Monday, November 30, 2009

Booked for the Holidays

Meeting authors was the best part of the Christian Book Expo back in March. Of course, I loved meeting those who were already on my "must-read" list. But it was equally delightful discovering new ones as well!

Erynn Mangum is a darling new (and young!) author who released her first trilogy (Miss Match, ReMatch, and Match Point) in the last year. Although categorized as “chick-lit”, it’s certainly not meaningless. And since coffee plays a big part in her books, we hit it off immediately! (Her favorite coffee drink, after all, is mocha!) It was fun having a few minutes to chat with her.

Tell me a little bit about yourself and how you got started writing.

I've been writing since I was a little kid, but it was my senior year in high school that I decided that this was something I want to do for the rest of my life. My parents were really encouraging. So I joined the Christian Writers Guild and took their courses and I was just messing around one day and started writing Miss Match.

So did you send it in blind to publishers? And did you get immediately get the contract for all three books?

I had an agent – it was actually through one of the conferences that I met the contact that got me published. They signed a two-book contract and did an option for the third.

Tell me about this series. . .is it a romance?

Somewhat. When I started writing this book, I wasn’t married and wasn’t really in a relationship and the character in the story was a lot like that. But God used the things that came up in my life . . . in the book as well – the things I was learning in my devotions, and I ended up meeting my husband during the writing of this series. It was a fun series to write.

Do you have another series in the works?

Cool Beans, the first book of my next series, is coming out in April 2010 with the second book coming out in July 2010. It’s called the Maya Davis series.

So you're continuing with the coffee theme?!

Yes! Maya is a barista at her favorite coffeehouse who is enjoying life when her best friend starts unknowingly dating the high school sweetheart Maya almost married. Can Maya learn to trust God when it seems like only an endless bowl of fudge-covered ice cream will help?

So have you had any mentors in this writing process?

I had two different mentors with the guild – Terry White and Brandilyn Collins, and they were both amazing. The difference in my writing was astronomical. It was a fantastic experience. I can’t say enough about it.

Erynn has a fun website as well as a blog, where last week she announced that her upcoming series won't be the only new arrival at her house in 2010! Congratulations, Erynn!

Here's the blurb from the back cover of Miss Match:

Lauren Holbrook has found her life's calling: matchmaking for the romantically challenged. And with the eclectic cast of characters in her world, there's tons of potential to play "connect the friends." Inspired by the recent success of matching her sister and new husband, Lauren sets out to introduce Nick, her carefree singles' pastor, to Ruby, her neurotic coworker who plans every second of every day. What could possibly go wrong? Just about everything. When Lauren's foolproof plan begins to unravel, she learns that a simple introduction between friends can bring about complicated results. And as she reconsiders her new role as Cupid (as well as her vow to stay single forever), will Lauren finally decide that God's plan is always good enough?

I have read Miss Match and ReMatch, and Match Point is in my TBR stack. These are charming books that would be wonderful gifts for the young adult in your life. They portray single young adults in normal every-day settings -- at work, at home, at Bible Study -- encountering normal emotions, frustrations, and even misunderstandings in their friendships and relationships, all while learning to trust God with the details of their lives. After reading about Lauren Holbrook and her friends in this first trilogy, I am eagerly anticipating being introduced to Maya Davis in April!

I have an autographed copy of Miss Match for one of you. And of course, I just have to toss in a Starbucks gift card so you can grab a mocha (or your favorite drink) to enjoy or give with the book! To enter, just leave a comment on this post by Thursday, 12/3/09 at 8:00 pm CST. Remember: if you post my blog on your sidebar and let me know about it, you receive an additional entry! US Residents only, please.

Check back tomorrow for a bonus Booked for the Holidays giveaway!


