Friday, November 8, 2013

D.M. Webb & 30 Days: A Devotional Memoir

When too many deaths happened one right after another, and when so many things seemed to go wrong and I was lost in the upheaval, I wondered if there were others who felt the same as I did. I could find no blog, no book, no devotional, no person to connect, no mentor to talk to. I tried reaching out, and became rejected by so many people or labeled a freak or wanton. I wanted help with dealing with issues. I wanted guidance. Eventually, I decided that some things had to be done on my own. So I studied, I read, and I wrote on my blog. I had a few relationships born out of the studying and internet surfing. The season of the friendships is over, but they were there for a purpose: to help strengthen me. I did eventually quit blogging about things I formally did, and things are still as tough as before, but not quite so daunting. 

If there is one person out there that feels the same way, then this book 30 Days is for him/her. Read more about it below:

Do you desire to no longer be alone? Do you yearn for understanding and hope? Do you wish for a closer walk with Jesus?
When a relationship ends, whether through divorce or death, it leaves us with heartache and sadness. Fear of loneliness overwhelms our soul. Anger at God consumes us. We are suddenly thrust into unknown territory, lost and bewildered.

Psalm 147:3 "He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds."

30 Days: A Devotional Memoir brings you deeply moving stories to strengthen your walk and bring you closer to Christ. Author D.M. Webb shares her three year spiritual journey with a collection of thirty devotions designed to reach out and uplift those who have endured the turbulent emotions that came with divorce, widowhood, and single parenting.

Reach out, place your hand in His, and begin your journey today.

Author's Note from 30 Days: A Devotional Memoir:

"The compilation of this book was not an easy thing for me. More or less three years in the making, through personal journals and a personal blog, each story revealed a little more about myself than I really wanted known. 
I never wanted to talk about my late husband, my father, the trials I endured or the thoughts of hopelessness, loneliness, failure, and doubt. Truly, I only wanted to show the happy, sparkly times in my life.
As with all good intentions, it only matters when it is God's intention being done. I sat for so many weeks, staring at my words in my latest novel, wondering why I couldn't write, why the words wouldn't come. I knew what I wanted to say, knew what I wanted to create, but nothing happened.
Instead, my journal and blog posts kept distracting me. Books were distracting me. Finally, I sat down and printed out those blogs.
I fiddled with a few of them, and then set it aside.
I tried to ignore it. Days passed and still those pages called.
More day passed.
I eventually gave up the fight. Once I sat down, I edited, rearranged, and added to the stories until my eyes blurred, and yet I still pushed forward. It had to be done. I felt it in my soul.
Self-doubt and fear of utter failure would beat at me, and still I kept writing and typing. Three days later I beheld my product: three years of a spiritual journey condensed into thirty days--thirty days of stories that bared my  heart and soul, my shortcomings and dreams.
It isn't that I wanted to reveal myself to others; but if what I spoke about could help others deal with similar issues, then I had to tell my stories. I hope it will encourage others. I hope it will help others. Most of all, I hope it brings glory to God's name."

D.M. Webb (Daphne Self) lives with her husband and two sons, along with a variety of pets, in the beautiful state of Mississippi. Her experiences ranging from retail clerk to firefighter/EMR and her travels around the U.S., have given her a plethora of ideas for upcoming books. She’s an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and a proud supporter of American Family Association.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Carole Brown & The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman

Books and stories about occult and the powerful, mesmerizing allure of its leaders always find a sweet reading spot within me. The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman is no exception. As I read this story, I am swallowed by its fast pace and deep storytelling; and it is my pleasure to host an interview with this talented author.

About the book:
How far would YOU go to avenge a daughter’s cruel death? Cara is considered rebellious and inappropriate to befriend. Dayne is the apple of Elder Simmons’ eye—until he takes a stand against their teachings. Can his prayers and love reach Cara and show her the way to redemption? Will Cara realize God’s love and forgiveness before she goes too far?

The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman is a novel of hope shining through the darkness with strong elements of suspense and romance. This novel was a semifinalist in the Genesis contest and is receiving raving reviews! Release date was October 21, 2013 from the Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, an ACFW approved publisher. The preorder link for the book which is on SALE NOW is:

Read some of the reviews below:

"What an exciting, yet eerie ride. The characters in this book are so believable. Cara's emotional and mental scars are well-written, making her illogical choices very believable. This book takes the reader into a religious cult community."~ CH Amazon Reviewer

"A compelling story, which takes place in an abusive cult, that grabs you on the first page and doesn't let go." ~ LB Amazon Reviewer

"The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman is a courageous story, set in a storyworld few are brave enough to explore, the seamy world of cults. But even in this living hell, there is a light in the darkness; there is hope for the hopeless; there is a love that is stronger than hate. This is a riveting romantic suspense with underlying spiritual themes. A great debut novel by Carole Brown." ~ PK Amazon Reviewer

How did the idea and/or inspiration of writing this book come about?

CB~ I can thank my husband for the idea. We like to follow news items that catch our attention. Awhile back the cult news in Texas was prominent, and Dan--my husband--began a what if session with me. It seemed like a tough topic, but he was there with me throughout the whole time. Traveling, I’d read to him and he would point out faults in a scene, give me ideas on how to improve certain areas, and suggestions of how to write different things of which I had no experience. We added a twist to the old cult-thing with a spunky rebellious woman who prevailed in spite of circumstances. 

Your book has a strong faith element. How natural was this to write about?

CB~ It was a little more strongly written in this book than some, but easy enough to include. I like showing improvement and change in my characters. Showing their realization that God is real and God loves them, which happened to Cara, was a slow process to someone who never experienced real love. Even then, her faith barely blossomed.

If there is a second book, then I hope to show her growing spiritually through the trials and problems that face her and Dayne.

What do you hope readers take away from this book?

CB~ That there is hope for everyone! No matter how low a person sinks, God loves him/her and is willing to help them if they will open their hearts.

Which of the characters in the novel is most like you and why?

CB~ Oh, dear. Cara is such a stinker in her plotting revenge. Yet her loving, tender heart is a lot like my own. I adore my own sons and grandsons, and have a tender heart for those hurting and needy. I cry at excellent love scenes and when our pets have to be put down. Unfortunately (?) I can usually see the other person’s viewpoint. I’ve always had a tender conscience and probably always will.

Who is your favorite Biblical character and why?

CB~ I love so many of them, but one that always stands out is Daniel, partly because that’s my husband’s name, and mostly because he was such an upright, stalwart young man. Admirable, courageous, and determined to do what he felt was right. Traits I like to write into my own heroes.

What’s your favorite and least favorite part about being a writer?

CB~ Favorite? All of it. Writing the story, knowing you have a good one, and typing the words, The End. Having Readers love your novel. It’s all good knowing you’re using the talent God’s given you.

Least favorite? Hmmm. Probably marketing. I’m enjoying the interaction with bloggers and other writers but shoving myself out there feels sometimes like an abrasive move. Still, it’s got to be done, so I grit my teeth, and adhere! lol

What advice would you have for writers hoping to follow in your footsteps?
CB~ Never, never give up. Hold fast to your dreams.

Other than writing, what else occupies your time?

CB~ Family, GRANDSONS, traveling, gardening, and still some ministry.

Like to learn more about Carole Brown and how to connect with her? Read below and follow the links.

Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

Connect with her here:
Personal blog:

I (Carole Brown) also am part of several other blogs:
Geezers Guys and Gals:
Stitches in Time:
Barn Door Book Loft:

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Journal by Beth Harlow

The time is June 1861. A journal is given to a young Rebel fighter and each entry over the next four years detail the lives of 8 men: Rebel and Yankee.

As the journal falls from one hand and into the next, each man will read what was written beforehand and add his own thoughts: about life, about the war, about love, and about God.

Each man is at a different stage in his life in his relationship with God. Some make the choice, a couple do not. And each finds that there are good men and bad men on both sides and each pray for the day the war will end.

The Journal chronicles these men's lives and will bring the reader even deeper into their own walk with God.

At times I found the writing to be heartbreaking and I could picture the horror of the young man trapped in the bombardment of Vicksburg and his relief that his company had surrendered. Finally food and rest, either in a prison camp or in heaven.

Through all the entries and all the worry, the ugliness of war and man's behaviour, and the desperate longing for home one theme reigns: hope. Each man had hope. Hope to see family, to see the end of war, to see his brother or child, or just to go home. And each learned that belief in Jesus Christ gave that hope.

An easy book to read in one afternoon, but a book to keep on your shelf to read time and time again. The author's research of the Civil War was complete and the description placed the reader in each scene. This is a book that will stay with you for a long, long time.

***I was given this book through BookCrash for a complete and honest review.***

Willing to Die by John Muntean/Josephine Walker

"Hope and freedom hang in the balance between the success or failure of one man’s plan. And John Muntean will succeed, or die trying." 

 The True Story of John Muntean as told to Josephine Walker

I have the blessing to know Jo Walker through online and phone calls. A truly remarkable lady with a bright love for Christ in her heart. When she told me about her opportunity to write John Muntean's story I was excited. But that excitement paled in comparison as I read a portion of the story before it was even published.

Willing to Die takes the reader into a world very few knew much about. History books made passing remarks. We could find the country of Romania on the map. We heard tales about Romanian gypsies and the Romanian circus, but other than that what did we really know about it other than it was the Breadbasket of Europe?

The horror of WWII barely touched Muntean's village.  To those who experienced the atrocities the news about the war's end brought them hope. According to Muntean, "they truly believed life would get better once the Nazis left". But the one sentence that prickled my skin and sent ghostly shivers down my neck was: They were wrong--the Russians were coming.

That one sentence set the stage for a book that is truly hard to put down. Throughout the oppression, the reader sees the hand of God at work through one man and his family. How many close calls? So many that you can see only God brought him through it or saved him from it. And God had a purpose for this man's life.

Not only to flee a country where Christians hid in fear, where those who did not conform to Communism faced imprisonment, torture, and even death. People wanted to flee. The Breadbasket of Europe became a withered loaf under the pounding of an iron fist.

As the reader becomes immersed in the true story of one man's plight and flight, you can't help be see the parallelism with today.  That was Romania in history. It is fast becoming America today. With so many truths exposed and so many warnings, I wonder who will listen to his man. He loves America and he's willing to fight for her. Through this book, we see more than just history, we see the future.

In 1981, Muntean and his family saw a wondrous sight, one that most Americans have forgotten that existed. On the plaque it reads:
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

The Statue of Liberty represents freedom. Freedom that Americans are signing away each day for a few morsels, a few crumbs, of bread from empty promises of a government.

Read below for more about Josephine Walker and Willing to Die:

Author bio: Josephine Walker a former stay-at-home mom, car sales associate, Realtor and CNA in a long-term care center started her writing career in 2009 after asking God “When I get old, what am I going to be doing? I must have some talent somewhere.” God planted a seed in her heart, gave her the idea for her first book, a fiction called Hope, soon to be published. Over the two years of writing Hope, she learned her craft, which prepared her for God connecting her with Mr. Muntean to author, Willing to Die.
A rough partial outline for the book was written by John Muntean, that and a total of 107 interviews brings the story and John’s warning to America to light.
Josephine Walker is the penname for Jo Walker, a member of ACFW. A mother of three grown children, grandmother of eleven, widowed in 2011.

More about John Muntean:

Born in Romania when it was still the beautiful, vibrant, productive Breadbasket of Europe, John Muntean had a taste of real freedom. Thirty-two years later, his desire to flee religious persecution and Communist control pushes him into a plan that very well could cost him his life. All he’s got to do is get past the throng of specially-trained guards keeping Romanian citizens away from the American Embassy.  If he doesn’t, his family will be living forever under one of history’s most ruthless Communist dictatorships. John’s willingness to die for his family’s freedom rocks the nation and brings hope to those trapped under the thumb of Nicolae Ceausescu. Until November 10, 1980, hope hadn’t been a word heard too often on the lips of the average Romanian citizen. Then, with one broadcast from Radio Free Europe, it explodes across the nation into the hearts and minds of all those yearning for independence.

Now, after living thirty-two years in his beloved America he sees the same things happening, and fears for his children’s and grandchildren’s religious freedoms. John has a strong warning for God’s people and every liberty loving patriot.

Excerpt from his warning to America, thirty-two years later:

"The remains of American soldiers lie in cemeteries across Europe
and other countries as monuments to America’s willingness to fight
for freedom for all.

"Thousands of our combat veterans carry emotional and physical
scars from their efforts to protect freedom—ours and other

"Do some things need to change? Of course, they do. There
are those within and without who want to bring America to her
knees. There are those within and without who have an agenda of
destruction. Yet, American citizens are strong. Our heritage of freedom
ought not allow us to stand aside and let destruction happen.

"If we, God’s people, will fulfill our responsibility to God and
our land, God will, indeed, hear from heaven and heal our land.
Thirty-two years ago, I feared for my children’s and grandchildren’s
futures under a Communist dictatorship. I put my life on
the line to gain freedom for my wife, my children, and me. Now,
thirty-two years later, I again fear greatly for the freedom of my
children, my grandchildren, and their descendants."

Purchase a copy of Willing to Die at these links:

Stay in contact with Josephine Walker at the following:

Friday, August 2, 2013

Lindon and Sherry Gareis & Declutter Now!

Declutter Now! Uncovering the Hidden Joy and Freedom in Your Life by Lindon and Sherry Gareis

This isn't just a book about Decluttering your house and home, oh, no. This is a book that goes way beyond that. Declutter Now! starts off small, hitting the physical, and then it takes you into the spiritual and emotional side of the psyche. Taken in small steps, Declutter Now! offers insights into the authors' lives, giving examples and testimonies. This isn't just a self-help book. This is a "we'll help you" book.

Lindon and Sherry Gareis not only takes the reader step by step through the decluttering process of the home and life, but shows how and what is the most important in life...and it isn't possessions and material goods. The accumulation of things and bad habits and loss of focus drowns most people in this world, tying them down. With Declutter Now! the reader learns how to do without the extra load and how to free oneself from that worldly hold.

Read more about Lindon and Sherry Gareis and their book, Declutter Now! Uncovering the Hidden Joy and Freedom in Your Life

Your 1st book, Declutter Now!--tell us a little about it.

L&S~ Most of us have clutter in one area of our lives or another. Some of us have it in MANY areas! Declutter Now! Uncovering the Hidden Joy & Freedom in Your Life helps you clean out the clutter in your homes, relationships, finances, careers, with your kids, physical and mental health and even in your spiritual life! Less is More! Less clutter means more time, energy, freedom, money and joy with which to serve God!

