Friday, March 30, 2012

Cover Attraction: Garden of Madness by Tracy L. Higley

I had already planned to list this book as today's Cover Attraction, and when it arrived in my mailbox today of all days...well, it was really a no-brainer by that time!  Love this cover, don't you?  :o)


Title:  Garden of Madness
Author:  Tracy L. Higley
Release Date:  May 1, 2012 (although it may have released early)
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson

About the book:

The Untold Story of King Nebuchadnezzar's Daughter. 

For seven years the Babylonian princess Tiamat has waited for the mad king Nebuchadnezzar to return to his family and to his kingdom. Driven from his throne to live as a beast, he prowls his luxurious Hanging Gardens, secreted away from the world.

Since her treaty marriage at a young age, Tia has lived an indulgent palace life. But when her husband dies and a nobleman is found murdered in the palace, Tia must discover who is responsible for the macabre death, even if her own newfound freedom is threatened.

As the queen plans to wed Tia to yet another prince, the powerful mage Shadir plots to expose the family's secret and set his own man on the throne. Tia enlists the help of a reluctant Jewish captive, her late husband's brother Pedaiah, who challenges her notions of the gods even as he opens her heart to both truth and love.

In a time when few gave their hearts to Yahweh, one woman must decide if she is willing to risk everything-her possessions, her gods, and her very life-for the Israelite's one God. Madness, sorcery and sinister plots mingle like an alchemist's deadly potion, and Tia must dare to risk all - to save the kingdom, and to save herself.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Watch Out for those Knives! ~ Wildflower Bride by Mary Connealy/4 Stars

"Don'tcha just love a good western?"  That question just kept running through my head over and over again as I flew through another fun tale by the talented Mary Connealy.  There is something about her style that always keeps me coming back for more.  Mostly it's her knack of telling a hilarious story, but I usually end up loving the romantic elements and the action pretty equally, too.

But, I must confess...I'm not usually a fan of Indians in fiction.  I don't know why that is.  I don't have anything against them, but I think it's just a matter of relating with them.  Being a city girl and accustomed to living indoors, I can't imagine what it must've been like to live in a tepee 24/7, not to mention moving from place to place to live off the land.  I'd die in no less than a week! 

But in spite of all that, this tale with it's inclusion of an Indian heroine just had me glued to the pages.  I empathized with Abby (initially known as Glowing Sun) after she dealt with the heartache of a massacre of her people by the white man.  I understood her reluctance to trust any white man, even one who had shown her nothing but kindness from the first day they met.  And I marveled at her ability to take care of herself in any situation.  (I lost count of how many times someone met her at knifepoint!)  Her relationship with Wade blossomed slowly, but surely, and it fit the story perfectly.  Normally, Mary's characters have an instant passion and attraction for one another that has a tendency to take over, but thankfully, that was not the case between Abby and Wade.  Each one had their own inner struggles to sort through first before they could begin to fathom a relationship, and I appreciated that Mary delayed the romantic attraction between them just enough to make the story that much more enjoyable.

Now that I've got two series by Mary under my belt, I'm anxious to dive into another one.  I've been trying to read her full-length novels in the order of their release, so next up will be the Sophie's Daughters Trilogy beginning with Doctor in Petticoats.  I have no doubt it will be another rip-roaring adventure in the west that will be enjoyed thoroughly!

4 Stars

Southern?  No
Sass?  Absolutely!  Any gal brave enough to whip a knife out in a flash is bound to have some sass!

Summary of Wildflower Bride:

Glowing Sun, a white woman raised by the Flathead tribe, has never met a man she didn't want to pull a knife on, including the man who's determined to marry her.
Glowing Sun has vague memories of her former life, including a name—Abby Lind. When she’s forced to sever all links with her adopted Indian family, Abby wonders if she’ll ever find a home again.

Tenderhearted Wade Sawyer, responsible for Abby’s survival during the village massacre, convinces the knife-wielding woman to return with him to the Sawyer Ranch, never realizing danger lurks behind every corner. Can they survive long enough to fall in love?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hangin' Out with Kelly Irvin!

I am so happy to bring you another great Amish author this week--Kelly Irvin.  Kelly is no stranger to writing books, but she recently stepped into the realm of Amish fiction with her latest novel, To Love and To Cherish.  I hope you all will love getting to know Kelly a little better today!  :o)


Not including writing, what was your first job?

