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Louise M. Gouge:

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Sunday, March 7, 2010


I'm so excited to announce that The Captain's Lady will be released March 16!! This is my first book set outside the United States, so it's a landmark for me. Come with me to 1776 LONDON, where American Patriot James Templeton is torn between love and duty and must deny his heart to help win his country's freedom.

Captain James Templeton's orders from General Washington are clear. His target: Lord Bennington, a member of George III's Privy Council. The assignment: find Bennington's war plans. The risks: the future of the East Florida Colony, Jamie's life...and his heart. In spite of the dangers of their hopeless situation, he's fallen in love with Lady Marianne Moberly, Lord Bennington's daughter. Desperate to protect his country, Jamie carries out his orders with a heavy heart. But Marianne's persistence is a challenge he never expected. With love and faith, they must navigate troubled waters to win their future together.

I had so much fun writing this book, and I was also inspired by what I learned in my research. It's amazing to me that those brave American patriots gave up so much so they could establish a new country with a new form of government never before tried. Today, we don't have any idea what that was like, but I do know I'm grateful to live in a free society. I hope my readers will catch a glimpse of all that our forefathers and foremothers were willing to give up so we can breathe the air of freedom.

The Captain's Lady is published by Harlequin's Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical imprint. It can be ordered from,, and, or purchased at your local bookstore or even Walmart! Here's the ISBN: 13-978-0-373-82832-6.

If you would like to win a copy of The Captain's Lady, leave a comment AND YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS. I will have my drawing on March 31. Also, this contest is limited to residents of the United States and Canada. Because this kind of drawing is against the law in some locales, it is your responsibility to know the laws of your state or province and refrain from entering if it's a no-no there.

When you leave your comment, please also ask me any questions you might have about the book or about my writing. I love to chat with my readers and try to be prompt in responding.

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sworn to Protect: Expect an Adventure!

I will admit upfront that I am a diehard fan of author DiAnn Mills. This award-winning, best-selling author never ceases to amaze me with her exciting stories of contemporary suspense and historical romance. Her latest suspense book, Sworn to Protect, Book Two in her Call to Duty Series, is no exception. This story, taken right from the pages of today’s newspaper headlines and television reports, will have you on the edge of your seat, on a rollercoaster ride you won’t forget. Rather than retell the story, I’ll give you the back cover copy here:

Border Patrol Agent Danika Morales has sworn to protect the southern borders of our nation, but that oath has cost her. Two years ago, her husband, Toby, was killed trying to help the very immigrants Danika was responsible for sending back to Mexico. His murder was never solved. But now, a recent string of attacks and arrests leads her to believe that someone in McAllen is profiting from sneaking undocumented immigrants into the country . . . and it may somehow be tied to Toby’s death.

DiAnn 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. She launched her career in 1998 with the publication of her first book. Currently she has fifty books in print and has sold 1.5 million copies. Six of her titles have appeared on the CBA Bestseller List. Three of her books have won the distinction of Best Historical of the Year by Heartsong Presents. Five of her books have won placements through American Christian Fiction Writer’s Book of the Year Awards 2003 – 2008, and she is the recipient of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice award for 2005 and 2007. She was a Christy Awards finalist in 2008. DiAnn’s website is

Sworn to Protect will be released by Tyndale House Publishers on April 1, 2010. ISBN: 9781414320519
If you would like to be entered into a drawing to win a copy of Sworn to Protect, leave a comment below. This drawing is limited to residents of the United States and Canada and is void where such drawings are prohibited. It is the responsibility of entrants to know the laws of their own state or province. The drawing will be held on March 6, 2010. We must have ten entries, or this drawing will not take place. So tell your friends! AND BE SURE TO LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS SO I CAN CONTACT YOU IF YOUR NAME IS DRAWN!!!

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Monday, February 1, 2010

Pirates, maidens, and kidnapping, oh my!

If you love exciting pirate adventures, kidnapped young maidens, and a healthy dose of God’s miraculous intervention, this is the book for you. In The Raven Saint, MaryLu Tyndall has written yet another ripping tale of high drama on the high seas. Pure and devout Grace Westcott makes the perfect target for the notorious pirate captain, Rafe Dubois. Here is the story:

Grace Westcott has spent her entire life serving God and helping the poor—not to mention trying to save the souls of her two wayward sisters. But while on an errand of mercy, she is kidnapped by a French mercenary and told she will be sold to a Spanish Don in Columbia. Determined to hold on to her faith and see God in every situation, she believes she must have been sent to help someone find God’s love. But no one will listen to her pleas, warnings, and prayers. When Grace’s situation grows far worse than she could imagine, she is forced to face her own human weaknesses. But she isn’t prepared to face her biggest weakness of all—falling in love with the nefarious captain, Rafe Dubois. Will Grace discover God’s purpose for this harrowing journey? And what will she do when she realizes His purpose for her is not to redeem the captain and his crew, but herself?

I never cease to be amazed by MaryLu’s daring in her stories. She creates compelling characters, forces them to the brink of complete disaster, and then makes their perils even worse! Through many twists and turns, her stories take you on a ride to a more than satisfying finish you won’t want to miss. The Raven Saint is a true delight and will keep you up into the wee hours turning the pages of this terrific book. I highly recommend it!

If you would like to be entered into a drawing to win a copy of The Raven Saint, leave a comment below. This drawing is limited to residents of the United States and Canada and is void where such drawings are prohibited. It is the responsibility of entrants to know the laws of their own state or province. The drawing will be held on February 14, 2010. We must have ten entries, or this drawing will not take place. So tell your friends! AND BE SURE TO LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS SO I CAN CONTACT YOU IF YOUR NAME IS DRAWN!!!

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

A thrilling adventure set in the Revolutionary War!

I had a pre-release opportunity to read Carla Capshaw's exciting Revolutionary War romance, The Duke's Redemption, and let me say that I was NOT disappointed. This book has everything readers want and expect in a historical romance: danger, excitement, history (but not too much), a compelling hero and heroine, and a situation that threatens to destroy their love. The eternal romance question rings true in this book: How will these two lovers ever get together???

Because I am in the midst of writing my third Revolutionary War romance for Love Inspired Historicals, this period holds great interest for me. This book kept me interested from beginning to end. It's a wonderful time in history, and I find it more than inspiring to revisit what our Founding Fathers and Mothers went through to establish our country. . .and find love in the midst of difficult times.

The Duke's Redemption is in your local bookstores right now, so I suggest you hurry over and buy it!

Here's the blurb:
He came to the colonies for one reason: revenge. Drake Amberly, Duke of
Hawk Haven, won't leave South Carolina until he's unmasked the colonial
spy who killed his brother. Yet the more he sees of spirited Elise Cooper,
the more he's moved by the happiness she brings him…never suspecting the
dangerous secret she hides.

Her faith drives Elise to spy for the rebels, dreaming only of freedom for
her homeland. Then she meets Drake, and learns that love could be hers, as
well. When his pursuit of "The Fox" brings him dangerously close to the
truth, she'll risk everything to prove that love and forgiveness are all
they need.

Find The Duke's Redemption at your local bookstore or online:
ISBN-10: 0373828284
ISBN-13: 978-0373828289

If you leave a comment, we'll put your name in the hat for our drawing for a free copy of The Duke's Redemption. This drawing is void where prohibited and applies only to residents of the United States and Canada. The drawing will be held on January 30. We must have ten entries, or this drawing will not take place. So tell your friends!

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Becoming Lucy becomes its author!

I just finished reading a lovely book entitled Becoming Lucy by my good friend Martha Rogers. This compelling adventure takes the reader back to the Old West, where danger. . .and love. . .lurked around every corner. Orphaned heiress Lucinda Bishop leaves her beautiful Boston home for the wilds of Oklahoma Territory, where she hopes to heal from her losses in the company of her loving relatives. But adjusting to the rough western lifestyle is the least of her challenges. Too many accidents happen around Lucy, as if someone is trying to kill her. But the most dangerous part of her adventure is falling for Jake Starnes, a handsome cowboy with a past. I heartily recommend Becoming Lucy to anyone who loves action, adventure, and romance.

This is the first book in Martha's very first published series, which is entitled Winds Across the Prairie. I look forward to reading many more of her heart-warming books.

Here's the official blurb: In 1896, after her parents' deaths, seventeen-year-old Lucinda Bishop is sent to Oklahoma to live with her aunt and uncle. But Oklahoma ranch life brings her more than she bargained for when she meets ranch hand Jake Starnes, a drifter who is running from his past. As her friendship with Jake grows, Lucinda faces emotions she's never before experienced. As Jake learns more about God's love for him, he realizes he must face his past and the consequences of his actions, even if it means he will lose the girl he loves. Will he be able to get his life together before someone else claims her hand... or even her life?

