplace that is not readily accessible anymore (ie: sailing on a pirate ship) and make it SO real? Do any female pirates exist?

Did female pirates exist? Have ye read me tale, The Red Siren?  LOL. Well, actually, history reveals that there were quite a few female pirates. Their stories are quite fascinating.  My favorite is Mary Read.  She pirated the Caribbean with Calico Jack Rackham and Anne Bonny, another female pirate.  Take the time to google her. Her story is better than fiction.

As far as researching ships and sailing, if only you could see my library!  I have several books on navigation, tall ships, and pirates. I also read a lot of sea-faring fiction.  In addition, I’ve been on several tall ships myself. The HMS Rose, which was the ship built to specification for the movie Master and Commander, was my favorite. I’ve also been on several sloops, brigs, and the USS Constellation anchored in Baltimore. I’ve attended tall ship festivals where I’ve been able to go sailing and fire cannons.  Ah, the life!

For fun: do you like dogs or cats better (Why?). Ice cream or yogurt? J

Cats rule. Dogs drool. (Sorry, couldn’t resist)  I prefer cats because you have to work to win their affection. They are independent and moody and demanding. Hey, that sounds like most people I know!  Anyway, for some reason, those qualities attract me more than a creature who still loves me after I kick him across the room. Not that I do that, mind you! (Egad, I’ve probably lost all my dog-loving readers)  Actually, I love all animals and think dogs are the most affectionate loyal creatures I’ve ever known.  But still, cats rule.

If I’m going to splurge on some decadent desert, then I’m going to get the real deal. Ice-cream all the way. I do love yogurt too, but why waste calories on 2nd best. Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream for me!

Are you doing any books tours soon, if so where?

Unfortunately, no. I’m not.  My publisher isn’t sure that book tours are worth the effort and expense, so they haven’t planned any for me in the near future. I am planning a book signing here in San Jose, CA sometime in the fall if you’re in town!

And for all the fans that are ready to have a mutiny if they don’t contact you soon (!!) where can your readers connect with you?

Ye can find me sailin’ on me website:  http://www.marylutyndall.com



Friday's Note:
The winner of Mary Ellis's Abigail's New Hope is...
Tore!!
She has been emailed and has a week to get back with me. Thanks all and have a great weekend!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I Love the Voice of Marybeth Whalen ~ She Makes it Look Easy ~ Review


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
She Makes It Look Easy
David C. Cook (June 1, 2011)
by
Marybeth Whalen


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Marybeth Whalen is the wife of Curt and mom of six children. The family lives outside Charlotte, NC. Marybeth is a member of the Proverbs 31 Ministries writing team and a regular contributor to their daily devotions. Her first novel,The Mailbox was released in June 2010. Her next novel, She Makes It Look Easy, will be released in June 2011. Additionally, she serves as director of She Reads, Proverbs 31 Ministries' fiction division.





ABOUT THE BOOK   

Ariel Baxter has just moved into the neighborhood of her dreams. The chaos of domestic life and the loneliness of motherhood, however, moved with her. Then she meets her neighbor, Justine Miller. Justine ushers Ariel into a world of clutter-free houses, fresh-baked bread, homemade crafts, neighborhood play dates, and organization techniques designed to make marriage better and parenting manageable.


Soon Ariel realizes there is hope for peace, friendship, and clean kitchen counters. But when rumors start to circulate about Justine’s real home life, Ariel must choose whether to believe the best about the friend she admires or consider the possibility that “perfection” isn’t always what it seems to be.


If you would like to read an excerpt of She Makes It Look Easy, go HERE.


My Review:

It’s a picture straight of Southern Living, but with a plot straight out of the heart of America’s hometown.

Ariel and Justine are two women living in the same neighborhood and as I read their parallel and intersecting story threads I found my heart thoroughly entrenched in the “behind the scenes” details of these two women’s lives.

We become who we truly are behind closed doors, where no one can observe us. There is such a complexity of that in “She Makes it Look Easy”. I crawled deep into the characters and what made them tick. I think Ariel so perfectly encompasses our own personal demands to be more “perfect” or what seems a thin veneer of “perfect”.

