Woo hoo! Another tale from one of my favourite authors and I have three copies to give away to Aussie readers only! Post a comment and you will be entered in to the draw. Winners will be announced on Friday 9th November. I am enjoying Boo Humbug as I laze around on my holiday and will post my review soon ;-)
Readers have come to love the eccentric characters from Skary, Indiana, in Rene Gutteridge’s popular Boo! series. Now, in Boo, Humbug! they’re back – and they’re stirring up a large amount of holiday havoc.
It’s Christmastime in Skary, and the town is planning an original production of A Christmas Carol with a horror spin. As showtime approaches, things go very awry for director Lois Stepaphanopolis. She panics when she discovers that her marketing director loathes Christmas and that the audience has been promised not Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, but the real Christmas story. Can the actors pull off the improv of all improvs and convince their community to embrace the true meaning of the Christmas season?
Boo, Humbug! offers readers a delightful glimpse into small town, community life with heartwarming humor and winsome characters. And in the end, the true meaning of Christmas shines out bright and clear, in a decidedly un-Skary way.
Rene Gutteridge is the author of 10 novels, including the Boo series, the Storm series, The Occupational Hazards series and My Life as a Doormat, a Women of Faith selection for 2006. She has been published over 30 times as a playwright, and holds a degree in screenwriting, graduating magna cum laude from Oklahoma State University. Rene is married to Sean, a musician, and they have two young children. They make their home in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
To read more about this wonderful author, check out my interview with her, here!
Buy Boo Humbug by clicking, here!
Wednesday, 31 October 2007
Woo hoo! Another tale from one of my favourite authors and I have three copies to give away to Aussie readers only! Post a comment and you will be entered in to the draw. Winners will be announced on Friday 9th November. I am enjoying Boo Humbug as I laze around on my holiday and will post my review soon ;-)
This week, the
(Thomas Nelson November 6, 2007)
"I've always thought Denise Hunter was an amazing writer but this wonderful story sets her firmly at the forefront of compelling love stories. How Landon breaks down Samantha's determination that she is unworthy of love kept me glued to the pages. An amazing story!"--Colleen Coble, author of Fire Dancer (Smoke Jumper Series)
Monday, 29 October 2007
Afraid she is to be sold into servitude to an older man, Isabelle Gayerre throws caution to the wind and deceives the reprobate Captain Josiah Carter into taking her aboard his ship, the Jude, bound for London.
Josiah Carter has despised authority and proper behaviour for years after failing to meet his father's approval in any of his endeavours. Determined to protect his younger brother from such a oppressive upbringing he steals him away and soon finds himself being hunted for both his "illegal" stowaways.
When Isabelle discovers there is a depth and compassion in Josiah she could never imagined she is drawn to him but shuns Josiah at every turn as the circumstances of her birth could never allow her to marry.
Beloved Castaway was a little confusing initially but by a few chapters in I was intrigued by both Isabelle and Josiah and the path their relationship would take. With action aplenty, the Jude attempts to outmaneuver its pursuers while Isabelle and Josiah flirt around the edges of their attraction. This novel will appeal to all those who love romance and the angst of a love that cannot be. Kathleen Y'Barbo does well setting up the minor characters who I imagine will become the subject of subsequent books in this series. Beloved Castaway kicks off the series well and I look forward to reading more from Kathleen in the future.
Mary Holmbeck ~ congratulations!
I have also redrawn the winner of My Life, Unscripted as Ashley had won the book on another blog and kindly agreed to me drawing another winner's name. So this time the winner is....
Lesha ~ congratulations!
Please contact me with your snail mail within 7 days!
Austin Boyd writes from his experience as a decorated Navy pilot, spacecraft engineer and an astronaut candidate finalist. Austin lives with his wife Cindy and four children in America’s “Rocket City”--Huntsville, Alabama, where he directs business development for a large NASA and defense contractor. His creative talents include inspirational fiction and poetry, finely crafted reproduction colonial furniture, archery and long distance cycling. He serves his community as an advocate for a crisis pregnancy center and as a motivational speaker in the area of lifestyle evangelism.
THE RETURN is part of the Mars Hill Classified Series with The Evidence and The Proof
Six years after completing a manned mission to the Red Planet, Admiral John Wells is set to make another journey to Mars. But this time his crew is not alone, as John's team encounters a secret colony comprised of individuals pursuing John Raines' strange religion, the "Father Race."
Friday, 26 October 2007
One of my favourite authors and a lovely lady to boot is Tamara Leigh and I am just about to dive in to her newly released Splitting Harriet!
But here's a sneak peek at the cover of her next book, Faking Grace.
What do you think?
For those of you interested in book covers, here is Bethany House's cover for One More Sunrise, chosen from their recent survey you may have participated in ~ I like it!
