Monday, July 30, 2012

Leaving on a Jet Plane!

I am so excited. We have planned this for months, and today my girl and I will fly to Germany! It is our first time to cross the Atlantic Ocean and we are looking forward to a great visit with GG and her family. (GG is the exchange student who lived with our family during the 2010-2011 school year.)

There will still be occasional posts on my blog over the next couple of weeks while we're gone but the blog will be on semi-hiatus.

See you soon!


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Saturday, July 28, 2012

TSMSS - Friend of Sinners

In the midst of all the controversy tha's been swirling in the news this week, I've been thinking about the New Testament church, Paul's many letters in the New Testament, and of course, the days that Jesus walked on earth.

I think the Bible is clear about marriage and relationships between genders.

I think the Bible is also clear about a few other things as well.

Paul was more concerned about the believers in Corinth who were living immoral lives than with non-believers who were--well, acting like non-believers!
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. . . .12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. . . (I Corinthians 5:9-10, 12,)

Then there are some very familiar words of Jesus.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. (John 3:16-18)
And why do we as believers get so perturbed and even outraged when we are attacked for our beliefs?
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. (I Peter 4:12-15)

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12)

Although I understand and have certainly felt some of the same emotions, I'm weary of believers responding to criticism and ridicule with anger and debates. How many times did folks endeavor to engage Jesus in debates of hot topics and he didn't take the bait? Or He surprised them by offering grace and compassion to the "sinner" they were ready to stone or dispel? Or He simply slipped away and avoided the confrontation?

I thought this post hit the nail on the head. Lots to ponder.

I absolutely love this song. I've shared it before but it seems particularly timely this week.

Jesus, friend of sinners,
The one whose writing in the sand
Made the righteous turn away
And the stones fall from their hands
Help us to remember
We are all the least of these
Let the memory of Your mercy
Bring Your people to their knees
No one knows what we're for
Only what we're against
When we judge the wounded
What if we put down our signs,
Crossed over the lines
And loved like You did

Be sure to visit Amy's for more songs!


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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Interview with Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble is a prolific author and an absolute joy to be around! When I picture her, I always see her sunny smile. I had met her before but last week was the first time I've ever sat down with her and interviewed her. She was such fun! She is full of joy and laughter, and as we began the interview and discussed her latest book, I loved seeing her obvious delight at my response as a reader. Unfortunately, I can't share much of that in the interview without giving spoilers for the story, but I have plenty of other fun moments to share! (And I can't believe I forgot to take a picture!) First, a peek at her brand-new release!

Tidewater Inn
Colleen Coble
(Thomas Nelson)
ISBN: 978-1595547811$
July 2012/320 pages/$15.99

Welcome to Hope Beach

Where the sea breeze is fresh, sun sparkles on sand . . . and trouble appears with the force of a hurricane.

Inheriting a beautiful old hotel on the seaward shore of Hope Island could be a dream come true for Libby. The inn cries out for her restorer’s talent and love of history. She’s delighted to learn of family she never knew she had. And the handsome Coast Guard lieutenant she’s met there on the island could definitely be the man of her dreams.

But Libby soon realizes that only way she can afford the upkeep on the inn is to sell it to developers who are stalking the island. The father who willed her the inn has died before she could meet him, and her newfound brothers and sisters are convinced she’s there to steal their birthright. Worst of all, her best friend and business partner has been kidnapped before her eyes, Libby’s under suspicion for the crime, and her handsome lieutenant clearly doubts her innocence.

Libby’s dream-come-true is becoming a nightmare. Can she find her friend and establish her innocence? Must she sell Tidewater Inn and lose her family again? Or can she find a home for her heart on the beautiful shores of Hope Island?


I am loving your new book, Tidewater Inn.  I was reading it on the flights and would have finished it if they hadn't mad us turn off our devices for the take-offs and landings!  I'm about 75% done and I haven't figured out who the villain is yet.   

(Colleen laughs deviously.)  You'll find out!   When you figure it out, you'll know where I've dropped the clues.  One of my real skills is red herrings.

I'm usually pretty good at picking those up.  But now you've got me really curious.  Now I don't know what to ask you anymore because I'm going to sit here and think about the book!  Talk amongst yourselves and I'll go read!

(Lots of laughter)   It was fun to have multiple points of view. Usually I have the hero and the heroine and once in a while I have the villain, in some of the older books.  I really went back to the style of the Rock Harbor books; I think there are four or five points of view in Tidewater Inn.  It was really fun to do that.

Well, it's a really good book.  It's one of those I want to inhale and slow down and savor at the same time.    This is another book located in Rock Harbor, which you've written about before, and you have another one coming out with Robin Caroll, right?

