Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Cross My Heart
by Elizabeth Pina
The judicial system may have cleared Kate Carlson, but those she thought loved her still doubt her innocence. Finding strength in her faith, she hopes a fresh start in glorious Colorado will restore peace and serenity to her broken heart. When history repeats itself, will her new friends stand by or desert her? Robbie Sutherland’s secret threatens to tear him apart, so he’s learned not to rely on God for anything. Kate may appear sweet and innocent, but he’s been fooled before. Either her selfless love will help him find forgiveness, or his anger and bitterness will destroy their relationship and suffocate him forever. How can Kate convince Robbie her love is real and, like God’s love, will endure no matter what?
Monday, March 28, 2011
On a dare, Kylie Matthews lands smack in the middle of Solomon’s Gate—Castle Creek’s new Christian dating agency—and she finds herself revealing exactly what she’s waiting for in a relationship: “The kiss that steals my breath away.”
Friday, March 25, 2011
Publisher: White Rose Publishing
With the ink still dry on her new veterinary license, Rodeo Queen Ruth Davis returns to Angel Springs as the new town vet. It seems her plans to save the world as a veterinary missionary are on hold. But, when her first patient arrives in the arms of battered rodeo man, Dodge Atwell, she realizes God has bigger plans than she ever dreamed possible.
The last thing Dodge wants, or needs, in his life is Ruth. Her annoying habit of quoting Scripture only serves to remind him that she's everything he's not Pure, innocent, good.
When Dodge returns to her clinic, with yet another rescued dog, Ruth cannot help but become fascinated with the man and his scars--the physical ones there for the world to see, as well as spiritual ones she senses lurking beneath the surface.
Could the reluctant animal savior be the hero she's been waiting for all her life?
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Yesterday, I also discovered a lesson hiding in some of that beauty. Is it a new thing? No…I tend to agree with King Solomon: There is nothing new under the sun. But sometimes we need a reminder of things we already know, don’t you think?
My family had gathered out on the front deck, enjoying the sunshine and welcome warmth after a cold, harsh Winter that seemed endless. Most of the trees around us are donning their dress-up gowns in various shades of green for the new season. Across the way, Mr. Nichols' redbud tree is a picture of fuschia-colored glory. Bright yellow forsythia blooms in several yards down the road.
Friday, March 18, 2011
Writing is definitely not for the thin-skinned, nor for those seeking instant gratification. It is one of the few jobs where the applicant can spend years, decades even, doing all the right things with nothing to show for it. So much of the writing industry is beyond the writer's control, at times it may appear to be an endless upward climb with a perpetually elusive destination. And although it is true there will be much that forever remains beyond our control, there are concrete steps a writer can take to increase their chance of success.
The first thing a writer needs to do is develop a long-term focus. This is not a get-rich-quick scheme. In fact, quite the opposite. If you want to be successful as an author, expect years of sweat and tears and start by focusing on the foundation.
This is where contests come in. At the American Christian Fiction Writers conference last September, I reported on one of the late night agent panels, and something Kathy Helmers from Creative Trust, Inc. said really resonated. When discussing the importance of developing a platform she said it was easier for an unpublished author to land a contract than it was for a published author with low or diminishing sales. What this means is, before you sell that first novel, make sure you have a wide reader-base to support it.
Release Date: TODAY, March 18, 2011
Publisher: White Rose Publishing
She must keep her grandfather's final legacy in her family, but Michael claims to need it for his career. He also claims to want Megan back in his life, and her betraying heart doesn't mind the idea...but does Michael want her or the painting?
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
I’ve always loved to write. I was notorious for daydreaming when I should have been paying attention in class, but everyone loved my stories. It seemed a natural fit that I should become a writer.
In college, I tried my hand at journalism. I enjoyed talking to people and writing down their stories, but it wasn’t something I saw myself doing forever. Made-up people are sometimes so much more interesting! Once I’d had my kids, I was a stay-at-home mom, and I began to make time to write.
Here’s the first thing I learned: Any idiot can write a book.
