Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event spotlighting upcoming releases and is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. Feel free to join in and let us know what you're waiting on.

This week, the book I'm 'waiting on' is Beth Webb Hart's upcoming release Sunrise on the Battery. I just love the title of this book...and I have to be honest with you, I can't even tell you why I love the just hooked me. The story sounds intriguing as well and while I'm not usually one to choose a book because of the cover, I do find this cover quite eye-catching. Sunrise on the Battery is published by Thomas Nelson and releases in October 2011.

About Sunrise on the Battery:

Now that she's arrived at her ultimate address, will Mary Lynn's longed-for view of the harbor satisfy the craving of her heart?

At last, Mary Lynn and Jackson Scoville are living the life they've dreamed of. Two self-described "small town bumpkins" from Round O, South Carolina, they made a small fortune selling the little gems of lowcountry real estate Jackson inherited and now they are living in the heart of Charleston, South Carolina, carefully working their way up the social ladder in hopes of meeting their ultimate goal: to give their three daughters the life they themselves never had.

But the long-forgotten God of Mary Lynn's childhood seems to be trying to get her attention in clear and unusual ways. So clear and strange she can no longer deny it. When Mary Lynn prays for Jackson to open his mind and heart to God, her prayers are answered beyond her wildest imaginings. Now Jackson's dramatic conversion (which includes street witnessing, giving away a lot of money, and inviting poor, desperate and marginalized people into their home) is threatening their social status as well as their family mission statement. Is she willing to go along with him?

What would it be like to go "all out" for God? Jackson, a sharp and focused Type A man, is unafraid and willing to go all the way. Mary Lynn has her doubts.

Find out more on the web:
Beth Webb Hart
Thomas Nelson Publishers

Falls Like Lightning by Shawn Grady

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Falls Like Lightning

(Bethany House - July 1, 2011)


Shawn Grady


Shawn Grady signed with Bethany House Publishers in 2008. He was named “Most Promising New Writer” at the 39th Annual Mount Hermon Writers Conference. He is the author of the novels Through the Fire, Tomorrow We Die & Falls Like Lightning.

Shawn has served for over a decade as a firefighter and paramedic in northern Nevada. From fire engines and ambulances to tillered ladder trucks and helicopters, Shawn’s work environment has always been dynamic. The line of duty has carried him to a variety of locale, from high-rise fires in the city to the burning heavy timber of the eastern Sierras.

After graduating from James Logan High School in Union City, California, Shawn attended Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego as a Theology undergrad. There he found clarity of direction and proceeded on to acquire an Associate of Science degree in Fire Science Technology as well as Paramedic licensure through Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada.

Shawn currently lives in Reno, just outside of Lake Tahoe. He enjoys spending time in the outdoors with his wife, three children and yellow Labrador.


When hotshot smoke jumper Silas Kent gets his own fire crew, he thinks he's achieved what he's always wanted. But a lightning-sparked fire in the Desolation Wilderness of the Sierra Nevadas has his team in a plane before they can even train together.

Pilot Elle Westmore has been called up to drop the crew into the heart of the forest infernos. A single mother of a mysteriously ill six-year-old, she can't imagine her life getting any more complicated.

It doesn't take long for things to go very wrong, very quickly. A suspicious engine explosion forces Elle to make an emergency landing. Silas is able to parachute to safety but soon discovers his crew can't be trusted. They're hiding something, and now Silas is on a race to save himself and Elle from the flames--and from a more dangerous threat: his own team.


I'm not quite finished with this one, but I really enjoyed both of Shawn Grady's previous books. Review coming soon...

If you would like to read the first chapter of Falls Like Lightning, go HERE.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Behind the Scenes with Janice Hanna

Janice Hanna (also published as Janice Thompson) has published more than seventy novels and non-fiction books. She has also published more than fifty magazine articles and several musical comedies for the stage. Janice makes her home in the Houston area near her children and grandchildren.

Janice's latest book:

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of Love Finds You in Groom, Texas.