The book is to be released mid next year! Here's the blurb:~
A mysterious feather…an odd stranger…another chance? Joe Daley's life is spiraling out of control. In more ways than one…
His dreams of WWII glory died along with his plans to serve his country. Fifteen years later, Joe Daley flies a crop duster and struggles through life, with his marriage to high-school-sweetheart Meg running on fumes.
Until one morning when Joe's daily routine turns into the ride of a lifetime as his beat-up biplane begins a heart-stopping spiral toward earth. What did he hit? An enormous bird? With the only evidence a long white feather, Joe embarks on a new odyssey.
When an old high-school suitor of Meg's—now the charming representative of a corporate farming enterprise—arrives in town, he offers better lives for everyone. Is this the opportunity Joe and Meg have been waiting for? Or a collision course with disaster?
A Gripping Story of Lives Turned Upside Down and
Dreams Transformed Into Something Beautiful and New…
Wednesday, 24 October 2007
I am delighted to have a copy of Illuminated to give away ~ Aussie addressees only please. Post a comment by midnight Wednesday 31st October, 2007 to be entered in the draw.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Matt Bronleewe is a recognized producer, songwriter and author. The former member of the band Jars of Clay, has earned numerous awards producing and co-writing albums that have sold a combined total of over 20 million copies. His songs have recently been recorded by Disney pop sensations Aly & AJ, American Idol finalist Kimberley Locke, and more. Bronleewe has worked with Grammy Award-winning artists such as Michael W. Smith, International pop singer Natalie Imbruglia and Heroes star Hayden Panettiere.
Born in Dallas, Texas, Bronleewe was raised on a farm in Kansas, where he lived until he left for college in 1992. At Greenville College in Illinois, Bronleewe formed the band Jars of Clay with his dorm roommate and two neighbors, and the group soon found success. Though Bronleewe opted to leave Jars of Clay early on to pursue an academic career, he soon found himself in Nashville, co-writing, producing, and playing music professionally.
To add to his list of accomplishments, Bronleewe has expanded his love of story telling beyond music into authorship. He is currently penning a 5 book series for Thomas Nelson Fiction. Illuminated, in stores now, begins the adventurous series about rare manuscripts and the mysteries within.
Bronleewe currently resides in Brentwood, Tenn., with his wife and three children. He continues to write and produce music, and he also volunteers through his church to help disadvantaged youth in the community. Bronleewe enjoys reading, taste-testing good food and watching sports, as well as indulging his interests in art, architecture, design and science.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
IT'S BEEN 500 YEARS IN THE MAKING...PREPARE TO BE ILLUMINATED...
August Adams has failed his family before. He's sacrificed relationships in pursuit of adventure, fame, and money. Now the very lives of those he loves depend on his ability to decipher a centuries-old puzzle encrypted in the colorful hand-painted illuminations that adorn three rare Gutenberg Bibles.
It's a secret that could yield unimaginable wealth, undermine two major religions, and change the course of Western civilization. Two ruthless, ancient organizations are willing to do anything to get their hands on it. And August has the span of one transatlantic flight to figure it out.
If he fails, those he holds most dear will die. If he succeeds, he'll destroy a national treasure.
The clock ticks, the suspense mounts, and the body count rises as August pits his knowledge and his love for his family against the clock, secret societies, and even Johannes Gutenberg himself.
"...this rare breed of suspense thriller combines mysterious hidden clues, secret societies, buried treasure, double agents, and the Knights Templar...if you turned National Treasure into international treasure, traded DaVinci codes for Gutenberg Bibles, married it to Indiana Jones, and added the pacing of 24 you'd be in the neighborhood of Illuminated...on a scale of one to 10, this one goes to 11."Read my review, here!
-Aspiring Retail Magazine
Tracy, Jim, ad, Jen, Fiona and Leanne ~ congratulations!
You can thank my husband as the drawer of names from the hat this time :)
I have everyone's details except Jim's. Jim, please contact me with your details (remember you must have an Australian address to be eligible for the book) at relzreviewz @ gmail . com . au (minus spaces) within 7 days.
My favourite Amy Grant song is My Father's Eyes :)
Tuesday, 23 October 2007
A surprising inheritance fills Samantha Owens with burgeoning hope and sickening dread. While the rundown ocean front cottage on Nantucket Bay could signal the end of her financial worries, it also requires Sam to return to the very place where her childhood dreams were shattered, leaving her scarred, fearful and alone.
Reluctantly, Sam returns to Nantucket with her young daughter Caden hoping she can restore the cottage quickly and sell it for an attractive profit. Sam hadn't anticipated that Landon Reed, her childhood confidant, would be living in his parents' home, unmarried and still so much in love with her.
Sam is drawn to Landon's generous heart and the security he offers and yet she knows all the professed love in the world won't last when her betrayal all those years ago comes to light.