And this idiot wrote some pretty bad ones. Admittedly, I had some good storylines, I just had no idea how to put it all together. But I was willing to find out. So I’d like to share with you a few things I’ve learned along the way.
First, have a good heart-to-heart with yourself. Is this really what you want to do? Are you called to do it? Do you think you can handle it? If you’ve answered yes, then you proceed.
Where do I Start? – You’ll need to learn about plot, point of view, do you want to write in first or third? Characterization. Formatting. How to write a query letter. Who to send it to. The list is long. Very long. It can all be a little overwhelming. Do not travel alone.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Author: Catherine West
Release Date: TODAY - March 15, 2011
Independent, career-driven journalist Kristin Taylor wants two things: to honor her father's memory by becoming an award-winning overseas correspondent and to keep tabs on her only brother, Teddy, who signed up for the war against their mother's wishes. Brilliant photographer Luke Maddox, silent and brooding, exudes mystery. Kristin is convinced he's hiding something.
Willing to risk it all for what they believe in, Kristin and Luke engage in their own tumultuous battle until, in an unexpected twist, they’re forced to work together. Ambushed by love, they must decide whether or not to set aside their own private agendas for the hope of tomorrow that has captured their hearts.
About Catherine West:
Educated in Bermuda, England and Canada, Catherine holds a degree in English from the University of Toronto. When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or tending to her roses and orchids. Catherine and her husband live on the beautiful island of Bermuda, with their two college-aged children. Catherine is a member of Romance Writers of America, and American Christian Fiction Writers, and is a founding member of International Christian Fiction Writers. Catherine’s debut novel Yesterday’s Tomorrow, will release in 2011, through Oak Tara Publishers.
Oak Tara Website: http://www.oaktara.com/
Monday, March 14, 2011
1. Please tell us a little about yourself. Who is Mary Manners, the gal next door?
Mary Manners is a middle school teacher (25 years and counting), wife, mother, daughter, sister…friend. All the roles are woven nicely into one beautiful quilt.
2. How long have you been writing? Was there an “aha” moment when you knew that’s what you wanted to do?
I have been writing as long as I can remember. My earliest memory is of me trying to write a story, and I didn’t even know how to print yet!! I have always loved writing, and my husband laughs when I tell him I was the kid who spent long summer days in our community library, working my way through shelves and shelves of books and dreaming of the day when mine would be among them.
3. Sounds like we have something in common. :) I know you’re excited about your new release, Light the Fire. What inspired you to write this book?
This book is very close to my heart. I have lost a child, so I know the pain Rena goes through. I also see through my students, on a daily basis, the heartbreaking results of fractured relationships. But, through faith, I have also witnessed the amazing power of love and forgiveness. I wanted to share this with readers through Light the Fire.
4. I can’t even imagine the horror of losing a child, Mary. I admire you for keeping such a sweet, loving, giving spirit in the face of such sorrow.
What’s your favorite scene from Light the Fire? Can you share it with us?
I love the scene when Cody and his nephews and sister-in-law, Jeanne, are sharing dinner and his middle nephew, Seth, shares with the whole family the fact that Rena dressed up for Story Hour as the fisherman in the book Sam, Bangs and Moonshine, and that Cody…ew…kissed her right there in the library—and she was wearing a mustache, too! Jeanne’s reaction is priceless.
5. That sounds like a fun scene! You also have a new release coming up in the form of a White Rose Publishing Dollar Download. Tell us about that.
Yes. Brenna’s Choice is the love story of Brenna Langdon and Luke Morgan. Here’s a little tidbit:
When Brenna Langdon reluctantly returns to Collins, Oklahoma for her best friend’s wedding, the last person she expects to run into is…
Luke Morgan…the rancher who befriended her years ago, following her parents’ sudden death. Luke is strong, gentle, and impossibly handsome…just what Brenna needs.
Except for one thing—he loves his ranch and the slow-paced solitude of Collins.
