Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Gall of Wednesday Hodgepodge!

Time once again to join Joyce for the Wednesday Hodgepodge. This one has a bit of a patriotic flair, as Joyce will be giving the Hodgepodge a holiday next week for the Fourth of July.

1. What do the words 'freedom' and 'liberty' mean to you? Does your mind go more in the direction of not being persecuted or discriminated against or does it head in the direction of doing what you please?

I tend to go more with the first definition and with freedom from bondage, such as the freedom God's grace gives us.

2. Nathan's sponsors a hot dog eating contest every 4th of July. Last year over 40,000 people attended the event and almost 2 million watched it on TV. The winner ate over 60 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. How do you like your hot dogs?

Mustard, chili, cheese, and a smidgen of purple onion. And just one. It always astounds me to hear what the winner of the Nathan's contest eats, but I can't stand to watch it.

3. If you were going to enter an eating contest what would be on the menu?

I am not a fast eater, so I couldn't enter a contest that requires you to do it fast. But I can eat a lot of popcorn!

4. Do you run your house more as a dictatorship or a democracy?

Do those have to be the only two choices?! My man and I are definitely the last word, but dictatorship sounds awfully harsh. It's not as though we don't ever consider our kids' opinions. But they don't necessarily get an equal vote, either.

5. Where was your favorite summer place when you were a kid?

Wherever I could read a book.

6. Do you have a guest room? Would you want to stay there?

Yes. Sure - and I do if my man or I don't feel well. (It's easier for me to move because he has a CPAP.) There's a good chance I'll be in there tonight!

7. Next Wednesday America celebrates her independence. Do you have any special plans for the 4th of July? If you live outside the USA when and how does your country celebrate its own patriotic holiday?

No special plans right now. I just want to get through this week first.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

As I type this, my gallbaldder is tucked in its normal place in my body. If you read this after around 9:30 CDT, it will be in a container (along with the stones) on its way to the lab!


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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Search

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Search
Avon Inspire; Original edition (June 19, 2012)
Shelley Shepard Gray


Since 2000, Shelley Sabga has sold over thirty novels to numerous publishers, including HarperCollins, Harlequin, Abingdon Press, and Avon Inspire. She has been interviewed by NPR, and her books have been highlighted in numerous publications, including USA Today and The Wall Street Journal.

Under the name Shelley Shepard Gray, Shelley writes Amish romances for HarperCollins’ inspirational line, Avon Inspire. Her recent novel, The Protector, the final book in her “Families of Honor” series, hit the New York Times List, and her previous novel in the same series, The Survivor, appeared on the USA Today bestseller list. Shelley has won the prestigious Holt Medallion for her books, Forgiven and Grace, and her novels have been chosen as Alternate Selections for the Doubleday/Literary Guild Book Club. Her first novel with Avon Inspire, Hidden, was an Inspirational Reader’s Choice finalist.

Before writing romances, Shelley lived in Texas and Colorado, where she taught school and earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education. She now lives in southern Ohio and writes full time. Shelley is married, the mother of two children in college, and is an active member of her church. She serves on committees, volunteers in the church office, and currently leads a Bible study group, and she looks forward to the opportunity to continue to write novels that showcase her Christian ideals.

When she’s not writing, Shelley often attends conferences and reader retreats in order to give workshops and publicize her work. She’s attended RWA’s national conference six times, the ACFW conference and Romantic Times Magazine’s annual conference as well as traveled to New Jersey, Birmingham, and Tennessee to attend local conferences.

Check out Shelley's Facebook Fan page


In the second book in her Secrets of Crittenden County series, New York Times bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray delivers another page-turning romance set in Amish country

The serenity of the quiet Amish community of Marion, Kentucky is disrupted when Abby Anderson discovers the body of Perry Borntrager in an abandoned well. Perry had been missing for months. Everyone figured he had left the order during his rumspringa. As friends and family reel from this news, and are faced with the first death by mysterious circumstance to occur in their small town in over 20 years, a homicide detective arrives to help solve the crime

Before Perry disappeared, Frannie Eicher and Perry had been secretly courting. Now that it’s common knowledge that he was murdered, it’s up to Fannie to decide whether or not to tell everyone about the secrets he told her.

After much deliberation, she decides to tell Luke Reynolds, the visiting police officer, what she knows. At first, the two meet only on the context of discussing Perry’s death. Then, Luke begins to feel more and more at home, both with Frannie, and in Marion. The only problem is that he feels a romantic pull toward Frannie. Frannie feels that same attraction toward Luke, but is afraid to give her heart to him. After all, she doesn’t want to leave her faith.

As Luke uncovers more secrets about Perry and the case draws out, his time in Marion runs out. He has to decide whether to go back to his job with the Cincinnati Police Department…or stay in Marion.

If you would like to read the Prologue of The Search, go HERE.

Shelley Shepard Gray piqued my curiosity with Missing and this second book in the series is just as captivating. Gray has captured the unsettled atmosphere that lingers in Marion following the discover of Perry's body along with the questions that weigh on the minds of those who knew him; I ached for Frannie, who struggles with wondering why she isn't what any man needs, from her father to Micah to Perry. There seems to be something special about Luke, but then he only reminds her just how different his gun-toting, crime-fighting life is from her peaceable Amish existence. As for Luke, is solving the crime the reason he is in Marion or is he searching for something else? This novel is aptly named as several characters are searching. . . . whether they find it and what it is left to be revealed in the final novel, Found (coming in September), is for you to discover in The Search of your own!


