Thursday, August 22, 2013

Winter in Full Bloom

Winter in Full Bloom
Anita Higman
(River North)
ISBN: 978-0802405807
July 2013/304 pages/$14.99

Lily Winter’s wings are folded so tightly around her daughter that when empty nest arrives, she feels she can no longer fly. But Lily’s lonely, widowed life changes in a heartbeat when she goes to visit a woman who is almost a stranger to her-a woman who also happens to be her mother. During their fiery reunion, her mother reveals a dark family secret that she’d been hiding for decades-Lily has an identical twin sister who was put up for adoption when they were just babies.

Without looking back, Lily-with her fear of flying-boards a jumbo jet and embarks on a quest to find her sister which leads half way around the world to Melbourne, Australia. Befriended by imprudent Ausie, he might prove to be the key to finding her sister. But her journey becomes a circle that leads her back home to attempt a family reunion and to find the one dream she no longer imagined possible-the chance to fall in love again.


Best-selling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has over thirty books published (several coauthored) for adults and children. She’s been a Barnes & Noble “Author of the Month” for Houston and has a BA degree, combining speech communication, psychology, and art. Anita loves good movies, exotic teas, and brunch with her friends. Find out more about Anita at


Winter in Full Bloom gives new meaning to the term "broken family" as the dysfunction of Lily's family has resulted in physical and emotional separation. The resulting issues that plague Lily, the sister she never knew she had, and the mother who seems unable to love either of them are far-reaching and heart-wrenching. Higman is adept at portraying relationships and their many nuances, including subtle and unspoken communication. Loss and resentment can only be overcome by grace and redemption. This is a tale that touches the heart. Don't miss it!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from River North and Litfuse Publicity as part of a blog tour. 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, August 21, 2013

Pieces of the Heart

Pieces of the Heart
(Quilts of Love Series)
Bonnie S. Calhoun
(Abingdon Press)
ISBN: 978-1426752728
June 2013/240 pages/$12.99

Cordelia Grace watched Bernard Howard, the love of her young life, go off to fight for our country in WWII. And she has spent the last three years creating the Pine Cone quilt that will grace their marriage bed when he comes home. Each row of triangles signifies a layer in her life, sets of memories, hopes, dreams, and prayers for her future, enough spoken words to cover them forever. Her image of their “happy-ever-after” grows proportionally as the quilt expands.

But is the man that returns from the war, the same man that she remembered? Are the dark shades of color that she had to use for the outside edges of the beloved quilt prophetic of her life to come? Can love and faith overcome all?

Read the first chapter HERE.


Bonnie S. Calhoun is Owner/Director of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, owner/publisher of Christian Fiction Online Magazine, Northeast Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), the ACFW ‘2011 Mentor of the Year,” President of (CAN) Christian Authors Network, and Appointment Coordinator for both the Colorado Christian Writers Conference (CCWC) and the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference(GPCWC).

For the last six years she has taught workshops in Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, and creating Social Media promotions at both CCWC, and GPCWC, and in 2011 at the Montrose, Pa Christian Writers Conference. She also taught a Facebook workshop at the 2012 ACFW conference.

Bonnie and her husband live in a log cabin in upstate area of New York with a dog and cat who think she’s wait-staff.

Her sites are:


I am thoroughly enjoying the Abingdon's Quilts of Love series, and this is one of my favorites. Based on the lives of the author's grandparents, Pieces of the Heart stirs the heart and soul and gives the reader a glimpse into a an oft-overlooked segment of the Greatest Generation. A basic plot summary such as the blurb provided cannot do this book justice, for its layers go far beyond a simple "war romance." Calhoun has stitched a story that depicts the many struggles and prejudices that African-Americans experienced during the World War II era. (The extent of prejudices that existed between the African-Americans themselves was an eye-opener to me.) As the quilt begun by Cordelia's grammy is pieced together from scraps and prayers, so must Cordelia and Bernard allow God to stitch together the broken Pieces of the Heart. This is a beautiful book; don't miss it!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Abingdon Press as part of a blog tour. 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, August 19, 2013

The Icing on the Cake

The Icing on the Cake
(Weddings by Design, Book 2)
Janice Thompson
ISBN: 978-1441242907
August 2013/320 pages/$13.99

Scarlet isn't sure if she has just the right ingredients for true love--or utter disaster

Scarlet Lindsey is busy making her dreams come true. She's moved her bakery to a prime spot on Galveston's most popular street, she's planning an extravagant cake for her best friend's wedding, and she has a great relationship with Bella Neeley, the island's most popular wedding coordinator. Business is booming and Scarlet is enjoying the ride.

But when Bella's dangerously handsome brother Armando breezes into her life, Scarlet is faced with a sticky situation. Should she stay with the safe, sweet guy who's been a fixture in her life for years? Or will this brash Italian hunk melt her guarded heart?

Fan favorite Janice Thompson is back with more wit, more weddings, and more of what you love best--bridal-business drama laced with laughs.

Available at Deeper Shopping, Amazon, and other retailers.


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 the wedding business, drawing on her own experiences as a wedding planner. She is the author of the Weddings by Bella series and the Backstage Pass series, as well as Picture Perfect. She lives in Texas. Visit for more.


