Sunday, October 31, 2010

In My Mailbox 10/31

In My Mailbox and Mailbox Monday are weekly memes by The Story Siren and The Printed Page/She Reads and Reads. These books arrived in the three weeks since I last participated:

1. Their First Noel by Annie Jones

My buddy Annie Jones guest blogged this week about her new release and I'm so excited about it. If you'd like to win my copy (sorry, you have to wait until I finish reading it) you can leave a comment today on this post.

2. The Convenient Groom by Denise Hunter

I recently finished Seaside Letters by Denise Hunter and decided I needed to put this author on my must read list.

3. Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar

I am outrageously late reading this book. It was for the October Christian Fiction Book Club hosted by Gina at Hott Books. All I can say is sorry, Gina, my post will be up eventually and I'll hop around to everyone's blogs as well.

4. Sons of Thunder by Susan May Warren

This is another Inspy Award nominee that I can't wait to read.

5. Hattaras Girl by Alice J. Wisler

I'm reviewing this one for a book tour in November.

So what's in your mailbox?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Author interview: Dawn Dyson

Tell us a little bit about your novel, Bella Maura.

Bella Maura is actually a five-year-old girl with a unique spiritual gift of intercession. The novel is about how her parents unconventionally come together to help her foster those gifts. It depicts the challenges they face to provide a safe avenue for her just-beginning life.

Where do you find your inspiration for writing?

My writing is a form of prayer, or communication with God, in a lot of respects. I give Him all the credit. I also gather inspiration from music, nature, good movies, travel and just plain daydreaming.

The cover of your novel is gorgeous. Did you have any input into the design? What does it mean?

Thank you. It is original. I chose it from three possible covers submitted by my publisher, Creation House. Justin Evans designed it and it abstractly represents the renewing of one's mind (much like the process of caterpillar to butterfly) in order to pray. The mind must be spiritually renewed in order to know how to pray effectively, as is illustrated in many ways though out the novel.

Where can readers find you online?

Anything else you'd like to share with us? Bella Maura is Book One of the Beautiful Justice series. The follow-up book, Justice Quinn is due to be released in 2011. Thank you for the opportunity to be interviewed!

Dawn Dyson lives with her husband on a farm in Nebraska and has degrees in both Animal Science and Education. She currently serves as the farm's office manager, but writing is her primary passion. She describes her writing as a God-given gift and strives to incorporate Christian themes throughout each of her works. She encourages others to find their passion in life, link it with God's and then share it with the world.

It's giveaway time!

Leave a comment for Dawn between now and Wednesday (include your email address if it's not in your profile) and I'll pick a winner next week.

If you'd like to chat with Dawn, she's hosting a special online discussion Halloween night from8-11pm Central time on Facebook and Book Blogs.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Gift of Doing God's Business by Annie Jones

You don’t know God’s business.

It was an expression that I heard an elderly lady use to describe her opinion about a weather forecast. I’ve used it myself in books and probably in person, but it was never so clear to me than when I began to write Their First Noel for Love Inspired.

It started from the kernel of an idea planted at a book signing at a friend’s antique store (the Red Scooter in Taylorsville, KY) where they displayed the entries in a local gingerbread house Christmas contest. The story was to be about a girl who needed an excuse to go to Vermont to see her first snow and to look for her birth father, connecting with a man who needed to understand that the best laid plans in life are not always what God has in mind. I love the characters of Andy and Corrie, and of Andy’s younger sister Greer, but had no idea that the book might become more than a holiday romance.

While writing the book about connecting with people long gone from each other, I happened to make contact with one of my dearest friends from high school. We hadn’t spoken in years and it was so nice to catch up and talk about our lives and family. She was especially excited for me to read some of her son’s poetry and song lyrics. The eighteen year old was very interested in becoming a writer, and soon I had befriended him too on Facebook. I loved hearing from my old friend and found her son to be thoughtful and talented and offered to help encourage his writing if I could. That opportunity never came.

Theodore Anderson died on November 11, 2009 of an undiagnosed heart defect. As a mom and friend, I have no words even still to offer comfort over the loss of a child. But as a writer, God gave me a way to give Theo what all writers aspire to – readers. And so an excerpt of one of Theo’s pieces appears in the dedication of Their First Noel.