My readers are always wanting to know more about Rock Harbor, especially Bree.  She is the favorite character that I've ever written.  I was writing the new Hope Beach series and I thought, "Hmm, Bree just might be going on vacation."  It just really worked out well.

It's all coming back to me now!  Bree was the main character with the search and rescue dog in the other books.  So how does this play into the book you are writing with Robin Caroll?

Yes, there are five other books with Bree in them; in four of them, she is a main character.  Rock Harbor Search and Rescue is actually a middle grade series.  We didn't dumb it down; we wrote it the same way as we would have for adults but we didn't use any adult situations.  The point of view character is Emily, the little girl who  got lost in the woods in the first Rock Hrabor novel, Without a Trace with her brother Timmy.   She's 14 now so we've launched off into a new series with that.  It was really fun to go back with those kids and see what's happened.  The same characters  that were in Rock Harbor are in those books.

How hard is that to go back and pick up and maintain continuity and remember things?

It's not as hard for the Rock Harbor books simply because I first wrote three of those and then I wrote Abomination, which has Bree as a main character and she has a point of view but there's another romance in that one, and then Cry in the Night, so they've kinda been spread out.  And I get reader letters  every day about that series; even now they're asking, "When are you going to write another Rock Harbor book?"  It's good to be able to tell them, "There's one coming up!  And make sure you pick up Tidewater Inn because Bree's in there, too!"

At the beginning of Tidewater Inn, they have the regular page of author endorsements, but then they have a page of reader comments.  I really like that!

That was Ami's [Thomas Nelson editor Ami McConnell] idea;   I gathered some reader comments from previous books of mine and they decided which ones to use.  That was a good idea.

What else do you have coming down the pipe?

I just finished Rosemary Cottage, which is the sequel to Tidewater Inn, and I just turned it in, so I'm waiting for feedback on that.  The main character in that is a midwife.  I'm very interested in natural medicine so it was fun learning about that.  I talked to Ami a couple of days ago and she said she was in the middle of reading it and was really liking it.  It's nice when I'm able to pull in all of the same characters in the town but the story is very different.

The way I got the idea for Tidewater Inn, I was standing in the harbor at St. Croix and there was a harbor cam right there.  I called my parents and said, "Here's the url; get on the computer and we'll wave at you from the harbor cam."  Of course, with my twisted brain, such as it is, as I was waving "Hi Mother and Dad," I thought, "What if something happened to me right in front of them where they couldn't do anything about it thousands of miles away?"  That was the jumping-off place where that story came from.

Also, I'm very interested in historic preservation so it was fun to have Libby interested in that.  We have an old Victorian house that we've restored, and I know so much about that kind of stuff.

Tell me about the whole technology aspect when she hacked into the computer and accidentally erased the video. I would have had no idea that was possible!

I am a little bit of a computer geek myself but I did talk to a computer IT person that I know and he said it was pretty easy  and told me what I would do..  Now I didn't write it all down and put it in the book because I didn't want anybody to do it to me!

How many books will be in this series?

Three for sure, and then we'll see.  You never know.  The Lone Star series was supposed to be one book, and now there are four.  It just depends if readers say, "I love that series;  I want more!"  We try to do what readers like.

Is Lone Star series done?

I don't know!  I've done four. Lone Star Angel  was the last one; it came out in October. [Insertion:  Lone Star Angel is a finalist for ACFW's Carol Award. My review is here.]

You know I love books set in Texas!  Did you come down to Texas when you were writing those?

Oh yes!  And here's a little fun--well, it wasn't fun for me!--tidbit.  When we were down there researching those Lone Star books, unfortunately, we were there in September when the TARANTULAS  were migrating!  We were in the Big Bend area in West Texas and as we drove we kept seeing these black things on the side of the road and on the road.  I kept thinking, "Those can't be tarantulas!" and I kept diverting my eyes.  I was hoping they were rocks.  Then they were moving.  Dave stopped the car and said, "I think those are tarantulas; I'm going to check."  I was freaking out and telling him "Don't go out there!"  I was afraid they were going to get on the hood and then what if they got in the car?!  They were tarantulas and he took a picture.  I don't even like spiders enough to look at pictures.  It was terrifying.  There were hundreds of them, hundreds!  I'm not kidding!

I have never heard of that! [Note: I reviewed the first book in that series, Lonestar Secrets, here.]

Then I looked it up and found that there's some kind of migration thing that they do in September.  Why did I have to go there that week?!

What else is going on in your life?  I know you have a granddaughter you adore.

(Her face lights up at the mention of her granddaughter) Yes, we are crazy about our little granddaughter and spend a lot of time with her.

