Welcome to my little bit of cyber-space. It is my prayer that all who enter here may be richly blessed by the God of all grace. All praise to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Blog Tour for The Familiar Stranger by Christina Berry

All aboard for the last stop on Christina Berry's two-month long blog tour for her outstanding debut novel, The Familiar Stranger. I am giving away the copy I purchased of the book to anyone with a US address who leaves a comment on any of my posts during the month of October, and Christina is doing a drawing as soon as her last two bloggers post within the next few days for 10 winners who comment on her blog tour stops this whole month, so by leaving a comment on this post you will have double the chances to win a copy. Make sure you leave your email addy so Christina or I can contact you if you are one of the lucky winners!

Christina and I first met online through American Christian Fiction Writers. Then I signed up for the "infrequent, humorous newsletter" she co-authors with her mom. You can sign up, too, and check out back issues at www.ashberrylane.net/update.aspx and by signing up you will be entered in a drawing for lots of neat prizes like a copy of every book Christina ever publishes! In one of her newsletters she did a giveaway for a free short edit of a manuscript, so I entered that and won! After seeing the great advice I got from the free edit, I paid her to critique the rest of my manuscript. A very good gift to myself, as her crit helped me to get my story in shape to soon submit. She is an excellent editor, so check out her site at http://www.christinaberry.net/ for info about that service. Well worth the money.

Christina and I finally met in person at the recent ACFW conference in Denver, CO. In fact, I rode the shuttle to the hotel with her and her mom and several other conference attendees. Then the two of them and I were meal greeters at one of our evening meals, so shared some more time together and even ate a couple other meals together, too. The picture I am posting is of me and Christina at conference all dressed up for the awards banquet. She's the young, pretty, skinny one!

I left a post on Oct. 1st with her bio and a short blurb of the book that you can check out for more book info, so I wanted to ask her some different questions here today.

Thanks for visiting, Christina. I hope you get some well-deserved rest after this looong tour! Since I am a writer also, I was wondering what kind of planning you do before writing a novel?

My previous writing has been heavily plotted and I’ve known almost everything about the characters before diving into the story. Writing with a co-author, Mom and I both need to know exactly how a character looked and his or her history. We wrote out each scene’s main plot point and point of view character on index cards and posted them on a large corkboard. We also found catalogue models that looked like our characters, made collages of the pictures, and slipped our character interview in the back of the plastic sleeves.

With The Familiar Stranger, the first scene came to me like a movie. Once the first chapter was written, I took a few hours to write down how I saw the story progressing. Then I numbered each main point and called it a chapter. All told, I had just over one page of plotting. To keep everything straight, I made notes about the characters as I went along. A very different experience to write by the seat of my pants, but I’m working through my current book in the same way.

Can you tell us a little bit about your personal life?

Though the plot of The Familiar Stranger came from news stories, I’d been looking for a fictional vehicle to express the lessons I’d learned regarding forgiveness in my own marriage. I knew no one was interested in reading my particular story, but I still felt God had given me something to say. My husband and I worked through a major issue six years ago and found a vibrant, completely renewed marriage on the other side.

However, seven months ago, that same issue broke our bond. Now as a newly-single woman, I’m in the midst of promoting a book that touches far closer to home than I would have ever dreamed. If no one else ever reads it, I’ve been convicted and encouraged by my own words. If that isn’t a gracious God at work, I don’t know what is!

Rose here again: If you don't win in the book drawings or if you want additional copies for gifts, here are two links:


You can also have any bookstore order copies for you if they don’t have any in stock. Happy reading!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Book Review--The Light Across the River by Stephanie Reed

I have fallen behind on my book reviews, so plan to post several more between now and Christmas to help you in your gift buying. And remember to leave a post with your email addy for one chance at our drawing for this month, The Familiar Stranger by Christina Berry. And also come back on Oct. 31st for a special chance to win a copy from Christina herself as that is the last day of her 2-month-long blog tour.

The book The Light Across the River is the sequel to Across the Wide River, but you don't have to read the first one to enjoy the second. They both portray a family involved in the Underground Railroad in Kentucky, one of the things which first attracted me to this book since that is where I live.

To whet your appetite I want to share a quote from the back cover by author Susan K. Marlow "This book has everything--history, action, suspense, adventure--all nicely blended in a page turning story of real people living out their convictions."

