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.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Blog Tour for Delia Latham's Kylie's Kiss

Our usually scheduled Monday Musings has been pre-empted because I am one of 26 bloggers who are taking part in a blog tour for Kylie's Kiss by Delia Latham. So, check out the info provided on this blog, visit some of the other blogs listed on her website, and leave a comment by June 30th if you would like a chance to win one of four pdf copies of her books spread among all the commenters on all of the blogs. Those winners will be announced on her website on July 1st.

And a special drawing for First Prize will be announced the morning of July 28th for all those commenters who leave a post by midnight June 27th. It will be for a beautiful necklace pictured and described on her website. So check out Delia's website listed below to see it.

Below are a bio of Delia and an excerpt from Kylie's Kiss.


Delia Latham is a born-and-bred California gal, recently transplanted to Oklahoma where she lives with her husband Johnny. She’s a Christian wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend—but above all, she treasures her role as child of the King and heir to the throne of God. Delia enjoys big, loud, happy family gatherings. When she’s not writing, she loves to play piano and sing, read, enjoy nature’s beauty, and design marketing products for authors.

A former newspaper Staff Writer and frequent contributor to her hometown’s regional publication, Bakersfield Magazine, she has also freelanced projects to a public relations firm and various magazines; has compiled, edited, and designed cover art for several book projects for Kindness Incorporated and Chuck Wall, the president/founder of that organization; and has sold greeting card verse. Many of her short stories, articles, and devotions can be found online.

Latham’s backlist of published novels includes: Goldeneyes (2008, Vintage Romance Publishing); Yesterday’s Promise (2010, White Rose Publishing); Destiny’s Dream (2010, White Rose Publishing, Solomon’s Gate Series, Book 1); and Mine! (children’s picture book, 2011, Vinspire Imaginations). Kylie’s Kiss (Solomon’s Gate, Book 2) released in April 2011. Book 3 in the Solomon’s Gate Series will also be available in 2011, with release date pending.

Find out more about this author at:

Her website: http://www.blogger.com/

Blog: http://www.my-book-bag.blogspot.com/

Newsletter: http://www.bookshelfnewsletter.blogspot.com/

Kylie's Kiss Excerpt:
 Rick settled into a seat across from Kylie and Clay and sat in silence for a moment, a slight frown drawing his dark brows together. Finally he looked up, first at Clay, then in her direction. “Kylie, I haven’t had a chance to share with you about Lea, though I believe Clay knows a little.”

Her heart sank and her gaze flew to her boss, who nodded. Yes, he knew about Lea, whoever she was. This didn’t sound good. “Who’s Lea?”

“She’s my little girl.” Kylie drew in a slow, deliberate breath, forcing herself to stay calm. So he had a daughter. As long as a wife wasn’t the next announcement, she could handle that.

“You have a child. How old is she?”

“She just turned six.” Rick’s expression softened as he spoke, and Kylie knew without a doubt that Lea was his life. His green eyes, startling against the olive of his skin, met hers without flinching. “She’s a special child, Kylie. Smart, beautiful, charming….” Kylie found herself fascinated by the adorable little self-derisive grin that played about his lips. “And sweet as cotton candy.”

Kylie couldn’t help smiling. “You don’t like her much, huh?”

“She is my heart and soul.” A little sheepish, but unrepentant.

“When do we get to meet this perfect child?” Clay’s grin lit up his craggy face. “Destiny’s already looking forward to it, but be warned—she’s going to try to keep her. My wife has a thing with kids, man. She loves ’em, and they always love her right back.”

Rick laughed a little, but his tone was serious. “I hope she still feels that way after she meets Lea.” He pulled a wallet from his pocket, then sat for a moment, saying nothing.

Puzzled, Kylie watched him run slender fingers through his thick black hair. Again and again he invaded the thick waves, managing to somehow leave them only slightly mussed. Finally he opened the billfold and pulled out a photo.

When he raised his head, revealing the torment in his eyes, her heart nearly stopped. What was wrong with Lea? Whatever it was, did Rick think it would make a difference in how she or Clay might feel about the child? If so, he certainly didn’t give them much credit.

“This is Lea.” He handed the photo to Clay, who smiled and passed it on to Kylie.

“She’s a cutie all right, my friend. You weren’t exaggerating. So what’s the problem?”

