Friday, July 30, 2010

The Book Connection Offers Book Giveaway to Celebrate 75 Years of Penguin Books

The Book Connection is helping Penguin Books celebrate their 75th Anniversary by running a giveaway for a copy of The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. Click here to learn more about the book and how you can enter and win.

Congratulations to Penguin Books on 75 years of publishing excellence!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Book Review: Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James

A fabulously disturbing psychological thriller awaits you in Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James.

After a horrific tragedy tears her family apart, Katherine Patterson decides to start her life over by moving to a new city. There, she makes a friend who is all the things she is not--popular, beautiful, outgoing, and uninhibited. Alice doesn't tie herself down worrying about what people think or how her behavior might impact others. One moment needy, but then quickly cruel, Alice is not a person Katherine or their friends can figure out.

No one can possibly know the dark secrets that Alice hides; secrets that pull Katherine into a sinister plot and force her to realize she can never escape her past.

What a stellar debut novel from Rebecca James. Chilling and engaging, Beautiful Malice captures you from the very first page and doesn't release you even after you've read the last word. Disturbing, yet, totally captivating, this story dives deep into the psychology of tragedy and loss, and the impact of those left behind to pick up the pieces.

James did an excellent job in creating characters you sympathized with in many instances, even when you didn't like them. As the story moves along, you find yourself trying to figure Alice out--what makes her tick, why does she act the way she does, is she a good friend to Katherine or her worst nightmare?

The story floats in between the past and the present, which I don't always care for, but in this instance James made it work well.

If you enjoy novels that captivate you fully, ones that you simply can't put down, then pick up a copy of Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James.

Title: Beautiful Malice
Author: Rebecca James
Publisher: Bantam Books
ISBN-10: 0553808052
ISBN-13: 978-0553808056
SRP: $25.00

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tropical Traditions All Natural Insect Repellent Giveaway at Confessions of an Overworked Mom

Because of all the wetlands around our property, mosquitoes are a huge issue. We can't comfortably sit outside during the summertime. We have a large vernal pool on the far corner of our property line and it is a breeding ground for these nasty insects, which concerns me as a mom because of West Nile Virus.

When I wandered out to Confessions of an Overworked Mom today, I noticed Ellen is running a giveaway for Tropical Traditions All Natural Insect Repellent. That's why I am blogging about it today. If you want to keep away those nasty blood suckers and do it in an all natural way, why don't you stop on by Confessions of an Overworked Mom right now. There you can learn more about Tropical Traditions and all the fabulous products they offer, plus enter the giveaway for your chance to win a bottle of Tropical Traditions All Natural Insect Repellent.

This giveaway is open to residents of the United States. The deadline to enter is August 2nd. Click here for more information and for your chance to win.

Book Pack #2 Announced in The Book Connection's Big Summer 2010 Book Giveaway

Visit The Book Connection and enter to win a Book Pack containing four books with a total retail value of #74.84. Look for these and other great books during The Book Connection's Summer 2010 Book Giveaway!

Interview with Romance Author Marcia Lynn McClure and Giveaway at Linda Weaver Clarke's Blog

Linda Weaver Clarke has another international giveaway going on right now, this time with romance author Marcia Lynn McClure. Up for grabs is a copy of Weathered Too Young.

When Lark appears on the Evans’ porch, Tom instantly hires her to keep house and cook for himself and his cantankerous elder brother, Slater. It doesn’t take long for Slater Evans to unknowingly capture her heart. Lark’s true age is not the only truth she has kept from Slater and Tom Evans. Darker secrets lay imprisoned deep within her heart. However, secrets are made to be found out. Would Lark discover the love she’d never dared to hope for?

Now, this sounds like a romance novel I can certainly get into. McClure has this to say about one of the Evans brothers, "Slater Evans is delicious! Masculine, brooding, and hiding secrets…yet with a clever wit and sense of humor!"

Who doesn't like delicious, masculine, brooding, and secretive men who are witty and have a sense of humor?

How can you win a copy of Weathered Too Young? Follow this link to Linda's blog and leave a comment that includes your email address.

This giveaway ends on July 2nd, so you better do it right now while you're thinking about it. Go ahead, you know you want a copy of this book!

Marcia Lynn McClure is surrounded by the gorgeous and captivating desert land of New Mexico, creating the perfect mood to write her romance novels. Her parents and grandparents were a great influence. She grew up hearing “tales of runaway buckboards, mule-drawn plows; stories of hardship and tragedy, love and loss.” These family legends led Marcia to writing novels. She is the mother of three children and has one grandson. Marcia is a romantic at heart and the author of 22 “clean” romance novels.

You can visit Marcia online at

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Author Spotlight: Nancy Thayer and Beachcombers

Abbie Fox hasn’t seen her father or two younger sisters in almost two years, during which she’s jetted around the world and experienced life, if not love. But now Lily, the baby of the family, is sending Abbie urgent emails begging her to return home to Nantucket. Their middle sister, Emma, has taken to her bed, emotionally devastated after the loss of her high-powered stockbroker’s job and a shockingly unexpected break-up with her fiancé. Also, Lily is deeply worried that Marina, the beautiful, enigmatic woman renting their guesthouse, has set her sights on the sisters’ widowed father, Jim. The Fox girls closed ranks years ago after the haunting, untimely death of their mother, but seeing their dad move on with his life forces each of them to take stock.

