Monday, March 23, 2015

CFBA: The Tomb by Stephanie Landsem

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Tomb
Howard Books (March 17, 2015)
by
Stephanie Landsem


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A word from the author:
I write historical fiction because I love adventure in far-off times and places. I’ve traveled since I was a teenager—backpacking through Germany and Eastern Europe, studying German in Salzburg, eating gelato in Italy, and riding camels in Morocco were some of the highlights. Travel kindles my imagination, fuels my love of history, and introduces me to one-of-a-kind characters. It’s the best kind of research.

When I can’t travel, I read. I love fiction, of course, but I’m often found behind a stack of history books or searching the web for historical tidbits. How people lived together, worked, and what they ate (I love food!) is usually what catches my imagination. No matter where or when we live, people are more alike than they are different. I love to find the similarities between our lives and those of the men and women of the ancient world.

I make my home in Minnesota with my husband of 22 years, four children, three fat cats, and a tortoise named Moe. When I’m not writing Biblical fiction, I’m feeding the ravenous horde of kids and their friends, volunteering at church and school, battling dandelions, and dreaming about my next adventure – whether it be in person or on the page.

ABOUT THE BOOK

In this captivating retelling of a classic biblical story, Jesus shocks the town of Bethany with Lazarus’s resurrection from the dead, leading Martha—a seemingly perfect woman trapped by the secrets of her past—to hope and a new life.

Everyone in Bethany admires Martha—the perfect Jewish woman. She feeds and clothes her loved ones, looks after the family farm, and meticulously follows every precept of the Pharisees’ strict laws. But Martha is hiding a secret. At her sister’s marriage feast, she gave her heart and her innocence to a young musician who promised to return and marry her, but instead betrayed her love and abandoned her.

Seven years later, only two people in Bethany know of Martha’s secret sin: her brother, Lazarus, and Simon, the righteous Pharisee to whom Martha is betrothed. When Lazarus falls ill, Martha is faced with a choice: send for Jesus to save her dying brother—risking the wrath of Simon who threatens to betray her—or deny Jesus’ healing power and remain trapped in her tomb of secrecy and lies.

Meanwhile, on the shores of Galilee, Isa roams the wilderness, tortured by demons and knowing only that someone is waiting for him. When he is healed by Jesus, he finds that seven years have passed since his descent into madness. Isa journeys home to Bethany only to find he is too late to win back Martha’s love.

When Martha risks all to heal Lazarus, will Jesus arrive in time, or will he—like Isa—come too late?

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

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

CFBA: Dauntless by Dina L. Sleiman

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Dauntless
Bethany House Publishers (March 3, 2015)
by
Dina L. Sleiman


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A word from the author:

Since selling my first book, I have also become an acquisitions editor for the company. I am a member of the Inkwell Inspirations blog, HEWN Marketing, ACFW, and a contributor to Christian Review of Books. I hold publishing credits in poetry and songwriting, and I was the writer and featured teacher in a nationally distributed instructional dance video for children. I have written several songs about the plight of the Islamic people, which have been produced in association with the Christian Broadcast Network. In addition, I have taught college and high school classes in writing and literature, as well as homeschool classes in the fine arts, and now enjoy teaching at writers conferences throughout the nation.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Where Legend and History Collide,
One Young Woman Will Fight for the Innocent


Born a baron's daughter, Lady Merry Ellison is now an enemy of the throne after her father's failed assassination attempt upon the king. Bold and uniquely skilled, she is willing to go to any lengths to protect the orphaned children of her former village--a group that becomes known as "The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest." Merry finds her charge more difficult as their growing notoriety brings increasing trouble their way.

Timothy Grey, ninth child of the Baron of Greyham, longs to perform some feat so legendary that he will rise from obscurity and earn a title of his own. When the Ghosts of Farthingale Forest are spotted in Wyndeshire, where he serves as assistant to the local earl, he might have found his chance. But when he comes face-to-face with the leader of the thieves, he's forced to reexamine everything he's known.

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

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Salt Covenants: A Novel on the Spanish Inquisition


Clash of the Titles is excited to announce this year’s Olympia Finalists!! 
Please congratulate:

*Kelly Goshorn
*Madelyn Herbert
*Mary Vaitkevicius-Vee



All three authors’ entries will go to our Round 3 judges:
Karen BallBecky Philpott, and Becky Wade.

The winner will be announced on April 8th!

