Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Golden Pathway by Donna McDine is Now Available!



Title: The Golden Pathway
Written by: Donna McDine
Illustrated by: K.C. Snider
Ages: 8-12
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
Hardcover: ISBN: 978-1-61633-081-1; 1616330813
Soft cover: ISBN: 978-1-61633-088-0; 1616330880
eBook: ISBN: 978-1-61633-082-8; 1616330821
Published: August 2010

Synopsis:

Raised in a hostile environment where abuse occurs daily, David attempts to break the mold and befriends the slave, Jenkins, owned by his Pa. Fighting against extraordinary times and beliefs, David leads Jenkins to freedom with no regard for his own safety and possible consequences dealt out by his Pa.

Read the Excerpt!

He clamped his hands over his ears, but it didn’t block the high-pitched screams from the barn. He knew they would stop. They always did. Yet, the silence scared David even more, knowing Pa would seek a new victim.

Thud. Thud. Pa’s heavy footsteps echoed on the porch.

Clank. The buckle from Pa’s belt hit the floor.

Buzz saw. Pa’s loud snores shook the windowpane.

David grabbed his boots and with shaky hands slid them on. His small size made it easy to hoist himself out the bedroom window and shimmy down the trellis. David did his best not to leave any footprints in Ma’s tomato garden. He made sure each night to leave the straw broom on the front porch leaning against the railing by the garden. David reached over the railing for the broom. He carefully brushed the dirt to hide his footprints, all the while backing out of the garden. Satisfied that he’d covered his tracks, David shook the dirt off the broom and placed it back on the porch.

If Pa found out what he was doing, he’d skin his hide for sure. David loved Pa, but he had to make this stop.




Donna McDine is an award-winning children's author, Honorable Mention in the 77th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition and two Honorable Mentions in the 78th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. Donna’s stories and features have been published in many print and online publications, and her first book, The Golden Pathway, will be published through Guardian Angel Publishing. Ms. McDine is a member of the SCBWI, Musing Our Children, and The National Writing for Children Center. Learn more about Donna at www.donnamcdine.com if you sign the guestbook, you’ll receive a FREE e-Book Write What Inspires You: Author Interviews, and http://www.donna-mcdine.blogspot.com and http://www.thegoldenpathway.blogspot.com.


Learn more about Donna McDine and The Golden Pathway by checking out THE GOLDEN PATHWAY VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR SEPT/OCT '10! Visit www.pumpupyourbook.com during September and October to see where Donna stops next.

You can purchase The Golden Pathway at Amazon.com and at the publisher's website.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hometown Girl by Michele Ashman Bell Book Review and Giveaway at Linda Weaver Clarke's Blog



This week's review and giveaway at Linda Weaver Clarke's blog is for Hometown Girl by Michele Ashman Bell.

Amazon.com description: Jocelyn Roger's life is in a rut. Maybe she should step outside her comfort zone and move to Milford Falls, where she has inherited her grandmother's house. With the encouragement of the other Butterfly Girls, Jocelyn musters her courage and starts a new life. However, when she arrives in the small town that holds both good and bad memories for her, she discovers the house in worse shape than she expected, and getting repairs done is anything but easy, especially when it comes to dealing with Jack Emerson, a man who seems to be agitated by Jocelyn and everyone else within a fifty mile radius. To make matters worse, she has begun to worry that moving back to the place where she once spent a troubled summer will expose the deep personal secret she has kept hidden for fourteen years. But Jack also has a a hidden secret that has prevented him from getting close to anyone in a long time. And now it seems that interfering neighbors may prevent both Jack and Jocelyn from moving forward with their lives. Join the Butterfly Girls in this charmingly romantic story that shows sometimes it takes a leap of faith to land on your feet.

Linda had this to say about it: "...a delightful romance full or humor."

Between the description and Linda's endorsement, I'm sold!

Stop by Linda Weaver Clarke's blog to read the full review and a short interview with the author. Then enter to win a copy of the book by following Linda's directions. This is an international giveaway.

Michele is also running a separate giveaway at her blog, so make sure you check it out.




Michele Ashman Bell grew up in St. George, Utah. Her passion for books and her love for keeping a journal helped her develop an understanding for the power of the written word, not only to express feelings and imagination, but to touch others and move readers. Once the writing bug bit, it took ten long years of submissions, rejections, workshops, critique groups, and community education classes, before her first book: An Unexpected Love. Michele is the author of 18 books and 4 Christmas stories. She is married to her college sweetheart and is the mother of four children and has one granddaughter.

You can visit her website at www.micheleashmanbell.com.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Author Spotlight: Sally Koslow and With Friends Like These



When Quincy, Jules, Talia, and Chloe become New York City roommates in the early nineties, they become fast friends despite their drastically different personalities. Now, nearly twenty years later, their lives have diverged as much as they possibly can within one city: Quincy is mourning a miscarriage and lusting for the perfect Manhattan apartment; Jules, a woman with an outsize personality, is facing forty alone; Talia, married and the mother of a four-year-old, is her family’s reluctant breadwinner; and Chloe faces pressure from her hedge fund manager husband to be more ambitious. As these women grapple with the challenges of marriage, motherhood, careers, and real estate, they can’t help but assess their positions in life in comparison to each other–leading them to envy and disillusionment. Honest and entertaining, and written in Sally Koslow’s trademark wry, vivid prose, With Friends Like These asks serious questions about what makes female friendship endure, and to whom a woman’s loyalty most belongs.

Read an Excerpt from With Friends Like These!

Chapter One

Quincy
“A fax hit my desk for an apartment that isn’t officially listed yet–you must see it immediately.” Horton’s voice was broadcasting an urgency reserved for hurricane evacuation. But in 2007, anyone who’d ever beaten the real estate bushes would be suspicious of a broker displaying even an atom of passivity. Shoppers of condos and co-ops in Manhattan and the leafier regions of Brooklyn knew they had to learn the art of the pounce: see, gulp, bid. Save the pros and cons for picking a couch. Several times a week Horton e-mailed me listings, but rarely did he call. This had to be big. “Where is it?” I asked while I finished my lukewarm coffee.

“Central Park West.” Horton identified a stone pile known by its name, the Eldorado, referring to a mythical kingdom where the tribal chief had the habit of dusting himself with gold, a commodity familiar to most of the apartment building’s inhabitants—marquee actors, eminent psychotherapists, and large numbers of frumps who were simply lucky. With twin towers topped by Flash Gordon finials, the edifice lorded it over a gray-blue reservoir, the park’s largest body of water, and cast a gimlet eye toward Fifth Avenue.

“I couldn’t afford that building,” I said. If Horton was trying to game me into spending more than our budget allowed, he’d fail. While the amount of money Jake and I had scraped together for a new home seemed huge to us–representing the sale of our one-bedroom in Park Slope, an inheritance from my mom, and the proceeds from seeing one of my books linger on the bestseller list–other brokers had none too politely terminated the conversation as soon as I quoted our allotted sum. What I liked about Horton was that hewas dogged, he was hungry, and he was the only real estate agent returning my calls.

“That’s the beauty part,” he said, practically singing. “You, Quincy Blue, can afford this apartment.” He named a figure. We could, just. “What’s the catch?” In my experience, deals that sounded too good to be true were–like the brownstone I’d seen last week that lacked not only architectural integrity but functional plumbing.

“It’s a fixer-upper,” Horton admitted. “Listen, I can go to the second name on my list.”

“I’ll see you in twenty minutes,” I said, hitting “save” on my manuscript. I was currently the ghostwriter for Maizie May, one of Hollywood’s interchangeable blow-dried blondes with breasts larger than their brain. While she happened to be inconveniently incarcerated in Idaho rehab, allowed only one sound bite of conversation with me per week, my publisher’s deadline, three months away, continued to growl. I hid my hair under a baseball cap and laced my sneakers. Had Jake seen me, he would have observed that I looked very West Side; my husband was fond of pointing out our neighborhood’s inverse relationship between apartment price and snappy dress. As I walked east I called him, but his cell phone was off. Jake’s flight to Chicago must be late.

