Sunday, April 5, 2015

GREAT THINGS DO COME IN SMALL PACKAGES!



Title: Enough: Discovering Joy through Simplicity and Generosity
Author: Adam Hamilton
Publisher: Abingdon Press (February 1, 2009)
Pages: 110

Don’t let the size fool you. ENOUGH: DISCOVERING JOY THROUGH SIMPLICITY AND GENEROSITY may be small in size and page numbers, but the content is huge. This is the second book I’ve read by ADAM HAMILTON, the first being Forgiveness: Finding Peace Through Letting Go. I was so taken by it; I used it for a “Bible” lesson for the youth at a correctional center.

ENOUGH: DISCOVERING JOY THROUGH SIMPLICITY AND GENEROSITY is a much needed topic. I often think of years ago, back in the days when the world wasn't so materialistic. What a shame it is we have grown to work our life away for the sake of accumulating stuff, and trying to do it all. Stuff we can’t take with us, and a life so packed with activities we are often stressed out and in debt.

It’s crazy how advance technology has come, how much there is out there for us to experience. How many new products are being produced. How much waste we create. We are such a throwaway society. When something new comes out, we just have to have it. Not long after, in a new color, shape or size. We just have to have it even though the other one is still in working condition.

MR HAMILTON speaks of a four part strategy that will free up our life both financially and emotionally. The first step is to recognize there is a problem. The second it to have a clear plan of action to resolve it. The third is to live it out. Once we accomplish these things, we are free to give as God intended us to do. If you have not known the joy of giving, I pray that one day you will.

Don’t miss out on this great little book so you can begin to live a less stressful and debt free life.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

APRIL 2015 ACFW NEW RELEASES

April 2015 New Releases 
 More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the 
ACFW Fiction Finder website

Amish Romance: 


The Postcard by Laura V. Hilton -- David Lapp moves to Jamesport for a fresh start after surviving a "code blue" when he was in a buggy/semi truck accident. His new call to the ministry is complicated by his lingering mobility problems, the Amish church, and a postcard friendship with Jamesport local Rachel Miller. (Contemporary Romance from Whitaker House) 






Contemporary Romance: 



Pesto and Potholes by Susan M. Baganz -- Renata Blake trades her abusive past for a new home and church family in Milwaukee, not expecting her attraction to handsome chef and Packer fanatic, Antonio DeLuca. Tony has been burned by love and is too busy to let a woman in his life again. With God's help, and the support of a faith community, will Tony and Renata learn to love again? (Contemporary Romance from Inspired [Prism Book Group])


Together With You by Victoria Bylin -- An agnostic, Dr. Ryan Tremaine loses his heart to his children's god-fearing nanny in this modern twist on The Sound of Music. (Contemporary Romance from Bethany House [Baker Publishing Group]) 


Coast Guard Courtship by Lisa Carter -- Coast Guard Officer Braeden Scott's wants freedom and adventure, not assignment to a tiny Virginia coastal village-until a feisty redhead puts charm back into small-town life. Amelia Duer is all about home and hearth and caring for her nephew. As Braeden spends more time with her and the boy, his hopes for a family begin to resurface. Could Amelia be the anchor this charming Coastie needs to stop wandering and create a home for good? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin]) 


Pinky Promise by Valerie Comer -- Kelly Bryant's young daughter wants a daddy and sets her sights on her new best friend's single father. The man may be charming, sweet, and a believer, but Kelly is embarrassed. She extracts a pinky promise from her six-year-old to stop proposing to men on her behalf. Ian Tomlinson isn't looking for a wife but does need care for his daughter during spring break the week after his move to Riverbend. He hates to ask Kelly - and plant ideas in the girls' minds - but he's rather low on options. How can two single parents fall in love for real with a pair of mini-matchmakers pushing from both sides - pinky promises or not? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published) 


Like a Love Song by Camille Eide -- Susan Quinn, a social worker turned surrogate mom to foster teens, fights to save the group home she's worked hard to build. But now, she faces a dwindling staff, foreclosure, and old heartaches that won't stay buried. Her only hope lies with the last person she'd ever turn to-a brawny handyman with a guitar, a questionable past, and a God he keeps calling Father. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published) 


Island Refuge by Kimberly Rose Johnson -- A five star chef running from a broken engagement takes a job as a cook and housekeeper at a B&B on a small island off the coast of Washington state. There she meet's Dr. Nick Jackson, the new owner of the Wildflower B&B. (Contemporary Romance from Mountain Brook, INC.) 


