Monday, 30 June 2008

B & H Fiction website


Publisher Broadman & Holman is strengthening its fiction line with a great team including Karen Ball as Senior Acquisitions Editor and wonderful authors such as Jamie Carie, John B Olson, Rebeca Seitz, T L Higley, James David Jordan and more.

I can vouch for the exceptional quality of these authors, having had the privilege of reading their soon to be released novels. B&H's focus on fiction will be a boon to fiction read
ers everywhere!


Be sure to check out their new fiction
website to find out more and to grab the opportunity to download a free copy of Rebeca Seitz' fun scrapbooking novel, Sisters, Ink, and to enter the draw to win scrapbooking supplies :)

You can't lose!

CFBA Blog Tour of Hidden by Shelley Shephard Gray


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Hidden

Avon Inspire (May 27, 2008)

by

Shelley Shepard Gray


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Hidden is Shelley’s first foray into inspirational fiction. Previously, Shelley lived in Texas and Colorado, where she taught school and earned both her bachelors and masters degrees in education. She now lives in southern Ohio where she writes full time. Shelley is an active member of her church. She serves on committees, volunteers in the church office, and is part of the Telecare ministry, which calls homebound members on a regular basis. Shelley looks forward to the opportunity to write novels that showcase her Christian ideals.




ABOUT THE BOOK

Hidden is a remarkable story about the unlikely love between a modern girl on the run and an Amish boy from the family who shelters her.

When Anna decides it's time to leave her abusive boyfriend, she doesn't know where to turn. Rob is a successful and respected person in her community. He has completely won over her parents with his good looks and prestigious position at a top law firm. Only Anna has seen his dark side. But when Rob hurts Anna yet again, she realizes that she must finally help herself.

Desperate, she runs to the one place she’s always felt completely safe, the Amish Brenneman Bed and Breakfast, where years ago she and her mother once stayed, and where Anna met life-long friend Katie Brenneman. When Anna shows up years later unexpectedly, the family welcomes her in, with few questions asked, and allows her to stay, dressed as the Amish in Plain clothes, and help around the inn.

But Katie’s older brother Henry doesn’t take too kindly to the intrusion. Anna wonders if it’s because he’s already had his heart broken. To Henry’s shame, from the moment he sees Anna, he feels a strong attraction. To cover his infatuation, he tries to ignore her, knowing no good would ever come from keeping an eye on a fancy woman like her. But as he sees that Anna has a good heart and is not the selfish, spoiled woman he imagined her to be, he feels his heart pointing towards her.

Anna comes to realize that she’s found a home and true love in the last place she’d expected. How can she deny the life she left behind? And will her chance for happiness be stolen away by the man who can’t seem to let her go?

If you would like to read the Prologue, go HERE

Christian Fiction Online Magazine



The first
issue of the Christian Fiction Online Magazine (CFOM) releases tomorrow 1st July, 2008!

Click on the button tomorrow here or in my sidebar and see all the great articles, reviews,
author columns and more!

Congr
atulations to Bonnie Calhoun and Michelle Sutton for all their hard work and dedication in getting this magazine off the ground :)

Blog Tour for Beyond the Night by Marlo Schalesky



Beyond The Night

Multnomah Publishing

ISBN 13: 978-1-60142-016-1

Paperback; $12.99; 304 pages

With music of the 1970s playing throughout, Marlo Schalesky has joined forces with Multnomah Books to release Beyond the Night, the first of three books whose endings aren’t what readers expect.

A wet road, the dark of night, and pouring rain become the cruel combination that forces Maddie and her husband’s car off the road. Now Maddie lies in a coma, her faithful and loving mate by her side speaking words of encouragement.

As she rests in the darkness of her hospital room, the life journey Maddie has traveled plays again in her mind. Scenes flash in between whispers of a voice she’s grown to love. “Maddie, remember with me. Remember the day I fell in love.”

A playful kiss igniting romance between friends, an extraordinary love, a universe of fear and darkness, a triumph over blindness in both eyes and soul. Maddie’s walked a hard road and succeeded against the odds.

But then came the night that changed everything.

Marlo Schalesky delivers a powerfully emotional story that is certain to take both Maddie and the reader Beyond the Night.


About Marlo Schalesky

Wind Remembers, Cry Freedom, Freedom’s Shadow, and Empty Womb, Aching Heart. A graduate of Stanford University, Marlo recently earned a Masters of Theology
with an emphasis in Biblical Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. She also runs her own construction consulting business as well as an engineering firm that she and her husband own. Married nearly twenty years, she lives with her husband, Bryan, and their four daughters in California.


Q&A with Marlo Schalesky, author of Beyond the Night

Q. Marlo, you’re a woman full of surprises! What made you decide to work in the construction industry? Isn’t that a field normally dominated by males?

A. Well, something has to pay for my Starbucks venti white mochas! But seriously, when I met my husband at Stanford years ago (Note: A number of incidents in Paul and Maddie’s love story in Beyond the Night grow out of my story with Bryan . . . I’ll let the reader guess which), he was majoring in Engineering, and I majored in Chemistry. After graduating, he got a job in sales in the construction industry (roofing); I did chemical research. We discovered that there was a lot of chemistry involved in roofing. So, about ten years ago, we decided to open our own engineering firm that specialized in roofing and waterproofing. From the contacts and experience I gained there, in January of 2007 I opened my own construction consulting firm where I can use my left-brained skills (writing novels uses up all the rightbrained energy) to earn a few bucks and pay for those fancy coffees. And I have to admit, I enjoy doing something that’s so different from my writing.

It’s refreshing to deal with numbers and forms, caulking and chemicals, instead of only words and ideas. It makes for a nice balance in my life.

As for construction being male-dominated – it certainly is as far as actual construction workers and facilities managers. But there are plenty of women working in the administrative aspects of the business, which again makes for a nice balance. It’s fun to meet different kinds of people, and a number of them have also become my readers. Others just think I’m crazy – trying to run a business, writing novels, and take care of my four little daughters. But, hey, with God all things are possible . . .

Q. How did you decide to write a series of novels with surprise endings?

A. It was all God’s fault. And it started with a dream. Not one of those “I have a dream” kind of dreams, but a real, honest-to-goodness, it’s-3am-and-I’m-asleep kind of dreams. I dreamt Paul and Maddie’s love story. And when I woke up, I couldn’t get the two of them out of my head. I thought about them in the shower, on the way to seminary classes, in the grocery store. Everywhere! For weeks, I found myself replaying tidbits of their story in my mind, until I finally figured out that maybe God wanted me to write their story.

“But,” said I to God, “there’s not enough here. It’s not compelling enough.”

