Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hangin' Out with Dani Pettrey (Plus Giveaway)

Y'all forgive me now...I've been a bit MIA for the past few weeks.  I have a good reason, though.  Really.  :o)

Some of you may remember that I got laid off about 7 months ago only to find myself with a new job the very next day.  While the job itself was the same, there were several things I had to adjust to in a new office.  A couple of weeks ago, I knew I would have to start the process of finding a new job.  If you're like me, job hunting is one of the most exhausting things to do, and quite frankly, probably one of my least favorite things to do...period.  Then last Monday, my hours were cut from 35 to 20.  The job hunt was really on at that point.  After applying for oodles of job openings and sending up numerous prayers for help, I scored a new job in about 10 days.  Woohoo!!!  What it means is that my career in insurance has come to end (hopefully to never be revisited) and I'll be back in a dental office environment where I was before I got into insurance.  Seriously...I cannot wait!  I'm all kinds of giddy to be working about 8 minutes from my house, and with a full 40-hour work week.

So, I said all that to say....please forgive me for being absent!  I've missed interacting with you guys, especially through these interviews.  :o)  And what better way to get back on the bandwagon than with another debut author--Dani Pettrey!  Dani is a new author in the suspense genre, and her book is the next one in my TBR stack.  No joke...just looking at the cover of her book makes me shiver with that dark blue lake and snowy mountains in the distance (see below)!!!  I hope y'all love our fun chat today, and please be sure to sign up for the giveaway at the end!

Welcome, Dani!


Not including writing, what was your first job?

My very first job was babysitting. My first ‘official’ job was working at a country club/gym in their child care center.

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

Pride and Prejudice--both the Colin Firth version and the Keira Knightly one.

Ok, looks like we're gonna have to change this question to simply be "Which version of P&P is your favorite?" *grin*

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

To fly. I think that would be so amazing.

Be honest now, ‘cause we girls tend to exaggerate here...  How many shoes do you really have in your closet?

Sixteen pairs, though with my oldest daughter being a shoe thief, I usually only have about half of that amount in my closet at any given time.

Even though I have no kids, I consider myself fortunate that I never had a sister if only for not having to share my shoes.  :o)

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

Budget Travel or Travel and Leisure

Have you ever met anyone famous? If so, who?

I’ve met a few: Larry King, Colin Raye, Amy Carter, and Henry Kissinger.

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

Made up stories. :)

You have the opportunity to choose between appearing on American Idol or Dancing with the Stars (and that’s without an audition). Which set of producers give you cold, hard cash to go home so they and all of America are spared?

Producers on American Idol would definitely give me cold, hard cash to go home. I can’t carry a tune in a bucket. Think Lucille Ball on I Love Lucy.

Oh, dear!  Should we break out the earplugs? :o)


Dani, thank you so much for being my guest today, and for being such a great sport with those questions (especially the last one)!  Folks, if you'd like to connect with Dani online, feel free to visit her website, or connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

And now for the part that we all love...a giveaway!!!  I've got one extra copy of Dani's debut novel, Submerged.  Simply 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, June 5th, 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.  I am not responsible for lost or damaged books.

And if you'd like to leave a comment for Dani, scroll down just a little further past the giveaway form to the comment section, and talk 'til your heart's content.  I know she'd love to hear from you!

Book Review: A Case for Love by Kaye Dacus/4 Stars

About the book:

TV society reporter Alaine Delacroix feels like David facing Goliath when she takes on the biggest corporation in town to keep them from putting her parents’ garden center out of business. Lawyer Forbes Guidry wants nothing more than to stand up for the endangered local-business owners—but it will mean risking his job and crossing his powerful parents. Can Alaine and Forbes make A Case for Love?

My thoughts: 

The final installment of the fabulous Brides of Bonneterre series concludes with A Case for Love.

I'll be honest...I was a little nervous heading into this last book simply because this book carried more of a male perspective than the previous two books.  But hey, it didn't take long to put those nervous flutters to bed with such a dashing male hero!  Forbes Guidry was painted quite well as the epitome of success in his law career, but has just one thing missing from his life...a woman.

Alaine took a little while to grow on me.  At first, she seemed a little uppity with her tv program that she was bored with, along with her dismissal of Forbes' company.  The latter soon became understandable, but there was absolutely nothing that would keep these two apart!  Slowly but surely, their self-built walls started to crumble, and the fight was on to save a budding relationship amidst a nasty lawsuit.

