Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Yesterday's Promise, Delia Lath

A whirlwind romance amidst the natural splendor of Yosemite National Park. A spur-of-the-moment wedding. A young bride who awakens the morning after to find her new husband gone with the mountain wind.

Songbird Hannah Johns supports the child born of that ill-fated union by singing in a dinner lounge. Her dream of someday owning the elite establishment and turning it into a venue more suited to her Christian values is shattered when an unexpected transaction places it in the hands of Brock Ellis, the handsome biker who abandoned her in their honeymoon suite.

Ensuing sparks fly high, revealing buried secrets and forgotten pasts. Seeking to find peace with her painful past, Hannah returns to Yosemite, only to have Brock show up hard on her heels. Back where it all began, she finds herself in danger of losing her heart yet again to the man who shattered it the first time around.

A whirlwind romance amidst the natural splendor of Yosemite National Park. A spur-of-the-moment wedding. A young bride who awakens the morning after to find her new husband gone with the mountain wind.

Songbird Hannah Johns supports the child born of that ill-fated union by singing in a dinner lounge. Her dream of someday owning the elite establishment and turning it into a venue more suited to her Christian values is shattered when an unexpected transaction places it in the hands of Brock Ellis, the handsome biker who abandoned her in their honeymoon suite.

Ensuing sparks fly high, revealing buried secrets and forgotten pasts. Seeking to find peace with her painful past, Hannah returns to Yosemite, only to have Brock show up hard on her heels. Back where it all began, she finds herself in danger of losing her heart yet again to the man who shattered it the first time around.

“Is this all the thanks I get for saving you from the lowlife?” he demanded. “Accusations of, uh… ‘seizurely’ behavior?”
Hannah breathed an exaggerated sigh and shook her head. “‘Fraid so.”
“What’s a guy gotta do to get a little respect?” He slid off the boulder with a grin. “Come on, I’ll help you down, you little ingrate.”
Laughing, she placed her hands on his shoulders. He gripped her waist and swung her off the boulder, setting her on her feet in front of him.
Whoa! Way too close for comfort. Breathless, she found herself tangled helplessly in his warm gaze. Then he stepped back and she could breathe again.
“You hungry yet?”
They headed back toward the cabin and Hannah nodded. “Starving.”
“Let’s go get some lunch. What’re our choices?”
“We have several, actually. I’ve got brochures at the cabin.”
“OK.” He grinned, suddenly looking like a little boy planning a raid on the cookie jar. “I’ve had you all morning. Give me a few more hours, and the lowlife will have missed out on the whole day.”
“Brock!” Hannah laughed but swung around to face him, walking backward. “This is Davey’s father you’re talking about.”
He stopped dead still, and his gray eyes took on an icy glitter. Hannah gasped, shocked and a bit frightened as strong fingers gripped both of her arms in a steel grasp.
“Any man can father a child.” His lips whitened, and she shrank from his sudden hot anger. “That’s the easy part. Davey’s a great kid, but you’ve done that all by yourself—no thanks to the scum who fathered him.” His eyes were icy steel. “I’m giving you fair warning, Hannah. I will do everything in my power to keep you away from him. He took something fine and…” His voice broke, and he cleared his throat.
Awed, Hannah watched the ice in his gray eyes melt, softening his entire visage. He ran a finger down her cheek in a feather touch that sent an electric current through her entire body. “Something pure, and treated it like a cheap toy he could play with and toss away.”
Hannah was unable to think of a single appropriate response. It didn’t matter, though, because Brock hadn’t finished. His lips twisted in disdain, and he lifted his chin determinedly.
“He won’t get you back that easily!”

Reviews:Long and Short Reviews
"BEST BOOK" rating!
This is a book I’ll be recommending to everyone I know.
…Yesterday’s Promise is a reunion love story, my favorite kind. Lovely readable style that captures you within the first few pages. I must comment on the flashback sequences. Most authors love to include these kinds of scenes and more often than not, they are unnecessary and slow down the flow of the story. The flashback scenes in this book were done with such poignancy and beauty that I couldn’t imagine the story without them. Very well done.

This is the kind of book to curl up with and continue reading all afternoon. I absolutely loved it. The characters, the writing—all beautifully done. Such an emotional tale tenderly told. Tell your friends, tell your family. They will want to read this book.

Reviewed by Orange Blossom
Read the rest of Orange Blossom's review

The Romance Studio
5-Heart Rating!
Ms. Delia Latham has, once again, fascinated me with her writing ability. I read this book previously—this updated version is fabulous. I love the way Latham takes her characters and develops them into multi-faceted people that capture the readers’ attention. The manner in which she presents her main couple is amazing. Her imagination and her storytelling skills are truly touched by God.
The plot of this book was so unbelievable that it actually could have happened. I found it impossible to put the book down. Her secondary cast of characters were no less expanded. This book, once again, has proven that Latham has the ability to write a top-seller and create interest without compromising her principles. She was able to tell this story without explicit sexual content but still maintain reality.
I highly recommend this book to everyone. If you’ve never read Delia Latham’s work, this would be an excellent place to start. You will definitely not be disappointed.

Reviewed by Brenda Talley

Why Delia Wrote this Book:
I was in the middle of writing Goldeneyes, a historical romance that eventually released through Vintage Reflections Publishing. I had come up against a major writer’s block, and I simply could not find a way around, over, through, or under it. I had prayed, cried, begged, and pleaded, and still could not make the story happen.

One day, as I surfed the internet in search of inspiration I had failed to find anywhere else, I came across an advertisement for National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo), an annual writing event that challenges participants to produce a 50,000-word novel in during the thirty days of November, or that many words toward a longer novel. I was intrigued. Maybe this was what I needed to finish my book! Then I discovered writers are discouraged from bringing in a previously started work. Instead, the Nanowrimo powers-that-be preferred participants work on a fresh storyline.

Well. So much for Goldeneyes. Still, maybe a break was in order.

I came across that advertisement just days prior to the November 1 launch of that year’s Nanowrimo event. So on November 1, 2005, I laid aside my work-in-progress, pulled up a blank document in my Word program, and started writing—just me, that scary, blank white screen, and God. I had no plan, no outline, no idea whatsoever what I would write about, only that the story would be set in the Yosemite area.

God came to the rescue, and thirty days later, I had the barebones skeleton of what would become Yesterday’s Promise. (It originally printed under the title Almost Like a Song. That’s a long story I won’t go into. I reclaimed my rights to the work two years later, and eventually sent it to White Rose Publishing, where it found a home under the new title and with a beautiful new cover.)

When I returned to Goldeneyes, God provided the release and inspiration, and the rest of the book flowed easily. Goldeneyes released in March 2008.

I’ve always felt that God had a message of faith and trust for somebody, somewhere, and he used Yesterday’s Promise to deliver it. It amazes me that my Father cares that much about each and every one of His children!
Purchase link:
White Rose Publishing

Author Bio:
DELIA LATHAM is a Christian wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend. While she considers each of these roles important ones, she treasures most of all her role as a child of the King and an heir to the throne.

A former newspaper staff writer, Delia promised herself a novel for years, while raising her four children, working at various jobs and writing the occasional article, poem, or song. She fulfilled that promise when Vintage Reflections Publishing released Goldeneyes in 2008. A Christian historical romance with a touch of the divine, Goldeneyes is set in the farm country of the author’s childhood, and therefore close to her heart. In 2010, White Rose Publishing released Yesterday’s Promise in electronic format. A children’s book, Adam’s Wings, will be available in December 2010.

Delia grew up in Weedpatch, a tiny agricultural community near Bakersfield, in California’s San Joaquin Valley. She and her husband Johnny recently transplanted from that area to Okmulgee County, Oklahoma.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Prodigal, Robin Bayne

Romance/Contemporary/Short Story (Novella)
Daniel Gardner is making a grand entrance at his brother’s wedding. The problem is, no one has seen him in years. Unsure of his welcome, this prodigal son needs the years and the hearts of his family to miraculously melt for a fresh start…but he may not be the only one needing to make amends.

Lane Taylor doesn’t realize how much she still loves Daniel until she’s standing face-to-face with him after so many years apart. Once upon a time, they’d dreamed of a life together. Now, when it seems they might get a second chance, she has to decide whether to divulge the secret she’s sure will shatter their happily-ever-after.

This was it. Showtime.

Drawing in one long, deep breath, Daniel stepped over the threshold of the Martin’s Mansion catering hall, his heart pounding to the beat of the keys he jingled in his pocket. His mouth felt full of cotton balls. The place hadn’t changed since he’d last been here—when was it, his high school prom or something? In fact nothing in town seemed to have changed much in nearly ten years. Men and women in fancy clothes entered around him, ignoring him and checking their coats before heading into the reception hall. As they passed, strains of music flowed into the lobby. He tried to move his feet forward but felt glued to the spot on the marble tile floor. A waiter walked by and stared at him openly.