Over the course of the summer, the sisters’ lives grow as turbulent as the unpredictable currents encircling Nantucket. When Abbie encounters an incredibly appealing married man, she breaks her own rules in the name of love, fearing all the while that she’ll regret it. Meanwhile, type-A Emma learns a new definition of success, and strong-minded Lily must reconcile her dreams with reality. Even Marina, who has come to Nantucket to forget heartbreak and betrayal, faces an astonishing turn of events that will find her torn between fate and freedom. At summer’s end, these unforgettable women will face profound choices—and undergo personal transformations that will surprise even themselves.

Read an Excerpt from Beachcombers

Chapter Two


So here she was, on Nantucket. In a small rented cottage in the middle of an enchanted island. At least she hoped it was enchanted. She was waking to another day without family or love or plans for the future.

Still, she felt just a bit better.

Lying curled in her bed, she forced herself to name just five things for which she was grateful. It was an exercise Christie had advised her to perform first thing in the morning and last thing at night. If nothing else, Christie had told her, it will give you a little bit of structure, one tidy line to start the morning and end the day to make you feel enclosed and on task.

All right then.

Marina was grateful that she’d slept through the night without needing a sleeping pill. She’d been afraid she was becoming addicted to them. Over the past few months, the divorce had plunged her into a state of grief and despair that at night turned into a raging anger and a kind of burning terror—what was her life about? Did she mean nothing? But here on the island, for the past three weeks, she’d discovered that something in the sea air worked like a charm to make her fall into a deep, relaxing sleep. Christie had been right to tell her to come here to heal.

Two—well, she was grateful she’d found the cottage. It resembled a dollhouse, with wild roses rambling all over the roof and clematis and wisteria blossoming on the trellis on the outside walls. The windows were mullioned like a fairy-tale cottage. The door was bright blue. Inside, one large room served for living, dining, and kitchen areas. A ladder led up to the loft with the bed. Windows on three sides provided views of the birds nesting in an apple tree on her right, a pine tree on her left, and a hawthorn tree straight ahead.

Inside, the décor was—well, there was no décor, actually. The few furnishings had a cast-off and shabby air, but were basically sound and comfortable. No curtains hung from the windows. No paintings graced the walls. No rugs brightened the floors, but she could understand that. It was so easy to track sand into the house, and the floors were wood and felt cool and smooth to the soles of her feet.

She was grateful to be in the heart of the town. That was the third thing, and it had been on her list every morning and every night. The cottage was off an idyllic lane in the illustrious historic district. She could walk to the grocery store, the pharmacy, the post office, the library. Tucked away at the far end of a long garden, it had once been the Playhouse for the family that had grown up in the huge old house at the front. The owner and one of his daughters lived in the house. Their presence made Marina feel not so alone. She liked seeing the lights come on in different rooms of the house. The daughter, Lily, was pretty, but not very friendly. Well, she was only twenty-two. Marina must seem ancient to her.

Jim Fox, on the other hand, was really nice. He’d brought her fresh fish several times already, and often in the evenings when he came home from work, he jumped out of his red pickup truck and sauntered down the lawn to chat with her. Did she need anything? If she did, she had only to ask, he’d be glad to help. Had she enjoyed the bluefish? Would she like some more when he went out fishing again? He was so attentive that Marina sometimes wondered if he were hitting on her. She doubted it. She was sure she wasn’t giving off any sexual vibes, since her sexuality was hiding under its shell like a wounded turtle. Although she could still recognize that Jim was an awfully attractive man, tall, muscular, and comfortable enough in his powerful body to be easygoing and kind.

Fourth, she was grateful for Christie’s enduring, sustaining friendship and especially for her wisdom this summer.

Odd, how things turned out.

Long ago, when she started seventh grade, Marina had teamed up with two very different best friends. Christie was her good friend, pretty, cheerful, popular, and smart. Dara was her exciting friend, always ready to try something new and outrageous, more sexy than good-looking. They remained best friends when they all started at the same gigantic university in Columbia, Missouri, but by their sophomore summer, things changed. Christie and Marina decided to go off to Nantucket to work as waitresses. They’d heard that the pay was good, the island was gorgeous, and they could party like crazy on their time off. Dara couldn’t believe they were going to be waitstaff—she considered such a job way too far beneath her. She didn’t need the money the way Christie and Marina did, and she went off with other college friends to backpack in Europe.

Marina and Christie had so much fun, they returned to the island for the next two summers. During the academic year, they still spent time with each other, but Dara ran with a new, fast crowd, and the trio was never the same after that. After graduation, they went their separate ways. Dara wanted money. Marina wanted to turn her love of color and design into a career. Christie just wanted her high school sweetheart, Bob.

Christie married Bob right after college—Marina was her maid of honor. A few years later, when Marina married Gerry Warren, Christie was Marina’s matron of honor, lumbering down the aisle, eight months pregnant. After that, Marina had seen little of Chris?tie. Their lives were so different, and they were so busy. Christie and Bob lived in happy chaos with their hundreds of children—really, only an eventual five—on a lake outside Kansas City.

