Thursday, January 1, 2009

January 2009

A new year lies before us like a field of pristine snow. Fresh. Unblemished. We must choose what to do with it. How will you live your year to make the most of it?


As a way to celebrate the new year, I’ve chosen two winners of free books this month. Lela Fox of West Plain, Missouri, and Dana Sellars of Hurst, Texas. Click on the View Complete Profile link to find a link to my email. Send me your mailing address.

Readers, if you want a chance to win one of my free books, please sign my Guest Book on my website - . The winners are chosen from those who do. But remember to check back in the next month’s newsletter to see if you won.

You can sign up at the top of the right hand column for Feedblitz. Then the newsletter will feed into your Inbox. I will only post a newsletter once a month.

Want more free books. We also give away a minimum of 12 free books a month on my blog: Most months we give away more than that.

This month I’ll be interviewing these authors:

Sharlene MacLaren – Hannah Grace
Sue Dent – Forever Richard
Tricia Goyer – Sweet September
Irene Brand – Love Finds You in Valentine, Nebraska
Marcia Gruver – Diamond Duo
Rhonda Gibson & Jeanie Kincaid – Shelter in Seattle
Maggie Brendan – No Place for a Lady
Robin Caroll – Framed!
Allie Pleiter – Bluegrass Courtship
Robin Shope – The Valentine Edition
Sandra D Moore – Polly Dent Loses Grip

If you’d like to see the covers of my next two releases, you can find them on my Fan page on Facebook:

I’d love for you to come over and become a fan.

Calendar of Events

April 11, 2009 – Speaker for DFW Ready Writers – La Hacienda Ranch Restaurant, Colleyville, Texas

April 18, 2009 – Speaker for Madison County Writers Guild, Madisonville, Texas – in the Library annex

May 9, 2009 – Speaker for "Gifted for His Glory Seminar" at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, Dallas, Texas

May 2009 – Release of The Prairie Romance Collection

May 2009 – Release of Wild Prairie Roses

May 16, 2009 – Speaker for CenTex Chapter of ACFW, Austin, Texas

July 2009 – Release of Cranberry Hearts

September 2009 – Release of Wild West Christmas

September 2009 – Release of Christmas Love at Lake Tahoe

September 17-20 - American Christian Fiction Writers National Conference - Denver, Colorado

October 2009 – Release of Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico

Book Reviews

One Holy Night
By J. M. Hochstetler
ISBN 978-0-9797485-0-9
Sheaf House
Contemporary Women's Fiction

Back Cover Copy:

As on that holy night so long ago. . .in a world torn by sin and strife. . .to a family that has suffered heart-wrenching loss. . .there will be born a baby. . .

Frank McRae stared at the television screen, raw images of war exploding in his head long after the news had finally ended, replaced by an inane sitcom. The grainy black-and-white video of battle-weary troops slogging through the sodden rice paddies and shadowy jungles of Viet Nam ate away at his heart like sulfuric acid.

There was nothing left of his life now but the bitterness and the pain that were tearing him apart. The silence in the house that had once been a cherished home, rich with happiness and love, was deafening. Always another war. Always more purposeless killing, senseless dying, and fractured relationships that couldn't be put back together again. Where was God in all of this? What kind of God would tear from a man those dearest to him? The Bible spoke of a God of love and mercy, but for all Frank could tell, God remained indifferent to suffering. When one needed help the most, God turned his back. Surely the Bible was nothing but a hollow myth. . . .

What Frank didn't know was that God had in mind a miracle. Once more, as on that holy night so long ago, a baby will be born and laid in a anger--a baby who will bring forgiveness, peace, and healing to a family that has suffered heart-wrenching loss.

My Review:

Somewhere along the line, some publisher decided that the cutoff date for historicals came with the end of World War II, and everyone else followed suit. This book takes place in the late 1960s. To me, it is a historical instead of a contemporary. Set in a time period when I was a young married woman and mother, this story spreads across some of the most troubling times in our country's history.

The story takes us into the hearts and emotions of characters facing hard losses, old prejudices, and even hatred. One of the main characters doesn't even really know God during most of the book. However, God knows him and reaches into his hardened heart.
You'll want to read this book. You'll come away with your emotions completely engaged by the characters and internal conflicts. If you don't have time to read many Christmas books, this is one that you should choose (along with SNOWBOUND COLORADO CHRISTMAS, of course). You'll be glad you did. It will bring the miraculous back into your celebration of the season.

An Irishwoman’s Tale
By Patti Lacy
ISBN 978-0-8254-2987-3
Contemporary Women's Fiction

Back Cover Copy:

"Ye can't mean it," Mam screamed. "Not now. Sh'e all o' a bloody five."

"The little eegit. Get 'er out."

A fist crashed to the table. Cups and saucers and cigarettes flew. Tea splattered onto the wall, onto the front of Killian's shirt.

"Ye swine." Mam was in Killian's face. "For the sake of St. Patrick, she's my flesh and blood."

"She's got to go."

