Sunday, March 31, 2013

You've Got Mail Monday



It's another busy Monday. I'm off to the dentist this morning to finish off my root canal. Yuck. On the upside, going through labor three times means visiting the dentist isn't as bad as it used to be.

I didn't work the postman quite so hard last week. My mailbox was a mix of bills and catalogs, with some books--expected and unexpected.

New catalogs arrived from Mary Kay, L.L. Bean, Frontgate, and Land's End. Plow and Hearth also sent a catalog to me last week. There are so many lovely things I could buy. My wallet tells me I should hold off a bit. We have some major bills coming down the pike in the next couple of months. Besides, the Lil' Princess needs a new bed and dresser.

The dwarf spruce plants I ordered through Amazon arrived. Thought they would ship later in the month, but I'll work around it. Hopefully the landscaper can come and help me remove the bushes that are there now, so I can plant these instead.

Circle and Square by Sally O. Lee showed up on Saturday. The girls and I have read many of her children's books. I'll be reviewing that one at The Children's and Teens' Book Connection, so keep an eye out for it. We also received a second shipment of books from tiger tales for review. I was surprised by the small shipment we received the other week, but when a publisher is sending you books, you don't complain. I'm thrilled I'll get a chance to check out more of their authors' work. They are a wonderful publisher of books for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.

That's it from my neck of the woods. Hope you had a lovely Easter. My in-laws and my brother-in-law and his wife came over for dinner. It was a nice time had by all.

Have a great week!




Friday, March 29, 2013

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge (2013)



I wasn't going to participate this year. Not only is it a huge commitment, my stats at this blog began going down during and after I participated in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge last year. I don't blame the challenge. Maybe the content just wasn't what my readers were looking for.

This year, the challenge allows for categories. I chose History. I will do my best to make it interesting, but be forewarned, I prefer talking about Colonial America and the Civil War era more than anything else.

Hope you'll join us and follow along!

CFBA: Scorned Justice by Margaret Daley

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Scorned Justice
Abingdon Press (April 1, 2013)
by
Margaret Daley




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Margaret Daley is an award winning, multi-published author in the romance genre. One of her romantic suspense books, Hearts on the Line, won the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Book of the Year Contest. Recently she has won the Golden Quill Contest, FHL’s Inspirational Readers’ Choice Contest, Winter Rose Contest, Holt Medallion and the Barclay Gold Contest. She wrote for various secular publishers before the Lord led her to the Christian romance market. She currently writes inspirational romance and romantic suspense books for the Steeple Hill Love Inspired lines, romantic suspense for Abingdon Press and historical romance for Summerside Press. She has sold eighty-three books to date.


Margaret was the president of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), an organization of Christia writers with over 2300 members. She was one of the founding members of the first ACFW local chapter, WIN in Oklahoma. She has taught numerous classes for online groups, ACFW and RWA chapters. She enjoys mentoring other authors.

Until she retired a few years ago, she was a teacher of students with special needs for twenty-seven years and volunteered with Special Olympics as a coach. She currently is on the Outreach committee at her church, working on several projects in her community as well as serving on her church’s vestry.

On a more personal note, she has been married for over forty years to Mike and has one son and four granddaughters. She treasures her time with her family and friends.


ABOUT THE BOOK



Texas Ranger Brody Calhoun is with his parents in west Texas when an unexpected attack injures the brother of Rebecca Morgan, Brody's high school sweetheart. The local sheriff, a good friend, asks for Brody's help. At first, it seems like an open-and-shut case. However, as Brody digs deeper, he realizes the attack may be related to an organized crime trial Rebecca will be overseeing. With Rebecca's help, he compiles evidence which involves cattle rustlers, bribery, and dirty payoffs that shatter the entire community and put Rebecca directly in the line of fire.




If you would like to read the first chapter of Scorned Justice, go HERE.



Book Review: Beyond the Valley by Rita Gerlach


When Sarah Carr's husband, Jamie, drowns, she is left pregnant and alone. She travels to her only remaining family, a brother- and sister-in-law. Instead of help, her brother-in-law plots to have her kidnapped and sent to the Colonies as an indentured servant. Though she doesn't know why God has sent this trial to her, she trusts he will bring her through.

While a servant for Mr. and Mrs. Woodhouse, Sarah meets Dr. Alex Hutton. Though they are attracted to each other, Sarah realizes she is a lowborn woman with no claims to such an honorable, well-bred man. New threats separate Sarah and Alex, but her strong faith comforts her. If she is ever reunited with Alex, will she dare to take a chance on love?

