Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Interview with Virginia Smith

I'm happy to have here today Virginia Smith, author of Murder by Mushroom and Just As I am. If you like cozy mysteries, you'll love this book. Look below for a review of Murder By Mushroom. And without further adieu, an interview with Virginia Smith!
1. How did you get started into writing?

I’ve always loved reading, and one day I read a published short story with a HUGE plot hole in it. I thought, “I could do better than that!” So I did. I wrote a short story – a brilliant work of utter genius, in my and my mother’s opinions – and sent it to the same magazine. The rejection letter arrived in something just short of the speed of light. And there began a very painful lesson, that writing well is a lot harder than it looks.

But as I wrote that first story, I discovered a passion for writing that I didn’t know I had possessed. I kept writing, and kept submitting, and kept falling deeper and deeper in love with the process of writing. And then finally I received a book contract – twenty years after that first rejection letter!

2. How has your life changed since becoming a published author?

Rather dramatically, actually. I did the one thing everyone says not to do – I quit my day job. But I only did that because my husband was nearing retirement age (he’s a bit older than I am!), and we had always planned that I would quit working when he retired so I would be free to travel with him. So now I am a full-time writer and a part-time traveler, and I’m thoroughly enjoying both endeavors!

3. Do you have a favorite character or write yourself in one of them? Any characters you don’t particularly like?

My favorite character is whichever one I’m writing at the moment. Seriously. I fall in love with every character. In MURDER BY MUSHROOM, for instance, the heroine is an awkward, socially inept young woman who so desperately wants to be accepted by her peers. I just love Jackie! I do see a lot of myself in her, though she’s not totally me. She’s her own person, and very much alive in my mind.

And actually, I didn’t much like the victim, Alice Farmer, when I first started writing MURDER BY MUSHROOM. She was a gossipy old woman who stuck her nose into other people’s business. But I did feel sorry for the manner of her death. Mushroom poisoning is NOT a good way to die!

4. Reading this book made me hungry. Where did you get the idea for a deadly mushroom casserole?

I was having dinner next to an editor at a conference, and we were eating chicken with mushroom sauce. One of my friends, who is a mushroom hunter, had been telling me a few weeks before that she was called to the emergency room of the local hospital to help diagnose a case of wild mushroom poisoning. The two kind of clicked together, and I mixed those elements in with the idea for a murder mystery I’d considered writing several years before. Before the dinner was over, I had the murder pretty well ironed out. The motive and suspects and all that came later.

5. What’s your favorite dish to bring to a potluck? Are you a mushroom fan?

I absolutely love mushrooms, and I love church potlucks! I like to try different dishes, but I do have a few favorites. One is a Broccoli-Craisin Salad that is so yummy. And another is Jambalaya – with mushrooms, of course.

6. Alice Farmer seemed to be the type of stereotypical Christian that everyone loves to hate. Why do you think that some Christians act in spite instead of showing love?

I tend to think people react out of their own deep-seated feelings, unless they make a conscious effort not to. People who act spitefully may be harboring some deep pain that has never healed. In MURDER BY MUSHROOM I don’t go into the reasons why Alice is so bitter and nasty, but when I developed her character I created a history for her, and it was full of pain and loss. Rather pitiful, really.

That isn’t to say that everyone who has experienced bad things will treat others badly. But in my own life, I’ve had to make a conscious effort to ask God to help me forgive those who have hurt me so I can treat others with the grace that He has showed to me so abundantly.

7. What type of books do you like reading and who are some of your favorite authors?

I enjoy reading mysteries, especially funny ones. I love Sharon Dunn and Rene Gutteridge. I also like chick lit, of the type written by Tracy Bateman and Kristin Billerbeck. And I adore science fiction and fantasy – Sharon Hinck’s THE RESTORER is a breathtaking book, one I would recommend to anyone, even those who aren’t particularly fond of fantasy.

8. Will these characters show up again? What else are you working on now?

I have been a very busy lady lately. I have four books launching in the next eight months!

I’m not sure if we’ll encounter the characters from MURDER BY MUSHROOM again, though. I do have another mystery coming out in December. BLUEGRASS PERIL isn’t quite as “cozy,” but the heroine was originally one of the suspects in MURDER BY MUSHROOM. I changed her name in the next book, though, since it isn’t really a sequel. You’ll have to see if you recognize her!

I also have a 3-book series, the Sister-to-Sister Series, launching in February with book #1 - STUCK IN THE MIDDLE. That series isn’t a mystery series. It’s contemporary and humorous, but has a serious side as well. And just last week I signed the contract for the sequel to my first novel, JUST AS I AM. I don’t have a finalized title for that one yet, but it will be released in March.

People can read all about my upcoming books on my website – www.VirginiaSmith.org.

10. Any last words?

Just this – mushrooms ROCK! I love them! But stick to the kind you buy at the grocery store.

Thank you so much, Deborah! This was a fun interview!

Book Review: "Murder by Mushroom" by Virginia Smith


Killer Fungi

Jackie Hoffner thought she'd be helping out the church potluck by bringing in a mushroom casserole. Little did she know that her dish would end up killing the most hated woman in church! Jackie's on a mission to prove that she's innocent by trying to find the guilty party. The problem is that there are many people who wanted Alice Farmer dead. Secrets from church members arise as Jackie and the pastor's wife try to question those who have the biggest motive to kill.


This was a fun book to read (although don't attempt on an empty stomach!) I liked Jackie even though she's no Nancy Drew. Her character changed throughout the story as her original intentions were purely to clear her own name. Then as she found out what really happened to everyone else she changed for the better. What I found most interesting about the story was the attitude that other Christians had against Alice. It's tough to show love towards someone so spiteful. So I was glad that there was actual animosity towards the character. It would have been unrealistic for everyone to start crying and mourning her passing. Alice Farmer is a mean old woman who seems to take delight in hurting others. There are many people who suffered because of her. Unfortunately no reason is given for her cruelty which is kind of unsatisfying. It was sad reading that there are some Christians who believe that this is how Jesus wants them to act. Dennis seems like a really nice guy. A huge contrast compared to Detective Connor who doesn't seem to have a very high opinion about women. I was clueless about the murder's identity until the very end but it was very satisfying to find out who it was. I really enjoyed this book and am hoping for more adventures with Jackie. If you like cozy mysteries, you'll like this book. Just don't eat any mushrooms while reading it!