Dating the Best Man by Gail Sattler -- Cory Bellanger wants to be more than just a friend to his best friend's sister, Daphne Carruthers, but first he needs to come to terms with her painful past and earn her trust. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin]) 


From the Start by Melissa Tagg -- Kate Walker's love life may have left her brokenhearted, but it hasn't kept her from churning out made-for-TV romance movie screenplays...until a major career slump sends her running back to her hometown of Maple Valley. There she meets recently injured, and permanently sidelined, NFL quarterback Colton Greene, who is hiding out from the media. When an unexpected project gives Kate and Colton a chance to jumpstart their new lives, will they follow through? (Contemporary Romance from Bethany House [Baker Publishing Group])


Reclaiming the Cowboy's Heart by Rose Ross Zediker -- Donna crosses paths with her former fiancĂ©, Jamie Martin, at Cheyenne Frontier Days, unprepared for the feelings that still endure after twenty years. As a former party boy, Jamie's newfound faith could pave the way for a second chance at his first love...if Donna can find it in her heart to forgive him for almost destroying her family business so long ago. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin]) 



General Fiction: 



Memory Box Secrets (Coming Home Volume 2) by Brenda S. Anderson -- Years after being abandoned by her parents, a successful sales executive receives a call from her father that he wants back in her life. (General Fiction, Independently Published)










Historical Romance: 



The Lady and the Mountain Doctor by Misty M. Beller -- When a hunting accident dashes a mountain woman's hopes of ever becoming a genteel lady, can God use the new doctor to heal her wounded heart? (Historical Romance, Independently Published)


The Oregon Trail Romance Collection by Amanda Cabot, Melanie Dobson, Pam Hillman, Myra Johnson, Amy Lillard, DiAnn Mills, Anna Schmidt, Ann Shorey, and Jennifer Uhlarik -- Nine romantic adventures take readers along for a ride on the Oregon Trail. Enjoy the trip through a fascinating part of history through the eyes of remarkably strong characters, who stop at famous landmarks along the way. Watch as their faith is strengthened and as love is born despite unique circumstances. Discover where the journey ends for each of nine couples. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing) 


With This Kiss Historical Collection by Mary Connealy, Ruth Logan Herne, Pam Hillman, Cara Lynn James, and Julie Lessman -- Five multi-published, award-winning and best-selling Christian authors transport you to yesteryear, when times were tough and love was far more simple...in some ways! (Historical Romance, Independently Published) 


The Doctor's Undoing by Allie Pleiter -- During WWI, serious, dedicated doctor Daniel Parker finds his life and his Parker Home for Orphans turned upside down by the vibrant, optimistic nurse Ida Lee Landway. (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin]) 


The Creole Princess (Gulf Coast Chronicles) by Beth White -- During the American Revolution, Frenchwoman Lyse Lanier is best friends with the daughter of the British officer in command of Mobile, Alabama. Rafael Gonzalez is a charming young Spanish merchant with a secret mission and a shipment of gold to support General Washington. As their destinies become increasingly tangled, Lyse and Rafael must decide where their true loyalties lie--and save Lyse's family from being executed as traitors to the British Crown. (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker Publishing Group]) 


Romantic Suspense: 




Buried Secrets (A Men of Valor Novel) by Irene Hannon -- Former Chicago homicide detective Lisa Grant takes a job as a small-town police chief, wanting a kinder, gentler life. But the discovery of a human skeleton by a construction crew taxes her department's resources. Enter backup, Detective Mac McGregor, an ex-Navy SEAL. As they work together to solve the mystery behind the unmarked grave, it becomes clear someone will stop at nothing to make certain a life-shattering secret stays buried. (Romantic Suspense from Revell [Baker Publishing Group]) 


Royal Rescue by Tammy Johnson -- Hidden away for fourteen years, Thea James was presumed dead by most-killed in the fire that burned the royal palace. Thea's new bodyguard, Ronin Parrish, knows she's the only one who can clear his father of the king's murder-and so does the killer. To a commoner like Ronin, the strong, beautiful princess can never be more than a mission, a race to restore Thea's throne...before the murderer ends her reign forever. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


Presumed Guilty by Dana R. Lynn -- Melanie Swanson lost her friends, her fiancĂ© and her freedom when she was found guilty of a crime she didn't commit and spent four years in prison. Police lieutenant Jace Tucker still believes Melanie is guilty-until she is repeatedly attacked and the people around her are picked off one by one. Melanie's memories may help solve the crime she witnessed rather than caused-but proving her innocence could cost her life. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin]) 


Duty Bound Guardian (Capitol K-9 Unit) by Terri Reed -- Art curator Lana Gomez's life in on the line, and K-9 Officer Adam and his partner, Ace, must stop the assassin. As the danger escalates, Lana and Adam grow closer...but will they survive? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin]) 






