Wednesday, 30 April 2008

NavPress and the Christy Awards

The Navigator's at Monash University in Melbourne helped me transition to University many years ago and my hubby and I ended up on staff for a number of years so I was delighted to hear their fiction books have done really well this year grabbing 5 Christy nominations.

Enjoy reading the News Advisory below and contact Kathleen Campbell, Campbell Public Relations, 877-540-6022; if you would like to know more about NavPress books.

News Advisory, Wednesday, April 30, 2008—Colorado Springs, CO—NavPress has surprised the publishing world with an astonishing five finalists selected to compete for the most coveted prize in Christian fiction—The Christy Awards. NavPress, publisher of The Message Bible, is best known for discipleship and spiritual-growth materials.

“NavPress has really taken the genre by surprise this year,” says Marketing Director, Jessica Chappell. “I would expect five finalists from a large publisher that specializes in fiction, but this is exceptional, and we are thrilled to see it happen.”

The NavPress finalists for 2007 are as follows: For First Novel, Demon: A Memoir by Tosca Lee; in the Visionary category, The Restorer by Sharon Hinck; and locking up the Young Adult category the three finalists are all NavPress authors: Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson, In Between by Jenny B. Jones, and Maggie Come Lately by Michelle Buckman.

“We have had a few second-and third-place-winning novels in the past,” says Dan Benson, NavPress Editorial Director, “but 2007 was a banner year for our fiction titles. Our authors are outstanding storytellers, and each of these novels is a great read especially for the summer fiction-buying crowd."

When asked if more quality fiction is in store for NavPress, Mike Miller, the new Executive Publisher, simply smiles and says, “We’ll just have to wait and see. After 30 years in publishing we have never been known for fiction and it hasn’t really been our strong suit. This is quite a pleasant surprise.”

Since 1978 NavPress has been primarily responsible for publishing discipleship and spiritual growth books and materials, Bibles, and bible study guides as a part of the ministry of The Navigators. The Navigators is an interdenominational, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people grow spiritually, to know Christ and to make Him known as they look to Him and His Word to chart their lives.

Today, tens of thousands of people worldwide are coming to know and grow in Jesus Christ through the various ministries of The Navigators. As an international ministry approximately 4,000 Navigators now serve over 64 nationalities in more than 100 countries.

CFBA Blog Tour of The Big Picture by Jenny B Jones

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Big Picture

(NavPress Publishing Group April 15, 2008)


Jenny B. Jones


Jenny B. Jones is the author of A Katie Parker Production series. The other books in the series are
In Between and On The Loose. Though now an adult, she still relates to the trauma and drama of teen life. She is thrilled to see her writing dreams come true, as her previous claim to fame was singing the Star Spangled Banner at a mule-jumping championship. (The mules were greatly inspired.)

Jenny resides in Arkansas, where, as a teacher, she hangs out with teens on a regular basis.

Sometimes there’s a fine line between comedy and tragedy—and Katie Parker is walking it.

School is winding down for the summer but Katie Parker is having a bad day. After leaving the drive-in, where her imploding love life was the main attraction, Katie arrives home to a big surprise on the Scott's front porch.

Her mother, Bobbie Ann Parker, a former convict and recovering addict, wants to take Katie away from her family, friends, and church. Now Katie's life will be changed by a series of dramatic choices as she struggles to understand what family and home really means.

Katie is forced to walk away from In Between, leaving behind a family who loves her, a town drive-in to save, and a boyfriend who suddenly can’t take his eyes off his ex. When the life her mother promised begins to sink faster than one of Maxine’s stuffed bras, Katie knows she needs to rely on God to keep it together.

But where is he in all this? Can Katie survive a chaotic life with her mother—and one without the Scotts? And if God is there, will he come through before it’s too late?

A Katie Parker Production series offers teen girls real-world fiction balanced by hope and humor. The The Big Picture helps us realize that the difficult chapters in our journey are only part of God's big story for our lives.

You can read the first chapter HERE

"A heroine to love. Jones just gets better with every book, and The Big Picture is her best one yet."
~BARBARA WARREN, author of The Gathering Storm

"Such inspiration in a package of fun and faith!"
~EVA MARIE EVERSON, author of the Potluck Club series

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

The winner of A Bride So Fair is...

Becoming Me ~ congratulations! I have sent you an email!

My baby girl picked your name out - good thing she can't read yet :)
Thank you to everyone who entered.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Sneak peek at She's In A Better Place by Angela Hunt

Having just finished Angela Hunt's, She Always Wore Red, it seems a so long until the third Fairlawn tale so here is something to whet your appetite while we all wait.....

The cover is still being finalised - I will post it again as soon as it is available :)

In the third book of the Fairlawn series, Jennifer Graham is now running the Fairlawn Funeral Home. Her work takes on a new dimension when Gerald Huffman, her assistant and mentor, reveals that he has a serious illness. When she learns that he and his daughter haven’t spoken in years, Jen decides to help them reconcile . . . but things don’t go exactly as she planned. Once again, the mortuary is a setting for lessons of laughter, love, and life.

