Monday, February 1, 2010

February - 2010

Welcome to my newsletter. Enjoy winning books, keeping up with my schedule, reading reviews of the books I've read, and a listing of the new releases by American Christian Fiction Writers members.

Breakthrough Already

God is faithful to perform what He promises. See the Musings section at the bottom of the newsletter to learn what has happened so far.


Three book winners for January are: Mary Preston, Toowoomba Qld, Australia - Nancye Davis, Louisville, KentuckyKellie Demarsh, Stirling Ontario, Canada. You can choose either Pirate’s Prize, Never Say Never, or A Daughter’s Quest. 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.

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 am interviewing these authors:

Judy Miller – Somewhere to Belong
Robin Caroll – Deliver Us From Evil
Betsy St Amant – A Valentine’s Wish
Cerella D Seachrist – Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania
Miralee Feerrell – Love Finds You in Bridal Veil, Oregon
Tricia Goyer – Songbird Under a German Moon
Virginia Smith – Third Time’s Charm
Mary Hawkins – Outback From Baragula
Christa Allen – Walking on Broken Glass
Terri Kraus – Transformation
Lori Copeland – A Kiss for Cade
Kerry Nietz – A Star Curiously Singing
Susan May Warren – Double Trouble
Vanissa Miller – Forsaken
Stephen Bly – Creede of Montana
Ronie Kendig – Dead Reckoning
K M Weiland – Behold the Dawn
Jen Stephens – The Heart’s Journey Home
Hillary Manton Lodge – Plain Jayne
Jerry Eicher – Rebecca’s Choice

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’d love for you to follow me on Twitter:

My author interview blog, , was given the Sugar Doll award by Abi Buening. I’m supposed to tell 10 things about myself, but since that blog is only used for author interviews, I’ll post those things here:

1. I live in Texas.
2. I’ve been married over 45 years.
3. I’ve traveled in several foreign countries – Mexico, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Jamaica, Guatemala.
4. I knit and crochet while James and I watch TV.
5. I designed a pattern and make all my slacks.
6. I like to sing and own way over 100 Christian CDs.
7. I collect Christian Christmas CDs, too.
8. I have 4 grandchildren.
9. I have 1 great grandchild.
10. I have a cooler smart phone than my daughters or granddaughters have.

In March, I will start teaching online writing classes. You can sign up for the first class at this site: . If my class isn’t listed when you check, please check back. It will be going up soon. My first class will be “Taking Settings to the Next Level.”

Calendar of Events

February 21-25, 2010 – Writer’s Retreat, Round Top, Texas

March 2010 – Release of A Daughter’s Quest, Thorndike Press hard-back, large-print edition

March 2010 - – Taking Settings to the Next Level

April 10, 2010 – DFW Ready Writers, Colleyville, Texas, Utilizing the Internet

May 2010 – Release of Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico

May 1, 2010 – Book Release Party, Mardel Christian Store, Hurst, Texas - 1-3 pm. Join us for the fun!!

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

August 28, 2010 – ACFW Shreveport – Taking Settings to the Next Level

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.

Ruby Among Us
By Tina Ann Forkner
ISBN 978-1-4000-7458-0
Contemporary Women's Fiction

Back Cover Copy:

Sometimes the key that unlocks your future lies in someone else's past.

Lucy DiCamillo is safely surrounded by her books, music, and art--but none of these reclusive comforts or even the protective efforts of her grandmother, Kitty, can shield her thoughts from the mother she can barely recall. Lucy senses her grandmother holds the key, but Kitty seems as eager to hide the past as Lycy is eager to find it.

From the streets of San Francisco and Sacramento to the lush vineyards of the Sonoma Valley, Lucy follows the thread of memory in search of a heritage that seems long-buried with her mother, Ruby.

What she finds is as enigmatic and stirring as it is startling in this redemptive tale about the power of faith and mother-daughter love.

My Review:

I loved the depth of the characters gradually revealed in this book, like a rose's petals slowly unfolding to the sunlight. The characters are almost larger than life, but their misunderstandings and hurts are universal.

When I finished reading this book, I saw many parallels with one of the most familiar of our Lord's parables. You'll really want to read it.