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Monday, June 25, 2012

The Director's Cut

The Director's Cut
Janice Thompson
ISBN: 978-0800733476
June 2012/320 pages/$14.99

The one thing she can't direct is her heart.

Tia Morales is used to calling the shots. She's the director of the popular sitcom Stars Collide, and her life on the set is calculated and orderly. Well, most of the time. Life outside the studio is another matter. If only she could get other people to behave as well as her stars do! When she starts to have feelings for handsome cameraman Jason Harris--with whom she's been butting heads for months--it's enough to send a girl over the edge. Will she ever learn to let go and take life--and love--as it comes?

Full of the humor and crazy family dynamics Janice Thompson fans have come to love, this colorful story gives you an inside look at Hollywood and a healthy dose of romance.

If you want more of Bella, DJ, Brock Benson, and other favorite characters from Janice Thompson, you'll love the Backstage Pass series.

Janice Thompson is a seasoned romance author and screenwriter. An expert at pulling the humor from the situations we get ourselves into, Thompson offers an inside look at TV land, drawing on her experiences as a screenwriter. She is the author of the Weddings by Bella series, Stars Collide, and Hello, Hollywood! She lives in Texas.

I love a Janice Thompson book! She offers a wonderful blend of humor and heart-tugging moments in her Backstage Pass series. Alhtough I somehow missed the second book (Hello, Hollywood!), I loved Stars Collide (reviewed here). The Director's Cut is just as endearing as Tia Morales tries to wield the same control over her personal life that she does on the set of her hit sitcom. Thompaon's characters are so authentically portrayed, from Tia's exasperating but much-loved family to the members of the show's cast and crew. (And what's not to love about sweet Rex, the show's producer, and the tenderness he shows his aging wife, actress Lenora Worth, whose dementia advances a bit more with each chapter?) Faith is skillfully woven throughout this novel as Tia learns to let God direct her life. I highly recommend this book and this series, not only for the entertaining read but for the encouragement to discover that there are believers in Hollywood!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Saturday, June 23, 2012

TSMSS - Jesus, I Come

I was so excited to stumble across this song last night. (Although the top of the video says "Rock of Ages," that is the name of the DVD, not the song.) Jesus, I Come has always been one of my favorite "invitation songs." This is such a beautiful rendition, sung so simply, and they sing all four verses.


Out of my bondage, sorrow, and night,
Jesus, I come! Jesus, I come!
Into Thy freedom, gladness, and light,
Jesus, I come to Thee!
Out of my sickness into Thy health,
Out of my want and into Thy wealth,
Out of my sin and into Thyself,
Jesus, I come to Thee!

Out of my shameful failure and loss,
Jesus, I come! Jesus, I come!
Into the glorious gain of Thy cross,
Jesus, I come to Thee!
Out of earth's sorrows into Thy balm,
Out of life's storm and into Thy calm,
Out of distress to jubilant psalm,
Jesus, I come to Thee!

Out of unrest and arrogant pride,
Jesus, I come! Jesus, I come!
Into Thy blessed will to abide,
Jesus, I come to Thee!
Out of myself to dwell in Thy love,
Out of despair into raptures above,
Upward for aye on wings like a dove,
Jesus, I come to Thee!

Out of the fear and dread of the tomb,
Jesus, I come! Jesus, I come!
Into the joy and pleasure, Thine own,
Jesus, I come to Thee!
Out of the depths of ruin untold,
Into the peace of Thy sheltering fold,
Ever Thy glorious face to behold,
Jesus, I come to Thee!

WORDS: William T. Sleeper, 1887
MUSIC: George C. Stebbins

I'm so thankful that Amy started this wonderful meme. Please keep her in your prayers as she continues to grieve the death of her dad.


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Friday, June 22, 2012

The Doctor's Devotion

The Doctor's Devotion
Cheryl Wyatt
(Love Inspired)
ISBN: 978-0373877546
June 2012/215 pages/$5.75

When he fled Eagle Point years ago, former air force trauma surgeon Mitch Wellington left only broken dreams behind. Now he's back with a new dream—opening a trauma center in the rural area and saving lives. He hopes to hire the quick-thinking nurse who impressed him during an emergency. But Lauren Bates lost her faith and doesn't believe she deserves to help anyone. Mitch knows firsthand what loss feels like. And it'll take all his devotion to show Lauren that sometimes the best medicine is a combination of faith, community—-and love.

Cheryl Wyatt's closest friends would never dream of the mayhem she plots during announcements at church. A Registered Nurse-turned-Stay-at-Home-Mom, joyful chaos rules her home and she delights in the stealth moments God gives her to write. She stays active in her church and in her laundry room. She's convinced that having been born on a naval base on Valentine's Day destined her to write military romance.

Her debut novels, A Soldier's Promise and A Soldier's Family, released from Steeple Hill publishers in January and March 2008. Prior to publication, Cheryl was published in non-fiction and had six manuscripts place in twelve RWA contests.

This is a great little book to tuck into your bag for the beach or a wait at the doctor's office. Cheryl Wyatt has created great characters in Lauren and Mitch and provided plenty of tension between the two which they must overcome. Mitch's goal to get Lauren back into nursing flies in the face of her steadfast determination to stay away from the career she left after a patient's death. Her grandfather's deteriorating health has brought her back to Eagle Point for a visit after far too many years only to discover a closeness between him and Mitch that seems to usurp her rightful place. And in addition to those aggravations, she finds herself drawn to him more than she is willing to admit. In the midst of it all, emergencies tax Mitch's fledgling trauma center and Lauren is compelled to help. Although this is a small book and a quick read, a lot is packed into a small package which kept me eagerly turning pages until the very end!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Cheryl Wyatt. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Faith in the Midst of Pain

Many of you are probably familiar with the names Jim Elliott and Nate Saint, two of the five missionaries who were killed in Ecuador in the 1950's.

