Saturday, 28 February 2009

No Place for a Lady by Maggie Brendan


When sophisticated Crystal Clark visits her Aunt Kate's cattle ranch, she quickly realizes that the locals don't appreciate her refinement! Just as she grows accustomed to life in the wilderness, tragedy strikes and Crystal must help.

Will the gentle southern belle fold under the pressure? And can she resist the advances of the handsome ranch foreman?

My take:~

Readers who love a sweet historical will be delighted to discover Maggie Brendan's No Place for a Lady, her debut novel and the first adventure in her Heart of the West series. Crystal and Luke are multi faceted characters and their attraction is palpable, which makes for entertaining reading. As Crystal takes on a cattle drive, Maggie's descriptions of the wilderness will make you feel you are breathing in the dust, and beauty, of the Colorado mountains. Combining tender romance with charming characters, Maggie will soon have a fan base clamouring for more.

Relz Reviewz Extras

Visit Maggie's blog

Buy Maggie's book at Amazon or Koorong

Check back soon for an exclusive interview with Maggie and in April, a spotlight on Crystal and Luke

Friday, 27 February 2009

Rachel's Secret by B J Hoff ~ Tracy's Take

What is it about?

Widow, Rachel Brenneman could not be more surprised when gravely injured Jeremiah Gant and his dark-skinned friend Asa, knock on her door in the middle of a stormy seeking help and sh
elter. Tempted to turn them away in fear for herself, her compassion for the deathly ill man overrules, demanding that she take them in and care for the sick man.

When her sister Fannie is attacked on Christmas Day, Rachel’s secret and subsequent fears return with full force. Her brother Gideon leaves the family home intent on seeking justice for not only Fannie’s attack, but also for Rachel’s past.

Meanwhile Jeremiah remains in the Amish community while he recuperates. His growing feelings for Rachel cause no end of dilemma and confusion for her. Jeremiah is after all and outsider who is forbidden to her.

What I thought:

I love stories about the Amish, and BJ Hoff delivers in very fine style! ‘Rachel’s Secret’ is full of surprising twists and plots rarely seen from other authors, which I found refreshing.

Throughout ‘Rachel’s Secret’ BJ Hoff skilfully details the conflict between the gentle Amish life and the clash of their beliefs with modern society. It is young Fannie’s insight into the need for forgiveness that provides the most poignant realisation for Rachel, and begins the healing of her heart. No doubt the truths Fannie so eloquently expresses will challenge and inspire readers to reach the same need for forgiveness in their lives as well.

I loved the unusual turn at the end with both Dr Sebastian and Captain Gant. I can’t wait to see some more of their story in the next instalment of ‘The Riverhaven Years’ series. I also look forward to seeing how BJ Hoff develops the story of Gideon’s search for justice for his family. While this plot was introduced, it seemed to have been deliberately left hanging. September 2009 would seem a long time to wait for impatient readers wanting to know what happens next!

Guest reviewer:~ My friend Tracy from Beyond My Picket Fence

Relz Reviewz Extras

See the book trailer

Visit BJ's website and blog

Buy BJ's books at Amazon or Koorong

CFBA Blog Tour of Daisy Chain by Mary DeMuth

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Daisy Chain

Zondervan (March 1, 2009)


Mary DeMuth


Mary E. DeMuth is an expert in Pioneer Parenting. She enables Christian parents to navigate our changing culture when their families left no good faith examples to follow.

Her parenting books include Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture (Harvest House, 2007), Building the Christian Family You Never Had (WaterBrook, 2006), and Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God (Harvest House, 2005).

Mary also inspires people to face their trials through her real-to-life novels, Watching The Tree Limbs (nominated for a Christy Award) and Wishing On Dandelions (NavPress, 2006).

Mary has spoken at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, the ACFW Conference, the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, and at various churches and church planting ministries. Mary and her husband, Patrick, reside in Texas with their three children. They recently returned from breaking new spiritual ground in Southern France, and planting a church.


The abrupt disappearance of young Daisy Chance from a small Texas town in 1973 spins three lives out of control—Jed, whose guilt over not protecting his friend Daisy strangles him; Emory Chance, who blames her own choices for her daughter’s demise; and Ouisie Pepper, who is plagued by headaches while pierced by the shattered pieces of a family in crisis.

