Saturday, February 27, 2010

Book Review: The Clouds Roll Away

Book Description (from the publisher)

Forensic geologist Raleigh Harmon unravels mysteries in her hometown of Richmond where things are never quite what they seem.

Raleigh's exemplary service in Seattle opened the door for her disciplinary transfer to be lifted, allowing her to return to her home FBI field office in Richmond, VA. A civil rights case turns out to be much more complex than anyone thought when Raleigh is forced to go undercover in a drug trafficking case.

Things aren't any simpler at home. Raleigh's old friend DeMott wants her to find time for things outside of her FBI work: friendship and maybe something more. Raleigh will have to rely on her sharpest skills--and the faith that is slowly returning to her--to navigate her way through these clouds.

My Review:

I like to read the occasional mystery, but The Clouds Roll Away just wasn’t for me. Things didn’t always make sense. This novel is geared more for the crowd that is well read in criminal activities and the workings of the FBI.

I did enjoy the main character’s voice. Raleigh Harmon reminded me of Hercule Poirot from Agatha Christie. Raleigh’s voice is distinct and drew me in. The writing of the book is more literary and makes me think, which I enjoy. There was a spice of humor and suspense, where I was worried about the characters. This is a book I would recommend to those who enjoy thrillers, but are savvier at understanding the ins and outs of the criminal mind.

I received this book from the publisher. I received no compensation for my review.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Reading Challenge Update

I read 3 books this week. Hope you had a great week in the books too!

Surrender Bay by Denise Hunter
Scattered Petals by Amanda Cabot
A Constant Heart by Siri Mitchell

That's all I got! You still have one more week to enter my current giveaway, so get on down there! You can find the link on the sidebar with the book's cover. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Blog Award!!

Bliss Happy 101 Blog Award!

Many "sweet" thanks to Renee @ Black 'n Gold Girl's Book Spot for passing on this fun award! Isn't it cute??

So... I have to name 10 things I love and then pass it on to 10 other blogs. Okay here we go...

Ten things I love...
1: My Savior Jesus Christ
2: My family
3: Reading/ books (ha! No surprise there :-)
4: Writing
5: Julie Lessman (and her books :-)
6: Knitting
7: My blogs
8: Scrapbooking
9: Sunshine, green grass, God's creation in general
10: Surprises

And here are ten blogs that I love... (in no particular order :-) (To take the award, just right click and save as a photo to your computer, then share the love!)

7: Elizabeth @ The Borrowed Book
8: Cathy @ Word Vessel
9: Mimi @ Woven by Words
10: Sandi @ Sandi Rog

I will (hopefully) have everyone notified before the weekend is over! I tell you time just slips away around here...

Thanks again, Renee!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Isn't it Gorgeous???

Ever since I got hooked on Julie Lessman, I haven't been able to put her books down! I have A Passion Denied sitting on my toppling TBR stack, BEGGING me to pick it up, but well, WHATEVER was I thinking when I agreed to review books????

BUT I am so excited for this book to release in September of this year (can't come soon enough in my opinion) and the cover for Julie's up and coming release, A Hope Undaunted has finally been unveiled. Doesn't it make you want to run to your nearest internet store and pre-order???

As the 1920s come to a close, Katie O'Connor epitomizes "the new woman"---smart and sassy with goals that include a law career and the perfect husband. But when she spends the summer of 1929 with childhood nemesis Luke McGee, Katie faces an unexpected choice: commit to her ideal boyfriend, Jake---or the man she's always despised? 512 pages, softcover from Revell.

So fun and sassy and longer than her others! All the more fun I say!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My Favorite Olympic Sports

Apolo Ohno,Jeff Simon,Ryan Bedford,JR Celski,Barry Winslow

2010 Winter Olympics Stone Logo Collectible PinI love to watch the Olympics. I am no sports buff, but there is just something about watching these athletes race for gold. I don't know or understand the difference for me personally, but I will sit and watch sports in the Olympics, that I wouldn't normally watch at any other time. 

dancing on icefigure skating,winter olympicsI enjoy summer more than winter, but will take any opportunity to watch some edgy competition and cheer on the racers to the medal they long for. You should hear me when Apolo Ohno races in short track. One would think he could hear me with the way I scream at the tv for him to "HURRY UP!" Have you heard he is now the most decorated American Winter Olympian? He has two medals from these games, a silver and bronze. Wish he would have won gold though.