To call Surrender Bay just a romance novel, though it is that, is to sell it short. It is a beautiful love story that I literally could not put down. The setting is enticing, the characters complex and their emotions and heartache palpable. Sam epitomises an adult whose heart and mind has been scarred by a traumatic childhood. Her first thought is to protect herself no matter what the cost to others and yet is so appealing that I wanted to comfort her myself! And Landon is compassionate, faithful and protective while remaining a realistic character, a tribute to Denise Hunter's talent as a writer. Sam's choices and their consequences are painful to read, Landon's constancy is a joy and the romance is simply mesmerising.
God's love, faithfulness and the heartache He endures to draw us back in to relationship with Him is powerfully told in this story by way of allegory. Without any overt reference to God, Denise has turned the spotlight on the depth of God's love for His children in a story that will remain with you long after the last page is read.
I was so taken with Surrender Bay I have chosen it as one of my book club's selections for 2008.
Available now from Thomas Nelson.
Monday, 22 October 2007
Thursday, 18 October 2007
Ausjenny ~ congratulations!
My middle daughter took two seconds to pick out a name and then flew off to better things so no pic this time - LOL!!!
I have your details so will ensure the book is on its way from the publicist.
When lawyer and mother, Rachel Flynn wakes to the sound of her own screams, she realises the case she is working on is taking more of a toll on her than any case before. Newborn baby, Leo Shipley had been left to die in a dumpster and his single mum’s claim to have no recollection of the night seem flimsy at best. Leo’s future rests with Rachel ~ does she return him to his mother whose own family believes she is not fit for motherhood or does Rachel resign Leo to the revolving door of foster care?
When Rachel’s decision results in further tragedy, will she be able to move past her guilt to solve the mystery surrounding this helpless baby and the danger stalking him?
Days and Hours is an intriguing mystery coupled with a compassionate look at the complex and difficult life of single parenthood. Susan Meissner's prose is tight and descriptive, the reader guilelessly drawn in to the compelling storyline with perfectly timed revelations. Susan’s characterisation is superb, from Rachel, wrestling with the competing demands of her legal career, motherhood and marriage, Marcie, repeating her history of bad choices and the effervescent Fig with his weird culinary tastes and unique babysitting practices! Prepare to be enthralled, dismayed, entertained and totally hooked not only by the twists and turns of the case but also Rachel's internal struggle. The mystery remains hidden until the closing pages as Rachel’s dreams, and God's promptings, lead her closer to the truth about Leo and her own future. An excellent addition to this unique series further cementing Susan Meissner's place on my bookshelves.
Available now from Harvest House.
Post a comment before midnight Thursday 26th October for your chance to win a copy of Susan's latest book! But there is an extra twist! Rachel is a wonderful lead character - compassionate, strong, wife and mother, dedicated, etc. - please tell me what appeals to you most in a female character :) Aussie addresses only!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Brandilyn Collins is a best-selling novelist known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense™. These harrowing crime thrillers have earned her the tagline “Don’t forget to b r e a t h e…® ” She’s so well known in the industry there’s actually a club for her non-readers. That’s right. The Big Honkin’ Chickens Club (BHCC) members are proud of the fact that they’re too wimpy to read Brandilyn’s intense fiction. Now and then one of them tries. Bribing works pretty well. (Just ask Deb Raney.) Somehow they live to tell the tale.
Brandilyn writes for Zondervan, the Christian division of HarperCollins Publishers, and is currently at work on her 17th book. Her first book, A Question of Innocence, was a true crime published by Avon in 1995. Its promotion landed her on local and national TV and radio, including the Phil Donahue and Leeza talk shows.
She’s also known for her distinctive book on fiction-writing techniques, Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors (John Wiley & Sons), and often teaches at writers conferences. Brandilyn blogs at Forensics and Faith.
Visit her website to read the first chapters of all her books.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Carla stared at the gun and David Thornby—or whatever his name was. Her mind split in two, one side pleading this was some sick joke, the other screaming it was all too real.
“Please. You must have the wrong person. There’s no reason for someone to want me dead. I don’t have any enemies.”
“Then you’d best rethink your friends.”
Realtor Carla Radling shows an “English gentleman” a lakeside estate—and finds herself facing a gun. Who has hired this assassin to kill her, and why?
Forced on the run, Carla must uncover the scathing secrets of her past. Secrets that could destroy some very powerful people...
Brandilyn Collins fans and reviewers are saying Crimson Eve is her best book yet:
“Collins tops herself by creating a suspenseful nonstop thrill ride … Truly the best Christian Fiction suspense title so far this year.”
– Library Journal, starred review
“Crimson Eve is Collins at her very best. It left me feeling as if I’d climbed Mount Everest without oxygen … I didn’t think Brandilyn could outdo herself after reading Coral Moon. She did.”
“I’ve never edited a more tightly crafted, deftly woven, compellingly written book.” –a Crimson Eve editor, with 20 years experience
“This is your best book! I could not stop reading!” – one of many readers with similar responses
Read about Violet Dawn and Coral Moon, books one and two in the Kanner Lake series.
Read my reviews by clicking on the titles below:~
My review of Crimson Eve is coming shortly!