High School cafeteria snack bar

What is one movie that you could watch over and over again?

Sleepless in Seattle followed by You've Got Mail.

Me, too,, too.  One of the best on-screen movie couples.  :o)

If you could have any one superpower, what would it be?

I'd like to fly--so I can escape rush hour traffic!

What food do you love, even though you know you shouldn't?

Currently I'm obsessed with tater tots.

Oh, you make me want to eat a whole basket full of 'em right now!  Mmmm...good!

Which magazine do you pick up when you're stuck in a waiting room?

Reader's Digest

Have you ever met anyone famous?

Jazz musicians belonging to the group Spyro Gyra

What did you do growing up that got you into trouble?

I once drank a bottle of Aunt Jemima maple syrup when my mom wasn't looking. I also drank from a bleach bottle. I don't know if that was a trend, or what.

Oh my...a bleach bottle?  I can't imagine how sick that must've made you!  (Makes my tummy hurt just thinking about it!)  You and my hubby have something (sorta) in common with this bottle trend....he had a problem as a child drinking soy sauce straight from the bottle.  He loves the stuff!  Thank heavens he shows a *little* bit more moderation now.  :o)

You're next in line to audition for American Idol. What song do you sing for the judges?

"I Can Only Imagine"


Kelly, thank you so much for being my guest today!  I always love to meet new Amish fiction authors.  :o)

Folks, if you'd like to connect with Kelly online, visit her website or find her on Facebook.

And as always, it gives me great pleasure to let you know that we have a book to give away today, too!!  If you'd like the opportunity to win a copy of Kelly's newest book, To Love and To Cherish, simply fill out all the fields in the form below no later than Tuesday, 4/3, 11:59pm.  A winner will be chosen through third-party site,  Odds of winning are based upon number of entries, and contest eligible for US addresses only.  I am not responsible for lost or damaged prizes.

**Many thanks to Jeane with Wynn-Wynn Media for all her help coordinating today's interview.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Cover Attraction: Harvest of Rubies by Tessa Afshar

It has been faaaarrrr too long since I last did a Cover Attraction post. This feature used to be a regular deal every Friday...maybe I can get with the program again over here (a whole two years later). :o)

Title:  Harvest of Rubies
Author:  Tessa Afshar
Release Date:  May 1, 2012
Publisher:  Moody Publishers

About the book:

The prophet Nehemiah's cousin can speak numerous languages, keep complex accounts, write on rolls of parchment and tablets of clay, and solve great mysteries. There is only one problem: she is a woman.

In her early childhood years, Sarah experienced the death of her mother and her father's subsequent emotional distance and she came to two conclusions: that God does not care about her, and that her accomplishments are the measure of her worth - the measure of her self.

Sarah, the talented scribe and cousin to Nehemiah, is catapulted into the center of the Persian court, working too many hours, rubbing elbows with royalty, and solving intrigues for the Queen. Ironically, it isn't failure but success that causes Sarah to lose her only source of external validation.

Sarah soon learns that she has something of worth to offer beyond her ability with languages and sums - her very being proves to be a blessing to others.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Guaranteed to Tickle Your Funny Bone! - The Husband Tree by Mary Connealy/4 Stars

When I want to read a top-notch western romance, I need not look any farther than Mary Connealy. Her books have that punch of humor that I love to get the occasional taste from, as well as a spine-curling romance that makes me sigh every time.

The Husband Tree was no exception. It had a great mixture of humor and romance, and a likeable hero and heroine in Silas and Belle. Both of 'em were stubborn as mules, and as hard-headed as they come about the opposite sex. But each one had a very tender side, and showed genuine affection for the other as their relationship progressed to the (inevitable) next level. :o)

The only, and I mean, the ONLY thing that keeps me from giving this book 5 stars was all the kissing. Normally, that is not something that bothers me one whit, but it seemed like every time Silas and Belle turned around, it was Smooch City. It just didn't seem to give their relationship a good foundation, nor was it believable. Like I said before, I don't mind it. I'm not some ol' fuddy-duddy. Kissing is a normal part of any relationship, real or fictitious. But in this case, there was just too much of it.