Speculative Fiction: 



Heir of Hope (Follower of the Word series, Book 3) by Morgan L. Busse -- When the great city of Thyra falls, Rowen Mar, the last Truthsayer, is taken before the Shadonae. But the Shadonae are not who she thought they were, and now they want to claim her as their own. Caleb Tala, former assassin and prince, is now an exiled Guardian of mankind. He wanders the desert in search of his true identity. Rowen and Caleb must find their way through the shadows or the human race will be no more. (Speculative Fiction from Enclave Publishing)

Friday, March 27, 2015

THE ABILITY TO PUT ME IN AWE

Title: Driftwood Tides
Author: Gina Holmes
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (August 15, 2014)
Pages: 400

GINA HOLMES is one of the few authors I don’t give a second thought to purchasing her latest book. I don’t need to know the title, see the cover, read the synopsis. Nope. Just knowing she wrote it is good enough. To date I have read every GINA HOLEMS book published. There is no uncertainty when starting one of MS HOLMES books. I know I will be swept away into another world, and DRIFTWOOD TIDES is no exception.

Holton Creary is a struggling artist, though art is not the only thing he struggles with. His life is slipping away and the true tragedy is, he doesn't care.

Libby Slater may seem like she has it all, but something is missing from her life. When she makes the decision to go on the hurt for that missing piece, she couldn't possible know what she was headed into.

MS HOLMES continues to hold me in awe of her writing. Her stories in themselves are captivating, heartwarming and heart wrenching all in one. They will teach you and inspire you. An avid reader and writer, it is not often that I dog-ear, highlight, share with others and make a photocopy of as a reminder from fiction. Non-fiction, yes. Fiction, no.  That alone says a heap about MS HOLMES talent.

If her ability to create an amazing story was not enough, she is also an amazing writer in the sense of originality. MS HOLMES ability to create unique descriptions and phrases goes beyond the norm. When a writer does every aspect in writing well, it can be lethal.


My only hesitation in reading a HOLMES novel is the deep seeded desire it provokes to write my own story. I often want to run to my computer to write a great novel such as she. Must I even point out that I cannot wait for the next.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

A STORY YOU WON'T WANT TO MISS

Title: Christmas Underdog
Author: Connie Cameron
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 25, 2014)
Pages: 116

To be quite honest, I was a little nervous to begin reading CHRISTMAS UNDERDOG by CONNIE CAMERON. I often read a few five and one star reviews before deciding to read a book. There are times that I make the decision to not purchase a book due to the comments, but that isn't always the case.

As I began CHRISTMAS UNDERDOG, I was quickly drawn into MS CAMERON’S story. Though it is non-fiction, it reads like fiction. I couldn't seem to put it down. I found myself smiling at some points, and tearing up at others.

CHRISTMAS UNDERDOG may be Christian based, but what it is not is preachy. An animal lover and one that is involved in prison ministry, I was able to connect with MS CAMERON’S story. Life is about choices. We can chose to let it beat us down, or see the blessings we have.


I found CHRISTMAS UNDERDOG to be equally inspiring, encouraging, and heartwarming. Truly, a story you won’t want to miss.  

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

ACFW MARCH 2015 NEW RELEASES

March 2015 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary Romance:

8 Weddings and a Miracle Romance Collection by Janet Lee Barton, Lena Nelson Dooley, Nancy J. Farrier, Pamela Griffin, Diann Hunt, Loree Lough, Tracie J. Peterson, Sandra Petit and Gail Sattler -- Weather the storms of life alongside nine modern couples who hope to make it to the altar-someday. Be it a meeting in the wrong place at the right time, an accident that opens hardened hearts, or weather that seems to blow things off course, sometimes love needs a little divine intervention. (Contemporary Romance from Barbour Publishing )

Dandelions for Dinner: A Farm Fresh Romance by Valerie Comer -- When man-hater Allison Hart gains custody of her nephew, she decides to build a house and farm school at Green Acres. Too bad contractor Brent Callahan builds a rapport with the boy. Can Brent tear down the walls around her heart or will their secrets push them apart forever? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

A Valentine for Kayla by Kimberly Rose Johnson -- Florist owner, Kayla Russell hates Valentine's Day, but this year something is different. The beautiful florist-and hopeless romantic-has nearly given up on love, when the man of her dreams walks into her shop...to buy flowers for another woman! (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

The Cowboy's Forever Family by Deb Kastner -- Rough rodeo cowboy Slade McKenna is determined to protect his late best friend's wife and baby, even if Laney Beckett is too stubborn to admit she needs his help. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

