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Thursday, January 31, 2008

a PASSION most PURE by J. Lessman

This week CFBA is touring Julie Lessman's first novel.

About the book:
She's found the love of her life. Unfortunately, he loves her sister ...As World War I rages across the Atlantic in 1916, a smaller war is brewing in Boston. Faith O’Connor finds herself drawn to an Irish rogue who is anything but right for her. Collin McGuire is brash, cocky, and from the wrong side of the tracks, not to mention forbidden by her father. And then there’s the small matter that he is secretly courting her younger sister. But when Collin’s affections suddenly shift her way, it threatens to tear Faith's proper Boston family apart.

Refusing to settle for anything less than a romantic relationship that pleases God, Faith O'Connor steels her heart against her desire for the roguish Collin McGuire. Collin is trying to win her sister Charity's hand, and Faith isn't sure she can handle the jealousy she feels. Full of passion, romance, rivalry, and betrayal, A Passion Most Pure is Book 1 of the Daughters of Boston series.

I liked the book so much I wanted to find out a bit more about Julie and her novel...so I went fishing on her website. And this is what I found...

What inspired you to write A Passion Most Pure?

Well, that would be Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara. From the moment I read Gone With the Wind, I was hooked on romance. So much so, that when I was in high school, I actually dressed up as a nun to go to a free showing of GWTW for the local religious and clergy. One of my friends had a sister in the convent, so she loaned us novice habits and off we went! I sat there mesmerized, shoving free popcorn into my mouth as I watched the tug-o-war between Rhett and Scarlett. It was one of the most fun times of my teens . until we ran into the nuns from our high school! Whew, we got into trouble . but it was soooo worth it (at least at the time!).
Anyway, that book inspired me to begin my own novel at the age of twelve, a 150-page, single-spaced manuscript that is actually the basis for my debut novel, A Passion Most Pure. Unfortunately (or fortunately, however you look at it!), almost forty years passed before God breathed new life into that early attempt and inspired me to finish my childhood novel of passion-only this time the "passion" would be for Him! ?

Do we "see" some of you in your characters?

Oh, my, yes! There's a part of my personality in each of the three sisters in the series. You might say that Faith, the sister heroine of A Passion Most Pure, is my spiritual self. Faith has an intimate relationship with God-she talks and prays to Him as naturally as if He is her best friend, but she gets angry with Him too. You might say she (and I) are emotionally engaged with the God of the Universe-we laugh with Him, tear up at His goodness to us, and worship Him with all of our hearts. As a matter of fact, Faith and I are so much alike in the spiritual aspect, that a good friend of mine told me that reading A Passion Most Pure was "like going to lunch with me." I guess that's good . I'm not sure! (grin)

Charity, the sister heroine of Book 2, is my rebellious and "passionate" self, before I came to the Lord. I was a wild child of the seventies, you know, like so many of us. Thank heavens that Jesus got a hold of me (as he does Charity in Book 2)!

Lizzie (or Beth), the sister heroine of Book 3 is my dreamer self. Lizzie is a bookworm bent on fairytale romance, just like I used to be as a little girl, sneaking downstairs to watch romantic movies after my parents went to bed. In her story, Lizzie has to learn (just like I did) that true romance, the kind that really satisfies, comes from following God's precepts, not the world's.

Can you share a little of your own personal faith journey with us?

Sure, but I guarantee you, you wouldn't have liked me back then. I was a twenty-three-year-old hard-nosed agnostic from a devout but dysfunctional Catholic family of thirteen kids. Suffice it to say that I was pretty angry at God. According to the world's standards, I had everything going for me-a hunky boyfriend with a Corvette and a boat, a great job, my own apartment when other friends still lived at home, and I was acing an advanced writing course at Washington U., a prestigious college in St. Louis. But I wasn't happy. I felt like Peggy Lee singing, "Is that all there is?"

Then one day, this annoying gal at work approached me. She had a lesser job than me, was divorced with a kid and no boyfriend in sight. I hated her because she came in humming every day, happy as a lark while I was utterly miserable. One day when she and I were alone, I looked up from my typewriter and said, "Just what in the heck (except my language was a bit stronger back then) makes you so happy all the time?" She said, "I've been praying you would ask." Oh, no, a Jesus freak, I thought to myself, but I found myself going to lunch with her, badgering her with questions and accusations. I don't remember now if it was a week or a month, but either way, I met Jesus Christ through the remarkable patience of God-sent angel by the name of Joy-pretty appropriate name, eh?

About the author:
Julie Lessman is a debut author who has already garnered writing acclaim, including ten Romance Writers of America awards. She is a commercial writer for Maritz Travel, a published poet and a Golden Heart Finalist. Julie has a heart to write “Mainstream Inspirational,” reaching the 21st-century woman with compelling love stories laced with God’s precepts.

She resides in Missouri with her husband and their golden retriever, and has two grown children and a daughter-in-law. A Passion Most Pure is her first novel.

