Tuesday, March 31, 2009
1. A Claim of Her Own, by Stephanie Whitson from Bethany House. Newly arrived in Deadwood, South Dakota, Mattie O'Keefe must soon decide where true riches lie--and what's worth dying for. (watch for my review here)
2. A Gift of Grace, BABY, BABY, Book 1 of the Family Heirlooms Series Amy Clipston from Zondervan. When Rebecca Kaufman’s older sister, who left the Amish community when she was a teenager, dies in an automobile accident, Rebecca is left custody of her two modern non-Amish teenage nieces, Jessica and Lindsay.
3. Baby Baby, Book One of the Family Heirloom Series by Karen Weisner from Samhain Publishing House. A Proverbs 31 wife wonders, does "submissive" mean giving up having anything of her own?
4. By Darkness Hid, Book One in The Blood of Kings by Jill Williamson from Marcher Lord Press. Two people discover their ability to speak to, and hear, the minds of others: a squire serving an evil prince, and a maiden masquerading as a boy to avoid marriage.
5. Chef's Deadly Dish, Book Three in the Cozy Crumb Series by Lisa Harris from Heartsong Presents: Mysteries. Determined to discover the truth, Pricilla Crumb, an unconventional busybody, follows one lead after another, dishing up laughter and surprises along the way.
6. Copper and Candles, Michigan Brides Book One by Amber Stockton from Heartsong Presents. Charity work brings them together, but their positions in society might drive them apart.
7. Homecoming Blessings, by Merrillee Whren from Steeple Hill. When businessman Peter Dalton has to work with the boss's missionary daughter Ashley Hiatt, he finds a new focus in life as well as love.
8. Peachtree Dreams, by Debby Mayne from Barbour Publishing. Three Georgia women face the challenge to believe in happily-ever-after endings.
9. Shepherd's Fall, Prodigal Recovery Series Book One by Wanda Dyson from Random House/Waterbrook. Nick Shepherd faces the hardest decision of his life--to save his daughter from a convicted killer, he may have to compromise his beliefs.
10. Stealing Home, by Allison Pittman from Multnomah. Four people, each harboring a secret passion, are brought together through providence, tragedy and love.
11. Texas Ranger Dad, Mule Hollow Series by Debra Clopton from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. Rose Vincent has made a life for herself and her son in Mule Hollow Texas but when Texas Ranger, Zane Cantrell comes to town, her brings her past with him and everything she holds dear in life is threatened.
12.The Reluctant Cowgirl, The McCord Sisters by Christine Lynxwiler from Barbour Publishing. When Crystal McCord’s New York dream crumbles, she thinks her parents’ Arkansas ranch might be a safe place to hide her heart. . .until she meets the cowboy next door.
Happy reading ~
Monday, March 30, 2009
Three years ago, Kaye and I sat at the same table during the American Christian Fiction Writer’s awards banquet, waiting and worrying. I don’t know about her, but it was hard to eat the delicious meal the staff at our hotel served us. We had both finalled in the Genesis contest and that night they’d announce the winners. The third place place winner walked forward first. Neither of our names were called. Then, the second place winner was announced. Kaye!!! This year, that same book released on January 1st through Barbour Publishing with the new title of Stand-In Groom. Congratulations, Kaye!!
This is book one of the Brides of Benneterre series.
Kaye Dacus is an author and editor who has been writing fiction for more than twenty years. A former Vice President of American Christian Fiction Writers, Kaye enjoys being an active ACFW member and the fellowship and community of hundreds of other writers from across the country and around the world that she finds there. She currently serves as President of Middle Tennessee Christian Writers, which she co-founded in 2003 with three other writers. Each month, she teaches a two-hour workshop on an aspect of the craft of writing at the MTCW monthly meeting. But her greatest joy comes from mentoring new writers through this very blog and seeing them experience those “aha” moments when a tricky concept becomes clear.
What's not to love about the cover for Stand-In Groom? Here’s a blurb:
Get ready to attend the quirkiest wedding ever in this delightful romance by Kaye Dacus, a new voice in women's contemporary fiction. When wedding planner Anne Hawthorne first meets George Laurence, she thinks she's found the man of her dreams. But when she discovers he's a client, she knows planning his wedding will be no honeymoon. Can Anne remain professional while falling for the groom? Or will she risk her heart, her values, and her career in the midst of planning the wedding of the century?
I enjoyed this book a lot. Before I get to my review, here is an interview with Kaye:
Tell us a little about yourself and when you start writing.