Racing down Broadway, I allowed myself a discreet ripple of anticipation. Forget the Yankees. Real estate would always be New York City’s truest spectator sport, and I was no longer content to cheer from the bleachers. Two years ago, my nesting hormones had kicked in and begun to fiercely multiply, with me along for the ride. We were eager to escape from our current sublet near Columbia University. I longed to be dithering over paint colors–Yellow Lotus or Pale Straw; flat, satin, or eggshell–and awash in fabric swatches. I coveted an office that was bigger than a coffee table book and a dining table that could accommodate all ten settings of my wedding china. I wanted a real home. I’d know it when I saw it.

Horton, green-eyed, cleft-chinned–handsome if you could overlook his devotion to argyle–stood inside the building’s revolving door. “The listing broker isn’t here yet,” he said, “but you can get a sense of the lobby.” A doorman tipped his capped head and motioned us toward armchairs upholstered in a tapestry of tasteful, earthy tones. Horton unfurled a floor plan.

I’d become a quick study of such documents. “It’s only a two-bedroom,” I said, feeling the familiar disappointment that had doused the glow of previous apartment visits. Was the fantasy of three bedrooms asking too much for a pair of industrious adults more than twelve years past grad school? Jake was a lawyer. I had a master’s in English literature. Yet after we’d been outbid nine times, Jake and I had accepted the fact that in this part of town, two bedrooms might be as good as it would get.

“This isn’t any two-bedroom,” Horton insisted. “Look how grand the living room and dining room are.” Big enough for a party where Jake and I could reciprocate every invitation we’d received since getting married five years ago. “See?” he said, pulling out a hasty sketch and pointing. “Put a wall up to divide the dining room, which has windows on both sides, and create an entrance here. Third bedroom.” He was getting to how cheap the renovation would be when a tall wand of a woman tapped him on the shoulder.

“Fran!” Horton said as warmly as if she were his favorite grandmother, which she was old enough to be. “You’re looking well.”

The woman smiled and a feathering of wrinkles fanned her large blue eyes. The effect made me think that a face without this pattern was too dull. “Did you explain?” she said. Her voice was reedy, a piccolo that saw little use. She’d pulled her silver hair into a chignon and was enveloped in winter white, from a cape covering a high turtleneck to slim trousers that managed to be spotless, although they nearly covered her toes.

“We were getting to that, but first, please meet my client, Quincy Blue. Quincy, Frances Shelbourne of Shelbourne and Stone.”

I knew the firm. Frances and her sister Rose had tied up all the best West Side listings. I shook Fran Shelbourne’s hand, which felt not just creamy but delicately boned. She stared at my sneakers and jeans long enough for me to regret them, then turned her back and padded so soundlessly that I checked to see if she might be wearing slippers. No, ballerina flats. Across the lobby, elaborately filigreed elevator doors opened. Fran turned toward Horton and me and with the briefest arch of one perfectly plucked eyebrow implored us to hurry. When the doors shut, she spoke softly, although we were alone. “The owner’s a dear friend,” she said. “Eloise Walter, the anthropologist.” She waited for me to respond. “From the Museum of Natural History?”

I wondered if I was supposed to know the woman’s body of work and bemoaned the deficiency of my Big Ten education.

“Dr. Walter is in failing health,” she continued, shaking her head. “This is why we won’t schedule an open house.” Every Sunday from September through May, hopeful buyers, like well-trained infantry, traveled the open-house circuit. Jake and I had done our sweaty time, scurrying downtown, uptown, across, and down again, with as many as a dozen visits in a day. Soon enough, we began seeing the same hopeful buyers–the Filipino couple, the three-hundred-pound guy who had the face of a baby, a pair of six-foot-tall redheaded teenage twins who spoke a middle-European tongue. By my fifth Sunday, in minutes I could privately scoff at telltale evidence of dry rot. Silk curtains draped as cunningly as a sari could not distract me from a sunless air shaft a few feet away, nor could lights of megawatt intensity seduce me into forgetting that in most of these apartments I would instantly suffer from seasonal affective disorder.

“You’ll be the first person to see this one,” Horton added by way of a bonus. I could feel the checkbook in my bag coming alive like Mickey’s broom in Fantasia.

When we stepped out of the elevator on the fourteenth floor, Mrs. Shelbourne gently knocked on a metal door that would look at home in any financial institution. From the other side, a floor creaked. A nurse in thick-soled shoes answered and raised an index finger to her lips, casting her eyes toward a shadowy room beyond. The scent of urine–human, feline, or both–crept into my nostrils, followed by a top note of mango air freshener. “Doctor’s sleeping.” My eyes strained to scan a wide room where old-fashioned blinds were drawn against the noon sun. An elderly woman, her hair scant and tufted, was folded into a wheelchair like a rag doll, despite pillows bolstering her skeletal frame. Dr. Walter looked barely alive. Mrs. Shelbourne placed her hand on my arm. “We shouldn’t stay long in this room. I’m sure you understand. Alzheimer’s.”

“I do–too well,” I said, rapidly beholding the high ceiling and dentil moldings, while memories of my mother, scrupulously archived yet too fresh to examine, begged for consideration. I pushed them away even as my mind catalogued herringbone floors withan intricate walnut border and the merest wink of a crystal chandelier. Mrs. Shelbourne grasped my arm and we hurried into a small, dark kitchen with wallpaper on which hummingbirds had enjoyed a sixty-year siesta. In front of the sink, which faced a covered window, linoleum had worn bare. There were scratched metal cabinets and no dishwasher, and I suspected the stove’s birth date preceded my own. I thought of my unfinished chapter, and cursed my wasted time.

Halfheartedly I lifted a tattered shade. “Holy cow,” I said, though only to myself. Sun reflected off the park’s vast reservoir, which appeared so close I thought I could stand on the ledge and swan-dive into its depth. Far below, I could see tree tops, lush as giant broccoli. The traffic was a distant buzz. I felt a tremor. The subway, stories below? No, my heart. Picking up my pace, I followed the brokers through the spacious dining room and down a hall where I counted off six closets. I peeked into a bathroom tiled in a vintage mosaic of the sort decorators encourage clients to re-create at vast expense. We passed through a starlet-worthy dressing room and entered a bedroom into which I could easily tuck my current, rented apartment, with enough space to spare for a study. As Mrs. Shelbourne pulled the hardware on draperies bleached of color, I could swear that a strobe had begun to pulse. From the corner of my eye I saw a black cat slink away while Horton kicked a dust bunny under the bed, but I took little note of either. As I stood by the window, I was gooey with the feeling I’d experienced when I first laid eyes on the Grand Canyon.

The silvery vista spread casually before me might be the most enchanted in the entire city. I closed my eyes, traveling through time. Women were skating figure eights in red velvet cloaks, their hands warmed by ermine muffs. Bells jingled in the evergreen-scentedair as horses waited patiently by sleighs. I blinked again and the maidens wore organdy, their porcelain skin dewy under the parasols shielding their intricate curls. I fast-forwarded to my girlhood and could imagine the large, glassy pond below was the crystal stream beside my grandparents’ log-hewn cabin in Wisconsin’s northern woods, the bone-chilling waters of Scout camp, perhaps Lake Como of my honeymoon scrapbook.

Beside this champagne view, the fifty-four other apartments I’d considered seemed like cheap house wine, including the possibilities that cost far more–almost every one. I pulled myself away from the window and looked back. Walls were no longer hung with faded diplomas, nor was the carpet worn thin. Mirroring the reservoir, the room had turned gray-blue. I saw myself writing at a desk by the window, lit by sunbeams, words spilling out so fast my fingers danced on the keyboard like Rockettes. This time my manuscript wasn’t a twenty-year-old singer-actress’ whiny rant. It was a novel, lauded by the critics and Costco customers alike.