Marina and Gerry met in college. He was handsome, with thick, straight blond hair and sapphire eyes. He was smart, too, and witty. At first she thought he was just a bit too smug and shallow, but he wanted Marina, he pursued Marina, and his varied and creative attempts to charm her were irresistible. Perhaps she didn’t love Gerry, but she was helplessly seduced by his desire.

Their ambitions were similar, too, and that drew them together as a natural pair. He was a dynamite salesman; she was artistic and creative. Marina and Gerry started a graphic design/ad agency in the Kansas City area. They invested their own time and some start-up money borrowed from their parents, and they worked day and night. For a few years, work was the very air they breathed. They established themselves, grew a name, became successful, and paid back their parents. They bought a condo and the posh cars they displayed as ads for their success—a Jag for Gerry, a Saab convertible for Marina. But somehow, as the months and years went by, they never found time to relax. They were like a clock, their lives the two hands ticking around the face of the day and night, with never a second to stop.

Read the Reviews!

“Nancy Thayer has a deep and masterly understanding of love and friendship, of where the two complement and where they collide.” –Elin Hilderbrand

"Beachcombers is the perfect summer read." -CMash Loves to Read

Nancy Thayer is the New York Times bestselling author of Summer House, Moon Shell Beach, The Hot Flash Club, The Hot Flash Club Strikes Again, Hot Flash Holidays, The Hot Flash Club Chills Out, and Between Husbands and Friends. She lives on Nantucket. You can visit Nancy Thayer’s website at

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Author Spotlight: Jackie M. Johnson and When Loves Ends and the Ice Cream Carton is Empty

While most books for singles tell readers how to get the next guy, When Love Ends and the Ice Cream Carton is Empty encourages a healthy healing process. Practical and biblically based, each chapter guides the reader through a metaphorical day of restoration. Twilight recognizes and deals with endings, night validates and grieves the loss, dawn awakens hope, and day is the new beginning based on the solid assurance of Christ.

Chapters conclude with discussions questions for individual or group study, helpful Bible verses, and a prayer.

Read an Excerpt!

Twilight is a time of transition. As late afternoon fades into evening, the vivid colors of day disappear, and the sun, low in the horizon, dips slowly into earth’s edge. In the dimness before nightfall it becomes increasingly hard to see. Soon it will be dark. Likewise, a relationship ending is your own “heart sunset.” Good-bye day; good-bye love.


As early evening settles in, dusk becomes an ambiguous zone. With less light, things can seem uncertain or unclear, like why your relationship ended. Sometimes you are left without the answers or closure you want, and you wrack your brain trying to figure out what went wrong. He was indifferent, he just couldn’t commit, or he was immature. Maybe you were the one who couldn’t do it anymore, and you were just plain done. Perhaps you finally realized that you didn’t really have that much in common after all, or the timing was bad, or he found someone else. Maybe you know exactly why you split up, and it makes you livid, depressed, or resentful. There are as many reasons as there are relationships. There’s always the “I don’t know what I want right now” explanation or the fear factor. Maybe you never had any good role models in your life of what a healthy love relationship or marriage looks like and it scares you to death. You’re afraid to trust because you don’t want to end up in an unhealthy, dysfunctional, or boring relationship—or one that falls apart again.

I was surprised when a man I’d been getting to know online for a few months sent me an e-mail to break things off by saying, “I was looking at my calendar for the next year and I’m going to be really busy. “Well then what were the past four let’s-get-to-know-each-other-better months about? Was he really busy or was he afraid of a commitment? I guess I’ll never know. Sadly, you may never know the real reason why the person you once shared everything with will now tell you nothing.

Whether the final send-off came gradually or you were blindsided, endings are never easy. Katy and Will enjoyed a year of Saturday night indie films and Starbucks runs before Will shocked her one summer afternoon when he said he couldn’t see himself marrying her. But he still wanted to “hang out,” and Katy, not wanting to lose him entirely, continued to see Will for six more months—and in the process lost herself and her self respect. Finally, she could no longer endure the emotional turmoil of longing and lack, hoping that one day he would come around. As she began to learn more about her true worth and value, she courageously broke it off entirely.

Unlike Katy’s drawn-out breakup, Chaundra’s ending was sudden. Darren exited as quickly as he entered her life. He was a “comet” dater—burn fast, burn bright, and burn out. From the day they met at her best friend’s house, Darren called her every day (sometimes two or three times a day). After a few weeks of spending all of their free time together, he just stopped calling. No explanation. The next Saturday Chaundra saw Darren with another woman at a café and she was heartbroken.


Then there’s your story. When you end a significant relationship, you may feel a hundred different emotions, from some snarly name-calling or a disillusioned, “I really thought this would go somewhere,” to a despondent, “How am I going to get over him? “You’re sad, angry, confused, hurt, depressed, and some days you just want to sob with your two new best friends, Ben and Jerry (and their ridiculously good frozen treats).

Everyone responds to loss and pain differently. For some of us it takes longer to absorb the changes, adjust, and begin again. Whether you were together for a long time or a short time, you may have had a close, deep connection. Your personality, temperament, and background all make a difference in how you deal with emotional pain (or don’t) and how long it takes to heal.

If you’re the one breaking it off, you may be hurting someone you care about (or once cared about) and that can bring a host of emotions from guilt and shame to remorse and blame. No matter what the guy says—like the classic, “it’s not you, it’s me”—or how he says it (in person or by phone, fax, letter, e-mail, text, or other electronic media), your relationship has ended .Game over. You’re not together anymore. Now what?