View blog reactions

Saturday, November 28, 2009

TSMSS - How Many Kings

I remember hearing this song last year and absolutely falling in love with it. Recorded by Downhere (and written by two of its members), the song is on their brand-new Christmas CD by the same name, How Many Kings, as well as on the multi-artist compilation CD, Bethlehem Skyline, released in 2007.

by Marc Martel & Jason Germain

Follow the star to a place unexpected
Would you believe, after all we've projected,
A child in a manger?
Lowly and small, the weakest of all
Unlikeliest hero, wrapped in his mother's shawl -
Just a child -
Is this who we've waited for?

How many kings step down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
And how many gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that is torn all apart
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?

Bringing our gifts for the newborn Savior
All that we have, whether costly or meek
Because we believe.
Gold for His honor, and frankincense for His pleasure
And myrrh for the cross He will suffer
Do you believe?
Is this who we've waited for?

How many kings step down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
And how many gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that is torn all apart
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?
Only One did that for me!

All for me...
All for you...

Join us at Amy's for more songs to bless your weekend!


View blog reactions

Friday, November 27, 2009

Booked for the Holidays Winners

Here are the winner's of this year's first Booked for the Holidays giveaway!

True Random Number Generator
Min: 1
Max: 42
Result: 34, 24, 33

Congrats to skoots1mom, Katherine, and Litle Lady! Please email me your addresses, and I'll send the books your way!

Be sure to check out the next Booked for the Holidays giveaway on Monday!


View blog reactions

Name That Christmas Tune!

With all the Christmas shopping and decorating going on today, I'm sure there are lots of Christmas CDs being dusted off and played. How well do you know the names of some of the well-known Christmas songs?
  1. Quadruped with crimson proboscis
  2. 5 p.m. to 6 a.m. without noise
  3. Miniscule hamlet in the far east
  4. Adorn the vestibule
  5. Exuberance directed to the planet
  6. Listen, aerial spirits harmonizing
  7. Monarchial trio ourselves
  8. Yonder in the haystack
  9. Assemble, everyone who believes
  10. Hallowed post meridian
  11. My fantasies of a colorless December 25th
  12. A dozen 24-hour Yule periods
  13. Befell during the transparent bewitching hour
  14. I merely desire a pair of incisors at Yuletime
  15. I spied my maternal parent osculating a fat man in red
  16. Perambulating through a December solstice fantasy
  17. The area's fixin' to appear extremely similar to December 25th.
  18. Boppin' while circling the tannenbaum...
  19. Initial Carol
  20. Ourselves bid yourselves a joyous Noel

  1. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  2. Silent Night
  3. O Little Town of Bethlehem
  4. Deck the halls
  5. Joy to the world
  6. Hark, the Herald Angels Sing
  7. We Three King
  8. Away in a Manger
  9. O Come, All Ye Faithful
  10. O Holy Night
  11. I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas
  12. Twelve Days of Christmas
  13. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
  14. All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth
  15. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
  16. Walking in a Winter Wonderland
  17. It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas
  18. Rocking Around the Christmas Tree
  19. The First Noel
  20. We Wish You a Merry Christmas


16-20 Correct: You have the Christmas Spirit!
10-15 Correct: You'd better dust off those CD's!

0-9 Correct: I'm detecting a bit of Grinchness!

How did you do? For some great Christmas music, don't miss Then Sings My Soul Saturday!


View blog reactions

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Medley

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!


View blog reactions

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

CFBA - Loss of Carrier

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Loss Of Carrier
BookSurge Publishing (October 27, 2009)


Russ White

Russ White is an internationally recognized internetwork engineer. He has co-authored eight books in the field of network design and routing
protocols and is a regular speaker at international networking conferences.

In addition to working on several expert and senior-level network engineering certifications, he is a certified firearms instructor.

Russ, his wife, and their two children live in the Raleigh area of North Carolina, where they enjoy spending time on Jordan Lake and attending Colonial Baptist Church. Loss of Carrier is his first novel.

Bright yellow cables against a blue shirt? Carl never would have approved of that color combination. Why was his face so white? His eyes should be closed, not open. Why hadn’t one of the security guards seen this and reported it to the police? The lights were off, the cameras were useless in the dark.

Of course, the cables wrapped around Carl’s neck explained why the server wasn’t working. Loss of carrier.