I fell in love with Janice Thompson's wedding-themed books when I read her Weddings by Bella series and was delighted when she returned to Galveston with the Weddings by Design series. The first book lived up to its title, Picture Perfect (my review is here, and The Icing on the Cake is, well, just that! While much about this book is pure sweetness and fun, Thompson has tastefully blended an additional ingredient into the story as Scarlet grapples with an issue familiar and relatable to many women. A heaping supply of humor mixes with the perfect measure of faith and love, providing the perfect recipe for a great read! Don't miss it, and keep your eye out for The Dream Dress, due in February 2014!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell as part of a blog tour. 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, August 12, 2013

Summer Break

I'm taking a bit of a hiatus for the next few weeks. We're enjoying some family time, then moving my girl to college, followed by some 25th anniversary celebrating for my man and me. I'll be checking in and posting intermittently but not on a regular basis until after Labor Day.


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Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Letters

The Letters
(The Inn at Eagle Hill)
Suzanne Woods Fisher
ISBN: 978-0800720933
August 2013/320 pages/$14.99

Book one in Suzanne’s brand new series; The Inn at Eagle Hill.

Rose Schrock is a plain woman with a simple plan. Determined to find a way to support her family and pay off her late husband’s debts, she sets to work to convert the basement of her Amish farmhouse into an inn. While her family, especially her cranky mother-in-law, is unhappy with Rose’s big idea, her friend and neighbor, Galen King, supports the decision and he helps with the conversion. As Rose finalizes preparations for visitors, she prays. She asks God to bless each guest who stays at the Inn at Eagle Hill. As the first guest arrives and settles in, Rose is surprised to discover that her entire family is the one who receives the blessings, in the most unexpected ways. And she’s even more surprised when that guest decides to play matchmaker for Galen King.

With her signature plot twists combined with gentle Amish romance, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites readers back to Stoney Ridge for fresh stories of simple pleasures despite the complexity of life. Fisher’s tale of God’s providence and provision will delight her fans and create many new ones. Welcome to the Inn at Eagle Hill.


Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of the Inn at Eagle Hill series, Lancaster County Secrets series, and the Stoney Ridge Seasons series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including “Amish Peace.” She is also the coauthor of a new Amish children’s series, The Adventures of Lily Lapp. Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne is a Carol Award winner and a Christy Award finalist. She is a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazines. She lives in California.

For more information, please visit and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter @suzannewfisher. Get Amish proverbs delivered right to your mobile device! Download the Free App!


I'm always delighted when Suzanne Woods Fisher begins a new series, and I'm doubly excited that this new series takes readers back to Stoney Ridge since I fell in love with this fictional community with Fisher's last series (The Keeper, The Haven, and The Lesson). This is a brand-new series but it's fun to see some of the same characters appear in the scenes of this novel, and Jimmy Fisher plays a prominent role in this story! The Letters brings the Amish and Englisch together with the opening of Rose's inn and the results are heartwarming. I'm already looking forward to the rest of this series!

Suzanne Woods Fisher is celebrating the release of the first book, The Letters, in her new series by giving away 2 iPads, 2 Kindle Fires and 2 Nook HDs! Wow!


Two grand prize winners will receive:
  • An iPad
  • The Letters by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Four second place winners will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HD or a Nook HD - winner's choice!
  • The Letters by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 17th. All winners will be announced August 19th at Suzanne's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun;
enter today and be sure to visit
Suzanne's blog on the 19th to see
if you won one of the great prizes!
(Or better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement
delivered to your inbox!)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell and Litfuse Publicity as part of a blog tour. 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, August 7, 2013

A Peachy Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. The first week of August is National Simplify Your Life Week...what's one thing you could do this week to qualify as a participant?

Ha! I'm getting my daughter ready to go to college! Ain't nothing simplifying about that! But food is pretty streamlined at my house this week.

2. It's also National Peach Month...peach pie, peach cobbler, or please pour me a Bellini? What's your peach pleasure?

It's funny to me that August has this designation because the peaches are essentially gone by the end of July around here. My favorite way to eat them is just to cut them up on my cereal, although I do like the Southern Living peach cobbler that I make.

3. Eleanor Roosevelt once wrote, "Do one thing every day that scares you." Agree or disagree...explain.

I think that's actually a stupid mantra, but anyone who is a parent (especially of teens!) knows that sending your child out the door every day is pretty scary! It's a happy sound when that garage door goes up!

4. What's your favorite household chore? Yes-you have to name one.


5. Fodors recently listed (what they've dubbed) the ten most beautiful sunset spots in America. Click here to read more and see the pretty pictures, but this is their list:

Butterfly Beach in Santa Monica CA, Mount Haleakala in Maui HI, Old Fort Marcy Park in Santa Fe NM, Laguna Beach CA, Hopi Point in Grand Canyon AZ, Four Seasons in Miami FL, Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica CA, Gay Head in Martha's Vineyard MA, Ensign Peak in Salt Lake City UT, and Mallory Square in Key West Florida.

