Tuesday, July 22, 2014

COTT: Ann Gaylia O'Barr's Latest: Tender Shadows


Author Ann Gaylia O'Barr visits today!
She brings with her, in the form of her latest novel, all her experience as a Foreign Service officer in the turbulent Middle East. Tender Shadows is one of seven such novels and will appeal to lovers of foreign lands, culture, adventure, and romance.


PURCHASE

About Tender Shadows:

When Beth Wilhite’s U.S. State Department job assigns her to an uncaring Washington, D.C. following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, her intense loneliness leads her to make decisions that clash with her values. Then she receives a new assignment to the Middle Eastern kingdom of Al Hajar and a chance to serve with an old friend, Joe Harlan, widowed a few years before. Can she overcome the grip of past choices? Not yield to them again? Can Joe accept what she’s done…and move beyond, perhaps even to loving her?

Joe’s daughter, Annie, working under Beth at the U.S. embassy, deals with her own secret choice. And the young diplomat, Palestinian-American David Antony, struggles with traumatic stress because of a choice he made earlier in Iraq. Yet Annie and David are inexplicably drawn toward each other.

Together, might this thrown-together community find courage to live out his or her individual calling…for such a time as this? And find a forever love?


Meet Ann Gaylia O'Barr:

Ann has at one time or another been a full-time wife and mother, computer programmer, historic preservation planner, Foreign Service officer with the U.S. State Department, and, since 2004, full-time writer (more or less).  OakTara has published six of her novels. The latest is Tender Shadows, which came out this spring. Her last article was “The Diversity of God’s Call to Writers” in the winter 2012 issue of ACFW Journal.
Ann, many of the major characters in your novels are American Christians who serve their country at United States embassies overseas, as you did. What kinds of tasks did you and your colleagues perform overseas?

The work is tremendously varied. The web site www.state.gov gives some idea of what Foreign Service officers do. My job as a consular officer included aiding American citizens overseas. Some tasks were routine: renewing U.S. passports and performing notary services. Others were anything but routine, such as notifying families in the United States that a loved one had died overseas or visiting Americans who were jailed in the foreign country and reporting on their conditions--to the families and to the State Department.

How did your experiences influence your writing?

Observing the United States from other cultures, I developed an interest in why and how this country and its culture became what they are in the twenty-first century. The changes in our country from 1990, when I came into the Foreign Service, until 2004, when I left, have been tremendous. I was assigned to Saudi Arabia during both Gulf Wars (1991 and 2003) as well as the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. As we all know, the changes haven’t stopped since then.

Two observations stand out: 1) How decadent some foreigners judged our culture, based on the sometimes hedonistic lifestyles illustrated in the media. 2) For America to be the world power that it is, many Americans, including American Christians, often appeared not interested in what goes on in the world outside our borders.

A lot of my stories concern Christians working to explain the country they represent to foreigners. Beset with the same temptations and challenges that Americans experience domestically, they attempt to live out their Christian commitment in their foreign settings. The settings may reflect these temptations and challenges through a different lens.

Is this especially true for Tender Shadows?

I think so. A couple of the characters have strayed further from their commitments than in any of my other novels and struggle to find their way back. The small embassy community they inhabit means they work out their problems in closer quarters than in most domestic settings. Plus, foreign demonstrations at the embassy, along with concern over hostility toward Americans, heighten the tension and outline the challenges in a deeper hue.

Learn more about Ann's writing at these locations: 





Monday, July 21, 2014

CFBA: Firewall by DiAnn Mills

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Firewall
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (July 1, 2014)
by
DiAnn Mills


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


DiAnn Mills believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure.” She is a fiction writer who combines an adventuresome spirit with unforgettable characters to create action-packed novels. Her books have won many awards through American Christian Fiction Writers, and she is the recipient of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice award for 2005, 2007, and 2010. She was a Christy Award finalist in 2008 and a Christy winner in 2010.

DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and is the Craftsman Mentor for the Christian Writer’s Guild. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops.

DiAnn and her husband live in Houston, Texas. Visit her website or find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/diannmills


ABOUT THE BOOK

After a whirlwind romance, Taryn Young is preparing to board a plane at Houston International Airport, bound for a dream honeymoon, when a bomb decimates the terminal. Injured but still alive, she awakens to discover her husband is missing and they’re both considered prime suspects in the attack. Further, the FBI is convinced her husband isn’t who he appears to be.

