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Friday, September 26, 2008

When the Soul Mends

One of my favorite things about being part of the CFBA is the opportunity to join with other fiction folks and talk about great Christian fiction.

This week, I'm honored to tell you all a little about When the Soul Mends, the third book in the Sisters of the Quilt series. The author, Cindy Woodsmall, is a dear friend and phenomenal writer.

I had the privilege of hearing about this story before it became a three book series and in brainstorming with a group about the second and third book. Even so, Cindy surprised me. I went into this story knowing who I wanted Hannah to end this series with and why.

But what I felt after turning the last page was a deep joy and thankfulness that I'd been part of Hannah Lapp's world. When the Soul Mends is an amazing end to a beautiful trilogy.

I loved the characters, how deep, real and poignant they were. Meeting with them while I sped through this story was like time spent with friends. I especially loved the ending. A wonderful send off for characters whose lives I've thought about and cared about for years now.

So whether you like Amish fiction or not, When the Soul Mends is a book worthy of a trip to the bookstore. It's a novel for women that provides a personal peek into healing and hope and the mending of a once-shattered life.

Please read on for more information about Cindy, the Sisters of the Quilt series, and a link to read the first chapter of When the Soul Mends.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

When The Soul Mends

WaterBrook Press (September 16, 2008)


Cindy Woodsmall


Cindy Woodsmall is a veteran homeschool mom. As her children progressed in age, her desire to write grew stronger. After working through reservations whether this desire was something she should pursue, she began her writing journey. Her husband was her staunchest supporter as she aimed for what seemed impossible.

Her first novel, When The Heart Cries, released in 2006 to much acclaim and became a Christian Book Association best seller. Cindy was a 2007 ECPA Christian Book Award finalist, along with Karen Kingsbury, Angela Hunt, and Charles Martin.

Her last book, When the Morning Comes, hit the New York Times best-sellers extended list and the Christian Book Association best-sellers list.

Cindy’s real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity.

Cindy, her husband, their three sons and daughter-in-law reside in Georgia. Her husband is a registered land surveyor and a vice president at an engineering firm. Their oldest son has a bachelor’s degree in nuclear medicine and works at a local hospital. Their second son and his wife are both students at the University of Georgia. Their teen-aged son keeps the household energized with his love of music, books, and writing.


Returning to the home she fled in disgrace, will Hannah find healing for the wounds of the past?

After receiving a desperate and confusing call from her sister, Hannah Lapp reluctantly returns to the Old Order Amish community of her Pennsylvania childhood.

Having fled in disgrace more than two years earlier, she finally has settled into a satisfying role in the Englischer world. She also has found love and a new family with the wealthy Martin Palmer and the children she is helping him raise. But almost immediately after her arrival in Owl’s Perch, the disapproval of those who ostracized her, including her headstrong father, reopens old wounds.

As Hannah is thrown together with former fiancĂ© Paul Waddell to work for her sister Sarah’s mental health, hidden truths surface about events during Hannah’s absence, and she faces an agonizing decision. Will she choose the Englischer world and the man who restored her hope, or will she heed the call to return to the Plain Life–and perhaps to her first love?

If you would like to read the first chapter of When The Soul Mends, go HERE

“A skillfully written story of forgiveness and redemption. Woodsmall’s authentic characters illustrate beautifully how wounded souls can indeed be mended.”
Susan Meissner, author of The Shape of Mercy

“Like the stitches on a well-loved quilt, love and faith hold together Cindy Woodsmall's When the Soul Mends, the brilliantly written third story in the Sisters of the Quilt series. With deft plotting and characters that seem to jump off the page, this novel offers the timeless truth that forgiveness is the balm which heals all wounds and a blanket for the soul.”
Kathleen Y’Barbo, author of Beloved Castaway

“What a vibrant, strong, emotional story! When the Heart Cries will grip you and not let go, I promise. Highly recommended!”
Gayle Roper, author of Allah’s Fire and the Seaside Seasons series

“Reaching deep into the heart of the reader, Cindy Woodsmall pens a beautifully lyrical story in her debut novel When the Heart Cries.”
Tamera Alexander, bestselling author of Rekindled

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Faking Grace

I discovered Tamara Leigh’s books last Christmas and spent a delightful holiday getting to know Adda (Stealing Adda), Kate (Perfecting Kate) and Harriet (Splitting Harriet). And I just finished spending a wonderful time with Maizy Grace (Faking Grace).

Tamara’s stories and characters make me laugh, think and remember what life was like before I met Christ. Add to that the joy of romance and the passion of a life lived with God and I’ve walked away from these books a little lighter for laughing, a little deeper for pondering the pursuit of God, and a lot more thankful for the gift of great Christian fiction.