Cold air rushed past his ears as the glass doors behind him swooshed open again and again. It amazed him that the blood pounding behind his eyes wasn’t sufficient to warm him.

Someone lightly touched his shoulder, and he turned to see that his escort had arrived.

“Daniel, are you ready?” Liza smiled, probably meaning it to look encouraging.
She wasn’t good at encouraging.

He nodded but answered, “No.”

“Yes, you are. You’ve been anticipating this moment for how many years?” Liza patted his arm. “Look at it this way: your reception here will be much warmer than mine will be.”

Daniel glanced down at her. “That’s probably true. Are you sure you want to go in here?
I can make the grand appearance on my own.”

Her hand still on his arm, she nodded slowly. “It’s something I need to do. Let’s pray first.” She bowed her head, her long neck stretching from the white sweater she wore.

He wondered briefly if she’d worn white to look pure and innocent.

“We’re like lambs going in for slaughter.” An uneasy laugh belied her confidence, and she tugged at him. “Let’s go.”

With head held high, Daniel situated Liza at an open table, and then strode toward the head table. His heart pounded above the noise of the band’s quick beat. The wedding guests chattered as they do, and Daniel strode right into the middle of the hubbub, glasses clinking around him.

And then all was quiet.

The band stopped.

The chatter fizzled, and a good fifty well-groomed heads turned in unison to stare holes into Daniel’s head.

Or so it felt.
He said nothing, but moved to stand directly in front of his parents. They had aged, he realized with pangs of regret. It was as if the ventilation system was pouring tension into the room. Long moments passed, and Daniel stepped back, preparing to leave.

And then Mom smiled.

She rushed for Daniel, wrapping him in warm arms and soggy tears of welcome. His father followed, letting loose a swarm of various relatives who joined them in a huddle to greet the long lost son. The breath he hadn’t known he held eased out and his gut unclenched in relief. He knew the questions would come eventually, but for now, knowing his family still wanted him was all he needed.

“Dance with me?” His mother smiled and held out one hand. They moved to the dance floor and began to sway to the classic, “Someone to Watch Over Me,” a song Daniel thought very appropriate.

Mom moved closer so he could hear her. “Are you staying?”

He nodded, and her eyes lit up, and they finished the dance in a comfortable silence. As they turned he spied Liza, grinning at him with that “I told you so” look, and she winked.

Ms. Robin Bayne has written an incredibly poignant book about the power of love and how God can change hearts and lives. The acceptance and devotion certainly mimicked the story of the prodigal son in the Bible. The other son (Tim) even reacted much as the Bible’s story. I applaud her development of the characters, both the strong main ones as well as those supporting. Each was believable and likeable. This sweet storyline was a fast-paced, quick read. I could not put it down. However, there is a big surprise in the book. It definitely is not a cookie-cutter type manuscript. It got better with each passing page. I highly recommend that anyone read this book. It has a great plot, impressive characters, and an emotional ending. Kudos, Ms. Bayne! -- The Romance Studio.—5 Stars

In a word, WONDERFUL. Okay, two words MORE. I didn't want this story to end. I wasn't prepared for the zinger Ms. Bayne tossed into this short story. Without a doubt a five star read. If you're looking for laughter, love, drama and as an added bonus some really great sounding food don't pass on this one. -- Donna L. Bolk Author/Reviewer for Romance Magazine.

Why Robin Wrote this Book:
I developed the story idea for “Prodigal” as a sequel to my earlier release, “The Good Samaritan.” I love to take characters from my stories and make them into better, more heroic personalities in sequels. While Daniel wasn’t quite a villain in “Good Sam,” he definitely needed to redeem himself. And he has help in “Prodigal.” Thanks for reading my thoughts here and thank you for this opportunity.

Author Bio:
Robin Bayne is the award-winning author of six novels and four novellas, along with a variety of short stories. She has contributed to collections including God’s Way for Teens, God’s Way for Fathers and Cup of Comfort Devotionals; and published articles in Writer’s Journal and Christian Communicator. She has given workshops at regional and online romance writing conferences and the Writer’s Digest World’s Largest Writing Workshop. She lives in Maryland with her husband of twenty years. Robin recently compiled a book of devotionals for writers titled “Words to Write By.” Visit her at www.robinbayne.com.
Friday already! Well, you guys know what to do; leave a comment and Wednesday of next week I'll be contacting one of you with the three books featured this week.
Happy Reading!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Reservations for Two, Kinzie Monroe

Widower’s Maggie O’Brien and Carson Jennings are both on a journey to rediscover who they are. Maggie, an adventurous former pastor’s wife of thirty-nine years, hopes to find closure in the place she and her husband spent their honeymoon. Carson, a retired judge, is living his lifelong dream of traveling across the U.S. in his RV. When their paths cross in the tranquil setting of Mason Springs, New Mexico, love is the last thing that either of them expects to find.

Maggie waited until she saw the man go inside the café before she left the gift shop. She’d noticed him watching her after catching a glimpse of him in one of the windows. She knew she was probably being overly cautious, that he was more than likely just as curious about her as everyone else had been, but Joe had always taught her to be careful of her surrounding. A pastor practically his whole life, he knew better than most of the evil lurking in the world.

Maggie climbed the dozen steps and rested long enough on a park bench to slip on the roller blades. She’d gone no more than a few feet when a group of teenagers rolled past her, forcing her to slow her pace. Suddenly a large dog darted in front of her, followed by a young woman racing to catch up. Maggie struggled to regain her balance, but to no avail. Within seconds she found herself on her backside, staring up at a familiar face. She quickly recognized the silver haired man as the same one who had been watching her only a short while ago.

With an amused expression plastered across his face, he knelt down in front of her. “You look as if you could use a hand.”

She was about to accept his offer, but then reconsidered. “Thank you, but I think I’ve had all the exercise I can stand for one day,” she said and reached for the laces of her skates.

“Then please, allow me.”

Maggie watched as he removed her skates. He was even more handsome up close, and despite the air of authority his voice resonated, the light blue polo shirt he wore over white shorts reeked tourist. “I know I must look ridiculous.”

He tossed her a gorgeous smile. “On the contrary. And I like your socks.”

She laughed, suspecting he was only being kind. “They were a gift from one of my granddaughters.”

He laid the roller blades to one side and helped her to her feet. At well over six feet, he towered over her five-foot four-inch frame. “How many grandchildren do you have?”

She met his expressive blue eyes and answered cautiously, “Seven.” She couldn’t help but wonder if he’d been following her. The news was filled with horror stories about lonely old women who were taken advantage of by smooth talking gentlemen after their life savings. She almost chuckled at the thought. If he was one of them he was going to be aw-fully disappointed.

“I only have one,” he offered freely of himself. “I’ve been hoping for more, but since I only have one daughter who seems more interested in her career than a family, it appears I’ll have to be happy with just the one.”

“One is better than none.” She bent to pick up the roller blades, but he beat her to them. “Thank you for your help.” She waited for him to hand the skates over, but he just stood there looking at her with a goofy grin on his face. “I should be going.”

“Of course,” he said and handed her the roller blades. “Uh, listen…if you aren’t doing anything for lunch I’d be honored if you were to join me, my treat of course.”

She smiled at his offer. Though tempted, she decided to air on the side of caution. “Thank you, but I’m afraid I can’t.” After all she’d just met the man. Despite his charming demeanor she didn’t know him from Adam. He could be a serial killer for all she knew.

“I’m Carson Jennings by the way,” he said as if reading her mind.

She shook the hand he offered. “Maggie O’Brien. Thanks again for your help, but I really should be going.”

“It was a pleasure, Maggie O’Brien. Perhaps we’ll meet again under more pleasant circumstances.”

Readers Favorite gave Reservations for Two Five Stars!
This book held my attention from beginning to end. It left me wanting to read more of Maggie and Carson’s adventures. Perhaps the author will take the hint and make this into a series.

Miss Lynn's Books & More gave it 5 Stars!
This was such a soul searching book and Ms. Monroe wrote it with just the right amount of drama, and romance to keep the readers attention. The characters stand out and blend well together. As Carson and Maggie share their faith and depend on God for their strength to see through the storms, we also see family life, how little things can either bind a family closer together or drive them apart. This is a book that will keep your attention from the beginning to the end and leave you wanting more adventures in the life of Carson and Maggie. Recommended for all readers of the Sweet Romance Genre.

Why Kinzie wrote this Book:
This book is very special to me, as it was inspired by my former Wednesday Night Bible Study Class. This lovely group of ladies and gentleman (I'm not forgetting you Ray) taught me the true meaning of a close walk with God. They accomplished that, not so much in words but in their actions and the way they lived their lives. This book is dedicated to them as my way of thanking them for their inspiration and guidance in my life. They have all been a true blessing to me!

