Monday, June 30, 2008

Blog Tour: Beyond the Night by Marlo Schalesky

About Beyond the Night:

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:

Marlo Schalesky is the author of several books, including Veil of Fire, Only the 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 praying every 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.

My thoughts:

Beyond the Night is so masterfully written that you'll fall under its spell from the very first page, and it's definitely one of those books that will having you shaking your head in disbelief when you finish. Not so much from not believing how it ended, but more of not believing that you let yourself be so taken in by the story that you didn't see the end coming the way it did. I thought it was just a wonderful book from start to finish and I cannot wait to see what happens in Marlo's next novel.

Hidden by Shelley Shepard Gray

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


(Avon Inspire - May 27, 2008)


Shelley Shepard Gray


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.


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

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Calico Canyon by Mary Connealy

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Calico Canyon

(Barbour Publishing, Inc - July 1, 2008)


Mary Connealy


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.


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 clutches 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 Daniel 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, June 23, 2008

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)


Chuck Black


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.


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: The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society by Beth Pattillo

About The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society:

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 new novel, 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.

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.

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.

My thoughts:

It took me a bit to get into this story as most of the characters and the situations they were going through were introduced right at the beginning, but once I nailed down who everyone was I just couldn't put the book down. Beth Pattillo did a great job weaving classic books into the story and I really liked how Hannah (who was my favorite character in the book) seemed to have insight beyond her years in their Knit Lit book discussions. If you like good "Women's Fiction" then definitely check this one out.

Blog Tour: Along Came a Cowboy by Christine Lynxwiler

About Along Came a Cowboy:

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 dogslive 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!

My thoughts:

If you've got a penchant for hunky cowboys and clean romance books, this is the book for you. Even though I haven't read the first book in the series (Promise Me Always), you don't feel lost in this one. I thoroughly enjoyed this book - and I'll definitely be passing it along.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Spring Reading Thing 2008 Wrap-up

Well folks, June 19th has come and gone, and the end of SRT 2008 with it. So let's see how I did?

Did you finish all the books you had planned to read? If not, why?
Yes, I finished all 20 books on my original list by June 5th as well as 12 bonus books. Between the 5th and 19th I finished 3 more bonus books for a total of 35 books.

Do you think the challenge helped you read more? Or maybe helped you read books you otherwise wouldn't have?
I think having a tangible goal in front of me really helped because I could see my progress and if I felt like I was lagging a bit, I could rearrange my priorities to fit in more reading time. (Much to the detriment of my sleep schedule *grin*) As far as helping me to read books I otherwise wouldn't have, I agree to that as well. I have this habit of getting new books and putting them on my shelf to read, then maybe another book from the library or bookstore would catch my eye and the shelved books would fall by the wayside. I was able to trim a few of those off my shelf.

What was your favorite book you read this spring? Least favorite?
I read so many great books that I can't name just one favorite. I'll *star* some of my favorites on my completed list below. My lease favorite - probably Adam. I don't think I was really in the right mood to read that book so it just didn't really appeal to me in a significant way.

Did you discover any new authors or genres that you now love?
I didn't really discover any new genres because I read many different ones already, but a couple of new authors I found are Sharon K. Souza and Shelley Shepard Gray.

What did you learn about your reading habits or interests?
I guess I found out that if I really want to read, I can find a way to fit it into my schedule. Also, I found myself wanting to read a light, fun read after reading something heavy or intense, or that I sometimes read to fit my mood.

Are you interested in another "Fall Into Reading" challenge this fall?
Absolutely - and thanks to Katrina at Callapidder Days for setting up these challenges. And be sure to check out how others who took part in SRT 2008 did by going here. See you all in September!