Justine has so many problems, but once I really dug into her as a character I saw where her actions were leading.

This is a powerful story. The ending gives hope, but also shows what happens when we stray into the path of temptation. There wasn’t a thread of preachy promises through any of the story, but merely a thoroughly captivating story of two women. I could not put this book down. The writing is superb, the characters deep and the plot wide and full.

Women’s fiction fans are going to love the voice and story by Marybeth Whalen.

This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers for my copy to review through CFBA.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Why Do You Write?

Black & White Droplets

I hope to generate a conversation today, so look for a shorter post and a fun time in the comment section. :-))

Why do you write?

I began writing in Junior High School and found I really loved putting words to paper and creating characters and situations.

But as I grew older in both life and the craft, I found it wasn't just entertainment, but because I honestly felt (feel) that God has put a need within me to write. And write for Him. 

Then there are the days I don't want to sit down at the keyboard. (today is one such day...) What makes me want to wrote THOSE days??

I think it comes down to the title of this blog. I know I don't talk about my writing much here, but it's my life. It's. What. I. Do.

It's what I do for the audience of ONE.

Can't say I always remember that though. ;-)

I write because I believe God wants me to. There is a peace of place when I know I am "write" where He wants me to be.

Why do you write?

**Photo courtesy of Flickr

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Does Your Character Need Some "Couch Time"?


I was recently introduced to a brand new website debuting on the web this month. Jeannie Campbell is a therapist by trade and has taken the skills she has learned in real life and transposed them onto the novel writing scene.

I was given an exclusive sneak peek of her website (http://charactertherapist.com/) earlier this month and was impressed with what I found! Writers, I mean this seriously when I say you should give this site a look around.

Jeannie has made it very user-friendly and helpful for the aspiring novelist. One feature I plan to use is her character diagnostic form. YOU become your character and answer the questions. Just going through the process for what Jeannie has laid out on her website will make the writer's job less painful.

Here's a bit from Jeannie herself in what her site has to offer:

What is Character Therapy?

Copyright Elizabeth Mueller: http://elizabethmueller.blogspot.com/

Character Therapy is what I do when I use my professional training and experience as a licensed clinician to evaluate and diagnose fictional characters.

How can you—a published or aspiring writer—benefit?


1) Write characters more realistically.
Using a search engine to find out information about a mental disorder yields a very different result than asking a therapist who has treated those same problems in real life. Instead of getting a bunch of stale facts, I can help you breathe life into your characters while taking into consideration your unique story world.


2) Plot more feasibly.
Plotting the external conflict around your character’s internal conflict is essential to create tension on every page. Understanding the character’s driving goals and motivation in relation to their emotional state will help you figure out what plot points need to occur to maximize the character’s arc to its fullest potential.


3) Avoid clich├ęd or incorrect depictions of mental disorders.
My passion is helping those not afflicted with mental disorders understand those who are. Since one in four adults have a mental disorder, the likelihood of one of your characters having one is pretty high. But you want every nuance to ring true about the character, not feel cardboard cutout or stereotyped. So pick my brain instead of yours to avoid pitfalls of re-writing later.


Have I piqued your curiosity?  Think your characters might benefit from some couch time?

Casey again: *snicker* I know mine does. If you want to know more about Jeannie or her site you can visit it here, the site is now live!

Jeannie the Therapist:
Jeannie Campbell is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFC # 45366) in the state of California. She is Head of Clinical Services for a large non-profit in Humboldt County, and enjoys working mainly with children and parents.

Jeannie graduated summa cum laude from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary with a Masters of Divinity with Specialization in Psychology and Counseling and magna cum laude from the University of Mississippi with a double major in psychology and journalism. She has worked in a crisis pregnancy center, psychiatric hospital, drug rehabilitative program, several non-profits and homeless shelters, a foster family agency, and in private practice.