From that moment the book has received special attention, from being the cover of the sales catalog, to getting an Editor’s Choice 4.5 in Romantic Times, to offers to do interviews or opportunities to guest blog that I don’t usually get. This has nothing to do with me or with what might literally be called a cookie cutter book (because it’s about cookie dough houses, of course). I honestly believe that has been God at work, that this book has been blessed in order to help us share Theo’s writing and draw attention to young people with bi-polar disorder and am humbled to be a part of it.

To read more about Theo Anderson and read some of his work you can visit The Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation and

Annie Jones is the award winning author of 37 novels under 4 pen names with 6 publishers. Though she has lived all over the country, she currently lives in Kentucky with her husband and children. You can find her at her blog Writing Through Life.

It's giveaway time!

Annie, thanks so much for visiting and sharing Theo's story!

Now I've got a copy of Their First Noel to give away (right after I finish reading it). Just leave a comment for Annie between now and Sunday and I'll pick the winner this weekend.

Friday, October 22, 2010

More NaNoWriMo inspiration!

Just over one week until Nano, here's some more inspiration for you. This one is really cute, but again with the catchy lyrics...

Credit: I saw this first at Inkygirl's blog.

P.S.- Have you ever heard of NaBloWriMo? Thirty one straight days of blogging in the month of October. I'll have to remember to join next year.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Review: Nursing a Grudge by Chris Well

Joy has swapped blogs for the day with Gina from Hott Books. While she is over there reviewing romance, Gina is here reviewing a cozy mystery.


Earl is a typical grouchy old man.

Well, maybe he is a bit grouchier than most but he has had a rough life. He's stuck in a wheelchair because he was shot while driving a bus. His wife left him a widower. The assisted-living apartment he resides in is closing due to budgetary issues. He's lived in the same apartment for five years and still doesn't know anyone - or know his way around.

Jenny, on the other hand is a chipper, God-centered, college student who thinks she knows best. Though she's not there to clean or wait on Earl, she's always dusting or helping out. Then she starts talking. It seems that her chipper dialog just won't end so Earl does what any sane man would do when faced with a situation like this - he agrees to leave his room as long as Jenny promises to get him back for his game show.

On their tour of the facilities Earl meets a bunch of people. He sees the computer room, the rec room. Then - shockingly - he's invited to a chili party! He's still not quite into the 'fun' when a resident - the very one who's been irritating and embarrassing people all night - kicks it.

There is something odd about what happened. If only Earl could remember what...

Barnes and Noble - Amazon - Goodreads

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed this. It was absolutely adorable. There was a bit of flirting from a couple of the other residents towards Earl but really this was just a cute chilly afternoon on the couch mystery. My favorite character was Earl. I especially liked that even though he softened he never did the 180 Grinch move. He remained what he was.

What I didn't like. It was a bit confusing. I started the book by reading the cast of characters at the beginning but to me that was a bit much. Then it did take a few pages to start enjoying Earl. But after I started to get into it - which took less than thirty pages - I really enjoyed the cast and the plot.

Buy or Borrow:Borrow

** Many of the books I review are Advance Review Copies. These books are loaned to me for my review. I am in no way compensated for my time nor am I asked to give anything but my honest review.

For Regina being a book blogger came about naturally. She's been reading daily since elementary school and was having trouble remembering what she'd read, especially when perusing the used book store. She started blogging as a way to keep an online record of what was owned & read so it was easily accessible when shopping. Now, less than a year later, she can't believe she waited so long to combine her novice love of web design and passion for reading into something so fun! Visit Regina at her blog, Hott Books

Monday, October 18, 2010

Who are your literary BFFs?

I read a guest post by Rachel Bertche on Nathan Bradford's blog this weekend. She listed her literary BFFs which got me to thinking about the characters I would love to hang out with.

1. Anne Shirley from the Anne of Green Gables series.

She's plucky and eternally optimistic, and in the series she made such a loyal friend to Diana. I can't help but think she'd be the perfect person to share all my secrets with.

2. Nancy Drew- Long before I fantasized about being a kick butt government agent like Jennifer Garner in Alias, I was a ten year old who read the entire Nancy Drew series. I think it's a logical leap from one character to the other. Sydney Bristow is what happens to Nancy Drew when she grows up.