I could see myself in this room. My face wore deep contentment. The bed was luxuriously rumpled, since a half hour earlier Jake and I had made love, and now he was brewing coffee in our brand-new kitchen, as sleekly designed as a sperm. Perhaps he’d already gone out to bike around the park or was walking our shelter-rescued puppy. Tallulah, the little rascal, loved to chase her ball down our twenty-foot hall.

In every way, I was home. Then I snapped out of it. I was wearing my real estate heart on my sleeve, all but drooling. Quincy Blue, you dumb cluck. I sensed Horton looking at me as if he were a cannibal in need of protein, and checked to see if he and Fran had excused themselves to decide whether they should triple the apartment’s price or merely double it. We walked past another bathroom, this one housing a tub as long as a rowboat, ambled back through the dim hallway, and ended in the living room.

“The view’s even better from here–a pity we can’t pull up the shades,” Mrs. Shelbourne whispered as she walked toward the statue slumping in the wheelchair and greeted her. “Hello, Eloise dear.” She took the woman’s listless hand. “It’s Frances. I wish you could sit at that piano”–she pointed to a piece of shrouded furniture–”and play me Chopin.”

The woman emitted a dry rattle, craned her neck toward Mrs. Shelbourne, and smiled. She was missing several teeth.

“If you wish,” she said clearly. Suddenly Dr. Walter tried to raise herself in the wheelchair. “If you would be so kind as to assist me.” The nurse lumbered to her side. On her aide’s sturdy arm, Dr. Walter walked toward the piano, her posture better than my own. She settled on the cracked black leather stool and stretched her knobby fingers. I covered my mouth with my hands, afraid I might gasp. Her hands fondled the ivories and began to play an unmistakable Chopin mazurka. The Steinway was out of tune andthe pianist wore a faded housecoat, but Dr. Walter’s rendition pleased her audience to the point that even Horton was wiping away tears. The concert continued for almost twenty minutes and then, as if someone had pulled a plug, the pianist’s hands froze. Like a small child, she looked around the room, confused. I was afraid she, too, might cry.

We clapped. “That was exquisite,” Mrs. Shelbourne said hoarsely as the nurse helped her patient back to the wheelchair. “Simply exquisite.”

Dr. Walter closed her eyes and in less than a minute was sleeping. Mrs. Shelbourne thanked the nurse and hurried Horton and me to the elevator. I waited for his chatter, but it was she who spoke. “Tell me your story. I can see from your face that you have one.” She looked at me as if she were the dean of women.


Read the Reviews!

“Sally’s characters always have strong voices and presence, and she crafts a good story with sharp wit.”

--Bookreporter.com

“Koslow packs a trove of wit and wisdom into a slick pink package.”

--Publishers Weekly

"Excellent platform for exploring women and friendship."

--A Musing Reviews

"If you are looking for a guilty pleasure that won't add inches to your waistline you must pick up With Friends Like these by Sally Koslow..."

--Teresa's Reading Corner

"The four women in the book are definitely characters for women, and I'm sure every woman I know would love this book!"

--Freda's Voice



Sally Koslow is the author of The Late, Lamented Molly Marx and Little Pink Slips. Her essays have been published in More, The New York Observer, and O, The Oprah Magazine, among other publications. She was the editor in chief of both McCall’s and Lifetime, was an editor at Mademoiselle and Woman’s Day, and has taught creative writing at the Writing Institute of Sarah Lawrence College. The mother of two sons, she lives in New York City with her husband. You can visit Sally Koslow’s website at www.sallykoslow.com.

Literary Publicist Stephanie Barko's Book Giveaways



Time for me to spread more great news for book lovers everywhere. Literary publicist, Stephanie Barko, is running giveaways at her new blog every day through September 19th. One whole month of book giveaways--how awesome is that!

Please stop by and visit Stephanie Barko's blog for details on how you can enter to win each day.

You can visit her website to find out more about her and all she does for authors.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

$25 Gift Certificate to Socks 4 Life Giveaway at The Socialite's Closet



In case I didn't mention it before, my friend Ellen, who runs the Confessions of an Overworked Mom blog, also has a blog dedicated solely to fashion. The Socialite's Closet is a fabulous place to find "fashion news and reviews for the style conscious woman."

Ellen is running her first giveaway at The Socialite's Closet and I just had to tell you about it. Socks 4 Life is offering one lucky winner a $25 Gift Certificate to shop their website.

Click here to read the details and guidelines of this contest. Last day to enter is August 24, 2010, so stop by now!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Imprints by Rachel Ann Nunes: Author Interview and Giveaway at Linda Weaver Clarke's Blog



I love telling my readers about giveaways they might be interested in. Bestselling author Rachel Ann Nunes is promoting her latest release at Linda Weaver Clarke's blog.

Imprints is a contemporary romance where a young woman is missing. In desperation, her parents turn to Autumn Rain for help. Autumn reads imprints - emotions mysteriously left behind on certain treasured objects. But will this ability enrich her life or destroy it? Autumn isn't sure - her life has become far from normal - but for people whose loved ones are missing, her talent might mean the difference between life and death.

Read Linda's interview with Rachel and leave a comment (along with your email address) for a chance to win a $20 gift certificate to the online bookstore of your choice. I've done some great shopping for myself with bookstore gift cards.

Stop by Linda Weaver Clarke's blog right now and read her interview with Rachel Ann Nunes and be sure to enter this great giveaway!



Rachel Ann Nunes learned to read when she was four, beginning a lifetime fascination with the written word. She avidly devoured books then and still reads everything she can lay hands on, from children’s stories to science articles. She began writing in the seventh grade and is now the author of thirty published books, including the popular Ariana series and the picture book Daughter of a King. Her picture book The Secret of the King was chosen in Utah by the Governor's Commission on Literacy to be awarded to all Utah grade schools as part of the Read With A Child For 20 Minutes Per Day program. Her novels The Independence Club (2007) and Fields of Home (2008) were both chosen as finalists for a Whitney Award. Some more recent titles are Saving Madeline and Eyes of a Stranger. Rachel's work ranges from romance and suspense to women's fiction and family drama.

Rachel and her husband, TJ, have six children and live in Utah. She writes Monday through Friday in a home office, taking frequent breaks to build Lego towers, help with homework, or to indulge in her latest hobby of teasing the teenagers.

Rachel's latest novel is Imprints, and another book, Tell Me No Lies, will be released this coming fall.

For more information or to join her e-mailing list, visit her website at www.RachelAnnNunes.com.

Guest Blogger: Jonathan Williams, Author of Jungle Sunrise



Today our special guest blogger is Jonathan Williams, author of Jungle Sunrise.

When award-winning fiction writer Jonah Frost’s drunken depression drives him into the Peruvian Amazon Jungle, he searches for a story worth writing and finds instead a life worth living. In a place where he clearly does not belong, the young New Yorker discovers faith, adventure, love and a second chance.

This untamed and passionate journey unfolds in my first novel, Jungle Sunrise.

Charming, funny and handsome, 30-year-old Jonah feels he has wasted his best years. It’s not just the 1,070-day writer’s block that has him down, but also his dead-end job of teaching creative writing at a community college compounded by his unwanted divorce three years ago. Getting fired sends him over the edge. After a nearly successful suicide attempt, Jonah is cajoled by his brother to join him on a trip to Peru. Jungle Sunrise tells how that get-away excursion turns into a dangerous voyage by seven strangers bound together by a shared desire to locate the nearly extinct Isconahua tribe. In the end, only three of the seven survive.

Faith and Fiction: The Magnetism of Story by Jonathan Williams

Stories attract. Stories fascinate. Stories captivate.

From “In the beginning” to “Once upon a time,” mankind has been forever drawn to narrative. God, the Author of Life, first demonstrated how to tell a story, as He wrote an entire history filled with danger, love, beauty, life, adventure, death, emotion, betrayal, relationships, and redemption. Since then, just about every human being has taken a shot at storytelling.

