Friday, January 1, 2010

January 2010


Every year, my friend Rita Booth and I both ask God for a word for the year. This is the word He gave me for me. Rita’s word is Wait. Then at the New Year’s Eve prayer meeting at Gateway Church, Pastor Robert said the word for Gateway this year is Victory. That sounds a lot like breakthrough to me.


Three book winners for December are: Nancy Jackson – Southlake, Texas, Abi Buening – Grand Forks, North Dakota, and Kim Boldt, Gravett, Arkansas. You can choose either Wild Prairie Roses or Cranberry Hearts. Click on the View Complete Profile link in the right hand column to find a link to my email. Send me your mailing address. Or you can go to my website and click on Contact Me.

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 of this blog for Feedblitz. Then the newsletter will feed into your Inbox. I will only post a newsletter once a month.

And introduce your friends to my newsletter. They might be interested in winning free books and reading book reviews.

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws. You will have 6 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

Want more free books. We also give away a minimum of 16 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 – Maggie Rose
Kaye Dacus – A Case for Love
Roxanne Rustand – Fatal Burn
Martha Rogers – Becoming Lucy
C. J. Darlington – Thicker Than Blood
Lisa Harris – Colorado Crimes
Jennifer AlLee – The Pastor’s Wife
Kelly Irvin – A Deadly Wilderness
Shanna Groves – Lip Reader
M. L. Tyndall – The Raven Saint
Susan Page Davis and Megan Davis – Mainely Mysteries
Linore Rose Burkard – The Country House Courtship
Deborah Raney – Beneath a Southern Sky
Kathie Fitzpatrick – Angel Promises
Janet Dean – The Substitute Bride
Mary Connealy – The Husband Tree
Susan May Warren – Sons of Thunder
Rachel Hauck – The Sweet By and By
Mary DeMuth – Thin Places
Betsy St. Amant – A Valentine’s Wish

That's a real smorgasbord of books to fit all kinds of reading tastes.

You can find all kinds of information about my books on my Fan page on Facebook:
I’d love for you to come over and become a fan.

Another place you can find out what’s going on in Christian publishing today:

I’ love for you to follow me on Twitter:

Calendar of Events

February 21-25, 2010 – Writer’s Retreat, Round Top, Texas
April 10, 2010 – DFW Ready Writers, Colleyville, Texas - Utilizing the Internet
May 2010 – Release of Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico
May 2010 – Book Release Party, Mardel Christian Store, Hurst, Texas
May 8, 2010 – ACFW The Woodlands (Writers on the Storm) – Two workshops - Painting Historicals With Authenticity & Taking Settings to the Next Level
June 26, 2010 – ACFW local chapter – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma - Taking Settings to the Next Level – a hands-on workshop
August 28, 2010 – ACFW Shreveport – Taking Settings to the Next Level – a hands-on workshop
September 17 – 20, 2010 – ACFW National Conference, Indianapolis, Indiana
October 2, 2010 – ACFW Tulsa (WIN) – Taking Settings to the Next Level – a hands-on workshop

Book Reviews

Notice: In accordance with FTC regulations, I inform you that most of the books I review have been provided by either the author, a publicist, or the publisher. I review only books I have read and all reviews are the honest representation of my opinion of the book.

A Blue and Gray Christmas
By Vickie McDonough, Lauralee Bliss, Tamela Hancock Murray, Carrie Turansky
ISBN 978-1-60260-565-7
Historical Novella Collection

Back Cover Copy:

Christmas Love Captures Hearts During the Civil War

Despite the Blue and Gray troops advancing on their hometown of Fredericksburg, Virginia, Leah Woods and Seth Madison vow to wed at the dawn of the New Year. But when Seth disappears, Leah is left alone, clinging to whatever faith she can muster.

On Christmas Day, Arabella Lambert accepts Barry Birch's proposal of marriage. But as Barry's pacifist leanings come to light, he's labeled a coward. Is their love strong enough to stand against public ridicule?

Rachel Thornton nurses the wounded James Galloway back to health, only to see him determined to head back to the front lines. Can Rachel risk falling for James? Or would her heart be better off in the hands of another man?