Read the Reviews!

"This well-written and easy-to-read book is divided up into four parts, that will take you through the process of moving on with grace and hope!"
--A Mom After God's Own Heart

"Throughout this book, Johnsons speaks with incredible honesty of the trial she has faced in love. She shows that it is possible to survive a heartbreak, and to not allow that heartbreak to control every aspect of your life. By sharing Biblical insights into grief and loss, Johnson creates a basic roadmap out of the darkness of a broken heart."
--Lynn's Corner

About the Author!

Jackie M. Johnson is an accomplished author and freelance writer who has a passion for helping people who’ve experienced brokenness. Her first book, Power Prayers for Women has sold almost 200,000 copies.
A Milwaukee native and graduate of Trinity International University, Jackie lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Her latest release is When Love Ends and the Ice Cream Carton is Empty.

You can visit Jackie online at and at her blog

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Book Review: Lingering Spirit by Marilyn Meredith (Contest)

If you want a romance novel that will fascinate you while it tugs at your heart strings, pick up a copy of Lingering Spirit by Marilyn Meredith.

Nicole Ainsworth is angry with her husband Steve when he tells her he applied at several Northern California sheriff and police departments. He never even discussed it with her first. Nicole adores Channel Harbor where she has lived her entire life and with her family close by. Then Steve tells Nicole about his premonition--the one where he sees his own death, and he is certain if he stays in Channel Harbor, he'll die.

Nicole and Steve pack up their family and move to Quail Meadow, where Steve now works at the Goldfield Country Sheriff's Department. The night the doorbell rings and Nicole opens the door to find Sheriff Zahn and Chaplain Kober on the other side, her life changes forever. Now a widow, Nicole's once perfect world crumbles into pieces.

Distraught, miles from her family, and a single parent to her young girls, Nicole struggles to get beyond the pain of losing Steve. When strange things begin happening, Nicole is certain Steve is trying to communicate something to her. But what? Even moving back home to Channel Harbor only stops the images and feelings of Steve's presence for a short time. And when Nicole finds someone else is watching over her too, she wonders if this could mean a second chance at happiness.

I have to get the disclaimers out of the way first with this one. Marilyn is one of my clients through Pump Up Your Book Promotion. I've read all of the books in her Rocky Bluff P.D. series, and own all the books in her Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, which I began reading starting with Judgment Fire. That said, I was a bit nervous about reading Lingering Spirit. I'm a fan of Marilyn's writing, but all the books I read were of similar genres. Could she write a romance novel I would enjoy?

The answer is, oh yes!

Lingering Spirit's prologue sets the stage for this heartrending romance novel. The reader enters into the argument between Nicole and Steve over his not telling her about applying for a new job miles away from where Nicole has always lived. As with all the books of Meredith's that I've read, she drops you right into the middle of things. I'm immediately hooked. As a wife, I can feel Nicole's dread when she learns of Steve's premonition. That feeling is heightened when the doorbell rings at three a.m. and Nicole briefly considers not opening the door. What you don't know, can't hurt you.

Meredith truly makes the reader care for Nicole and her children throughout this novel, especially young, Sarah, who is having a great deal of trouble with the loss of her father. While the book focuses on Nicole's grief, I'm glad to see that the author didn't ignore what the children were going through.

What I truly enjoyed watching unfold, however, was the slow evolution of Nicole's relationship with the mysterious stranger from her husband's funeral. He's one of the pallbearers, so Nicole figures he must have been a good friend to Steve, but she's never met him. There's tension between them as he is invading territory Nicole hasn't invited him into. The mystery surrounding this man leads to a satisfying and touching conclusion to a superb novel.

I polished this book off in two days and you won't want to stop reading it once you pick it up.

Lingering Spirit is the type of book that romance lovers dream of finding.

Title: Lingering Spirit
Author: Marilyn Meredith
ISBN-10: 189234369X
ISBN-13: 978-1892343697
SRP: $12.95

Also available in a Kindle edition for only $1.95.

CONTEST: Have you ever dreamed of being immortalized in print? Well, here’s your chance! Award-winning author Marilyn Meredith is running a contest during her Lingering Spirit Virtual Book Tour, which runs from July 6th through July 30th. Marilyn will name a character in her next Rocky Bluff P.D. book after the reader who comments at the most blog stops during her virtual book tour. This book is currently scheduled to be released in 2012.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Interview with Author Kersten Campbell and Giveaway at Linda Weaver Clarke's Blog

My friend, Linda Weaver Clarke is up to her tricks again. This week she has a fabulous international giveaway that every mother I know will want to enter. I really should keep it under wraps so I can win this book, but I know even if I don't win, I'm picking up a copy of Confessions of a Completely (In)sane Mother.

"Confessions is a book full of humor stories about life with five kids and a mother who is far from perfect. In fact, that's why I wrote the book, so that women would be inspired to relax and enjoy motherhood and realize that nobody is perfect. I hoped it would inspire them to laugh at the little disasters that happen every day in family life. The message is: Just do your best, enjoy your family, and rely on the Savior to make up the difference."

