Friday, April 28, 2006

Web of Lies

When Brandilyn Collins' Web of Lies arrived in my mailbox, I had a problem.

A big problem.

I hadn't read Dead of Night.

I'm one of those people who never reads ahead in the book. Never takes a peek at the closing chapter. Never reveals a novel's ending in a review.

I'm also one of those people who lets a book sit on my shelf for years unread because it's in the middle of the series. I drive myself nuts sitting there looking at books I want to read, and can't.

Oh, I could go out and buy the books I was missing. But the fact is, most freelance writers make less than minimum wage. And fiction writers even less. That's why I review books. Free books=happy me.

I'd reviewed Brink of Death. I'd reviewed Stain of Guilt. But somehow Dead of Night had eluded me.

No problem. I'd check the church library. Nope. I could order it online, but would it arrive in time? And could I really afford it?

Days passed. I waited with nervous procrastination for the ax to fall.

Then the miracle came. Karen Kingsbury was signing books at Logos Bookstore. We were going. Dead of Night might be there. And I had a 20% off and 3 $1 off coupons. This might work.

Only one problem. She'd be there Wednesday, late afternoon. I had to blog by Friday. We had a huge concert at our church Thursday, and I'd be there all day, helping out. And, no, I couldn't get to Logos earlier.

We went. I headed to suspense. One glance revealed no find. But I'm the type to miss what's right before my eyes, so I looked over the rest of the fiction (maybe it had been mis-shelved) before returning to suspense.

And there it was. The only copy of the only Brandilyn Collins book on the shelf. The exact one I needed. Coincidence that it was about the power of prayer?

I bought it. And between that evening and the next day, I managed to read both it and Web of Lies.

Don't forget to b r e a t h e . . . ? I didn't have time to!

Second worse place to read a Brandilyn Collins book? Alone in your room at night. Especially past 3AM. I'd actually started a personal journal for my private dreams, hopes, and fears after reading Brink of Death. You think I would have learned my lesson.

Worse place? Alone in a deserted children's library in the old part of the church. Dead silence. Anyone could come through the church doors. No one even in my area of the building. And it would be hours before my absence was noted. Hours more before someone looked for me. A while longer to assure I wasn't somewhere in the building. By that time the Poison Killer would have long administered the fatal dose.

But I perservered. And I really enjoyed Web of Lies. I didn't spend as much time trying to second-guess who the killer was, like I did with Dead of Night. (I think that book exhausted my brain!) The blend of first and third POV worked well. And her sparkling choice of words was as delightful as always. The pity of suspense is that you have to rush past the gleaming sentences.

I hadn't intended this post to get so long. Must be the influence of Forensics and Faith, Brandilyn's witty and insightful blog. But what better post to unintentionally imitate her style? Of course, two of her books in less than 36 hours might have done something to my brain. Not to mention my nerves.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Winner Four and Myspace

Congratulations to Dawn Thomason! She won the first two books in Robin Lee Hatcher's Hart's Crossing series. Also, one of her favorite sites, Faith Writers, is now listed under Winning Sites. Keep checking back here for more Winning Sites contests!

Authors, want to get in on the fun? Have a book you'd like to exchange for promotion on this site? Contact me for more details!

For anyone who was wondering - my brother Stephen's surgery went well. He was even able to come home the day of the surgery instead of spending two to three days at the hospital. He's still in a lot of pain, so continue praying for him.

Do any of you authors and writers use Myspace to promote your work? Many music artists use it to connect with their fans and offer a sampling of their work, but I've only seen a few authors on there. One publishing company has a myspace of their own, but only a handful of their authors are connected with it. What are some of the pros and cons of authors using Myspace?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A Friend's Book Loved

All right, to set the record straight, I officially enjoyed T. L. Hines' Waking Lazarus. Click here for my review.

The Robin Lee Hatcher contest is still open. I'm giving it extra time because of Mt. Hermon and Easter. Get your entry in by the end of the week, and I should announce the winner Monday the 24th. See the entry below for more details.

On a more personal note, my brother Stephen had surgery to remove a tumor under his shoulder blade today. He expected to spend 2-3 days in the hospital, but he's already home. It'll be six months or more until he's fully recovered, so I'd appreciate prayer for him.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Robin Lee Hatcher - A Winning Sites Contest

This contest features Robin Lee Hatcher's Diamond Place, the latest novel in her Hart's Crossing series. No, I didn't tell her which series I'd like to promote. She just happened to pick the one that included my last name.