Here's my list:

~ Death of a Garage Sale Newbie by Sharon Dunn
~ I Heart Bloomberg by Melody Carlson
*~ She Always Wore Red by Angela Hunt*
~ Lorna by Debra White Smith
~ Mooch by Adam Palmer
~ My Heart Remembers by Kim Vogel Sawyer
~ The Forbidden by Beverly Lewis
~ Tartarus by Jack Cavanaugh
~ Sisterchicks Go Brit by Robin Jones Gunn
*~ Fatal Deduction by Gayle Roper*
~ Adam by Ted Dekker
~ A Sister's Test by Wanda Brunstetter
~ A Season of Forgiveness by Brenda Coulter
~ Darcy's Inheritance by Linda Ford
~ Her Daddy's Eyes by Gary Parker
~ Giving Thanks for Baby by Terri Reed
*~ Every Good and Perfect Gift by Sharon K. Souza*
~ Hide in Plain Sight by Marta Perry
~ A Christmas to Die For by Marta Perry
~ Buried Sins by Marta Perry

~~ ~~ Bonus Books (added after the SRT 2008 began) ~~ ~~

~ Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris
~ My Bat Boy Days: Lessons I Learned from the Boys of Summer by Steve Garvey
~ A Bride So Fair by Carol Cox
~ A Promise for Tomorrow by Sara DuBose
~ A Steal of a Deal by Ginny Aiken
*~ Healing Promises by Amy Wallace*
~ Bella: A Novelization by Lisa Samson
*~ Skid by Rene Gutteridge*
~ Fallen by Matthew Raley
~ Anchored in Love: An Intimate Portrait of June Carter Cash by John Carter Cash
~ A Sister's Hope by Wanda Brunstetter
*~ Hidden by Shelley Shepard Gray*
*~ Dawn's Light by Terri Blackstock*
~ Along Came a Cowboy by Christine Lynxwiler
~ The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society by Beth Pattillo

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Hunted by Mike Dellosso

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Hunted

(Realms - June 3, 2008)


Mike Dellosso


Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Mike now lives in Hanover, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Jen, and their three daughters. He writes a monthly column for Writer . . .Interrupted. He was a newspaper correspondent/columnist for over three years and has published several articles for The Candle of Prayer inspirational booklets. Mike also has edited and contributed to numerous Christian-themed Web sites and e-newsletters.

Mike is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, the Relief Writer's Network, and International Thriller Writers. He received his BA degree in sports exercise and medicine from Messiah College and his MBS degree in theology from Master's Graduate School of Divinity.

You can read a great interview with Mike, over here on TitleTrakk.


A town's deadly secret will drive one man to the edge of his faith...

After learning of the disappearance of his nephew, Joe Saunders returns to his childhood home of Dark Hills to aid in the search effort. When Caleb is found, badly mauled and clinging to life, Joe embarks on a mission to find the beast responsible. But the more Joe delves into the fabric of his old hometown, the more he realizes Dark Hills has a dark secret, shrouded for three generations in a deadly code of silence.

As Joe unravels the truth behind a series of unexplained animal attacks, murder, and corruption at the highest level of law enforcement, he is led to a final showdown where he must entrust his very life into God's hands. Will his young faith be strong enough to battle the demonic forces of The Hunted?

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

Mike Dellosso could very well be the next Frank Peretti-if you liked The Oath and Monster, you are going to love The Hunted.
--C.J. Darlington, Cofounder and book editor,

A spine-tingling tale of hidden secrets, buried hopes, and second chances. A story best read with all the lights on and an extra flashlight--just in case!
--Amy Wallace, author of Ransomed Dreams

Mike Dellosso's pins-and-needles thriller hurtles the reader down a dark and twisted path. I dare you to take this one home!
--Jill Elizabeth Nelson, author of the To Catch a Thief suspense series

With hints of Frank Peretti and Stephen King, The Hunted is a chilling debut."
--Creston Mapes, author of Nobody

A vicious enemy, a family secret, a thirst for revenge, and a need for reconciliation all drive The Hunted from intriguing beginning to thrilling conclusion."
--Kathryn Mackel, author of Vanished

Read this someplace safe as you experience the incredibly descriptive world of The Hunted. And sleep with the lights on.
--Austin Boyd, author of Mars Hill Classified trilogy

Monday, June 16, 2008

Deep in the Heart of Trouble by Deeanne Gist

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Deep In The Heart Of Trouble

(Bethany House - June 1, 2008)


Deeanne Gist


Deeanne Gist has been a busy lady. She had a career in elementary education. She raised four children. In fifteen years she has: run a home accessory/antique business, been a member of the press, penned freelance journalism for a few well-known publications, People, Parents, Family Fun and more. She was the CFO for her husband's engineering company, she did all this in her home.