Author Bio:
Kinzie Monroe is the alter ego of suspense author Anne Patrick. Kinzie, you might say, is the lighter side of Anne. Anne’s books may be darker in subject matter, but they all carry messages of hope and faith. Together they’ve penned over a dozen novels that are either published or under contract, and their works continue to garner four and five star reviews from both readers and reviewers. Born and raised in Oklahoma, Anne/Kinzie now makes her home in Kansas.
To learn more about Anne/Kinzie, please visit her website: http://annepatrick.weebly.com/index.html or blogs: http://www.kinziemonroe.blogspot.com, http://www.suspensebyanne.blogspot.com. They love to hear from their readers!

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Happy Reading!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Remains, Vincent Zandri

"Sometimes the past comes doesn't come back to haunt you. It comes back to kill you!"

October 2, 2008
Albany, New York

In the deep night, a woman sits down at her writing table. Fingering a newly sharpened pencil, she focuses her eyes upon the blank paper, brings the black pencil tip to it.
She begins to write.
Dear Mol,
I’ve been dreaming about you again. I don’t think a night has gone by in the past few weeks when I haven’t seen your face. Our face, I should say. The face is always in my head; implanted in my memories. The dream is nothing new. It’s thirty years ago again. It’s October. I’m walking close behind you through the tall grass towards the woods. Your hair is loose and long. You’re wearing cut-offs, white Keds with the laces untied and a red T-shirt that says ‘Paul McCartney and Wings’ on the front. You’re walking ahead of me while I try to keep up; but afraid to keep up. Soon we come to the tree line, and while my heart beats in my throat, we walk into the trees. But then comes a noise—a snapping of twigs and branches. The gaunt face of a man appears. A man who lives in a house in the woods.
Then, just like that, the dream shifts and I see you kneeling beside me inside the dark empty basement. I hear the sound of your sniffles, smell the wormy raw earth, feel the cold touch of a man’s hand. You turn and you look at me with your solid steel eyes. And then I wake up.
We survived the house in the woods together, Mol, and we never told a soul. We just couldn’t risk it. Whelan would have come back for us. He would have found us. He would have found mom and dad. Even today, I know he surely would have. He would have killed them, Mol. He would have killed us. In just five days, thirty years will have passed. Three entire decades and I’m still convinced we did the right thing by keeping that afternoon in the woods our secret.
When I see you in my dreams it’s like looking in a mirror. The blue eyes, the thick lips, the dirty blond hair forever just touching the shoulders. My hair is finally showing signs of grey, Mol.
I wonder, do you get gray hair in heaven? I wonder if Whelan’s hair burned off in hell? I wonder if he suffers?
All my love,
Your twin sister,
Rebecca Rose Underhill
Exhaling, the woman folds the letter neatly into thirds, slips it into a blank stationary envelope, her initials RRU embossed on the label. Running the bitter sticky glue interior over her tongue, she seals the envelope, sets it back down onto the writing table. Once more she picks up the pencil, brings the now dulled tip to the envelope’s face. Addressing it she writes only a name:
Molly Rose Underhill
The job done, the woman smiles sadly. Opening the table drawer, she sets the letter inside, on top of a stack of nine identical letters-never-sent. One for every year her sister has been gone.
Closing the drawer she hears her cell phone begin to vibrate, then softly chime. Picking it up off the desktop, she opens the phone, sees that a new text has been forwarded to her electronic mailbox. Fingering the in-box, she retrieves the message.
Rebecca is all it says.
Punching the command that reveals the name and number of the sender she finds “Caller Unknown.” The sender’s number has been blocked. Closing the phone back up, she sets it down on the desk. That’s when the wind picks up, blows and whistles through the open window.
“Mol,” she says, staring out into the darkness. “Mol, is that you?”

As young girls, Rebecca and her sister Molly lived through a nightmare abduction, held captive by a madman for three agonizing hours. They only barely escaped. For thirty years they kept this to themselves, a secret bond between sisters, until Molly died of cancer. Now, Rebecca carries the burden by herself.
But the nightmare isn’t over. When she begins getting threatening texts and messages, Rebecca learns that the madman who tormented her and her sister is free, and looking to clear up unfinished business.
The Remains is another fast-paced thriller from Zandri, but remarkable in that it’s told mostly from a female perspective. I’ve gotten accustomed to the sensitive tough guys that usually populate Zandri’s books, so it was a pleasant surprise to see him work so convincingly around a woman protagonist. Rebecca is a great character, fully formed and believable, and as the tension mounts and the story hurtles head-long toward a stunning climax, you’re with her one-hundred percent.
The villain in The Remains is chilling and Zandri ratchets up the suspense like the old pro he is. I’d like to see him experiment even more with these remarkable new points of view. -- Heath Lowrance

I don’t have an ereader so I had to borrow one from a friend of one of my daughters to read this. I had never held one before, let alone used one before this. I liked it. That’s for another post though. The main focus of the post is to impart my enjoyment of Vincent Zandri’s The Remains. If you follow Mr. Zandri at all you know he is not an overnight sensation as some have painted him with the success of this novel. He has The Remains at the top of the Kindle charts and I am sure it is going to enjoy a nice long stay there.
We, my wife and I, have a set of identical twin girls, so this really grabbed my interest. The question in my mind was Zandri going to be able to crawl into the minds of these girls and be in touch with their “twinness”. I have witnessed this phenomenon many times throughout the lives of my girls and it is a difficult thing to quantify let alone describe. Unless you are a twin how can someone describe that connection, those feelings, the looks they give each other, the silent communication? The Remains delivered on all counts and I was very pleased to have spent the time to have read this. The novel is hard to pigeon hole as to what one may call it, so I am going simply with kick%^&, and leave it at that. Making this bad boy a fright flick would be easy, fun and good.
Do I think the novel is injured by coming out in e-version first before paper? No, not at all. My guess is that the publisher saw what they had and didn’t want to sit on it any longer than they needed to. This novel contains great characters and depth, a brilliant storyline, and a hook that is original and gripping. Don’t wait for paper to read this novel. Go outside yourself if you have to and read it on the computer, your cellphone or borrow an ereader like I did. This is a taunt read that has no comfort zone. This novel currently resides in the Amazon “Hot New Release” Top Ten and has a Hollywood scout shopping it around. Keep your fingers crossed. -- Giovanni Gelati

Why Vincent Wrote this Book:
Having just gone through my second divorce I had a lot of time on my hands. I was also pretty heartbroken and down. So I proceeded to write what would be my fifth novel.
I wanted it to be a thriller, but since I was having a lot of trouble at that time in terms of questioning my ability to love someone yet maintain a lasting relationship, not to mention
my overall faith in God, I wanted it to reflect my emotional state.

Author Bio:
Vincent Zandri is an award-winning and bestselling novelist, essayist and freelance photojournalist. His most recent hard-boiled thrillers, Moonlight Falls and The Remains, are Amazon bestsellers. The Remains has held strong as an Amazon "Hot New Release" in Hard-Boiled fiction for many weeks. It's also a bestseller in Romantic-Suspense. His novel As Catch Can (Delacorte) was touted in two pre-publication articles by Publishers Weekly and was called "Brilliant" upon its publication by The New York Post. The Boston Herald attributed it as "The most arresting first crime novel to break into print this season." Other novels include Godchild (Bantam/Dell) and Permanence (NPI). Translated into several languages including Japanese, Russian, French and the Dutch, Zandri's novels have also been sought out by numerous major movie producers, including Heyday Productions and DreamWorks. Presently he is the author of the blogs, Dangerous Dispatches and Embedded in Africa for Russia Today TV (RT). He also writes for other global publications, including Culture 11, Globalia and Globalspec. Zandri's nonfiction has appeared in New York Newsday, Hudson Valley Magazine, Game and Fish Magazine and others, while his essays and short fiction have been featured in many journals including Fugue, Maryland Review and Orange Coast Magazine. He holds an M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College and is a 2010 International Thriller Writer's Awards panel judge. Zandri currently divides his time between New York and Europe. Having recently signed with traditional based indy publisher, StoneHouse Ink and StoneGate Ink, Zandri will be publishing three more novels over the course of two years: As Catch Can (republication), The Concrete Pearl (a new hard-boiled series), and Godchild (republication). He is at work on a new novel about the upstate New York Porco axe murder and attempted murder.
This book is causing quite a stir, and selling really well! If you want a chance to win it, then leave a comment.
Happy Reading! Or in this case, you might be reading from underneath your bed.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Quiet Place, Michelle Levigne

Widowed and pregnant, Jeannette was run out of town by her vicious in-laws -- and was happy to return home to Tabor Heights. Her friends and church family welcomed her home, and she settled in to a quiet life of working at her church and raising her son. She didn't let a few niggling dreams of "what if?" bother her, even though she sometimes did wonder if Nathan meant it, when he asked her to marry him instead of her beloved Brody.

Then five years later, her in-laws came to town, using every means legal and otherwise to take her son away from her. Nathan was there for her, just like he had always been since their orphanage days. With her life in turmoil, Jeannette wondered if it was really time to wish for much, much more.

