Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Best of 2009 Novels

What was the best book you read in 2009? Over on A

Sequence of Continous Delights, Carman is having a contest for the best cover of 2009 (be sure and vote! She has some great covers). And it got me thinking- why not have a contest for the best novel of 2009? So what was the best Christian fiction novel that you read that was published this year? Mine is just to the left. I loved Seaside Letters, what an amazing story and totally gripping and engaging. Leave a comment nominating your favorite 2009 Christian novel and once they are all in let the voting begin! Please be sure and tell me where I can find the book cover, though an exact URL won't be neccessary.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Book Review: The Blue Enchantress

For those who have read the Red Siren, they know just what is coming in this new book, it is definitely a series you want to read in order.
Hope Westcott’s beau, the villainous Lord Falkland, has spurned her advances when she is found on board his ship- the same ship housing his wife. She finds herself standing on the auction block, gazing into a sea of malicious faces, lust pouring from their beings. But she is rescued by a young sea merchant who trades his ship for her ransom. While some would see this as an act of benevolence, Nathaniel Mason begrudges his act of mercy, because now he has been set back in making his fortune. Both are running from God, yet in two very different ways. Hope longs for love, admiration and attention after being rejected by a father who lavished no love, but saw only faults. And after a terrible deed was committed against her, she believes she is impure and throws herself at every man who comes her way. She can not believe that God can make her pure and forgive her past sins, filling her with a love that is all consuming. Nathaniel sees only her mistakes and scorns her for it, not seeing the love starved person beneath. He feels the call of God on his life to witness and preach, but instead flees to the sea feeling he is adequate in bringing people to Christ.
I thought this book was very good, the drama was vivid, the characters seem real and have personal struggles that can be related to. I thought the tension between Hope, God and Nathaniel went a little over long, but in some respects it was needed, because without it you wouldn’t have seen the transformations in the end.
Oh and one more tantalizing fact- Lord Falkland makes another appearance, and it is anything but good!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Never take anything for granted

I have really been thinking about this lately. How many things do you take for granted? Even the simple things like, indoor plumbing, food, warmth, family and friends.

You don't realize how much you use something until it is yanked from your grasp. Every time we lose the plumbing in our house, I praise God when you can flush the toilet, run water, clean the dishes again!

Every day we use things that we don't even realize that if they were taken away from us, we wouldn't be able to function. You can't live without food, yet are you thankful for it? We all pray over the meal, but are we truly thankful? I know I struggle here to be thankful from my heart, it's there every day! But what about the person who is starving? They are thankful for the simplest crumb. We are truly blessed. Thank you, God.

Early in 2009 my uncle was rushed to the ER because of a brain bleed at the base of his skull. For two days we lived on the edge, unsure if we would lose him. We praise God he still lives and thrives. But that frightening moment brought together my mom and her brothers, one who she had not seen in over 20 years. I had never even met my uncle and aunt from my mom's side. I will never take them for granted ever again. They are too precious. Cherish your family, those moments of togetherness. God has blessed you, don't throw those blessings away

Before that moment in time when life hangs in the balance, when the septic system is being dug up again, before the food is arriving late to the table, take that time and remember to be thankful for the little things. Tell your parents, siblings, spouse you love them You won't realize how much you appreciate even the mundane in life until it's taken away.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Blog Awards!

Wow, thank you so much to Ashley W. at After all... tomorrow is another day for passing on these two lovely awards. They are my first for this blog and I was pretty excited! The first is the Circle of Friends award. I have to write five things I love and then pass this award on to five other people. (If I presented you with this award, simply right click, save it as a photo and then put it on your site with the five things you love- then pass it on to five other bloggers)

Five things I love to do: (in no particular order)
1: Read! (big surprise there :)
2: Knit (I love to create things I or someone in my family can wear)
3: Writing

4: Scrapbook

5: Spend time with family and friends

The five people I am going to pass this on to is:

1: Cara at The Law Books and Life

2: Tiffany at A Fiction Filled Life

3: Tamera at Write Perspectives

4: Lena at A Christian Writer's World

5: The ladies at Seekerville

My second award is:

I am supposed to pass this on to 15 blogs I have recently discovered. I haven't found 15, but I have a few, so here they are...

