Saturday, December 31, 2011

Up and Coming Fiction! Short Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer

No one steps on Archer land. Not if they value their life. But when Meredith Hayes overhears a lethal plot to burn the Archer brothers off their ranch, a twelve-year-old debt compels her to take the risk. 

Fourteen years of constant vigilance hardens a man. Yet when Travis Archer confronts a female trespasser with the same vivid blue eyes as the courageous young girl he once aided, he can't bring himself to send her away. And when an act of sacrifice leaves her injured and her reputation in shreds, gratitude and guilt send him riding to her rescue once again.

Four brothers. Four straws. One bride. Despite the fact that Travis is no longer the gallant youth Meredith once dreamed about, she determines to stand by his side against the enemy that threatens them both. But will love ever be hers? Or will Travis always see her merely as a short-straw bride?

Short-Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer

Bethany House / June 2012 / ISBN: 978-0-7642-0965-9 / Pages: 352 / Paperback: $14.99

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Best Novels of 2011 (From My POV)

This is always one of my favorite of favorite posts to write every year.

It's also the HARDEST!

Because while it is great fun to look back on a great year of phenomenal novels, it is also incrediably hard to make it a list of ONLY ten.

But thus, I still try and give you my Top Ten Novels of 2011. Also included is a direct link to buy on Amazon and one line from my review.

Share your list too!!

A Bride's Portrait of Dodge City Kansas by Erica Vetsch

Vetsch crafts a story with amazing imagery, but most of her all her characters LEAP from the page.

Surrender the Night by MaryLu Tyndall
Every story is predicable, but it’s how you get there that makes it UNpredictable. This is one such story.

Reinventing Leona by Lynne Gentry
I felt as though I’ve now walked a mile in their shoes and to me, there is no better sign of good storytelling.

When Sparrows Fall by Meg Moseley
There is really one word for this book: unique and un-put-down-able. Okay that’s two. Yes, it was THAT good.

She Makes it Look Easy by Marybeth Whalen
I could not put this book down. The writing is superb, the characters deep and the plot wide and full.

Wings of a Dream by Anne Mateer
When I closed the cover on this book last night, after staying up nearly two hours past my bedtime on a Sunday night, I couldn’t have been more thankful for one of the best finds I’ve had this year in Christian fiction.

The Colonel's Lady by Laura Frantz
Never in all the books have I read, have I come across an author who writes with more lyrical and beautiful quality than Laura Frantz.

The Doctor's Lady by Jody Hedlund
Jody Hedlund is a new name in today’s fiction, but one I firmly believe will not be leaving us any time soon. I certainly hope to never see that day!

A Heart Revealed by Julie Lessman
I am a diehard Lessman fan, but none of her novels have been able to knock A Passion Most Pure (her debut novel) from the coveted “favorite” position. I’m sorry APMP, take a back seat, because I’ve got a new favorite.

My Foolish Heart by Susan May Warren
My heart aches to return to the setting among friends and a love that surrounds me in the town of Deep Haven.

I think I might be craving donuts…

Wow! That was a hard list to put together and so many other books that didn't make my list, but I still loved and want to list here:

Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones; A Great Catch by Lorna Seilstad; To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer; The Harvest of Grace by Cindy Woodsmall; Love on the Line by DeeAnne Gist and Dry as Rain by Gina Holmes

WHAT a reading year!! And 2012 looks just as promising!! :D

Friday's Note:

The winner of Rodeo Dust by Shannon Vannatter is...

Lane Hill House!!

And the winner of her choice of one of M.L. Tyndall's first series is...


You've been emailed ladies, be haunting your inbox!


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Where Have All the White Dresses Gone?

Photo Credit
But in truth, the white dresses have only seemed to multiply in abundance.

It seems that when the wedding day comes around, the white dress is a must. Whether she has earned it or not.

I still remember when a white dress really meant something.




It was a gift worth giving, to her husband, to herself. To God.

A statement to the entire world and all the wedding witnesses that she waited.

She kept herself pure.

What does a white dress mean now?

Now it depends on the bride. And we can't trust that crisp white anymore. We can't look at a bride clothed in white and know that she earned that dress. And she deserves to wear it.