We want to go on a mission trip to Cambodia.  I've always wanted to do that and we've talked about taking our pastor and his wife with us.  I was researching that on the way here; I got a book about Cambodia.  Then I found out that they eat fried tarantulas!  NO!  I am not eating fried tarantulas! And the tarantulas are as big as dinner plates!  I couldn't look at pictures of them.  It's just horrible.  Fortunately, we'll be in the biggest city so we should be able to avoid it.

How did you pick Cambodia?

When Dave was in the Vietnam War he was in Thailand and we've always wanted to go back to that area.  We have a missionary in Cambodia from our church, so we thought it would be cool to go visit and see what we could do to help them out.

Anything else you want to share?

Secretly Smitten  comes out in  December.  We're getting ready to have what we call our "Smitten Summit."  All four of us, except for Diann*, who will be in the hospital, are going to Nashville to brainstorm and Katie's [Thomas Nelson publicist Katie Bond] going to come help me fix dinner one night!  She is a fabulous cook!

I think you need me to come live blog this experience!

It's going to be wonderful!  I'm hoping we can get Daisy to come over one night.  Daisy Hutton is our new publisher who took Allen Arnold's place.  I just adore her!  Allen had some big shoes to fill!  We loved him, and we still do!  I think Daisy is just who we need.  She's terrific.

Well, this has been really great.  Thank you so much!

*The Smitten Series is a written by Collen, Kristin Billerbeck, Denise Hunter, and Diann Hunt.   Diann was recently diagnosed with a recurrence of ovarian cancer.  The four authors, along with Cheryl Hodde (author Hannah Alexander) blog at Girls Write Out.

Folks, don't miss this new book by Colleen! It's a great start to what promises to be a wonderful series!

Colleen Coble has penned another captivating tale in Tidewater Inn. The charm of the Outer Banks and an old seaside inn needing restoration would lend an idyllic touch to Hope Island -- until Libby witnesses her friend and business partner's kidnapping and uncovers a host of secrets in her newly discovered but hostile family. Plenty of twists and turns kept me guessing what the resolution would be as I rapidly consumed this book. An appearance by a much-loved character from Coble's Rock Harbor series will delight fans of those novels. Faith is an integral, yet not overbearing, thread of the novel, and it turns out that Hope is indeed an apt name for the island and this series. I'm already eagerly anticipating book two, Rosemary Cottage!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson 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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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Hodgepodge of Olympic Proportions

It's Wednesday and time to check in with Joyce for a Hodgepodge of questions! Read my answers below and then scurry on over to Joyce's blog to participate and link up!

1. The Summer Olympics officially begin this Friday night...will you be watching? If you could see just one event in person which one would you pick?

I'll watch a bit this weekend, but I won't get to see very much of them because my girl and I leave for Germany on Monday! We are going to see GG, our exchange student that lived with us last year. While I know they show the Olympics in Germany, it obviously won't have the same focus! LOL

As for the event I would choose, it would probably be Gymnastics. Although I really like Diving, too. But I really prefer to watch it on TV - you don't have nearly the view in person that you do on TV. And you don't have to deal with the crowds and security!

2.Do lazy days make you feel rested or unproductive?

Somewhat rested but mostly they make me feel that much tireder! But they are wonderful once in a while!

3. July 25th is 'officially' Threading the Needle Day...can you sew? On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being not at all and 10 being Betsy Ross-like, how would you rate your skill with a needle and thread?

I've never heard of Threading the Needle Day! That's pretty funny. I'd probably say about a 5. I can make basic things on my machine and do some sewing my hand. Just don't ask me to do buttonholes. I hate the way my machine does them. My mom's old 1940's machine did them so much more efficiently.

4. 'Threading the Needle' can also mean to walk a fine line between two things or issues (think awkward social situation). When was the last time you had to 'thread the needle', figuratively speaking?

I can't even come up with an answer for this one. I didn't get enough sleep last night and my brain is kaput!

5. Kidney, pinto, black, or navy...your favorite bean?

Toss up between green and pork n' beans. Don't care for any of the ones listed above.

6. Have you ever hosted a garage sale? Was it more success or bust?

Nope. Never had even an inkling of a desire to do so.

7. What makes you roll your eyes?

Blatantly stupid things. Like the kabillion legal disclaimers and warning on products, such as "Don't use hairdryer while sleeping" and on Midol (for menstrual pain): "Consult your doctor before use if you have an enlarged prostate." Another favorite: "Danger: Do not hold the wrong end of a chainsaw."

Seriously? What's worse is that the reason these warnings are necessary are because of the lawsuit-happy people in our culture today!