After the loss of her Confederate home and husband, Hannah McIntosh found refuge at the Haley ranch in Kansas. When Chris Haley, an embittered Union soldier, returns from war, Hannah knows her days at the ranch are numbered. How much time does she have before Chris throws the Confederate caretaker Hannah out of his home and life forever?

My Review:

To be totally honest, even with the lovely cover, I probably wouldn't have picked up this book. I don't like reading war novels that much. But I featured this book on my blog, and I made a promise to read and review the Christmas novels in October and November. I'm glad I did.

I would have missed a collection of character-driven stories that were strong on doing what is right in the face of extreme adversity. I fell in love with the characters and felt their pain with them. I knew this book would be good because of the quality of the authors who made up the team. I've read and loved other books by all of them.

Fools Rush In
By Janice Thompson
ISBN 978-0-8007-3342-1
Contemporary Romance
Weddings by Bella, Book One

Back Cover Copy:

Ever Wonder How Italian Sounds with a Southern Drawl?

Bella Rossi's life is just starting to get interesting. When her Italian-turned-Texan parents hand over the family wedding-planning business, Bella quickly books a Boot-Scootin' wedding that would make any Texan proud. There's only one catch--she doesn't know a thing about country music. Where will she find a deejay on such short notice who knows his Alan Jackson from his George Strait? And will Bella ever get to plan her own wedding?

Fun, fresh, and full of surprises, this flavorbul compination of Italian and Tex-Mex highlights the hilarity that ensues when cultures clash.

My Review:

I've been reading Janice Thompson books as long as she's been writing them, and I loved her stories. But with this book, I think she's finally found her unique voice.

The story is a rollicking, fun read that takes you through wildly contrasting cultures. And she does it with a finesse that keeps it from crossing the line from humor into exaggerated caricature.

I loved watching the spiritual development of the main characters that wraps seamlessly into the developing romance. Janice is the director who brings it all to life in the reader's mind.

You won't want to miss this series.

Swinging on a Star
By Janice Thompson
ISBN 978-0-8007-3343-6
Contemporary Romance
Weddings by Bella, Book Two

Back Cover Copy:

There's a Fine Line Between Ambitious and Crazy. Bella's Just Not Sure Where It Is.

Bella Rossi's life is nearing perfection. Not only does she have the perfect guy, but she's also running a successful wedding plannig business and is about to plan its most ambitious wedding yet--a Renaissance-themed fairy tale come true, complete with period costumes and foods, horse-drawn carriages, and even a castle. There's only one hitch. The best man just happens to be Hollywood's hottest and most eligible bachelor, and he's showing an interest in Bella. Oh, and did we mention he's staying at her house to avoid the paparazzi?

With all the pressure surrounding this wedding, Bella's not sure she's going to make it through. Add her starstruck sister and her feuding aunt and uncle, and you've got a recipe for disaster--and a lot of laughs.

My Review:

I didn't think Janice could top her first book with the list of possible things that could (and do) go awry. I was actually wrong in that assumption. The disasters pile upon each other at an alarming rate, complete with a cast of quirky characters who throw Bella into a tizzy.

I loved the development in the lives of many of the secondary characters in this book. And the wedding was marvelous. But the roadblocks were hilarious, and the spiritual truths learned by several people in the book touched my heart.

Quickly get yourself a copy if you want a fun read.

Dead Reckoning
By Ronie Kendig
ISBN 971-4267-0058-3
Abingdon Press
Contemporary Romantic Suspense

Back Cover Copy:

Trapped by a nuclear terrorist plot in Mumbai!

Underwater archeologist Shiloh Blake is consumed with passion for the water and inflamed at the injustices of life.

When her first large-scale dig traps her in the middle of an international nuclear arms clash, she flees for her life. When she spots a man trailing her, the questions are, "Who is he?" and "How is he always one step ahead?"

Reece Jaxon is a former Navy SEAL and now serves his country as a spy. His life is entangled by the beguiling Shiloh Blake as he hunts down the source of a nuclear dead drop in the Arabian Sea near Mumbai, India.