Or you may be more familiar with Nate Saint's son, Steve Saint, who has produced several movies about their story and the years since then, among them End of the Spear. (If you aren't, I highly recommend them!)

Steve Saint has spent many years in Ecuador among the Waodani people, the group who murdered his father and the other four missionaries, and a number of them are now believers. Saint has also developed a company/ministry called I-TEC (Indigenous People's Technology Education Center. According to their website,
At I-TEC, our focus is on enabling indigenous churches to overcome the technological and educational hurdles that stand in the way of their independence. Missionaries have long understood the value of technology, and they have employed every available tool to preach the gospel — from the machete to dental equipment to airplanes. But advanced technology is often impractical for use by a native church, where even the lack of electricity may be a concern. We aim to bridge that technology gap by equipping the indigenous church with technology suitable to their needs — technology that they can use and maintain with minimal outside support.

I had never heard of Steve Saint's company until a few days ago, and my purpose is not to endorse or garner support for this company, only to comment on the commitment that this man and his family has had for missions and for indigenous, difficult-to-reach peoples and to give background for his current situation.

Last week, Steve Saint was testing a piece of equipment when a safety strap malfunctioned and the item hit him in the head, causing whiplash and severely injuring him. He's had minimal movement of his arms and legs. Through it all, he has continued to demonstrate incredible faith. In fact, a statement Friday said that "Steve has asked that we not pray for God to take his pain away, but rather that God will continue to write this difficult chapter His way."

Monday, he filmed this statement from his hospital bed. It is so touching and inspiring to see his unswerving commitment even while acknowledging the extreme pain and difficulty he is experiencing. He has a long road ahead.

On Tuesday they operated to relieve some pressure on his spinal cord. An update yesterday from the family said,
Steve came through his surgery very well. One of the biggest things for him is that he does not require his neck brace. He was able to stand up on his feet for about a minute this morning, with help. This is just the start of the long road ahead, but we know that he is a fighter and hard worker. By the beginning of next week, he should be moved into an in-patient rehab facility to begin intensive physical therapy. Please continue to pray for Steve and Ginny, as well as the rest of our family and care-givers as we continue this journey together to see how God will use this for our good and His Glory.

What a testimony. Please pray for this man and his family as they walk this road.

Updates are available on his Facebook page


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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Lazy Hazy Crazy Wedesday Hodgepodge

According to the calendar, today is the first day of summer. It's been summer around here for almost a month, both with the temperatures and because school's been out for several weeks. I can't complain about the weather, though; on the radio yesterday they said last year by this time we had already had 15 days of 100+ degree temps, and this year we've had only one. In fact, yesterday was cloudy and only in the low 80's. Pretty nice!

1. Summer officially rolls in with the Hodgepodge this week, for those of us in the Northern hemisphere anyway. What song says summer 2012 to you?

I don't know if there's a song I identify with this particular summer, at least not yet. It's too early!

But the summer of my sixth grade year definitely had a song - the Carpenters' Yesterday Once More. Even today, I hear that song and. . .it's Yesterday Once More!

2. What's your favorite quintessential summer food?

I think you can guess this from the picture I posted last week: central Texas peaches!

3. I've spent a lot of time traipsing up and down the NJ Turnpike in recent weeks. Did you know the rest areas on the turnpike are named after people who lived or worked in NJ? Clara Barton, Walt Whitman, James Fenimore Cooper, Molly Pitcher, Joyce Kilmer, Thomas Edison, and Gover Clevland just to name a few. Of those I listed, who would you most like to have known and why?

(BTW, Joyce linked to each one of those names, but I'm not oging to do that. If you are interested, you can follow the links on her blog!)

Anyone who's been around my blog much knows my answer would be Clara Barton since I'm an RN. She was such a pioneer in nursing and worked in some incredibly horrific conditions. I would love to talk to her.

4. At what age did you move out of your parent's house and what prompted the move?

I went to college as a freshman just weeks after turning 18. I came home for the summers, but once I graduated I got a job 3 hours from my folks and never moved home agaon.

5. What's more satisfying to you-saving time or saving money?

It depends on the situation. For some things, the time is more important. For others, it's the money.

6. Name something you think brings out the good in people.

I think for most people, large-scale tragedies or disasters do. They tend to bind together and help one another when there are major events. (Well, there are a few exceptions, such as those who take advantage of such situations to loot and vandalize!)

7. This last question comes to you courtesy of Kathy over at Reflections...will you be taking a vacation or a staycation this summer? If so where will you go? If a staycation is on the calendar have you made any special plans to fill the time?

I am thrilled to be taking a couple of fun trips. Once again I have the incredible opportunity to attend ICRS and the Christy Awards; this year they are in Orlando. Then my girl and I will be heading to Germany to see GG (our exchange student we hosted last year) and her family for two weeks! I have never been anywhere in Europe and am eagerly anticipating the trip.

The one potential kink in my summer plans was finding out last week that I have gallstones - I'm seeing a surgeon today and hoping I can get that taken care of ASAP so it doesn't interfere with my trips!

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Thanks to all of you who voted for me last week! I didn't win the Grand Prize but I was one of the winners who will receive an autographed copy of Angela Hunt's new book Five Miles to Peculiar and a beautiful apron as well!


