Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Camy Tang Giveaway and EXTRA BOOK CONTEST!


**This is a sticky post. Please scroll down for current entries.**

Camy Tang is having a contest that runs until October 31, 2007 on her website where you can win an 8GB Ipod Nano and LOADS of books. You have to join her newsletter YahooGroup to enter and then fill out the entry form on her site. When you do, please say that beatccr referred you. DO NOT UNSUBSCRIBE BEFORE THE END OF THE CONTEST. If you do you will NOT be eligible to win.

Click here for all the details.

Then come back here and leave a comment telling that you entered and then you'll be entered to win a book from me! (And yes I will know whether or not you entered Camy's contest and use me as your referral!)

The winner will get to choose out of 1 of these 6 books (more may be added in the future):

Playing with Fire by Melody Carlson
Notes from a Spinning Planet - Mexico by Melody Carlson
The Dead Whisper On by T.L. Hines
Off the Record by Elizabeth White (ARC copy)
A Stitch in Time by Allison Bottke
A Time to be Born by Gilbert Morris (library copy)

Please leave contact info in your comment. I'll pick a name from all the entries and post the winner on November 1st. Good luck!

Surrender Bay by Denise Hunter

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

(Thomas Nelson November 6, 2007)


Denise lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped.

Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!

In addition to Surrender Bay, the second Nantucket book releases in April 2008. The title is The Convenient Groom and features Kate Lawrence, a relationship advice columnist, whose groom dumps her on her wedding day. Denise is currently at work on the third Nantucket book (Oct 2008) which is untitled so far.

When Sam's estranged step-father dies, she inherits his ocean-front cottage in Nantucket--not because he kindly bequeathed it to her, but because he neglected to ever create a will. Sam returns to the island she left 11 years ago with her daughter Caden to fix up the house and sell it, but she isn't counting on is the fact that Landon Reed still lives two doors down from her childhood home.

As their long-dormant romance begins to bud again, Sam must face the fact that Landon still doesn't know why she really left the island. Will the secrets she's hidden all these years tear them apart? Or is Landon's love really as unconditional as he claims?

"I've always thought Denise Hunter was an amazing writer but this wonderful story sets her firmly at the forefront of compelling love stories. How Landon breaks down Samantha's determination that she is unworthy of love kept me glued to the pages. An amazing story!"

--Colleen Coble, author of Fire Dancer (Smoke Jumper Series)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Return by Austin Boyd

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

(Navpress Publishing Group July 13, 2007)


Austin Boyd


Austin Boyd writes from his experience as a decorated Navy pilot, spacecraft engineer and an astronaut candidate finalist. Austin lives with his wife Cindy and four children in America’s “Rocket City”--Huntsville, Alabama, where he directs business development for a large NASA and defense contractor. His creative talents include inspirational fiction and poetry, finely crafted reproduction colonial furniture, archery and long distance cycling. He serves his community as an advocate for a crisis pregnancy center and as a motivational speaker in the area of lifestyle evangelism.

THE RETURN is part of the Mars Hill Classified Series with The Evidence and The Proof



Six years after completing a manned mission to the Red Planet, Admiral John Wells is set to make another journey to Mars. But this time his crew is not alone, as John's team encounters a secret colony comprised of individuals pursuing John Raines' strange religion, the "Father Race."

While John begins to uncover a web of lies on Mars, his wife and daughter are struggling for survival on earth. Now John must survive his dangerous mission and find a way back home, even as a shocking plan begins to unfold millions of miles away on earth.

Austin Boyd is back with his third thrilling novel in the Mars Hill Classified series, full of high-tech intrigue, memorable characters, and adventure that transports readers to another world.

From the Back Cover:

With nothing left for him on Earth, Rear Admiral John Wells didn't hesitate to lead a third NASA team to Mars, but he never dreamed that one day they'd look out their laboratory module into the lights of a slow-moving vehicle not their own. In the third installment of the Mars Hill Classified series, life on Mars becomes increasingly more unpredictable as the past collides with the future and nothing, not even the dead, is as it seems.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, the fate of hundreds, including John Wells' family--presumed dead these last six years--rests precariously in the hands of Malcolm Raines, self-proclaimed Guardian of the Mother Seed and Principal Cleric of Saint Michael's Remnant, and his insidious plans for the Father Race.

Wells will find himself in a race against time and all odds to expose the truth: about Mars, about Malcolm Raines, and, if he's very brave, about himself.

"Austin Boyd is one of the brightest new voices in Christian fiction. His long association with the space program lends authenticity as he reveals the turmoil in the minds and hearts of those who are willing to risk everything by making that journey. In The Return, we learn that both human emotions and God's presence reach far beyond the pull of Earth's gravity."
--Richard L Mabry, author of The Tender Scar

Monday, October 29, 2007

Book Review: "Boo Humbug" by Rene Gutteridge and Book Giveaway!

'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, November 5. Good luck!

Oh there's no place like Skary for the Holidays

Welcome back to Skary, just in time for the holiday season! Lois, the town's budding playwright, has got it set in her mind that the town will put on a Christmas play this year. Not just any play, her revised version of the Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol. Since Lois is in charge, chaos
ensues. Wolfe feels like this play will be a flop but he goes along with it to escape the doldrums of being a father. Meanwhile his editor, Alfred Tennison, keeps avoiding being in the play but instead helps out with marketing. His efforts have hyped up the play so much that hundreds are planning to come by for opening night. But is the marketing deceiving? Will the show go on as planned?

I love going back to Skary for the holidays. It's always gives a good laugh and the characters are insane but lovable. Lois drives me nuts again. Her intentions are good but man, would I go crazy if I had to be in her play. It was funny thought reading about her insistence on having things try to go her way even though her warped mind can't see how wrong it would be. I found it hilarious that Lois told Dustin to follow poor Ainsley around because she is the picture of optimism. Poor Ainsley because right then she is anything but optimistic thanks to Wolf shirking fatherly duties. Surprisingly, Melb didn't annoy me like she had in the other books. She was being a tad overprotective with her son but then what new mother isn't? So I was pleasantly surprised to find myself not wanting to skip over her appearances. Both her and Ainsley reactions to being mothers are refreshing and it's also fun to read about Oliver and Wolfe's new experiences to fatherhood. The comment about changing diapers from two different perspectives was a hoot. Alfred's scenes were wonderful especially the scene at the end which was very moving and heartwarming. While this book is short, it's great fun to read. It's never preachy but the true meaning of Christmas is obvious. It will definately get you in the mood for the holidays. And if you happen to be a Scrooge, look out: you will get a smile on your face after reading this book.

