Monday, October 31, 2011

COTT: Tournament of Champions Third Week Recap

*Guest post by Michelle Massaro
Week THREE of COTT's Tournament of Champions saw four more authors compete and three more scavenger hunts played. 
Here's a recap:
On Monday, players were sent to Elaine Cooper's Blog with a mission: Find the full name of the girl Nathaniel Stearns falls in love with in the book trailer video on her home page. Renee C won a $10 Amazon gift card from Marianne Evans, author of Hearts Crossing.

Tuesday, the hunt was on at Shellie Neumeier's Blog. The question: What is the name of the book Shellie co-wrote with Lisa Lickel? Tammy G won a $10 Amazon gift card from April Gardner, author of Wounded Spirits.
Wednesday we were led to Naomi Musch's Blog. The question: In her new release, The Red Fury, Colette's daughter Lainey is seeking solace from tragic loss and two searing rejections by doing what 2 things? B.J. Robinson won a $10 CBD gift card donated by Ann Gaylia O'Barr, author of Singing in Babylon.
Want your own spending spree? Be sure to play in this week's hunts. Check Clash of the Titles for game info.


And what about the competing books? Who won?
Karen Witemeyer's A Tailor-Made Bride and Lena Nelson Dooley's Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico battled on Monday. A Tailor-Made Bride came out the winner.
Christine Lindsay's Shadowed in Silk and Naomi Musch's The Green Veil struck swords on Wednesday. The Green Veil took the top spot.
These two victorious titles competed together on Friday to determine which would move on to the finals for a chance to win the Laurel Award. And that finalist is...
Karen Witemeyer's A Tailor-Made Bride!

There are now three finalists vying for the ultimate COTT honor. In this final week they'll be joined by a fourth book, then all will be thrown into the ring until only ONE remains. Who will it be? It's up to readers to decide, so cast your votes!
The Laurel will be awarded on November 4th, along with the 15-book grand prize that will be given to one lucky reader. Want a shot at it? You can enter by sharing links, putting up buttons and banners on your blog, becoming a follower of COTT, etc. Details on the prize basket and full instructions on how to enter can be found here. To make it easy to grab n go, here are the banner and button codes (just don't forget to let them know if you put them up!)


OR


Clash of The Titles

Here's the button code:



* Michelle Massaro is the Assistant Editor for COTT. Find her on twitter @MLMassaro, Facebook, and Adventures In Writing.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

CFBA: The 13th Demon by Bruce Hennigan

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The 13th Demon
Realms (October 4, 2011)
by
Bruce Hennigan




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Bruce Hennigan was born and raised in the isolated countryside of Shreveport, La., a place full of possibilities for the active mind of a young boy. The fertile imagination he cultivated while playing deep in the Louisiana woods would lead to a lifelong love of creative writing.



In 2006, Hennigan pursued the Certified Apologetic Instructor Certificate from the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. He has become a frequent speaker at regional and state events on apologetics and his strong point is in making these sometimes hard to understand issues easily approachable for the average Christian. Hennigan’s experience in apologetics inspired him to write his new novel, The 13th Demon: Altar of the Spiral Eye, a supernatural Christian thriller that combines science and faith. Now, combining his love for apologetics and his love for the art of writing, Hennigan is pursuing a career as the “Michael Crichton” of Christian fiction building powerful, fast paced stories around the truths of Christian apologetics.



Hennigan currently resides in Shreveport with his wife and daughter. He continues to write and to practice radiology at the Willis Knighton Health Care System. He has secured Jeff Jernigan of Hidden Value Group (www.hiddenvaluegroup.com) as his literary agent and has signed a five book deal with the Realms imprint of Charisma Media for “The Chronicles of Jonathan Steel”.



ABOUT THE BOOK



When Jonathan Steel wakes up on a beach in a raging thunderstorm, naked, beaten, and bleeding, he has no idea who he is or how he got there. But just as he starts to make progress in his slow journey to recovery, tragedy strikes again, taking everything in his new life that he has come to love and rely on.

Filled with rage and a thirst for revenge, he searches the countryside for the entity responsible—an entity called only the Thirteenth Demon. His quest brings him to Lakeside, Louisiana, and a small country church where evil is in control and strange writing on the walls, blood-soaked floors, and red-eyed spiders have appeared in the sanctuary.



As he faces the final confrontation with an evil presence that has pursued him all of his life, he must choose between helping the people he loves or destroying the thirteenth demon.



If you would like to read the first chapter of The 13th Demon, go HERE.

FIRST: The 13th Demon by Bruce Hennigan

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


The 13th Demon, Altar of the Spiral Eye (The Chronicles of Jonathan Steel)

Realms (October 4, 2011)

***Special thanks to Kim Jones | Publicity Coordinator, Charisma House | Charisma Media for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Bruce Hennigan wrote his first short story at age thirteen and knew he wanted to become a full-time writer by the time he was a senior in high school. He is the author of numerous Christian dramas and the coauthor of Conquering Depression. He has a medical degree from Louisiana State University Medical Center and lives in Shreveport, Louisiana, with his wife and daughter.


Visit the author's website.


SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Do You Dare Look Evil in the Eye?

When Jonathan Steel wakes up on a beach in a raging thunderstorm, naked, beaten, and bleeding, he has no idea who he is or how he got there. But just as he starts to make progress in his slow journey to recovery, tragedy strikes again, taking everything in his new life that he has come to love and rely on.

Filled with rage and a thirst for revenge, he searches the countryside for the entity responsible—an entity called only the Thirteenth Demon. His quest brings him to Lakeside, Louisiana, and a small country church where evil is in control and strange writing on the walls, blood-soaked floors, and red-eyed spiders have appeared in the sanctuary.