I have known so many brides in the last few months and years who have lived with their boyfriends. Sometimes for many years and produced children and then decide to get married. In a white dress.

What does that mean?


And what does that mean for the bride that did wait?

It's a loss of respect. It cheapens what you and I and my sister are waiting for. Purity. Truth. Honesty.

And yet, every bride who has ever been a little girl dreams of that white dress and longs to wear it. But she has to earn it. Because a white dress that hasn't been earned shouldn't be worn.

And when I think of those brides who haven't earned the right to wear that white dress, have made the mistake of going against God's divine wishes for our lives, my heart sobs just a little bit more. Because it represents less and less to me as I wait for my wedding day.

So I ask again, where have all the white dresses gone? And along with it, where has our respect for what white respresents fled?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Charmed and Beguiled by "The Merchant's Daughter" by Melanie Dickerson ~ Review

To read a medieval novel is to be there and on those occasions when I want to read a medieval novel, I want it to be such as “The Merchant’s Daughter.”

            I was incredibly impressed with the fact that there wasn’t a great deal of overwhelming facts about the setting or customs of the time period, and yet the setting was masterfully crafted through the entire novel. I could have been standing in that square, or scrubbing that floor in the castle, because without a great deal of “thinking about it” I stepped into this enchanting world.

            Loosely based on the fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast, I was caught up in the unlikely romance between Ranulf and Annabel. Right from the beginning they both have so much going against them, and yet the closer they become, the more the rift seems to want to pull them apart.

            I wouldn’t call the romance simple. It was definitely sweet, but with an edge that left me breathless as to whether that edge would destroy what little ground Ranulf and Annabel had claimed.

            “The Merchant’s Daughter” charmed and beguiled me and in the end left me hopeful and content, though wishing for a few more pages, just to enjoy the wonder of the story.

            This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the Amazon Vine program for my copy to review.

More about the novel...

An unthinkable danger.

An unexpected choice.

Annabel, once the daughter of a wealthy merchant, is trapped in indentured servitude to Lord Ranulf, a recluse who is rumored to be both terrifying and beastly. Her circumstances are made even worse by the proximity of Lord Ranulf's bailiff---a revolting man who has made unwelcome advances on Annabel in the past.Believing that life in a nunnery is the best way to escape the escalation of the bailiff's vile behavior and to preserve the faith that sustains her, Annabel is surprised to discover a sense of security and joy in her encounters with Lord Ranulf.

As Annabel struggles to confront her feelings, she is involved in a situation that could place Ranulf in grave danger. Ranulf's future, and possibly his heart, may rest in her hands, and Annabel must decide whether to follow the plans she has cherished or the calling God has placed on her heart.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Giveaway and Author Interview: Say Goodbye to Yesterday by Shirley Connolly

 Welcome to Writing for Christ, Shirley Connolly, it is great to have you here! Do you have an interesting fact about yourself the average reader probably doesn’t know?
Gosh, my life is such an open book I would really have to think about this for a few minutes. Let me see. Maybe it's that I used to enjoy being a Court Jester back when I was in high school when we did our May Fete Queen and Princesses. I never wanted to try to be the high school beauty, but I loved doing silly things. More often than not, with the things I wrote and the crazy things I did, I got myself in plenty of hot water.  
Do you have a favorite genre to read/write? 
I love reading Regency and Post Victorian Romance. I don't know why I haven’t yet written Regency, as much as I devour it at night. But I do my best to stay educated with my research to get anything Post-Victorian that I write spot on, but at the same time, not always common knowledge back at that time. (I'm always looking for something just a bit different from what others have.)
Do you have a nugget of writing advice that has completely changed how you view writing? 

