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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Amish Love

I just had to give a shout out to a dear friend, Cindy Woodsmall, who did an amazing job on ABC's Nightline this week! Check out her now online interview and post a comment to encourage Cindy and let the folks at ABC see the Christian community supporting one other.

Here's a bit from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group with more details...

Amish Love

What’s all the hubbub about Amish fiction? Major media outlets like Time and ABC Nightline are covering it, and authors like Cindy Woodsmall are making the New York Times bestseller list regularly. What makes these books so interesting?

Check out the recent ABC Nightline piece about Cindy and her titles When the Heart Cries, When the Morning Comes, and When the Soul Mends. It’s an intriguing look at Amish culture and the time Cindy has spent with Amish friends.

And don’t forget that Cindy’s new book The Hope of Refuge hits store shelves August 11, and is available for preorder now.

Shadows on the River

SHADOWS ON THE RIVER is the story of Ally Roarke. When she was a young teenager she saw her best friend pushed to her death. Here are Ally's own words:

"I was only fourteen when I witnessed a murder on the riverbank. A murder that went unpunished. Unless you count what happened to my family. We were forced out of town by the teenage killer's prominent parents. And the murder was forgotten—by everyone but me. Now, the killer is a respected businessman. I can't let him get away with it. But I'm a single mother with a child to protect, what can I do? The new man in my life, Mark Bishop, warns me to be careful. For there's already been another murder. Close to home."

A bit about Linda:

Award winning and twice Christy-nominated author Linda Hall has written fifteen novels plus many short stories. She has also worked as a freelance writer, news reporter and feature writer for daily newspaper.

She grew up in New Jersey where her love of the ocean was nurtured. Most of her novels have something to do with the sea. When she's not writing, Linda and her husband enjoy sailing the St. John River system and the coast of Maine. In the summer we basically move aboard their 34' sailboat aptly named - Mystery.

Shadows on the River can be ordered from most online bookstores such as amazon, or can be ordered from her website:

What others are saying:

- With a voice well suited to mystery and suspense, Hall creates an almost gothic atmosphere and a wonderfully satisfying conclusion in this final installment of her Shadows series. Romantic Times 4 stars

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Rose House


Tina Ann Forkner


Tina Ann Forkner writes contemporary fiction that challenges and inspires. She grew up in Oklahoma and graduated with honors from CSU Sacramento before settling in Wyoming. She lives with her husband, their three bright children and their dog and stays busy serving on the Laramie County Library Foundation Board of Directors. She is the author of Ruby Among Us, her debut novel, and Rose House, which recently released from Waterbrook Press/Random House.


A vivid story of a private grief, a secret painting, and one woman’s search for hope.

Still mourning the loss of her family in a tragic accident, Lillian Diamon finds herself drawn back to the Rose House, a quiet cottage where four years earlier she had poured out her anguish among its fragrant blossoms.

She returns to the rolling hills and lush vineyards of the Sonoma Valley in search of something she can’t quite name. But then Lillian stumbles onto an unexpected discovery: displayed in the La Rosaleda Gallery is a painting that captures every detail of her most private moment of misery, from the sorrow etched across her face to the sandals on her feet.

What kind of artist would dare to intrude on such a personal scene, and how did he happen to witness Lillian’s pain? As the mystery surrounding the portrait becomes entangled with the accident that claimed the lives of her husband and children, Lillian is forced to rethink her assumptions about what really happened that day.

A captivating novel rich with detail, Rose House explores how the brushstrokes of pain can illuminate the true beauty of life.

If you would like to read an excerpt from HERE

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Tribute

Many men and women have served our country in the Armed Forces, my dad and grandfather among them. Today we remember the ones who gave their lives.

Please keep our soldiers in your prayers.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Dream Big

Thursday was my birthday, and as birthdays always cause me to do, I grew contemplative. But too often those big thoughts, big dreams, big decisions get lost in the everydayness of life once the big day passes. Even so, one thing I'm forever trying to teach my children is to live with passion. That means taking those big dreams and big decisions and living them out. I fail at that too often. But each day, because of God's great mercy and His never giving up on any of us, we have another opportunity to make good on those dreams. To take action and live them out.

We can start simple... like forgiving someone. Or making time to just sit before the throne of God and listen. Spending a little more time just being with our children, our parents, our friends. Knowing our gifts and talents and seeking God as to how He wants to use them in the Body of Christ. Giving a cup of cold water on a hot day.