Murder by Mushroom
by Virginia Smith is published by Steeple Hill (2007)

Monday, July 30, 2007

This Week's Book Giveaway

Congrats to Lesha for winning a copy of A Shred of Truth by Eric Wilson!

Stop by again for more book giveaways in the next few weeks!

Book Review: "The Restorer" by Sharon Hinck




Mom-Lit Fantasy

Susan Mitchell was just enjoying time away from her family by relaxing in her new attic hideaway created by her husband. But then suddenly she is transported to a different world where she finds that not only does she heal very fast but she's been sent as The Restorer to help out those in trouble. Susan has to learn the ways of the new world as she tries to understand the new culture and learn as to why she'd been sent. The adventures she will face bring many dangers but Susan learns that her faith will help her win the fight in the upcoming battles.


Fantasy is a genre I don't normally read. It's not that I don't like it, I just have trouble getting into a story where it doesn't relate to what I live in. I'm not saying I don't have an imagination, I just prefer stories that seem more realistic. But when I saw
Sharon Hinck had a fantasy/mom lit book coming out, I wanted to pick it up because I really enjoy her writing. I ended up enjoying the book very much. I love how Susan is respected by being the Restorer and that no one doubts her because of her gender. The other world is described thoroughly so I could fully picture the places and people that Susan met with. Since there was so many new things to discover, it does get slightly confusing at times to keep track of everything, but overall it makes the reader able to adapt to the new place. I'm a sucker for sword fights, so I liked reading about her training to use her weapon. I'm glad that she also got to fight in the battle, unlike other Christian books I've read where women had to stay out of the fighting. The other characters are very interesting and it's cool to learn about their culture and how it compares with Susan's.

There is a scene near the middle of the book that totally caught me off guard and had made me flip to the beginning for clues. I did enjoy the twist though as it was highly unexpected. The only part that really confused me about this book is that the People of the Verses live in a world where it seems Jesus doesn't exist but Susan does. Obviously I know that there is spiritual allegory with the way they life, but it's just hard for me to grasp this concept. It's a completely different universe where Jesus didn't live in, yet just on the other side he does. But other than this, I did enjoy this book very much. It has changed the way I view fantasy and am highly looking forward to reading the sequel.

The Restorer by
Sharon Hinck is published by NavPress (2007)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

July -"Scorcher: It's Hot Outside!" read a suspense/ thriller or a hot new release you couldn't wait to read !

1. Title: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

2. Author: J.K. Rowling

3. Copyright: 2007

4. How long was the book languishing in your TBR pile? I finished it the day it came out, in 5 hours!!

5. What made you buy/borrow the book in the first place? DUH! I'm a huge Harry Potter fan and it's the last book.

6. What were your thoughts on the story? Everything I wanted and more. I laughed and I cried. This is one of the few books where I have really cried hard while reading. The characters are so real to me. I don't want to spoil it for those who haven't read it but it is SOOOOOOO good. And what's even better are the Christian overtones throughout the book, something totally unexpected but very appreciated. This is one of the best books I've read every, definitely the best of the whole series. I've been reading HP for 6 years (yes I'm a late bloomer) and I feel like I'm losing a part of me now. J.K. Rowling is a genius.

7. Now do you wish you read the book sooner? Well unless you meant by earlier in the day! I just wish it wasn't over..

8. Any questions/statements for the author? I don't know how she did it. I have the uttermost respect for J.K. Rowling and her imagination.

9. Where will the book reside now? On the shelf along with the rest of the series as we await the HP encyclopedia Rowling said she will write next. I will prally reread the whole series again later in the year. Hmm I might make it a challenge to read the whole series at least once a year...

Join the Christian Fiction Challenge! Next month is July-YA book

Friday, July 27, 2007

Movie Review: "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"

This has been a wonderful Harry Potter week for me. This movie came out and I finished Deathly Hallows in 5 hours. Bloody Brilliant. I went and saw the movie with my sisters. One of my sisters is a die hard fan like me so she's read all the books, while the other sister only has watched the movies. So the experience was different for all of us. We were told by the movie-only sister to shut up during the film b/c we kept whispering about how it compared to the book.

There wasn't as much rage in the movie as there was in the book by Harry. It was quite toned down actually. Still the story was quite good with lots of stuff for fans of the book to enjoy. The Ron and Hermoine relationship is sooo obvious. Harry has grown up a lot, him and Ron look better with shorter hair.

Evanna Lynch was cast as Luna and was perfect. Strange and weird but wonderfully cast. She's just like how I pictured her. Jim Dale makes Luna's voice all loopy and deep in the audio books, but I like how she's portrayed in the movie. Imelda Staunton is deliciously evil as Umbridge. I hated Umbridge in the book, best villian ever. I think everyone hated her. Stuanton gets her down to a tee - with tea. Her little cough made me want to go shoot myself. Brilliant casting, she deserves an Oscar nom.

Now of course I know that when you adapt a book into a movie there are things that must change, scenes you must omit because obviously you cannot turn the whole book into a movie.

Some scenes I wish had been made into the movie:
1. Aunt Petunia admitting she knows more about the wizarding world. The scene in the book when Harry appreciates her being his mother's sister made you feel more sympathetic towards her. Cutting it out made their relationship still non existent.
2. More scenes with Kreacher.
3. The "locket". I have no idea how they will incorporate this when they do the 7th movie.
4. More Fred and George.
5. Weasly is Our King
6. Seeing the rift between Percy and the rest of the Weasleys. In the movie he just keeps following Fudge saying nothing.
7. The scene where Harry goes into Snape's mind and sees his father, Sirius, Lupin, Snape and Lily as teenagers. The brief flash we get tells absolutely nothing. It's a pivotal scene in the 7th book so I'm lost.

The one scene that they changed that I did not like at all was that Cho Chang was seen as the person who snitched on the DA. Why in the world they would blatantly change this is beyond me. It makes her look like a b***** because right after she tells on him, she goes and kisses Harry. But I guess you can't have everything. Also why did they have to add that Nigel kid? They could have easily just used up an already named character, one of the Creeveys.

This movie continues to show the darker, political side of the books that have moved the readership from kids to adults. It's quite relevant to what is going on in today's world. Voldermort and his Death Eaters are bad bad people. Although more duels would have been nicer.