May came far too quickly for Nathan's peace of mind. He had to admit that Brody would take good care of Jeannette. He had their house lined up for them to move into right after their honeymoon -- a cottage his mother owned and rented out. Brody had a job waiting for him when he got home, at a car dealership where he had worked during high school. He even had a scholarship for online classes to get a head start on seminary requirements. There wasn't a single thing Brody and Jeannette didn't have arranged and under control for their quiet wedding and their new life in Glenwood -- up until the moment the Evans family rolled into Tabor Heights, four days before the wedding. Somehow, Nathan didn't think it was enough preparation just knowing Brody's mother would try to take over their wedding, and not only change all their arrangements, but be the center of attention.

He wasn't there when Jeannette and Brody met his family at their hotel and took them out to dinner and then to the church to look over everything. Nathan's National Guard unit had been called up for duty again, and he was busy preparing to ship out. Part of him hoped that arrangements would change at the last minute, and he wouldn't be there to walk Jeannette down the aisle. He knew he was a coward, and while he was ashamed, it wasn't enough to quash the growing regrets and the recurring daydream of telling Jeannette he loved her more than a big brother should, and she should stay in Tabor Heights and marry him instead of Brody.

When Jeannette showed up at his apartment door at nearly eleven that night, Nathan stared for a good five seconds. Then he saw the pallor of tension in her face, the lines around her flattened mouth, the dark smears under her eyes. And the fury in those eyes.

"I'm not good enough -- do you know why?" Jeannette didn't wait for Nathan to move aside, but stomped into his apartment.

"She's wrong. Whatever her ideas are, she's wrong," he said, and shut the door, turning to watch her pace a few times in his napkin-sized living room.

"Darn right." Jeannette clenched her fists and stopped short, turning to face him. "I'm tainted. Damaged goods."

"No you're not," he growled. Jeannette had been the leader the first year their church youth group started the 'True Love Waits' campaign. She had vowed she would stay pure, physically and emotionally, until her marriage.

"Oh, not like that. Although I'm sure she'll make that accusation tomorrow, once she realizes Brody isn't going to drop me like a hot potato. You know why I'm not good enough? Because I'm an orphan, and nobody adopted me. Since I grew up in the orphanage, it just proves I'm worthless trash. Nobody wanted me enough to adopt me, and I wasn't even good enough for foster care."

"She told you that?" Nathan thought for two seconds about the weapons drill he had gone through that afternoon with his Guard unit. He could have brought some of his gear home with him, including a pistol. Not that he would use the weapon, but he would have liked to frighten some silence, if not courtesy, into Mrs. Evans.

"Not to my face, but I heard her telling her adoring daughters-in-law. And she made enough snide remarks and innuendos during dinner, even if I hadn't overheard her, I could have picked up what she meant." Jeannette dropped down onto his couch and hid her face in her hands. "Poor Brody."

"Poor Brody?" Nathan went to one knee in front of her and rested both hands on her shoulders. "What are you worried about him for? You're the one the Wicked Witch is attacking."

"But Brody's the one who's getting a lecture right now." She lowered her hands and the tears that glimmered in her eyes cut Nathan's heart to shreds.

"If you decide not to marry him --"

"And let that old hag win? I'm ready to fight for the man I love."

"That's what I was afraid of. Honestly, Jen, if I didn't know how much Brody loves you, I'd tell you to dump him, right now."

"With that dress Miss Emily made for me, and the cake and punch and the fancy napkins all paid for? Hardly." She rubbed the tears from her eyes.

"Don't waste them -- walk down the aisle with me, instead." He managed a smile -- at least, he thought he did -- his entire body felt a little numb the moment he realized what had slipped out between his lips.

"Oh, Nathan..." she whispered. "We'd be good, wouldn't we? We'd have a good life together. For so long, it's been you and me against the world... but I love Brody." The joy that lit her face, despite the misery of moments ago, slashed at Nathan's heart. Jeannette shook her head. "After falling in love with him, as much as I love you, it wouldn't be enough for me anymore. Does that make sense? You don't love me like Brody does."

I love you more, he wanted to shout. I've loved you since you were seven years old and Hank the Hog pushed you down and you wouldn't let him make you cry.
Nathan shrugged and managed to hold the crooked smile on his face. He released her shoulders and stood up, because he knew he couldn't keep looking her in the eyes without her reading the ache and hunger -- and jealousy -- burning in his eyes.

5 Hearts
I am so involved in the Tabor Heights, Ohio Novels that it is hard to express my interest. However, each story, each instalment of this marvellously-written series is better than the previous ones. I cannot wait to get each upcoming book. This one was presented in a uniquely different manner, showing back-flashes and moving from one storyline to the other complimentary one.

Ms. Levigne has, once again, blessed our hearts with a beautifully written story of not only romance but love for the Lord. She does this without sounding preachy. She does, however, present enough scripture to enable readers to have their questions answered by the Word of God.

These characters were so exciting and dynamic that it was impossible to say which ones were the most important. The fact that Jeannette had to face devastating heartache so early in the story was poignant, but not the end of her suffering. The fact that she had so many obstacles made the book surprising.

I would recommend this book to anyone. If I could rate it more than a FIVE, I definitely would. I cannot wait for her next instalment. Great job, Ms. Levigne!

The Romance Studio
Reviewer: Brenda Talley

5 cups
I thoroughly loved A Quiet Place. This extraordinary read is loaded with crisp dialogue that keeps the story flowing at a great pace. The strong and likeable characters make this an exciting book, full of finesse. Michelle Levigne creates a story full of elegance and life-like players that connected with this reader. She allows Nathan, Brody, and Jeannette all to weave an interesting inspirational that touches upon the heart and makes one feel good all over. The romance that follows Jeannette, as well as the emotional heartbreak, is indeed superbly composed. This story undeniably left a huge impression on this reader.

Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More

Why Michelle Wrote this Book:
Sometimes books just demand to be written. I think that's part -- just part -- of the reason why I wrote Jeannette and Nathan's story. I had created Jeannette and her son, BJ, for another story, and they kept showing up on the sidelines in different Tabor Heights books as I started "knitting" all the disparate, stand-alone books into a community. Then I had an idea for a family crisis story when my doctor had me on hormone medication for a short time, and the drugstore messed up the prescription, putting me into what I realized was chemical depression. You know how you're half-asleep, and your brain just goes in all directions without any real guidance from you? One night, I had this image in my mind of a woman standing at her husband's coffin, and his relatives basically forcing her out of town. From that came Jeannette's story. Somewhere along the way, Nathan tapped me on the shoulder and let me know he was there.
Other books in the Tabor Heights Series:
The Second Time Around
Common Grounds
Seasons: A Tabor Heights Holiday Anthology
The Family Way

Author Bio:
Michelle has been a story addict for as long as she can remember, starting with The Cat in the Hat and Weekly Reader Book Club. She discovered Narnia and Star Trek in elementary school, and was a familiar face in the school library, especially when she became addicted to Greek mythology.

She fell into fandom in college, and has 40+ short stories and poems in various universes; Star Trek, Starman, Highlander, Stargate SG-1, Stingray, Beauty & the Beast, and The Phoenix. She and a friend published a multi-universe ‘zine, Starwheel, for 4 issues. All this time, she worked up to sending out original stories to magazines and publishing houses, eventually receiving rejection letters that weren’t the standard photocopied photocopy of a form letter.

She has a BA in theater/English from Northwestern College and a MA in communication, focused on film and writing from Regent University. She has submitted scripts for various screenwriting competitions and wrote and submitted scripts for MacGuyver, Beauty & the Beast, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, and The Pretender. She also wrote scripts for Matrix and Stargate SG-1, but never obtained permission to submit scripts. Their loss!

In 1990, her writing career finally broke into the public market when she won 1st place in the 4th quarter of the Writers of the Future contest, which earned a hefty prize, payment to have her story in that year’s anthology, and a week at a writing seminar in California before the awards ceremony. Unfortunately, it was a long-term launch, because it wasn’t until 2000 that Mountainview Publishing contracted for Heir of Faxinor. (Now at Hard Shell Word Factory). Since then, Michelle has published 40+ books and novellas with multiple e-publishers, in science fiction and fantasy, YA, and many sub-genres of romance. She has been a finalist in the EPPIE Awards competition (10 finalists and 2 wins, Lorien, in 2006, Inspirational category, and The Meruk Episodes, 1-5, in 2010, Anthology category) and has garnered 4s and 5s from many review sites.

Her training includes the aforementioned degrees; the Institute for Children’s Literature correspondence course; 8+ years proofreading at an advertising agency; and 10 years at a community newspaper, entering and editing freelancers’ articles and news releases. She has also freelance edited for small presses and a major business publisher.