Always the groomsman, never the groom… It’s 1914, and Jake O’Farrell has gained an unusual reputation among the locals: He’s played the roles of groomsman and best man in all four of his older brothers’ weddings, but he’s never been able to find the woman to capture his heart. And now with the upcoming wedding of his best friend, Jake will become the last single man in the town of Groom.

Anne Denning has made the difficult decision to move with her sisters to Texas, but a train derailment forces them to seek shelter in Groom, near Amarillo. Mrs. O’Farrell, hopeful that Anne will catch her youngest son’s eye, invites the girls to stay at her home until the train is repaired and ready to pull out. Anne has no idea of the blissful chaos that lies ahead!

Why did you decide to write this story?

My editor at Summerside approached me with the name of the town because she knows I write a lot of wedding-themed stories. She wanted something lightweight/fun, and she knew me well enough to know I would enjoy a fun story. The only real question we had in the beginning stage was: “Should this be a historical or a contemporary?” We went with historical because I felt sure the story idea was better suited to the turn of the century.

Tell us something interesting about the town of Groom:

Groom boasts a nineteen-story high cross. More than 100 welders worked together to erect it in 1995. Now you can see why I toyed with the idea of writing a contemporary novel! I wanted to include the cross. Because I went with historical, I decided to give the heroine a small cross necklace to wear, one that symbolizes her faith (and alludes to the “bigger” cross to come).

Groom is a wedding-themed book. Why do you write so many stories with a strong wedding theme?

I have four grown daughters—Randi, Megan, Courtney Rae and Courtney Elizabeth. Yes, I really have two daughters named Courtney. (Long story!) All four of my girls got married within four years of each other. We’re told to write what we know. I know weddings, trust me! I helped coordinate all four weddings and even worked as a wedding coordinator at my church for a season. I was also tickled to be the “Wedding Planner Examiner” for the city of Houston for a spell. What fun! You’ll see me writing about weddings for years to come, so hang on for the ride!

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

In spite of the lead character’s tough situation, the story is filled with comedic elements. Anne’s two younger sisters are a hoot. So is Maggie (the hero’s mother). She’s an Irish spitfire! I think readers will appreciate the romance between Anne and Jake. It’s filled with all sorts of sweet and comic moments.

What are readers saying about this book? Have you had any feedback so far?

So far the book has all five-star reviews on amazon (which makes me smile, of course). Here’s a review I found that really got me excited:

5.0 out of 5 stars: A Delightful Read

This delightful tale of romance which emerges out of tragic circumstances is set in a wonderful town called Groom in the panhandle of the great state of Texas. It is a story of tragedy, love, and God’s divine hand of providence that enters a situation just at the right time and changes everything. Young Anne finds herself on a train heading to Dallas with her two younger sisters after the loss of their father. When fate intervenes, the trail derails and their future is forever altered. And then there is Jake, the last available young man in Groom who finds himself to be the recipient of many jokes about his situation, especially from his brothers. Jake’s mother, Maggie, embodies everything wonderful that Anne remembers about her own mother before she died. Throw in the mixture of the antics of Aunt Bets and the perceived sternness of Uncle Bertrand, and you have a story of new revelations and delightful outcomes.

How absolutely wonderful, in this day and age when problems seem to loom on every side and people have lost faith and hope, to read a story that is all about faith and hope. It is refreshing to read a story set in an era when one’s words meant something, when prayer was the first course of action, when faith ruled our very existence, when people looked out for one another even during hard times. Perhaps after reading this book, your faith will be renewed, as well. – Cherri Taylor

Where can folks get the book?

Love Finds You in Groom, Texas can be purchased at any number of online stores, as well as my website: (front page). Readers can always join my VIP bookclub (mentioned below) and get the locked in price of $11 (no shipping) by contacting me directly at

Janice Hanna...and her professional pursuits:

What are you working on now?

I just turned in Love Finds You in Daisy, Oklahoma, a fun historical about a single woman in her late 30’s who moves from the Gulf Coast to the landlocked state of Oklahoma to become the director at an orphanage. It’s a love story, of course! She falls in love with the town sheriff, who has adopted two of the unruliest boys from the orphanage. I’m currently writing Wedding Belles, the first book in the Belles and Whistles series for Summerside/Guideposts.