Will that stop me from reading more of Mary's works? Absolutely not! My funny bone gets tickled so much that I'd miss out on a lifetime of laughs if I didn't read her books! No worries there...not a single one. :o)

4 Stars

Southern?  No
Sass?  Belle was the epitome of sass!

Summary of The Husband Tree:

Hit the trail into the Old West, where a tough lady rancher and a seemingly aimless wrangler attempt to avoid the matrimonial noose. When Belle Tanner hires Silas Harden to help her get her cattle to market, the last thing she’s looking for is romance. So why does she turn into jelly whenever he’s near? Silas wants nothing to do with women, but he can’t seem to resist the pull of love when it comes to Belle. Can they make it through this cattle drive without getting hitched? Or will they steer straight into a commitment neither one counted on?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hangin' Out with Kate Lloyd!

Thanks so much for joining me today to meet another fabulous Christian author--Kate Lloyd!

I confess that I initially thought Kate was a debut author because I've seen her latest book, Leaving Lancaster, featured several places online.  But it wasn't until I visited her website that I discovered Leaving Lancaster is her second novel.  Oh, well...didn't make me any less eager to get to know her better!  :o) 

Hope y'all enjoy our chat today!


Not including writing, what was your first job?

Working in a fabric store, then managing a craft & gift store.

Oh, I'm so jealous!  It has always been a wishful dream of mine to own and operate one.

What is one movie that you could watch over and over again?

Gone with the Wind!

If you could have any one superpower, what would it be?

Filing my stacks of papers and notes ... Make that organizing my whole house!

What food do you love, even though you know you shouldn't?

Dark, dark coffee with whole whipping cream.

Which magazine do you pick up when you're stuck in a waiting room?

I almost always bring my own reading material and a note pad. In a bind? A gardening magazine.

Have you ever met anyone famous?

Many, most in the world of science, education, and medicine.

What did you do growing up that got you into trouble?

Talking back. My parents were strict but tolerant, but some of my teachers were not amused.

You're next in line to audition for American Idol. What song do you sing for the judges?

I don't think a Mozart, Handel, or Gilbert & Sullivan aria would win. Probably a piece from Phantom of the Opera or another musical. PS: I don't suffer stage fright.

I don't suffer from it, either, but there's no way I could pull off a Phantom about tough!  But oh, what a show to see in person!


Kate, it sounds like you and I would never run out of things to talk about in a conversation...there are so many things we have in common!  (Except the coffee....this gal is a tea drinker all the way.)  Thanks so much for taking the time to let us get to know you better.  :o)

Folks, if you'd like to connect with Kate online, visit her website or connect with her on Facebook.

And as always, there's a book up for grabs this week!  If you'd like the chance to win a copy of Kate's new book, Leaving Lancaster, simply fill out the form below in it's entirety before Tuesday, 3/27, 11:59PM CST, to be entered to win.  Giveaway is limited to US residents only, and void where prohibited.  Odds of winning are based upon number of entrants.

Good luck, and see y'all next week with another fabulous author!

**Many thanks to Jeane Wynn from Wynn-Wynn Media for her help in coordinating today's interview.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Richard Armitage

Today might be a day suited to discussing who has the best husband.  (Well, not really...but hopefully, you catch my drift.)  Because today, I just have to tell you what a great husband I have.  :o)

I don't think I've ever shared on here that my hubby is an autograph nut.  Capital N...-u-t.  He has gobs and gobs of them, and has been collecting them since we were dating (which has been at least the last ten years).  I'm sure he used a couple of them to impress me during those dating years, namely the ones by Robin Williams and Tom Hanks.  And now, all these years later, he's still at it, and once or twice, he uses it to his advantage.

Like this time.  ;o)

Would you just look at what came in the mail signed to me(!!!) last week...

It won't offend me in the least if you want to blow it up *really* big to see that hunk on your computer screen.  Just watch out for drool on your keyboard...

Needless to say, I've been a happy wife for a whole week now.  And can I just also admit that I feel like a complete heel since hubby's birthday is tomorrow, and I don't have anything near this great to give to him?  Well, at least our anniversary is a couple months away...hopefully, I can come up with something for a present by then!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Litfuse Blog Tour and Book Review: Beauty for Ashes by Dorothy Love/4 Stars

If possible, I think Dorothy Love's sophomore novel is better than her first!  It's been a long time since I stayed up past midnight to finish a book to it's very last page.  :o)  Another bonus?  That cover...isn't it gorgeous?!  The covers for all three books in this series really deserve a hand of applause for their beauty.  I could stare at them for the longest time... *sigh*  And yet another bonus?  It's set in my home state of Tennessee, and I couldn't help but appreciate all the references to cities, towns, and landmarks that I'm familiar with. 