Have you seen the sun set from any of these spots? If you could choose to watch the sun set this weekend from one spot on the Fodors List, which would you choose? Where was the prettiest sunset you've ever seen?

I've been to the Grand Canyon and seen the sunset there, although I don't know if it was specifically at Hopi Point. Of those pictures, Laguna Beach looks the prettiest.

But it's awfully hard to beat the sunsets here in Texas!

6. What's your favorite or most used app? If you don't use apps how about your favorite or most visited website?

That would be a game app! Although I use our church app a good bit, too, to look up emails and phone numbers.

7. We've recently passed the halfway mark for 2013...write a seven word sentence that sums up your year thus far.

Full of emotion; glad God is steady!

8. Insert your own random thought here.

It's a lot easier to get a boy ready for college than a girl! And my girl isn't even a high-maintenance, foo-foo girl!


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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Sweet Dreams - Interview with Carla Stewart

ICRS was full of wonderful interview opportunities with delightful authors! I enjoyed sitting down with Carla Stewart and talking with her about her recent novel, Sweet Dreams.

Sweet Dreams
Carla Stewart
(Faith Words)
ISBN: 978-1455504275
May 2013/336 pages/$14.99

It's 1962, and Dusty Fairchild, daughter of a self-made millionaire and oilman, wants to go to college. Instead she is sent to a private finishing school in East Texas. Although she's never wanted for material possessions, Dusty longs for independence and adventure. The only upside to attending Miss Fontaine's is having her cousin and best childhood friend, Paisley, join her. Paisley has traveled the country with her bohemian mother, but she dreams of putting down roots and living a settled life. At Miss Fontaine's, their loyalty to each other binds them, but when they fall in love with the same handsome young man, their relationship teeters on shaky ground. Only after a tragic accident do they learn where their true hearts-and dreams-lie.

Available on Amazon, Deeper Shopping, and other retailers.


Carla Stewart's writing reflects her passion for times gone by. She launched her writing career in 2002 when she earned the coveted honor of being invited to attend Guidepost's Writers Workshop in Rye, New York. Since then, her articles have appeared in Guideposts, Angels on Earth, and several regional magazines and anthologies.

Carla received two American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Genesis awards for unpublished authors. The novel that won in 2007 went on to become her first published novel, Chasing Lilacs, which has garnered many rave reviews including a Starred Review from Publishers Weekly and 4 ? stars from RT Book Reviews.

Carla graduated from the University of Oklahoma and worked as a registered nurse for a number of years. She and her engineer husband are the parents of four married sons and relish the adventures of their six grandchildren. She enjoys a good cup of coffee, great books, and weekend getaways with her husband. Learn more about Carla at


I was touched by Carla Stewart's debut novel, Chasing Lilacs (reviewed here), but missed her next two novels, so I was delighted to have the opportunity to read Sweet Dreams. I was not disappointed. This story transported me back to the early 1960's, a time when society was on the brink of a changing culture. I loved the wide variety of characters, from Dusty and Paisley and their close relationship to the most obnoxiously snobbish student at Miss Fontaine's Finishing School. Family, faith, and forgiveness are central themes in this tender coming of age novel that will stir your heart. A perfect read for the waning days of summer!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson. 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.”


I enjoyed Sweet Dreams and reading about the girls at Miss Fontaine's Finishing School. I was pretty young during that time period, 1962, but a lot of the stuff in the book carried over into the late sixties, which I remember.

It was a really special time. Things were kind of shifting around socially but I don't think we knew it. We didn't know we were on the cusp of this cultural revolution. It was really fun to live through that era because we didn't know. We were just enjoying all the cultural change.

Tell me where the story came from in your mind.

Because it was a time of change in the early sixties, I wanted to show a girl who was going to choose a career that was out of the traditional choices for girls of that era. (Dusty wanted to become a geologist.) Even until the late sixties, most girls were encouraged to go to college, but you went there either to get your M-R-S degree or you became a teacher, a secretary or a nurse. That was what was expected. I'm a nurse. I did like science; it wasn't that I didn't like that choice. But I always wondered, what if I had chosen to study engineering or geology or something that was really outside that expected norm? So that's kind of where that story comes from.

I grew up in the oil field in the top of the Texas Panhandle, in a Philips Petroleum camp, so I've always been aware of the petroleum industry and how geology fits in there, and all that sort of thing. I wanted geology in the story just because I was sort of interested in it and I have some knowledge of it. My husband is now in the oil industry. My first book. Chasing Lilacs, was set in a petroleum camp like one where I grew up and it was set in the fifties. I guess that thread somewhat runs through all of my books because I think a little bit of who an author is comes through.

I wanted to write somewhat of a girlfriend book; they ended up being cousins. It had several different versions before I came up with this one, which I think is true for most writers. You don't just get the books fully formed when they start in your brain. You have to tweak them and work on them

In the book, Dusty's cousin is Paisley. Paisley's mom is a character! I learned something about the sixties, because I would have guessed this book was set in the late sixties if I hadn't known otherwise. Paisley's mom is the proverbial wandering flower child, and I didn't realize that started so early in the sixties.