And now, for our featured novel!

~~~~~~~

“In her historical novel, The Salt Covenants, Sylvia Bambola paints a masterpiece with words.” Micki Sorbello, artist and free lance writer



The Salt Covenants 
by Sylvia Bambola

About the book:

“But these plans they have laid out for me like an embroidered rug, showing me where my feet must travel, is to me an awful penance for sins I did not commit.” --Isabel

Spain 1493: Millions of Jews are forced to convert to Christianity or flee their homeland or die. Caught in this web is young Isabel, who has broken her mother’s heart by her sincere conversion to Christ. But her conversion is not enough to shield her from the eyes of the Inquisition, and in order to save herself, she is forced to marry a man she does not love and flee to a faraway land with Christopher Columbus on his second voyage. Here she struggles to make a life in this wild new land, struggles to adjust to her new faith, and struggles to find love. But how is she to survive? With all the risks and hardships? And can she find love with the sophisticated Antonio Villarreal who unexpectedly enters her world? And what of the dangerous Enrique Vivar? Will his hidden agenda cost her her life?

Purchase Book



What others are saying:

“Bambola (Rebekah’s Treasure) elevates a simple historical tale into something transcendent, in this beautifully written novel about a young Jewish noblewoman, Isabel, who flees the Inquisition on Christopher Columbus’s second voyage to the New World.” Publishers Weekly starred review

“This is not a quick read, but Bambola (Rebekah's Treasure) adeptly depicts a time and place not often explored in Christian historical fiction. Her theme of loss of ethnic culture suffered by the Jews and Native Americans should resonate with readers. Isabel is a well-developed character living in a cruel world, who never succumbs to becoming cruel herself. There may be some crossover appeal to readers of Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir.” Library Journal 1/1/15

“Bambola’s gift for storytelling in this work of historical fiction is noting short of remarkable.” Sallie Yusko, pastor, founder of Women of Worth and Destiny, conference speaker and writer

“In her historical novel, The Salt Covenants, Sylvia Bambola paints a masterpiece with words.” Micki Sorbello, artist and free lance writer

What COTT voters had to say:
--It's been a long time since I've read anything set during the Spanish Inquisition. I would LOVE to get my hands on this book. :)
--Sylvia this looks very interesting!
--I really love the cover of "The Salt Covenants"! I have a thing for beaches and the model really makes an eye-catching cover. Plus the book description sounds really unique.
--I love books that touch the heart. By Chapter 3, I cried about the injustice of the Inquisition period. Sylvia must have spent hours researching the data given. Excellent and spell-binding !
--Sylvia is a very talented author. Her books are ones you don't want to put down.
--Sylvia this sounds fascinating.
--I totally enjoyed this book. I hated to put it down and was sorry when I reached the end. Great Job Sylvia!
--This is a fantastic book. Very impressed with this author! Well written as she takes you along the journey of the Inquisition and travels to the new world. Highly recommended!
--Sylvia your next book looks wonderful!!!
--Historical fiction is a challenge for an author to fit the characters to the time in a believable manner.. Sylvia Bambola does it!
--I'm sure God has given each of you such talent that you are pleased to share with us. However, I based my vote on the novel historicity displayed in The Salt Covenants. Rosie
--Your novels are always well researched and address interesting issues. This one is of particular interest to me because of the time period...amaangela
--Creative, ingenious, captivating...your books always take me With them! Looking forward to going on the Salt Covenant journey.

A moment with Sylvia:

What is the one take-way you’d like to leave your readers?

Answer: Well, there’s actually two. The first is that forgiveness is paramount. Both getting it and giving it. Without it we will never heal those deeply buried wounds. The other thing is that as Christians we must not allow history to repeat itself. The ill-treatment of Jews by the Church and the rabid anti-Semitism during the Spanish Inquisition was troubling. But now that anti-Semitism is once again rearing its ugly head, we, Christians, must take a stand against it, as well as to stand with God’s chosen people.

What do you find most challenging about being a writer:

Answer: For me, the most challenging thing is the marketing. I’m not a fan. But I do it. I suspect that’s a problem with most writers. Still, I’d like to be like Jessica Fletcher in Murder She Wrote, whose only responsibility (regarding writing) seemed to be to write novels while someone in the background handled all the p.r. and marketing for her. I guess one can dream.


About Sylvia:

Born in Romania, Sylvia Bambola lived her early years in Germany. At seven she relocated with her adopted family and saw the Statue of Liberty and America for the first time. But the memory of those years in post World War Germany inspired her to write Refiner’s Fire, which won a Silver Angel Award, and was a Christy Finalist. Her frequent moves as an “army brat” gave her an opportunity to see America and fall in love with her new country. Bambola has authored seven novels, has two grown children, teaches women’s Bible studies, and is learning the guitar.

CFBA: Spy of Richmond by Jocelyn Green

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Spy of Richmond
River North (March 1, 2015)