Kylie wondered the same thing. The photo showed a partial silhouette of an extraordinarily beautiful child. Unlike her olive-skinned father, Lea was a vision of light. Golden hair, porcelain skin, eyes the color of a robin’s egg. Kylie met Rick’s gaze, mystified by his obvious unease. “She’s lovely.”

“Thank you. I think so.” He pulled out another photo and handed it to Clay. “In spite of this.”

Kylie’s stomach clenched and threatened to revolt. Her boss’s flinch was slight, but unmistakable. Oh, dear God, please help me handle whatever this is with grace. How ironic that her first real prayer in years would be one of such a pitifully begging nature. Somehow she knew her reaction to this photo could mean life or death for her relationship with Rick. How strange that she’d be thinking in terms of a relationship now, when only moments before she’d been ready to concede defeat.

Clay nodded slowly, then met Kylie’s eyes. He held briefly to the picture even after her fingers closed on it. His words were directed to his friend, but his gaze held hers. “You’re right, my friend. Nothing could make this child anything less than perfect.”

He released the photo into Kylie’s grip. By now she did not want to look at it. Something in Rick’s eyes and Clay’s voice told her she could be in trouble. But what choice did she have?

Her eyes moved in slow, jerking movements from Clay’s face to the photo in her hands. She gasped, overwhelmed with sympathy—and total panic.

Another silhouette, shot from the opposite side of Lea’s face. Long, lumpy red welts stained her exquisite skin, puckering her cheek into an inhuman mask. Kylie had no idea she was crying until the tears tickled her face, even as her throat closed and her stomach lurched.

The photo fluttered to the floor as she leaped to her feet. Sending the two men a desperately apologetic look, she flew out of the room with a hand over her mouth.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Kim Vogel Sawyer Marathon

Kim Vogel Sawyer is one of my favorite authors, and I proved it by reading three of her books in the past ten days! (See the review I posted June 20th for the review of A Hopeful Heart.) I had read My Heart Remembers about two brothers and a sister who are adopted out to separate families who finally find each other as adults a couple years ago, so I was very eager to start its semi-sequel.

I call it a semi-sequel because In Every Heartbeat does catch us up on what is going on in the lives of Maelle and her siblings over a decade later, but it also introduces three other orphans who have been raised together and now go off to the same college. Libby, Pete and Bennett all have their own hopes and plans for the future, but, as usual, life gets in the way, and some of those plans have to be altered. And, as in all of Kim Sawyer's books, we see how the hand of God is guiding the characters along the way, even when they don't acknowledge Him. And we learn along with the characters how God knows even better than we do when it comes to planning our future. Set while the US teeters on the brink of entering WWI, the reader can learn about history while enjoying a super story.

The third book I read in my marathon was Courting Miss Amsel, about a schoolmarm in her first year of teaching in a small town in Nebraska. Edythe Amsel raised her siblings after her mother's death, but kept studying for years, and has finally reached her dream of becoming a teacher. She loves the students and teaching, but some of the townspeople distrust her unconventional ways of presenting the lessons to the students.

Two of her students are being raised by their uncle, Joel Townsend, after the death of their parents. Joel admires Edythe and lets her know he would like to court her, but she refuses since she spent her own youth raising her siblings and doesn't think she can raise someone else's kids again.

Will the school board ask Edythe to return for another year? Does she even want them to if it means watching Joel with someone else? The author shows how God's plans are even better than our own, if we will only trust and obey. A happy ending with surprises makes for a great read!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fridays with Friends--guestblog by Angie Arndt

I met Angie Arndt several years ago at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference which is an inspiring conference in the lovely Blue Ridge mountains of NC. It is also a wonderful place to meet other Christian writers like Angie. I have stayed in touch with her and several of the fellow writers I met there that spring. Join me in reading these words of encouragement from Angie, God's Word, and a bumblebee!

BE NOT AFRAID by Angie Arndt

How many of you have heard the old story about the bumblebee? Supposedly, a scientist compared the weight and measurements of its body to its wingspan and judged that bumblebees cannot fly. However, the bumblebee just keeps vibrating its wings and buzzing away from flower to flower.

Lately I've been getting little love notes from God. No, I'm not hearing voices, but do you ever find yourself seeing things with a common theme over and over? Lately, my theme has been, "Don't be afraid."