Visit Julie's website here

Buy the book here

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sinfully Rich...

My friend Joan gave me the best recipe for my birthday! This note was attached: I'm sharing this with all my girl friends. It's my least favorite meal -- so why do I make it?

I don't know where she got it from, but check out the ingredient list for these

Sinfully Rich Choice Morsels

1 cup pride - Proverbs 21:24
3/4 cup hearsay - Ephesians 4:29
1/2 cup evil suspicions - 1 Timothy 6:3-4
1/4 cup grumbling - 1 Corinthians 10:10
1 Tablespoon bitterness - Ephesians 4:29
3/4 Tablespoon slander - Leviticus 19:16
2 teaspoons yeast of exaggeration - 1 Corinthians 5:8
3 teaspoons of slurring the situation - Psalms 15:3
Pinch of flattery - Jude :16
Just a dash of unfaithfulness to Jesus - John 6:66

1. Mix together all ingredients in a bowl of betrayal.
~~Proverbs 16:28, Matthew 26:23

2. Pour into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil; constantly stirring.
~~Proverbs 6:14

3. Prepare in a dark kitchen.
~~John 3:20

4. Turn on low and simmer overnight.
~~Ephesians 4:26-27

5. Sprinkle with truth (optional).
~~Romans 1:25

6. Serve hot to itching ears, warm to those not minding their own business and cold to those fearful.
~~Acts 14:2, 1 Thessalonians 4:11, 2 Timothy 4:3

A recipe for Gossip: the words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts. Proverbs 18:8


Friday, January 25, 2008

Fallen by Matthew Raley

This week's Christian Fiction Blog Alliance book is this first novel by Raley. I haven't yet finished this slim volume (I started a bit late...there is just so much life to be lived here at our house), but I found the themes to be quite interesting. Very timely.

About the book:
Jim was at work when his eyes drifted to the coffee shop visible from his office window. An attractive woman driving a Mercedes pulled up to the curb . . . and Jim’s married pastor emerged from the car. When Jim delves deeper into his pastor’s world, will he be able to handle what he discovers? Is he right to suspect that Dave is having an affair? In the behind-the-scenes church battle that ensues, Jim is torn between duty to his church and a desire to show grace. A ripped-from-the-headlines drama of suspense that keeps you engaged to the last page. Fallen is the story about Jim’s relationship with Dave—how Jim tries to do the right thing to keep Dave accountable, but finds the situation getting worse and worse. It’s also about Jim’s other relationships. Just as he discovers hypocrisy in Dave, Jim discovers his own sins against his wife and daughter.

About the author:
Matthew Raley is senior pastor of the Orland Evangelical Free Church in northern California, where he lives with his wife and two young children. For fun, he enjoys playing chamber music with friends, giving occasional solo recitals, and playing first violin in the North State Symphony. This is his first book. For more info on Matthew or his book, check out his website here.

Buy the book here

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Great Resource!

The essential reference tool for the Christian writer, Sally Stuart’s Christian Writers’ Market Guide is now in its 23rd annual edition!

Check out the section on Blogging on page 69...the
CFBA is listed!

Writers’ Conference listings, Book Publishers, Magazine Publishers, and a Bookstore filled with the resources you need to be successful in this business. Get a Book Contract or Manuscript Evaluation, and check out the Writer’s Resource links. This book has all you need to connect to all these valuable helps for the beginning, intermediate, or professional writer.

To keep you up to date with the latest marketing news, visit Sally Stuart’s new marketing blog, Christian Writers’ Marketplace, at http://www.stuartmarket.blogspot.com/.

A new, updated version of the Christian Writers’ Market Guide is available about January 15 each year.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sally Stuart has been writing for the last 40+ years, and has been putting out the annual "Christian Writers' Market Guide" for the last 23 years. Her other writing includes several Christian education resources books, a children's picture book, a basic writing text, writing resources, and a western novel--plus hundreds of articles and marketing columns. She writes marketing columns for the "Christian Communicator," "Advanced Christian Writer," and the Oregon Christian Writers' Newsletter.

She speaks and teaches at Christian Writers' Conferences nationwide. Sally is the mother of 3 and grandmother of 8. She and her husband, Norm, spend their free time vacationing on the Oregon coast.

Buy the book here

Thursday, January 10, 2008

My favorite things...

Well I have to say that my favorite Christmas gift this year besides this (thanks Loring!)

and this (thanks hubby!) I used to sit all hunched over on a hard chair working on a tiny-screened laptop. Now I am the proud owner of a 22 inch monitor, a wireless keyboard and mouse, and a cushy office chair!) Woo-hoo so much better! (Warning: objects on desk appear more cluttered than they really are!)

was this gadgett from my daughter, Madison.

Onion goggles!

Don't I look super cool! :)

Oh...and they actually work! I cut 15 lbs. of onions this week for a luncheon and not a single tear was shed!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Happily Ever After by Marilynn Griffith

This week's CFBA selection is this funny little gem of a book. Just perfect for all of you ladies (and I'm sure a few of you men--of which I'm sure do not read my blog) who are facing THE resolution this January. You know THAT resolution...the one about snugger jeans and someone named Will Power!