1: The ladies at Seekerville

2: Sandi at Sandi Rog

3: Cami at Cami's Loft

4: Colletta at Colletta's Kitchen Sink

5: Carmen at A Sequence of Continuous Delights

6: Susan at Journeys of Love...Inspired by Faith

That's all I've got, and I will let the recipents know soon (hopefully today :) (If you were presented with this award, post it on your site and then pass it on to 15 other blogs you have recently discovered- if you don't have 15 don't worry)

Again thanks, Ashley- I appreciate you thinking of me!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Book Review: Reclaiming Nick

Nick Noble never intended to be the prodigal son, but when family secrets abound, that would be much better hidden, attitudes better left tethered are unleashed with a fury.

Piper Sullivan can’t forgive Nick for falsely accusing her brother and landing him in jail for a murder he didn’t commit. Worming her way onto the family ranch, Piper is determined to seek revenge, but instead discovers more than she ever bargained for.

I had never read a Susan May Warren book before, oh the shame. Her style took me a little while to really dive into. Often I would sit back and go "huh? did I miss something?" But really all she was doing was dropping a "clue", which all became clear as the book progressed- you just have to get to that point. The tension in this book was incredible. Nick and Piper were lovable characters, but you just wanted to knock their heads around to get them to see the light! Talk about love, Susan knows how to drag out tension and release it with a snap when it comes to the hero and heroine. Add in a stampede, a murderous villain and some really hard biscuits and you have a winning novel. I look forward to reading more in the series.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Author Bio Spotlight: Cindy Woodsmall

When Cindy Woodsmall's first book released in 2006 it rocketed to amazing success, hitting the Christian bestseller and was a finalist in the 2007 ECPA Christian Book Award. Her second book hit the bottom of the New York Times Best Seller list at 34 and her third book in the Sisters of the Quilt Series hit number 13 on the same list and hit the US Today list! Best known for writing Amish fiction, Cindy lends an authenticity to her work that is incredible. Having several Amish friends, Cindy has researched their culture extensively, lending her books a wonderful flair of knowledge and authenticity.

Cindy has five fiction books out so far with her debut novel starting it all, When the Morning Comes. Though I have yet to read her two latest books, The Hope of Refuge and The Sound of Sleigh Bells, I did read her first series, Sisters of the Quilt. It has been three years since I have picked up one of those books and the characters still continue to live on in my imagination. Her characters are so alive and vivid, the reader yearns to help them through their struggles and see them persevere.

I love Amish fiction and Beverly Lewis and in my opinion, Cindy Woodsmall's book are every bit as accurate and good as Beverly Lewis. I would read one of her books in a heartbeat and once you have read one of her books you too will agree with me why she has rocketed to such high success. She has a wonderful website with a contest or two usually going on, so be sure and stop by and read more about her books at:

Monday, December 21, 2009

What fires your inspiration?

Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes. Mine comes in the form of pretty much any book on writing, written from the Christian viewpoint. I recently purchased A Novel Idea a book formed from the creative minds of today’s top leading authors. I open to the first page and am immediately immersed with the Christian faith and how our fiction should always parallel the greatest story ever told. Nothing fires my ambition more than reading a book written by a Christian on how to write Christian fiction.
I think the reason it drives me the way it does, is because I feel connected with these writers, they understand the struggle of the human condition, and how to point out our character’s faults in relation to the Bible. I struggle with conventional how- to- write books, not just because of the use of four letter words, but because I am not writing in the same market, my motivation lies elsewhere and it doesn’t include four letter words.

Now while certainly writers in today’s mainstream fiction will have wonderful advice to share (and I use it), they won’t often share my faith, hence they don’t fire my ambition as strongly as Christian writers do. Nothing encourages or inspires me more than to read a paragraph of wisdom shared from the fruits of these writer’s labors on how gratifying it is to write for our Lord and Savior.