Painful memories of her parents’ death and the agony of living in Collins with a cruel aunt and uncle have made Brenna vow to never return…except for the wedding. Three days, and she’s out of there—back to her high-powered, fast-paced marketing job in Chicago.
But Luke has other plans…to chase away painful memories and bring Brenna home to Collins—for good.
Yes, Delia. I have a Free Read, Love's Kindled Flame, releasing April 15th. It is a spinoff of the relationship that transpires between Jeanne and Ryan,the firefighter who treated her son in Light the Fire.
7. What’s the best thing a fan has ever said to you about one of your books?
My writing has been compared to that of Karen Kingsbury. All I can say is…wow!
8. Wow, indeed! What an amazing compliment! As a reader, do you have a favorite author? What three books are next in your TBR queue?
As you can imagine, I love Karen Kingsbury and also Beverly Lewis. I find the Amish tales fascinating. I am waiting patiently for your next two books, Delia. The first in your series was truly a delight. You are definitely on my TBR list.
9. Aww, how sweet! I’m so glad you enjoyed Destiny’s Dream. Do you have a favorite verse of scripture? If so, what makes it special to you?
Yes. I love Psalm 26:2, which is also the verse that my first book, Mended Heart, is based on: “Examine me, oh Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.”
10. That’s a good one…but they all are, aren’t they? :) What one piece of writing advice has been most beneficial to you throughout your writing career?
Write, Write, WRITE!!! Nothing gains more experience than actually planting yourself in a chair and putting a pencil to paper (or fingers to a keyboard)!! Also, write what you know…and love. And lastly—if you want something badly enough, you will find (make) the time to do it. I get up at 3:00 every weekday and go into work (the school is so quiet at that hour) to write for 3-4 hours until my students arrive. It’s like a vitamin for me, and I feel so energized throughout the day because I just love writing that much. I hope I pass along a bit of that energy and enthusiasm to my students, because several of them have also shown an interest in writing.
11. Write, write, write! That’s what I always say when asked for advice. Truly, what more could a new (or experienced!) writer do to further his/her career? Where can readers find your books? Do you have a website, blog, etc.?
My books may be found through White Rose Publishing, and through Amazon.com. Readers may also order personally autographed copies through my website.
Thank you, Delia, for hosting me. I appreciate you!!!
You are so very welcome, Mary—I appreciate you too, and I always enjoy chatting with you.
When Christy Grey is summoned to Tombstone, she’s happy to be available for her sick mother, and even hopes to be able to make a life for herself from the new adventure. What she doesn’t expect is for her stagecoach to be held up just before she reaches her destination. A stray bullet hits Christy’s arm, and when one of the masked men offers to tend it for her, she gets a glimpse of the face behind the mask, as well as the man behind the good-looking face. In return for his assistance, she makes a promise not to reveal his identity.
In Tombstone, her mother is dying of consumption and her younger brother spends his time in a gambling establishment. The situation grows worse when word arrives that Christy’s step-father has been killed, and her brother’s emotions and lack of control place him in a life-threatening situation.
When the mysterious, handsome stage robber who helped tend to her arm shows up in Tombstone, Christy doesn’t know how to feel. She’s been refusing to answer the sheriff’s questions about him, and she recognizes him immediately. Why is she so drawn to a man she knows to be a criminal?
When circumstances return Christy to a lifestyle she thought she had escaped, she finds herself watched over by none other than Nevada King, the handsome stage robber. Then a devastating event affects the entire town, at the same time her mother’s landlord evicts them from their home. With Nevada’s help, Christy moves her family into the same boarding house where her gallant, mysterious hero is living.
Nevada has been running from God and his own reputation as a gunslinger. He’d like nothing better than to settle down and have a home and a family, but with a past that haunts him, he isn’t sure he deserves the life of a family man. Yet when he meets Christy, that desire only grows, and he’s determined to keep the girl safe, even if he he can have no future with her.
