Friday, March 30, 2007

Reclaiming Nick

I love Susan May Warren's books. She and Dee Henderson lobby for the title of "Queen of Romantic Suspense" in my mind (currently Susie's winning, but I'm still waiting for Dee to break out with another awesome novel along the lines of the early O'Malley books).

I'm not a fan of Westerns. Cowboys just don't do it for me. So when I heard that Susan May Warren's next book would feature a cowboy and a ranch, my heart sank a little. But if anyone could make me love a Western, it would be Susie. And she did.
Reclaiming Nick is the tale of a prodigal son who goes home too late. His father is gone, and has willed half of the Noble ranch to Nick's former best friend, Cole - the man who married his gal. Nick vows that Cole will never get the family land.
Journalist Piper Sullivan believes Nick framed her brother for murder, so she accepts the position of cook at the Noble ranch so she can undercover evidence to make Nick pay. But weaseling out the truth may be harder and take longer than she thinks - and she doesn't know how much longer she can fake her non-existent cooking skills.
Family secrets lie just below the surface, and with enough digging around they're sure to come to light.
Don't miss this heart-stirring novel. And be sure to visit Nick's own blog to meet him.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Trish Perry Interview and More!

It's Too Good to Be True! Author Trish Perry has graciously agreed to an interview, but first, here's a synopsis of her latest book:

Your classic romantic heroine swoons after meeting Prince Charming in, say, an enchanted forest. But Rennie Young would never have met the gallant Truman Sayers if she hadn’t fainted immediately beforehand—in the boys’ sportswear department of her local Wal-Mart.

Ren, a 20-something elementary schoolteacher, has reluctantly accepted that her husband—who divorced her over a year ago—is not coming back. Tru Sayers, a handsome young labor-and-delivery nurse, seems like a gift from God. Ren’s friends and Tru’s siblings are supportive and excited about the match. But there are . . . complications.

Ren’s control-freak mother is desperate to match her daughter up with “more suitable” men. Tru’s mother wants Tru to remain a bachelor—and at her beck and call—forever. Is it possible to honor your parents while on the verge of killing them?

And now, the interview!

Give me a quick glimpse of your writing journey.

Katie, while I worked on my Psychology degree, I found I loved doing the homework for my English classes, especially Composition. My professors gave me wonderful encouragement about my writing. By the time I was able to take Creative Writing classes, I had read countless books and magazines on the craft of writing, and I started working on my first novel (which is still unpublished). When the time came for me to go to grad school for Psychology, I was blessed enough to be able to take a few years off to write more seriously. I’ve never gone back to the Psychology; writing is definitely my love.

In the meantime I dabbled in a number of other writing endeavors, getting my feet wet (and a few things published). I joined a local writers’ group (Capital Christian Writers) and learned from other members and guest speakers. I entered contests, dealt with rejection, and wrote enough stories, poems, and essays to eke out a few gems from the mass of stinkers.

I wrote and submitted, wrote and submitted, and halfway into my second novel, I was blessed in finding my agent. She worked on my behalf until she found a home for my second and third novels with Harvest House. So my journey began around 1994, and I received my first contract in 2005.

My writing obstacle is usually just life. Life gets in the way. You know how much self-discipline is required for the professional writer. Self-discipline is not one of my greater strengths. And sometimes my family has a difficult time seeing my writing as something they shouldn’t interrupt, except in dire emergencies. If I were sitting here with a scalpel in my hand and a patient on a gurney, I’d be less likely to be interrupted. But writing simply doesn’t look intense until that moment I’ve read the same line ten times and someone walks in yet again, asking where the butter is or whether I remembered to feed the fish. At that point my eyes take on that intense, crazed-writer’s glare, and my family members run like Argonauts fleeing Medusa.

What is the premise of Too Good to Be True? How does it differ from The Guy I'm Not Dating?

Too Good to Be True centers on Ren Young, a twenty-something elementary schoolteacher whose nonbelieving husband divorced her a year ago and recently contacted the adoption agency through which they planned to adopt, telling them to stop the process now that he and Ren were divorced. Under much emotional stress, Ren passes out in the middle of the boys’ department at her local Wal-Mart. She is "rescued" by the handsome Tru Sayers, a labor-and-delivery nurse who sweeps her off her feet (not that she was standing on them when he showed up). Too Good to Be True is the story of their romance and Ren’s internal debate about stepping back into the dating world.