How did the idea and/or inspiration of writing this book come about?

L&S~ It was born from our desire to serve God. We were discussing what we needed to do in order to be more available for God when and where he wanted us and the answer was to declutter all that was holding us back!

Your book has a strong faith element. How natural was this to write about?

L&S~ Very natural because the entire reason behind writing the book was based on our faith walk and desire to grow our relationship with Christ.

What do you hope readers take away from this book?

L&S~ We pray that each and every person will feel encouraged and motivated to address the things that are holding them back from enjoying all that God has in store for them. "A great idea will remain only that, just a great idea, unless you put action behind it." It's all about the ACTION!

Which of the characters in the Bible is most like you and why?

Lindon ~ Micah because he saw all the issues around him and stood up for the poor and needy despite the corruption of the government in his day. He spoke out against wrongdoing and I would like to think I take that same stand! Micah also called men to walk humbly before God and this is something I strive to do daily.

Who is your favorite Biblical character?

Sherry ~ This is a tough one because there are so many! My first thought would be David because he is a classic example of someone who messed up over and over again but still found favor with God because of his deep faith and love for Him. I have to add that Job is a very close second!

What’s your favorite and least favorite part about being a writer?

L&S~ Our favorite part about writing is having the ability and platform to share our passion, and the least favorite part is not being able to write full time!

What advice would you have for writers hoping to follow in your footsteps?

L&S~ Persevere. If you believe God is calling you to write and share, then declutter all the unnecessary and unhealthy from your life so you can focus on what is truly important.

Other than writing, what else occupies your time?

L&S~ We love to hike, boat, garden, BBQ and spend time with our grand babies!

Connect with Lindon & Sherry Gareis:

Monday, July 29, 2013

Joanie Bruce & Alana Candler, Marked for Murder

Joanie Bruce & her debut novel Alana Candler, Marked for Murder

Joanie Bruce has written a fast paced, page turning romantic suspense novel.

This book captured my interested and held it throughout, despite the technical writing flaws which were few in number.

Normally, the first instance of "head-hopping" or "backstory dump" I would put the book aside and lose interest. BUT NOT this book...her writing style surpassed the flaws.

The faith of the main character Alana was evident and the growth seen in Jadyn was a smooth transition into a faithful believer.

Her twists and turns in the plot kept me guessing. Although I found myself correct in my assumption of the mastermind behind the crimes, throughout the book she had me second guessing myself. Hints and foreshadowing made me turn the page and read as fast as I could to see if my conclusions were correct.

For a good suspense with a beautiful romantic subplot, this book is highly recommended. It was enjoyable from first page to last.

I had the privilege to connect with Joanie and interview her for this blog. As a fellow Ambassador International author, I was excited to get to know her.

Read more about her and her book, Alana Candler, Marked for Murder, below:

Your 1st novel is Alana Candler: Marked for Murder,--tell us a little about it.

JB~ It's a Christian suspense book about a photographer, Alana Candler, who finds herself on someone's hit list. Of course, it's a romance as well when Jaydn Holbrook, CEO and owner of the largest company in Tennessee, saves Alana's life and promises to protect her. Alana's trust in God intrigues Jaydn and compels him to explore her faith further. When Alana mentions her aversion to rich, executive-type bosses, Jaydn keeps his position at his company secret trying not to destroy their fragile bond. As tensions build, Jaydn and Alana are caught up in a dangerous web of hiding from the pursuer trying to kill them and fighting the attraction they feel for each other. 

How did the idea and/or inspiration of writing this book come about?

JB~Years ago, before Christian romance novels had become popular, I happened to read my first Christian suspense book. I loved it! I had written mysteries as a teenager and loved the challenge of writing, so I wondered if I could write well enough to make a reader feel what the character was feeling. I sat down, just for fun, and wrote a chapter about a woman drowning in the lake. I had to laugh, because while writing that scene, I scared myself. It was then that I knew I might be able to write a suspense book. I wrote a plot around that one chapter, and if you read my book, you will realize that scene is in the second chapter. After that, it all fell into place. 

Your book has a strong faith element. How natural was this to write about?

JB~My faith permeates my whole life. It was easy to infuse that faith into the thoughts and actions of my characters. Some of the lessons they learned are ones I've struggled with in my own life. 

What do you hope readers take away from this book?

JB~ I want them to realize that there is a God who loves them more than they love themselves, and that if they let Him, He'll guide them through the mountains and valleys of their lives.  

Which of the characters in the novel is most like you and why?

JB~ I don't really see myself in my characters, but if I had to pick it would be Alana--probably because she has a strong faith in God to watch over her in all circumstances of her life, and because she struggles with being thankful during trials. 

Who is your favorite character?

JB~I think it would have to be Jaydn, because he grows the most. He listens to others, and applies what he learns to himself. He lets his situations enhance his life. 

What’s your favorite and least favorite part about being a writer? 

JB~My least favorite part about being a writer is proofreading. I don't hate it, but I consider it a necessary evil. :-)
My favorite part of being a writer would have to be the writing. I LOVE sitting down at my computer and letting the words flow. It amazes me how easily things fall into place when you pray for guidance and for the right thing to say.

What advice would you have for writers hoping to follow in your footsteps?

JB~ Persevere! If you want it badly enough, you CAN learn to write. Study every book on writing you can find. Choose the methods you like best, then use them in your writing. And, most importantly, listen to criticism. If you can see criticism as a way of learning and improving, you will improve! 

Other than writing, what else occupies your time?

JB~I love painting oil portraits, murals, and landscapes, taking long walks around our beef farm, cooking, and of course, reading. My family mean the world to me, and I enjoy spending time with them whenever we can all get together.  

You can connect with Joanie Bruce using the following links:

Alana Candler, Marked for Murder is available now!

I appreciate your time, Joanie, to discuss Alana Candler, Marked for Murder. It was a great and enjoyable read!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Noelle Toscano's Prized!

Prized! Your Journey as His Daughter by Noelle Toscano

Noelle Toscano shares her emotional testimony of trials and discoveries in Prized!. Uplifting and honest about mistakes and consequences, the author candidly talks about finding that loving relationship with Jesus Christ and how to find security, belonging, and personal identity through Him.

Short and concise chapters discuss the variations in a girl's life, from child to young adult. While the reader may skip to any chapter that speaks to her, I encourage the reader to start from beginning and never skip.

A rewarding and thought provoking book, Noelle Toscano has written a devotional type book to encourage young girls to Be Not of This World.

***I received this book through BookCrash in exchange for an honest review***

Friday, June 7, 2013

Declutter Now! by Lindon and Sherry Gareis

This isn't just a book about Decluttering your house and home, oh, no. This is a book that goes way beyond that.

Declutter Now! starts off small, hitting the physical, and then it takes you into the spiritual and emotional side of the psyche.

At the moment of this review, I am only halfway through this book. It's that good and that well written that I had to write a review for it. Taken in small steps, I am slowly doing away with the baggage of the "extras" in my life that is leaving me burdened and un-joyful.

Declutter Now! offers insights into the authors' lives, giving examples and testimonies. This isn't just a self-help book. This is a "we'll help you" book.

Lindon and Sherry Gareis not only takes the reader step by step through the decluttering process of the home and life, but shows how and what is the most important in life...and it isn't possessions and material goods. The accumulation of things and bad habits and loss of focus drowns most people in this world, tying them down. With Declutter Now! the reader learns how to do without the extra load and how to free oneself from that worldly hold.