This is the second book in the Daughters of the Potomac series I've read. Gerlach opens Beyond the Valley in the middle of the action and is able to maintain the readers interest with continued conflict along the way. She draws on Sarah's fears of uncertainty, tempered by her strong faith in God. What the reader finds in Sarah, however, is a reactive character instead of one who takes charge of her future. A damsel in distress type of story is fine, but it is definitely a different flavor of female lead than one found in Darcy, the female lead from Gerlach's second book in this series, Beside Two Rivers. If a reader was expecting Sarah to be as as fiery as her red hair based upon an earlier book, they would be disappointed.

I also couldn't get away from the feeling that all the conflict Sarah incurs is simply a way to move the plot forward. It served little purpose because Sarah's faith doesn't waver; she is the one who denies herself a relationship with Alex because of their different social classes; and for the most part, she isn't instrumental in changing her circumstances at all. There is little or no growth for the character, so the tragedies she is subjected to at the hands of others do little to make her sympathetic because you simply want to shake her and tell her to do something for herself.

That said, it's important to realize people's personalities are different. Some put their faith in God and allow him to figure out the details. A reader who has a similar personality might find this type of character refreshing instead of a take charge type of female lead who has faith in God but also believes she is in control of her own destiny. Any reader will also find much to like in the handsome Dr. Alex Hutton, whose kindness adds a wonderful element to this story.

Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Abingdon Press (February 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1426714165
ISBN-13: 978-1426714160

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Pump Up Your Book Virtual Book Tours. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.



Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Thursday Books: Nancy Silverton's Sandwich Book: The Best Sandwiches Ever--from Thursday Nights at Campanile



When Nancy Silverton began serving sandwiches one night a week at Campanile, her and husband Mark Peel’s award-winning restaurant, she envisioned a laid-back and intimate evening when she’d be able to relax, chat with customers, and have some fun devising new and creative recipes. Well, she hasn’t had much time to relax: Sandwich Night became one of Campanile’s busiest nights, a vastly popular weekly tradition in Los Angeles and the place to be on Thursdays. And since then, sandwiches have become the latest craze to hit the American food scene.

The reason for Sandwich Night’s success is easy to understand: the sandwiches are incredible. They’re gourmet meals that happen to sit on bread, the furthest thing away from the boring old sandwiches that we usually content ourselves with. Instead of PB&J or tuna salad, how about Braised Artichokes, Ricotta, and Mint Pesto with Pine-Nut Currant Relish? Or Eggplant, Seared Tuna, and Ancho├»ade? Or even Bacon, Avocado, and Watercress? These open-faced sandwiches are innovative dishes that taste wonderful, look beautiful, and are perfect for entertaining.

The closed-faced sandwiches are delicious new takes on well-loved standards like the Croque Monsieur, the Monte Cristo, the Reuben, and, of course, everyone’s favorite, the Classic Grilled Cheese. Also included are Nancy’s creative sort-of sandwiches—Fondue the Swiss Way, Snackbreads, and Skewered Mozzarella—and tea sandwiches, wonderful creations that will banish memories of limp watercress and insipid egg salad forever. As if this isn’t enough, there are the mouthwatering sandwich cakes and cookies, like the Open-Faced Berry Brioche Sandwich, Chocolate Cake Club Sandwich, and Almost Oreos.

There are recipes for some truly addictive bar snacks, like Cheese Fritters and Candied Spicy Walnuts, to serve before the meal. And there are also recipes for tantalizing spreads and condiments that go well beyond the ordinary. Finally, for the cook who wants to make everything from scratch, Nancy has included recipes for different breads, from Brioche to Hot Dog Buns, based on those from her world-famous La Brea Bakery.

Written in Nancy’s charming, down-to-earth style, these recipes are versatile and easy to follow. As good to look at as they are to eat, these sandwiches offer a new, creative solution to entertaining and will be a valuable addition to the home cook’s repertoire. The result: Sandwich Night is sure to be a hit in your home, too.

Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Knopf; Reprint edition (September 6, 2005)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0375711147
ISBN-13: 978-0375711145

CFBA: Threads of Hope by Christa Allan

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Threads of Hope
Abingdon Press (March 1, 2013)
by
Christa Allan


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A true Southern woman who knows that any cook worth her gumbo always starts with a roux and who never wears white after Labor Day, Christa is a writer of not your usual Christian Fiction. She weaves stories of unscripted grace and redemption with threads of hope, humor, and heart. Christa is the mother of five adult children, a grandmother of three, and a brand new retired teacher. She and her husband Ken live in New Orleans with their three cats and do their best to dodge hurricanes.

And, since she is not fond of writing about herself in third person, she asked her oldest daughter to contribute. Like her mother, Erin is not at a loss for words…




ABOUT THE BOOK



Passed over for promotion and dumped by her boyfriend, Nina O’Malley is further frustrated when her editor assigns her one of the “soft” stories she despises—covering a gala benefit supporting the AIDS Memorial Quilt. More determined than ever to prove she deserves a promotion to the NY office, Nina decides to write a series featuring a local quilting group raising money for AIDs research. At the event, she runs into her high school nemesis: Greg is a widower and the adoptive father of Jazarah, an HIV positive girl from Ethiopia. Unlike Nina, Greg has faith in a loving God, and he trusts in God’s plan for his life. Greg and Nina grow closer, and as Nina interviews the quilt families, she begins to question the choices she has made and her lack of faith. Nina suddenly finds herself facing two possible dreams, two paths for her life.