I think I related more to the heroine in Beauty for Ashes than I did the heroine in Beyond All Measure (Dorothy's debut novel).  I've been in that place before where if something could go wrong, it did go wrong, and like Carrie, I've hoped that I could run away from those problems so someone else could sort them out.  Unfortunately, life has other ideas, both in the real and fictitious worlds, and Carrie's world was pretty much turned upside down more than once.  It was a cross between heartbreak and frustration as I read about her relationships with Nate and Mary, but those feeling were soon replaced with admiration because of her strength of character.  No matter what, she wasn't going to quit.  No matter what, her irritation at the lot she'd been given in life was not going to overwhelm her.  She was going to make it through this storm God had sent her through (first the loss of a husband, then being the third wheel in her brother's new marriage), and come out stronger on the other side.

Griff's character was a good addition to the story, but I didn't connect with him as much as I would've liked.  It always seemed like he was hiding something, even until the very end.  Most likely, it was the drifter in him that made me wary.  However, I did enjoy the portions where he worked as a horse trainer, and the references to the newly-created Kentucky Derby.

When I connect with books on a personal level, it's always easy to recommend them.  It's extra-easy in this case because this book is a winner.  :o)  I can't wait to journey back to Hickory Ridge one final time when Dorothy's final book in this series, Every Perfect Gift, releases later this year.

4 Stars

Southern?  Absolutely.  :o)
Sass?  No

Summary of Beauty for Ashes:

She’s a beautiful young widow. He’s a Southern gentleman with a thirst for adventure. Both need a place to call home.

After losing her husband in the Civil War, Carrie Daly is scared she will never have the family she longs for. Eligible bachelors are scarce in Hickory Ridge, Tennessee, but Carrie has found love. Not the weak-in-the-knees kind, but something practical. Still, she isn't quite ready to set a wedding date with Nate Chastain.

Griff Rutledge is a former member of Charleston society, but has been estranged from his family for years. He’s determined to remain unattached, never settling in one place for too long. But when asked to train a Thoroughbred for an upcoming race in Hickory Ridge, he decides to stay awhile.

Despite objections from the townsfolk, and her fear that true happiness has eluded her, Carrie is drawn to Griff's kindness and charm. It will take a leap of faith for them to open their hearts and claim God's promise to give beauty for ashes.

**Many thanks to Litfuse Publicity and Thomas Nelson for providing a copy for review.

Enter Today and Save the Date-3/20!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hangin' Out with Courtney Walsh!

It gives me great pleasure to introduce a debut author in Christian fiction--Courtney Walsh!  I've had a blast in the past few days getting to know this fun author through her blog, and it's FILLED with lots of pictures!  Makes sense since she's a scrapper...something I wish I could get motivated to do (both taking pictures and scrapping).  Anyway, I hope you have a great time getting to know Courtney a little better today, and stay tuned at the end for a little something extra.  :o)

Welcome, Courtney!

Not including writing, what was your first job?

My very first job was at a place called "Dairy Supreme". It was like a mom and pop version of Dairy Queen in my little town. I still make a mean banana split!

What is one movie that you could watch over and over again?

Oooohhh...I LOVE movies. And I have several that fit into this category, including The Bourne Trilogy, The First Wives Club, The Proposal and Enemy of the State. Oh and Pride and Prejudice! That one is swoony.

If you could have any one superpower, what would it be?

I think I would want to teleport. That way I could go to Italy without flying over the ocean. And that'd be a dream come true!

What food do you love, even though you know you shouldn’t?

Ha. Pretty much every food I love I probably shouldn't! I REALLY love Chicago style deep dish pizza...and it probably has more calories than I should eat in a month, but it's SO GOOD!

Which magazine do you pick up when you’re stuck in a waiting room?

People! I also read it on planes. I confess, I am completely into the whole Hollywood scene. I like E! News too. :)

Sounds like you and Julie Cantrell (last week's author) have People in common!  She swears I'm a correspondant for them...