Truly, less is more.

And I'm just getting started.

Jim O'Shea's the linen god

Along the lines of Robert Ludlum, Jim O'Shea delves into the world of the Vatican, The Shroud of Turin, intrigue, and faith.

Definitely a page-turner, definitely a heart-pounding read, the linen god explores the deepest part of humanity. Not even the most faithful of servants are truly faithful.

What if prophecies foretold came true? What if those prophecies were lies, the manipulation of men and evil forces?

Could Christ be cloned? Would that be the Anti-Christ and the fall of the Church and the rise to Evil?

Taking into account The Book of Revelations, the history of the Catholic Church, the spiritual warfare between Heaven and Hell, this books explores the depth of faith. Is your faith strong enough?

Each character was well developed. The twists and turns kept me reading well into the night. Just when I thought I had it figured out, a new twist threw me head long into a vortex of deceit, murder,love and hope.

The ending was most surprising of all, something I truly did not see coming, but was thrilled and satisfied that it did. It was what made a definite 3 star into a 5 star.

O'Shea does not mince his words. He does not shy away from the inconsistencies of faith that is prevalent in many organized churches. The mysteries of God, Christ, and The Shroud are examined and explained in a way that truly makes the reader think about the awesomeness of God. Science and religion are the forefront of faith at times in this book, showing a marriage of both and the reactions of characters to the thought. Although not the main part of the story, it heightens the action and climax of the story.

Thought provoking, adrenaline producing, and soul wrenching, the linen god is a definite read for thriller fans. Forget Dan Brown and his elementary style writing that causes a lot of the faithful to spurn his books. Forget Robert Ludlum or Vince Flynn who uses foul language.

Jim O'Shea far surpasses these writers with his story. Action and Religion tied into one, the linen god is more than a story, it is an experience. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

GInny Aiken's Design on a Crime

The reader is introduced to an Agatha Christie-like cozy mystery meets Inspector Clouseau-style heroine in this charming murder mystery, Design on a Crime: Deadly Decor Mystery.

Maybe not a profound whodunit story, but this book packs a wallop with the list of suspects, the main one being designer Haley Farrell, bungled "snoop" sessions, comical happenstances between her arch-rival Dutch and the "Karate Chop Cop", and Haley's downs-and-ups in her faith.

The main story may seem more of  "who killed Marge", but the sub-plot concerning Haley's faith and her eventual growth in Christ strengthens the storyline.

Marge's death leads to Haley's understanding that not everyone is perfect, and even the most undesirable person can receive forgiveness. Everyone has a choice, and sometimes people choose to ignore the right choice. This theme is worked throughout the book without it being preachy.

The constant references to Starbucks can be seen as the character's way of downplaying the situations in her life and past, an escape that only coffee will allow or so she thinks. Eventually, she learns that her true escape from the horrors and stress comes not from humor, self-depreciation, martial arts training, or coffee, but from standing back and letting God do His work.

Secondary characters added to the character Haley's storyline. Each gave his or her own advice, help, and love to guide Haley onto the path of healing.

I look forward to reading the rest of the Deadly Decor Mysteries and Haley's eventual love/hate relationship with Dutch (which is foreshadowed in this book).

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Shirley Corder's Strength Renewed

Shirley Corder's Strength Renewed: Mediations for Your Journey through Breast Cancer

Shirley Corder's Strength Renewed is not just for those who suffer or have suffered from breast is also for those who suffer from depression, anxiety, lethargy, pain, and all other "cancers" in life.

From page one I found myself uplifted by Shirley's words. Although I have read the passages of Scripture before, I reread them with new understanding and new life. Just as her book provides new life to hope.

I am listing a few things at the beginning that captured me so thoroughly that I went back and reread that chapter of meditation:

" Jesus and his disciples came across a man who had been blind all his life. 'Who's to blame for this man's blindness?' the disciples asked Jesus. 'No one," Jesus replied. He explained that God's power would be revealed as a result of the man's disability....
...Cancer is finite. God is way bigger." (p.25)

"...Despite his difficult circumstances, Paul believed that Christ was in control. He believed God could use him even while under house arrest. Instead of lamenting his misfortunes, he continued to encourage others...'Is it possible that I am right where the Lord wants me to be? Does he want to use my circumstances to reach out to others?" (p.27)

"...Job went through far worse than I did...Throughout that dreadful time, Job saw no sign of God's love and compassion...The tortured man examined his life and searched for where he'd gone wrong...he'd been disobedient at time. He'd questioned God's wisdom and even cursed the day of his birth. Yet he'd attempted to live close to God. After all he went through, Job arrived at the conclusion:'God knows every step I take.' Job only had to believe." (p.38)

"I read of a family who had a time of prayer based on 2 Chronicles 20:6. One of them prayed, 'Are you not the God in heaven?' Another family member followed with, 'Are you not the God who sealed the mouths of lions and spared Daniel?' Then another added, 'Are you not the God who fed five thousand people with a few small fish and loaves?'" (p.40)

This one is my favorite for it shows the magnitude of who God is. Something that our puny brains will never truly grasp.

"...Stephen...walked into the ward...presented me with a small stuffed lion...No one else to comfort me, I pulled him close and tucked him under my cheek. That little lion...gave me something to hang on to." (p.48)

This last one is poignant. Is not Jesus the Lion of Judah? Is He not who we should hang on to?

Throughout this book I was met with new ideas, new wondering, and new hope. Shirley Corder was right. God put her where she was needed and used her for His Glory.

A highly recommended book, one that far surpasses all other meditation books I've encountered, this is something that no one should be without. Have it sit next to your Bible and refer back to it again and again...and have a highlighter and pen to make notes.

Neal Lozano's Unbound

Neal Lozano's Unbound: A Practical Guide to Deliverance from Evil Spirits

Recommended by Christian musician friend, Lance Edward of Angel Dean (hear a sample of his song in this book trailer:Mississippi Nights or as part of The Psalms Project: Psalms 1), this book will take you beyond a simple walk with Jesus and into a deeper relationship. Letting go of the past isn't as simple as some may think. The devil will still try to hold those bonds of servitude against you.

As you read, little by little, taking notes along the way, you will experience how to let go of the pain, of the shame, of the anger, etc. and how to keep it away forever. Many people may not want to talk about Hell and Satan; choosing, instead, to ignore that part of spirituality. If a person believes in the Almighty God and Jesus, then Satan is just as real and he doesn't want to lose a soul. A spiritual battle is waged every day, every hour. This book helps the reader in fighting this war, because in the end victory is determined by whom has that person's soul: Jesus or Satan?

Unbound will help you open doors that need to opened and to shut and nail the doors that need to be closed--paving the way to spiritual freedom.

This isn't a book to read in a day or even in five. Sit, read a little, and marinate in the words.

Truly, this book will change not only your life, but will change and strengthen your spiritual relationship with God, making it more intimate, and lift your heart.

Highly recommended for those who would like to sever the bonds of the past, rejection, abuse, fear, etc.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ada Brownell's Confessions Of a Pentecostal

For many years, Pentecostals are one of the most misunderstood denominations in Christianity. They are different. They are vibrant. They are emotional believers.