Rene Gutteridge is the author of 10 novels, including the Boo series, the Storm series, The Occupational Hazards series and My Life as a Doormat, a Women of Faith selection for 2006. She has been published over 30 times as a playwright, and holds a degree in screenwriting, graduating magna cum laude from Oklahoma State University. Rene is married to Sean, a musician, and they have two young children. They make their home in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Boo Humbug by Rene Gutteridge is published by Waterbrook (2007)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Movie Review: "Dreamgirls"

I don't know about you but I enjoy a good movie musical. The Sound of Music, The King and I, Newsies. I know some people don't like singing and would prefer to fast forward through those parts. But those are the people who don't really listen to the words in the songs. Sometimes it's easier to show your emotions through singing and music than it is to just speak them.

I was iffy about seeing Dreamgirls. Normally I avoid movies that get too much hype, with all the media declaring it the best movie ever before anyone else gets to see it. So I missed out on it during its theatrical run, but I knew I was going to see it eventually because it was an Oscar winning movie. Well I was more than pleasantly surprised after watching.

I can now see why Jennifer Hudson won every award she was nominated for last year. She was absolutely amazing in her role. If I didn't know that this was her first movie, I would have never guessed she was a rookie. The same goes for Eddie Murphy's acting. I won't lie. In the beginning of the movie, I kept seeing and hearing Donkey. But then as the movie progressed you can see the character growth and the acting getting better. I've said this many times before, it's a sign of how good an actor is when he is mainly known for comedy and acts really well in a dramatic role. It's a shame he didn't get the Oscar but to be honest how weird would it have been to hear "Norbit - Starring Academy Award Winner Eddie Murphy!?" As for the other actors in the movie, Jamie Foxx and Beyonce were so so to me. It really felt like Beyonce is just like Deena for Destiny's Child. The pretty face that everyone likes. And I felt sorry for Anika Noni Rose. Her acting's good but since so much attention is focused on Beyonce getting top billing and Jennifer Hudson winning the awards, she's pushed out of the spotlight.

The music is extremely catchy. I walked around the house 3 days after watching it singing "We're your di da di da da." I really liked it. I know the movie is based on the Broadway show so that's why there's many toe tapping songs and people singing while doing stuff in the movie. I thought this movie was way tamer than Chicago, the other movie musical it kept getting compared to. While there was a little risque material in this movie, it was much less than the overt sexuality in Chicago and both movies had the same rating.

There were only two real problems I have with this movie. One is not really the movie itself. It's the poster used to promote the film (shown here). You will notice all 3 girls pictured in the movie are the same size. I am going to assume that they are referring to the Dreams without Effie. To the moviegoer who had not seen the film, this would be confusing because all previews show the group with Effie. Why does the poster have to show only the slim characters? I did applaud the movie though for focusing that the music industry does place more emphasis on those that fit the ideal image for marketing purposes. The other is the vague ending which doesn't really tie up loose ends. Other than that it's an entertaining way to learn more about the music industry.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Vase of Many Colors by Rachel Thoene 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 Thursday, November 1. Good luck!

In the very small house, on the very grand hill, in the very small town author Rachel Thoene – daughter of veteran bestsellers Bodie and Brock Thoene - masterfully explores the captivating notions of forgiveness and grace in The Vase of Many Colors. This beautifully written and colorfully illustrated family tale peeks into the world of the very bouncy girl and her old, crooked grandmother. A world where rainbows appear on the walls and simple flower-gathering is a nightly ritual.

And where broken things are mended with the gentle breath of love to become a masterpiece for all generations to enjoy.

In a world where broken things are tossed aside with ease, Rachel Thoene’s story is a captivating reminder of the power of forgiveness and grace to mend life’s cracks and create a Vase of Many Colors in you.

Rachel knows what it’s like to pick up broken pieces. As a site administrator at two alternative schools for at-risk students in an urban school district in Sacramento, California, she helps students put the pieces of their broken lives back together and discover success where there was only self doubt. As a mother, she finds new beauty in the hearts of her two children, Ian and Jessie. “Every person we come into contact with has the potential to be a beautiful and valuable work of art,” Rachel says. The inspiration for the story began as an email to a friend who was struggling with how to relate to her teenage son. When the story further developed, Rachel realized that the underlying message appealed to the experiences of adults and children alike.

Q & A with Author Rachel Thoene

1) One of the major themes of Vase of Many Colors is restoration. Can you tell us a little bit about what restoration means to you and how restoration is different than just forgiveness.

Restoration suggests that things are being repaired and made new again. When I was growing up, one of my favorite things to do with my mom and my Nana (Mom’s Mom) was to go visit antique stores. While they frequently searched for the exquisite and the rare and the beautiful, I always felt that some of our greatest treasures were the old chairs … the ones with the woven cane seats. They were old, dusty, tired and broken down, but when we would come across chairs like that, if they suited our needs, Mom would get them to an antique restorer who would tirelessly restore or repair the caning in the seat of these old chairs… it always amazed me how the new canes could make that old tired chair new enough and strong enough to hold our weight.. even though the rest of the structure was 100 – 150 years old… but the structural integrity of that chair was restored to a point where it could support a grown man’s weight. Same goes for stained glass windows… bits and pieces of colored glass would be cut to size to repair some of the stained glass windows we bought from those same antique dealers… it became an act of everything old becomes new again… plain old forgiveness can be too easy… simply brushing off a wrong, without really acknowledging that it caused broken-ness. But restoration is work…an art and takes delicate craftsmanship… if you restore someone or something, you are investing time and energy into righting the wrong.

2) Sometimes forgiving yourself can be the hardest part of all. How can you learn to forgive yourself when everyone else has already?