If you would like to read the first chapter of Threads of Hope, go HERE.



Monday, March 25, 2013

Thy Kingdom Come Book Blast and Giveaway


After petitioning the Father for answers to basic theological questions about the universal church, she took an eight-year journey with the Holy Spirit to provide clarity for herself about His vision.

Thy Kingdom Come provides readers with that clarity.

For anyone wondering what has happened to the Church, for anyone whose faith in God has been diminished, for anyone whose life has been destroyed by the yolks of bondage, Ruise offers new answers. She encourages her readers to follow along in the Bible itself to see how each of her lessons is validated by the Word of God.

“We perish because we don’t know how to survive,” writes Ruise. Thy Kingdom Come offers not only an apt diagnosis of the problem, but equips readers with the cure, as well. It is an excellent source book for Biblical history and spiritual revelation and it prompts valuable internalizing and soul-searching for veteran Christians as well as for new converts.




Link to book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1432787683/

Link to book at B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/thy-kingdom-come-lakesha-monique-ruise/1114171729



Lady Ruise is a native of Thomasville Georgia. She is the First Lady of Emmanuel Church of God in Christ in Macclenny Florida. She medically retired from the U S Navy in 2007. Since her retirement, she obtained a degree in respiratory therapy and works as a Registered Respiratory Care Practitioner. She has a strong Christian background. She dedicated her life to the Lord at the age of 9 and became a minister at the age of 14. She has been licensed through the Holiness Church and the Baptist church as a minister for the past 24 years. She has been mentored by countless Pastors and Elders in the COGIC, Holiness Church, and the Baptist Church. She currently labors in ministry with her husband Pastor Joe Nathan Ruise as a praise team leader. She is also the president and founder of the Baker County Circle of Sisters in Macclenny, Fl. Lakesha Ruise is a prayer-warrior and intercessor, who is holy-ghost filled with an assignment from Jesus Christ to build his church!

Website Address: www.theerrorproofchurch.com

Twitter Address: https://twitter.com/ThyCome

Facebook Address: https://www.facebook.com/#!/lakesha.ruise.5

Pump Up Your Book and Lakesha Monique Ruise are teaming up to give you a chance to win some fabulous prizes!

Here’s how it works:

Each person will enter this giveaway by liking, following, subscribing and tweeting about this giveaway through the Rafflecopter form placed on blogs throughout the tour. This promotion will run from March 8 – Apr 8. The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, contacted by email and announced on April 12, 2013. Each blogger who participates is eligible to enter and win. Visit each blog stop below to gain more entries as the Rafflecopter widget will be placed on each blog for the duration of the tour. Good luck everyone!

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If the Rafflecopter form doesn't load, please visit the THY KINGDOM COME TOUR PAGE to enter the giveaway:

http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2013/02/24/pump-up-your-book-presents-lakesha-monique-ruises-thy-kingdom-come-book-blast-win-25-visa-gift-card/



Thy Kingdom Come Book Blast Schedule

———————–

Friday March 8th
Monday, March 11th
Tuesday, March 12th
Wednesday, March 13th
Thursday, March 14th
Friday, March 15th
Monday, March 18th
Tuesday, March 19th
Wednesday, March 20th
Thursday, March 21st
Friday, March 22nd
Monday, March 25th
Tuesday, March 26th
Wednesday, March 27th
Thursday, March 28th
Friday, March 29th – OPEN
Monday, April 1st
Tuesday, April 2nd – OPEN
Wednesday, April 3rd
Thursday, April 4th
Friday, April 5th – OPEN
Monday, April 8th

CFBA: The Survivor by DiAnn Mills

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Survivor
Zondervan (March 5, 2013)
by
DiAnn Mills



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


DiAnn Mills believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure.” She is a fiction writer who combines an adventuresome spirit with unforgettable characters to create action-packed novels. Her books have won many awards through American Christian Fiction Writers, and she is the recipient of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice award for 2005, 2007, and 2010. She was a Christy Award finalist in 2008 and a Christy winner in 2010.

DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and is the Craftsman Mentor for the Christian Writer’s Guild. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops.