She also founded a publishing corporation for the purpose of developing, producing and marketing products which would reinforce family values, teach children responsibility and provide character building activities. In answer to Gist’s fervent prayers, God sent a mainstream publisher to her door who licensed her parenting I Did It!® product line and committed to publish the next generation of her system, thus freeing Gist to return to her writing.

Eight months later, she submitted A Bride Most Begrudging to Bethany House Publishers and they picked it up for their new "edgy inspirational" line of historical fiction. After its release in July 2005, Bride hit eight best seller lists and has sold over 100,000 copies and won the Christy Award for BEST ROMANCE 2006. The Measure of a Lady was her 2006 summer release. It hit five best seller lists and won the Christy Award for BEST ROMANCE 2007. Gist is contracted to have a new book come out every summer. Courting Trouble was her 2007 summer release and it hit three best seller lists.

Deeanne lives in Texas with her husband of twenty-four years. They have two kids in high school, two in college.


A Texas-Sized Tale of Unexpected Love

Essie Spreckelmeyer is the last woman anyone in Corsicana, Texas, expected to see with a man on her arm. Independent and outspoken, she’s known more for riding bicycles in outrageous bloomers than for catching a man’s eye.

And the last man who seems willing to give her a second glance is Tony Morgan, newly hired at Spreckelmeyer’s oil company. The disinherited son of an oil baron, Tony wants most to restore his name and regain his lost fortune--not lose his heart to this headstrong blonde. She confounds, contradicts, and confuses him. Sometimes he doesn’t know if she’s driving him toward the aisle or the end of his rope.

That’s how life is ...Deep In The Heart Of Trouble

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

“Christy Award winner Gist’s historical romances have increasingly gained popularity, combining witty dialog, well-balanced plots, and fully developed characters who seem almost real. Recommended for CF and romance collections.”
-- Library Journal

"Gist does it again! Her signature prose is consistent and she delivers a thoroughly delightful and entertaining story that’s worthy of our time and attention. Not only won’t you want to put this book down, you’ll want to enjoy this story again and again."
-- JUNE TOP PICK, 4-1/2 STARS, Romantic Times, Jennifer Reyes

"Gist has once again written a delightfully humorous historical romance. After reading the first book in this series of two, I was anxious to get my hands on this one. Let me tell you, I was not disappointed ... It is a spectacular, feel-good story which I highly recommend. You will definitely be glad you read it."
-– FIVE STAR RATING, The Romance Studio, Brenda Talley

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

House of Dark Shadows & Watchers in the Woods by Robert Liparulo

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing a double pair

House of Dark Shadows
Watchers In The Woods
(Books 1 and 2 in the Dreamhouse Kings Series)

(Thomas Nelson - May 6, 2008)


Robert Liparulo


Robert is an award-winning author of over a thousand published articles and short stories. He is currently a contributing editor for New Man magazine. His work has appeared in Reader's Digest, Travel & Leisure, Modern Bride, Consumers Digest, Chief Executive, and The Arizona Daily Star, among other publications. In addition, he previously worked as a celebrity journalist, interviewing Stephen King, Tom Clancy, Charlton Heston, and others for magazines such as Rocky Road, Preview, and L.A. Weekly.

Robert is an avid scuba diver, swimmer, reader, traveler, and a law enforcement and military enthusiast. He lives in Colorado with his wife and four children.

Robert's first novel painted a scenario so frighteningly real that six Hollywood producers were bidding on movie rights before the novel was completed. His acclaimed debut novel, Comes A Horseman, is being made into a major motion picture by producer Mace Neufeld and his short story "Kill Zone" was featured in the anthology Thriller, edited by James Patterson.

Bob has sold the film rights to his second book, GERM. And he is writing the screenplay for a yet-to-be-written political thriller, which sold to Phoenix Pictures, for Andrew Davis (The Fugitive, The Guardian) to direct!