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Hopefully this won't make you roll your eyes! I shared a fun interview with a wonderful author of historical fiction that I met last week in Orlando, and I'm giving away a copy of her latest book! She has won awards for non-fiction books, but this is her debut novel, and it is stellar. Scroll down to the post below this one to read about Jocelyn Green or click on the picture of her book Wedded to War at the top of my sidebar and it will take you right to the interview!


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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Author Interview and Giveaway!

UPDATE Sunday 7/29/12 10:50 pm WINNER!

Many apologies! I have been swamped getting ready for a major trip and completely forgot to draw the winner until now!
Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2012-07-30 03:46:24 UTC

Congrats to Elyssa! Email me your address, Elyssa, and I'll mail the book to you!

* * * * *

What a treat I have for you today! Jocelyn Green is a new voice in Christian fiction. Although she has written several non-fiction books, Wedded to War is her debut novel. And a stellar novel it is! History comes alive in this tale of the Civil War which focuses on a young woman who turns her back on her wealthy lifestyle to train as a nurse and care for the wounded soldiers of the North. Many historical novels get bogged down in the details but Jocelyn Green has focused on the experiential aspects of the war and smoothly woven the details together without losing the heart of the story. The horrors of war and the struggles that Charlotte experienced are realistically portrayed without being graphic. I could not put this book down, and I would not be at all surprised to see it garner awards in the months to come.

Here's the book summary:

When war erupted, she gave up a life of privilege for a life of significance.

Tending to the army's sick and wounded meant leading a life her mother does not understand and giving up a handsome and approved suitor. Yet Charlotte chooses a life of service over privilege, just as her childhood friend had done when he became a military doctor. She soon discovers that she's combatting more than just the rebellion by becoming a nurse. Will the two men who love her simply stand by and watch as she fights her own battles? Or will their desire for her wage war on her desire to serve God?

Wedded to War is a work of fiction, but the story is inspired by the true life of Civil War nurse Georgeanna Woolsey. Woolsey's letters and journals, written over 150 years ago, offer a thorough look of what pioneering nurses endured. This is the first in the series "Heroines Behind the Lines: Civil War," a collection of novels that highlights the crucial contributions made by women during times of war.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Wedded to War, go HERE.

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet and interview Jocelyn Green last week at ICRS. She was such a delight. My friend and fellow reviewer Kim Ford of Window to my World joined me for the interview, and she asked a few questions as well.

Wedded to War is the first in a series about a variety of women, right?

Yes, they are snapshots of strong women during the Civil War, so characters don't cross over. The books could be standalones. The next one, which I'm working on right now, is called Widow of Gettysburg; the third book is [set in] Atlanta and the fourth is in Richmond.

Because I have always loved the genre surrounding the Civil War and because I'm an R.N., I loved this book. I've always known that medical conditions were pretty brutal in the Civil War because they didn't have much to work with. I didn't realize how awful the doctors were to the nurses in an effort to make them quit! You've written non-fiction before, aimed at military wives. What made you decide to start writing fiction and, particularly, this story?

I was doing research for a non-fiction book, which also just released, Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front. I was in Gettysburg doing research in their archives, and I was reading diaries, journals, letters from women who were there after the battle. There were lots of civilians but there were also nurses who came now to help out. One of those nurses was Georginna Woolsey, and that's the historical figure that Charlotte Waverly is based on. Reading these primary sources is not like reading a history textbook. It just comes to life because these are real women-- especially when they're handwritten. It doesn't feel like it was 150 years ago! It was very dramatic. It was very emotionally moving. I cried when I was reading it because it was just so real. When I got home I did all the research I could on this one particular nurse, Georgeiana Woolsey, because she gave up so much wealth in New York City to become a nurse and endure conditions that were horrible, even though it seemed like the North was losing in the early years of the Civil War. She gave up a lot for a cause that might not have won. I also liked her because I knew she had a close family friend who was a surgeon in the Union Army who she married right after the war. So that's where the love story of Caleb Lansing came in. And where I put Caleb Lansing is where Georgeiana's later-husband was. So I kinda followed both of them. I made up Phineas and Ruby, though!

So Caleb (and Georgiana's husband-to-be in real life) didn't have the disdain for the nurses that the other physicians did.

No, he did not. Frank Bacon was his name. He was very supportive. In fact, after the Civil War, Georgeianna & Frank got married and together they established one of the very first training schools for female nurses in Connecticut. They never did have children. I don't know if Georgiana was infertile, if that was the reason they didn't have children.

That's interesting that you never hear about her. You always hear about Clara Barton.

Clara Barton was a clerk at the patent office at the beginning of the Civil War. Then she decided to do nursing on her own; she would not work with the Sanitary Commission. She would not work with Dorothea Dix and become a government nurse. She just did it all on her own.