Then move on to some of those dreams you had as a kid or an idealistic young adult. What did you want to be when you grew up? Even more importantly, what did Jesus create you to be? Think about where you are now and where you'd like to be in answer to those two questions. The space between them is truly spanned one step at a time.

Of all the things I pray my children remember about me, my not giving up on God's dreams for me and living them with passion is the one that tops my list.

Ephesians 4:1 "As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received."

Ephesians 5:2 "...and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."

Dream big and take the next prayerful step.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Nothing But Trouble

Just in time for sun, fun, and summer reading comes another amazing book by Susan May Warren. I'm loving PJ Sugar and the heap of trouble that zooms her way.

Jump into the fun with a blurb about PJ Sugar and a note from Susan. Then head out the door or online to your fave bookstore and pick up a copy of Nothing But Trouble. It'll get you started right for summer!

Nothing But Trouble
by Susan May Warren

PJ Sugar knows three things for sure:

After traveling the country for ten years hoping to shake free from the trail of disaster that’s become her life, she needs a fresh start.

The last person she wants to see when she heads home for her sister’s wedding is Boone—her former flame and the reason she left town.

Her best friend’s husband absolutely did not commit the first murder Kellogg, Minnesota, has seen in more than a decade.

What PJ doesn’t know is that when she starts digging for evidence, she’ll uncover much more than she bargained for—a deadly conspiracy, a knack for investigation, and maybe, just maybe, that fresh start she’s been longing for.

It's not fair to say that trouble happens every time PJ Sugar is around, but it feels that way when she returns to her hometown, looking for a fresh start. Within a week, her former teacher is murdered and her best friend's husband is arrested as the number-one suspect. Although the police detective investigating the murder--who also happens to be PJ's former flame--is convinced it's an open-and-shut case, PJ's not so sure. She begins digging for clues in an effort to clear her friend's husband and ends up reigniting old passions, uncovering an international conspiracy, and solving a murder along the way. She also discovers that maybe God can use a woman who never seems to get it right

Read the first chapter:

About Susan:

Susan May Warren is the award-winning author of seventeen novels and novellas with Tyndale, Steeple Hill and Barbour Publishing. Her first book, Happily Ever After won the American Fiction Christian Writers Book of the Year in 2003, and was a 2003 Christy Award finalist. In Sheep’s Clothing, a thriller set in Russia, was a 2006 Christy Award finalist and won the 2006 Inspirational Reader’s Choice award. A former missionary to Russia, Susan May Warren now writes Suspense/Romance and Chick Lit full time from her home in northern Minnesota.

A note from Susan May Warren

Sometimes, do you feel like you just don’t fit in? You look around you and if anyone knew how difficult it was just to put yourself together, to smile when you feel completely overwhelmed, to even figure out what you were making for supper, they’d know what a mess you were. Maybe you totally relate to those words in 1 Peter – God’s elect, strangers and aliens in the world. Do you feel like when you look in the rear view mirror, all you see are your mistakes?

Maybe not. But if so, then PJ is your gal. I wanted to write a story about the person in so many of us who just wants to get it right…but can’t seem to stay out of trouble. My friend and I have what we call the “stupid mouth” club…and we report our weekly foibles (usually on Monday, after Sunday church!). PJ is our charter member. She’s the girl that changes her mind, always hopes for the best, is always discovering that she is just a little different than everyone else. PJ is us.

And that’s good news. Because God loves PJ. He loves her messiness, and her impulsiveness, her heart bent toward others, the hope that fuels her actions. And He has a plan for PJ – one that includes her weaknesses as well as her strengths.

Yep, I need to hear that – need to hear that I don’t have to be perfect for God to love me, use me, sing over me. Need to hear that although I don’t fit in, well, I’m not supposed to…in fact, I’m supposed to be a little…alien.

I wrote PJ for everyone who feels just a little messy, just a little like they can’t quite get it right. And who needs to hear that God loves them. Period. Full stop. Hallelujah.

What is your favourite Bible verse and what does it mean to you?

My current favourite is: Hebrew 4:16, “Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” It means that even when I come crawling, my face to the floor, He won’t reject me. I pull it out whenever I blow it, or feel inadequate, or when someone hurts me, or...when I hurt someone else. Basically whenever I feel like I’m Trouble, I remember that God won’t turn away. In fact, He may even do what I do to my children – turn me to face Him, despite my puffy red face, wipe off my tears and pull me into His arms.