Robin's giving away TWO books - an autographed copy of both first titles in the Hart's Crossing series: Legacy Lane and Veteran's Way. See below for how to enter the contest.

LEGACY LANE

Angie Hunter left Hart's Crossing for college and never looked back. So when her widowed mother needs care following surgery, Angie is more than ready to hire a nurse rather than return to her antiquated hometown. But when she is passed over for a promotion at work, an angry Angie quits and heads home anyway.

Francine Hunter is both excited and nervous about having her daughter home for the next two months. She sees this as her chance to make a new connection with her estranged daughter. Will she be able to nudge Angie toward faith without overdoing it? Or will Angie pack up and leave for a new job as soon as Francine has recovered?

VETERANS WAY

Compelled to move back to the comfort of his home town, Jimmy Scott returns to Hart's Crossings, a small town with a big heart. And it's just as he remembered. Then he bumps into an old friend--Steph Carlson, a childhood sweetheart he had once dreamt of spending the rest of his life with. Those dreams went unrealized when he went off to the Korean War, and they both ended up marrying others.

Now Jimmy and Steph are both in Hart's Crossing. And when Jimmy realizes that they've both survived the deaths of their spouses, he begins to wonder what might have happened if only . . . As memories of their first kiss and innocent courtship flood back, Jimmy finds he still has feelings for this woman. Does she feel the same about him? Will they be able to rekindle what they had so many years ago? Or is it too late for a second chance at romance?

DIAMOND PLACE

Nobody loves baseball more than ten-year-old Lyssa Sampson. Nobody. For as long as she can remember, she's had only one dream: to be a pitcher at the Little League World Series. But Coach Jenkins has other plans, and Lyssa has to do a little innocent scheming to make her dream come true.

When Coach Jenkins appears to be interested in Lyssa's single mother, Terri, Lyssa sees an opportunity for a little matchmaking. Maybe her efforts will help her mother find happiness again — and give Lyssa a chance at her dream at the same time. But will Terri and Coach Jenkins let a ten-year-old deal with matters of the heart? Or will reason take over and spoil Lyssa's plan?

The Contest

This time there are TWO ways to enter. One, leave a comment, telling me about a favorite Robin Lee Hatcher book or why you love reading her blog. Two, email me the answers to the questions below.

You can enter either way - or both for double the chances of winning the first two titles in this great series! And you also get the regular Winning Sites prize of a link of your choice featured on the sidebar.

A few (unfortunately) necessary rules. The prizes will be mailed to a US or Canadian address. If you live outside those countries and still want to participate, you need to be willing to send Robin the extra postage cost via PayPal if you win. Simple as that. Since I'm going to need your mailing address if you win, your post should include your full name and email address so I can contact you (your email should also include your full name). I'll be adding the email addresses to a list so I can let you know of future contests and important news - like when I get one of my books published. If you'd rather not be a part of the list, put "Don't add me to the list" in your comment or email.

Questions (answer by email!):

Where does Robin live?

Name two awards Robin has won.

What TV show does Robin enjoy watching?

What's the name of the other blog on which Robin occasionally posts?

In October, how many published books will Robin have?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Winner Three and Narnia

Congratulations, Becky! You're winner number three! Email to let me know which link you'd like posted and I'll add it under "Winning Sites."

Everyone, don't forget to stop by tomorrow for the next Winning Sites contest, this one featuring bestselling author Robin Lee Hatcher. There'll be two ways to enter, and two books to win!

My newest review for Keepin' On is now up on their site. Be sure to subscribe!

Well, you probably don't need me to tell you that The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe came out on DVD yesterday. I spent this morning watching it. I have a hard time comparing it to any other movie. Narnia has been part of my life since I was 11, and I still love it - as you can probably tell if you visit my xanga, myspace, or see my buddy icon on AIM (hint: my user name is the same nearly everywhere, and was partly picked because of the waterfalls in Narnia). Even my email address echoes the Narnian theme. My obsession with Narnia did make the movie a little less enjoyable - I noticed every plot deviation and dialogue change (did they keep any of the dialogue from the book?), had already watched bits of the movie on every trailer put out, and had seen some of the "making of" the waterfall scene, so it seemed unrealistic. But the battle was beyond my expectations. I've had the movie soundtrack since Christmas, so it was delightful matching up music with action.