I pinched this preview from my friend C.J.'s post at TitleTrakk's Book News Blog:~
Marlo Schalesky's next novel Beyond the Night is set to release in May of 2008.
Marlo recently had the following to say about her projects, including Beyond the Night:
After Veil of Fire, I'm writing 3 contemporary novels for Waterbrook-Multnomah. All of them are "Love Stories with a Twist!," a new type of story that I think will knock readers' socks off. The first, Beyond the Night, releases in May 2008. With groovy 70's trivia and a whopper of an ending twist, this one was as fun to write as it will be to read.
Here's a blurb about it:
They say love is blind. This time, they're right. A poignant love story . . . A shocking twist . . . Come, experience a love that will not die.
Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook) meets M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense) in this moving story of two people trying to find love in the dark. A woman going blind, a man who loves her but can't tell her so, a car crash, a hospital room, and an ending that has to be experienced to be believed. Watch for it next May!
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
I have just been advised by the publicist that the winner of The Vase of Many Colors by Rachel Thoene will receive a signed copy so click here to enter!
Click here to visit Donna Fleisher's blog and see a trailer for her new story, Standing Strong. I tried to put it up here but it just wasn't happening - LOL!
I have read this final story in Donna Fleisher's Homeland Heroes series and it packs a punch ~ in typical Donna style it is gritty, emotive and real! My review will be up at TitleTrakk first then here so check back soon.
Amy Grant's Age to Age album (vinyl record, of course!) was my first exposure to contemporary Christian music in my teen years and my sister and I loved listening to it and dreaming about being just like Amy! So when I saw Mosaic, Amy's first autobiography I was excited to read it and I was not disappointed! Amy has richly yet conversationally told vignettes and experiences from her life, from charming tales to emotive losses and all the "stuff" in between. With lyrics to her many songs interposed between the chapters, Mosaic provides an honest and heartwarming insight into the life of a talented young girl, her journey as an artist, a person and as a much loved child of God.
I am thrilled to be giving away six (yep, 6!) copies of this fascinating book! To be entered in the draw, leave a post telling me your favourite Amy Grant song by midnight Tuesday 23rd October, 2007.
Read Amy's bio and more about Mosaic below:~
Grammy Award–winning artist Amy Grant has lived in the spotlight since bursting onto the Christian music scene as a teenager thirty years ago. In that time her work, marriage, and spiritual life have been subject to varying degrees of adulation and criticism.
Now, in her first autobiographical book, Grant bares her heart and soul, giving readers an intimate glimpse into her everyday life and the lessons she’s learning along the way. From lighthearted reminiscences of her Tennessee childhood to painfully honest reflections on the journey of faith, her vivid writing draws readers into her world while simultaneously creating space for them to rethink their own perspectives on life.
With honesty and depth, Grant offers poignant and often startling insights on motherhood, marriage, friendship, faith, loss, forgiveness, and redemption. Never-before-shared stories about her husband, country music star Vince Gill, provide a look into her life as a celebrity, while intimate portraits of her mother and musings on the past reveal the various pieces of a life blessed with jagged edges as well as vivid colors. Readers will find their preconceived notions of this music icon stripped away as they settle in for a warmly satisfying conversation with a gracious and wise friend.Amy Grant is the best-selling Christian music artist of all time and the first to garner the number one spot on Billboard’s chart. Since beginning her career at age 17, she has earned six Grammy Awards and twenty-five Dove Awards, and last year she received her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Grant’s numerous television appearances include Oprah; Good Morning, America; and Late Night with David Letterman. In 2007 she’ll tour nationwide, performing with local symphonies in Atlanta, Minneapolis, Kansas City, and elsewhere.
To purchase a copy of Mosaic, CLICK HERE
Monday, 15 October 2007
Sunday, 14 October 2007
Saturday, 13 October 2007
Despite often wishing my life had been a bit more dramatic with a testimony that could helps transform other lives, I am thankful for the rather peaceful passage I made through my adolescent years and into adulthood. Tricia's story is different to mine and I have not doubt that as my girls hit their teenage years, I will be pulling out My Life, Unscripted for her words of wisdom, encouragement and support for my daughters and myself!
This book is unique and powerful and I recommend anyone with a teenage daughter (or soon to be) to post a comment by Sunday 21st October and enter the draw to win a copy of this amazing book.
Keep reading for more info on the book, Tricia's bio and other good stuff!
my life, unscripted
|An interview with Tricia Goyer!|
Q: Tell me about My Life, Unscripted
Sure! With real-life scripts, screenwriting terms, and timely topics, My Life, Unscripted helps teen girls explore their own inner struggles and outward relationships. It's my hope they'll learn the importance of "scripting" their own responses BEFORE challenging life-situations arise.
By contrasting real-life with TV/movies, it's my hope that teen girls will understand they don't have to get caught up in the drama. They don't have to face situations as they arise, but rather they can think about, pray about, and consider how to face these situations before they hit the big screen of their lives.