Inspiration comes to whatever career you are placed in. What motivates you to do the craft the Master has designed for you? What do you hear, read, see, that reaffirms your place in that chosen field? Now that you know, take that motivation and go lay it at the Master’s feet.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Book Review: The Red Siren

When you read the description of this book, it evokes the notion of "a lady pirate, how can that be a story line with a ring of truth?" But this story is not far fetched.
Faith Westcott is struggling against God and man. Her father has no love to lavish and spends his time at sea, leaving his three daughters to their own devices, until a godly captain is asked to step in and be their guardian while their father is away for an extended time. The battles that ensue do not always include pistols and swords, but the struggles against the love of God.
The devilishly handsome Captain Dajon Waite tries to help Faith see her spiritual faults all the while falling in love with the pirate he is trying to catch.
This book was riveting- a story like all the rest of Tyndall’s books. Truly excellent- a story that will keep you up late and anxious to return, a wonderful escape. It’s filled with intrigue and adventure, but this author knows the delicate balance between too much adventure and the human emotions. The scale is balanced and a grand "huzza" is raised when you close the book. But you will certainly want to hurry and purchase The Blue Enchantress (book 2) it follows quickly on the heels of The Red Siren.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Omniscient Point of View

Welcome to today's writing thought(s)! Are you ready? Okay, let's dive in.

Omniscient POV (point of view), don’t even get me started! But instead of launching into a lecture, let me tell you what I’m talking about and then I’ll explain why I don’t like it. :)

Here’s an example of omniscient POV: "Danny would remember this moment for the rest of his life." Did you as the reader want to know that tidbit yet? When you are reading a novel, do you want to be in the dark as you go, the writer slowly letting in more and more light as you travel through the pages? Or do you want the author continually jumping in and shouting, "Hey! Nothing bad happens here, because this guy is going to remember this moment for the rest of his life!" OPOV is also referred to as head hopping and is like the author playing God, knowing all things at all times.

I started a book riddled with OPOV, needless to say, I didn't finish it! What is the point of reading a novel when you are constantly being told what is going to happen? Imagine, you’re entering a Civil War battlefield, on tenderhooks, unsure if your hero is going to live through this fight. And suddenly the author jumps in with how our hero is going to tell his son all about this when the battle is over. Have I said I can’t STAND OPOV??

Then I found out I had some OPOV in my own writing. I couldn't believe it- I mean I am above such things right? Wrong ! LOL! I just hope I catch all of it, because while I don’t jump in with those certain author intrusion phrases, I do jump from one character to the other giving away thoughts, that shouldn’t be revealed yet. (headhopping)

Omniscient POV is an incredibly easy trap to fall into, but if you stay out of it, I will thank you and… so will your reader. :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Author Bio Spotlight: M.L. Tyndall

MaryLu Tyndall grew up next to the ocean and has always loved the sea. Though she never wrote professionally until 2007, she has always enjoyed putting pen to paper. After earning a degree in Math and spending many years in the software engineering field, she felt the call of God on her heart to write a story about a godly pirate. Though told she couldn’t do it, she did, with tremendous success. After selling her first book, she sold six more through Barbour Publishers. A Christy Award Finalist, MaryLu now writes full time.

For those who love an epic adventure on the high seas, MaryLu’s books on the ones for you. I have yet to read one of her books (and I have read them all) that I have not loved thoroughly. Her characters are rich and vibrant. Nothing is stilted when it comes to spreading the message of salvation in her books. It grows organically from each story and character.
Once I discovered MaryLu’s writing, I was hooked for life. Vibrant with details, her stories catapult the reader into a different world. Many a time my family has found me buried in her books and they will not be able to resurrect me.

Note to my readers today: On January 5th, I will be interviewing MaryLu on this blog. Those who comment on that post will be entered to win her latest release, The Raven Saint. To read more about this book click here.

MaryLu has a wonderful blog I love to visit and this month, she is giving away copies of her book, so stop by!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

2010 Reading Challenge

I was recently on a site with a challenge to readers to read a certain number of books in a year. I debated joining, but decided against it, because I didn't appreciate the non Christian content. Then I thought- why not do one of my own?

So this is my challenge for 2010 for myself and for you readers out there! How many books can you read in a year- how many do you think you can read?