"Don't be afraid," you ask? Am I climbing a mountain, taming lions or fighting a war? No. I'm just writing a little novel and sometimes it terrifies me. The What-If-Asaurus hovers over me as I type, his stinging stinky breath settling over me like a cloak, telling me I'm going to fail or I'll never finish or even, I'll finish and be published (which in some ways is even more terrifying).

But these little love notes keep popping up for me. Scriptures such as Deut. 31:6
"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you."

Or I may "happen" to read blog posts or inspiring articles while waiting in the doctor's office on conquering fear. Over and over again, I find this topic keeps popping up and you know what it tells me (besides the obvious)? It's telling me that Someone loves me enough to make sure I hear His message. It also tells me to keep on going, even when the little voice inside me says I can't do it. I'm supposed to keep on writing even if what I wrote last night sounds ridiculous the next morning.

Did you know there are at least 11 references in the Bible that say, "Be strong and courageous?" From Deuteronomy to the Psalms and through the New Testament to Ephesians, we are admonished to go forth with courage and strength.

In addition, we're also reminded that we should:

·                Not be frightened (Joshua 1:9)

·                Obey the Lord's commands (Joshua 1:7)

·                Remember the Lord will defeat our enemies (Joshua 10: 25)

·                Put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-11)

·                Obey the Lord's commands and don't be sad (1 Chronicles 22:13)

·                Remember the Lord will be with you until our work is finished (2 Chronicles 15:7)

·                Wait on the Lord (Psalm 27:14)

·                Remember the Lord will not leave us (Deuteronomy 31:6)

·                Remember the Lord will be with us (Deuteronomy 31:23)

And I have to do more than just show up. Remember the bumblebee can't fly unless it vibrates its wings. I've got to move my fingers and try, at least. And I've got to trust Him to do the rest.

What a wonderful testimony to God's love for us and His commitment to His plans for us! If God is for us, who can be against us? As long as we obey His commands and do His will, we have no reason to be afraid. God is in control!



Thanks, Angie, for a wonderful post and lesson! And I hope our readers will check out her website and blog for more inspiring writing.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday Musings--Book Review of A Hopeful Heart by Kim Vogel Sawyer

I am behind on book reviews so decided to use some of my Monday Musings posts to catch up. I love all of Kim Sawyer's books, even though she writes mainly historical and I write mainly contemporary. But whenever I read one of her books it reminds me of why I've always loved historical romances, especially those written by such an expert writer of that genre.

Kim Sawyer has taken a chance comment by someone she met on a trip about a "herdsman school" that taught women how to be proper wives for ranchers, and woven a love story of an unlikely couple that you fall in love with and root for them to be together. And the whole cast of characters are so unique and well-drawn that you feel like you have spent time living in that community and sharing their lives with them.

Besides being a romance, this story encompasses cattle rustling, a couple shootings, lots of lessons on surviving on the prairie, and some great spiritual lessons that are so interwoven into the story that you feel like a friend is counseling you, not preaching at you. Forgiveness is one of the lessons, and also that God can turn bad things into good things.

Since this book is a stand-alone, it doesn't matter if you have read any of the author's earlier books or not, and if this is your first book by this author, you are in for a big treat. You could read a book a week by her until November without any repeats, so check out her website for a complete listing at http://www.kimvogelsawyer.com/. Happy reading!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fridays with Friends--Guestblog by Deborah Vogts

I am always happy to introduce other readers to my guestbloggers and their writing, and especially glad when the person is a long-time friend like Deb Vogts. I met Deb at one of the first ACFW conferences, and I have watched her faithfully hone her craft. I also attended a well-run writers' conference run by Deb's local Kansas group a few years ago, and hope to get the chance to do that again. And we have plans to brainstorm with each other someday. I have reviewed two of Deb's books on this blog which you can check out by typing Deb Vogts or Deborah Vogts in the little search box at the top left-hand corner of this blog. You are in for a treat with Deb's pictures as added inspiration for her stories!

Now, without further ado, here is Deborah Vogts!

Finding God in Your Story Setting by Deborah Vogts

I thought I would share with you today about one of my “research trips” into the Flint Hills of Kansas, the setting for my book series. Some of my most cherished moments in life have occurred while driving off-the-beaten-path into the heart of these rolling pastures.

On this particular November day, the north winds were trying to blow in a storm, but we managed to stay dry--cold but dry. And the prairie colors couldn’t have been more beautiful.