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Monday, November 30, 2009

For the Aspiring Writer

I received a lovely email from a high school student who wanted to know about careers in writing and editing. Here is my response:

Dear Nicole:
Thank you for your nice letter. As a college professor, I love to see high school students thinking seriously about furthering their education in preparation for a career.

Writing books is an enjoyable career that requires four things: grammar skills, an active imagination, some life experience, and a broad world view. Add to that the discipline needed to sit alone in front of the computer and hammer out the story, and you can see it's not an easy job. But the rewards can be tremendous.

Your grammar in your email is quite good. Keep adding new words to your vocabulary and don't fall into the bad habit some of my students have of using abbreviations in school papers that should be used only in emails and text messages.

Prime your imagination by jotting down story ideas as they come to you and save them all. Some will be good, some not. Some will inspire stories to write now, and some will be for future use.

Life experience is not limited to adults over 30. It can be anything from a kindergarten memory to a tour of duty in the military to a visit to a grandparent in a nursing home. Experiences give you something to say that will hold the interest of a reader. Write your memories of these meaningful experiences in a journal.

Developing a broad world view means you have studied humankind and learned what motivates people of various races, religions, and ethnicities. This sounds like a lot, but if you continue with your education, these things will come. An English major will bring you into contact with many great authors of the past and present. A liberal studies degree will take you into many areas of knowledge. Journalism, history, psychology, and political science are also important areas of study.

In addition, you can begin now by reading great works of literature. My favorites are Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and anything by Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace, Herman Melville's Moby Dick, and Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter all provide windows into the past and inform us about the human condition. Popular fiction of today can be fun to read but might not provide the depth a serious aspiring writer should seek.

Regarding a career as an editor, you'll need all of the above, too, because you need to know at least as much if not more than the people writing for you.

Actually, I'm not an editor but a freelance copyeditor. That means people send their manuscripts to me to “correct” before they submit their work to editors. I polish the grammar and offer suggestions on characterization and story structure. One literary agent who refers clients to me calls me a book doctor. I like that.

I hope these thoughts are helpful to you. I remember long ago writing to a truly famous person (I'm not famous!) about a career I wanted to enter. She wrote me the loveliest letter in response that greatly encouraged me. Although I didn't go into that career, her kindness stayed with me, and I hope this response to you pays it forward just a little.

Louise M. Gouge

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Monday, August 31, 2009

Michelle Sutton's Bold New Book

I'm so pleased to have Michelle Sutton as my guest for these two weeks. Michelle really has a heart for young people, and her books are bold attempts to make a huge difference in the lives of teens.

Q. Michelle, Tell us a little bit about yourself: family, how long you've written, etc.

A. I've lived in sunny Arizona since 1991 and have two sons and a husband of 19 years. My experiment with writing began in August 2003. I had no idea how difficult it could be. I joined ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and that made a huge difference in my writing.
I love to blog and post book reviews all over the internet as well as giving away one book per week on my blog. I sold my book It's Not About Me to Sheaf House and the novel was released in Sept. 2008. The second book in the series, It's Not About Him, will be released Sept. 2009, and It's Not About Her releases in Sept. 2010. Last, Sheaf House will be publishing Lover of My Soul in 2011.

I've also sold five books to Desert Breeze publishing in 2009. They are all category romance novels, two being romantic suspense and two being cowboy romances. The titles are below. I also sold two titles to Abingdon Press with my friend and co-author Bonnie Calhoun. There is an option for a third title. For now the first two titles are Thicker than Sisters and Thicker than Blood.

In addition to writing, I hold the position as Editor-in-Chief of a new online magazine. The debut issue released in July 2008. The magazine is called Christian Fiction Online Magazine and it's sponsored by the CFBA, which is the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance.

Q. What is your "writing vision"? Whom do you want to reach and why?

A. I want to reach young people who have misguided opinions of themselves and of God's plan for their lives. I want to show young readers that there is always a second chance and you can always start over with Jesus. Most importantly, I want to show readers that there is a purpose to every circumstance in our lives. Nothing is wasted in God's economy.

Q. What is your writing day like? Do you have a day job? If so, how do you juggle family, writing, job, etc.?

A. I write when I can. I work full-time for the government. How I juggle everything is that I try to keep the Lord first (I wish I could say I was always successful but that wouldn't be honest), and I don't waste time sitting in front of the television. I'm one of those weird kinds of people that does better and is more efficient the busier I get.

Q. Any last words? Any word of inspiration to unpublished writers?

A. Hang on folks, it's a wild ride.

Here's a blurb about Michelle new release, It's Not about Him:
Susie wakes up after a party knowing something isn't right. When she discovers she is pregnant but has no idea who the father is, she decides to place her baby for adoption with an infertile couple from church. Following through ends up being more challenging than she'd imagined. But she wants to do the right thing. If only Jeff would quit trying to marry her so she'll keep her baby! Why doesn't he understand? It's not about him; it's about what's best for her child. Meanwhile, a man shows up in her life that looks irritatingly familiar. Could he be the father?

For more information about Michelle and her books, visit her Web site at
Michelle has agreed to a book giveaway, BUT we must have twelve entries in order for anyone to win. Tell your friends about this great book and this free giveaway on September 12!

To enter the drawing, click below and leave a commnent AND your email address so I can contact you if your name is drawn.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009


I'm very excited to announce the release of my new novel Love Thine Enemy from my new publisher, Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historicals. This book is special to me for many reasons, not the least of which is that it takes place in my home state of Florida during the Revolutionary War. Did you know that Florida was an English colony at that time? Neither did I until I began researching my state and found that many colonists who were loyal to the English Crown moved here to escape persecution by the Patriot colonists determined to win their freedom from England's King George III. But among those Loyalists were some covert Patriots who came to East Florida in hopes of stirring up a Boston-sized rebellion. Just think how different history would have been if they had succeeded! The United States would have begun with fifteen states (adding East and West Florida) instead of thirteen. Such was not to be. We didn't become a U. S. territory until 1821. But better late than never!

Join me on this adventure into the past.

An excerpt from Love Thine Enemy, Louise M. Gouge
St. Johns Settlement, East Florida Colony, May 1775

Through the window of her father’s store, Rachel watched the Englishmen ride their handsome steeds up the sandy street of St. Johns Settlement. Their well-cut coats and haughty bearing – as if they owned the world – made their identities unmistakable.

“Make them pass by, Lord,” she whispered, “for surely I’ll not be able to speak a Christian word to them if they come in here.” She glanced over her shoulder at Papa to see if he had heard her, but he was focusing his attention on a newly-opened crate of goods.

Rachel turned back to the window. To her dismay, the two young men dismounted right in front of the store. One snapped his fingers at a small black boy and motioned for him to care for the horses.

Her dismay turned to anger. How did they know the boy could take time to do the task? Did they care that the child might be beaten by his owner if he lingered in town?

“What draws yer scrutiny, daughter?” Papa approached to look out the window. “Aha. Just as I hoped. From the cut of his clothes, that’s Mr. Moberly, no mistake. Make haste, child. Go behind the counter and set out those fine tins of snuff and the brass buckles. Oh, and the wig powder and whalebone combs. Mayhap these gentlemen have wives who long for such luxuries here in the wilderness.”

The delight in his voice brought back Rachel’s dismay, even as she hurried to obey. Until six months ago, Papa had been a man of great dignity, a respected whaler who commanded his own ship. Why should he make obeisance to these wretches? These popinjays?

When the two men entered, the jangling bells on the front door grated against her nerves, inciting anger once more. But for Papa’s sake, she would attempt to control it.

“What did I tell you, Oliver? Isn’t this superb?” The taller of the two men glanced about the room. “Look at all these wares.”

Rachel noticed the slight lift of his eyebrows when he saw her, but he turned his attention to Papa.

“Mr. Folger, I presume?”

“Aye, milord, I am he. How may I serve ye, sir?”

The young man chuckled. “First of all, I am not ‘milord.’”

“Not yet.” His companion held his nose high, as if something smelled bad. “But soon.”

The taller man shrugged. “Perhaps when the plantation proves as successful as Lord Egmount’s.” He reached out to Papa. “I’m Frederick Moberly, sir, His Majesty’s magistrate for St. Johns Settlement and manager of Bennington Plantation. This is my friend and business associate, Oliver Corwin.”

For the briefest moment, Papa seemed uncertain, but then he gripped the gentleman’s hand and shook it with enthusiasm. “How do ye, my good sirs? I’m pleased to meet ye both.”