Starting January 1st and running through December 31st of 2010 I challenge you to read as many books as possible. Every Friday of the new year I will post on my progress and this will be your chance to leave a comment documenting your progress.

The Rules: (it's simple I promise)
~Only CHRISTIAN books count
~Only books started on January 1st count
~This is not a genre specific contest, read whatever genre you love!
~Every Friday on my blog, post how you are doing and I'll keep a running tally on a side bar
~Tell others on your blog about this- let's get the challenge out for others to know about! You might even win a book here that you can read for this challenge! :)

Think you can read a book every week- that's 52 books in year. Think you can do more than that? I'm shooting for 100 books- think I can make it? 2010 Reading Challenge here we come!

Post a comment with a number of books you think you can read in a year, I will keep a running tally on the side bar to keep you all up to date on our progress!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Are you patient?

If you could project your life into the future, what would you want to see? What would be the ideal picture for your life? Mine would be married to a great guy, children, a farm in the middle of no where, three Christy Awards, a Rita and #1 on the New York Times Bestsellers list- twice. I can see you shaking your head at my farfetched idea, I can dream can’t I?

The other night we attended a wedding of family friend. I love weddings. The lights, the beauty, the happiness pervading every corner of the room. Ever stand in the back and wonder if it will be you with the preacher? Ever wonder if that day will ever come?

I am going to attend a two day writer’s workshop in April with best selling author Susan May Warren and Chip MacGregor, I am going to take this chance to improve my work and hopefully have the chance to have either teacher look over my work, tell me if it’s worthy of that bestseller’s list. J Ever wonder if that moment will come when your work will be in the hands of a reader half away across the nation. Ever wonder if that day will ever come?

It’s not easy to sit back and wait on the Lord, seek His will for a situation and let Him control the gear shift. I could launch into an entire discussion of being patient, your day will come, yada yada yada. We’ve all heard it and you don’t need to hear it from me. It’s not easy to concede that your day isn’t here yet, to ignore that niggling doubt in the back of your brain, no matter what your dream may be. But God knows our hopes and dreams, He knows them because He planted them deep within our hearts. If God has given you a talent for something, as long as you use it for His glory, He will bless it. You may have to wait years, but that is what faith is for. Put your trust in the Creator of Heaven and Earth, believing that He has your best interest at heart. If you follow Him faithfully, you will never know what to expect.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Book Review: Trial by Fire

County prosecutor, Tricia Jamison is living in fear, a fear that her home will be the next target of a serial arsonist who is attacking her family. Noah Brust can’t forgive Tricia for failing to protect him on the stand a year earlier, but with each fire, he is thrown in Tricia’s path. They still feel the connection that drew them together before, can they overcome their personal struggles and forget or will they be burned by the passing of true love?
There has not been a single book by Cara Putman that I have not loved. I keep coming back to her books, not just because of the riveting plot, but because she crafts genuine characters. They live and breathe to me, making me anxious for them, longing to see their trials resolved. Cara kept this mystery a secret for the whole book, something I like, that tension of discovering the bad guy. I was breathless until he was safely being carted away. And what novel by Cara wouldn’t be complete without a love story entwined, personal struggles that seem insurmountable and a deepening of faith in our Heavenly Father? This book has it all, I loved it and look forward to reading more by this author. Well done, Cara!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Chapter Hooks

I think chapter hooks can be some of the hardest things to write. Tweaking words to get a combination just "write" to entice the reader to continue reading. That first page, that moment between life and death for a book sale, when a reader picks up your book and opens the cover. They have two choices now, slam it shut and snort in disgust or run to the checkout counter.

From my own personal reader experience, I detest the opening lines that runs on. Remembering learning that is 3rd grade English class? I find nothing worse than to try to digest a huge sentence with completely foreign characters and events in a new book.

So when I wrote the opening scene in my current work in progress (WIP), I tried to make it as intense as possible, with quick snappy sentences, to slowly lead my reader into the tale I am telling. But having never been in the situation my character is in, I wasn't able to pull it off. Then I was given the chance to have someone read that first prologue. I have never received better advice- she couldn't connect with my character! Wow, that was really helpful to know. I went back over, poured over making my character worth the money a reader would spend. I don't know if I've succeed yet, but I hope so.