As he faces the final confrontation with an evil presence that has pursued him all of his life, he must choose between helping the people he loves or destroying the thirteenth demon.





Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Realms (October 4, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616382805
ISBN-13: 978-1616382803

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Lakeside, Louisiana

Along the western horizon the sun settled, bloodred—the very eye of Satan glaring down upon
the man who stood in front of the horror that had once been his church. Alone on the second floor balcony, his voice echoed into the coming night.

“God, what have I done to deserve this?”

He backed up to the wrought iron railing, then gasped as he realized he was leaning against the bent, misshapen portion of the railing where it had all begun. He pushed away, bit his thumbnail, and looked around at the huge white columns and across the empty balcony. In front of him were the two intimidating wooden doors that led into the foyer of his church. Four windows were on each side, coated with caked dust. No one had been inside the church in weeks. But that did not mean it was empty.

He had to get to his office.

A squeaking filled the silence. The man watched in horror as the doorknob began to turn. He backed away until he felt his heels at the top of the stone stairs. Sweat poured down from his forehead, and he felt his dress shirt sticking to his ribs. The squeaking stopped. Silence descended.

“Is someone there?” he whispered. There was no answer. He sighed and pushed his glasses back up on his nose. His heart slowed, and he wiped his coat sleeve across his forehead. The coat swallowed him. He had lost twenty pounds in the last month. “I’m not walking away this time,” he said to the lifeless door. “You won’t scare me away!”

The door burst open with a rush of wind, and a red mist engulfed him. He could taste the red liquid in the air; it was coppery, salty. Blood! Through the tiny red droplets on his glasses, he watched a river of it surge through the open doorway. His foot slid as he tried to stumble away, and he fell backward, bouncing off the stone banister, rolling down onto the steps. He slowed his fall halfway down the stairs and looked up at the open doors. Blood cascaded over the top step and poured down the steps, tendrils of crimson coming after him.

He slid back, tumbled once again until he came to a halt on his back on the sidewalk in front of the church. The blood came down the stairs, pooling at the base just inches from his feet. He scooted back away from the pool, watching it grow into a large circle of shimmering red.

“Do you think this is going to scare us away?”

He watched as the girl and her child appeared around the corner of the stairway. The girl’s yellow hair rested on her shoulders, and she wore the same cotton dress with sunflowers as on the day she had wormed her way into his life. She couldn’t have been over sixteen, but that didn’t seem to matter to the toddler who held her left hand. The boy was dark-headed and somewhere between a year and two years of age. His nose was running, and he wore only a disposable diaper. The young woman picked up the child.

“No! This is not my doing. Don’t you know what is going on around here?” The man pointed a bloody hand up the stairs.

“You know what I want. Time is running out,” she said. The toddler smiled.

“It’s in my office, and I can’t get inside because of ”—he gestured at the pool of blood—“this!”

“I’m not leaving, Thomas. We’re in the nursery.” She disappeared from sight, back toward the door under the stairs that led into the basement of the old church.

A fly buzzed by his head and landed on his glasses. He swatted at it. Another fly circled his head. He shook his bloody hair as more flies appeared and moved toward the pool of blood. One landed on the shiny, crimson surface and instantly burst into flame. More flies dove into the pool until a circle of flame hovered above the blood. It gently floated higher, growing larger with each dying fly until it was the size of a beach ball. More flies filled the evening air, circling in dizzying arcs, until they surrounded the ball of flame. A hole opened in the front of the fly ball, and the flames showed forth from within. The man blinked as the opening turned toward him. It was a huge flaming eye! More flies arrived and flew about the flaming
eye to form a spiral that pulsated and spun around it.

“We know about the girl,” the raspy voice proclaimed as the eye lifted higher in the air.

At that, the man lost all reason, all civility, and scuttled backward like a crab into the road in front of the church. The hot asphalt blistered his palms. The buzzing grew louder as the voice spoke the words over and over. His heart pounded. He heard a high, keening whimper and realized it was his own voice.

Suddenly, against the insane noises, there came another roar, approaching fast, and then the sound of squealing brakes, the whoosh of hot wind, the smell of burning rubber, and the grill of a recreational vehicle as it stopped just inches from his face. The man glanced back at the flaming eye with its pulsating spiral. It had disappeared, leaving only a pool of blood behind. The doors of the church were shut. The sudden silence was punctuated by the creaking and popping of the RV to his left. A long shadow fell over him as a figure stepped into the man’s sight.

He was six feet tall with wiry muscles and dressed in a V-neck T-shirt, blue jeans, and work boots. His hair was reddish blond and short, his face tight and expressionless. His eyes were hidden behind mirrored sunglasses.

“How long has it been bleeding?” His voice was barely above a whisper.

“It just started.” The man wiped blood from his face. “Are you Steel?”

“Get up.” The figure disappeared into the RV.

He grabbed the grill of the RV with bloody hands and pulled himself shakily to his feet. He walked around the vehicle and entered through the open door. Inside, a table with two laptops and one large monitor sat where he would have expected the kitchen table to be. The man he presumed to be Jonathan Steel reappeared with a black backpack in one hand and a plastic container of disinfectant wipes in the other. He handed him the wipes.

“Clean up. You stink.”

“Hey, I asked you a question.” He pulled wipes from the container and wiped the blood from his hands. “Are you Steel?”

Steel opened a cabinet and took out a huge flashlight. “Are the lights working inside the church?”

The man wiped blood from his glasses. “I don’t know. Listen, you haven’t answered my question.”

The mirrored sunglasses turned in his direction. “Yes. I am Jonathan Steel.”

“I’m . . . I’m Thomas Parker. And this is my church.” He tossed the bloodstained wipes into the sink.

“I know,” Steel answered.

“What are you going to do?”

“We are going inside.” Steel pushed past him toward the open door.

