Friday, July 30, 2010







Monday, July 19, 2010

Two Reviews "Hometown Proposal" by Merrillee Whren and "A Gift of Grace" by Amy Clipston

Back cover: Before single father Seth Finley became a full-time dad - and a Christian- he wasn't exactly responsible. But now he can't seem to convince his former girlfriend that he's changed. Nothing is more important to Seth than family, faith and love. And since he's found Elise Keller again, he has another shot to show her what kind of man he truly is. A man who'll love, honor, and cherish her the way she always deserved. But will the once-burned, twice-shy Elise ever accept his hometown proposal?

Meet Merrillee Whren

I was born on my mother’s birthday, July 3rd. Of course, I’m sure you’re thinking I was the best birthday present she ever had. Sharing birthdays seems to run in my family. My two daughters were born a year apart on June 18th, the birthday of a great-great grandfather. The girls are now grown. The older one lives in Baltimore and the younger one in Tucson, AZ.

I arrived while my parents lived in Rapid City, South Dakota, but they soon moved to Montana. This would be the first of many moves in my life. I graduated from high school while we lived in Spokane, Washington. I went back to Huron, South Dakota, to attend Dakota Bible College. Then I went on for more schooling at Milligan College in Tennessee. After graduating, I got a teaching job near Cincinnati, Ohio, where I met my husband two years later. We were married on Valentine’s Day and had our wedding reception in Loveland, Ohio. No wonder I became a romance writer.

The moving I did as a child prepared me well for life with my husband. We started our married life in Greenfield, Ohio. I taught elementary school and my husband was a pharmacist at the local pharmacy. However, his work would eventually take us on a journey from small town Ohio where our girls were born to the cities of Atlanta, Boston, Dallas and Chicago. When my husband decided to start his own company, we could live any place we wanted. So we picked one of the best places in the world, in my opinion, an island off the northeastern coast of Florida. We live in a vacation paradise with the beach, tennis and golf right out our back door or just down the street. When I’m not writing, I enjoy walking on the beach, playing tennis and bridge or doing a little yard work.

Living in so many different places gave me the opportunity to visit all fifty states. I traveled to my last state several years ago when my husband and I celebrated our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary with an Alaskan cruise. My many moves have given me a lot of settings for my stories and the chance to meet many other writers through the chapters of Romance Writers of American located in each place we lived.

I wrote my first novel and shared it with my friends when I was in high school, but many years passed before I thought about writing anything with publication in mind. In 1984, after reading dozens of romances, I decided to write one of my own. How hard could that be? Twenty years worth of writing taught me how hard the publishing business can be. During those years of writing, rewriting, lots of rejections and unkind critiques, there were numerous times when I was ready to quit, but I didn't. Through that time, I believe God was teaching me a lesson in perseverance. He was also teaching me to give my writing over to His will. Because I kept writing even when the hope of selling seemed far away, in July of 2003, I won the Golden Heart Award presented by Romance Writers of America for my inspirational romance manuscript, A Place To Call Home. I didn't sell that Golden Heart winner, but on February 20, 2004, I got "THE CALL" and sold a different manuscript. The Heart’s Homecoming was published by Steeple Hill for their Love Inspired line in August 2005.

Thanks for taking the time to learn a little about me. I hope you’ll visit again soon.


My take: Seth Finley and Elise Keller have a past. After a break-up that destroyed Elise's faith in Seth she thought she would never see him again. That is until he shows up in her hometown as the new Recreational Director.

Her family takes Seth and his little girl under their wing, which makes it near impossible for Elise to avoid Seth - and her feelings she has for him. When Seth is seriously injured in a car accident she realizes how much she still cares for him. But this confuses her even more. While she helps care for his little girl while he recovers she begins to wonder if a relationship could work out. Has Seth really changed?

This little romantic book packs a big wallop. Seth is paying the price for past sins. He has made a lot of changes in his life, but he can't seem to convince Elise that he has seriously changed. Even though it is pretty obvious what the outcome will be in this story - the journey to get there is a sweet ride.

