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.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

And the winners are...

Tracy Krauss won Brandilyn Collins' That Dog Won't Hunt and Judy Cook for Shannon Vannatter's Rodeo Regrets. They will both be contacted by the authors.

And if you leave a message anytime the month of July with your email info, you will be entered in the drawing for a paperback copy of always watching by Brandilyn and her daughter Amberly.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Book Review--The Well by Stephanie Landsem

The Well—book review

I read a lot of Biblical era fiction during my high school years at a Christian school. And I still remember a few of the classics like The Robe and The Silver Chalice and Ben Hur. I predict The Well by Stephanie Landsem will become a classic in Biblical fiction. I know it will stay with me a long time. And I can’t wait for her next book.

The story of the Samaritan woman whom Jesus meets at the well in Sychar is told mainly through the POV of the daughter of the woman who made her own choices. Those choices lead to dire circumstances and cruel treatment for the daughter and a small son. Although no children are mentioned in the Biblical account, it is a reasonable assumption that she would have had one or more from her many husbands.

The Samaritan woman’s encounter and belief in Jesus have a strong impact on her life and the lives of the daughter and son and so many others in this story, like the rock that sends multiple ripples throughout a pond.

Another one greatly affected is a young man named Shem who doesn’t want to initially believe in Jesus. This book tells of Jesus’ love for all. There is another love story, but it doesn’t have the ending we think we want. Instead we see a much better ending than we could have ever imagined, just like what Jesus wants for us all. Read it and be blessed.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Brandilyn Collins' Interview and Giveaway of New Book--That Dog Won't Hunt

As a fan of Brandilyn's writing, I have reviewed several of her books on my blog, and today I am happy to host her for an interview! And read on to find out how you can win a copy of her latest book, That Dog Won't Hunt.
Welcome, Brandilyn, please tell us about your favorite book as a child and your favorite book as an adult. Can you see a connection between those books? 
As a child I remember reading the Bobbsey Twins books. The first full-length book I read (in second grade) was one of that series. I also loved the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. All of these series had mysteries in the plots. So I guess they were a forerunner of my suspense novels today. The Bobbsey Twins books were more character-centered, however. That would be the forerunner of my contemporary fiction writing.

I also read the Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew. Glad you read both genres and are writing again in both genres. What is your favorite Scripture? Do you also have a favorite Scripture that encourages you in your writing?
My life verse is Psalm 138:8, part of which reads: :The Lord will accomplish what concerns me." That entire Psalm is one that I live by and pray by memory every day.

I love to travel. If you could go to any place in the world to research/write a book, what setting would you choose?
Well, let's see, I've been to quite a few countries. Haven't visited Australia yet, though. I'd pick that one. Wild and beautiful land.

I would love to visit there if it wasn't for the loooong plane ride! I often wonder if I would write if I had to do it the old-fashioned way without computers and spell-checks and email. Is there anything about technology that you don't like? Or anything about it that you feel enhances your writing?
I don't like technology when it doesn't work. Methinks we all usually love our computers—until they act up. Then we hate 'em. Sometimes I'd love to throw mine in the hot tub.

Wait a minute. I did that with a dead body once …

I remember! I even blogged about it on this blog on June 5, 2008. As a writer how have you had to grow and stretch out of your comfort zone?
Oh, goodness, writing itself is a stretch. It's hard. I struggle with every book. Always think I'll never finish the thing, and when I do, it's certain to be The One That Will Ruin My Career.
You are always so helpful to new writers, Brandilyn. What advice would you give to a beginning writer that you wish someone had given you?
Enjoy the period before you're contracted with a traditional publisher and you're learning the craft. If it all gets to be too much then, you can quit. Or take a break for awhile. Once you're contracted, you can't do that. And by the way, getting a contract isn't the end—it's just the beginning. I worked for 10 years to learn fiction before earning a contract. (I didn't have the Internet and all its resources, as we do today.) Once my craft was ready, the contracts came hard and fast. It's a lot to keep up with.
Why are you suddenly writing a contemporary series, when you're known for your Seatbelt Suspense®?
The main first response from readers when they hear about That Dog Won't Hunt is, "What? You wrote a book and didn't kill anybody?" 