Whether it’s the latest fishing embellishment, an off-color joke, groundbreaking news, or a heart-warming anecdote, we are all storytellers, daily imitating the Creator of stories.

In the Bible, Jesus is called the “Author of Life” (Acts 3:15), the “Author of Salvation” (Hebrews 5:9), and the “Author of Faith” (Hebrews 12:2).

Faith is the story of hoping in God’s promises, believing in what we have yet to see. It’s a challenging story full of struggling characters depending on their Hero for their salvation. It’s an action film, a divine comedy, and a love story all rolled into one.

Fiction, on the other hand, allows the author to take what we’ve already seen and then imagine these elements in another setting with invented plots, themes, and outcomes. It’s a creative process that simply reflects God’s peerless creativity.

The story of faith, true faith in a true Savior, is vital to every heart, far surpassing any other story ever told. Even still, there remains a place for fiction, as it allows God’s creation an outlet to inspire readers with innovation, which in many ways, points back to the original storyteller.

My first novel, Jungle Sunrise, combines the concepts of faith and fiction. It is a fictitious story of a man searching for a story worth writing, finding instead, a life worth living. His story, seemingly stalled without hope, is revived when it collides with faith. It is this impact, the life reverberations set into motion by faith’s entrance that captivates the reader. It’s captivating because it’s familiar.

And that’s the key: any story, whether the unmatched tale of faith or a creative work of fiction, must be believable. The reader has to relate. We are all storytellers because we are all story-livers, living a dozen stories a day.

Faith influences fiction simply because, faith influences life. If it exists in the stories we live, it will exist in the stories we write.



Jonathan Williams served as a missionary with the International Mission Board’s Xtreme Team in the jungles of Peru for two years. It was there, lying under a mosquito net in a hut in the middle of the Amazon Jungle, that Williams began to write his first novel, Jungle Sunrise.

Living with a previously unreached indigenous tribe, the Amarakaeri, Williams experienced first-hand the beauty and danger of native life as he had the opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, hunt with bows and arrows, fish with spears, navigate the rivers, and encounter every aspect of the tribe’s culture. This breathtaking scene of the Amazon serves as the backdrop for Jungle Sunrise.

Williams, 30, writes and lives in North Texas with his beautiful wife, Jessica, where he pastors Body Life church and serves as the Campus Pastor for Trinity Christian Academy as he pursues a Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. His passion and desire is to inspire readers with creativity and truth.

Find out more by visiting http://www.junglesunrise.com/.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Author Spotlight: Tina Murray and A Chance to Say Yes



In the midst of money, glamour and lust, lives a secret so life-changing it could rip their worlds apart.

What if your old high-school flame became one of the world’s most famous movie stars and moved back to town? What if he didn’t know that for twenty years you had been keeping a secret from him--and from the rest of the world?

Heston Demming is at the peak of his acting career--an international celebrity whose face is on every tabloid. He is wealthy, drop-dead gorgeous, and stalked by the paparazzi, but beneath the polished veneer he is a man fighting for emotional survival--a man whose life is falling apart.

When he returns to his hometown of Naples, Florida, his lavish lifestyle is declaration of victory over the poverty and hardship of his youth, but deep down inside he is a man drowning in despair.

During his attempts to make restitution to those he wronged, Poppy Talbot, a woman he had left behind in his quest for money and fame, comes back into his life. Poppy still retains the same sweetness she had when they were love-struck teenagers and Heston realizes she is the one woman who could save him if he could get her to forgive and forget the past. Poppy is now an art dealer in this wealthy town; married but currently separated from her husband, and yet she had never stopped dreaming of seeing Heston again some day. What Heston doesn’t know is that she actually had vivid nightmares about it--about the consequences of a long-kept secret--one so deep that if she lets Heston back into her life it will surely rip their lives apart.

A Chance to Say Yes (Archebooks Publishing) takes you inside the explosive and private life of this exclusive beachfront community’s most renowned son. For anyone who loves celebrity gossip, this book is a must read! The first novel in the Demming family saga from author Tina Murray – this is a love story for both women and men.



Read the Reviews!

"There’s so much fakery in Hollywood, it’s hard to go back to being real. A Chance to Say Yes tells the story of washed up actor Heston Demming. When his life is no longer so glamorous, he has little left to live for, except his old sweetheart Poppy Talbot. But in his quest for fame, he wronged Poppy, and forgiveness is never something that comes easy. A Chance to Say Yes is a novel of facing the mistakes of one’s past, highly recommended."

5 stars‐‐highly recommended, Midwest Book Review

“...Tina Murray skillfully portrays an elite world jam-packed with romance, glamour, lust, greed, deception, betrayal and surprising twists and turns to keep you captivated to the very last word.”


–Jane Kennedy Sutton, author of The Ride

"I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with so many secrets and twists; it certainly kept me on my toes...A Chance to Say Yes is definitely a great ride, with twists and turns galore. It almost made me dizzy. Almost."

-Hollywood Gossip

"This book was one filled with tons of drama, characters, and romance!"

-The Review Stew



Romance readers will recognize Southwest Florida resident Tina Murray from her published work Dead Palm Trees in Jackie Hofer’s anthology Tree Magic and from her essays in the USF literary journal Palm Prints.

A recluse at heart, Tina has ventured her way into the publishing world after years spent in a wide range of pursuits. Insight gained, especially as an actress and artist, subsequently enhanced by degrees in art education, education, art and drama from the Florida State University and the University of Miami, has fed her imagination for her debut romance novel, A Chance to Say Yes. Now she enjoys the sunny shores of paradise as she prepares the sequel in her movie‐star dynasty.

You can find Tina Murray at http://www.tinamurrayauthor.com/.


Also available in a Kindle edition!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Author Spotlight: Dr. Harry Saranchak and Betrayals of Hippocrates



Dr. Alston Crowley’s medical career took flight on the wings of his parents’ dream. With fluctuating grades and a half-hearted desire to become a doctor, Alston much preferred to set his sights on specimens of the female variety. Not wishing to disappoint his parents, however, he decided to compromise, and set out for the Caribbean island of Montserrat, where he studied while basking in the natural beauty around him. Then, during his residency, the euphoria of paradise soon morphed into the harsh, clinical reality of New York Charity Hospital, where he met his nemesis, the brilliant practitioner, Dr. Maggie Finney. Under her relentless scrutiny, Alston’s medical career teetered on the brink of annihilation – until he was given a second chance to study at Physicians Scientific Research Institute in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, under the mentorship of Dr. Harry James Thornton, M.D., Ph.D.. At the Institute – metaphorically somewhere between Montserrat and Alcatraz, Alston’s life unexpectedly converged with researchers and practitioners in a tangled web of good versus evil. The subject of everyone’s focus: tiny yellow, red, and green frogs, emitting a mysterious substance. In the right hands, the discovery had the potential to revolutionize medical science. When in the clutches of the sinister Dr. Vincent Edison Longfellow, however, it altered countless lives and generations, engendering debates about the definition of “life” and its preservation. The ensuing challenges were not for the faint of heart, and beckoned Alston and his colleagues to probe and question the integrity of their profession. Ultimately, they found their way home – to the core meaning of “justice,” and the true essence of themselves. In this intense narrative, blended with intrigue, romance, and humor, author Harry J. Saranchak asks his readers to do the same. No one is immune to unethical practices and, where lives are at stake, the world is involved. Anyone, anywhere who has been privy to injustice must rise to the cause and have a voice.

Read an Excerpt from Betrayals of Hippocrates!

