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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

American Idol Winners read Christian Fiction!

“Reading is a passion of mine, and when I find myself identifying with the characters, anxious to get to the next page to find answers to my questions, I know I’m into a good book! The daughter-mother-grandmother theme in Ruby Among Us pulled me in. Wonderful story-telling.”
~Jordin Sparks~, 2007 winner of American Idol

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing Ruby Among Us (WaterBrookPress May 20, 2008) by Tina Ann Forkner!

Tina Ann Forkner writes contemporary fiction that challenges and inspires. Originally from Oklahoma, she graduated with honors in English from CSU Sacramento before ultimately settling in the wide-open spaces of Wyoming where she now resides with her husband and their three children. Tina serves on the Laramie County Library Foundation Board of Directors and enjoys gardening, spending time outdoors with her family, and works as a full-time writer.


Sometimes, the key that unlocks your future lies in someone else’s past...

In Ruby Among Us, Lucy DiCamillo is safely surrounded by her books, music, and art─but none of these reclusive comforts or even the protective efforts of her grandmother, Kitty can shield her from the memory of the mother she can no longer remember. Lucy senses her grandmother holds the key, but Kitty seems as eager to hide from the past as Lucy is eager to find it.

From the streets of San Francisco and Sacramento, to the lush vineyards of the Sonoma Valley, Lucy follows the thread of memory in search for a heritage that seems long-buried with her mother, Ruby.

What she finds is enigmatic and stirring in this redemptive tale about the power of faith and mother-daughter love.

“What an incredible story. As both mothers and daughters, Ruby Among Us struck a special cord in each of the four of us. Tina writes in a way that makes us feel like we’re there; from the first line, we were captivated and drawn into an intricate weaving of the precious and fragile relationships that define us.”
~Point of Grace~

“Highly recommended. If you’re a mother or daughter, you’re going to love Ruby Among Us. Forkner does an extraordinary job…. I look forward to more from this author.”
~Ane Mulligan~, Novel Journey

“Don’t miss this one! Tina Ann Forkner is a strong new voice in fiction and Ruby Among Us is an amazing story of trials, regrets, and, ultimately, redemption. Lucy and her family history in the historic wine country of Sonoma bring to life the Scriptures about the Vine and His branches.”
~Kristin Billerbeck~, author of The Trophy Wives Club

If you would like to read the first chapter go HERE

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Win a Scrumptious Baking Basket!

Scoot on over and check out Rachel Hauck's blog tour for Sweet Caroline (I reviewed it here). Loved it!

And make sure to sign up for her newsletter so that you'll be entered to win this fabulous basket full of baking "stuff". Which would have totally come in handy yesterday...We are going camping over Memorial Day weekend. Woo-hoo. And as the family baker...I've been assigned "treats"!

So yesterday I donned my apron and dragged my hubby into the kitchen...here's what we whipped up!

Yummy fudgy brownies loaded with bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolate!

Chewy Chocolate Gingersnaps

Hubs made these Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal, Peanut Butter Ecstasy Cookies

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie...and you can see the crust in the back ground for the Banana Cream Pie I'll put together once I get to where we're going!

And hubs made these too...Double chocolate chip cookies. They melt in your mouth!

oh, and yes...we like chocolate. :)

Embraceable Me...

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing Embrace Me (Thomas Nelson March 4, 2008) by Lisa Samson!

I loved this book! It made me think and question my own prejudices and stereotypes over society's "less desirables". An incredible story of pain and redemption. Lisa's writing is clean and fluid...and at times brilliant. That she chose characters so far from the "norm" of Christian Fiction (well...for any fiction) was refreshing. Lisa stunned me with her "teaching" in Quaker Summer...several times during reading QS I had to put the book down and just ponder and even acknowledge my own sin and tendencies. I think that the lessons in Embrace me build upon those in Quaker Summer. And actually if I had a complaint about Embrace Me, it would be that at times I felt like I was reading a sermon. Interesting and valid, yes--but maybe her message could have been more subtly woven into the story.