“And I’m pleased to see your fine little store ready for business.” Moberly again surveyed the shelves and counters. And again his glance stopped at Rachel.

Papa cleared his throat. “My daughter, Miss Folger.”

Moberly swept off his brimmed hat and bent forward in a courtly bow, revealing black hair pulled back in a long queue. “How do you do, Miss Folger?”

She forced herself to curtsy but did not speak. The very idea, a gentleman giving a shopkeeper’s daughter such honors. No doubt the man was a flatterer. The one named Corwin made no such gesture, but his intense stare brought heat to her face. Rachel could not decide which man would require her to be more vigilant.

Moberly’s gaze lingered on her for another instant before he turned back to Papa. “Your store and the village’s other new ones are what I’ve been hoping for. If St. Johns Settlement is to succeed as a colonial outpost, we must have every convenience to offer our settlers. Tell me, Folger, do you have any concerns about your shipments? With all that nonsense going on in the northern colonies, do you expect any delay in delivery of your goods?”

“Well, sir, I had no difficulty sailing down here from Boston. I expect all those troubles to be behind us soon. The rebels simply haven’t the resources. I’ll wager wiser heads will prevail. I’m from Nantucket, ye see, and we’re loyal to the Crown.”

Corwin snorted, and Moberly glanced his way with a frown.

“Ah, yes, Nantucket.” The magistrate appeared interested. “From whence whalers set out to harvest the world’s finest lamp oil. Will you be receiving goods from there?”

“Perhaps some, sir. My own ship will sail to and from London until things are settled.”

“Good, good.” Moberly nodded. “And are you a Quaker, as I’ve heard most Nantucketers are?”

“I was reared in the Society of Friends,” Papa said. “But I don’t mind wearing a brass button or a buckle.”

“We don’t need any dissenters here.” Corwin’s eyes narrowed.

“Now, Oliver, the man said he wasn’t a zealot.” Moberly gave Papa a genial look. “Moderation in all things, would you not agree?”

“Precisely my sentiments, sir.”

Rachel inhaled deeply. She must not display her feelings. This was not Nantucket, where women spoke their minds. Nor was it Boston, where patriots – both men and women – clamored for separation from England. Until she got the lay of the land here in East Florida Colony, she must not risk harming Papa’s enterprise.

“Miss Folger.” Moberly approached the wide oak counter behind which she stood. “What do you think of our little settlement?”

She caught a glimpse of Papa’s warning look and stifled a curt reply. “I am certain it is everything King George could wish for.” She ventured a direct look and discovered his eyes to be dark gray edged by black lashes. His tanned, clean-shaven cheeks had a youthful yet strong contour. Young, handsome, self-assured. Like the English officers who ordered the shooting of the patriots at Lexington and Concord just over a month ago.

Her reply seemed to please him, for his eyes twinkled, and Rachel’s traitorous pulse beat faster. Belay that, foolish heart. These are not your kind.

“Indeed, I do hope His Majesty approves of my work here.” A winsome expression crossed his face. “As you may know, in England, younger sons must earn their fortunes. But if we are clever and the Fates favor us, we too can gain society’s interest and perhaps even its approval.”

Rachel returned a tight smile. “In America, every man has the opportunity to earn his fortune and his place in society.” With the help of God, not fate.

He grinned. “Then I’ve come to the right place, have I not?”

The man had not comprehended her insult in the least. How she longed to shake her fist at him and tell him exactly what she thought of his King George and all greedy Englishmen.

Papa emitted a nervous cough. “Indeed ye have, my good sir. And so have we.” Again, his frown scolded her. “Now, sir, is there anything in particular we can help ye with?”

“Hmm.” The magistrate effected a thoughtful pose, with arms crossed and a finger resting on his chin. “My Mrs. Winthrop requested tea, if you have some.” He tapped his temple. “And something else. Oliver, can you recall the other items she mentioned?”

“Flour and coffee.” Corwin’s languid tone revealed boredom, perhaps even annoyance. “She wanted a list of his spices, and of course she’ll want to know about those fabrics.” He waved toward the crates Papa had opened.

At Papa’s instruction, Rachel wrote down the items they had imported from Boston, things an English housekeeper might want here in the wilderness. She snipped small samples of the linen, muslin, and other fabrics and wrapped them in brown paper. All the while, she felt the stares of the two men. Despite the summer heat, a shiver ran down her back while a blush warmed her cheeks.

None too soon, they made their purchases and left, but not before Mr. Moberly once again bowed to her. Why did he engage in such courtesy? Neither in England nor in Boston would he thus have honored her, nor even have acknowledged her existence.

“Well, daughter, what think ye?” Papa held up the gold guineas they had given him. “His lordship didn’t even ask for credit.”

“Papa, will you listen to yourself?” Rachel leaned her elbows on the counter and rested her chin on her fists. “You were raised a Quaker, yet hear how you go on about ‘milord’ and ‘his lordship.’”

Papa harrumphed. “I suppose ye’ll be after me to take up my ‘thees’ and ‘thous’ again. Ye, who abandoned the Friends yerself, going off to that other church with yer sister and her husband.” He lumbered on his wounded leg toward the back room. “I should never have sent ye to Boston to live with Susanna.”

He disappeared behind the burlap curtain, and soon Rachel heard crates being shoved roughly across the hard tabby floor. Sorrow cut into her. Had he not been injured on his last whaling voyage, he could still captain his own ship, and she would still be in Boston helping the patriots’ noble cause. Instead, she must live here in East Florida to help him.

He must feel as cross as she did about their differences of opinion, both about the revolution and the Englishmen. But she had not chosen to flee Massachusetts Colony to avoid the war against the Crown. How could he expect her to treat the English oppressors with civility?


“Pleasant fellow, that Folger.” Frederick flipped a farthing to the Negro boy who held their horses. “Good job, lad. If you get into trouble, tell your master Mr. Moberly required your services.”

“Pleasant fellow, indeed.” Oliver grasped his horse’s reins and swung into the saddle. “’Tis the little chit you found pleasant.”

“And you did not?” Frederick mounted Essex and reined the stallion toward the plantation road. “I saw you watching her as if she were a plump partridge and you a starving man.”

Oliver drew up beside him. “Of course I was watching her. Your father sent me along to this heaven-forsaken place to make sure no provincial lass sets her cap for you. And if she does, I’m to nip the budding romance.”

Frederick swallowed a bitter retort. Oliver’s reminder ruined the agreeable feeling that had settled in his chest the moment he set eyes on the fair-haired maiden. Here he was at twenty-three, and the old earl still treated him as if he were a boy sitting in an Eton classroom. As for the girl, she was no chit, but fully a woman, possessing a diminutive but elegant figure. Spirited, too, from the liveliness he had noticed in her fine dark eyes. But he would not say so, for Oliver would only misunderstand his generous opinion of her.

“Have no care on that account. I’ve no plans to pursue American women.” He glanced at the rolling landscape with its sandy soil and countless varieties of vegetation. While the weather could inflict heat, lightning, and hurricanes upon inhabitants, he found East Florida a pleasant paradise, as satisfying as anyplace for building his future.

“You cannot fool me,” Oliver said. “Need I remind you that if you fail here, Lord Bennington will ship you off to His Majesty’s Royal Navy? You’ll end up wearing the indigo instead of growing it.”

Frederick glared at him. “Fail? My father sent me to rescue the plantation from Bartleby’s mismanagement, and that’s exactly what I have accomplished. He will not be quick to snatch me home.”

“You know as well as I it’s the moral failure he’s concerned about.”
Frederick gritted his teeth. How long would he have to pay for the sins of his older brothers? “Rest easy on that account. I’ll not risk my business association with Mr. Folger by dallying with his daughter. However, if you will recall, we’re supposed to be building a settlement here. Before we can bring English ladies to this wilderness, we must provide necessary services. This man Folger may have friends up north who want no part in the rebellion. We must court him, if you will, to lure other worthies to East Florida Colony, even if it means socializing with the merchant class.”

Oliver regarded him with a skeptical frown. “Just be certain you don’t socialize with the little Nantucket wench while you await those English ladies.”

Love Thine Enemy
Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical
July 2009, ISBN - 13: 978-0-373-82815-9
Available at Walmart, your local bookstore, and online bookstores.

If you would like to win a copy of Love Thine Enemy, please leave a comment AND your email address so I can notify you if you win.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Warm, Life-affirming Historical Novel!