Rebecca Kauffman longs to fulfill her quiet Old Order Amish life by giving her husband, Daniel, a child, but for years she has been unable to conceive. When her older sister, Grace, who left the Amish community for the modern world, dies in an automobile accident, Rebecca is left custody of her two teenage nieces, Jessica and Lindsay. Now Rebecca wonders how she is going to take on this daunting task of being an Amish woman raising two English teenagers.

Rebecca struggles to give the girls the guidance they need as she tries to fulfill her duties as an Amish wife. The strain between Rebecca and Daniel mounts as the girls search for their identity in this new home. Caught between her husband's disapproval and her niece's unhappiness, Rebecca begins to question her place in the Amish community, her marriage, and her faith in God. Will she be able to reconcile differences in her home - or will the clash of cultures tear her world apart?

About Amy: Amy Clipston is a first-time author and member of American Christian Fiction Writers(ACFW). She holds a degree in communications from Virginia Wesleyan College and works full-time as a public informations specialist for the city of Charlotte, NC. Amy live in North Carolina with her husband and two sons.

My take: This is only the second Amish book I've read - I have to admit it is not my genre of choice. But since I've been reviewing/influencing books I've tried to keep a very open mind. I've been pleasantly surprised in doing so, as I was with this book. I couldn't tell if this was the girls story or if it was Aunt Rebecca's story. I suppose it could be both. It seemed that Rebecca's husband Daniel was being very hard on the girls as well as his wife, while they all tried to adjust to the lose of their mother and sister and their new surroundings. Rebecca got the children she had always wished for - she just didn't think they would come in the form of teenagers. I felt they were being especially hard on Jessie (the oldest girl and having the hardest time adjusting to Amish ways) and I had no idea how they were going to handle the situation that had unbearable for all of them. Rebecca's mother-in-law kept telling her to "listen", but she didn't understand what that meant - not until Jessie runs away and finds herself in an accident. I must admit I never saw the ending coming and I was pleased and surprised with how Rebecca decided to handle things. It was worth reading the book just to get to that part. There is a lesson to be learned - our desires may not be what is best for others around us.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

New Releases for July!

Check out the new releases for July on the American Christian Fiction Writers List. You can go to my online bookstore located on the right hand side of my blog and click on the book you would like to order. It will take you directly to There is something for everyone. Here we go..........................

Terry Wilson

A Former Rodeo Queen
Josie Turner spends her days at the local dog grooming shop pampering the pooches of Angel Springs, Texas. When rodeo season rolls around again, the townfolk are excited about who their new Rodeo Queen might be. Josie, on the other hand, finds herself reminded all too often about a night she’d just as soon forget.
A Former Rodeo Cowboy
Luke Anderson lived for three things – riding, roping and rodeos. Until the day he met Josie Turner, the girl who gave his life meaning, and whose heart he was destined to break. Now, ten years later, he returns to Angel Springs to find the town hasn’t changed much, but the girl he left behind has become a stranger he hardly recognizes. What, he wonders, will she think of him, and the man he’s become?
A Rodeo Weekend
Determined to break through the wall Josie has erected around her heart, Luke must face his demons while at the same time helping Josie overcome hers. With the whole town cheering them on, can Luke mend Josie’s heart and can one rodeo weekend help them both find redemption?

Lisa Wingate

National bestselling author Lisa Wingate returns with an uplifting novel set in Blue Sky Hill, where unexpected challenges and new relationships give deeper meanings to "home".

When Tam Lambert learns that her family’s upscale home is in foreclosure, the life she’s known is forever changed. Tam and her family must move to a changing Dallas neighborhood called Blue Sky Hill...

New resident Shasta Williams knows nothing of real estate schemes when she and her husband purchase a home in Blue Sky Hill. To her it’s the perfect place to raise her children. Better yet is getting to know Tam, who lives next door. When neighbors realize that a corrupt deal could force them from their homes, friendships and loyalties are tested. Over the span of one summer, two young women discover the strength and maturity to do the impossible. They find that even in Blue Sky Hill, life-altering relationships and amazing possibilities can begin to blossom...

