Friday, June 29, 2012

Interview and Book Giveaway with Londa Hayden



 I'm pleased to introduce Londay Hayden. She will be giving away a copy of her book, Date Pray Wait to one lucky blog follower.

Besides entertainment, what do you hope readers will take away from your book?

It is my hope that the reader will develop a very real relationship with God and not just view a moral dating practice as a religious duty. 
 
What sparked your decision to journey down the adventurous path of writing ?

I was inspired as a songwriter first and then a few years ago, I decided to write books. I started out with a children's book to help raise funds for African orphanages. Then I stumbled upon a site that encourages writers to write a novel in a month. I accepted the challenge and cranked out my first book. After that, I submitted this very unrefined manuscript into a contest which made it to the third round, miraculously enough. Thank God  it didn't win. In hind sight, that manuscript was really poorly written and I would have been terribly embarrassed had it been published. I then submitted a true short story to a blog contest and won $500.00. This let me know that my stories had value. I'm still experimenting with genre in trying to find my voice and niche in writing, and the many rejection letters I've received can prove that statement. However, I have managed to complete a 80,000 world fiction novel "Where Two Rivers Meet," which recently was recognized for outstanding achievement in writing. 

How does FAITH play into your writing?

My faith in God is my greatest inspiration in life and it seems to bleed into everything I write no matter how generic I try to remain.  
 
What are your hobbies other than writing?

I like to travel to new places and meet interesting people. However, I find it difficult to resist the temptation to turn every encounter into an unexpected interview.  But I will not deny my writer's instincts the opportunity to indulge upon a fabulous new story with a colorful character. I enjoy the theater and attending concerts of some of my favorite artist whenever possible. Of course, shopping is also fun, seeing the newest movies on the big screen, and going to museums to see great art or the planetarium and other sciences. I meet with friends for breakfast or lunch as often as possible. The beach is also a place I like to retreat to for peaceful restoration and inspiration. We used to live closer, and I could go more often. Now I enjoy retreating to my backyard and watching the hummingbirds buzz through the garden. We also go to visit my mother and other family several times a year since they live in another state and are elderly now. 

What are couple of your favorite books? What are you reading right now?
 
Two of my favorite books when I was growing up were "Charlotte's Web" and "Little Women." 

Right now, I am reading "The Hunger Games" Trilogy. I also read things pertaining to the writing craft and marketing. "How to Write for Kids Magazines While Working on a Debut Novel" by Vicki H. Moss is a current book I'm reading at the moment. I usually end up reading several books at the same time, which makes it difficult to finish anything. 

Do you have a blog or website where readers can connect with you? 
 
I just started a brand new blog on wordpress called "Date...Pray...Wait." I am hoping this will attract young Christian singles who are making their way through the dating experience. The purpose of this blog is to help create an open dialog with my readers and offer encouragement and social networking opportunities to Christian singles. You can access it at http://www.datepraywait.wordpress.com/



I also have a writers blog on my own site at http://www.londahayden.com/, where I talk about everything pertaining to writing, marketing, grammar, and my ongoing life as a writer. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Review of Almost Amish By Kathryn Cushman & Book Giveaway



Julie Charlton is at the breaking point. She's overwhelmed and burned out, and in today's unrelenting society, her kids are, too. When her sister-in-law Susan, a Martha Stewart-in-training, lands the chance to participate in a reality TV series promoting simple living, and needs another family to join her, it seems like the perfect opportunity.


The location is an idyllic farm outside an Amish community in Tennessee. Julie, with her two children, joins Susan and her teenage daughter for a summer adventure. Susan needs to succeed in order to become self-sufficient after an ugly divorce, Julie needs to slow down long enough to remember what her priorities are and regain a sense of purpose and meaning. It becomes clear from the start that "living simple" is no simple matter. With the camera watching every move, Susan's drive for perfection feels a lot like what they left behind, while Julie suddenly finds herself needing to stand up for slowing down. With each new challenge, their season of "going Amish" gets more and more complicated, as each woman learns unexpected lessons about herself and her family.




About the Author

Kathryn Cushman is a graduate of Samford University with a degree in pharmacy. She is the author of four previous novels, including Leaving Yesterday and A Promise to Remember, which were both finalists for the Carol Award in Women's Fiction. Kathryn and her family currently live in Santa Barbara, California. Visit her Web site at www.kathryncushman.com.
My Review
Proving the simple life isn't so simple after all. I read Katie's first book A Promise to Remember back in 2007 and fell in love with her writing. Almost Amish is very different from Katie's first book.

If you want to escape for a little while into a simpler lifestyle, one you that wish that you could live in then this book is a must read for you.