This book had everything that I love--Southern charm, at least one character with sass, and the perfect dose of romance.  I absolutely cannot wait to dive into some of Kaye's historical fiction next, even though I'm confident of one thing...she's a master at contemporary romance!

4 Stars

Southern?  Yes!
Sass?  Double yes!

**Many thanks to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

CFBA Blog Tour: The Anniversary Waltz by Darrel Nelson

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Anniversary Waltz
Realms (May 15, 2012)
Darrel Nelson


A Word from the author:

I am a schoolteacher by profession and have taught school for (thir—ahem!) years. I grew up in Raymond, Alberta, and attended the University of Lethbridge after graduating from high school and serving a two-year mission to Japan. During university, I met and married Marsha Smith, and we are the parents of four children, which has grown to include their spouses and our ten grandchildren.

I have always loved to write. I started writing stories before I was old enough to realize I was writing stories. It seemed a natural thing to pick up a pencil and paper and create a world simply by using words—worlds of adventure in steaming jungles (Tarzan was an early influence on me) or realms of adventure in outer space (Buck Rogers). But as I have grown older, I have discovered that the real inspiration for me is exploring the theme of love and how it can make such a difference in the world.

I’ve had an article published in Lethbridge Magazine and have written several dramatic plays, two of which won provincial recognition and were showcased at a drama festival. I won the CJOC radio songwriting contest two years running, and have had one of my songs receive international airplay. I have written four novels intended for the juvenile market. They are unpublished as yet, but I read them annually to my fourth grade students and my students tell me they love them, the darlings.


At their sixtieth anniversary party, Adam Carlson asks his wife, Elizabeth, for their customary waltz. After the dance they gather the family and share their story—a story of love and courage overcoming adversity and thriving in the face of overwhelming odds.

It’s the summer of 1946, and Adam has just returned from the war to his home in Reunion, Montana. At a town festival he meets Elizabeth Baxter, a young woman going steady with his former high school rival and now influential banker, Nathan Roberts.

When Adam and Elizabeth share a waltz in a deserted pavilion one evening, their feelings begin to grow and they embark on a journey, and a dance, that will last a lifetime.

If you'd like to read the first chapter excerpt of The Anniversary Waltz, go HERE.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Book Review: The Pursuit of Lucy Banning by Olivia Newport/4 Stars

About the book: 

Lucy Banning may live on the exclusive Prairie Avenue among Chicago's rich and famous, but her heart lies elsewhere. Expected to marry an up-and-coming banker from a respected family, Lucy fears she will be forced to abandon her charity work--and the classes she is secretly taking at the newly opened University of Chicago. When she meets an unconventional young architect who is working on plans for the upcoming 1893 World's Fair, Lucy imagines a life lived on her own terms. Can she break away from her family's expectations? And will she ever be loved for who she truly is?

Readers will love being swept away into a world of mansions, secrets, and romance as they follow Lucy through the streets of the Windy City during one of the most exciting times in the city's history. From opulent upper-class homes to the well-worn rooms of an orphanage, Olivia Newport breathes life and romance into the pages of history--and everyone is invited.

My thoughts:

What a lovely journey back to the Gilded Era in fiction!  I tell ya, this has got to be my favorite period of history to read about.  I love the fashion, the manners, the occasions--all of it just makes me smile.  And what's even better is now this era has a new author to add to it's ranks--Olivia Newport.

Considering this was her debut novel, I was extremely impressed with the balance throughout the story.  There was a small bit of romance, a little air of mystery and suspicion, and a glorious backdrop of the 1893 World's Fair.  All three blended together made for a delightful read.

What was a bit disappointing, though, was that it didn't really feel like a Christian fiction novel.  There were a couple of instances where church was mentioned, but Christian elements did not weave themselves through the story like the books I've read by other authors published through Revell.  However, for someone looking for simply a clean novel, I'd have no trouble recommending this one.

Olivia looks like she'll be one busy lady in the next few years with all the books she's slated to release!  I, for one, am anxious to see what her style is like with some other genres, but will be even more eager to take another journey back to Prairie Avenue in Chicago with the next book in this series.

4 Stars

Southern?  No
Sass?  There were a couple doses of it, yes, but Lucy still tried to maintain her image of a dutiful daughter even if not everyone knew her secrets.