This month, I'm delighted to present The Preacher's Wife by Cheryl St. John. Cheryl is one of my fellow Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical authors. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel from beginning to end. No wild chases or explosions, just a solid story of how God works in those who surrender their lives to Him. Here's the story:
There was nothing remotely romantic about widowed father Samuel Hart's marriage proposal. Yet Josie Randolph said yes. The Lord had finally blessed the lonely widow with the family she'd always dreamed of. And she was deeply in love with the handsome preacher, whose high ideals inspired everyone. Surely during their long journey across the western plains to his new post her husband would grow to love her. Each mile brought them closer to home, yet drove them further apart. Samuel didn't seem ready to open his heart again. But Josie was determined to be not just the preacher's wife, but Samuel's wife.

An excerpt from The Preacher’s Wife, Cheryl St.John
Durham, Nebraska, June 1869

Only her husband's physical body lay beneath the lush grass in the fenced-in cemetery behind the tiny white church. His spirit had gone on to be with the Lord, but her mother-in-law insisted that Sunday afternoons were for paying respects to the dead. Josephine Randolph knelt and pulled a fledgling weed from beside the flat piece of granite engraved with her husband's name.

Margaretta slipped a lace-edged hankie from the hidden pocket of her emerald-green dress and dabbed her eyes. "He was too young," she said for the thousandth time. "Too young to lose his life."

Josie nodded. It had been three years, and while she had mourned her husband's death and missed his company, there were no tears left. She had loved him. She had been a good wife. But in his affections she had always taken second place to her mother-in-law. She hastened to remind herself that losing a son or daughter was devastating. Margaretta had lost her only child. Of course the woman was still suffering.

"It would be easier if I could take comfort in the fact that he'd left behind a living legacy."

Knowing and dreading what was coming next, Josie got up and brushed her palms together.

Margaretta sniffed into her hankie. "Your inability to give me a grandchild is almost more than I can bear."

Josie turned her gaze to the countryside, spotted an orange and black butterfly and watched it flutter on the breeze as she steeled herself.

"A child would have been a part of him I could hold on to. If only right now I could be caring for a little boy or girl with Bram's features. I would have so loved to watch him grow. His child would have been such a comfort to me."

Josie wanted to cry, too. She wanted to rail at the woman who made her feel every inch as insignificant as her son had. Didn't Margaretta think a child would have been a comfort to her, as well? Didn't she know that Josie's loneliness was eating her up on the inside? Didn't she think Josie wanted more out of life than… than… this?

Momentarily, she closed her eyes against the painfully blue summer sky. She'd never wanted anything more than a family of her own. She'd spent her entire childhood waiting for her circuit-judge father to return home. The times he had, he'd spared her only meager attention before leaving again.

Because Bram Randolph had been a local newspaperman, she'd known he wouldn't be a traveler. She'd married him with the hope of a secure future. Time had proven Bram more concerned with the whims of Margaretta than the needs of his young wife, however. And that was the simple fact.

"You are coming to the house for dinner, aren't you?"

And be exposed to yet another opportunity for Margaretta to pursue her weekly harangue about Josie's barrenness? Josie opened her eyes. "I'm fixing a stew for Reverend Martin," she replied matter-of-factly. "I'll stay and keep him company."

"He seems to be recovering well." Margaretta smoothed the fingers of her beaded gloves. "Whatever you're doing must be working."

Josie managed a smile. "God's doing His part, too."

Margaretta gathered the hem of her voluminous skirt and walked across the thick spring grass toward the street.

Josie glanced down and read the headstone again. "Beloved son and husband." Not father. Sometimes she felt so incomplete, so alone. She hadn't given her husband children, and for that glaring inadequacy, Margaretta would never forgive her.

"Have a good afternoon!" she called after the woman.

Margaretta delivered a tepid wave and continued marching toward her home a few blocks away. Josie experienced the same relief she always did when her obligatory mourning session and weekly dressing-down was over. At least she'd had a good reason to forgo lengthening the torment by joining the woman for a meal. Margaretta's house had a cold, depressing atmosphere that matched the woman's attitude.

Josie glanced at the bright blue sky with a longing that was rising up so swift and strong that the ache took her breath away. She'd prayed for contentment, but she needed more than this. When she didn't keep busy enough, she daydreamed of impossible things.…

Taking a deep breath, Josie made her way with renewed purpose to the shaded two-story house beside the church. She climbed the back porch steps and let herself in. She'd started a stew earlier, and now checked the savory broth, adding water and salt.

"It's Josie!" she called, removing her bonnet and sweeping along the hallway toward the front of the house.

"Who else would be banging pans in my kitchen?" came the good-natured reply.

She found Reverend Martin in his study, seated where she'd left him, on an overstuffed chair with a plaid wool blanket tucked around his legs. He closed his Bible and removed his spectacles, setting both aside. Last March he'd fallen from the roof of the church while replacing shingles, and had broken several bones, including his collarbone and ribs. A particularly severe break in his leg had become infected, and he'd been bedridden with a fever for weeks. Eventually he'd recovered, and was only now able to move from his bed to the study. The town doctor said it would likely be several more weeks before he'd be strong enough to resume his duties.

She'd always considered him a mentor, but these past weeks had made them friends, as well. "The fire's died down," she said. "I'll get a few logs."

"I can't seem to get warm." He was paler and thinner than before the accident, and the change in such a vital, life-loving man was heartbreaking. The man was probably only in his late thirties, but these past weeks had taken a toll. Josie had dedicated herself to seeing him recover to his former self.

"The stew will warm you from the inside out," she assured him. She took two split logs from the box beside the fireplace and knelt to add them to the fire, then used the poker to adjust the wood until the flames caught and licked up around the sides. The bark snapped in the blaze. Warmth spread from the hearth to where the reverend was sitting.

"That's nice," he said with a grateful smile. "I barely have time to realize a need before you've seen to it."

"It's a privilege to help."

"And a help you are. I don't know what I would do without you."

"God would send someone. But I was available."

He chuckled. "You're a woman of great faith, Josie, but you count yourself a little short."

She seated herself on a nearby ottoman.

"A lot of people are available," he told her. "Few are willing."

She never doubted that God was taking care of the reverend. It was when she thought of her own needs that her confidence got a little shaky. "How about a game of checkers before dinner?" she asked.

He gave her a mock frown and flicked his hand as though shooing away a fly. "Do you think I enjoy your kings chasing my last disk around the board, delaying the inevitable?"

She laughed. "Oh, come now. You win sometimes."

"Only if you feel particularly sorry for me and deliberately pass up chances to jump. We need a new game, one I have a hope of winning."

"Based on chance, rather than skill, Reverend?"

"Didn't I see you and James setting up the board the other evening?"

James, a fatherless lad of about fourteen, came by a few times a week to split wood and perform a few other chores. Josie had quickly sensed that, because his mother worked evenings at the café, James was lonely. She'd offered to teach him the game. "You did. He's fast becoming an apt opponent."

The reverend's enormous calico leaped from its spot on the divan to run through the doorway into the nearest bedroom.

"Must be a caller," the reverend said.

Most everyone knocked at the back door and then walked in, but a rap sounded at the front. Josie and the reverend exchanged a puzzled glance before she got up.

A broad-shouldered man in a brown hat and buckskin jacket stood in the dappled sunlight that filtered through the leaves of the twin maple trees. She had a sudden, swift impression of troubled intensity as his gaze bored into hers.

"Good afternoon, sir," Josie greeted him.

He removed his hat, revealing thick chestnut hair in need of a cut. "Ma'am," he said in greeting. "I'm Samuel Hart. The preacher sent by the First Christian Alliance."

Behind him, three girls of varying ages waited in the street near a dusty team attached to a canvas-covered wagon.

His name registered immediately. "Of course! Come in."

He turned and summoned the girls, the fringe of his jacket swaying as he gestured. The girls she assumed were his daughters were wearing clean but wrinkled clothing, and their hair was neatly tucked beneath stiff-brimmed bonnets.

He handed her his hat, still warm from his head, and she laid it on the hall table before ushering the little troupe into the study. "The interim preacher is here," she said.

Samuel strode forward and shook the elder man's hand. His size and his sun-darkened face and hands made the reverend seem even sicklier in comparison. "Pleased to meet you, sir. These are my daughters. Elisabeth."

Elisabeth was the tallest and oldest, with blue eyes and a full face. Her weary smile was hesitant.

"Abigail." The middle daughter had hair a paler blond than the other two, blue eyes, a narrow face and a prominent chin.

"And Anna." The youngest of the trio possessed wide hazel eyes and a charming smattering of freckles.

A look of confusion wrinkled Reverend Martin's brow. "Josie, didn't the letters say that Samuel was traveling with his wife and family?"

Josie had recalled the same thing. Before she could answer, Samuel Hart said, "My wife died on the way."