In this first book in the Defiance, Texas Trilogy, fourteen-year-old Jed Pepper has a sickening secret: He’s convinced it’s his fault his best friend Daisy went missing. Jed’s pain sends him on a quest for answers to mysteries woven through the fabric of his own life and the lives of the families of Defiance, Texas. When he finally confronts the terrible truths he’s been denying all his life, Jed must choose between rebellion and love, anger and freedom.

Daisy Chain is an achingly beautiful southern coming-of-age story crafted by a bright new literary talent. It offers a haunting yet hopeful backdrop for human depravity and beauty, for terrible secrets and God’s surprising redemption.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Daisy Chain, go HERE

Check back soon for a review of this book. In the meantime check out Kim's fabulous review at Window To My World!

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Coming later this year from B&H Fiction

The fabulous team at B&H Fiction have some more goodies in store for us this year! I'm especially looking forward to the Tracy Higley and James David Jordan sequels :)

Click on the author links for more.

Seeing Things by Patti Hill

Birdie Wainwright, 72, isn’t concerned about seeing things that others can’t. For a woman who still climbs mountains with her dog (Miss Bee Haven) and likes to tango, the impractical visions brought on by macular degeneration are just another gift from God, adding more adventure to life. But when a tumble down the stairs breaks her ankle and leads back to her son’s home in Denver where she must convalesce, Birdie’s imagination really takes flight. Following a conversation with her grandson about The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, she begins to see and speak with the unkempt literary character himself on a regular basis. As the line between reality and whimsy turns brittle, faith is tested among friends and loved ones, and hope is reborn.

Seeing Things is a story about family, reconciliation, and hearing from God in unexpected ways.

Releasing, September, 2009

Guardian of the Flame by T L Higley

Guardian of the Flame transports readers back to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, where characters struggle to find meaning in a pagan society and are confronted by the one true God and His message of redemption.

The year is 48 BC. Sophia, a woman hurt by past loss, guards the famous lighthouse of Alexandria, Egypt, in order to hide herself away from a world she deems cruel and unloving. But there is no escape. Political turmoil swells as Roman general Julius Caesar and his legion storm the city, and Cleopatra, Greek queen of Egypt, fights to retain her country against both Caesar and bloodthirsty rivals within her own household. Sophia is caught in the middle between a loyalty to Cleopatra and her maddening interest in Bellus, the Roman soldier whom Caesar has instructed to overtake the lighthouse.

Releasing October, 2009

Double Cross by James David Jordan

Double Cross continues the story of Taylor Pasbury, a heroic young woman introduced in James David Jordan’s novel, Forsaken.

Raised by a father who was a former Special Forces officer, Taylor is beautiful and brilliant and knows how to take care of herself. But she is haunted by her past and the sacrifice her father made to save her from a brutal rape when she was seventeen. After a controversial stint in the Secret Service, she has become the most prominent private security specialist in America. When she discovers the body of a former client’s top assistant, all the evidence points to embezzlement and suicide. But Taylor has no way of knowing that her mother, who ran out when Taylor was nine, is about to reappear and lead her down a twisting path of danger and deceit. It’s a road that won’t end until they reach the spot where Taylor’s father died—where Taylor learns some sacrifices can never be earned.

Releasing October, 2009

After Jihad by Oliver North

America in 2032 is a poor shadow of the great nation its founders envisioned. The “Better Deal for All Americans” born of the Great Recession two decades earlier hasn’t solved its economic crisis. Growing dependence on government has altered citizen rights—special interest groups have no voice, and a new intelligence system knows every person’s actions and whereabouts. And in this election year, the standing U.S. president will do anything to stay in power—even negotiate with terrorists who have forced world market oil prices over $500 per barrel.

Amidst the corruption some covert patriots still won’t play by the new rules, including Peter Newman, military veteran and U.S. trustee for three of America’s biggest private armies. When his close friend—the inventor of a revolutionary fuel cell—disappears at a major energy conference on the thirty-first anniversary of 9/11/01, Newman calls on his son, James, to help find the missing scientist. The search becomes a perilous quest fraught with government duplicity, human betrayal, and international stakes. Those who look at the fluctuating world today and wonder “What if?” will find a sharply written cautionary tale with heart-pumping action and a surprising climax.