Agent Grayson Hall’s number-one priority is to catch those responsible for the day’s act of terror. All evidence is pointing to Taryn and her new husband. But his instinct tells him her pleas of innocence are genuine. Is her naiveté just for show, or could she truly be another victim of a master scheme, possibly linked to the software she recently developed for her company?

With both their lives and reputations on the line, and the media outcry for justice increasing with each passing minute, Taryn and Grayson have no choice but to trust one another . . . and pray they can uncover the truth before they become two more casualties.

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

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

COTT: Laureano Whisks Us Into Celtic Fantasy



Clash of the Titles is excited to introduce readers to C.E. Laureano's new release, Oath of the Brotherhood. We have heard nothing but good things about this book, which we recently featured on our site. Oath... is a stunning Christian Fantasy set against a Celtic backdrop. It's the first in the new Song of Seare series and will take readers through battles both physical and spiritual. Magic, prophecies, warriors, and romance...what's not to love? Take a look--



Q: What inspired the story behind Oath of the Brotherhood?
A: I’ve always loved both epic fantasy/adventure and Celtic fantasy, but I really hadn’t seen a lot of books that combined both, especially not for the Christian market. The dark ages period of Ireland’s history is so fascinating: high kings and clan conflict, traveling bards, and mercenary knights, not to mention the gradual Christianization of the country. I had fun incorporating all those details into my story world in a new way.

Q: What can you tell us about the main character?A: Conor Mac Nir is a king’s son who has been raised in fosterage (as was common with Celtic clans) by one of his father’s lords. But instead of being raised as a warrior as the king expected, he was educated as a scholar and a musician. When he’s clearly found to be unsuitable as a successor to the throne, he gets sent to a neighboring kingdom as a hostage to secure a peace treaty. Only then does he learn that his upbringing was no accident, and there are multiple parties pulling his strings behind the scenes.

Q: What was your favorite part of the story to write?
A: I really liked the fight scenes and the “training chapters” when Conor finds he really does need to learn how to handle a sword. The isle of Seare isn’t quite as disconnected from the rest of the world as the real Ireland, so I got to mash up some traditional western swordplay with Greco-Roman wrestling and eastern martial arts training methods.




I’ll admit that I also enjoyed incorporating the love story between Conor and the young healer/seer, Aine. Their relationship is deep and has a sense of destiny to it, even considering that they’re in their late teens, but I also think it’s healthy and grounded. They have a great deal of respect for each other’s callings and abilities.


FROM THE BACK COVER


An island at the edge of the world. An ancient prophecy. A reclusive warrior brotherhood. When evil encroaches, who will find the faith to fight it?
Author C. E. Laureano
To his clan, Conor Mac Nir is a disappointment—gifted with a harp, but hopeless with a sword. To the beautiful young healer Aine, he’s one whose gift calls out to her own . . . and captures her heart. To the reclusive warrior brotherhood called the Fíréin, he may be the answer to an ancient prophecy . . . if he can be trained to fight. Can Conor and Aine find their true path as an ancient evil engulfs the isle of Seare? Must Conor sacrifice everything he loves, even Aine, to follow the path God lays out before him?


WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING


“Laureano pulls readers into this story and does not let them go. From the first page to the last, readers are gripped by the multifaceted story of Conor Mac Nir and Aine, who are trying to save the country from physical war and spiritual evil. 4 ½ stars.” – RT Book Reviews (June 2014 Top Pick)


“Rich with Celtic lore, battle, and competing magics, Oath of the Brotherhood is a heroic coming-of-age fantasy experience and an inspired series opener.” –Serena Chase, contributor, USA Today’s Happily Ever After blog


“Song of Seare is a promising new fantasy series with a vast storyworld that hints at more wonders to come. I loved this book!” –Jill Williamson, Christy Award-winning author of By Darkness Hid and Captives




Connect with C.E. Laureano: Web Facebook Twitter Google+ | Pinterest
Buy Oath of the Brotherhood: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | CBD

Monday, July 14, 2014

CFBA: Shenandoah Dreams by Lisa Belcastro




This week, the


is introducing


OakTara Publishers (July 1, 2014)

by



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Lisa Belcastro lives with her family on Martha’s Vineyard.  She loves chocolate, gardening, outdoor activities, cooking, laughing, reading, traveling, a healthy dose of adventure, and her cat Ben, who keeps her company while she spends hours working at the computer.


She was inspired to write Shenandoah Nights, the first book in the Winds of Change trilogy, while chaperoning two Tisbury School summer sails with her daughter, Kayla, aboard the schooner Shenandoah. The weeklong adventure, sans electricity, Game Boys, iPods and modern conveniences, kindled her imagination to dream of an altogether different voyage.