Jess Wirth lives a dreary life. He spends most of his time crammed inside a cubicle, toiling as a network engineer and stewing over the details of his ugly divorce. But when he finds his co-worker dead in the basement of their office, Jess’s life takes a surprising—and unpleasant—turn.

The police quickly declare the death a suicide, but Jess isn’t so sure. Not long after he begins digging into the victim’s work, another co-worker turns up dead, convincing him once and for all that something sinister is brewing behind the cubicle walls.

His investigation leads him to a mysterious woman name Leah, who pushes him to entrust her with the information he’s collected about his dead colleagues. Wary of Leah’s motives yet inexorably drawn to her, Jess keeps her at arm’s length...until an attempt is made on both their lives. Realizing they are close on the trail of a dangerous criminal, the pair race to expose a data theft ring before they become the killer’s next victims.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Loss Of Carrier, go HERE

This debut novel was an interesting read, but as a self-published book its main weakness was a need for additional editing. It contained several unrealistic scenarios and inconsistencies which were distracting. And even though the title was explained in the course of the story, as a non-computer geek I still found it to be rather cryptic and not one that would necessarily draw me to the book. But overall, I enjoyed the story's mystery and suspense and think that, with some tightening up of these details, it has a lot of potential. The high-tech setting will be a definite draw for many who live and breathe computers!


View blog reactions

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Random Dozen - Thanksgiving Edition

To quote Lid at 2nd Cup of Coffee,

In addition to making this a Thanksgiving theme this week, we are bumping it up to the beginning of the week to prevent a "meme tank" on Wednesday and Thursday. That is, I think we'll be too busy later to get our Random on.

1. Are you sticking to traditional Thanksgiving foods this year, or are you being culinarily adventurous?

I am traditional all the way. The culinary adventure, however, lies in the fact that due to a variety of circumstances, my man's clan will be dining out on Thursday. I will miss the leftovers, but I am enjoying not having to scramble to bake and transport, and Thanksgiving morning will be nice and relaxing!

(I inadvertently typed The culinary adventure, however, lies in the fast. . . That WOULD be an adventure! That word has no place in the same sentence as Thanksgiving!

2. Tell me something concrete that you're thankful for. (Something you can literally touch, see, etc., not a concept like "hope.")

See that list to the right on my sidebar?

3. You knew the flip side was coming: Share about something intangible that you're thankful for.

See that list to the right on my sidebar?

4. Share one vivid Thanksgiving memory. It doesn't have to be deep or meaningful, just something that remains etched in your memory.

The first Thanksgiving Day I spent at my in-laws' house, which was before we got married. Probably 1986. The Main Event, probably surpassing even the meal in my future FIL's mind, was the annual game between his beloved Texas Aggies and the UT Longhorns. (Have I mentioned that my birth family bleeds burnt orange?) I sat in my chair and kept my mouth shut.

5. What is one thing that you know beyond a shadow of a doubt is going to happen this Thanksgiving because it always does, year after year?

That's a no-brainer: I'll eat one helping too many!

6. Do your pets get any left-overs?

What pets?

7. Does your family pray before the big meal? If so, do you join hands while seated, stand, repeat a formal prayer or offer a spontaneous prayer? Who does the praying?

We've always stood in a big circle in my MIL's living room and held hands while my FIL prays. When he became unable to, Mom would ask one of the sons to. I suspect we won't this year since we'll be at a restaurant and in such a big group.

8. Will you be watching football in the afternoon? If not, what will you be doing?

No football for me. UT/A&M don't play until Friday now. And I'm not glued to that game usually, anyway. Thanksgiving afternoon I intend to visit, doze, read or whatever!

9. There are two distinct camps of people on this issue: How do you feel about oysters in the dressing/stuffing?

Oysters belong in the ocean.

10. Do you consider yourself informed about the first Thanksgiving?


11. Which variety of pie will you be enjoying?

Pecan. Hopefully with a dollop of whipped cream on top.