The family in this book was leading a fast-paced life until they decided to go off to live in the country to slow down and live somewhat like the Amish do was really neat to read about. I will  let you experience all the joys and challenges vicariously through the characters.
I really think that you will find this book to be a fun read. I LOVE the simple life the Amish lead so this book was a great read for me.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Review of A Wedding Song by Jennifer Johnson





How can God expect Megan McKinney to forget the past? Every day she watches women drop by the law firm to visit her boss, Justin Frasure. Even though he became a Christian three months ago, nothing’s changed. Justin’s just as disgusted as Megan—he’s tried everything to keep his past from intruding. But, in spite of herself, when Justin joins her church and she sees his growing faith, she finds her heart softening. Can Justin wait for God to show her how much he loves her, or will his patience lead her to choose someone else?
 
Megan McKinney is being forced to re-evaluate Justin Frasure, her womanizing boss, since he became a Christian three months earlier. She finds her heart softening as his faith grows. Can he wait patiently for God to change her heart, or will his patience push her toward someone else?
 

Review

What if the right choice is the "wrong" guy? All the way from beginning until the very end you have no idea which of the two guys Megan McKinney is going to end up with. This is a fun and easy read which I really enjoyed.  Great read for that day at the beach (or lake, or backyard or favorite nook! It was a very sweet romance.

Leave a comment for the GIVEAWAY!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Interview with Darlene Shortridge




1. Why did you chose this particular genre? I am not sure I chose it as much as it chose me.  I had the story of Mark and Jessi running through my head and it wouldn?t leave me alone.  Once I realized that this story wasn?t going anywhere, I started writing.  Once I started writing, I understood just how much the words coming from my heart could impact a world that has lost hope.  Our lives are filled with heartache.  We have been hurt and humiliated.  Our lives are in turmoil, and if not ours then the lives of those around us.  To take a fiction story and make it relatable to our every day lives is an honor that God has entrusted me with.  As long as He continues to lead me this genre, I will continue to write it.   2. What is your favorite Bible verse? Can I use an entire chapter?  Please?  If so, then I will say Psalm 139.  David is my favorite Biblical human being.  Of course this relates with what I mention in the question above and the question below.  God knows us.  He knows everything about us.  All this knowledge does not dissuade Him from loving us or from dying for us.  As I read this chapter, I am so reminded of His unconditional love.  No matter where I go, what I do and who I do it with, He is there with me and has a hedge about me.  I love that.  Like David, I have failed miserably.  I am so unworthy of God?s love.  He loves me anyway.  Isn?t that amazing? 3. What is the most important thing you hope that the reader takes away from your book Until Forever?
 No matter what you?ve done, no matter how bad you have failed, there is forgiveness in the arms of Christ.  I cannot tell you how my heart breaks when someone does not come to Christ because they feel they have committed the unforgivable sin.  I want everyone to know that is what He went to the cross for.  That is how much He loves us. 4.What are you writing now? I am so excited because book two In the Women of Prayer Series, Forever Blessed, is almost finished.
 Forever Blessed tells the heartbreaking story of Paul and Laney Sanders.  Laney is on the run from her abusive husband, Paul.  With her three children in tow, she leaves everything she knows to obtain safety for her and her family.  While living in a women?s shelter, Laney meets women from every walk of life that are facing similar circumstances in their lives.  Does Laney find safety from a controlling manipulative husband?  Does Paul track her down and make her pay for her disobedience?  Where does God fit into all this?  Forever Blessed tackles the tough subject of domestic abuse, both inside and outside the church.   I expect this book to be released mid to late August of 2012.  5.What is your favorite comfort food? That is my problem, I have too many comfort foods!  Because it is summer I?ll choose my summer comfort food.  I bet you didn?t think there are different comfort foods for different seasons, did ya?  Well, there is.  So, my summer comfort food is a spinach strawberry salad with feta cheese, candied pecans, sautéed chicken breast and poppy seed dressing.  Every bite truly brings comfort. 6. I am a dog lover, tell us about your pets if any. I love dogs as well, particularly labs.  At the moment we do not have a pet of any kind.  But, within the next few months we will be looking for a golden lab puppy, a female, she will be named Simba and she will have a blue collar.  I promised our son so it will come to pass.  7. Do you have a blog or website where readers can connect with you? Actually, I have both.  My blog is www.darleneshortridge.blogspot.com/And my website is http://www.darleneshortridge.com/My facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/darlene.shortridge You can find me on twitter as well at https://twitter.com/#%21/ShortridgeD

BE SURE TO LEAVE A COMMENT TO BE ENTERED TO WIN A CPOY OF UNTIL FOREVER!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Review of My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade




Book Description 

A Sensational CBA Debut in Contemporary Romance!  This summer author Becky Wade makes her CBA debut with a fun -- and funny -- contemporary romance.  Amidst the light-hearted banter and laugh-out-loud moments is a compelling spiritual journey of one woman's choice to listen to God and wait on him.  Filled with humor and authentic romance, My Stubborn Heart is shaping up to be the hit of the summer.