Ada Brownell does an excellent job in showing the life of a Pentecostal, the ups and downs, the doubts, the fears, and the wisdom that life offers.

Through her book daily life is broken down and bits and pieces of what makes a Pentecostal is laid bare. Unlike some of the prejudices directed at those of the Pentecostal faith and the untruths about who they are, Ms. Brownell shows how each of them are just as plain and just as flawed as the rest. The one difference is the enormity of their faith and their determination to abide by God's Word.

As I read through this book, despite the typos and grammatical errors that pop up from time to time, I was held in awe. Her faith started out as a babe, and then became nurtured, sometimes faltering. Many times, she was reminded of her sin or lack of faith, which only strengthened her belief in Jesus even more.

Confessions Of a Pentecostal is more than just a book or a story; it is an ultimate look inside another person's faith. Truly remarkable, a book that I will reread time and time again, I recommend this to anyone who ever wonders about who we are: who are the Pentecostals.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Simon Lang's Eisernon Series

All the Gods of Eisernon (1973), The Elluvon Gift (1975), The Trumpets of Tagan (1992), Timeslide (1993), Hopeship (1994)

Written under the pen name, Simon Lang, by Darlene Hartman, this series tells the story between Earth and the conquered world of Eisernon.

Like all worlds that are conquered, the ruling members are either killed or incorporated into society. But the story isn't about how the world was conquered, but how the world became to be Earth's greatest ally.

Through political mistakes, friendly fire, and misunderstandings many atrocities are committed. The ruling Han of Eisernon are no more and the only surviving heir, Marik Dao, becomes the second in command to the stellar starship of the Federation, USS Skipjack and under the command of Captain Paul Riker.

With the beginning of All the Gods of Eisernon, the reader witnesses the love-hate relationship between Marik and Riker, and learn of Marik's distrust of his new allies. As a top doctor, or Priyam, in the universe and the destruction of his credentials by his childhood friend, Marik must come to terms with his new status. Soon Marik's true self is revealed and he is labeled a half-caste. I love the explanation given: "I am one of you as well as one of us, Captain. I am the son of Moses, and of Isaac, and of Abraham, the brother of Christ and of Muhammed. Demosthenes was my teacher; I am the pupil of Aristole, the kinsman of Genghis Khan, the victim of Hitler, the follower of Sun-yat-Sen. I am a Han. My mother, Miluae, was the Emperor's only daughter." Between death, intrigue, mysteries, and several plots that tie up neatly in the end, Marik finds his reasoning for living and for serving.

The second book, The Elluvon Gift, picks up with a chance for Marik to redeem himself, not in the eyes of his fellow shipmates, but in his own eyes. After the death of his wife, Mishli, Marik must again prove himself. Riker on the other hand faces not only the very real threat of the Krail, a vicious and bigoted warrior race, but also the threat of internal turmoil within himself and his ship. Through out it all, Riker's and Marik's friendship solidifies.

With the next three books, The Trumpets of Tagan, Timeslide, and Hopeship, it becomes a whirlwind ride as Riker and Marik saves Marik's only child, Misi, the true last heir of the Hans; a battle is fought to preserve the time travel orders of the USS Skipjac; new friends are made, as well as new enemies; old enemies are defeated; and new life is found. Plots and subplots weave an intricate tale, each lending support to the main plot.

The reader will see small indications of a Star Trek influence, but it doesn't overpower. The religion for the Eisernon is Christianity, albeit in their form. The Einai are cat-like people, but their worship of the True One who died on the Pole is an allegory to Christ on the Cross.

This five book series is an epic journey. Character arcs and conflicts enhance the flavor of the read. Page after page brings forth discoveries which lead to more page turning.

These books are a coveted and out-of-print series, but if ever someone finds copies of the story, it is a definite must read. Books that makes a difference, not only to literature, but to the reader. You can't stay the same after reading the journeys of Marik and Riker.

Angela Hunt's Uncharted

Published by Thomas Nelson-2006

David Payne dies in a horrible wreck. Five friends from college decide to honor his memory and finish his charitable service project. Various reasons they give: out of guilt, for publicity, for an alibi.

Meet Karyn & Kevin. Divorced ten years ago, with a fifteen year old daughter. Karyn is an actress for a daytime soap opera. Kevin is a high paid executive for a candy company. Both are absorbed with their success.
Lisa is a woman, never married and secretly harboring an infatuation over an old friend, who runs a daycare and cares for her ailing parents. She obsesses over the rewards she receives from her church and being noticed.
Susan, an interior designer, is financially stable through the death of her older husband. She agonizes about her looks and her status.
Then there is Mark. An used car salesman, out to make a quick fortune, who hides a horrid secret.

On the way to the Marshall Islands, a storm capsizes the boat. The five friends find themselves washed ashore a desolate island with black volcanic sand that cuts their feet. The sun is hidden behind a stationary curtain of gray clouds. Hot air and hot winds assault them. No food. No freshwater. How can they survive?

Slowly, they discover that the skull shaped cave they find is a master of revealing secrets. Little by little, each are shown who they really are: a vicious gossiper who will do whatever it takes to get what she wants; a man who is selfish and controlling, thinking only of how he can manipulate the people around him; an adulteress who delights in her beauty and in her seduction of other women's husbands; a single woman who is two-faced, a wolf in sheep's clothing; a man who is a serial killer.

As the island takes control of them, never to release them, can these five people ever hope to survive? No. No one escapes Hell.

These people discover that they gave up the One Perfect Gift for their own selfish desires, they realize that they will never die, because they are already dead and residing in Hades. They now live with endless parading of each others secret sins and utmost misery that comes from not accepting Christ.

Written with hints of Jesus' parables of the sower, the rich man in Hell, and the ten bridesmaids, this book will make you truly think and view your own soul.

The beauty of this story: Because none of us are worthy or righteous and all of us deserve to be on that desolate island of pain and thirst, of misery, it can be avoided through the acceptance of Jesus Christ.

Jill Williamson & The Blood of Kings Trilogy

To Darkness Fled, By Darkness Hid, From Darkness Won

By Darkness Hid, To Darkness Fled, From Darkness Won: The Blood of Kings by Jill Williamson
Published by Marcher Lord Press- 2009, 2010, 2011

Jill Williamson may sit beside the authors Tad Williams with his Sword of Sorrow series and George R.R. Martin with his Game of Thrones series. She succeeds them with her Blood of Kings trilogy.

Follow the whirlwind journey of Achan, a young man whose status is lower than a slave, who not only discovers that he is the long lost heir to the throne, but also the one anointed by the One True God. Not a believer at first, Achan soon walks in fellowship with Arman.
Gifted with the legacy of bloodvoicing, Achan is the strongest one of all. He is befriended by Sir Gavin. Before long, Achan is thrust into a terrifying war to claim his birthright and destiny.
Knights, Giants, a boy who is really a girl, Duchesses, Dukes, and demons are only a few of the companions and foes. Temptations, daring rescues, torture and cruelty, and thieves bombard Achan and his knights.
This is a story about false idols, love, the One True God, and honor. Superbly written in a fast pace, it will honestly keep you up for hours until you turn the last page. Especially with the twists and turns thrown your way.

Williamson's books break the thin line between young adult and adult fantasy. Entertaining and thought provoking...