Love is doing. Not me but Jesus. People are not the sum of their outward appearance.

Anywho...I highly recommend this book!

ABOUT THE LISA:Lisa Samson is a Christy Award-winning author of 19 books, including the Women of the Faith Novel of the Year, Quaker Summer. Lisa has been hailed by Publishers Weekly as "a talented novelist who isn't afraid to take risks."

In Embrace Me, the latest novel by acclaimed author Lisa Samson, readers are privy to the realization that regardless of outward appearances…hideous, attractive, or even ordinary…persons are all looking for the same things: love, forgiveness, and redemption.

This story explores a world that is neither comfortable nor safe, a world that people like Valentine know all too well. Masterfully crafted by Samson and populated by her most compelling cast of characters yet. It is a tale of forgiveness that extends into all spheres of life: forgiving others, forgiving oneself, forgiving the past.

She lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband and three kids.

ABOUT THE BOOK: Biting and gentle, hard-edged and hopeful...a beautiful fable of love and power, hiding and seeking, woundedness and redemption.

When a "lizard woman," a self-mutilating preacher, a tattooed monk, and a sleazy lobbyist find themselves in the same North Carolina town one winter, their lives are edging precariously close to disaster...and improbably close to grace.

Valentine, due to her own drastic self-disfigurement, has very few friends in this world and, it appears as if she may be destined to spend the rest of her life practically alone. But life gives her one good friend, Lella, whose own handicap puts her in the same freakish category as Valentine. As part of Roland's Wayfaring Marvel and Oddities Show, a traveling band of misfits, they seem to have found their niches in an often curiously cruel world.

Residing in a world where masks are mandatory, Valentine has a hard time removing hers, because of her disfigured face but more so because of her damaged soul. It is much easier for her to listen endlessly to different versions of a favorite song, Embraceable You, and escape reality. Yet, life has more in store for her when she meets Augustine, replete with the tattoos, dreadlocks, and his own secrets. With his arrival, Valentine's soul takes a turn.

If you would like to read the first chapter, go HERE

To learn more about Lisa and her other books, visit her website: http://lisasamson.com/

Broken Angel by Sigmund Brouwer

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Broken Angel

(WaterBrook Press (May 20, 2008)


Sigmund Brouwer


Sigmund Brouwer is the author of eighteen best-selling novels for children and adults. His newest book is Fuse of Armageddon and his novel The Last Disciple was featured in Time magazine and on ABC’s Good Morning America. A champion of literacy, he teaches writing workshops for students in schools from the Arctic Circle to inner city Los Angeles. Sigmund is married to Christian recording artist Cindy Morgan, and they and their two daughters divide their time between homes in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada and Nashville, Tennessee.


Her birth was shrouded in mystery and tragedy.
Her destiny is beyond comprehension.
Her pursuers long to see her broken.
She fights to soar.

A father's love for his daughter…a decision that would change both their lives forever. But who is she really─and why must she now run for her life?

Caitlin's body has made her an outcast, a freak, and the target of vicious bounty hunters. As she begins a perilous journey, she is forced to seek answers for her father's betrayal in the only things she can carry with her─a letter he passes her before forcing her to run, and their shared memories together.

Being hunted forces Caitlyn to partner with two equally lonely companions, one longing to escape the horror of factory life in Appalachia and the others, an unexpected fugitive. Together the three will fight to reach a mysterious group that might be friend or foe, where Caitlyn hopes to uncover the secrets of her past...and the destiny she must fulfill.

In the rough, shadowy hills of Appalachia, a nation carved from the United States following years of government infighting, Caitlyn and her companions are the prey in a terrifying hunt. They must outwit the relentless bounty hunters, skirt an oppressive, ever-watchful society, and find passage over the walls of Appalachia to reveal the dark secrets behind Caitlyn’s existence–and understand her father’s betrayal.