Kate Donovan is burned out on work, worn down by her dating relationships, and in need of an adventure. When Kate's grandmother asks Kate to accompany her to Redbud, Pennsylvania, to restore the grand old house she grew up in, Kate jumps at the chance. Yet, she discovers a different kind of project upon meeting the man hired to renovate the house.  Matt Jarreau is attractive and clearly wounded -- hiding from people, from God, and from his past.  Kate can't help but set her stubborn heart on bringing him out of the dark and back into the light... whether he likes it or not.


Biography

During her childhood in California, Becky frequently produced homemade plays starring her sisters, friends, and cousins. These plays almost always featured a heroine, a prince, and a love story with a happy ending. She's been a fan of all things romantic ever since.
Becky and her husband lived overseas in the Caribbean and Australia before settling in Dallas, Texas. It was during her years abroad that Becky's passion for reading turned into a passion for writing. She published three historical romances with Avon Books, then put her career on hold for several years to care for her kids, then recently returned to writing sheerly for the love of it. She felt led to move to the genre of contemporary Christian romance and couldn't be more thrilled with it.

These days Becky can be found failing but trying to keep up with her housework, sweating at the gym, carting her kids around town, playing tennis, hunched over her computer, eating chocolate, or collapsed on the sofa watching TV with her husband.
 




My Review

READ THIS BOOK!   Kate Donovan and Matt Jarreau will having you cheering until very the very last page! Don't get mad at the author Becky, if you  do not get your house work (or anything else) done. You will be addicted from the first sentence and you won't mind that you are. I found it very difficult to believe that this was Becky's debut book. It is so well written that I often found myself grinning as I read it. It is a very fun and easy read. I hated when this book ended so much that I decided I had to go back and read it again (which I did). I could not stop thinking about it after I read the last page. 

This book gets 5 stars two times from me!! Becky's debut novel made me a big fan and I can not wait to read what comes next from this marvelous new author. 




I  received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers.





Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Interview with Shellie Neumeier

1. Why did you chose this Genre?

 
I’m not so sure I picked this genre or it picked me. When I first started writing fiction, the notions of genres and style never occurred to me. Come to think of it, I was so green I didn’t even know such beasts existed. Sure I had my preference when it came to finding books at the library, but did I ever think of those preferences as choices of genre or style? Nah. So when it came to writing, a story captured my heart and I wrote it. Just so happened that story told itself through the eyes of a teenage girl. As I grow and learn in my writer’s life, I’ve discovered YA fits me. There’s a flexibility that YA readers allow in their literature that adult readers may not. Flexibility that allows for mythical creatures, dark settings, nail-biting drama and so much more. Maybe someday I’ll write something else, but for now…YA rocks.
 
2. What do you hope your readers will take away from your books?
 
I like to think there’s always good inside, whether that’s my books, my characters, my life…it’s just a matter of searching deep enough to find it. I hope and pray that’s what my readers discover as they read my stories. Despite the darkness, the struggles, the wickedness life may hold, somewhere there’s hope, there’s light. But to find it, you have to persevere, forgive, be flexible, be patient.
 
3. Tell us about coauthoring, it seems to me it would be very hard. Tell us about your coauthor.
 
I’ve heard scary stories and wonderful friendships that develop from coauthoring and I’m so glad mine resulted in the later. Lisa Lickel is a delight to work with. She’s an amazing mentor, author, editor, confidant and friend. She loves bacon and crepes, but that’s beside the point. Most importantly, she’s gracious and forgiving. A Summer in Oakville, coauthored with Lisa, was the third book I wrote and the first romance to-boot. Lisa’s patience with me became a motivational element, driving me to finish what I figured couldn’t be done. I mean really, I wrote YA/MG fantasy/paranormal not YA romance. Still, she worked with what I gave her and advised where needed while allowing me to keep the youthfulness of my characters and the struggles they went through. While she kept the mythical creatures out of our story, Lisa enhanced my writing instead of making it blend with her style. In hindsight, our styles seemed to blend seamlessly into a sweet tale of forgiveness and family love.
 