The snapping fire was the only sound for a moment.

Anna slipped her hand into Abigail's and the three girls huddled closer, their expressions somber, the pain of their loss evident.

"I'm deeply sorry," Reverend Martin said.

Samuel nodded curtly, the subject apparently closed.

"This is Josephine Randolph." The reverend indicated Josie with a nod. "God sent her to me. She cooks, takes care of the house, does my laundry—she even handled my bills and mail while I was laid up."

"Pleased to make your acquaintance, ma'am."

It was inappropriate that she should notice his well-defined cheekbones or his recently shaved, firm, square chin, but she had. Even his deep, rich voice arrested her attention. But his eyes…she'd never seen so much suffering in a person's eyes, and the sight carved a confusing ache inside her chest.

Samuel turned his gaze to look pointedly at his daughters.

One at a time, they said, "Pleased to meet you."

Glad for the distraction, she said, "You've arrived just in time for dinner. I trust you're hungry. Would you like to help me make biscuits?"

" I would," Abigail said with a bright smile.

Watching his daughters' hesitation and discomfort pained Sam. He hoped the pretty young woman's friendly welcome made this day a trifle easier than the rest. The past weeks had been grueling, both physically and emotionally. "All of you will help Mrs. Randolph," he called after them.

Over her shoulder, Anna cast him a wide-eyed glance, her expression so much like his late wife's that it made his breath hitch in his chest.

Reverend Martin indicated the settee. "Have a seat."

If you would like to win a copy of The Preacher's Wife, please leave a comment AND your email address so I can notify you if you win.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Another Great Regency Romance!

This month I'm featuring Linore Rose Burkard's The House in Grosvenor Square. After reading Ms. Burkard's Before the Season Ends, I've been waiting for this delightful sequel! If you would like the opportunity to win a copy of The House in Grosvenor Square, leave a comment below.

England, 1813: As Ariana Forsythe plans her wedding, she must adjust to the realization that she will soon become the wife of an extremely wealthy man. She wonders if it's wrong to rejoice that her future husband is rich. But she promises herself to use her new position to do what she can to aid the numerous street waifs she sees all too often in London. During a tour of her future home-the house in Grosvenor Square-Ariana impulsively makes plans to redecorate (just a little) according to her tastes.

But when Philip arrives home later, he is informed that an expensive silver candlestick and a miniature portrait of George III have gone missing. Moreover, each time Ariana visits the house, another item disappears.

When Ariana suffers an abduction attempt by two villains, and other mysterious goings-on are unexplained, Mr. Mornay must unravel the mystery of who is after her, and why. He knows he has to prevent any harm from befalling his future bride, even if it means he must keep her under lock and key in his own house!

Romance, suspense, and a deft touch of humor are part of the wonderful story of Philip Mornay and Ariana Forsythe's march to the altar. Fans of Linore's first book, Before the Season Ends, will love this delightful addition to the Regency Inspirational Series, as will all readers of historical romance.

Publisher's Weekly affirms, "Ms. Burkard's command of period detail is impressive, evident in material details, but also in dialogue. Her novels even help non-Regencyphiles learn the difference between ladies' pelisses and spencers...On the whole, it's a tasty confection."

Linore Rose Burkard began writing when she couldn't find a Regency romance with an inspirational twist. "There were Christian books that approached the genre," she says, "But, they fell short of being a genuine Regency. I knew that many women like me want stories that are historically authentic and offer glimpses of God's involvement in our lives. So I finally gave up looking and decided to write one myself."

Ms. Burkard was raised in New York, where she graduated magna cum laude from the City University of New York with a Bachelor of Arts in English literature. She lives with her husband and five children in a town full of antique stores and gift shops in southwestern Ohio. Her hobbies include working on four new Regency novels, family movie nights, swimming, and gardening.

To enter our drawing for a free copy of The House in Grosvenor Square, leave a comment AND your email address so I can contact you if you win.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Joan Hochstetler, A Historical Author after My Own Heart!


Joan's vision for putting real history into novels

I suspect most of us know the old adage that goes something like: “Those who refuse to learn from history will be condemned to repeat it.” There’s a lot of truth in that. We’ve all experienced it in our personal lives, and we see it in the public life of our nation too.

A few years ago I read an article about the historical amnesia among Americans today, particularly among our schoolchildren. The results of history tests taken as part of the National Assessment of Educational Progress showed that most children in this country are shockingly ignorant about even basic information about our nation’s history. That concerns me tremendously. If our citizens lose touch with the great ideals and principles that form the foundation of who we are as a nation, that’s going to have serious consequences for our future. Many of us are already seeing some of those consequences impacting our country today.

History matters. God calls us to remember all the ways He has blessed us in the past. When we look back, we can see His hand of guidance through trials and gather hope, confidence, trust, and faith that God will continue to guide and bless us. History teaches us that we are part of the stream of life, part of the legacy of faith that runs through our own families and our nation from the beginning, part of something bigger than ourselves. It enriches our lives, gives them meaning and purpose, and equips us to be responsible citizens, parents, teachers, and disciples.

I believe there’s a serious need for non-traditional methods of teaching to bring history alive for students. So few students come out of the educational system with any understanding of or interest in history because too often it isn’t taught in a way that engages them and they end up thinking it’s boring. One bright spot is that many history teachers have begun to recommend historical fiction to their students. There are excellent reasons to do that. Well-written, accurate historical fiction allows readers to identify with the story’s characters and experience a world that is outwardly very different from their own—in other words, to really “get” history on an intimate level.

That’s why I write historical fiction. I believe it to be perhaps the most effective tool in teaching history. In this series I’m dropping my fictional characters right in the middle of the crucial events of our nation’s founding. They participate in those events and interact with the real historical people who were involved in them. That gives me the opportunity to include many of the recorded words and actions of the real people as well as details from history such as storms and other natural events that affected the outcomes of some of the battles. What results is a narrative that is as dynamic and thrilling as the real events because it carefully follows the historical record.

My goal is to enable my readers to live in the period I’m writing about so the sacrifices that were made to provide our legacy of freedom become real to them. My fear is that if we don’t learn our history and value the lessons it teaches us, we’ll lose everything our Founders gave their last full measure of devotion to gain. I hope and pray that the blood spilled to bequeath this precious heritage to us will not have been sacrificed in vain.

Inspiration for the series
The series really started as a stand-alone book—Daughter of Liberty. Back in the early 1980s, I watched a TV movie that was set during the French Revolution, The Scarlet Pimpernel, starring Anthony Andrews and Jane Seymour. It totally enthralled me. I was so engaged by the storyline and the characters that I knew I had to write a similar story. Obviously I needed a different revolution, so what more natural than to set my story during the American Revolution? I quickly decided my heroine would be a woman instead of a man, and then, of course, she would have to have a love interest who would be at odds with her dangerous role. I dove headlong into the history of the era, and everything just grew from there.

In writing Daughter of Liberty—with no intention of writing a series—surprising details kept creeping into the story. I had no idea what purpose they served, and some of them seemed irrelevant. But for some reason I couldn’t force myself to take them out. Carleton’s acquaintance with the Shawnee was one of them. Then when the proposal kept getting rejections, I started to think that maybe it would be easier to sell as a series, and so it turned out. And suddenly all the connections for Native Son came together out of those details that had puzzled me. Isn’t that just like God to always go ahead of us?

By then, all the research I was doing had hooked me, and the series grew to include 2 more books. But I quickly realized that was unrealistic if I was going to do justice to this story. So now the series includes a total of 7 books! The upcoming volumes are Crucible of War, Valley of the Shadow, Refiner’s Fire, and Forge of Freedom. I’m going to be an old woman by the time I finish them all, but I’m very much looking forward to writing each volume! This project is not only educating me, but it’s also quite a blast to write!

In addition to the series, I have also published one contemporary novel, One Holy Night (2008), which is a retelling of the Christmas story set in modern times. And I have several other projects in various stages of development, most of them historicals. I’m determined to get them all completed and published someday!

I am a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Christian Authors Network, Middle Tennessee Christian Writers, and Historical Novels Society. My husband and I live near Nashville, Tennessee, and whenever I have any spare time—which is rare these days—I enjoy traveling, gardening, redecorating the house, doing crafts, spending time with my children and grandchildren, and reading.

Louise here: If you would like to win a copy of Joan's exciting new novel, Wind of the Spirit, leave a comment AND your email address so I can contact you if you win.

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Saturday, February 28, 2009



This month, I’m delighted to feature a great writer and awesome lady, DiAnn Mills, whose latest release is an exciting suspense novel entitled Breach of Trust from Tyndale House. I’ve read this book and highly recommend it to suspense lovers and anyone who loves action, adventure, and, um, dare I say? Romance.