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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mary's Blessing

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Mary's Blessing
Realms (May 15, 2012)
Lena Nelson Dooley


Award-winning author Lena Nelson Dooley has more than 675,000 books in print. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and president of the local chapter, DFW Ready Writers. She’s also a member of Christian Authors Network, CROWN Fiction Marketing, and Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas.

Lena loves James, her children, grandchildren, and great grandson. She loves chocolate, cherries, chocolate-covered cherries, and spending time with friends. Travel is always on her horizon. Cruising, Galveston, the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, Mexico. One day it will be Hawaii and Australia, but probably not the same year. Helping other authors become published really floats her boat, with fifteen signing their first book contract after her mentoring. Three of her books have been awarded the Carol Award silver pins from American Christian Fiction Writers and she has received the ACFW Mentor of the Year award at their national conference. The high point of her day is receiving feedback from her readers, especially people whose lives have been changed by her books. And she loves chocolate, especially dark chocolate.


When her mother dies, Mary Lenora must grow up quickly to take care of her brothers and sisters. Can love help her to shoulder the burden?

Mary Lenora Caine knows she is adopted. As she was growing up, her mother called her “God’s blessing.” But now that she’s gone, Mary no longer feels like any kind of blessing. Her father, in his grief, has cut himself off from the family, leaving the running of the home entirely in Mary’s hands.

As she nears her eighteenth birthday, Mary can’t see anything in her future but drudgery. Then her childhood friend Daniel begins to court her, promising her a life of riches and ease. But her fairy-tale dreams turn to dust when her family becomes too much for Daniel, and he abandons her in her time of deepest need.

Will Daniel come to grips with God’s plan for him? And if he does return, can Mary trust that this time he will really follow through?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Mary's Blessing, go HERE.


This is a heart-wrenching story and a sobering reminder of how difficult life was for so many in the nineteenth century. I could practically feel the despair and exhaustion Mary felt as she cared for her father and siblings and rejoiced at the glimmer of hope offered by Daniel's attentions. My heart ached when her hopes were dashed every time the sun began to peek from behind the clouds. The characters in this novel are masterfully portrayed with completely believable emotions. I particularly liked how Mary alternately wearied of caring for her siblings, became irritated with them -- and felt overwhelming love for them, as well. Lena Nelson Dooley has penned a novel that kept me turning pages until the satisfying conclusion.

In addition to Mary's story, I was drawn into the over-arching story of the entire series, which was new to me. Triplet girls, born on a wagon train to a mother who died at childbirth, were split up by their grief-stricken father. He kept one daughter to raise and gave the other two to be adopted by other families traveling on the same journey. Years separated the families, and the girls don't know about the others. Maggie's Journey came out in October, Mary's Blessing was just released, and the final book, Catherine's Pursuit will be published next year. While they can obviously be read as stand-alones, reading one has whet my appetite for the others; I suspect you'll be drawn in as well.


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Monday, June 18, 2012

Determining God's Will - and a Giveaway!

UPDATE Sunday 6/24/12 6:20 pm WINNER!

My apologies for the delay in choosing a winner. The mother of a dear friend my man has known since eighth grade passed away, and this weekend was consumed with cooking and spending time with them, as well as my MIL's visit. I got home from church this afternoon and crashed! But let's pick a winner!

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2012-06-24 23:19:53 UTC

Congratulations to Sally! Email me your address, Sally, and Jordyn Redwood will send you a copy of her book, Proof.

* * * * *

Today I welcome Jordyn Redwood a brand-new author I discovered via author Candace Calvert. I've visited her blog but haven't had a chance to read one of her books yet, and I look forward to doing so. By day, she is an RN and she utilizes those skills and knowledge base as she writes. She shares below about finding God's path and will for one's life, a topic that applies not only to writing but to all walks of life. She's also giving away a copy of her debut novel, Proof, which is receiving rave reviews.

The Writer’s Path
by Jordyn Redwood

How do you determine God’s will? I don’t know if others have obsessed with this as much as I have but from the time I was in college, I remember being concerned about how I would determine if I was doing God’s will. Someone in a Bible Study group once said to me, “It will be the desire of your heart.”

I’m not sure this is true. I mean, Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh, but that’s where God wanted him to go.

Another piece of advice I heard. “You’ll be good at it.”

Umm, actually, probably won’t be an easy talent. Moses was not a gifted speaker yet had to face Pharaoh to try and set his people free.

God operates in the unexpected. So, could His Will be something you might want to do yet have no strength/skill in accomplishing on your own?


When I look at the two loves of my life, nursing and writing, nursing always came easy for me. My goal in nursing was to be a flight nurse. That was my one singular focus. I got the experience, took the required classes, and had the drive but never got the job after multiple applications. Why did it never happen for me when I was clearly qualified? Perhaps because that wasn’t God—it was me.

For those years, I wasn’t writing faithfully. I dabbled here and there on a book that wouldn’t let me sleep at times unless I got it down on paper. Other than that, I wasn’t working hard at the craft.

In utter frustration, after the umpteenth flight nursing job application was unsuccessful, I threw my hands up to God and said “Fine, I’ll write that book but if you want me to write novel after novel, you have to find a home for this one.”

I wouldn’t recommend challenging God—that’s a theological discussion for another day but it highlights the point of desperation I was at—the point of submission I was at. But also the fear I had at failing at both my dreams. That would have felt like death for a goal-oriented person like me.

When I started to write faithfully—the doors began to open.