4. Are you working on another book? please tell us about it.
 
I have a couple manuscripts in the works. One is a YA dystopian and it’s currently in the hands of an editor. I have high hopes for that one; it’s my favorite story, to date. The second is a Christmas novella which is expected to release this November/December. That story is a cross between David Copperfield and The Cake Boss. A fun story to write, for sure. Each summer I add another book to The Adventures of Ally and Cory series (book 1, The Wishing Ring, released last winter and book 2, The King’s Seal, releases this December). I ask my kids to help fill in the plot gaps as I go along. Helps to energize the stories and keeps them involved when they’re at home, so I’m sure we’ll get started on that one soon.
 
5. How does your faith play into your writing?
 
Faith weaves the fibers of who I am into something cohesive and tangible, so it’s not a surprise when it surfaces in the stories I write. However, as my writing matures, faith elements are becoming more organic, more subtle, more real, if you would. My characters struggle with their own faith (like I do), they doubt (like I do), they stumble (like I do), and they grow (like I hope I do J). Writing YA allows me to paint dark backdrops with huge hurtles so when good arises, the contrast impacts the reader. Sometimes that good comes in a Christian world-view and sometimes it comes in an actual transformation of character, depends on the story and the audience. Either way, the good is always inside J.
 
6.What are your hobbies other than writing?
 
Hobbies, hmmm. I love to read between trips to little league and cheerleading practice. Once in a while I’ll play Angry Birds or Farm Frenzy, but only after the laundry, cleaning and cooking is done. Can I call my family work a hobby? It’s not always fun, but I love the results :D.


 
7. Do you have a blog or webite?

Yup, http://shellieneumeier.com and for authors under twenty: http://nextgenwriters.com
Or you can find me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shellie.neumeier 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review of My Dearest Naomi by authors Jerry & Tina Eicher




When Eugene Mast leaves his Amish community in Worthington, Indiana, to teach in faraway Kalona, Iowa, he also must leave the love of his life, Naomi Miller. 
For the next nine months of the school term, Eugene and Naomi keep their romance alive through love letters from his heart to hers, and from hers back to his.

Eugene writes of his concern that in his absence Naomi may find the attractions of another suitor to her liking.  Naomi worries that Eugene may fall prey to the "liberal" Mennonite beliefs in the community where he now lives.  Both can hardly wait until the school year is up and they're finally reunited.


A poignant and tender love story that will warm the hearts of readers everywhere


My Review


This book is unlike any other that I have read. Most all of the book is in letter form between Eugene and Naomi. It is like reading a personal diary. This book is so unique that it completely captivated my attention.  I loved each and every letter. It was great to have Jerry's wife share in this book with him. The letters that Eugene wrote told of his teaching career and Naomi's letters wrote of everything going on back home. It gives you an inside, intimate look at not only two people very much in love but also the lifestyle of Amish people.  They have such a wonderful love for each other. Readers will not be disappointed, this is unlike anything that you have read before by Jerry and it will be a book that you can't put down until the very last page. I loved it. 



About the Author


Jerry Eicher's bestselling Amish fiction (more than 210,000 in combined sales) includes The Adams County Trilogy, the Hannah's Heart books, and the Little Valley Series. After a traditional Amish childhood, Jerry taught for two terms in Amish and Mennonite schools in Ohio and Illinois. Since then he's been involved in church renewal, preaching, and teaching Bible studies. Jerry lives with his wife, Tina, and their four children in Virginia. Tina Eicher was born and married in the Amish faith, surrounded by a mother and sisters who were great Amish cooks. At fellowship meals and family gatherings, Tina's dishes receive high praise and usually return empty. She and her husband, Jerry Eicher, author of several bestselling Amish fiction titles, are the parents of four children and live in Virginia.



Jerry Eicher's many devoted fans will be enthralled by this endearing novel in letters based on Jerry's letters to and from his future wife, Tina, and their discovery that, indeed, absence does make the heart grow fonder.

Harvest House Publishers sent me a copy for my honest review!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Review and Book Giveaway of Barbara Cameron's "Her Restless Heart"




Mary Katherine is caught between the traditions of her faith and the pull of a different life. When Daniel, an Amish man living in Florida, arrives and shares her restlessness, Mary Katherine feels drawn to him and curious about the life he leads away from Lancaster County. 


I read Barbara's first series Quilts of Lancaster County  and I loved all three books. So when the new Stitches in Time Series came out I ran to the book store to pick up a copy of book number one "Her Restless Heart" and boy am I glad I did! Barbara's writing is right up there with the BEST Amish authors such as Beverly and Wanda.