And his third book Deadfall. debuted to rave reviews!


(Dreamhouse Kings Book 1)

Dream house...or bad dream?
When the Kings move from L.A. to a secluded small town, fifteen-year-old Xander is beyond disappointed. He and his friends loved to create amateur films . . . but the tiny town of Pinedale is the last place a movie buff and future filmmaker wants to land.

But he, David, and Toria are captivated by the many rooms in the old Victorian fixer-upper they moved into--as well as the heavy woods surrounding the house.

They soon discover there's something odd about the house. Sounds come from the wrong directions. Prints of giant, bare feet appear in the dust. And when David tries to hide in the linen closet, he winds up in locker 119 at his new school.

Then the really weird stuff kicks in: they find a hidden hallway with portals leading off to far-off places--in long-ago times. Xander is starting to wonder if this kind of travel is a teen's dream come true . . . or his worst nightmare.

(Dreamhouse Kings Book 2)

It's not just the house that's keeping secrets.
Pretending everything's all right is harder than it sounds. But the Kings know that even if they told the truth about the bizarre things happening in their house, no one would believe them. They're hyper-focused on rescuing their lost family member before anyone finds out what's going on.

But when a stranger shows up to take their house, their options start dwindling fast. Why would he be so interested in a run-down old place? And what secret is he hiding--just as he hides the scars that crisscross his body?

The mystery gets stranger with each passing day. Will the Kings be able to find a way to harness the house's secrets and discover who is watching their every move before another gets snatched into an unknown world?

- -- - -- - -- - -- - -- - -- -

The Dreamhouse Kings Series has three contests that you will not want to miss...Dream the Scene, a weekly "Thanks For Reading Trivia contest, and the Dreamhouse Kings Street Team contest. There are also free bookplates that you can request, and a chapter of each book that you can download!

You can get all those goodies HERE.

Monday, June 9, 2008

I Heart Bloomberg by Melody Carlson

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

I Heart Bloomberg

(David C. Cook - April 1, 2008)


Melody Carlson


Melody Carlson is the best-selling author of more than 100 books for adults, children, and teens, including three of her latest, These Boots Weren't Made For Walking, A Mile In My Flip-Flops, and Mixed Bags. She and her husband, the parents of two grown sons, make their home near the Cascade Mountains in Central Oregon. Melody is a full-time writer as well as an avid gardener, biker, skier, and hiker.

Favorite Bible verse: John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." It’s the “whosoever” part that gets me. That’s who I write for – “whosoever” and to me that means everyone and anyone.

Carlson, author of more than 100 books, begins her 86 Bloomberg Place series with I Heart Bloomberg that functions mostly to set up future storylines. Three women rent rooms at 86Bloomberg Place:


Kendall's managed to wrangle her grandmother's house-free and clear-except for the rules. No male roommates. But that's ok, with the right ad she'll pull in some girls, their rent and if she's lucky, she won't have to go to work any time soon.

For their part, Anna, Lelani, and Megan all have their reasons for wanting to move in: Anna has got to get out from under her overprotective parents; Lelani can't take another day in her aunt's tiny crackerbox house overflowing with toddlers and Megan needs a place free of her current roommate from Hades.

Though they come with assorted extra baggage filled with broken hearts and dreams, they will discover they also have a vast array of hidden strengths. And they struggle to become the women they want to be, they'll find new hope and maybe even Kendall will learn a thing or two about life, love and the true meaning of friendship.

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

Winners of Fatal Deduction...

Congrats to Karin and readingrobin on winning the free copies of Fatal Deduction!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Spring Reading Thing 2008

I'm FINISHED...with two weeks to spare and having read 12 extra books! Hmmm....wonder how many more books I can read in the next couple of weeks?

I've got my list together and am raring to go - will you join me? If you are interested in joining the Spring Reading thing, click here and Katrina of Callapidder Days can fill you in on what to do.

How many books can I read by June 19th? I am starting with a conservative list based on the number of books I've read so far this year, but will hopefully get to add some bonus books in the end! So without further delay, here's my list...