“But don’t we need to sit down and talk about this?” Parker followed the man out of the RV. “Maybe over a cup of coffee? Maybe after I’ve had a shower?”

Steel ignored him and paused at the pool of blood. A fly landed lazily on the surface of the pool and then burst into flames. “Now there’s something you don’t see every day.”

Parker grabbed the man’s arm to turn him. He swallowed. “No one has been inside for six weeks.”

Steel took off his sunglasses, and Parker was shocked by his bright, turquoise eyes. Steel glared at him. “Whose blood is this?”

Parker looked at the blood and then back into Steel’s penetrating gaze. “I don’t know. It just appeared.”

Steel nodded and slid the sunglasses into a pocket of his T-shirt. “Then we need to find the source. Let’s go.”

Parker watched in horror as Steel squished through the puddle of blood and started up the stairs. He hurried after him, trying his best to avoid the rivulets of blood on the stairs. They arrived at the upper level, and Steel paused in front of the closed doors. Blood still trickled from the threshold. His head turned as he studied the walls, the windows, and finally the wrought iron railing that ran around the huge balcony. Parker followed the direction of the man’s gaze and felt a chill when it stopped on the far railing. He knew that if Steel went to the edge and looked down he would see the impression where the body had landed in the soft, grassy soil. The grass still had not grown back. Steel reached for the doorknob and paused.

“Wait a minute!” Parker said. “Do I have to go with you?”

“This is your church.” Steel frowned. “You cannot be afraid.”

“I asked you to come help with the church. To clean up all of . . . this.” Parker motioned to the blood on the portico. Steel just stared at him with those intense eyes. Parker wiped his forehead and sighed. “Look, you didn’t see that blood gush out of that door like a living thing. You didn’t see the eye of flame with the swirling spiral that came out of that puddle of blood . . . ”

“Spiral?” Steel interrupted him. He grabbed Parker by the lapels of his suit coat and pulled him up onto his tiptoes. “Are you sure the eye was surrounded by a spiral?”

“Yes, down there.” Parker slid down into his suit. “It came out of the puddle, and the flies flew around like a spiral.”

For a second Steel’s skin relaxed; his gaze seemed to settle on a distant memory. His hands relaxed, and Parker slid back down onto his feet. Then just as quickly as the change had come, the stony face returned. Steel’s gaze returned to Parker. “We are both going in. Now.” Steel turned and pulled the doors open. They flew outward toward them, and Parker hid behind Steel’s bulk to avoid the mist of blood. As they stepped inside, the temperature plummeted, filling the air with a chilling, icy vapor. Steel stepped into the church’s foyer, his breath misting in front of him. Parker hurried after him. He glanced around at the chunks of ice that covered the offering table and icicles that hung from the old chandelier. Everything was frozen and smelled like freezer-burned meat. The outer doors slammed behind them, engulfing them in darkness.

“What is going on?” Parker huddled up against Steel’s back. Steel’s voice seemed calm and unchanged. “Someone is trying to scare you, Reverend Parker.” Light gushed from Steel’s flashlight, and Parker screamed.

Huge, red spiders hung around them, suspended from the ceiling, their scrabbling arms coated with frost, their multifaceted eyes black with menace. As the light burst through the darkness, the nearest spiders retreated along their spindly webs into the dark shadows of the foyer corners.

“Where did they come from?” Parker shouted.

Steel walked toward the inner two doors that would lead into the sanctuary. “Ignore them. They don’t like the light.” Steel pushed open the doors, and the cold, bitter air was replaced with a hot, fetid wind redolent with the fragrance of vegetation. Parker stumbled over something and looked down at a huge vine stretching across the center aisle. Huge roots and vines covered the pews, the aisle, the walls, and the stainedglass windows. They stretched upward to the edge of the roof.

The inner doors slammed behind them, and Parker bolted forward against Steel’s unmoving back.

“For a man of God, you sure are skittish,” Steel growled at him over his shoulder.

“Are you kidding?” Parker stammered. “Who wouldn’t be?”

“I’ve seen worse,” Steel said.

“You’ve seen worse? How could it be worse?”

“Never ask that question.”

Parker fought off his trembling. He should be the strong one. Not Steel. He tried to stand up straight and smooth out his coat. “Now that we’re here, I need to find something.” A huge curtain of vines was draped across a door leading out of the right side of the sanctuary. “My office is over there.” He pointed.

“We’ll get there.” Steel passed the flashlight beam over the ceiling. Strange writings covered the old acoustic tiles. He fumbled in his backpack and retrieved a digital camera. The darkness was interrupted by flash after flash as Steel took dozens of pictures of the ceiling. Parker saw ghostly figures in the afterglow of each flash. Finally, he closed his eyes until Steel was finished.

“Pictographs of some kind. I don’t recognize the language,” Steel said as he slid the camera back into his backpack and pulled out a small video camera. “We’ll need a linguist.”

“A linguist?”

Steel motioned toward the front of the sanctuary. An altar table sat in front of the pulpit. It was covered with blood that dripped and ran in tiny threads to the floor. A huge, dead flower arrangement sat in the middle of the puddle of blood. Behind the pulpit and choir loft, something glowed with an orange light. “What is that?”

Parker pushed his glasses up on his nose. “Something is in the baptistery.”

Steel hopped over the low choir rail and weaved his way through the three rows of chairs in the choir loft. He stood on a chair and glanced into the baptistery. Parker hurried after him and climbed up on a chair next to Steel. Inside the baptistery, where there once existed the warm, welcoming waters of baptism, a pool of radiant energy filled the deep chamber. Its surface moved with eddies of orange and red energy. Steel switched on the video camera and began recording.

“Baptism by fire?”

“Of course not. What is it?” Parker felt himself drawn into the mesmerizing ebb and flow of energy currents.