Readers who go all the way back with me to my first books will remember that I started out writing in both the contemporary and suspense genres. I wrote the Bradleyville series—a three-generational saga of interconnected family in rural Kentucky. These books were popular and won quite a few awards, especially the second in the series, Color the Sidewalk for Me. When I began writing suspense full time I did miss writing contemporaries. (My readers let me know they missed them too.) Now with the advent of self-publishing I can write these contemporaries again, in between my Seatbelt Suspense®.

I had the idea for the Dearing Family series years ago, but just when I was ready to write them, my publisher wanted me to go into suspense full time. So the books were set aside. Now that I've taken up the idea again, I wanted to write about this boisterous family using plenty of humor. But a light-reading, humorous book isn't enough for me. I also want to tackle a difficult issue amid the humor. That Dog Won't Hunt looks at the fall-out in an adult's life after suffering an abusive childhood. How that past can ruin current relationships, even if those relationships promise to be very good. So into the midst of the crazy Dearing family I bring Christina, who's endured a terrible childhood.

The reviews reflect this mix of humor and poignancy. Readers are soaking in the substance of the book. I'm glad to see that. The best letter I've received so far was from a reader who'd been raised by alcoholic, abusive parents. She said Christina's reactions to being thrust into a big family were exactly what she'd felt in a similar circumstance. She totally related to Christina's character and felt the book would be helpful to many readers.

That Dog Won't Hunt is only $2.99 in ebook form and $9.69 in paper. Please go to my web site for various links to order. If you'd like to sign onto my mailing list in order to be notified of my next releases—suspense and contemporary—please go here.

The second in the Dearing Family series, Pitchin' a Fit, will release in November.

Now for the directions to be entered in the drawing for a digital copy of That Dog Won't Hunt drawing to be held next Monday, July 22nd: to put your name in the hat, leave a comment. If you tweet about the book, or put it on FB,--and link to amazon to buy—your name will be put in the hat again. Here's a sample tweet to get you started--
Check out THAT DOG WON'T HUNT—a humorous and poignant new release from Brandilyn Collins. $2.99/ebook, $9.62 paper. http://is.gd/4fQXKW

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Shannon Vannatter, New Office and New Book Giveaway

Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom and pastor’s wife. Her debut novel won the 2011 Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award. When not writing, she runs circles in the care and feeding of her husband, their son, and church congregation. Home is a central Arkansas zoo with two charcoal gray cats, a chocolate lab, and three dachshunds in weenie dog heaven. If given the chance to clean house or write, she’d rather write. Her goal is to hire Alice from the Brady Bunch.

Over the years, my office has moved around a bit. I started with an old wooden desk we bought at a yard sale. It wasn’t pretty, but it was huge. It was in the front corner of our living room with my white wicker furniture.
After my husband answered the call to preach, we converted our den into a joint office for both of us. We painted the walls a dark sage green. He had lots of ships and I had seashells. I put up palm tree border to try to make our styles blend. I didn’t like it. It was too dark for me, but I did enjoy sharing an office with him creating sermons at his desk and me creating fictional characters at mine.
When my husband became a full time pastor, he started doing most of his sermons at the church. He didn’t really need a home office as much as he needed a place he could talk privately with church members seeking his counsel. So, we redid his office with all the dark manly things he likes. He calls it a den again—I call it a man cave. And I moved back into the front corner of our living room. He got me a new white desk for Christmas to go with my wicker. I painted my corner in pastel shades I like, put up seashell border, and cluttered it with gifts, family pictures, and books that inspire me.
 A few things in my office that inspire me: A blue sequin hat just like the one my heroine wears in my November release, Rodeo Queen. A cotton boll. My parents picked cotton when they were growing up. I’m thankful I didn’t. The ballerina that came off my ninth birthday cake. A Noah’s Ark music box statue that was in my son’s nursery. A picture of a seashore my mom got me before I was published. It says: Dreams When you find a dream inside your heart don’t ever let it go. . . for dreams are the tiny seeds from which tomorrows grow. . . I read that poem a lot during the years I was getting rejections. Now it’s a reminder that I achieved my dream. Question of the day: Do you have a talent, hobby, dream or occupation you devote an area of your house to? your house to?