Humans have a tendency to continue the mental flogging don’t they? I have a terribly guilty conscience… and will lay awake at night mulling over and re-hashing scenarios until I have horrible headaches and my stomach and shoulders are in knots. And why? What does that accomplish? Sometimes I have to go back to folks I’ve wronged a couple of times and explain, “Hey, I’m still feeling this way about what I said or what I did… and I just want you to know that I’m having trouble forgiving myself.” My current boss and I have that kind of relationship and we just talk until we’re all talked out. He calls it “un-stuffing” and it has really helped me come to forgiveness of myself a lot quicker. Maybe the idea is to be thorough in your discussion of forgiveness and not so quick to dismiss the wrong. Folks don’t enjoy reliving painful experiences, but sometimes you have to cut away the infection to get to healthy tissue again. Then you’re truly clean and ready to start fresh.

3) Your parents are legends in Christian fiction. How has your upbringing affected your writing style?

WHOA! Yup. They sure are legends alright! And the funny thing is that I never saw myself as a writer… I expressed myself privately in poems and prose and could write really long letters and emails to friends… and when it came to technical writing and research I could really shine. But I sure never saw myself as a writer of their caliber. And certainly not of that level of self discipline. I grew up appreciating the art form and yet never wanting anything to do with it. It was TOO MUCH WORK! So I’m not sure I even have a style per se… I enjoy words… LOVE a good dictionary and my goal is to someday own an O.E.D. but when I write these days, it is to communicate a point or illustrate a message without putting people on the defensive. That’s a huge part of my job as a school administrator… communicate effectively without causing emotional trauma.

4) What was your inspiration for Vase of Many Colors?

Whew boy. My inspiration was my friend, Val and her relationship and the trials she was having as a mother with one of her sons at the time. But the story really became one of those divinely inspired sorts of messages… it just sort of fell out of me in an email to her… a sort of allegory or parable if you will, about how as mothers, even when our kids make dumb mistakes and bad choices, we can still pick up the pieces and help them put themselves back together again. Of course as I sat back and spent some time with the story, quite a few different messages sort of jumped out at me. And that continues to happen as I review it in relation to different audiences and different life scenarios.

5) Who is the target audience for Vase of Many Colors? Adults or Children?

Oh! Why limit it to just those two groups? I think the target audience is whomever has relationships with other human beings… some of my teachers have used it in their classes with their high school aged students and also with their own grandchildren. I have shared the story with school children and adults in difficult situations. It doesn’t really matter who you are or how old, if you deal with other human beings, you need to read this story. My boss has used it with staff members. I have shared it with some of my students who are teen age mothers and grandmothers who are raising their grandchildren…. The target audience is humans.

6) How can adults and children both benefit from reading Vase of Many Colors?

I think the story speaks to the fact that ALL of us have made, currently make and will continue to make mistakes. We will experience heartaches but WOW! The good news is that we can be forgiven, we can be healed, and we can be whole again. And it even applies to really deep hurts, like death of a loved one or a serious illness, loss of a job or other traumatic spiritual and emotional experiences… we’ll be all busted up to pieces but you know what? God can put us back together again. And when He does, we find ourselves staring into the old dark, musty closets of our past and wondering how in all heaven and earth He is going to take all that garbage and make anything good of it…. But He always does. And we never look the same but we’re new and improved… we might have a couple of emotional limps or scars left over but you ask any cancer patient who has beaten the disease and they will tell you that the scars serve as reminders of the battle and their courage to win and also as their reminder of their humanity. Those reminders cause us to be compassionate toward others who are experiencing the same or similar issues.

7) What book has most influenced you personally?

Oh boy. Am I being graded on this? Next question… do I have to have only one? I don’t think I can narrow it but if I had to I would say that the most currently influential book I have read is called “The Penny: A Novel” by Joyce Meyer and Deborah Bedford. Do you want me to do a full book report? It’s just one of those books that soothes your heart and your brain… like Chapstick after a really bad cold.

8) What book are you reading now?

I’m reading about six books right now but the most powerful book I’m reading right now is called “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. It’s a business leadership type book but has direct application in what I’m doing right now as a school site leader.

9) What do you want readers to know most about you?

Hmmmm…. I think I’d rather have them understand the importance of what I do as an educator for underprivileged and at-risk children. And then put my job into perspective with what folks do at home with their own children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc. We all share a responsibility to help shape and mold the young people’s lives and a good, solidly structured home, consistent behavioral boundaries and expectations for our children really do make a difference when they start the journey into young adulthood. But don’t be over-protective of your kids either. Let them make their mistakes in a safe environment, because the world at large can be a REALLY unforgiving place and sometimes, if we make mistakes out there, they can prove to be fatal… I want readers to HELP ME help my students…. And my teachers… help us continue to make a difference in the lives of our students and the communities we work in.

10) In a society where many things are considered “disposable”, how does restoration figure into the mix?

MAN! So I work in the Educational Options Division of a school district in urban Sacramento California and we have, in our division, for many years said, “We are known as throw away students, throw away teachers and throw away administrators.” Meaning all of us, from the students through the administrators have at some point been considered throw aways… less than… not good enough for “regular education.” All of us, in one way or another, in our previous schools and/or jobs, didn’t fit the mold of what good students, teachers and administrators were supposed to look like so we were dismissed and “sent” to continuation schools where we would either be re-habilitated or just wait out the life of our professional careers. Well we have started a trend in our district, courtesy of Dr. Larry Buchanan, ret’d and Dr. Patricia Newsome, Acting Superintendent, of really building up the Educational Options Schools. So we are shifting attitudes and acknowledging our mistakes but moving ourselves toward a better, healthier future. It’s really a shift in attitudes that will change society… consider the “Green Movement” currently afoot in America… we change out our old incandescent light bulbs in favor of energy efficient fluorescent bulbs. We recycle everything from aluminum to plastic to motor oil. We see people trading SUV’s for hybrid vehicles and taking their own bags to the grocery store. We compost our garden and yard scraps. And yet I have two schools and am associated with two more which house over 1400 students who are considered to be “throw aways.” I have a CalSafe program on my campus which is a daycare center for teen parents… I have 18 babies and toddlers enrolled in that program right now and more on the way. Down the street from my campus, I know a woman who lives under a bridge because the older man she was taking care of passed away so the family fired her and she started drinking and can’t seem to hold a job. I have students enrolled in my school who have no place to call home but the back of an abandoned car or a filthy motel room, and I have a significant portion of my students who are enslaved to the Foster care system….