“An energy field. Something in this church is manipulating other dimensions of space and time,” Steel said.

Parker glanced at him. “Dimensions?”

Steel turned off the video camera and looked at Parker. His face was bathed in the reddish glow of the baptistery. “We’ll need a physicist.”

“We need a linguist and a physicist. What about a florist for that dead flower arrangement?” Parker threw his hands in the air.

“Reverend, you have no idea what you’re up against.” Steel played the flashlight beam over the choir rail. “Who else is in here?”

“No one,” Parker said.

“I thought I saw someone move in the choir loft.”

Parker shook his head. “If you could just help me get through those vines over there, I need to get something from my office . . . ”

“You’re lying to me.” Steel flicked the beam into his face. Parker put up his hands to block the light. “I’m not lying. There is no one in here but us. No one has been in this sanctuary in weeks.”
Steel pointed the light toward the vines over the door. “So, what is so important in your office?”

“Records, paperwork, uh . . . ” Parker mumbled, stepping back involuntarily. Something squished beneath his feet, and immediately the air filled with the sound of soft chittering, the sound of a thousand tiny legs tapping and moving. Steel focused the beam of light on the floor. Spiders were all around them, scuttling along the vines converging on Parker. He backed into the altar table, and blood splashed down his legs. He bounced away and ran toward the door leading to his office. A curtain of red spiders converged on the vines and blocked his way. “Mr. Steel, do something!” he screamed.

“The light isn’t stopping them,” Steel said. Suddenly a gust of wind swirled to life behind Parker, swallowing him in a tornado of debris and dust. Parker felt himself lifted helplessly into the air. Wind buffeted him, spinning him upside down until he hung in the center of the vortex ten feet above the floor. Steel backed away from the funnel of air as bits of glowing energy spun from the baptistery, coalescing into a tumbling mass of gleaming metal slivers.

Parker watched the tiny metal flecks hurtle across the loft to pause just outside the vortex. Slivers of metal tumbled and spun and assembled themselves into tiny, metal spiders. The metal arachnids swirled into the vortex. Sparking and flashing in the glow of the baptistery, they ripped at his clothing, shredding his suit coat, ripping his pants, even tugging off his shoes. Parker’s open mouth finally found sound, and his scream tore through the roar of the wind. Suddenly Steel was beneath him, pulling him down. Together they fell out of the vortex of wind. Parker pushed himself off of Steel and, without pausing, ran down the aisle, flung through the inner doors, and pushed through the outer doors onto the portico. He tumbled down the stairs and came to rest in the parking lot, his eyes filled with sweat, blood, and dead leaves. Bruised and scratched, in only his underwear, he stood up and ran down the hill to the parsonage where he lived, his mind filled with unspeakable horrors.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Introducing: The Bone House by Stephen R. Lawhead

This week, the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Group (CSFF) is touring Stephen Lawhead's The Bone House.

I have heard many a great thing about Mr. Lawhead over the years but have never read any of his books. At one point, Margaret, from Creative Madness Momma, was reading Tuck. I told her it looked interesting and asked her what she thought of the book at various points while she was reading it. She told me to be sure to read the first book in the series first so I've never had the opportunity to read Tuck or the other books in this series.

When I first learned of this tour of the Bright Empires series, I just had to find out what the rage over Mr. Lawhead's was all about. I jumped into this series during the second book, which is The Bone House. The preceeding book, The Skin Map, is one that I hadn't heard of. I received The Bone House in the mail and went ahead and jumped into it. The publisher was kind enough to send me a copy of The Skin Map to read (which I just received this past Friday) but I was already into The Bone House far enough that I couldn't put it down!

I have still not completely finished The Bone House so I do not have a review for you today. I can tell you, however, that I LOVE this book!! It has covered a multitude of emotions for me and if I could just buy 8 hours of time that didn't require any life commitments at all, I'd have this finished in no time! The most moving scene so far has involved 30 pieces of silver. Very touching scene but I won't say anymore about it for fear of spoiling this for others.

I love the idea of time travel and the intricate details in making sure to do it just right. This author has a way of sucking you into this story making you wish you were actually there. I love the mystery behind finding this map and really hope to get time to finish this book soon so I can go back to read The Skin Map.

Since I've just rambled on a bit, how about stopping by to visit with these other fine folks who are sure to entertain you with a review or two, or even more information on Mr. Lawhead. Stop back by here soon to read my review!


Noah Arsenault
Red Bissell
Thomas Clayton Booher
Beckie Burnham
Morgan L. Busse
CSFF Blog Tour
Jeff Chapman
Carol Bruce Collett
Karri Compton
D. G. D. Davidson
Theresa Dunlap
April Erwin
Victor Gentile
Tori Greene
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Janeen Ippolito
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Marzabeth
Katie McCurdy
Shannon McDermott
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
Chawna Schroeder
Kathleen Smith
Donna Swanson
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White
Rachel Wyant

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book, The Bone House, along with The Skin Map from the publisher.

CFBA: Attracted to Fire by DiAnn Mills

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Attracted to Fire
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (October 1, 2011)
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 at: www.diannmills.com or find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/diannmills


ABOUT THE BOOK

Special Agent Meghan Connors’ dream of one day protecting the president of the United States is about to come true. Only one assignment stands in her way. After the vice president’s rebellious daughter is threatened, Meghan is assigned to her protective detail on a secluded ranch in West Texas. Unfortunately, working with Special Agent in Charge Ash Zinders may be as tough as controlling her charge. Ash has a reputation for being critical and exacting, and he’s also after the same promotion as Meghan. But when the threats escalate and security on the ranch is breached, it becomes clear this isn’t the work of a single suspect—it’s part of a sophisticated plan that reaches deeper and higher than anyone imagined. And only Ash and Meghan can put the pieces together before it’s too late.