Both Ren and Tru have formidable mothers with agendas of their own, as well as plenty of interesting siblings and friends. Family dynamics play a major role in this love story, as Ren struggles with her earthly relationships, her relationship with the Lord, and with her questions about whether this new man is too good to be true.

Too Good to Be True differs from The Guy I’m Not Dating in a number of ways, the most prominent of which is the fact that Ren hasn’t made a decision against dating, as Kara Richardson did in The Guy I’m Not Dating. But Ren is intimidated by the idea of trusting another man with her heart. The books share a number of the same characters: Ren and Kara are best friends, so some of Kara’s story continues in Too Good to Be True. And some of the same characters are featured in both stories. Ren’s family dynamic is less healthy than Kara’s, and, while that unhealthy dynamic is a total pain in the patootie for Ren, it’s mighty fun for us to read about.

What genres do you enjoy reading? How do you decide which novels to read?

I read a wide variety of genres, and I read both Christian and secular books. I don’t tend to read many mysteries or thrillers these days, but I bounce back and forth from serious to humorous, from literary to bestseller, from light to intense. Sometimes I read chick lit to get myself into a good frame of mind for writing chick lit. Or I’ll read a "British book" to get a feel for the lingo and British style of speech prior to writing a book or scene involving British characters. But usually I decide what to read based upon what I’ve just finished. If I’ve just read a literary character study set in Viet Nam in the Sixties, chances are I’ll choose something breezy and funny, set in the US or England.

I hear about most of the Christian fiction I choose through word of mouth. And lately I’ve served as a possible endorser for several new novels, so I spend time reading Christian novels before they’re released. That’s fun. I learn about most of the secular books I choose through The Washington Post Book World and other book reviews I come across (okay, I’ll admit it; I read People magazine’s reviews, too). I often follow up the critics’ reviews by reading what Amazon readers say about books. That’s why I love when readers post comments (the good ones, anyway) about my books on Amazon and and other book sites. I think plenty of people base their decisions on those reader comments.

What is the best advice you've received as a writer?

Probably the best advice is also the most common: write every day. I’d like to say I’m there, and I do write something every day. But I haven’t quite achieved the pace I’m striving for. When writing every day, you think differently, you view the world differently (everything is fodder), and you simply become more poetic, more creative, and more disciplined. Discipline. Ugh, there’s that ugly word again.

What is your favorite way to promote your novels?

Being the promotion wimp I am, I’ll have to get back to you on that one, Katie! Like many new authors, I’m not keen on tooting my own horn. I know I need to get over that, but promotion goes against my grain. So my most active efforts at promotion are generally tied to events, like book signings, book releases, and speaking engagements. I haven’t had many of those events happen yet, to be honest. But when they do, I have something to announce beyond the fact that I have a book I hope you’ll buy.

Added Bonus - a Waterfall Books review of The Guy I'm Not Dating!

Kara Richardson has stopped doing that dating thing, but what is she supposed to do when a gorgeous, Christian guy shows up in town and seems interested in her? Fortunately, her friends, a trio of teens, and a road trip to pick up an obscure relative seem to all be conspiring to let her get to know Gabe better.

I first was interested in this novel because, like the protagonist, I have decided not to pursue dating. The teenager-like awkwardness and raving over looks in the first few chapters almost made me stop reading, and the early POV change to Kara's mother in Florida made it a little harder to connect to the main character. But by the time Gabe's siblings arrived, I was loving the book and hated to put it down. The combination of matchmaking efforts by well-intentioned friends, a smart little sister, and an eccentric elderly aunt make the book hilarious. Add a slinky "villainess" you love to hate, a few wacky adventures, and some bacon and mayo to go, and you're ready for a lighthearted read with a strong spiritual core. I give this a Waterfall Books rating of Splash.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Double Vision

Double Vision by Randy Ingermanson, one of my favorite novels, has high action, deep characters, twisting plot, spiritual debate, and cutting-edge technology - everything you'd want in a first-class thriller. Randy's site is chock-full of writing information, and so are his newsletters - Advanced Fiction Writing and Mad Genius Writer. Here's a quick synopsis of Double Vision:

Dillon Richard is a brilliant and meticulous engineer, respected by his co-workers at CypherQuanta, but he has never had a woman interested in him before. Now he's got two, and they're giving him double vision . . .

Rachel Meyers is a quirky, erratic biophysicist who has just developed a quantum computer that will change the world. If Rachel and Dillon can bring it to market, CypherQuanta will be worth billions. But someone is determined to steal the secret . . . and create a rift between Rachel and Dillon.