I could fill a semi-truck with the number of toothbrushes, pairs of socks and coats we’ve handed out over the years I’ve been here. Society has deemed that some of its own members are “disposable”. So how does “restoration” figure into the mix? It doesn’t figure into the mix… it IS the mix. We need to start cleaning up the souls we’ve thrown away and disregarded and judged and sentenced right here in our own neighborhoods. I’m afraid it’s a bit of a hot topic for me because there are some who start talking about “THOSE KIDS …. THOSE PEOPLE…” and they sort of get on their high horses and peering out through their glass houses and pointing fingers at all the systems, the government, the educational system, the welfare system and such… But THOSE KIDS aren’t THOSE Kids… They’re OUR kids…

If you want to clean something up, start with your own sock drawer. Then move to your t-shirt drawer and then your closet and your garage…. Restoration starts at home. And our churches, communities and schools are an extension of our homes. I’ve got to quit because I’ll get all riled up. I guess I’m kind of passionate about the issue.

Restoration is another word for healing… so let’s heal our families and our communities first before we start trying to tell other folks how to fix the rest of the world.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Illuminated by Matt Bronleew

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

(Thomas Nelson August 7, 2007)


Matt Bronleewe is a recognized producer, songwriter and author. The former member of the band Jars of Clay, has earned numerous awards producing and co-writing albums that have sold a combined total of over 20 million copies. His songs have recently been recorded by Disney pop sensations Aly & AJ, American Idol finalist Kimberley Locke, and more. Bronleewe has worked with Grammy Award-winning artists such as Michael W. Smith, International pop singer Natalie Imbruglia and Heroes star Hayden Panettiere.

Born in Dallas, Texas, Bronleewe was raised on a farm in Kansas, where he lived until he left for college in 1992. At Greenville College in Illinois, Bronleewe formed the band Jars of Clay with his dorm roommate and two neighbors, and the group soon found success. Though Bronleewe opted to leave Jars of Clay early on to pursue an academic career, he soon found himself in Nashville, co-writing, producing, and playing music professionally.

To add to his list of accomplishments, Bronleewe has expanded his love of story telling beyond music into authorship. He is currently penning a 5 book series for Thomas Nelson Fiction. Illuminated, in stores now, begins the adventurous series about rare manuscripts and the mysteries within.

Bronleewe currently resides in Brentwood, Tenn., with his wife and three children. He continues to write and produce music, and he also volunteers through his church to help disadvantaged youth in the community. Bronleewe enjoys reading, taste-testing good food and watching sports, as well as indulging his interests in art, architecture, design and science.


August Adams has failed his family before. He's sacrificed relationships in pursuit of adventure, fame, and money. Now the very lives of those he loves depend on his ability to decipher a centuries-old puzzle encrypted in the colorful hand-painted illuminations that adorn three rare Gutenberg Bibles.

It's a secret that could yield unimaginable wealth, undermine two major religions, and change the course of Western civilization. Two ruthless, ancient organizations are willing to do anything to get their hands on it. And August has the span of one transatlantic flight to figure it out.

If he fails, those he holds most dear will die. If he succeeds, he'll destroy a national treasure.

The clock ticks, the suspense mounts, and the body count rises as August pits his knowledge and his love for his family against the clock, secret societies, and even Johannes Gutenberg himself.

"...this rare breed of suspense thriller combines mysterious hidden clues, secret societies, buried treasure, double agents, and the Knights Templar...if you turned National Treasure into international treasure, traded DaVinci codes for Gutenberg Bibles, married it to Indiana Jones, and added the pacing of 24 you'd be in the neighborhood of Illuminated...on a scale of one to 10, this one goes to 11."
-Aspiring Retail Magazine


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Book Review: "Just Jane" by Nancy Moser

Not Just a Plain Jane

What if Jane Austen had kept a diary of what inspired her to write her novels, her relationships, her hopes, her worries, her life? This book recreates that very question with an inside look at what Jane Austen's life would have been like. Told from first person narrative, Nancy Moser imagines what Jane Austen would have told only her diary her innermost feelings as she struggles to become a writer and hopefully discover love along the way. Fans of Jane Austen will enjoy this fictional autobiographical tale of one of the world's most beloved authors.

I love all things Jane Austen. I love all the movie versions that have come out of her books. Right now it's very "in" to be an Austen fan especially with the two recent movies that have come out about Jane Austen. I kept forgetting at times while reading that this was a fiction novel and not really Jane Austen's memoirs! The first person narrative is done extremely well that will make the reader think they have discovered the lost diaries of the author. I felt like I was literally dropped into the time period because the rich narrative made the story come alive. I liked how Jane would get the inspirations for her characters. She and her sister Cassandra were very much like Elizabeth and Jane Bennett from P&P while you could also seem resemblances from the people she would meet. Her reasons for never getting married are portrayed here as her reaction to societies' expectations on the role of women. I loved the authenticity with the way the book was written, right down to the "olde English". The only fault I found with the book is that you are dropped right into the middle of the story but are not given that much background info. There are a lot of characters mentioned as well, and it is easy to get quickly confused. Other than that, I found this book a joy to read. This book is highly recommended for historical fiction fans and those Austen fanatics who get enough of that 6 hour version of Pride and Prejudice.

Just Jane by Nancy Moser is published by Bethany House (2007)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Let Me Fly by Elisa Mayo

Set amid the close-knit community of Clear Creek, Let Me Fly is the first book in a series that weaves the reader into the lives of the Clear Creek family. It is a journey of fulfillment as Celia Martin struggles to find herself amid the conflicting views of the world's definition of success--searching for safety and security, while running from her past and the memories lingering on the banks of Clear Creek--Celia watches her life crumble, finally turning to the Lord for redemption.