Now, I'm sure not a perfect mother. My kids will eagerly tell you that. But I really like the message this book shares. It's something I try to remind myself of every day.

So, how can you enter to win a copy of Confessions of a Completely (In)sane Mother? Visit Linda Weaver Clarke's blog and leave a comment with your email address.

This contest ends on July 26th, so hurry on over. Wait, I take that back. Stay away so my chances of winning the book are increased!

Kersten Campbell has always loved books and chocolate doughnuts. When she was a young girl her parents had her hearing tested because she would be so involved in reading a book that she couldn't hear what was going on in the outside world. There was nothing they could do about the chocolate doughnuts.

She grew up in Wisconsin until she turned sixteen, when her family moved to Boise, Idaho. When she protested the move, her father said, "Don't worry, you'll probably find some nice Mormon boy to marry."

Confused, Kersten replied, "What's a Mormon?"

She soon found out, and joined the LDS church at age twenty-one. She earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Idaho in English Literature and has written many articles and stories for church publications and other magazines. When not writing, she enjoys reading, painting, family history research, playing the clarinet in a city band, playing with children, and eating chocolate doughnuts. She is currently working on more humor essays, a young adult fiction novel, and a spiritual book about motherhood.

She and that "nice Mormon boy," live in Washington with their five beautiful children.

Visit Kristen online at

Australian Outback Fiction Contest at Down Under Views

My mate JM at Down Under Views is running a great contest right now. Author Fleur McDonald donated some excellent prizes and JM added a few other lovely things for this giveaway that includes three prizes including books, journals, and chocolate! Every writer's or reader's dream.

Stop on over at Down Under Views and read the ways in which you can enter and increase your chances of winning.

This is an international giveaway! Anyone with a valid email address can win. Deadline to enter is Saturday, July 24th at 11:59 PM AEST, so check out the Australian Outback Fiction Contest at Down Under Views now!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Book Connection's Big Summer 2010 Book Giveaway!

Starting on Monday, July 19th, look for details on The Book Connection's Big Summer 2010 Book Giveaway! Ten Book Packs in a variety of genres are up for grabs this year.

Visit The Book Connection for details.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Author Spotlight: Terry Drake and Live Happily Ever After...Now!

Live Happily, Ever After… Now! uses age old, time tested secrets (found in NLP, Law of Attraction, Positive Psychology, and Hypnosis) to teach you how to create the life you want! Ask yourself: Are you in control of what you think, act and feel? Are you living the life you want? Would you like to be happy and successful in everything you do? The key is learning how much control you have over your life, your beliefs and attitudes about yourself, others and the world you live in. Once you understand that you are in control (and you will), then you can use the 9 simple steps to begin living the life you want.

Read an Excerpt!

The formula for Happiness

What is the formula for happiness? As if there is a secret formula, which you could mix up a batch of in the lab. Well, actually it isn’t even that complicated. You don’t need the lab, you don’t need to mix any solutions, and that wouldn’t result in real happiness. As funny as this notion seems, our society has jumped on board with this idea. You are told a medication will help with all your problems. You are bombarded with advertisements about how much better life would be with a cold beer or how you will be happy once you buy that new car.

I can confidently tell you that without a change in your beliefs you will not find true happiness. Medications, relaxing moments, alcohol, and material things can help you enjoy your life, but alone they will never bring you true happiness. Permanent success and happiness will only come from within and only by making changes to the way you think about yourself and others.

Now, there is a simple formula for happiness and the best part about it is that it is already within you. Not only is it within you, it is under your control. It is also much easier than you think to lead a happy and successful lifestyle. Most of you don’t realize or fully understand this and that is okay. The most interesting fact is that you already use the formula, you just don’t understand it yet and that results in your continued unhappiness.

"Live Happily Ever After…Now! is an excellent resource to help anyone achieve a happier life.”


Terry M. Drake is a Licensed Social Worker, National Board Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, Certified Trainer of Ericksonian Hypnosis and NLP. He has spent the last 15 years learning about himself and others, through his academic studies resulting in his MSW and his professional studies, as a family therapist, clinical supervisor and vast training and research into hypnosis, neuro-linguistic programming, the law of attraction and positive psychology. Terry is currently a Director of mental and behavioral health programs and a Life Coach, Hypnotherapist in private practice. He is also ready to put his skills to use as an author, speaker, consultant and coach. Terry lives in Wellsboro, Pa with his wife and children. You can learn more about the power of your mind and how to be happy and successful in everything you do, by visiting and buying his new book, Live Happily, Ever After… Now! 9 Simple Steps to create the life YOU want!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Outer Banks Update

We've been at the Outer Banks for over a week now. Spent almost every day at the beach, ate some great food, and took in the outdoor theater at The Lost Colony.

The fireworks in Roanoke were amazing, as always. We ate at some of the usual places: Pizza Hut, Western Sizzlin, and Miller's. Western Sizzlin and Miller's have both gone through some renovations since our visit last year.

We also tried the Outer Banks Brewing Station again this year--the first wind powered pub. It's been a few years since we ate there. The food was fabulous!

Our friend, whose house we stay in when we're here, recommended The Kill Devil Grill. Even though it took us two tries to get in, since the place is so small and it's very busy, we enjoyed a wonderful meal followed by an Outer Banks Daredevils baseball game. It was a doubleheader and they won both games against the Petersburg Generals.