Watch the book trailer:



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

Monday, October 24, 2011

COTT: Rockin' the Party at COTT

*guest post by Delia Latham

 
It's been a bang-up bash all week at Clash of the Titles. We've been blog-hopping for treasure, and a couple gals found the loot!

LINDA won Game #1. She'll receive a 
$10 Barnes & Noble Gift Certificate 

CLAUDIA RIZZI won Game #2. She'll receive a 
$25 Partylite Gift Certificate 
from 
Michelle Massaro.

Congratulations to our game winners!

And the fun continues all the way through Nov. 4th. Our doors are open and we have a whole pile of party hats just waiting to be worn. Bring your votes and come on down!

In the midst of all the fun and games this week, we had four authors at swordspoint with TWO Clashes. All four entries were outstanding, and each possessed strong winning qualities. But, as in any race or competition, not everyone makes the finals.

We chose a single winner from each Clash. These two went head-to-head on Saturday…and only one will proceed to the finals and duke it out for the COTT Laurel Award.

This week's Clash WINNERS are:

Clash #3:


Erin Rainwater with her excerpt from 


Clash #4: 

Elaine Marie Cooper and her excerpt from 


CONGRATULATIONS, ladies!

These two went head-to-head on Saturday…with only one proceeding to the finals to duke it out for the COTT Laurel Award.

That one is....






Elaine Marie Cooper and her excerpt from 





Cyber-hugs and sincere thanks to Anne Patrick and Margaret Brownley! These were tough decisions and difficult votes to make. You're ALL winners!

More games and more exerpts are up for grabs this week, so don't miss out. Stop by COTT and play.

*Delia Latham is the author of the Solomon's Gate Series and a Blog Alliance Correspondent for COTT

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

CFBA: Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Wonderland Creek
Bethany House (October 1, 2011)
by
Lynn Austin




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



For many years, Lynn Austin nurtured a desire to write but frequent travels and the demands of her growing family postponed her career. When her husband's work took Lynn to Bogota, Colombia, for two years, she used the B.A. she'd earned at Southern Connecticut State University to become a teacher. After returning to the U.S., the Austins moved to Anderson, Indiana, Thunder Bay, Ontario, and later to Winnipeg, Manitoba.



It was during the long Canadian winters at home with her children that Lynn made progress on her dream to write, carving out a few hours of writing time each day while her children napped. Lynn credits her early experience of learning to write amid the chaos of family life for her ability to be a productive writer while making sure her family remains her top priority.



Extended family is also very important to Austin, and it was a lively discussion between Lynn, her mother, grandmother (age 98), and daughter concerning the change in women's roles through the generations that sparked the inspiration for her novel Eve's Daughters.



Along with reading, two of Lynn's lifelong passions are history and archaeology. While researching her Biblical fiction series, Chronicles of the Kings, these two interests led her to pursue graduate studies in Biblical Backgrounds and Archaeology through Southwestern Theological Seminary. She and her son traveled to Israel during the summer of 1989 to take part in an archaeological dig at the ancient city of Timnah. This experience contributed to the inspiration for her novel Wings of Refuge.



Lynn resigned from teaching to write full-time in 1992. Since then she has published twelve novels. Five of her historical novels have won Christy Awards in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, and 2009 for excellence in Christian Fiction. And two of her inspirational fiction books were chosen by Library Journal for their top picks in 2003, and 2005. One of Lynn's novels has been made into a movie for the Hallmark Channel, starring actress Shirley Jones. Ms Jones received a 2006 Emmy Award nomination for her portrayal of Aunt Batty in the film.



ABOUT THE BOOK



Alice Grace Ripley lives in a dream world, her nose stuck in a book. But happily-ever-after life she's planned on suddenly falls apart when her boyfriend, Gordon, breaks up with her, accusing her of living in a world of fiction instead of the real world. Then to top it off, Alice loses her beloved job at the library because of cutbacks due to the Great Depression.



Fleeing small-town gossip, Alice heads to the mountains of eastern Kentucky to deliver five boxes of donated books to the library in the tiny coal-mining village of Acorn. Dropped off by her relatives, Alice volunteers to stay for two weeks to help the librarian, Leslie McDougal.



But the librarian turns out to be far different than she anticipated--not to mention the four lady librarians who travel to the remote homes to deliver the much-desired books. While Alice is trapped in Acorn against her will, she soon finds that real-life adventure and myster--and especially romance--are far better than her humble dreams could have imagined.



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

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

CFBA: Love on the Line by Deanne Gist

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Love on the Line
Bethany House (October 1, 2011)
by
Deeanne Gist




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



After a short career in elementary education, Deeanne Gist retired to raise her four children. Over the course of the next fifteen years, she ran a home accessory and antique business, became a member of the press, wrote freelance journalism for national publications such as People, Parents, Parenting, Family Fun, Houston Chronicle and Orlando Sentinel, and acted as CFO for her husband’s small engineering firm--all from the comforts of home.



Squeezed betwixt-and-between all this, she read romance novels by the truckload and even wrote a couple of her own. While those unpublished manuscripts rested on the shelf, she founded a publishing corporation for the purpose of developing, producing and marketing products that would reinforce family values, teach children responsibility and provide character building activities.



After a few short months of running her publishing company, Gist quickly discovered being a "corporate executive" was not where her gifts and talents lie. In answer to Gist’s fervent prayers, God sent a mainstream publisher to her door who licensed her parenting I Did It!® product line and committed to publish the next generation of her system, thus freeing Gist to return to her writing.



Eight months later, she sold A Bride Most Begrudging to Bethany House Publishers. Since that debut, her very original, very fun romances have rocketed up the bestseller lists and captured readers everywhere. Add to this two consecutive Christy Awards, three RITA nominations, rave reviews, and a growing loyal fan base, and you’ve got one recipe for success.