**Many thanks to Revell for providing a copy for review.


CFBA Blog Tour: Annie's Truth by Beth Shriver

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Annie's Truth
Realms (May 15, 2012)
Beth Shriver


Childhood memories of her grandfather's ranch came alive as Beth wrote her first Amish story. Her parents grew up in the country, so she understands pastoral life and respects those who make a living off the land. She frequents a nearby Amish community just south of Fort-Worth for an occasional church service or brunch with the bishop and his wife. And on the way home she stops at the community store to get some plum jam!

In 2003 Beth began writing her first book. A couple of years later it was published and she has been writing ever since. Beth received a degree in social work from the University of Nebraska and was a case worker before starting a family. Beth followed her passion and has written in a variety of genres in both fiction and non-fiction.


After learning the truth about who she really is, can this prodigal daughter be accepted back into the safety and security of home?

Annie Beiler seems to have it all—a loving family in a tight-knit Amish community and the affections of an attractive and respected young man. But when she learns that she was adopted after being found as an abandoned newborn, she sets out on a journey to find out who she is.

Her father is strongly against her decision to leave, as it could mean Meidung, or excommunication from the community and even her family. But Annie knows she must find “the path that has her heart.”

As Annie’s search brings her into the fast-paced world of modern life, she is confronted with all of the temptations she was warned of. Can she make her way back to the order and security of her family? Or will she remain an outsider—torn between her two worlds?

If you would like to read an excerpt from the first chapter of Annie's Truth, go HERE.

Friday, May 18, 2012

10 Years Ago, I Married My Best Friend

Ten years ago today, I married my best friend, and at least for this year, it doesn't have to be shared with Star Wars.  :o)  The plans for the day are pretty low-key...late breakfast of blueberry muffins made from scratch, fancy dinner tonight at a new-for-us restaurant, and just enjoying each other's company (which has been a precious commodity in our crazy lives lately).   I can't help but say that I have loved every moment of the past 10 years, including all the ups and downs (even when I thought the downs would overwhelm me).  I can't wait to spend another 10 years with him, and see what the future has in store for us.  :o)


Thursday, May 17, 2012

CFBA Blog Tour: Chameleon by Jillian Kent

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Realms (May 15, 2012)
Jillian Kent


Jillian Kent is a busy writer and the alter ego of Jill Nutter, a full-time counselor.

Jill spent the first semester of her senior year of college at Oxford studying British Literature, where she fell in love with England. During this season, she came to appreciate the written word, the rich imagery of romantic poetry like The Highwayman, and historical novels of many types, including Jane Austen and all things Regency.

Jill received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Bethany College in West Virginia, and her Masters Degree in Social Work from WVU, and she brings her fascination with different cultures and societies into her writing.

Jill has always been a romantic at heart, so readers will find a good dose of romance woven through each of her novels. Jill, her husband Randy, and children Katie and Meghan are animal lovers. They currently own two dogs, Boo-Boo and Bandit and a menagerie of cats, Lucky, Yuma, Snow, and Holden. Critters of all assortments make their appearance in her stories.


How much can you really know about someone?

Lady Victoria Grayson has always considered herself a keen observer of human behavior. After battling a chronic childhood illness that kept her homebound for years, she journeys to London determined to have the adventure of a lifetime.

Jaded by his wartime profession as a spy, Lord Witt understands, more than most, that everyone is not always who they pretend to be. He meets Victoria after the Regent requests an investigation into the activities of her physician brother, Lord Ravensmoore.

Witt and Victoria become increasingly entangled in a plot targeting the lords of Parliament. Victoria is forced to question how well she knows those close to her while challenging Witt’s cynical nature and doubts about God. Together they must confront their pasts in order to solve a mystery that could devastate their future.

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

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

CFBA Blog Tour and Book Review: My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade/5 Stars

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
My Stubborn Heart
• Bethany House Publishers; Original edition (May 1, 2012)
Becky Wade


Becky Wade is a graduate of Baylor University. As a newlywed, she lived for three years in a home overlooking the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, as well as in Australia, before returning to the States. A mom of three young children, Becky and her family now live in Dallas, Texas.


A Sensational CBA Debut in Contemporary Romance!