I’ve heard a lot of people who say they started writing stories when they were in elementary school. When I was that young, I wasn’t a writer—I hated writing, as a matter of fact. I made up plenty of stories, but they were acted out with my Barbie dolls or in my imagination as I played outside—other people, other places, other times all came alive in my mind’s-eye and I didn’t mind playing by myself. In fact, I rather preferred it, because then I didn’t have to explain to anyone else what I was envisioning and try to get them to play along the way the story went in my head.
As an adolescent, I started to read voraciously. My fancy turned to romance novels and by the age of twelve, I was reading one or two historical romance novels a week—mostly YA, but some adult fiction in there, too. These books grew in me not only a love for history, but a love for story telling because they inspired me to write. I wasn’t content with a kiss and a happily-ever-after ending. I wanted to know what happened the next day, the next year, the next decade. So the first writing I ever did was around fourteen years old when I started writing “sequels” to my favorite books. This, then, inspired me to start putting some of those stories that were always running through my head down on paper.
That experience—realizing I could put words down on paper and express the stories that I’d always had within me—opened a flood-gate; and for the last two decades, I’ve never stopped writing.
I did not seriously begin to pursue writing for publication, however, until 2001, when I attended my first writers’ conference and joined ACFW. But I’ve always known that writing stories was my future, especially after taking my first Creative Writing class as a senior in high school.
I saw in your bio that you earned a Master of Arts in Writing Popular Fiction at
Stand-In Groom was, in fact, my master's thesis novel. The Writing Popular Fiction graduate program at Seton Hill is unique--it is the only graduate-level creative writing program in the country that focuses on teaching the craft of writing genre fiction rather than literary fiction--Romance, SciFi/Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Children's/YA, etc. It's an intensive program that takes a lot of time and commitment, but well worth it. The goal of the program is for the student to write, as their thesis, a full-length, "publish-ready" manuscript. While not every graduate of the program goes on to be published, a large percentage does; and amongst those are winners of major writing awards including the RITA, the Christy, the Daphne, the Bram Stoker Award for Fiction, and many more.
What inspired Stand-In Groom and Menu for Romance?
Characters are usually where a story begins for me; and Anne, the main character in Stand-In Groom, came to me after watching the movie The Wedding Planner many, many years ago. I didn’t like the fact that for the movie to have a happy ending, it meant the breakup of an engaged couple. I wanted to write a character who had higher ethics than that—both in the heroine and in the hero. But I didn’t want my hero to actually be engaged to someone else.
The character of George Laurence was inspired by the actor Peter Wingfield, whom I loved in the Highlander TV series. I wanted a hero who, while romantic and strong, wasn’t necessarily a “ruler of the world” kind of man. I wanted him to be the kind of guy who has to take orders from someone else, sometimes whether he wants to or not. He’s a second banana pretending to be the top banana. Oh, and I have a thing for men with British accents, so of course, he had to be British.
Because Meredith and Major were both secondary characters in Stand-In Groom, it was natural to choose them for the follow-up, Menu for Romance. Major's character, being a chef, was inspired by my love of (addiction to?) the Food Network and the reality/competition show Top Chef.
Will these two be the only ones in the series?
I'm currently writing the third book in the series, A Case for Love, which features Forbes Guidry--Anne Hawthorne's "controlling" cousin. Forbes will meet his match in TV Society Reporter Alaine Delacroix when he has to decide if he'll risk losing his job and alienating himself from his family to work with Alaine to help bring a lawsuit against his parents' corporation to keep them from forcing Alaine's parents and dozens of other family-owned companies out of business so they can build a major retail shopping center.
Tell us about the other book pictured on your website.
The Ransome Trilogy is a romantic historical series set in 1814. The first book, Ransome's Honor, will be out in early July. Here's a first-look at the back cover copy:
When young Julia Witherington doesn’t receive the proposal for marriage she expects from William Ransome, she determines to never forgive him. They go their separate ways—she returns to her family’s
Now, twelve years later, Julia is about to receive a substantial inheritance, including her beloved plantation. When unscrupulous relatives try to gain the inheritance by forcing her into a marriage, she turns to the only eligible man to whom her father, Admiral Sir Edward Witherington, will not object—his most trusted captain and the man who broke Julia’s heart, William Ransome. Julia offers William her thirty-thousand-pound dowry to feign marriage for one year, but then something she never imagined happens: She starts to fall in love with him again.
Can two people overcome their hurt, reconcile their conflicting desires, and find a way to be happy together? Duty and honor, faith and love are intertwined in this intriguing tale from the Regency era.