12. Do you feel for the turkey?? (This is a humorous throw back question related to the 12th question in another Random Dozen!)

Nope. Only for the folks whose jobs are at the points from the turkey's last gobble to the arrival at the store/restaurant.

BTW, for those of you visiting from Lidna's for the Random Dozen, be sure to check out my Booked for the Holidays giveaway that started yesterday!


View blog reactions

Monday, November 23, 2009

Booked for the Holidays

Welcome to the 2nd Annual Booked for the Holidays Giveaway!

My, that makes it sound so official, like it's really important! Well, it's important to me and I hope this giveaway will be just as important - and fun! - for you. Here's the scoop: Each Monday, and hopefully on some other random days as well, I'll be giving away a book or several from my cache. Virtually all of these are brand-spanking-new books that I received at the Christian Book Expo back in the spring; many are autographed.

To qualify, just leave me a comment on the giveaway post by the deadline indicated. For an additional chance to win, post the giveaway button on your blog and let me know you did so. I wish I had the funds to ship internationally, but I do need to restrict it to US Residents only.

Soooooo, on to the first giveaway!

I was so excited to meet M L (Mary Lu) Tyndall at the Christian Book Expo back in March. I love her books, and getting to sit down and talk with her about them just adds to the enjoyment. Two-thirds of her current Charles Towne Belles trilogy have been released, with the final novel due out January 1. I had a chance to sit down with her and find out a bit about her writing process and the inspiration for her books.

Tell me about yourself. You have an interesting genre with the pirate books. How did that come about?

I have kind of an odd writing experience. I never wrote anything seriously until about 5 years ago. I was a software engineer for 15 years; I have a degree in math, which is the total opposite of what you would think a creative writer would be. But I’ve always had a desire to write and had written poems and such when I was younger. But after seeing The Pirate Movie, I heard a strong voice saying “I want you to write a book about a Christian pirate.’ So I worked on it in my free time – I actually wrote it on my lunch hours at work. And I joined ACFW. I never dreamed in my wildest imagination that I would get published. I got an agent and a contract in two months – it was such a God thing. That was The Redemption.

How do you research the books?

I grew up in S. Florida and love that tropical climate. I’ve always been fascinated by pirates. I can’t describe it because I know they were really evil! I think it was the freedom, the kind of person that defied society and its rules and wanted that free life. Of course I don’t agree with how they did it. And I also have always loved the tall ships, those tall ancient ships. Every time I see one, my heart leaps in my throat.

I just dove into book after book after book –- fiction and non-fiction -- and read all about the ships and how they work to research them. I could probably sail a ship now myself! My recent series just has one pirate in it, in the first book, The Red Siren. She’s a pirate, but not really. She does it on the side to make some money. There aren’t really any pirates in the other books. I’m trying to steer away from it; I don’t want to be labeled the Pirate Lady any more. It’s more about the ships and the Colonial time period.

The trilogy is the story of three sisters and they represent the three seeds in the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13.
  • Faith (The Red Siren) is the seed that fell among rocky soil; all the problems and tribulations come up, and she lost her faith.
  • In The Blue Enchantress, Hope is the seed that fell among thorns and the pleasures of this world and the wealth tempt her – she’s the bad girl. She gets her socks knocked off in this book. She gets herself in a really bad position from her behavior. It’s the story about a woman who is caught up in her looks and trying to find love in all the wrong places. She’s trying to give herself, hoping she’ll get the love back. I think a lot of girls struggle with that today in our culture and we focus on how we look and how much attention we get from men. But it’s all about how God can redeem you.
  • Grace, the third sister represents the [seed that fell in] good soil. Grace is the good girl -- she goes to church, she believes in Jesus and she follows all of the commandments, but she has a small problem with judgment and being critical. I have her really humbled in the third book, The Raven Saint.
So do you have a never-ending supply of ideas?

I’m really not one of those authors that does. I like to work on one thing at a time. Although I just got asked for the next trilogy that they want from me, and I don’t know what it will be.