DiAnn and her husband live in Houston, Texas. Visit her website or find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/diannmills


ABOUT THE BOOK


Kariss meets Dr. Amy Garrett, who survived a brutal childhood attack in which the assailant was never found. Now Dr. Garrett wants her story written in a novel. Kariss wishes she could seek the advice of Special Agent Tigo Harris, but she broke off the relationship a few months prior and seeing him again would be too painful. She interviews Amy and conducts her own research, stepping unaware into a viper's pit of danger. Tigo misses Kariss and wants her back, but he understands why she broke off their relationship. Instead, he concentrates on solving a car bombing and bringing the killer to justice. As Kariss's new story attracts an onslaught of danger that she never expected, can Tigo save the woman he loves and find who wants her dead for writing about an unsolved cold-case?


If you would like to read the first chapter of The Survivor, go HERE.

For anyone who is interested, I read Pursuit of Justice by this author. You can read my review here.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

You've Got Mail Monday




The postman was working overtime to deliver mail to my house this week. Between catalogs and books, the poor guy must have broken his back.

Gardner's Supply Company, Burpee, and Ballard Designs all sent me their latest catalogs. I'm seriously thinking about what I can do for edging in between my raised beds this year. The grass grew all around them last year, making it a chore for the hubby to take care of. Maybe some Coco Fiber Edging will work. I still haven't ordered my seeds yet, either, so I better get started.

A plethora of books arrived last week. I'm doing my Snoopy dance over it, even if I won't get to read them right away. Tiger tales sent me many of their spring books to review at The Children's and Teens' Book Connection. I ordered two used books from Amazon: Black Women in White America edited by Gerda Lerner and Born for Liberty: A History of Women in America by Sara M. Evans. A prolific writer, Lerner was a pioneer of women's history. She passed away at the age of 92 this January.

I'll be reviewing This is How To Get Your Next Job by Andrea Kay over at The Book Connection. The publisher accidentally sent me two copies of the book, so I'll be offering one as a giveaway here soon. Finally, Philip Rock's Greville Family Saga was re-released due to the popularity of Downton Abbey. I won this trilogy and can't wait to start reading it. I know it will be awhile, but I might try to squeeze the books in between my other books for review.

I think that's it for this peek into my mailbox. I hope you have a great week.


Interview and Giveaway with Rachelle Ayala, Author of Hidden Under Her Heart


Rachelle Ayala is the author of dramatic fiction crossing genres and boundaries featuring strong but flawed characters. She writes emotionally challenging stories and is not afraid of controversial topics. However, she is an optimist and laces her stories with romance and hope.

Rachelle Ayala has written three novels. Michal’s Window is a powerful and emotional journey as lived through the eyes of Princess Michal, King David’s first wife. Broken Build is a story of redemption and healing where a man learns to love and trust the woman who destroyed his life. Finally, Hidden Under Her Heart is concerned with forgiveness in the face of judgment over abortion.

Visit her at: Website: http://rachelleayala.me Blog: http://www.rachelleayala.com or follow @AyalaRachelle on Twitter.

When did you begin writing?

Writing has always been a part of my life, but until a few years ago, I never thought about releasing any of my writing to the public. I used to type up a story and share it with my friends, or at the most, e-mail them to friends and acquaintances who’d encourage me. However the thought of finding a publisher held me back and I had other priorities in my career and family. This all changed when I was drawn into the story of Princess Michal, the daughter of King Saul. Her story jumped off the pages of Scripture and compelled me to take a deeper look at her. She was the first wife of King David, the princess who he married after paying in Philistine foreskins, and the only woman in the Bible that loved a man. Once I started writing her story, I became obsessed with perfecting it. I self-published it February 2012 and have since published two more novels and haven’t looked back.

What is this book about?

Hidden Under Her Heart is a story about a young nurse struggling with her decision to abort after being raped. It shows the emotional consequences of abortion on both men and women.

What inspired you to write it?

2013 marks 40 years of legalized abortion in the United States. 53 million lives have been lost and countless others have been impacted. I decided to write a non-political fictional story exploring both sides of the abortion decision. One out of every three women of childbearing age in America has had an abortion. I would bet that a similar percentage of men have been touched by it. I came up with the idea while brainstorming a romantic suspense story about a woman who wanted to catch a rapist by keeping her baby. The story transformed into something different when I realized prenatal testing could very well extract the baby’s DNA, so there went my plot!

Who is your favorite character from the book?


None other than the hero, Lucas Knight. He is the ultimate swoonworthy romantic hero: athletic and hot, but with morals. He’s concerned about Maryanne and is willing to sacrifice his own short term goals to ensure she does not make a mistake she would regret.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

It is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Diesel and Smashwords. Readers can find all of the links at my Book Page: http://www.rachelleayala.com/p/hidden-under-her-heart.html

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Write true to your heart. You are the best person to tell the story you’re writing. Believe in your uniqueness and that you have something worthwhile to say.

What is up next for you?