A Splash of Substance by Elizabeth Maddrey -- She's a caterer who doesn't vote. He works for a Senator. Is it a recipe for love or disaster? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published) In 

Defense of Love by Pat Simmons -- While playing saxophone at an anniversary party, criminal attorney Shari Carmen grabs the attention of U.S. Marshal Garrett Nash. Only, she's learned never to mix business with pleasure. As God draws them closer together, the Almighty makes a request of Garrett, one to which it will prove difficult to say "Yes, Lord." (Contemporary Romance from Whitaker House)

Three Little Words by Melissa Tagg -- The only thing Ava Kingsley and Seth Walker have in common is a knack for wordsmithing, which landed them a popular "He Says/She Says" column back in college. At their ten-year class reunion, they pick up squabbling right where they left off and strike up an unlikely friendship. When Ava rents the apartment above the restaurant he's been remodeling in Maple Valley, Iowa, she finds herself warming up to Maple Valley as well as Seth. Which would be exciting...except he only sees her as a friend. After all the words they've swapped through the years, will they ever be able to say the three little words that matter most? (Contemporary Romance from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)







Historical Fiction:

Spy of Richmond by Jocelyn Green -- Compelled to atone for the sins of her slaveholding father, Union loyalist Sophie Kent risks everything to help end the war from within the Confederate capital and abolish slavery forever. (Contemporary Women's Fiction from River North [Moody Publishers])

The Tomb: A Novel of Martha by Stephanie Landsem -- Jesus shocks the town of Bethany with Lazarus's resurrection from the dead, leading Martha-a seemingly perfect woman trapped by the secrets of her past-to hope and a new life. (Historical Fiction from Howard [Simon & Schuster])














Historical Romance:

Romancing the Schoolteacher by Mary Davis -- A young teacher with a secret meets a miner with a secret. Will their deceptions destroy the love they have always longed for? (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

The Outlaw Takes a Bride by Susan Page Davis -- Which would be worse for Johnny-being arrested for murder or marrying Sally Golding? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Hill Country Courtship by Laurie Kingery -- Maude Harkey has given up on being married, but when an orphaned baby needs her as a mother and a job is offered that will provide a home for her and her daughter, should she take it, even if her employer has no use for romance in his life? (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])












Romantic Suspense:

Beast of Stratton by Renee Blare -- Architect Aimee Hart, determined to locate her father, infiltrates Miles Stratton's engineering firm as a secretary. Betrayed by his best friend, Miles would rather hide from the man's daughter than help her. But something's not right. Someone's trying to destroy Stratton Industrial from the inside. A decorated war veteran, Miles has defended his own before and the Beast of Stratton can do it again. Even with the enemy at his side. (Romantic Suspense from Inspired [Prism Book Group])

Shadowed (Heart of a Warrior) by Kariss Lynch -- Nick Carmichael is a Navy SEAL, committed to God and country when he meets Kaylan Richards. Idealistic and sheltered, Kaylan has just graduated college and is ready to save the world. Nick faces the demons of his past on a mission to catch Janus, and Kaylan comes to terms with loving a man who leaves. Will light shine in the darkness or will Kaylan and Nick's love forever be stalked by shadows? (Romantic Suspense from Realms [Charisma Media])


Thriller/Suspense:

Persephone's Fugitive (Book #2 Cayman Islands Trilogy) by Dianna T. Benson -- Cayman Island paramedic Sara Dyer is taken hostage by an escaped murderer and forced to mend his injuries-or die trying. (Thriller/Suspense from Ellechor Publishing House, LLC)














Young Adult:

The Induction by Melinda Louise Bohannon -- Maggie comes to the frightening realization that, by marrying Peter, she has become a member of The Inner Society. She is then forced to prove her allegiance in order to get off their hit list. Meanwhile she is also being tested by The Resistance, dissidents of The I.S. who wonder if she will jeopardize their cause with her reckless rebellion. As The I.S. begins secretly giving vaccines to their own people, The Resistance becomes privy to an impending biological attack that The I.S. is about to wage against the country. (Young Adult Fiction from Ellechor Publishing House, LLC)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

AMISH? REALLY? WHO WOULD HAVE EVER GUESSED.


Title: The Beekeeper’s Son
Author: Kelly Irivn
Publisher: Zondervan (January 12, 2015)
Pages: 352

WOW! I freely admit that I am not a fan of Amish fiction. I also admit that I have not read many Amish books, nor many authors that write Amish fiction. What I can admit is how blown away I am with THE BEEKEEPER’S SON by KELLY IRVIN.

Upon receiving a copy of THE BEEKEEPER’S SON, I tossed in my pile of books in need to read and reviewed, not giving it much thought. Truth be told, at a glance I read the title as The Bookkeeper’s Son. Once it reached the top of my stack, it was then that I realized the true title. Suddenly my interest peeked.