Releasing January, 2009 from Tyndale.

If you haven't read this series, check out my reviews by clicking the links below then get yourself to a good book store!!

Doesn't She Look Natural?

She Always Wore Red

Here are the endorsements on the back cover of She Always Wore Red:~

“. . . a top-notch inspirational plot that maintains a lighthearted touch.”—Library Journal

“Angela writes with humor, tenderness and creates such emotional tension that I had to remind myself to take a breath! I can’t wait to see where Angela takes her Fairlawn series. Doesn’t She Look Natural? is highly recommended.”—CBD reader

The "CBD reader" is me! Thanks, Deborah for letting me know!

Angela's website and blog for more good stuff!

Blog Tour of A Promise for Tomorrow by Sara DuBose & open giveaway

A Promise for Tomorrow

Randall House Publishing

ISBN 13: 978-0-89265-563-2

Paperback; $12.99; 208 page

In the mid 1950’s small town, Sugar Hill, Alabama was quiet and sleepy in every way imaginable. Fannie Lea Rockwell has few pressing concerns, save for her dreadful nickname, Flea. Few concerns that is until she crosses paths with Mr. Boyd, Sugar Hill’s resident hermit and mysterious citizen. Mr. Boyd lives across the railroad tracks deep in the woods and his anti-social tendencies only fuel the gossip fire; its rumored that he keeps his daughter, Mavis, locked in the attic all day and that he brews moonshine in the woods behind his house.

One day when Flea and her brother, Rand, trespass on Mr. Boyd’s property to get a better view of Mavis, they encounter more than they bargained for. A grip around her waist, a knife to her throat and a threat on her life are quite enough to convince Flea to never return. His breath which smelled of rotting cabbage only served to fuel her fear.

As she unravels the mystery behind Mavis Boyd, Flea uncovers secrets of other Sugar Hill residents and soon discovers how little she actually knows her neighbors. Soon Flea will find herself in a life-or-death situation where she places herself in danger to save the life of someone more helpless than herself.

Themes in the Book: Living expectantly; Putting Faith Before Fear; Selfless Love

About Sara DuBose

Sara DuBose is a motivational speaker and author of three other novels: Where Hearts Live, Where Love Grows, and Where Memories Linger. Sara is also author of Conquering Anxiety, published by the Presbyterian Church in America. Her other writing credits include numerous articles and stories for publications such as The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Today’s Christian Woman, Virtue, Decision, The Christian Reader, and Family Life Today. She also appears in several anthologies published by Multnomah and Barbour. Sara received a first place fiction award from Putting Your Passion into Print and a first place fiction award from the Southeastern Writer’s Association. She currently travels as a speaker for seminars, festivals, civic clubs, schools and churches and may be contacted at Sara and her husband live in Montgomery, Alabama. She is the mother of two daughters.

Q&A with Sara DuBose, author of A Promise for Tomorrow

Q. Everyone seems to be affected by today's tenuous economic environment. From housing to jobs, it seems there's always bad news on the 5 o'clock news. How can you 'live expectantly' in these uncertain times?

A. Sometimes our children show us how to live expectantly. Years ago I lifted my sick three-year-old from her bed and plopped us both in the rocking chair. Cherie felt hot and clammy. I was hot with fatigue and anxiety, having nursed sick people for over a month. I said, “Honey, I’m so sorry you are not feeling good.”

Sensing my frustration, Cherie pushed the hair back from my eyes and replied, “Dats all right, mama. We pray about it, den you won’t haf to worry.”

Can three or four-year-old children show us the way home? They can when our home is with the heart of God who said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). So, whether it’s personal, financial, or even a global crisis, the Christian won’t find rest in another news report of the latest terrorist attack, freeway accident, or stock market slide. No, lasting peace is only found in Christ who lifts us from our sick bed of worry, pushes the hair back from our eyes, and rocks us for awhile.

Q. Worry seems to be the opposite of 'living expectantly,' but isn't some worry necessary for day-to-day life?

A. Yes, some anxiety or tension is warranted. We want to be alert when we pull into a six-lane highway at rush hour, take a test, or interview for a job. Above all, we want to be anxious to please God. As we begin to recognize and appreciate a holy, sovereign, just and merciful God we begin to lose our fear and anxiety over other people, our needs, adversities, or any uncertainties of life. The closer we draw to the Lord the further we withdraw from worry and fear.

Q. In A Promise for Tomorrow, Flea learns a lot about God's promises to His children. What can we derive from His promises for tomorrow?

A. Flea observes, and later interacts, with a neighbor who has become a victim of her circumstances. By applying what she has learned from her father and through her own spiritual growth she is able to offer a compassionate reprimand. Flea also learns the truth of Proverbs 17:22: “A cheerful heart is good medicine.” As the story progresses, Flea begins to understand a basic principle. Life is hard, but it can still be lived with hope.

Q. I've heard it said that faith is the opposite of fear, but many times Christians feel afraid even though they have faith that God will deliver them from the situation at hand. How do you balance faith and fear?