Jeannie the Writer:
Jeannie has been writing ever since she received a diary for her fifth birthday. She began writing angst-ridden middle-grade novels in junior high, often commandeering the family computer for hours on end. After eight years of higher educational pursuits, she moved onto adult contemporary romance and romantic suspense, frequently using her day job as a therapist to generate lots of fodder for her night job as a writer.


Two of Jeannie’s “therapeutic romance” manuscripts have garnered the high praise of being finalists in the Genesis Contest for unpublished writers, sponsored by the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), of which she is an active member. She writes a popular monthly column for Christian Fiction Online Magazine and has been featured in many other e-zines, newspapers, and blogs.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Giveaway and Author Interview: Winner's Choice! (author Lisa Harris)

Welcome to Writing for Christ, Lisa Harris, it is great to have you here! Do you have an interesting fact about yourself the average reader probably doesn’t know?

That’s always a tough one to answer. J I love reading about historical England.

What surprised you the most about being a published author?

I think I’ll have to say how tough it is. I always imagined spending my days writing, but had no idea of all the editing, rewriting, and marketing that took place behind the scenes. It’s a lot of fun, but also a lot of work!

Do you have a favorite genre to read/write?

My favorite is definitely suspense with a bit of romance thrown in, though I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction lately that I’ve really enjoyed as well.

When you aren’t writing or interacting with fans, what do you enjoy doing?

As a homeschooling mom, I spend a lot of my time with my kids. We also spend a lot of time as a family. Some of our favorite activities are heading off to the beach, (the kids are all learning to scuba dive) safaris, and traveling in general. We’ve been blessed to see a lot of the world together.

Do you have a nugget of writing advice that has completely changed how you view writing?

Write from your heart and as with anything, do it all for Him. That helps motivate me when the journey gets tough.

What do you enjoy most about being a published author?

I love creating characters, storylines, and letting my imagination free. It’s just plain fun!

What do you like readers to take away from your books?

I’d love for them to discover a message of hope and that ordinary people can make a difference in the world.
Places for readers to learn more about you?

 I’d love for you to stop by my website or blog. www.lisaharriswrites.com  or http://myblogintheheartofafrica.blogspot.com
Thank you for being with us today!
Thank you so much for having me Casey!

Readers, here is your chance to enter to win one of Lisa's latest books! (Winner's choice of either An Ocean Away or Blood Covenant)


Please leave an email adddress! If I draw your name and there is no email, you will not win.


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

And an EXTRA one:
Please read and then rate this review (this helps me continue to provide quality Christian fiction reviews. Thanks!!)


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 July 1st.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck by Kathleen Y’Barbo ~ Review

This title was the first book I have read by author Kathleen Y’Barbo and I was pleased with what I discovered. The author has a distinct way of putting words on paper that drew me into the story and painted word pictures that clearly defined characters and their surroundings. Some of the descriptions even had me chortling.

I enjoyed the plot and the title pretty much sums up the story, though I thought the marriage was going to come in the beginning and it actually came towards the end. The first few scenes in the book were entertaining and I got the chance to laugh with the characters and it set the tone for the rest of the book to follow suit.

Charlotte is a loveable character, but she thoroughly irritated me. Her manipulation and trying to weasel her way out of situations she wasn’t fond of, was a source of frustration for me. However…the writing was strong enough and once I got to the reason *behind* her actions I was able to move past her character flaws. You just have to give her a chance – I was pleased with her changes.

All in all the story is charming, pleasurable to read and there is a strength and confidence to the writing. An enjoyable story.

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


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
More about the book...

Unlikely romance is sometimes just an inconvenient marriage away

Charlotte Beck may be entering adulthood, but she can’t seem to keep to her stubborn, independent spirit from bucking social protocol. Fed up with her behavior, Charlotte’s father Daniel pressures her to settle into a nice marriage despite knowing she is set on going to college. Then Daniel sees Charlotte with the handsome but annoying English astronomer Alex Hambly, and everything changes.

Though Alex and Charlotte can barely stand one another, Daniel offers them a deal they can’t refuse: if they agree to marry, he will save Alex’s family from financial ruin and grant Charlotte the freedom to go to college. Reluctantly the couple agrees, but in private they plot to annul the marriage as soon as possible.