I didn’t go to college for writing. In order to learn the skills of an author, I spent a lot of time reading books on the craft, attending writer’s conferences, etc.

I got an agent, the wonderful Greg Johnson. He negotiated a book contract.

The more I submitted to this writing dream—the more doors opened.


I’ll be the first to say writing does not come easy for me. Not as easy as nursing. I’m a good storyteller but grammar—let me say I have looked up the answers in my third grader's workbook.

How do you determine God’s will for your life?

Maybe Jonah, in his heart, did want to go to Nineveh but he was afraid of failure. I was afraid to pursue publication. After all, having someone say I was a horrible writer would have crushed me—and I’m sure there will be those that will say exactly that.

So, how is it you find God’s will? Look for that something—that one thing you will do well only through His work through you. You may have the desire but not the strength to do it on your own. God wants people to see His strength operating through you—and not yours. After all, that’s the miracle.

At least, that’s become my understanding.

What about you? Have you determined ways to be sure of God’s will for you?

Jordyn Redwood has served patients and their families for nearly 20 years and currently works as a pediatric ER nurse. As a self professed medical nerd and trauma junkie, she was drawn to the controlled chaotic environments of critical care and emergency nursing. Her love of teaching developed early and she was among the youngest CPR instructors for the American Red Cross at the age of seventeen. Since then, she has continued to teach advanced resuscitation classes to participants ranging from first responders to MD’s.

When she discovered she also had a fondness for answering medical questions for authors, this led to the creation of Redwood’s Medical Edge. This blog is devoted to helping contemporary and historical authors write medically accurate fiction.

Jordyn lives in Colorado with her husband, two daughters and one crazy hound dog. In her spare time she also enjoys reading her favorite authors, quilting and cross stitching. You can learn more about Jordyn by visiting her website at

Jordyn Redwood
(Kregel Publications)
ISBN: 978-0825442384
June 2012/304 pages/$14.99

Dr. Lilly Reeves is a young, accomplished ER physician with her whole life ahead of her. But that life instantly changes when she becomes the fifth victim of a serial rapist. Believing it's the only way to recover her reputation and secure peace for herself, Lilly sets out to find--and punish--her assailant. Sporting a mysterious tattoo and unusually colored eyes, the rapist should be easy to identify. He even leaves what police would consider solid evidence. But when Lilly believes she has found him, DNA testing clears him as a suspect. How can she prove he is guilty, if science says he is not?

"I love a great medical thriller and I'm glad to add another author to my list. Jordyn Redwood writes like the medical insider she is: a gripping tale laced laced with realism, sleep-robbing excitement, and something every reader loves: hope."-Harry Kraus, MD, best-selling author of The Six-Liter Club

"Debut novelist Jordyn Redwood has used her experience as an ER nad ICU nurse to craft a blend of medical thriller and police procedural with twists and turns to keep fans of either genre turning pages."-Richard L. Mabry, MD, author of Lethal Remedy and the Prescription for Trouble series

"Jordyn Redwood's debut novel is a page-turner with an ingenious premise and solid Christian values. A satisfying read."-Frank J. Edwards, Medical Director, Delphi Emergency Physicians, author of the medical thriller Final Mercy

Strong writing, terrific plot twists, and a great premise make this debut medical thriller a must-read. Recommend it to fans of Richard L. Mabry and Robin Cook. Starred review in Library Journal, June 15, 2012


Jordyn is giving away a paperback copy of this book to one of you! To enter, just leave a comment on this post by 8:00 pm CDT Friday, June 22, and I will randomly draw a winner. US residents only, please. You must include an email address if you do not have a blog so I can contact you if you win.

Disclaimer: I have not read Jordyn Redwood's book and therefore do not have an opinion on it. The views expressed in this guest post are those of the author, Jordyn Redwood, and may or may not reflect the views of Mocha with Linda.


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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Glamorous Illusions

Welcome to the launch of best-selling and award-winning author Lisa Tawn Bergren's brand new historicial fiction series, Grand Tour! The first book, Glamorous Illusions, releases this month! To celebrate, Lisa has teamed up with her publisher David C. Cook for a "Glamorous" Giveaway and fun Author Chat party on Facebook. Details below!

The Grand Tour Series details the life of Cora Diehl Kensington, a woman of the Montana plains, swept up into a life of riches and privilege. Belatedly finding out a terrible secret about her parentage, Cora struggles to find out who she really is as a child of God in the midst of an enlightening, as well as dangerous, trip across Europe.

{Watch the trailer}

{More about Glamorous Illusions}

It was the summer of 1913, and Cora Kensington's life on the family farm has taken a dark turn. Not only are the crops failing, so is her father's health. Cora is carrying on, helping her mother run their Montana farm until a stranger comes to call, and everything changes. Cora then learns a secret that will radically change her future: she is the illegitimate daughter of a copper king who has come to claim her.

Cora is invited to take the "Grand Tour" of Europe, a journey intended to finish a person's education, to solidify an understanding of ancient culture and contemporary refinement. 

As she travels from England to France with half-siblings she's never known, Cora encounters the blessings of the Kensington family name, as well as the curses. But when an unbidden love begins to form, she realizes the journey is only beginning.

Faced with the challenge of accepting her father, new family, and the identity that comes with it, Cora also struggles to accept that she is also the daughter of the one true King-a Father who is the only One who can truly heal.