I know I could loose 10 (20) pounds...but we're not talking about me here, we're talking about Marilynn's new book! I really enjoyed this quick read, and unfortunately I could totally relate to Tracey's obsession about her weight. It's something I've always struggled with...I LOVE FOOD! I am a (part time) caterer and love to try out new recipes, but I'm also frugal and just HATE for fabulous food to go to waste. Painful. I often tell my friends that if I just stopped finishing my children's food for them, I could easily lose 10 pounds!

But, then there are the new foods and recipes that the picky (fabulous) little ones don't like...I of course need to eat their portions too. (NO, not all in one sitting).

And...don't forget about eating out. Restaurants are always a good excuse for making exceptions and eating just one more bite.

Anyway...you can see my dilemma.

What it all boils down to is that gluttony is a sin and needs to be dealt with accordingly. Like hiding it under a baggy shirt and pair of jeans. (Seriously-I jest)!

And that obsessing about our weight is really just so pointless. It is such a distraction from all those other things that REALLY do matter.

Whoops...okay, finished...on to Marilynn's book!

About the Book: Superwoman doesn't live here!

I marry a gorgeous executive, have a baby, lose all the weight (most of it), and move to a fine house in the suburbs with a welcoming new church. Wait...did I say welcoming?

One teeny waaah! and new mothers and their crying babies are exiled to a separate room. At least there's some enlightening conversation. Like about my husband and issues I didn't even know about!

And then there's my aptly named mother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth, who can't stand me.

I'm about to lose my mind! So it's high time for a visit to the Sassy Sistahood for some much-needed advice about men, marriage and motherhood!

The Sassy Sistahood: They get by with a little help from their friends.

About Marilynn: Marilynn Griffith is mom to a tribe, wife to a deacon and proof that God gives second chances. While best known for her colorful novels about friendship, family and faith, Marilynn is also a speaker and nonfiction writer.

Her nonfiction has been included in CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN'S SOUL and several other devotionals and magazines. Currently, Marilynn is editor of the SISTAHFAITH:BELIEVING BEYOND SHAME anthology. She is also the founder of Faithchick.com, a blog for faith fiction readers.

Marilynn is the author of six novels dealing with issues such as teen pregnancy, AIDS, abstinence, stress relief, single parenting and marriage. Her recent fiction titles include TANGERINE and IF THE SHOE FITS.

Marilynn has served as Vice President and Publicity Officer of American Christian Fiction Writers. She speaks to youth, women and writers about believing beyond boundaries and daring to reach dreams.

Marilynn lives in Florida with her husband and seven children whom she taught at home for seven years. When not chasing toddlers, helping with homework or trying to find her husband a clean shirt, she can be found scribbling furiously on her next novel.

To book Marilynn for media interviews, speaking engagements, Serious Fun fiction parties or book club call-ins, please contact her through her WEBSITE.

Read an excerpt of Happily Ever After

Buy the book here

Monday, January 07, 2008

Agenda Amy...

This is on the women's blog at my church...

I don't know WHO could possibly be like that!

Agenda Wendy

Agenda Wendy. This is the name my husband calls me when I get in my agenda mode.

Agenda: a list, plan, outline, or the like, of things to be done, matters to be acted or voted upon.

Agenda Wendy has a plan. Something occurred to her that would be a really good thing to do. There’s nothing wrong with that. But then woe to the obstacle that gets in Agenda Wendy’s way. Agenda Wendy becomes singularly focused on her agenda and either runs over or resents anyone who gets in her way. Agenda Wendy doesn’t appreciate interruptions.

Here’s the problem with Agenda Wendy. One—she assumes that all reasonable people will value her agenda as she does. Two—she views interruptions as barriers to God’s sovereign purposes (i. e. her agenda) rather than His purposes themselves. Here’s what Agenda Wendy is learning.

1) I need to stop and listen to interruptions. Many important lessons of Jesus were started with “interruptions”. Young men interrupting Jesus’ teaching by lowering their paralyzed friend from the roof. A woman interrupting His journey by touching the hem of His robe for healing.

2) God is sovereign over my interruptions. Barriers to my agenda aren’t out of God’s control. They aren’t sneaky Satanic ploys to distract me from my good plan. The interruptions ARE God’s plan.

3) I need to listen to opposing agendas and not resent those who don’t share mine. Often my husband doesn’t share my vision. After discussing, I realize we are often on the same page on the BIG IDEA but we differ on the specifics of how to carry it out. I need to listen seriously to his differing view and not resent him for holding it.

Agenda Wendy is making strides. She is learning to take off her Agenda cape and listen to those around her. She is learning that she is not the only person out there with good ideas and that those affected by her agenda ought to have input into it. Most of all, she is learning that God is in control of the interruptions and to look for His hand in them.