In addition to writing romance novels, Lisa currently pens the cuisine column for Vineyard Style magazine. She has worked as a staff and freelance reporter and photographer for The Chronicle of the Horse and as assistant editor at The Blue Ridge Leader. She has written articles for USA Today, Dressage (London), USA WEEKEND Magazine, The Blue Ridge Leader and Sidelines.


When she’s not at her desk, Lisa is living in paradise, volunteering at her daughter’s school, serving in her church community, planting and weeding her numerous gardens, trying to run a marathon a month, or walking the beach looking for sea glass.


ABOUT THE BOOK



What if she met the man of her dreams...in another century? Tisbury, Massachusetts, Martha s Vineyard. It s just a dream, Melissa Smith whispers as she stares into the intense eyes of a man dressed in Colonial clothes, as though stepping out of an American Revolution movie set. A school chaperone with Holmes Hole Elementary, she d boarded the old schooner Shenandoah for a weeklong educational sail. But they are not visiting Plimoth Plantation, the Boston Tea Party Museum, or the Concord Bridge reenactment. They re sailing the waters around the island of Martha s Vineyard. Yet, when she awakes in Cabin 8, the captain claims to be Isaiah Reed, who sailed the original Shenandoah in the eighteenth century. He cannot possibly be real, Melissa thinks. And traveling back in time is impossible. But days pass, and she s still in 1770. What if Isaiah, who is simply too handsome to be real, is real? What if the fire he ignites in her from barely a touch isn t in her imagination? Can a dream last for weeks on end? If so, how will she find her way home...to the twenty-first century? And can she bear to leave the one man who has captured her heart, when everything in her longs to stay? A Vineyard Romance Romance, history, adventure. Get swept into the exciting Winds of Change series.


If you liked to read the first chapter of Shenandoah Dreams, go HERE.


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Winner of the May Release Clash


And the winner is.....
























OF THE PERSECUTED by Angie Brashear

Congratulations, Angie!


This month's clash was a record-breaker from day one. As a hostess, one of the greatest things is seeing the voting numbers climb higher and higher. And I was thrilled to see so many turn out to vote during my clash. I love it! So thank you to everyone who voted and to our competitors-- C.E. Laureano, Clare Revell, Hallee Bridgeman, and Kimberly Rae Jordan.

Here's what some of our voters had to say:

  • Angie is the best writer ever! Can't wait to get all of her books!
  • Nice job,was nicely written, I could understand enormously, and was amazed how much I loved this book. Waiting on another book by this lovely lady.
  • This book captures you from the very beginning. It is extremely well written. Once I started reading it I couldn't put it down.
  • As usual, they didn't make it easy for us this month. Well done, everyone.
  • Angie's hook is powerful, and I want to know more about her character just from that one sentence. My second choice would have been A Carol for Kent by Hallee Bridgeman. I love a good suspense too.
  • they ALL look good, but had NOT heard of Angie Brashear's book.....WOW, that one is DEFINITELY going on my to be read list pronto!! my vote is for both books: Oath of the Brotherhood and Of the Persecuted.....soooo cool :)
  • I am always so blessed by Christian novels! Thank you so much for using your God-given talent to bring honor to the Lord!

Back Cover Blurb:

Laila Pennedy awaits death by hanging. For the Rendow Clan rules the Woodlands Region, aiming to slaughter the Faithful. And she deserves to die. But Lars Landre, the man destined to lead the Faithful out of persecution, has other plans hidden behind his rare and mysterious blue eyes. Rescue.

Following the daring escape, Laila seeks the path of a warrior and vows revenge against the Rendow Clan. She embarks on a dangerous journey with Lars, one in which they endeavor to reach the promised safety of a magical village, to train for battle, and to ultimately assure freedom for those with faith in the Maker.

Clashes of weapons and souls. Brutal loss of lives. Unrequited love. How in all the Woodlands will Laila survive?



Author Bio:
When Angie Brashear isn’t working or taking care of her family, she writes. Usually at night after her kids fall asleep. She’s a fan of speculative fiction and an avid runner, both of which perplex her nonfiction-reading, football-loving husband. Saved in her early twenties, Angie is grateful for the Lord’s presence in all aspects of her life. She is originally from Rockland, Maine and currently resides in Cameron, Texas with her husband and three children. Follow her at http://angiebrashear.com
and
https://twitter.com/AngieBrashear. The majority of her interaction with readers occurs on Facebook.