Dr. Vincent Edison Longfellow, M.D., on trial for premeditated serial murder, sat stone-faced on the witness stand. His gaze remained transfixed on a small refraction of light on the wall in the back of the courtroom. Almost reduced to a figment of his imagination, the moving shadow seemed to be a metaphor for Dr. Longfellow’s present state. He had just taken the oath, contrary to the fervent advice of his attorney, Mark Samuels, to be a witness himself. The evidence pointing to his guilt was so incriminating, that nothing he could, possibly, have uttered—at any given moment—would have proven otherwise. Mr. Samuels had advised him that, if anything could save him, it would be his showmanship and longstanding reputation in the medical field which had been heralded, as well, by dignitaries worldwide—at least until the fateful day of his arrest. It was doubtful, however, that Dr. Longfellow was now equal to the challenge of character rehabilitation. Once immune to critical scrutiny, the towering, six-foot-two behemoth of medical science had reached the point of no return. At all cost, he averted eye contact with me, Dr. Alston Crowley, M.D. who, like the shadow—but looming much larger—sat within the purview of his vision. At my side was eminent pediatric cardiologist, Dr. Maggie Finney, literally on the edge of her seat. She clasped my hand so tightly that my fingers went numb. Both of us glared at the beleaguered witness with an admixture of horror and triumph in the wake of his fall from grace.




Read the Reviews!

“There are two markedly noteworthy elements about Harry J. Saranchak’s debut novella, Betrayals of Hippocrates: Crimes Against Innocence: he is a very impressive storyteller, and he incorporates some challenging questions concerning medical ethics and debatable surgical practices.”

--Bookpleasures



Dr. Harry J. Saranchak earned a B.A. degree cum laude from Georgetown and followed it with an M.D. from University of Connecticut School of Medicine. For 30 years he was a vascular and general surgeon in three Connecticut hospitals, and for 25 of those he was also educator and mentor to medical students, residents and colleagues—while receiving eight Golden Scalpel awards for teaching excellence. A Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, Dr. Saranchak co-authored seven medical journal articles from 1974 to 1984. After retiring from his private practice at Grove Hill Medical Center in New Britain, CT, he wrote Betrayals of Hippocrates: Crimes Against Innocence.

You can visit his website at www.harryjsaranchak.com.

Book Review: A Woman's Heart That Dances by Catherine Martin



Are you seeking a unique invitation to recognize the Lord's initiation toward us? Do you struggle with allowing God to lead your steps? Do you long to participate in a dance with your Lord and Savior that will last through eternity? A Woman's Heart That Dances: Keeping in Step with God's Design for You by Catherine Martin can help.

A gifted dancer and teacher, Catherine Martin uses the imagery of dance to create this powerful and touching book that will help you:

  • "recognize and respond to the Lord's surprising invitation to you
  • engage in the romance and adventure of an intimate, personal relationship with Him
  • follow His lead as He choreographs the story of your life"
With stories from her personal experiences, women she has met, and women from the Bible, Martin shows how you, too, can accept the Lord's invitation to dance, just as she has.

As I mentioned earlier in the week, this has been a rough time for me. I over committed myself this summer, then learned my book is coming out this month instead of in October, so the stress levels are high. When I got into a screaming match with one of my daughters, I realized something had to give. Unfortunately, what has given, is my quiet time with the Lord. With the exception of creating Sunday school lessons, planning Vacation Bible School, and attending church once a week, my time with the Lord has been next to none. I'm sure He was prompting me to pick up this book and remember He was waiting.

As with Martin's previous book that I reviewed, Drawing Strength from the Names of God, A Woman's Heart That Dances reminded me that God is always there; I must stop and cast my burdens onto Him so that He may sustain me.

Some of my favorite passages discussed Anna, Mary Magdelene and Mary's sister, Martha. Mary Magdelene's story, as Martin points out, is an amazing one.

One cannot read A Woman's Heart That Dances without feeling encouraged, loved, and eager to gain or renew an intimate, personal relationship with God.


Title: A Woman's Heart That Dances
Author: Catherine Martin
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
ISBN-10: 0736926402
ISBN-13: 978-0736926409
SRP: $12.99

Monday, August 9, 2010

Author Spotlight: L.G. Bradshaw and Dot to Dot



Dot to Dot is a literary relay race revolving around one central theme: we are all connected. These connections may be seemingly insignificant – bumping into an old friend on the street or passing a stranger in a hospital corridor – but they have the potential to alter the course of our lives, some slightly, others in more profound and lasting ways.

The race begins with an embattled United States senator and moves from character to character like wildfire: the senator’s disgraced wife who decides to leave the public eye following the outing of her husband; the motley crew of movers tasked with transporting the senator’s wife and kids back home to New Mexico; a boy who takes matters into his own hands to save himself and his mother from her murderous boyfriend; a private detective who discovers that his past has come back to haunt him; a police chief who spends his own money to help a Mexican family; the Mexican family themselves who are desperate to get their kidnapped daughter back; a country music singer who stumbles on fame after heartbreak; and, finally, a serial killer who has the tables turned on him by a very unlikely avenging angel.

Simply put, Dot to Dot is a story about people, some extraordinary, some not, but all memorable and flawed in their own unique ways.

Read an Excerpt!

“Silly boy,” Chester Dahl chided himself as he thrust deeper inside the dead girl he’d picked up in the ghetto after leaving work. He called her Ethyl and she had been pretty. She’d told him she was eighteen and had just arrived in town from Madison. No family or any ties to Milwaukee. Just the clothes on her back and a few meager crumbs of meth in her pocket. She’d asked him if he wanted to party. Sure, why not, he’d said. The party hadn’t lasted long. For her at least. For him it was still a major rager.

Read the Reviews!

"It's hard to describe why you like it, but it's definitely a page turner! I'd definitely recommend this one!" --Marta's Meanderings

"Certainly a book I would recommend!" --Ellie, Amazon.com Reviewer

"The stories weave together in a way that leaves one wanting more! I can't wait for the next one!!!" --Angela, Amazon.com Reviewer


L.G. Bradshaw lives in Minnesota. He served in the United States Army and worked as a Minneapolis police officer for 14 years, witnessing a seemingly endless stream of human depravity, some of which has found a home in his writing. Dot to Dot is his first of many novels, and defies convention. Dot to Dot can’t be pigeonholed into any one genre. It’s got a little bit of everything: drama, comedy, horror. Even a necropheliac serial killer thrown in for good measure.”

Bradshaw has finished two other novels and is currently working on a fourth. For more information on the author, visit his website: www.lgbradshaw.com.



Guest Blogger: Sue Provost, Author of 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 my Life? Is full of rich resources of material that will help others discover God. I recommend it for retreats and small groups."
--Healthy Spirituality


“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


Three Easy Ways You Can Begin Recognizing God in Your Daily Life by Sue Provost

1. First, you can find God through prayer. Ask God quietly and frequently, "God, what do you want me to do with my life?" God knows you best. He created you, uniquely. It is not likely that Jesus is going to walk up to you like the apostles and say directly, "Come, follow me." Instead, God will guide you through prayer and experiences. Pray quietly, pray often, "God, what do you want me to do with my life?" Communication is not so much what we have to give God, but is more a living with God, a meeting with one who loves us unconditionally, a personal relationship in which it is truly God who does the giving, the giving of himself for us. The experience of being fully present in this personal relationship with God could be described as an altered state of awareness. Communication with God is essential, just as it is in any relationship. Communication is how we make the connection and build our human relationships; we learn to connect the same way with God through the communication called prayer.

2. Second, we know of God through faith. We trust in God’s goodness because we can see the beauty of God’s creation. We can also see the beauty of God in each other. We are all creations of God and God wants us to know how much God loves us. To feel the warmth of God’s love, we must open ourselves (just a little) so that God can take hold of our hearts and help us understand the depth of God’s love. God will help us if only we ask. We do not need to find God; we only need to recognize that God is already in our lives. God is continually working in our lives, but many of us do not feel or see this work. What is offered is the humble quest of a God who, in the person of Jesus, comes to reveal His love and beg our love in return.