DiAnn is an exceptional writer who has sold over 1.5 million books in her eleven year writing career. Her books have won numerous awards, and she is a popular speaker at writers’ conferences around the US. Not only does DiAnn challenge her readers to “Expect an Adventure,” but she also gives back to the writing community by mentoring new and wannabe writers through Jerry Jenkins’ Christian Writer’s Guild. A member of several prestigious writers’ organizations such as American Christian Fiction Writers (a founding member) and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, DiAnn lives in sunny Houston, Texas. She and her husband have four adult sons and are active members of Metropolitan Baptist Church.

Q. DiAnn, tell us about your latest book, Breach of Trust.
A. Paige Rogers is a former CIA agent who lost all she treasured seven years ago when her entire team was killed in a covert mission. She blames their leader—Daniel Keary—whom Paige believes betrayed them. Disillusioned and afraid for her life, she disappeared and started a new life as a small-town librarian. But when Keary announces his candidacy for governor of her state, he comes after Paige to ensure that she won’t ruin his bid for office. He threatens everything she holds dear, and Paige must choose between the life of hiding that has become her refuge . . . or risking everything in one last, desperate attempt to right old wrongs.

Q. What gave you the inspiration for this story?
A. While driving through rural Oklahoma, my "what-if" writer's mode kicked in. What if a CIA agent was forced to change identities and hide out in rural Oklahoma? What would she do? How would she change her looks? And more importantly, what would bring her out of hiding? I wanted my heroine to have found God among good people who showed her what following Jesus was all about. And I wanted her commitment to her new-found faith to guide her in all of the decisions she faced in bringing a corrupt politician to justice.

Q. What themes exist in Breach of Trust that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?
A. All Christians are called to a purpose, a divine calling that others may not understand. The issue of trust is difficult topic for anyone who has ever been betrayed.

Q. What advice or tips do you have for writers who are just getting started?
A. Read the books in the genre you want to write. Read the how-to books.
Attend conferences and get to know other writers, editors, and agents. You are a professional. Write every day. Pray for wisdom and guidance. Give God the glory.

Q. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?
A. Breach of Security is my next book in the Call of Duty series. Danika Morales is a Border Patrol Agent in McAllen, Texas. For two years she's looked for the murderer of her husband. What she discovers is a plot to destroy everything she believes in.

Thank you, DiAnn!

If you want to know more about DiAnn’s books and ministries, visit her Web site at . Look for Breach of Trust in your local bookstore. Tyndale House, ISBN: 1-4143-2047-2.

Enter our drawing for a free, autographed copy of Breach of Trust by leaving a comment AND your email address. (I have no way to contact you if you don’t!)

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Monday, February 9, 2009

A Beautiful Lady Pirate Meets Her Match!


As a college English instructor, I present my students with a book list from which they must choose a novel to read and then give an oral report. One of my students chose The Falcon and the Sparrow by M. L. Tyndall. In her report, my student said that she was like Chase Randal, the hero of the story, in that she had turned away from God. Through reading Tyndall’s book, this young lady returned to her childhood faith and was filled with joy. This is the value of Christian fiction, and this is why I am delighted to present Ms. Tyndall’s next book. The Red Siren is truly a delightful tale, but it is also about the spiritual odyssey of two people who are drawn together despite their differences. Even more than that, the hero and heroine are drawn to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of their souls. Read on. Louise M. Gouge

Faith Westcott abandoned her shallow faith when a series of tragedies struck her family. To save herself and her sisters from forced marriages, this fiery, born-to-the-manor redhead is a lady by day and a pirate by night. How long can she maintain this dual identity before she’s caught red-handed?

God-fearing Dajon Waite, who scours the Carolina coast, expunging it of pirates, is a more-than-capable captain in the British Royal Navy. But when he is asked to take on the guardianship of Faith and her sisters, he’s headed for deep water. Having vowed to avoid women, what will he do when he finds himself falling for Faith?
Will Faith regain her trust in God only to find herself headed for the gallows? Will Dajon scuttle his good name—and neck—to save her?

Meet MaryLu, aka, M. L. Tyndall
Q: Pirates and adventures on the high seas are topics you love to write about. What draws you to craft stories about these topics?
A: Tall ships in the Age of Sail have always been a passion of mine—one that I gained early on as I grew up on the beaches of South Florida. I used to lie on the sand, listen to the waves lapping onshore, and dream of grand adventures on the sea. There is something romantic, yet dangerous, about the sea, and I admire the men and women who ventured upon it seeking new lands, fortune, and adventure. No matter what story I formulate in my mind, it always tends to include at least one of those magnificent ships sailing the ocean blue.

Q: How did you get your start in writing?
A: I’ve written my entire life. It’s always been something I’ve enjoyed, but it was more of a hobby for many years than anything else. The very first time I sat down to write a novel that I intended to submit to a publishing house was four years ago after I had watched the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie with my daughter. I felt the Lord tugging on me to write a story about a Christian pirate—a man who had once been wicked and done vile things but who had given his life over to God. I had so much fun writing that book, but I still knew the odds were slim that I would ever see it in print. God had a different idea. Three months after I finished The Redemption, I was offered a 3-book contract from Barbour publishing.

Q: In The Red Siren, the story of Faith Westcott is taken from the parable of Matthew 13 in which the farmer sowed a seed on rocky soil. When the plant came up, it was withered and scorched because it had no root. What are the foundations that are so important in order for us to develop a faith with roots?
A: Great question! I believe the biggest and most important foundation for a victorious Christian life is to know God. By knowing God, I mean to really know Who He is. To know His character, His desires, His sorrows, and most of all His love. And like any relationship, you cannot get to know someone unless you spend time with him. To know God should be our greatest desire. And we do this by reading His Word often, by praying without ceasing and by abiding in His presence. When we do these things, despite our enemies’ continual attempts to stop us, we will come to see how wonderful, how faithful, how glorious and how powerful our God is. But most of all, we will get a glimpse into how much He truly loves each one of us. Then when bad things happen as they did to Faith in The Red Siren, we won’t fall away or become scorched by our trials. Why? Because we know that God loves us, and no matter how bleak things appear, He is working all things out for our good.

Q: How do you think God uses tragedies for good in our lives?
A: In answer to this question, allow me to give an example most of us can relate to—a parent. Suppose there were two little boys. One was raised by loving parents but in a family where there was no discipline. He was allowed every freedom possible and received everything he wanted. When he grew to manhood and left home, he had not learned to work hard and thus couldn’t hold down a job. He had not learned to get along with others, so he had no friends. He had not learned to live without the things he coveted so he stole them and ended up spending his life in prison. The other boy grew up with loving parents who disciplined him. He was not given every freedom. In fact, he had to earn each freedom he received by proving that he could be trusted. Though it pained them, his parents allowed difficulties to come into his life to teach him the value of integrity, patience, honor and courage. When he grew to manhood and left home, he worked hard at his chosen profession, got married, had children and lived a happy, successful life. The moral of the story? God uses bad things in our lives to teach us to be more like Him and to become more effective for His Kingdom and, in essence, to have successful lives and be filled with joy!

Q: In the book, Dajon struggles between doing good works for God and simply accepting God’s grace. How has this been a struggle for you?
A: When I became a Christian, I had spent years doing many bad things. Consequently, it was hard for me to accept God’s complete forgiveness. I wanted to pay Him back by doing as many good deeds as I could: volunteering at church, visiting the sick in hospitals and tithing great amounts of money. None of those things made me feel any better about myself. In fact, they made me feel much worse as I looked around and saw others doing even more. The truth of the matter is, God’s gift of forgiveness and salvation is free and undeserved and can never be paid back, no matter what we do. Getting that through my thick skull has been a challenge, but once I began to really understand, it changed my whole perspective on God. I no longer viewed Him as a gift giver I needed to repay, but as a gift giver I needed to worship. God has done it all, and I can do nothing except bow before His throne with eternal love and gratefulness and completely surrender my life to Him,not because I’m trying to pay Him back but because of who He is!

Q: A character in the novel struggles to believe in the existence of God. What would you say to someone like him?
A: I would say that God has made Himself evident in His creation and in our hearts and that He promises that if we seek Him with all our heart, we will find Him. My husband was a non-believer for many years and though I tried every Christian apologetic tactic on him to convince him of God’s existence, nothing worked. One day, frustrated, I told him to find a spot where he could be alone and ask God to reveal Himself. So my husband went for a walk on the hill behind our house and did just that. And guess what? God showed up. In a big way, and my non-believing, scientist husband came down from that hill a changed man. The key I believe was that my husband was really seeking. He really wanted to know God, and he was open to finding Him. God’s Word is true. If we truly seek Him and keep seeking Him, He will make Himself known.