Read below to see what Rodeo Regrets is about, and to be entered in for a chance to win a copy, leave a comment with your email addy by next Sunday evening, July 21st.

Rodeo Regrets: 
Natalie once dreamed of finding true love. Then Lane Gray broke her heart. After running wild to fill the emptiness inside her, she heads back to her hometown to heal. But when she sees the cowboy she once loved so much, she finds him hard to resist.
Lane Gray is a changed man. The handsome cowboy wants Natalie's forgiveness-and more. Natalie has made plenty of mistakes in her life, but so has Lane. Could falling for each other again be the worst one yet? Or the path to redemption?

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Book Review of That Dog Won't Hunt by Brandilyn Collins

Brandilyn Collins is well known for her "seatbelt suspense" fiction, and since I am a member of her Big Honkin' Chickens Club who won't read her suspense books at night if I am alone, I was thrilled to hear she had written another women's fiction novel.

Her first women's fiction--The Bradleyville series--is one of my favorite WF series ever. Although That Dog Won't Hunt is written in a more humorous vein than any of her other books, it still packs an emotional wallop like the rest of her writing.

In this book, we meet the Dearing family members who could be a dream come true for Christina Day when she finds herself engaged to the youngest of their four adult children, Benjamin. IF she can be honest enough to share her past and believe in her future with him. Coming from a dysfunctional household myself, I could well relate to Christina and her doubts and fears about marrying into this family that has its own quirks and imperfections, but that shares its love without exception.

This is also the first book in a series, and I can't wait for the next one to release soon to keep up with the dear Dearing family.

Since I have met the author and some of her family and read Brandilyn's blog for years, I knew a few things in the book were based on things that happened in her family like the hilarious pink bathtub picture. I love that at the end of the book she shares what parts actually happened, and which are partially based on fact, or are pure fiction. If you want to read more of her background, including her journey to publication and her miracle healing from Lyme disease, check out her past blog posts at www.forensicsandfaith.blogspot.com and also her other books at www.brandilyncollins.com  or www.amazon.com  or www.cbd.com

And I hope you come back to visit my blog next weekend when Brandilyn visits to answer some interview questions and to tell you how you can win a digital copy of That Dog Won't Hunt.

Monday, July 01, 2013

New month, new book giveaway and two winners! Happy Independence Day!

Let's start the 4th of July week off to a bang with two winners and a new giveaway!

Susan J. Reinhardt is the winner of Brandilyn Collins' book Amber Morn, so will receive it as soon as she sends me her mailing addy. And Jennifer Johnson's book winner is Hallee Bridgeman, so Jen will contact her. Congrats and happy reading!

I am continuing my Brandilyn Collins' giveaways with the first book of her "Rayne Tour" series--always watching by Brandilyn and her daughter Amberly Collins. Since this is another book I have not yet read, I will have to share the blurb for right now:

"The daughter of a rock star has it all--until murder crashes her world...During a concert, sixteen-year-old Shaley O'Connor stumbles upon the body of a friend backstage. Is Tom Hutchens' death connected to her?

Frightening messages arrive. Paparazzi stalk Shaley. Her private nightmare is displayed for all to see. Where is God at a time like this?

As the clock runs out, Shaley must find Tom's killer--before he strikes again."

If you can't wait to read this book to find out the ending, be sure to leave a message (or more than one!) on any blog post this month with your email addy so I can contact you for your mailing info in case you win. US mailing addresses only.