Yes, I think I do. When I am at a loss of what to write, and it happens sometimes when I am in the middle of something important, I not only pray, I also go searching  through my writing books that I've collected over the years, and I skim through them for reminders to myself of what I've been taught. It never fails to help me out. I suggest the same for other newer writers, but not only them, I'm sure all writers who have been around a while get a lot out of looking back at the basics now and then. Everyone gets stale sometimes. And it shows in our writing, if we are not careful.  
5 things you love?
1.      SEAFOOD FRESH. Mmmm Yes. Especially the seafood I used to get when we lived in Seattle. Yes, yes, yes. 
2.      Being around people from the age of 35-45 who really love the Lord and aren’t afraid to show it. Though I'm a bit older than that, young men and women of that age, continually remind me of how wonderful it is to trust in the Lord for everything not just to trust Him in some things. 
3.      Decorating my house for holidays (and, yes, buying new stuff. (If only could always do that.)  I love to make. Decorating and moving furniture around somehow always seems to give me a real boost. 
4.      Listening to classical music . It really helps my creative juices to flow 
5.      Writing stuff in my devotional journal. It gives me a chance to reveal to myself the true me. 
What do you enjoy most about being a published author? 
Meeting people like you, Casey. Writing, being completely finished with my story, and discovering what I was looking for in my writing from the beginning, after I thought I would never find it.  
Places for readers to learn more about you?
And my books can be found at Amazon, at your favorite bookstore, at Barnes n Noble, and wherever you click on my name.
My newest free read is a prequel to my August release SAY GOODBYE TO YESTERDAY. It's called TEARS OF TWO. Here is the link so you can get yourself a free copy. Hopefully it will spark your interest in SAY GOODBYE TO YESTERDAY!
Thank you for being with us today!
Thanks so much, Casey!
Readers here is your chance to enter to win Shirley's novel!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 open internationally and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on January 6th.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Up and Coming Fiction! A Bride Shop Opens in El Dorado, California by Keli Gwyn

Determined widow Elenora Watkins escapes her controlling father and heads west with her nine-year-old daughter to accept a partnership in a successful mercantile. Upon her arrival, the surprised proprietor, Miles Rutledge, withdraws his offer because she's a woman, a fact his well-meaning but meddlesome mother had kept from him. Although Miles comes to regret his hasty decision, Elenora informs him she has no intention of being his partner after all and will open a mercantile of her own across the street instead. The two fight for the town's businessand against their growing attraction.
A Bride Shop Opens in El Dorado, California by Keli Gwyn

Barbour Books / July 2012

Friday, December 23, 2011

Re-Discovering One of My Favorite Series!

A Fleeing Woman and a Man Battling a Sordid Past
are Brought Together
on the Tempest Caribbean Sea
Click to Order
MaryLu Tyndall (also known as M.L.) was one of the first Christian authors I read. Aside from Janette Oke, I really did not have a great depth of knowledge of the current Christian market.

When I discovered that first book on my library's shelves and read it in a weekend, I was hooked. More than hooked, I had just discovered the greatest addiction of my life!

The titles didn't last long in my hands and not long after, I emailed MaryLu, started following her blog and grabbed the next Tyndall book.


A Marriage and a Ship Threatened to be
Split Apart by Villainous Caribbean Pirates
Click to Order 

Oh then, I found out that this series was going. out. of. print.


I bought one of the last sets on the market and mourned (I'm not exaggerating) for the readers who wouldn't get to read these books.


(fast forward a couple years)

An Intricate Plot of Vengeance Weaves
Together the Lives of a Scorned Woman,
an Obsessed Pirate, and a Twisted Nobleman
Click to Order an Obsessed Pirate anaaaaa
Oh then! I found out MaryLu herself was re-releasing the titles and they will once again be available in ebook and paperback form!

Woot! I was so excited I had to let you know here.

This series is one of my favorites of my fiction time. My favorites of MaryLu's writing and just a wonderful collection of adventure and romance perfectly packaged. The author's passion for the sea, romance, adventure and God are so clearly displayed.

Travel the pages of these novels and find out just why these three books are among my favorites. Especially if you have discoverd MaryLu's fiction before, you're going to want to check this series out. It's not to be missed!

(the trailer for The Redemption-- a great video with stirring music. :-)

I love this series so much, I want to help you discover it too!

SO! If you have never read a book by MaryLu Tyndall, leave a comment and I'll draw one name to pick their choice of one of the above featured books (ebook or print edition). This giveaway is for readers who have just heard of or always wanted to read a M.L. Tyndall book. Happy Friday!!

Friday News:
The winner of her choice from my impromptu interview two weeks ago is...