Releasing November, 2009

Character Spotlight ~ TL Higley's Tessa of Delos

Today the spotlight shines on.........................................................Tessa of Delos

Tracy Higley has created a brilliant series based on the Seven Ancient Wonders. I was captivated by the first book, Shadow of Colossus and its main character, the lovely yet desperate courtesan, Tessa of Delos.

Over to you, Tracy:~

Brief physical description

Tessa is a tall, commanding Greek woman with dark, wavy hair that she insists on wearing down in spite of the cultural insistence on women tying their hair up. Think Rachel Weisz

Strengths and weaknesses

Tessa’s a brilliant woman, and her intellect has given her prominence in her culture in spite of being a slave, but she has also become very hard and embittered by life. While her strength of character takes her far, it also closes her off to the people who want to love her.

Quirk (if any)

Tessa loves birds, loves to learn about them, and envies their freedom. When the chance comes for her to find freedom for herself, she cannot walk away.

Your inspiration for the character.

All the women in my life who struggle with freedom from their past, and with hearts that are afraid to love and be loved. As I wrote this book, I felt my heart crying out to each one of them to look up, to see the One who paid such a high price for their freedom, and to rejoice in the gift of His love, and His everyday blessings. Our Redeemer wants our hearts to be free, to love Him and to love others. This is Tessa’s struggle, but she is not alone.

Background to the story

The place is the island of Rhodes; the time, 227 BC. In the ten years that Tessa of Delos has been in bondage as a hetaera, a high-priced Greek courtesan to a wealthy politician, she has learned to abandon all desire for freedom and love. But when her owner meets a violent death, Tessa is given the chance to be free—if she can hide the truth of his murder and maintain a masquerade until escape is possible. Now Tessa must battle for her own freedom and for those she is beginning to love, as forces collide that will shatter the island’s peace and bring even its mighty Colossus to its knees.

Thanks for this insight, Tracy. Check back soon for my review of the second Ancient Wonders novel, City of the Dead and a spotlight on Hemiunu, Grand Vizier to the Pharoah.

On Thursday, the spotlight shines on Patti Lacy'
s Mary Freeman from An Irishwoman's Tale. Don't miss it!

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of Shadow of Colossus

Interview with Tracy

Visit Tracy's website

Buy Tracy's books at Amazon or Koorong

Book cover survey from Bethany House

I don't know about you, but I love participating in publisher surveys on book cover design, particularly.

Here's your chance to have input into a new fiction cover by Bethany House. If you get the chance pop back and let me know if you chose the 1st or 2nd cover :)

Hello Reader,

We at Bethany House Publishers appreciate our readers' opinions about the books we publish. Occasionally, we seek your input about upcoming products.Currently, we are conducting a short survey about possible covers for an upcoming book.

Click here to take the survey, which should take no more than 5 minutes to complete. Thank you for your participation.

Thanks for your time and your opinions. We value your feedback.

Sincerely, Jim Hart

Internet Marketing Manager, Bethany House Publishers

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

On tour with Sir Bentley and Holbrook Court by Chuck Black & Aussie Giveaway

This second installment in Chuck Black’s Knights of Arrethtrae series tells the tale of Sir Bentley, an honorable knight who abandons all to seek the truth of the Prince.

Eirwyn, a mysterious young woman who brings food to the poor, teaches Bentley the power of compassion to overcome evil. Together, they save the people of Holbrook from poverty and despair. Sir Bentley’s quest for the truth of the Prince finds him battling Shadow Warriors, a powerful lord, and a terrifying creature.

Will greed destroy Holbrook? Or can Bentley and the mysterious Eirwyn restore prosperity to the kingdom through the compassion of the Prince?

Intended for family read-alouds and Christian teens, this fantastic story will entertain and edify parents and kids alike.

Rel:~ The best laid plans don't always work out so I am unable to bring you a review of this book yet, but I certainly know Chuck's books are must reads for the younger inhabitants of your home. My eldest will be getting into it very soon, so I'll hassle her soon for a review.

About the author:

Chuck Black, a former F-16 fighter pilot and tactical communications engineer, is the author of eight novels, including the popular Kingdom series. He has received praise from parents across the country for his unique approach to telling biblical truths. His passion in life is to serve the Lord Jesus Christ and to love his wife, Andrea, and their six children. He lives with his family in North Dakota.