In 2008, she launched her own freelance editing business, offering proofreading as well as light or in-depth editing services on an hourly basis. Check her Web site: http://www.mlevigne.com/ click on the red pen to learn more.
Don't forget your comment so I can enter you in the drawing. And don't forget the winner gets three books, this one, Loyalty's Web, and Journey to Forgiveness.
Happy reading, Guys!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Loyalty's Web, Joyce Dipastena

In twelfth-century France, King Henry II of England has just finished crushing a rebellion by his power-hungry sons and now seeks to tame the lawless barons who supported them in this corner of his "Angevin empire." To this end, the king has sent the Earl of Gunthar as his royal representative to ensure that Prince Richard and his former cohorts faithfully adhere to the terms of the peace treaty.

Far from being welcomed with open arms, Gunthar no sooner steps foot in the county of Poitou than he is greeted by a series of assassination attempts. All appear to be linked to the former rebellious prince through the agents of the family and friends of young Heléne de Laurant. A clever, intrepid young woman, Heléne realizes that the only way to prove her loved ones' innocence is by exposing the true assassin. Heléne races against time--and dark secrets of the past--to unmask the killer before the kingdom plunges back into war.

Fierce determination gives way to mutual attraction as Heléne and Gunthar spar over the identity of the traitor. But their blinding magnetism almost causes them to overlook an even deadlier threat from an entirely unexpected direction.

She spun on her heel, but had not run two paces before he croaked out, "Helen, don't go. Don't leave me like this again."

She whirled about as his voice broke. He did not care what she saw now in his face, if only she would not leave him in bitterness and hate.

Whose movement it was that brought her into his arms, he did not know, but he wound them about her so tightly, it was a wonder she could breathe.

"I'm sorry," she panted as he crushed her to his chest. "I did not mean it. Were anything to happen to you, I should want to die, too!"

He lowered his head with a groan, but found his mouth blocked by her hand.

"No, you must not. I cannot betray my own sister like this. She will be your wife."

"And you are my love," he said savagely. "Helen, I cannot endure it any longer."

"Let me go."


"Let me go."

Her voice was quiet but firm. There was no mistaking her resolve. He gave a despairing shudder and released her.

When she walked from the garden, she took his heart with her, leaving him more devastated and alone than he had ever felt in his life.

Loyalty's Web is a historical tale of intrigue with multiple twists and turns, arranged marriages and true romance. It is a face-paced, well-written, fascinating read. If you enjoy historical novels...you will enjoy Loyalty's Web. --Midwest Book Review

Elegant descriptions, a juicy plot line and some "hold your breath" action scenes made this my favorite historical to date. The one thing I loved about it, my teenage daughter is able to read it and I don't have to worry about what she's reading. This book is truly deserving of the You Gotta Read rating that I am giving it. Pick up Loyalty's Web, you will be so happy that you did! It is a book to be read several times over. -- You Gotta Read Reviews

Why Joyce Wrote this book:
I wrote my books to share my love of history along with my love of happily-ever-after endings, and do so in an exciting, romantic, but "safe" reading environment. In the end, I wrote books that I wanted to read myself but have been unable to find on the bookshelves. Stories where the focus is romance, not sex. Where true love really does mean, "I love you more than I love myself, and that means waiting for marriage, because to do less would, in fact, be false to the love I bear you." I write for a secular audience, yet without stating them outright, I hope that my Christian values shine throughout my stories. I hope that by doing so, those who may not yet have fully found their own faith and who may be hesitant to pick up an "inspirational", might nevertheless be touched by the themes of honor, integrity, and virtue that my characters reflect in their lives.

Author Bio:
Joyce DiPastena is the author of two sweet medieval romances: Loyalty's Web (a 2007 Whitney Award finalist) and Illuminations of the Heart (a 2009 Whitney Award finalist).

Joyce moved from Utah to Arizona at the age of 2, and grew up to be a died-in-the-fur Desert Rat. (110 degrees? A little toasty. 117? Utah isn't looking quite so bad right now!)

She first fell in love with the Middle Ages when she read Thomas B. Costain's The Conquering Family in high school. She attended the University of Arizona, where she graduated with a degree specializing in medieval history.

Joyce has taught piano lessons to children and adults of all ages for over 20 years. She loves to play the piano and sing for her own amusement, as well as in her church choir. Other interests include reading, spending time with her sister, trying out new restaurants, and unfortunately, buying new clothes. The highlight of her year is attending the Arizona Renaissance Festival, which she has not missed once in its twenty-two years of existence.

Joyce has been owned and loved by many cats, the most recent being Clio (who helps her with my website), and Glinka Rimsky-Korsokov (that's all one cat).

Joyce love chocolate chip cookies, Hershey Kisses with almonds (because if they've got nuts, they're good for you), and Orville Redenbacher's Movie Theater Popcorn with a video/DVD or TV on Sunday nights.

You can visit Joyce at her website at http://www.joyce-dipastena.com and at her JDP NEWS blog at http://jdp-news.blogspot.com
Don't forget to leave a comment so you can have a chance to win.:)
Happy Reading!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Journey to Forgiveness, Laurean Brooks

When Jenny Hinson's abusive father deserts the family, the responsibility of the family's Tennessee farm falls to Jenny and her mother. Four years later, in 1938, boll weevils infest the cotton crop, plunging the Hinsons into dire financial straits. Through an invitation from a Chicago aunt, Jenny finds a way to support her family. She takes the train north to find work.

Electricity has yet to reach rural Chicory Valley. But not only is the young woman introduced to it in its tapped form in Chicago, but also encounters a few jolts along the way when she challenges the infuriating Austin Grant over a luggage mishap. Sparks fly outside the Kankakee train station when Jenny discovers her missing vanity case under Austin's arm. She labels him a thief. And when Austin coaxes money from her aunt's congregation, Jenny determines to find enough evidence to expose him and his nefarious deeds.

Why did Austin slip money from the mission strong box and stuff a sizable roll into his pocket? Wasn't this the proof Jenny needed? Then why is she reluctant to report the theft? And why does her heart race at every encounter with the notorious Austin? Is she hopelessly in love with a con artist? Jenny's personal convictions would never allow a relationship where trust was blatantly missing.

Can Jenny muster enough courage to ask Austin the tough questions that will ultimately make or break their relationship? Can she forgive her father and get on with her life? Find out when you follow Jenny's struggles in... Journey To Forgiveness.

Austin hung the lantern on a nail while Jenny unwrapped a length of gauze from the roll. After he doused Mercurochrome on his injured thumb, Jenny wound the bandage around it, then taped it securely. All finished, she held the wrapped thumb up for his inspection. “There, that should do it.”

I should leave now.

Instead she gazed up into Austin's cerulean eyes, searching them for...something. He wasn't laughing at her now. His expression was serious—almost solemn. Austin's eyes spoke of tenderness and something else she could not fathom.

When he reached out to caress her shoulder, Jenny knew she should object, but instead she closed her eyes and tilted her chin up. Austin bent to lightly kiss her lips. Enraptured by the sweetness, Jenny slid her arms around his neck. The kiss lengthened, leaving her breathless.
Again, Jenny thought she should push him away. But everything in her fought against it. At that moment she realized what she'd denied for weeks. She was crazy in love this man. She did not even consider his questionable character. Austin Grant could be Al Capone for all she cared; she still loved him, and would do anything to protect him.

What am I doing? This must stop!

Jenny managed to slide her hands from Austin's neck to push against his muscular chest. They drew apart simultaneously. She could feel his thundering heart beneath her shaky fingers. He grasped her hands and squeezed. Between ragged breaths, he urged, “Let's...go outside...get some fresh air.”

Jenny nodded. She needed to gain composure before she faced the others. Austin lifted the lantern and led the way through the darkness. The stars twinkled; the full moon lit up the night sky. A gentle breezed danced wispy curls around Jenny's face.

Neither spoke until Austin glanced into the distance, then touched her arm. “Look,” he whispered, pointing to the bench. Oscar hugged Trudy close, his arm draped casually around her shoulders.

Jenny smiled until Austin nuzzled her ear to whisper, “Must be that full moon making us all crazy.”

Like ice water dashed on its unsuspecting victim, Jenny flinched. Full Moon? Our kiss meant nothing to him! She tugged her hand free to coolly reply. “I think it's time we rejoined the others.”
Was it Austin's imagination or did he detect a drastic drop in temperature? “Certainly...if you are sure you're ready.” He had messed up again, carried things too far. What did he say? Whatever it was had pushed Jenny farther away, when all he wanted was to prove he could be trusted. I messed up tonight, but there is always tomorrow...I hope.

“I reviewed this heartwarming read for You Gotta Read. “Journey To Forgiveness” is a tale that is intricately woven with both romance and a strong sense of faith…Jenny’s character has a heck of a time holding her tongue…a spirited woman…and it tended to get her into trouble more than a time or two.

Miss Brooks is a very talented writer who just found herself another fan… Humor, romance, sarcasm, action, and drama, and what made this book extra special was the strong belief in God… I thank Ms. Brooks for writing a book that is so much more than just a romance book. She has give me inspiration.”