{My Thoughts}

Wow, Lisa T. Bergren kicks off her new Grand Tour season with a captivating story! I cannot imagine what it must have been like for Cora to have her entire world upended as she discovers the truth behind the mysterious gifts she received each year on her birthday. Has her life only been an illusion thus far? Or is this new life, filled with a glamorous tour of Europe, the illusion? Vivid characters fill this novel as Cora tries to discover who she really is and what God expects of her among the cacophony of voices around her. Raised as an only child, she now must travel with her newly-discovered half-siblings, who are less-than-pleased about her appearance. Beautiful spiritual truths are deftly woven throughout the pages of this compelling novel, and the ending only left me eagerly anticipating the next books in this series! Put this one on your summer reading list!

{More about Lisa T. Bergren}

Lisa T. Bergren is the award-winning author of over thirty-five books, with more than 2 million copies sold. A former publishing executive, Lisa now divides her time between writing, editing, parenting three children with her husband, Tim, and dreaming of her next trip to Italy. She lives in Colorado Springs.

For more information on Lisa and to view other books written, please visit her website.

{More about Lisa's "Glam" $350 Visa Cash Card Giveaway}

What is our "true" identity? Join the conversation at Lisa Tawn Bergren's Author Chat Facebook Event Page. On the evening of 6/27 we'll gather to talk about our spiritual journey, share our stories and a few laughs.

In the meantime, celebrate with Lisa by entering her Glamorous Illusions Giveaway!

One "glamorous" winner will receive a "Glam Prize Pack":

  • A $350 Visa Cash Card (Oh ... think of what you could do: treat yourself to a mani/pedi, a fabulous new dress, dinner for two, or even a wo-night escape in a lovely hotel - you're only limited by your imagination!)
  • Glamorous Illusions (by Lisa Tawn Begren)

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends 6/26/12. Winner will be announced at Lisa's "Glamorous Illusions" Facebook Party on 6/27. (Fun begins at 5pm PDT / 8pm EDT}. Lisa will be hosting an evening of meaningful chat, fun trivia, laughter, and encouragement - bring your friends! She'll also be giving away some GREAT prizes: gift certificates, books and a Book Club Prize Pack! (Ten copies of the book for your small group or book club and a live chat with Lisa via video or phone.)

So grab a few of your friends and your copy of Glamorous Illusions and join Lisa on the evening of June 27th for an evening of fun.

Enter via E-mail Enter via Facebook Enter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP TODAY and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 27th!

See what others on the Blog Tour are saying here

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from David C Cook & Litfuse Publicity as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Saturday, June 16, 2012

TSMSS - Holy Lives

I have been really convicted lately by how important it is for us as believers to live holy lives that are noticeably different from those around us. Not in a weird, in-your-face manner, but quietly following Christ and living by a different standard. One of the most dangerous lies that Satan tells the church is that our flaws make us able to relate more to unbelievers. All that does is trample grace, numb us to our sin, and make a mockery of our beliefs, causing others to stumble and/or wonder if we really believe what we say we do. While I am certainly not advocating a legalistic, hypocritical lifestyle, I do think it is important for us to heed the Scriptures which command us, But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy." (1 Peter 1:15-16)

I have always loved this song by Steve Green. What a beautiful reminder that our faithful "lives we live inspire them to obey. Oh, may all who come behind us find us faithful!"

Please continue to pray for Amy, who hosts this great meme, as she mourns the recent loss of her dad and helps her sweet mom adjust.


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Friday, June 15, 2012

My Heart is Already Pounding!

Check out the brand-new trailer of Ronie Kendig's upcoming book, Trinity: Military War Dog, now available for pre-order, to be released September 1!

I can't WAIT to talk to Ronie about this (among other things, including her Christy nomination for Wolfsbane!) when I interview her at ICRS.


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Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Short-Straw Bride

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Short-Straw Bride
Bethany House Publishers (June 1, 2012)
Karen Witemeyer


Karen Witemeyer is a deacon's wife and mother of three who believes the world needs more happily-ever-afters. To that end, she combines her love of bygone eras with her passion for helping women mature in Christ to craft historical romance novels that lift the spirit and nurture the soul.

After growing up in California, Karen moved to Texas to attend Abilene Christian University where she earned bachelor and master's degrees in Psychology. It was also there that she met and married her own Texas hero. He roped her in good, for she has lived in Texas ever since. In fact, she fell so in love with this rugged land of sweeping sunsets and enduring pioneer spirit, that she incorporates it into the pages of her novels, setting her stories in the small towns of a state that burgeoned into greatness in the mid- to late1800s.

Karen is living her dream by writing Christian historical romance novels for Bethany House.


No one steps on Archer land. Not if they value their life. But when Meredith Hayes overhears a lethal plot to burn the Archer brothers off their ranch, a twelve-year-old debt compels her to take the risk.

Fourteen years of constant vigilance hardens a man. Yet when Travis Archer confronts a female trespasser with the same vivid blue eyes as the courageous young girl he once aided, he can't bring himself to send her away. And when an act of sacrifice leaves her injured and her reputation in shreds, gratitude and guilt send him riding to her rescue once again.

if you would like to read the first chapter of Short-Straw Bride, go HERE.


Oh my, this is such a fun book! I couldn't imagine how or why four brothers would be so reclusive that they had no contact with the outside world and why they would threaten anyone who stepped on their land, but they do mean business! Karen Witemeyer has created some wonderful characters in this story. The belligerent insistence on privacy, fierce protectiveness and loyalty which Travis and his brothers exhibit are countered by their integrity, sense of honor, and faith. Meredith is strong and spunky yet her tender-hearted nature is evident, both in the emotional scars she tries to hide and in the love she longs to give and receive. Plenty of conflict within and without the ranch's borders add heat to this story. Don't draw straws to see if this book will be included on your summer reading list; put The Short-Straw Bride at the top!