Have you ever met anyone famous?

Yes! A few people, but my favorite is Al Pacino. When I was attending a summer theatre program in NYC, he was doing a show at the theatre where I studied. As students, we saw him every day and got to see a preview of his two-man show. The craziest part was when we were in a movement class making HUGE fools of ourselves and turned around and saw him watching at the door. He's quite intimidating!

I see what you mean! 

What did you do growing up that got you into trouble?

My mom swears she doesn't remember this, but one time I set a fire in our back yard and blamed it on the neighbor kid. I got into HUGE trouble. My brother and I also had a big water fight in the bathroom using our Water Pics (did anyone else have those things?) We got in trouble but it was worth it...we got the whole bathroom sopping wet!

You’re next in line to audition for American Idol. What song do you sing for the judges?

Well, since I am not a singer (who is married to a singer) I would say, I'd become one of the people who knew they were going to get on TV for being ridiculous and sing "Ice, Ice Baby" because I know all the words. Every. Single. One. (That's talent, right?)

Hey, that's better than "Pants on the Ground!"


Courtney, thanks so much for being my special guest today!  I hope you'll come back for another visit soon.  :o)

Folks, if you'd like to connect with Courtney online, feel free to visit her blog (listed above), or find her on Twitter.

And now, for that little something extra...

Wouldn't you love to read Courtney's debut novel?  It's real simple...really.  Just complete the form below with your full name, mailing addy, and email addy, and your name will be entered to win a copy!  Be sure to complete your entry before Tuesday, March 20th, 11:59 CST, if you want it to count.  :o)  Giveaway is limited to US residents only, and void where prohibited.  Odds of winning are based upon number of entrants.

Good luck, and see y'all next week with another fabulous author!

**Thanks to Jeane from Wynn-Wynn Media for coordinating today's interview. :o)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

CFBA Blog Tour: Prize of My Heart by Lisa Norato

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Prize of My Heart
Bethany House Publishers (March 1, 2012)
Lisa Norato


A life-long New Englander, Lisa Norato lives in a historic village with homes and churches dating as far back as the eighteenth century. She was born into a close-knit Italian family that hungered as much for the things of God as they did for lasagna. After church, the family spent Sunday afternoons gathered in fellowship around a never-ending feast that featured her grandmother's homemade spaghetti and pizza.

From the time she learned to read, her mother impressed her with the joy of getting lost in a good book. She passed novels along to her as early as age thirteen, but it wasn't until many years later that Lisa felt compelled to write one herself.

She first discovered a love of writing when assigned to write and illustrate a children's book at the art college she attended. She balances writing with a career as a legal assistant specializing in corporate law. When not creating stories, she enjoys domestic pursuits like precious time with her dog and family, cooking, baking and eating vegan, reading, her Bible, her favorite television shows and crocheting.

Lisa is a member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA), American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Rhode Island Romance Writers (RIRW) and American Colonial Christian Writers.


An unsolved mystery separates ex-privateersman Captain Brogan Talvis from his lost son--his only living relation, his only family. Shortly before her tragic demise, his wife abandoned their infant to strangers, refusing to reveal the child's whereabouts. Now, three years later, Brogan has discovered the boy at the home of a shipbuilder's daughter, Lorena Huntley.

Lorena guards a dark secret about her young charge. She finds herself falling for the heroic captain who has come to claim his newly built ship, unaware his motive for wooing her is to befriend the boy he plans on reclaiming as his own--until the day anothers evil deceit leaves her helplessly shipbound, heading toward England.

As the perfect opportunity to reclaim his son unfolds, Brogan is haunted by thoughts of Lorena in her dire circumstance, and he is forced to make a heartrending choice between his child and the woman who has begun to capture his heart. But only his unselfish sacrifice can win him the greatest prize of all--love.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Prize of My Heart, go HERE.

Friday, March 9, 2012

CFBA Blog Tour: The Messenger by Siri Mitchell

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Messenger
Bethany House Publishers (March 1, 2012)
Siri Mitchell


Siri Mitchell graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree and worked in various levels of government. As a military spouse, she has lived all over the world, including Paris and Tokyo. Siri enjoys observing and learning from different cultures. She is fluent in French and loves sushi.