I love ice skating. Women's Figure skating, Ice dancing, Pairs Figure Skating, if it's on ice and filled with twists and jumps and sparkling outfits, I want to see it. But it bugs me to no end  that they show it late at night. Grrr.  I stayed up until 11:30 one night to watch Ohno race. At leat that was a weekend! Oh well. I hope they put women's figure skating on the weekend so I can watch it!

That's my favorite Olympic sports, what are yours? I would love to hear!

Photos courtesy of

Monday, February 22, 2010

Author Interview and Book Giveaway: Sunset Beach

Trish Perry has been writing for over fourteen years now and has written four novels with another series set to release in 2011. Before discovering her love for writing, she was a stockbroker, student of Psychology, and worked in a Washington D.C. attorney’s office, among other things. All of this was simply preparing her for the challenges and joys of the writing craft. She lives in Northern Virginia with her “brilliantly funny son” and is grandmother to her “amazing grandson”. I am pleased to share an interview I had with Trish recently. She has graciously agreed to give away a copy of her book Sunset Beach to one fortunate winner!

Trish, thank you for taking the time to visit us today! I appreciate you taking the time to answer these few questions, letting us get to know you better.

1: How long did you write before you were published?

As you mentioned above, Casey, I wrote for fourteen years prior to publishing my first novel. I actually began publishing shorter pieces—poems, personal essays, short stories—a couple of years prior to getting my first novel contract. I’d say from the time I decided I wanted to write a novel and pursue publication, ten years passed before I received a contract. By that time my first novel was complete and I was about eight chapters into my next.

2: When you held that first book in your hands, what was your first thought?

My elation was almost overshadowed by worry—would my friends and family be disappointed by the end result? Was I a one-trick pony? Was I fooling myself that the Lord wanted me to write? I had to do some serious praying before the Lord pushed those negative thoughts from my mind and I enjoyed the blessing of being published. So my second thought was grateful elation!

3: What do you find the hardest part about writing?

I think I answer this question differently every time I’m asked. I’d say the hardest part is remaining disciplined during the journey. I’m easily distracted. I’m not one of those authors who thrives in the middle of Starbucks, with hustle and noise all around. I can’t even have music playing when I write, because I visualize everything I’m writing as if I’m watching it on screen or as if I’m right there in the scene. Anything from the real world draws my attention away from the fantasy.

4: How do you coordinate time between writing and other responsibilities?

Not very well, lol! See my answer to #3, above. But I try to move all of my errands to days when I have to be out and about anyway. I love those days when I know for certain I won’t have to leave the house for any reason. Still, I usually let something slide when I’m under deadline. Either my working out slacks off, or the nurturing of my personal relationships does. Or—as is currently the case, since I’m taking classes right now—my coursework takes a back seat to the writing.

5: What are you working on now?

I’m working on my new series, The Tea Shop Series, for Harvest House Publishers. These romantic comedies are set in the lovely, historic town of Middleburg, Virginia. The tea shop is the setting that ties the books together, but it’s simply a thread, not the meat of each story. Each book can stand alone, with its own cast of characters.

The first installment is The Perfect Blend, about a young woman who elopes to Middleburg against the wishes and advice of her parents and friends, only to find, upon arrival, that her fiancé has stood her up. The story follows how she tries to make her own way in Middleburg, as well as who she meets and loves along the way.

6: Where can readers find out more about your books?

Visit my site at  I have a books page there, where I describe each of my already published novels.

7: What message(s) do you want to be clear to your readers?

I never set out with a message when I start any of my books, but themes reveal themselves as my lead characters grow. My books do have an overriding idea, which is that we need to turn to God for guidance in all things, big and small. I think that fits any sound Christian thought, whether it’s in a fictional character’s head or through a real person’s experience. No matter how good or how bad life is at any given moment, we need to constantly seek His guidance for the next steps in our lives.

8: Why did you choose this profession?