THE BEEKEEPER’S SON is not the first I've read by KELLY IRVIN. I am not one for suspense or mystery, so once I read one of MS IRVIN’S stories that was in the genre I so love, I started to realize I might just become a fan of Amish fiction after all.

Deborah Lantz is not happy about the move she and her family is force to endure, all for the sake for her mother to remarry. Remarry a man who is nothing like Deborah’s deceased father.

Phineas King has scars. The ones on the inside are no less destructive to his life as the ones on the outside. Upon bumping into the new girl, he is not surprised at her response to his appearance. After all, it wasn't something he hasn't dealt with for the past twelve years.

Deborah’s mother, Abigail, may have come to Texas to marry a man she once turned down, and Deborah with every intention to leave Bee County as soon as possible, but it seems God has His own plan.

I found it most helpful to have a list of Amish vs English words to refer to, as well as a reference to the characters names grouped with family members. I appreciated that the Amish words were kept to a minimum. If not done so, for me, it makes for a difficult read.

This amazingly unique telling of Beauty and the Beast surpassed any hopes I had for Amish fiction. I LOVE the main characters. At first, I was not interested in Deborah’s mother’s situation, but before long, I found myself just as intrigued with Abigail and Mordecai as I was Deborah and Phineas.

I truly loved everything about THE BEEKEEPER’S SON. MS IRVIN is an amazing storyteller and writer. I cannot believe I am stating this, but THE BEEKEEPER’S SON has earned a place of one of my favorite novels. Never would I have imaged that to be true of an Amish story.

I urge anyone who is a reader of Christian romance, whether historical or contemporary, to give this amazing book a try, even if you never pictured yourself reading an Amish novel. You won’t be sorry you did.



Tuesday, February 24, 2015

WHO IS YOUR THUNDERSHIRT?


I told a pen pal about the ThunderShirt. 
Know what he said?
God is my thundershirt! 
Who is your thundershirt?


Friday, February 20, 2015

Monday, February 16, 2015

WELCOME AUTHOR NANCY MEHL

WELCOME NANCY MEHL




A LITTLE ABOUT NANCY

Nancy Mehl lives in Festus, Missouri, with her husband, Norman, and her very active puggle, Watson. She’s authored twenty books and just finished a new series for Bethany House Publishing. The first book in her Finding Sanctuary series, “Gathering Shadows” was released in May of 2014. The second book, “Deadly Echoes” became available in February.  The third book, “Rising Darkness will release late in 2015. She is also working on an Amish cozy mystery series for Guideposts.

Readers can learn more about Nancy through her Web site: www.nancymehl.com. She is part of The Suspense Sisters: www.suspensesisters.blogspot.com, along with several other popular suspense authors. She is also very active on Facebook.

Q&A

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself:  How did you start writing?  What has kept you writing?
I started writing when I was 45. I’d thought about it off and on, but one day I finally decided to give it a try. It didn’t take long for me to discover I loved writing novels. After a few years, I went before the Lord and asked Him if this was something He actually wanted me to do. I didn’t want to spend years doing something that wasn’t His will for me. He answered me in the affirmative, and I’ve been writing ever since. When things get tough, I fall back on my belief that I’m called to write.   

2.     How would you describe Deadly Echoes?

Deadly Echoes is not just a story of suspense. It’s also a story of healing. Sarah Miller’s parents were brutally murdered when she was young. Eventually thrown into the foster care system, she is devastated again when her sister, Hannah, is adopted and she isn’t. Sarah spends her life grieving for her parents and for her sister who has virtually disappeared. Sarah lives life convinced Hannah was adopted because she was prettier and smarter. These feelings of insecurity follow her, even when a kind woman offers Sarah a home when she ages out of the system, finally giving her a sense of safety and love. In Deadly Echoes, Sarah will not only have to fight for her own life and the life of Hannah’s daughter, she will come face to face with her shattered sense of self worth and her deep fear of abandonment. 

3.     Can you give us a brief explanation of the plot?

After a youth filled with tragedy and upheaval, Sarah Miller's life is finally settled with all echoes of the past silent at last. She happily calls Sanctuary her home and spends her days teaching at the local school. 

Sarah's joy at her recent reunion with her sister, Hannah, and meeting the niece she didn't know she had is too soon interrupted when Deputy Sheriff Paul Gleason informs Sarah her sister has been killed. 