That may be the engineer in you!

Could be. Just one thing at a time. Especially with the stories, I don’t want to confuse things. I get so into my stories that I almost feel like I am that character and I don’t want to think about other characters or other situations until I’m done, but I have to right now because they want proposals for the next trilogy. So if you have any ideas, let me know!.

Oh, you’re doing a great job on your own!

Well, I think it’s the Lord. I’ll get desperate and pray, “Lord, I need an idea!” So I’ll pray about it a few days. Actually, that’s what happened with this trilogy. I was up on the hill doing my prayer walk wondering what in the world I was going to write about and He dumped that whole parable in my head. And I thought, "Wow, if I could do one sister representing each seed and make that parable come to life." He did that. I can’t take any credit for that.

What a delight she was! You can get to know her better at her website (I love her tagline! Where Eternity and History Collide) and her blog.

You can read my review of The Red Siren here and The Blue Enchantress here.

I have three, (count 'em!) three AUTOGRAPHED copies of The Red Siren to give away. Leave a comment by Friday at 8:00 p.m. CST, and I'll choose 3 winners. Don't forget to let me know if you have posted the Booked for the Holidays button on your blog!


View blog reactions

Saturday, November 21, 2009

TSMSS - Your Hands

I spent a good part of Friday in my vehicle, checking on a friend having surgery, taking my girl to a doctor's appointment, taking dinner to the friend, and a few other trips to and fro. (In fact, I made the mistake of looking at the odometer on my last trip of the evening - 100 miles for the day!) Somewhere along the way, this new song on KLOVE broke through the busyness and the words grabbed my heart.

(I love how God works things out. I had no idea who was singing it and got out of the car before they announced it, but lo and behold, several hours later, I was astounded to hear her interviewed live on KLOVE! J J Heller is one to keep an eye -- or an ear! -- on. This song is from her new CD, Painted Red.)

The song especially made me think of another sweet friend who is going through a bit of a difficult and uncertain time right now, with whom I had prayed on the phone just a few hours earlier. Some seasons, our walk is smooth. Other times, the path lies crooked and rocky before us. And still other times, we only see a curve in the road; uncertain what lies around the bend, we can only wait until we reach it and discover where the next portion of our course takes us. Whichever scenario applies, we can rest assured that we never leave His hands. We are engraved on the palms of the very hands that flung the stars into space; He holds us so tightly that no one can snatch us away.

So for my friend -- and for each of you, on whatever path you trod. . . .

By Katie Herzig, JJ and David Heller

I have unanswered prayers
I have trouble I wish wasn’t there
And I have asked a thousand ways
That You would take my pain away
You would take my pain away

I am trying to understand
How to walk this weary land
Make straight the paths that crooked lie
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine

When my world is shaking, heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

When You walked upon the earth
You healed the broken, lost and hurt
I know You hate to see me cry
One day You will set all things right
Yeah, one day You will set all things right

When my world is shaking, heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

Your hands that shaped the world
Are holding me
They hold me still

Head on over to Amy's for more songs to bless and inspire!


View blog reactions

Friday, November 20, 2009

Paying It Forward!

UPDATE 11/24/09: Oops! I got really busy in real life this weekend with some care ministry issues and getting my Booked for the Holidays post ready, and I totally forgot to draw the two winners! Here they are:

True Random Number Generator
Result: 4, 3
Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Congrats to CeeCee and Sara! If I could beg your patience until after the holiday weekend, ladies, I'll get your gift on its way to each of you! Then you get to Pay it Forward!

* * * * * * *

A couple of weeks ago, Cathy at Latte with Me hosted a Pay it Forward giveaway and I won! She knew exactly what would delight my heart and sent me an Amazon gift certificate! When I discovered that two books I've been eagerly anticipating (and which weren't due to be released until December) were already available on Amazon, I made a beeline over there and bought them: Let Darkness Come by Angela Hunt and Healing Sands by Nancy Rue & Stephen Arterburn.

So now it's my turn to Pay it Forward, and I just realized I better hurry before I bump into Booked for the Holidays!