This summer author Becky Wade makes her CBA debut with a fun -- and funny -- contemporary romance. Amidst the light-hearted banter and laugh-out-loud moments is a compelling spiritual journey of one woman's choice to listen to God and wait on him. Filled with humor and authentic romance, My Stubborn Heart is shaping up to be the hit of the summer.

Kate Donovan is burned out on work, worn down by her dating relationships, and in need of an adventure. When Kate's grandmother asks Kate to accompany her to Redbud, Pennsylvania, to restore the grand old house she grew up in, Kate jumps at the chance.

Yet, she discovers a different kind of project upon meeting the man hired to renovate the house. ;Matt Jarreau is attractive and clearly wounded -- hiding from people, from God, and from his past. Kate can't help but set her stubborn heart on bringing him out of the dark and back into the light... whether he likes it or not.

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

My thoughts:

It's been a long time since I read a romance novel that left me completely and utterly speechless. No joke...I'm not the target market for romance novels. I was as an impressionable, young, braces-on-my-teeth teenager complete with a dad who thought I shouldn't read so many of them (even if they were Christian).  Since then, I'm not so impressionable, but I find that my attention wanders greatly.  So, imagine my surprise to find one that I fell in love with from start to finish. I loved Matt's moodiness, Kate's persistence, and oh...those sweet, meddling, need-to-go-on-a-date seniors who were nosy as all-get-out. I loved the redemptive theme and the unfailing love of God that was present in every chapter. But if the truth be told, I really, really loved the romance. It was the kind that made me feel all giddy inside with loads of warm fuzzies. It was the kind that made me want to give my hubby that extra kiss in the morning before work. And it was the kind that made me thankful for parents who have been married for 40+ years and have had a romance that has endured all those hard times.

So, maybe I'll get back on that romance bandwagon. Well...leastwise when Becky Wade comes along with her next novel. You better believe that I'll be jumping on for that ride. :o)

5 Stars

Southern?  No
Sass?  Yes, from more than one character, too!  ;o)

**Many thanks to Bethany House for providing a copy for review through CFBA.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Book Review: Need You Now by Beth Wiseman/3 Stars

About the book:

When big-city life threatens the safety of one of their children, Brad and Darlene Henderson move with their three teenagers from Houston to the tiny town of Round Top, Texas.

Adjusting to small-town life is difficult for the kids, especially fifteen-year-old Grace who is coping in a dangerous way.

Married life hasn't always been bliss, but their strong faith has carried them through the difficult times. When Darlene takes a job outside the home for the first time in their marriage, the domestic tension rises.

While working with special needs children at her new job, the widowed father of one of Darlene's students starts paying more attention to her than is appropriate. Problem is, she feels like someone is listening to her for the first time in a long time. If Darlene ever needed God . . . it's now.

My thoughts:

I have been a fan of Beth Wiseman's books since the very beginning.  Her Amish novels have this irresistible quality about them.  I start one, and before I know it, three hours have passed and I've devoured one!  Because she hasn't disappointed me yet, I've been anxious to see how she'll make the transition into the contemporary genre.

For the most part, I enjoyed it.  The overall tone had some of the simplistic styling that I'm accustomed to reading in Beth's Amish novels.  But to counteract that simplicity, the subject matter was complex and realistic.  It was dramatic and relevant.  There were questions posed that all of us have asked ourselves at one time or another.  There were situations that the characters found themselves in that most of us hope to never relive.  However, several story lines and POV's were used, and I think maybe one or two less might have helped to make the overall story tighter.

In my opinion, Beth has great strength with romantic story lines.  That is one feature that I always enjoy from her Amish novels.  I think, perhaps, if her future contemporary novels are more romantic in nature as opposed to strictly women's fiction, or maybe even a mix of both, I'll be more inclined to read them.

Without a doubt, though, I will continue to read her Amish novels.  She has been one of my favorites for so long now that I mention her in the same sentence with Cindy Woodsmall as a must-read Amish fiction author.  I'm glad to know that even with her new foray into the contemporary genre that Beth will continue to write Amish fiction.

3 Stars

Southern?  No
Sass?  No

**Many thanks to the B&B Media Group for providing a copy for review.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Southern-Style Meet & Greet with Brandilyn Collins Plus Giveaway!