Below you’ll find some information about Tamara and her latest book, Faking Grace. Be sure to click on the link below and read the first chapter!

This week, the
is introducing


After Tamara Leigh earned a Master’s Degree in Speech and Language Pathology, she and her husband decided to start a family, with plans for Tamara to continue in her career once she became a mother.

When the blessing of children proved elusive, Tamara became convicted to find a way to work out of her home in order to raise the children she and her husband longed to have. She turned to writing, at which she had only ever dreamed of being successful, and began attending church. Shortly thereafter, her agent called with news of Bantam Books’ offer of a four-book contract. That same day, Tamara’s pregnancy was confirmed. Within the next year, she gave up her speech pathology career, committed her life to Christ, her first child was born, and her first historical romance novel was released.

As Tamara continued to write for the secular market, publishing three more novels with HarperCollins and Dorchester, she infused her growing Christian beliefs into her writing. But it was not enough, and though her novels earned awards and were national bestsellers, she knew her stories were lacking. After struggling with the certainty that her writing was not honoring God as it should, she made the decision to write books that not only reveal Christianity to non-believers, but serve as an inspiration for those who have accepted Christ as their Savior. Her inspirational romances are peopled with characters in varying stages of Christian faith, from mature believers to new believers to non-believers on the threshold of awakening.

Tamara Leigh enjoys time with her family, volunteer work, faux painting, and reading. She lives near Nashville, Tennessee with her husband, David, and two sons, Skyler and Maxen.

Two of her latest books are Splitting Harriet and Perfecting Kate.


All she wants is a job. All she needs is religion. How hard can it be?

Maizy Grace Stewart dreams of a career as an investigative journalist, but her last job ended in disaster when her compassion cost her employer a juicy headline. A part-time gig at a Nashville newspaper might be her big break.

A second job at Steeple Side Christian Resources could help pay the bills, but Steeple Side only hires committed Christians. Maizy is sure she can fake it with her Five-Step Program to Authentic Christian Faith–a plan of action that includes changing her first name to Grace, buying Jesus-themed accessories, and learning “Christian Speak.” If only Jack Prentiss, Steeple Side’s managing editor and two-day-stubbled, blue-jean-wearing British hottie wasn’t determined to prove her a fraud.

When Maizy’s boss at the newspaper decides that she should investigate–and expose–any skeletons in Steeple Side’s closet, she must decide whether to deliver the dirt and secure her career or lean on her newfound faith, change the direction of her life, and pray that her Steeple Side colleagues–and Jack–will show her grace.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Faking Grace, go HERE

“Tamara Leigh takes her experienced romance hand and delights readers with Chick-Lit that sparkles and characters who come alive.”
- Kristin Billerbeck, author of The Trophy Wives Club

“A delightful, charming book! Faking Grace has romance, truth, and a dollop of insanity, making Tamara Leigh a permanent addition to my list of favorite authors. Enjoy!”
- Ginger Garrett, author of In the Shadow of Lions and Beauty Secrets of the Bible

“Tamara Leigh does a fabulous job looking at the faults, the love, the hypocrisy, and the grace of Christians in a way that’s entertaining and fun. Maizy Grace is a crazy character I couldn’t help but like. I loved this book and highly recommend it!”
- Camy Tang, author of Sushi for One? and Only Uni

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Still recovering

September is a month filled with lots of things I love. We start school, which we all enjoy... most days. And by this time I'm usually done with major edits and I'm off dreaming and researching the next story.

September also marks a writer's conference I've only missed once since its beginning. That would be the ACFW conference, this year in the beautiful state of Minnesota.

I was doubly blessed by getting to stay with a dear friend and visit with many other wonderful friends. I even broke out of my usual introvertedness and made a few new friends.

Over a hundred authors signed at the Mall of America... a truly massive place, filled with stores I never even noticed. Besides not being a huge shopper, I was more into getting to know the wonderful authors around me and meeting the folks who stopped by to say hello.

The picture to the right is of my beautiful friend, Kristian, and her two week old daughter. I've been praying for the family for months and to see this little miracle baby was such a joy. I got to meet Daddy George too and that was great. Makes me think about what heaven will be like when we get to see all the wonderful people we've prayed for over the years.

In addition to the friends and book signing, there were amazing classes and workshops as well as an awards ceremony where the highlight of the evening was cheering for my amazing and talented friend, Sharon Hinck. She won first place in the Speculative Fiction category. Way to go!!!