But she is also a member of a strange breed of people called novelists. When they’re listening to a speaker and taking notes, chances are, they’ve just had a great idea for a plot or a dialogue. If they nod in response to a really profound statement, they’re probably thinking, “Yes. Right. That’s exactly what my character needs to hear.” When they edit their manuscripts, they laugh at the funny parts. And cry at the sad parts. Sometimes they even talk to their characters.

Siri wrote 4 books and accumulated 153 rejections before signing with a publisher. In the process, she saw the bottoms of more pints of Ben & Jerry’s than she cares to admit. At various times she has vowed never to write another word again. Ever. She has gone on writing strikes and even stooped to threatening her manuscripts with the shredder.


Hannah Sunderland felt content in her embrace of the Quaker faith

...until her twin brother ran off and joined the army and ended up captured and in jail. Suddenly Hannah's world turns on end. She longs to bring her brother some measure of comfort in the squalid, frigid prison where he remains. But the Quakers believe they are not to take sides, not to take up arms. Can she sit by and do nothing while he suffers?

Jeremiah Jones has an enormous task before him. Responsibility for a spy ring is now his, and he desperately needs access to the men in prison, whom they are seeking to free. A possible solution is to garner a pass for Hannah. But while she is fine to the eye, she holds only disdain for him--and agreeing would mean disobeying those she loves and abandoning a bedrock of her faith.

With skill and sensitivity, Mitchell tells a story of two unlikely heroes seeking God's voice, finding the courage to act, and discovering the powerful embrace of love.

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

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hangin' Out with Julie Cantrell!

I am so excited about today's author, mostly because she's a Southern gal like me.  :o)  Julie Cantrell has been lighting up the bestseller lists for her debut adult novel, Into the Free, most recently landing at #21 on the New York Times Bestseller List.  It is my honor to welcome this busy author to Southern Sassy Things today, and fair're gonna have a blast hangin' out with Julie!


Not including writing, what was your first job?

Like Millie in my novel Into the Free, I gathered pecans and sold them to my neighbors when I was very young. However, I donated all my money to my church mission fund. I had always dreamed of being a missionary and exploring the world. By the time I was ten years old, I started working at a snow cone stand. I’d ride the bus there after school and whip up rainbow-flavored treats until the tiny shop closed at night. I really can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t have a job. You name it, I’ve probably done it.

What is one movie that you could watch over and over again?

Chocolat. Seriously, you could run that 24/7 for the rest of my life and my eyes would never tire of Johnny Depp. Yummy!

If you could have any one superpower, what would it be?

Easy. I’d want to control Johnny Depp. Hmmm….

What food do you love, even though you know you shouldn’t?

Chocolate. Notice a theme here?

I do...scary.  ;o) 

Which magazine do you pick up when you’re stuck in a waiting room?

Oooh...I’m busted! You’ve unearthed my one guilty pleasure. I actually look forward to awkward medical/dental visits because it’s the only time I catch up on juicy articles from People. Of course, I hold it inside something that makes me look really intelligent like Architectural Digest. Admit it. You do that too.

Ah, you almost busted me...except I've given up on lookin' intelligent!

Have you ever met anyone famous?

Well, I happen to live in a town with lots of famous authors including Ace Atkins, Tom Franklin, Sam Haskell, Neil White, and many more. My town, Oxford, MS, is a wonderfully unique place that boasts a culturally rich literary community, and it’s not rare to see John Grisham (who has a house here) or Morgan Freeman in local hot spots. The famous Manning football family lives here as well (yes, I do mean Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning!), and we have other claims to fame too. For example, when we moved here, I lived next door to Miss Mississippi and across the street from Miss South Carolina Ideal Girl, so I am kind of used to being the odd duck of the bunch with my frizzy hair and bare feet. But I guess my first real star struck moment of meeting someone famous other than my own neighbors was during a live Thacker Mountain Radio show when I was booked to follow the infamous Kinky Friedman. This guy is a master. He’s toured with Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, you name it. And he’s hilarious. Then, there was me trying to stumble through my first live show. It was intimidating to say the least!

Well, when I get a hankerin' to see a celeb, I'll know where to come!  Good thing it's not too far of a drive for me.  

What did you do growing up that got you into trouble?

Wow…you really want the dish, don’t you? Are you sure you don’t work for People? Hmm…well, I totaled my very first car. You can certainly say I got into trouble for that! That was a very big faux pas. I still feel guilty about that.