So tell me how it was (because you're not a nurse) writing the novel; you were able to handle it without being really graphic, and yet at the same time, you were able to portray a lot of--well, some pretty gross stuff!

It's a balance when you try to portray the casualties of war, especially the things that happened in the Civil War; it's gross, right?! You want to portray that, but not to the point that you/re being sensational about it. I read another book where they went through how an amputation was performed, and it was pretty graphic. You want to give enough where the reader can imagine the realities of it but you don't want to purposely gross people out.

I'm not a nurse, but I did do research at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, Maryland. That was a huge thing that I could do. I was able to make photocopies of the outlines of chief camp diseases and read the handbooks and manuals of the doctors to see what they saw as the symptoms and how they wanted to treat them. So a lot of primary source material told me how to describe stuff. And we did tone it down from my first draft! (She laughs.)

You said the next one is Widow of Gettysburg. Can you give us a little snippet of that?

It's actually on the website, There's a little blurb about it. The heroine is Liberty Holloway. She's a 19-year-old teenager with two brothers in the war; one's fighting for the North and one's fighting for the South. After the battle of Gettysburg, she's really forced to grow up in a hurry. Impulsively, she fulfills a soldier's dying wish to get married. She marries him, thinking he's about to die. Well, not only does he not die, but he's not who everyone thought he was at all. A Philadelphia reporter is there and he digs up the soldier's history and he digs up Libby's history, and what he finds out could change her life forever.

What I don't have on the website but might be interesting is that Bella is another character; she's a former slave who works for Liberty's farm household but she is related to Liberty, and Liberty doesn't know it. A little bit of backstory touches on the slavery, and Bella represents the free Black community of Gettysburg. I don't think that most people know that there were a few hundred free Blacks who were terrified when the South invaded Pennsylvania because they could be captured. It didn't matter if they were former slaves or if they had been born free. It did not matter; they would be taken back home because at that time the South was really upset about the Emancipation Proclamation and this was only seven months later, so they would just take them.

So is this based on a real person?

Obviously, it's based on a lot of research, but instead of basing it on one person's life like I did [in Wedded to War], Liberty is a composite of a few different real women in Gettysburg, and I'll explain it in the back of the book! So it is a little bit different in that sense, but it is very historically based.

Kim: You were in the midst of writing non-fiction books for military wives. What made you make the switch to writing fiction and this series?

When I was going through the archives in Gettysburg, I thought, "Someone should write this as a novel." I didn't think it would be me. I thought I would have to wait until both my children were in school before I could ever write fiction. But a week after I got home, my publisher called me to talk about a different non-fiction book proposal that I had, and at that point she said, "Have you ever thought about writing fiction?" I recalled all the stories that I had unearthed at Gettysburg and I pitched an idea to her on the phone and she told me to make it into a formal book proposal and we went from there. It's kinda unusual for it to happen that way.

Kim: It's God's timing.

Yeah, it must be. Because the time my second child is in school all day, the series will be done. Isn't that ironic?! It's really hard to write right now with two small children. But we're doing it!

It's really hard to do anything with two small children!

It's hard to keep up with the laundry!

Well, I'm already looking forward to the second one! That's the thing about reviewing books so early; I'm immediately ready for the next one to come out! Wedded to War was so good I would have inhaled it even if I didn't have to read it quickly for this interview. It really was fascinating.

Kim: What's the most interesting thing you learned medically while writing this book?

It surprised me that they did have chloroform and ether back then. It also surprised me that after the first 24 hours, if they hadn't done the amputation, they didn't want to use those on the patient because there was a much higher likelihood of the patient not surviving. It was horrible. And the minie balls would become deformed inside and not just break through the bone but shatter it. We kind of think of the surgeons back then as being butchers and think, "Oh, they really didn't have to do all those amputations." But actually, they did have to do a lot of them because the limbs were just unusable. There were some doctors who didn't want to do as many amputations because the public was saying, "You're cutting off too many arms and legs!" The doctor didn't want to be seen as a butcher so he wouldn't [amputate], but then the patient would die of infection.

Have you always wanted to be a writer? Were you one of those children who always wrote stories?

Oh yes. I said I wanted to be an "arthur" when I grew up! The first book I ever wrote was narration for a Bugs Bunny coloring book. I've gotten a little better since then.

Kim: Are you still co-writing the Faith Deployed series?

Well, we've done Faith Deployed and Faith Deployed Again. I don't have any plans for another one. We had put together a proposal for Faith Deployed for Military Moms and that hasn't gone anywhere, so there's a bonus section in Faith Deployed Again for military moms, about ten devotionals. A lot of military wives eventually have their children grow up and join the military so they're in a new role, and it's very different to have a child go to war or be in the military, because the books are good for both war and peacetime.