I tell you, it's not easy, but nothing is as satisfactory as to create that riveting chapter hook. To sit back and know you have succeeded. You won't hit the perfect chapter hook on the first try, probably won't on the second either, but it's worth the multitude of tries.

Whether you write or not, we all love an intense beginning. When we walk into a book store and open that cover, we want to be so riveted, we don't notice being bumped and jostled around by other customers.

What is a book that you read that had a fantastic chapter hook and kept you riveted the entire novel through? I'll start: Leaving Yesterday by Kathryn Cushman.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Author Bio Spotlight: Cara Putman

The first line on Cara Putman’s website is: "I’m a woman living a dream God planted in my heart years ago". That dream has come to fruition in mind blowing ways. Cara’s first book, Canteen Dreams was the American Christian Fiction Writer’s (ACFW) book of the year for a short historical. Sandhill Dreams followed it a year later and was a finalist for the same award. With nine books in print and one due in March of 2010, Cara is far from bored. She is a wife, mother of three, lawyer and author, living in Indiana.
Cara’s books focus primarily on WWII and
the conflicts on the home front. But if you are interested in mysteries, she has two entitled, Deadly Exposure and Trial by Fire (expect a review soon on this title) Her WWII romances are published by Heartsong Presents and her mysteries by Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense.
I have read two of Cara’s books and am working on a third. She has a wonderful voice about her writing that is unique and gripping. Her characters have human qualities and sing out for a reader’s approval. I love her stories for their growth of characters, the interaction between hero and heroine (she knows how to write a good Christian romance) and the faith element she incorporates to grow and develop her characters. All this by showing the reader the subtle changes in each life.
Cara has a wonderful blog I love to visit, which she updates nearly everyday. Often you will find a contest going on for a favorite author of hers. Visit her at

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Book Review and Chance to Win: The Unfinished Gift

Just the title alone is enough to strike a cord of interest. A little boy without a home, being sent to a surly grandfather, who wants nothing to do with him. A father hundreds of miles overseas, fighting for his county, trying to survive for his little boy. The common, fragile thread holding this family together? An incomplete wooden soldier, nestled under dust in the attic and the catalyst that draws them together again.

This is Dan Walsh’s first novel; I found the story intriguing and captivating. The strong emotions between father and grandfather- the animosity shouts from the page. The little boy so torn between being good to honor his deceased mother’s memory while living with a man who wants nothing to do with him. Walsh does a excellent job showing the conflict of emotion, the tension between good and evil and the grandfather’s gentle metamorphosis. The story is mainly told from the perspective of the little boy, Patrick, which isn’t my favorite to read, but he stays true to each character, lending an authenticity and tone that adds to the depth of the story. I enjoyed the novel and read it in short order. I look forward to the sequel that will soon be coming!

To have a chance to win this book visit: or and leave a comment after reading the interviews with Dan Walsh!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Write what you...?

We’ve all heard, "write what you know" or "write what you love" right? I have always struggled with this concept and how it applies to my writing.

There is several authors I read (and love their work) and they "write what they know". Basically all their story revolves around the same scenario, in an environment they are familiar with. Then there are the multi published authors, who jump from genre to genre and are wildly successful at it, having to draw new knowledge for each piece. They are "writing what they love". Neither way of writing is bad, neither one is better than the other.

What is the best choice for you? What is the best choice for me? It’s a topic I have been contemplating lately. (You get to the point where you like to write and it’s all you think about.:) How do you discover what genre to write in, what subject best fits your "voice"? I believe only God knows. You might be burdened to write in one genre your entire writing career, such as Tamera Alexander, Deborah Raney, Terri Blackstock (who by the way, I adore their work). Or you might be a cross over novelist, such as Cara Putman or Angela Hunt to name only a few. Each of these novelists are doing the passion for a profession God has given them.