Mary Katherine  (who was my favorite character)  had an English friend who she was close to and it was neat to see the relationship between them. I love how Barbara had her characters from the last series make  cameo appearances in this series.

I can't wait to read book number two "The Heart's Journey".

I will give away one copy of this book, because I bought an extra copy for one lucky reader!


But her longtime friend Jacob has been in love with her for years. He’s discouraged that she’s never viewed him as anything but a friend and despairs that he is about to lose Mary Katherine to this outsider. 

Will the conflicted Mary Katherine be lost to the Englisch world, or to Daniel, who might take her away to Florida? Or will she embrace her Amish faith and recognize Jacob as the man she should marry and build a life with?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Interview with author Rebecca Carey Lyles




Winds of Wyoming – a Kate Neilson Novel

Fresh out of a Pennsylvania penitentiary armed with a marketing degree, Kate Neilson heads to Wyoming anticipating an anonymous new beginning as a guest-ranch employee. A typical twenty-five-year-old woman might be looking to lasso a cowboy, but her only desire is to get on with life on the outside—despite her growing interest in the ranch owner. When she discovers a violent ex-lover followed her west, she fears the past she hoped to hide will imprison her once again.



Though debut novelist Rebecca Carey Lyles grew up in Wyoming, she and her husband, Steve, currently live in the neighboring state of Idaho. She enjoys the creativity and beauty that abound throughout her adopted state as well as opportunities to hike, camp, snowshoe and cross-country ski in the midst of God’s grandeur. While hiking in the Wyoming mountains one summer, she came nose-to-nose with—well, several feet from—a beautiful white wolf. Currently, she’s working on a Winds of Wyoming sequel titledWinds of Freedom. http://www.beckylyles.com/; http://www.widgetwords.wordpress.com/



1.  What do you hope readers will take away from your book?

My desire and prayer is that readers gain a deeper sense of God’s endless love and complete forgiveness. The Winds of Wyoming heroine, Kate Neilson, is an ex-felon who has recently been released from a Pennsylvania prison and traveled to Wyoming to start a new life. Growing in her newfound Christian faith involves daily experiencing God’s grace and power as she battles a past that follows as close as a shadow. As a result, she develops a deeper understanding of his love and forgiveness.

2. How does your faith play into your writing?

Because God has carried me through the ups and downs of life and I’ve seen how he walks alongside my friends and family, I find that faith is a natural theme to incorporate in fiction. Also, my nonfiction books are about people whose lives were dramatically changed by God. Interviewing those individuals and writing their stories was a privilege and a thrill. Both books are available on Amazon: It’s a God Thing! Inspiring Stories of Life-Changing Friendships -and- On a Wing and a Prayer – Stories from Freedom Fellowship, a Prison Ministry.

3. Why did you choose this particular genre?

Like most authors, I write what I like to read. My tagline for the Kate Nielson series incorporates some of my favorite genre aspects: Contemporary Christian Romance Set in the West and Salted with Suspense.

4. What is your favorite Bible verse and why?

Over the years, I’ve turned to Romans 15:13 again and again: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” No matter how discouraging and dark the situation, when we have the Holy Spirit in our lives, we have hope, not only for daily living, but for eternity. With hope comes joy and peace. God is so good to us!

I also like the idea of overflowing with hope and that receiving it involves a powerful work of the Holy Spirit. A typical American understanding of hope, I think, is that it’s sort of a namby-pamby, wishing-upon-a-star dreaming rather than doing. Yet, trusting God to fill us with hope, joy and peace to overflowing requires amazing Spirit power.

5. Are you writing anything right now, if so can you tell us about it?

So glad you asked! I’m in the final hours of completing the sequel to Winds of Wyoming. Winds of Freedom is a bit more intense than the first book, has an even more sinister villain (or two), is set in the cooler months rather than summer, and involves the heroine’s struggle to not only deal with her own difficult issues, but to take care of her elderly aunt, who has MS and Alzheimer’s, and help her best friend, who’s in a desperate situation, plus encourage her husband with his ongoing ranching challenges.

6. Do you have a blog or website where readers can get up close and personal with you?

I love to chat with readers! Here are ways to connect:

Facebook: Rebecca Carey Lyles
Twitter: @BeckyLyles
 There will be a giveaway, so leave a comment!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Review of Annie's Truth by Beth Shriver




After learning the truth about who she really is, can this prodigal daughter be accepted back into the safety and security of home?
 
Annie Beiler seems to have it all—a loving family in a tight-knit Amish community and the affections of an attractive and respected young man. But when she learns that she was adopted after being found as an abandoned newborn, she sets out on a journey to find out who she is.
 
