Thursday, September 27, 2012



It’s not often I give a review as such, and in doing so I’m taking a risk. A risk because I often receive backlash from others on my Amazon reviews in the form of a comment. They don’t get the importance of good writing and an author’s voice, and for me, I can typically spot it in the first pages of a book. In most cases, that’s not going to change unless someone else wrote the first pages for the author. If anything, their writing will deteriorate from there, having given their full attention to the first pages to capture their readers and becoming laxed from there.

If the writing is just okay, I will give it a fair chance and read several chapters. But if the author isn’t handling the dialogue well, is telling instead of showing, and has flat, one dimensional characters, I’ll stop reading. Life is too short, and I have WAY too many books waiting to be read.

Only after years of writing, reading fiction, as well as non-fiction on the craft of writing, attending writing meetings, working with a writing mentor, etc, have I evolved to not completing a novel. In the past, when I was naive about what good writing embodies, I thought it was just me and my poor reading skills, that I was having such a hard time muddling through the story.

Now I know better.

They say writing is subjective. What one may love, another may hate. Though I believe you need to follow the basic writing rules, the genre, storyline, and authors voice are subjective. But no matter, I believe in most cases, behind the words are hard working, dedicated, passionate writers. And for that, I watch MY words when writing a review.

The reason I chose to write a review for THE DIRTY STREETS OF HEAVEN is because I felt obligated to let potential readers know my thoughts, regardless of how many pages I read. The pages I read provoked me to speak out. I felt I was able to get a good sense of the writer’s voice and writing ability, therefore able to speak out as to my opinion on the matter. I also wanted to let reader that would be offended by profanity, know what they were in for.

I didn’t feel my review was negative or detrimental to the author, but the reverse. I believe it to be a positive. After all I expressed my opinion on how well I thought he wrote. It was the plot and the use of foul language that had me stopping, and those are issues that are subjective. I don’t believe my review will stop anyone that would enjoy Mr. Williams writing from purchasing his books. But what it might do is prevent bad reviews by stopping those that would feel the same as I, from wasting their money and feeling the need to post a negative review.


Title: The Dirty Streets of Heaven: Volume One of Bobby Dollar
Author: Tad Williams
Publisher: DAW Hardcover; First Edition edition (September 4, 2012)
Pages: 400

I hesitated in whether or not I should write a review for THE DIRTY STREETS OF HEAVEN by TAD WILLIAMS, after reading only a mere six pages. Typically I give a book, what I would consider a fair chance before stopping, by reading the first seventy or so pages. By page seventy there isn’t much hope for things to turn around. An author’s voice or writing style isn’t going to change at that point. Either you like it or you don’t. Like they say, writing is subjective.

I admit I’m a visual person, and thus I’m often either captivated or turned off by the cover of a book. The title is the next thing that will catch my eye. I don’t always read the synopsis, loving to be surprised, especially when it’s a book by one of my favorite authors. With a new author (new to me) I will often read the first page or two when provided to get a glimpse into their writing. I should probably also mention that I’m a Christian fiction writer and reader, though I do read some secular books.

With that said, here are my thoughts on THE DIRTY STREETS OF HEAVEN by TAD WILLIAMS:

-Great writing
-Unique concept for a story
-Great cover
-Great title

-Way too much foul language
-Not sure if I like where the storyline is going

The reason behind my stopping at page six was the foul language. I’m not so frail I can’t handle a little bad language, but when there are more then I can count on my hands in the first six pages, and what I consider the worst of words, I just can’t stomach it. With each foul word, I’m taken out of the story.

I could have not bothered to give a review at all, but that’s not me. What little I read, in my opinion, was good writing. For the author’s sake, I wanted to make that known. The other reason is to let those that would be offended by foul language, know that this would not be a book for them.

Review from Tad Williams website:


Bobby Dollar would like to know what he was like when he was alive, but too much of his time is spent working as an extremely minor functionary in the Heavenly Host as an afterlife investigator and advocate for the recently departed. And now he’s stepped into the middle of something that has both sides very nervous — an unprecedented number of missing souls.

A new chapter in the war between Heaven and Hell is about to open, and Bobby is right in the middle of it. Someone has summoned a truly unpleasant Babylonian demon that’s doing its best to track him down and rip him to pieces. His opposite number on the case is arguably the world’s sexiest she-devil, and Bobby has feelings for her that Heaven definitely does not allow. And somehow he has to find out who he was before he becomes an unwitting pawn in a game of power that could end in the destruction of the entire human race.