Kelly Ann Riley

Caring for his traumatized son is widowed FBI agent Luke Tanner's number one priority. But when he becomes temporary fire chief in a small mountain town, a case sparks out of his control. Luke suspects the late former chief of arson and murder—until the man's daughter returns to Pine Lake. Kitty McGuire is determined to prove her father was framed. As they work together, Kitty connects with Luke's troubled family in a way that surprises Luke—and fills him with hope. Maybe they have a chance at happiness after all…until their investigation ignites a firestorm that could engulf them all.

Julie Carobini

Callie Duflay just isn’t like the rest of her family. While they’ve built white collar lives, she prefers getting her hands dirty by working with children and local California causes. When Callie learns that a beloved piece of untouched property in her town of Otter Bay may soon be developed, she confronts the architect assigned to the project.

Gage Mitchell may be an easygoing, eco-friendly professional, but he’s not about to back off this job no matter how cute Callie or her pet pooch, Moondoggy, may be.
His reasons and hers are noble, both have a heart for protecting God’s creation, and the truth is these two would be perfect for each other outside of this face-off.
But will they ever find common ground?

Ann Gabhart

Charlotte Vance is a young woman who knows what she wants. But when the man she planned to marry joins the Shakers - a religious group that does not allow marriage - she is left dumbfounded. And when her father brings home a new wife who is young enough to be Charlotte's sister, it is more than she can bear. With the country - and her own household - on the brink of civil war, this pampered gentlewoman hatches a plan to avoid her new stepmother and win back her man by joining the Shaker community at Harmony Hill. Little does she know that this decision will lead her down a road to unforeseen consequences.

Loree Lough

In June, 1888, Kate Wellington is taken hostage by outlaw Frank Michaels, who makes her an unwilling participant in a brazen bank heist that leaves three men dead in a San Antonio bank. After escaping, she sees her likeness on a wanted poster. Realizing she's wanted by the Texas Rangers AND the killer, she adopts an alias and heads for Mexico. One dark night, she stumbles hungry and cold into a cowboy's campsite.

Rancher Josh Neville has been edgy since witnessing a violent bank robbery. Against his better judgment, he agrees to help the battered, bruised young woman get to the border. But when she's injured on the trail, he's forced to bring her home to heal. Though his gut tells him to send her packing, his heart can't let go of the secretive beauty who calls herself "Dinah."

When Kate aka Dinah unwittingly leads the killers right to his door, trust and forgiveness are put to the ultimate test in this wild West adventure that's rich with Texan vistas, laughter, tears, and family loyalty.

Myra Johnson

Who says you can’t go back home?

Jilly Gardner left Blossom Hills ten years ago with a broken heart, determined never to return. But the ache in her heart has never healed, and when Cam Lane calls to ask for her help…she finds she can’t say no.

Cameron doesn’t know what came between Jilly and her foster family, but whatever did, he feels it’s high time she set things straight. Her foster parents never recovered from her abrupt and permanent departure, and now—when her presence might encourage an ill woman’s return to health—she refuses to even see them? But how can Cam address the unforgiveness in his friends’ lives when his own is paralyzed with self-inflicted guilt and shame?

With all their striving focused on themselves and the events of their past, will Cam and Jilly ever realize that unconditional, forgiving, forever love comes only from God the Father, whose mercies are new each morning?

Ronie Kendig

Soldiers all across the globe are returning home to their families after brutal tours of duty. They are discharged from the service. . .and on their own. Meet Max Jacobs, one of these discarded heroes, as he faces a wall of failure--in his career, his friendships, and his marriage. Failing again--this time to end his life--he is offered a thread of hope. Are covert government operations the answer for him, or will they only bring more danger and dissension upon his broken family?

Elizabeth Ludwig

A young seamstress weaves her own story in a world run by men. After hearing news of a silver strike in Calico, California, Abigail Watts packs up her needles and thread and follows her beloved father out West. But when she’s suddenly left alone in the rough mining town, Abigail finds herself pressed into a marriage of convenience with the local livery owner, Nathan Hawk. Determined to uncover the mystery surrounding her father’s death in the mines, Abigail agrees to stay in Calico. But when the truth sets her free, she must decide whether to leave the town - and Nathan - for good.