A. Yes, Christians are sometimes afraid just as Christ’s disciples were fearful during a storm (Luke 8: 22-25). In fact, those guys panicked as the squall continued and the boat began to sink. After bailing the water with little results, they called to their sleeping Savior. Three words from Jesus and the winds and waves obeyed.

“Quiet! Be still!” Then came the questions. “Why are you so afraid? Where is your faith?”

I think we should take note of these questions. Jesus didn’t say, “You have no faith,” but he did tell them to exercise it. As you and I apply our faith, fear must leave because faith and fear don’t belong in the same mind. Alarm, fear, and worry should never rule our lives, not when Jesus is in the boat with us.

Post a comment before midnight Monday 5th May and you will be entered into the draw for a copy of this book! This contest is open to all my readers :)

Coming in 2008 from Bethany ~ contemporary

I am looking forward to these new titles from Bethany House! You just can't go past a Sharon Hinck book and having studied the language and visited Japan (albeit a long time ago!) Rain Song really interests me.

As always click on the titles and author names to preorder and find out more about the writers!

Stepping into Sunlight by Sharon Hinck

After Penny Sullivan witnesses a shocking crime, her world tips sideways. Suddenly, things like getting groceries, mowing the grass, and returning phone calls are more than she can handle. But with her husband away at sea and her seven-year-old son depending on her, hiding in the closet isn't an option. Hoping to recover by the time her husband gets home, she picks up her trusty yellow notebook and formulates a restoration plan: Do one kind thing for another person every day. The results are sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking, and often brilliantly surprising….

Releasing October, 2008

Waiting for Daybreak by Kathryn Cushman

Paige Woodward is a woman without choices. Her destitute mother's only hope for a cure isn't covered by insurance. When a dream opportunity arises at a brand-new pharmacy, Paige is willing to keep quiet about her past to make sure she lands the job.

For Clarissa Richardson, the dream of running her own pharmacy comes to a screeching halt when her grandfather hires a too-perfect new girl who seems to be hiding something.

How far will they go to protect their dreams for tomorrow?

What will happen when one woman's last hope means ruining another woman's greatest dream?

Releasing October, 2008

Rain Song by Alice J Wisler

Nicole Michelin avoids airplanes, motorcycles, and most of all, Japan, where her parents once were missionaries. Something happened in Japan ... something that sent Nicole and her father back to America alone ... something of which Nicole knows only bits and pieces. But she is content with life in little Mount Olive, North Carolina, with her quirky relatives, tank of lively fish, and plenty of homemade pineapple chutney. Through her online column for the Pretty Fishy Web site, she meets Harrison Michaels, who, much to her dismay, lives in Japan. She attempts to avoid him, but his e-mails tug at her heart. Then Harrison reveals that he knew her as a child in Japan. In fact, he knows more about her childhood than she does...

Releasing October, 2008

Coming soon from Bethany House ~ Historical

Can't help myself - these covers are fabulous whether you are a lover of historical fiction or not!

Enjoy reading about these historical Bethany House titles.

An Unexpected Love by Tracie Peterson & Judith Miller

During a trip to England, Sophie Broadmoor falls head over heels for Wesley Hedrick, a wealthy widower who promises her the world. But Sophie soon learns that Wesley's promises are nothing but words and finds herself in a very compromising situation.

Why does it have to be Paul Medford, the stringent young minister who works with her father, who shows up during her worst moment? Paul is full of promises, too, and it's clear that he has feelings for Sophie. But after all she's been through, can she trust him?

Releasing September, 2008

Whirlwind by Cathy Marie Hake

When Millicent Fairweather boards the Opportunity to journey to America, she's confident a better life awaits. Before she knows it, she's taken out of steerage to be a nanny to a delightful little boy who quickly wins her heart. Widower Daniel Clark isn't sure about the pretty bundle of energy who takes the nanny position, but he figures the voyage is only one week.

When a disaster strikes, Daniel seizes the chance to rescue Millicent and her sister. A most convenient marriage ensues...only Daniel realizes his heart has been lost to Millicent, while she views it all as a business arrangement. Will this whirlwind marriage have a chance as Daniel sets out to woo his oblivious wife?

Releasing September, 2008

Until We Reach Home by Lynn Austin

Life in Sweden seems like an endless winter for three sisters after their mother's death and father's suicide. Elin feels the weight of responsibility for her sisters' welfare, and when circumstances become unbearable, she writes to her relatives in Chicago, pleading for help.

Joining sixteen million other immigrants who left their homelands for America between 1890 and 1920, Elin, Kirsten, and Sofia begin the long, difficult journey. Enduring the ocean voyage in steerage and detention on Ellis Island, their story is Americas story. And in a journey fraught with hardships, each woman will come to understand her secret longings and the meaning of home.

Releasing October, 2008

A Promise to Believe In by Tracie Peterson

Gwen, Beth, and Lacy Gallatin fashion a life for themselves in the Montana wilds, operating a roadhouse that is located at the crossroads of two major stage lines. When their father is accidently killed, the oldest sister, Gwen, reasons that she's cursed. After all, death seems to haunt her: her mother, now her father…and she was married for a mere ten days before her husband died from a bout of measles.