Q: Of the three sisters in The Red Siren, who do you relate to most and why?
A: I’d like to say that I relate to Faith the most. She’s independent, strong, confident, and courageous: everything I’ve wanted to be most of my life! Plus, who wouldn’t want to try their hand at being a pirate? But, in all honesty, Hope is the sister I relate to the most. She’s had a rough go of things. She’s insecure, wounded and she’s seeking more than anything to be valued and loved. She longs to be strong like Faith and to be pious like Grace, but she finds she can be neither. Though she knows about God, she doesn’t value herself enough to think that God would give her a passing glance. So, she is easily drawn away from Him by the things of this world. This was my life before I came back to the Lord, so Hope’s story (The Blue Enchantress, summer 2009) is very dear to my heart.

Thank you, MaryLu.


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Monday, January 19, 2009


CONGRATULATIONS to Joyce! You won a copy of Linore Rose Burkard's Before the Season Ends!

I finished reading this delightful book yesterday and highly recommend it. I'm not a Regency scholar, but I do know a fun story when I read one. And Before the Season Ends is just that. Abandon yourself to this tale of faith and love, and let the adventure begin. A nice addition is the Regency lexicon in the back to help the uninitiated with terms unique to the era.

Thank you to all who entered the drawing. Your kind remarks are a great encouragement to the author. If you didn't win, by all means, go get this book for your own personal library!

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Sunday, December 21, 2008


ABOUT THE BOOK Before the Season Ends

England, 1813
Romantic woes at home send Ariana Forsythe to her Aunt Bentley’s town house in the fashionable Mayfair district of London. There she finds worse troubles than those that prompted her flight from home. Under her aunt’s watchful eye, Ariana is soon steeped in high society—and at odds with Mr. Phillip Mornay, London’s current darling rogue.

Then, unexpectedly, rumour of a scandal changes Ariana forever. Her faith and her future are at stake in an unexpected adventure that gains even the Prince Regent’s attention.

Will Ariana’s faith survive this test? And what about her heart? For it is Ariana’s heart that most threatens to betray the truths she has always believed in. When she finds herself backed against a wall, betrothed to a man who cannot share her faith, how can it ever turn out right?

This book is generating great praise among Regency romance lovers. Janice LaQiere of Logos Book Reviews says: “In the vein of Jane Austen, Burkard weaves a delightful world, rich with detail. Her characters spring to life as they deal with their own struggles and prejudices.” I haven't read it yet but have it on my Christmas list.

Linore Rose Burkard delights in bringing Regency England to life with Inspirational Romance for the Jane Austen Soul. After self-publishing her first novel, Before the Season Ends, Harvest House Publishers snatched up her book and she now writes exclusively for them. Linore's books give readers the sense of visiting the Regency while bringing a message of hope in character-driven stories that delight and inspire. A longtime fan of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, Linore's desire is to provide quality historical fiction with a Christian worldview and "happy endings only!" Born and raised in NYC, Linore now lives in Ohio with her husband and five children, and is a member of FHL-RWA, ACFW, Christian Authors' Network, and other organizations.

More of what Linore has to say about her books:

England in the 1800s is a world away from the 21st century. What do you think we could learn today from how society operated in the Regency period?

Times have changed, but people haven't. Men and women of the time were concerned with their appearances, their finances, their futures, finding the right spouse, and so on, just as we are, today. How they went about pursuing these ends is where all the difference lies, however, and this is precisely where the interest and adventure opens up for writers. Bringing to life the means and methods of everyday life and timeless concerns from the regency. It is fun and enlightening as a glimpse into the past, but readers can also identify with the basic human need to be genuinely loved for onself, no matter the setting or time period, and to be certain of one’s convictions concerning life, eternity, and faith. Having said that, it is good to remind modern readers that valuing one’s purity can be mainstream, as it was then; or that the struggle to find a true love and a sense that one’s life has value, has always been a human issue.

What do you hope readers will take away from your books?
I hope my readers will feel as though they've been transported to the Regency for a good, satisfying visit; While they’re visiting, they’ll be reminded that God is involved in their life, and that happy endings are possible for everyone.


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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Piracy, Pathos, and Paradise!


Caleb Spencer has a secret that can ruin his carefully planned future in politics. Emilie Gayarre must hide her past or be cast out of society. And each holds the key to the other’s happiness . . . or destruction.

Kathleen Y’Barbo’s new novel, Beloved Captive, takes readers on an exciting adventure with pirates, mysteries, adventure, and faith. Set in an intriguing time – the 1830s, and place – the Florida Keys, this novel is sure to leave readers breathless.

Beloved Captive
Kathleen Y'Barbo
Barbor Publishing, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-60260-230-4

If you would like to win a copy of Beloved Captive, leave a comment below. BE SURE TO LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS SO WE CAN CONTACT YOU IF YOU WIN!!!

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Lying on Sunday by Sharon K. Souza


My guest this week is Sharon K. Souza, whose latest novel, Lying on Sunday, will be given away in a drawing on November 21.

Welcome Sharon!

Author of Lying on Sunday

1. In your previous novel, Every Good & Perfect Gift, you address the tough issues of infertility and catastrophic illness. Again, in Lying on Sunday, you've tackled a tough subject, that being infidelity. Why do you choose such tough topics?

I like to write stories that speak to women on deep and personal levels. None of us gets through this life without being affected in some form by sadness, loss, a sense of failure over one issue or another, and having been failed. I think when we know we're not the only one going through these types of situation--and it's so easy to feel that you are alone--it gives us hope that we really can come through, not necessarily unscathed, but certainly stronger and more equipped to help others.

2. Do heavy topics equal a heavy reading experience?

Definitely not. I firmly believe that pleasure reading should first and foremost be entertaining. Time is a precious commodity. I hope that readers who choose to spend some of their precious hours in the pages of my books will thoroughly enjoy the experience.

So even though I tackle tough subjects, I infuse enough humor to keep those subjects from becoming an albatross around the reader's neck. Conversely, I love to read for pleasure, but I want to take something away from the experience.

3. What would you have readers take away from Lying on Sunday?

In one day, Abbie Torrington has the underpinnings of her world knocked out from under her. Everything she thinks she knows about her marriage turns out to be false. It leaves her reeling in the aftermath. Years ago, while dealing with health issues in my own life, a close friend gave me a Precious Moments figurine entitled "Light at the End of the Tunnel." In Lying on Sunday I want to show that even with issues as devastating as betrayal there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, and for me that Light, of course, is Jesus.

4. Lying on Sunday deals with the betrayal of infidelity, but are there other forms of betrayal that the book might speak to?

Types of betrayal obviously vary, but the end results can be equally devastating. Any time a trust is broken between people in relationship, someone is going to be hurt. We can either allow those hurts to hinder us, or we can allow the Lord to use them as lessons to make us better and stronger. That brings to mind the old adage "What doesn't kill me makes me stronger." Well, through her own devastating experience Abbie becomes a stronger, more independent person than she knew she could be.

5. Once again you've written a story with a strong and vital friendship that's central to the story. Was that coincidence or by design?

Absolutely by design. I'm all about relationships and so are my characters. Having gone through a period in my early adulthood without a close friend, I know how important friends are in our lives. In fact, I've recently reconnected with two friends from high school, one I hadn't seen in 25 years, and the other in over 30 years. But relationships between women, while vital, can be very complex. That's certainly true for Abbie. Besides her close friendship with Shawlie Bryson, she has a close relationship with one daughter and a challenging relationship with the other, mostly because of the very different emotional place these girls are in while dealing with the death of their father. Not only that, but Abbie has a strained relationship with her own mother for reasons she eventually discovers. I'm certain that women of each one of these generations will relate to one or the other of these characters, especially the woman caught in the middle, where she's both the daughter and the mother.

6. Truth is a theme you deal with extensively in Lying on Sunday. In a book that deals with betrayal, wouldn't forgiveness be a more fitting theme?

I believe forgiveness is the key to getting beyond the kind of hurt Abbie experiences - which doesn't necessarily equate to restored relationship. (In Abbie's case, of course, that's impossible anyway.) But the discovery of truth is a huge first step in the process. In any difficult situation we can choose to ignore the facts and try to keep life on an even keel. But there inevitably comes a day of reckoning. For Abbie to arrive at the desired destination, there are some unpleasant truths she must acknowledge and deal with. She's dogged by a scripture from John 8:32 that says the truth will set you free. Only she can decide whether or not she'll let it.