Erica Vetsch

A Kennebrae keeps his word...but Grandfather made the promise, and Eli Kennebrae is expected to carry it out.

Josie Zahn has admired Eli from a distance for years, but Eli hardly knows she exists other than as just 'one of the Zahn girls." If only she could get his attention... When Father announces her older sister Clarice's engagement to Eli, both girls are crushed. Is there no way out of this nightmare?

Through deception, intrigue, and danger, the Zahns and Kennebraes must learn that Divine engineering is far better than human manipulation.

Becky Melby and Cathy Wienke

How will three modern Minnesota women cope when asked to concede their doubts and learn to trust? Is love strong enough for Sydney to forgive the past of an ex-con? Can the man April blames for her sister’s death help her fulfill a dream list? When Sara’s ex-husband returns with lofty promises, will she open her heart? Find out in this three-book collection by an acclaimed author team.

Cara Putman

During World War II, attorney Audra Schaeffer travels with the Hollywood Victory Caravan---but she's more interested in finding her sister's killer than selling war bonds. Then two people are found dead on the train, including star Robert Garfield's ex-wife. Are the deaths related to her sister's? Could the murderer be the man Audra loves?

Deborah Lynne

Samantha Cain isn’t the type of woman who gets unnerved easily, but late one night while on the job she hears a strangled cry coming from outside and races out to help. Interrupting a killer at work, seeing his face, makes her his next target. Now she’s on a run for her life. The killer leaves no witnesses. Who can she trust? Certainly not the police department who didn’t protect her before, and especially not Detective Matthew Jefferies, the man in charge of this serial killer’s investigation.

Gail Martin

And Puppy Makes Three
Perfectionist Martin Davis's life is in turmoil. The lonely businessman's search for companionship led him to adopt a dog--a rather rambunctious terrier. And now Martin's at his wits' end. When dog trainer, Emily Ireland offers to help, Martin is grateful--and intrigued.
But he's wary of getting too close to the sweet, pretty Emily, especially when he learns of her scandalous past. Can Martin ever open his heart to the possibility that Emily just may be his perfect bride?

Susan Page Davis

A female Navy cryptographer seeks to save lives...and uncover her father’s killers.
In 1915, German sympathizers escalated acts of sabotage in the United States to keep the nation from joining in the war. Following the mysterious murder of Emma Shuster’s father, Lt. John Patterson invites Emma to become a Navy cryptographer because of the expertise she gained in helping her father develop a cipher system. Emma finds new strength in her faith as she strives to outwit her adversary, known only as Kobold - German for goblin. Can Emma and John find love in the midst of turmoil as America plunges toward war?

Carolyne Aarsen

Veterinarian Cara Morrison is planning another walk down the aisle with her ex-fiance - except she isn't the bride and rancher Nicholas Chapman isn't the groom. With their best friends' wedding looming, the last thing maid of honor Cara wants is to rekindle a romance with the best man, Nicholas. But when he needs her help to unravel the illness that's descending on his herd, she discovers that the sparks between her and Nicholas still burn bright. Is it possible to heal the wounds of the past and start over with the cattleman she never stopped loving?

Mary Ellis

Leah Miller would rather cook than milk cows. After saving money from selling pies, she invests in a diner catering to locals rather than tourists. She's quickly promoted to partner when her recipes draw in customers. Unfortunately, her boss is a better cook than businesswoman, and the partnership throws them into a tangle with the law. The venture also puts Leah at odds with the bishop when all the marriageable men beat a path to Leah’s Home Cooking. Leah enjoys the attention, but things change when Jonah Byler moves to town. An experienced cheese-maker, Jonah knows good food but isn't interested in the daily specials. He’s found the girl of his dreams, if she’s willing to leave her fans…and cook only for him.
Matthew Miller's talents land him a position as trainer at an English horse farm. But when he witnesses unethical practices, his beliefs are put to the test. Never before has doing the right thing cost him so much.