Three books are planned for Tad’s new fantasy-fueled thriller series: The Dirty Streets of Heaven (September 2012), Happy Hour in Hell, and Sleeping Late on Judgment Day. Each book will be somewhat shorter than Tad’s usual epic length fare, and although part of a series, each may be read as a stand-alone novel.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Title: Raising Beef Cattle for Dummies

Author: Nikkie and Scott Royer
Publisher: For Dummies; 1 edition (July 3, 2012)
Pages: 360

If you could have seen the look on my families face when they spotted RAISING BEEF CATTLE FOR DUMMIES, by NIKKIE AND SCOTT ROYER, sitting on my desk… We may live in a small suburban community, but cattle are not permitted. That left one blaring question…what on earth was I doing with a book on how to raise cattle.

I’m an aspiring Christian fiction writer, and one that loves a good story that often includes a ranch or farm, where the hero wears a cowboy hat and boots. My reason for ordering this book was to gain knowledge for my stories. And yes, a not so hidden dream to one day living on a ranch or farm.

RAISING BEEF CATTLE FOR DUMMIES has everything you expect to find in a DUMMIES book. It’s packed full with everything you’d need to know and more, about raising cattle, including diagrams and charts. As always with DUMMIES, it’s written in simple terms.

As an author doing research, RAISING BEEF CATTLE FOR DUMMIES can provide you with the correct verbiage for cattle names, such as the list on page 24. You can also come up with little tidbits to incorporate into your story, for example a steer curling their lips, as on page 326.

I spotted on the cover the name of the authors farm, and looked up their website. There you can find a video about the Royer Farm Fresh Beef, Lamb, and Pork, getting a glimpse into what they do. After watching the video, I was reassured that the book was written with not only knowledge, but heart.

So whether you are new to cattle raising, or would like to start from scratch, or just looking to gain knowledge of what’s involved with raising cattle, RAISING BEEF CATTLE FOR DUMMIES is the book for you.


Monday, September 24, 2012


Though debut novelist Rebecca Carey Lyles grew up in Wyoming, she and her husband, Steve, currently live in the neighboring state of Idaho. She enjoys the creativity and beauty that abound throughout her adopted state as well as opportunities to hike, camp, snowshoe and cross-country ski in the midst of God’s grandeur. Currently, she’s putting the finishing touches on a Winds of Wyoming sequel titled Winds of Freedom.

Facebook: Rebecca Carey Lyles

Twitter: @BeckyLyles

Winds of Wyoming

A Kate Neilson Novel

Rebecca Carey Lyles

Fresh out of a Pennsylvania penitentiary armed with a marketing degree, Kate Neilson heads to Wyoming anticipating an anonymous new beginning as a guest-ranch employee. A typical twenty-five-year-old woman might be looking to lasso a cowboy, but her only desire is to get on with life on the outside—despite her growing interest in the ranch owner. When she discovers a violent ex-lover followed her west, she fears the past she hoped to hide will trail as close as a shadow and imprison her once again.

Monday, September 17, 2012


Welcome author, Lillian Duncan

Lillian Duncan lives in Ohio with her husband, four parrots, one Jack Russell, and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel that she's thinking about renaming Clifford since he keeps growing and growing and....

Her website ( her books as Stories of Faith mingled with...murder and mayhem. She writes the type of books she loves to read--suspense with a touch of romance. Depending on her mood, some books have more romance than others.

She's been a Speech Pathologist for over thirty years. Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God's Word.

Q&A with Lillian


A: DARK ALLEYS is a suspense-filled story about a woman who ends up homeless and alone in a dark alley on a cold winter night. She witnesses a murder while in a drunken stupor and almost becomes his second victim. She awakens in the hospital with no clear memory of how she was injured. She attempts to put her life back together but, of course, the murderer has other plans.

Here’s the back cover blurb:

Being innocent and proving it are two different things, especially when a powerful politician is involved

Tessa’s life spiraled out of control after the death of her only child, and she finds herself in a dark alley on a cold wintry night. After she witnesses a murder, she almost becomes his second victim, but manages to escape—just barely.