As Gwen and her sisters struggle to maintain the inn on their own, an unexpected visitor adds to the mayhem. Hank Bishop claims to be searching for something in the possession of Gwen's late husband. But mayhem of another sort builds in Gwen's heart as she finds a growing attraction to this man. Can she dare to hope that love might again be hers?

Releasing September, 2008

Saturday, 26 April 2008

The Masquerade by Sarah Anne Sumpolec ~ Chloe-Anne's Take

Beka feels like she lives in a different world, far away from where her family lives. She has never really felt that she fits in with her family but after her mothers death she feels it even more. Beka can't get close to her family even if she tried, because they might find out her BIG secret, the one she has been hiding for so many years.

She hasn't just isolated herself from her family but her old friends as well. Until her old friend Gretchen the most popular girl at school starts talking to her again and gets Beka to come and try out for the school musical with her.

There's also a new girl in town and after their awkward meeting in the bathroom, they get along great. The only problem is that Gretchen doesn't like her and if Beka wants to stay friends with Gretchen she is going to have to ditch the new girl Lori.

Will Beka keep trying to run away from all of her struggles or will she get help before it's to late. Will her secret be revealed?

The Masquerade is a fantastic first book to the series, Becoming Beka. I loved reading this book, it is nothing like I have read before.

Beka has a rough time dealing with everything that has happened in the last month or two. Beka knows that if she happens to come across a problem that she will now have her family's support and the love of God.

I like this because it's not a fairytale, everything may be getting better but it doesn't mean that there won't be issues that will come up that need to be fixed. Life still goes on as it did before except with knowing that there are people who care and that she doesn't have to carry the burden of the secret she was hiding for so long.

The Masquerade is a very well written book that I'm sure will be carried on with the rest of the series. All books are now available from Moody Publishers.

Be sure to check out Sarah Anne Sumpolec's great website for more info on the Becoming Beka books and lots of other goodies!

Guest reviewer:~ teen Chloe~Anne

Interview with Melody Carlson

Melody Carlson is one of the most prolific authors writing today, juggling women's fiction, YA fiction and children's stories with ease. I had help with this interview from my YA teen reviewer, Chloe-Anne and her mum, who both love Melody's books. Enjoy this one!

How long have you been writing and how did you get started in your career as an author?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. And, although people told me I had writing talent, I never took it seriously. I journaled, wrote poetry, letters, and work-related writing. But because writing came easily to me, I didn’t think it was special. I didn’t see it as a “gift.” Now I realize that lots of people take gifts and talents for granted—like something comes easily to us and we dismiss it as “just the way we are.” But once we realize we have a “gift” we might do more to develop it.

Writing is obviously in your blood - was there a particular person who encouraged you to nurture your gift?

When I decided to take writing seriously, I joined an excellent critique group. And those fellow writers were very supportive—plus they were good teachers. But I honestly have to say my husband encouraged me the most. Getting started in writing is difficult and discouraging. Rejection is the rule of the game and many writers give up before they get started. My husband had sneaked peeks into my journals and believed in my writing long before I did. So when I was bummed and feeling hopeless, he told me not to give up. He knew that I was going to “break through.” And he was right.

What writing project are you working on now?

Right now I’m writing the fifteenth book in the Diary of a Teenage Girl series. It’s the fourth character—a very interesting girl named Maya. She’s had a rough life so far, but is finally trying to be a “normal” teenage girl (not that it’s going to happen). But she’s very environmentally conscious and “green” and yet she’s also very beautiful (and has rich but dysfunctional parents) so there’s lots to play with in her story.

You write children’s, young adult and adult fiction ~ which came first for you and do you have a preference?

The very first book I wrote was for pre-teens. And, interestingly, it’s the only book I haven’t published. It was BC (before computer) and I only have one hardcopy of it. But after that, I wrote a semi-historical teen series, which is just being re-released (The Allison O’Brien Chronicles). And next I wrote a women’s novel (which at the time I thought was my favourite). Then, for fun, I wrote a children’s book. I have to admit that I love writing for all ages and usually enjoy my current project “the most.” Although, it’s been very fulfilling to write for teens because the response I get from readers usually blows me away. And I know they’re at a precarious place in life and anything I can do to make that “passage” easier is great.

How long does it take you to write a book from first ideas to finished product?

I write extremely fast. While an idea might hit me months before I write the book (that’s how contracting works) I don’t usually “think” about it until I’m actually writing. Then the story usually comes at me like a freight train and I write as quickly as I can to keep up. When I try to slow it down, it doesn’t work. I get bored and restless and I tend to drop threads of the story. I think everyone is wired differently and for some reason I like to do things quickly.

I Heart Bloomberg releases in April and A Mile in My Flip- Flops in June ~ please tell us the inspiration behind each novel and a sneak peek.