Do you see yourself doing more fiction down the line?

Yes, I do. I really like that this chapter has opened up. There are so many military wives out there who are writing really good things for military wives. My experience as a military wife is getting further and further behind me so I am more than willing to have other military wives be in the spotlight and share their wisdom and have that be their ministry! I'm very happy with the books that I have done, and I think that military families are always going to be on my heart, but I think fiction is coming at a really good time for me.

Do you think you'll always have an interest in some kind of military fiction or is there some other genre you are interested in writing?

I would like to try a contemporary fiction that doesn't have to do with war! It's really draining to do the research or, for my non-fiction books, to do the interviews. It's really rewarding but when you are thinking about war and death and wounds and PTSD, it's hard! Someday I'd like to write something sweet!

I don't know that I'll ever be the traditional romance writer but it will be something that has to interest me a lot. If it's not historical it will have to be something very scientifically interesting or the NCIS type of thing where you learn about forensics at the same time. It has to hold my interest. It can't just be a love story. I'm sure there will be a love interest in there but that won't be the whole point of the story, kinda like Wedded to War was.

Tell me about your family and your life outside of writing.

I live in Iowa. My son is three and my daughter is six; she'll be in first grade in the fall. Writing and being a mom -- there's not much left after that! I used to scrapbook! It's been years; now it's all I can do just to remember to take the pictures. I do enjoy gardening or just being outside reading or researching. We like to do bike rides as a family and I think we would like to camp, although we don't do it very much. My husband used to be in the Coast Guard and now he's a Web Developer.

Kim: What would you say to your readers as they approach your fiction?

I hope they like it! (She laughs.) I would say that they can feel very confident as they're reading the story that, because it was woven from the fabric of our national history, they are going to learn a great deal about women that they can be proud of. They're going to see that strong women are not just something that happened with the feminist movement. We've always had strong women in this country. They can be proud about that. I hope they will be so interested in the story that they will be at least tempted to look at some of the books in the bibliography and learn a little bit more. They can also be assured that even though it's very historically accurate, it doesn't read like a history textbook. There's a lot of human drama and emotion and I think the human elements and the emotional elements will keep them turning the pages.

What about faith? How do you weave that into your fiction? That's such a debate now with Christian fiction.

For me, it's very easy because I show the spiritual development of my different characters, who are starting out at different places. For instance, Charlotte was already a Christian. We show her trying to live out the legacy that her father had, of being merciful. But we also see her struggle with a few things, such as "Did I pursue this because it was my will or God's will?" With Ruby, she does not know the Lord at the beginning of the novel and she makes hard decisions that lead to a great deal of shame and guilt; she's in bondage. With Edward Goodrich, the chaplain, he thought he knew it all because he'd been to seminary, but it was booklearning. When you are in the trenches, so to speak, you find out that life is hard and war is ugly and you ask "How does my faith hold up in this?" I've heard from some people that what they appreciate about the faith element in the book is that I didn't go through the Four Spiritual Laws; I didn't take a chapter and explain the plan of salvation. It's more organic to the story and not forced.

Kim: What is God doing in your life?

God is so good to me. He's given me permission to be who He has made me to be without trying to achieve the standards of all the big name authors who are here. I am who I am. I have two young children, and I don't want to scar them by locking myself in my office to churn out books that might be good books--but I am the only mommy to my children. There are a lot of books out there that you can read if you're bored. I hope you like my book and it's really fulfilling to like it, but if the Lord ever tells me "Your writing is hurting your family," I will stop. Immediately.

The other thing God has really been teaching me since my novel released is, "Which voices are you going to listen to?" Because when you write a novel, everyone will tell you what they think! Even if they hate it, they will tell you! I've told myself to just stop reading reviews! And honestly, the vast majority are very positive. Why is it that the few negative ones are the ones that play over and over in your mind? It's really a spiritual growth opportunity for me. I want to listen to God's voice in my life. And I want to listen to my immediate family. Writing my books will not please everyone and that's okay. I'm not trying to please everyone. I'm trying to be true to who God has called me to be.

Thank you so much, Jocelyn! What a treat to visit with you. I'm excited to see where God will lead you next in your writing journey!

* * * *

Visit Jocelyn Green's website to learn more about her, her books, and her ministry.


I have an additional copy of this book to give to one of you! Leave a copy on this blog by 8:00 pm CDT Saturday, 7/28/12, and I will randomly draw a winner. US residents only please, and be sure to include an email address if you don't have a blog.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from River North/Moody Publishers 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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Monday, July 23, 2012

Perfectly Ridiculous is Perfectly Delightful!