Will Celia fall for the handsome, forbidden Vince or will she find another love waiting in Clear Creek? Will she pull herself from the trap of wealth and success and conquer the ghost of lost young love?

Elisa Mayo was born in the state of Mississippi, which is located in the southern part of the United States. She attended college in Mississippi and graduated with a B.S. in accounting. While she enjoys her life as a financial guru, she had always had the desire to write. “Many stories have slipped in and out of my mind, some making it to the tip of my pen, others not, but I have continued writing throughout my life. Whether it was songs, short stores, one-liners, or beginnings of novels- they were all part of what I needed to do to be me,” recalls Elisa.

Reader Reviews of Let Me Fly:

Kim Massey, reviewer
I loved your book!

Angie McKinney, a bookstore owner

Can't wait for her next novel!

I found myself thinking of the characters when I wasn't reading. That's when I know a story is well written. The story also reminded me that even if we make mistakes, God's great plan for us doesn't change as He gently guides us back on track.

Skye Carney, A reviewer


This book was sooo wonderful to read. It really touched my heart!!! I felt like the story was about me. The book is so vivid and descriptive and warming. I felt a calming peace come over me when I finished it. I went out and bought several more copies and gave them to my mother, sisters, and friends. I can't wait for more of Elisa's work. I am hooked!!

A reviewer, an avid reader and English teacher

Great Debut!

LET ME FLY is a fabulous first novel. The Christian romance is about a young woman who has it all, yet finds herself empty and searching still. The story tackles issues relevant to all women, like surviving betrayal and loss, but also gives hope as Celia travels back home and back in time to find herself again. The author has a gift for description, and the reader will find herself on the banks of Clear Creek with the heroine. LET ME FLY will make your spirit soar!!

A reviewer, A reviewer

'Let Me Fly' keeps you guessing what will happen next in the life of a young woman seeking the perfect plan for her life. I am not an avid reader but this book kept me so interested that I finished in a couple of days. 'Let Me Fly' relates to everyday life of young women aspiring to be the woman God wants them to be, while at the same time wanting to have the bright successful future always dreamed of as a young girl.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Movie Review: "Blades of Glory"

I'm a huge figure skating fan. It's the reason why I watch the Winter Olympics (well there are many reasons but this was the reason why I started watching them). I can name tons of figure skaters and I know all the moves they do. I wish I could skate like a pro. The best I can do is circle around the rink several times without falling. Ironically I am much better on ice skates than I am on roller skates (but that's a story for another day).

So when this movie was advertised, I wanted to see it. Will Ferrell's a riot, Jon Heder is funny. Figure skating was going to get a laugh one day. The ads made the sport look incredibly gay but who can resist Will Ferrell in a unitard? The movie is actually really funny. You end up liking Heder's character a lot even though that hair cracks me up and I'm not sure why he wears pastels. Ferrell plays his characters so well that you can help laughing everytime he's onscreen. The villians, played by Amy Poheler and Will Arnett, are hilariously evil with the brother/sister act being icky b/c the pair are married in real life.

What's funny is that I can actually see Jimmy's character skating at the Olympics and doing rather well. Of course I don't really like male figure skaters who dress with feathers but the routine was actually quite good. Well except for the embarrassing scene where he sort of runs/flys like a bird. On the other hand, Chazz's routine was horrible. There would be no way that would be in competitive skating. He did one jump and nothing else but hammed it to the crowd. Yes I know it's all for laughs though. The two skating together is a riot. Did you know though that the loophole doesn't really exist? The official rules state that a pair must include a "lady". Their first skate together was actually quite good and somewhat realistic. The 2nd routine was just way over the top with all those illegal moves, although I loved the blades cutting the neck hair. The deadpan commentary by Scott Hamilton and the other dude is great.

I also liked the special features on the DVD too especially the interview with Scott Hamilton. I honestly never realized until I watched it at how much he resembled Mark Hamill (aka Luke Skywalker) especially when he had hair. But now that it's been mentioned I totally see it and it was funny at how he gets called on it every day. Hilarious.

Will Ferrell hasn't made a movie I haven't liked yet so this is another winner for him. This movie is rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, language, a comic violent image and some drug references so use your best judgment when watching it.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Never Look Back by Kathy Herman 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 Thursday, October 25. Good luck!

Never Look Back by Kathy Herman

The day Ivy Griffith walks out of jail after serving her sentence for withholding evidence in the Joe Hadley murder case, she is ready to put her years of pain and drug abuse behind her. A new job at her parents’ Christian camp in Colorado promises stability in this new season, but she is unprepared for her brother’s indifference toward her and her son, Montana. When camp worker Rue Kessler takes an interest in Montana, Ivy hopes the attention will make up for the rejection her son is feeling—and she doesn’t mind the attention Rue directs her way either.

Then a rash of crimes turns deadly, and Ivy suspects that Rue isn’t all he appears to be. But how can she condemn another when she knows the pain of accusation? The mysteries increase as Ivy struggles to move beyond the secrets of her past. Along the way, she discovers that the hardest person to forgive might be herself.

This fast-paced suspense novel continues the Phantom Hollow series with a rich exploration of the risks and possibilities of starting over.

Award-winning author Kathy Herman has been on staff at the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) and at Better Books Christian Center in Texas. She has conducted educational seminars at CBA conventions in the U.S. and Canada, served as a judge for the Gold Medallion Book Awards, and worked as an independent product/marketing consultant to the CBA market. She is the author of twelve novels, including the bestsellers Tested by Fire and All Things Hidden. Kathy and her husband, Paul, live in Tyler, Texas.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Crimson Eve by Brandilyn Collins

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

(Zondervan October 30, 2007)


Brandilyn Collins is a best-selling novelist known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense™. These harrowing crime thrillers have earned her the tagline “Don’t forget to b r e a t h e…® ” She’s so well known in the industry there’s actually a club for her non-readers. That’s right. The Big Honkin’ Chickens Club (BHCC) members are proud of the fact that they’re too wimpy to read Brandilyn’s intense fiction. Now and then one of them tries. Bribing works pretty well. (Just ask Deb Raney.) Somehow they live to tell the tale.