3. Ashley Stockingdale from What a Girl Wants by Kristin Billerbeck

Our lifestyles don't mesh much now, but Ashley and I would have gotten along fabulously in my pre-marriage & motherhood days. Still, I do have one vice left from those young and single years. I never shook that weakness for designer bags. Somehow I think Ashley would approve.

So who are your literary BFFs?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Need NaNoWriMo Inspiration? (I Got a Feeling spoof)

This year's Nano is just over two weeks away. Are you ready? Here's something to get you in the mood.

Warning: I will not be held accountable if the song gets stuck in your head and hinders your ability to hit word count.

Credit: I saw this on Michelle Gregory's blog first.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Stalking Michelle Sutton

Michelle Sutton has agreed to come back to Edgy Inspirational Romance for a good old fashioned stalking. Her most recent release First Love, Tombstone Treasures Book Two, is available now from Desert Breeze Publishing.

The last thing you threw away:
Padded mailing envelopes several books arrived in.

A brand of breakfast cereal in your pantry: Cinnamon Life.

Three things in your purse: wallet, makeup, Kindle.

Something that will fall out of your medicine cabinet when I open it: Tylenol.

A sentence from your rough draft that didn't make the novel:

LOL! There aren't many, believe it or not... I usually just added a few things to clarify, but don't have to delete anything unless it was the rewording of a sentence to clarify something. Wait! Found something... I had him say, "You complete me." and the editor thought it would remind people of the movie Jerry McGuire. So I deleted it and changed it to "I need you in my life."

The name of every book you ever published (so we can track 'em all down):Everything after First Love is a future release (highlighted in blood red.) I also have nine more story ideas I'm hoping to sell for 2012 or later, and a few of them are in a series format, which would make them more than nine if the other six books make the cut... it would be 15 more titles.)

It's Not About Me (September 2008)

Danger at the Door (August 2009)

It's Not About Him (September 2009)

First Impressions (January 2010)

Never Without Hope (July 2010)

First Love (October 2010)

Letting Go (February 2011)

Their Separate Ways (July 2011)

Finding Love (September 2011)

First Response (October 2011)

Keeping Promises (February 2012)

Moving On (September 2012)

Your favorite not-quite-a-curse word: probably... crap

What sounds might I hear outside your kitchen window: wind chimes on the back porch.

One lousy job from your past: I worked a temp job for the NY State Dairy association and stamped envelopes and mailed them all day for several days in a row.

What would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Aren't you glad you followed My plan? You don't want to know what your life would have looked like if you had gone off on your own.

Michelle Sutton is the author of over a dozen edgy inspirational novels. As of Oct. 1st, seven will be available. Michelle works full time and has been married for twenty years. Her sons just began college this fall so she's got an empty nest at home in sunny Arizona.

You can find Michelle at:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

In My Mailbox 10/10

In My Mailbox and Mailbox Monday are weekly memes by The Story Siren and The Printed Page/She Reads and Reads.

You wouldn't know it to look at my list, but since the school year started I've really tried to cut down on the amount of new books I receive. Despite the diet, I've had an explosion of titles arrive lately.

These are the books I bought:

Found Rosie O'Donnell's book at the dollar store, and since I'm a sucker for a juicy celebrity tell-all, I threw it into my shopping cart.

Blood Ransom and A Lady Like Sarah are two INSPY nominees that I can't wait to read.

These e-books came in for review:

In All Things is the sequel to No Other by Shawna K. Williams and Masquerade Marriage by Anne Greene is a White Rose Publishing title.

I found these free e-book downloads:

(Did you know Cybill Shepherd used to date Elvis?)

And this title finally made it to the top of my wish list at Paperbackswap:

(This entry is scheduled to post 10/10/10 at 10:00am, just because how cool is that?!)

Saturday, October 09, 2010


Yeah, this is a book blog and I usually keep my personal stories out of it, but this topic is close to my heart.

My fourth grader is being bullied. I just met with his teacher Monday to discuss the issue. He goes to a small Christian school and they are not immune to such things (in case anyone wondered). As teachers usually are, she was unaware of the extent of the problem.