Are you a full-time freelancer?

I’ve been writing full-time since 2005. I write novels, non-fiction books, magazine articles and a variety of other things. I’m so fascinated with the world of freelancing that I decided to create an online writing course to teach others how to do what I’m doing.

I know that you enjoy teaching. Can you tell us about your online courses?

Thanks for asking. I enjoy teaching almost as much as I enjoy writing! For many years I taught creative writing at a school of the arts. These days I teach through my online courses. They’re audio/video driven, which is great fun. I get to go into a recording studio to record them! My courses are, as follows:

I heard through the grapevine that you direct theater productions on the side. Why theater?

I grew up doing musical theater and have always loved it. A good friend of mine (Brenda White) is a brilliant musician, probably the most talented I’ve ever known. She writes some amazing pieces. We co-direct at a local theater. I write the plays (mostly) and she does the music. We hold auditions and then rehearse for about two months. Our most recent production was Zaney Muldaney, on the Road to Kingdom Come. To check out the pictures on facebook, go here.

I notice you write under two names (Janice Hanna and Janice Thompson). Why?

Those who’ve been reading my romances over the past several years know me as Janice A. Thompson. My joy is mixed with a smidgeon of sorrow as I explain the change in my last name for some of my current releases. In 2006 I lost my father to bone marrow cancer. His last name (Hanna) is my maiden name—and it’s a name that means even more to me now that he is gone. In memory of my father, I use the Hanna name in my historicals. My Revell books will still release under Janice Thompson. I hope you my readers will stick with me, no matter which name I use!

I understand you have a new VIP bookclub. Can you tell us about that?

Yes, I’m so excited about this, too! I came up with this idea several months ago: Why not create a “club” where members can get each new Janice Thompson/Janice Hanna book as it releases for a set price of $11, shipping included. Books are autographed and mailed out to club members before they ever hit the stores. I also encourage my VIP club members to leave reviews, as they are able, on amazon, and If people are interested in joining the club, all they have to do is shoot me an email at with the words “VIP bookclub” in the subject line and their address in the body of the email.

Janice Hanna...on a more personal note:

Please tell us three random things we might not know about you.

My dad was the president of the University of Houston Cougars Cagers Club, so my birthdays, holidays, etc., were spent at basketball games. Our family traveled to Mexico with the U of H Cougars to watch them compete, which was great fun. When I was eleven, I got to play (for fun, of course) with the Harlem Globetrotters, who came to Houston for a visit. To this day, I love a good basketball game.

I once lied to a fellow camper, telling her my dad (Billy Hanna) was William Hanna of Hanna/Barbera (Flintstones) fame. That lie still haunts me, though, to his credit, my dad did eventually work as a movie producer on our co-authored movie, Liar's Moon. (Yes, it's true, I got to meet and work with Matt Dillon. Eat your heart out, girls!)

I occasionally bake wedding cakes. In 2009, I baked a lovely four-tiered white cake with strawberry filling and cream cheese frosting that toppled less than a hour before the wedding. I managed to piece together two very messy/ugly layers. Thankfully, the bride did not murder me. It made for a great scene in a later book. (Nothing ever gets wasted, not even a mashed piece of cake.)

What is the last book you read that you would recommend?

I was completely blown away by Judy Christie's book Wreath, about a teen girl who lives on her own. I can't tell you the last time a character impacted me the way Wreath did. I read the book for endorsement. I'm pretty sure it releases in a month or two. Can't wait to see what readers think!

SIDENOTE: Wreath releases October 1.

What are your favorite things to do (besides writing)?

Honestly? I love hanging out with my grandbabies. They grow up so quickly and I don't want to miss a thing! Maddy is four now. She's the oldest. Avery is three. Peyton is three. Ethan is two. Boston is one and half and baby Brooke turned one this week. I love them so very much. They keep me young (and give me plenty of fodder for books.)

Anything else you want our readers to know?