Kaye Dacus

To get to her secret fiancĂ© in Jamaica, Charlotte Ransome disguises herself as a midshipman and joins the crew of one of the ships in the convoy led by her brother William. First Lieutenant Ned Cochrane has only known his captain’s younger sister for a brief time, but is sure she’s the wife he’s been praying for—except he’s about to leave for the Caribbean for at least one year.

An attack on the convoy gains Ned the promotion to commander he has long dreaded—especially once he discovers one of his midshipmen is actually Charlotte Ransome in disguise. After seeking Julia’s advice, Ned decides to keep Charlotte’s secret… and hopes to win her love. Charlotte will soon discover that losing her heart to Ned is not the greatest danger she’ll face on this Atlantic crossing.

Margaret Daley

Ten years ago Jordan Masterson left her hometown heartbroken--and pregnant. Now, yearning for connection with her family, the single mother returns to Tallgrass, Oklahoma. But she's shocked to find her son's father--unaware he has a child--a vital part of the community. Zachary Rutgers owns the ranch that the local homeschoolers use for riding and recreation. Which means little Nicholas, Jordan and Zachary will be sending a lot of time together. Jordan must tell Zachary the truth about their son--and ask for answers herself. Hoping the heart of her cowboy will still be hers for the taking.

Darlene Franklin

Sally Reid is a Patriot. The Tuttles have already lost one son to the hated Patriot cause. How can Josiah both honor his grieving father and protect the woman he loves? When called upon to take a stand, which side will he choose?

Denise Hunter

Meridith can handle anything: guardianship of three distant siblings, a dilapidated Bed-and-Breakfast, even an ever-present handyman who's dismantling more than her fireplace--or can she?
When the death of Meridith's estranged father leaves her with custody of three siblings she's never met, she reluctantly goes to Nantucket to care for them--but only until their uncle returns from his trip. Little does she know, the uncle is already there under the guise of her friendly handyman, with plans of his own.
Will the love that grows between them be strong enough to overcome the secrets that brought them both to Driftwood Lane?

Stephanie Newton

With his first major case, fire-cop-in-training Matt Clark finally has the chance to shed his image as the Clark family's goofy youngest son. Then an explosion lands Matt and his partner Lara Hughes in the hospital and the investigation--and the fires--gain momentum. Lara's a witness, needing all the protection Matt can give...if she'll accept his help. Lara works hard to keep her distance from Matt until a desperate choice to save the investigation leaves her with nowhere else to turn.

Stephanie Morrill

Senior year is over and Skylar Hoyt is ready to forgive and forget. Or at least forget. She wants a fresh start where people don’t know about her partying past or her younger sister and her baby. A place where she won’t run in to her ex-boyfriend every time she leaves the house. When she gets the chance to spend the summer in Hawaii with her grandparents, Skylar jumps at the chance to get out of town. But when her sister needs her, Skylar has to swallow her pride and come back home. Will she be strong enough to rise above the gossip and live the life God wants for her?

Mary Connealy

In the wake of a stagecoach accident, doctor Alex Buchanan and Beth McClellan—who no one will allow to be a doctor even though she'd trained, discover that they're both skilled healers who work well together. Other than that, they have nothing in common! She's an idealist and he's a jaded army deserter fleeing a bounty hunter. Surely their alliance ends here . . . or does it?

Roland March is a disillusioned homicide detective with one last chance to save his career. All he has to do is find the beautiful missing girl every cop in Houston is already looking for. He has an inside track -- a murder scene nobody else thinks is connected -- but he's battling a new partner, an old nemesis, and the demons of his past. Getting to the truth might just cost March everything. Even his life.


I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Apple Blossom as the winner of "It Had to Be You" by Janice Thompson. I will be sending your name on to Janice so she can send you the book.

I want to thank everyone who stopped by and left a comment. I appreciate your support!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Interview and Giveaway for "It Had to Be You" by Janice Thompson

Most of you who follow Christian Fiction are familiar with the name Janice Thompson. Janice has taught courses on ACFW and she has written several books. Here latest series is Weddings by Bella series. "Fools Rush In", "Swinging on a Star" and the final book "It Had to Be You" have been a big hit. Janice has a natural talent for writing with humor. I know for myself that humor works wonders for stress relief.