I didn’t notice how much I enjoyed writing until the mid 90’s, when I was getting my Psychology degree. I received quite a bit of encouragement about my written work from several of my professors, which helped me realize I liked to write. So I took creative writing courses, and by the time I graduated, I had changed my mind about grad school and decided to write instead. I may have to supplement my income via some other profession at some point, but I’ll always be excited about writing, if it’s what God wills for me.

Thank you for being with us today. Any final words for readers?

I’ve said this on numerous other occasions, but I think it’s important for Christian writers to consider. I mentioned above that I worried at one point whether I was truly doing God’s will by writing. Was my drive to write His will or simply my own desire? When I prayed about it, He gave me the peace of knowing that, if I constantly gave my writing to Him, I could be certain that His will was being done with it. If He wanted a particular book of mine published, it would happen. If He wanted me to write on a particular topic, He would draw me to it. If He wanted me to do something other than writing, He would lovingly guide me to whatever that something was. But He would never guide me by stomping on my efforts to serve Him with the gifts He gave me. When I constantly offer my work to Him, I know to follow my desire—He’ll line my will up with His every time.

Thanks for having me, Casey!

Readers: To enter to win this book, leave a comment with a valid email address. Only U.S. residents may enter this contest, please. This contest is void where prohibited.

For extra entries:
~Be a follower
~Be an email subscriber

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Book Review: A Passion Redeemed

Charity O’Connor puts all of her worth and meaning of life into her outward beauty. Longing for a man who refuses her advances, Charity does everything within her power with tragic results. Will she finally turn to the love of God, or blame Him when she doesn’t get her way?

Often in a series of books, characters who played a minor role in the first and then get a major role in the second often come across as perfect in the first and suddenly flawed in the second. It is often what makes series difficult for me to really get into right away. But for all those who read A Passion Most Pure, we know Charity is flawed and I was looking forward to how Julie Lessman would redeem this poor, lost girl. She did it marvelously.

This book was a breath of fresh air. Often in books the character is put through great tragedy to learn their lesson, but in this case Charity went through great personal and internal struggles, that continued to build until she wasn’t sure where to turn. It made for great reading and a wonderful different perspective.

What Lessman book isn’t complete without passion? Julie keeps it Biblical, while showing the tragedies of stepping outside the boundaries of the Lord and the sweetness of true and pure love inside the Lord’s blessing. I could go on forever! Another wonderful novel and I can’t wait to read book three!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

I am over 25% done!

That's right. This week I made it past the 1/4 of the way marker! I got 4 books read this week. Here they are:

A Passion Redeemed by Julie Lessman
The Fence My Father Built by Linda S. Clare
On Wings of Love by Kim Watters
John 3:16 a novel by Nancy Moser

Only 74 more books to go!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Book Review: A Promise to Remember

Two women struggling for a tragic loss, each on opposite sides of society. Can love broach the boundaries of hate and unforgiveness? Will either of these women accept God’s love and healing care?

This was my second book by Kathryn Cushman and I really enjoyed it. In the space of one night two women lose their sons in a tragic car accident. What ensues isn’t just about overcoming grief, but relationships, guilt, even a lawsuit and black mailing. Though while Kathryn’s books debate on high emotional topics, I always leave her writing satisfied and eager for more of her work. She has an honest, straight forward writing voice that speaks to the reader, drawing them into the story. Her characters live and breathe, becoming real to me in their trials and joys. At each turn something new is added to deepen the plot and cause more turmoil for the acting characters.

At one point I thought there could have been a bit more detail when one couple receives the lawsuit papers, but aside from that, I thought it was a great novel and would enjoy reading it again. I look forward to more by this author.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Interview with author Jill Eileen Smith on the Craft of Writing- Part 2

Welcome back to Part 2 of my interview with Jill Eileen Smith!

5: How do you protect your writing time?

Sometimes I do a better job of that than other times. My family knows they come first for me, but I'm also careful not to over commit myself to outside activities. Even good activities can take time I don't have to give. But I also don't have a set daily time for writing. I've been privileged to be a stay-at-home mom for years, so my time can be more flexible than those who work full time jobs outside the home. And fortunately, I have a great publisher who has allowed me to have realistic deadlines that still allow me to live my life and care for those who need me. I'm a bit of an overachiever though, and always try to meet my deadlines ahead of schedule. Once I really get into a book, I'm a bit obsessive until I finish the first draft. After that, editing is the fun part. :)

6: What are the most common mistakes beginning writers make?