Reviewed by Val, for “You Gotta Read” review site. April 23, 2009

Five-Star Review: “From the moment I began reading this book, I was drawn to Jenny. She had way of saying things wrong, plus a temper. All the while she prayed, “God, why can’t I control my tongue?' Trying to avoid Austin was hilarious. She got into more predicaments than one can imagine.

You can’t help falling in love with the characters in ”Journey To Forgiveness.” I highly recommend this book. Throughout the book, you will laugh and cry. The strong faith in God never wavers. Ms. Brooks has written an outstanding novel that I could not put down.”
Reviewed by Lynn for “Book Reviews by Debra” May 25, 2009“Book Reviews by Debra” 5/25/2009

Why Laurean Wrote this Book:
Journey To Forgiveness is based on my mother's life. I wrote the story in honor of her, with a prayer to bring emotional and spiritual healing to hurting hearts. My mother told us of the physical abuse her father inflicted and the effect it had on her family. Her struggle to relinquish the pain and bitterness, through forgiveness, would have been impossible without first seeking God.

My prayer is to write well-plotted stories about life's painful issues. But always with a happy ending. I believe this is God's plan for my life. I want to move readers to tears, then shake them up with rollicking laughter. So don't be surprised to find doses of humor along the way.
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.

Author Bio:
My first memory of writing began in fifth grade, when I devoured all the mystery books I could get my hands on, then wrote cliffhanger book reports. But when my teacher affirmed me with, “Laurie will become an author someday,” I believed the words to be prophetic. Her words inspired me to hold onto a dream.

Throughout high school, I wrote the thrill of writing poetry and essays, but other than an occasional poem and personal journaling, my dream lay dormant for three decades. The turning point occurred in November 2002, when I read a funny essay in our local Hometown Magazine. I thought, “I could have written that.”

I called the publisher of the magazine and asked to submit a nostalgic childhood essay surrounding a sled-ride-gone-awry. His words were, “Yes, you can send it in, but I can't guarantee it will be published.”

I wrote A Ride To Remember and waited...and waited for the call. It didn't happen. Then on Christmas Day at our family's get-together, my younger brother came in churning with excitement to ask, “Did you know your story is in Hometown Magazine?”

Only an author can relate to the euphoria I experienced with my “first published work.” This lit a fire that still burns. I wrote one family-related story per week for the next months to add to the compilation. Then on January 1, 2004, as a New Year's Resolution, I began Journey To Forgiveness, a historical, inspirational book based on my mother's life.

The first seven chapters rolled off my pen like liquid silk. I wrote fast and furiously. Chapters eight and nine were harder. I hit a roadblock; one that took loads of research to get past. That fall, I rejoined the workforce. With long work weeks and over-exertion left little energy to write. Twenty months passed before I reached a conclusion. I would quit work to finish Journey To Forgiveness. When the book was completed, edited, and ready for publication, I would go back to work.

The day after my birthday, July 21, 2006, I walked out of the factory, wondering if I'd made the right decision. Less than four months later on November 4th, I'd added twelve chapters. With sheer joy, I wrote The End. The following months were filled with edits, then pursuing publishers. The second attempt brought the desired response, in August 2007. The Wild Rose Press loved my story!

Following major rewrites and additions, Journey To Forgiveness was accepted, then released in the spring of 2009. Today, the 300-page book can be purchased through its new (inspirational) sister company, White Rose Publishing. To read more about the book, check out archives at Laurean's Lore. http://laureanslore.blogspot.com. To purchase: www.whiterosepublishing.com

Thursday, August 12, 2010

No Greater Loss, Diane Craver

Can a new love heal a wounded heart?

Dr. Jennifer Hunter is so stunned by her past she’s unable to move on with her life. After losing her young husband and baby son fifteen years ago she determined never to marry again. Losing loved ones is too painful.

A friend introduces Jennifer to Luke Brunsman and suggests she hire him to renovate her antique farmhouse. Instantly attracted to Luke, she refuses the widowed contractor’s help. But after she gets injured working on a fireplace, she gives in.

Luke clearly wants more than a business relationship, but Jennifer guards her heart. His kisses make her yearn for a future once denied her. Luke falls in love with her but finds tearing down the walls in Jennifer’s house is easier than breaking through her protective shell.

When Dr. Hunter’s radio talk show catches the attention of a vengeful arsonist, Luke and Jennifer must overcome the shadows of the past and find the courage to love again.

She felt light and wonderful. She floated all the way to the ceiling of the surgical room. From there she looked down at the doctor making an incision running from the middle of her forehead to her right ear.

Wait a minute, why were the nurses and doctors still operating on her dead body? They must not know she was dead. And why didn’t she have any sad feelings about dying?

She was lifted up to a brilliant light and her spirit completely left her body. She basked in the soothing light with its tremendous beauty. The brightness of the light didn’t hurt her eyes.

She flew through a tunnel and realized she was in different surroundings, but the same pure light existed in this place, too. She smelled a familiar scent but couldn’t think what it was. She breathed deeply. The sweet, rich fragrance had to be lilacs. Her mother’s perfume always had the same wonderful fragrance. She remembered being a small girl, watching her mother dab perfume behind her ears.

She knew what all this meant. Her mother was near to welcome her to heaven.

Then she saw them. Her parents looked joyous with big smiles for her. And she experienced the most profound love, radiating from them.

She heard her mother saying, “We love you, but you need to go back. We want you to live.”

She smiled at all of her loved ones. An incredible gladness bubbled up inside her.

And when she didn’t think it could get any better, it did. For a complete moment, she existed in the divine presence of God. She felt His strong love surrounding her. When an extraordinary feeling of peace came over her, her soul struggled to stay in the spirit world. In her entire life, she’d never experienced anything like this.

She didn’t have the will to leave.

"The author addressed some very tough issues in this book, including the loss of a child, eating disorders and post-abortion syndrome. Diane Craver discusses these topics with detailed professionalism. In a beautiful and sensitive way, she crafts advice, help and caring
for the wounded souls. A job well done!"

4 books ~ Lily, reviewer for “The Long and Short Of It” blog site

The Romance Studio

“Ms. Diane Craver presents a fascinating story about a couple who have secrets needing to be revealed, a passion that needs to be explored, and an incredible ending that is not expected. The end result may be anticipated, but the myriad of circumstances which the couple encounter, together and alone, just adds to the incredibility of this couple finding each other. I heartedly recommend this book to anyone. Don’t allow the “inspirational” category to mark this off your list; there is plenty of loving interaction to hold your interest! This is definitely a keeper!”
Overall rating:
Sensuality rating: Mildly sensual
Reviewer: Brenda Talley

Why Diane Wrote this Book:
Before writing No Greater Loss, I wrote nonfiction. I wanted to share my faith in an inspirational romance. I decided it would be a fictional story, but I’d draw on my experience as a genetic carrier of Down syndrome. As first novels go, I had several revisions. An agent didn’t like that the heroine was a genetic carrier of Down syndrome, so I changed that part of the story after careful consideration. I enjoyed writing No Greater Loss and it has a little bit of everything. LOL Romance, drama, suspense, and a near death experience. However, I do have a character with Down syndrome in my sweet novel, A Fiery Secret. She was inspired by our daughter, Amanda.

Author Bio:
Diane graduated with a degree in English and Speech Education from The Ohio State University. Before writing her books, she was a schoolteacher and play director. She met her husband, the love of her life, while teaching at an orphanage.

She is the mother of six children and lives in southwestern Ohio. Her dream vacation is going to the beach. Her husband is supportive of her writing career as well as her awesome children. Diane writes contemporary and inspirational romance, chick-lit mystery, and women's fiction. Learn more about Diane and her books at:

Leave a comment for a chance to win No Greater Loss, and other books featured this week.:)

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Mission Possible, Deborah McCarragher

This small book is a powerful tool for any woman who is married to a man who does not share her passion for Jesus. It will encourage and challenge the reader to embrace God’s promises for their spouse and future together. In this book you will:
• Discover how to believe with radical faith for your spouse’s salvation,
• Learn the secret to “staying the course” while you wait for your promise,
• Find out why many women don’t share their “secret sorrow,” and
• Join other women in the knowledge that God has a perfect plan of unity for you and your spouse. The author applies scripture and practical action in this must-have book. She candidly portrays her quest over time to reach her husband for Christ.

Chapter 1 – You’ve Embraced Christ, Now What?

The spiritual skirmish had begun. Don’t underestimate the enemy. I did not fully understand spiritual warfare and would learn about that as time progressed. I began to grow in my understanding of God’s Word and how Satan opposes a couple’s holy union. I would learn about “putting on the whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:10-19). I would learn that “standing firm” was mandatory - - not an option. My spiritual clothing was necessary for survival as “half of a saved couple”. God desires for you to become “one flesh” – at the altar and in the spirit realm. Satan can’t bear the thought of it. This is where your perseverance plays a huge part.