As she learns more about Hannah's death, the circumstances are eerily similar to their parents' murder. Sarah enlists Paul's help in digging deeper into the murders the police are dismissing as burglaries gone wrong. Paul's concern encourages Sarah's growing feelings for him, but as their investigation peels back the layers of lies almost twenty years old, they get close to uncovering the truth one person will do anything to hide--even if that means coming after the last remaining members of the Miller family.

4.     What inspired you to write this particular novel?

Actually, I’d been thinking about jealousy and competitiveness. Why sometimes we feel threatened by someone else’s success, looks, or possessions. I was wondering what causes us to compare ourselves to others in the first place. Jealousy is like a slow poison that can work its way into every area of our lives if we open the door to it. It weakens us and steals our joy. I believe a lack of knowing who we are in Christ makes us susceptible to the green-eyed monster. Addressing this problem inspired Deadly Echoes.

My main character, Sarah Miller, was orphaned at a young age. Her sister, Hannah, was adopted, but Sarah wasn’t. Even though her life has turned out well, She’s never lost her belief that Hannah was adopted because she was prettier and more worthy of love.  Sarah would never admit to being jealous of Hannah. She truly loves her sister, yet she lives under Hannah’s shadow, accepting a false reality based on her own feelings of inadequacy. As my story unfolds, Sarah will not only have to deal with threats from the outside, she will have to look inward and deal with her own demons.   

5.     Can you tell us about your next book?

The next book in my Finding Sanctuary series is Rising Darkness. This is a special story to me because I’m actually bringing back a character from my Road to Kingdom series. Sophie Wittenbauer was a troubled teenager back in Kingdom, Kansas. I always felt that her story needed to be finished, and I’m happy I can finally do that for her.

After Sophie left Kingdom she worked hard to make something out of her life. Now she’s a newspaper reporter. She recently stumbled across some information that could lead to an incredible story. The kind of story that could launch her career as an investigative reporter. However, to uncover the truth she must travel to Sanctuary, Missouri. When she discovers there is a Conservative Mennonite community living there, she almost scraps her plans. Being around people that remind her of her past in Kingdom is the last thing she wants. But the desire for fame and fortune drive her to ignore her fears and go to Sanctuary. Once there she runs into a face from the past. Jonathon Wiese is the pastor of a nondenominational church in the small town. Sophie is mortified at seeing him again. She’s thought about him almost every day, and her feelings for him are just as strong as they ever were. Thankfully, he doesn’t make the connection between the sophisticated woman she’s become and the dirty uneducated teenager she used to be. As she tries to deal with seeing him again, she begins to uncover clues that could lead to finding a notorious criminal who vanished years ago. But before she can find him, he seems to have found her. Sophie will not only have to face her love for Jonathon, but also the very real fear that she will never leave Sanctuary alive.

6.     If you weren't a writer, what would you be?

A social worker. I worked in social services until I started writing full time. Or a teacher. I love teaching. Or a veterinarian because I’m passionate about animals. Or... Hmmm. Probably a good thing I’m an author. It saves a lot of confusion.



DEADLY ECHOES
by 
Nancy Mehl

After a youth filled with tragedy and upheaval, Sarah Miller's life is finally settled with all echoes of the past silent at last. She happily calls Sanctuary her home and spends her days teaching at the local school.

Sarah's joy at her recent reunion with her sister, Hannah, and meeting the niece she didn't know she had is too soon interrupted when Deputy Sheriff Paul Gleason informs Sarah her sister has been killed. 

As she learns more about Hannah's death, the circumstances are eerily similar to their parents' murder. Sarah enlists Paul's help in digging deeper into the murders the police are dismissing as burglaries gone wrong. Paul's concern encourages Sarah's growing feelings for him, but as their investigation peels back the layers of lies almost twenty years old, they get close to uncovering the truth one person will do anything to hide--even if that means coming after the last remaining members of the Miller family.


A FAVORITE OF MINE


One of the things I LOVE about 
October - January...



Thursday, February 12, 2015

ALWAYS AN INCREADABLE READ

Title: Beyond All Dreams
Author: Elizabeth Camden
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (January 6, 2015)
Pages: 368

BEYOND ALL DREAMS by ELIZABETH CAMDEN is the fifth book I’ve read by her, and certainly won’t be the last. If there is one thing I am certain of, it is that when I pick up a book by ELIZABETH CAMDEN, I know I am going to be whisk away into another world. One I have no desire to leave.

Anna O'Brien leads a predictable and quiet life as a map librarian at the Library of Congress. When she discovers something is amiss in regards to her father’s death, she puts her shyness aside and seeks the help of Congressman Luke Callahan.

Luke Callahan is Anna O-Brien’s opposites in every way. Despite the strict rules forbidding Anna from any romantic entanglements with members of Congress, Luke is bound to capture her attention. Could there be something to this thing called, loved at first sight?