Also got a great picture with my agent, Chip MacGregor. Check out the kilt... my kids and family totally dig it. My brother-in-law also wears a kilt and competes in the Scottish games. Me? I'm the lone Irishwoman with a Scottish name. But maybe if my hubby ever dons the Wallace plaid, I'll be converted.

Another memory of this year's conference was being reminded that while it's awesome there were people who knew my name, have read my books and call me friend, God was there quietly cheering and whispering that He sees me, knows everything about me and loves me still. When my flesh fought not to envy or complain, God saw that too and put people in front of me to turn my focus back to Him.

I'm grateful for so much incredible teaching, God moments, and grace-filled memories.

Still tired. :-)

And forever challenged to keep seeking Him. He always answers in the perfect time and way.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Stepping Into Sunlight

I just turned the last page of Stepping Into Sunlight and had to let you all know what a beautiful, God-filled and amazing book this is.

Stepping Into Sunlight reminded me again that God does indeed use broken people to pour forth His grace. Sharon Hinck gave voice to the broken and showed how beautiful we are in God's eyes.

Hand in hand with Stepping Into Sunlight, Sharon is leading the way with small acts of kindness just like Penny Sullivan. Please check out Penny's Project and extend the joy of reading as well as put into practice the beautiful grace Penny both gives and receives on her journey to healing.

I owe you all a report on my Penny's Project activity. Sorry it's taken me a while to fill you in. God put on my heart to reach out to someone in my past. It wasn't a project or something to do just to say I did it. It required more of me than I can explain. But I prayed and just did it.

And God showed up and brought a bit of healing I hadn't expected. The conversation was light and full and made me smile. The best part was knowing I had stepped out in obedience and God took my very small offering and multiplied it in two lives.

I hope you'll consider being part of Penny's Project. God has so much big to do from our small acts of kindness.

I also hope you'll do your heart a favor and hop over to Amazon, CBD or your local bookstore and pick up Stepping Into Sunlight.

Here's a little more about Stepping Into Sunlight...

“Hinck, a 2008 Christy finalist for visionary fiction, offers an especially grounded tale of sudden trauma and slow healing.

Narrator Penny Sullivan witnesses a horrific crime shortly before her navy chaplain husband is deployed, so she is forced to cope alone with the psychological fallout from what she saw. Family issues from her past complicate her struggle and enhance its credibility. Strong Christian themes form a natural part of the narrative. Penny Sullivan’s faith is shaken, and she wonders why God would appear to permit evil and whether her emotional turmoil can be healed.

A supporting cast of characters, from a nosy neighbor to the busy faithful servant to the downtrodden who heads a local mission, adds quirk and richness. Hinck is a mother of four, and it shows in authentic details in her characterization of the narrator’s worried, loving seven-year-old son who gets his first pet in some cute comic relief. Hinck has done her homework on post-traumatic stress syndrome, and is not afraid to show readers that challenges can deepen faith.” — Publisher’s Weekly

“Like Sharon Hinck’s heroine, I, too, witnessed a crime. It’s been years, but I relived every emotion along with Penny Sullivan. Told with humor and lump-in-the-throat insight, Stepping into Sunlight is a compelling story of learning to live again after trauma. This was my first Sharon Hinck novel, but it garnered her a permanent spot on my favorite authors list.”
– Deborah Raney, author of A Vow to Cherish and The Clayburn Novels series

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ginger Garrett

How about a great book for the weekend? Ginger's newest novel, In the Shadow of Lions is at the top of my TBR pile. Ginger is a phenomenal lady and what I've already read (I had to peek!) is beautiful.

Here's some more information...

Be sure to check out Ginger's website and take a look at the first chapter of In the Shadow of Lions.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing


Ginger Garrett is the critically acclaimed author of Chosen: The Lost Diaries of Queen Esther, which was recognized as one of the top five novels of 2006 by the ECPA, and Dark Hour. An expert in ancient women's history, Ginger creates novels and nonfiction resources that explore the lives of historical women.

Her newest release is Beauty Secrets of the Bible, (September 11, Thomas Nelson) based on the historical research that began in her work on Chosen. The book explores the connections between beauty and spirituality, offering women both historical insights and scientific proofs that reveal powerful, natural beauty secrets.

A frequent radio guest on stations across the country, including NPR and Billy Graham's The Hour of Decision, Ginger is also a popular television guest. Her appearances include Harvest Television, Friends & Neighbors, and Babbie's House. Ginger frequently serves as a co-host on the inspirational cable program Deeper Living.

