Saturday, February 28, 2009

like the dryer

I'm sitting here on an early Saturday morning, while my household sleeps, listening to the sound of the dryer. Something with zippers keeps rattling every few seconds.

I was thinking my mind is tumbling around like that dryer, thoughts being turned in circles. Reading several blogs already this morning made me think of God, how He accomplishes His purpose (in spite of us!); books I want to read; friends dealing with crises and losing loved ones; coffee; Lent.

I think I might need to make myself another cup of coffee...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

CFBA Presents Daisy Chain

I am almost halfway through this novel, so I will be reviewing it next week for Mary De Muth's other blog tour. So stop by next week for that.


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Daisy Chain

Zondervan (March 1, 2009)

by

Mary DeMuth



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mary E. DeMuth is an expert in Pioneer Parenting. She enables Christian parents to navigate our changing culture when their families left no good faith examples to follow.

Her parenting books include Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture (Harvest House, 2007), Building the Christian Family You Never Had (WaterBrook, 2006), and Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God (Harvest House, 2005).

Mary also inspires people to face their trials through her real-to-life novels, Watching The Tree Limbs
(nominated for a Christy Award) and Wishing On Dandelions (NavPress, 2006).

Mary has spoken at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, the ACFW Conference, the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, and at various churches and church planting ministries. Mary and her husband, Patrick, reside in Texas with their three children. They recently returned from breaking new spiritual ground in Southern France, and planting a church.


ABOUT THE BOOK

The abrupt disappearance of young Daisy Chance from a small Texas town in 1973 spins three lives out of control—Jed, whose guilt over not protecting his friend Daisy strangles him; Emory Chance, who blames her own choices for her daughter’s demise; and Ouisie Pepper, who is plagued by headaches while pierced by the shattered pieces of a family in crisis.

In this first book in the Defiance, Texas Trilogy, fourteen-year-old Jed Pepper has a sickening secret: He’s convinced it’s his fault his best friend Daisy went missing. Jed’s pain sends him on a quest for answers to mysteries woven through the fabric of his own life and the lives of the families of Defiance, Texas. When he finally confronts the terrible truths he’s been denying all his life, Jed must choose between rebellion and love, anger and freedom.

Daisy Chain is an achingly beautiful southern coming-of-age story crafted by a bright new literary talent. It offers a haunting yet hopeful backdrop for human depravity and beauty, for terrible secrets and God’s surprising redemption.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Daisy Chain, go HERE

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

CFBA Gingham Mountain


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Gingham Mountain

Barbour Books (February 1, 2009)

by

Mary Connealy



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mary's writing journey is similar to a lot of others. Boil it down to persistence, oh, go ahead and call it stubbornness. She just kept typing away. She think the reason she did it was because she was more or less a dunce around people—prone to sit silently when she really ought to speak up(or far worse, speak up when she ought to sit silently).

So, Mary had all these things, she want to say, in her head; the perfect zinger to the rude cashier, which you think of an hour after you’ve left the store, the perfect bit of wisdom when someone needs help, which doesn’t occur to you until they solve their problems themselves, the perfect guilt trip for the kids, which you don’t say because you’re not an idiot. She keep all this wit to herself, much to the relief of all who know her, and then wrote all her great ideas into books. It’s therapeutic if nothing else, and more affordable than a psychiatrist.

So then a very nice, oh so nice publishing company like Barbour Heartsong comes along and says, “Hey, we’ll pay you money for this 45,000 word therapy session.” That’s as sweet as it gets.

Mary's journey to publication is the same as everyone’s except for a few geniuses out there who make it hard for all of us. And even they probably have an Ode to Roast Beef or two in their past.

There are two other books in this Lassoed In Texas Series: Petticoat Ranch and Calico Canyon


ABOUT THE BOOK


All aboard for a delightful, suspense-filled romance, where a Texan is torn between his attraction to a meddlesome schoolmarm and the charms of a designing dressmaker. When Hannah Cartwright meets Grant, she's determined to keep him from committing her orphans to hard labor on his ranch. How far will she go to ensure their welfare?