Love Finds You in Tombstone, Arizona is a beautiful romance, packed with little kernels of historical fact and enlivened by authentic, era-specific detail. The author shows the life of a “saloon girl” from an angle not often explored, revealing them as women with hopes and dreams like any other, many being drawn into the sordid existence simply to stay alive. Nevada’s determination to take care of Christy, even when she doesn’t appear to want his attention, is touching—a wonderful reminder of the meaning of the word “gentleman.” Diverse characters and lifestyles make Tombstone an interesting, suspenseful page-turner. Good storytelling and smooth flow make it an easy read. This could very well be my favorite Ferrell novel to date!
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Readers, want some say in what kind of excerpts COTT features? Well, now you can send in nominations and share your favorite reads. For doing so, you receive three free entries into any of our book drawings. Awesome, right? We thought so!
And authors, we've given you more control as well. Now you can send us any 500-word excerpt from your book in the new Author's Choice category. Visit our Upcoming Clashes page for details. (http://www.clashofthetitles.com/p/submissions.html)
Also, please remember that following our blog, facebook, or twitter account lands you an extra entry in any drawing you enter. Just be sure to mention it in your comment.
And now we bring you the newest face on the team, Gail Pallotta...
Clash of the Titles Welcomes New Staff Member
It's my extreme pleasure to introduce to you today the newest COTT staff member, author Gail Pallotta. Gail also happens to be a previous Clash of the Titles Champion! Last November, she took the cyber-laurel for best description of nature. Go, Gail!!
Let's take a moment to get to know this special lady...
Gail’s husband, Rick, says she’s the only person he knows who can go in the grocery for a loaf of bread and come out with someone’s life story. That’s probably because she inherited her mother’s love of people and enjoys talking to them. Working as an editor and freelance writer, Gail published a couple hundred articles.
To continue reading the interview, click here (http://www.clashofthetitles.com/2011/03/voice-within.html)
article by Michelle Massaro
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Monday, March 7, 2011
1. Please tell us a little about yourself. Who is Winnie Griggs, the gal next door?
I’m the oldest of five siblings, a wife of 35 years, a mother of four great children (now adults), a retired business professional, a board and committee member of several writing organizations, a member of my local church and above all, a child of God.
2. Sounds like a busy, active life. How long have you been writing? Was there an “aha” moment when you knew that’s what you wanted to do?
My earliest memory of writing fiction was in elementary school when I wrote a story featuring Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. Writing has been a part of who I am ever since. I don’t remember an aha moment at all - it’s just always been something I did.
3. I know you’re excited about your new release, The Proper Wife. What inspired you to write this book?
The heroine, Sadie Lassiter, is the younger sister of the hero in an earlier book I wrote, The Christmas Journey. Though I only intended for her to have a small part, she jumped onto the page with an energy and joie de vivre that surprised me. Before I’d gotten very far into her scene, I knew she would have to have a story of her own.
4. Oh, I love when characters do that! What’s your favorite scene from The Proper Wife? Can you share it with us?
Due to a series of catastrophes, my Sadie and Eli get stranded together in the woods overnight. Eli realizes long before Sadie what the implications of that are. The scene where he tells her that he is prepared to do the honorable thing and marry her was really fun to write, especially since Sadie is convinced he is totally overreacting.
5. It sounds like it would have been fun to write! What’s the best thing a fan has ever said to you about one of your books?
That it touched her life in a very personal way because the heroine’s life was so like her own.
6. Touching hearts...isn't that what it's all about? What should readers expect from you next?
I have two more books written that are set in the same world as The Christmas Journey and The Proper Wife. In July, Second Chance Family will release—it’s the story of Cora Beth Collins (sister of the heroine from The Christmas Journey) and Mitch Hammond, the town Sheriff. Then in October I’ll tell the story of the last Lassiter sibling, Griff Lassiter in Home For Thanksgiving, a novella in the Once Upon A Thanksgiving anthology.
7. As a reader, do you have a favorite author? What three books are next in your TBR queue?
I have way to many favorite authors to mention any one. But two authors that I’ve read books by recently are Lenora Worth and Renee Ryan, both excellent authors. As far as my TBR pile, I’m currently a judge in Romance Writer’s of America’s RITA contest and will be reading those over the next couple of weeks. And, due to confidentiality issues, I can’t disclose the titles.