In order to win, you need to be willing to...
• Give me your mailing address so I can send a small gift your way.
• Write your own Pay It Forward post after you receive your gift telling about it, and in that post link back to my blog.
• Come up with gifts to send out to YOUR 2 winners.

If you'd like to participate, then please leave me a comment letting me know you'd like to be entered! If you don't have a blog, be sure to leave an email address so I can contact you if you win.

Comments will close Sunday evening (11/22) at 8:00 PM CST and I will pick 2 winners. US Residents only please.


View blog reactions

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Booked for the Holidays Returns!

Starting Monday, November 23 and continuing through December 14, the fantabulous giveaway returns. I've got some great books lined up to be given away, many of which are autographed. Don't miss this chance to treat yourself or find a gift for a friend!


View blog reactions

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Random Dozen

1. If you could master one sport, what would it be?

I've answered all the other questions and come back and I still can't think of one. I have never liked playing sports. But I never learned to even roller skate very well, and I've always wished I could ice skate. Nothing spectacular, just glide around on the ice without breaking anything.

2. When you make a major purchase, do you go with your gut instinct, or do you do research to make an informed decision?

Research to the nth degree. I've always tended toward that, but being married to my extremely analytical engineer, there's no other choice.

3. There is an old kids' game that says you can find out what your movie star name would be by using your middle name as your first name and the name of the street you grew up on as your last. What is your movie star name?

Questions like these are how people roaming the internet find out passwords and answers to those secret questions. (Seriously. A recent article about Facebook pointed out how many people have their birthday and maiden name out there for the world to see.)

4. Would you rather give up your favorite music or your favorite food?

This week's cruel choice. I'll say food. Because my music is food for my soul.

5. There are two types of banana preferences. One is pristine yellow, almost to the point of being green; the other is spotty and more ripe. Which is your preference?

Pristine yellow, just as the green has vanished. Unless I'm baking with them, of course.

6. Your favorite tree is?

A specific tree? The one in the front yard when I was growing up. It was a great climbing tree and had a perfect place that two big branches forked where I would sit and read. I think it was an Ash tree. As far as general types, I love the big old sprawling oaks of the South.

7. On a scale of 1-10, how tech savvy are you?

Well, that depends on whose 1-10 scale it is! If it's my man's, I'm a negative 84. (He's been an engineer with a computer company for over 30 years.) For the average person not employed in the computer industry, I'd say I'm about a 7. Except for blog code.

8. Has H1N1 touched your family?

Yep. My girl had it about a month ago.

9. Are you an analytical person, or do you just accept things the way they are without questioning or scrutinizing?

Hmm. Let me think about this. . . ! I'm pretty analytical, especially of people and situations.

10. Is your personality more like that of a dog, cat, or Koala?

Having never owned any of these three, I have no idea. I don't slobber or jump on people, so that rules out dogs (although I am loyal). I don't preen or act haughty (I hope!) so eliminate cats (but I like being clean). I've outgrown climbing trees, but I do like to curl up and sleep, so after ANALYZING the situation, I'll go with a koala.

11. Do you keep in touch with friends you made years ago?

Yes. Refer to the loyal aspect of #10 above. I have a few folks I've exchanged Christmas cards with for over 30 years. I still keep up with four good friends from high school. And one of my high school teachers. I don't make close friendships easily, but you are stuck with me for life once I do. I have a few scars from that character trait. I've learned to let go and actually pared down my Christmas card list a couple of years ago.

12. You are checking out at a grocery store. In the express lane, there are more people than the regular lanes, but of course, their load is less than those in the regular lanes. Which lane do you choose (assuming you qualify for the express lane) and why?

It doesn't matter. Whichever one I choose will immediately screech to a halt and the other one will go at warp speed. Believe me, I've tried it both ways. Murphy hangs out at my grocery store.

Go visit Lid at 2nd Cup of Coffee to see some more random answers from folks!