Grant Cooper is determined to provide a home for the two kids brought in by the orphan train as runs head-on into the new school marm, who believes he's made slave labor out of eight orphaned children. He crowds too many orphans into his rickety house, just like Hannah Cartwright's cruel father. Grant's family of orphans have been mistreated too many times by judgmental school teachers. Now the new schoolmarm is the same except she's so pretty and she isn't really bad to his children, it's Grant she can't stand.

But he is inexplicably drawn to Hannah. Can he keep his ragtag family together while steering clear of love and marriage? Will he win her love or be caught in the clutches of a scheming seamstress?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Gingham Mountain, go HERE

Pattie's Review:

I was not instantly grabbed by this one as I had been the previous two in Mary Conneally's series. However, once I got the plethora of names straight, it got better (as one might expect in a third book of a trilogy, we get to catch up with characters from the previous two books. With all those children, it makes for a bit of a challenge at first!).

There's an interesting mix in Mary's fiction of poverty, fun, "ragtag families" and good vs. evil.

All in all, a good read.

LOVE TO WRITE Tour #3

Welcome to the Blog Tour for My Book Therapy's new book!
Click on the logo below to go to My Book Therapy's website.


A therapist thought: Writing in the midst of a busy life, by bestselling author Rachel Hauck


Early on in my writing life, I had to give up the notion that writing time would come easy, be ideal and full of inspiration.

When I signed my first book contract, I was working full time for a software company as a department manager. I’d recently become a worship leader at my church, adding that to my job as youth pastor’s wife. My husband and I also gathered with other area pastors to start a weekly multi-church prayer meeting and I’d become the Vice President of a national writers organization and was coordinating our second annual conference.

Writing? Yeah, like when? Where? And I didn’t even have children to raise. I felt pushed, pulled, torn, frazzled and on the edge. I’d never written a book to be published before. I’d not coordinated a conference and my committee was “out there” across America. If I failed, I’d let so many people down, including myself.

I lay in bed one night praying, trying to decide if I should just work up my courage and resign as Vice President and admit I couldn’t do it all. I didn’t need to be that kind of person. But as my final grasp for God’s grace, I whispered in the darkness, “Lord, you have a conference to coordinate, let me know what you need me to do.”

Peace washed over me. I didn’t resign. The Lord sent me a co-coordinator. The conference was a success.

And, I wrote my first book by June of that year and met my deadline.

A busy life seems impossible to avoid these days. We have so many options and opportunities available to us. Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way.

1. Make sure the jobs or opportunities you embrace are really from the Lord. Don’t say yes out of guilt or even selfish ambition. Know that you know all you’re doing is right and good. Sure I had a full plate that one year, but I knew God had loaded me up for a reason.

2. Give it all back to Him. Ask for wisdom and grace, insight and help.

3. Let go of any and all concept that you have to be perfect. You’ll fail and it’s okay to fail. There were quite a few bloopers at that second annual conference, but we got past them. God’s grace was greater.

4. Get organized. Since I knew my book deadline, I wrote out my writing schedule on a calendar. I had a few extra vacation days so I scheduled them as mega-writing sessions. It’s not unholy, or ungodly to plan. Most of us fail in our sincerest desires because we live by the tyranny of the urgent. We don’t plan so our lives are governed by the moment. If we do plan, we allow ourselves to be knocked off course. Schedule writing time and STICK to it. If it’s one hour a week, then guard it with all your might.

5. Be confident before God. Know that He has good works planned for you to walk in. He loves you. He wants you to succeed.


In the midst of juggling my schedule, I worked hard to maintain my own intimate relationship with Jesus. It wasn’t always easy and I failed to reach my ultimate goal, but by having a goal, I found success. Otherwise, I might have drifted way away from the heart-to-heart relationship I wanted with Him.

There were a few tools I used to help me stay on track with my relationship.