I suppose that varies from person to person. Some I've seen are writing with an agenda rather than wanting to just write a great story. Sometimes Christians get into writing fiction because they have a message they want to share. They may think a story will convey the gospel better than they could say in person face to face. Or perhaps they have political statements they want to make, like with issues of abortion or other social evils. But fiction is not a good place to push an agenda. Fiction is meant to entertain and to evoke emotion. Can stories be about social issues or touch on painful experiences? Yes, absolutely. But only in context of story, of how those issues relate to the characters. Preachy fiction is a mistake I made and try hard to avoid. Jesus' made some powerful statements through story, often getting his point across better by what He didn't say than by what He did.

Other mistakes are trying to sell before they are ready. Being impatient, thinking success should come quickly, not being open to criticism and not wanting to "pay their dues." I was once told it takes 15 years to become an overnight success. Not words I enjoyed hearing as a new writer, but in my case they proved more than true - not that I'm an overnight success, just that success of any kind took a lot longer than I expected. Unrealistic expectations can discourage many writers into quitting before they've given the goal a fair chance.

7: What are two things you wished you had known before you started writing?

I wish someone had told me there were books on craft out there that would help me to understand it better, and I would have appreciated more support early on. I didn't know any other writers and ACFW wasn't around when I first began. My friends were supportive, but they didn't understand me. Writers are a strange breed, and it would have been nice to have had more people to share the ups and downs with sooner. Maybe I wouldn't have bored my friends and family so much if there had been!

8: Why did you chose this profession?

God wired me to write from an early age, and I am most fulfilled when writing fiction. I can't not write. I've discovered I have a crabby gene that surfaces if I go too longer without creating fictional scenes. :)

9: What advice/ encouragement do you have for the writers reading this today?

Write what you love. If you don't love what you write, it will show in the writing. Passion comes through best when we love our characters and our story. Passion translates into evoking emotion for the reader, which will hopefully create an memorable experience.

Write what you know. In this case, I'm not talking about things you can learn through study or research. You can learn what you don't know most of the time. But you can't write believably about things you haven't experienced on an emotional level. You have to live life to write about it. That doesn't mean you have to experience everything your characters might go through, but on some emotional level you have to be able to relate to their joy or their pain. Writers need to draw on a deep well of empathy and compassion for others, which will eventually translate into their stories.

10: Any other helpful advice?

Hold all longings to be published in an open hand with a heart willing to follow God's leading even if it means leading you away from your dream. Work at the craft with all of your heart, as working for God not men. Pray for guidance and wisdom and a teachable spirit. Don't ever think your words are golden and can never be changed. The only truly inspired Book has already been written. The rest of us need to rewrite until we get it just right.

Above all, be sensitive and obedient to do and to go where God is calling you to go. It is more important to be in the center of God's will than it is to be a published author. But also, hang onto the dreams God gives you until He tells you to let them go. In His time, all things will come together just as He's planned.

Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. Writing is a tough profession and I know help of any kind is always appreciated.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Interview with author Jill Eileen Smith on the Craft of Writing- Part 1

Jill Eileen Smith wrote for many years before having marvelous success with her first release, Michal, a Biblical story about King David’s first wife. The second book in The Wives of King David series is Abigail and released this month. Once she found her passion in Biblical fiction, Jill took off with it and her love for the time period is reflected in the success of her novel. I am pleased to share an interview I had with Jill recently on the writing craft. Thank you, Jill for being with us today!

1: How long did you work on your writing before you were published?

About 20 years. I began writing fiction when my youngest son was a toddler. I continued studying the craft during 12 years of homeschooling my sons. After the youngest graduated, God opened the door for me to sell my first series.

2 What are two mistakes you wish you had never made?

Hmm...I suppose there are a lot of things I could have done differently in my desire to see my work in print sooner than God intended. No two specifics come to mind, but if I was to give advice to new authors, I would suggest not starting off learning to write on a two-volume epic of fiction! Start smaller. Learn to write with shorter pieces, articles, short stories, and study the craft by reading good books and attending writers' conferences as well as actually writing. I started out big and had to back-track until I actually understood what I was doing.