Yes, the Beatniks and the coffeehouses, some of that was in the late fifties/early sixties. When I researched it, the flower child did come in the late sixties. But they were smoking marijuana, especially on the coast. Not as much in middle America, which is why we didn't know about it. That's why I had them live in California during that era. That would not have been atypical for something like that to have happened there. Her mother did not leave home with the intention of having this nomadic life. She left for a different reason but that's what it morphed into. I had a friend who was older than I am, and her mother took them and they just skipped all around the country. That's how she grew up. I thought if they did that, almost anybody could. It wasn't unheard of. It could have happened. Also, I wanted her to have a good reason why she left, and I think she did.

There is a thread about harboring resentment and the issue of forgiveness that runs through the book in the relationship between Dusty's dad and Paisley's mom, who are siblings. Without giving away spoilers, can you address that?

I think he was a very typical father/brother/family patriarch for that era. He was kind of a no-nonsense type. That's the way my dad is. I think he was a believer. I think he's just a "don't give me all the rules" kind of man. He's a lot like my dad and a lot of men from that era. There are things he felt in his heart that he wasn't going to admit but those are revealed at the end of the book. He wouldn't have done what he did if he hadn't felt that way toward his sister deep down. I think people show grace and forgiveness in ways that are not spoken, and that's actually what I like to write about. And Paisley had spent every summer at the ranch, so he had to allow that.. There was just an underlying friction between the two siblings. Even people who love each other should sometimes not be in the same room together!

You talk about tackling topics through fiction. I think fiction really does minister to people. Jesus used parables, and those are essentially fiction. I have learned so much from fiction because it's so easy to relate to. How do you do this in your writing? Does it naturally happen or are you intentional about?

I don't start out with any kind of spiritual theme. I think those come naturally. Even though I'm a Christian fiction author, I think my faith is just who I am and that is going to come through the story. So I don't start out saying that I'm going to write a book about a certain spiritual theme. To me, that's backwards. Instead, I have a story idea. In this case, it was about following your dreams. I had all kinds of quotes and things that I've used through the years about how we just should have the freedom to pursue our dreams. I don't think that's non-Biblical. Paul uses the example of straining for the goal. I think that we should have goals and shouldn't shy away from those. But the theme of kindness, I think, is where a lot of my stories are. Dusty was a very kind person, even though Miss Fontaine had some issues.

Just a few!

The theme that came out was that she had a secret past she was hiding. Why did she feel like she had to hide that? I thought it was perceptive of Dusty, and showed her kindness, to accept that and say, "Maybe it's time to step out of yourself." She really had no reason to be kind to Miss Fontaine because Miss Fontaine had been harsh with her because she was still protecting the lie. If you are protecting a lie, you are going to do things that you don't like about yourself to protect the lie. So I guess I don't start out with a theme. I just want to put people through the wringer and then see how they react!

I loved your portrayal of Sharon Kay. She was such a pain, but then you gave a glimpse of the hurt inside.

That's another thing about Dusty. She was giving her the benefit of the doubt. I know she thought things and wanted to say, "Give me a break!" A few of the reviewers have commented about Sharon Kay-even though she was a very minor character in the book-that we are quick to judge other people without really knowing where they are coming from. I think that's what I wanted to show without hitting them over the head with that.

It reminded me of the saying, "Hurt people hurt people."

Yes. And I don't always choose to redeem those people in my books because some are and some aren't. I think I may tend to mimic life too much! But it fit Dusty's personality to be kind to her.

Are you working on your next project now that this book is being released?

Yes, I've just turned in a new book. It's set in the Roaring Twenties and is called The Hatmaker's Heart. My editor has it right now and will be getting it back to me soon. She likes the story. It's different; it's not going to be set in Texas. All my books except one have been in Texas. This is about a young hatmaker's apprentice in New York City in the early twenties. Her family hails from nobility in England, and her firm in New York gets to go over for a royal wedding and do hats for a Ladies Society in England. So it's post Downton Abbey but it will have a British influence and lots and lots of fun conflict. And there we'll be more romance than my other stories have.

When will that be out?

Probably May or June 2014.

Can you refresh my memory on all of your books?

After Chasing Lilacs, I wrote Broken Wings, then Stardust, which was set in 1952. I've had a wonderful response to that one, just because of polio. I've spoken to a lot of groups where that is what they want to talk about. Anyway, I'm going to change to a different era. I think my books will now be categorized as Historical.

Well, it's kind of depressing what's considered historical now! My daughter loved teasing me a few years back when American Girl came out with their new historical doll and it was Julie from 1974. There's nothing like being told your generation is now history!

We remember these years but books like these are how people in the future are going to know what life was like in the fifties and the sixties and even the seventies. I use a lot of music. I use hairstyles and the fashion. It's just something that I love to do. Now the twenties are something that I have no personal knowledge of! But I have thoroughly enjoyed learning about the twenties. And it is not very much different than the sixties in that it was a time of change for our country. It was huge change. The twenties ended up in the Great Depression and the sixties ended in Viet Nam. But there are more similarities than contrasts in the two eras because of the social climate of the time. The sixties was "Make Love, Not War" and the twenties were "Do everything you can today because tomorrow you might die." That really did characterize how people acted in the twenties.