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Denise Hildreth Jones' THE FIRST GARDENER

 The First Gardener by Denise Hildreth Jones

 published by Tyndale House Publishers 2011

One couple...two tragedies.
If one death could steal your joy, then what would two deaths do, steal your soul?
Gray and Mackenzie are brought from joy to despair to hope and then thrown into the pit of hell.
A review will never capture the essence of what this story does. It shows that no matter how big the hurt, the pain, the hope, etc., nothing is too big for God.

The chapters intermingled with Jeremiah's POV give a true Southern taste and how deep our roots go when it come to leaning and trusting our Lord. This story had me laughing and a lot of times--crying (and that is hard to do). Riveting at its best, and poignant at its worst, I have never read such a story with such heartfelt sincerity and bold honesty.

As Jeremiah says: "When God call you to sump'n big, ever'thing in your life gon' be big. Your mountains and your valleys--they all goin' be big. And this here valley, it be as big as any I ever see..."

Denise Hildreth Jones walks the reader through a life of happiness and pain, but more importantly--growth. It's a big story showing growth in oneself, growth in marriage, growth in friendship, growth in spirit, and most importantly growth in knowledge. God owes us nothing, but He gives us everything.

Marc Schooley's KONIG'S FIRE

Konig's Fire by Marc Schooley
published by Marcher Lord Press 2010

(blog was written March 1, 2011)

Reading the blurb for this book does not prepare the reader. Written in first person, you quickly lose yourself in the story. You are becoming Sascha Konig. Set in the time of WWII at the height of the Third Reich, a young man, a  Christian hidden under the teachings of Hilter's Youth, must battle the evilness of the Nachthaus, a secret underground cave that houses torture chambers and the oven, dubbed Dante's Inferno by Konig. Earning the name of Nebuchadnezzar, Konig strokes the fire seven times hotter than it had ever burned before.

It isn't the evil of Nachthaus that Konig, and his two fellow Christians-in-hiding, must contend with, but the evil that resides in the heart of all men. For all are sinful and all can fall, but only those who face the time of the final testing and overcomes (so says the philosopher-face) will see the result of what grace has bought for us.

This story will keep you turning pages, have you questioning ideas and beliefs, dare you to look at your own soul and inside your heart, and leave you believing in promised Grace. As Konig learns, "dreaming is seeing the world as it is not". And our dreams can lead us "through fire seven time hotter" and into the arms "of one like a son of man" who can carry us through the flames.

Because no words or review can do justice to this story...because it will speak differently to each reader...highly recommended.


Shawn Grady

Through the Fire  published by Bethany House 2009

Aidan O'Neill, a fireman with an innate ability to read fire, knowing when and how it will burn, becomes overconfident in his gift and it leaves him with the guilt of another fireman's tragic accident.

It is a blow to his pride and to his faith. Told with a great deal of knowledge, not only in a fireman's line of work, but also in a man's struggle to cope with a loss and with guilt. This isn't a carefully weaved tale of salvation, but one of redemption.

Even though he encounters betrayal through the hands of family, Aidan finds love through the hands of another.

Shawn Grady writes a great tale. It causes you to turn page after page until you suddenly find yourself at the end and wishing for another book of his. The only downside: using first person POV is tricky and there are a few paragraphs that are repetitiously beginning every sentence with "I". Other than that, this book does not dwell on descriptions or scenes. It tells the story through imagery and dialogue. It has nothing that slows the pace or hampers the reader.

Tomorrow We Die  published by Bethany House 2010

We already met one character from this book. He was introduced in Through the Fire. Now Bones is back with his partner Jonathan Trestle.

When Jonathan Trestle saves a man's life, he is given a note, a cryptic clue. Of course he is drawn to finding out who might be this "Martin" the man talked about, but when Jonathan arrives at the hospital to check on the man,  Jonathan finds him gone-only to be found by later at a motel and quite obviously dead. The grim reaper is striking with force.

Hounded by the detective investigating the case, helped by a beautiful woman, and driven with a need to find the truth, Jonathan finds himself thrust headlong into danger. This danger leads him to betrayal and murder; and nothing, short of a prayer, will help him survive.

Not extremely predictable-you find yourself wondering if you are right about the "bad guy"-, this story captures you right away and forces you to turn the pages until the very end. The first person POV hampers the reading somewhat with the brusque way of writing, but the overall action story more than makes up for a slight hitch in the writing.

Falls Like Lightning  published by Bethany House 2011

A raging forest fire, a reunited love, and a murderous crew--smokejumper Silas Kent learns the meaning of survival and endurance.

This third book written by Shawn Grady exceeds expectations. From the first page to the last, the reader finds himself thrust into a fast moving, action-packed story. You will forget that this story only covers the span of a few days.

Surprisingly, Shawn Grady has superbly written from many point-of-views without weakening the storyline. The reader will see through the eyes of the protagonists and the antagonists, delving deep into their thoughts and actions. Very rare do you see this level of writing.
I look forward to many more books by Shawn Grady....
Once again, another book will have a permanent spot on my shelf because Shawn Grady

Angela Elwell Hunt's THE SLEEPING ROSE

The Sleeping Rose by Angela Elwell Hunt 

(This blog was written December 23, 2011)
Have you ever loved something so much that it became more important than anything else in your life?

This unique tale of a beautiful white rose that is requested by the King and Queen prove that sometimes the most beautiful thing can be found in the most surprising place.

Baldrik spends his entire time caring for the most perfect rose plant during winter. Its one and only bloom opens on the first day of May. So famous is the rose, that the King and Queen invites Baldrik to their castle. Soon Baldrik's hobby becomes an obsession since his dream has always been to be a master gardener for the royal gardens.

Through his concern for the rose his pride rises and he forgets about his compassion for those around him. Then the unthinkable happens, and the rose refuses to bloom, but it is the love and thankfulness of a beggar that shows Baldrik that the most important thing in life is love and compassion for others.

This is just a short, little story, but it wallops an impact on the heart. The art is astounding in its detail. I pulled this book off the shelf, having forgotten that I owned it. I curled up on my bed and read it, enjoyed the artwork, and pondered the story and the meaning behind the words. Especially during this Christmas season.

"You have chosen the right thing," the stranger said, a smile lighting his eyes. "People matter more than praise. Know this, Baldrik Macklin--anytime you offer help to a needy soul, you have offered it to me."

With great and gentle dignity the man turned and walked away. As the crowd buzzed with the sound of people exclaiming over the beauty of the radiant rose, Baldrik marveled over the stranger's parting words...and the tender touch of the man's nail-scarred hands.
~~ The Sleeping Rose by Angela Elwell Hunt published 1998 by Tommy Nelson, division of Thomas Nelson, Inc.

This is one more book that will forever sit on my shelf....


The Wonder of Your Love by Beth Wiseman

by Beth Wiseman
published by Thomas Nelson 2011
(this blog was written on January 27, 2012)

I picked this book to read to do research on the top ten sellers in Christian fiction. What made them the books that people went to over and over? What formula was used?

Imagine my surprise as I started reading, I became engrossed by the story. Even though I started reading it quite a few days ago when time permitted, I finally sat down and finished the last 200+ pages of the story. I did not want to put this down.

Romance is not my typical genre. The Wonder of Your Love is the first Amish romance I have ever read.

Stereotypical Amish romances, from reviews and perusing of some books, are usually cookie-cutter type books of fluffy happiness and goody-two shoes characters. Not this book.