3: What resources did you find the most helpful for learning the craft?

Self Editing for Fiction Writers taught me the most of any book on the craft. I learned interior monologue and POV (point of view) among other things. And Writing the Breakout Novel taught me more subtleties like less is more, and how to evoke emotion by understating rather than writing emotion that is over the top.

4: How does an author "find their voice"?

Voice is a difficult thing to define. Sometimes writers resist critique of their work because the critiquer's suggestions might interfere with the way they are used to saying things, fearful of losing their voice. But often those suggestions are the very thing they need to help solidify what their voice will eventually become. Like learning a musical instrument, voice takes time and much practice to develop. Sometimes an author uses more telling than showing, writing more flowery description with less dialogue and might want to consider that his or her voice, while in truth, those are things the author still needs to refine to improve the quality of the craft.

Some writers will have a more lyrical sound to their work, but an author who writes with a lot of purple prose, for instance, isn't promoting voice so much as showing a weakness in craft. Voice comes through strongest when an author has developed a good understanding of all of the elements of good writing and found his or her own unique way of putting them together into their story. Back to the musician example - until the piano student has mastered dynamics, fingering, sight-reading, touch, and put many hours into practice, they will only sound like a beginner or a decent copy of a master musician. Until they can surpass sounding like a copy of someone else and put their own inflections into their music, they will not have found their musical voice. You know you are on the right track to finding your voice when your work evokes emotion in the listener or the reader. Art is about the experience. A writer wants to give the reader an emotional experience. When a writer can do that with skill, they've found their voice.

Be sure and come back tomorrow for Part 2 where Jill will annouce the question on how she protects her writing time among other hard hitting questions!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Music to Encourage and Inspire on Your Sunday

I found this video on YouTube by one of my favorite Christian artists, Selah. I really enjoy this song and hope you will as well! Selah: All of Me

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Walking on Broken Glass Winner!!!

And the winner of Christa Allan's debut novel, Walking on Broken Glass is.....

The Westie Loving Therapist!!!!!!!!!!!!

Congratulations!! I will be sending you an email shortly.

To all that entered, THANK YOU!!! I greatly appreciate it and I know Christa does as well. There might be a few still floating around to enter to win, so check out Christian Book Giveaways to find out!

On Monday I will be launching my new blog Operation Encourage an Author and my first guest will be Julie Lessman, so stop by to win one of her amazing books!

Thanks everyone and have a wonderful Saturday!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Only 78 Books To Go...

I got three books read this week, taking my total to 22 books for this year. Here is what I got read this week.

The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner
The Sherriff's Surrender by Susan Page Davis
A Promise to Remember by Kathryn Cushman

For those who have not entered: This is your LAST day to enter to win Christa Allan's debut novel Walking on Broken Glass. This contest is open to all. Click on the link to the right.

Also, please see the post below this one and visit my new blog Operation Encourage an Author

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My New Blog Prepares to Launch

My new blog prepares to launch on Monday, the 15th of this month. You can click on the link above and visit my new blog and read my introductory message.

My first guest for encourgement will be... revealed Sunday. Sorry, not going to tell, but I will drop a few hints. Her books are long, but hugely popular with those that love her passionate writing. If that doesn't tell you, she recently did a post on Seekerville.

I encourage you to join the loop and either sign up for the newsfeed or become a follower. I am excited to see you there and also ask a favor of you. With any new blog it gets off to a slow start and I ask that you pray that this will be used for the Lord's glory and for the encouragement of the authors we love.

I look forward to seeing you there!!!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Book Review: Paper Roses

A woman suffering from life’s circumstances answers the letters of a man searching for a bride. A man trying to find his brother’s killer will stop at nothing to learn the truth and bring him to justice. Sarah has suffered more than any woman her age should. Now, clutching the love letters of the man she plans to marry and her young sister in toe, she moves to a town where prejudice, hatred, love and forgiveness resides, she just has to learn which ones she is going to except.