Another romance. I love romances because they are optimistic stories with a happy ending. That said, I like my characters to face tough issues and challenges, grow and change for the better before granting them the victory. The story taking shape involves a woman who cannot fall in love because she suspects her father is a murderer. The hero, who used to be a player has suffered a crippling disability and ironically, is ready to fall in love, even though he now feels he is unworthy of love.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Yes, thank you for featuring me and my story on your blog. To the readers: I sincerely hope that my stories will touch your life and your heart. Everyone has a story to tell, and I can’t wait to hear yours.

Enter the 
Hidden Under Her Heart Giveaway!
Chance to win one of three great prizes!

Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. 



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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Follower Giveaway Winners!



We have some winners! Here is the list of winners in the Follower Giveaway.

Annah S. won the $25 Amazon gift card

Susanne D. won Prize pack 3

Tayet won Prize pack 1

Patty W. won Prize pack 4

Janet E. won Prize pack 2

I used Rafflecopter do run the giveaway and then selected which prizes went to which winners by using Random.org. All winners have been notified.

Thanks to all who participated. More giveaways are coming soon.

Why I Decided to Go Back To Washing my Lights In Warm Water



I started washing in only cold water a few years ago. Talk of cost savings influenced my decision. Recently, however, I decided to go back to washing my lights/whites in warm water.

Why?

The cost savings wasn't substantial enough to justify the additional chemicals I had to use to get my family's clothes clean. I've tried detergents meant specifically for washing in cold water, but they didn't cut it. Maybe my family is just a bunch of messy Bessys. I've tried different stain removers, but in cold water they weren't as effective as they are in warm.

I went ahead and read this article about washing in hot versus cold. The only time I wash in hot is when washing sheets, but it's rare I do that. When we had that lice scare I did it, but I feel warm water works fine most of the time. Here is what I learned from the article:


  • "...cold water weighs more so natural fabrics like cotton actually soak up more water, which will add to your drying time"
  • "When you are washing at 80-60 degrees Fahrenheit, soap works 70-90% less effectively within the same amount of time time as it would in warm water."

I also followed a link from the article to this website that allowed me to calculate the cost of washing my clothes. At our current rates, we were only saving around $3 a month by washing in cold. Those savings were eaten up by additional washings when clothes didn't come out clean and purchasing a variety of stain removers.

In addition, this website suggests washing your clothes in the right temperature will help them last longer. Here is what they had to say about temperatures:

"Choosing the Right Temperature
Selecting the right water temperature for your wash is important to keep clothes clean and bright without fading, stretching or damaging the fabric.

•Hot Water: Choose “hot” water for the initial wash cycle on white cotton fabrics such as underwear, socks and sheets. Hot water (120 to 140 F) will kill the bacteria and keep whites bright.
•Warm Water: Pick “warm” water for synthetic, wrinkle-free and permanent press fabrics to prevent them from fading and damaging the material. Warm water (85 to 105 F) will keep colors bright while protecting the fabric.
•Cold Water: Use “cold” water for dark colors and delicate fabrics, as well as for the final rinse cycle on all fabrics. Cold water (65 to 75 F) will help prolong the life of delicates."

This won't work for everyone, but I felt it was the right decision for our family.




Tips from a Busy Mom: Taming Morning Madness


I don't know how it is at your house, but mornings are crazy around here. It's easy to get overwhelmed. With two kids going to school at different times this year, I have to make sure our mornings run as smoothly as possible. Here are a few things I do to make mornings easier:


  1. Makes lunches the night before. Right now, I have one child who eats school lunch almost every day (not sure how she stomachs that), one who has a homemade lunch, and a hubby who takes lunch to work three to four times a week. There is no way I could get everyone off to where they need to go on time if I tried to make lunches in the morning. And actually, I've found it much easier to make the Lil' Diva's lunch right when she comes home from school these days. I'm already downstairs because I try not to work in my office when they're home. She has her afternoon snack and I pack her lunch for the next day, which makes my evening less crazy, too. 
  2. Set out clothes the night before or have some idea of what the kids are going to wear. When the girls were younger, I would set their clothes out the night before. At this point, they are old enough to choose their own clothes, but one day I won't be waking them up for school or picking clothes out of their closets for them, so while they still want me to do it, I will. When I shag them out of bed in the mornings, I grab an outfit I know they like from their closets and carry it downstairs with me. It's part of our routine and works well. 
  3. Keep their backpacks in the same spot every day. Each of my girls has one spot that their backpacks go once they are done with homework. That way we aren't searching high and low for backpacks--or homework--in the morning. 
  4. Plan the morning menu the night before. My husband gets his own breakfast, but the girls don't yet. If I plan what I will make for them the night before, then I'm not bugging half-asleep children to tell me what they want to eat. Each night before bed, they spend an hour watching TV with their dad and read with me for half an hour. In between those activities, we discuss breakfast, so we always have a morning plan.