I am delighted to have Janice as a guest on my blog and she has graciously offered to give away a copy of "It Had to Be You". Without further ado let's get started with the interview.

1. Janice could you share with us how you came up with the character of Bella?

Ironically, I came up with the character of Laz first. It happened at my sister's house while on vacation. I picked at my computer and randomly type the line, "if Uncle Lazzaro hadn't left the mob, I probably wouldn't have a story to tell." Of course, at that point, I didn't have any idea WHO "Uncle Lazarro" was or why he was bothering me on my vacation! I ended up writing the whole prologue in one sitting and Bella was born! I knew, (since her uncle's name was Lazzaro) she would have to be Italian. That was a given. The rest came purely out of my over active imagination!

2. What prompted you to develop this Weddings by Bella series and how did you decide on the setting, etc.

After I wrote the prologue to that first book, I realized I had a real story on my hands. Because I love the Galveston area so much (refer to my earlier novel, " Hurricane", about the Galveston hurricane of 1900), I decided that would be a great place to set it. Setting the story in Galveston wouldn't require much research either, because I'm in Galveston routinely and know the Island well. As for the Tex-Italian slant, I think that must have risen from a wedding I attended for my good friend, Patti. She's a Texas girl through and through and married into a large Italian family. Funny playing, though, I didn't think about all of that when I started the book. It wasn't until later that I made the connection. Must've been buried deep in my subconscious!

3. Is this going to be the last in the series? I would love to read more, but I know that most of the series now are just three books.

"It Had to Be You" is the last in the series... unless the publisher says I can write one more! I'd love to write a story about Bella and DJ's kids! ( Can you imagine the two of them with a house full of toddlers?) Fun!

4. As an aspiring writer could you give some words of encouragement to those of us who are still learning the craft?

I would say this: "Learn the craft, but don't let what you've learned rob you of your true voice." it's so frustrating to be new at this, isn't it. You get so many mixed messages, and there's so much to learn. But God has planted ideas/voice/creativity deep within you. Don't let well -- meaning teachers talk you out of being you.

5. Thank you so much for those words of encouragement, Janice. I could sure use them right now, as know there are others out there that will benefit from them also. Now, last but not least please tell us about your new course on Freelance Writing. Where can this be purchased?

I have to course is available now, actually, and both can be found at The first, "Becoming a Successful Freelance Writer" debuted in April. That course has two lessons, filled with tips to help writers make money with their writing. (I'm a full time freelancer and had a blast putting together this course! There really is money to be made in writing.) The second course is my "Fiction -- Writing Master." The 10 lessons in that course will give writers (beginning or advanced) the tools they need to write a sellable novel. I truly believe is the most comprehensive online course for fiction writers today.

Both "do-it-yourself" courses are set up the same way, with 10 lessons each. Each lesson offers the following:

Downloadable mp3 file on the lesson
A video of the lesson, using a Power Point slide show, coupled with audio
Downloadable .pdf file of the audio script
Downloadable .pdf corresponding worksheet
Downloadable .pdf bonus feature

I'm so blessed that course participants are excited about what they're learning. The reviews are pouring in and they're so encouraging! I hope that many will take advantage of these two courses. I'm in the process of developing more, but these two are just the thing to get writers started on the road to publication.

Janice, I want to take this time to tell you how much I appreciate you stopping by and sharing your time with us. I wish you the very best with your new endeavors. Keep those books coming - I can always use a laugh or two!

To enter the giveaway for "It Had to Be You" please:

1. Become a follower or be a follower. Be sure and leave an email address for contact purposes. You just might be the winner!

2. Tell me if you've read any of Janice's Weddings by Bella series and if so who was your favorite character. Do you enjoy humor in your books?

3. Go check out Janice's website and read about the Weddings by Bella series.

4. Giveaway ends July 11th, 2010.

Thank you to all of my supporters. You are why I am here!