Her father is strongly against her decision to leave, as it could mean Meidung, or excommunication from the community and even her family. But Annie knows she must find “the path that has her heart.”
 
As Annie’s search brings her into the fast-paced world of modern life, she is confronted with all of the temptations she was warned of. Can she make her way back to the order and security of her family? Or will she remain an outsider—torn between her two worlds?


I'm a huge fan of Amish fiction but I have to be honest and say that I have been disappointed with a lot of the new Amish author's books because all the story-lines seemed the same.  However, this new Amish Author more than exceeded my expectations. It really held my attention because the story was so different. I really, really enjoyed it.

This is a book that talks about forgiveness.  Could you forgive after a rape or the murder of a school house full of children? This book is not only a good story with great characters, Annie's Truth will also have you thinking about all of the people in your life you need to forgive.  It's a different take on your everyday Amish love story.  It shows what it feels like to find a sense of belonging when you don't know where you come from or who your real parents are. With this book Beth has become one of my new favorite authors and I can't wait to read her next book!

I was given a copy of the book by the author.

There will be a giveaway of Annie's Truth. Please read the rules posted on the right hand bar of this blog to see how to be entered to win.



About Beth Shriver

In 2003, Beth began her first book, a Young Adult novel. A couple of years later it was published, and she has been writing ever since. Beth received a degree in Social Work from the University of Nebraska and was a CPS worker for the Department of Social Services before starting a family. Beth followed her passion to write and has written in a variety of genres in both fiction and non-fiction.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Interview with Chana Keefer




Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
It depends on the character. In my first novel, the heroine was TOTALLY me circa college days—journalism student, mediocre print model, frizzy hair, God-lovin’ & raised in the country—a good first novel character to cut my teeth on. All my characters, though, have something of me in them just because I need to understand their motivation to write them well. Did I mention that Lucifer is one of the main characters in THE FALL??

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
When my husband and I first started dating, we were so bratty and had so much pent-up emotion (we had been great friends for a year and a half) we ended up spending one entire night in a continuous pillow-fight. My roommate the next day said every now and then during the night she would wake up and hear this mysterious “poof-poof” and laughter.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I have always enjoyed expressing myself through the written word and even majored in broadcast journalism in college. However, the passion/addiction/first-love-giddiness of getting lost in writing a novel happened six years ago as I worked on my first, Rock Star. I was getting maybe three to four hours of sleep a night and feeling fantastic. It really was a bit like falling into first love.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I have a large range—classic Jane Austen to modern sci-fi—but I don’t enjoy anything gratuitous as far as sex, language, or violence. If the characters are interesting, there’s a worthwhile, page-turning story, a bit of a love interest, and so on I can get hooked. Shoot, if a cookbook is well-written and the author is passionate about their craft it’s a nice escape.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Is that a requirement? Seriously, writing helps me maintain sanity. It makes my jumbled thoughts come out in single-file and the creative process is very cathartic—take a trip and never leave the farm!

How do you choose your characters’ names?
Interesting question. Every character’s name—at least so far—has just seemed to drop into my head. Actually, I found it much easier than naming our children, perhaps because so much of the time I almost feel that I’m taking dictation. I pray hard then go write.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I find the publishing of my first novel to be the most unbelievable, but the accomplishment I’m most proud of would be my marriage of twenty-two years. He’s still my best friend, the person I enjoy the most, and we’re still crazy about each other. I longed for and dreamed of a great marriage but really had a hard time believing it was possible.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
My kids and I like to discuss this one rather often. I usually settle on a Bald Eagle since I think they’re such regal creatures and the idea of soaring high above The Grand Canyon or something sounds amazing—not to mention eagles are rather high in the food chain.

What is your favorite food?
If I talk about it, I’m going to want to go bake: Hot, homemade chocolate chip cookies with cold milk for dipping. There’s gotta be chocolate in heaven, I just know it! And for a chaser—tons of TexMex straight from the Riverwalk of San Antonio, TX!

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
The hardest thing about writing has been unplugging from a crazy, creative session in order to do everyday tasks like fix breakfast and homeschool my kids. It’s not that I don’t love those activities, it’s just so hard to stop when I’m on a roll! The only way to overcome that problem was to embrace sleep-deprivation, get up early, pray, then head to my favorite Starbucks that opens most days at 5 a.m.