I Heart Bloomberg (the first book in 86 Bloomberg Place) is about four very unique young women sharing a home, problems, and fashion advice. I wanted to create some 20-something characters that would appeal to my “teen” readers who have grown up—something relevant yet fun and hopefully encouraging.

I wrote A Mile in My Flip-flops (as well as These Boots Weren’t Made for Walking) for comic relief. Okay, the truth is that I need a break from some of the more serious writing that I do. I’ve written books about drugs, suicide, cutting, mental illnesses…and sometimes (like readers) I need to “escape” or laugh or just be encouraged. Hopefully my “chick lit” titles will do that for my readers. I know that my sister loves them.

Finding Alice would be my favourite of all your novels, what inspired you to write about Schizophrenia?

My older son was treated for schizophrenia when he turned twenty. It was a difficult time, but thanks to early diagnosis and treatment, his prognosis is better than the tales we heard about in past decades. Still, I had well-meaning friends who assumed that “schizophrenia” was like a death sentence. So I decided (several years beyond the treatment time) to write a story that dealt honestly with this particular mental illness. Naturally, I had learned a lot by then, and I believe that God wastes nothing, so I wanted to put it to use. I love being able to use fiction to teach truth. And sometimes it’s easier to hear about hard stuff by way of a story. By the way, this book may eventually make it to TV. It’s been optioned by Lifetime. I also did an adult novel about meth addiction (Crystal Lies) and have another one about obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) releasing this fall (The Other Side of Darkness). So, maybe you see why I need a dose of chick lit now and then. J

Your books address many of the difficult or confronting issues we face in society today ~ how do you choose your topics?

Sometimes it seems the topics choose me. For instance, the reason for Finding Alice (above). I feel there are reasons I live through difficult situations, whether it’s in my immediate family or another close friend or relative. But I think that real life is a great place to draw from when creating fiction. Not only is it relevant, it’s realistic. In my teen books, I try to pick hot topics that today’s adolescents are challenged by. I realize that not every teen will face every issue, but they might know someone who does. According to my fan mail, this is the case.

You are well known for your True Colors and Diary of a Teenage Girl series ~ Why did you choose to write young adult fiction and tackle such diverse issues?

I think teens have it tough these days. With all the media slamming them with questionable values, combined with some rough family issues, I want to use my fiction to give teens tools and answers and to hopefully equip them to make better choices in their lives.

Do you have any new young adult series coming out soon?

Thanks to The Gossip Girls (a teen series that seems to endorse bad behaviour) I’ve developed a new series (The Carter House Girls) which combines similar elements, like high fashion, big money, questionable boyfriends…and mixed up values. But in my books, when characters make bad choices they will suffer appropriate consequences. And hopefully, they will learn some life changing lessons along the way. This series is being considered for TV.

As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?

As much as I loved to write (I used to make my own little books) it never occurred to me to think I could really be an “author.” That was for someone else…someone much smarter and more accomplished. But I did toy with the idea of being a lawyer (I liked to argue) or some art or design related career (I’ve always been into art).

My favourite novel of all time is Pride and Prejudice, if you had to pick one novel as your favourite what would it be?

It’s hard to choose. I love To Kill a Mockingbird. But I also love anything by Jane Austen. And there are some contemporary writers that I enjoy too (Elizabeth Berg, Rosamund Pilcher, Maeve Binchy, Anne Tyler). It sort of depends on my mood. I suppose that diversity shows up in my writing too.

What are you reading at the moment?

An Ocean Apart by Robin Pilcher (Rosamunde’s son) and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.

Favourite movie and favourite line from a movie?

The Sound of Music. I can’t think of a favourite line.

Who inspires you?

Besides God…and nature…. Good musicians and artists inspire me. I find creativity and beauty—God-made and man made both to be inspiring.

Please tell us a little about your family.

My husband and I will celebrate 30 years of marriage this summer. We have two grown sons and a granddaughter (who is going on four and adorable!). Also a beloved chocolate Labrador retriever.

How did you come to faith?

I grew up in a non-churched home. I proclaimed myself an atheist as a pre-teen. At fifteen (rebellious and confused) I realized I needed real answers, and through a ministry called Young Life, I found God in a big and life changing way. This is probably one reason I like writing for teens.

When/if you make the trip Down Under what do you want to see first:~ A platypus or a koala?

I’ve already been Down Under, mate. And now you’ve got me writing with an accent in my head. Although I wasn’t there for long, I did enjoy seeing Sydney. I was on my way to Papua New Guinea, where I lived for a year (serving as Wycliffe short term assistant) along with a lot of Aussies. My roommate was an Aussie (Melbourne). I’ve already seen koalas, so I’d have to say playtpus.

Barrier Reef or Uluru (Ayers Rock)?

Although I love to snorkel, Ayers Rock interests me—isn’t it the largest monolith in the world? I taught third grade geography in PNG for a few weeks and it seems that was a “fact.” I’d love to see that big red rock. I didn’t know it changed its name. J

A cricket match or a game of Aussie Rules Footy?

Definitely Aussie Rules Footy. Much more active.

Any last words?