Q: Is it true that much of YOUR story shows up in these pages?
Gulp. Yes, I'm afraid so. In fact, I shared parts of my story that I SWORE I'd never tell a soul.
My teenage script (portrayed in the book as Trish Valley) wasn't one I'd suggest my daughter, nor my readers to copy.
Q: Tell me about these scripts.
The introductory script of Trish Valley shows a scene where Trish urges her mom to follow Trish's boyfriend into the McDonald's parking lot so she can "spill her news." The other girl in the car and her boyfriend's response to Trish's pregnancy are unfortunately not fiction. I wrote out the scenes as they would appear in an actual script. I even use all the correct terms and layout.
Q: In addition to teen pregnancy, what are some of the other "scripts"?
Do I have to tell? Well, I guess it's in print now! Let me see: fists fights with a rival, sneaking out of my parents' house, getting caught by my boyfriend kissing his best friend--does that give you an idea? Do I have to go on?
Q: No, you can stop there. But WHY? Why did you decide to share these stories?
First, because I want girls to understand the heartache of unwise decisions. I want to them to be able to relate to me, rather than feeling preached at. Also, I wanted to share my stories because many young women have faced the same type of situations, or they know friends who have. And finally because they are great object lessons for the importance of following biblical truth. That is something I did learn!
Q: What does your teenage daughter think about this book?
Leslie thinks it's great I'm able to connect with other teens. She's heard these stories for a while! She was 11-years-old when we first started volunteering together at a support group for teenage mothers together. As I taught the young moms things like nutrition and potty training, Leslie assisted adults in babysitting the toddlers. And while we loved giving and serving, it was the ride home that soon became the most meaningful part. As Leslie sat in the passenger's seat, I could see her mind considering my life as a teen mom, and she started asking questions.
Although it was hard to talk about my past mistakes, I knew this was an ideal opportunity to share real-life truths with my daughter. Each person walking this earth has regrets. Our talks showed me that instead of hiding my past troubles (and hoping my kids didn't find out) sharing my mistakes could actually give my daughter a better understanding to why values and wise decision-making skills are important.
Q: So now you're "having a heart-to-heart" with other teens through this book?
I sure hope that's how they see it! Those first talks with my daughter brought us closer, but I knew not every girl has had someone to offer advice such as: "build a supporting cast of people you can trust" or "consider the character qualities you'd like for a leading man."
Q: Okay, so your book is for teens, but what about the moms out there who feel they have past mistakes they don't want to share?
Well, they could each write a book about their teen years! Ha- just kidding!
But for those moms out there, maybe your teen years were not as drama-filled as mine. Or, if they were, maybe you are fearful of sharing them with your teen. The truth is, teens learn best not with information and knowledge, but rather by hearing life examples and understanding how decisions can affect all parts of our lives. So, time to get brave, Mom. Open your heart and share what worked and what didn't. It just might help your daughter write a better script for herself.
Oh, yes, and consider buying your daughter My Life, Unscripted! Hopefully every teen girl can get some take-away to scripting a bright future!
Tricia has a fabulous new look website that has details of all her books and lots of other fun and helpful stuff! Check it out here!
She has written seven novels for Moody Publishing: From Dust and Ashes (2003); Night Song (2004), Dawn of a Thousand Nights (2005); Arms of Deliverance (2006); A Valley of Betrayal (2007); A Shadow of Treason (Fall 2007); and A Whisper of Freedom (Spring 2008).
Night Song was awarded American Christian Fiction Writer's 2005 Book of the Year for Best Long Historical. Dawn of a Thousand Nights won the same award in 2006.
Tricia has also written Life Interrupted: The Scoop on Being a Young Mom (Zondervan, 2004), 10 Minutes to Showtime (Thomas Nelson, 2004), and Generation NeXt Parenting (Multnomah, 2006). Life Interrupted was a 2005 Gold Medallion finalist in the Youth Category.
Also, coming out in the next year are: My Life, Unscripted (Thomas Nelson, 2007), Generation NeXt Marriage (Multnomah, Spring 2008), and 3:16-the teen version of the a book by Max Lucado (Thomas Nelson, Spring 2008).
Tricia and her husband John live with their three children in Kalispell, Montana. Tricia's grandmother also lives with them, and Tricia volunteers mentoring teen moms and leading children's church. Although Tricia doesn't live on a farm, she can hit one with a rock by standing on her back porch and giving it a good throw.
Tricia has two books that will be out soon ...
A Shadow of Treason (Moody Publishing), Fall 2007
Generation NeXt Marriage (Multnomah), January 2008
Apologies ~ I had the incorrect date for the drawing of this book!