“Yes,” said God to me, “but Maddie’s going blind.” (Well, maybe it wasn’t so much in those words, but just in the revelation of what was going on with Maddie.)

“Oh,” said I, “That’s very interesting. But it’s still not enough. Not quite.”

Two more days went by, and Paul and Maddie’s story still kept teasing my mind. “It’s not enough,” I kept saying to God. “There’s got to be more.”

And then I saw it – the big twist. The incredible truth that I had no idea about before. It took my breath away. So, after I finished picking my jaw up off the floor, I sat down and starting working on the proposal for Beyond the Night.

As I fleshed out the story, I realized that this is exactly the type of book I’d like to keep writing – something with the poignancy of a Nicolas Sparks love story (without the sap!) matched with the knock-your-socks-off twist of a M. Night Shymalan movie (without the horror!). That kind of story excited me, spiritually, emotionally, mentally. And I figured that there had to be more people like me out there – people who want to be both moved emotionally and surprised and delighted intellectually. People who want to be changed, challenged, and caught with wonder by a story. People who just want something more in their stories, because the typical story is just not quite enough.

Happily, Multnomah agreed. When my agent sent them the proposal for Beyond the Night, they asked for two more ideas in one week. But how could I come up with two more stories like that in such a short time? It usually took months, even years, for me to find the right story. But God was faithful again. Onthe first day of that week, the storyline for Book 2, Faces in the Sand, came to me. And on the last day of the week, I got the idea for Book 3 (with five very nervous days in between). Multnomah contracted all three, and now I’m pressing forward, writing these books that God has given me to write, and prayingevery day that I’ll see the story as He has dreamed it. And I’m hanging on to the belief that He who gave me this mission will be faithful not only at its inception, but in the execution and beyond.

Q. You’ve been in the publishing industry for a while now with four previous novels and a nonfiction book to your credit. How has your publishing experience lined up with expectations? How has it not?

A. You’ll find that most of my books include a theme about life not turning out the way you plan or expect. That’s because God has given me the equivalent of a PhD in “My plans are not your plans, saith the Lord . . .” And my publishing experience has been a significant course in that learning process.

Nothing in my experience with publishing has gone according to expectation. At first, that was just because I was naïve. I thought I just had to write some good stuff, and I’d get a contract for my first books, which, at the time, was an end times series (this was before the Left Behind craze). So, I went to conferences with my proposal and heard from all the editors, “We aren’t interested in this type of futuristic fiction.” What they meant, of course, was they weren’t interested in that type of story from a newbie like me.

So, I tried historical fiction. And got a contract just as expected. Except the contract was canceled . . .that was unexpected. And it hurt.

Eventually, another publisher contracted that book and it became my first published novel. I received a few other contracts, had those books published, and then came another rude awakening in the form of sales figures. I expected to write a good book and have it do well. But that’s not how it worked for my third novel. Because of internal publishing house changes, sales went badly. And there wasn’t anything I could do about it. That was hard because I’d written the story as an act of faithfulness to God’s call, I felt He was pleased with it, I’d done everything I could in promotion and marketing, and still it “failed.” Ouch!

At that time, I was told to expect the numbers for that book to prevent other publishers from wanting to publish future books of mine. “It would have been better for you if that book hadn’t even been published,” they said. But God was about to crush that expectation as well.

A publisher contracted my next historical novel, I wrote it, and then just before it was scheduled for release, the company went through a large restructuring – they cut fiction, most of the members of the PR department left, the fiction editor left, and my book was stranded. I hadn’t expected that either.

But God was up to something in the meantime – a new story idea that I simply had to write. A story that so moved the Multnomah team, even in its synopsis form, that they wanted to publish it despite my previous sales numbers. They wanted that story, plus two more. The story was Beyond the Night. It came as an unexpected gift from God.

And just like everything else in my publishing experience, it has taken me by surprise. Pre-readers are calling me and emailing saying how the story has moved them, impacted them. But it’s not because of my great planning. It’s because God has again done something that I didn’t foresee, didn’t expect. And I thank Him for it.

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of Beyond the Night

Buy Beyond the Night at Amazon or Koorong


Saturday, 28 June 2008

The winner of Beyond the Night is....


Thomas (Becky) ~ congratulations!

Contact me with your snail mail details within 7 days to claim your book :)

My Soul to Keep by Davis Bunn & Aussie Giveaway

Fame and fortune combined with a selfish and dissolute lifestyle ends in tragedy for the Oscar winning actor, Brent Stark, destroying his reputation and his career.

Transformed by God during his time in prison, Brent lives a modest and somewhat reclusive life.

Approached by entrepreneur, Bobby Dupree to join him in his God inspired venture into movie making, Brent is at a crossroads in his life. Acting and directing remain his passion but he knows where that passion has led him in the past so Brent puts out a fleece and awaits on God to do the impossible ~ convince the woman whose life he destroyed to work with him again.

Hollywood hopeful, Shari Khan, has a foothold in the studio of heavyweight Sam Menzes and she plans to ride all the way to the top by crushing Bobby Dupree's upstart movie and production company.

Davis Bunn provides an in depth insider's look in to the world of Hollywood ~ the glamour, wealth and beauty alongside the greed, power plays and self interest. At the heart of this story is the broken life of Brent Stark and his journey towards redemption. Superb characterisation marks this novel especially the vibrant Bobby Dupree and his dedication to God's vision for his money and time. While I found Brent's character the longest to warm to he is fascinating and his transformation inspiring. Drawing on the David and Goliath storyline, there is still plenty of tension as the Bobby fights for the survival of his movie and Shari plots to destroy it. There are deep truths to be discovered in this novel, none greater than the restoration of hope and love from the ashes of bitterness, the power of prayer and the joy of belonging to a community whose hope is in God. I found My Soul to Keep a compelling and thought provoking read.

As seen at TitleTrakk.com

Aussie Giveaway

Post a comment by midnight 4th July, 2008 and have an Aussie email address and you will be entered into the draw to win a copy of My Soul To Keep


Relz Reviewz Extras

Visit Davis' website

Buy My Soul to Keep at Amazon or Koorong


Friday, 27 June 2008

Your chance to win RITA nominated books!


One of my favourite authors and people is Jamie Carie. Jamie's debut novel, Snow Angel, has been nominated for a RITA in the First Book category ~ a fantastic effort and even more so as a CBA author.

Jamie is interviewing each of the nominees in her category and giving away a copy of each of their books! So don't miss out on this chance to learn about some new authors and maybe win a book!

Check out Jamie's
blog for all the details.

Her first interview is with Helen Brenna and her book, Treasure, is up for grabs now.

Unexpected Joy by Lisa McKay

One of the great joys of this reviewing caper has been "meeting" the wonderful Lisa McKay ~ psychologist, Aussie, author and most recently fiancée (congrats, Lisa and Mike!).