8. Do you have a favorite verse of scripture? If so, what makes it special to you?
I find different verses of scripture speak to me a different stages of my life. The one currently on my heart is Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” It’s a reminder that no matter what our circumstances, God can use it to work good, if not in your own life, then in someone else’s.
9. I love that verse too. Where can readers find your books? Do you have a website, blog, etc.?
My books are available through several online venues including amazon.com, christianbooks.com and eharlequin.com. You can find the current releases at most book stores and other stores that carry books such as Walmart.
Winnie, thank you for being with us today. It’s been a pleasure having you on My Book Bag!
Friday, March 4, 2011
Although I'm multi-published, I still get turned down quite a bit. I get turned down because I keep submitting, and yes it's disappointing when I get that note that says, "Hmm, just didn't grab me," but that's what I have to do order to chance an acceptance.
Why didn't the story grab the editor? What is he or she looking for? Usually the answer has something to do with "Make Me Care."
What makes us care? And the most important answer is: Creating that Intense Moment of no return – the one that makes you turn the page.
What do you care about? Intense emotions tend to fall into positive and negative; neutral only rarely.
The reactions these emotions evoke are symptoms. For example, why do you cry? What makes you angry? When are you sad? How do you show love?
Joy can also be the wellspring of a tearful reaction, as well as feelings of relief, release from fear and pain
Love, pure love, is commonly as empathetic emotion, bonding one to another in achieving common good.
Desires are outside of self-gratification. Occasionally love is characterized as a result; people act out the desire to achieve common benefit, but actions are not mindless or instinctive in humans. They are the result of internal reasoning based in part on experience.
Readers, what makes you turn the page?
How do you empathize with the characters?
Every reader empathizes with different emotions. Some people prefer thrilling experiences of danger; some enjoy traveling the winding path of adversity toward inevitable marriage; some prefer the mind games of clue masters; others prefer the intricacies of world building.
In our examples this week, the first CLASH is between a first-person account depicting fear and pain while being held against his or her will that makes the reader wonder how the person came to be in the predicament; the other except is from a woman also in fear and pain, but outside in a forest with a stranger who can do even stranger things. An element of trust is added in this excerpt. Stay tuned: Our second CLASH features no-win situations. The stakes are high. Guilt is a powerful tool of an author.
I hope you enjoy these samples, and be sure to leave these authors an encouraging message, as well as join in our discussion today about what keeps you, the reader, engaged in a book. Thank you for coming by.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
I’d have to say I’m a combination of people….Lover of God, wife of 37 years, and mother to two wonderful grown kids (daughter and son). I serve on our church staff as a licensed minister (but not a pastor) counseling women, I speak to a variety of groups about my writing, and of course, love to write books. In my non-writing time, I have a number of hobbies—my favorite is riding my horse with my daughter on the numerous trails and logging roads near our house, sailing with my husband, working in my garden and flower beds, and playing with my dogs. I used to dabble in oil painting and scrapbooking, but rarely have time anymore.
2. Sounds like you have a very busy, and very happy life. I know you’re excited about your new release, Love Finds You in Tombstone, Arizona. Tell us a little about what inspired you to write this book.
From the time I wrote Love Finds You in Last Chance, CA, my first LFY book, I wanted to write a follow-up novel about Christy Grey, the saloon girl who came to town to cause trouble for Alexia and Justin, the two main characters. My editor ok’d the idea, as long as I could successfully move her to another town. I needed an old west town, preferably one with gamblers, gun fights, and lots of action, so when she suggested Tombstone, I jumped on it. I truly loved writing this book, due to the strong theme of God’s redemptive love that runs through it.
3. And what a wonderful theme that is! What’s your favorite scene from Tombstone? Can you share it with us?
That’s hard, as I’m always worried about giving too much away. But one scene is close to the end and it still makes me cry when I read it….and has to do with reconciliation between Christy and her ailing mother. The other is a place where Christy realizes how much God truly loves HER—not for anything she’s done, but because of who HE is, and that He accepts her just as she is, flaws and all.