~ Death of a Garage Sale Newbie by Sharon Dunn
~ I Heart Bloomberg by Melody Carlson
~ She Always Wore Red by Angela Hunt
~ Lorna by Debra White Smith
~ Mooch by Adam Palmer
~ My Heart Remembers by Kim Vogel Sawyer
~ The Forbidden by Beverly Lewis
~ Tartarus by Jack Cavanaugh
~ Sisterchicks Go Brit by Robin Jones Gunn
~ Fatal Deduction by Gayle Roper
~ Adam by Ted Dekker

Gonna try to also trim a few off my shelf...

~ A Sister's Test by Wanda Brunstetter
~ A Season of Forgiveness by Brenda Coulter
~ Darcy's Inheritance by Linda Ford
~ Her Daddy's Eyes by Gary Parker
~ Giving Thanks for Baby by Terri Reed
~ Every Good and Perfect Gift by Sharon K. Souza
~ Hide in Plain Sight by Marta Perry
~ A Christmas to Die For by Marta Perry
~ Buried Sins by Marta Perry

~~ ~~ Bonus Books (I'll add them as I finish them) ~~ ~~

~ Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris
~ My Bat Boy Days: Lessons I Learned from the Boys of Summer by Steve Garvey
~ A Bride So Fair by Carol Cox
~ A Promise for Tomorrow by Sara DuBose
~ A Steal of a Deal by Ginny Aiken
~ Healing Promises by Amy Wallace
~ Bella: A Novelization by Lisa Samson
~ Skid by Rene Gutteridge
~ Fallen by Matthew Raley
~ Anchored in Love: An Intimate Portrait of June Carter Cash by John Carter Cash
~ A Sister's Hope by Wanda Brunstetter
~ Hidden by Shelley Shepard Gray
~ Dawn's Light by Terri Blackstock
~ Along Came a Cowboy by Christine Lynxwiler
~ The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society by Beth Pattillo

*Bold denotes books I've finished*

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

From A Distance by Tamera Alexander

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

From A Distance

(Bethany House - June 1, 2008)


Tamera Alexander


Tamera Alexander is a bestselling novelist whose deeply drawn characters, thought-provoking plots and poignant prose resonate with readers. Tamera is a finalist for the 2008 Christy Award Remembered, and has been awarded the coveted RITA® from Romance Writers of America Revealed, along with Library Journal’s Top Christian Fiction of 2006 Rekindled. Having lived in Colorado for seventeen years, she and her husband now make their home in the quaint town of historic Franklin, Tennessee, where they enjoy life with their two college-age children and a precious—and precocious—silky terrier named Jack.

A Note from Tamera:

Stories are journeys, and each story I write is a journey for me.

Rekindled began with a dream—the image of a man returning home on horseback. He came upon a freshly dug grave and when he knelt to read the name carved into the roughhewn wooden cross, he discovered the name was…his own. The inspiration for Revealed grew from two characters in Rekindled whose stories needed to be told. But even more, whose stories I needed to tell. Writing Revealed was a very personal journey for me, and a healing one. For Remembered, I met that story’s heroine (figuratively, of course) while strolling the ancient cobblestoned pathways of a three hundred-year-old cemetery in northern Paris, France. And From A Distance came from a question I was struggling with in my own life at the time, “What happens when the dream you asked God for isn’t what you thought it would be?”

For me, the greatest thrill of these writing journeys is when Christ reveals Himself in some new way, and I take a step closer to Him. And my deepest desire is that readers of my books will do that as well—take steps closer to Him as they read. After all, it’s all about Him.

In the Potter’s Hand,



What happens when dreams aren’t what you imagined,

And secrets you’ve spent a lifetime guarding are finally laid bare?

Determined to become one of the country’s premier newspaper photographers, Elizabeth Westbrook travels to the Colorado Territory to capture the grandeur of the mountains surrounding the remote town of Timber Ridge. She hopes, too, that the cool, dry air of Colorado, and its renowned hot springs, will cure the mysterious illness that threatens her career, and her life.