A few weeks back, I had the enormous pleasure of meeting two of my favorite authors at a book signing--Terri Blackstock and Brandilyn Collins.  Believe me, it was worth the 6 hour round trip because both of these ladies are superb writers, and truly at the top of their game in the suspense genre.  I decided to go out on a limb and see if they'd be interested in doing an interview here, and thank heavens, they both said yes.  :o) 

Up first this month is Brandilyn.  I never would've imagined such a sense of humor from someone who writes about boogeymen full-time!!  When you read our fun convo (not to mention that it's the first Southern-Style Meet & Greet that's been here in six months), you'll be able to picture Brandilyn sittin' right in front of you, talking over that glass of tea, and havin' yourself a passel full of laughs.  :o)

Oh, and as always, stay tuned to the very end for a book giveaway!


When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

Can’t say exactly. I grew up in a family of writers and wordsmiths. (Don’t challenge us in Scrabble. You’ll die.) Anyway, I do remember writing a story in third grade. Oh, wait! In second grade I won the prize for the best story in the classroom! I still remember the opening line: “Once there was a stallion named Betsy.”

I’ve been trying to write with as much eloquence ever since.

Then there’s an event from my teenage years. My friends swears it’s true, although I don’t remember it. We were coming out of church. She says to me, “That was a great sermon, huh.” I shrugged. “Wouldn’t know –I wasn’t listening. I was writing a story in my head.”

Maybe I should add that the pastor was my uncle. I don’t know if this makes my reaction better or worse.

What genre do you most like to write?

You’re asking me this question? Suspense, of course! My trademarked brand is Seatbelt Suspense®. My tagline is “Don’t forget to b r e a t h e …®  My brand comes with a four-point promise:  fast-paced, character-driven suspense, with myriad twists and an interwoven thread of faith.

Okay, so I knew the answer to that question, but there might be just one person that didn't.  So...ya know...none of us have a smidge of doubt now.  :o) 

What do you hope readers take away with them after they read one of your books?

First, I want them to have been on the edge of their seats and caught up in the suspense plot.  In other words, they must feel highly entertained. If they’re not entertained, they won’t even finish the book. Second, I want them to have learned something about life. To come away with a deeper spiritual understanding of whatever faith thread is woven into the story. The best novels don’t just entertain. They give us an aha moment.

But that moment—and the faith thread in general—has to arise naturally out of the plot and who the character is. That’s why I never sit down to write a “Christian” suspense. I set down to the most rollickin’ suspense I can, knowing that somewhere along the process, the faith element will naturally present itself. This is why my readers are both Christian and non-Christian. A lot of people simply want to read a “clean” suspense.

What is your latest book release?
Brandilyn with the real-life Cherrie Mae!
Gone to Ground released in March.  It’s a Southern-drenched suspense. The story in a nutshell: In small-town Mississippi, six murders have occurred. Now to their horror, three women of three different generations realize they know who the killer is—someone dear to them. Independently, not talking to anyone, each woman must make the terrifying decision to bring the man down. But each woman suspects a different man.

You absolutely have to watch the trailer for Gone to Ground!  It features the three voices of my protagonists: Cherrie Mae (black, age 62), Deena (white, 35), and Tully (white, 19).  There’s a great background story about my researching in Mississippi for the story.  I met a real-life Cherrie Mae, whose name was so perfect for my character I obtained her permission to use it.  And that real-life Cherrie Mae plays the part of my character in the book trailer. She’s wonderful!

Are you currently working on another novel, and if so, can you give us a snippet about it?

When am I not working on another novel? But the novel I’m writing now isn’t the next one to release. That one, Double Blind, comes out in October.  That story in a nutshell:  When severely depressed Lisa Newberry hears of a medical trial for a tiny brain chip that can heal her, she knows it’s her last hope. But what if she receives only the placebo? What if something far worse goes wrong …?
(Hint—it’s a Brandilyn Collins Seatbelt Suspense® novel. You can bet some very bad things go wrong.)

Where can readers find you on the web?

You can read about all my books, including each one’s opening chapter, on my website. And if you’re not connected to me on Facebook—do you have any idea what you’re missing?  For one thing, you’re missing my Today’s Word.  Every day I give you an unusual word and its definition, inviting people to use it in a sentence. See how much smarter you could be? Talk about impressing your friends (and that snooty relative).  Plus you’re missing out on the deals on my books that I find on the web and pass on to readers. Third, you’re missing my unpredictable updates—maybe it’s creating a caption for Funny Foto, or a crazy event in my life (which seems to be full of them). (Recent update: “what does the death of some American Indians a couple 100 yrs. ago have to do with the sale of our home?” Pretty bizarre answer to that question.) So-come “like” me on Facebook!