Where did the idea for PJ Sugar come from?

Every author dreams of a moment where someone says something, or they see something on the news, or in a newspaper and it springs out at them, nearly shouting – STORY IDEA! This happened to me a number of years ago while talking to friends about their daycare situation, and how one of the parents ended up being a murder suspect! Scary! But an interesting idea. About that time, I was a mom who wore many hats – homeschooling mom, writing teacher, speaker, children’s church leader, -- and it occurred to me that a mother really has to be a sort of PI. Not only taking on different roles, but sleuthing out daily household mysteries like, who ate the last of the peanut butter (and put it back in the cupboard?) and whose socks are laying in the middle of the floor, and finally…(in our house), who let the dog (and her muddy feet!) in the house! PJ is the alter-ego in every mom, that super-hero inside of us that allows us to have esp (I know you’re not really done with your homework!), or have “eyes in the back of our head,” (stop poking your sister!) or even figure out how to whip together an award-winning science project the night before the fair. PJ just applies all those skills to bad guys and figuring out the truth.

PJ Sugar is also a woman who wants to be all things to all people. She wants to be her nephew’s champion and her sister’s best friend, and her mother’s favorite daughter, and Boone’s special girl, and the hero of her hometown. That’s not too much to ask, is it? Maybe…because God wants her to be His girl, and satisfied in who He made her to be. And that is a journey for all of us PJ Sugars.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Fiction authors have all the fun!

If you haven't seen the TV show, Castle, you need to check out this ABC show! One of the main characters, Rick Castle, is a famous crime fiction writer and totally proves fiction authors have fun~ especially with research.

Even if you're not a crime TV or even a TV junkie (I'm not either, but I love Castle!) here's a peek into my psychosis... I mean my writing life.

This week I've been compiling research and working on character charts for my new suspense series people. And I've had a BLAST!

I'd forgotten how fun writing can be.

Honestly, I didn't want to do the character charts. But after I started typing, these fictional people came to life and I loved poking around in their pasts and finding more and more ideas for present-day conflicts.

I also took a look into something I did for the Defenders of Hope characters that'd I'd forgotten about. Soooo glad God turned my thoughts to this character builder.

It's a concept called an imagery item.

I heard about this through a writer friend (Thanks, Jen!) who heard it from the author, Jade Lee. I have to tell you, Ms. Lee is a genius. So is my best friend, Jen. She’s also a saint for critiquing my proposal at midnight. Meg too.

I could totally do a blog post on the crowns in heaven Jen, Meg, and Sharon will receive for making me write better.

Okay, back to imagery items… an imagery item is a tangible object that describes a character. This can be anything, as long as it exemplifies your character.

Here are some of my favorite examples:

Crimes Against Children Agent Steven Kessler. His imagery item is a broken superhero toy: powerful but wounded, fun if he remembers how to play.

Steven’s partner, FBI Agent Clint Rollins, is a tall, Texas cowboy hat: strong, dependable, traditional, a sturdy covering for those under his care.

I love how those simple items so totally encapsulate the characters. Plus, these items have helped me remember the characters major conflicts and, in some cases, how they heal.

The only imagery item that made its way into a story was Hanna Kessler's.

Her item is a cracked crystal vase: can’t see the full beauty without lots of light, fragile, doesn’t break without a great deal of pressure unless there’s a weak spot. You know the saying, "God uses cracked pots"? Well, Hanna is a heart-deep twist on that truth.

If you've read Enduring Justice, you know why this particular imagery item is so powerful and so dear to me.

For those who haven't read EJ yet, I'll just say Hanna’s imagery item is integral to the story’s ending in a way that still makes me cheer.

All this to say: Imagery items, along with deep back-story, help me see fictional characters as multi-dimensional, breathing people.

Some of whom I like to hang out with. ;-)

And that makes writing even more fun.

And the winner is...

The winners from the Enduring Justice blog tour were chosen at random by the Random Integer Generator --

Here are your random numbers:

47 - Grand Prize winner of the Defender of Hope series:
Elizabeth Medlin

71 - winner of Enduring Justice:
Renee - steelergirl83

77 - winner of Enduring Justice:
Need A Nap

Timestamp: 2009-05-14 06:01:48 UTC

Congrats! Please email your mailing address to Amy! (

Thank you all so much for signing up for my newsletter and visiting my blog tour.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Vote of Confidence

by Robin Lee Hatcher

Who says a woman can’t do a man’s job?