Brandilyn writes for Zondervan, the Christian division of HarperCollins Publishers, and is currently at work on her 17th book. Her first book, A Question of Innocence, was a true crime published by Avon in 1995. Its promotion landed her on local and national TV and radio, including the Phil Donahue and Leeza talk shows.

She’s also known for her distinctive book on fiction-writing techniques, Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors (John Wiley & Sons), and often teaches at writers conferences. Brandilyn blogs at Forensics and Faith.

Visit her website to read the first chapters of all her books.


Carla stared at the gun and David Thornby—or whatever his name was. Her mind split in two, one side pleading this was some sick joke, the other screaming it was all too real.

“Please. You must have the wrong person. There’s no reason for someone to want me dead. I don’t have any enemies.”

“Then you’d best rethink your friends.”

Realtor Carla Radling shows an “English gentleman” a lakeside estate—and finds herself facing a gun. Who has hired this assassin to kill her, and why?

Forced on the run, Carla must uncover the scathing secrets of her past. Secrets that could destroy some very powerful people...

Brandilyn Collins fans and reviewers are saying Crimson Eve is her best book yet:

“Collins tops herself by creating a suspenseful nonstop thrill ride … Truly the best Christian Fiction suspense title so far this year.”
Library Journal, starred review

“Crimson Eve is Collins at her very best. It left me feeling as if I’d climbed Mount Everest without oxygen … I didn’t think Brandilyn could outdo herself after reading Coral Moon. She did.”

“I’ve never edited a more tightly crafted, deftly woven, compellingly written book.” –a Crimson Eve editor, with 20 years experience

“This is your best book! I could not stop reading!” – one of many readers with similar responses

Read about Violet Dawn and Coral Moon, books one and two in the Kanner Lake series.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Mosaic by Amy Grant and Book Giveaway!

I'm giving away 3 brand new copies of today's book! Leave a comment with your email address so I can contact you if you win. I'll pick 3 names and announce the winners on Monday, October 22. Good luck!

Grammy Award–winning artist Amy Grant has lived in the spotlight since bursting onto the Christian music scene as a teenager thirty years ago. In that time her work, marriage, and spiritual life have been subject to varying degrees of adulation and criticism.

Now, in her first autobiographical book, Grant bares her heart and soul, giving readers an intima
te glimpse into her everyday life and the lessons she’s learning along the way. From lighthearted reminiscences of her Tennessee childhood to painfully honest reflections on the journey of faith, her vivid writing draws readers into her world while simultaneously creating space for them to rethink their own perspectives on life.

With honesty and depth, Grant offers poignant and often startling insights on motherhood, marriage, friendship, faith, loss, forgiveness, and redemption. Never-before-shared stories about her husband, country music star Vince Gill, provide a look into her life as a celebrity, while intimate portraits of her mother and musings on the past reveal the various pieces of a life blessed with jagged edges as well as vivid colors. Readers will find their preconceived notions of this music icon stripped away as they settle in for a warmly satisfying conversation with a gracious and wise friend.

Amy Grant is the best-selling Christian music artist of all time and the first to garner the number one spot on Billboard’s chart. Since beginning her career at age 17, she has earned six Grammy Awards and twenty-five Dove Awards, and last year she received her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Grant’s numerous television appearances include Oprah; Good Morning, America; and Late Night with David Letterman. In 2007 she’ll tour nationwide, performing with local symphonies in Atlanta, Minneapolis, Kansas City, and elsewhere.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Book Review: "Boo Hiss" by Rene Gutteridge

Who knew so much could happen in a small town?

What could be worse than a two headed huge snake loose in a small town? Try overzealous publicists, pregnant women who don't want to be pregnant, two men in love with the same women, a sleepwalker, a town play in shambles...and that's just the beginning! Wolf wants to start writing again but is looking to show his faith in his books while his publicists gets a little crazy trying to figure out what exactly Christian fiction is. Ainsley wishes she was pregnant but instead has to put up with reluctantly clueless pregnant Melb. Did I also mention there's a huge two headed snake loose in town?

This is one of the few books where I have laughed, cringed, shrieked, gagged, got disgusted, frustrated and thoroughly enjoyed while reading. Yes it is possible to have every single one of these emotions while reading this book. After all this series has been called "Mitford on steroids." I was again worried that since I hadn't read the second book in the series I'd be lost. But not to fear, the story is crazy and funny that you don't feel like you missed out on anything at all. The story is all over the place with many different characters but don't worry everything is connected. While I love most of the characters especially Wolf and Ainsley, I cannot stand Melb. I feel really sorry for Ainsley because of what she has to put up with. I'm sorry, but if I was in her position, I would have lost it. Melb's character just drove me up the wall. Other than that, I really enjoyed the story. If you have a snake phobia, I would suggest not reading this book. The description of a two headed snake make me feel icky all over. I grimace to this day. I also like how the portrayal of the outside world's image of Christian fiction is. Very funny and somewhat sad at the same time. The way this book is written, it's definately not your grandmother's Christian fiction. Highly recommended for hard to put down reading.

Boo Hiss by Rene Gutteridge is published by Waterbrook (2005)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Book Review: "Oksana" by Susan K. Downs and Susan May Warren

Russian Historical Fiction at Its Best

It is the time of the Russian revolution where anyone connected with the royal family is no longer safe. Anton has been trusted with command by the tsar to take two servant girls from the royal house into safety. He soon falls in love with one of the girls, Oksana who seems to be hiding a secret from him. The two are constantly at odds but Anton has vowed to keep her safe. When he finds out her secret, will he still keep his promise to her or will he betray her trust?

I was afraid when reading this book I would be lost because I hadn't read the 2nd and 3rd book in the series. I had read the first book, Ekaterina, and had enjoyed it very much. However this book reads as a novel by itself although reading the other books will probably help to connect the complete storyline. I'm a huge fan of Russian history especially when dealing with the Russian royal family. I have always found the rise and fall of the last Tsar of Russia and his family fascinating. This story weaves historical fact with fiction beautifully. It's a really good story too, with lots of suspense and romance. What I also enjoyed about this story is that while most stories during this time period focus on Anastasia, this one was mainly about Olga. It was nice to read about a different perspective. It was obvious lots of research went into writing this book. I could almost imagine I was part of the story myself, trying to get into disguise and running for my life. Even though I haven't read the two books in between I can see how the first book and the last book tie into together with lots of clues finally being revealed. Excellent historical fiction and highly recommended.