Finally, I send out my Sneak Pique newsletter every other month (on even months) via email. Sneak Pique includes info about my books, plus info on the latest releases in Christian fiction. You can sign up for my newsletter here.

Most people can recognize a Southerner by their accent.  Would I know what area of the country you’re from by yours?

Okay, here’s a story. I was born in India, raised in Kentucky since the age of 2. (Yeah, well, that’s another story.) Then I moved to California at twenty-one, toting my Kentucky accent. Until I made the mistake of using the word “britches” in a sentence. The woman I was talking to looked at me like I was an alien. She made me repeat the sentence three times. Then finally said, “Oh! You mean pants.” Right then and there I resolved to rid myself of my Kentucky accent. And I did. Except when I’m in Kentucky or anywhere south of there, I find myself picking it up real easily.

Yep, there are"words" that are native to us Southerners.  Don't go sayin' the word "holler," will be interpreted several different ways down here.  :o)

Wisteria Bed and Breakfast
What is your most favorite thing about the South? 
I love the people! I love the culture! I’ve been to Mississippi three times for Gone to Ground, and every time have just loved the total atmosphere of the place.

By the way, when I go to Mississippi I love to stay in Wisteria Bed and Breakfast in Laurel. Lovely setting and genteel Southern owners.

Iced Tea—sweet or un-sweet?

There’s such a thing as un-sweet tea?

You're a woman after my own heart, Brandilyn!

Gulf Coast beaches or the mountains of East Tennessee?

Ooh, that’s a hard one. So much beauty in both. The beach. No, the mountains. No, the beach…

Ask me again tomorrow.

Dolly Parton or Elvis Presley?

Elvis, baby!

Beignets in New Orleans or BBQ in Memphis?

Oh, have mercy? How to answer this one? I’d say … beignets in the morning (with a latte), followed by a bbq dinner at night.

(What do you mean, I’m cheating? This is my interview, ain’t it?)

(I didn't say a word, but I guess we can allow some cheating around here.  Be good, though.)  :o)

You, you all, or y’all? 

Even in chic California, y’all is simply the best.


Brandilyn, thank you so much for being my guest this week!  I've said it before and I'll say it again...if no one else had a great time today, I know I did!  :o)

And just like I promised, there is a giveaway this week for Brandilyn's newest book, Gone to Ground.  Simply 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, May 15th, 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.  I am not responsible for lost or damaged books.

And if you'd like to leave a comment for Brandilyn, scroll down just a little further past the giveaway form to the comment section, and talk 'til your heart's content.  :o)  I know she'd love to hear from you!


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

CFBA Blog Tour: The Soul Saver by Dineen Miller

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Soul Saver
Barbour Books (May 1, 2012)
Dineen Miller


Dineen Miller readily admits that one of the greatest lessons she’s learning about life is that there’s purpose in our trials. It’s all about trusting God and putting our hope in Him. Her favorite stories are of the miracles God has wrought in the lives of her family.

Through this lens she also believes her years as a youth counselor, a Stephen Minister, a women’s ministry leader, and a small group leader fuel her desire to ignite the souls of others through words of truth.

In addition to writing for Spiritually Unequal Marriage, Dineen has won several prestigious awards for her fiction, and her devotional writing has been featured in Our Journey and Christian Women Online Magazine. She’s also a C.L.A.S.S. Communicator and has been featured on the Moody Radio Network, Family Life and Focus on the Family Radio.

Married for 24 years to a guy who keeps her young, she lives in the Bay Area with her husband and two adult daughters, who surprise her daily with their own creativity.

She is the co-author of Winning Him Without Words: 10 Keys to Thriving in Your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and the author of The Soul Saver.


When Trusting God Is the Only Way Out

On an average day, God started her missions in her sculpting studio, revealing the face of the person she would meet at the grocery store, bank, or playground. The goal was always the same. Reach the lost, bring someone back to God, restore hope. But then came the tough missions—the ones that sent Lexie Baltimore into real battle. And she had a few battle scars to show for it.

Tormented that she can’t reach the one person she loves the most—staunch atheist and husband Hugh—Lexie finds her own hope waning when the battle comes to her doorstep in the shape of a pastor who represents everything she wants and everything her husband is not—a godly man.

