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.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Book Review--Menu for Romance by Kaye Dacus

I am happy to tell you about a book that will dish up some romance for you, served Louisiana style. Meredith Guidry is a party-planner extraordinaire, and Major O'Hara is a locally famous chef. They've worked together for years, but both refuse to give voice to their growing attraction to one another.

Meredith tries to date some other guys to get her mind off Major. He finally decides to tell her his family secret that has always kept him from commitment, but is involved in a car accident on the way. With cracked ribs and a broken leg, he has to admit he can't always take care of everything, while growing in admiration of Meredith's strength of character and heart.

Meredith and Major were well-rounded secondary characters in Ms. Dacus' first book Stand-In Groom. I'm glad they got a book with their own story, and I hope we will see many more books about this family and its various members in future books.

So go out and satisfy your romantic appetite by buying this second book by Kaye Dacus and enjoy a well-written, funny and endearing romance. Consider it a yummy dessert without calories!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Importance of Writing Conferences

Last month I had the opportunity to attend the Write to Publish conference in Chicago for the first time, so I wanted to share some pictures from there and some thoughts on conferences in general with you. Please add your comments below and tell us about your favorite conference experiences!

The classes and meetings with editors and agents are all very helpful, but my two favorite parts of Christian conferences are the worship services and all the wonderful people to meet and fellowship with.

Marty Nystrom, who composed "As the Deer Panteth for the Water" and many other Bible-based praise songs, was our worship leader at WTP. He did a great job of focusing our minds and hearts on Christ and letting Him work through us instead of focusing on ourselves.

Mary DeMuth whose site you can check out at http://www.marydemuth.com/ was our keynote speaker each evening. She gave several examples of tough real-life experiences God brought her through and which she has shared in her writing, and encouraged us to "infuse truth in our writing" by going with Jesus into "that tunnel of healing" where "He will go with you and grieve with you and walk out hand in hand with you."

I am sharing some pictures of some of the great writing friends I met at WTP, some for the first time, but we felt like "kindred spirits" from the first moment. In the top picture I am with Lanita Boyd and Jill Orr, two of my new friends whom I spent a lot of time with. Lanita only lives about an hour from me, so she invited me to ride up to Chicago with her. We met Jill our first day there. She was another "newbie" to the conference, so Lanita kindly mentored both of us.

One of the favorite things Lanita, Jill and Marjean Brooks and I did was visit The Wade Center on the edge of the Wheaton campus. This stone and brick home surrounded by an English garden houses many of the works of C.S. Lewis, George MacDonald, J.R.R. Tolkien and four other authors. It also contains C.S. Lewis's desk where he wrote and a wardrobe from his home that was built by his own grandfather. The wardrobe is filled with fur coats like the one in "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe" so I am sharing a picture of myself and Marjean ready to go inside and visit the land of Narnia. If you are in Chicago, this is a place you should check out for sure!

Another picture is of Millie Samuelson, my suite-mate (each dorm suite has two separate bedrooms with a shared bath in between) and a new friend Emily Downs. Emily and I both write fiction, so shared many classes together. I had met Millie at the last ACFW conference, so was glad to see her familiar face when I first arrived! Check out Millie's site at http://www.milliesbooks.org/ to learn more about her books and the various places she has lived such as China!

There were several ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) members at WTP also, and some of us met one evening for supper. From L to R we have Kenny Noble, Millie, Deb Read, Lisa Lickel and myself. Several of us were in the great fiction workshop taught by Jeff Gerke. Check out his brilliant ideas at http://www.wherethemapends.com/

Posting about the WTP conference has made me look forward to the ACFW conference in Denver in September. Hope to see many of you there. If you are not familiar with the BEST Christian fiction writers' organization and conference, hurry on over to http://www.acfw.com/ and join us!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Contest winner and new book contest and review--Snow Melts in Spring by Deborah Vogts

Congrats to Sharon Ball who wins a copy of Breach of Trust by DiAnn Mills. I have another great book to offer this month. Anyone with a US mailing address who leaves a comment and a way to be contacted is eligible to win Deb Vogt's debut novel. The release date for Snow Melts in Spring is today, July 1.

I met Deborah Vogts several years ago at one of the first ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conferences. I am so happy for her success at landing super-agent Rachelle Gardner and having her first novel published by Zondervan. Congrats to Deb and Rachelle! You can check out more about both of these ladies and this book at www.cba-ramblings.blogspot.com

Deb loves the Flint Hills area of Kansas and has written a lovely story placed in this lovely setting. Deb also loves horses which play a main part in this story. Here's a snatch from the back cover blurb to whet your appetite for this book. One person will win it, and I hope the rest of you will buy or order it soon! Happy reading!

"Mattie Evans grew up in the Flint Hills of Kansas. Although her family has lost their ranch, she still calls this land home. A skilled young veterinarian, she struggles to gain the confidence of the local ranchers. Fortunately, her best friend and staunchest supporter is John McCray, owner of the Lightning M Ranch. They both love the ranch, and neither can imagine living anywhere but in the Flint Hills.
When Mattie is called in to save an injured horse, she finds herself unwillingly tossed into the middle of a family conflict. Secret pain, passions, and agendas play out against the beautiful landscapes as love leads to some unexpected conclusions about forgiveness and renewal."