Her latest releases, Beguiled, Maid To Match, and Love on the Line are now available.



Gist lives in Texas with her husband of twenty-eight years and their border collie. They have four grown children. Click here to find out the most up-to-the-minute news about Dee.



ABOUT THE BOOK



Rural switchboard operator Georgie Gail is proud of her independence in a man's world ... which makes it twice as vexing when the telephone company sends a man to look over her shoulder.



Dashing Luke Palmer is more than he appears though. He's a Texas Ranger working undercover to infiltrate a notorious gang of train robbers. Repairing telephones and tangling with this tempestuous woman is the last thing he wants to do.  But when his stakeout puts Georgie in peril, he realizes more than his job is on the line.



If you would like to read the first chapter of Love on the Line, go HERE.

Monday, October 17, 2011

COTT: Promo Video

I just love this promo video about the COTT Awards coming soon! Check it out and then go vote to get your chance at winning some great prizes!


IT HAS BEGUN!! 

Over the last year, there have been 
OVER FIFTY 
Clashing author in twenty-four CLASHES, 
but only ONE can win the
LAUREL AWARD.

YOU decide which!


In the process, we invite you to repeatedly enter to win
THREE GIFTS A WEEK,
 including the GRAND PRIZE--
15 NOVELS


www.clashofthetitles.com


PROMO VIDEO CREATED BY COTT ASSISTANT EDITOR, MICHELLE MASSARO

COTT: Kicking off Tournament of Champions!


Guest post by Jennifer Slattery
Last week, Clash of the Titles launched their first annual Tournament of Champions with two clashes and four talented authors. In Clash one, CS Lakin, author of Someone to Blame, and Marianne Evans, author of Heart Crossing, went head-to-head in a nail-biting, literary duel. In Clash two, our very own Gail Pallotta, author of Love Turns the Tide, competed against Clare Revell, author of A Season for Miracles. All four excerpts rocked, and this was a tough call, but you, our faithful readers chose two Tournament of the Champions' finalists.
Those finalists were Marianne Evans and Gail Pallotta.
Exciting stuff, and yet, the games weren’t done. In the next round, COTT staff cast their votes, and once again, one writer rose to the top and will advance to the next round.
That author is…
Marianne Evans!
And here’s a glimpse of what a COTT champion excerpt looks like:
“Collin Edwards stood before the funeral assembly. Heat crawled up his body. He clutched the edges of the podium where he stood and cleared his throat. The gesture was in vain. His throat constricted so much it hurt. Before the altar, just to the right, rested a flag-draped casket.
He looked down, at a piece of paper upon which he had crafted the words to a eulogy…” (Read more of Excerpt B here.)
About the novel, Heart Crossing:
Collin Edwards, a former parishioner at Woodland Church, has renounced God without apology, his faith drained away in the face of a tragic loss.
Daveny Montgomery cares deeply about her relationship with God, and the community of Woodland . Lately though, she's been in a rut, longing for something to reignite her spiritual enthusiasm.
A beautification project at Woodland seems the answer for them both. Daveny spearheads the effort and Collin assists, but only with the renovations, and only because he wants to know Daveny better. Despite his deepening feelings for her, even stepping into the common areas of the church stirs tension and anger.
Can Daveny trust in Collin’s fledgling return to faith? And can Collin ever accept the fact that while he turned his back on God, God never turned his back on him?
We’d also like to congratulate our prize-winning readers:
 Jessica R Patch! She won a $10 Amazon Gift card from Elaine Cooper.
 LoRee Peery! She won a free bookmark design from Delia Latham.
 Larry Hammersley! He won a $10 Amazon Gift card from Author Anne Patrick.
Join us this week for more fun and prizes as four more authors jump into the ring hoping not only to advance to the next round, but ultimately reign as the Clash of the Titles’ champion of champions! Remember, every vote counts! Each vote gets your name thrown into the hat for our fab-tabulous grand prize give-away comprised of fourteen novels!
Visit our Tournament of Champions page for a complete list of prizes.
***
Jennifer Slattery is the marketing manager for Clash of the Titles. She writes for Christ to the World Ministries, the Christian Pulse, and Samie Sisters and has written for numerous other publications. She also works for Tiffany Colter, the Writing Career Coach, as a professional manuscript evaluator and publicist. You can find out more about her and her writing at her devotional blog, Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud. You can find out more about her critique and publicity services at Words That Keep.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

CFBA: Reclaiming Lily by Patti Lacy

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Reclaiming Lily
Bethany House (October 1, 2011)
by
Patti Lacy




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Patti Lacy, Baylor graduate, taught community college humanities until God called her to span seas and secrets in her novels, An Irishwoman's Tale and What the Bayou Saw.



The secrets women keep and why they keep them continue to enliven Patti's gray matter. A third book, The Rhythm of Secrets, released in January of 2011. Patti's, Reclaiming Lily, documents a tug-of-war between a Harvard-educated doctor and an American pastor and his wife for a precious child and explores adoption issues, China's "One Child" policy, and both Christian and secular views of sacrifice.



Patti also facilitates writing seminars in schools, libraries, and at conferences and has been called to present her testimony, "All the Broken Pieces," at women's retreats. She also leads a Beth Moore Bible study at her beloved Grace Church and has had a blast planning the September 2009 wedding of her firstborn, Sarah.



Patti and her husband Alan, an Illinois State faculty member, live in Normal with their handsome son Thomas, who attends Heartland Community College. On sunny evenings, you can catch the three strolling the streets of Normal with their dog Laura, whom they've dubbed a "Worchestershire Terrier" for her "little dab of this breed, a little dab of that breed."