3. Third, it can be difficult to encounter God while the focus of our lives is on the importance of earthly power and possessions. We cannot notice God working in our lives when we do not take the time to stop and notice anything. We do not know how to step out of the world of progress. We are moving so fast through our lives that we take no time to notice what is happening around us when the noticing is not necessary to fulfill our goal. In essence, we are programmed not to accept who we are, but we are driven to judge others and ourselves by earthly success, productivity, and accumulation of things. Consequently, we have no real appreciation for others or ourselves. We are trapped in a jail of our own creation. Ask God to reveal himself to you. So, slow down, sit quietly, and listen and you will hear God speaking to you. You will feel God’s presence with you. The more you do that, the easier it becomes. God is always with you whether you recognize him or not.




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 http://www.sueprovost.com/.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Author Spotlight: Lisa Gardner and Live to Tell



He knows everything about you—including the first place you’ll hide.

On a warm summer night in one of Boston’s working-class neighborhoods, an unthinkable crime has been committed: Four members of a family have been brutally murdered. The father—and possible suspect—now lies clinging to life in the ICU. Murder-suicide? Or something worse? Veteran police detective D. D. Warren is certain of only one thing: There’s more to this case than meets the eye.

Danielle Burton is a survivor, a dedicated nurse whose passion is to help children at a locked-down pediatric psych ward. But she remains haunted by a family tragedy that shattered her life nearly twenty-five years ago. The dark anniversary is approaching, and when D. D. Warren and her partner show up at the facility, Danielle immediately realizes: It has started again.

A devoted mother, Victoria Oliver has a hard time remembering what normalcy is like. But she will do anything to ensure that her troubled son has some semblance of a childhood. She will love him no matter what. Nurture him. Keep him safe. Protect him. Even when the threat comes from within her own house.

In New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner’s most compelling work of suspense to date, the lives of these three women unfold and connect in unexpected ways, as sins from the past emerge—and stunning secrets reveal just how tightly blood ties can bind. Sometimes the most devastating crimes are the ones closest to home.

Read an Excerpt from Live to Tell!

Thursday night, Sergeant Detective D. D. Warren was out on a date. It wasn’t the worst date she’d ever been on. It wasn’t the best date she’d ever been on. It was, however, the only date she’d been on in quite some time, so unless Chip the accountant turned out to be a total loser, she planned on taking him home for a rigorous session of balance-the-ledger.

So far, they’d made it through half a loaf of bread soaked in olive oil, and half a cow seared medium rare. Chip had managed not to talk about the prime rib bleeding all over her plate or her need to sop up juices with yet another slice of bread. Most men were taken aback by her appetite. They needed to joke uncomfortably about her ability to tuck away plate after plate of food. Then they felt the need to joke even more uncomfortably that, of course, none of it showed on her girlish figure.

Yeah, yeah, she had the appetite of a sumo wrestler but the build of a cover girl. She was nearly forty, for God’s sake, and well aware by now of her freakish metabolism. She certainly didn’t need any soft- middled desk jockey pointing it out. Food was her passion. Mostly because her job with Boston PD’s homicide unit didn’t leave much time for sex.

She polished off the prime rib, went to work on the twice- baked potato. Chip was a forensic accountant. They’d been set up by the wife of a friend of a guy in the unit. Yep, it made that much sense to D.D. as well. But here she was, sitting in a coveted booth at the Hilltop Steakhouse, and really, Chip was all right. Little doughy in the mid¬dle, little bald on top, but funny. D.D. liked funny. When he smiled, the corners of his deep brown eyes crinkled and that was good enough for her.

She was having meat and potatoes for dinner and, if all went as planned, Chip for dessert.

So, of course, her pager went off.

She scowled, shoved it to the back of her waistband, as if that would make a difference.

“What’s that?” Chip asked, catching the chime.

“Birth control,” she muttered.

Chip blushed to the roots of his receding brown hair, then in the next minute grinned with such self-deprecating power she nearly went weak in the knees.

Better be good, D.D. thought. Better be a fucking massacre, or I’ll be damned if I’m giving up my night.

But then she read the call and was sorry she’d ever thought such a thing.

Chip the funny accountant got a kiss on the cheek.

Then Sergeant Detective D. D. Warren hit the road.
■■■
D.D. had been a Boston PD detective for nearly twelve years now. She’d started out investigating traffic fatalities and drug-related homi¬cides before graduating to such major media events as the discovery of six mummified corpses in an underground chamber; then, more recently, the disappearance of a beautiful young schoolteacher from South Boston. Her bosses liked to put her in front of the camera. Nothing like a pretty blonde detective to mix things up.

She didn’t mind. D.D. thrived on stress. Enjoyed a good pressure-cooker case even more than an all-you-can-eat buffet. Only drawback was the toll on her personal life. As a sergeant in the homicide unit, was the leader of a three-person squad. It wasn’t uncommon for them to spend all day tracking down leads, interviewing informants, or revisiting crime scenes. Then they spent most of the night writing up the resulting interviews, affidavits, and/or warrant requests. Each squad also had to take turns being “on deck,” meaning they caught the next case called in, keeping them stuck in a permanent vortex of top- priority active cases, still- unsolved old cases, and at least one or two fresh call- outs per week.

Didn’t sleep much. Or date much. Or really do anything much. Which had been fine until last year, when she’d turned thirty-eight and watched her ex- lover get married and start a family. Sud¬denly, the tough, brash sergeant who considered herself wed to her job found herself studying Good Housekeeping magazine and, even worse, Modern Bride. One day, she picked up Parenting. There was noth¬ing more depressing than a nearly forty-year-old single, childless homicide detective reading Parenting magazine alone in her North End condo.

Especially when she realized some of the articles on dealing with toddlers applied to managing her squad as well.

She recycled the magazines, then vowed to go on a date. Which had led to Chip—poor, almost- got-his-brains-screwed-out Chip—and now had her on her way to Dorchester. Wasn’t even her squad’s turn on deck, but the notification had been “red ball,” meaning something big and bad enough had happened to warrant all hands on deck.

D.D. turned off I-93, then made her way through the maze of streets to the largely working-class neighborhood. Among local offi¬cers, Dorchester was known for its drugs, shootings, and raucous neighborhood parties that led to more drugs and shootings. BPD’s local field district, C-11, had set up a noise reduction hotline as well as a designated “Party Car” to patrol on weekends. Five hundred phone tips and numerous preventive arrests later, Dorchester was finally seeing a decline in homicides, rapes, and aggravated assaults. On the other hand, burglaries were way up. Go figure.

Under the guidance of her vehicle’s navigational system, D.D. ended up on a fairly nice street, double lanes dotted with modest stamps of green lawn and flanked with a long row of tightly nestled three-story homes, many sporting large front porches and an occa¬sional turret.

Most of these dwellings had been carved into multiple-living units over the years, with as many as six to eight in a single house. It was still a nice-looking area, the lawns neatly mowed, the front-porch banis¬ters freshly painted. The softer side of Dorchester, she decided, more and more curious.

D.D. spotted a pileup of Crown Vics, and slowed to park. It was eight- thirty on a Thursday night, August sun just starting to fade on the horizon. She could make out the white ME’s vehicle straight ahead, as well as the traveling crime lab. The vans were bookended by the usual cluster of media trucks and neighborhood gawkers.

When D.D. had first read the location of the call, she’d assumed drugs. Probably a gangland shooting. A bad one, given that the deputy superintendent wanted all eighteen detectives in attendance, so most likely involving collateral damage. Maybe a grandmother caught sit¬ting on her front porch, maybe kids playing on the sidewalk. These things happened, and no, they didn’t get any easier to take. But you handled it, because this was Boston, and that’s what a Boston detec¬tive did.

Now, however, as D.D. climbed out of her car, clipped her creden¬tials to the waistband of her skinny black jeans, and retrieved a plain white shirt to button up over her date cleavage, she was thinking, Not drugs. She was thinking this was something worse. She slung a light jacket over her sidearm, and headed up the sidewalk toward the lion’s den.

D.D. pushed her way through the first wave of jostling adults and curious children. She did her best to keep focused, but still caught phrases such as “shots fired...” “heard squealing like a stuck pig . . .” “Why, I just saw her unloading groceries not four hours before . . .”