Yes, now you’re making me want to go Down Under again. Hmmm…not a bad idea. I could research a book down there. Thanks for the interview, mate!

You are welcome, Melody :) Thanks so much for spending the time here at RelzReviewz!

As seen at

The winner of Do Hard Things is...

~ congratulations!

Sorry for the delay in posting this winner notification!

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Fossil Hunter by John B Olson

Paleontologist Dr Katie James has it all ~ beauty, brains, a successful career.....and a debilitating phobia! Determined to overcome her weakness, Katie devotes herself to the discovery and investigation of fossils, comfortable that her faith and profession can go hand in hand.

Dr Nick Murad is highly skilled, thorough and intent on beating Katie James to every fossil remaining undiscovered in the known universe! Uncompromising in his belief of evolutionary theory, Nick jumps at the chance to search for fossils in the previously prohibited hot spots in Iraq. He just didn't count on Katie James getting in his way.

Political intrigue and Iraqi governmental and religious rivalry set Nick and Katie against each other in a tantalising race to uncover the remainder of a whale fossil purported to be in the Al Muthanna desert. When Katie's team is attacked, Nick Murad is the last man on earth Katie wants to save her.

John B Olson's fourth novel is rip roaring hit! Katie is by no means your everyday heroine ~ she is gutsy, brilliant, passionate about her faith and career with a vulnerability brought about by her neurosis, which only adds to her appeal. Nick is an equally well drawn character, smart, attractive, fulfilled by his career, if not his choice of women, and requiring more than a brief pep talk to consider creation by intelligent design. Their interaction is entertaining and electrifying. Action, adventure and humour abound, scene descriptions are so detailed I felt myself sweating in the desert and the seamlessly interwoven discussion of scientific theory and intelligent design, stimulating and engaging. John's PhD in Biochemistry has been put to good use in this novel yet at no time did I feel confused by the jargon. Fossil Hunter will appeal to men and women and has my highest recommendation. I would love to see Katie and Nick hit the big screen one day ~ eat your heart out, Indiana!

Check back soon for my in depth interview with John and a fantastic giveaway!

John's book is
part of the Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed campaign. Ben Stein's movie Expelled is now available on DVD. Find more details at

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

CFBA Blog Tour of Winter Haven by Athol Dickson

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Winter Haven

(Bethany House April 1, 2008)


Athol Dickson


Athol Dickson's university-level training in painting, sculpture, and architecture was followed by a long career as an architect then his decision several years ago to devote full time to writing.

Athol Dickson’s writing has been favorably compared to the work of Octavia Butler (Publisher’s Weekly), Daphne du Maurier (Cindy Crosby, and Flannery O’Connor (The New York Times).

His They Shall See God was a Christy Award finalist and his River Rising was a Christy Award winner, selected as one of the Booklist Top Ten Christian Novels of 2006 and a finalist for Christianity Today's Best Novel of 2006.

He and his wife, Sue, live in Southern California. Visit for more information.


Boys who never age, giants lost in time, mist that never rises, questions never asked...on the most remote of islands off the coast of Maine, history haunts the present and Vera Gamble wrestles with a past that will not yield. Will she find refuge there, or will her ghosts prevail on...Winter Haven

Eleven years ago, Vera Gamble's brother left their house never to be seen again. Until the day Vera gets a phone call that his body has been found...washed ashore in the tiny island town of Winter Haven, Maine. His only surviving kin, Vera travels north to claim the body...and finds herself tumbling into a tangled mystery. Her brother hasn't aged a day since last she saw him.

Determined to uncover what happened in those lost years, Vera soon discovers there are other secrets lurking in this isolated town. But Winter Haven's murky past now seems bound to come to light as one woman seeks the undeniable and flooding light of truth.

I've heard good things about Athol's books so I am looking forward to getting in to this one soon!

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Coming soon from Waterbrook Multnomah

Check out these books from Waterbrook Multnomah releasing later this year. I love Susan's writing and Sandra hooked me with her first adult novel, Let Them Eat Cake. I wonder if Waterbrook Multnomah will do a scratch and sniff cover for Bon Appetit - LOL!!!

The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner

Reluctant heiress Lauren Durough takes a part-time job to prove to herself she is more than a rich girl who’s been handed everything. She becomes the literary assistant to Abigail Boyles, an 83-year-old retired librarian who tasks Lauren with transcribing a diary that had belonged to Abigail’s ancestor Mercy Hayworth, a victim of the Salem witch trials.

Lauren finds herself drawn to this girl who lived and died four centuries ago. As the fervor around the witch accusations increases, Mercy becomes trapped in the worldview of the day; unable to fight the overwhelming influence of snap judgments and superstition, and Lauren realizes that the secrets of Mercy’s story extend beyond the pages of her diary, living on in the mysterious, embittered Abigail.

The strength of her affinity with Mercy forces Lauren to take a startling new look at her own life, including her relationships with Abigail, her college roommate, and a young man named Raul. But on the way to the truth, will Lauren find herself playing the helpless defendant or the misguided judge? Can she break free from her own perceptions and see who she really is?