God's Jewel!
Congratulations, you've been emailed, so go check your messages. ;-)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Swept Off My Feet in The Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter ~ Review

4.5 stars to a novel that completely charmed me!

            I’ve gotta start this review off with props to the dialogue. It has some of the best dialogue to read and is fast-paced, quick and to the point and escalates the tension so quickly! Shay comes off snarky and stubborn, but I loved her. She knows what she wants and has struggles to overcome, but deep down, she is so completely relatable. More often than not she had me giggling at something she said or did. Oh, of course she was upset with Travis when she said it, but I loved her.

            Oh Travis. Travis. Travis. What a hero to fall for. He has so many excuses to get angry and walk away from his “accidental” marriage (I’ll let you read the book, and trust me, you should. ;-) to Shay, but making up for his past mistakes to her means more to him. And his love for her melted my heart. Oh to be in Shay’s shoes. Sigh.

            From cover to cover, I sighed. I grinned. I groaned when Shay told Travis off because she was too stubborn to accept his help and I swooned during more than one kiss.

            Really what it comes down to is you need to read this book. It’s got just about everything it needs to be a really great romance with a plot that drives the story without stopping. A great read!

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

More about the novel....
When a wedding reenactment turns real, this cowgirl suddenly finds she's an accidental bride.

Shay Brandenberger is raising her daughter in Moose Creek, Montana on her childhood ranch, nestled against the Yellowstone River. Despite her hard work, she can't seem to keep her head above water-and now the bank is threatening to foreclose. She prays for a miracle, but the answer she receives is anything but.

Having agreed to play the bride in the Founders Day wedding reenactment, Shay is mortified to be greeted at the end of the aisle by none other than Travis McCoy, her high school sweetheart-the man who left her high and dry for fame and fortune on the Texas rodeo circuit.

Then the unthinkable happens. Thanks to a well-meaning busy body and an absent minded preacher, the wedding reenactment results in a legal marriage. But before Shay can say annulment, Travis comes up with a crazy proposal. If she refuses his offer, she'll lose her home. But if she accepts, she may lose her heart.
Shay isn't sure if the recent events are God's will or just a preacher's blunder. Will trusting her heart to the man who once shattered it be the worst mistake of her life? Or could their marriage be the best accident that ever happened?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Is Santa Claus Our New God?

About this time of year, you start seeing Santa pop up. Oh, he's here, he's there, he is just plain everywhere.

You know the song, he's watching when your sleeping, he's watching when you're awake. He knows what your naughty and he knows when you are nice. (something like that)

I had a friend who's son told her, "Mom, that is just plain creepy."

I'm with that son, I don't really like to think of a fat, jolly old man (even if he is supposed to be jolly) watching me when I go about my everyday life.

Have you ever noticed that we have TONS of Santas every year? We have a Santa at the mall. At the grocery store. On the TV--on every commercial, sure they all look the same, but they aren't all the same. They are played by different men, dressed up in a red suit and white beard.

But have you noticed that no one has ever tried to dress up and play God? Sure we assert our want for control in our own lives, but God can't fit into any kind of suit. God can't be generalized into one perfect image that everyone recognizes when they see Him a dozen miles away.

And yet...why can't we? Why can't we see Christ? We should be the perfect light for God so when others see us, they see Him. We should be as obvious for our Father in heaven as the man in the red suit is.

When we live our lives for Christ and aren't ashamed to share our love affair with Him, we have the opposite affect as "Santa" does. Because our God doesn't scare other people with his wandering eye. We fall in love with Him, knowing He is watching after us. Taking care of us.

May our light so shine.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Will Not Leave You Unchanged ~ Edge of Grace by Christa Allan ~ Review

“Edge of Grace” is one of those titles that does not leave you untouched. Even if you don’t completely agree with everything written, you have to agree, this book will make you think and be prepared to be a bit uncomfortable!

            The novel has a fantastic literary quality. One of my favorite lines: “…like tap dancing on mud”. What a visual! And there were many such images through the story. I just had to pause often and dwell on the image the word painting evoked.