Lisa sent me her latest essay (believe me I would read this girl's shopping list!) and I loved it so much I wanted to share it with you.

With Lisa's permission, I have posted it here ~ just soak it in :)


Unexpected Joy by Lisa McKay


I've been in love with reading since before I can remember. Our family photo albums are peppered with photos of me curled up with books – in huts in Bangladesh, on trains in Europe, in the backseat of our car in Zimbabwe. Recently my parents went on holiday to Northern Australia, and I got a postcard from them not of Ayers Rock or Kakadu, but of a little girl propped up against the side of a sleeping calf, reading.

I can't remember my parents reading to us before bed, although they swear they did – sweet tales about poky puppies and a confused baby bird looking for it's mother. No, my earliest memories of reading are solitary, sweaty, ones. They are of lying on the cool marble floor of our house in Dhaka. An overhead fan gently stirred the dense heat while I chipped away at frozen applesauce in a small plastic container, book in hand. But it's from around nine, when we moved from Bangladesh to the States, that my memories of books, just like childhood itself, become clearer.

Of all the moves I've made in my life, this was one of the most traumatic. Abruptly enco
untering the world of the very wealthy after two years of living cheek by jowl with the world of the very poor, I discovered that I didn't fit readily into either world. My fourth grade classmates in Maryland had no framework for understanding where I had been for the last two years – what it was like to ride to church in a rickshaw pulled by a skinny man on a bicycle, to make a game out of pulling three-inch-long cockroaches out of the sink drain while brushing your teeth at night, or to gaze from the windows of your school bus at other children picking through the corner garbage dumps.

I, in turn, lacked the inclination to rapidly absorb and adopt the rules of thi
s new world – a world where your grasp on pre-teen fashion, pop-culture, and boys all mattered terribly. Possibly I could have compensated for my almost total lack of knowledge in these key areas with lashings of gregarious charm, but at nine I lacked that too. I was not what you would call a sunny child.

So I read in
stead. I read desperately.

I read pretty much anything I could get my hands on. One of the few good things I could see about living in the States was the ready availability of books. Some weekends Mum and Dad would take us to the local library's used book sale. Books were a quarter each. I had a cardboard box and carte blanche. On those Saturday mornings I was in heaven.

Like many kids, I suspect, I was drawn to stories of outsiders, or children persevering against all odds in the face of hardship. I devoured all of C.S. Lewis' stories of Narnia and adored the novels of Frances Hodgson Burnett, especially the ones featuring little girls who were raised in India before being exiled to face great hardship in Britain. But I also strayed into more adult territory. I trolled our bookshelves and the bookshelves of family friends, and those bookshelves were goldmines for stories about everything from religious persecution in Russia, to murder, to sepoy uprisings, child brides and honor killing in India.

"It would be nice," my father commented dryly upon reading the first draft of this essay, "if you could manage not to make it sound like our personal library was stocked exclusively with troubling filth."


"Dad," I patiently explained, "that's why I used the goldmine analogy. You don't just stum
ble across gold, you have to dig for it. I worked really hard to find that stuff in amongst all the boring family-friendly fare."

Mum and Dad didn't know everything I got into, of course. After they cau
ght me reading a tale set largely in a brothel in South Africa and confiscated it, I got stealthier with censorable material. I also found their hiding place – behind the pile of sweaters on the top shelf of the wardrobe – and read the rest of that particular book in chunks during times they were both out of the house. In retrospect, even at eleven I wasn't reading largely for pleasant diversion, for fun, for the literary equivalent of eating ice cream in the middle of the day. I was extreme reading – pushing boundaries, looking to be shocked, scared, thrilled, and taught. I was reading to try and figure out how to make sense of pain.

It is entirely possible that had we remained in Australia throughout my childhood I would still have spent the majority of these years feeling isolated and misunderstood. After all, in the midst of our mobility I never doubted my parent's love for me or for each other yet this did not forestall an essential loneliness that was very deeply felt. I suspect I would still have grown into someone who feels compelled to explore the juxtaposition of shadow and light, who is drawn to discover what lies in the dark of life and of ourselves. But I also suspect that the shocking extremes presented by life in Bangladesh and America propelled me down this path earlier, and farther, than I may naturally have ventured.

It was largely books that were my early companions on this journey - stories of poverty and struggle, injustice and abuse, violence and debauchery, yes. But they were also threaded through with honor and courage, sacrifice and discipline, character and hope.

Most people seem to view "real life" as the gold standard by which to interpret stories, but I don't think that does novels justice. For me, at least, the relationship between the worlds of real and fiction was reciprocal. These books named emotions, pointed to virtue and vice, and led me into a deeper understanding of things I had already witnessed and experienced in life. They also let me try on, like a child playing dress-up, experiences and notions new to me. They acted as maps, mirrors, and magnifying glasses.

In all those years of reading, however, I had never put down a book, no matter how much I loved it, and thought to write to the author to thank them for what they had given me.


Which is probably why I never expected to get letters about my book.

You spend years writing – going over every word again, and again, and again. You hear the title the publishers have chosen and feel an
inner ring of "yes". You reverberate for days with the shock of seeing something that has existed fully formed in your mind through someone else's eyes in the cover art they have designed to clothe your story. Then one day you get a box from the publisher, and you open it, and you pick up a copy of your own book for first time…

These were all incandescent but largely solitary moments. And after that, when the book actually came out, it felt as if it was out there doing i
t's own thing without me – roosting on bookstore shelves and in libraries, cruising around town, flying across the country.

After so much nurturing I was left alone in my empty nest and I felt a bit bereft, frankly.

And then I began hearing things.

It started with friends.


One wrote from the heart about reading the book during a trip to the town where he had once lived in far North Queensland – a place he had not visited for five years, not since the traumatic death of a close friend there.

"It was somehow nice," he wrote, "to have these guys trekking through the jungle dealing with their experiences whilst I was getting flashbacks."


A friend here in California told me he had taken the book with him when he'd returned to Vietnam for the first time since he'd fled as a refugee in 1978. When he left that time, Hai reported, he'd been a frightened seven-year-old on a small, rickety, fishing boat headed for Thailand. As they'd neared land a Thai police boat stopped them and instructed them to turn around and sail back to Vietnam.

"We had to sink the boat and swim ashore so they wouldn't send us back. Then they picked us up and took us off to prison," Hai said. "I was reading your book and it all came back. I know what it is to set out at night on a small boat and not know whether you'll live. They went through what I went through."


Then letters started filtering into my website mailbox. Total strangers – the ones who had accompanied the book in its meanderings without me – were writing to let me know about their journeys together.