Relz Reviewz Extras

Buy Sir Bentley at Amazon or Koorong


To enter:~

1. Have an Aussie postal address

2. Post a comment leaving contact details on or before Sunday 8th March, 2009, telling me the favourite book you read as a teen.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Sneak Peek ~ Debut author Candace Calvert's Critical Care

Here's a sneak peek at a the first in the new Mercy Hospital series by Candace Calvert.

Here's what Candace says:~

"If you’re a fan of TV medical drama, a reader who enjoys charismatic characters, action, humor, heart-warming romance--and an encouraging message of hope, you’re in the right place.

Think: Grey’s Anatomy finds its soul!

Sounds good, don't you think? I know my sister will be dying to get her hands on these books.......won't you, Jen?!

Critical Care by Candace Calvert

After her brother dies in a trauma room, nurse Claire Avery can no longer face the ER. She's determined to make a fresh start--new hospital, new career in nursing education--move forward, no turning back. But her plans fall apart when she's called to offer stress counseling for medical staff after a heartbreaking day care center explosion. Worse, she's forced back to the ER, where she clashes with Logan Caldwell, a doctor who believes touchy-feely counseling is a waste of time. He demands his staff be as tough as he is. Yet he finds himself drawn to this nurse educator . . . who just might teach him the true meaning of healing.

Releasing June, 2009 from Tyndale

Relz Reviewz Extras

Visit Candace's website and blog

Buy Candace's book at Amazon or Christianbook

C.J. Darlington wins Operation First Novel Contest

One of the true blessings of this reviewing "business" is the people I have met and become friends with from across the globe! C.J. Darlington is one of those wonderful friends! She and her sister, Tracy work tirelessly on their website TitleTrakk to support and promote Christian writers, musicians and movie makers.

C.J. has been blessed in kind by winning the 2008 Christian Writer's Guild, Operation First Novel Contest, gaining a publishing contract with Tyndale for Thicker Than Blood, a novel she started writing at 15 years of age!

Check out the cover, Tyndale surprised her with at the presentation!

C.J. ~ I can't wait to read the entire version of what is s
ure to be a fantastic story :)

Two sisters, estranged for 15 years. Their blood ties weren't enough. Only something stronger could bring them together again.

Christy Williams finally has her life on track. Her career as an antiquarian book buyer at the renowned used bo
okstore Dawson's Barn of Books is taking off. Hunter Dawson is teaching her the fine points of purchasing collectible books, and so far she's been able to keep her drinking problem from interfering. But when she discovers her ex-boyfriend, who also works at Dawsons, is stealing valuable books right off the store's shelves, she's unable to stop him for fear he'll expose the skeleton's in her closet.

Things begin to unravel when a stolen Hemingway first edition is found in her possession, framing her for a crime she didn't commit. With no one to turn to, she yearns for her estranged family, especially her younger sister May, who she abandoned in their childhood after their parents' untimely deaths. Now the owner of a failing cattle ranch, May couldn't possibly want a relationship with her, the big sister who didn't even say goodbye all those years ago. Could she?

Soon Christy's fleeing from her shattered dreams, her ex-boyfriend, and God. Could the Triple Cross ranch be the safe haven she's searching for, or will May's new-found faith give her sister even more reason to reject Christy? Will they realize before it's too late that each possesses what the other desperately needs?

Monday, 23 February 2009

Character Spotlight ~ Trish Perry's Jeremy Beckett & Tiffany LeBoeuf

Today the spotlight shines on.........................Jeremy Beckett & Tiffany LeBeouf

Trish Perry writes with wit, compassion and lots of savvy! After featuring in The Guy I'm Not Dating and Too Good to be True, readers wanted to know what happened to Jeremy and Tiff, and Beach Dreams was born. Look for Trish's latest, Sunset Beach, in June, 2009.

Over to you, Trish:~

Brief physical description:

Jeremy Beckett:

Several times in Beach Dreams, as well as in The Guy I’m Not Dating and Too Good to Be True, other characters compared Jeremy’s looks to those of actor Jude Law. Jeremy’s a bit younger, with less curl in his hair, but he has those striking blue eyes, the cleft in the chin, and the ready smile. I always had Jude Law’s appearance in mind when writing Jeremy, although Jeremy’s a sweetheart and not a slick ladies’ man.