Paper Roses is such a beautiful title, it had the impression of being a good story. And I was not disappointed. This story truly has some great storytelling in it. While it is love story between two people desperate for reconciliation with their Father in Heaven, it is also a tale of a town suffering with prejudice. Throw in an unpredictable murder mystery with a surprise ending and you have a recipe for a great book. This was a great story and one I thoroughly enjoyed spending time immersed in.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Book I Cannot WAIT For!!

It Had to be You (a Novel) Weddings by Bella Series book 3 by Janice Thompson

Amazon description:

Bella couldn't be happier that her long-feuding Aunt Rosa and Uncle Lazarro have finally admitted their love for one another and are getting married. Their forties-style wedding is sure to be a night to remember. But when the Rossi house begins to fill up with family from Italy--and an old mobster from New Jersey--life starts to get complicated. Will Lazarro's friend from the past drive the happy couple apart once more? And will Bella ever have time to think of her own rapidly-approaching wedding amidst the chaos? Full of laugh-out-loud humor, plenty of Italian passion, and a bit of Texas gumption, It Had to Be You is the satisfying conclusion to an entertaining series.

I simply CANNOT wait for this book to hit shelves! The other two books were wonderful laugh out loud funny and this one looks to be just as good. I have it on my Amazon wish list and will  certainly buy it the next time I place an order. But May is very far away!!! I hope it ships early!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Facing Trials with Perseverance

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 2-4

This has been the sequence of my life for the past few days. I have been brought through some pretty tough trials lately that even now I want to buckle under the weight and not press on.

My writing has proven a struggle for me the last few days. I can’t get the right words out, I struggle with the proper prose and my third person close is not speaking to me right now! And the devil has really been doing a number on me. When I read for pleasure I tend to think “I can’t write like that” and that thought inevitably leads to “So why try?” Why try if I can’t get it right?

I recently wrote something that had repercussions that hurt me greatly, plus some unintended consequences I hadn’t bargained on. Trying to set that right beat me down and made me really wonder if a life with words is the path God wants for me.

But I was listening to KLOVE yesterday and they read this verse on the air. It really made me sit back and think, not only will these struggles bring me through the valley a better person, but a stronger writer, a person not lacking ANYTHING. Wow, that is really some promise. To know that God can work my trials so they will strengthen me and give me perseverance makes the past week of heartache worth it. I am not saying that God makes us suffer, but He can use that trial to strengthen and give us maturity.

Trials will never be easy. I will still struggle with getting my writing to where it needs to be. But I am going to take heart in the promise from God’s word, “Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking ANYTHING.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

There is a Winner!!!

We have a winner of Third Times a Charm by Virginia Smith....



I will be emailing you shortly. Thank you so much to everyone who entered. I apprecaite it and I know Virginia Smith does as well. I have heard wonderful things about this book, so be sure and pick up a copy in time for April as this is the ACFW book club selection.

You have one more week to enter to win Christa Allan's debut novel, Walking on Broken Glass so click on the picture to the right.

Again, congratulations!!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Books, Books, Books!

I got 4 books read again this week. Here they are!

~Paper Roses by Amanda Cabot
~Breaker's Reef by Terri Blackstock
~The Missing by Beverly Lewis
~The Captain's Lady by Louise M. Gouge

It was a pretty good week for reading! Also, this is your LAST day to enter to win Third Times a Charm, so hop on over! Winner will be annouced tomorrow. (the 6th)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I Need YOUR Help!

Just image the old Uncle Sam photo here. :) That's right and I promise to keep this short, since I am running behind this morning. :)

I am seriously leaning towards putting together a blog that will connect authors and their readers. A place where authors are praised and not put down for their work, as is often the case in some reviews or emails they receive.

So here is my question to you: one author a week will be spotlighted on the blog, giving readers a chance to leave comments and ask questions of the author. A chance to tell them what their fiction means to you as a reader. Would you use this blog? Or would you follow it and see what it has to offer?

I look forward to your imput, now go encourage an author today!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Book Review: A Vow to Cherish

A woman with everything going for her suddenly finding out she has the dreaded Alzheimer disease. Her husband and children having to deal with her sudden deterioration, facing the challenges and temptations that soon crop up.