They've written of how reading the book brought back their own experiences of short-term mission trips, of how grateful they were for an account of the difficulties involved in returning home after life-altering experiences, of how they came away challenged to learn more about what is going on in Indonesia and around the world. They've written demanding to know how the relationships in the story play out. They've w
ritten just to admonish me to write faster. One letter that made me laugh out loud started with, "Lisa. I have just two words for you – HURRY UP! I am a quarter of the way through your book and I am already hitting your website looking for a new one."

There have been a handful of these letters that have taken my breath away and left me profoundly overwhelmed. Many of these came from those who themselves survived the conflict my characters found themselves caught up in. One woman who lived in Ambon for many years and must remain unnamed, wrote:


"Your book really captured the gut-wrenching, tragic stuff that that conflict in the Maluku islands was all about. I must say it was a bit of an emotional ride to experience Cori's journey as I read it. My colleague just read it, and her word was, "raw". We and basically everyone we knew there, Indonesian and ex-pat, lost our homes, and some lost much, much, more.


I'm very thankful for the healing from the wounds caused by hearing so many stories of human tragedy and loss, but found myself realizing anew that all that we heard and experienced has changed how we see things… Obviously, this conflict affected us all in many ways, but by God's grace, we've found new 'normals', and can relate to the suffering in our world that we had no idea about prior to this."


These letters have been many things – not least encouraging and energizing. But most of all I think, they have been humbling.


It amazes me to think that "Hands" has called out to others – that it has stirred memories, given voice to struggles and questions, and kept people company as they reflected on how they have changed as a result of pivotal times of suffering and struggle in their own lives.

I didn't write it hoping for that, not consciously. I wrote out of many of the compulsions that drove me to read as a lonely child. I was reaching for a private understanding. I was plumbing the depths of things that scare me. I was trying to figure out how to make sense of pain. And I was trying to follow through on a promise I made at eighteen.

What specific designs God may have on our lives, and how on earth we figure out what they might be, is a mystery that's been pondered at length by minds far more versatile than mine. Personally I don't think God minded overmuch whether I studied psychology or medicine in 1995, whether I moved to Croatia or Kazakhstan in 2001, or whether I ate raisin bran or cherry strudel for breakfast yesterday. This book is one of only a handful of things in my life I dare use the word "called" in reference too, and when I made that decision at eighteen and even while I was writing it I had little firm idea why I might feel that way. I had no training or experience in writing. I had never had a single thing published. And I had so little idea what I was doing on my first draft that I wrote seventy thousand words too many and didn't grasp until much later how unusual it was to be offered a contract off an unsolicited submission by the first publisher I queried.


Sometimes, many times perhaps, we may feel that abstract soul-tug of "calling" and never get a glimpse of reason or impact. So these echoes that come to me now in the form of comments and letters, they have been an unexpected joy.


They remind me of all I love best about reading, and gift me awe that I am so blessed to have been granted privilege to feed in some small way into other's essential dialogue between fiction and real, between us and God, between what is story and what is remembered, and between what has been and what will yet be.


Thank you.


© lisa mckay 2008

Relz Reviewz Extras

If you haven't read Lisa's book, My Hands Came Away Red, you are missing out! Add it to your TBR as soon as you can.

My review

Interview with Lisa

Visit Lisa's website

Buy My Hands Came Away Red at Amazon or Koorong

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Keeping His Pants On...Until He Gets Home

Gretchen's name has been entered in to the pool for a chance to win the Keeping His Pants On...Until He Gets Home gift basket!

Congratulations...hope you win!

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Getting to know Cheryl Wyatt

Cheryl Wyatt has hit the ground running with the release of her debut novel, A Soldier's Promise and the sequel, A Soldier's Family. Both books received Top Picks from Romantic Times Magazine and deservedly so.

Cheryl is a lot of fun so after you learn more about her in the interview below do check out her
website and blog, Squirrel's Treehouse.

Over to you, Cheryl:~


If you could have chosen your own name, what would it be?

SOMETHING EXOTIC. LOL! I’VE ALWAYS ENVIED WOMEN WHO HAVE BOYS’ NAMES..SUCH AS “SAM” ETC

Your first pet’s name?

A PAIR OF DOBERMANS NAMED JAKE AND JASPER I THINK. I WAS A BABY-TODDLER WHEN WE HAD THEM IN NEW MEXICO. THOSE DOGS LOVED ME. THEY WERE MY GUARDIANS. MY MOM HAS PICTURES OF ME SITTING IN THE ROCK GARDENS WITH THE DOGS ON EITHER SIDE OF ME. BOTH OF THEM LOOK LIKE CHIPMUNKS BECAUSE I HAD CRAMMED BOTH THEIR MOUTHS FULL OF ROCKS AND DIRT AND STICKS…AND THEY LET ME! DIDN’T CHEW MY HAND OFF AND I PROBABLY STUCK MY ARM INTO THEIR MOUTHS UP TO THE ELBOWS. LOL!

Your best friend’s name in primary(elementary) school?

NANNETTE HOLMES FROM NEW MEXICO.

Did you have a special toy that went everywhere with you when you were young? Please describe.

YES, MY SISTER LISA. GUFFAW! I TRIED TO DRAG HER EVERYWHERE. LITERALLY.

If you could be an animal for one day, what would you be and why?

A MUTANT ANIMAL CALLED A CHEAGLE. THAT IS AN EAGLE/CHEETAH MIX. PARTLY BECAUSE I CAN’T CHOOSE JUST ONE AND PARTLY BECAUSE I WOULD WANT TO BE ABLE TO BOTH FLY AND RUN LIKE THE WIND.

If you could meet a famous person, who would it be?

MEL GIBSON AND HE WOULD BE ASKING ME ABOUT A MOVIE DEAL FOR MY WINGS OF REFUGE SERIES. LOL! OR I’D LIKE TO MEET LAURA BUSH BECAUSE I ADMIRE HER STAND FOR LITERACY. OR BRITNEY SPEARS SO I COULD PRAY FOR HER AND OFFER PARENTING TIPS.

If you were stranded on a desert island what one object would you want with you? (Besides your Bible)

UM, CAN IT BE A PERSON? IF SO, I’D LIKE IT TO BE A MUTANT MALE. HIS NAME WOULD BE GEORGE KEVIN COSTNER EADS. BUT ONLY IF MY HUBBY PERISHED IN THE SHIPWRECK. OTHERWISE, I’D WANT THE OBJECT TO BE HIM. LOL!

If you could only have one favourite food to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?

MY MOM’S CHEESY BEEF TACOS WITH TOMATOES OF THE NON-SALMONELLA SORT, OR HEART ATTACK-ON-A-PLATE CHEESEBURGERS FROM THE GRILL.