Perfectly Ridiculous:
A Universally Misunderstood Novel

Kristin Billerbeck
ISBN: 978-0800719746
July 2012/247 pages/$12.99

Daisy's ready for summer fun--but it seems summer has something else in store.

High school is over, and Daisy Crispin is happy to leave it in her past and look forward to a bright new future at college. In the meantime, she is planning an all-expenses-paid trip with her best friend Claire to Argentina--home of exotic food, the tango, and her handsome sort-of boyfriend Max.

When Daisy discovers she needs to do missions work to fulfill the requirements of her scholarship, she chalks it up to her monumental bad luck in life and kisses her vacation goodbye. What was supposed to be a relaxing time in the lap of luxury turns into hard work, sleeping on a cot, avoiding scorpions, and stressing about where she stands with Max. Daisy wonders if anything in her life will ever go according to plan . . .

Kristin Billerbeck is the bestselling, award-winning author of several novels, including What a Girl Wants, Perfectly Dateless, and Perfectly Invisible. A Christy Award finalist and two-time winner of the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year, Billerbeck has appeared on The Today Show and has been featured in the New York Times. She lives with her family in Northern California.

Kristin Billerbeck has written such a fun YA series. I enjoyed Perfectly Dateless (my review is here and my girl wrote an enthusiastic guest review of Perfectly Invisible here. This third book is the best one yet! I love Daisy's journal entries and her musings as she strives to follow God and do the right thing but finds that annoying people seem to keep getting in her way. Her friendship with Claire is heartwarming; they come from vastly different home environments but that doesn't impact their relationship--at least, most of the time it doesn't! Both Daisy and Claire have some growing and changing to do on their trip and are surprised by what they discover. Kudos to Billerbeck for a great series!

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, July 21, 2012

ICRS & the Christy Awards!

I'm back. And all I can say is WOW!

I didn't intend to go quite this long without posting but I didn't take into account how absolutely exhausted I would be. A friend asked if my surgery made me more tired. I'm not sure I can really blame it on that. It was just a non-stop pace with lots of excitement and not nearly enough sleep.

Toss in a really nice hotel but which had far too inadequate insulation between my room and the bathroom next door (and he didn't always flush! LOL) and the exhaust-o-meter was just about maxed out by the time I arrived home Thursday night.

Now I have just over a week to recalibrate, get most--or at least some--of the interviews transcribed, write my article for Christian Fiction Online Magazine, and get myself and my girl ready for our amazing trip to Germany! I can't imagine being a jet-setter who does this on a regular basis!

Here is one of my favorite pictures from my trip. What an incredible treat it was to room with Ronie Kendig and get to know her better in person. She is such fun! The icing on the cake was being there to see her win the Christy Award for her novel Wolfsbane.

Another highlight of my trip was seeing Tamera Alexander, who has become a dear friend over the past year or two. We had far too short of a time together but we made the most of it! I met her daughter last year and it was fun seeing Kelsey again, and it was a treat to meet Tammy's husband, Joe, and her son, Kurt. Here's a pic of Tammy and me Monday morning and another one at the Christy Awards.

For more pictures, check out my Facebook page

Interviews, reviews, and giveaways will be on my blog in the days to come!


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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

2012 Carol Award Finalists

During ICRS, American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) held a press conference announcing the 2012 Finalists for the annual Carol Award. It was an exciting event to attend, especially because I have been involved in the process a wee bit this year.

The awards will be presented at ACFW's annual conference in Dallas in September. And yes, I will be there!

Here is a list of the finalists. The beautiful posters were presented at the press conference and then displayed in ACFW's booth at ICRS. I thought I had taken pictures of all of them but I apparently missed three categories. Sigh.


Fairer Than Morning by Rosslyn Elliott (Thomas Nelson – Ami McConnell, Editor)
The Loom by Shella Gillus (Guideposts – Beth Adams, Editor)
Give the Lady a Ride by Linda W. Yezak (Sky Sail [Port Yonder Press] – Chila Woychik, Editor)


Lost Melody by Lori Copeland/Virginia Smith (Zondervan – Sue Brower, Editor)
The Search by Suzanne Woods Fisher (Revell – Andrea Doering, Editor)
Larkspur Cove by Lisa Wingate (Bethany House Publishers – Sarah Long/Dave Long, Editors)


Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones (Thomas Nelson – Jamie Chavez/Natalie Hanemann, Editors)
Lilly’s Wedding Quilt by Kelly M. Long (Thomas Nelson – Natalie Hanemann, Editor)
My Foolish Heart by Susan May Warren (Tyndale – Karen Watson, Editor)