Keryn Wills is a mystery novelist and part-time chief financial officer at CypherQuanta. She desperately needs to keep Rachel and Dillon working together to finish the project, but she desperately doesn't want them to be friends. Now Keryn finds herself on the run, like a character in one of her own novels, as somebody begins tightening a noose around her and Rachel and Dillon. Somehow, she needs to unravel this mystery -- before it unravels her.

Three secrets. Two women. One man. No time.

You can read the first three chapters of Double Vision here. Also, check out what others on this tour (who have far more time than I have at the moment) are saying about the book:

Nissa Annakindt
Jim Black
Grace Bridges
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
Frank Creed
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Janey DeMeo
Tessa Edwards
April Erwin
Beth Goddard
Marcus Goodyear
Andrea Graham
Leathel Grody
Katie Hart
Sherrie Hibbs
Sharon Hinck
Christopher Hopper
Jason Joyner
Tina Kulesa
Lost Genre Guild
Kevin Lucia and The Bookshelf Reviews 2.0 - The Compendium
Rachel Marks
Shannon McNear
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Caleb Newell
Eve Nielsen
John W. Otte
Robin Parrish
Cheryl Russel
Hanna Sandvig
Mirtika Schultz
James Somers
Tsaba House Authors
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Daniel I. Weaver

It Happens Every Spring

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing IT HAPPENS EVERY SPRING (Tyndale Fiction, 2007) by Gary Chapman and Catherine Palmer.


GARY CHAPMAN is the author of the New York Times best seller The Five Love Languages and numerous othe rbooks. He's the director of Marriage & Family Life Consultants, Inc., and host of A Growing Marriage, a syndicated radio program heard on over 100 stations across North America. He and his wife, Karolyn, live in North Carolina.

CATHERINE PALMER is the Christy Award-winning, CBA best-selling author of more than forty novels--including The Bachelor's Bargain--which have more than 2 million copies in print. She lives in Missouri with her husband, Tim, and two sons.


IT HAPPENS EVERY SPRING is the first of The Four Seasons fiction series, based on the ever-changing cycles of relationships detailed in Gary Chapman's nonfiction book The Four Seasons of Marriage. The novels will focus on four couples, each moving in and out of a different season.

Word travels fast at the Just As I Am beauty shop.

So when a simple homeless man appears on Steve and Brenda Hansen's doorstep, the entire shop is set abuzz, especially when Brenda lets him sleep on their porch.

That's not all the neighbors are talking about. Spring may be blooming outdoors, but an icy chill has settled over the Hansens' marriage. Steve is keeping late hours with clients, and the usually upbeat Brenda is feeling the absence of her husband and her college-age kids.

Add to that the unsavory business moving in next to the beauty shop and the entire community gets turned upside down. Now Brenda's friends must unite to pull her out of her rut and keep the unwanted sotre out of town. But can Steve and Brenda learn to thaw their chilly marriage and enjoy the hope spring offers?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Jane Orcutt

The Baker/Revell catalog arrived in my mailbox a couple weeks ago, and I paged through it and instantly fell in love with this cover. I even showed it to my mom and sisters (I have six!) and sent a link to a friend.

The few paragraphs excerpted from All the Tea in China made me want to read it more. Though I knew Jane Orcutt was an author, I wasn't familiar with her work, but the excerpt made me feel I'd discovered another Deeanne Gist or Jane Austen.

Then came the news - Jane Orcutt died Sunday after a battle with leukemia.

Several bloggers have given glimpses of Jane's life:

Charis Connection

Robin Lee Hatcher

Donita K. Paul

B. J. Hoff

I feel as though I've lost a friend I never got to have.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Blogging Chicks

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Friday, March 16, 2007

The Reliance

'Tis a late blour post to be sure, but I just finished reading M. L. Tyndall's The Reliance. If I really loved the first book in a series, I tend to approach the second with a bit of skepicism, especially if it has the same main characters. I hate for a happy ending to get ruined as the author throws more trouble in her characters' paths. The author needs a rollicking good story to make up for that, plus hopefully should explore plot and character angles hinted at in the first book.

The Reliance has both. The book description tells of the adventures and conflicts that await:

A YOUNG BRIDE separated from her husband just as a child has been conceived . . .

A GRIEVING HUSBAND tempted to take his anger out through the vices of his past . . .

A MARRIAGE AND A SHIP threatenend to be split apart by villainous Caribbean pirates . . .