I cannot wait til the next movie. I hope they remain mostly faithful to the book. They need to or else it will make no sense. If you have read the books, you'll enjoy the movies and the touches they make just for the readers (the goat in the Hog's Head). I would rank this no. 3 in HP movies (POA, SS, OOTP, GOF, COS) At least now I have something to tide me over now that the books are over...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Book Review: "In Search of Eden" by Linda Nichols


I love Abingdon

Miranda was 16 when her child was given up for adoption eleven years ago. Her relationship with her own mother is not the greatest. She finds a letter giving clues that her child may be in Abingdon, VA so she travels there in search of her. When she reaches the small town, she's noticed by the sheriff who's past rivals that of Miranda's. Together the two form a shaky relationship that strengthens with the friendship of Joseph's 11 year old niece who just happens to be adopted....

So I had seen this book in the bookstore and online for a while and didn't pay much attention to it because I hadn't read anything by the author before. Then one day I decided to finally read the blurb on the back and saw that the story was based in Abingdon, VA. I was shocked! My boyfriend lives there and I have been there several times. I had to read the book now. I wasn't disappointed. What I thought was pretty cool was that lots of places that were mentioned I've either visited or have seen. I could also ask the BF to see if the other places really existed (sorry folks there's no Hasty Taste) and he said that his church is mentioned in the book (under a different name).

I really liked the story. I liked Miranda's character and I felt sorry for her and her mother. They did not have a good relationship at all and that can be blamed on Miranda's grandfather. It's sad how abuse has a domino effect and keeps hurting generations later. Eden seemed like a really cool kid and it would be cool to get to know her. I didn't like Joseph at first. He seemed to keep picking on Miranda for no reason especially when he does the extensive background checks on her. But then you read his back story and you understand why he acts this way. It's a wonderful character study.

There were some minor qualms I found with the book, mainly with just the cover. Eden is described as an 11 year old kid who dresses sort of punkish. The girl on the cover looks like she is 5 and dressed for Sunday School. I kept picturing Anna Sophia Robb in Bridge to Terabithia instead (who I think if they made this movie into a book would be a good Eden). Also I was informed by my boyfriend that Abingdon does not have its own postmark. All mail from that area either says Bristol or Washington Country. Other than those quirks, i enjoyed this book and am glad to have found a new author. It's always fun to read about places you've been to (which by the way Abingdon is a charming town that everyone should visit)

In Search of Eden by Linda Nichols is published by Bethany House (2007)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

To Dance in the Desert by Kathleen Popa


This week, the


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


TO DANCE IN THE DESERT

(RiverOak, May 1, 2007)

by

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Raised in the American Southwest, Kathleen began her love affair with the desert as a child. Before becoming a writer she, among other jobs, worked in both the juvenile facility fro incarcerated girls and a home for emotionally disturved children. Mother of two, sh lives in Northern California with her husband and youngest son. Visit her blog, Reading, Writing, and What Else is There? She is a member of the CFBA, too! Give her a holler!



ABOUT THE BOOK:

“Not a safe world.” How many times had she heard it over and over again? Well, it is not a safe world and Dara Murphy Brogan knew it better than most, which is exactly why she had tucked herself away on a desert mountaintop. Now it was just her, the voice inside her head and the boxes of hastily packed odds and ends—all that was left of her pathetic excuse of a life. Hadn’t she chosen the desert because it was barren and brown and dead looking and far, far away from anyone who may have seen the news?

So what was this, this trespasser, this interloper, this wacked out earth mother doing dancing outside her window? Celebrating life and the Spirit in a way Dara never could have dreamed. Until she opened her door and met Jane Cameron.

A book that makes me laugh is a joy, a book that makes me cry is a rarity. But a book that moves me to dance is sublime. To Dance in the Desert is a spectacular experience. Beautifully written, deeply moving, and warmly engaging—that this is Kathleen Popa’s first novel astounds me. That she will quickly be counted among the top caliber of Christian novelists delights me. I simply loved this book.

~Kathryn Mackel, Author of The Hidden

Kathleen Popa creates a compelling vision of a small community’s power to coax waning spirits back toward life. This gem of a novel worked on me like a dream. Popa’s evocative prose captured the nuance and complexity of transformation with equal parts mystery and truth. She conjures the deserts of Dara Brogan’s life with intimate clarity, reminding us along the way of the profound strength of what we take far too much for granted—the deep friendship of kindred spirits. This is a journey worth taking.

~Jeff Berryman, Author of Leaving Ruin

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Book Review: "Crime and Clutter" by Cyndy Salzmann


Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair

The Friday Afternoon Club can't believe it. Perfect Mary Alice has been keeping a secret for years. The always together mom has been hiding the fact that her parents were hippies and her real name is Maya. The FAC gets together again to unlock the secrets of the VW bus given to Mary Alice by her father. The women take a blast to the past trip back to a time where peace, love, and rock and roll was the national creed. But in between the love beads and bell bottoms is the story of a woman who discovers the father she never knew and the power of forgiveness.

The 60s are my absolute favorite decade. I love the culture of that time period especially the music. I would have killed to be alive when the Beatles were popular. So when I heard about the premise for this story, I was excited to read it. And I was not disappointed. This story will give Baby Boomers and fans of the decade a time capsule of the events that happened. From the Beatnik years to the Summer of Love, the story reminds you of Forrest Gump as you happen to be in all the important events of the time. I really liked the articles that would appear at the beginning of the flashback chapters. They helped to make he story seem more real and place you during that time period. I thought it was interesting that the 60s was picked because, even though I think of it as history, in the literary world it is still modern time period. I really liked the chapters set during the Democratic National Convention. It's an even that gets skimmed over during high school history class so I was pleased to read about it from the protester point of view. The story of Mary Alice and her father was sad to read, having to learn to forgive. Very touching and moving. And then there are the recipes. My gosh, I could have gained a pound just from reading them. They all sound soooo good. I can't wait to try out some of them. They all look really easy to make with nothing too fancy so that anyone can cook them. So don't read this book on an empty stomach because after a few pages I guarantee you'll be raiding your fridge! The only complaint I have about the book is that with only one POV telling the story and so many women in the group, I feel like I haven't gotten to know some of the characters that well yet. Hopefully that will change in the upcoming books. Can't wait for them!

Crime and Clutter by Cyndy Salzmann is published by Howard Books (2007)

Monday, July 23, 2007

A Shred of Truth by Eric Wilson and Book Giveaway!

I'm giving away a brand new copy of today's book! Leave a comment with your email address so I can contact you if you win. I'll pick a name and announce the winner on Monday, July 30th. Good luck!