The draw will close midnight Sunday 14th October not the 21st as I originally had in my post so post a comment now to have a chance to win one of 4 copies of this lovely story!
|I am delighted to introduce another member of the Thoene family who has taken to writing ~ Rachel Thoene! If you would like to win a copy of Rachel's new release, post a comment before midnight on Thursday 18th October and you will be entered in to the draw. This giveaway is open to ALL my readers! |
In the very small house, on the very grand hill, in the very small town author Rachel Thoene – daughter of veteran bestsellers Bodie and Brock Thoene - masterfully explores the captivating notions of forgiveness and grace in The Vase of Many Colors. This beautifully written and colorfully illustrated family tale peeks into the world of the very bouncy girl and her old, crooked grandmother. A world where rainbows appear on the walls and simple flower-gathering is a nightly ritual.
And where broken things are mended with the gentle breath of love to become a masterpiece for all generations to enjoy.
In a world where broken things are tossed aside with ease, Rachel Thoene’s story is a captivating reminder of the power of forgiveness and grace to mend life’s cracks and create a Vase of Many Colors in you.
Themes of the Book
Finding forgiveness. Picking up the pieces after an accident. Learning to forgive yourself. The meaning of grace.
About Rachel Thoene
Rachel knows what it’s like to pick up broken pieces. As a site administrator at two alternative schools for at-risk students in an urban school district in Sacramento, California, she helps students put the pieces of their broken lives back together and discover success where there was only self doubt. As a mother, she finds new beauty in the hearts of her two children, Ian and Jessie. “Every person we come into contact with has the potential to be a beautiful and valuable work of art,” Rachel says. The inspiration for the story began as an email to a friend who was struggling with how to relate to her teenage son. When the story further developed, Rachel realized that the underlying message appealed to the experiences of adults and children alike.
Q & A with Author Rachel Thoene
1) One of the major themes of Vase of Many Colors is restoration. Can you tell us a little bit about what restoration means to you and how restoration is different than just forgiveness.
Restoration suggests that things are being repaired and made new again. When I was growing up, one of my favorite things to do with my mom and my Nana (Mom’s Mom) was to go visit antique stores. While they frequently searched for the exquisite and the rare and the beautiful, I always felt that some of our greatest treasures were the old chairs … the ones with the woven cane seats. They were old, dusty, tired and broken down, but when we would come across chairs like that, if they suited our needs, Mom would get them to an antique restorer who would tirelessly restore or repair the caning in the seat of these old chairs… it always amazed me how the new canes could make that old tired chair new enough and strong enough to hold our weight.. even though the rest of the structure was 100 – 150 years old… but the structural integrity of that chair was restored to a point where it could support a grown man’s weight. Same goes for stained glass windows… bits and pieces of colored glass would be cut to size to repair some of the stained glass windows we bought from those same antique dealers… it became an act of everything old becomes new again… plain old forgiveness can be too easy… simply brushing off a wrong, without really acknowledging that it caused broken-ness. But restoration is work…an art and takes delicate craftsmanship… if you restore someone or something, you are investing time and energy into righting the wrong.
2) Sometimes forgiving yourself can be the hardest part of all. How can you learn to forgive yourself when everyone else has already?Humans have a tendency to continue the mental flogging don’t they? I have a terribly guilty conscience… and will lay awake at night mulling over and re-hashing scenarios until I have horrible headaches and my stomach and shoulders are in knots. And why? What does that accomplish? Sometimes I have to go back to folks I’ve wronged a couple of times and explain, “Hey, I’m still feeling this way about what I said or what I did… and I just want you to know that I’m having trouble forgiving myself.” My current boss and I have that kind of relationship and we just talk until we’re all talked out. He calls it “un-stuffing” and it has really helped me come to forgiveness of myself a lot quicker. Maybe the idea is to be thorough in your discussion of forgiveness and not so quick to dismiss the wrong. Folks don’t enjoy reliving painful experiences, but sometimes you have to cut away the infection to get to healthy tissue again. Then you’re truly clean and ready to start fresh.
3) Your parents are legends in Christian fiction. How has your upbringing affected your writing style?
WHOA! Yup. They sure are legends alright! And the funny thing is that I never saw myself as a writer… I expressed myself privately in poems and prose and could write really long letters and emails to friends… and when it came to technical writing and research I could really shine. But I sure never saw myself as a writer of their caliber. And certainly not of that level of self discipline. I grew up appreciating the art form and yet never wanting anything to do with it. It was TOO MUCH WORK! So I’m not sure I even have a style per se… I enjoy words… LOVE a good dictionary and my goal is to someday own an O.E.D. but when I write these days, it is to communicate a point or illustrate a message without putting people on the defensive. That’s a huge part of my job as a school administrator… communicate effectively without causing emotional trauma.
4) What was your inspiration for Vase of Many Colors?
Whew boy. My inspiration was my friend, Val and her relationship and the trials she was having as a mother with one of her sons at the time. But the story really became one of those divinely inspired sorts of messages… it just sort of fell out of me in an email to her… a sort of allegory or parable if you will, about how as mothers, even when our kids make dumb mistakes and bad choices, we can still pick up the pieces and help them put themselves back together again. Of course as I sat back and spent some time with the story, quite a few different messages sort of jumped out at me. And that continues to happen as I review it in relation to different audiences and different life scenarios.