Releasing October, 2008

Bon Appetit by Sandra Byrd

As she settles into her new home in a French village to study and work, Lexi’s exuberant twenty-something optimism encounters Gallic resistance. Determined to find her footing, she fin
ds a church, a friend, and little Celine, whose father, Phillipe, is a handsome widower. But what about Dan who visits her in romantic Paris?

Releasing September, 2008

The third instalment,
Piéce de Résistance will release in 2009.

Strike the Dragon by Charles Dyer & Mark Tobey & Aussie Giveaway

A loving mother looks longingly at her little boy in his slumber then steals herself to leave him behind. Loss, grief and bitterness push her towards her goal of destroying some of the enemies of her faith.

An ocean away, an observant college professor, Greg Hanson, stumbles across just the photo he requires for his students, one of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Closer scrutiny of the photo sets of warning bells in his mind but who should he tell?

Losing her brother in the September 11 attacks spurred Jillian Foster to join the FBI agent she finds herself frustrated by her newbie status and the subsequent overload of paperwork rather than field assignments. When her boss appoints her to collate and examine all the security agencies terrorist information, Jillian hopes this assignment will be different.

Recruited to serve his country after the murder of his wife, Israeli Moshe Zachar hopes revenge will assuage his pain and protect his people.

Zachar, Foster and Hanson cross paths when whispers of another terrorist attack on US soil become a dull roar. Intelligence gathered from Mossad, the FBI and Greg Hanson's tentative theory all point to a new Middle Eastern threat, able to strike at the heart of America. Together they hope to save America from disaster.

Strike the Dragon has all the elements of a great political thriller, including interesting characters and a believable plot line yet stumbles when it comes to realistic storytelling. Having stumbled on a sensitive Internet site, Greg Hanson remains as the man responsible for monitoring the site and reporting back to the FBI, a highly unlikely situation. Similarly, Julie maintains control of the major investigation of terrorists threatening to destroy America despite being a junior operative. The romance angle seems as afterthought and is somewhat stilted. Despite this, Dyer and Tobey do an excellent job providing a detailed backdrop to some of the terrorists, establishing them as people with life experiences that made them susceptible to men calculating destruction. If you are willing to suspend disbelief from time to time, Strike the Dragon is an easy read, suitable for men and women.

As seen at TitleTrakk

To enter the giveaway:~

1 Post a comment before midnight Wednesday 30th April;

2 Have an Aussie postal address, and

3 Tell me your favourite action hero!!!

The winner of A Restorer's Journey is...

Jaana ~ congratulations.

You must promise to read the first two in the series first, though :)

Here's a look at giveaway's to come:~

Healing Promises by Amy Wallace

Hollywood Nobody & Finding Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson

The Voice by Bill Myers

Monday, 21 April 2008

Sneak peek at Susan May Warren's Wiser than Serpents

I love Susie's fast paced romantic thrillers and her Mission: Russia series is just that. Following on from In Sheep's Clothing and Sands of Time, the latest instalment, Wiser than Serpents, releases in June from Steeple Hill.

While this is Yanna and David's story, Susie promises me we get more of Gracie and Vicktor from In Sheep's Clothing, too! Can't wait.


When her sister vanishes into a human slave ring, FSB agent Yanna Andrevka is determined to rescue her. Unfortuantely, she's in over her head, with no way out, especially after destroying the undercover operation of Delta Force Operative David Curtiss, who is deep undercover in the Twin Serpents crime syndicate. David has his hands full trying to save Yanna, and his operation -- one that could rescue hundreds of women from the Serpent, or cost he and Yanna their lives. The thrilling next chapter of the Mission:Russia series!

Read the first chapter, here

Pre order at CBD or Koorong (Aust)

If you live in the US, enter Susie's Fight for Justice contest, here

Read my review of Sands of Time, here!

Blog tour of A Bride so Fair by Carol Cox & open giveaway!

A Bride So Fair

Barbour Publishing

ISBN 13: 978-1-59789-492-0

Paperback; $9.97; 320 pages

After growing up in an orphanage, Emily Ralston loves being around children and
thoroughly enjoys her job at the Children’s Building at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. As the receptionist she helps check in the children and ensures they are safe and well cared for while their parents view the fair. She could not have known what God had in store for her…

When Columbian Guard, Stephen Bridger, drops off a three-year-old named Adam as a lost child, her life irrevocably changed. While the sparks of attraction are undeniable, Emily tries her best to ignore them as she and her best friend, Lucy, scheme to keep Adam safe and happy, far away from the orphanages they both know too well.

Soon Stephen learns about Adam’s mother while both the mystery and his relationship with Emily deepens. As they learn bits of truth, danger and deception now threaten to undermine their growing relationship. Why is a young woman murdered while surrounded by thousands of fairgoers? What secrets could a sweet, abandoned little boy possibly hold? Can Emily and Stephen solve the deadly mystery before time runs out?

Themes in the Book: Emily and Stephen’s unique love story offers a fresh and inspirational lesson of trust and betrayal, faith and doubt, the meaning of family and God’s unending goodness.