Do you have any morning madness tips?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tom Weston's Feathered Book Blast and Giveaway


Whenever Alexandra Caroline O’Rourke, AKA Alex, met with trouble, she generally blamed her younger sister, Jackie. And Alex’s sudden engagement to marry a Viking prince, against her will, probably classified as trouble. If nothing else, a wedding held in 11th century Ireland would make it difficult to invite her friends from San Diego. Regardless of blame, Jackie was the only person who could help Alex, but Jackie was still in the 21st century. And Jackie had her own problems, which included uncooperative fairies and strange songs which only she could hear. But most of all, if Jackie could not find a way to make it rain, marauding Vikings would be the least of their worries, because this is Feathered: being a fairy tale and this is an Alex and Jackie Adventure.


Purchase your copy:

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE 



Hardcover: 326 pages
Publisher: tom weston media (December 5, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0985036109
ISBN-13: 978-0985036102


Award winning writer and film-maker, Tom Weston, returns to the fantasy genre for his 3rd novel in the Alex and Jackie Adventure series, FEATHERED: BEING A FAIRY TALE. Originally from England, Tom now resides in Boston, Massachusetts. Before turning his hand to fiction, Tom had a successful career as the CEO of a consulting company, conference speaker and writer of industry articles and business books. But determining that the business world lacked a sense of humor, Tom decided to hand in his jacket and tie and instead turned to the world of literature. His novel, FIRST NIGHT, set in Boston during the New Year’s Eve festival, introduced the unlikely heroines, Alex and Jackie, and the ghost of a 17th century Puritan named Sarah Pemberton. FIRST NIGHT won an Honorable Mention in the Middle-Grade/Young Adult category, in the Writers Digest 17th Annual International Self-Published Book Awards. The sequel to FIRST NIGHT, called THE ELF OF LUXEMBOURG, was published in January, 2010. As with FIRST NIGHT, THE ELF OF LUXEMBOURG is also a supernatural mystery, with a blend of humor and history that has become Tom’s trademark. Following the publication of THE ELF OF LUXEMBOURG, Tom turned to the medium of film to produce and direct the award winning animated short, THERE BE MONSTERS!, based on one of his TALES FROM THE GREEN DRAGON TAVERN. Tom also wrote the critically acclaimed and award winning, Historical Fiction novel, FISSION, based on the true life story of scientist, Lise Meitner. Tom is now working on a new animated short called DANCING DAISY DAY.


Visit Tom Online:

WEBSITE | TWITTER


Pump Up Your Book and Tom Weston are teaming up to give you a chance to win some fabulous prizes!

Here’s how it works:


Each person will enter this giveaway by liking, following, subscribing and tweeting about this giveaway through the Rafflecopter form placed on blogs throughout the tour. This promotion will run from March 4 – 29. The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, contacted by email and announced on March 30, 2013. Good luck everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway



If the Rafflecopter form doesn't load, please visit the Feathered tour page at http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2013/02/02/pump-up-your-book-presents-tom-westons-feathered-book-blast-win-25-amazon-gc-autographed-copy-of-feathered/

January Justice Book Blast and Giveaway


Reeling from his wife’s unsolved murder, Malcolm Cutter is just going through the motions as a chauffeur and bodyguard for Hollywood’s rich and famous. Then a pair of Guatemalan tough guys offer him a job. It’s an open question whether they’re patriotic revolutionaries or vicious terrorists. Either way, Cutter doesn’t much care until he gets a bomb through his window, a gangland beating on the streets of L.A., and three bullets in the chest. Now there’s another murder on Cutter’s Mind. His own.

Link to purchase: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AGAW6EC

Athol Dickson’s mystery, suspense, and literary novels have won three Christy Awards and an Audie Award. Suspense fans who enjoyed Athol’s They Shall See God will love his latest novel, January Justice, the first installment in a new mystery series called The Malcolm Cutter Memoirs. The second and third novels in the series, Free Fall in February, and A March Murder, are coming in 2013.

Critics have favorably compared Athol’s work to such diverse authors as Octavia Butler (Publisher’s Weekly), Hermann Hesse (The New York Journal of Books) and Flannery O’Connor (The New York Times). Athol lives with his wife in southern California.

Website: http://www.malcolmcutter.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AtholDickson

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Athol-Dickson/416622918355206

Pump Up Your Book and Athol Dickson are teaming up to give you a chance to win a fabulous prize!