I'll look forward to reading that. It sounds like a wonderful book. Thank you so much for taking the time for this interview!


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Monday, August 5, 2013

Memory's Door - An Interview with Jim Rubart

As I stated in my review of Jim Rubart's Soul's Gate, I generally give speculative/supernatural fiction a wide berth but meeting Rubart in person in Orlando at ICRS 2012 convinced me to give his books a try. I'm so glad I did. When I learned Soul's Gate was nominated for a Christy Award (which it won!) and he would be in St. Louis for ICRS this year, I immediately requested an interview to talk with him about the second book in the series, Memory's Door. An advanced copy of the book arrived the day before I left and I had read about half of it when Jim and I talked. Here's a bit about the book, my thoughts upon completing the novel, and my interview with Jim.

Memory's Door
(A Well Spring Novel, Book 2)
James L. Rubart
(Thomas Nelson)
ISBN: 978-1401686079
August 2013/368 pages/$15.99

The prophecy brought them together—to fight for the hearts of others and set them free.

But the Wolf has risen, and now their greatest battle begins.

The four members of Warriors Riding have learned to wage war in the supernatural, to send their spirits inside people’s souls, to battle demonic forces, and to bring deep healing to those around them.

But their leader Reece is struggling with the loss of his sight. Brandon is being stalked at his concerts by a man in the shadows. Dana’s career is threatening to bury her. And Marcus questions his sanity as he seems to be slipping in and out of alternate realities.

And now the second part of the prophecy has come true. The Wolf is hunting them, and has set his trap. He circles, feeding on his supernatural hate of all they stand for. And he won’t stop until he brings utter destruction to their bodies . . . and their souls.

“. . .this is a seriously heart-thumping and satisfying read that goes to the edge, jumps off, and ‘builds wings on the way down.’”—Publishers Weekly review of Soul’s Gate

Available on Deeper Shopping, Amazon, and other retailers.


James L. Rubart is the best-selling, award winning author of Rooms, Book of Days, The Chair, Soul's Gate (which won a 2013 Christy Award), and Memory's Door.

During the day he runs Barefoot Marketing which helps businesses and authors make more coin of the realm.

In his free time he dirt bikes, hikes, golfs, takes photos, and occasionally does sleight of hand. No, he doesn’t sleep much.

He lives with his amazing wife and teenage sons in the Pacific Northwest and still thinks he’s young enough to water ski like a madman.


Whew! Buckle your seat belt for this one! Soul's Gate was simply a primer for the experiences that the Warriors Riding team have in store for them in Memory's Door. James L. Rubart has created a gripping tale that will delight lovers of supernatural fiction, yet it is so much more than just a good story. Deeply thought-provoking, this novel puts flesh onto the usually unseen war of the spiritual realm as the team must discern who the enemy is and engage that enemy in a combat unlike any other. Rubart's brilliantly woven plot depicts how devious and calculating demonic powers are, as well as how easily a seemingly strong believer can be deluded by their wiles and how those enemies feed off the regrets and baggage within a believer's mind and soul. I pondered this one for days after finishing it, and eagerly anticipate the series conclusion. Don't miss this important book and series!


Congratulations on your Christy win for Soul's Gate! That is so exciting and well-deserved. It is a phenomenal book.

Thanks. It was very cool to get that.

It was with a little bit of trepidation that I began Memory's Door because I thought, "Where's he gonna take us now?" It's a little bit daunting, some of the experiences they have. Your characters deal with another realm in both of these books. I know missionaries in other countries deal a lot more with this than we do in mainstream America. One of the things I struggle with a bit is the characters initiate certain things vs. God initiating things, such as in Soul's Gate when they go into people's souls and when they teleported. Yet I know God has incredible power that we don't take advantage of.

You're exactly right and I consciously thought about that. If you write a book where the whole thing is passive and God's doing this and this and this, you're not taking any action. But at the same time, I didn't want to make it appear like (he snaps his fingers) I've got God at my beck and call. He's not our magic formula. When you look at the scriptural basis for teleportation, it's always God that's doing this. But at the same time, I'm writing a story where I want my heroes to be active and involved. I really had to skate a fine line between "who's initiating this?" Because it's fiction, I probably pushed it farther than I normally would in real life so it would serve the story. But you bring up a really good point.

How does this all come to you and work out in your head? Is it all structured? I guess I'm asking if you are a plotter or a pantser. Does God take you for a ride on this thing and take you places you hadn't planned on going? How do you wrestle this story onto paper?

That's a great question because each author does it a little differently. I am an ADD writer. By that, I mean when I write a book, I will get a premise. Then I will write a scene or maybe half a scene. I'll write a snippet of dialogue. Then my brain's spinning so fast, I'll think "OH!" and I'll write another. Totally unrelated. Then I write another. And another. And another. I'm watching all these snippets of a movie playing in my head and I write them all down. Almost unconsciously - I mean, I'm not thinking about it; I'm just transcribing the moving playing in my head - I will get, in the case of Memory's Door, about 50,000 words into the book and have no structure to it. It was just a bunch of garbled scenes. Once I get to 50,000-70,000 words, I sit down and say, "Jim, you've got to organize this."