Daniel Ranslett, a former Confederate sharpshooter, is a man shackled by his past, and he’ll do anything to protect his land and his solitude. When an outspoken Yankee photographer captures an image that appears key to solving a murder, putting herself in danger, Daniel is called upon to repay a debt. He’s a man of his word, but repaying that debt will bring secrets from his past to light.

Forced on a perilous journey together, Daniel and Elizabeth’s lives intertwine in ways neither could have imagined when first they met . . . from a distance.

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

“…a rich historical romance by possibly the best new writer in this subgenre.”
--Library Journal

“…a most amazing story. The characters are more than words on the page; they become real people.”
--Romantic Times

Monday, June 2, 2008

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Fatal Deduction by Gayle Roper

About Fatal Deduction:

Libby Burton longs to be close to her twin sister, Tori, but their lives have taken them in different directions. Forced to share Aunt Stella’s old Philadelphia home in order to receive their inheritance, Libby hopes for a change, but it isn’t looking good so far.

First, Tori tries to steal the affection and allegiance of Libby’s thirteen-year-old daughter, Chloe. Then when a crossword puzzle with a hidden warning shows up on their doorstep, Tori refuses to take it seriously—in spite of the dead man who delivers it.

Libby finds comfort in neighbor Drew Canfield, but he hesitates to trust her after his disastrous marriage. As Libby struggles to act faithfully in the midst of these confusing relationships, she must also deal with a stolen diamond and a botched kidnapping. The answer to her problems lies in the riddles of the crosswords, if only she can solve the puzzle before it’s too late.

About Gayle Roper:

Gayle Roper has been writing mystery and romantic suspense novels for more than thirty years and is the author of over forty-five books. She is a three-time Christy Award finalist, the winner of three Holt Medallions, and the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from Romantic Times magazine. Her novel Autumn Dreams won Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance. She and her husband, Chuck, divide their time between Pennsylvania and Ontario, Canada.

My Thoughts:

I think this is one of the best books I've read so far this year. Gayle has given us such an intriguing tale, full of real characters with real emotions, and the use of crossword puzzles as the means to convey the ominous clues lends to this books uniqueness. This is definitely a book I'll be passing along!

Would you like a chance to win a copy of this great book?

Guess what - I have two copies of this book to give away on this blog tour! Please leave a comment on this post with your contact info in this format (you at yoohoo dot com) by midnight central time on Sunday, June 8, 2008. I'll draw the winners on Monday morning. US residents only, please.

Washington's Lady by Nancy Moser

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Washington's Lady

(Bethany House - June 1, 2008)


Nancy Moser


Nancy Moser is the author of three inspirational humor books and eighteen novels, including Solemnly Swear, Just Jane, and Time Lottery, a Christy Award winner. She is an inspirational speaker, giving seminars around the country. She has earned a degree in architecture; run a business with her husband; traveled extensively in Europe; and has performed in various theaters, symphonies, and choirs. She and her husband have three grown children and make their home in the Midwest.


It has been said that without George Washington there would be no United States. But without Martha, there would be no George Washington. He called her "my other self."

Who was this woman who captured the heart of our country's founder? She dreams of a quiet life with her beloved George, but war looms...

Though still a young woman, Martha Dandridge Custis was a wealthy, attractive widow and the mother of two small children with no desire to remarry. But when a striking war hero steps into her life, she realizes that she is ready to love again. She is courted by, then marries the French and Indian War hero.

Yet she wonders whether this man, accustomed to courageous military exploits, can settle down to a simple life of farming and being a father to her children. Even as she longs for domestic bliss, Martha soon realizes she will have to risk everything dear to her and find the courage to get behind a dream much larger than her own.

Her new life as Martha Washington took her through blissful times at Mount Vernon, family tragedies, six years of her husband's absence during the Revolutionary War, and her position as a reluctant First Lady.

Known for moving first-person novels of Nannerl Mozart and Jane Austen, in Washington's Lady, Nancy Moser now brings to life the loves and trials of the First First Lady of the United States.

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

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Winner of Skid...

is Smilingsal! Congrats! Be on the lookout for my email...

I appreciate all the comments and want to also thank my lovely 7 year old daughter who helped out by drawing the contest winner.