“Excuse me, excuse me, pardon me. Police sergeant. Buddy, out of the way.” She broke through, ducking under the yellow tape rop¬ing off portions of the sidewalk, and finally arrived at the epicenter of crime- scene chaos.

The house before her was a gray-painted triple-decker boasting a broad- columned front porch and large American flag. Both front doors were wide open, enabling better traffic flow of investigative person¬nel, as well as the ME’s metal gurney.

D.D. noted delicate lace curtains framed in bay windows on either side of the front door. In addition to the American flag, the porch con¬tained four cheerful pots of red geraniums, half a dozen blue folding chairs, and a hanging piece of slate that had been painted with more red geraniums and the bright yellow declaration: Welcome. Yep, definitely something worse than gun-toting, tennis-shoe-tossing drug dealers.

D.D. sighed, put on her game face, and approached the uniformed officer stationed at the base of the front steps. She rattled off her name and badge number. In turn, the officer dutifully recorded the info in the murder book, then jerked his head down to the bin at his feet.

D.D. obediently fished out booties and a hair covering. So it was that kind of crime scene.

She climbed the steps slowly, keeping to one side. They appeared recently stained, a light Cape Cod gray that suited the rest of the house. The porch was homey, well kept. Clean enough that she sus¬pected it had been recently broom swept. Perhaps after unloading groceries, a household member had tidied up?

It would’ve been better if the porch had been dirty, covered in dust. That might have yielded shoe treads. That might have helped catch whoever did the bad thing D.D. was about to find inside.

She took another breath right outside the door, inhaled the scent of sawdust and drying blood. She heard a reporter calling for a state¬ment. She heard the snap of a camera, the roar of a media chopper, and white noise all around. Gawkers behind, detectives ahead, re¬porters above.

Chaos: loud, smelly, overwhelming. Her job now was to make it right. She got to it.


Read the Reviews!


“Boston police detective D. D. Warren returns in another gripping thriller… In addition to telling a compelling story, Gardner also explores an issue that is rarely discussed in fiction: children who are psychotic. Gardner never sensationalizes her story, and the book ends with a resolution that is creatively and emotionally appropriate. An excellent novel.” — Booklist, starred review

“Gardner has another hit on her hands.” – Kirkus Reviews

“The lives of three women collide in Gardner’s amazingly chilling new thriller… The devastating, sometimes tragic consequences of childhood mental illness are the backdrop for this electrifying tale of murder and family secrets.”
– Jill M. Smith, RT Book Reviews – 4-1/2 Stars – Top Pick



Lisa Gardner is the New York Times bestselling author of twelve novels. Her Detective D. D. Warren novels include The Neighbor, Hide, and Alone. Her FBI Profiler novels include Say Goodbye, Gone, The Killing Hour, The Next Accident, and The Third Victim. She lives with her family in New England, where she is at work on her next D. D. Warren novel, Save Me, which Bantam will publish in 2011.

You can find Lisa online at http://www.lisagardner.com/.



Saturday, August 7, 2010

Book Review: Drawing Strength from the Names of God by Catherine Martin



God has always spoken to me when I needed it; so it was no surprise last night, after a terrible week, that I felt drawn to pick up my copy of Drawing Strength from the Names of God by Catherine Martin. This gift book, a companion to Martin's, Trusting in the Names of God: Drawing Strength from Knowing Who He Is, touched my heart just when I was longing for its words.

  • El Sahddai - He is Enough for You
  • Yahweh Jireh - He is Your Provider
  • El Ro'i - He Sees You
  • Yahweh - He is Everything You Need
  • Yahweh Shalom - He is Your Peace
  • Abba, Father - He is Your Father
Are some of the names from which I drew strength last night.
Included with the stunning photography are Bible verses, examples from Scripture, and prayers. Each section begins with the words, Draw Strength from (name), followed by Draw Near to (name), and lastly, Delight in (name). This allows the reader to understand the meaning of each name and how we can draw strength during any season of our lives from God.

A truly touching and beautiful book, Drawing Strength from the Names of God, will inspire you in your walk with the Lord. It is also a meaningful, yet, non-confrontational way to draw others to Christ.
I'll be buying a few copies of this book for Christmas gifts this year. Displayed on a coffee table or the top of a bookshelf, many hands will be picking up Drawing Strength from the Names of God by Catherine Martin, and learning how easy it is to draw strength from the names of God!


Title: Drawing Strength from the Names of God
Author: Catherine Martin
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
ISBN-10: 0736925783
ISBN-13: 978-0736925785
SRP: $14.95

Studio C by Carolina Pad Giveaway at Confessions of an Overworked Mom



Perhaps you don't realize how addicting Ellen's Confessions of an Overworked Mom blog is, but I planned to come to my office today to write up a pile of book reviews, then made the mistake of checking my email first. I'm an email subscriber of Confessions of an Overworked Mom because I don't want to miss any of the great reviews and giveaways on that site. So, I click on my email and what happens--I find Ellen has even more wonderful giveaways as part of her Back-to-School Dash that I want to enter. She also posted a product that I had some questions about. Now I've spent half an hour browsing Confessions of an Overworked Mom instead of doing work.

Here's one giveaway that caught my eye. Carolina Pad is offering one free collection from their Studio C line. Each collection includes a 1-subject notebook, 18 month planner, 2 pocket folder, 1" binder, composition book, ideal book, pens and pencils!

You know your school bound child is going to need some of these products, so why not get them for free!

This giveaway is open to residents of the United States and Canada only. Certain restrictions apply. Last day to enter is August 14th, so click here to find out all the details.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

EARDOC Giveaway at Confessions of an Overworked Mom



The Back-to-School Dash continues at Confessions of an Overworked Mom.

I stopped by Ellen's blog today and found this great giveaway for EARDOC. "EARDOC generates and transmits vibration waves. Due to its non-invasive design, the waves travel through the bone to the middle ear and open the Eustachian tube. The waves drain the trapped fluids and ease the pressure. This is ideal not only for children who are prone to ear infections but also for air travelers, divers and swimmers!"

My daughter has been swimming a lot this summer and she often complains of earaches afterwards. I'm hoping to win the EARDOC from Confessions of an Overworked Mom. But I also wanted to tell all my blogging friends about this product that Ellen said provided some relief to her husband, who is prone to earaches.

This giveaway is open to residents of the United States only. Deadline to enter is August 13th, so click here to find ways you can enter to win.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Author Spotlight: Paula Deen and Paula Deen's Savannah Style



With its lush gardens, stately town houses, and sprawling plantations, Savannah is the epitome of old Southern style, and who better to give you the grand tour than Paula Deen, the city’s most famous resident and anointed Queen of Southern Cuisine?

In this gorgeous, richly illustrated book, Paula Deen shares a full year of Southern living. Whether it’s time to put out your best china and make a real fuss, or you’re just gathering for some sweet tea on the porch at dusk, Savannah style is about making folks feel welcome in your home. With the help of decorator and stylist Brandon Branch, you’ll learn how to bring a bit of Southern charm into homes from Minnesota to Mississippi. For each season, there are tips on decorating and entertaining. In the spring, you’ll learn how to make the most of your outdoor spaces, spruce up your porch, and make your garden inviting. In the summer, things get more casual with a dock party. Sleeping spaces, including, of course, the sleeping porch, are the focal point of this chapter. In the fall, cooler weather brings a return to more formal entertaining in the dining room, and in the winter, attention returns to the hearth, as Paula and her neighbors put out their best silver and show you how they celebrate the holidays.

Paula loves getting a peek at her neighbors’ parlors, so she’s included photographs of some of Savannah’s grandest homes. From the vast grounds of Lebanon Plantation to the whimsically restored cottages on Tybee Island, you’ll see the unique blend of old-world elegance and laid-back hospitality that charmed Paula the moment she arrived from Albany, Georgia, with nothing but two hundred dollars and a pair of mouths to feed. And she isn’t shy about giving you a window into her own world, either. From her farmhouse kitchen to her luxurious powder room, you’ll see how Paula lives when she’s not in front of the camera.