Ha!  Now, I can finally say "busted!"  Yep, I work for People.  It's my side job.  Gotta find out why my byline is not showing up in the mag...

You’re next in line to audition for American Idol. What song do you sing for the judges?

First of all, God forgot I was supposed to be a rock star. I can’t carry a tune. At all. But it’s probably a blessing to the universe because my inner diva might just go wild. I guess if I ever made it to that iconic stage, I’d attempt one of my two favorite songs of all time. Either Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen or Imagine by John Lennon. Then, I’d be voted off immediately. But I’d sure live it up while it lasted. I’d flirt with Steven Tyler and give Randy a big hug because he’s from my home state of Louisiana. Then I’d ask Jennifer Lopez for all her beauty secrets and stand as close to her as possible hoping some of her lucky dust would rub off on me. I think she has enough to share, don’t you?

Surely she does.  *wink*


Julie, thank you SO much for stoppin' by today, and giving readers the opportunity to get to know you better!  I hope you'll come back for another visit soon.  :o)

If you'd like to connect with Julie online, visit her Facebook page, her Twitter page, or her website.

And now, for the icing on the cake!  You have the opportunity to win a copy of Julie's novel, Into the Free.  Simply fill out the form below in it's entirety before Tuesday, March 13th, 11:59pm CST.  A winner will be chosen Wednesday, March 14th.  Contest open to US residents only.

If you would like to leave a comment for Julie or about today's post, scroll down below the form to the comment section.  We always love good conversation around here!

Come back again next week to "hang out" with another great CF author!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

This Book is a Masterpiece - Lost and Found by Ginny Yttrup/5 Stars

Simply put...this book is a masterpiece.  There are so many layers to the story and characters that as you go deeper and deeper, it is impossible to not be affected in some way.  For someone who may be going through their own spiritual journey, this book is chock-full of wisdom and insight into the plans that God has for his children. 

What was most enlightening for me was the fact that on this side of heaven, I will never truly "understand" everything about God and his plans.  That became clear as I looked at Proverbs 3:5-6 in a whole new way.  So often I try so hard to know everything, including the things of God.  I want to figure it all out, wrap it up in a package, and say, "Now, I've figured it out."  But truly, who am I kidding?  No one but myself.  That's why those verses now have knew meaning to me.  I'll never think of them the same way again. 

This book is not for everyone.  Granted, lots of folks should read it, but I guess what I mean to say is that if you're not spiritually prepared for the truths contained within, you may just cast it aside.  In all honesty, I almost did that very thing.  I had to get almost halfway through it before I really allowed myself to soak in its wisdom.  So...bravo, Ms. Yttrup.  You've given me a memorable experience with a novel that I won't soon forget.

5 Stars

Southern?  No
Sass?  No

Summary of Lost and Found:

It appears Jenna Bouvier is losing everything: beauty, family, and wealth. When her controlling and emotionally abusive mother-in-law accuses Jenna of an affair with her spiritual director and threatens to expose them, Jenna also risks losing her reputation as a woman of faith. Will she capitulate to her mother-in-law’s wishes again or fight for what she holds dear? As Jenna loses her life, will she find it?

Andee Bell has found exactly what she wanted: fame, fortune, and respect. There’s also a special man in her life—Jenna’s brother. Despite her success, a secret quells Andee’s contentment. As memories torment, will she find peace in a relationship with God, or will she sabotage herself while also taking down the only person she cares about? As Andee finds her life, will she lose it?

Moving between San Francisco and the Napa Valley, Jenna and Andee form an unlikely relationship that leads them to a crossroad. They can follow familiar inclinations, or risk it all and walk in faith.

**Many thanks to B&H Publishing for providing a copy for review through NetGalley.

**If you'd like an opportunity to win a copy of this spectacular book, visit this link to read a fun interview I did with Ginny, and then, fill out the form for a chance to win.  Hurry...the contest ends on Tuesday, March 6!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Great Kindle Deals This Weekend!!

I've been perusing the Kindle offerings today, and let me just say...there are some GREAT buys this weekend! I'm not an expert on how long these prices normally are available, so make sure you double check the price before you hit buy. :o)  Clicking the book covers will take you directly to the Amazon page to buy each book, and will help me out a little bit as an Amazon Associate.