This book is a fictionalized account of the Rankins, a real family, and real events such as the saving of the slave Eliza about whom Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin. It is listed as Juvenile Fiction, but I would recommend it for adults as well, in fact for anyone with an interest in the people, both young and old, black and white, who let their lights shine during this dark period of our country's history. It is published by Kregel, so can be ordered from them or at www.amazon.com I also hope you will check out the author's website at www.stephaniereed.turboflanges.com Happy reading and gift buying! Remember--a book is a gift that keeps on living in the reader's mind long after they close the covers!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Book Giveaways
There has been much discussion on the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) loop this past week about the legalities of giving away books that an author or book company has sent to you for purposes of reviewing the book. The consensus seems to be that it is still okay to do so, but you need to put the facts of how you got the book on your blog, so that is what I will be doing concerning my monthly book giveaway from now on. And just to clarify, most of the books I give away have been given to me by a friend or a publisher for review purposes, although I have purchased some of the books.

The discussion led me to my topic for today's post. I check out a couple of posts almost daily and others weekly. If I read all the blogs that interest me, I would never get any reading or writing done! LOL I thought I would compile a list of the blogs that often do book giveaways, and I hope that several of you will add other book giveaway sites in your posts. That way we can all be winners!

And anyone who leaves a post this month with their email info will be entered into a drawing for the book The Familiar Stranger by Christina Berry to be held on Nov. 1st. (see post on Oct. 1st to read a review of this wonderful book. And yes, Christina is a friend of mine, but I bought this book myself. She is giving 10 books away this month to 10 lucky people who post on her book blog tour, so if you leave a comment on Oct. 31st on my blog, you will have 2 chances to win!

Below are a list of sites I have checked out and/or won books or other items from. It is great fun to win books, but even more fun to read about all the wonderful Christian books out there, so check out one or more of these sites:

http://www.lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com/ Lena usually reviews at least 3 books a week and draws for the winners each Saturday. Her author interviews, like Lena herself, are very fun and eclectic.

http://www.inkwellinspirations.blogspot.com/ This new site is written by 15 writers. To celebrate their grand opening, they are giving away an item each day this month and 2 grand prizes at the end of the month, so this is a site you will definitely want to check out soon! I enjoy reading it because it ranges from devotions to book reviews to info about the authors--all great stuff!

http://www.on-the-write-track.blogspot.com/ This is another new site, written by Lynda Schab. Her giveaway each Monday for the next 11 weeks is called The Twelve Books of Christmas! Guess who won the first Christmas book--moi! If I were a Grinch and wanted to keep the chance of winning all of those wonderful Christmas books just to myself, I wouldn't be telling you all about it, so pass the word and share some Christmas cheer!

http://www.favoritepastimes.blogspot.com/ This site is wo-manned by 8 contributors and gives away one book each week. In keeping with the name of this blog, the books are usually historicals, so all of you fans of that genre need to mosey on over.

http://www.dimensionsartandeternity.blogspot.com/ This is one of my favorite sites, co-written by Robin Johns Grant and her niece, Kristi Israel. Written from the different points of view, you never know what the topic will be, but I think you will love it! Their giveaways have ranged from an Amazon gift card to books to hand made crafts, so head on over and find out what is in store for you there.

I know there are scads of other sites that do giveaways, so please add your favorite in the comments section. Thanks, and may the best reader win!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Congrats to Amy Barkman for winning Maggie Rose! Two chances to win The Familiar Stranger by Christina Berry this month!

The Familiar Stranger is one of the best-written debut novels I have ever read, so I am happy to be a part of its online blog tour this month. You can win a copy from me by posting any time this month on my blog, having a US mailing address, and leaving a way to contact you. AND you can have another chance to win a copy from the author herself by posting on my blog on October 31st which is the day her blog tour will stop in for a visit. Or you can visit any of the other stops on her blog tour (a different site each day this month!) to have an even better chance of winning because she will choose 10 winners on October 31st from all the comments left on her blog tour this month. Read more about the tour and its sites at http://www.christinaberry.net/ or http://www.authorchristinaberry.blogspot.com/ You will also have to check out the author's photo and book cover there as they were too big for my dial-up system to download.

Now, a blurb of the book to whet your appetite: The Familiar Stranger is about a couple going through a really rough patch in their marriage. When an accident incapacitates the husband, their relationship must be redefined. Which could be a lot easier to do if BIG secrets from his past didn't raise their ugly heads. Despite the upheaval, the choices they make involving forgiveness and trust might allow a new beginning. Or...they might not.

Here's a short bio of Christina Berry who besides being a great writer is also an editor-extraordinaire: As a single mom and foster parent, Christina Berry carves time out of her busy schedule to write about the heart and soul of life. She lives with her family in rural Oregon.

I hope you will check out her sites and get to know more about this great new author! Also check back on Oct. 31st as she will answer some questions for us. Then check here on Nov. 1st to see if you won a copy.