Emmy’s Equal
By Marcia Gruver
ISBN 978-1-60260-207-6
Historical Romance
Texas Fortunes - Book 3

Back Cover Copy:

A Strong-willed City Girl Meets Her Match in a Stubborn Vaquero

Emmy Dane's recent decision to trust God with her life has yet to rub off on her stubborn spirit. When her family decides to travel to South Texas to research ranching and demand that Emmy join them, she vows to hate every minute of it.

In Carrizo Springs, Texas, cowboy and ranch foreman Diego Marcelo's Choctaw mama tells him about her dream that God will soon deliver Diego from his loneliness. Diego assures her he has no need of deliverance and likes things the way they are. . .but grows jealous over the seeming attraction between Emmy and his boss's son. So why is his mother adamant that Emmy is not the one from her dreams?

When Emmy's family and Diego's boss are overdue returning from a cattle drive, Emmy insists on accompanying Diego's search party. Diego refuses, but finds Emmy's stubbornness a match for his own.

Faced with a stampede and a wildfire, will Emmy and Diego be able to surrender their wills and recognize true love before it's too late?

My Review:

I have loved Marcia's writing since I read the first page of DIAMOND DUO, the first book in this series. EMMY'S EQUAL is a fit ending of the series. With strong character development, Marcia takes the reader deep into the hearts, revealing strengths and weaknesses, making the reader really care about what happens to the people.

And her plot twists constantly surprise the reader.

Add to that the fact that she created a setting where the reader can see, hear, feel, taste, and experience the Texas frontier. I found this an excellent read that you won't want to miss.

It’s NOT About HIM
By Michelle Sutton
ISBN 978-00-979-74857-8
Sheaf House
Contemporary Romance
Second Glances, book 2

A note on the back states: Due to mature content, recommended for mature teens and young adults.

Back Cover Copy:

Susie passed out while drinking at Jeff's party and later discovered she's pregnant. She has no idea who the father is and considers having an abortion, but instead decides to place her baby for adoption. Following through ends up being more wrenching than she imagined, but she's determined to do the right thing for her baby.

Jeff feels guilty that Suzie was taken advantage of at his party and offers to marry her so she won't have to give up her baby, like his birth mother did with him. But Susie refuses, insisting he should marry someone he loves. Can he convince her that his love is genuine before it's too late? Can she make him understand that it's not about him--it's about what's best for her child.

My Review:

I do agree with the statement on the back of the cover that it's for mature teens and young adults. Some of the scenes, although not completely graphic, are too graphic for young teens.

That being said, this is a powerful look at two young people who made a lot of mistakes before they became Christians. It clearly shows the struggles when the consequences of those mistakes spill over into their new Christian walk.

Realistic situations handled with finesse by the author reveal that Jesus is always the answer, even on the darkest days. I also loved watching the developing romance by two people who've had a hard time knowing what real love is.

I highly recommend this wonderful book.

The Husband Tree
By Mary Connealy
ISBN 978-1-60260-143-7
Historical Romance
Montana Marriages, book 2

Back Cover Copy:

No More Husbands for Belle!

Standing over her third no-account husband's grave, Belle Tanner makes a vow--no more men. Now all she needs to do is get her cattle to market before winter sets in. But there's no one around except the drifter Silas Harden, and Belle is such a poor judge of men that she can't decide if he is worth hiring on.

Silas just escaped a shotgun wedding--only to lose his money, his ranch, and his pride. Although he's determined never to get tangled up with women folk again, Belle and her four daughters seem to bring out the protector in him. And he can't seem to stop kissing Belle senseless.

When a group cowpokes, along with a white woman raised by the Shoshone, show up along the drive, Belle has her hands full. Can she keep her oldest daughter and Glowing Sun away from no-good cowhands--and herself out of Silas's arms?

Will anyone get through this treacherous cattle drive unscathed and unhitched?

My Review:

When Mary Connealy burst on the Christian fiction scene, she brought a unique, quirky voice. Her books are funny, poignant, and enjoyable. This one is no exception. Actually, I believer THE HUSBAND TREE is my favorite of all her books.

With more romantic tension than usual, I loved the growing relationship between Belle and Silas. Their character development was fun to read. And I loved the daughters.