Tiffany LeBoeuf:

When I initially created Tiffany two books ago, she was the bad guy, and I wanted her to look sexy but hard. Since then she’s softened considerably, but in order to be true to the character as she was created, I had to stick with the actress I had in mind when I first wrote Tiffany. That would be Carmen Electra. Tiff has light auburn hair and ocean-blue eyes. She’s shapely but not so ready to show that off, now that she’s a good girl.

Strengths and weaknesses:

Jeremy is hungry for a loving relationship and has flitted from relationship to relationship in that search. In the book’s opening, he has a girlfriend, and he’s loyal and faithful to her. He’s a gentleman. But he’s a little clueless, sometimes, with regard to women (he is a guy, after all). He’s too trusting with pretty women and sometimes doesn’t zero in on certain circumstances that might be easily discerned by more socially savvy men. But you’ve got to love his naïveté.

Tiff has come from experience as a conniving, manipulative woman, so she’s quicker than Jeremy to suspect foul play. Her struggle is in trying to be true to her new, Christian self, trusting in God, and leaning on His guidance and protection. She struggles to avoid the lascivious ways of the old Tiff. She needs help from her friends to remember she’s a new creation, loved by Christ and worthy of the love of a good man.

Quirk (if any):

Tiff occasionally reads the lips of strangers in public places, which Jeremy thinks is great fun.

Your inspiration for the characters:

Way back when I wrote The Guy I’m Not Dating, I wanted my heroine to have a small group of good friends with whom she would get together socially and work out her “issues.” All of the friends were women, except for one guy. I wanted him to be attractive, heterosexual, and genuinely interested in discussing the lives of his female friends (and vice versa). I thought Jeremy’s input would be a nice balance to all the female banter. At the time I didn’t imagine him as a future lead. It wasn’t until Too Good to Be True, when a critique partner suggested Jeremy as a possible romantic distraction for that book’s heroine, that he became a lot more interesting!

Tiff was similar, in that she was simply a vehicle for conflict at first. But she developed into a more complex character as the first story developed. Eventually I was so eager to write a book with her in the lead.

Background to the story:

While I worked on Too Good to Be True, I became enamored of Jeremy’s genuine charm and kindness. I thought about all of my secondary characters from my first two books and wondered if there might be a future love in there for him. Tiffany popped right out when I considered her. Other than the fact that she was physically attractive, she seemed completely opposite to what Jeremy liked in a woman. I loved the challenge of how those two might grow together. I felt only God could make them work out, so I went back into Too Good to Be True and brought our girl to Christ. Tiff and Jeremy’s relationship was one of my favorite to engineer!

Thanks Trish ~ everyone is looking forward to hitting that beach house again in June!

On Thursday, I am spotlighting T L Higley's Tessa, from the brilliant Shadow of Colossus - don't miss it!

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of Beach Dreams

Visit Trish's website

Buy Trish's books at Amazon or Koorong

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Faith 'n Fiction Saturday

Here's Amy's question:~

Today's Topic

One of area of Christian fiction that is thriving is Biblical Fiction. Biblical fiction, in case you don't know, is when an author takes a story from the Bible and imagines more of the details. Tosca Lee's Havah would be a recent example of Biblical fiction.

What I want to know today is how you feel about Biblical fiction. Have you ever read any Biblical fiction? Did you enjoy it? Do you think Biblical fiction helps us to understand people who lived during Biblical times better or do you think that it's unnecessary? Have you ever read any Biblical fiction that offended you?

My Answer

Biblical fiction is fabulous, if done with Biblical integrity! I have loved the following books in this genre:~

Angela Hunt's Dreamers, Brothers and Journey (Joseph)
Ginger Garrett's Chosen (Esther)
Kacy Barnett-Gramckow's Genesis Trilogy series
Francine River's Redeeming Love (Hosea and Gomer)
Tosca Lee's Havah: The Story of Eve

After I have read, or even during the story, I love reading the Biblical account. I think such novels have the power to open our eyes a bit more to the background to the story from the Bible and challenge us to look closer into the Bible as we read it.

Friday, 20 February 2009

The Apothecary's Daughter by Julie Klassen


Lillian Haswell, brilliant daughter of the local apothecary, yearns for more adventure and experience than life in her father's shop and their small village provides. She also longs to know the truth behind her mother's disappearance, which villagers whisper about but her father refuses to discuss.