Oksana by Susan K. Downs and Susan May Warren is published by Barbour (2005)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Nobody by Creston Mapes

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


(Multnomah Fiction September 11, 2007)


Creston Mapes


Creston Mapes is a talented storyteller whose first two novels, Dark Star and Full Tilt, made him a finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year awards and the Inspirational Readers Choice awards. Creston has written for major corporations, colleges, and ministries, including Coca-Cola, TNT Sports, Oracle, Focus on the Family, and In Touch Ministries. Committed to his craft and his family, Creston makes his home in Georgia with his wife, Patty, and their four children.

He's been married for twenty-one years to the girl he first loved way back in fourth grade. They have three lovely girls and a boy in a very close-knit family, spending a lot of time together - watching old classic movies, going on outings, and taking in various school and community events and activities. Creston loves to go for morning walks with his dog, read, paint watercolors, meet friends for coffee and Bible study, watch hockey, take his wife on dates, and spend time in God's Word.


Not everything that happens in Vegas has to stay in Vegas!

They said, “He’s a nobody.”
They were dead wrong.

When reporter Hudson Ambrose hears an early morning call on his police scanner about an injured person at a bus stop on Las Vegas Boulevard, he rushes to the scene to get the scoop.
His world is blown off its axis when he discovers a murdered homeless man with a bankbook in his pocket showing a balance of almost one million dollars. Should he wait for the police, knowing the case will get lost in reams of red tape, or swipe the bankbook and take the investigation–and perhaps a chunk of the money–into his own hands?

With sirens bearing down on the scene, Hudson makes an impulse decision that whisks him on a frantic search for answers, not only about the mysterious dead man, but about the lost soul lurking within himself.

Uncovering bizarre links between a plane crash, a Las Vegas pit boss, a dirty cop, and a widowed Atlanta business mogul, Hudson is forced to find out: who was Chester Holte, what was he doing on the streets, and why are his homeless friends convinced he was an angel in disguise?

“Nobody was absolutely riveting from the opening scene to the final page. With compelling characters, a plot that surprised me at every turn, and a subtle, yet profound message that moved me to tears, this book goes straight to the top of my highly recommended list.”
- Deborah Raney, author of Remember to Forget and Within This Circle

“A taut, entertaining novel of mystery, intrigue, and spiritual truth. Creston Mapes delivers a winner in Nobody.”
- James Scott Bell, bestselling author of No Legal Grounds and Try Dying

“Nobody had me fascinated from the first paragraph and kept the surprises coming to the very end. Somehow, as the pages flew by, it also managed to convey a beautiful picture of faith the size of a mustard seed. From now on I’ll read anything by Creston Mapes the instant it hits the shelves.”
- Athol Dickson, Christy Award—winning author of River Rising and The Cure

Monday, October 08, 2007

Book Review: "The Parting" by Beverly Lewis

Old Ways or New?

Nellie Fischer is an Amish girl who is still getting over the recent death of her sister. Troubled by the unknown circumstances surrounding her death, Nellie tries to focus on her relationship with Caleb Yoder and the possibility of a future with him. Meanwhile her father has found a new belief, one that goes against the very traditions of the Old Order Amish. By becoming a believer in Christ along with his family, he faces the punishment of being shunned by the community. This affects Nellie's and Caleb's relationship as their fathers are on different sides of this debate.

I was really excited when I heard that this book was coming out. First I love Beverly Lewis so of course I was thrilled that she had a new book on the way. But more important was the subject matter of the book. I have always wondered what exactly is the faith of the Amish based on? In one of my past reviews of Lewis's books, I questioned if the Amish are indeed really Christians. They seem to think that accepting Jesus is grounds for shunning. Seeing as how popular the Amish culture is lately, I want to know exactly what they believe in. So I was interested to see that this very subject would be the basis for this new series. And Lewis' came through and answered my questions with this first book. The narrative is very easy to follow, rich in detail. I could picture the characters going throughout their daily lives. I wish I could visit Nellie May's store and buy some baked goods for myself. There are some subplots that seem confusing such as Rosanna and the babies that don't seem to tie into the story at the moment. I was more interested to find out more about the circumstances surrounding Suzy's death and the way the church was going to handle the new wave of believers. I'm looking forward to continuing the rest of this series. If you're a Lewis fan you will not be disappointed.

The Parting by Beverly Lewis is published by Bethany House (2007)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

My Life Unscripted by Tricia Goyer 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 Saturday, October 12. Good luck!

Drawing on Biblical prinicples, My Life, Unscripted guides girls through the tumultous teen years by teaching them to have a plan of attack before temptation or hardship come.
Tricia's Script:
Looking back at my drama-filled teen years I now wonder ... What was I thinking?
The truth? I wasn't. I lived from day to day on every wave of emotion. Some days excitement and passion partnered up, pattering wildly within my heart.
Other days, depression and anxiety were my silent friends. I lived each day as it came, with no plan for my future, for my relationships, or for my heart.

I lived my life completely unscripted ... and, well, it didn't go well for me. Teen pregnancy and a broken heart were only two consequences. Yet my prayer is that when teen girls are asked Who's Writing Your Life? their answer will be ME ... with the guidance of God, My Director.

Tricia Goyer has published over 300 articles for national publications such as Today's Christian Woman, Guideposts for Kids, and Focus on the Family, and is the co-author of Meal Time Moments (Focus on the Family). She has led numerous Bible Studies, and her study notes appear in the Women of Faith Study Bible (Zondervan).

She has written seven novels for Moody Publishing: From Dust and Ashes (2003); Night Song (2004), Dawn of a Thousand Nights (2005); Arms of Deliverance (2006); A Valley of Betrayal (2007); A Shadow of Treason (Fall 2007); and A Whisper of Freedom (Spring 2008).

Night Song was awarded American Christian Fiction Writer's 2005 Book of the Year for Best Long Historical. Dawn of a Thousand Nights won the same award in 2006.