Yes, I’m very passionate about my faith, which is why I write Christian books. I could no more leave out the faith elements than I could stop eating chocolate. They are integral…to my stories and my life. I’m a huge believer in stirring up the gifts that God has placed inside of us, which is what I hope to do through my teaching.

Thanks for spending time with me! I had a blast!

My pleasure, Janice, and my thanks to you as well.

Connect with Janice on the web:

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pattern of Wounds by J Mark Bertrand

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Pattern of Wounds

(Bethany House - July 1, 2011)


J. Mark Bertrand


J. Mark Bertrand lived in Houston, where the series is set, for fifteen years, earning an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Houston. But after one hurricane too many he relocated with his wife Laurie to the plains of South Dakota. Mark has been arrested for a crime he didn't commit, was the foreman of one hung jury and served on another that acquitted Vinnie Jones of assault. In 1972, he won an honorable mention in a child modeling contest, but pursued writing instead.


It's Christmas in Houston, and homicide detective Roland March is on the hunt for a killer. A young woman's brutal stabbing in an affluent neighborhood bears all the hallmarks of a serial murder. The only problem is that March sent the murderer to prison ten years ago. Is it a copycat -- or did March convict the wrong man?

Alienated from his colleagues and with a growing rift in his marriage, March receives messages from the killer. The bodies pile up, the pressure builds, and the violence reaches too close to home. Up against an unfathomable evil, March struggles against the clock to understand the hidden message in the pattern of wounds.


This one of those books where you'd better get yourself unbusy before you start reading it, because everything else is going to fade into the background and you'll feel put out when something comes up and you have to put it down. Pattern of Wounds is a gripping novel from the very start and the author is a master of sowing seeds of doubt throughout the entire story. I don't know how many times I figured out 'whodunit' as I read only to find out I was totally off track. Once the book reached its climax and the perp was revealed, I was a bit surprised and a lot satisfied! I will be certainly be checking out J Mark Bertrand's backlist and awaiting anything else he publishes.

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

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday...

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event spotlighting upcoming releases and is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. Feel free to join in and let us know what you're waiting on.

I've laughed my way through each of the Sandie Bricker books I've read. My selection this week is book two in her Emma Rae Creation series and should be available in October 2011.

About Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride:

As a wedding planner, you'd think she would have the perfect wedding experience...

Sherilyn Caine has left Chicago behind to marry Andrew Drummond IV, an Atlanta native with a family name that tops all the social registers. Landing the job as The Tanglewood’s wedding planner is a piece of cake for someone with a Type A personality; she’s the perfect fit for a wedding destination hotel known for its attention to even the tiniest details.

But when everything else is going along swimmingly, why are her own wedding plans drowning right before her eyes? One way or the other, Sherilyn is determined to make this wedding work—until the latest development threatens to call the whole thing off. Is it possible that Sherilyn is allergic to her fiance?

Find out more on the web:
Sandra Bricker
Abingdon Fiction

Monday, July 11, 2011

Congratulations 2011 Christy Award Winners and Nominees

Congratulations to all the Christy Award winners and nominees this year.

Also, a big thank you to Tyson Wynn of Wynn-Wynn Media and author Susan May Warren for hosting the Christy Awards liveblog.

Find out more on the web:
Christy Awards
Wynn-Wynn Media
Susan May Warren

2011 Christy Winner - Young Adult

The nominees are:

The Charlatan’s Boy
by Jonathan Rogers (WaterBrook Press)

The Healer’s Apprentice
by Melanie Dickerson (Zondervan)

Motorcycles, Sushi, and One
Strange Book

by Nancy Rue (Zondervan)



Find out more on the web:
Jonathan Rogers
Waterbrook Press
Melanie Dickerson
Nancy Rue
Zondervan Publishers

2011 Christy Winner - Visionary

The nominees are:

To Darkness Fled
by Jill Williamson (Marcher Lord Press)

Konig’s Fire
by Marc Schooley (Marcher Lord Press)

The Last Christian
by David Gregory (WaterBrook Press)



Find out more on the web:
Jill Williamson
Marc Schooley
Marcher Lord Press
David Gregory
WaterBrook Press