Then false accusations and rumors spin her husband and family into a precarious position, and the only way out is to trust God. But how can she convince her husband when she’s struggling to trust God herself?

This time Lexie is the mission.

“Never before have I felt as if I were seeing someone’s life play out across a page until I read Soul Saver. Dineen Miller's prose had me sighing at the beauty of her word pictures. This is not a book to be missed – Life changing!”
— Robin Caroll, author of the Evil series and Injustice For All
“When you combine stellar writing, intriguing characters, and a fascinating plot the result is a story like Soul Saver. It’s the kind of novel I wish I had written.”
— James L. Rubart, bestselling author of ROOMS, Book of Days, and The Chair

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

Friday, May 4, 2012

An Unforgettable Read - Wildflowers from Winter by Katie Ganshert/5 Stars

Bethany Quinn's life is the definition of success--cushy job at a prestigious architectural firm, great apartment in Chicago, and a boyfriend that's an up-and-coming big-city attorney. When she gets an urgent call out of the blue from her mother that she needs to return to podunk Peaks, Iowa, she sends her frustration and ranting into the universe and reluctantly makes the trip...the trip that sends her back to her Grandpa Dan, the one whom she could always depend on. What she doesn't count on is the handsome hired help at her grandpa's farm, a man who does nothing but argue with her at every turn. Bethany also doesn't count on the childhood memories from Peaks that continually flood her mind, and remind her of things she'd rather forget. Before all is said and done, the painful, lifelong decisions that she needs to make won't come without some much-needed soul searching, and the release of her own selfish control.

Few authors capture the raw tension and depth of emotion that Katie Ganshert has in her debut novel, Wildflowers from Winter. She explores the intensity of grief, the hypocrisy of a church pastor, and a series of childhood events that shape an adult woman into someone cold and unfeeling. Bethany's character is complex and flawed, and when merged with stubborn Evan and grieving Robin, the combination of all three produces an unforgettable story. It's not difficult as a reader to see some of your own self in any one of these characters because as they peel back the layers of grief, hurt, and depression, the final result makes the title of this book take full shape.

It's clear after just one novel that Katie Ganshert has a very bright future Christian fiction. Wildflowers from Winter is guaranteed not only to be an poignant read for some, but a ministering read for many.

5 Stars

Southern?  No
Sass?  No

**Many thanks to the author for providing a copy for review.

**Would you like the chance to win a copy of Wildflowers from Winter?  Well, then...  Visit my interview from earlier this week with Katie for more details!


CFBA Blog Tour: Traveler's Rest by Ann Tatlock

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Traveler’s Rest

Bethany House Publishers; Original edition (May 1, 2012)
Ann Tatlock


Ann Tatlock is the author of the Christy Award-winning novel All the Way Home. She has also won the Midwest Independent Publishers Association "Book of the Year" in fiction for both All the Way Home and I'll Watch the Moon. Her novel Things We Once Held Dear received a starred review from Library Journal and Publishers Weekly calls her "one of Christian fiction's better wordsmiths, and her lovely prose reminds readers why it is a joy to savor her stories." Ann lives with her husband and daughter in Asheville, North Carolina.


A YOUNG WOMAN determined to honor her commitment...

AN INJURED SOLDIER convinced life is no longer worth living...

A RETIRED DOCTOR certain it's too late to be forgiven...

Jane Morrow has a dilemma. She's engaged to Seth Ballantine, a member of the National Guard's 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team, and he's returned from Iraq severely wounded. Jane hasn't seen him for nearly a year, and with trepidation, she heads to the VA hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, where he is being treated.

Seth isn't happy to see her. He'd asked her not to come. He wants to end the relationship. But Jane loves him, and despite his injury, she's determined to convince him that they can have a life together. Her faith has never been strong, yet she hopes God will answer her prayers and tell her what to do.

Beautifully written, Travelers Rest takes readers on a journey through pain and tragedy to a place of hope and redemption.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Traveler’s Rest, go HERE.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Hangin' Out with Katie Ganshert! (Plus Giveaway)

I've been itching for weeks now to get to today's interview with debut author, Katie Ganshert!  Y'all are going to LOVE getting to know the juicy details about Katie that don't come in her "official" bio--

Katie Ganshert was born and raised in the Midwest, where she writes stories about finding faith and falling in love. When she’s not busy plotting her next novel, she enjoys watching movies with her husband, playing make-believe with her wild-child of a son, and chatting with her girlfriends over bagels. She and her husband are in the process of adopting from the Congo. You can find her online at her blog and on Facebook

Ok, so that's cool, but the dirt about Katie is down below.  (Oh, and thanks, Katie, for being a great sport.)  :o)


Not including writing, what was your first job?