What's your favorite ice cream flavor?

HATE ICE CREAM. BUT I’LL TAKE THE BANANAS, CARAMEL, HOT FUDGE, PECANS AND WHIPPED CREAM FROM A BANANA SPLIT ANY DAY! A

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A DARN FAST RACE CAR DRIVER AND A BOOK WRITER.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

AUSTRALIA TO A CRICKET GAME OR BACK TO INDIA TO LOVE ON THE TSUNAMI ORPHANS AGAIN. HAWAII WITH HUBBY FOR HOT, HOT… VOLCANOES. WELL? WHAT DID YOU THINK I WAS ABOUT TO SAY? HE LOVES FIRE AND SERIOUSLY WANTS TO SEE A VOLCANO UP CLOSE. SO I’D GO WITH HIM. A CRUISE THERE WOULD BE NICE. BACK TO DISNEYLAND WITH MY ENTIRE FAMILY TOO.

Besides God, who has influenced you the most?

TOO MANY TO NAME.

What's your favorite book?

PASSION FOR JESUS BY MIKE BICKLE. THE APPLAUSE OF HEAVEN BY MAX LUCADO FOR NON-FICTION. FOR FICTION: COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO BY ALEXANDRE DUMAS.

What part of your daily routine do you enjoy most?

SLEEP!

What's your favorite movie?

TOO MANY TO NAME. PASSION FOR JESUS. THE GUARDIAN. SCHINDLER’S LIST. THE GREEN MILE. FRIED GREEN TOMATOES. AUGUST RUSH. RAISING HELEN. SERENITY. MORE.

Where's the most interesting place you have been?

AN ICE CAVE IN GRANTS, NEW MEXICO

What's your most fervent prayer?

FOR EVERYONE I KNOW TO GO TO HEAVEN

What's the bravest thing you've ever done?

WENT TO INDIA ON A MONTH LONG MISSION TRIP WITHOUT MY FAMILY. DRAGGED RACED IN HIGH SCHOOL. (AND WON!)

What gift have you received that you will always treasure?

AN OUTFIT FROM INDIA AND GIFTS FROM THE TSUNAMI ORPHANS. LITTLE SHELLS FROM THE BEACHES WHERE THEIR PARENTS DIED. SHELLS TO REMIND ME TO PRAY FOR THEM.

What is your favorite Bible verse (or "one" of your favorites) and what does it mean to you?

Jer 29:11 because it’s filled with hope and reminds me of God’s promises

Zeph 3:17 because I love to know he sings and dances over us with joy and that he is mighty to save

Gal 2:20 because Jesus means everything to me

Psalms 91-1-4 because I have a strong sense of being rescued by God and hidden in the shelter of His wings

What was your most embarrassing moment in High School?

TOO MANY TO NAME BUT PROBABLY WHEN SOME MEAN BOYS THREW A LEAKING BLUE PEN AT ME. IT LANDED IN MY BLONDE HAIR AND WOULDN’T COME OUT FOR WEEKS. AND BLUE HAIR WAS not THE IN THING AT THE TIME. LOL

How did your husband propose to you?

SWEATING, SHAKING AND BITING THE EDGE OF A BLANKET. DON’T ASK. IT’S THE ONLY TIME I’VE SEEN HIM NERVOUS. LOL.

What was the best advice you received on marriage before you were married?

UM..IT’S KIND OF OBSCENE. BUT THERE WERE TWO THINGS. THE OBSCENE THING WAS FROM HIS GRANDFATHER WHO TOLD ME THAT I NEEDED TO ALWAYS KEEP IN MIND THAT MEN HAD TWO HEADS BUT ONLY ENOUGH OXYGEN TO SUPPLY ONE AT A TIME.

AND SECONDLY, FROM MY PASTOR WHO SAID THAT I NEED TO LOOK TO JESUS TO MEET ALL MY NEEDS AND NOT MY HUSBAND TO DO IT. THAT THINGS WOULD GET OUT OF BALANCE IF I BEGIN TO DEPEND ON MY HUSBAND MORE THAN DEPENDING ON GOD

What is the best gift your hubby (or someone) ever gave you?

MY FRIEND KELLY GAVE ME A REAL ALABASTER JAR FROM FRANCE WITH ISRAELI NARD INSIDE OF IT

MY HUBBY GAVE ME MY ENGAGEMENT RINGS, MARRIAGE AND MY CHILDREN.

MY GRANDPARENTS GAVE ME MY PARENTS

MY PARENTS GAVE ME LIFE AND A SISTER WHO IS ALSO A BEST FRIEND

AND GOD GAVE ME ALL OF THE ABOVE.

Ask each of your children one thing they think is special about you and share it with us, please!

ENO: THAT SHE TEACHES US ABOUT GOD AND THE BIBLE AND HOW TO PRAY AND SHE LAUGHS A LOT, LIKE ALL THE TIME, SHE LAUGHS

RANDA: THAT SHE, WELL I DON’T KNOW BECAUSE SHE CAN’T REALLY COOK MACARONI LIKE SHE SHOULD AND SHE BURNED THE MICROWAVE AND DADDY HAD TO GO GET ANOTHER ONE

MAGNUM: THAT SHE GAVE ME A ZACH EFRON POSTER FOR MY WALL

A Soldier’s Family

Tell us a little of the inspiration behind this story.

A SOLDIER’S FAMILY WAS INSPIRED BY A HARD SEASON IN MY LIFE WHEN I WENT THROUGH A PERIOD OF CHRONIC, EXCRUCIATING PAIN THAT WAS UNRELENTING FOR THREE YEARS SOLID. NO BREAK, NOT EVEN FOR A SECOND. IT TAUGHT ME UTTER AND COMPLETE DEPENDENCE ON GOD. THE REPAIR OF THE PROBLEM CAUSING THE PAIN REQUIRED A COMPLETE RECONSTRUCTION OF MY HIP BONES AND SOCKET, PART OF MY FEMUR AND PELVIS AND I’M A RECIPIENT OF DONOR BONE. I TOOK ALL MY PAIN AND PHYSICAL THERAPY WOES OUT ON POOR, DEFENSELESS MANNY, THE HERO IN THE BOOK. SO THE BOOK WAS THERAPEUTIC FOR ME. I’M GLAD IT SOLD. BUT IF IT HADN’T, WRITING IT WOULDN’T HAVE BEEN IN VAIN BECAUSE IT ALLOWED ME DISTRACTION FROM THE DISCOMFORT I WAS GOING THROUGH.

Describe Manny, Celia and Javier in one word each

MANNY: JALAPENO

CELIA; FIREBALL

JAVIER; LEADER

So many of Celia’s decisions are driven by fear ~ is that something you relate to?