“I heard the prairie call to me, its words a whisper on my heart, and I knew that I was home.” From Snow Melts in Spring.

Cattle Guards are used in the open range to keep cattle within their pasture boundaries without the use of gates. A very nifty invention. In case you haven’t guessed, my books deal with ranching, horses, and family conflict . . . with some romance thrown in for fun.

Pictured above, my husband pretending he's a movie director. I first fell in love with the Flint Hills while attending college at Emporia State University. And while these hills were my first love, the man above claimed my heart a few years later and has never let go. We’ll celebrate our 21st wedding anniversary in February.

My road to publication has been long and winding, just like this back road through the Flint Hills. But it’s been a joyous adventure and well worth the wait. I’m currently working to finish my third book with Zondervan, Blades of Autumn (release date to be announced). What I find most rewarding, however, is how with each book, I learn a little something new about myself and my faith in God.

Just like in this closing picture—when the sun peaked out and smiled on us, reminding me that God is always with me. Each time I drive out into the Flint Hills, my heart soars, and I’m touched by God’s presence in the simplicity of that rolling prairie. Do you have a favorite place that warms your heart?

Thanks so much for allowing me to share with you today. Many blessings to you.

Deborah and her husband have three daughters and make their home in Southeast Kansas. As a student at Emporia State University studying English and journalism, Deborah developed a love for the Flint Hills that has never faded. In writing this series, she hopes to share her passion for one of the last tallgrass prairie regions in the world, showing that God’s great beauty rests on the prairie and in the hearts of those who live there. Visit Deborah at her web site http://deborahvogts.com or at her Country at Heart blog: http://deborahvogts.blogspot.com

Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday Musings--a big THANKS to Barbour Publishing

I received the galleys (proofs) for my first book a little over a week ago and sent them back in this past Wednesday. I must say that the team at Barbour Publishing has been a dream to work with. I finished my edits about a month ago. Margie Vawter did a great editing job and walked me through any questions I had.

Jessie Fioritto sent me my galleys and was also willing to answer anything I wasn't sure of since this was my first time at galleys, also.

Shalyn Sattler sent me 500 bookmarks with my cover on it which made this whole dream seem more real! She also has answered my questions of how Barbour will help with booksignings and other marketing. These behind-the-scenes people at Barbour have made this whole experience a wonderful one.

And in case you haven't seen it yet, I am posting my cover again. I'm not sure who drew it, but isn't it beautiful? And it portrays the setting so well.

Thanks to everyone at Barbour!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fridays with Friends--Marlene Bagnull

I know many of you already know Marlene and have been blessed by her and her writing, but I am happy to introduce her to any of my writing friends who have not yet had the privilege of meeting/reading her. I met Marlene at the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference several years ago, and she felt like a long-lost friend from the get-go. At the bookstore I bought a copy of her devotional book for writers entitled Write His Answer, and have read/studied it twice and am now starting my third time! It is a book all Christian writers should read. So, if you need encouragement in your writing, read on! Marlene is an encourager-extraordinaire! PS. And I hope you will order the book, too, from her site below, so you can be encouraged each day as you read a portion.

Write His Answer . . . And Don’t Give Up by Marlene Bagnull

Twenty-six years ago I sat in a workshop with Lee Roddy at the St. David’s Christian Writers Conference. I remember how my heart pounded the last morning of his workshop when he challenged us to put a commitment in writing to complete our book in a year. And then he prayed that heaven would be different because of the words we would write and publish.

I knew God had called me to write this book. I never questioned that, but I did question my ability to write it during the next year as I struggled to finish it. One friend reminded me that a year in the Lord’s sight is like a thousand years, but I knew the Lord knew that I had promised to complete it in a year made up of 365 days. And amazingly I did. I wasn’t a day late or a day early! I took “my baby” to the post office and mailed it to a publisher that had requested the entire manuscript. And then the waiting began. That editor kept it one year before finally returning it. Over the next five years I queried 40 other publishers. Some asked to see the entire manuscript. All of them returned it too. Frustrated, discouraged, and consumed by self-doubts I came so close so many times to giving up.

Only the promises in God’s Word kept me keeping on. “Let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up,” the apostle Paul encouraged the early Christians (Gal. 6:9 TLB). I felt God speaking directly to me and saying, “Don’t you give up.”