Links to Of the Persecuted:

Reviews:
>What a breath of fresh air! This is not my typical genre, but I am so glad that I branched out and gave it a try. This story will draw you in from the very beginning, and by the time you finish you won't want it to end. The characters are believable and endearing. The plot takes unexpected turns, and leads the characters down paths that you had not imagined. You will finish this book renewed in faith and reflecting on your own spirituality. I highly recommend Of The Persecuted for adolescents and adults, but be prepared to miss out on some sleep. You won't want to put it down! K.P.

>I read this book in one day front to back without putting it down! I am an 8th grade student and I loved everything about this book from the Christianity, to the adventure. It was an exciting and thrilling book to read and I would recommend it to anyone! G.D.

>This is a gripping fantastic story of faith, sacrifice, and adventure. The author pulls you in from the very first line of the book. I was truly captivated with this story and read it all the way through in one sitting. It is an amazing and suspenseful book that compares the things the characters went through to the Bible in a fantasy sort of way. I just absolutely loved this book and I can’t wait to read more by this author.

>This book gets 5***** from me and I am highly recommending it to anyone and everyone. It is a must read story of faith, determination, adventure and suspense. You will not be disappointed. S.W.


I haven't personally read this one yet but it's going on the To Be Read pile as soon as I can get my hands on it!! This one looks great! Congrats, Angie!! 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Review: The Lawman's Oklahoma Sweetheart by Allie Pleiter

The Lawman's Oklahoma Sweetheart (Bridegroom Brothers, #3)The Lawman's Oklahoma Sweetheart by Allie Pleiter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was the first book I've sat and read in quite awhile. It was a nice welcome back to the world of reading!

Set in Oklahoma, siblings Lars and Katrine have finally settled down in a cabin. They are making friends and learning more of the language while retaining their native Dutch. One horrible night, their cabin is purposely caught on fire. Katrine is trapped inside and her saving grace is the town sheriff, Clint. Is it fate that he saved her? What of Lars?

Clint becomes entangled in the Black Four, the "gang" that burnt down Katrine and Lars's home. Can he bring them to justice before it's too late? Can he put out the fire in his heart that is burning for Katrine at the same time?

This is the third book in the Bridegroom Brothers series. I've not read the other stories of Clint's brothers, Elijah and Gideon, but after reading this, I will be looking for those titles to read! Allie Pleiter writes this in a way that you are on the edge of your seat and don't see some things coming. This is my first read by her and surely not my last!

Check out the preview that I posted on my blog a few weeks ago: http://molcotw.blogspot.com/2014/06/c... and be sure to check this great read out!

I did receive a complimentary signed copy from the author and publisher in return for my honest opinion of this book.

View all my reviews

Monday, June 30, 2014

May Releases are in the COTT Arena!


Hey there, readers. Michelle Massaro here, hoping you're suited up for literary battle. But first, we have some awards to hand out in the form of free books!

The winner of our June three-book giveaway is


Joan Bradley

Joan, you will receive the following novels:
Worth the Wait by Laura Jackson
Londonderry Dreaming by Christine Lindsey
Rebekah's Treasure by Sylvia Bombola

Congratulations! 
Be on the lookout for correspondence 
from the above COTT authors.

Now on to our Clash...

This month, the sands of our arena welcome 5 New Releases from a variety of genres. Which one will be the victor, receiving a free entry into next year's Laurel competition and a tour through our Blog Alliance? Check out each book then cast your vote below.


 
A young musician and scholar is forced to join a warrior-brotherhood to save his people. But is he willing to give up everything--even the woman he loves--to follow the path God has lain before him?

Oath of the Brotherhood by C.E. Laureano






Sunday's Child on life seas is tossed, awaiting the Lifeboat that rescues the lost

Sunday's Child by Clare Revell





Bobby Kent's name is synonymous with modern Country Music and he is no stranger to running from overzealous fans and paparazzo. But now he must protect his daughter and Carol, the mother of his only child, from a vicious and ruthless serial killer bent on their destruction.

A Carol for Kent by Hallee Bridgeman




Laila Pennedy awaits death by hanging. And she deserves to die.

Of The Persecuted by Angie Brashear

Ten years after he'd dumped her, Jessa is determined to not allow him to hurt her again. Lance was there to renovate her home, but could he change her heart?

Love Makes a House a Home by Kimberly Rae Jordan





Vote Below! Poll will be open through Tuesday night. Results will post next Thursday.


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