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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

In the Good Ol' Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. In what way are you your own worst enemy?

Oh, that inner voice can tell me all sorts of things about myself that aren't true!

2. Jacques Cousteau's birthday was Monday, June 11th...ever been scuba diving? Is that something you'd like to try? What's your favorite 'under the sea' creature?

No and not particularly; it makes me a little nervous - not from the critters as much as from the breathing. My man took several diving trips back in his young single days. As far as my favorite "under the sea" creature, I don't know that I have one, but I love watching them on DVD's, especially IMAX. Such an incredible picture of God's creative delight. The oceans contain such a variety of beautiful and intricately detailed creatures, and I always think about how many years it was essentially only for His pleasure; no one had the ability or technology to dive way down deep and explore and study and photograph the vast array within the ocean's depths.

3. On a scale of 1-10, how comfortable are you in and around the water? (1=not at all, 10=very) Do you know how to swim and if so how and when did you learn?

I'd say about a 7 or 8. I can swim decently. I took lessons at the local pool as a child. I definitely remember the "dead man's float" - I made sure to tuck that one away in case I ever needed it!

4. What's something you do to motivate yourself to tick an item off your to-do list?

I don't know that I have a consistent method. Sometimes my motivation is simply to because it has to be done or it's the right thing to do.

5. What makes a good neighbor? Are you a good neighbor?

Friendly without being pushy. Willing to keep an eye out, grab the paper when you're out of town, etc. Respectful of boundaries - not just property lines but one who isn't "in your face" or your business all the time.

6. Who loads the dishwasher at your house? Is there a right way and a wrong way?

I generally load it. There's basically a right way that gets the most stuff to fit.

7. You know it's summer when_________________________.

. . .I have Fredericksburg peaches on my cereal!

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I had visions of winning Angela Hunt's cool contest celebrating the launch of her newest novel, Five Miles South of Peculiar -- not only because of the cool prizes but because of my fun connection with the book and the contest. It would take a miracle for me to win, especially since the top three spots are held by pics of multiple people (which wasn't the intent of the contest from my interpretation of the directions. Not bitter, just sayin'!), but it would be fun to at least make it onto the top row! I'd be so honored if you would vote for me - and you can vote every 24 hours until Friday night at 11:00 pm EDT. To vote, just click here and then click the Vote tab (and there's no app agreement required!)


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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Love in Disguise

Love in Disguise
Carol Cox
(Bethany House)
ISBN: 978-0764209550
June 2012/352 pages/$14.99

Can she solve the crime before they uncover her true identity?

Jobless and down to her last dime, Ellie Moore hears about a position with the Pinkerton Detective Agency and believes it's the perfect chance to put her acting skills and costumes to use. Reluctantly, the agency agrees to give her one assignment, one chance to prove herself. Disguised as Lavinia Stewart, a middle-aged widow, Ellie travels to Arizona to begin her investigation. When the need arises, she also transforms into the dazzling Jessie Monroe, whose vivacious personality encourages people to talk.

Mine owner Steven Pierce is going to lose his business if he can't figure out who's stealing his silver shipments. In his wildest dreams, he never expected to receive help from a gray-haired widow... or to fall in love with her beautiful niece.

Then the thieves come after Lavinia and Jessie. Ellie isn't safe no matter which character she plays! Should she give up and reveal her true identity? What will Steven do when he realizes the woman he's falling in love with doesn't really exist?

Set in 1880s Arizona, Love in Disguise blends romance, humor, and mystery for a can't-put-down read.

Native Arizonan Carol Cox has an abiding love for history, mystery, and romance. The author of more than 25 books, she believes in the power of story to convey spiritual truths. Carol lives with her husband and daughter in northern Arizona, where deer and antelope really do play--within view of the family's front porch. Visit her website at

With 30 books in print, Carol Cox is certainly not a new author, but somehow this is the first time I've read one of her works; however, it won't be the last! This novel charmed me from the first pages and kept me holding my breath as Ellie works undercover in Arizona for the Pinkerton Agency. Managing one disguise would be difficult enough, but when she starts changing between two different people, things get really interesting! Of course, they can never be in the same place at the same time, and Ellie has to be on her toes to explain why her "niece" doesn't appear at church or why her "aunt" can't be disturbed when she is resting! The case she is trying to solve -- that of the stolen silver shipments -- adds plenty of suspense and drama to the story, and Ellie aka Lavinia aka Jessie finds herself in a bit of danger as she tries to observe any unusual behavior among the townsfolk. Plenty of romance weaves through this story as "Lavinia" tries to avoid a suitor and as Ellie enjoys attention as "Jessie" that she's never experienced in her undisguised self. You will not want to miss this delightful novel!

Carol is hosting a fun giveaway to celebrate the release of this novel. Click the button below for more information and to enter!

Enter the LOVE IN DISGUISE Giveaway!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Carol Cox and Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Monday, June 11, 2012

Author Guest Post and a Giveaway!

UPDATE Saturday 6/16/12 11:45 am WINNER!

Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2012-06-16 16:45:13 UTC

Congrats to Wanda! Email me your address, Wanda, and Christy Barritt will send you a copy of her book.

* * * * *

Today I welcome author Christy Barritt ass she share some words of encouragement. Although the context is aimed at authors experiencing the "writer's blues", her suggestions apply to many areas of life. At the end of the post, she will be offering a copy of her latest novel, keep reading!