View blog reactions

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Delayed Review of a Delightful Book

I am red-in-the-blog and feel awful about being so slow to post about a recently released book I enjoyed - especially since the author, Denise Hunter, was so very nice to send me an advanced copy for my review. So to make up for my negligence, please grab a copy of this book for yourself or a gift. It's a great story and a wonderful parable.

Here's the book summary from the publisher:

Sabrina Kincaid didn't intend to fall for Nantucket native Tucker McCabe, the man she serves coffee to every morning-a man tied deeply to a past she deeply regrets. But she has. And she's fallen hard. But she's kept this a secret from her handsome customer. And now Tucker wants to hire Sabrina to help locate his friend "Sweetpea"-the mysterious woman he's falling in love with online. Sabrina is not inclined to help, but if Tucker hires someone else, it could spell disaster. Because if someone else sifts through the emails and figures out the truth-then Tucker will discover that the person he's trying to find is . . . her.

And now, my thoughts:
Sabrina knows who Tucker is. Tucker knows who Sabrina is. But Sabrina doesn't know that Tucker knows. . . . "Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive!" It seemed like such an innocent thing, this anonymous online friendship with the man whose coffee she poured each morning at the Cobblestone Cafe. Determined to avoid the pain of past mistakes, Sabrina is content to leave the friendship online and admire her customer from a distance. Unfortunately, Tucker enlists his server's help in locating the woman on the other side of the screen who has captured his heart. As Sabrina becomes more and more desperate in her attempts to fabricate a real-life Sweetpea for Tucker to fall in love with, it made me wonder why Tucker lets her struggle so. Reminds me of Someone else I know, Who lets us flail about until we are ready to come clean and confess to Him who we really are. I enjoyed this as a fun read, but the deeper allegory was what made this book truly satisfying. And finding out what made the online friendship begin in the first place nearly brought me to tears. I definitely recommend this book.

A little bit about Denise Hunter. . .

Denise lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too! Denise contributes with 4 other great authors to the fun blog GirlsWriteOut.

Thanks, Denise, for the privilege of reading this great book!


View blog reactions

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fall Into Flavor Finale

I am absolutely nuts about pecans! Add some whipped cream and butter and oh my! As my mother would say, "That's just larapin!"

[Yes, larapin is really a word. Sometimes it's spelled larruping or larrupin'. It is a Midwest and Southern (especially in Texas & Oklahoma & Arkansas) term that means exceptionally scrumptious, over the top delicious. One site cracked me up: in noting the Southern roots of this word, it said Northerners don't have anything that is "larapin". To larrup is to whip or strike something, so I guess it's another word for something so good it makes you want to slap your mama! Or somebody!]

Anyway, Southern Living serves up another winner with this delectable recipe for Pecan Squares. It received their 5-star rating.


2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
2/3 cup butter
3 tablespoons whipping cream
3 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans

Sift together 2 cups flour and 2/3 cup powdered sugar. Cut in 3/4 cup softened butter using a pastry blender or fork just until mixture resembles coarse meal. Pat mixture on bottom and 1 1/2 inches up sides of a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish.

Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool.

Bring brown sugar, honey, 2/3 cup butter, and whipping cream to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in pecans, and pour hot filling into prepared crust.

Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Cool completely before cutting into 2-inch squares.

Head on over to 2nd Cup of Coffee to see some more great recipes on this final Fall Into Flavor Monday!


View blog reactions

Saturday, November 14, 2009

TSMSS - Seekers of Your Heart

Almost 25 years ago, one of Larnelle Harris's albums, The Father Hath Provided, had a gem of a song hidden on it. It never got any radio airtime, which was a shame, as it was an incredible song, both lyrically and musically. (The album did win a Dove Award in 1987 for Inspirational Album of the Year.) The song made a second appearance on a subsequent album, Larnelle: The Best of 10 Years Vol. 1.

I couldn't resist reaching back into the memory vaults and playing this song. It's the only time I am aware that an album contained a trio composed of Larnelle, Sandi Patty, and Steve Green. They are three wonderful soloists whose voices blend together in beautiful harmony!