OH, YES! I BATTLE FAITH OVER FEAR OFTEN. OVER SAFETY, HEALTH, AND UNKNOWNS OF THE FUTURE. ETC. BUT I HAVE A WONDERFUL HUSBAND WHO BALANCES ME OUT AND WHO ALWAYS EXHORTS ME THAT I CAN’T LIVE MY LIFE IN FEAR AND I HAVE A GOD WHO IS DETERMINED NOT TO LET FEAR RULE ME. SO THERE IS HOPE. LOL!

Why military romances?

BECAUSE THOSE ARE THE STORIES THAT STEEPLE HILL HAPPENED TO CONTRACT FIRST. I HAVE HAD A FASCINATION WITH THE MILITARY SINCE MY DAD WAS A VIETNAM VETERAN. HE WOULDN’T ALWAYS TALK ABOUT THE WAR SO THAT CREATED AN INSATIABLE DESIRE TO UNDERSTAND IT. I GUESS I NEVER GREW OUT OF THAT CURIOSITY. ALSO, THE PJs (PARARESCUE JUMPERS) ARE MEDICAL AND SO AM I. SO THAT MADE ME DRAWN TO STUDY THEM AND MADE THE RESEARCH EASIER BECAUSE I AM ALSO AN RN WHO PRACTICED FOR 15+ YEARS BEFORE WRITING FICTION. I LIKE TO WRITE ANYTHING ACTION AND ADVENTURE DRIVEN. ACTION-DRIVEN ROMANCE. I LIKE WRITING ABOUT CHARACTERS WITH UNIQUE CAREERS. AND I HAVE A

HEART FOR OUR MILITARY, THOSE WHO SERVE AND THEIR FAMILIES AND I HOPED TO HONOR THEM. I WAS RAISED WITH A GREAT RESPECT FOR OUR MILITARY AND COME FROM A VERY PATRIOTIC FAMILY. I LIKE WRITING ABOUT RESCUERS…AND PJs’ MOTTO IS SIMILAR TO THE COAST GUARD: THEY RISK THEIR LIVES SO OTHERS MAY LIVE. THAT APPEALED TO ME AND I WANTED TO FEATURE THEM IN MY BOOKS.

Tell us about upcoming books in your Wings of Refuge series, please.


TWO HAVE RELEASED IN 2008:

( A SOLDIER’S PROMISE-JAN 2008 & A SOLDIER’S FAMILY-MAR 2008)

AND SO FAR, THREE MORE ARE SLOTTED TO RELEASE IN 2009 FROM

STEEPLE HILL LOVE INSPIRED. THEY CAN BE PURCHASED ANYWHERE BOOKS ARE SOLD ONCE THEY RELEASE.

READY-MADE-FAMILY (BEN’S STORY) APRIL-2009

A SOLDIER’S REUNION (NOLAN’S STORY) JUNE-2009

YET-TO-BE-TITLED (AARON’S STORY) OCTOBER-2009 (TENTATIVE DATE)

EACH OF THESE ARE STAND ALONE BOOKS, MEANING PEOPLE NEEDN’T HAVE READ THE FIRST BOOKS IN THE SERIES TO START. EACH BOOK IS ITS OWN STORY. WHAT LINKS THE SERIES TOGETHER IS EACH STORY FEATURES A MAN FROM THE SEVEN MAN PARARESCUE TEAM. EACH GUY HAS HIS OWN STORY. THERE WILL POSSIBLY BE 8 PJ STORIES IF ALL OF THEM GET CONTRACTED SINCE AARON WAS ACTUALLY A COMMANDER OVER THE TEAM.

THE OTHER THING LINKING THE STORIES TOGETHER IS THAT THEY’RE ALL SET IN A FICTIONAL TOWN IN ILLINOIS CALLED REFUGE.

BEN’S STORY IS A ROMANCE ABOUT A SINGLE MOTHER AND HER DAUGHTER WHO BECOME STRANDED IN REFUGE AND BEN FEELS DRAWN TO HELP THEM.

NOLAN’S STORY IS ABOUT HIGH SCHOOL SWEETHEARTS REUNITING

AARON’S STORY IS ABOUT A SINGLE FATHER, A WIDOWER OF TWIN BOYS AND THE HEROINE IS THEIR NANNY

FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THEIR RELEASES, I HOPE PEOPLE WILL JAUNT OVER TO MY WEB SITE WWW.CHERYLWYATT.COM AND SIGN UP FOR MY NEWSLETTER BY ENTERING THEIR E-MAIL ADDRESS IN THE SPACE PROVIDED THAT SAYS “JOIN CHERYL WYATT’S AUTHOR MAILING LIST”. I RESPECT THEIR PRIVACY AND WILL NOT SHARE E-MAIL ADDRESSES WITH ANYONE. I HOLD CONTESTS WITH GREAT PRIZES THAT ARE ONLY AVAILABLE TO MY NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIBERS.

IN ADDITION, I HAVE UPDATES ON FICTIONAL REFUGE EVER SATURDAY FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF PSYCH THE CAT WHO SKITTERS THROUGH THE STORY. THAT URL IS WWW.SCROLLSQUIRREL.BLOGSPOT.COM

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HELPING TO GET THE WORD OUT ABOUT MY BOOKS! IT HAS BEEN AN ABSOLUTE HONOR DOING THIS INTERVIEW. YOUR QUESTIONS WERE FUN AND UNIQUE!

HUGS,

CHERYL

Thanks Cheryl - back atcha!!

Relz Reviewz Extras

Reviews of A Soldier's Promise and A Soldier's Family

Buy Cheryl's books at Amazon


Blog Tour for The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society by Beth Patillo



Sweetgum Knit Lit Society

WaterBrook Press

ISBN: 1-4000-7394-4

Paperback; $13.99; 352 pages

Beth Pattillo (Heavens to Betsy and Earth to Betsy) knows how to follow a dream—even with a pile of publishing industry rejection slips to her name. She spent seven years on the path to her first publishing contract, and the characters in her newnovel, The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society, embrace Pattillo’s persistence.

Eugenie, Ruth, Esther, Merry, and Camille are not perfect women. They each struggle with love in their own way—unrequited love, forbidden love, overwhelming love, even lost love. Yet they battle on, meeting every month in the Pairs and Spares Sunday school room to knit, discuss that month’s book selection, and puzzle out their lives.