But when Alex’s feelings change and he refuses to dissolve their contract, will Charlotte find a way out of her vows? Or will she discover that maybe this marriage isn’t so inconvenient after all?

Purchase at:
CBD

And read the first chapter here

Will you please take a moment to rate my review? Many thanks!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Facebook is a Wonderful Thing...

Especially when it gives you the inside track to brand-new book covers (and books!!) What I discovered last night...


Wow, doesn't this one just make you drool??

They can buy anything they want—
fame, power, beauty, even loyalty.
But they can’t buy love.
The beautiful and wealthy heiress daughters of
August Price can buy everything their hearts desire.
But what if their desire is to be loved, without an
enormous price tag attached? When one sister
betrays another for the sake of love, will she find
happiness? And what happens when the other sets
out across the still untamed frontier to find it—will
she discover she’s left it behind in the glamorous
world of the New York gilded society? What price
will each woman pay for being an heiress?
Set in the opulent world of the Gilded Age, two
women discover that being an heiress just might cost
them everything they love.

Susan May Warren knows how to tell a story and I can't wait to get my hands on this latest release! (Unsure on the exact month though...)



And Julie Klassen's latest! This one is due in December, looks great! : -)

(I couldn't find a blurb on the book yet.)


And just an FYI for you...



I loved this book and it's free right now for Kindle! You can purchase it here. ; -)

Happy Reading on your Friday!

Friday's Note:
The winner of Margaret Daley's Protecting Her Own is...


Linda: By the Book!!

Thanks for entering everyone, there will be another one on Monday! : -)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hidden Affections by Delia Parr ~ Review

The plot premise to “Hidden Affections” grabbed my attention and that coupled with a great cover (smile), I decided to give the book a try.

The first half of the story was intriguing, watching these polar opposite characters, thrust into a marriage of convenience, of the most extreme form (have to read the book to find out) kept me wondering what was going to happen in their relationship.

The secondary characters, especially the housekeeper, were a delight. Her spice even added a bit of the humor factor as the main characters worked out their struggles.

But as the book wound to a close, about 140 pages from the end, I found myself guilty of skimming. The plot seemed a bit slow, but I also wasn’t brought into the “middle” of the story. I know I refer to that a lot in my book reviews, but if I’m not feeling the characters emotions and struggles, I must admit to losing interest.

The book started out strong, but did end a bit weak for me personally. I know from glancing at Amazon that others have loved this book, so take this review with a grain of salt and thanks for taking time to read my personal opinion.

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

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

More about the book:

Betrayed by her husband, Annabelle Tyler wears the burden of legally being a divorcee, a difficult position for an upstanding young woman to find herself in. While attempting to start a new life for herself, an unexpected turn of events once again has Annabelle married--this time to Harrison Graymoor, the most eligible, yet elusive, bachelor in Philadelphia. Harrison assures her that he will secure an annulment immediately, unaware that the constable has sent word of the marriage to the press in Philadelphia. And here things continue to go awry. Harrison's past, a philanthropic cousin with his eye on Annabelle, and the appearance of Annabelle's ex-husband threaten the tentative relationship growing between Harrison and his "wife." For two individuals set against marriage, there are certainly a lot of second thoughts regarding the one forced upon them.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Can You Wear Out "Thank you"?

{thank you}
I had a pretty extreme reason to express thanks a couple weeks ago. I was one of six finalists in the My Book Therapy Frasier writing contest. Tears came to my eyes when I found out the news and my heart quickened in thanksgiving when the congratulations started rolling in.

And I could say was thank you. I couldn't think of a single solitary thing else to say. No clever word phrasing, so special verbs and nouns to speak what was on my heart, because it truly was an outpouring of love.

So I said Thank You.

Over and over and over and over again.

Can you wear out those two words? Have they become a cliched, trite way of expressing our emotions? Our gratitude? Our depth of appreciation?

My mom was recently given a thank you note recently "though this note is late, it does not diminish the meaning of my thanks.