Edmund Merrick tormented by the apparent demise of his pregnant wife Charlisse, sails away to drown his sorrows. He turns his back on God and reverts to a life of villainy, joining forces with the demented French pirate Collier. When his mind clears from its rum-induced haze, will Edmund find the will to escape?

Seemingly abandoned by her new husband, Charlisse battles her own insecurities as she is thrown into the clutches of the vengeful pirate Kent, who holds her and Lady Isabel captive.
Will she be swept away by the undertow of treachery and despair?

Can Edmund and Charlisse battle the tempests that threaten to tear them apart and steer their way to the faith-filled haven they so desperately seek? Or will they ultimately lose their love and lives to the whirlpool of treachery and deceit?

I'd highly recommend beginning with the first book of this series, The Redemption. These novels are must-reads for Pirates of the Caribbean fans, though some aspects of pirates' lives make the books only appropriate for older teens and adults.

Enjoy your adventure on the high seas!

Friday, March 09, 2007

The Watchers

I'm only about 1/3 of the way through this week's blog tour novel, The Watchers, but I can't wait to finish this post and get back to it!

The inner flap reads:

Just below the surface among the family of God lives another family tree--one traced in spirit, invisible and ageless, known as the Watchers. For two thousand years they've seen beyond the veil separating this world from the next, passing on their gift through a lineage mostly overlooked. Throughout history they've scouted the borders of the supernatural frontier, but now their survival hangs by a thread. And their fate lies in the hands of a young woman, her would-be killer, and a mystery they must solve....

"Congratulations. You just reached my own little corner of cyberspace.
Who am I?
Abby Sherman, that's who.
Who are you? And why are you checking me out?
Drop me a few pixels, and let's find out!"

With that innocent invitation, Abby Sherman unwittingly steps in the crosshairs of history, and thus begins her harrowing tale--taking her from ocean-front Malibu to the streets of London, the jungles in West Africa, the Temple Mount, Jerusalem, and to the very gates of heaven itself!

More info:

A sneak preview of eternity becomes her one-way ticket to danger--and discovery…

Two lives collide in a globe-circling adventure involving both peril and discovery: Abby, a young woman whose visions of heaven turn her into a Web-celebrity; and Dylan, a troubled young man sent by an ancient foe to silence her.

From California beachfronts to Nigerian rain forests to Jerusalem and back again, THE WATCHERS is high-octane blends of action, mystery, and spiritual battle spanning centuries.

A woman's awe-inspiring vision launches her on a quest through distant lands and ancient history, face-to-face with eternity and into the arms of a family line on the brink of annihilation...
A man who is hired to exterminate her discovers the folly of blind loyalty, then learns how to wage war in a realm he never believed had existed...
An extraordinary saga of the unseen war against evil, the reality of the supernatural, and the transforming power of forgiveness.

"A writer who can take your breath away with a single sentence. A welcome, fresh voice that must be read!"--Ted Dekker

So far, it's Frank Peretti meets Jason Bourne. I'm having a little trouble warming up to Abby, who seems a bit too perfect - young, rich, hip, and sold out to Jesus. But I have a lot more to read in the story, so I'll update when I finish!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Additional Prayer

Wow, it's been a rough couple of weeks for Christian authors.

In addition to the illness Stephen Lawhead is facing and the tragic fire at the Murpheys', Brandilyn Collins severely broke her ankle in a snowmobiling accident and Philip Yancey damaged his spine in a car accident.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Scimitar's Edge

It is March 1st, time for the FIRST Day Blog Tour! (Join our alliance! Click the button!) The FIRST day of every month we will feature an author and his/her latest book's FIRST chapter!

This month's feature author is:

Marvin Olasky

and his book:

Scimitar's Edge


Dr. Olasky is editor-in-chief of World Magazine, a senior fellow of the Acton Institute, and a professor at the University of Texas at Austin. He and his wife Susan have been married for 30 years and have four sons. He has written 17 non-fiction books and has also started (with several others) a Christian school; he has been a crisis pregnancy center chairman, a foster parent, a Little League assistant coach, a PTA president, and an informal advisor to George W. Bush. He is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Michigan.

Stepping away from his roles as professor, historian, and creator of "compassionate conservatism," Marvin Olasky, editor-in-chief of WORLD Magazine has penned an edge-of-your-seat novel that educates as well as it informs.

SCIMITAR'S EDGE is the story of four unique Americans on a journey that takes them to a world of great beauty and great danger. Olasky uses his vast knowledge of the culture to pen a tale about the War on Terror that is so realistic it might have been taken from today's headlines.

Click the button to read the first chapter.