5) Who is the target audience for Vase of Many Colors? Adults or Children?
Oh! Why limit it to just those two groups? I think the target audience is whomever has relationships with other human beings… some of my teachers have used it in their classes with their high school aged students and also with their own grandchildren. I have shared the story with school children and adults in difficult situations. It doesn’t really matter who you are or how old, if you deal with other human beings, you need to read this story. My boss has used it with staff members. I have shared it with some of my students who are teen age mothers and grandmothers who are raising their grandchildren…. The target audience is humans.
6) How can adults and children both benefit from reading Vase of Many Colors?
I think the story speaks to the fact that ALL of us have made, currently make and will continue to make mistakes. We will experience heartaches but WOW! The good news is that we can be forgiven, we can be healed, and we can be whole again. And it even applies to really deep hurts, like death of a loved one or a serious illness, loss of a job or other traumatic spiritual and emotional experiences… we’ll be all busted up to pieces but you know what? God can put us back together again. And when He does, we find ourselves staring into the old dark, musty closets of our past and wondering how in all heaven and earth He is going to take all that garbage and make anything good of it…. But He always does. And we never look the same but we’re new and improved… we might have a couple of emotional limps or scars left over but you ask any cancer patient who has beaten the disease and they will tell you that the scars serve as reminders of the battle and their courage to win and also as their reminder of their humanity. Those reminders cause us to be compassionate toward others who are experiencing the same or similar issues.
7) What book has most influenced you personally?
Oh boy. Am I being graded on this? Next question… do I have to have only one? I don’t think I can narrow it but if I had to I would say that the most currently influential book I have read is called “The Penny: A Novel” by Joyce Meyer and Deborah Bedford. Do you want me to do a full book report? It’s just one of those books that soothes your heart and your brain… like Chapstick after a really bad cold.
8) What book are you reading now?
I’m reading about six books right now but the most powerful book I’m reading right now is called “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. It’s a business leadership type book but has direct application in what I’m doing right now as a school site leader.
9) What do you want readers to know most about you?
Hmmmm…. I think I’d rather have them understand the importance of what I do as an educator for underprivileged and at-risk children. And then put my job into perspective with what folks do at home with their own children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc. We all share a responsibility to help shape and mold the young people’s lives and a good, solidly structured home, consistent behavioral boundaries and expectations for our children really do make a difference when they start the journey into young adulthood. But don’t be over-protective of your kids either. Let them make their mistakes in a safe environment, because the world at large can be a REALLY unforgiving place and sometimes, if we make mistakes out there, they can prove to be fatal… I want readers to HELP ME help my students…. And my teachers… help us continue to make a difference in the lives of our students and the communities we work in.
10) In a society where many things are considered “disposable”, how does restoration figure into the mix?
MAN! So I work in the Educational Options Division of a school district in urban Sacramento California and we have, in our division, for many years said, “We are known as throw away students, throw away teachers and throw away administrators.” Meaning all of us, from the students through the administrators have at some point been considered throw aways… less than… not good enough for “regular education.” All of us, in one way or another, in our previous schools and/or jobs, didn’t fit the mold of what good students, teachers and administrators were supposed to look like so we were dismissed and “sent” to continuation schools where we would either be re-habilitated or just wait out the life of our professional careers. Well we have started a trend in our district, courtesy of Dr. Larry Buchanan, ret’d and Dr. Patricia Newsome, Acting Superintendent, of really building up the Educational Options Schools. So we are shifting attitudes and acknowledging our mistakes but moving ourselves toward a better, healthier future. It’s really a shift in attitudes that will change society… consider the “Green Movement” currently afoot in America… we change out our old incandescent light bulbs in favor of energy efficient fluorescent bulbs. We recycle everything from aluminum to plastic to motor oil. We see people trading SUV’s for hybrid vehicles and taking their own bags to the grocery store. We compost our garden and yard scraps. And yet I have two schools and am associated with two more which house over 1400 students who are considered to be “throw aways.” I have a CalSafe program on my campus which is a daycare center for teen parents… I have 18 babies and toddlers enrolled in that program right now and more on the way. Down the street from my campus, I know a woman who lives under a bridge because the older man she was taking care of passed away so the family fired her and she started drinking and can’t seem to hold a job. I have students enrolled in my school who have no place to call home but the back of an abandoned car or a filthy motel room, and I have a significant portion of my students who are enslaved to the Foster care system….