In the midst of lesson plans, state test scores, and field trips, I know how easy it is to miss. I pray I'll recognize bullies in my own classroom.

Found a fantastic blog article this week I feel compelled to share. I might just send it to my son's teacher: Memoirs of a Bullied Kid.

If you think of it, can you keep my son in your prayers?

And to bring this entry back to books, did you know there was such a thing as book bullying? I didn't either. But Carin's discussing it at A Little Bookish.

Have you ever been bullied?

Friday, October 08, 2010

Review: Wrangler in Petticoats by Mary Connealy

Wrangler in Petticoats, the second book in the Sophie's Daughters series, is non stop action and romance- the book equivalent to a summer popcorn movie. Revisiting these characters was as easy as watching my favorite actors on the big screen. And I had a grin on my face the whole time!

The feisty McClellan girls are back (as are their friends Luther and Buff). This installment focuses on Sally, a rough-ridin', chaps-wearin' wrangler with a secret girlie streak. Sally miraculously survives a dry gulch ambush and Logan is the tender heart who finds her and takes her home to recover.

But like Doctor in Petticoats, this is Mandy's story too. I really like what Mary Connealy is doing with Mandy's storyline. Since she's stretched it over three books, I have a feeling Sharpshooter in Petticoats (the third in this series) will have a greater emotional payoff. The restrained passion that Mandy shows in the subplot is some of the most romantic writing in the book and I can't wait to read her happily ever after. January can't get here soon enough.

Want more info? Here's the back cover blurb:
Ride into the Rockies where love peaks between a tough Texas tomboy and a passionate artist. On her way to Montana, Sally McClellan’s party is attacked and robbed. But then artist Logan McKenzie saves the badly wounded cowgirl who has been left for dead. Can this landscape painter tame the tomboy without breaking her spirit? Sally doesn’t know much about ribbons and lace, but Logan’s presence makes her want to connect with her feminine side. Will this fractured female discover a way to capture the artist’s love—or find herself captured and killed by outlaws?
My Rating:

(Thanks to Netgalley for providing a review copy.)

Did you miss Mary Connealy's stalking visit to Edgy Inspirational Romance? Read about it here.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Review: No Other by Shawna K. Williams

In general, I don't buy stories set around WWII. That time period never seems to connect with me. But when I saw No Other advertised at a price I couldn't resist, coupled with the fact that I've "met" the author online and found her as sweet as can be, I decided to give this one a chance.

I don't know what I was expecting. But I certainly wasn't expecting to like this book as much as I did. It was a very pleasant surprise. I knew in advance that No Other was considered edgy christian fiction, but still the actions of the main characters surprised me (and surprising this reader is a good thing!)

The climax of the story was extremely well done- the antagonists were some of my favorite characters. They were really nasty people that I enjoyed hating, well drawn by the author. The book wraps up 99.5% of its story lines, but that one half of a percent is left for the sequel which I will be sure to buy. Shawna Williams is on my to read list from now on, whether she's writing about WWII or not.

Want more information? Here's the product description:

In the aftermath of WWII all Jakob Wilheimer wants is to get over his pain, get on with life, and if at all possible, forgive those who've wronged his family -- including himself. But it's hard to do when there are constant reminders. One of them being his former schoolmate, now teacher, Meri Parker -- Miss Port Delamar Pearl, Mayor's daughter, Belle of the town -- Meri Parker.

After enduring the stigma and isolation associated with the internment camp, the awkwardness of going back to school should've been a cake walk. But Jakob didn't expect to find himself inexplicably drawn to Meri. Or to discover that the pain and loneliness of her life surpassed his own. She needed to be rescued from the wretched people seeking to control her life. And more than anything, he needed to be the one to save her.

My Rating:

Did you miss Shawna's visit to Edgy Inspirational Romance? Check it out here.


Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Christian Fiction Book Club- October

Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar won the popular vote in the poll I ran over the weekend. Gina at Hott Books is hosting October's discussion and has already posted the instructions for participation at her blog.

Have you already read Pearl in the Sand? Great! Participate anyway. You'll have a head start on the discussion questions.

Will you consider tweeting her post or blogging about it to drum up more interest in our book club?


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