Homeless and alone, she knows the authorities won’t believe someone like her, leaving her only one option—to run.


A: No, I’ve published several others. Last year I published DECEPTION and PURSUED. I love to write books that have an element of mystery or suspense along with some romance.


A: I always root for the underdog—sometimes I have to do it in secret so my husband won’t know just how uncompetitive I am. Anyway, I wanted to write a story where the main character was the queen of underdogs and I think I did that.


A: At one time or another most of us end up in dark alleys, but God never deserts us. And that’s what I want readers to take away from this story. No matter what we’ve done, God never stops loving us.


A: I am not an outliner. I wish I were—it seems easier to me. But my mind doesn’t work that way. I never know what is going to happen in my story on any given writing day. It’s as if my mind is a movie screen and I watch that day’s events and then I write it.

Q: When I start a new story I usually have a clear picture of the main character in mind and what obstacle he/she will face.

A: For example, in DARK ALLEYS I knew I wanted the main character to be homeless-the very epitome of powerless-and her opponent to be very powerful. When I started the story I didn’t know why she was homeless but as the story evolved, I learned more about Tessa and what brought her to that dark alley.

In another book, PURSUED, I knew I wanted the female lead to be a powerful type A personality and the male lead to be a laid-back, down-home kind of a guy. It was fun to watch the two of them interact with each other.


A: Not usually. Most of the time I have several characters who it might be and as the story comes to a conclusion, I am surprised right along with my readers.

In the case of DARK ALLEYS, I knew as will the readers who the bad guy is from the start. The mystery and suspense comes in from not knowing if Tessa will discover the murderer before he succeeds in his second attempt on her life.


A: I can certainly understand their point of view. And for some readers my stories might be a bit too graphic or edgy and that’s ok, I understand that. I would say my readers are those who like traditional suspense and mystery novels but are tired of all the explicit language and sex scenes that aren’t necessary to a good story.

I don’t promote or glorify violence in my stories and show characters experiencing the natural consequences of their bad choices and bad actions.


A: My stories always have an element of faith in them. How that plays out depends on the individual plots of each specific story. My main characters are always on a spiritual journey, though some may be further along than others.

One more word about Christian Fiction, it has changed dramatically over the past ten years. Other than erotica, readers can find their favorite genre as Christian Fiction as well as mainstream fiction. There are Christian Fiction books out there for every book lover—historical; romance; regency; science fiction; even horror novels.


A: Wouldn’t that be awesome? Usually, I have a hard time with this question but not this time. Tessa would be played by Demi Moore and Mark Lawrence (the detective) would have to be Richard Gere. And the politician would be Bruce Willis—if he would agree to act with Demi!


A: I have a Christmas novella that I’m finishing final edits on. It’s being published by Harbourlight Books and will be out in November or Decemeber. It’s called THE CHRISTMAS STALKING. It’s my first novella I’ve written and I loved that format so it won’t be my last.

Here’s the back cover blurb:

The Christmas Stalking: During the Christmas holidays, a country music star hides out from a stalker at a remote cabin in upstate New York. Destiny knows fame always comes with a price, but she’s tired of being a prisoner of the very fame she sacrificed so much for.

Terrorized by an unknown stalker and fearing for her life, she escapes to the summertime home of her youth. She yearns for a simpler life, but her fame follows—and so does her stalker.

The cover for THE CHRISTMAS STALKING is so awesome, you should take a look at


A: My website is and I have a devotional blog at I’m also on Twitter as @LillianDuncan and on Facebook at

Thanks for sharing with us, Lillian, and the best of luck to you with DARK ALLEYS.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Kathy Harris is an author by way of a “divine detour” into the Nashville entertainment business. After graduating with a Communications degree from Southern Illinois University, she moved to Nashville, Tennessee to work with a well-known gospel music quartet. A few months later, The Oak Ridge Boys began their transition into country music, and Kathy had the opportunity to help build an entertainment empire from the ground up.

She worked her way to becoming a member of the Operations Management Team, eventually heading up the company's public relations and marketing department. A lifelong fascination for books and editing led to her working as a book agent for Oak Ridge Boys' vocalist Joe Bonsall. Joe, subsequently, published three books, including his bestselling inspirational biography, G.I. Joe & Lillie: Remembering a Life of Love and Loyalty.