Now...let's go shopping!


  Bourne by Lisa T. Bergren - .99 cents! (continuation of the River of Time Series published by David C. Cook)

BOURNE, a novella (1/3 the length of a normal novel), picks up right where TORRENT left off...Find out what has happened to men returning from the battle, gravely wounded, to the Betarrinis, fighting for the men they love, and just who is hunting them next...

  Marduk's Tablet by T.L. Higley - .99 cents! (Barbour)

Emilie Nazzaro saw her father’s obsession with Marduk’s Tablet lead to his betrayal and murder. Now, she’s been charged with deciphering the symbols on this centuries-old piece of clay, which legend says contains omens with healing powers.

On a harrowing journey through Israel and into ancient Babylon she tries to uncover the secrets surrounding her father’s death - but will she stay alive long enough to learn the truth?

“Action, action, action… in this rocket ride through the unfriendly world of antiquities and adventure.” – Alton Gansky, author of The Scroll

  Serenity's Desire by Kay D. Rizzo - .99 cents! (B&H Publishing)

Plunged into a world of uncertainty following the death of her mother, seventeen-year-old Serenity struggles to understand why God allows tragedy when He has the power to prevent it. Turning to her mother's journals she catches a glimpse of the God her mother loved and trusted. When her father, New York State's Assemblyman Samuel Pownell, gives Serenity her mother's Bible she finds strength in God's promise to never leave nor forsake her.

  Nipped in the Bud by Susan Sleeman - .99 cents! (Barbour)


Life in full bloom, landscape designer, Paige Turner, scores her first landscaping contract to spruce up the park, her radio talk show shoots to number one, and her retail shop is simply blossoming. Yes, her life is a bed of roses. Until she finds City Manager, Bud Picklemann served up on the blade of her favorite shovel mere hours after she’s threatened to have his head on a platter, then the thorns come out. And there is none thornier than the local police chief declaring Paige the one and only suspect and threatening to plow her under.


Paige teams up with dashing attorney, Adam Hayes to weed through the list of suspects, and clear her soiled reputation. A bigmouthed Parrot who often spouts Mr. T-isms, and a giant pickle mascot join in quirky Paige’s quest to once again cultivate control of her life.

  Winter's Secret by Lyn Cote - .99 cents! (Tyndale)

Romance and mystery in a small Wisconsin town during a record-breaking snowy winter.

"Winter's Secret is a captivating story, blanketed in biblical truths...." CBA Markeplace

Smashed heirlooms, ripped upholstery and rifled drawers--who is breaking into homes--stealing and vandalizing? And targeting the most vulnerable--the seniors of the small town? As the new sheriff, Rodd Durand, home again to small town Steadfast, Wisconsin, takes on the Snowmobile Burglar. In the course of her duties, Wendy Carey, the home health nurse, discovers each new break-in. The small town reels as the burglar eludes capture and steps up his crimes. A vindictive woman and a secret baby heighten the suspense. When Wendy and Rodd begin to fall in love, family complicates matters. But the real stumbling block to their love lies within. Can they break through their own insecurities over the past?

  Chocolate-Covered Crime by Cynthia Hickey - .99 cents! (Barbour)

Summer Meadows' chocolate candy business is booming. She's overwhelmed with her April Fool's Day wedding plans, and against her family's advice, hires her cousin to be her wedding planner. But then her cousin is found murdered and more mysteries keep occurring at family parties. Can Summer resist the urge to investigate when she and her dysfunctional relatives are dipped into a plot of unrequited love, internet scam, and jilted hearts? Could the murderer be related to her and have Summer targeted next? Will her fiance' support her sleuthing antics, or is he another suspect with something to hide?

  Becoming Lucy by Martha Rogers - $1.14! (Realms)

Although a historical, the story involves conflicts and situations not uncommon in modern days. Lucinda Bishop learns to cope with the death of her parents, start a new life in unfamiliar surroundings, and learn about love and forgiveness. When the young hero becomes a Christian, he realizes he must face his past and whatever consequences may result, even if it means he will lose the one girl he loves.

Set in Oklahoma Territory before the days of statehood, the story is one of how love and forgiveness can overcome even the most difficult obstacles when God is in control. When one’s heart is attuned to God’s leading, the greatest of sins can be forgiven and a new life begun.

Happy Shopping!!