What was the process like for you getting published with this novel and was it the first one you’ve ever written?
I started writing Stand-In Groom (originally entitled Happy Endings Inc.) in 2003. After several restarts (rewriting the first ten chapters three times!), I finally finished the manuscript in May 2005—it was officially my fourth complete manuscript. Because it was my master’s thesis for graduate school, over the next year, it went through four revisions before it was complete in June 2006. In September 2006, it placed 2nd in the contemporary romance category of the Genesis contest. I submitted it to a couple of agents, and signed with Chip MacGregor a few months later. Then, at the 2007 ACFW conference, my only appointment was with Rebecca Germany. Chip and I couldn’t remember if Barbour had gotten back to us on the proposal we’d submitted earlier in the year, so I talked to her about it in that appointment. A few weeks later, she asked for the full manuscript; so after one more revision, we submitted it in mid-October. After that, it wasn’t very long before we had the contract!
What are your dreams in publishing?
My biggest dream is to be able to continue writing, to continue doing what it is that I love doing above all else, to continue writing the stories God puts on my heart and in some small way be part of His plan for touching people's hearts.
Thank you, Kaye. I loved learning all that background info. You are one busy writer!! Two series at a time, both historical and contemporary. Fantastic.
And now, my review:
Kaye has a way with words. Her writing is fresh, and her idea was one I hadn’t seen lately. I’m glad it was a full-length read. And I loved the cover!! Her next cover is just as yummy. Speaking of yummy, Kaye included a lot of scenes regarding food. Gourmet meals,
Thanks for dropping by, Kaye. We wish you all the best!
Readers, check out Kaye’s website for more information: www.kayedacus.com
Thursday, March 26, 2009
So, look for reviews of Jamie Carie's "Wind Dancer," Denise Hunter's "Sweetwater Gap," and Karen Kingsbury's "Take One," book one in her new "Above the Line" series.
And great news about some of the authors I've featured here: Denise Hunter, Rachel Hauck and Susan May Warren (in the order they popped into my head) are all RITA finalists!!!! This is a great achievement and is very exciting!!! Ladies, we wish you the best!
Monday, March 23, 2009
I'm rewriting one of my novels, and this workbook has been a great help. Now, admittedly, some of Susan's info (esp. early in the workbook) was familiar. But then she gets to her secret for characterization, and I'm telling you it's beyond helpful! We'll know tonight if my critique partners would agree, but I've incorporated some of Susan's secrets into the project and wow, what a difference.
So, thanks, Susan for a fantastic tool. (And Rachel Hauck, too, though I haven't gotten to the parts where Rachel contributed yet. :) Rachel rocks, though, so I'm excited to get there.)
Since I featured the workbook here, I wanted to let you writers know that it's worth picking up! I ordered the printed version. (You can go e-book for $14.95 or printed form for $24.95.) I'm using a notebook with it so I can reuse her tips on different projects. I've read plenty of "craft" books; this one takes a different approach, and it's working for me. And if you're a fan of Susan's fiction, and you're a writer, I think you'll really profit from this book.
There you have it--an impromptu, unofficial review of "From the Inside...Out: Discover, Create and Publish the Novel In You."
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
here to see the list)
Here's the schedule for ACFW authors and when they'll be signing at booth number 428:
|Friday||Signer One||Signer Two|
|12||12:15: DiAnn Mills|
|1||Kathi Macias||Christa Parrish|
|2||Mary DeMuth||Bob Elmer|
|3||Vickie McDonough||Margaret Daley|
|9||Elizabeth Ludwig||Janelle Mowery|
|10||Susan Meissner||Shelley Adina|
|12||Arlene James||Lynette Sowell|
|1||Beth Wiseman||Golden Parsons|
|2||Mindy Clark||Lyn Cote|
|3||Leanna Ellis||J.M. Hochstetler|
|4:30||Cara Putman||Colleen Coble|
|5:30||Mary Connealy||Brandt Dodson|
|1||MaryLu Tyndall||Mary Connealy|
|2||Lena Nelson Dooley|
Take a peek at the book expo website: www.christianbookexpo.com, and if you're in the area, consider attending March 19 - 22nd. It's going to be a fantastic time!
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Here's the back cover copy and her bio:
Ann's mother always wanted to write a book about her ancestors. She felt there was enough material in her collection of family memoirs, which dated back to the 1600's, to make fascinating reading.