ABOUT THE BOOK



A storm the size of Texas brews when Gloria Powell and Kai Chang meet in a Dallas hotel. They have come to discuss the future of Lily, the daughter Gloria adopted from China and the sister Kai hopes to reclaim. Kai is a doctor who had to give up her little sister during the Cultural Revolution and has since discovered that an inherited genetic defect may be waiting to fatally strike Lily.



Gloria's relationship with her daughter is tattered and strained, and the arrival of Kai, despite the woman's apparent good intentions, makes Gloria fearful. Gloria longs to restore her relationship with Lily, but in the wake of this potentially devastating diagnosis, is Kai an answer to prayer...or will her arrival force Gloria to sacrifice more than she ever imagined?



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

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

COTT: Winner's Article




Divine gifts have been a topic of much dissension down through the ages. Some folks believe God bestows certain gifts on his children others firmly believe He does not—or at least that He might have long ago but He certainly doesn't today.
We're not here to argue the point (although for the record I do believe in divine gifts!).
That said it has been proven time and time again that certain people have specific abilities that others do not. Not learned skills which is the ability to do something because one has deliberately set out to master that particular challenge. I'm talking about inherent abilities that one naturally possesses usually from birth.
That's the kind of mind-boggling gift Tanya Stowe tackles in Tender Touch, the excerpt from which won the most recent COTT Clash. Lacy Butler is graced with the gift of healing…but she refuses to use itbecause it didn't save her mother. Pretty commonisn't it? We never seem to want the gifts God tries to bestow on usor we'll take the gift (Thank you very muchFather!)but we want to use it in our own wayfor our own purposes. Tanya does a fantastic job of bringing Lacy around from total abandonment of her gift of healing to an acceptance of God's will and God's way to use…GOD'S gift.
Here's a snippet from Tanya's Tender Touch excerpt:
The sudden comfort overwhelmed him. He wanted to close his eyes and slip away. But his blurry gaze focused on his rescuer as he unwrapped the muffler. He wanted…needed to see this man’s facethe man who had saved his life. He forced himself to watch as he pulled off the floppy gray hat.
 Royce blinked. His foggy mind was playing tricks on him. A longgolden braid fell from beneath the hat and lay across the man’s shoulder. He slipped off the coat and beneath was the slender shape of a woman.
 His man...his midnight visitor was a woman! Shock filled Royce’s mindand his head flopped senselessly sideways.
We asked Tanya if she learned anything about God's character through Tender Touch. Here's what she said: “Instead of learning something about God through this bookit is a reflection of something I learned about God from life. I’ve had some personal experience with faith healing and I wanted to write a story that reflected those truths. Of courseLacy’s gift is highly dramatizedbut the basics about how God heals are true.” (Read Tanya's interview)
Of her experience on COTTTanya says: "This was the most fun I had in an interview in a longlong time. COTT does such a good job. I really appreciate this opportunity."
Readers loved the Tender Touch excerptas well—and we loved their comments:
“I feel like I’m already hooked on reading the book.”
“… made me want to find out more about the mysterious midnight visitor man who turned out to be a woman. Both of these were great and it was hard to choose one. Can they both win?? !!!”
"Know ye not that they which run in a race run allbut one receiveth the prize?"
Currently we're in the middle of the exciting Tournament of Champions which will be in high gear from Oct. 10 through Nov. 4. Don't miss it! Past Clash champs duke it out for the final prize with each of them offering an excerpt that will hopefully have you panting for more. Head on over and see what it's all about.

* Delia Latham is a Christian wife mother grandmother sister and friend as well as an author of inspirational romance and women's fiction. She wears each hat with pride but treasures most of all her role as a princess daughter to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Congrats to Tanya and a huge thank you also to her very worthy opponent Shawn Grady.

Monday, October 10, 2011

CFBA: A Wedding Invitation by Alice Wisler

This week, the
 
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
 
is introducing
 
A Wedding Invitation
 
Bethany House (October 1, 2011)
 
by
 
Alice Wisler
 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Alice was born in Osaka, Japan in the sixties.  Her parents were Presbyterian career missionaries. As a young child, Alice loved to walk down to the local stationer's store to buy notebooks, pencils and scented erasers.  In her room, she created stories.  The desire to be a published famous author has never left her.  Well, two out of three isn't bad. She's the author of Rain Song, How Sweet It Is, Hatteras Girl and A Wedding Invitation (all published by Bethany House).


Alice went to Eastern Mennonite University after graduating from Canadian Academy, an international high school in Kobe, Japan. She majored in social work and has worked across the U.S. in that field.  She taught ESL (English as a Second Language) in Japan and at a refugee camp in the Philippines.  She also studied Spanish at a language institute in San Jose, Costa Rica.

She has four children--Rachel, Daniel, Benjamin and Elizabeth.  Daniel died on 2/2/97 from cancer treatments at the age of four. Since then, Alice founded Daniel's House Publications in her son's memory.  This organization reaches out to others who have also lost a child to death. In 2000 and 2003, Alice compiled recipes and memories of children across the world to publish two memorial cookbooks, Slices of Sunlight and Down the Cereal Aisle.    

ABOUT THE BOOK


After returning home from teaching English at a refugee camp in the Philippines, Samantha Bravencourt enjoys her quiet life working at her mother's clothing boutique in Falls Church, Virginia. When she receives an invitation to a wedding in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, she looks forward to reconnecting with her college friend. Instead her life collides with Carson, a fellow teacher and the man who broke her heart, and a young Amerasian refugee named Lien who needs Samantha and Carson's help to find her mother before Lien's own wedding. When the search for Lien's mother reveals surprising secrets from the past, Samantha must reevaluate her own memories and decide whether to continue to play it safe or take a risk that could change her life.


If you would like to read the first chapter of A Wedding Invitation, go HERE.