Put up or shut up! Complaining about Bethlehem Springs' dissolute mayoral candidate, Gwen Arlington is challenged to take on the role herself. For seven years, she’s carved out an independent life in the bustling mountain town of Bethlehem Springs, Idaho, teaching piano and writing for the local newspaper. But now she’s a single woman running for mayor — and in 1915 this decision is bound to stir up trouble.

Morgan McKinley is fed up with the delays that hinder the construction of New Hope Health Spa, a place where both rich and poor can come for rest and healing. New to the area, he has determined that serving as mayor would help him push through his agenda for progress.

Gwen and Morgan each want to prove they are the most qualified candidate, not only to voters but to each other, and so sparks fly as the two campaign. Although Morgan has learned to guard his heart as fiercely as Gwen guards her independence, could they learn to be allies instead of adversaries?

This first book in the Sisters of Bethlehem Springs Series provides intriguing insights into how women challenged convention and shaped America in the early twentieth century.


Robin Lee Hatcher is the best-selling author of over sixty books. Her well-drawn characters and heartwarming stories of faith, courage, and love have earned her both critical acclaim and the devotion of readers. Her numerous awards including the 2000 Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, the 1999 and 2001 RITA Awards for Best Inspirational Romance, Romantic Times Career Achievement Awards for Americana Romance and for Inspirational Fiction, and the 2001 RWA Lifetime Achievement Award. Catching Katie was named one of the Best Books of 2004 by the Library Journal.

Robin began her writing career in the general market, writing mass market romances for Leisure Books, HarperPaperbacks, Avon Books, and Silhouette. In 1997, after several years of heart preparation, Robin accepted God's call to write stories of faith and hasn't looked back since. She has written both contemporary women's fiction and historical romances for CBA publishers, and in 2009 her 60th book, A Vote of Confidence, was released, launching a new series (The Sisters of Bethlehem Springs) that looks at the question, "Who says a woman can't do a man's job?" The setting is Idaho during the WWI era.


Ideas come to writers in lots of different ways. The idea for The Sisters of Bethlehem Springs series came to me back in 2003-2004 and had its genesis in a couple of other books. From Catching Katie had come a fascination with the decade leading up to the passing of the 19th Amendment that gave American women the right to vote. From a secondary character in Speak to Me of Love came a fondness for a woman in an unusual occupation. While those two things were rolling around in my head, up popped the final ingredient. A question: Who says a woman can't do a man's job? And the next thing I knew, I'd met Gwen and Cleo Arlington, the heroines of the first two books in the series. I had to wait to meet my third heroine until the hero of A Vote of Confidence walked into my imagination. Guess what, Morgan McKinley had a younger sister, Daphne. Each of these women have jobs that weren't considered a woman's domain in their time (1915-1918). I hope readers will become as fond of Gwen, Cleo, and Daphne -- and the men with whom they fall in love -- as I am.

Here is the link to an excerpt from A Vote of Confidence:

Monday, May 11, 2009

Where oh where have I been?

It's been a busy April and things aren't slowing down yet. But almost all of the busyness has been a blast, so I thought you might like to see my April in pictures.

I just had to share a proud writer moment. It's me at the arrival of my third book baby, Enduring Justice.

And here are some pictures of my speaking at South Effingham High School on April 23rd, my amazing hubby's birthday.

Here's my family with the SEHS Stomping Stangs Book Club and their amazing leader, Mrs. Olivier, SEHS principal, and laughing with Mr. Pearce.

The next big April event was a book launch party at Lifeway Christian Store. Here’s a pre-event photo with my handsome hubby.

Then there are photos of dear friends, Jessica and Elizabeth, who have attended and cheered me on at every Defenders of Hope launch party.

Please make note of the famous, beautiful, and amazing Cindy Woodsmall asking for two hundred cases of Enduring Justice! Okay, she was just goofing off for the camera. But she did come and keep me smiling with her encouragement.

Here is my pastor, Steve Hammack, questioning my use of his name for a character~ good guy or not???

Well... I happen to really like my pastor, so his namesake in Enduring Justice is a good guy.

That just goes to show you... be nice to writers or they might put you in a book.

My last April event was an amazing book club in Jackson Georgia. I had the honor of meeting and spending two hours talking with a Christian book club led by Stephanie Akom. Then we had more fun signing books and talking well into the night. I loved every minute of my time with these wonderful ladies!

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