Mary Freeman's earliest memory has haunted her since childhood: An old oaken table, bitter faces drinking bitter tea, a heated discussion of what's to be done with the "little eegit"--her. Now she is far removed from this family that didn't want her, and separated from her native Ireland Living in the United States heartland, Mary searches out fulfilling roles--entrepreneur, wife, Christian, mother, community servant--but her loneliness and torment remain as acute as ever.

A crisis in her youngest daughter's life--and the encouragement of Sally, a plucky Southern transplant--propels Mary back to the rocky cliffs of her home in County Clare, Ireland. Her harrowing journey unveils her tragic past, and forces her face-to-face with God.

My Review:

AN IRISHWOMAN'S TALE is often beautiful and sometimes hard to read, because it faces real dysfuntion in a family head-on. But Patti Lacy deals with the issues with finesse.

I love her characters. And the Irish setting makes me want to visit the Emerald Isle, the home of many of my ancestors.

Told through two unlikely contemporary friends and their journey together into the past, this story is strong, vital, and a must read.

Plain Perfect
By Beth Wiseman
ISBN 978-1-59554-630-2
Thomas Nelson
Contemporary Women's Fiction
Daughters of the Promise, Book 1

Back Cover Copy:

A search for peace in Amish country proves anything but simple for a woman on the run from life. . .and herself

On the rolling plains of Lancaster County, PA, Lillian Miller is searching for her grandparents' house. . .and so much more. After years of neglect and abuse, she's turning to a lifestyle of simplicity among the Amish to find herself.

AS she discards the distractions of her former life, she befriends the young boy working on her family's farm and his attractive widowed father, Samuael Stoltzfus. Despite Lillian's best efforts to the contrary, her feelings for Samuel, and his for her, deepen. Will Lillian find her faith in Plain living, or will she be forced to return to her former life?

My Review:

Debut author, Beth Wiseman, adds a fresh new voice to Christian fiction with PLAIN PERECT. She's an excellent storyteller, who takes the reader deep into the characters. I read a lot, and I'm not usually surprised by anything in a women's fiction book, but I will say that Beth surprised me at one point in the story. Well-developed characters, honest emotions, strong spiritual growth, and her writing style kept me turning pages.

I'm anxious to read the next Daughters of the Promise novel, and you will be, too, after you've read this first one.

Love Finds You in Miracle, Kentucky
By Andrea Boeshaar
ISBN 978-1-934770-37-5
Summerside Press
Contemporary Romantic Fiction

Back Cover Copy:

Anything can happen when you live in a place called Miracle.

Meg Jorgenson wants a fresh start, miles away from the city and a failed relationship. She takes a teaching position in the tiny town of Miracle, Kentucky, and vows to steer clear of smooth-talking men. Before long, Meg is smitten, but it's eight-year-old Cammy Bayer who wins her heart. The young girl has spent much of her life in a wheelchair but firmly believes that God will heal her someday.

Cammy's widowed father, Vance, has devoted his life to caring for his young daughter, and he is delighted by the attention she receives from her new teacher. But will Meg and Vance see eye-to-eye when it comes to an experimental procedure that might grant Cammy the use of her legs? Will they open their minds to the miracle of healing, and their hearts to the miracle of love?

My Review:

There are so many things to like about these Love Finds You books. Their covers are wonderful, and all the page design details lift the books above the ordinary. Stories set in actual places.

But most of all, the stories will keep your interest until the very last word. Andrea's book is populated by normal people who make plenty of wrong decisions. The twists and turns lead the reader to a satisfying ending for the story and romance.

Andrea's characters leap from the pages into your heart. You won't want to miss this one.

Love Finds You in Valentine, Nebraska
By Irene Brand
ISBN 978-1-934770-38-2
Summerside Press
Contemporary Romantic Fiction

Back Cover Copy:

What can a California girl do with a few dusty acres of land in rural Nebraska?

So Kennedy Blaine wonders after she inherits a ranch in the small, western-style town of Valentine, Nebraska. As Knnedy makes arrangements to sell the property, she finds herself drawn to the ranch and its attractive manager, Derek Sterling. But soon Kennedy is subjected to harassment by someone who clearly wants her to leave Valentine.

Depending on God's protection and Derek's assistance, she sets out ot discover who is behind the offenses. But when her search reveals painful details about her family and raises questions about Deren's own past, will Kennedy want to know the truth?

My Review:

I've enjoyed reading books by Irene Brand for over twenty years. And this one is my favorite so far. I love the setting. I love the characters, I love the plot twists, and I love the ending. I highly recommend this wonderful book to you.

Love Finds You in Romeo, Colorado
By Gwen Ford Faulkenberry
ISBN 978-1-934770-46-7
Summerside Press
Contemporary Romantic Women's Fiction

Back Cover Copy:

Can one woman's tragedy turn into happily ever after?