Packed with advice and nostalgia, Paula Deen’s Savannah Style makes it easy to bring gracious Southern living to homes north and south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Read an Excerpt!

Brandon's Style Secrets

Porches are for bringing your lifestyle outside during the warm months. You should think of the porch as an extra room, and like any other room in your house, it should reflect your sense of style. Be creative--think of your porch as a nighttime room as well as a daytime space. Use candles and lanterns to add drama and romance to the porch, or consider moving a comfortable couch and chairs outside if you're entertaining in the evening....



Read the Reviews!

"In this book, Paula Deen gives great advice as to how to decorate your home to make it feel family-focused, comfortable and fun in every season...This book is just out of this world."

--Abi, 4 the Love of Books

"Co-written with her longtime personal assistant and creative director Brandon Branch, Paula Deen's Savannah Style is one of those special books that will be set out to be enjoyed and referred to for a long time to come."

--Sharon, Sharon's Garden of Book Reviews



She is the quintessential American success story, a best-selling author and a television show host, a tastemaker to the stars and to the everyday housewife and family. She is Paula Deen, a down-home, strong willed mom who overcame personal tragedy, long odds, financial and physical challenges to carve one of the most effective and wide ranging entertainment brands that exists today. A brand that is idyllic, inspiring, fun and very much American.

For all her success, the Albany, Georgia native has remained very grounded, in part due to her down home Southern upbringing. She married her high school sweetheart, became a young mom to two sons, and appeared to be living the life she desired, before a series of tragedies, from the death of her parents and the failure of her marriage to a prolonged battle with agoraphobia changed the course of her life forever.

However out of those changes came the success that laid the foundation for the Paula Deen of today, someone who inspires millions through her regular appearances on Oprah, cooks for world leaders, is a best-selling author, and is seen concurrently on three shows running on The Food Network.

The one constant in Deen’s life has always been cooking. It was a staple of her young upbringing, and when times became difficult it was what she knew and could turn back to. In June of 1989, with a $200 budget and the help of sons Jamie and Bobby, she became “The Bag Lady,” creating a home-based meal delivery service in Savannah, Georgia that started the rise. From there, Deen moved to preparing meals at a Savannah Best Western, and followed that five years later by opening her first restaurant, The Lady and Sons, in Savannah.

The popularity of the restaurant led Deen into publishing. Her 1997 cookbook, The Lady and Sons Savannah Country Cookbook, gave her growing fan base the opportunity to try Deen’s recipes at home for the first time, and led to her first appearance on QVC, which took the brand from regional to national and began a stretch of consecutive New York Times best selling cookbooks. The growth continued unabated, and in 1999 USA Today food critic Jerry Shriver named The Lady and Sons International Meal of the year.

Deen’s success in publishing, where she has sold over eight million books, then translated into the magazine world, and Cooking with Paula Deen, her bi-monthly title, launched shortly thereafter, growing to a circulation of over one million.

Not to be outdone with print and restaurant success, the Deen brand then moved to television. “Paula’s Home Cooking” premiered on The Food Network in November of 2002, to huge audience success, and spawned her second show, “Paula’s Party” in 2006. Today Deen has four shows running concurrently on the Food Network, including the latest, “Paula’s Best Dishes“, which launched in 2008.

The next evolution of the brand took place in March of 2008, when Meyer Corp launched the line of Paula Deen signature cookware, bakeware, kitchen tools and accessories both online and at retail, continuing the immersion experience for the brand with consumers.

In 2009, the Deen brand underwent further expansion with an added group of quality strategic partners. Wal-mart launched a new, exclusive line of affordable baked goods, while Smithfield, Kaleen, Nitches, Meyer, Universal, B. Lloyd’s, GOBO, Harrah’s, Quality foods, International Greeting and Cooking.com also began new or expanded partnerships in a host of categories. A compete digital relaunch, the expansion of special edition publications featuring both herself and her brand partners also came into play, making sure the Paula Deen name stayed fresh, relevant, and timely with a growing and more diverse consumer.

Even with the continued expansion, and more planned on a global level in 2010, Paula Deen has remained true to her fans, viewers and readers that look to her name for style, taste and inspiration in the kitchen and the home, all reflective of a climate where quality does not have to be sacrificed due to a challenging economy.

Her latest book is Paula Deen’s Savannah Style.

Visit her website at www.pauladeen.com.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Author Spotlight: Tom Graneau and Renters Win, Home Owners Lose



Tom Graneau, a financial management coach, pinpoints owning a home as the black hole for the American dollar. This timely masterpiece exposes the biggest shakedown in consumer spending—home ownership.

Driven by the American dream of grandeur and prosperity, buyers purchase their homes as “smart investments” when in actuality, the best they can hope to get is zero percent return. More commonly, owners lose an enormous amount of money on the deal, driving themselves even deeper into debt as they pour their hard-earned income in mortgage payments and maintenance costs.

In Renters Win, Home Owners Lose, author Tom Graneau prudently shows readers how to avoid getting trapped in the biggest scam in the country, endorsed by national and local governments and the housing and mortgage industries. Tables, graphs, and various statistics are prominently laced throughout the book to expound the obvious, tangible advantages that renters have over anyone preparing to buy a home.

For those already owning a home—fear not. Graneau concludes by outlining winning strategies and solutions to make their experience a little more agreeable.

Renters Win, Home Owners Lose is a perfect eye-opener for renters, first-time home buyers, and those who plan to upgrade to a second or third home!

Read the Reviews!

“A real game changer, eye-opener, and timely. MUST read before buying!

This book may upset your way of thinking, but that’s often a good thing.

We always felt that home ownership was good for us over the years; I’m pretty sure it generally was good at the time, but not so good as we thought. Glad I got out when I did (now a happy renter). The equity we build up is fragile (now very obvious). The tax deductions are not as beneficial/large as we like to think. The extra costs of owning can be really large. And anytime you re-finance to take out equity, your new lender is doing very well on the deal.

We were all propagandized by the government, the lenders, the realtors, etc. This book will help you to take a fresh look at the process. You cannot afford to overlook this book before buying, not any more. And it is very clear and well-written.

If you are presently underwater or upside-down in a mortgage, I am sincerely sorry. You may stay underwater for a very long time. Talk to your lawyer (first!) about the possibility of walking; stop paying right now, save money, live for free, pay off the credit cards instead. It will be (probably) many months before your lender takes any action at all. The book does NOT discuss this for you, and so perhaps I should not either. But the book will help open up your thinking.”


T. Erwin



Tom Graneau was born in Dominica, a small island in the Caribbean with a population of roughly 70,000 people. When Tom was seventeen years old, he and his mother immigrated to the United States. After two years in the U.S., he became acutely aware of his need for an education and aggressively began finding a way to be in school.

During his fourteen years of service in the Navy, he became increasingly concerned about his financial situation. Things became worse when he left the service. His house went into foreclosure. With added pressure from credit card companies, he ultimately filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

Eventually, he found work as a Financial Management Consultant. In his last employment, Tom spent roughly ten years working as a financial management coach and educator. During that time, he conducted numerous workshops, presentations, and private consultation with members of the military, government employees, and others in the community.

Tom enjoyed working with his clients, but they caused him to wonder about the financial condition of Americans, as a whole. His research proved that money problems extend well beyond what most people are willing to admit or see.

In short, most Americans are broke. Various surveys have shown that roughly 90 percent of working Americans live from paycheck to paycheck, no matter how much money they make. In most cases, the problem is directly related to financial misconceptions, poor training, and lack of knowledge. Home ownership is one of the biggest financial misconceptions in personal finance. Hence the book, Renters Win, Home Owners Lose: Revealing the Biggest Scam in America.

You can visit Tom’s website at www.renters-win.com.