by
Jocelyn Green


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jocelyn Green is a child of God, wife and mom living in Cedar Falls, Iowa. She is also an award-winning journalist, author, editor and blogger. Though she has written nonfiction on a variety of topics, her name is most widely recognized for her ministry to military wives: Faith Deployed. Her passion for the military family was fueled by her own experience as a military wife, and by the dozens of interviews she has conducted with members of the military for her articles and books, Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives and its sequel, Faith Deployed...Again: More Daily Encouragement for Military Wives. She is also co-author of both Stories of Faith and Courage from the War in Iraq & Afghanistan and Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front (forthcoming, May 2012). Her Faith Deployed Web site and Facebook page continue to provide ongoing support, encouragement and resources for military wives worldwide.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Trust none. Risk all. Richmond, Virginia, 1863. Compelled to atone for the sins of her slaveholding father, Union loyalist Sophie Kent risks everything to help end the war from within the Confederate capital and abolish slavery forever. But she can't do it alone. Former slave Bella Jamison sacrifices her freedom to come to Richmond, where her Union soldier husband is imprisoned, and her twin sister still lives in bondage in Sophie's home. Though it may cost them their lives, they work with Sophie to betray Rebel authorities. Harrison Caldwell, a Northern freelance journalist who escorts Bella to Richmond, infiltrates the War Department as a clerk-but is conscripted to defend the city's fortifications.

As Sophie's spy network grows, she walks a tightrope of deception, using her father's position as newspaper editor and a suitor's position in the ordnance bureau for the advantage of the Union. One misstep could land her in prison, or worse. Suspicion hounds her until she barely even trusts herself. When her espionage endangers the people she loves, she makes a life-and-death gamble.

Will she follow her convictions even though it costs her everything-and everyone-she holds dear?

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

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

CFBA: Then Sings My Soul by Amy K. Sorrells

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Then Sings My Soul
David C. Cook (March 1, 2015)
by
Amy Sorrells


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

An Indianapolis native and graduate of DePauw University, Amy lives with her husband, three boys and a gaggle of golden retrievers in central Indiana. After writing and editing for her college newspaper, she combined a nursing degree with journalism and creative writing, which led to publishing and editing a wide array of medical and nursing writing and multimedia projects over the past 21 years, a position as director of communications of her church’s children’s ministry, as well as a weekly column for a local newspaper which ran from 2009-2012. She has been a two-time semi-finalist for the ACFW Genesis awards, and was the winner of the 2011 Women of Faith writing contest.

When she’s not reading or writing, Amy loves spending time with her three sons; spicy lunches and art gallery walks with her husband; digging in her garden sans gloves; walking her dogs; up-cycling old furniture and junk; photography; and friends.


ABOUT THE BOOK

When Nel Stewart returns home due to the sudden death of her mother, she realizes her beloved father, Jakob, is struggling with dementia. With the reappearance of a high-school sweetheart, deliveries from Ukraine addressed to her, and the discovery of a mysterious, vintage aquamarine gemstone, Nel senses God is pulling her into the past to restore their faith and their futures. Told partially through Jakob's flashbacks of fleeing genocide-ridden eastern Europe at the turn of the twentieth century, the novel combines elements of mystery, history, faith and romance to reveal how God redeems the broken years ... and our future.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Then Sings My Soul, go HERE.


Saturday, February 14, 2015

COTT: Featured Novel: "This Redeemer"--Not All Prisons Have Bars.




“An exhilarating ride full of suspense and hope...” 
“…hits the ground running and never lets up…” 
“A riveting story with great characters…”





About This Redeemer:

Not all prisons have bars.
Charlotte Davis should know—she’s lived in one for years. She can handle getting slapped around by her boyfriend, Tommy, and even being forced to do things she would never choose, but when Tommy turns on her 10-year-old daughter, Charlotte must try to escape. With nowhere else to turn, Charlotte runs to the stranger her dying mother believed would help her.
Looking only for shelter or cash, Charlotte finds a family she longs to call her own and a gentle man she could learn to love. But if Tommy catches up with Charlotte, these strangers could discover the truth about her. Will they send her back to Tommy? Or can a Father’s love set her free?
PURCHASE
"Jerusha keep up the good work I cant wait to read the next book!"
"I just finished reading This Redeemer by Jerusha Agen, and it was excellent -- the best of the series!"
"Love Jerusha's writing style!"
"I am excited for you! Jerusha Agen this is just the beginning of more great things to come!"
"I loved This Redeemer and think it's Jerusha's best book yet. Great characters!"
"Jerusha Agen, your writing is amazing! Thank you very much for sharing your incredible talent!"
"Jerusha! Keep up the excellent work!"