The only way to end this nightmare and prevent a nuclear meltdown is to join forces with Reece. Will Shiloh violate her vow to never become a spy?

My Review:

I personally don't like to read Advanced Readers Copies of books. However, when the publicist for Abingdon included this ARC in one of the packages she sent to me, I had to read it. Ronie Kendig is one of the authors I mentored before she signed her first book contract, so of course, I wanted to read her debut novel as soon as possible.

I was totally blown away. The book is written very tight and at a breathtaking pace. With every few pages, surprises change everything for the main characters. It was very hard to put the book down when I had to. I wanted to read just the next page, then the next, then. . . You get the picture.

This book has something for almost every reader. The suspense with plenty of explosions to keep a male reader happy, a rich tapestry of setting skillfully woven in with just enough snippets of information to allow the readers to create the place in their own imaginations, and a strong love story with more than its fair share of roadblocks.

You won't want to miss this wonderful read. Unfortunately, it won't release until March. But you can preorder a copy at this link: Dead Reckoning

January ACFW Book Releases

Twelve releases this month from ACFW members. Congrats to all!

1. A Stray Drop of Blood, by Roseanna M. White from Whitefire Publishing. Born free, made a slave, married out of her bonds, Abigail never knows freedom until she feels the fire of a stray drop of blood from a Jewish carpenter.

2. A Deadly Wilderness, by Kelly Irvin from Five Star/Gale/Cengage. A family that will stop at nothing to protect its secrets and a drug cartel hit man are just two of the pieces to the puzzle Homicide Detective Ray Johnson must solve to find a murderer—and save his own life.

3. Becoming Lucy - The Winds Across the Prairie Series, by Martha Rogers from Realms Division of Strang Communications. An alleged murderer reclaims his life, but can he reclaim his beloved?

4. Burn, by Erin Healy and Ted Dekker from Thomas Nelson. A supernatural thriller about a woman who gets an unwanted chance to extinguish her fiery past.

5. First Impressions , by Michelle Sutton from Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc. Playing the role of a saloon girl taught her how to flirt, but it makes a lousy first impression on the man whose heart she longs to win.

6. Jenna's Cowboy- Callahans of Texas, 1, by Sharon Gillenwater from Baker/Revell. Will Jenna's love enable Nate to put the horrors of war behind him and become the man she deserves?

7. Never Far from Home- 2nd in the Miller Family Series, by Mary Ellis from Harvest House Publishers. Emma's rebellious Rumschpringe may lead to her banishment as friendship turns to love with the English sheepfarmer.

8. Plain Jane, by Hillary Manton Lodge from Harvest House Publishers. Girl reporter Jayne Tate finds more than she bargained for when she goes to Amish Country to research a story.

9. Sworn to Protect, by Diann Mills from Tyndale. Danika Morales has sworn to protect our nation's borders. But that oath has come with a price.

10. The Chic Shall Inherit the Earth - All About Us #6, by Shelley Adina from Hatchette FaithWords. At exclusive Spencer Academy, Lissa Mansfield gains popularity when she replaces her nemesis, Vanessa, on the senior Cotillion committee, but graduation and major decisions about the future loom.

11. The Choice - Lancaster County Secrets, Book 1, by Suzanne Woods Fisher from Revell. A tender story of love and forgiveness, "The Choice" uncovers the sweet simplicity of the Amish world--and shows it's never too late to find your way back to God.

12. The Husband Tree - Montana Marriages, by Mary Connealy from Barbour. A tough lady rancher drags a reluctant cowhand on a cattledrive, along with her four daughters.

Happy Reading!


Breakthrough. . .Wait. . .Victory. 2010 is sounding like a wonderful year already.

You’ve heard the saying, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” Well, today is the first day of the rest of 2010. I’m going to face this year with a sense of expectancy in my heart.

What is God going to do this year? You can be sure it will be different from anything you planned for yourself. And He will enhance the things you planned.

So I pray new year’s blessings on you and yours in 2010.