4. What should readers expect from you next?
I just signed a contract for my fourth Love Finds You, set in Sundance, WY, set to release August 1st, this year. It’s another old west setting, with cattle rustling, a girl raised in an outlaw band trying to escape her past, a handsome cowboy, and lots of action and romance.
5. Sounds good already. As a reader, do you have a favorite author? What three books are next in your TBR queue?
I hate picking a favorite, as I’m friends with so many wonderful Christian authors, but I’d have to say Jan Karon (I love her Mitford series) and Francine Rivers, for Redeeming Love and her Mark of the Lion series. I’m currently reading a book by Brandilyn Collins (Exposure) as well as a new one by Shar MacLaren (Livvie’s Song), both authors I enjoy, and just finished an awesome one by Linda Windsor that’s set in the days of King Arthur, called Thief. It releases in a few months and I read it for endorsement.
6. Do you have a favorite verse of scripture? If so, what makes it special to you?
7. What a beautiful assurance! What would readers be surprised to know about you?
My husband and I owned two big cats….cougars, for a number of years. They were Allen’s pet project, literally, LOL! My daughter and I were the horse nuts, and he had his cats. I have a story about one of them on my website, listed under articles.
Also, I’m happy to say I successfully lost 23 lbs this winter after battling the midriff bulge for the past few years!
8. Cougars and horses and weight loss – oh, my! :) Where can readers find your books? Do you have a website, blog, etc.?
I can be found several places, including Facebook, a blog and a web site. My web site has photos from my research trips for my historical novels of the old town sites we visited.
Facebook profile page (I also have a readers group you can join)
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
When speaking at women’s groups I often ask how many read Christian fiction, and typically about one-third of the hands are raised, if that. There seems to be a common misunderstanding in both the church and the world about Christian fiction. Christians often believe it to be shallow stories with no take away applicable to their lives, and feel it’s a waste of their time. They’re committed to only reading what’s commonly called ‘Christian living’ books that speak to a specific area in need of change.
So what is Christian fiction and where does it fit in the world of literature? Maybe I should start by asking, what should Christian fiction NOT do? In the past, I’ve seen an occasional older CBA novel where the author apparently decided they needed a platform to preach the gospel. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for weaving salvation or other doctrinal principles into our stories, but I don’t believe our fiction should be preachy. Fiction needs to tell a good story, incorporate Godly values, strong family morals, and depict Jesus’ life and teaching, but what it should not do, in my humble opinion, is hit the reader over the head with the Bible.
It’s all about your world view. Have you read novels laced with New Age values and they came through with no doubt where the author stood? Or maybe you’ve read books with a strong political story line that convinced you the author was an extreme liberal. I believe as Christian authors we need to be writing, not so much Christian fiction, as GOOD fiction with our world view woven in so thoroughly that anyone from the world who reads it can’t help but see our values and beliefs. Should we beat them over the head with a salvation message, and have a character getting saved in every book? I don’t think that’s necessary. But we should let the love, acceptance and life of Jesus Christ shine through our characters so the world can see what makes us, and our fiction, unique. And hopefully, they’ll be drawn to our Lord and Savior as a result.
So let’s see if instead of writing “Christian” fiction, we can produce strong, well-written stories that bring hope, joy, peace, faith, and love to our reader’s lives. If we do that, there will always be a take-away for the reader who’s looking for something deeper than just another light-weight, worldly romance and our novel will have met a need. After all, isn’t that the goal of most Christian author’s? I believe today’s Christian authors are paving a new path in the world of fiction, and we’ll see more and more readers who only used to read “How to, Christian living” books, turning to the deep, lasting world of fiction.
Miralee Ferrell heads the local chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers serving the Portland, OR - Vancouver, WA area. Miralee is a published author in both women's contemporary fiction and historical romance. She's married and has two children, loves to garden, read, ride horses and sail with her husband.