Here’s how it works:

Each person will enter this giveaway by liking, following, subscribing and tweeting about this giveaway through the Rafflecopter form placed on blogs throughout the tour. This promotion will run from March 18 – Mar 22. The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, contacted by email, and announced on March 25, 2013. Visit each blog stop below to gain more entries as the Rafflecopter widget will be placed on each blog for the duration of the tour. Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


If the Rafflecopter form doesn't load, please visit the JANUARY JUSTICE TOUR PAGE to enter the giveaway: http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2013/02/27/pump-up-your-book-presents-athol-dicksons-january-justice-book-blast-%E2%80%93-win-25-amazon-gift-card/


JANUARY JUSTICE BOOK BLAST SCHEDULE

Monday, March 18th
Tuesday, March 19th
Wednesday, March 20th
Thursday, March 21st
Friday, March 22nd




CFBA: Wings of Glass by Gina Holmes

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Wings of Glass
Tyndale House Publishers (March 1, 2013)
by
Gina Holmes




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Gina Holmes began her career in 1998, penning articles and short stories. In 2005 she founded the influential literary blog, Novel Journey now called Novel Rocket and she is also the founder of Inspire The Fire.

Her debut, Crossing Oceans, was a Christy and Gold Medallion finalist and winner of the Carol Award, INSPY, and RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice, as well as being a CBA, ECPA, Amazon and PW Religion bestseller. Her sophomore novel, Dry as Rain, was also named a Christy finalist. Her upcoming novel, Wings of Glass will releases this month. She holds degrees in science and nursing and currently resides with her family in southern Virginia. She works too hard, laughs too loud, and longs to see others heal from their past and discover their God-given purpose.

ABOUT THE BOOK

From the bestselling author of Crossing Oceans comes a heart-rending yet uplifting story of friendship and redemption. On the cusp of womanhood, Penny is swept off her feet by a handsome farmhand with a confident swagger. Though Trent Taylor seems like Prince Charming and offers an escape from her one-stop-sign-town, Penny’s happily ever after lasts no longer than their breakneck courtship. Before the ink even dries on their marriage certificate, he hits her for the first time. It isn’t the last, yet the bruises that can’t be seen are the most painful of all.


When Trent is injured in a welding accident and his paycheck stops, he has no choice but to finally allow Penny to take a job cleaning houses. Here she meets two women from very different worlds who will teach her to live and laugh again, and lend her their backbones just long enough for her to grow her own.


If you would like to read the first chapter of Wings of Glass, go HERE.



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Guest Post and Giveaway: Starseed Blog Tour with Liz Gruder

Tour Schedule


Starseed

Author: Liz Gruder

ISBN: 978-1937178291

Publisher: WiDo Publishing

Published: February 2013


SUMMARY

Starseed concerns a sixteen-year-old girl who falls in love with a starseed boy who reveals that she, too, is half extraterrestrial, and is forced to choose her allegiance between Earth and her star family.

Kaila Guidry has always known she is different. When she meets Jordyn Stryker at school, she finds out just how different.

Jordyn was born and raised far from Earth, a starseed, one of six new students sent to Louisiana's Bush High to learn human ways. But Jordyn didn't count on meeting someone like Kaila.

When Kaila is pushed to her limit by high school bullying and cruelty, Jordyn awakens her to a new reality—and to love. But to prove herself, Kaila must look the other way as the real purposes of the starseeds unfold.

As the horrific plan behind the starseed visit to Earth moves inexorably forward, Kaila and Jordan, caught in an impossible love, must determine where their true loyalties lie.


Working Modern Day Topics (bullying) into a Sci-fi Setting by Liz Gruder


I set Starseed on Earth, taking place in high school, because when reading science fiction, it’s important to relate to the situation and characters. It’s also why I had the protagonist, Kaila Guidry, who is half-human and half-extraterrestrial, raised in Louisiana and unaware of her ET origins. Yet, from chapter one, it’s apparent to the reader that Kaila is different and has heightened abilities such as telepathy, as she can communicate with her dogs and receives a vision of her mother’s abduction with the aliens. The reader has a sense when Kaila rebels from homeschooling to go to school, that there will be problems. This is a science-fiction set-up for a real-life situation of bullying.

When I was in elementary school there was this boy who was overweight and stuttered. People made brutal fun of him. We had to give others a valentine and he tried to give me a heart necklace. He got so red and he stuttered “I-I-I” … He could not speak. I took the necklace and thanked him. He couldn’t look me in the eye and finally ran away, leaving the bullies to open prey. His discomfort stayed with me to this day.

When I asked my daughter about the worst bullying she’d seen in school, she told of a girl who had a "secret" crush on the quarterback. In our town, it’s a custom that players can get on the loudspeaker and make announcements if they win a game. The quarterback got on the loudspeaker and announced to the whole stadium that he knew this girl had a huge crush on him, but that she was the biggest LOSER and he wouldn't be caught dead with such a NERD and she should just DIE.”

I couldn’t imagine a worse public humiliation—being attacked in front of a packed football stadium. I used that scene in Starseed. So imagine being telepathic and an empath--to feel what another feels. Imagine that this girl is someone you know from your physics class and she’s sitting behind you while the quarterback calls her a LOSER and to DIE. What would you feel?