When Ann's mother died in 1994, she passed those memoirs on to Ann. Over the next several years Ann put stream-of-consciousness reminiscences into chronological order and followed up each "remembered fact" with necessary research.
Thanks to the computer age, she wrote the book her mother had envisioned and in the late 1990's distributed it to family and interested historians.
In the process of researching her family history, Ann discovered that all of the collected memoirs had been written by men. Memories of the American Revolution, the Mexican and Civil Wars, and the westward migration were all told from the male perspective. What was life like for the women who maintained the homes, reared the children, and followed their husbands from place to place? That question sparked her interest in writing fiction to fill in the gaps. Over the next several years Ann learned her craft by attending classes, reading books, and, yes, collecting a few rejections.
On a research trip to
The At Home in Beldon Grove series honors that promise. The first volume, titled The Edge of Light, is scheduled to be released in January, 2009. One of the best things Ann learned about fiction is that it's okay to make stuff up! Thus, although these novels are inspired by her courageous female ancestors, the largest percentage of their adventures are fictional. Ann leaves it to her readers to separate truth from "it could have happened like this."
I believe readers who enjoy historical fiction and/or romantic fiction will enjoy this well-researched and well written story.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
First, the back cover copy:
Love Finds You in Romeo, Colorado Can one womans tragedy turn into happily ever after? Claire Caspian is a firstrate professor, teaching even the most cynical student to find beauty in literature. But with her own personal story, she isnt as successful. Having recently lost her husband, Claire returns with her young son to the tiny desert town of Romeo, Colorado, where she grew up. There she settles in with her feisty old Abuelita, the richest woman in the county and attempts to rebuild her life. But love comes searching for Claire in the form of attractive local doctor Stephen Reyes. Will another tragedy prevent her from accepting love the second time around? Or will she embrace her new Romeo and finally find a happy ending? Love Finds You is a series of fulllength romance novels that give readers a peek into the flavor of local life across the United States. The novels are uniquely named after actual American towns with quirky, interesting names that inspire romance and are just plain fun! This means that each fictional story draws on the compelling history or unique character of a real place. Our fresh, original love stories will feature everything from romance kindled in small towns, to old loves lost and found on the high plains, to new loves discovered at exciting vacation getaways.
I asked Gwen a few questions lately. Listen in to the interview:
~~Hi Gwen and thanks for visiting!! First, please tell us a little about yourself.
I'm 37 years old, married to a wonderful man, and we have three little children. We live on a family ranch and our house overlooks the
~~Tell us about how your Love Finds You story came about. (i.e., were you assigned? how'd you hear about the new Summerside line?
I had worked on another project with someone from Summerside, and when he was planning the Love Finds You line, he suggested I submit a proposal. At the time there were limited choices for town names, and I chose Romeo from the list because I love Shakespeare and also, I went to
~~How did you find your contacts in Romeo?
That's quite an amazing story. I launched out into cyberspace looking for anything and everything I could find out about the area. One day I was focusing on colleges around Romeo because I wanted my heroine to be a professor, and I found a place called Adams State College. It was a particularly bad day for me; I was struggling with a lot of self doubt, and just before starting to research I had prayed and said something like, "Lord, I'm afraid I've gotten myself into a mess. I don't think I can do this. My novel will probably be the worst of the whole series, and I'm going to let everyone down." A few moments later I heard His still small voice speak to my heart, and He reminded me that I didn't get myself into the contract--He did. And He would be faithful to see it through to completion. When the site for the college popped up on the screen, it said this: "Adams State College, Great Stories Begin Here." I about fell out of my seat! Turns out that my best contact was a professor and writer from
~~Such a great story!! I loved how the name of the town wasn't supposed to be Romeo, but rather Romero. That worked out perfectly for the Summerside line. Please explain to the readers why the city is called Romeo and not its original.
When the railroad came to the area, trains had to stop every seven miles for water. So there is this little string of towns in the
~~What's next for you in writing?
I have another devotional book called A Beautiful Day coming out with Summerside in the Spring of 2010, and I hope to do more for the Love Finds You line. I am also working on a couple of women's fiction ideas and a novel for young adults that will be an epic love story with the somewhat radical theme of purity.
~~Sounds great! Please let readers know how they can contact you and then share anything else you'd like to.
Thanks, Gwen. We wish you all the best!
And now for my review:
Professor Claire is trying to rebuild her life following her husband’s death. For her son’s sake, she’s trying to hold everything together. She’s perfectly happy without a relationship. Enter Dr. Stephen Reyes. As a relationship grows, Claire’s son Graeme will have to adjust.