Watch the book trailer:



Friday, October 7, 2011

Review: Waiting for Morning by Karen Kingsbury

Waiting for Morning (Forever Faithful, Book 1)Waiting for Morning by Karen Kingsbury
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Have a box of tissues handy when you pick up this book to read! I was bawling within the first couple of pages!

I've never lost anyone close to me because of a drunk driver. I hope I never will either. Tom is taking his two girls on their annual end of the summer camping trip. They have no idea that their lives will change for ever!

I enjoyed this book, but as mentioned earlier, this one is a tear jerker. There a several emotions that will hit you at once and sometimes you don't see it coming. This was my first Karen Kingsbury adult read (I've read a couple of her children's books) and I'm not sure if she always jam packs her novels like this one. Waiting for Morning deals with drunk drivers, death, love, forgiveness, and suicide. That's quite a bit to handle!

I had issues with some of the religious tones in this book (not Biblically accurate) so I'm writing it as though this was a work of strictly fiction. For non-Christians, this book could be construed as "preachy" at times. The characters struggle with their faith in God after the accident and fight to gain it back with the insistence of their new found friends.

I received a complimentary e-book from View all my reviews

Thursday, October 6, 2011

CFBA: House of Secrets by Tracie Peterson

This week, the
 
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
 
is introducing
 
House of Secrets
 
Bethany House (October 1, 2011)
 
by
 
Tracie Peterson
 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than 85 novels.

She received her first book contract in November, 1992 and saw A Place To Belong published in February 1993 with Barbour Publishings' Heartsong Presents.  She wrote exclusively with Heartsong for the next two years, receiving their readership's vote for Favorite Author of the Year for three years in a row.

In December, 1995 she signed a contract with Bethany House Publishers to co-write a series with author Judith Pella.  Tracie now writes exclusively for Bethany House Publishers.

She teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research.

Tracie was awarded the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for 2007 Inspirational Fiction and her books have won numerous awards for favorite books in a variety of contests.

Making her home in Montana, this Kansas native enjoys spending time with family--especially her three grandchildren--Rainy, Fox and Max.  She's active in her church as the Director of Women's Ministries, coordinates a yearly writer's retreat for published authors, and travels, as time permits, to research her books.    

ABOUT THE BOOK  


When her father orchestrates a surprise trip to the summer house of her childhood, Bailee Cooper is unprepared for what follows. What is intended to be a happy reunion for Bailee and her sisters, Geena and Piper, quickly becomes shrouded by memories from the past.


Together again, the three sisters sift through their recollections of fifteen years ago...of an ill mother, and of their father making a desperate choice. They vowed, as children, to be silent--but one sister believes the truth must now be revealed. Yet can they trust their memories?

Mark Delahunt arrives in the wake of this emotional turmoil. Determined to win Bailee's affection, Mark becomes the strong fortress for her in this time of confusion, and what was once a tentative promise begins to take root and grow. Caught between the past and an uncertain future, can Bailee let God guide her to heal the past and ultimately to embrace love?

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

Monday, October 3, 2011

COTT: Blog Spotlight

* Guest post by Gail Pallotta
MEET OUR PARTNERS
After an early morning workout Joanne Troppello sits at her computer near two big windows. Working from an office in her home in the northeast, she “loves getting plenty of sunshine.” She munches on her breakfast as she starts one of five weekly blogs. Her focus is “to connect authors and readers.”
This prolific writer also schedules giveaways and one-time events.  Past specialties include two internet festivities, The Royal Wedding and Summer Blog parties. On the books—a Christmas Blog Party. Get ready for the fun.
Joanne likes to spotlight newer, unknown authors in addition to networking with all authors.  Writers’ opportunities include Monday interviews and mid-week guest blogs. Two Fridays out of the month she does book reviews. The other two she interviews guests in her Reader’s Corner. One of her favorite things is hearing from readers. She says, “They are who we write for, and we want to write stories that appeal to them with characters that stay with them for a long time.” Joanne says her readers “really like commenting on blog postings and hearing back from authors.”
An author of two books, All Romance ebooks best seller Mr. Shipley’s Governess and Shadowed Remembrances, Joanne writes in the mystery and inspirational genres. When she isn’t at her computer, she loves spending time with her husband and family.
To discover lots of fun activities for writers and readers visit Joanne at http://joannetroppello.weebly.com/
                                             ***********************
Artist, writer and blogger Carrie Lewis paints portraits for her day job and in her leisure time. Her favorite subject is horses. Easels, paintings and portraits-in-progress abound throughout her Kansas home, including some in her office.
She’s written for as long as she can remember, finishing her first complete manuscript in eighth grade. She says, “I’ve been dividing my time between the studio and the writing desk, and God has seen fit to keep me at home.”
Saving Grace, Carrie’s WIP, “…is a cross between speculative fiction, suspense and Old Testament prophecy.” As far as the WIP and what Carrie normally writes, she says, “It’s so far outside the box....I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to get back into that box.”
An active blogger, Carrie posts three times a week. Her topics include writing tips, reports on stories she’s working on, the way we write, and the things we write about. She recently started putting up a weekly writing prompt. It’s “been fun and uses images, colors, sounds, all sorts of things.” For her readers she hopes to share what she’s had to “learn the hard way so that those who follow might not have to learn the same way.” She wants to “encourage writers to heed the promptings of the Holy Spirit when deciding what to write, especially if the story they have to tell is outside what most of us think of as popular fiction.”
When we stop by Carrie’s blog, I imagine we’ll see some of her horse paintings as well as her writings! What a treat. Visit her at http://writing-well.carrie-lewis.com/
* A COTT Blog Alliance Correspondent, Gail Pallotta recently published her first romance, Love Turns the Tide. When she isn't writing she likes reading, swimming, and getting together with friends and family. Gail wants to write books of faith that show God's love.
***********************
           Get ready ...