Each character had flaws. Secondary characters strengthen the story and foreshadowed upcoming titles. The juxtaposition of the characters Katie Ann and Martha offer a true picture of friends from different worlds/ways of life, which is the beauty of Christ.

Some may be surprise that the characters are middle-aged, which I really hate that word and the stereotypes that come with it, but why be surprised? Even older people like a lot of the same things that younger people do. Even older people long for the same things that younger people do. And as someone in her late thirties, older people can be just as rebellious. A little of this is seen in Beth Wiseman's book and it deepens the personalities of her characters.

Truly this is a book I will always keep and I highly recommend it.

A passage from the book stands out from all others: To hear Him, To know Him, and to understand the wonder of His love--one must trust Him completely.

This story gives hope to those of us who wonder...

Terri Blackstock's PREDATOR

Terri Blackstock: Golden Rose Spotlight

I welcome Terri Blackstock, a NY Times bestselling author, and a remarkable lady. It is my honor and privilege to have interviewed her.

Short blurb for Predator: The murder of Krista Carmichael's fourteen-year-old sister by an online predator has shaken her faith and made her question God's justice and protection. Desperate to find the killer, she creates an online persona to bait the predator. But when the stalker turns his sights on her, will Krista be able to control the outcome?
Ryan Adkins started the social network GrapeVyne in his college dorm and has grown it into a billion-dollar corporation. But he never expected it to become a stalking ground for online predators. One of them lives in his town and has killed two girls and attacked a third. When Ryan meets Krista, the murders become more than a news story to him, and everything is on the line.
Joining forces, Ryan and Krista set out to stop the killer. But when hunters pursue a hunter, the tables can easily turn. Only God can protect them now.

Predator will definitely have you turning the pages, not just out of the desire to see what happens next, but to also see if you are correct in the whodunit. Red herrings keep you fishing for answers, curveballs keep you guessing, and the action keeps you reading. Read below on more information about Predator and Terri Blackstock.

1) How did the idea and/or inspiration of writing about an online predator come about?

A couple of years ago when I was encouraged to start using Facebook, I was shocked by some of the things people posted. Because I’m a suspense writer, I realized that this would be a playground for a predator. Think about it. If you were a predator, what better way to stalk your victims and find out about their habits, their schedules, their likes/dislikes, and sometimes even their addresses and phone numbers? I decided that I had to write a book about that.

In Predator, Krista Carmichael’s fourteen year old sister is found murdered, and it quickly becomes clear how easy she made it for her killer to stalk her until he had the opportunity to abduct her. Krista decides to use GrapeVyne, my fictitious social network, to create a fake profile. She makes herself bait for the killer, hoping to find him and bring him to justice. But when she manages to get his attention, Krista finds it impossible to control the outcome.

 2) For years documentaries were produced and TV shows used characters who used false profiles to lure unsuspecting people, because this is so real and an increasing problem, what were your hopes and/or agenda in writing Predator?

I hoped that it would open people’s eyes (scare them to death) and influence them into changing their online habits. But the book is also about loss and that Christian mask we put on. Krista works in a ministry that helps teen girls in a low income/high crime area. When her sister is murdered, she sort of puts on a mask so the girls will see her as this strong, unwavering Christian. She doesn’t want them to know that she has these questions, and that she’s angry at God for allowing her sister to be murdered. So she has this internal struggle between what she really feels and what she wants people to think she feels. She begins to question whether she belongs in ministry at all. But the fact is, her suffering and her honest questions qualify her even more for ministry, because she can now relate to the girls on a level she couldn’t have imagined before.

3) Do you believe teenagers or adults are more vulnerable online? Which group seems more apt to accept someone as a friend?

I think teens are, because they are too trusting. They think that everyone is who they say they are. But how hard is it to use a fake picture, pretend you’re a nineteen year old boy who’s interested in them, and lure them into a trap? But adults are being equally foolish. They forget how much they’re sharing with people they’ve never met.

4) Predator shows the many facets of tragedy. The sister's and father's anger are handled in opposite ends of the spectrum. Writing in such a deep POV where the father contemplates murder, how did you "flip that switch" to be able to write from that point of view, because the emotions of the father's are so raw?

That’s what writers do. We “put on” our characters and think like they think. I think one of the gifts of a good writer is empathy. Writers have empathy for each of the characters they write—even the evil ones—and can feel their feelings and articulate their thoughts. We cry when our characters cry, and mope when they mope, and celebrate when they have victories. That’s part of the job.

5) Writing from the online predator's point of view, the reader is literally inside his head. How did you prepare yourself to write from the POV of such an evil person?

I just tried to imagine how a predator might think, what might motivate him, what his traps might be. Sometimes I scared myself. But in order to write a compelling suspense novel, sometimes I have to think like a villain. This isn’t that hard for me because I have a suspicious nature and my mind tends to go automatically to the worst possible scenario.

6) Since the publication of Predator, you have written a new series. Please tell your readers a little more about these books and what inspired you to write them.

The Intervention Series was inspired by my experiences with my daughter who had severe drug addictions. It’s not straight out of our lives—we didn’t have a murder, of course—but the emotions that I poured into Barbara (the mother) were just like mine. In the first book, Intervention, Barbara hires an interventionist to help her daughter. On the way to treatment, the interventionist is murdered and the daughter (Emily) vanishes. In the second book, Vicious Cycle, Emily is getting out of treatment and she and her brother get pulled into the drama of a crystal meth addict who needs rescuing. In the final book, Downfall, Emily is in recovery, but her past begins to catch up with her. A conversation she had with two men, an Alfred Hitchcock movie, and a plan for a double-murder all conspire for one explosive ride … and Emily is the only one who can identify the killer and save the life of the next potential victim. But will the stress of it all be her downfall?

Thank you, Terri!
You may contact Terri Blackstock at the following:

Laurie Alice Eakes' CHOICES OF THE HEART

Laurie Alice Eakes & Her book Choices of the Heart

Laurie Alice Eakes brings forth three charming tales with her Midwives series. Historically accurate, lovingly crafted, and beautifully told, each book immerses the reader into a lesser known community of Colonial times. Her books Lady in the Mist, Heart's Safe Passage, and Choices of the Heart deal with healing, love, heartache, strength, but above all faith. Laurie Alice is skilled in bringing the characters to life, even the secondary characters, and never shying from the harsh ways of life during those early times in America. The romance is beautifully written, not only the romance between characters, but the romance between a character and God. Her books will strike a chord within every heart, plunging the reader into a melody of history and time. Highly recommended, Laurie Alice Eakes' Midwives series is a definite read, a book to keep forever on the shelves and to read over and over again.

Read below for more on Laurie Alice Eakes, why she wrote her series, and what other books are next:

 "                                                          My Fascination with Midwives

As a lifelong history geek, I have always been fascinated with the work women have carried out through the existence of mankind. For example, Lydia, a seller of Purple, stirred my imagination as a child reading Acts for the first time. A lady merchant in biblical times?

So when I ran across a copy of Laurel Ulrich’s A Midwife’s Tale, I bought it, read it, and plunged into a whole world of not just a work, but the women who became midwives themselves.

So when I went to grad school for history in the late ‘90s and had to focus on a research project, I chose to delve into the lives of midwives more deeply. With a university library and Interlibrary Loan at my fingertips, I read newspaper accounts from the eighteenth century, books written by and for midwives from the seventeenth century, and laws governing midwives from the sixteenth century. The more I read, the more I realized these were women of power, unique power in  Early Modern history.