Eric Wilson returns with another sharp-edged thriller that will appeal to the rising generation of men and women on the fringes of faith.

In The Best of Evil, Aramis Black uncovered family secrets and historical conspiracies, hoping that his own dark past had come to certain resolution. But now, in A Shred of Truth, he finds his brother unconscious and tied to a statue in downtown Nashville with the initials AX carved into his back.

A shadow from his former life has reappeared, casting threats of violence and retribution. And soon the attacker is swinging his blade of self-righteous judgment directly at Aramis, challenging him to “face his sins.” Can Aramis finally break free from the guilt of his old ways, or will he succumb to the vengeance of an arrogant sociopath?

Aramis Black’s latest breathtaking adventure will lead readers to discover the resolve of true friends, the depths of family love, and the breadth of God’s forgiveness.

Eric Wilson is the author of Dark to Mortal Eyes, Expiration Date, and the first book in the Aramis Black series, The Best of Evil. He lives with his wife, Carolyn Rose, and their two daughters in Nashville, Tennessee. Visit him at wilsonwriter.com

Friday, July 20, 2007

Movie Review: "Evan Almighty"

Yet another movie I got to see for free because the BF was here. For this movie, we went to the smaller movie theater where the matinée was only $3.50. It wasn't too crowded, you didn't get refills on the drinks but the popcorn was still good. I had been looking forward to see this film because it had been filmed mostly in Virginia. In fact scenes had been shot in Charlottesville and my sister was going to try out to be an extra but no one would give her a ride. Plus I had surprisingly enjoyed Bruce Almighty.

This movie was downright hilarious. I love Steve Carrell. He is got to be one of the funniest guys in Hollywood. He's just so deadpan in his reactions. He's great in The Office and I actually did quite enjoy The 40 Year Virgin (surprisingly a film about abstinence). He is wonderful in the movie. I especially love the scenes where his hair grows. The ponytail beard was a hoot. I was pretty much cracking up throughout the entire movie. (What was weird was seeing John Goodman as a bad guy after watching the entire 2nd season of Roseanne)

What really got me about this movie was how respectful it was about God and faith. No where at all is there anything disrespectful or offensive in this movie at all. Morgan Freeman is a perfect interpretation of what God would be. Almighty, all knowing, all powerful but still allowing us to make our own choices, showing us that he will always love us no matter what. I even love all the little "in" Biblical jokes only Christians would get. And who doesn't know the story of Noah and the flood? And yet....


I really don't know why people won't go see this movie. If you're not into comedies I can maybe understand. But what baffles me more than anything are the Christians who won't see a movie like this but then will complain that Hollywood never puts out anything decent. HELLO????? If you won't go see a movie that has nothing objectionable, is marketed to Christians, and is highly respectful to the faith, why would you think Hollywood would spend more money trying to make you happy? If I were trying to market what was popular, I would assume that movies praising religion are not ideal and that people would rather see gore and sex. Because obviously more people in this country would rather see Knocked Up that this movie. The industry has catered to your demands yet you turn them away and then expect them to keep pleasing you. I hate to call fellow believers names but *cough*hypocrites does come to mind *cough*. Ok off my soapbox. :) Feel free to disagree with me, but this is how I feel.

If you are still looking for a movie to take the family to (and have already seen Ratatouille) please go see this movie. You will not be disappointed. I guarantee it.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Interview with Linda Evans Shepherd and Eva Marie Everson

I'm happy to have here today Linda Evans Shepherd and Eva Marie Everson, authors of The Potluck Club series as part of their blog tour for their new book The Potluck Club Takes the Cake. If you haven't read any of these books about friendship and food, you NEED to go GET A COPY. And without further adieu, an interview with Linda Evans Shepherd and Eva Marie Everson!

1. How did you get started into writing and why did you choose to write this series?

Eva: I've written my whole life, but my write to publishing story is a story within itself. Here's the short version: I took a walk one day, had an idea, came home and began to write a novel based on the idea, wrote for a year, a year later received a contract for another book (right place, right time), and three books later, the walk-idea-book became my fourth published book.

Linda: When I worked as technical writer my job was to interpret product descriptions from our engineers. My first fiction came about by accident when I would imagine I understood some of their rather complex explanations. Sometimes my writings were so creative the company would redesign the product to match my ideas.

After I became a stay-at-home mom, I discovered writer’s conferences. It was there I began to learn the how-tos of writing for publication which enabled me to publish a couple of books a year.

One day, several years ago, I was imagining what I’d write if I were to write a novel on friendship. I told my husband, “My novel would be full of food and humor and I’d call it The Potluck Club.”

The idea seemed so fun, I immediately called Eva. We thought it would be great to write the book together, each taking charge of three of the six main characters.

2. How has your life changed since becoming a published author?

Linda: I have the best job in the world. I love being able to work from home most days, and then hop on a plane to speak to some wonderful group. In the past few years I’ve spoken in 38 states and 2 other countries. Things can get hectic, which means I have to rely even more on the Lord.

Eva: Well...it's crazier! My mother says, "I don't know anything about this world you now live in." And I say, "Neither did I until I walked into it!" I'm on a plane a lot more. I'm at my desk a lot more. There are more stresses, deadlines, etc.

3. I watched an interview between the two of you and you mentioned that each of you writes 3 characters. How does that work out?

Linda: Eva and I live in both a real and a fictional world together and that can create both fun and drama on many levels. The reason our partnership works is because we really do love one another and we both want the best for our books and for our friendship.

The clip you referred to is available to watch on: www.PotluckClub.com.

4. Do you have a favorite character or write yourself in one of them? Any characters you don’t particularly like?

Eva: I don't have a favorite per se. I think I enjoy writing Evie the most because she's sassy and Goldie the most because she's southern. :) (So now you know at least two of my characters, right?) And every author, I believe, writes a little of themselves into each character they create. We don't always recognize it right away, but we do...

Linda: My favorite character to write is Donna, the young deputy sheriff. The more you find out about her, the more you admire her and her plucky search for both speeders and truth. I also love sweet Vonnie and her journey to finally reveal a desperate secret about her past.

5. Is it hard to constantly switch into a different character’s POV?

Linda: We know these characters so well that Eva and I can write scenes with each other characters and never miss a beat, staying true to voice. We often borrow each other characters for scenes so, just like the reader; it can be a great surprise to find out what happened to our characters while it was our partner’s turn to write.