Prepare yourself to experience a chilling America of the very near future, as you discover the unforgettable secret of the Broken Angel.

In this engrossing, lightning-paced story with a post-apocalyptic edge, best-selling author Sigmund Brouwer weaves a heroic, harrowing journey through the path of a treacherous culture only one or two steps removed from our own.

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

Monday, May 12, 2008

what IS a meme?

As explained by another blogger:

In science, a Meme (pronounced to rhyme with “theme”) is a self-propagating unit of thought that is spread from one host to another. Richard Dawkins invented the term as a kind of idea-gene. Like genes, as Memes spread they mutate or die. Only the fittest Memes survive.

For bloggers Memes have become synonymous with internet quizzes, surveys, and novelties that people link to and pass around on their blogs, forums and via email, things like the “which superhero are you most like” test…Fun or just interesting, it is only those that capture your imagination that you will take part in and propagate, apart from those you do out of a sense of duty to your friend who started it. The latter don’t tend to get very far.

Why Meme?
Memes are interesting content when done right, and can give you an insight into others personalities and histories that you wouldn’t ordinarily have access to. But it’s mostly about links. The initiator gets a ton of links (all participants link back to the person who started the Meme) and everyone else gets some amount of link love too. You link to the next in the chain (”tag” them) and they link back when they complete what they have to do to participate.

I know you wanted to know but were afraid to ask...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Warriors by Mark Andrew Olson

I don't normally do this...just post the same info everyone else is posting on a blog tour...but, I'm swamped this week. I did however hear from others that this is a FANTASTIC book! So make sure to check it out!

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Warriors

(Bethany House April 1, 2008)


Mark Andrew Olsen


MARK ANDREW OLSEN whose novel The Assignment was a Christy Award finalist, also collaborated on bestsellers Hadassah (now the major motion picture: One Night With the King), The Hadassah Covenant, and Rescued. His last novel was the supernatural thriller The Watchers.

The son of missionaries to France, Mark is a Professional Writing graduate of Baylor University. He and his wife, Connie, live in Colorado Springs with their three children.


A failed recon mission deep in the tunnels of Afghanistan has provoked a demonic onslaught that had been brewing for centuries. The mission's sole survivor is reformed black ops assassin Dylan Hatfield, and he once again teams up with Abby Sherman, now at the helm of the Watchers, an ancient spiritual force. Uncovering and preventing a secret wave of death whispered across cyberspace and threatening to be unleash against civilization will require another level of spiritual power and expertise--the Warriors.

Journeying across the Alps of Europe through the multilayered history of warfare in the unseen world, Dylan and Abby uncover an age-old stone engraving that rouses the church's Warriors to action, placing them dead center in one of the fiercest spiritual battles of their time!

And once again they are reminded: This is all part of a vast and perpetual war, a war beyond all human conflicts, one that has engulfed heaven and earth since before the dawn of history....

Abby Sherman is headed back to Israel, where a Watcher, the Sentinel of Jerusalem, lies dying. In her last breaths the old woman tells Abby of an ancient document prophesying humanity's full-scale entry into the ongoing conflict between armies of heaven and fallen angels.

Dylan Hatfield has decided to answer a summons from his old boss and join a secret operation, its mission to reconnoiter the Afghani tunnel complex from which Osama bin Laden escaped in 2001. What he discovers sears his very soul and likely will end his life.

Abby learns of the peril facing Dylan, and she sends out a call for intercession on his behalf. Her frantic email message sets in motion a series of harrowing events, propelling the two on a new mission and quest--one where the stakes are the lives of millions!

The Warriors is packed with high-octane action, featuring exotic international locales, with characters in a clash against spiritual "principalities and powers" with eternal consequences, The Warriors is a story that will enthrall, enlighten, and engage its readers.