God will place that story on your heart that won’t give you any peace until it is on paper and being molded into an exceptional piece. I have so many ideas for stories, and not all of them are in the same genre I am working on right now. But if they are stories God wants told, He will provide the inspiration and the market. Write for Christ and you will never go wrong

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Book Review: Above All Things

What would you do if you found out your spouse had an illicit love affair before he even knew you? What would you do if you found out that the love affair produced a child who now has to live with you?

Judd and Evette McGlin are happy and content in their life, expecting their first child until a fateful phone call, informing Judd he has a daughter by another woman. Accepting this child into their home comes with much strife and trying to forgive mistakes from the past. Struggles abound until a single discovery is isn’t about "perfect" people, it’s about excepting, forgiving, loving those God has provided for us in our families.

Deborah Raney has done another marvelous job with this novel. She tackles many hard issues head on, such as racial prejudice and the conflicts that often arise in such a situation. I have loved every book I have read by Raney and this was no exception, I finished this book in just two days. The characters were vibrant and alive. Their struggles were real and heartbreaking, but the power of faith in God and forgiveness were what prevailed. A highly recommended novel, one that will keep you turning pages well into the night!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

What are you dreaming of?

Last night in my devotional book, I read a section on dreams and letting God take control of them. This can be a hard idea to swallow can't it? Most often when it comes time to dream, we think it is our responsibility to come up with those dreams and God is supposed to work everything out and hand it back to us on a silver platter. Either that or we beat ourselves into the ground because we are trying to accomplish a dream that maybe isn't part of God's plan.

Writing is my dream, to write something so brilliant and inspiring it makes my readers stumble over themselves to buy my books. Okay, maybe that's a bit farfetched. But that was my dream and I beat myself into the ground over it, trying to do it all my own. And the effect it had on me? I felt like a rat on a wheel in a cage...going no where. I had to relinquish that dream back into the hands of my Heavenly Father, because it was going no where in mine.

This blog is one of my dreams right now. But it's getting to a slow start, which is only natural, but like impatient me, I wanted to inspire hundreds of people (that's very farfetched) and I was beginning to worry, especially with the giveaways coming up in January. Will there be people to leave comments? But what is the title of this blog?? Say it with me... WRITING FOR CHRIST. That is what it should be all about, whether I inspire one person or a hundred is all up to Him.

No matter what your dream is, let God control the reins, I promise you will have much better success if you do. I know I have.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Author Bio Spotlight: Deborah Raney

With over twenty books in print, Deborah Raney is best known for her inspiring characters and deep, convincing plot lines set in the contemporay realm of fiction.

A Vow to Cherish was made into a movie by World Wide Pictures. Remember to Forget was a winner of the American Christian Fiction Writer Book of the Year and a Christy Award finalist. All together she has been awarded the RITA, Holt Medallion, National Reader's Choice Award, Silver Angel and has been a finalist for a Christy award twice.

It is easy to see why Deborah's books have been given such high acclaim. They have crossed borders and one is in the process of being translated into Dutch, preparing to join the others that have already been translated into Swedish, Danish and Norwegian languages. For anyone who has ever read one of her books you will agree with me that it is like eating fine chocolate. Trying to savor every bite, but wanting to consume it has fast as possible because your mouth is watering.

The first book I read by her was A Vow to Cherish, which I finished in two days. The characters were so alive and real, I felt as if I had entered the story world and were struggling right along with them. Since that first book, I have had the chance to read Within this Circle and Remember to Forget. I have ordered Above All Things and can't wait to dive into it.

To learn about Deborah visit her website at: There you can join her newsletter mailing list, see all her available books and tour her studio. She loves to hear from readers, so write her an email!

FTC Rules

According to new FTC rules I must let you, the reader know, that all views shared on this blog are strictly my own. Books to review are either provided for me by the author, publisher or ones I have purchased and I am under no obligation whatsoever to present anything, but my true opinion on any product. I receive no monetary compensation for anything written on this blog. Any giveaways on this blog are provided by the author/ publisher and I am not responsible for any views they express in their work or on this site. Giveaways are void were prohibited and chances of winnng are based on the number of applicants. A random winner is draw when a book is given away.

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