Eva: For me...no. Though one time I started writing a chapter in third person point of view and then remembered we are writing these in first person POV. Yikes!

6. I especially love this series because of all the food mentioned. Where do you get the recipes from? Who does the taste testing?

Eva: For me, family recipes, old church cookbooks.

Linda: My mom is a great southern cook and I stole her best recipes for the books. A lot of our readers have discovered her great barbeque brisket recipe in book one as well as my grandmother’s Molasses Cookie recipe which has been in our family for over a hundred years. But each novel has plenty of great recipes that you’ll want to try or to at least imagine (which is less fattening.)

7. All the women in the story are close to her own family. How has your family been throughout your writing process?

Linda: Writing allows me to spend more time with my family. Plus, I share my work with my kids. I’ve spent hours reading the books I’ve written to them. It’s brought us all closer and gives them a way to enjoy my work.

Eva: Well, we're in the middle of a family crisis, which I won't go into, but they've been a GREAT support in the writing of the novels!

8. What type of books do you like reading and who are some of your favorite authors?

Eva: Good ones. I only like to read good books. :) Seriously, I love good southern fiction. From a nonfiction perspective, I read everything by Robert Benson. If he writes it, I read it. If he wrote a grocery list, I believe it would be inspired and inspirational. (Okay...maybe that's a bit of a stretch!)

Linda: I mainly read fiction of all sorts, especially classics or anything written by John Grisham. My all time favorite novels are The Testament, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Sin Eater and all things Jan Karon or Michael Crichton.

9. If the Potluck Club was made into a movie, who would you want to play the 6 women?

Eva: Oh, my! That's a great question. Evie would have to be played by Shirley Maclaine. But that's as far as I can get mentally with that. :)

Linda:

This was fun!

Lisa Leann (busybody Texan) Reba McEntire

Donna Vessey (feisty deputy) Reese Witherspoon

Vonnie Westbrook (sweet Sunday School teacher): Sally Struthers

Vonnie’s Bittersweet Elderly Mother: Debbie Reynolds

Evie Benson (sassy club president) Shirley Maclaine

Goldie Dipple: (Georgia bell with troubled marriage:) Diane Keaton

Lizzie Prattle: (school librarian) Sigourney Weaver

Eva adds: I can’t imagine those last two, Linda. (LOL) Sigourney Weaver as our level-headed and spiritually tuned Lizzie? All I can see is her battling aliens and floating over a bed in Ghostbusters! LOL

10. What's next in store for the Potluck Club and what else are you working on now?

Linda: Eva and I had a blast creating all new secrets and adventures for our characters in an all new series, tentatively titled The Potluck Caters. The first book’s working title is called, The Potluck Caters a Secret Recipe. We just turned in book one and I think it’s our best one yet. I’m also creating an all new series called Star Bright – a book featuring a surprising young heroine, former child actress Sarah Bright.

Eva: Linda and I are working on book two in the second series, like she said. I'm also working on the first of two southern novels for Baker/Revell. The working titles are: Heels on Wood, Soles on Carpet and This Fine Life. My Bible reference book with Thomas Nelson about the land of Israel comes out next spring. The working title, as of this time, is Touching the Bible.

11. Any last words?

Eva: Buy the books! :) (And enjoy every morsal!)

Linda: Amen and second helping anyone?

Thanks so much for stopping by Linda and Eva! Can't wait for that next book to come out. In the meantime, I think I might start making some of those recipes in the books. Perfect for snacking while reading.

For reviews of the other Potluck Club books on my blog:

The Potluck Club
The Potluck Club Trouble's Brewing

Book Review: "The Potluck Club Takes the Cake" by Linda Evans Shepherd and Eva Marie Everson


Back for more

The girls are back in the third novel in the Potluck Club series. There's a wedding in the works in Summit View! But before anyone can say I do, the women seem to attract many adventures coming their way. Evie's worried about tying the knot while Goldie is trying to resist fixing her relationship. Vonnie's trying to get used to being a new mother while Lizzie's having all her family descend on her at once. Donna seems to have the whole world throw its problems at her feet while Lisa Leann just wants to make everyone know that she's there. These women are all connected through their friendship and being there for each other when they need it the most.


Another taste tempting pleaser! I really really love this series. I really like all the different POVs from the characters. You would read about an event from Evie's outlook and then change characters and find out that Donna didn't see things the same way. I really felt for Donna in this book. So much stuff happened to her that I wished she had more story time. She's my favorite character out of the group. Lisa Leann is still a touch character to like but she's gotten better as she's learned how to deal with the other women. Even Evie finds herself giving in to Lisa Leann's demands. The only character whose story I didn't find satisfying was Lizzie's. She has her whole family in her house including her mother who she doesn't get along with but nothing really comes out of it. I would have liked to read more about that relationship. I got a hoot out of Clay becoming transformed to impress Donna. I can't believed he even got a manicure. But the results were definitely worth it for him even though he didn't plan that specific outcome. Reading this book definitely puts you in a good mood. I've grown really attached to these characters and am wanting more! Once again there are tons of recipes for all the yummy dishes that are mentioned. So if get hungry while reading, put the book down and start cooking and you'll be able to eat your words.

The Potluck Club Takes the Cake by Linda Evans Shepherd and Eva Marie Everson is published by Revell (2007)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

One Step Over the Border by Stephen Bly



This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


ONE STEP OVER THE BORDER
(Center Street June 12, 2007)
by



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Stephen Bly is a pastor, a mayor, an antique Winchester gun collector and a writer.

He's mayor of a town of 308 in the mountains of Idaho, on the Nez Perce Indian Reservation. In his spare time, he pursues the three R's of ridin', ropin' and rodeo...and construction of Broken Arrow Crossing, a false-front western village near his home.

That keeps him very western. And he collect old Winchester rifles, which reflects his love of historical accuracy. He's also a fan of Jimmy Buffet music.

Stephen says about his writing, "I write about the West (historic or modern) from the inside. Born and raised on western ranches, I have both the heart and mind to describe things as they really were...and are. There are those who think the frontier has long passed and with it the ‘code of the west.’ The truth is, both are still around...and it’s fun to show that in a contemporary story. The West is so big, so diverse, so enchanting it’s a thrill to write about it in any era."

Stephen is the author of ninety-five books and hundreds of articles.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

It’s a romp...

A road adventure...

It’s a buddy story with romantic comedy!!