When Eugenie throws neglected and abused teenager Hannah Simmons into their midst, however, walls decades in the making come crashing down. With secrets thrown on the table amid the tangle of yarn, needles and books, one thing becomes certain: The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society will soon discover what’s most important in the complicated lives they lead.

~~~Beth Pattillo Is Available For Interview~~~


About Beth Pattillo

Beth Pattillo is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and holds a Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt University. She and her family make their home in Tennessee. Her novel, Heavens to Betsy, won the prestigious RITA award from the Romance Writers of America. TheSweetgum Knit Lit Society is her fourth novel. To learn more, visit www.bethpattillo.com


Q&A with Beth Pattillo, author of The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society

Q. What was your inspiration behind The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society?

The book was inspired by the knitting group at my church. I loved the way a group of diverse women, from their teens to retirement age, bonded over knitting and prayer. I think book clubs experience a similar phenomenon. Something about knitting or reading together really helps to create authentic community. One of the things I enjoyed most about writing this book was looking at the world from such different points of view. Each of the women in the novel is unique. And the variety of ages and life experiences kept things interesting.

Q. In the book, troubled teen Hannah Simmons has seen her share of neglect and abuse before meeting the ladies of the Knit Lit Society. Do you see many teens like Hannah in the course of your work as an ordained minister? If so, what is your philosophy in helping them find healing?

Unfortunately, I’ve met a number of teens over the years that were neglected by their parents. I’m a strong believer in youth ministry because I know it can provide guidance and care that’s often missing in a teenager’s home. In the novel, Hannah happens to be poor, but I’ve found that income level, however high or low, doesn’t always correlate to the quality of parenting. The love and attention of a youth minister and/or youth sponsor can often keep a teen from making bad choices with disastrous consequences. Teenagers need to feel competent and valued. A strong youth ministry provides an opportunity for young people to find their spiritual gifts and use them. It also makes God’s love tangible and powerful.

Q. Since not every town has a Knit Lit Society, what would your advice be to anyone who has a "Hannah" in their life or knows of a teen in a similar situation?

Most teens need someone to listen to them without judgment or agenda. Mentoring, serving as a youth sponsor, teaching Sunday school and Bible study – these are all great ways to reach out to teenagers. As a minister, in a particular situation, I have to assess whether a teenager needs the help of social services in addition to the love and care of a church family. All ministers are required by law to report suspected abuse. Neglect, though, can be a bit trickier. Ideally, a minister can reach out to the parents as well as the teen to try and help the family become more functional and caring. I always appreciated my church members letting me know if they thought a particular teenager needed help. I think it’s better to get involved and ultimately find that the situation wasn’t as serious as you thought than to ignore something until a crisis occurs.

Q. Do you knit in your spare time?

I love to knit! I’m into hand-tied yarn right now, taking eight or nine different yarns in a particular color palette and tying 2-3 yard sections end to end. The result is wonderfully shaggy scarves or shawls that have real depth of color and texture. (I was inspired by the owner of The Shaggy Sheep in my hometown of Lubbock, Texas – a terrific yarn store!) I’m afraid I have numerous unfinished projects around the house, but one day, I hope to finish them all.

Q. You spent seven years waiting to publish your first book and now The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society is your fourth book. What advice do you have for novice or aspiring writers?

Aspiring writers have to persevere. For that matter, so do published authors. The publishing industry is a rejection-based business. Work hard, acquire a thick skin, be open to good criticism, and revise, revise, revise. As writers, we take our work personally, but the publishing industry doesn’t. Rejection is a business decision, not a critique of our value as human beings!

My other piece of advice is to write every day, even if it’s only a small amount. I run an email loop called Club 100 For Writers. The challenge is to write 100 words a day for 100 days. I’ve seen this practice transform people’s lives. Instructions for joining the group are on my website, http://www.bethpattillo.com/.

CFBA Blog Tour of Calico Canyon by Mary Connealy


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Calico Canyon

Barbour Publishing, Inc (July 1, 2008)

by

Mary Connealy




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

MARY CONNEALY is an award-winning author and playwright, married to Ivan a farmer, and the mother of four beautiful daughters, Joslyn, Wendy, Shelly and Katy. They live in Decatur, Nebraska. Mary is a GED Instructor by day and an author by night. And there is always a cape involved in her transformation.

Mary has also written
Petticoat Ranch, Golden Days, and her latest, Alaska Brides that will debut in August.


ABOUT THE BOOK

Let yourself be swept away by this fast-paced romance, featuring Grace Calhoun, an instructor of reading, writing, and arithmetic, who, in an attempt to escape the clutchs of a relentless pursuer, runs smack dab into even more trouble with the 6R's - widower Daniel Reeves, along with his five rowdy sons. When a marriage is forced upon this hapless pair - two people who couldn't dislike each other more - an avalanche isn't the only potential danger lurking amid the shadows of Calico Canyon. Will they make it out alive? Or end up killing each other in the process?

Running from her abusive foster-father, a man intent on revenge, the prim and perfectly proper Grace Calhoun takes on the job of schoolmarm in Mosqueros, Texas.

As if being a wanted woman isn't bad enough, Grace has her hands full with the five rowdy and rambunctious Reeves boys─tough Texan tormenters who seem intent on making her life miserable. When, in an attempt to escape from the clutches of her pursuer, Grace is forced to marry widower Daniel Reeves, father of the miniature monsters, she thinks things couldn't get any worse. Or could they?

Daniel Reeves, happy in his all-male world, is doing the best he can, raising his five boys─rascals, each and every one. Since his wife's death in childbirth, Daniel has been determined never to risk marriage again.

When God throws Grace and Danielt together─two people who couldn't detest each other more─the trouble is only beginning.

Will this hapless pair find the courage to face life together in the isolated Calico Canyon? Or are their differences too broad a chasm to bridge?

If you would like to read the first chapter go
HERE

Monday, 23 June 2008

CFBA Blog Tour of Sir Kendrick and the Castle of Bel Lione by Chuck Black


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Sir Kendrick and the Castle of Bel Lione

(Multnomah Books - June 17, 2008)

by

Chuck Black


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Chuck Black first wrote Kingdom’s Edge to inspire his children to read the Bible with renewed zeal. This captivating expanded parable led him to write the Old Testament allegories, Kingdom’s Dawn and Kingdom’s Hope. Chuck added three more titles to the series, Kingdom’s Call, Kingdom’s Quest, and Kingdom’s Reign which were released in May of 2007.

Chuck is a former F-16 fighter pilot and currently works as an engineer for a firm designing plastic consumer products. He has a degree in electrical and electronic engineering and served eight years in the United States Air Force. Chuck and his wife Andrea have six children and live in North Dakota.