The enemy will mercilessly bombard you with thoughts, feelings, emotions and physical disdain for your mate. You must take every thought captive (II Corinthians 10:5) and stop looking at your mate as the enemy. Don’t let his actions and words provoke you into disobedience.

Paul writes in Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for building up, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” Matthew 18:9 states, “and if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you.” So it goes with your tongue.

Stop committing spiritual murder against your mate! Bite it off and cast it away! Don’t sin by grieving God as you curse the very person God wills to join you to, as ONE!

Remember that “the battle is the Lord’s” (I Samuel 17:47) and earnestly give the salvation of your mate to God in prayer. Early on in your conversion it seems easier to be hopeful concerning your husband’s salvation. You will need an added measure of faith as the years go by.

In Romans 4:18 Paul refers to Abraham by saying, “who, contrary to hope, in hope believed.”This is the type of faith you will need for your husband’s salvation.

God is your spiritual husband while your mate is not yet the priest of your home. Your obedience and submission to Him are essential as God knows our shortcomings and weaknesses; yet He uses them to perfect us in waiting. Perseverance is one thing you will need with a “holy dig in your heels” attitude and a “stubbornness in the Lord” towards the salvation of your mate. Salvation is
a personal thing. I had responded to The Lord’s call, and my husband had his own choice to make.

As a Christ-centered Counselor in ministry for over 25 years, I find MISSION POSSIBLE to be an important "must read" book for those who find themselves in a marriage where one partner is saved and the other is not. This would be the beginning of embracing Christ as Husband, and dying to self trying to change the earthly partner. It is in that surrender that one finds true peace and Christ can become Life.

So many marriages go under because no one wants to embrace Galatians 2:20, that the life we now live, we live by THE FAITH OF THE SON OF GOD who LOVED US and GAVE HIMSELF for us. Only when we understand that it is His Faith, not ours, do we begin to appropriate the Word as living reality. Deborah does an excellent job delivering this message. I can only add a word of caution: That is when one is in an abusive relationship where there is physical and mental harm, one is free to depart. Departure is not then necessarily the end, but a time to rest while He works and reveals Truth...Truth that will set you free!

Drucilla Graham, M.A., Pres.
Faith Fellowship Ministries, Inc.
Jacksonville, FL

If your husband is unsaved take heart. A man is most likely to be led to faith in Christ by their believing wife. The sacred Scriptures are not silent concerning your role as a believing wife with your unsaved husband. Deborah, has in MISSION POSSIBLE, expounded scriptures to encourage women to believe God with a "radical" faith for the salvation of their spouse. She helps women fulfill their role in the marriage for the salvation of their mate. Give MISSION POSSIBLE to any lady praying for the salvation of her husband. In Jesus,

Scott Yirka, Pastor/Teacher
Hibernia Baptist Church
Fleming Island, FL

Why Debra Wrote this book:
The Story Behind the Book “Mission Possible”

This book is dedicated to women everywhere who love Jesus, but their spouse doesn't share their passion. Deborah wrote "Mission Possible" during a time in her walk with the Lord of intense prayer and bible study. After looking for a book on the subject for herself, she discovered there were few to be found. God inspired her to write about her personal testimony in a way that glorifies Him, and gives hope and encouragement to other women. She candidly portrays her quest over time to reach her husband for Christ. Deborah loves the Holy Word of God and applies the scripture in a practical way to everyday life. Her desire is to reach across denominational lines and minister to women everywhere. "Mission Possible" is a powerful tool to use in an unequally-yoked marriage.

Author Bio:
Deborah began her journey of creative writing soon after coming to know Jesus Christ as her personal Savior in 1989. She uses her spiritual gifts of encouragement and teaching in her home church. She also enjoys in-depth bible study in her personal time, and is a small business owner of over twenty years. Her primary goal is to share her personal testimony with others while bringing hope and practical help through her books. She and her husband have one married son serving in the US Military. They reside in north Florida.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Beyond Africa, Carie Lawson

Lilly finally returns to the only place that's ever been home, a mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo. But the ongoing civil war creeps closer, threatening her sanctuary.

Case McCord, a weary soldier, determined to keep Lilly safe from the encroaching dangers, offers her protection, a home and love. Accepting him would mean turning her back on everything she believes. Rejecting him would mean turning down the greatest desire of her heart, and putting a child she loves in danger.

"Tell me about Sam," Case ordered, breaking the silence between them.

Instant words of defense sprang to her mind. She shoved them away. "What do you want to know?"

"Well, he looks like a native, but Sam's not exactly a Congolese name. And he looks as if he belongs to you, or at least wants to."

"Bill and Sarah named him after he was found walking out of the jungle. You know, because Samuel in the Bible was taken to the temple when he was probably about this age." The second comment could be ignored.

"Didn't know that."

Now you do. "Why do you ask?"

"You two looked so close, I thought I might offer a suggestion."

This sounded suspicious. She raised her eyebrows and smiled. "What's that?"

"What if I could get both of you out of here? Wouldn't it be worth it to rescue this one child from the poverty, sickness and war he's destined to see if he stays here?"

Shock took her words. "You. You. You could do that?"

His eyebrow raised and the corner of his mouth tipped up slightly. "I could. You just have to say the word."

Temptation to run inside, grab her bag and disappear with Case curled through her brain.

"No, thank you." She physically shook off the thought.

The half-smile on his lips disappeared.

Since she already upset him, she might as well get the rest of it over. "I'd like to ask you for a favor."


Shouldn't he have asked what, not why? Please Lord, give me the words to help the children. "Because you have a plane."

His brows closed together. "Okay."

"There are these children, they're looking for their mom."

"You want me to find their mom? Shouldn't it be pretty simple? There aren't that many people out there." Was he being deliberately obtuse?

"We've checked out there." She flung a hand toward the mission. "She isn't there. Their village was attacked and in the chaos, the kids and the mother were separated. But they seem very certain she got away. They are talking about going to look for her¿you know walking from camp to camp to see if they can find her. The youngest child is only about a year and a half."

Dawning lit in his eyes. He scowled. "Do you know how many refugee camps are out there, Lilly? It would be like looking for a needle in a haystack."

Embarrassment heated her skin. She pushed on despite it. "Nick said there is a little money to compensate your expenses. It's not a lot, of course. But if you have any time at all and could help us¿ at least try." She ran out of steam. He wasn't going to help them, that was obvious by the clenching of his fists and the tick in his jaw. She waited to hear his rejection.

The silence continued, broken only by their feet crunching the dead twigs on the ground. It continued while she searched for the right thing to say. It continued until her knees begin to shake.

"Two conditions."


"First, you have to come with me. And second, Sam has to stay here."

"Lawson appears a veteran as she masterfully weaves faith and storytelling together with captivating detail and compelling characters... As this fantastic world unfolds, Ms. Lawson triumphs in sharing her heroine’s faith in a miraculous and loving God without forcing the issue or becoming preachy. She further explores the emotional stress involved when feelings of attraction and faith collide. What does one do when heart, soul and mind are competing for attention?... Destined for success Lawson has done an excellent job of capturing the reader’s imagination and keeping her interest." -- JP's JIVE

"LOVED IT! LOVED IT! LOVED IT! From start to finish I was fascinated with all the characters in this story as well as the story itself! This author had my heart churning and emotions running wild...Great job Carie. I highly recommend this story. It's one I will definitely read again and again."-- Reader Review

Why Carie wrote this book:
I've always been a romance junkie. From the time I was thirteen and discovered the genre, I've been an avid reader. One day I decided to try my hand at writing. It was every bit as fun. I wanted to write about an adventure as well as finding love. So Case became a pilot and Lilly a missionary. From that point their personalities were just there, in my head. Lilly, the gentle soul, who wore her heart on her sleeve and wanted a place where she was accepted. And Case, the hard exterior hiding deep emotions. When Case brings Lilly home to meet his family, she can't help but fall in love with the man and the rest of his family.

As I wrote, the scripture that continued to float through my brain was Matthew 6:33, But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. As a matter of fact the original working title was, "All These Things." It was important to me to have a heroine that seemed soft and fragile, but when times got really tough would trust God more than anyone or anything else. Of course in the end, we trust that God will give her exactly what she needs, whether it's the man she can't imagine living without or something else entirely.
Other books in the Twisted Roots Series:
Beyond Summer (available September 2010)

Author Bio:
Carie Lawson home schools her four kids, drives the soccer van --- complete with dirty socks and McDonalds bags scattered throughout --- and tries to sneak away to her computer whenever possible to write. She is an active member of a local writer's group, Middle Tennessee Christian Writers, and received third place in the North Texas Romance Writer's Great Expectations contest in the Inspirational Romance category.
For a chance to win a pdf copy of Beyond Africa, and the other books featured throughout this week, please leave a comment.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Killing Time, K. Dawn Byrd

Mindy McLaurin, thinks it's the end of the world when she's incarcerated on trumped-up embezzlement charges. While in jail, she investigates the death of an inmate who allegedly died of an overdose. Mindy suspects foul play when her cellmate dies and she learns that both women had ingested the same drug. Mindy trusts no one, including Drew Stone, the handsome counselor she can’t stop thinking about. She faces many challenges, including constant interrogation by the Major and emotional abuse from the other inmates. Upon release, someone is stalking her and framing her for the murder. Can she prove to Counselor Stone that she’s innocent of all charges before she loses him forever?