Some call it CowboyLit. Rodeo cowboy Hap Bowman’s on a search for Juanita, the gal of his dreams, whom he hasn’t seen in 18 years. He seems stuck on 12-years-old and the enchanting girl he met then.

"An idiot obsession," his roping partner, Laramie Majors, chides.

But Laramie agrees to a final summer’s trek along the Rio Grande. If they don’t find Juanita during those months, Hap promises to drop the idea of the hunt for the mystery senorita. But if they find her, will she feel the same as Hap does about their years ago interlude?

In One Step Over The Border the time tested values of cowboys rub up against contemporary mores. It’s a crazy story that becomes more logical as the reader delves deeper into it. It will make you laugh and shed a tear or two.

Getting back to Hap’s pursuit . . . don’t we all have someone in the past, that we knew for only a short while, that we wish we could have known better, longer? Stephen Bly has!. So when Hap and Laramie ventured out on a quest for Hap’s Juanita, Stephen decided to invite others to go along too. Folks have been e-mailing Hap hapandlaramie@yahoo.com and asking for their own “Juanita Search Kits.”

They get a bumper sticker, magnet, bookmark, stickers, flyers, etc. It’s a whole packet of material that will equip anyone to join the fun of finding the Juanita with “the mark of God.” If they send Hap a picture of the places where they stuck their Juanita signs, they’ll receive a free copy of the book. It’s all there on the website at http://www.onestepovertheborder.com/

And there’s a very special feature on http://www.amazon.com/...some more adventures about Hap and Laramie that did NOT appear in the book, can be found on AmazonShorts in the story entitled, Aim Low, Shoot High.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Book Review: "A Lady of High Regard" by Tracie Peterson

Girl Power - 1800s style

Mia Stanley comes from an upper class society who would greatly look down upon her greatest ambition. Mia writes for Godey's Lady Book, focusing on issues that many women would avoid. She's now turned her attentions on the plight of the sea men's wives down by the docks. What she finds there horrifies her and makes her more determined to tell the world. However, Mia also finds that with her social standing comes responsibility to marry. She worries that the man she loves, her best friend Garrett might love someone else. Will her passion for saving lives overpower her yearning for love?


I had always thought that Godey's Lady Book was just a fashion magazine, a precursor to Vogue. At least that's how it was always portrayed in Little House on the Prairie, with talks about hoop skirts and corsets. This book, however, portrayed it as a precursor to women's lib, giving women the opportunity to showcase their talents and try to make a mark in the world. I thought the storyline was well written. You don't read a lot about issues and circumstances that the sea men's wives faced in Christian fiction. They were horrifying to read and worse to know that people would actually do nothing because they didn't want to mix with the different classes. Lower class women were powerless in that time period and severly taken advantage of. Mia was very strong in her beliefs about getting the word out but at the same time respected her parents wishes and obeyed them. I found this much more satisfying to read than her completely rebelling or giving up everything. The relationship between Mia and Garrett reminded me about Jane Austen's Emma, with the best friends being in love but not realizing it and the matchmaking. I did like their relationship, although at some points I was like "AHHHHHHH, just tell her!!" Even though the story is set in Philadelphia, I kept picturing the setting as being in England. Maybe it's because I'm in a regency mood and the cover through me off. Either way I really enjoyed this story with an excellent heroine. Looking forward to more books in the series! Tracie Peterson has written another winner!

A Lady of High Regard by Tracie Peterson is published by Bethany House (2007)

Monday, July 16, 2007

This Week's Book Giveaway

Congrats to AussieTigger1980 for winning a copy of A Sister's Secret by Wanda Brunstetter!

More book giveaways in the next few weeks so be on the lookout!

Book Review: "Moon Over Tokyo" by Siri L. Mitchell



How to Adapt to a New Country


Allie O'Connor is an American reporter living in Japan. Her dream however is to write a novel. She still hasn't adapted to the Japanese culture even though she's lived there for over two years. One day at church she runs into her old high school nemesis, Eric Larson. Eric was everything Allie stood against for in high school. However since then, she finds out they have quite a bit in common. Eric shows her how to enjoy living in her new surroundings and also gives her hope for a new change for a relationship in her future.


Siri Mitchell's books are always a favorite to read, the characters are well developed and the story makes you really think. This one is no exception. I really loved the descriptions of the Japanese culture and society. I've been to Japan once, well it was really a layover in the airport during our flight to Malaysia, but the airport itself was stunning.
I love the cover of the book. It shows both the old and new cultures blending in Japan. I also always enjoy novels set in Asian countries, it's nice to read a setting outside the US for a change. I also liked the haikus that opened up each chapter.

I liked reading about how Allie had to adapt to living in a different country. However
I didn't understand though why it has taken her so long to experience the Japanese culture. In the beginning of the story it would seem that she knows her way around the area, but after meeting Eric it looks like she only has a routine and doesn't deter from it. She's basically an American living in Japan and not trying to fit in, only getting by. I liked their relationship together. It was good to see that they took things slow and that Eric valued even just a simple kiss. I thought that, while I liked seeing opposites attract, too much was made on their political differences. It got kind of repetitious to keep reading about Democrat vs. Republican ideals especially since how they were living in Japan now. But Eric seems like a really nice guy and the perfect match for Allie. There are several social drinking scenes in the book, so if you are uncomfortable with Christians drinking you might want to avoid this book. I found this to be an excellent novel. It really makes me want to go visit Japan, but for now I'll enjoy it through this book.

Moon Over Tokyo by Siri L. Mitchell is published by Harvest House (2007)

Friday, July 13, 2007

Movie Review: "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End"

One of the good things about my boyfriend coming down to visit was that I got to see 2 movies I've been dying to see for free. Plus free popcorn refills! (and yes it was good to see him as well) I've been waiting all summer to see POTC since I saw the other two in the theaters as well (I saw the first one 4 times).

Johnny Depp is wonderful again in his role as Jack Sparrow. It never feels old watching him act like that. I know that women will love that scene with the multiple Jacks. I love the scene with Keith Richards as his dad. Who knew Keith Richards could act serious. I orginally saw the first Pirates because of Orlando Bloom (Legalos!!!!) Well sorry Orly, you won't win an Oscar for this movie (interestingly Pirates hosts 1 Oscar Winner and 2 nominees) But I still love Will Turner, especially near the end of the movie. Chow Yun Fat!!!! Love him in this role! After seeing him in the trailers we were very excited to watch him. But he's only in the movie for like 20 min?????