About Jerusha:
Jerusha Agen is a lifelong lover of story--a passion that has led her to a B.A. in English and a highly varied career. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Jerusha is the author of the Sisters Redeemed Series, which includes the titles This Dance, This Shadow, and This Redeemer. Jerusha co-authored the e-books A Ruby Christmas, A Dozen Apologies, and The Love Boat Bachelor from Write Integrity Press. Jerusha relishes snowy Midwest winters spent with her three large, furry dogs and two small, furry cats.
Visit Jerusha’s website at www.SDGwords.com
Follow Jerusha on Twitter @SDGwords and Facebook (Jerusha Agen – SDG Words).


Q&A Interview with Jerusha Agen, author of This Redeemer, Book Three in the Sisters Redeemed Series:

What message do you hope your readers will take away after reading your novel?

I hope and pray that women who are in abusive relationships, poverty, depression, or any other type of seemingly hopeless situation will see in this story that there is hope even in the most desperate of situations, and that His name is Jesus. For readers who have no experience with such desperation, I hope that they will be convicted of the need to selflessly love the “unlovable” in the world and to humbly forgive the “unforgivable.” For all of us, there is hope! 


Do you have any practical advice for writers on how to keep their sanity in our run, run, run world?

Staying sane in our hectic culture is my daily struggle! Some things that help me most are setting writing goals for each day and actually quitting for the day when I reach the goal. I’ve found that I have to limit when I’ll allow myself to check email or go online, so that I don’t end up letting my sleep or work time disappear into the Internet vacuum.

As a writer, it’s also too easy to work whenever I’m home, even on Sundays, which translates into no day off from work and eventual burnout. I believe that rest, especially on our day set aside to worship, is crucial to staying in the rat race for the long haul, so I’ve now made every Sunday a no-writing, no-Internet day. I end up with a free, restful day away from social and work pressures that allows me to recharge for the work week ahead. The other essential for sanity is sleep!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

COTT: Plundered Christmas--Pirates, Storms, Murder!




Pirate legends, unexpected storms, murder.
Will Jeanine discover the truth before someone else winds up dead?



About Plundered Christmas:
Compelled to spend Christmas on a private island with her father’s future bride and family, Jeanine learns that Margo Banet is descended from a pirate queen.
Relatives and friends all have their reasons for attending the festivities—including the legendary treasure. But when Margo’s nephew winds up dead and a violent storm cuts them off mainland, Jeanine has to wonder if they will solve the mystery before someone else dies trying.



About the author:
Susan A. J. Lyttek, author of kids’ comedy, "Guzzy Goofball" and the "Homeschool Play from Outer Space" and the cozy mystery trilogy by Harbourlight Books which includes the recent Plundered Christmas, is a wife and homeschool mother who writes early mornings in the shadow of our nation’s capital. She also enjoys training up the next generation of writers online through Write At Home, and by teaching middle and high school co-op classes. Learn more about her and her projects at sajlyttek.com.




What COTT Voters Had to Say:
--Susan Lyttek, you are an amazing and talented writer.
--Susan, I can't wait to read your new book!
--Looking forward to reading Plundered Christmas!
--Love Plundered Christmas.
--Susan, your work continues to thrive, all for the Glory of God! I'm proud to know you, and can't  wait to read this one! A. Montgomery.
--Susan Lyttek, enjoy reading your books.
--I really enjoyed Plundered Christmas--between the character dynamics and the plot twist I never saw coming--well done!
--Great series by Susan Lyttek!

Chat with Susan:

Why do you write the kind of books you do? I homeschooled and am homeschooling. These are the people I’ve been around for the last seventeen years. That’s also why I weave history in. Every homeschool resource I know targets multiple subjects and levels of learning.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life? My goal is for today, whatever day that is, to be the happiest. It doesn’t always work, especially when I get a piece of bad news or insufficient sleep, but it’s my goal. I want to live contentedly in what my Lord hands me each day.

What is your favorite season of the year? Christmas. Hands down. What’s special about it for you?? I love my heritage and the special traditions that we have. Every Christmas creates new memories that adds to the woven tapestry of what it is. I also love celebrating the arrival of the son of God in human form!

What is something that very few people know about you? I like to read my Bible in French. C’est vraiment la belle langue!

What three things about you would surprise readers? I have a second degree black belt in tae kwon do. I like LOUD music. (I’m a quiet person, so the music thing surprises most people.) I earned a marksman ribbon with the M-16 when I was in the Air Force.

What can you tell us about your current project? I assume you mean Plundered Christmas. In this mystery, we need to figure out why the Banet family has hidden their heritage all these years, in addition to learning who killed Margo’s nephew. Secrets can poison a family and damage relationships. As the Talbotts uncover the truth about Anne Bonny/Banet, it leads to healing for those who accept it.


Find more great reads at Clash of the Titles!