7. What is the most satisfying thing that comes out of your writing?

I love hearing from readers, especially those I don't know, who say my stories have touched them in one way or another, and most importantly, have helped them see more clearly how good and loving our Lord is.

8. What are you working on now, and does it continue in the style of Lying on Sunday and Every Good & Perfect Gift?

My work in progress, Unraveled, is another contemporary novel about a young woman who gives a year of her life to help teach children in Moldova, a small country in eastern Europe. While there she experiences a crisis of fath (the story ultimately deals with human trafficking). And yes, it continues in the style of my previous novels.

9. Is there anything you'd like to add?

I'm an avid fan of Christian fiction, both as a writer and a reader. I am pleased that it has grown to include titles that are topping the most prestigious best seller lists in America. As a Christian and lover of fiction, I believe it's time this genre came into its own, and have a strong desire to contribute to it."

Naturally I love to hear from readers. You can email me through my website: If you're in a book club and choose to read any of my books I'll send a complimentary book to the person who contacts me on behalf of their group. Then, after you read the book I'd love to participate in your group discussion, either by phone or in person if you're close enough for me to drive to.

Author: Sharon K. Souza
Paperback: 427 pages
Publisher: Navpress Publishing Group (September 15, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1600061761
ISBN-13: 978-1600061769

Praise for Lying on Sunday:
A moving drama in the tradition of The Pilot's Wife. Sharon K. Souza is a talented author who never fails to impress. - Kathryn Cushman, author of Waiting for Daybreak

Lying on Sunday is delightful and poignant, witty and moving. I devoured the story, reading it in two days. Bravo! - Nancy Moser, author of Washington's Lady and Just Jane.

Be sure to leave a comment to enter the drawing for a copy of Lying on Sunday.

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Michelle Sutton explains her vision


I wanted to write a story that would grip young people's hearts and make them think about their lives. So I took a beautiful girl with a bright future and had everything she thought she wanted in life ripped from her hands. Then I watched what God did in her life through someone who loved her enough to help her heal and to show her what real faith was. It's a romance story with a love triangle, but it's more than that. There are serious conflicts throughout the novel and boy did my characters take me on a wild ride with this novel. I hope you enjoy the story but I don't want to share any spoilers, so you will have to read it to find out what the conflicts entail. Here is a brief synopsis.

About the book: Annie has it all. She's attractive, graduated with honors, was accepted at the college of her choice, has supportive parents, good friends, and a steady boyfriend who loves her. One night when an unexpected visitor appears, Annie's safe world is destroyed. As she tries to recover the pieces of her broken life, a war ensues between two brothers who both claim to have her best interests at heart. But who will Annie choose? Or will she decide to turn her life in a different direction?

About the author: Michelle is a member of ACFW, Volunteer Officer on the ACFW Operating Board, Editor-in-chief for Christian Fiction Online Magazine, Sheaf House Marketing Director, edgy fiction writer, book reviewer, avid blogger/alliance member, CWOW blog mistress, mother of two teenagers, wife, pet owner, social worker by trade, and follower of Jesus Christ.

Michelle Sutton (pen name)
The Edgy Inspirational Author
ACFW Volunteer Officer

It's Not About Me - 4 stars from Romantic Times!

To win a copy of It's Not about Me, tell Michelle how you would use the book to influence others to purchase it. On November 14, Michelle will read all the entries and choose a winner!

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Eve. Myth and legend surround her in mystery. Now hear her story.

Recently I read the most amazing novel about our first mother, Eve. I am delighted to feature Havah here, along with my endorsement AND a book giveaway.

This is our Beginning, deeply, richly, beautifully imagined, lifting our hearts in worship to the One who Is.

From paradise to exile, from immortality to the death of Adam, experience the dawn of mankind through the eyes of Eve—the woman first known as Havah.

Words from Tosca Lee:
Why I wrote it--I like examining conventional wisdom and staple stories – which have become woven into the fabric of our culture so thoroughly as to be taken for granted – in a new light. I don’t like comic-booky characters, villains or protagonists—whether they be red-horned demons or, in Havah’s case, the first woman of Genesis. No one—including demons, humans, or God, are that two-dimensional.

About the name “Havah”--“Havah” is the Hebrew name for Eve. I’ve drawn on nontransliterated names for her family members as well in this rendering, mostly to help escape the cliché images that spring to mind when one hears “Adam and Eve,” or “Cain and Abel.” The one name that remains mostly the same is Adam’s, as “Ha-adam,” meaning merely “man from the (red) earth.” Though we are told Eve’s proper name in the Genesis account, we are never given a proper name for Adam. He was literally… “The Man.”

What I want readers to take away--That sense of “Oh!” at what that perfect communion with God, and with another human might have been like. As I envisioned it, in writing it, I sometimes sighed. I hope there are moments like that for Havah’s readers. I want them also to think, “Haha—I have felt that way before toward my spouse/children/chores.” Regardless of the age, some aspects of life really don’t change. We all have moments of bliss, of feeling taken for granted, of heartbreak and hope.

It was important to me to write this story, too, because frankly, Eve has long been vilified for her role in this story. But both Eve and her mate were culpable. And while all of humanity is fallen because of it, women throughout history have suffered varying degrees of guilt, suspicion, and even abuse because of this story. That, alone, merits close scrutiny. It is my belief, especially for those who consult scriptures for guidelines on daily living, that we have a moral obligation to delve deeper than we have into what exactly happened here.

To enter a drawing to win a copy of Havah, leave a comment AND your email address.

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Friday, October 3, 2008

Looking for a great book to read? See Below.


A Taste of Murder
By Virginia Smith

A ruthless killer stalks a young woman during a Kentucky town's annual Bar-B-Q Festival. He's had a taste of murder … and is hungry for more.

When classical music lover Jasmine Delaney accepts a gig to play her violin in a small town, she arrives in time to join in the festivities of the local Bar-B-Q Festival. But when she checks into the hotel, Jazzy is in for a few unpleasant surprises--like a body in the bathtub covered in barbeque sauce. Not even the soothing strains of Mozart can still her jangled nerves--especially when it seems the killer is intent on making her the next victim.

"A Taste of Murder is a delightful read. ... Virginia Smith dishes up strong characters, a viable plot and a warm, effective conclusion. " -- Romantic Times (4-star Review)


Lying on Sunday
By Sharon Souza

For Abbie Torrington, betrayal and truth are about to collide.

After learning her husband died of a heart attack—in another woman's bed—Abbie is faced with a choice: She can give in to despair, or she can create a new life. Abbie does both … Then a shocking revelation threatens to undo everything she's accomplished. Will the power of the truth really set Abbie free, or is forgiveness too far out of reach?

"Sharon has created a character so vivid and real you'll feel as though you've stepped into Abbie Torrington's life. You don't want to miss this beautiful story of healing and grace." --- Virginia Smith, author of Stuck in the Middle.

"Lying on Sunday is delightful and poignant, witty and moving . . . Bravo!" --- Nancy Moser, award-winning author of Washington's Lady and Just Jane.

To read an excerpt of these new titles, click on the CAW icon on the right -->

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Friday, September 26, 2008

More great books to read!

Longings of the Heart
By Bonnie Leon
Revell Publishers

Will hidden secrets destroy the love they've built?
John and Hannah have survived betrayal and imprisonment.
Now Hannah reaches for a new beginning.
But will secrets from her past destroy the present?
John Bradshaw trusts in a new life. Instead, he discovers deception.
One evil heart lies waiting to tear their lives apart. Will evil triumph?
Or will their longing hearts find joy?

Don't miss this heartrending second book in the Sidney Cove series!

A Culdee Creek Christmas
By Kathleen Morgan

DEEP AMID THE WINTER SNOW, TWO LIVES ARE WAITING FOR REBIRTH. Both have been scarred by loss and misunderstanding. Both are yearning for a fresh start. As Christmas approaches, can these two hearts find the strength to forgive and the grace to heal? Or will they allow circumstances to send them along different paths?
One Perfect Gift is the heartwarming and tender story you will cherish this Christmas.

It's November 1933 when Jessica Ashmore steps off the train from Baltimore onto the high plains east of Colorado Springs, Colorado with her six-year-old daughter, Emma. Though hungry and penniless, Jessie finds solace in the fact that a nursing job awaits her in this remote outpost. But even the best-laid plans frequently have a way of falling apart…

To read an excerpt of these new titles go to Chapter-a-Week: To join our deeper discussion of these and other titles go to Chapter-a-Week Chat at where authors and readers discuss new titles together.



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