It is Chuck’s desire to serve the Lord through his work and to inspire people of all ages to study the scriptures in order to discover the hope and love of a truly majestic King and His Son.




ABOUT THE BOOK

A dangerous new order threatens the mission of the Knights of Arrethtrae. Only loyalty to the King can bring victory!

As the Knights of the Prince await His triumphant return, they are steadfast in their mission to take His story into the kingdom and recruit as many as are willing. But when a new and dangerous threat is revealed, their mission is jeopardized.

Sir Kendrick and his young charge, the impetuous Sir Duncan, are sent on a mission to discover the identity and origin of a secretive new order known as the Conquistero Knights. They travel to the city of Bel Lione where Lord Ra has been enticing young people in the kingdom to join his festivals, after which many choose not to return home. Their families keep quiet for fear of repercussion.

When Sir Duncan disappears while trying to discover the truth of Lord Ra’s castle, Sir Kendrick attempts to find and enlist the help of a mysterious warrior. Time is short for he must save Duncan and call upon the knights of Chessington to join in the battle against the evil Lord Ra.

Journey to Arrethtrae, where these knights of noble heart live and die in loyal service to the King and the Prince. These knights are mighty, for they serve a mighty King. They are...the Knights of Arrethtrae!

If you would like to read the first chapter, go HERE

Blog Tour for Along Came A Cowboy by Christine Lynxwiler



Along Came A Cowboy

Barbour Publishing

ISBN 13: 978-1-59789-896-6

Paperback; $9.97; 288 pages

From the outside looking in, local Chiropractor Dr. Rachel Donovan seems to have it together. She’s returned to her hometown of Shady Grove and runs a thriving Chiropractic practice. She’s be nominated as Shady Grove’s Citizen Of The Year, and appointed to the committee planning the town’s major centennial celebration and rodeo. Unfortunately, on the inside everything is not as it appears.

The committee duties come with baggage—cute, cowboy baggage to be precise. Jack Westwood is the epitome of the stereotypical cowboy; rugged, handsome and bull-headed. While he makes everyone else swoon, Rachel is determined to not get involved any more than necessary. She knows his type—T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

Unfortunately, the fallout from a mistake that Rachel made fifteen years ago still echoes today threatening to ruin her sterling reputation and bring the whole façade tumbling around her . She thought she had buried it deep in her past, but while she’d moved on she never really moved past that summer. Even though she knows that God has forgiven her, she’s having a harder time forgiving herself.

Can the woman who has devoted her life to healing others allow God to mend her own hurt? Will she seize the opportunity to reconcile with her past and open her heart to love again? Will she come to terms with her mistake and forgive herself before her opportunity at love fades into the sunset?



About Christine Lynxwiler


Award-winning author and past president of American Christian Romance Writers, CHRISTINE LYNXWILER has numerous novels and novellas published with Barbour, including Arkansas, Promise Me Always, and Forever Christmas.

She and her husband, Kevin, along with their two daughters, four horses, and two dogs live in the foothills of the beautiful Ozark Mountains in their home state of Arkansas.


Q&A with Christine Lynxwiler, author of Along Came A Cowboy

Q. In Along Came A Cowboy, the lead character struggles with forgiving herself for a past sin that has had a major impact on her life. Why do you think it is easier to forgive others than to forgive ourselves or even to accept forgiveness.

A. I don’t know the answer to that, but I have a few ideas. First, I think we hold ourselves to a higher standard than we do others. Or we might feel, like Rachel did, that if we beat ourselves up enough about the past, then we’ll feel worthy of forgiveness. Also, it’s much easier to give than it is to receive. Same goes with forgiveness. Maybe because our pride isn’t battered by forgiving someone, but being forgiven implies owning up to sin and recognizing that we can’t fix our mistake on our own.

Q. What would your advice be to someone who is struggling to come to terms with a past indiscretion?

A. Obviously, if you’re a Christian, I’d advise giving the past to God and once you’ve repented and asked His forgiveness, forgive yourself, forget it and move on. But that’s a little simplistic for most of us. I think many of us tend to do what Rachel does in Along Came a Cowboy and magnify our own sins. What seems like an unfortunate little stumble on someone else’s path can appear to be a plunge to certain death on our own life’s road. So consider how you’d feel about a friend or loved one if they’d done exactly what you did. If the answer is, “I’d forgive them” then forgive yourself. You deserve no less kindness and mercy from yourself than anyone else does. If that doesn’t work for you and you have children, ask yourself how you would feel if your child did this thing. Would you still love them? If they turned from this sin, would you forgive them? If the answer is yes, then your Heavenly Father still loves you and forgives you too, so it’s time to let it go and forgive yourself. If the answer is no, then maybe your current sin is an inability to forgive others and that’s a whole ‘nother problem.


Q. When you’re writing, what do you use as your inspiration?


A. Inspiration and ideas come from everywhere. But as I said in an interview recently, I’m an Arkansas country girl, born and raised on a farm, and currently living in the most beautiful small town (in my opinion anyway) in the Ozarks. So these are the places and people that inspire me to write. My books are almost all set in small town Arkansas. My characters are rarely ever patterned after one specific person. Instead each one is a conglomeration of people I meet and interact with every day. I get inspired when I ask “What if?” That’s the neverending question and asking it usually will bring more stories than one person can write in a lifetime.


Q. What do you enjoy most about writing Christian fiction?


A. One thing that I used to complain about that I’ve now come to enjoy is the fact that all my books have a common theme—God is in control. Sometimes it’s the main theme, sometimes it’s just an underlying thread. Each story line is very different from the last one, but the theme is always there. As this theme emerges in a new story, it brings me joy and sometimes even laughter because I know that this is a lesson God is patiently teaching me. I told someone recently that around book seven I began to look for a new theme. “I’m going to get boring,” I wailed. But apparently, even now on book fourteen, I haven’t quite mastered this “God is in control” concept, because inevitably by the end of the book, my character is struggling to come to terms with the fact that she is not in the driver’s seat of her own life. Now when I start a story, I look forward to seeing how this particular theme is going to show up.


On a more serious note, I enjoy knowing that the stories God allows me to write not only entertain, (which is why I wanted to be a writer) but that they also touch readers’ lives in a deeper way than I could ever imagine or take credit for. And for that, I’m eternally grateful.

Q. As an award-winning Christian romance writer, do you have any advice for novice or aspiring writers?.

A. Never give up. And once you’ve decided that you’re not quitting, join American Christian Fiction Writers. The annual fee of $50 will be the best money you ever spend on your writing career. And don’t just pay the dues and not get your money’s worth. Join a critique group. Get to know other writers. Dedicate yourself to learning the craft. And never quit learning. Being published isn’t the end of the journey. It’s only one step along the way to being the best writer you can possibly be. Settle in for a long, bumpy, exhilarating ride!


Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of Along Came A Cowboy, Forever Christmas and Promise Me Always

In depth interview with Christine

Visit Christine's blog

Buy Along Came A Cowboy at Amazon or Koorong

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