How to Chase Away the Writer’s Blues
by Christy Barritt

Seasons of discouragement come and go for every author. But sometimes when it hits, it hits hard. Numerous authors have walked — or attempted to walk — away from writing as self doubt begins to plague them, burying itself in their self-confidence and assurances.

To overcome discouragement, we must first understand the reasons why it comes.
  • Comparison. All too often writers compare where they stand to where others are. A wise person once said that comparison is the enemy of contentment. Those words can’t ring more true. We must focus on our own writing journey and not that of others.
  • Feelings of inadequacy. It’s rare that I send something out and am totally satisfied with it. I often fret over each word and sentence, trying to make it perfect, only to realize it will never be perfect according to my standards. I feel inadequate, like I’m not good enough or talented enough to be a writer. It’s the nature of the beast.
  • Seasons of life. Sometimes discouragement just comes as a season in life. Perhaps several stressful situations have arisen and taken a toll on your writing. After my father passed away, writing was difficult for me. I had to step back and take time to mourn before jumping into my writing again.
  • Spiritual warfare. Often times when we follow God’s will, Satan intrudes and tries to persuade us away. We must keep our focus and remember who we write for.
  • Rejection. This is the toughest one for me. Though I know I should expect rejection, every time I receive one it still stings. I always think, "Why am I kidding myself into thinking I’m a writer? I’m a wannabe. I just need to move on and do something else." I never can though. Rejection hurts. But as a writer, rejection happens. See each rejection as a stepping stone instead of as a stumbling block.

When you begin to feel discouraged, here are a few important things to remember:

  • Rejections don’t mean you’re not good. Rejections happen to all of us. They're unavoidable and don't mean we're bad writers. They mean your story didn't fit a need or didn't meet an editor's preference.
  • Know that publishing isn’t instantaneous. Some writers spend ten plus years working on developing their craft before they're ever published. Be patient. Dreams rarely come true overnight and neither does being published.
  • Write and then write some more. The best way to learn how to write is by writing and reading. This helps us develop our skills. Someone once said writers have the longest apprenticeship of any profession. I don't know if that's true, but it does take time to become a good writer.
  • Become a sponge. Join writers groups, take workshops or college courses on improving your craft. Soak up everything you can and continue to learn.
  • Give yourself a break. Sometimes the best thing one can do is step back from writing and take a breather. This will give us a clear head and oftentimes a renewed inspiration.
  • Seek God’s approval. Pray that God will remove or strengthen your desire according to His will. If He has other, bigger and better plans for your life, then ask Him to show you those and give you the strength to pursue other mediums.
  • Don’t entertain negative thoughts. They will fester and grow. Deal with them and move on.
  • If you can walk away from writing, then you should. This is the most difficult piece of advice but it’s true. If writing is something you’d feel good about leaving and not returning to, then you should. Writers have a passion for their work — a call. If writing is truly your passion, you won't be able to walk away.
  • Get the opinion of someone valued and trusted. If you’re truly questioning if writing is what you should be doing and if you have any talent at it, then find someone who knows English and writing and get their opinion. Plead for honesty. Sometimes, we’re met to write for ourselves and other times, we’re met to write for others. Talking to someone trusted might help you find out which category you fall into.
  • Press on toward the prize. Remember it’s God who sustains you. Let Him hold you up and carry you through.

* * * * *

Christy Barritt is an author, freelance writer and speaker who lives in Virginia. She's married to her Prince Charming, a man who thinks she's hilarious--but only when she's not trying to be. Christy's a self-proclaimed klutz, an avid music lover who's known for spontaneously bursting into song, and a road trip aficionado. She's only won one contest in her life--and her prize was kissing a pig (okay, okay... actually she did win the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Suspense and Mystery for her book Suspicious Minds also). Her current claim to fame is showing off her mother, who looks just like former First Lady Barbara Bush.

When she's not working or spending time with her family, she enjoys singing, playing the guitar, and exploring small, unsuspecting towns where people have no idea how accident prone she is.

For more information, visit her website at:

Death of the Couch Potato's Wife
Christy Barritt
(Lighthouse Publishing)
May 2012/288 pages/$14.95

Welcome to Boring, Indiana, home to patio cookouts, homeowner dues, carpeted lawns, and neighbors so welcoming they’re dying to meet you — literally.

City slicker turned suburbanite housewife Laura Berry isn’t taking well to life in her new neighborhood. She moved to follow her husband’s dream, and now she can’t tell if she’s clinically depressed or just bored half to death. But Boring becomes anything but when Laura discovers her neighbor Candace Flynn face up on a sofa with her hand buried in a snack bag. With a healthy dose of neighborly suspicion and street smarts, Laura sets out to find Flynn’s killer, but her curiosity becomes desperation when the killer targets Laura.

Someone is determined to stop her from digging deeper into the murder, but Laura is just as determined to figure out who’s behind the death-by-poisoned-pork-rinds.

Christy Barritt is giving away a copy of this book to one of you. Winner's choice whether you prefer a hard copy or eBook. To enter, leave a comment on this post by 8:00 CDT Friday, 6/15/12, and I will randomly draw a winner. US residents only for hard copy. International residents may enter if choosing an eBook. Be sure to indicate in your comment which version you prefer, and include a valid email address if you don't have a blog.

Thanks so much to Christy Barritt for sharing today and for providing this giveaway!

Disclaimer: I have not read Christy Barritt's book and therefore do not have an opinion on it. The views expressed in this guest post are those of the author, Christy Barritt, and may or may not reflect the views of Mocha with Linda.


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