It sounds like the opposite of editing a movie and leaving the clips on the floor. You're starting with a pile of clips on the floor and putting them together to make the movie/book.

Exactly. I've got all these different clips that are unrelated. Some clips are finished. Most aren't finished. They're just all over the place. So what I literally do in my secret writing room is go through my manuscript on my laptop and write a headline for every scene I've created. Even if it's not finished. Then I stick them with tape to my writing wall and then, like puzzle pieces, I move them all around in order on the wall. Then I move them around on the laptop. Then I go back and fill in all the gaps and finish scenes and write transitions. That's how I do it.

Oh wow! (We laugh).

I know! It's crazy! It is chaos!

Do you give writing workshops on that? (Grinning with tongue firmly in cheek!)(

Yeah, right! My method. But it works. Because once I can see it on the wall, then it's the puzzle and it works. Because I can't keep the whole novel in my head. [This way] I can see where scenes go and what's missing. I can see the whole plot.

When we talked at the Christy Awards you told me you didn't set out to write about demons; you set out to write about freedom. So you didn't originally set out to write a book like this.

No, I wanted to write a book about the freedom that is available in Jesus. But then I got into it. See, Soul's Gate came out of Rooms, which is the story of going into your own soul. Well, what's the sequel to Rooms? Going into other people's souls. Ding! So while Soul's Gate is not a sequel (there are none of the same characters; it has none of the same stuff), it's a progression. But as I got more and more into Soul's Gate and this thing about freedom, the question arises, "what's opposing freedom?" Ask people if they are free and they say no because they have brokenness from their childhoods or they have this fear or this wound or that. Well, where do brokenness and fear and wounds and all that stuff come from? Warfare! Thirty-three percent of the healings Jesus did were casting out demons. If you look at the New Testament, it's full of warfare! The thing that opposes Jesus is Satan. We don't wrestle against flesh and blood. So I realized, I guess I can't write this book unless we talk about that very real element in our lives. You mentioned missionaries awhile ago. Foreign countries "get" warfare. They get it. And how strange that in American churches, when's the last time you heard a sermon on spiritual warfare? We don't talk about that! Like a friend of mine says, a lot of mental illness is simply something chemical going wrong in the brain. But there's another section of mental illness that's demonic. And instead of saying, "Wow, we need to go after that," we sedate the demons. We just make them sleepy by giving them drugs but that only masks the symptoms; it doesn't bring any cure. Where the cure is - let's go back and use the Bible for our foundation, our rock. Look at what Jesus did. If we're "little Christs" - Christians are "little Christs" and we're supposed to live like Him - what did He do? But we don't do that. We medicate.

Anyway, I got into this whole thing about freedom and realized I had to talk about warfare, too. And how real that is. But I'm not a demon guy. I don't want to have anything to do with that! That's not my focus. My focus is freedom. But you can't do one without the other.

So when you start dealing with this and start writing about this, how has it impacted you personally? Because I'm sure Satan is not happy that you started delving into this.

Yeah, it took a heavy toll on me. Soul's Gate was an incredibly difficult book to write. Spiritually oppressive to write it. Memory's Door was tough, as well, but while you have all this cool spiritual warfare and cool spiritual things going on, the heart of Memory's Door is regret. Dealing with deep, deep regret and getting free of it. There was some of that in Soul's Gate but it's to an even greater degree in Memory's Door. That came out of my experience. During the time I wrote Memory's Door, I was going through a pretty significant personal crisis. So the heart of the book is getting free of regret. I got free of regret in the process. During the time I wrote the book, Jesus set me free of some of my deepest regrets. So that's where you say, "Well Jim if you're transcribing these movies in your head, where are they coming from?" They're coming from my own life and my own subconscious and the stuff I've observed and it just bubbles to the surface. You want to know about Jim Rubart? These are my journals. This is what I'm going through. Can't believe I'm admitting that!

After Memory's Door, is there a third one coming in the series?

The Spirit Bridge. We just named it last week. It is the epic conclusion to the Wellspring series.

Do we still have more trauma to go through? Are you finished writing it or still working on it?

Yes! More trauma! I'm still working on it. I'm about to turn in my macro edit and then I'll do line edits. So essentially, it's pretty close to being done.

Has it been a struggle or a difficult experience writing that one?

That has actually been the easiest of the books to write. It's just epic. You pull out all the stops and it's been a fun book to write. What was really fun is that I have a mastermind group, consisting mainly of other authors, one agent and a marketing guy, and in January we sat down when I had no idea what the book was going to be, and they helped me brainstorm my book. It has all this input from these people so it's really cool. When that happens to me and I get all that input, I can really write it out fast. This one is definitely a very collaborative book. [One of the collaborators] says it's his favorite of the three. It will be out next year, probably April 2014.

Then I'm doing a book with my twenty-year-old son! He came up with the story idea. He said "Dad! I've got a great idea for a movie. I'd call it Backspace. What if you could backspace your life: anything that didn't go good, backspace and do it again?" I said, "That is high concept!" So it's some kind of computer thing this guy figures out and he literally backspaces his life. I told him, "Dude, that's so good, I've got to steal that for a novel." So when we did the contract with Thomas Nelson, I asked if I could write a book with my son called Backspace, and they said yes.