Opportunity comes when a distant aunt offers to educate her as a lady in London. Exposed to fashionable society and romance-as well as clues about her mother-Lilly is torn when she is summoned back to her ailing father's bedside. Women are forbidden to work as apothecaries, so to save the family legacy, Lilly will have to make it appear as if her father is still making all the diagnoses and decisions. But the suspicious eyes of a scholarly physician and a competing apothecary are upon her. As they vie for village prominence, three men also vie for Lilly's heart.

My take:~

When a writer has enjoyed a successful debut novel, there is always the danger that the next story can't live up to it's predecessor. This is certainly not the case with The Apothecary's Daughter, another excellent read from Julie Klassen. This period drama shines with exceptional prose, elegant characters and all the awkward social constraints that marked the Regency period. With fascinating detail of apothecary tradition and the tension with the medical profession, Julie's research is diverse and comprehensive. I enjoyed Julie's ability to disguise which man would win Lilly's heart until the final chapters, a refreshing change to many an historical romance. Aside from a slow patch towards the end of the novel (maybe I simply anxious to know the ending!), Julie's novel shines and has become my favourite of her two novels ~ I'm looking forward to many more.

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of Lady of Milkweed Manor

Visit Julie's website

Buy Julie's books at Amazon or Koorong

Thursday, 19 February 2009

On tour with Virginia Smith's Age Before Beauty

Desperate to stay home with her baby, Allie Harrod launches a new career. Sure, she dropped out of Girl Scouts because she was lousy at cookie sales, but makeup is different, right?

She'll do anything to make enough money to cover her share of the household bills, but how can she focus on her business when her list of problems is growing? None of her pre-baby clothes fit, her checking account is dwindling, and her mother-in-law has decided to move in! To top it off, her husband's attractive coworker suddenly needs his help every weekend.

Middle sister Joan insists that God has the answers to all her problems, but Allie isn't so sure. Can she really trust him?

My take:~

Virginia Smith writes with such authenticity about the struggles a young mum faces trying to balance her own expectations and those of others, that I was squirming in my seat. Having also experienced the gamut of emotions Allie faces as she juggles motherhood, work, her man and her mother in law, it is both fun and frightening to read! Age Before Beauty is an engaging story that also touches on the serious matters of body image, painful family historys and distrust in marriage. Both Allie and her husband Eric display imperfections that we see everyday in our own lives and their tentative journey towards faith is realistically penned. Virginia has provided another insightful instalment in her Sister~to~Sister series and the glimpses into Tori's story leave no doubt it is bound to be a doozy!

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of Stuck in the Middle

Interview with Virginia

Visit Virginia's website and blog

Buy the books at Amazon or Koorong

Character Spotlight ~ Rachel Hauck's Aubrey James

Today the spotlight shines on....................................Aubrey James and Scott Vaughn

What can I say? I love Rachel Hauck ~ her books, her integrity and her beautiful nature all reflect the love of her Father and His son, Jesus! If you haven't read Rachel's books, what are you waiting for??!! Thanks Rach:~

Brief physical description:

Aubrey is sort of a Faith Hill meets Amy Grant. At least that's what I pictured when writing her. She's tall, thin, long thick golden hair, expressive eyes. Sort of the delicate beauty type. I had to take into account the pressure of celebrity on a

woman's appearance.

Scott Vaughn, who has a point of view in this story, is the athletic type, but not necessary the gorgeous jock type. He's average looking but with an enormous heart and eye for the soul of a person. He's really likable. And he's romantic.

Rel:~ Michael Vartan is often my choice for the likeable guy and his character in Alias even had the same surname as Scott!

Strengths and weaknesses:

Aubrey's strength is overcome controversy and extreme heartache. Her weaknesses is she's hidden some part of her heart of reality. She doesn't drive. She makes wrong romantic choices.

She's also extremely generous, and kind. I saw her as a careful cel
ebrity, but one who really loves her fans and people. Country artist Sara Evans is a lot that and it's how I pictured Aubrey.

Scott. . . he's just fun. Ambitious but caring of others, especially Aubrey. He's a family man, a tender heart, and all sports!

Quirk (if any):

Maybe that she didn't drive. And she kept beat up boxes of her parent's things in a really nice library instead of the attic or garage.