About Carol Cox

Award-winning author of twelve novels and eleven novellas, Carol shares her love of history, mystery, and romance in the books she writes. A pastor’s wife, Carol makes her home with her husband and young daughter in northern Arizona. To learn more about Carol and her books, visit her Web site at

Q&A with Carol Cox, author of A Bride So Fair

Q. Where did you get the idea to write A Bride So Fair?

A. Several years ago, I came across a brief article that mentioned the World’s Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893, calling it a pivotal moment in our nation’s history. And my response was, “If it was such a big deal, how come I’ve never even heard about it?” So I looked it up online and was overwhelmed at the wealth of information I found. I had no idea how many of the things we take for granted today were introduced at that fair—things like the Ferris wheel, Cracker Jacks, Cream of Wheat, Juicy Fruit gum, and the concept of the Midway. Familiar names from our history books were among the 27 million people who visited the fair. Thomas Edison, Scott Joplin, Frederick Douglass, Jane Addams, and Susan B. Anthony were all there. It was a moment in which our nation felt itself on the brink of major change, and the more I learned about the fair, the more excited I became. I knew I had to set a story there, and that initial idea turned into a three-book series, A Fair to Remember. A Bride So Fair is the final title, and it was hard to say goodbye to the setting and characters I’ve come to love.

Q. How much research is involved in writing a solid historical fiction novel like this one?

A. I was so fascinated by what I learned about the fair that I continued researching for two years before the first book in the series was even contracted. As I mentioned above, I found a tremendous amount of information online, including photos of the fairgrounds and its buildings. I was able to purchase several books printed during that time period that gave detailed descriptions of exhibits as well as the reactions of people who visited the fair. That was invaluable in getting insight into how it affected people of that day. I studied maps of the grounds and floor plans of several of the buildings until I felt like I could navigate them as easily as I can get around my home town.

All of that helped in getting my facts straight, but I needed to add sensory details to make the setting come alive. What would my hero and heroine experience on the shore of Lake Michigan? What would they see, hear, smell? How would it feel to walk across the vast fairgrounds or stroll along the edge of the lagoon? I made a trip to Chicago, where I spent a day at Jackson Park, the site of the exposition. All but one of the buildings are long gone, but simply being there and soaking up the setting added a myriad of details for me to draw on when writing the story. At that point, I could look at my research photos and feel like I could step into the scene and describe it as though I’d actually been there.

Q. What inspires you the most as a writer?

A. It’s always interesting to hear what sparks ideas for other writers. For some, it springs from a character; for others, the catalyst is an issue they’re passionate about. With me, the setting often comes before either the characters or the plot. A particular place will catch my imagination and I’ll wonder what kind of people might have been there and what would have happened to them. I love the challenge of bringing a setting to life so it becomes something a reader can experience rather than just read about.

Q. You’ve written quite a few novels already, do you have any advice for aspiring novelists?

A. Read in a wide variety of genres to discover which holds the most appeal for you. Your writing will show far more depth and passion if you're working in a genre you love.

Be patient. Prepare to learn and gear yourself mentally for a marathon, not a sprint. The learning process takes time.

Study the craft of writing. There are excellent books available, covering everything from basic grammar to character development to plot and structure and much more. A number of organizations exist today that offer teaching, encouragement, and support to both aspiring and experienced writers. And writers conferences are held all around the country. Attending conferences is a wonderful way to build on your knowledge as well as getting to know others who share your passion for writing.

Develop a teachable attitude. The more I write, the more I realize how much more there still is to learn. There is always the joy of growing, of improving my skills, of learning to be a “workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (from 2 Timothy 2:15 NIV)

Post a comment before midnight on Monday 28th April and you will be entered into the draw for a copy of A Bride so Fair. This giveaway is open to all my readers :)

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Lady of Milkweed Manor by Julie Klassen


Even a proper vicar's daughter can make a mistake--and now Charlotte Lamb must pay a high price for her fall. To avoid the prying eyes of all who know her, she hides herself away in London's forbidding "Milkweed Manor," a place of mystery and lore, of old secrets and new birth.

But once there, she comes face to face with a suitor from her past--a man who now hides secrets of his own. Both are determined, with God's help, to protect those they love. But neither can imagine the depth of sacrifice that will be required.

Sprinkled with fascinating details about the lives of women in Regency England, Lady of Milkweed Manor is a moving romantic drama about the redemption of past failings and the beauty of sacrificial love.

My take:~

Julie Klassen's Lady of Milkweed Manor, has an ethereal feel about it, a transparency and fragility that stems from Charlotte's wounded soul, Daniel Taylor's secret torment and the deft and gentle touch of Julie's literary hand. I found myself, while captured by the ongoing story, wanting to race to the end as I was so invested how the story would play out for each of them. Julie taps into the heartaches of the human soul with ease, providing hope through faith despite fear and pain. A little twist at the end is both surprising and deeply moving. An excellent debut novel from an author we are sure to hear from again.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...