You can tell that there is lots of movie magic as Keira Knightley does not look one bit anorexic in the movie. She's also quite tan which would be something highly looked down for a woman during that time period. Of course she is not your normal 18th century fair maiden. I think she's a wonderful female heroine, I love her life. I wish I could sword fight like that. Yay Geoffrey Rush is back! Funny thing is, is Barbossa good or bad? But he seems to be on the good guy's side this time. I liked the scene when he marries Jack and Elizabeth. His turning sides reminded me of X-Men 2 when all the mutants joined forces, here all the pirates do the same. I think he's perfectully suited for this role as well. Although I felt bad that in the credits he's listed as "with Geoffrey Rush" even though he's pretty much in every scene.

*Spoiler* I really wish Norrington hadn't died. I liked how his character evolved throughout the three movies. You felt sorry for him because he really did live Elizabeth and was basically a good guy. I kept wanting to yell at Will's dad to be quiet but nooooo he had to go and make noise and kill him. Well at least he died honorably.

Tons of battle and fighting scenes. Really good special effects. Love the scene at the end with the Black Pearl and the Flying Dutchman (oh and loved seeing Bill Nighy as Davy Jones being human for like 20 seconds) And I will not lie, the scene where all the pirates raise their flags was very emotional. I wanted to cheer too.

Did you stay for the very end of the movie after the credits? I won't spoil it for you if you haven't. I actually love it when there are things at the end that you have to wait for. For that record I really love long movies. More bang for your buck. Although it's no fun when you've drank a large drink and have to get up in the middle of the movie. So if you liked the other Pirates movies you'll enjoy this one too. Perfect summer blockbuster - action, romance, pirates.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Book Review: "The Courtship" by Gilbert Morris


Satisfying End

The saga of the Freeman family comes to a close with this book. Lanie Freeman's father was put in jail unjustly. Her sister runs off to California to find the woman who can set him free. Lanie has the chance to become a published author with the help of a fellow writer who is vying for her attentions. Her relationship with the doctor is still unresolved. She has to leave everything in God's hands and put her trust fully in him.

I felt that this was the best book of the series. A lot of the characters came around full circle in this book. I really liked the change in Maeva the best. She started off as a really rebellious character who hated being tied down and told what to do. Then she changed and even brought along one of the town's misfits with her. Her conversion is not dramatic or unrealistic. It is a gradual change which is more believable.

Many loose ends are tied up in this book. Lanie's father for example finally is released from prison due to the confession of a witness. I don't know why but I knew as soon as I read about Lanie's father getting out of jail and then getting hurt that he would be rescued by a woman named after a state. Well luckily, even though this is a plot that has been used in another Morris book before, it's written differently and I enjoyed it. Although I didn't realize Lanie's dad was so young. She's almost 20 and he's still in his 30s.

I will say though that I was thrilled to read about how people were trying to calm down Cody's overzealous zeal on Christianity. I felt how he was going at it was harming more people than actually leading them to Christ. I was afraid that the characters in the book would just let him because he was happy about being a Christian. It was very satisfying to read though that they felt the same way I did and finally did something about it. I felt like the reader knew all along who Lanie was going to end up with. Relationships with the other two men seemed to be superficial and you felt bad for them because they were nice guys. I also felt kind of sad that Pastor Colin wasn't a main character like he had been in the first book. I would have liked to read more about his and Louise's relationship and what became of it. It would also have been fun to read more about how this new blended family will become. However, this was an enjoyable end to the series. If you are a Morris fan, you will enjoy it.

The Courtship by Gilbert Morris is published by Zondervan (2007)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Fearless by Robin Parrish


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


FEARLESS

(Bethany House, July 1, 2007)

by


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Robin Parrish had two great ambitions in his life: to have a family, and to be a published novelist.

In March of 2005, he proposed to his future wife the same week he signed his first book contract.

Born Michael Robin Parrish on October 13, 1975, Robin's earliest writing efforts took place on a plastic, toy typewriter, and resulted in several "books" (most between 10 and 30 pages long) and even a few magazines.

By the age of thirteen, he had begun winning local writing awards and became a regular in his high school's literary magazine. In college, he garnered acclaim from his English professors and fellow students while maturing and honing his skills.

After college, he entered the writing profession through a "side door" -- the Internet. More than ten years he spent writing for various websites, including About.com, CMCentral.com, and his current project Infuze Magazine, which is a unique intersection between art and faith which he also conceived of and created.

One of his more "high concept" ideas for Infuze was to return to his love for storytelling and create a serialized tale that would play out every two weeks, telling a complete, compelling story over the course of nine months. That serialized story eventually came to the attention of several publishers, who saw it as a potential debut novel for Robin Parrish.

In 2005, Bethany House Publishers brought Robin full circle by contracting him for the rights to not only that first book, Relentless -- but two sequels. A trilogy, to unfold in the consecutive summers of 2006, 2007, and 2008. One massive tale -- of which that first, original story would form only the foundational first volume of the three -- spread across three books.

Robin is the Editor in Chief and creator of Infuze Magazine. He and his wife Karen reside in High Point, North Carolina. Karen works for High Point's First Wesleyan Church, where Robin and Karen are members and Small Group leaders.


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Book Two of the Dominion Trilogy:

The world changed after that terrible day when the sky burned, and now every heart is gripped by fear...

Earthquakes, fire, disease, and floods pummel the earth, and its citizens watch in horror.

But in the darkness there is hope -- an anonymous but powerful hero whom the public dubs "Guardian." He is Grant Borrows, one of a chosen few who walk the earth with extraordinary powers. But while Grant enjoys this new life, signs of a dangerous ancient prophecy begin coming true, and those closest to Grant worry he may be hiding a terrible secret.

A search for answers brings Grant and his friends to London, where an extraordinary discovery awaits that will challenge everything they thought they knew. With a deadly new enemy dogging his steps, Grant realizes that the world's only hope may come from unraveling the truth about himself once and for all. But what he comes face-to-face with leaves even this most powerful of men shaken with fear.

Secrets will be revealed.

Friends will make the ultimate sacrifice.

And destiny will not be denied.

The story continues...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Book Winner Update

well the original winner of The Divine Appointment never responded to my email so I redrew another name and the winner is Callista! Congrats!