In my spare time I've read several books, wrote two chapters of my current WIP Amelia's Mission, and wrote the first chapter for one of my ghostwriting projects. Reviews of the books I've read are posted at The Book Connection and The Children's and Teens Book Connection or will be posted later in the month.

We're heading home on Friday night, so my blogs will be back to their normal schedule soon. On the 16th, author Terry Drake's book will be spotlighted.

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Book Review: The Last Operative by Jerry B. Jenkins

A suspense filled post 9/11 retelling of his first stand-alone novel, The Last Operative, by Jerry Jenkins is a superb read.

Being an NSA intelligence officer has cost Jordan Kirkwood a great deal. He barely knows his children. His wife, Rosemary is supportive, but he knows she deserves more than he's been able to give. Meeting Rosemary in London to explore Europe as a tourist, is part of Jordan's commitment to his family. But when horrifying intelligence is confided to him in Frankfurt, everything changes. Even worse, someone inside the NSA may be behind the greatest threat since 9/11. During one of his most dangerous missions, Jordan must figure out who he can trust, knowing the fate of his country hangs in the balance.

Having been a fan of Jerry Jenkins since the release of the first book in the Left Behind series, I was eager to read his latest book. When I heard about a contest to win a free autographed copy of The Last Operative, I entered my ideas for how I would promote the book online. I won a copy of the book and a cash prize (something I didn't know about when I submitted my ideas).

I have to admit this wasn't a book I got into immediately, but because I had enjoyed every book in the Left Behind series, in fact, liked each new book more than the last, I knew I had to stick with it. I am so glad I did, because by Chapter 5 I was totally hooked.

With The Last Operative, Jenkins blends family, faith, suspense, and international intrigue to come up with a winner. While faith doesn't play a huge role in this novel, some of the conversations between characters touch upon faith in God.

With Jordan Kirkwood, the author creates a character who struggles with knowing his job has always needed to come first; a struggle that increases after London. The reader sympathizes with Jordan, his family, and those who are drawn into this newest threat that demands Jordan's attention, and again, pulls him from his family.

In the Author's Note, the reader discovers The Last Operative is a retelling of the author's first stand-alone novel. In addition, Jenkins pulled off an experiment with this book, by eliminating any "he said" or "she said" tags. Jenkins says no reader has told him they were confused by who was speaking, and I certainly didn't find this experiment to be an obstacle to my own reading enjoyment.

Lovers of suspense and international intrigue will certainly enjoy The Last Operative by Jerry Jenkins. I know I'm looking forward to his next release.

Title: The Last Operative
Author: Jerry B. Jenkins
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
ISBN-10: 1414309201
ISBN-13: 978-1414309200
SRP: $14.99

Friday, July 9, 2010

Author Spotlight: Marilyn Meredith and Lingering Spirit

Nicole Ainsworth’s husband, Steve, has a premonition of his death and moves his family to a mountain community where he serves as a deputy sheriff. He is killed in the line of duty and his wife, Nicole, is left behind to struggle with the changes forced upon her life. While trying to cope with her grief, raise her two little girls, her husband’s spirit visits her on numerous occasions. She soon learns that someone else is watching over her too.

Read an Excerpt from Lingering Spirit!

Chapter 1

"You're going to have to talk to her, Steve," Nicole said as soon as Steve entered the house. He looked handsome in his crisp khaki Goldfield County deputy's uniform, but she still liked the navy blue uniform he'd worn as a police officer better. Though she was truly trying, she still considered everything in Southern California far superior, but she tried not to complain too much.

"Who do you want me to talk to?" Steve asked, as he settled his large frame into his place at the dining room table.

Nicole brushed his tan cheek with her lips and patted the top of his golden head. "Sarah, who else? She won't do anything I tell her. Her room's a mess. I told her to pick it up, but she won't do it."

"She's only four, after all."

Nicole put a steaming bowl of stew in front of him. Butter and a partial loaf of sour dough were already on the table.

"Smells wonderful. It's cold outside. Might get some snow tonight." He began eating.

With one hand on her hip, Nicole said, "Steve, listen to me. What are you going to do about Sarah?"

"I'll have a talk with her before I leave. Why don't you sit down and visit with me while I'm eating?"

Nicole smiled. Moving had made a difference in Steve, he wasn't so agitated. "What's going on out there?"

His grin was huge. "Not much. It's downright boring. Only had one call. Had to get a cow out of the road. Cited a speeder. Talked to Marsh Wilder, he and his wife want us to come to dinner on my day off."

Wilder was a senior deputy. His wife had been very helpful to Nicole. In the four months since they'd lived in Quail Meadow, one of many small towns in the county, Page had taken her to the best stores, introduced her to the other wives, and organized picnics and various outings for both the families. Their son, though older, attended the same grammar school where Kimberly was enrolled.

"I know. Page called me today. I pointed out it was really their turn to come to dinner here, but she's having some other people over she wants us to meet."

Steve buttered another slice of bread. "You've told me about Sarah, what's Kimberly up to? She usually greets me at the door with a hug."

"Don't you remember? She's spending the night with the little girl down the street. That's part of Sarah's prob¬lem. She thought she ought to go too, threw a fit when I told her she couldn't because she wasn't invited. Haven't been able to get her to do anything since."