I attended corporate prayer meetings.
I was faithful to all worship services.
I went early to youth church or main church to have prayer times.


Look for ways to fortify your spiritual as well as natural life.


Find a buddy to pray with or write with.
Ask your family to “do it with you.” As parents we spend time driving our children to school, music or dance, sports events. Wouldn’t they love to help mom or dad meet their writing goal? Bring them into the adventure with you.
Pray. Ask Jesus for grace. For help. If all else fails, use my prayer. “Lord, you have a book to write, let me know what I need to do.


If you find you just can’t manage it all, set is aside and wait. Maybe your season of writing is not yet. But keep taking notes, keep praying, keep learning.

God is faithful to keep us in His will. Even when we fail, He will not.

So exhale. Relax. Have fun.

_____
For more posts in this tour, go to Amy's blog tour site. And, the CONTEST!

Enter the contests for the LOVE TO WRITE blog tour!

You have two chances to win!

Want to win a copy of From the Inside…Out: Discover, Create and Publish the Novel in You (http://www.lulu.com/content/5272647) for your very own? Leave a comment here (http://www.mybooktherapy.com/index2.php/?page_id=177) and tell us what kind of novel you have in YOU.

AND Do you already have your novel down on the page? Does it need a little THERAPY? Enter to win 10% off a Book Therapy Session (http://www.mybooktherapy.com/index2.php/?page_id=188 ) (that’s a savings of $30+) by leaving a comment here (http://www.mybooktherapy.com/index2.php/?page_id=177) telling us a brief synopsis of your story!

All winners will be chosen at random. Contest ends 2/28 and the winners will be announced on March 2nd!

Monday, February 16, 2009

LOVE TO WRITE Tour #2

Welcome to the Blog Tour for My Book Therapy's new book!
Click on the logo below to go to My Book Therapy's website.


Link to buy the book: http://stores.lulu.com/mybooktherapy

Today's post is from author Susan May Warren.


Thoughts from Therapist Susan May Warren: Writing the story of your heart

Q: Have you ever had a story that you wanted to write, a spiritual message you wanted to share, but it won't let you just yet?

A: Yes, I have a couple stories sitting in my heart that I haven’t had the opportunity or perhaps the divine timing to write yet.

I’m a firm believer that God will work out the story in the right time, so I continue to collect ideas, impressions, do research and let those ideas soak, waiting for the right timing. But sometimes I’m not ready – emotionally, or even professionally to write it. Maybe I don’t have the skill level yet. And I certainly don’t want to waste my swan’s song on mediocre writing! So, in the meantime, I move onto the stories I have the ability to write right now.

This is what happened with my “Josey” series. The story of my hilarious happenings in Russia simmered in my heart YEARS before God opened the door to write it. And when he did, the timing was perfect. (My first book in that series, Everything’s Coming Up Josey, was a Christy finalist). The same thing happened with Nothing but Trouble. I cooked up my heroine PJ Sugar four years before I saw it come to publication. And I’m glad I waited – I hope I did Sugar justice! (Nothing But Trouble hits the stands May 2009! Read a preview at http://gotsugar.susnamywarren.com)

I think a lot of writers believe they have to write the stories on their hearts…but perhaps they’re also not ready to write that story yet. I think it’s wise to ask God if it’s time…or if there is another story that could hone your skills in the meantime, in preparation for that heart story.

So, don’t give up on your heart story. Wait on Him, and be open to working on something else in the meantime.

God Bless you on your writing journey!

Susan May Warren
Founder, www.mybooktherapy.com

Sunday, February 15, 2009

LOVE TO WRITE Tour #1

Welcome to the Blog Tour for My Book Therapy's new book!
Click on the logo below to go to My Book Therapy's website.


Have you always wanted to write a novel, but didn’t know where to start? This book is for you. With proven techniques, easy to understand explanations and practical steps, From The Inside...Out will teach you how a story is structured then take you through the process of creating and marketing your novel.