That will be such a neat experience for both of you. Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me, Jim. This has been great, and I'm so glad I finally took the plunge on your books!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson. 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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Friday, August 2, 2013

August New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary Romance:

Bride Wanted by Renee Andrews Troy Lee has been writing letters to his future bride since he was a boy. Still, she's never been more than words on a page...until now. When he meets Destiny Porter, he thinks he may have finally found the woman he's been waiting for. But Destiny came to Claremont with a single purpose-to get Troy's permission to print his letters in her magazine. Yet once she lays eyes on the handsome Southern man, Destiny knows she's in trouble. She can't help dreaming about being Troy's bride. But will he still want to be her groom when he finds out who she really is? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired)

Healing Hearts by Margaret Daley -- After surviving a tragic accident, little Madison Winters is in desperate need of comfort. And social worker Abbey Harris has the perfect solution. With the help of her cherished therapy dogs, Gabe and Cottonball, Abbey soon coaxes a smile from Madi-and her workaholic guardian. Dominic Winters is heartbreakingly handsome and is hurting just as much as Madi. But it might take more than wagging tails to get the brooding businessman to open his heart. With the help of a matchmaking little girl and two sweet dogs, Abbey and Dominic may get a second chance at love. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired)

Contemporary Women's Fiction:

Bless Her Heart: Class Reunion Series by Debby Mayne -- As Priscilla Slater's 15-year class reunion approaches, she decides to attend out of curiosity... and to flaunt her latest achievement-taking her business to a national level with the possibility of a TV show. As if getting ready for the event and putting up with the pranks of her former classmates isn't enough, Pricilla's hometown visit is further complicated by her parents' separation. Eager to escape the painful reality of her childhood home, Priscilla bolts as soon as a call from New York brings good news. But returning to New York means returning to Tim, Priscilla's best friend and business pal who has been impatiently suggesting their relationship should be more than a friendship. (Contemporary Women's Fiction from Abingdon Press)

General Contemporary:

This Dance by Jerusha Agen -- When tango dancer Nye Sanders lost what she loved most, she thought she would never survive the agony. Two years later, Nye has learned to live with the pain. She has a new career and life that have nothing to do with the world and faith she left behind. Not about to repeat mistakes of the past, Nye thinks she can dictate a painless future by staying within the walls of her emotional defenses. She doesn't plan to meet a handsome lawyer or an elderly landowner-two men who will make her face love and the God she can't forgive. (Contemporary from Write Integrity Press)

General Historical:

Snow on the Tulips by Liz Tolsma -- In the twilight of the Nazi occupation of The Netherlands, the Germans have taken everything Cornelia had to give, even what was most precious to her. Now Gerrit Laninga-a man who puts God and country above all else-arrives at her house, needing help. She is terrified for herself and terrified for her family, but most of all, terrified of the pain she might feel again if she allows herself to love Gerrit. Cornelia must decide if saving a stranger's life is worth risking her own. (Historical from Thomas Nelson)

Historical Romance:

Shenandoah Crossings by Lisa Belcastro -- Journey back in time with Tess Roberts as she seeks adventure on the high seas during the American Revolution hoping to escape the heartache of her present-day life. Her plans go awry when the one man she'd hoped to leave behind tracks her down with every intention of forcing her to his will. (Historical Romance from OakTara)

Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden -- After her father's death, Mollie Knox takes over his watchmaking company and uses her head for business to solidify the good name of the 57th Illinois Watch Company. Her future looks bright until the night her beloved city is destroyed in the legendary Great Chicago Fire. With her world crumbling around her, Molly must do whatever it takes to save her company in the aftermath of the devastating fire. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

The Farmer's Bride Collection by Debby Mayne, DiAnn Mills, Susan K. Downs, JoAnn A. Grote, and Ellen Edwards Kennedy -- Love is in season as you journey into rural America's history and witness the harvest of romance through six delightful stories. From Minnesota to Florida, New York to Kansas, and Ohio to Louisiana, heroic men and women make sacrifices in order to create a home, nurture the crops, and secure a future for the next generation, but sometime romance is almost an afterthought. Can love also grow down on the farm? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Fired Up by Mary Connealy -- While someone's trying to make Dr. Dare Riker go up in smoke, Glynna Greer, the diner cook who turns every meal into a burnt offering and the overworked doctor are firing up a romance that might end up burning them both. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

Pattern for Romance by Carla Olson Gade -- Honour Metcalf's quilting needlework is admired by a wealthy customer of the Boston Mantua-maker for whom she works. In need of increasing her earnings, she agrees to create an elaborate white work bridal quilt for the dowager's niece. A beautiful design emerges as she carefully stitches the intricate patterns and she begins to dream of fashioning a wedding quilt of her own. When Honour is falsely accused of thievery and finds herself in a perilous position, merchant tailor Joshua Sutton comes to her aid. (Historical Romance from Abingdon Press)