In 2007, Ginger was nominated for the Georgia Author of the Year Award for her novel Dark Hour. When she's not writing, you may spy Ginger hunting for vintage jewelry at thrift stores, running (slowly) in 5k and 10k races, or just trying to chase down one of her errant sheepdogs. A native Texan, she now resides in Georgia with her husband and three children.


"I am the first writer, The Scribe. My books lie open before the Throne, and someday will be the only witness of your people and their time in this world."

So begins the narration of one such angel in this sweeping historical tale set during the reign of England's Henry VIII. It is the story of two women, their guardian angels, and a mysterious, subversive book ... a book that outrages some, inspires others, and launches the Protestant Reformation.

The devout Anne Boleyn catches the eye of a powerful king and uses her influence to champion an English translation of the Bible. Meanwhile, Rose, a broken, suicidal woman of the streets, is moved to seek God when she witnesses Thomas Moore's public displays of Christian charity, ignorant of his secret life spent eradicating the Bible, persecuting anyone who dares read it.

Historic figures come alive in this thrilling story of heroes and villains, saints and sinners, angels and mortals ... and the sacred book that will inspire you anew. Fans of Francine Rivers and Karen Kingsbury will love Ginger's intriguing combination of rich character development, artful settings, and inspiring historical insights.

If you would like to read an excerpt from In The Shadow Of Lions, go HERE

Monday, September 08, 2008

What's in a word?

An amazing friend and fellow blogger, Sharon Hinck, tagged me for a fun word meme. I couldn't pass it up...

What is your favorite word?

Dream. It embodies hope and faith and also reminds me of something I need to do more of... sleep. ;-)

I also like the word "sans" but my best friend says real people don't use that word. I begged to differ and used it, with her in mind, in all three Defenders of Hope stories. ;-)

What is your least favorite word?

Wait. When it comes from heaven or someone on the phone, I dislike hearing it because it means my schedule just got trumped.

What inspires you (creatively, spiritually or emotionally)?

Laughing with my family, listening to ocean waves or a river, praying with a friend

What dampens your enthusiasm (creatively, spiritually or emotionally)?

Being ignored

What sound or noise do you love?

My children's laughter, the unwrapping of chocolate, the ocean

What sound or noise do you hate?

Anything that wakes me up from a Sunday or sick day nap

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

I'd love to be an FBI agent or a cop. Unfortunately (or in some folks' minds, fortunately) I'm well over the cut off age for application.

What profession would you not like to do?

Anything to do with cleaning or garbage collecting

What one book, other than the Bible, do you read again and again for inspiration?

Praying Parent and Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian.

What would you like to hear God say when you arrive in Heaven?

"Well done, beloved child"

How would you all answer these questions???

Friday, September 05, 2008

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Stepping Into Sunlight

To celebrate a new novel, Stepping Into Sunlight, from my absolute favorite author, I joined a very cool project. Below is an excerpt from Sharon Hinck's blog, Penny's Project, to give you a taste. I hope you'll check out the site and join in...

Penny's Project

During the 30 days of September, 2008, we're going to do small kind acts. You can set a goal for one per day (like Penny Sullivan in the novel Stepping Into Sunlight) or one per week, or just one per month.

Sound fun? Sound scary? Sound impossible?

Well.... it sounded scary to me. And I wasn't sure what in the world I would do to participate. But I have my small act of kindness because God put it on my heart as soon as I asked what I should do. I'll tell you about it tomorrow.

In the meantime, when you hear about a small act of kindness what do you think it means? What's one kind act that you can do this week?

Back To Life

Need a great story by an author you can trust? Then check out Kristin's newest Trophy Wives Club novel, Back To Life.

Here's more...


Kristin Billerbeck was born in Redwood City, California. She went to San Jose State University and gained a bachelor's degree in Advertising, then worked at the Fairmont Hotel in PR, a small ad agency as an account exec, and then, she was thrust into the exciting world of shopping mall marketing.

She got married, had four kids, and started writing romance novels until she found her passion: Chick Lit. She is a CBA bestselling author and two-time winner of the ACFW Book of the Year for What A Girl Wants in 2004, and again in 2006 for With this Ring. Featured in the New York Times, USA Today, World Magazine, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Kristin has appeared on the Today Show. She is credited with jump-starting the inspirational chick-lit phenomenon. Most recently, she has been named a finalist for the Christy Award in the Lits category for The Trophy Wives Club.

Her other recent books include: She's All That.


Lindsey realized when she married Ron, a man 17 years her senior, that the odds were he’d see heaven before her, but she never expected to be a widow at 35. There’s too much of life left for her to just sit around in mourning. But she can’t seem to kick start the rest of her life.