Tricia has also written Life Interrupted: The Scoop on Being a Young Mom (Zondervan, 2004), 10 Minutes to Showtime (Thomas Nelson, 2004), and Generation NeXt Parenting (Multnomah, 2006). Life Interrupted was a 2005 Gold Medallion finalist in the Youth Category.

Also, coming out in the next year are: My Life, Unscripted (Thomas Nelson, 2007), Generation NeXt Marriage (Multnomah, Spring 2008), and
3:16-the teen version of the a book by Max Lucado (Thomas Nelson, Spring 2008).

Tricia and her husband John live with their three children in
Kalispell, Montana. Tricia's grandmother also lives with them, and Tricia volunteers mentoring teen moms and leading children's church. Although Tricia doesn't live on a farm, she can hit one with a rock by standing on her back porch and giving it a good throw.

Tricia has two books that will be out soon ...

A Shadow of Treason (Moody Publishing), Fall 2007

Generation NeXt Marriage (Multnomah), January 2008

An interview with Tricia Goyer!

Q: Tell me about My Life, Unscripted

Sure! With real-life scripts, screenwriting terms, and timely topics, My Life, Unscripted helps teen girls explore their own inner struggles and outward relationships. It's my hope they'll learn the importance of "scripting" their own responses BEFORE challenging life-situations arise.

By contrasting real-life with TV/movies, it's my hope that teen girls will understand they don't have to get caught up in the drama. They don't have to face situations as they arise, but rather they can think about, pray about, and consider how to face these situations before they hit the big screen of their lives.
Q: Is it true that much of YOUR story shows up in these pages?

Gulp. Yes, I'm afraid so. In fact, I shared parts of my story that I SWORE I'd never tell a soul.

My teenage script (portrayed in the book as Trish Valley) wasn't one I'd suggest my daughter, nor my readers to copy.
Q: Tell me about these scripts.

The introductory script of Trish Valley shows a scene where Trish urges her mom to follow Trish's boyfriend into the McDonald's parking lot so she can "spill her news." The other girl in the car and her boyfriend's response to Trish's pregnancy are unfortunately not fiction. I wrote out the scenes as they would appear in an actual script. I even use all the correct terms and layout.
Q: In addition to teen pregnancy, what are some of the other "scripts"?

Do I have to tell? Well, I guess it's in print now! Let me see: fists fights with a rival, sneaking out of my parents' house, getting caught by my boyfriend kissing his best friend--does that give you an idea? Do I have to go on?

Q: No, you can stop there. But WHY? Why did you decide to share these stories?

First, because I want girls to understand the heartache of unwise decisions. I want to them to be able to relate to me, rather than feeling preached at. Also, I wanted to share my stories because many young women have faced the same type of situations, or they know friends who have. And finally because they are great object lessons for the importance of following biblical truth. That is something I did learn!

Q: What does your teenage daughter think about this book?

Leslie thinks it's great I'm able to connect with other teens. She's heard these stories for a while! She was 11-years-old when we first started volunteering together at a support group for teenage mothers together. As I taught the young moms things like nutrition and potty training, Leslie assisted adults in babysitting the toddlers. And while we loved giving and serving, it was the ride home that soon became the most meaningful part. As Leslie sat in the passenger's seat, I could see her mind considering my life as a teen mom, and she started asking questions.

Although it was hard to talk about my past mistakes, I knew this was an ideal opportunity to share real-life truths with my daughter. Each person walking this earth has regrets. Our talks showed me that instead of hiding my past troubles (and hoping my kids didn't find out) sharing my mistakes could actually give my daughter a better understanding to why values and wise decision-making skills are important.

Q: So now you're "having a heart-to-heart" with other teens through this book?

I sure hope that's how they see it! Those first talks with my daughter brought us closer, but I knew not every girl has had someone to offer advice such as: "build a supporting cast of people you can trust" or "consider the character qualities you'd like for a leading man."

Q: Okay, so your book is for teens, but what about the moms out there who feel they have past mistakes they don't want to share?
Well, they could each write a book about their teen years! Ha- just kidding!

But for those moms out there, maybe your teen years were not as drama-filled as mine. Or, if they were, maybe you are fearful of sharing them with your teen. The truth is, teens learn best not with information and knowledge, but rather by hearing life examples and understanding how decisions can affect all parts of our lives. So, time to get brave, Mom. Open your heart and share what worked and what didn't. It just might help your daughter write a better script for herself.

Oh, yes, and consider buying your daughter My Life, Unscripted! Hopefully every teen girl can get some take-away to scripting a bright future!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Book Review: "Unwrapping Christmas" by Lori Copeland

It's the most stressful time of the year

The Christmas season has come and Rose is busy, busy, busy with preparations for the holidays. She's worn out from doing all sorts of stuff for the church, cooking meals for sick friends, volunteering in the thrift shop, taking on prayer requests, etc etc. She doesn't have time for anything else including cooking dinner for her own family. Everyone else is getting grumpy and Rose is beginning to feel worn out. The Christmas season is starting to look not so jolly after all, but isn't a Christian supposed to put others first before themselves?

Ok so I know the Christmas season isn't for another 2 and a half months. But Sam's club already has Christmas trees and lights up! So what better way to get into this mood that this short novella from Lori Copeland. It's really a modern day holiday version of the story of Martha, the sister of Mary and Lazarus from the Bible. Christians today seem to think that they need to sacrifice their own needs and wants to make everyone else happy. I've seen many Christian families torn apart because they will go out and do things for others but not for their own children. Many pastor's and missionary spouses and kids suffer because of this type of attitude. This book showed that while there is a time to help others for the glory of God, you should also be careful of not trying to do things to make your own self look good. Know your limit and do not let false guilt take over you. The story is written really well and I enjoyed the characters and getting to know their busy hectic lives. It was funny at how Rose tried to figure all the different meals as she didn't have time to cook, who knew kids could get tired of pizza? I also liked learning more about the Advent with the tidbits at the beginning of each chapter. The only downside about this book is now I can't wait for Christmas to come. Even though this book is short, you will get a LOT out of it.

Unwrapping Christmas
by Lori Copeland is published by Zondervan (2007)