MS CAMDEN’S writing is without question one of the best I've encountered. Her choice of words keeps me at awe, inspiring me to write. Her characters are always well formed, and three-dimensional, as if they could walk off the pages. It is one thing to write well, but another to create unique lines and that MS CAMDEN does superbly.

Each story MS CAMDEN creates if a fully developed plots. Not just any plot, but one with substance. One that will draw you in and not let you leave until the last page. A mix of fiction and history gives way to an exciting storytelling that will both entertain and educate. 

The way MS CAMDEN weaves together unique characters, history, a believable plot, and faith are a gift not many possess. There is no hesitation to whether or not I will purchase and read MS CAMDEN’S next novel. That is a given.


*Please see my profile for more information on this review.

Friday, February 6, 2015

WRITERS WON'T WANT TO MISS OUT ON THIS ONE


Title: Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success
Author: K.M. Weiland
Publisher: PenForASword; 6.1.2011 edition (July 1, 2011)
Pages: 192

My writing journey has been a slow one. My life is full, and I’m in a busy season of my life. Still, the desire to write is constantly present. 

Once I made the outrageous decision to write a novel, I picked up a copy of Stephen King’s, On Writing. Though it inspired me to dive in, it failed to give me concrete structure; hence, I became a seat-of-the-pants writer. I’ve gain knowledge along the way, perfecting my craft as I go from published and unpublished authors, the internet, classes, workshops, books on writing, and from reading others work. If there is one thing that can be said about writers it is that many have a strong opinion of whether one should be a pantser (Seat-of-the-pants-writer) or a plotter (An outliner).

I plunged full force into writing, though a bit unsure, content in my approach. Over time, the words of outliners began to sink in. Then I hit a brick wall. I realized my writing was missing something, and if I were not mistaking, it meant I needed to change my approach to staring a novel. I began to add different methods such as characterization and goal, motivation, and conflict charts. Still my stories lacked.

Convinced that I needed to make some serious changes, I gave in to the idea that I needed to do some major legwork before beginning a story. When I spotted OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL: MAP YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS by K.M. WEILAND, I read the reviews and pondered the thought of purchasing it. Did I really want to become an outliner? Could I even do it?

Something I have learned over time is the variations of the words pantsers and plotters. It is not an all or nothing approach, or one-size-fits-all. One of the things that drew me to MS WEILAND’S book on outlining is her attitude of the two approaches. She neither overly praised one or badmouthed the other. It was all about finding the unique formula fit for you.

My copy of OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL: MAP YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS is packed with handwritten notes, highlights and dog-eared pages. It is truly a wealth of information and an eye-opening experience. You know a book is worth every penny when you have a light bulb moment.

With too many examples to list, I will note the simplicity and examples MS WEILAND chose in OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL: MAP YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS was instrumental in creating a book on the craft that will influence my writing forever. The book is written in a way that will have you looking forward to reading it each day, completing it from cover to cover.

To be honest, I was on the fence whether to purchase this book, having several books I’ve read on the craft of writing, as well as waiting to be read on my shelf. I am certainly glad I listened to the five star and not one star, reviews. I would not label this book for “new writers”, but for struggling writers, which can be at any point of one’s journey.

So impressed was I with MS WEILAND’S knowledge on writing and her style in OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL: MAP YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS , I purchased a couple of her novels.

Information on OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL: MAP YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS:

•           Help you choose the right type of outline for you
•           Guide you in brainstorming plot ideas
•           Aid you in discovering your characters
•           Show you how to structure your scenes
•           Explain how to format your finished outline
•           Instruct you in how to use your outline

Reveal the benefits:

•           Ensures cohesion and balance
•           Prevents dead-end ideas
•           Provides foreshadowing
•           Offers assurance and motivation

Dispel misconceptions:

•           Requires formal formatting
•           Limits creativity
•           Robs the joy of discovery
•           Takes too much time

Friday, January 30, 2015

ACFW FEBRUARY 2015 NEW RELEASES

February 2015 New Releases 

 More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

  Amish Romance: 

 
Keys of Heaven: A Healing Grace Novel by Adina Senft -- Apprentice Dokterfraa Sarah Yoder grows herbs for her tinctures and tries to ignore her matchmaking relatives, but she can't ignore her budding friendship with her neighbor, Henry Byler. Henry has to resist her attraction when his pottery investors decide to market him as Amish-he has never joined the church and doesn't plan to. When Sarah and Henry are called upon to help a runaway, Sarah oversteps her bounds and finds that God knows best how to heal the heart. (Amish Romance from Faith Words [Hachette]) 