Scott does this weird thing where he plays baseball or something in his head while his boss is talking to him. ;)

Rel:~ I chose this pic because No.36 is the hubby of a dear friend of mine who plays for the Tokyo Giants! Hi M & M!

Your inspir
ation for the character:

Aubrey is a compilation of celebrities. I read a lot of biographies and tried to create someone believable but "large" enough for the reader to buy that the woman on the page was famous. She was actually really fun to write even though the veil of not being able to see up close into the life of a celebrity was frustrating.

Scott is me, my brothers and every sports enthusiast rolled into one. But since he's an anchor, I didn't want him to be the slick haired, capped tooth type, so I tried to create a man with weaknesses and one not so "pretty."

Background to the story:

Diva Nashvegas inspired my first "Behind the Scenes" on my blog. It was a hard book to write. The idea to write about a singer came out of a conversation with my editor after we worked on the first Nashvegas book.

I'd originally thought of an "American Idol" or "Nashville Star" type of but in the end decided to start with a character already at the top of her game but is exhausted and unable to keep hiding from her past.

Aubrey was the first character I fell in love with. When I turned in the manuscript I said, "I love this woman!" Thankfully so did my editors. The first weekend of October, Diva NashVegas won the Maggie Award for Best Inspirational and I was really happy for Aubrey! She deserved a nob. ;)

Loved this look behind Aubrey and Scott - thanks so much, Rach! Now, Diva Nashvegas is an older book of Rachel's so many of you will have read it. How did you picture her characters?

On Monday, I will be spotlighting Trish Perry's Jeremy Beckett and Tiffany LeBoeuf from Beach Dreams ~ I love her pictures of them!

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of Diva Nashvegas

Visit Rachel's website

Buy Rachel's books at Amazon or Koorong

Sneak Peek at Christa Parrish's Watch Over Me

Christa Parrish's debut novel Home Another Way was a breath of fresh air in the Christian Fiction market. I'm really looking forward to being equally engaged in her next novel, Watch Over Me, releasing later in the year.

I love this cover ~ what do you think?

Watch Over Me by Christa Parrish

Deputy Benjamin Patil is the one to find the infant girl- hours old, abandoned in a field. When the mother can't be located, Ben and his wife, Abbi, seem like the perfect couple to serve as foster parents. But the baby's arrival opens old wounds for Abbi and shines a harsh light on how much Ben has changed since a devastating tour in Afghanistan.

Their marriage teeters on the brink and now they must choose to either reclaim what they once had or lose each other forever.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

The winner of the Monster Liparulo Giveaway is....

The Random Number Generator chose Kristi ~ congratulations!

Kristi entered the four alternate ways so I think her efforts have been rewarded.

As far as voting for which character you would like Bob to spotlight, here are the results:~

Toria & Xander ~ 6 votes each

Nana & Taksidian ~ 2 votes each

Jesse & Keal ~ 1 vote each.

So it looks like Bob needs to consider spotlighting Toria and Xander - LOL! We will bring those spotlights to you around July, 2009 to celebrate the release of Timescape.

Thank you to you all for your interest and efforts :)

CFBA Blog Tour of Gingham Mountain by Mary Connealy

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Gingham Mountain

Barbour Books (February 1, 2009)


Mary Connealy


Mary's writing journey is similar to a lot of others. Boil it down to persistence, oh, go ahead and call it stubbornness. She just kept typing away. She think the reason she did it was because she was more or less a dunce around people—prone to sit silently when she really ought to speak up(or far worse, speak up when she ought to sit silently).

So, Mary had all these things, she want to say, in her head; the perfect zinger to the rude cashier, which you think of an hour after you’ve left the store, the perfect bit of wisdom when someone needs help, which doesn’t occur to you until they solve their problems themselves, the perfect guilt trip for the kids, which you don’t say because you’re not an idiot. She keep all this wit to herself, much to the relief of all who know her, and then wrote all her great ideas into books. It’s therapeutic if nothing else, and more affordable than a psychiatrist.

So then a very nice, oh so nice publishing company like Barbour Heartsong comes along and says, “Hey, we’ll pay you money for this 45,000 word therapy session.” That’s as sweet as it gets.

Mary's journey to publication is the same as everyone’s except for a few geniuses out there who make it hard for all of us. And even they probably have an Ode to Roast Beef or two in their past.