Mindy and Counselor Sonte have just had a conversation about how they both took care of loved ones who died of cancer.
Mindy had never felt so comfortable with a man, but yet so vulnerable for baring her soul. He handed her a napkin from the table and she wiped her eyes and blew her nose. When he did likewise, she wondered if he'd been crying, too.

"And, then there's Renee. That's a whole other story. Just when I find her, she's murdered. I'll find out what happened to her if it's the last thing I do." The tears came full force then as if a dam had burst.

Stone's encircled her in his arms, his touch comforting. She felt his breath on her cheek.

Mindy wiped her eyes and sat up straight. "I'm sorry."

"It's okay," he said, reaching up to wipe a stray tear from below her eye.

"I'm sorry to be such a cry baby. I don't know what's got into me."

He placed his hands on the sides of her face. The setting was perfect. The atmosphere was romantic and the night was warm.

"You are so beautiful," he said, looking into her eyes as if he could gauge her soul.

Her heart swelled in response to his words. A shiver of delight tickled her spine.

His face moved toward hers as he asked, "Can I kiss you?"

The heavy rhythm of her heart beating in her chest took Mindy's breath away. She leaned away ever so slightly and said, "There's one thing I have to know first."


She grinned and said, "You know my name, now what's yours?"

"Drew," he replied as his lips met hers.

"Yet another fantastic book from K. Dawn Byrd. When I initially read the book, I could not put it down, and I had to force myself to slow my reading and not skip anything. That was how anxious I was to find out the ending. Killing Time keeps you on the edge of your seat with various plot twists, but not once does the plot get convoluted. I think this is the mark of a superb suspense novel...I was pleasantly surprised by the way the mystery part of the story is resolved. The "villain" is an unlikely suspect, I never saw it coming. Typically, I like unusual endings, or at least endings with a twist, and this book certainly delivers. I think readers will be quite shocked at the end of the book. What happens? Well, you will have to read it to find out."
Rating = 5 Stars

Mindy McLaurin is incarcerated for a crime she didn't commit. While stuck in prison, waiting to be cleared of the charges, Mindy stumbles upon a mystery when her cellmate suddenly dies of an overdose. Soon Mindy finds herself a suspect in her cellmate's murder. The only person who believes in her innocence is Counselor Drew Stone. Drew seems trustworthy, but how can Mindy be certain. Someone inside the prison is clearly involved. And that someone is trying to frame her. Mindy must uncover the murderer to clear her name, and to protect her life

K. Dawn Byrd has written another intriguing suspense with a vivid setting. Her research was evident by the detail she used in creating the prison atmosphere. The romance was very natural, and I liked the hero very much. I felt that Drew was a good compliment to Mindy's character. I felt for Mindy because it was obvious how out of place she was in the prison, and how terribly frightened she would have been. I think I actually breathed a sigh of relief for her when she was finally bailed out. And to my delight, that's when the real action began. -- Shawna K. Williams

Why K. Dawn wrote this book:
I've always been an avid reader and planned to write a book "one day." When I began work as a counselor in a jail, I thought that would be a neat setting for the book. I began to jot down notes about the environment such as sights, sounds, and smells. Before I knew it, my heroine had formed in my mind, begging me to tell her story.

Author Bio:
K. Dawn Byrd is an author of inspirational romance. Queen of Hearts, a WWII romantic suspense released in April and was Desert Breeze Publishing's bestselling novel for the month. Killing Time, a contemporary romantic suspense released August 1, also with Desert Breeze Publishing.

K. Dawn Byrd is an avid blogger and gives away several books per week on her blog at www.kdawnbyrd.blogspot.com, most of which are signed by the authors. She's also the moderator of the popular facebook group, Christian Fiction Gathering http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=128209963444

When not reading or writing, K. Dawn Byrd enjoys spending time with her husband of 14years, walking their dogs beside a gorgeous lake near her home, and plotting the next story waiting to be told.

Leave a comment for the chance to win Killing Time by K. Dawn Byrd, and also this week's other features, Texas Roads by Cathy Bryant, and Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico by Lena Nelson Dooley.
Happy Reading!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Texas Roads, Cathy Bryant

Dani Davis just wants a place to call home. With quirky residents, quaint country charm, and loads of business potential, Miller's Creek, Texas seems like the perfect place to start over . . . except for the cowboy who gives her a ride into town. Dani secretly finances renovations to downtown Miller’s Creek, but malicious rumors force her to choose between keeping her involvement a secret and the home for which she’s always longed. Then a devastating discovery propels her down a road she never expected to travel.

Steve Miller is determined to rescue his dying hometown. When vandals jeopardize the renovation, he can’t help but suspect Dani, whose strange behavior has become fodder for local gossips. Can Steve and Dani call a truce for a higher cause, and in the process help Dani recognize the true meaning of home?

Dani tried to swallow, but her throat clamped shut. This was no grandmother. With one finger, a dusty cowboy pushed up his sweat-stained hat, his other arm draped over the steering wheel. “Can I give you a ride, ma’am?”

She brushed the drippy hair from her eyes, resisting the urge to correct his grammar. “I, uh . . . r-ran out of gas.”

The cowboy smiled, his teeth white against his dirt-smudged face. “That’s not what I asked.”

With a glance in the direction of her car, her brain accelerated into high gear. “Actually, if you’d be so kind as to get me some gas—”

A soft chuckle resonated from him, and his eyes twinkled.

She hoisted her chin. How dare he laugh at her.

“Look, ma’am.” His picture-perfect smile disappeared behind the long line of his lips, his voice laced with impatience. “I know you’re concerned about accepting a ride with someone you don’t know. Can’t say I blame you. But by the time I get to town, get gas, and get back out here, it’s going to be dark. Then you’ll have plenty of reason to be afraid.”

She raised a hand to her lips. What he said made sense, but could she trust him?
His mouth curled at the corners. “Coyotes are pretty bad in these parts. Sure wouldn’t want to be out here after dark. Especially alone.”

Coyotes? Dani yanked on the door handle and hoisted herself onto the grimy seat. After one breath in, she wrinkled her nose and sniffed. What was that smell? Eau de Sweat? She swiveled her head toward him and found his gaze trained on her, his face lined with suppressed laughter.

"Anyone who has read as many books as I have knows that there are actually only a few basic plots when it comes to romance novels. The creativity and skill in how the author handles that plot can make or break the book. Unique characters and settings as well as clever tweaks are also essential. In my opinion, Cathy Bryant has achieved a perfect ten with her first novel Texas Roads, a fresh and appealing story that I couldn’t put down. The story captured perfectly Dani’s longing for home as well as the reason Miller’s Creek seemed to fulfill her desires. Plenty of drama, mystery, suspense and romance fills the pages of Texas Roads and Cathy skillfully communicates her point about where we can find our true home." ~Pam at Daysong Reflections

"When I got to the end of Texas Roads, I had to flip to the back cover to confirm that I had remembered correctly--that this was indeed Cathy's debut novel--and I was right. All I can say is, WOW! I am very impressed! Congrats to Cathy, for an excellent introduction into the Christian Fiction world. Texas Roads has it all: teaching us how to forgive , a little mystery/suspense thrown in just to keep us on our toes, a few life-changing secrets, quite a few laughs, and last but not least, a heart-warming romance. If you haven't had a chance to read Cathy Bryant's debut novel, Texas Roads, be sure to pick up a copy as soon as you can. You're sure to fall in love as quickly as I did!" ~Lori at Some of My Favorite Books

Why Cathy wrote TEXAS ROADS:
For years, I naively believed I'd find home on earth. I longed for "The" place to put down roots, but every time my family and I started to feel at home, God yanked us up and transplanted us somewhere else. Through the process, He taught me that home isn't a place, but a person. For believers, our only True home is found in Him. Only He can fill that home-shaped hole in our hearts. Only He was intended to.

The quest to find home is the spiritual theme of Texas Roads, and Dani has to overcome some pretty stiff challenges to find true home.

I hope that readers will glean God's grace and goodness from the pages, but more than anything, I hope that if they'll discover a true home in Him.

Author Bio:
Cathy Bryant's debut novel, TEXAS ROADS, was a 2009 ACFW Genesis contest finalist. The second book in the Miller's Creek series, A Path Less Traveled, will be available in the Fall 2010. A Texas gal by birth, Cathy lives in a century-old farmhouse with her husband and a phobia-ridden cat. You can learn more at:
Please leave a comment for a chance to win this book, plus the others featured during the week in Inspy E's weekly drawing.