{Just a note: imeem always confuses me. Don't push the Play button or you'll just get an excerpt. Click just to the right of the button where it says Play Full Song Here.]

Seekers Of Your Heart - Larnelle;Sandi Patti;Steve Green


Until we give You first place
Until we let You begin
To fill us with Your Spirit
Renew us from within
Nothing matters
Nothing's gained
Without your Holy Presence
Our lives are lived in vain

Lord we want to know You
Live our lives to show You
All the love we owe You
We're seekers of Your heart

Because Your heart was broken
Because You saw the need
Because You gave so freely
Because of Calvary
We can now be
Called Your own
Completed creations
Filled with You alone

Repeat Chorus

Written by Dick & Mel Tunney and Beverly Darnall

More songs can be found at Amy's!


View blog reactions

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cliche is the New Original

I am perplexed by and weary of the latest overused cliche I see on billboards, t-shirts, and even on a baby bib: X is the new Y. (This is also known as a snowclone.)

40 is the new 30. (Birthday supplies)
50 is the new 30. (Birthday supplies)
Green is the new Black. (From fashion to environmentalism)
Pink is the new Black. (Even an Amazon category!)
Black is the new Pink. (MSN on frugal fashion, BBC astronomy news)
Black is the new Black. (Huh?! Fashion and Race)
Messy is the new Neat. (Time magazine article on neatness; baby bib)
Frugality is the new Chic. (NPR on economy)
20% is the new 15% (MSN on tipping)
Global is the new Local. (Christianity Today on missions)

I even saw one that said 70 is the new 50. So if that's true, and 50 is the new 30, does that mean 70 is the new 30?! Yikes!

It goes on and on ad nauseum.

Speaking of ad nauseum, I made up a new one that is an apt description for me this evening.


And as much as I love historical novels, my early entry for Friday's Giving Thanks Challenge is a testimony to how glad I am for modern conveniences.

Back soon. I hope!


View blog reactions

CFBA - A Prisoner of Versailles

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

A Prisoner of Versailles

Thomas Nelson (September 1, 2009)


Golden Keyes Parsons


In her deep plowing of the heart, moving from tears one moment to laughter the next, Golden will touch your heart with her dynamic Bible teaching, combined with her vivid personal examples, moving from tears one moment, to laughter the next, all the while communicating the message that God is faithful--keep trusting Him. She has a passion to communicate the Word of God in such a manner that will lead to godly living.

Golden, and her husband, Blaine, have just retired as pastors at Faith Mountain Fellowship Church in Red River, NM. They have three grown daughters and eight grandchildren. Her testimony and myriad of life experiences lend a touch of authenticity to her teaching. She loves to speak for women's conferences, seminars, luncheons, retreats and Mother/Daughter events.

If deep Bible teaching that brings the Scriptures alive is what you want, Golden is the speaker you need.


Madeleine's faith puts her at odds with an intimidating rival: King Louis XIV.

Having fled their homeland of France because of the persecution by Louis XIV, the Clavell family seeks refuge in Switzerland. However, the king is not about to let the recently widowed Madeleine, his childhood sweetheart, escape that easily. He sends musketeers to kidnap her and her oldest son, Philippe, holding them captive in his opulent palace. King Louis is suspicious that Philippe could be his son, and he's enraged by the growing affection of one of his courtiers for Madeleine.

Will Madeleine escape the king with her life or lose everything that she's fought so hard to keep?

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Prisoner of Versailles , go HERE

I am so glad I'm a modern-day gal! I prefer my musketeers to be of the chocolate variety! This is a wonderful story full of adventure and suspense. More compelling than that, however, is the underlying thread of faith under fire. Captured and imprisoned in the palace of King Louis, Madeleine remains strong in her convictions and her belief that God will bring about her rescue and that of her son. As time passes, however, circumstances become more grim. Will there be a point at which she will falter, give up on God, and acquiesce to the king's demands to save her life and that of her son?


View blog reactions