2011 Christy Winner - Suspense

The nominees are:

The Bishop
by Steven James (Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

The Bride Collector
by Ted Dekker (Center Street)

by Terri Blackstock (Zondervan)



Find out more on the web:
Steven James
Revell Books
Ted Dekker
Center Street Publishing
Terri Blackstock
Zondervan Publishing

2011 Christy Winner - Historical Romance

The nominees are:

The Girl in the Gatehouse
by Julie Klassen (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

She Walks in Beauty
by Siri Mitchell (Bethany House,
a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Within My Heart
by Tamera Alexander (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)



Find out more on the web:
Julie Klassen
Siri Mitchell
Tamera Alexander
Bethany House Publishers

2011 Christy Winner - Historical

The nominees are:

Chosen: The Lost Diaries of Queen Esther
by Ginger Garrett (David C. Cook)

For Time & Eternity
by Allison Pittman (Tyndale House Publishers)

While We’re Far Apart
by Lynn Austin (Bethany House Publishers,
a division of Baker Publishing Group)



Find out more on the web:
Ginger Garrett
David C Cook Publishers
Allison Pittman
Tyndale House Publishers
Lynn Austin
Bethany House Publishers

2011 Christy Winner - First Novel

The nominees are:

Crossing Oceans
by Gina Holmes (Tyndale House Publishers)

by Anne Elisabeth Stengl (Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

A Season of Miracles
by Rusty Whitener (Kregel Publications)



Find out more on the web:
Gina Holmes
Tyndale House Publishers
Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Bethany House Publishers
Rusty Whitener
Kregel Publications

2011 Christy Winner - Contemporary Standalone

The nominees are:

Almost Heaven
by Chris Fabry (Tyndale House Publishers)

Lady in Waiting
by Susan Meissner (WaterBrook Press)

A Season of Miracles
by Rusty Whitener (Kregel Publications)



Find out more on the web:
Chris Fabry
Tyndale House Publishers
Susan Meissner
WaterBrook Press
Rusty Whitener
Kregel Publications

2011 Christy Winner - Contemporary Series, Sequels, and Novellas

The nominees are:

The Reluctant Prophet
by Nancy Rue (David C. Cook)

The Thorn
by Beverly Lewis (Bethany House Publishers,
a division of Baker Publishing Group)

The Waiting
by Suzanne Woods Fisher (Revell Books,
a division of Baker Publishing Group)



Find out more on the web:
Nancy Rue
David C Cook Publishing
Beverly Lewis
Bethany House Publishers
Suzanne Woods Fisher
Revell Books

2011 Christy Winner - Contemporary Romance

The nominees are:

Blood Ransom
by Lisa Harris (Zondervan)

by Kristen Heitzmann (WaterBrook Press)

Sworn to Protect
by DiAnn Mills (Tyndale House Publishers)



Find out more on the web:
Lisa Harris
Zondervan Publishers
Kristen Heitzmann
WaterBrook Press
DiAnn Mills
Tyndale House Publishers

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event spotlighting upcoming releases and is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. Feel free to join in and let us know what you're waiting on.

I love a good Lisa Tawn Bergren novel and put this on my wish list the moment I first saw it.

About Mercy Come Morning:

There are no second chances. Or are there?

Krista Mueller is in a good place. She’s got a successful career as a professor of history; she’s respected and well-liked; and she lives hundreds of miles from her hometown and the distant mother she could never please. It’s been more than a decade since Alzheimer’s disease first claimed Charlotte Mueller’s mind, but Krista has dutifully kept her mother in a first-class nursing home.

Now Charlotte is dying of heart failure and, surprised by her own emotions, Krista rushes to Taos, New Mexico, to sit at her estranged mother’s side as she slips away. Battling feelings of loss, abandonment, and relief, Krista is also unsettled by her proximity to Dane McConnell, director of the nursing home—and, once upon a time, her first love. Dane’s kind and gentle spirit—and a surprising discovery about her mother—make Krista wonder if she can at last close the distance between her and her mother … and open the part of her heart she thought was lost forever.