That is what saying Thank You is all about. It's not the words, it's how we say the words. Do we say them with offhandedness, or do we pour our heart into those two words? Do we take the time to write a note in our own hand to express our gratitude? Do we show with our actions that the words from our lips are the overflow of our heart?

You can't wear a hole in Thank You like a pair of ratty jeans. You can't diminish the value of those words, UNLESS you stop believing in what they represent.

Gratitude, thankfulness, appreciation. Let those two words come from your heart with all the love and meaning you can put behind them. They are not to be trifled with, but never, never, never be stingy in expressing them for fear of being viewed as a miser. 

** Photo courtesy of Flickr

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Treasure Waiting to be Discovered ~ The Sweetest Thing by Elizabeth Musser ~ Review


This week, the
 
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Sweetest Thing
• Bethany House (June 1, 2011)
by
Elizabeth Musser
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Elizabeth Musser, an Atlanta native, studied English and French literature at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. While at Vanderbilt, she had the opportunity to spend a semester in Aix-en-Provence, France.

During her Senior year at Vanderbilt, she attended a five-day missions conference for students and discovered an amazing thing: God had missionaries in France, and she felt God calling her there. After graduation, she spent eight months training for the mission field in Chicago, Illinois and then two years serving in a tiny Protestant church in Eastern France where she met her future husband.

 

Elizabeth lives in southern France with her husband and their two sons. She find her work as a mother, wife, author and missionary filled with challenges and chances to see God’s hand at work daily in her life. Inspiration for her novels come both from her experiences growing up in Atlanta as well as through the people she meets in her work in France. Many conversations within her novels are inspired from real-life conversations with skeptics and seekers alike.

 

Her acclaimed novel, The Swan House, was a Book Sense bestseller list in the Southeast and was selected as one of the top Christian books for 2001 by Amazon's editors. The Sweetest Thing is her sixth novel.


ABOUT THE BOOK
Compelling Southern Novel Explores Atlanta Society in the 1930s.

 

The Singleton family’s fortunes seem unaffected by the Great Depression, and Perri—along with the other girls at Atlanta’s elite Washington Seminary—lives a life of tea dances with college boys and matinees at the cinema. When tragedy strikes, Perri is confronted with a world far different from the one she has always known.

 

At the insistence of her parents, Mary ‘Dobbs’ Dillard, the daughter of an itinerant preacher, is sent from inner-city Chicago to live with her aunt and attend Washington Seminary. Dobbs, passionate, fiercely individualistic and deeply religious, enters Washington Seminary as a bull in a china shop and shocks the girls with her frank talk about poverty and her stories of revival on the road. Her arrival intersects at the point of Perri’s ultimate crisis, and the tragedy forges an unlikely friendship.

 

The Sweetest Thing tells the story of two remarkable young women—opposites in every way—fighting for the same goal: surviving tumultuous change. Just as the Great Depression collides disastrously with Perri's well-ordered life, friendship blossoms--a friendship that will be tested by jealousy, betrayal, and family secrets...

 

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Sweetest Thing, go HERE.

 

My Review:

I slipped into “The Sweetest Thing” like a favorite pair of shoes. A perfect fit, with just a little pinch to remind you that these shoes were made for walkin’.

I love first-person dramas (word of warning to action readers, this book won’t be for you). The book is very character driven with a story that reached down deep and tugged at my heart strings. While the story revolves around two young women, both searching for their way, the plot never dragged. Perri and Dobbs are thrust in and out of their faith, making decisions that often affect their daily lives in difficult ways and a mystery plot thread that actually leads to a pretty surprising conclusion.

I didn’t want to put this book down. It has the perfect balance of action propelling the characters forward and the development of said characters. Their emotional and faith arc were a fantastic progression through the story. The writing is beautifully woven and there were several times I stopped just to enjoy the beauty of the words.

Fans of Lynn Austin are going to love this author, I know I do and I plan to read many more. This is definitely a treasure waiting to be discovered.

This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers through CFBA for my copy to review.

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