"Got to admit it, we spoiled the kid."

"What do you mean 'we'? You're the one that always lets her get away with everything."

Steve lifted his blond eyebrows and shrugged his broad shoulders. "That's because she looks so much like you, she's got me wrapped around her little finger, just like you do."

Nicole couldn't think of a response. Her husband's flirtatious teasing had been one of many benefits from the move. Even though they'd taken a drastic cut in pay, the pluses far outweighed the minuses. She smiled and asked, "Do you want some more stew?"

"Love some, but I really don't have time. I'll eat what's left for lunch tomorrow. Bring that little darling on out here while I'm finishing."

It didn't look like Sarah had moved since the last time Nicole peeked in her room. Clothes and toys were still scattered everywhere. The tiny girl sat in the middle of one of the twin beds, arms and legs crossed, her lower lip protrud¬ing. Head down, dark curls fell across her eyes.

"Daddy's home. He wants to talk to you."

"Don't wanna talk."

"Come on, Sarah. Let's go."


Stepping carefully to avoid the litter on the multi-colored rug, Nicole snatched her daughter into her arms.

"Put me down!" Legs kicked in the air.

Nicole ignored the kicking and screaming as she carried her daughter into the kitchen. She plopped her into the chair.

"Hey. What's all the noise about?" Steve asked, lean¬ing toward Sarah.

"I'm mad."

"What're you mad about?"

"Kimberly's spending the night and Mommy won't let me go."

"You weren't invited."

"I coulda just gone. They wouldn't care."

"No, sweetie. That's not how we do things. Mommy tells me you won't pick up your toys."

"Don't wanna."

"Your room is going to be nice and neat when I get home, isn't it?"

Sarah brushed the curls out of her eyes and stared directly at her father. "No."

Steve's cheeks brightened. "If you don't pick up your toys, Sarah, you'll have to stay in your room until you do."

"Don't care."

Steve stood. "Yes, you will care. I mean what I say. You'll be staying in your room tomorrow until you've made it nice and neat. I've got to go back to work now, how about giving me a hug and kiss."

"No." Sarah slid down from the chair. "Go away and never come back."

As she ran from the room, Steve called after her, "I love you no matter what. I just don't like it when you won't mind your mother and me."

"Sarah." Nicole started after her.

Grabbing her arm, Steve stopped her. "Let her go. She'll get over it. Since I didn't get a hug and kiss from her, how about you?"

Standing on tiptoe, Nicole reached up to kiss him. His arms pulled her close, and he squeezed her so tightly it almost took her breath away.

He parted her lips with his tongue and kissed her passionately. They clung together for several moments making Nicole wish he didn't have to go back to work.

"I love you," he said. "Can hardly wait until I get back home tonight. Hope you won't mind if I wake you."

"I'll be looking forward to it." She winked at him saucily, "Have I ever minded?" Some of their best love making had been when he'd crawled into bed at the end of his shift, waking her with tender caresses.

"That's my sexy Nicky." Steve opened the front door, tucking in his rear to avoid the whack Nicole aimed at him.

"You know I don't like anyone to call me that!"

"You never seem to mind me calling you Nicky when we're making love," he teased as he quickly slipped through the door and closed it.

Grinning, Nicole peeked through the front drapes and waved as her husband climbed into the white official sedan he'd parked beside the curb. It was too dark to see much, just the shadowy shapes of the fir and cedar trees around the house. From across the street, came the yellow glow from the neighbor's windows and smoke curling from their chimney.

That reminded her, it was time to put another log in the wood stove, something she'd certainly never had to do when she lived in Channel Harbor. She waved one last time as Steve drove away.

Letting the drapes fall together, Nicole turned toward the brick hearth that ran the length of the wall. Steve had brought in the evening's supply of wood before leaving for work. Nicole tended to the fire, still amazed how the small stove heated the entire three bedroom, A-frame house.

Smaller than their home in southern California, their furniture comfortably filled the space. Every window looked out onto a tree filled vista. From their redwood deck outside their kitchen they'd seen raccoons, possums, a skunk, and deer. Even Nicole enjoyed the scenery. It had snowed a few times since they'd lived there, entrancing the children.

Deciding to leave Sarah alone for awhile, Nicole began picking up after her husband's meal. When the kitchen was spotless, she sat down in her favorite chair near the wood stove.

Thoroughly enjoying her contentment, she realized how much had changed since they'd moved to Quail Meadow. Of course she missed her family and friends. But everyone had traveled the nearly four-hundred miles to visit at least once, and they called regularly. And she'd been warmly welcomed by the other deputies' wives and the few neighbors.

The cost of living was cheaper, and everything moved at a slower pace in the mountain community. It was almost like they'd stepped a few years back in time. Crime was almost nonexistent. Steve complained good-naturedly about being bored while on duty, but she knew by his drastic change in attitude that the overwhelming dread that had driven him from Channel Harbor had completely disappeared.

The big difference for Nicole was that she was no longer afraid when he worked late hours. The beach communi¬ty they'd come from had all the problems of a big city. Drugs and gang activities had infected the entire area.

The biggest problem she had right now was her youngest daughter. Sighing, she left her comfortable place. "Sarah," she called, as she headed toward her child's room.