At the time I had never read a book by Deborah Raney before. I feel like slapping myself, why didn’t I read one sooner??? Looking for a book you can’t put down? Pick up this novel. Everything about it appealed to me. I can’t say enough good things about it. I felt like I was the character, living within “in their skin” experiencing their trials, understanding the decisions they made. At one point as the husband, John is entering a sticky relationship with another woman while his wife still lives (though she is totally unresponsive) I literally couldn’t breath. No, don’t do it! And when he finally saw his errors, I expelled enough air to cause a hurricane wind. I don’t often come across many gripping, stick to you books and characters. I will sing the praises of this book for eternity. Highly recommended!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Author Interview and Book Giveaway: Walking on Broken Glass

Christa Allan is a debut novelist whose first book, Walking on Broken Glass releases today! Christa lives in Abita Springs, Louisiana. Christa has kindly offered to give away a copy of her debut novel to one fortunate winner!

Christa, tell us about yourself!
With the exception of having spent some years in Texas, I’ve been a lifelong Louisiana girl. I spent most of my growing up summers curled up in a wingback chair reading books that transported me to magical and fascinating places. The bookmobile brought me a fresh banquet of books every other week; otherwise, I’m certain I might have starved. After college I started teaching high school until the mommy years. I have five children, who are now 32, 29, 26, 26, and 24, a son-in-law, and two precious grandgirls ages 4 and 2. Twenty plus years ago I returned to teaching high school, and I’m hoping to finally graduate! My husband Ken and I spend our time with our three neurotic cats, play golf, and dodge hurricanes.

1: How long did you write before you were published?

I actually started writing in high school. I couldn’t sing, dance, paint, play sports, or act, but I could wield a pen. That’s when I discovered that writing allowed me to explore in much the same way reading did. And it kept me company when I felt alone. I’d been writing for at least five years when my book sold. In the year before that, I’d published in anthologies like Chicken Soup, Cup of Comfort, and The Ultimate Teacher.

2: When you held that first book in your hands, what was your first thought?

Well, I might have to get back to you on that one as I’ve not had that thrill yet! But holding my Advanced Reading Copy was as surreal to me as when Rachelle Gardner, my agent, called with the news that Abingdon had bought Walking on Broken Glass.

3: What do you find the hardest part about writing?

I joke that the most challenging part of exercising is putting my shoes on. It’s the act that signals the commitment. Writing is often like that, except that instead of shoes it’s placing my fanny in the chair. And then keeping it there! In the beginning of a book or even a proposal, my little ADD-self is all over the place making plot pretzels because I’ve not yet focused. But what I’m learning is that might be just how I have to enter the process. On the edge of my novel being released, the hardest part now is what I always tell my students: “You can’t follow your writing.” So, now my book is going to be “out there” in the universe. I wonder if that’s why it’s called a release…because, as writers, we have to let go of whatever control we think we have over our work once it’s published.

4: How do you coordinate time between writing and other responsibilities?

If you could see my house, you’d know the answer to that one! Not very well. I teach English, so I’m forever drowning in a sea of papers that require grading. Or I should say required because I’m probably already screeching into late! My students are quite patient with me!

5: What are you working on now?

I have two proposals out right now that I’m praying to hear something about soon. I also have a character who continues to linger, and I’m still trying to figure her out. Maybe I need to go have coffee with her or something. She might be able to grade my papers…

6: Where can readers find out more about your books?

Abingdon Press has a great site, and my website is

7: What message(s) do you want to be clear to your readers?

So many events, even people, including ourselves don’t follow the “script” we’d written. Often when that happens, we feel as if God’s abandoned us. Sometimes God won’t follow the script we’ve written for Him! Instead of disappointment, despair or defeat, I hope readers come away with the hope that God’s grace can find us wherever we are. And sometimes we’re following exactly the script God had for us all along. My prayer is that readers find the courage to confront addiction-either in themselves or someone else-and feel reassured that they’re not alone. We may never know to whose prayers our lives are the answer.

8: Why did you chose this profession?

I think it chose me! Like so many other writers have said, I can’t not write. We all have gifts and talents, and I trust that God knew what He was doing when He granted me this one! I think that’s because the thought of my singing caused a riot in heaven…

Thank you for being with us today. Any final words for readers?

Besides buying dozens of my novels?! Thank you for the opportunity to introduce myself and Walking on Broken Glass. Blessings!

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