For several years, Kathy freelanced entertainer biographies and wrote (as well as ghost wrote) news stories and columns for various Christian and country music publications. In 2007, she sold her first Christian non-fiction story, “Walk on Water,” which was included in Thomas Nelson's All My Bad Habits I Learned from Grandpa. That fall, one of her devotions was included in The One Year Life Verse Devotional, published by Tyndale House. Kathy's writing is also included in Chicken Soup for the Soul Thanks, Mom.

An active member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the publicity officer for Middle Tennessee Christian Writers, Kathy lives near Nashville with her husband and their two Shiloh Shepherd dogs. She regularly interviews literary and music guests on her blog at Her author website can be found at

Abingdon Press will release Kathy's Christian fiction debut, The Road to Mercy, in September 2012.

What others are saying about Kathy's books:
"As an avid Christian fiction reader myself, I found Kathy Harris' book a powerful one, with themes that engage both the heart and mind. Kathy handles the sensitive topic of abortion both realistically and graciously. The Road to Mercy is a blessing wrapped up in a novel—a reminder of the kindness of God." - Rebecca St. James, singer, author, actress

"Exquisite writing, wonderful characters, and a captivating story left me devouring this book. I couldn't put it down. Novel Rocket and I highly recommend it." - Ane Mulligan, Sr. editor Novel Rocket


Q: When did you first know you wanted to write a book?

A: I started writing a book when I was seven or eight years old. Then life got in the way… until about ten years ago and I realized it was time to make good on my dream.

Q: How long did it take you to write your first book?

A:It took about four years for me to finish my first full-length fiction manuscript. I spent about the same amount of time on the second. Thankfully, the third didn’t take quite so long.  Those first two manuscripts were a part of my learning curve. During the time I was writing them I was learning the craft—and learning who I was as a writer.

Q: What was the greatest challenge in getting your book completed and or published?

A: Time. And focus. I finally realized that I could write a scene a day if I organized my life in the correct way. From that point on, the second manuscript almost wrote itself.

Q:What provided the greatest assistance to you in getting your book completed and or published?

A: Other writers… my crit partner, members of my writer’s group, the ACFW, and teachers of the craft who helped me learn and to believe in myself as a writer. Almost more than anything else, writers need each other. It’s a lot more fun that way too.

Q: What advice would you give aspiring authors?

A: To never give up on your dream. It’s hard work. But if you truly love writing, it’s impossible to quit, so why even try? 

Q: Can you tell us a bit about The Road to Mercy?

A: It’s the story of three people whose lives intersect on a journey of faith and forgiveness. Here’s the back cover copy:

Dr. Ben Abrams, rescued as an infant from a fiery crash that killed his family, turned his adversities into success but lost his heritage of faith. Fifty years later, Josh and Bethany Harrison face a difficult decision that also tests their faith. A rupture in Beth's carotid artery leaves her on the brink of death, even as she's pregnant with their first child. While Dr. Abrams urges her to abort the baby to save her own life, she and Josh step out on faith and
continue the pregnancy.

During the next few months, Josh, a contemporary Christian singer, struggles with his faith while Beth hides a secret that may destroy their marriage. She also discovers a decades-old connection to Dr. Abrams that could change his life forever.

Q: What's next?

A: More writing! I need to edit my third manuscript!

Thanks for having me here, Kym!

Now for a chance to win a copy of Kathy's book,

For each of the following, your name will be entered into the drawing:

1) Leave a comment with your email address or check back later for the winner. If you won, you’ll need to email me your information.

2) Become a follower on this blog.

3) Leave a comment on my Youtube video.

Make sure to let me know with your comment what you’ve done.

I can only ship in the US. Drawing will be done on September 15th. Please check back to see if you've won if you didn't leave your email address. If I don't have your email address and haven't heard from you by the 18th, I'll draw another name

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Title: Bees in the Butterfly Garden

Author: Maureen Lang
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (June 22, 2012)
Pages: 433

Since the age of five, Meg Davenport grew up in an exclusive New York boarding school. For all she had in a proper bringing up, she lacked in a family. It wasn’t until her father passed away that she discovers his secret…one that would drastically change her life.

Ian Maguire was Meg’s father’s mentee, one Ian looked up to since the age of nine. He always had feeling for the man’s daughter, but knew he was never to act on them. After all, Ian was everything her father was sheltering her from.