Tell us about the featured book.
THE FALL (Rapha Chronicles, Book 1) is a biblical retelling of ancient times through the eyes of an angel who was once best friends with Lucifer. The story follows Rapha, a faithful angel, as he witnesses Lucifer’s rebellion and the resulting cataclysm in heaven that continues through the Garden of Eden and beyond.  THE FALL is beyond epic and, when the ideas first started coming, the task scared me to death. But, spoonful by daily spoonful, we moved that mountain...  well, the first mountain in the publishing mountain range anyway.  I’m projecting at least three more installments for the Rapha series. He has a huge story to tell considering he knew Lucifer “back when” and gets to see the entire span of the age of men from beginning to end.  One of the most beautiful things about this novel is when an avowed atheist, agnostic or someone who is just angry at religion tells me they felt close to God and encouraged on a deep level even though the subject matter is harsh.  My favorite description from one reviewer stated, “It’s Harry Potter meets the Common Book of Prayer.”





Here’s a snippet from Chapter One "End of an Age":

There was a time they were best friends… a distant memory almost forgotten.  Almost.
 It would be so much easier if he could forget.
            Peace, peace, but there is no peace… Rapha clutches his head in his hands oblivious to the rare trace of fresh air and woodland noises around him, too lost in fractured, tortured memories. 
A child’s eyes, wide with fear; a woman’s ripe belly, torn; screams and cries of anguish splitting the darkness of night; innocence lost; purity destroyed; life swallowed in death.  And weaving through every image, the sound of cruel laughter—feasting on mankind’s pain.
            That face.  Rapha squeezes his head but the image burns clearer—a face bathed in shadows as fumes of death cast waves of beauty and horror—eyes of leeching evil.  Those eyes suck him into darkness, willing him to join the nightmare. 
With all the force of his formidable will Rapha wrenches his thoughts from that realm, forcing his eyes open to light and life.  A flower—tiny, bright, thriving no more than a few brave hours—faces the sun’s feeble light.  With a need for comfort, Rapha stretches face down, breathing in soil and weakly pulsing life.  Although fires burn, smokes of destruction rise and death reigns, but here is a patch of green.  His fingers grip deep into soft earth as fresh pain rips through him. 
Flashing, intelligent eyes; a carefree smile; beautiful hands gesturing with enthusiasm; boyish laughter filtering through a forest glade—ancient memories that bring unbearable torture. 
Sobs rumble from the depths of the earth itself, erupting through Rapha’s muscular frame. 
“I cannot,” he gasps, wrestling in his mind with an unseen companion. “It’s impossible.  He’s gone too far for too long.  There’s nothing, nothing pure—he’s made it so….” Rapha’s body writhes like a tortured serpent, with agony greater than he’s ever experienced, threatening to rip his immortal soul from his impervious body.
But wait.  There was a time he tasted deeper anguish. 
No.  Please.  That is locked away—eternal sanity demanded it.  But the horrific images descend once again.
The loved one weeps in agony, precious flesh is torn over and over as Rapha’s heart feels every rip of the whip, every trickle of spittle, every curse thrown like a poisoned spear.  And there, in the crazed mob, everywhere he looks, the twisted, beautiful, triumphant, mocking face of one who was once a brother
Rapha’s earth-crusted hands clutch at his ears but the laughter grows, filling every recess of his soul, stealing every hope and joyful memory.
A joyful memory? 
In a flash Rapha is there; catapulted through eons of space and time, before the purity of the garden, back through countless ages to a fresh hilltop lit by a younger, more optimistic sun.  He and Luc preferred the plunging cliffs dropping to unseen depths below.  Somehow, a spiral dive carried more of a thrill when performed in a temporal world.
“There’s something about this place,” Luc’s eyes flitted from tree to mountain and stream as he stretched golden arms wide as if to embrace the early morning’s glow filtering through droplets of mist.  “It’s not as grand as our flawless, hallowed domain but the appeal is undeniable.”
            Rapha had ignored the note of restlessness in that melodic voice, choosing to enjoy fresh air laced with flowered perfume and the spiced musk of fertile soil.  In the countless years of their friendship, he had learned Luc’s passions could flash with the slightest provocation, but usually, if Rapha allowed Luc to give vent to his emotions, the darker frame of mind would pass.  And, a visit to this, their favorite retreat, was usually the perfect remedy, a change of pace and a different rhythm that put celestial matters into perspective.  With a sigh Rapha settled back into thick green with one arm behind his head to contemplate the crisp blue above.  Yes.  This was just what Luc needed, a deep breath of contentment.
Website: www.chanakeefer.com
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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Extra! Extra! Read All About it! Literary Scoop!!




Nashville, TN – Hachette Book Group announced today that it will publish a new novel by Wm. Paul Young, author of the international bestseller The Shack.