  Biblical Fiction: 


  The Crimson Cord, Rahab's Story by Jill Eileen Smith -- Rahab's gambling husband sells her into prostitution. Then spies infiltrate Jericho and she ends up in league with them. She offers her body for a debt she does not owe-what price will redeem her soul? (Biblical Fiction from Revell - A Division of Baker Publishing Group) 

  Contemporary Romance: 


Winning Over the Heiress (Heartsong Presents) by Narelle Atkins -- Can Sean Mitchell be redeemed? His new boss, Julia Radcliffe, isn't so sure. After walking out on her a year ago, the bad boy with the surfer good looks is back in her life and determined to keep it that way. It took time and faith, but Sean is finally on the right path. When his past threatens his and Julia's future, can he convince her that love can overcome every mistake? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin]) 

  Secretly Yours: A Riverbend Romance Novella by Valerie Comer -- Chef Lindsey Solberg agrees to cater the church's Valentine's Day fundraising banquet as a favor to her teen sister, but she's shocked to discover the bad boy from her high school days is now Riverbend's youth pastor. Seriously? How could he have changed that much? Nick Harrison has prayed for years for an opportunity to make amends. Now Lindsey's back in Riverbend and won't give him the time of day. What's a guy to do except leave a trail of gifts from a secret admirer? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published) 


How to Catch a Prince by Rachel Hauck -- American heiress Corina Del Rey reignites her career in journalism after a long fog of grief, but her past with war veteran and star rugby player Prince Stephen of Brighton catches up to her. With a little help from heaven and his brother, King Nathaniel II, can they overcome the tragedy of war, move forward, and find love again? (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson and Zondervan]) 

  Contemporary Women's Fiction: 

 
The Vigil by Marian P. Merritt -- In Bijou Bayou fleeing an abusive boyfriend, Cheryl Broussard finds work as a Hospice nurse. While reading a dying patient's Korean War love letters, family secrets shatter Cheryl's beliefs about herself and shed light on the reason she first fled her hometown. Can Cheryl deal with the truth and accept a second chance with her family, old friends, and the God she never really knew? (Contemporary Women's Fiction from Harbourlight Books [Pelican]) 


  Where Rivers Part by Kellie Coates Gilbert -- Following in her estranged father's footsteps, Dr. Juliet Ryan is climbing the ladder of success providing safe drinking water for millions, when disaster strikes and she learns this kind of achievement often comes with a very high price. (Contemporary Women's Fiction from Revell - A Division of Baker Publishing Group) 

  


Historical Romance: 

The Homestead Brides Collection by Mary Connealy, Darlene Franklin, Carla Olson Gade, Ruth Logan Herne, Pam Hillman, DiAnn Mills, Erica Vetsch, Becca Whitham, and Kathleen Y'Barbo -- Through nine historical romance adventures, readers will journey along with individuals who are ready to stake a claim and plant their dreams on a piece of the great American plains. While fighting land disputes, helping neighbors, and tackling the challenges of nature, the homesteaders are placed in the path of other dreamers with whom romance sparks. And God has His hand in orchestrating each unique meeting. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

  Brandywine Brides by Amber Stockton -- A family of bookstore owners has their faith restored and love multiplied in beautiful historical Delaware. Caroline manages a bookstore while her parents would prefer she marry. Grace seeks a missing heirloom book with the help of a questionable young man. Lillian reopens the bookstore in her brother's memory. Will each woman's literature inspired dreams lead her to a man of faith and devotion? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing) The 

Last Heiress by Mary Ellis -- When the heiress to England's largest textile mills travels to Wilmington to restore cotton shipments during the American Civil War, class distinction, political loyalties, and family feuds guarantee trouble for her new romance. (Historical Romance from Harvest House Publishers) 

  Romantic Suspense: 

  Fugitive Trackdown by Sandra Robbins -- A shy Southern librarian and a bounty hunter join forces to track down her father's killer. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin]) 

  Sabotaged by Dani Pettrey -- Growing up, goody-two-shoes Kirra Jacobs and troublemaker Reef McKenna were always at odds. Now, working together as search-and-rescue for Alaska's Iditarod race, a growing attraction forces aside old arguments. When a girl is kidnapped, Kirra and Reef are thrown into a race to stop a shadowy villain who also threatens to unleash one of the largest disasters Alaska has ever seen. (Romantic Suspense from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing) 

  Speculative: 

 
Found and Lost (Haven Seekers #2) by Amanda G. Stevens -- Violet DuBay has an opportunity to infiltrate the Christian resistance, but what she learns dents her resolve to turn them in to the Constabulary. (Speculative Fiction from David C. Cook)