Friends babysat my kids so that I could go to the conference each year on a working scholarship. I commuted to save money, and after five years even ended up on faculty teaching a continuing session on writing for Christian periodicals. Even more amazing, several months after that conference an editor I’d met with called and offered me a contract.

Had I given up, I would have missed the not only the joy of seeing my book in print but also the joy of helping others get published through 28 years of directing the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference and 15 years of directing the Colorado conference. Both conferences are under the umbrella of a ministry God birthed over 30 years ago when I dared to believe that His words in Habakkuk 2:2 were His call on my life. “Write my answer on a billboard, large and clear, so anyone can see it at a glance and rush to tell the others” (TLB) He said.

I hope you’ll visit www.writehisanswer.com and read the excerpts from my book, Write His Answer – A Bible Study for Christian Writers. And please ask Father if He wants you to come to the August 10-13 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference (www.writehisanswer.com/Philadelphia) and/or to save May 13-16, 2012 for next year’s Colorado Christian Writers Conference (www.writehisanswer.com/Colorado). And may heaven be different because of the words you write and publish!

In Christ - Marlene
Marlene Bagnull, Litt.D.

Write His Answer Ministries - http://www.writehisanswer.com/

Blogging at http://writehisanswer.wordpress.com

Director, Colorado Christian Writers Conference - May 11-14, 2011

at YMCA of the Rockies - Estes Park Center (NW of Denver)


Founder & Director, Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference - August 10-13, 2011

at Philadelphia Biblical University


Monday, June 06, 2011

Monday Musings--A Book Review of The Art of Romance by Kaye Dacus

Another delightful read by Kaye Dacus, this second story in the Matchmakers series will bless your socks off! Set in Nashville, Tennessee, in the heart of the Bible belt, we see the 'meddling matriarchs' on the march again when it comes to marrying off their grandkids so they can be the first of their group with great-grandchildren.

Caylor Evans and Dylan Bradley are not your typical hero/heroine. Both are hiding secrets in their past, but little do they know that their secret past includes the other. Is that the reason Caylor wonders why Dylan looks so familiar and she is so attracted to him? Can Dylan throw off the bonds of his past to go after what he desires for his future--for their future?

Set on a college campus among plays, art exhibits and classes, the reader experiences (or re-lives) the joys and frustrations of academia. And roots for this unlikely couple to find a way to make it work.

This book can be read as a stand-alone, but I would recommend finding a copy of Love Remains to read first so you don't miss out on any of the fun with this ensemble cast of characters, especially the fun and loving grandparents. Or go to amazon or cbd.com and order all of Ms. Dacus's books. Each one is a great study in "The Art of Romance."

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Monthly Book Drawings and Book Review of A Great Catch by Lorna Seilstad

The winner for last month's book contest is Lisa Lickel who will receive 199 Promises of God after I receive her mailing address. Everyone (except Lisa) with a US mailing address who leaves a comment during the month of June will be eligible to win a copy of the delightful book A Great Catch by Lorna Seilstad. So, please remember to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win.

This is the second book in Lorna's Lake Manawa Summers series, and although it could be read on its own, I would recommend reading Making Waves first for the enjoyment of it, plus several of the major characters in Making Waves are minor characters in A Great Catch, so you get to find out what is going on in their lives a few years later.

Lorna's bio says she is a history buff, and it shows in this very true to period book. It also says she found this setting in her home state of Iowa. I'm so glad she did. Lake Manawa is a wonderful place to visit and re-visit. I hope Lorna will write more books set in this location.

Emily Graham is our heroine, a beautiful young woman who is over zealous in her quest to see that women get to vote in Iowa and the US. She's even willing to play on a baseball team, in spite of her clumsiness, to further that cause. This brings her into close quarters with the captain of the team, Carter Stockton. He falls in love with Emily, only wishes she would slow down some and listen to God more. As it says on the back cover, "She wants to change the world. He wants to change her mind."

I love the characters of Emily's grandmother and two elderly aunts with whom she lives. And there is a mystery involving her grandmother's dwindling funds at the bank. Emily has to search her heart to find out whom she can trust. And she has to learn to let go and let God have control.

This book is a delightful read with a great spiritual message. I did receive this copy of the book from the publisher, Revell, for review purposes, but all thoughts are my own.