Nicole was pleasantly surprised when she entered. Nearly all the toys had been put away. Sarah busily shoved books into the bookcase. She smiled brightly at her mother when she entered.

"I did it. Won't Daddy be happy?"

"Oh, yes. You've done a wonderful job." Nicole held her arms out to. "Come give me a hug."

Sarah scampered across the floor and threw herself into her mother's arms. She squeezed tightly, reminding Nicole of Steve's breathtaking hugs. Though she didn't like to admit it, Sarah resembled Nicole in more than just looks. She remembered spankings she could have avoided as a child, if she hadn't been so stubborn and always done what her mother or father asked of her.

"Oh, sweetie, why didn't you just do this in the first place instead of making all of us angry?"

Sarah pulled away from her mother. "'Cause I didn't wanna."

"I know sweetie, but life would be so much easier if you'd do what you're told."

The lower lip came out. "I cleaned my room. Don't you like it?"

"Yes, I do." She knew it wasn't worth the effort to try and explain any further. "Why don't we make some pop¬corn and see if there's anything good on TV?"

* * *
Was that the doorbell? Nicole raised herself on her elbow and squinted at the illuminated numerals on the clock. It was after three. She must have been dreaming.

She was about to snuggle under the covers, when she heard it again. It was the doorbell, followed by the sound of knocking.

Leaping from the bed, Nicole yanked a housecoat from the closet and ran down the stairs, her heart beating wildly.


Marilyn Meredith is the author of nearly thirty published novels, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, the latest Dispel the Mist from Mundania Press. Under the name of F. M. Meredith she writes the Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series, An Axe to Grind is the latest from Oak Tree Press.

She is a member of EPIC, Four chapters of Sisters in Crime, including the Internet chapter, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. Visit her at and her blog at


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Author Spotlight: Sue Provost and Where is God in Your Life?

As Christians, our spiritual journey constantly brings us back to Jerusalem, to the death and resurrection of Jesus, which gives meaning to all that we do. Strengthened by God’s Spirit we join on the walk to wherever, we share meals, and we tell our stories. We remember. God, as we go along our life’s way, will help us to be aware of His presence with us. He will open our eyes, makes us expectant, eager to be met by Him. We will never complete our spiritual journey.

Quite often people do not know how to develop a relationship with God, in order to be able to feel God’s love for them and to be able to share that love with others. They need to be given the tools necessary to develop a relationship with God and to understand how that relationship is celebrated in community.

Through the development of three two-day workshops, I have presented a program that will show readers and participants how to recognize God in their lives and to feel His love. I have designed these workshops to help people to continue their spiritual journey to greater connection with God. Finally, I have created these workshops to help others to see the importance of the Christian faith as a spiritual roadmap to be used on the path to God.

Read the Reviews of Where is God in Your Life?:

“Where is God in Your Life? Do you feel stuck in your quest to know God? Have you been around a person whose pores breathe perfect and radiant peace? Fear does not define any part of their life; they are not driven toward recognition yet they clearly and brightly reflect God so that you can’t help but notice them. You may pray, go to a church, and have a great family, but you know you don’t feel satisfied on the same level as your glowing friend. Where is God in your Life: Three Retreats in Christian Spirituality by Susan M Provost, a new book available on Amazon, offers readers a pathway to reach a new depth in their relationship with God.”

--K. Tomsic, Amazon Reviewer

Sue Provost is an active spiritual director, religious education teacher for both children and adults, and author of Where is God in Your Life? Three Retreats in Christian Spirituality. Her vocation in the practice of spiritual direction supports lay men and women, as well as clergy and those in ministry formation, in discernment of God’s gifting and God’s calling.

Sue has a master’s degree in Spiritual Formation from Regis University, in Denver Colorado. She is on the board of directors for the national headquarters of Small Christian Communities Connect (SCCC), as well as being the chairperson for SCC in her local parish. She is a teacher of religious education to both children and adults. She writes a daily blog about the message of Jesus on her site “Let Your Life Sing” . Sue goal in writing this daily blog is to bring awareness of God walking with us on this earthly journey.

Her desire is to share her understanding of God’s love with others, so they can experience what she found in her own relationship with God. She feels that communication with God through prayer is the essential element needed to be able to see God’s movement in their lives.

You can visit Sue’s website at

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Last Operative by Jerry B. Jenkins

I was first introduced to the work of Jerry Jenkins with The Left Behind series. The Book of Revelation has always been one of my favorite books of the Bible, but it is very mystical. While this series is fictional, the Biblical prophecy behind these books isn't, and I felt a better understanding of the Book of Revelation from reading them.

Through Tyndale, the publisher of The Left Behind series, I learned Jerry Jenkins had a new book coming out on June 24, The Last Operative. I also found out through this email from Tyndale, that Jenkins was running a contest.

Readers were asked to submit ideas for ways they would promote The Last Operative. There were 15 winners selected out of more than 500 entries. I was fortunate enough to be among the winners. I received an autographed copy of the book and a cash prize. This last part was a total surprise to me. I guess I didn't read the original email carefully.

You can view some of the winning contest ideas by clicking here. I actually felt mine were some of the more boring ideas. The others who won made awesome suggestions.

You'll find a list of the winners here.

I'm bringing The Last Operative with me on vacation, so look for my review coming in July or August.