Claire Caspian is a first-rate professor, teaching even the most cynical student to find beauty in literature. But with her own personal story, she isn't as successful. Having recently lost her husband, Claire returns with her young son to the tiny desert town of Romeo, Colorado, where she grew up. There she settles in with her feisty old Abuelita, the richest woman in the county, and attempts to rebuild her life. But love comes searching for Claire in the form of attractive local doctor Stephen Reyes. Will another tragedy prevent her from accepting love the second time around? Or will she embrace her hew Romeo and finally find a happy ending?

My Review:

This book is peopled with unique, strong characters, even secondary characters. And the plotline is interesting. I did find some passages that slowed the story down, but the characters and storyline kept me turning pages. This is a part of Colorado I wasn't familiar with, but I am now. I liked the book, and I think you will, too.

January Book Releases

A new year! So much to look forward to, so much promise! We've got 12 new releases to start us off on 2009's adventure. Check them.

1. Bayou Betrayal, Book 5 of the Bayou series by Robin Caroll from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. When a woman arrives in town to meet her relatives, an arsonist doesn't want her to stay!

2. Be Strong and Curvaceous, All About Us #3 by Shelley Adina from Hachette FaithWords. Carly Aragon's faith is tested when she takes on a crush crasher who comes accessorized with a stalker.

3. Before the Season Ends, Lights of London, Book One by Linore Rose Burkard from Harvest House. A Christian young woman must make her way through the treacherous waters of a Regency Season in London; while her worldly, wealthy aunt tries to marry her off for money.

4. Cursebreaker, Book One of The Order of the Scrolls Series by Nancy Wentz from Whitaker House. Author Nancy Wentz's drama unfolds in both the physical and spiritual realms, treating the reader to a thrilling tale of mystery, passion, and historical intrigue.

5. Fireflies In December by Jennifer Erin Valent from Tyndale House. A young girl comes of age amidst the racial prejudice of Depression-era Virginia.

6. Hannah Grace, The Daughters of Jacob Kane by Sharlene MacLaren from Whitaker House. A new century, a new sheriff, a new love...many things are about to change in the town of Sandy Shores.

7. Kiriath's Quest by Rick Barry from JourneyForth Books (a division of BJU Press). A YA Christian fantasy adventure that reaffirms the value of faith, family, love and loyalty.

8. Milk Money by Cecelia Dowdy from Barbour Publishing (Heartsong Presents). Can Frank find faith in Jesus, while battling alcoholism, as he seeks the love of Emily Cooper?

9. Mommy's Hometown Hero, Dalton Brothers Book 2 by Merrillee Whren from Steeple Hill. Ex-soldier Matt Dalton wants to bring his friend Rachel Charbonneau back to the Lord and win her heart as well.

10. No Place For A Lady, Heart Of The West Book One by Maggie Brendan from Revell. Can a Southern belle tame the heart of a rugged cowboy?

11. Paper Roses, Texas Dreams #1 by Amanda Cabot from Revell. There's only one problem when mail-order bride Sarah Dobbs arrives in Texas to greet her groom: he's been murdered.

12. Sweetwater Gap, (Women of Faith Fiction) by Denise Hunter from Thomas Nelson. A woman returns home to help save her family's apple orchard and must face the ghosts that chased her away so many years ago.

13. The Edge of Light, Book One in the At Home in Beldon Grove Series by Ann Shorey from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. It's 1838 on the Missouri frontier--how will Molly McGarvie keep her young family together after her husband's sudden death?

14. What Sarah Saw, Book One, Without a Trace Love Inspired Suspense continuity series by Margaret Daley from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. The tragic conclusion to a kidnapping case broke Sam and Jocelyn apart, but for a child's sake they must join forces to uncover what Sarah saw

Happy reading ~


Every year my friend Rita Booth and I each separately ask God for His word for us for the new year. Then we compare notes. Often we’ve received the same word. I’ll call her later today to compare notes.

Here’s what God’s been telling me.

Our country has become a nation of expectations. What are expectations? They’re desires that turn into demands. Then we convince ourselves that they are our rights. And we strive for those rights.

God wants us to give all our expectations to Him and just receive what He has for us. Clinging to the expectations, or what we consider our rights, can ruin the gifts we receive. Gifts God has planned to do the most good in our lives.

Now for the one word for 2009 – Unexpected!

God wants us to prepare our hearts to receive the unexpected things He’s going to bring our way this year. We must totally trust in Him and know that He will only give us things that will not harm us.

In the economic climate we’ve already entered, some things have and will continue to look as though they are harming us. But whatever God brings into our lives will help us grow.

We won’t really understand the depth of His love for us until we know His miraculous provision. We won’t need his miraculous provision unless our ways of providing for ourselves are tested or taken away.

I’ve told the people I know that God is my business manager. I work to improve the skills to use the gifts He gave me. I have my agent submit my proposals to editors. Then I trust Him to bring about His will in my writing life. If a book doesn’t sell to one publisher, I know that’s not the one He wants to bring it to print. He has specific people who need to read my stories. He also knows which publisher will be able to get the books into their hands.

So if I make a sale, I praise Him. If a proposal is rejected, I praise Him.

I choose to trust Him completely and allow Him to bring the unexpected into my life in 2009.

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