Young’s highly anticipated new book is titled Cross Roads and will be published in hardcover by the FaithWords imprint on November 13, 2012. Audio, eBook, and foreign editions are also planned. FaithWords will launch an extensive marketing campaign for the book including national print, television, radio and online advertising, outreach to churches, and a 20-city book signing tour.


“In the tradition of The Shack, Paul Young has written a wonderfully creative and provocative story that will certainly stir imaginations and hearts,” said Rolf Zettersten, publisher. “It entrenches Paul’s reputation as a major novelist of our time.”

In Cross Roads, Young tells the story of a driven man who falls into a coma and experiences relational entanglements that allow him to revisit choices he made during his life.

“Because each human being is a story, we resonate with story,” said Paul Young. “I am thrilled that Cross Roads has coalesced as another unique and deeply moving human story, complete with humor and suffering, beauty and brokenness, and grace filling up the spaces in-between.”

The Shack was published in 2008 and became an international phenomenon with more than eighteen million copies in print (ten million in the United States and more than 8 million in foreign translations). It spent 50 weeks at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and has been translated into 41 languages.

This fall, FaithWords will publish a devotional, The Shack: Reflections for Every Day of the Year, based on the bestselling book.


William P. Young was born a Canadian and raised among a stone-age tribe by his missionary parents in the highlands of what was New Guinea. He suffered great loss as a child and young adult, and now enjoys the 'wastefulness of grace' with his family in the Pacific Northwest.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Review of "Road to Grace" by NY Times Best Selling Author, Richard Paul Evans






From one of America’s most beloved storytellers comes the inspiring third installment of the bestselling series, The Walk, the ongoing story of one man’s unrelenting search for hope. Reeling from the sudden loss of his wife, his home, and his business, Alan Christoffersen, a once successful advertising executive, has left everything he knew behind and set off on an extraordinary cross-country journey. Carrying only a backpack, he is walking from Seattle to Key West, the farthest destination on his map.

Now nearly halfway through his trek, Alan sets out to cover nearly 1,000 miles between South Dakota and St. Louis on foot, but it's the people he meets along the way who give the journey its true meaning—a mysterious woman who follows Alan's walk for nearly a hundred miles, the ghost hunter searching graveyards for his wife, and the elderly Polish man who gives Alan a ride and shares a story that he will never forget.

Full of wisdom and hard-won truth, this is a moving standalone story as well as the continuation of the unforgettable series. The Road to Grace is a compelling and inspiring novel about hope, healing, grace, and the meaning of life.


My review:

This is the best book on forgiveness I have read in a very long time. Richard Paul Evans works his usual magic and morality tale with a heartfelt story that takes you on a journey of discovery with the main character as he walks from one end of the country to the other.

I felt as though I were in Alan's shoes, experiencing the sorrow, wonder and transformation as each new character came into the story and impacted his life.  I enjoyed reading about the history of different towns and found myself wishing I were there walking with Alan on his journey, experiencing the different places he stayed, the food he ate and the amazing people he met.  

I am a huge fan of Richard Paul Evan's inspirational books and this one does not disappoint! Being the ardent book reader that I am, even I could not predict the wonderful surprise ending.

I give the book four out of five stars because it was TOO SHORT!! Now I'm going to have to wait an entire year for the next installment. Richard Paul Evans truly has a gift. His books do everything a good story should. They take you on an intensely emotional journey and impart timeless truths in an unforgettable way.

If you want to join Alan on his amazing journey through the America and her people this is the book for you.

This is for all of my blog followers, if you have never read anything by Richard Paul Evans you are missing a treat!  This is book three in The Walk series; make sure you read all three in the series.

I was given a copy of this book by Simon & Schuster.

Biography


When Richard Paul Evans wrote the #1 best-seller, The Christmas Box, he never intended on becoming an internationally known author.

Officially, he was an advertising executive, an award-winning clay animator for the American and Japanese markets, candidate for state legislature and most importantly, husband and father. The Christmas Box was written as an expression of love for his (then) two daughters. Though he often told them how much he loved them, he wanted to express his love in a way that would be timeless. In 1993, Evans reproduced 20 copies of the final story and gave them to his closest relatives and friends as Christmas presents. In the month following, those 20 copies were passed around more than 160 times, and soon word spread so widely that bookstores began calling his home with orders for it.

He has since written 10 consecutive New York Times bestsellers and is one of the few authors in history to have hit both the fiction and non-fiction bestseller lists. He has won three awards for his children's books including the 1998 American Mothers book award and two first place Storytelling World awards. Evans's latest book, The 5 Lessons a Millionaire Taught Me About Life and Wealth, is now available. Richard Paul Evans lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with his wife Keri, and their five children.

To order the book from Amazon: CLICK HERE