Midwives didn’t just deliver babies. They were healers and confidantes, teachers and, sometimes, witnesses for the prosecution. They enjoyed freedoms other women did not, and they were highly respected. They were even feared. After all, they knew a lot of secrets.

About halfway through my project, I fell ill and spent three days in bed. Bored with lying around, but too achy to concentrate on schoolwork, I began to write some notes on ideas flowing through my feverish brain. These weren’t more than images, but I wrote them down longhand and stuffed them in a drawer. One day, I declared, I would write a novel about a midwife.

I wrote three. It took me another ten years of a lot of changes and chaos in my life. Those early notes disappeared along the way, but I never forgot those images. And finally the time was right. I reviewed my notes from my paper, “Women of Power, Midwives in Early Modern Europe and North America” and wrote a proposal. On April 1, 2009, I sent that proposal to my agent. On April 21, an editor said she was taking it to committee. On May 12, I sold what became Lady in the Mist.

These are not books about midwifery; they are books about the midwives themselves, how their profession, their calling, effects their lives takes them into danger, and shapes them as women of God. And, because it’s me, they are romances with a bit of suspense thrown in.

I am an author who says, “I write Christian historical romances,” when asked what I do. It’s my calling, and I wouldn’t deny that any more than I would deny working in any other profession.

“Besides writing, I like going for long walks with my husband, whether on city streets or a quiet beach, and I like exploring new places. We recently moved to Houston, TX, but still miss living in Washington, DC, but not for the politics. It’s closer to family and mountains. I would really like to live in the country and rescue homeless cats, but I can’t drive, so that isn’t very practical. Here in the city, I settle for the quadrupeds I have.

At present, I am just finishing up my First Regency historical romance for Zondervan, out next year, and am about to plunge into writing the third book in a series with three other authors coming out from Harlequin Heartsong later this year. Also later this year, I have my third Regency releasing from Baker/Revell, and a novella from Revell coming out in early spring in a collection with three authors who positively dwarf me.  after all that, I have two more books under contract with Zondervan, and a lot of plans up my sleeve."


Amanda Cabot & Waiting for Spring

Amanda Cabot has a way with words that leaves the reader spellbound. This delightful romantic read brought forth an accurate portrayal of a widow and her son set in the late 1800's. Page after page left me reading and longing for more of the story until the final page was turned, and still I wished for more. Heartfelt, beautiful, and truly a wonderful read, Amanda Cabot captures the beauty of a timeless age and of the Wyoming frontier. Above all, the spiritual lesson within the story was subtle at best and uplifting, hope given to all who have suffered and long to be healed and long for that second chance at life. This read was a breath of fresh air and a burst of new life.

Read below for more about Amanda Cabot and her thoughts on why she wrote Waiting for Spring; plus find out what else is in the works...

"Thanks so much for inviting me to be part of your blog.  I’m delighted to be here today, talking with you and your followers about Waiting for Spring and myself.

Let’s get the least interesting part of this done first: a bit about me.  For almost as long as I can remember, books have been a major part of my life.  I love the fact that in addition to teaching me things, they can transport me to a different time and place.  As a child, I decided that the most wonderful thing in the world would be to be a writer and give others the pleasure that I found in books.  Of course, even then I somehow knew that it would be a difficult way to earn a living, so I took a “real” job, and writing became my second job.  I used to describe it as a case of “for love or money.”  Writing was what I did for love; the day job helped pay the mortgage.  Now I’m fortunate enough to be a fulltime writer.

Now, on to the book.  I could talk for hours about that, but I’ll try not to be too long-winded.  After all, I wouldn’t want you to start yawning.  One of the questions I’m often asked is why I wrote a particular book.  In the case of Waiting for Spring, I had two goals.  The first – and most important – was to answer the question of, “What lengths would you go to to protect your child?”  Charlotte’s a young widow with what we would now call a special needs child in an era when parents were advised to put those children into an institution.  That would have been enough of a challenge for her, but her life is further complicated by the fact that her husband was murdered, and the killer is after her.  What can she do?  And, as if that weren’t enough, she begins to fall in love with a man who’s practically engaged to one of her best friends.  Poor Charlotte!  It took a lot of pages to unravel all that.
My second goal for this book was to introduce readers to my adopted hometown of Cheyenne.  Did you know that in 1883, Cheyenne was the wealthiest city per capita in the world?  Furthermore, the city had the only opera house west of the Mississippi, and its InterOcean hotel was the first hotel anywhere to have electric lights in its guest rooms.  Add to that the incredibly wealthy cattle barons, one of whom just happens to be the hero of my story, and a brutal winter that changed their lives in ways they could not have expected, and you have the background for my story. 
Weaving those details into the love stories (yes, there’s more than one romance in Waiting for Spring) was a lot of fun, but it also created one of my biggest fears, what I refer to as nasty-grams from readers.  I love hearing from readers, since they truly are the reason I write, and I pray that my stories will touch their hearts and deepen their faith.  But writers being the insecure creatures that we are, I always worry that I’ll disappoint someone.  Those worries increase exponentially when I write about a real location, because now there’s the possibility that I got a fact wrong and that some eagle-eyed reader will be upset about it.  I take research very seriously and read countless books to get everything about Cheyenne just right, but there’s still that niggling fear that I missed something.  That’s why the Texas Dreams books took place in a fictional location and why my next series will also feature a fictional town.
Speaking of the future, I’m currently working on my 2014 releases.  I’m waiting for copy edits and cover art for With Autumn’s Return, the third of the Westward Winds trilogy.  That’ll be a January 2014 book.  In addition, I’m excited to announce that I’ll have a novella in Revell’s first novella collection.  The release date hasn’t been finalized yet, but it will be during the first half of 2014.  Each of the four stories in the collection is written by a different author, and each features a woman whose life is changed when she receives a letter.  Having read that, you probably won’t be surprised to know the title of the book will be Sincerely Yours
My heroine is an heiress who needs to marry a man of her own social standing within two months or she’ll forfeit her inheritance.  The special letter she receives leads her to a handsome carousel carver – obviously not the man her parents had in mind for her.  But the carver has a secret.  As a side note, I developed an incurable case of carousel fever in early 2000, so when I started thinking about this story, I knew my hero would be one of those talented men who turned chunks of wood into fabulous painted ponies.
And, if that wasn’t enough for 2014, I’ll also have the first book of a new series out in the fall.  The title and date haven’t been finalized, so I can’t tell you too much about it other than that it takes place in a fictional town in the Texas Hill Country.  If you want to know more, I hope you’ll sign up for my online newsletter.  All it takes is an email.  My email address and lots of other information are available on my web site,  You might also enjoy my blog with the popular Wednesday in Wyoming posts.  My blog URL is
And now it’s time to say farewell.  I’ve enjoyed our time together and wish you a year filled with many, many wonderful books to read."

From the time that she was seven, Amanda Cabot dreamed of becoming a published author, but it was only when she set herself the goal of selling a book by her thirtieth birthday that the dream came true.  A former director of Information Technology, Amanda has written everything from technical books and articles for IT professionals to mysteries for teenagers and romances for all ages.  She’s delighted to now be a fulltime writer of Christian historical romances.  Her Texas Dreams trilogy received critical acclaim, and Waiting for Spring, the second in her Westward Winds series, was released in January.