My very first job was at Old Chicago. I was a hostess. It wasn’t the most fun job in the world. Rolling silverware can only be so exciting. My first real-life, adult job was teaching. I graduated with a degree in Elementary Education and taught 5th grade for four wonderful years. Fifth graders rock.

You are a better woman than me.  I always knew teaching was *not* my calling. 

Photo credit - IMDB
What is one movie that you could watch over and over again?

Oooo! There are so many eighties movies I could watch over and over again. Like Goonies. Totally awesome. The Breakfast Club.  The Princess Bride. Weird Science. Or Little Monsters! Does anybody remember that one? Eighties movies rocked. But I guess if I could only pick one, I’d have to go with Pride and Prejudice, the 2005 version with Keira Knightley. I love me some Mr. Darcy.

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

I would be able to apparate like the witches and wizards on Harry Potter. Do you know how much time and money I could save? No more traffic jams. No more gas money or airfare. Plus, I could go anywhere. If I wanted to pop on over to Budapest for lunch, there would be no reason not to.

When all the book deadlines have been met, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Playing outside with my crazy little boy. He loves squirt guns. Cuddling up with my hubby and watching a great movie. Going to Panera with girlfriends and talking about life and God and books over bagels and tea. And of course—reading! There’s nothing like curling up in bed with chocolate and an excellent book.

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

Oh, I totally go for the celebrity magazines—like Star and US Weekly. Basically, the ones that are probably only half true. If I see one of my favorite actors or actresses on the cover, I can’t resist.

Photo credit - Wikipedia
Have you ever met anyone famous? If so, who?

I met one of the Baldwin brothers once. I can’t remember which one. He was at an Iowa wrestling meet of all places. I was a senior in high school. I didn’t even know who he was, but my friend was like, “Oh my goodness! That’s a Baldwin!” So I walked up the bleachers and introduced myself. That’s about as close to a famous person I’ve ever been.

Oh! But I sat courtside at a Chicago Bulls game once….back in the day when Michael Jordan was on the team. He stood so close to me that I could’ve pinched his butt. Of course, I never would do such a thing, even though I was totally obsessed with MJ in junior high.

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

Oh, goodness. I did all kinds of crazy shenanigans when I was younger. Typical silly stuff, like TP friends’ houses, ding-dong ditch, and make prank phone calls. Our favorite being: “I’m sorry to bother you, but your cats in our garden.” Then the person would inevitably say, “We don’t have a cat.” And we’d say, “We don’t have a garden!” And then we’d hang up and laugh like it was hilarious. Apparently, we were easily amused. One time we prank called this random lady and ended up talking to her until one in the morning. It was weird.

I recall some fun times like that with pranks.  Probably shouldn't recount them for my own safety...don't need to wonder if anyone will decide to take revenge!

You have the opportunity to choose between appearing on American Idol or Dancing with the Stars (and that’s without an audition). Which reality tv show beckons your participation?

Holy buckets! I would make an absolute fool out of myself on either one. I’m completely tone deaf and I have zero rhythm. I’d probably pick American Idol and I would sing the opening song to The Lion King. Nyaaaaa, Sven Ya, Va-va leeshy, va-va! I have no idea if those are the words, I just know I’m pretty good at belting them. If I made an appearance on Dancing with the Stars, I suppose I could try to bring back the running man. I’m not half bad at that one.

Pretty good Lion King rendition there, I'd say!  I'll alert the Broadway folks that there's theater talent in the Midwest!  :o)


Katie, thank you so much for a marvelously fun interview this week!!  If no one else had a great time today, I know I did.  :o)

Wouldn't you love to read Katie's debut novel?  I know we didn't talk about it, but trust *really* want to sign up for this giveaway!!  :o) 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, May 8th, 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.  I am not responsible for lost or damaged books.

And if you'd like to leave a comment for Katie, scroll down just a little further past the giveaway form to the comment section, and talk 'til your heart's content.  :o)  I know she'd love to hear from you!