Topics include: Character-driven plotting, How to HOOK your reader, The elements and flow of SCENES, How to build STORYWORLD, Secrets to Sizzling Dialogue, Proven Self-Editing techniques, Synopsis and Query letter writing, How to manage your writing career ...and everything in between!



You can purchase the book here: http://stores.lulu.com/mybooktherapy


Write a book with My Book Therapy Voices in 2009!

Remember those games you used to play where your friend started the story, and you finished it? Or the “Choose your own ending” books? Ever wanted to be a part of the story process, giving input on the character’s decisions, learning how to write a book as you go? Me too!

Here at My Book Therapy, we love to write, and we love to teach writers how to find their voice. So, in 2009 we’ll be writing a book together! Starting in January, we’ll create characters, a plot, develop conflict, the black moment, the epiphany and finally…the happy ending. Then, week by week, you’ll be a part of the creation process, voting on the next step of our hero’s journey, watching the book take life, and learning the nuances of crafting a story. You’ll Blog-A-Book with the My Book Therapy authors and get tools to help you how to write your own novel.

And, at the end of the year, we’ll have a book we’ve all created, something that we’ll publish! And, best of all, the proceeds will go to support IJM, an organization that fights human trafficking around the world.

I’m really excited about our new project, and can’t wait to see what the collective mind put together.
So, Come and Blog-A-Book. Learn. Fellowship. Bless.

My Book Therapy…Discover the writer in you.

Come back tomorrow for more from My Book Therapy.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Tracey's Drama Queens

I have begun the process of going through review books and making sure I've posted reviews...and if I have not, then posting a review as I promised the author.

I came across the Drama Queens Series by Tracey Bateman. I did a review on book 3, "That's (Not Exactly) Amore" for CFBA and did a quick review of Book 1, "Catch a Rising Star" in that review. You can read that here. Then, Tracey herself sent me book 2, which is titled "You Had Me at Goodbye." It turned out to be my favorite, actually. It's about a gal who loses her job in publishing and ends up working in a coffee shop while secretly writing a novel at home. I really enjoyed it.

The trilogy is everything good about chick lit, and everything nice about Christian fiction. It's a great marriage of the two. Each book focuses on the story of a trio of friends living in New York City. The stories are fun to read! I enjoyed them all.

If you enjoy fun stories with a little bit of romance and a lot of friendship, these books are for you.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Happy Birthday, Kate

From The Writers Almanac:

It's the birthday of Kate Chopin, born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1850. She came from a wealthy family — her father was a successful businessman and her mother was a beautiful socialite from one of the city's oldest Creole families. Kate was a Southern belle, a devoted wife, and the mother of six children. But then her husband died, and soon after that her mother died. Chopin was depressed. Her family doctor thought she was a very good letter-writer, so he encouraged her to try writing fiction as a way to stay occupied. Over the next 15 years, Kate Chopin wrote almost 100 short stories and sketches, and two novels, At Fault (1890) and The Awakening (1899). The Awakening is the story of Edna Pontellier, who gives up her roles as wife and mother, has an affair, and eventually walks into the sea, perhaps committing suicide. And when it was published, Kate Chopin was censored and criticized. But now she is considered an important early feminist author, and The Awakening is considered a classic of American fiction.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Other Books

Most of the time, I don't blog about every book I read. I do post reviews for a couple of different publicity groups (Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, for one), so those books are mostly what I review here at Fresh-Brewed Writer. In fact, I actually used to post more book reviews over on another blog that I was hoping, eventually, to receive payment for. I went to post a few reviews tonight and discovered the blog is gone. Poof! Thank goodness for Google's cache, so I can save some of those reviews that would otherwise be lost to the ages.

So, I'm going to mention a couple of books I've read that were not for review, that I read for fun.

The first of these is by Kate Jacobs. I first heard of Kate Jacobs when I read somewhere that Julia Roberts bought the film rights to her first novel, Friday Night Knitting Club. I read that book last year on my way to my friend Roma's wedding. I liked it. So when I came across Comfort Food, her second novel, at my library, I checked it out.