I wasn’t sure what I expected when I purchased BEES IN THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN by MAUREEN LANG. The cover is beautiful, and if I had read the back of the book, I would have been prepared for what awaited me between the covers. MAUREEN LANG is one of my favorite authors, so I wasn’t concerned.

BEES IN THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN is written with the quality of writing I’ve come to expect and love in MS. LANG’S books. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the storyline to be nothing like I imagined.

BEES IN THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN includes tension, danger, light romance, humor, faith, friendship and suspense. The characters are well thought-out, each with a distinct personality, set in the late 1800’s. I loved how each chapter started out with a few line from MADAME MARISSE’S HANDBOOK FOR YOUNG LADIES, or THE CODE OF THIEVES. Not only did they pertain to the chapter, they were quite interesting.

MS LANG is an amazing story teller, who brings her characters to life. You won’t be disappointed in BEES IN THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN, appropriately named, or any of the other novels she written.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Title: The Rancher’s Secret Wife

Author: Brenda Minton
Publisher: Love Inspired (July 24, 2012)
Pages: 224

BRENDA MINTON is one of my favorite authors. I’ve read just about every book she’s written, and love them all. THE RANCHER’S SECRET WIFE was no exception. As soon as I saw the cover I was hooked. The title was an extra bonus. Those things are important tools to draw me in with books by other authors, but when it comes to MS MINTON’S books, I know what awaits me inside.

Cheyenne Jones is just stopping by Dawson, Oklahoma to check on the man she married six months ago. She has no plans of sticking around, even though she has no one to count on and nowhere to go. When the grandmother of the man she came to see, insist Cheyenne opens up the old Barber Shop in town, she finds the offer too hard to refuse.

Reese Cooper is known for taking in strays, but when he up and marries a woman he only knew for a few hours, his family doesn’t know what to make of the news.

When Cheyenne unexpectedly shows up at Reese’s parents, he isn’t about to let her walk out and face life alone. Not when he can take care of her…or can he? Even if they did have an agreement and even if that agreement didn’t include love.

I just love Reese Cooper. Then again I love all of BRENDA MINTON’S heroes. I really like her heroines as well, which isn’t always the case when I read a book by other authors. In THE RANCHER’S SECRET WIFE, MS MINTON delivered many amazing lines that had me sighing.

I loved the uniqueness of Reese’s situation. I now have a new found awareness of those with his “disability”. I can’t tell you how many times I said, “Wow, I never thought of that challenge.” Many of us have thought briefly about what it would mean to lose our eyesight, yet in reality we have no clue.

You know when you read that special line in a romance novel that sends tingles down your spine. In THE RANCER’S SECRET WIFE, I felt that sensation so many times I lost track. Reese was that tender.

I can’t wait for the next relationship to blossom in Dawson, Oklahoma. If you have yet to read about the other wonderful characters in this quaint town, do yourself a favor and pick up the other stories.

Monday, September 3, 2012


Title: Homefront Hero

Author: Allie Pleiter
Publisher: Love Inspired (May 1, 2012)
Pages: 288

I must say that ALLIE PLEITER continues to amaze me with her historical novels. Her writing style for them is so different then her contemporary, yet there is still that touch of Allie, that makes her books so great with the wonderful lines she delivers.

Leanne Samples is a Red Cross nurse with a job ahead of her that doesn’t include a handsome Captain who doesn’t intend to stick around. When she gets a glimpse into the real Captain John Gallows, her heart softens towards the man.

John Gallows may be injured, but there’s no way he’s going to let that stop him from getting back on active duty. This nonsense of being the poster boy for the war effort won’t cut it. When faced with an opportunity to knit a pair of socks in trade for his early medical release to active duty, he takes it. The last thing he expects is to fall in love with the woman giving him knitting lessons.

HOMEFRONT HERO is a delightful read with a unique storyline. ALLIE PLEITER was able to incorporate her skills and knowledge of knitting to the story to add authenticity. The hero was not your typical hero, with an injury that made his character come to life.

HOMEFRONT HERO is not only an pleasurable read, but educational. I really enjoyed learning about the Red Cross, the knitting of socks during the war, and the devastation of the influenza epidemic. The way MS. PLEITER wove different aspects of the characters journey, was remarkable. The story seemed to evolve more than your typical Love Inspired book, with an ending that was phenomenal.