Captive Trail by Susan Page Davis (Moody Publishers/River North – Deborah Keiser, Editor)
Fairer Than Morning by Rosslyn Elliott (Thomas Nelson – Ami McConnell, Editor)
Mine Is the Night by Liz Curtis Higgs (WaterBrook Press – Laura Barker, Editor)


The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen (Bethany House Publishers – Karen Schurrer, Editor)
Lilies in Moonlight by Allison Pittman (Multnomah Publishers – Alice Crider, Editor)
To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer (Bethany House Publishers – Karen Schurrer, Editor)


Falling to Pieces: A Shipshewana Amish Mystery by Vannetta Chapman (Zondervan – Sue Brower, Editor)
Died in the Wool by Elizabeth Ludwig/Janelle Mowery (Barbour Publishing – Rebecca Germany, Editor)
Yesterday’s Secrets by Kelly Ann Riley (Guideposts – Beth Adams, Editor)


An Accidental Christmas from A Biltmore Christmas by Diane T. Ashley/Aaron McCarver (Barbour Publishing – Rebecca Germany, Editor)
Reese: All Along from Smitten by Denise Hunter (Thomas Nelson – Ami McConnell/LB Norton, Editors)
A Star in the Night from A Log Cabin Christmas by Liz Johnson (Barbour Publishing – Rebecca Germany, Editor)


Lonestar Angel by Colleen Coble (Thomas Nelson – Ami McConnell, Editor)
Deadly Pursuit by Irene Hannon (Revell – Jennifer Leep, Editor)
Wolfsbane by Ronie Kendig (Barbour Publishing – Rebecca Germany/Julee Schwarzburg, Editor)


The Protector by Shelley Shepard Gray (Avon Inspire/Harper Collins – Cindy DiTiberio)
Lakeside Reunion by Lisa Jordan (Love Inspired – Melissa Endlich, Editor)
Oklahoma Reunion by Tina Radcliffe (Love Inspired – Rachel Burkot/Melissa Endlich, Editor)


Double Identity by Diane Burke (Love Inspired Suspense – Sarah McDaniel-Dyer, Editor)
Nightwatch by Valerie Hansen (Love Inspired Suspense – Melissa Endlich, Editor)
A Deadly Game by Virginia Smith (Love Inspired Suspense – Tina James, Editor)

SHORT HISTORICAL (four finalists due to a tie):

Promise of Time by S. Dionne Moore (Heartsong Presents – JoAnne Simmons, Editor)
Revealing Fire by Connie Stevens (Heartsong Presents – Rebecca Germany, Editor)
Light to My Path by Erica Vetsch (Heartsong Presents – JoAnne Simmons, Editor)
The Deepest Waters by Dan Walsh (Revell – Andrea Doering, Editor)


The Story in the Stars by Yvonne Anderson (Risen Books – Reagan Reed, Editor)
The Chair by James L. Rubart (B & H Fiction – Julee Schwarzburg, Editor)
Broken Sight by Steve Rzasa (Marcher Lord Press – Jeff Gerke, Editor)


Over the Edge by Brandilyn Collins (B & H Fiction – Karen Ball, Editor)
Fallen Angel by Major Jeff Struecker/Alton Gansky (B & H Fiction – Julie Gwinn, Editor)
Freedom’s Stand by Jeanette (J.M.) Windle (Tyndale – Jan Stob, Editor)


A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner (WaterBrook Press – Shannon Marchese, Editor)
When Sparrows Fall by Meg Moseley (Multnomah Publishers – Jessica Barnes/Shannon Marchese, Editors)
Dandelion Summer by Lisa Wingate (Penguin Praise/Berkley – Ellen Edwards, Editor)


Wreath by Judy Christie (Barbour Publishing – Rebecca Germany/Jamie Chavez, Editors)
The Merchant’s Daughter by Melanie Dickerson (Zondervan – Jacque Alberta, Editor)
There You’ll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones (Thomas Nelson – Natalie Hanemann/Becky Monds/Jamie Chavez, Editors)


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Monday, July 16, 2012

2012 Christy Award Winners!


Wolfsbane by Ronie Kendig (Barbour Publishing)


The Amish Midwife by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould (Harvest House Publishers)


Promises to Keep by Ann Tatlock (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)


Words by Ginny Yttrup (B&H Publishing Group)


Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)


The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)


The Queen by Steven James (Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group)


Veiled Rose by Anne Elisabeth Stengl (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)


Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren (David C Cook)

Left to right: Ronie Kendig, Anne Elisabeth Stengl, Leslie Gould, Mindy Starns Clark, Steven James, Julie Klassen, Lynn Austin, Ginny Yttrup, Ann Tatlock

Congratulations to the winners!


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