One of Gwen’s strengths was painting the love story Claire had already lived—that of her relationship with her late husband Rob. The author realistically portrayed Claire’s past and her reasons for resisting a relationship. I also appreciated the relationship Stephen had with his neighbors, who acted like parental figures—watching out for him, etc.
And what is a Romeo story without some pebbles tossed against the window??
This was a well-written romance which will delight the romantic of heart. Bravo Gwen and Summerside Press!
Monday, March 2, 2009
The publisher who printed my novella has now begun a new publishing house--White Rose Publishing, with its own website.
Check it out!
Their line has grown to nearly 50 authors since I joined them in 2006 (publishing in January, 2007). You can find more information at their website, even purchase this book in printed form or ebook form. You can also purchase it through www.amazon.com.
Congratulations to The Wild Rose Press and to White Rose Publishing!
Sunday, March 1, 2009
March - what a great month! For me it marks the month my (Jill's) debut novel hits bookstore shelves, and I step down as New Releases Coordinator for ACFW. Lynette Eason, who also has a new release this month, will take my place, so be sure to welcome her to this position!
To get a head start on spring, we've got 16 new releases to choose from! And they all sound great! Check them out - and don't forget to visit my new Spotlight interview with author, artist, and agent extraordinaire Wendy Lawton. Wendy had a new children's book release in February.
1. A Hundred Years of Happiness, 2nd in the Summer Meadows Mysteries by Nicole Seitz from Thomas Nelson. A generous story of family, war, loss and longing . . . of the ways we hide from those we love, and the ways that love finds us anyway.
2. A Silent Terror by Lynette Eason from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. Someone wants Marianna Santino dead. Ethan O'Hara is willing to risk everything, including his heart, to keep her alive.
3. A Test of Faith, Mystery and the Minister's Wife #3 by Carol Cox from Guideposts. When everything falls apart, can faith hold them together?
4. Breach of Trust Call of Duty #1 by DiAnn Mills from Tyndale. Paige Rogers, former CIA agent, must choose between protecting the lives of loved ones or bringing a ruthless killer to justice.
5. Candy-Coated Secrets, 2nd in the Summer Meadows Mysteries by Cynthia Hickey from Barbour. Who would have thought escorting an elephant down Highway 64 could lead to murder?
6. Daisy Chain, Defiance, TX series, book one by Mary DeMuth from Zondervan. The abrupt disappearance of young Daisy Chance haunts the small town of Defiance, Texas. Fourteen-year-old Jed Pepper searches for answers in this gritty and compelling story of love and sorrow, revealing God’s hand of redemption in impossible situations.
7. Daniel's Den by Brandt Dodson from Harvest House Publishers. Daniel and Laura become the objects in a game of cat and mouse where they learn just how big the cat can be - and that it's no game.
8. Fatal Illusions by Adam Blumer from Kregel Publications. An obsessive woman, a serial killer, and a sudden winter storm turn a sabbatical in the North Woods into a nightmare that the Thayer family may not escape alive.
9. If Tomorrow Never Comes by Marlo Schalesky from Waterbrook-Multnomah Publishers/Random House. Kinna and Jimmy Henley never planned on infertility stealing their dreams, crushing their love. But it did. Now, their last hope lies with a mysterious woman rescued from the sea.
10. Love Finds You in Humble Texas by Anita Higman from Summerside Press. Two sisters fall in love with the same man.
11. Michal: A Novel, The Wives of King David series Book 1 by Jill Eileen Smith from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. A princess falls in love with her father's worst enemy - will it cost her everything?
12. Poisoned Secrets by Margaret Daley from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. Maggie spent years searching for her birth mother, but when the past is revealed, the shocking disclosures could tear her life apart.
13.The Hand-Me-Down Family by Winnie Griggs from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historicals. For the sake of three orphaned children, two scarred individuals - one physically, one emotionally - try to work together to forge a new family.
14. The List by Sherri Lewis from Urban Christian. Four women on a quest to find Godly men based on a list.
15. Wind of the Spirit, The American Patriot Series, Book 3 by J. M. Hochstetler from Sheaf House Publishers. As the patriot cause falters, can her love bridge the miles that separate them--and the savage bonds that threaten to tear him forever from her arms?
16. Yesterday's Embers, The Clayburn Novels by Deborah Raney from Howard Books/Simon & Schuster. Newlyweds Doug and Mickey must find a way to untangle their knot of hasty choices without breaking the hearts of five precious children or their own in the process.