If that piques your interest, you can read the first chapter HERE

"Olsen, one of the better writers in this subgenre, delivers powerful, action-packed plots that delve into mystical paranormal worlds."
~Library Journal, Feb. 2008

"Olsen delivers an entertaining thriller likely to be enjoyed especially by fans of the spiritual warfare genre."

Expelling thoughts...

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I won tickets to go see Ben Stein's Expelled.

My husband and I went last Friday. It rocked! I have to say I was a bit nervous at first, it seemed a tad bit propaganda-ish at the beginning. But, in the end I was quite impressed with the way he showed both sides of the story and really his point was just, "Hey, what's wrong with opening a dialog? What's wrong with a little debate?" Intelligent Design vs. Evolution...what would be the harm in that?

I was also impressed that he didn't vilify anyone, he just presented his case.

And...because my words are inadequate, here is a fab review over at the Parchment and Pen. What he said...yeah. That's what I meant to say. Check it out HERE!

I give it a MUST-SEE rating.

Anyone else see it? What did you think?


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

An Engineer's Guide to Cats

Just in case you have a cat...you may NEED to see this informational video.

In the beginning there was GRACE!

I love that!

It is foundationally what all else in our life should be built on. Why, then do I find it so easy to get off track?

I've been doing this Bible study, What Women Want by Lisa Bergren and Rebecca Price and I LOVE IT! Not only is the book itself aesthetically pleasing (I love anything easy on the eye), but it's showing me that God has given me my desires and He is the only one who can help me achieve them.

It's a me and Him thing, not a me and me thing. You can Take Your Own 5 Minute Survey and read an excerpt: Chapter One: You, Fabulous You .

OH, and what a fun contest they're having. Send an email to amy@litfusegroup.com telling Lisa and Rebecca WHO your best friend is and WHY she's your "Sister of the Heart". They'll post your story on their blog and choose one winner and her best friend to receive a copy of What Women Want and one of their musical accompaniments (Ambient or Mellow Vocals)! Fun.

And if you scoot on over to
their blog tour post and leave a comment you could win a $15 Starbucks card.

About the book: From a deeper relationship with God to harmony in the home, from stronger marriages to more satisfying work: Women Want More.

In What Women Want, bestselling author Lisa T. Bergren and Rebecca Price invite readers to thoughtfully consider their soul-deep longings—and pursue God’s best in every area of life. Using in-depth interviews from a national survey and hundreds of personal interviews, biblical narratives, their own personal stories and inspiring quotes, the authors point fellow seekers toward the kind of wholeness God desires, providing lots of fun and inspiration along the way. They explore friendship, how and where to find happiness, health, and more with an eye on physical, emotional, and spiritual matters.

A Bible study, designed for personal or group use and tested with dozens of women’s ministries around the country before publication, is included at the end of each chapter.

Young or old, married or single, with children or without, striving in the workplace or working in the home, readers will resonate with Lisa and Rebecca’s descriptions of the life women crave, and learn how God fulfills the very desires He stirs.

What women want is no secret. But discovering the God who satisfies might just be the adventure of a lifetime.

About the authors: A Letter from the Authors

LISA T. BERGREN is the author of twenty-eight books that have sold many more than she ever believed. She writes a lot from the heart and in whatever category that currently interests her–from gift and children’s books to medieval fiction and Bible studies. She is a wife to Tim, an artist, and mother to three phenomenal children–Olivia, Emma and Jack. The Bergrens live in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and worship at Trinity Lutheran Church in Monument. For more specifics on Lisa, see her Web site at http://www.lisatawnbergren.com/.

REBECCA PRICE credits her long career (”Twenty-five years–yikes!) in the Christian publishing industry as providing opportunities to meet and learn from many gifted teachers and authors. She has worked in marketing and executive positions at NavPress, Word, Multnomah and WaterBrook Press. After moving around the country (and to London and back), she returned to her home state, embarked on a business venture with Lisa, and is now VP of publishing for FamilyLife. Rebecca lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, and is actively involved at Fellowship Bible Church.

Buy the book here! Do it now!