            The novel isn’t so much about Caryn’s brother’s gay relationship, but how Caryn chooses to accept that relationship. I could sympathize with her, because while I don’t have gay relations (that I know of) I could understand her confusion and trying to deal with it.

            Where I struggled, is I don’t believe gay and Christian can be synonymous. The Bible clearly states that relations between the same sex is wrong. But we are also clearly told to love and minister to those around us. And this book walked that very fine line.

            The ending was very open ended, maybe even a bit abrupt. But can such a story be tied up in a neat little package? Hmm. Not likely.

            I think with what had to be tackled, it was done well. Very well written and engaging.

            If this book does nothing else, I think you (and me) as readers will not be so quick to judge and faster to show Christ’s love. May they see Him through us.

More about the novel...

When her brother becomes the victim of a brutal hate crime, a woman faces her hypocrisy and begins to rebuild their relationship only to discover her decision may result in losing her business.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Giveaway and Author Interview: Rodeo Dust by Shannon Vannatter

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

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

It's been a weird year. One of those, now you see the contract--now you don't. Oh wow, it's back. I learned nothing is set in stone in publishing and that I should be thankful for every deadline.

What recent read stood out to you as truly spectacular?

Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes. It's just a beautifully written book. It's lyrical. Since I've studied writing so much, I tend to edit when I read. I'm always thinking, Oh the author should have done this or that and the story would have been better. I didn't edit this book. There was nothing to edit.

Do you have favorite authors?

Denise Hunter is my new favorite. I'll delve into women's fiction on occasion, but my true favorite is romance. I didn't edit Denise's books either. My very favorite of hers, The Convenient Groom. It has such a great premise, it made me wish I'd thought of it.

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

I love when readers ask me about a character or a scene in one of my books. To know that someone actually read something I wrote and it made them think.

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

My office in a quiet house. When my son was younger, I could write amidst turmoil and noise, but since he started school, I've gotten spoiled. During the school year, I have a quiet house during the day. In the summer, I write after everyone is in bed.

My husband has been a bi-vocational pastor since 2002. This month, he's starting as a full-time pastor at our church. When the deacons brought it up, I told him he had to stay away during the day. If no one's in the hospital or needs visiting, he's to stay at the church so I can get my job done. During the transition, he's had some time off. It's been really hard to stick to my schedule to meet a deadline instead of running around with him.

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?

My third published book, White Pearls. It took so long to write my second book that I only had four months to write the followup. I finished the first draft in two months. The story just flowed out of my fingers. I wish they were all like that.

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

Thanks for having me back. I enjoyed meeting you at the ACFW Conference this year. The only problem with the conference is that we never have enough time to visit.

Readers here is your chance to enter to win Shannon's novel!
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- I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on December 30th.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Up and Coming Fiction! Baroness by Susan May Warren

What could they possibly want when
they already have everything?

Two daughters of fortune have been handed all the
makings for storybook happily-ever-afters. The
only problem is, they don’t want to live fairy-tale
lives. But when forced to decide, will they really be
able to abandon lives of ease and luxury for the love
and adventure that beckons?
Coming of age in theturbulent Roaring Twenties, each woman sets out to find romance—on her own terms. But at what cost will she find her happy ending?

Baroness by Susan May Warren

Summerside / March 2012 / ISBN: 978-1609366315 / 320 pages / paperback: $14.99

Friday, December 16, 2011

Dipping a Toe in the Vlogging Waters

I said I would never do this.

Keli Gwyn said I should.

So I dug out the manual on the video thingy on my computer.

Not really, I don't read manuals.

Took a deep breath and hit record.

Tried to not run screaming from the room.

Finally decided on a video that would be a good Friday post.

Registered a YouTube account.

Tried to not run screaming from the room at the thought of being on YouTube.

I'm sensing a pattern here.

And finally gave you this:

Not really loving the whole automated freeze frame thing.

YouTube just does that to be mean, I swear.

Love it?

Hate it?

I kind of liked it, the question is...will you??

Leave a question/comment, it just might become a vlog post!


Take this as a warning: you've been warned.


Friday's Note:

I have winners! The winner of Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar is:


And the winner of Lost in Dreams by Roger Bruner is:


Congrats, be stalking your inbox. ;-)

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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