Wedding Bell Blues by Linda Windsor


This week, the


is introducing



(Avon Inspire 2007)

by


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Linda, a native of Maryland's Eastern Shore, is the author of eighteen historical novels and nine contemporary romances for both the secular and Christian market. A Christy Award finalist, Linda has received numerous awards in both the ABA and CBA, including the Romantic Writers of America's Beacon Award. She lives in Salisbury, Maryland. Learn more!




ABOUT THE BOOK:

Wedding Bell Blues is the first in a new series, The Piper Cove Chronicles, that follows four women who grew up as best friends in a small community on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. They have returned home from their successes and failures at college and life, determined to pursue their dreams in the town they'd once vowed to leave in the dust. True love has eluded the four friends until one by one they encounter their soul mate. Next in the series is FOR PETE'S SAKE, on sale from Avon Inspire in April 2008.

Alex Butler is a successful home decorator who hopes she has finally gotten her life together. But when Josh Turner, the man who ran away and broke her heart sixteen years ago, returns to Piper Cove to be the best man in her sister's wedding, Alex can't escape the butterflies in her stomach. But Alex has no time for distractions. Her family has enlisted her to make this the wedding of the century. To pull the event off, she pools the talents of her three best friends - Jan, who creates desserts to-die-for will help with the cake and catering, tomboy Ellen, who works at a landscaping business will handle the flowers and decorations, and Sue Ann, who can…well, Suzie Q can give Alex a much-needed reality check in the course of the wedding planning chaos.

But fate won't be stopped in this small town as Alex and Josh keep running into each other at every turn. When sparks fly, Alex soon finds herself caught in a paralyzing battle of the heart between her old-fashioned Southern father, who fiercely resents Josh for breaking his little girl's heart, and her feelings for the one man she ever truly loved.

As the wedding approaches, the Butler family faces a threat to their reputation that will shake this Chesapeake clan to their very core. In the midst of it all, can Alex and Josh resist the many forces that seem to be drawing them together?

Monday, July 09, 2007

A Sister's Secret by Wanda Brunstetter and Book Giveaway!

I'm giving away a brand new copy of today's book! Leave a comment with your email address so I can contact you if you win. I'll pick a name and announce the winner on Monday, July 16th. Good luck!



Everything is going well for Grace: a loving family, a waitress job, and a wedding on the way. But when Gary Walker comes to her Amish community, Grace's secret threatens to destroy everything she holds dear. Grace is ashamed of her running-around years (rumschpringe), and has kept it hush-hush since returning to join the Amish church.

Gary shows up as a freelance photographer and writer, but he is capable of much more. Not only does he know some of Grace's secret, he is part of it. As a contrast to Gary's evil ways, fiance' Cleon Schrock is filled with all things good. Does Grace have the strength to reveal her secret?

Compounding the situation are the unusual pranks gone too far in hurting the Hostettler family. Is Gary to blame, or is someone upset with Grace's father? Why is it easier to turn the other cheek for strangers than for your own kin?
~~~


Wanda E. Brunstetter is a nationally recognized expert on the Amish community. Last autumn her Amish-themed book sales surpassed the million mark, bringing her total of books sold to 1.6 million. She enjoys an uncommon kinship with the Amish community. Letters from all over the country arrive from her Amish readers, and she's been told her books are passed "from buggy to buggy." Wanda's books have received various honors including the 2006 Retailers Choice Award and Christian Book Distributor's Book of the Week, as well as topping the charts of the Christian Booksellers Association and CDA.


Where did you birth the idea for A Sister's Secret? When? How did it come about?

Sometime ago, I read about some Amish people in Pennsylvania who had suffered a senseless attack, and it made me wonder how they dealt with it, and how it must have made them feel to be unjustly attacked. I decided to use that as a focus for this series and show my readers what true forgiveness is all about.

If your book was turned into a movie, who would play the main characters?

I would pray that whoever was chosen to play the main character would be a person of integrity. Also, it should be someone who respects the Amish way of life.

Which character do you most relate to, and why?

I think there are elements of all my characters that I can relate to on some level. Just like in life, it's not all that difficult to put yourself in someone else's shoes and relate to what they are going through.

What sort of research was involved in writing A Sister's Secret?

I visited Holmes County, Ohio several times before the idea came to me to set a series of books there. I also have spent many hours with Amish friends who live in that area, which helped me understand them better, but also gave me a good understanding of the lay of the land.

Tell us a little more about the series of books that starts with A Sister's Secret. Why did you choose this county for the setting of this series?

I chose Holmes County because my husband and I have visited there several times and we've come to appreciate the beauty of the area, as well as come to know and love many wonderful Amish and English people who live there. I wanted to tell a story of love and forgiveness, and show the reader that despite anything in our past, God forgives and can use us to His glory.

What takeaway points do you hope the reader pulls from A Sister's Secret?

Secrets from the past can sometimes be painful when the truth is revealed. Harboring resentment toward someone who has wronged you can only bring anguish. True forgiveness brings peace to the soul.

How do you deal with your other obligations (family, church, etc.) when it's crunch time near deadlines?

I sometimes have to let everything but my writing go, and with the help of my husband, I'm able to do that whenever necessary.

What's your favorite writer's block trick?

I take a shower. Ideas always seem to flow well under running water.

What book are you reading now?
I'm reading Freedom of the Soul by Tracey Bateman. It's Book 2 in the Penbrook series, and I highly recommend it.

What's your favorite worship song, and why?

"They that Wait Upon the Lord," because I know from past experience that it's sometimes necessary to wait for God's answers, and that His timing is always best.

What do you crave (beverage or food) when you have writer's stress?

A big bowl of fresh strawberries drenched with maple-flavored yogurt.

Can you share something with our readers about what God has been teaching you lately?

After spending time with some of our Amish friends recently, I was reminded of the importance of taking time out every day to enjoy all the beauty God has made for us, and to keep my focus on God and my precious family, not the "things" of the world.

Why do you think readers have an interest in the Amish/Mennonite way of life?

In this hectic world we live in, our souls cry out for simplicity. I believe many people are searching for ways to simplify their lives and put their focus on the important things in life, not on material things. Reading about the Amish and Mennonites, who don't put an emphasis on worldly things, helps others to be able to do that, too.

What does the Amish community think about your writings?

The Amish I know personally have told me that they enjoy reading my novels. I've had many Amish people who attended my book signings tell me that they appreciate the way I portray them.

Thank you, Wanda, for visiting with us today. I can't wait to read the next book in Holmes County Series.