On Distant Shores by Sarah Sundin -- Homesick WWII flight nurse Lt. Georgie Taylor arrives in Sicily and strikes up a friendship with Sgt. John Hutchinson, who longs to become one of the Army's first pharmacy officers. When Georgie and Hutch's lives back home fall apart, can they weather the hurt and betrayal? Or will the pressures of war destroy the fragile connection they've made? (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker])

Whispers from the Shadows by Roseanna M. White -- The daughter of a British general, Gwyneth Fairchild barely saves her life by fleeing London aboard a ship to America. Her goal is to find refuge with the Lane family in Maryland, having been told by her father she could trust them. After meeting their son, Thad Lane, she wonders how safe she truly is when she discovers that they trade in a dangerous commodity--espionage. Not long after Gwyneth finds refuge in his city, Thad Lane experiences the tug of love, though he fears it may blur lines of loyalty. But at this moment, with the British advancing on Washington and Baltimore, they have only their shared faith in God as a shield about them. (Historical Romance from Harvest House)

Roping the Wrangler by Lacy Williams -- Schoolmarm Sarah Hansen longs for a family of her own. But horse trainer Oscar White is the last man she'd consider. Still, she can't help noticing the care he shows three motherless girls and the gentle way he helps Sarah overcome her fear of horses. Too bossy by half-that's the Sarah that Oscar remembers from their teenage years. Yet as a former orphan, he finds the little Caldwell sisters-and their pretty teacher-getting under his skin. Could the tender heart Sarah's always hidden tame a once-reckless wrangler? (Historical Romance from Love Inspired)

Millie's Treasure by Kathleen Y'Barbo -- From their first meeting atop the Memphis Cotton exchange, where Pinkerton/inventor Kyle Russell is testing his flying machine, to their pursuit of pirate treasure and the escaped criminal Will Tucker, the Pinkerton and his Memphis belle find solving puzzles to be the least of their challenges in this historical romance with a dash of Southern Steampunk. (Historical Romance from Harvest House)

Historical Suspense and Mystery:

Rules of Murder by Julianna Deering -- Drew Farthering, mystery lover and heir to the family manner, has to track down a killer and win the heart of American debutante, Madeline Parker. (Historical Mystery from Bethany House [Baker])

Dark Road Home by Elizabeth Ludwig -- Ana Kavanagh's only memories of home are of fire and pain. As a girl she was the only survivor of a terrible blaze, and years later she still struggles with her anger at God for letting it happen. At a nearby parish she meets and finds a kindred spirit in Eoghan Hamilton, who is struggling with his own anger--his sister, Cara, betrayed him by falling in love with one of his enemies. Cast aside by everyone, Eoghan longs to rejoin the Fenians, a shadowy organization pushing for change back in Ireland. But gaining their trust requires doing some favors--all of which seem to lead back to Ana. Who is she and who is searching for her? (Historical Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])

Romantic Suspense:

Carolina Reckoning by Lisa Carter -- When 30-something housewife, Alison Monaghan discovers proof of her husband's infidelity in a photograph with a mysterious woman, she must decide how to confront Frank when he returns home from work. But Alison may not get that chance. Frank never makes it home. And now she is the chief suspect in his murder. (Romantic Suspense from Abingdon Press)

Fatal Inheritance by Sandra Orchard -- In the face of mounting threats, a grieving granddaughter fights to hold fast to the family farmhouse she's inherited, but can her childhood-crush-turned-cop help her find her way home? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired)

Dangerous Waters by Sandra Robbins A young woman seeks the help of her former fiancé to solve the nineteen-year-old cold case of her parents' murder. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired)

Contemporary Suspense:

Memory's Door by James L. Rubart -- The prophecy brought them together. But the Wolf has risen, and now their greatest battle begins. The four members of Warriors Riding have learned to wage war in the supernatural, to send their spirits inside people's souls, to battle demonic forces, and to bring deep healing to those around them. But they are all struggling. Now the second part of the prophecy has come true. The Wolf is hunting them and has set his trap. He circles, feeding on his supernatural hate of all they stand for. And he won't stop until he brings utter destruction to their bodies . . . and their souls. (Contemporary Suspense from Thomas Nelson)

Young Adult:

Dark Halo by Shannon Dittemore -- One halo brought sight to Brielle; another offers sweet relief from what she sees. (Young Adult from Thomas Nelson)


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Thursday, August 1, 2013

A Healthy Appetizer!

I'm traveling with my girl for her college New Student Retreat so I thought I'd share a favorite recipe. I hadn't made it in quite a while until I took it to a fellowship for my our Sunday Bible Fellowship group a week or two ago. It was a hit! Southern Living is always my go-to place for top-notch recipes!


Fix this ahead of time to allow the flavors to meld.

1 ½ tsp. cumin seeds
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ¼ ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 red pepper, minced
1 small purple onion, minced (1 cup)
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 c. lime juice
1/4 c. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried crushed red pepper
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Toast cumin seeds in a skillet over medium heat 1 to 2 minutes or until brown and fragrant, stirring often. Combine cumin seeds, black beans, and remaining ingredients; toss well. Cover and store in refrigerator up to 1 week. Yield 6 cups.

Per tablespoon: Calories 18 Fat 0.7 g (Before you spoon it onto the tortilla chips!)

From The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook


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