Though it’s not fair or right, we see people judged on how they look, how they’re dressed, how they think, what they believe. If you fall out of the mainstream notions of looks, interests or beliefs, you can subject yourself to ridicule—and there is nowhere this is more true than high school.

Kaila is a normal sixteen-year-old in that she wants to have friends and know what group she fits in. When she understands she is half human AND half extraterrestrial, this not knowing where she belongs grows worse. There’s this mentality that we have to have a “group” because that defines us, and gives a sense of security. That’s why I made Kaila’s friends, Melissa and Pia, as saying they are “undefinables” because they can hang with every group.

When Kaila goes to school, she meets Jordyn Stryker, who is a hybrid too, but he is part of a “hive” who was raised far from Earth. It’s not hard to imagine how he and his fellow aliens would view the school “groups” and bullying. But even within the alien students, there are differences and disagreements. Isn’t it alien bullying if you judge human students as primitive animals that you can rip out of their beds at night and do mind control experiments on them like lab rats?

I don’t take the stance that the aliens are either all good or all bad—there are both in Starseed. So by using this idea that we all judge each other, I believe it’s our task to soften our belief systems and open our hearts to create a more loving world—and universe. Without it, we can never hope for peace. And certainly not first contact. We’d likely bully the aliens away, calling them LOSERS, because they don’t look or believe like us.

Purchase



Author Liz Gruder

As a youth, Liz Gruder saw a series of UFOs with her best friend while riding bikes. Ever since, she’s held a fascination for the stars. An avid reader, she used to hide under her covers and read with a flashlight. She has degrees in English and Psychology from Tulane University, a nursing license and a yoga certification. After going through Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Liz realized how short life is and is now slowly fulfilling her bucket list: she’s been to the Egyptian pyramids (totally awesome and thought provoking) and is now teaching yoga and writing speculative fiction. Starseed is her debut novel.








Blog Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 4/10/13



Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the authors. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 18, 2013

Teaser Tuesdays - March 19th

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!



She went into the cute little apartment, set the box down and then looked out the peephole. He was gone.

~ Page 195 from The Best Man by Kristan Higgins

The Before I Formed You Foundation



If we can turn just one mother’s heart toward God and save an unborn life, what is that worth?

Temecula, CA – March 2013 – The Before I Formed You Foundation, a not-for profit organization, has a mission . . . to reach out to every Crisis Pregnancy Center, Abortion Clinic, Planned Parenthood center, Legislator and OB/GYN in the nation.

Renowned Christian artist, Ron DiCianni and his son Grant developed the foundation around Ron’s painting titled “Before I Formed You In The Womb . . .” (Jeremiah 1:5). This beautiful painting is a celebration of life and shows God's design behind each unborn child. The painting was crafted by the hands of an abortion survivor to visually showcase that each life is precious to the Creator.  

You can read Ron’s story of abortion survival on the foundation website: www.formedyou.org

A picture does paint a thousand words and it's our hope that by using this image we can visually impact every single person involved in the abortion process.

Both Ron and Grant DiCianni (co-founders) are available for interviews.

For more information on The Before I Formed You Foundation and how you can pray, share, donate or sponsor go to:  www.formedyou.org

You've Got Mail Monday



Spring. Spring. Where for art thou, spring? I am so ready to get out into the yard and clean up, but the weather isn't cooperating. They are calling for 4 - 8 inches of snow/sleet starting tonight into Tuesday afternoon. Really? The snow from the last storm hasn't all melted yet.

Two things arrived in the mailbox last week that reminded me of spring, too. The Womanswork catalog, which carries garden gloves and gardening supplies and my April 2013 issue of Traditional Home. This issue features a series of garden rooms in Charleston's historic district.

I've been tossing around ideas for this year's garden. Last year, we bought raised beds, which I think I will do again this year. I'll keep the ones we have and maybe buy three new ones. That would give me 6 - 42 x 42 inch gardening plots. The raised beds I bought from The Home Depot last year worked great, so I would be buying the same ones. I didn't like the pest control netting I used last year, so I'm open for suggestions on what would be good to try. I don't want to add something too permanent, since I never know what the hubby has planned for the yard.

That's it for this week's edition of You've Got Mail Monday. Hope you have a great week.




CFBA: Catherine's Pursuit by Lena Nelson Dooley

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Catherine's Pursuit
Realms (February 5, 2013)
by
Lena Nelson Dooley

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




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

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

ABOUT THE BOOK


When Angus McKenna was forced to give two of his daughters to families in the wagon train, he promised he'd never try to contact them. Catherine made no such pledge. But when she sets out to find her sisters, she doesn't go alone. Angus sends Collin with her. Will they discover the two women---and love?


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


You can read my First Chapter Review of this novel here.