Comfort Food is about a gal named Gus who is quite Martha-Stewart-esque, and yet infinitely more loveable. Her cooking show is being revamped and she gets an unwanted new costar. She slowly loses control of her life...in a good way, of course.

I enjoyed this novel quite a bit. I don't love it like I love Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons, which is the gold standard for "group of girlfriends" women's fiction, but it was quite enjoyable nevertheless.

Another recent read was The Bronte Project by Jennifer Vandever. It started out great: a doctoral student is searching for the lost love letters of Charlotte Bronte, and loses research funding because of an up-and-coming new professor whose field of study is Princess Diana. While the novel begins by skewering academia (and having been at the bottom of the academic totem pole both as a grad student and as an adjunct instructor, I found these passages to be absolutely hilarious!), it gradually degenerates and the story gets more and more unbelievable and less humorous. I finished it because I cared about the main character (and let's face it, most of the time I stick things out to the bitter, bitter end because I'm stubborn!).

Now that the "other" blog is gone, you'll probably see more of these types of posts throughout the year. Hope you don't mind :)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Word Gets Around by Lisa Wingate


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Word Gets Around

Bethany House (February 1, 2009)

by

Lisa Wingate



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Lisa Wingate lives in central Texas where she is a popular inspirational speaker, magazine columnist, and national bestselling author of several books. Her novel, Tending Roses, received dozens of five-star reviews, sold out ten printings for New York publisher, Penguin Putnam, and went on to become a national bestselling book. Tending Roses was a selection of the Readers Club of America, and is currently in its tenth printing.

The Tending Roses series continued with Good Hope Road, The Language of Sycamores, Drenched In Light, and A Thousand Voices. In 2003, Lisa’s Texas Hill Country series began with Texas Cooking, and continued with Lone Star CafĂ©, which was awarded a gold medal by RT BOOKCLUB magazine and was hailed by Publisher’s Weekly as “A charmingly nostalgic treat.” The series concluded with Over the Moon at the Big Lizard Diner.

Lisa is now working on a new set of small-town Texas novels for Bethany House Publishers. The series debuted with Talk of The Town and continued with Word Gets Around. A new series is also underway for Penguin Group NAL, beginning with A Month of Summer (July 2008), and continuing with The Summer Kitchen in July, 2009. Lisa’s works have been featured by the National Reader’s Club of America, AOL Book Picks, Doubleday Book Club, The Literary Guild, American Profiles, and have been chosen for the LORIES best Published Fiction Award.




ABOUT THE BOOK

When Romance Is In the Air, Word Gets Around Lauren Eldridge thought she'd wiped the dust of Daily, Texas, off her boots forever. Screenwriter Nate Heath thought he was out of second chances. Life's never that predictable, though. Cajoled by her father, Lauren is back in town helping train a skittish race horse set to star in a Hollywood film. But the handsome screenwriter gives her more trouble than the horse. And Nate is realizing there's a spark of magic in the project--and in the eyes of the girl who is so good with horses. Daily, Texas, has a way of offering hope, healing, and a little romance just when folks need it most.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Word Gets Around, go HERE

What people are saying:

"Lisa Wingate writes engaging stories that strike the heart. God has gifted her with a marvelous talent and I, for one, am most grateful."
Debbie Macomber, New York Times #1 bestselling author

Pattie's Review: I really liked this one, much better than Talk of the Town. Maybe because I liked Lauren better than Mandalay. I don't know. But I did feel that the faith journeys were more real, and I loved the view of God as the Good Horseman. That analogy was amazing and true and so applicable.

I'm giving my copy to my sister, who is also a Lisa Wingate fan! :)

You can learn more about Lisa Wingate at her website.

I have to say, also, that I have three other Lisa Wingates in my Mt. TBR. She's a great writer and well-deserving of her awards and accolades.

All We Ever Wanted: A Review

All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin My rating: 5 of 5 stars All We Ever Wanted is worthy of the buzz it's receiving this summer. I h...