There are two other books in this Lassoed In Texas Series: Petticoat Ranch and Calico Canyon


All aboard for a delightful, suspense-filled romance, where a Texan is torn between his attraction to a meddlesome schoolmarm and the charms of a designing dressmaker. When Hannah Cartwright meets Grant, she's determined to keep him from committing her orphans to hard labor on his ranch. How far will she go to ensure their welfare?

Grant Cooper is determined to provide a home for the two kids brought in by the orphan train as runs head-on into the new school marm, who believes he's made slave labor out of eight orphaned children. He crowds too many orphans into his rickety house, just like Hannah Cartwright's cruel father. Grant's family of orphans have been mistreated too many times by judgmental school teachers. Now the new schoolmarm is the same except she's so pretty and she isn't really bad to his children, it's Grant she can't stand.

But he is inexplicably drawn to Hannah. Can he keep his ragtag family together while steering clear of love and marriage? Will he win her love or be caught in the clutches of a scheming seamstress?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Gingham Mountain, go HERE

My take:~

Gingham Mountain contains all the elements we expect from a Mary Connealy read - frivolity, chaos, kids, romance and then some more kids! Witty and engaging, Mary gives us another energetic read about a young man determined to make a difference to the lives of orphans by taking them in as family. The new school teacher, an orphan herself, certain he is taking them captive and using them for his own gain, is determined to stop him.

If you want a lighthearted romance, overloaded with humour and charm, look no further than Mary's latest
Lassoed In Texas tale.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Character Spotlight ~ Colleen Coble's Bree & Kade Matthews

Today the spotlight shines on............................................Bree & Kade Matthews

Colleen Coble has written four books featuring Bree and her search and rescue dog, Samson and no doubt readers will be clamouring for more! They combine great character development, a beautiful setting and intriguing suspense. Enjoy this closer look at Bree & Kade.

Over to you, Colleen:~

Bree Matthews (nee Nichols)

Brief physical description

Five-two with auburn curls and green eyes. Small but strong.

Actor/famous person who might
resemble her/him

That took some looking! Not many redheads in the movies. But Alyson Hannigan fit surprisingly well.

Strengths and weaknesses

Bree has an uncanny ability to read her search dog, Samson. She and Samson are an amazing search team. She is also empathetic and quick to help as she sees the needs around her. One weakness she has is that she can be too quick to trust. She's also a little overprotective of her son--but no wonder. She thought he was dead. . .

Quirk (if any)

Loves pistachios and eats them all the time, leaving a trail of shells in the
woods when she's out on a search

Your inspiration for the character

I attended a couple of training sessions for search dogs when I was beginning to think about the series and met the amazing people who work with them. There was one woman t
here who particularly caught my attention with the way her dog seemed so tuned to her. And I have to admit Bree is a character who is very much like me in temperament.

Kade Matthews


Six foot with brown hair and blue eyes. Stocky buil
d and muscular. A younger Mel Gibson

Strengths and Weaknesses

Kade is dependable. He's not afraid of responsibility and is the one others come to for advice. He has a strong ethical streak which was severely tested in Cry in the NIght because he had to put his ethics up against his responsibilities. He can tend to take charge without asking for advice.


Hobby is rehabilitating orphaned baby animals


My brother Rick was the inspiration for Kade. Rick has that same streak of strength and ethics.

Background to the story

I was researching newspapers for plot ideas when I stumbled across an article about a Native A
merican woman who had just been reunited with her birth parents. She'd been stolen from the reservation and adopted out. Others had been too. As soon as I read it, I knew it had to be part of the plot. The Upper Peninsula is like another place in time. I just love it. One of the things I love is that the area where I set Rock Harbor was settled by Finns. I love the Finnish people. My best friend in high school was Finnish (her name is Anu. Sound familiar? :-)) We hosted her daughter as a foreign exchange student and we've been to Finland. So it was fun for me to weave the Finnish culture through the book.

Thanks so much Colleen for shedding some light on your much loved characters :)

Do comment and let us know what you think of this behind the scenes look.

On Thursday, I will be spotlighting Rachel Hauck's Aubrey Jones and Scott Vaughn from Diva Nashvegas, one of my favourite books. It'll be fun!

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of Cry in the Night

Visit Colleen's
website and blog

Buy Colleen's books at
Amazon or Koorong

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...