I could fill a semi-truck with the number of toothbrushes, pairs of socks and coats we’ve handed out over the years I’ve been here. Society has deemed that some of its own members are “disposable”. So how does “restoration” figure into the mix? It doesn’t figure into the mix… it IS the mix. We need to start cleaning up the souls we’ve thrown away and disregarded and judged and sentenced right here in our own neighborhoods. I’m afraid it’s a bit of a hot topic for me because there are some who start talking about “THOSE KIDS …. THOSE PEOPLE…” and they sort of get on their high horses and peering out through their glass houses and pointing fingers at all the systems, the government, the educational system, the welfare system and such… But THOSE KIDS aren’t THOSE Kids… They’re OUR kids…
If you want to clean something up, start with your own sock drawer. Then move to your t-shirt drawer and then your closet and your garage…. Restoration starts at home. And our churches, communities and schools are an extension of our homes. I’ve got to quit because I’ll get all riled up. I guess I’m kind of passionate about the issue.
Restoration is another word for healing… so let’s heal our families and our communities first before we start trying to tell other folks how to fix the rest of the world.
Friday, 12 October 2007
Ok, couldn't help myself!! Susie May Warren and the creative team at Tyndale House pick their covers well - LOL!
To find outmore about Rafe, little brother to Nick from Reclaiming Nick, check out his website, here!
Taming Rafe releases in January, 2008 from Tyndale House.
Susie is also releasing Chill Out, Josey! the sequel to the hilarious Everything's Coming Up Josey, available next month from Steeple Hill.
Gotta love that ~ can't wait to read both!
Judge Laurel Kincaid is determined to be the first female Chief Justice ever appointed to the Alabama Supreme Court but her focus is thrown off kilter when journalist Cole McGaughan asks her for a dinner date during the most important press conference of her career.
Cole McGaughan is hoping to fast track his own career from religious reporter to political reporter with the new York Daily Journal and reporting the battle to win the seat on the Alabama Supreme Court may be the ticket he needs to achieve that.
Laurel has built her reputation as a judge determined to uncover the truth and a as woman of utmost integrity, committed to her faith and upholding family values. Her opponent in the judicial race is determined to win by fair means or foul and Cole has the ammunition to destroy Laurel's campaign and ensure his future as a journalist.
Off The Record oozes with the Southern charm, sublime humour and excellent characterization which mark all of Elizabeth White's books. Laurel's blue blood family provide plenty of entertainment and Cole's concern over his young brother Tucker, reveals more of his character. Elizabeth White extends the appeal of this book by revealing the dirty politics that go hand in hand with judicial nominations, adding interest and intrigue. The interplay between the dedicated Laurel and Cole, a man balancing his career goals and his new found faith, sparkles and their attraction is electric. Being in the legal profession myself, I found it a little far fetched that a thirty-two year old woman would be seeking nomination as Chief Justice but this did no take away from my enjoyment of this delightful story. All of Elizabeth White's books can be found on my bookshelf and Off The Record will join them.
As seen at TitleTrakk.com
Click on the links below for more of Beth White and her books:~
Thursday, 11 October 2007
Romance, rivalry and revenge return to the high seas in MaryLu Tyndall's finale in her Legacy of The King's Pirates trilogy, The Restitution.
"I have not come to hurt you or to take you captive again."
Captain Kent Carlton, a pirate and a rogue, has been cursed by compassion and love when it comes to his feelings for Lady Isabel Ashton, a woman who feels nothing but disgust and derision for him. Kent knows he is deserving of her scorn for his unforgivable behaviour, taking what wasn't his and leaving her a broken and defiled woman.
"Where is your justice, God?"
Lady Isabel's life is shattered. As the mother of an illegitimate child, her beloved Frederick, her hopes of a good marriage and a return to noble status are dashed. She is the subject of gossip and ridicule and even her parents refuse to acknowledge their grandson. When Frederick is kidnapped, Isabel's last remnants of faith desert her and her soul is consumed with finding her son and destroying the man who took him away.
"All you need say is yes, Isabel. Then you can have not only these pearls, but my title, my wealth, my undying devotion..."
Another man seeks Isabel's hand, a man promising her all the things she treasures and has dreamed of. Isabel must choose between a passion she fails to understand or position and riches which will restore her lost honour.
The Restitution is another ride on the high seas that should not be missed. MaryLu Tyndall weaves an unlikely love story against a backdrop of treachery, secrecy and revelations of faith and pulls it off magnificently.
Isabel is an appealing character whose love for her son and her attraction to his pirate father wars with her need to recover her dignity and respect in the fickle world of high society of the British aristocracy in Jamaica in the 1600's. Kent Carlton has spurned society and plundered his way to notoriety as a cruel and calculating pirate captain. His life is in turmoil as he realises his love for Isabel and the need for her forgiveness is the first time he has put the needs of another before his own. With genuine writing, Kent does not transform overnight but continues to struggle to balance compassion for Isabel and the crueler nature he has worn for years. Isabel's faith is pushed to its limits when she finds herself alone with no protector other than the God she has railed against since the disappearance of her son. With action aplenty, a thrilling ending and twists throughout the story, The Restitution is a fitting ending to this innovative story of rogues and redemption.
The Restitution is available now from Barbour.
As seen at TitleTrakk!
Click on the titles below for more reviews and a fun interview with MaryLu:~