Also, I can't wait to read the next book, WILDFLOWER BRIDE, which is Wade and Glowing Sun's story.

You won't want to miss THE HUSBAND TREE. Pick it up today.

Thin Places
By Mary E. DeMuth
ISBN 978-0-310-28418-5
Nonfiction - Memoir

Back Cover Copy:

What if you could retrace your life and discover its thin places--places where the division between this world and the eternal fades?

"Thin places are snatches of holy ground, tucked into the corners of our world, where we might just catch a glimpse of eternity. They are aha moments, the beautiful realizations."

In her moving spiritual memoir, Mary DeMuth traces the winding path of thin places in her life, places where she experienced longing and healing more intensely than before. Mary's story invites you to a deeper understanding of your own story. She calls you to discover new ways to look for God in the past so that you might experience him more profoundly in the present. . .A God ready to break through any ordinary day or extraordinary pain and offer you a glimpse of eternity.

My Review:

I don't read a lot of nonfiction. I can hardly keep up with the fiction I need to read to do reviews, but I wanted to read this memoir. With achingly beautiful words, Mary takes us into dark places of pain and into gloriously-lit places where she meets a loving Savior who dances with her.

I'd often heard that writing is like opening a vein and letting the words bleed from you. With Mary's transparency in this book, many of the words felt as though her life-blood wrote them. Then she anoints them with the blood of Jesus and takes away the pain.

She doesn't, however, gloss over the bad times. Instead, she tells about them with passionate words that reveal her deep hurt, but always lead back to Jesus.

I'm blessed to know Mary personally, but this book gave me an even more in-depth understanding of her as a child, a wife, a mother, and an author. I highly recommend THIN PLACES for all who have any kind of pain in their lives. Her journey will help you move beyond the hurt into the loving arms of Jesus. Her insightful book took me to some of my hidden places, too.

February ACFW Book Releases

Eleven releases this month from ACFW members.

Congrats to all!

1. Abigail: A Novel, The Wives of King David, Book 2, by Jill Eileen Smith from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Turmoil marks her life - what price will she pay for love?

2. A Valentine Wish, by Betsy St. Amant from Steeple Hill Lori, chocolate-lover extraordinary, is unemployed, single, and out of brownie mix. But when a secret admirer pops up at her new job running a chocolate boutique, she might have the ingredients for a special Valentine's after all!

3. Deliver Us From Evil, by Robin Caroll from B&H Publishing. When a female helicopter rescues a US Marshal escorting a heart, they must race against time to uncover the largest child trafficking ring in history.

4. Hometown Promise; First in the Kellerville Series, by Merrillee Whren from Steeple Hill. Kellerville: Finding family, community and love in one small town

5. Love's Winding Path, by Lauralee Bliss from Heartsong Presents, Barbour Publishing. A prodigal's life is never out of God's reach and His love as two lonely adventurers are about to discover.

6. The Marriage Masquerade, by Erica Vetsch from Heartsong Presents, Barbour Publishing. Sometimes running away brings you right back where you started.

7. Meander Scar, by Lisa Lickel from Black Lion. When Ann is ready to jump back into life with a new love, she discovers the devastating truth behind her husband's disappearance.

8. My Deadly Valentine, by Lynette Eason and Valerie Hansen from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. Two suspense filled stories about stalkers and the men determined to protect the women they love.

9. On Wings of Love, by Kim Watters from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. A dedicated nurse devotes her life helping others, only to discover the man who steals her heart doesn't want her help..

10. The Pastor's Wife, by Jennifer AlLee from Abingdon Press. A woman must face the husband - and the congregation - she ran from six years earlier.

11. Walking on Broken Glass, by Christa Allen from Abingdon Press. Leah Thornton stops numbing her pain with alcohol, but discovers the road to redemption might still be under construction.

Happy Reading!


Breakthroughs. . .wait. . .victory. 2010 is a wonderful year already.

I really felt that God was saying there would be a real breakthrough in James recovery from his terrible infection that almost killed him last year. It’s been slow going, with him gradually gaining strength and mental agility.

In the last two weeks, his spark has returned. Even our daughter could hear it when she talked to him on the phone. It’s like I have my husband back. He’s been here, but the essence of who he is was missing. I praise God for giving him back to me.