That is until she gets some help from Ron’s first wife, Jane, who shows up unexpectedly at her door one day as the executor of her husband’s estate. Jane is everything Lindsey’s not… independent, stubborn… and a lot older. Plus she has one surprise after another… including a son named Ron Jr. (she insists he’s not “really” Ron’s son). But an unlikely friendship develops as each woman begins to reevaluate what is really important, and owns up to the mistakes they’ve made in the past.

Told in the alternating voices of Jane and Lindsey, and with the return of many of the witty characters of The Trophy Wives Club, this book is a lighthearted, relatable read for when life goes in a direction you never planned. With faith and friends, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.

If you would like to read an excerpt of chapter 1 of Back To Life, go HERE

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Need a laugh? Watch here

What are you doing September 20th?

If you'll be any where near the Mall of America... please stop by and say HI! I'll have some chocolate (no surprise there, right? ;-) ) to share and would love to meet you!

What: ACFW booksigning

Who: 127 Christian novelists

Where: Best Buy and Sears Rotundas and connecting hallway, Mall of America, Bloomington, MN

When: Saturday, September 20, 2008
1-3 p.m.

Why: To meet your favorite authors

Tamera Alexander
Jennifer AlLee
A.K. Arenz
Diane Ashley
Karen Ball
Janet Lee Barton
James Scott Bell
Joseph Bentz
Terri Blackstock
Robin Caroll
Patricia PacJac Carroll
Jeanie Smith Cash
Eleanor Clark
Debra Clopton
Gloria Clover
Brandilyn Collins
Mary Connealy
Lyn Cote
Kathryn Cushman
Margaret Daley
KM Daughters
Susan Page Davis
Mary Davis
Janet Dean
Megan DiMaria
Brandt Dodson
Lena Nelson Dooley
Cecelia Dowdy
Sharon Dunn
Wanda Dyson
Lynette Eason
Meredith Efken
Leanna Ellis
Sharon Ewell Foster
Miralee Ferrell
Tina Ann Forkner
Darlene Franklin
Jonathan Friesen
Rhonda Gibson
Terri Gillespie
Debby Giusti
Beth Goddard
Cathy Gohlke
Rene Gutteridge
Cathy Marie Hake
Kelly Eileen Hake
Karen Harter
Rachel Hauck
Roxanne Henke
Cynthia Hickey
Patti Hill
Sharon Hinck
Joan Hochstetler
Steven Hunt
Angela Hunt
Denise Hunter
Annette Irby
Jennifer Johnson
Jenny B. Jones
Golden Keyes Parsons
Deb Kinnard
Julie Klassen
Kathleen Kovach
Harry Kraus
Patti Lacy
Maureen Lang
Jeanne Marie Leach
Tosca Lee
Julie Lessman
Michelle Levigne
Sherri L. Lewis
Elizabeth Ludwig
Christine Lynxwiler
Richard L. Mabry
Sharlene MacLaren
Gail Martin
Debby Mayne
Vickie McDonough
Andrew McGuire
Susan Meissner
Becky Melby
Dana Mentink
Amber Miller
Judith Miller
Sara Mills
Siri Mitchell
Nancy Moser
Janelle Mowery
Elizabeth Musser
Mark Mynheir
Jill Nelson
Mae Nunn
John Olson
Donita K. Paul
Trish Perry
Marta Perry
Allie Pleiter
Cara Putman
Deborah Raney
Sandra Robbins
Paul Robertson
John Robinson
Martha Rogers
Cynthia Ruchti
Gail Sattler
Kim Vogel Sawyer
Shelley Shephard Gray
Virginia Smith
Lynette Sowell
Candice Speare
Kathryn Springer
Denice Stewart
Sarah Anne Sumpolec
Michelle Sutton
Camy Tang
Donn Taylor
Janice Thompson
Cindy Thomson
Missy Tippens
Carrie Turansky
ML Tyndall
Amy Wallace
Susan May Warren
Linda Wichman
Beth Wiseman
Cheryl Wyatt
Kathleen Y'Barbo

Monday, September 01, 2008

Wanna play?

Hope you're enjoying some time off on Labor Day! We're heading to a friend's house for a cookout and some kicking back and relaxing.

While you're out and about or home chillin' can I suggest two things?

One, would you join us in praying for our military and law enforcement? These men and women risk their lives every day so we can enjoy the freedoms that make our country great. They could use our prayers and encouragement.

Two, how about popping into the Heart Chocolate site and checking out a new feature? I'd love to hear what you think and find out what kind of Defenders of Hope fan you are.

Happy Labor Day y'all!
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