Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Here Burns My Candle

For the CFBA post about this book, click here.

Here Burns My Candle is an engrossing story set in eighteenth century Scotland. Against the backdrop of Bonny Prince Charlie's rebellion against King George in September 1745, Liz Curtis Higgs tells the Biblical story of Naomi and Ruth.

This novel is very well-written. In fact, if you were to read her early contemporary Christian fiction (which I have to admit, Mixed Signals was my favorite), I doubt you'd even recognize that they were written by the same author. Liz has certainly found her niche in historical Scottish fiction.

I have to mention that the characters speak in authentic dialects. It is charming, yet it slowed me down. Normally I am an extremely fast reader, but it took me several days to finish this novel. The glossary in the back of the book is valuable, though most unfamiliar words can be inferred through the narrative's context.

All in all, a bonny beginning to a new series. I wish monie blissins to Liz.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Songbird Under a German Moon

Welcome to the blog tour for Tricia Goyer's latest historical novel

The year is 1945. The war is over and 21-year-old Betty Lake has been invited to Europe to sing in a USO tour for American soldiers who now occupy Hitler's Germany. The first nights performance is a hit. Betty becomes enthralled with the applause, the former Nazi-held mansion they're housed in and the attention of Frank Witt, the US Army Signal Corp Photographer. Yet the next night this songbird is ready to fly the coop when Betty's dear friend, Kat, turns up missing. Betty soon realizes Franks photographs could be the key to finding Kat. Betty and Frank team up against post-war Nazi influences and the two lovebirds' hearts may find the each other.

But will they have a chance for their romance to sing? The truth will be revealed under a German moon.

Tricia Goyer is the author of twenty books including From Dust and Ashes, My Life UnScripted, and the children's book, 10 Minutes to Showtime. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003. Tricia's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like Today's Christian Woman and Focus on the Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. She and her family make their home in the mountains of Montana (but are relocating to Little Rock soon!). Find out more about her and her books at


I really enjoyed this book. The opening scene captured my attention, and the novel really never let me go. Tricia Goyer is one of the most enjoyable historical writers in Christian fiction today, and this book proves why. She creates believable, multi-layered characters, and she shows their inner workings as well as their outer actions.

This book kept me hopping with all the suspense and interesting plot. The story takes place in post-war Germany, and I don't think I've ever read a book that took place in this time period.

I think my favorite scenes were when Betty first sings for the USO, and later as she realizes her mistakes and repents. She shows true growth as a person, which makes Betty the character dynamic and fun to read.

Overall, if you're looking for historical suspense, look no further.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

GOD Strong

I am so happy for my friend Sara Horn! She is the proud wife of a Navy reservist, and the proud mother of her son. She recently published GOD Strong, a Military Wife's Spiritual Survival Guide, published by Zondervan.

Sara is also the founder and president of Wives of Faith, a ministry of encouragement to Christian military wives. I'm pleased to be affiliated with this ministry.

You can have the opportunity of studying the book with a group online! Just go here and join in. No pressure, no deadlines, no worries. Just fellowship and fun--and learning how to be GOD Strong.

MWAHW Find the Right Coach

As you may remember, I recently partnered up with Making Work at Home Work as a blogger.

Find the Right Coach

By Mary M. Byers

In my last post I talked about working with a coach. This time, we'll address how to find the right coach for you. I suggest the following:

Ask friends and colleagues if they can recommend anyone to you. Listen to conversations. If you hear someone mention that they work with a coach, ask if they'd be willing to share the name and contact information. Referrals are by far the best way to find a coach.

Identify specifically what you need help with.
Do you need help increasing your income? Decreasing your expenses? Someone to brainstorm marketing ideas with? Or, do you have plenty of ideas but lack the follow through to do them? In this latter case, you'll want someone who can use a little tough love to hold you accountable for getting things done. The more specific you are regarding where you need help, the more likely you'll be to find a coach that's a good fit for you.

Search online.
Do a search for coaches online. You'll find plenty! Pick a few sites to go to, read about each coach and his or her philosophy, and watch the videos. You'll get a sense of who you might feel comfortable working with. Narrow the list to these possibilities.

Request a complimentary introductory session. This is THE most important step. I "met" by phone with several coaches before finding mine. One coach spent the whole conversation talking about herself. Another spent the entire time saying, "If you decide to work with me, then..." And a third was not at all focused during our conversation, which led me to believe our coaching sessions would be the same way--frustrating for me.

Make the decision. Know that your coaching relationship won't last forever. This makes it easier to decide who you will work with. Pick the coach you are most interested in. Then, ask if you can sign up for a limited number of sessions (a minimum of three). You'll have a good sense of how the relationship is working after several sessions.

Be willing to do the work. When you enter a coaching relationship, you're making a commitment to help your coach help you. And you're making a commitment to doing homework between sessions as well as to do the heavy thinking required to help take your business to the next level. Coaches see lots of people who are willing to pay for help, but fewer who are willing to roll up their sleeves and get to work. Your work with a coach only pays off if you're invested and willing to sweat along with your coach.

Good luck!

Mary Byers is the author of Making Work at Home Work: Successfully Growing a Business and a Family Under One Roof. You can learn more about making work at home work by subscribing to Mary’s free blog at Interested in more articles like this? Join the blog ring here.

MWAHW Working With a Coach

As you may remember, I recently partnered up with Making Work at Home Work as a blogger.

Working with a Coach

By Mary M. Byers

I took the plunge and hired a coach late last year. She’s been a fabulous addition to my team and is worth every penny. Here’s how I’m benefiting:

Accountability: At the end of each session, we identify 3-5 activities for me to complete by our next session. I don’t want to disappointment my coach or embarrass myself so I find I’m highly motivated to get my “homework” done each month.

Advice: I’m able to outline my thoughts and then ask for her advice. Though she doesn’t always say, “This is what I think you should do...” she is always able to ask pertinent questions to help me come to a decision I’m comfortable with.

Expertise: My coach has small business acumen and more importantly to me, is an expert in online marketing, something that intimidates me. I have a lot of questions about how to implement my online marketing ideas and she’s a great resource for getting the answers I need. When I’m stuck, she reminds me that I don’t have to know how to do everything and that between us, we can find the resources to implement even the craziest ideas.

Companionship: Let’s face it, being a solo-preneur can be a lonely endeavor. My coach gives me someone to bounce ideas off of as well as the comfort of having someone along on the journey with me. Knowing someone else is rooting for me encourages me to continue to strive for excellence.

If you’re looking to help your business reach new heights in 2010, consider hiring a coach. Doing so is a great way to stretch yourself and grow your business.

Mary Byers is the author of Making Work at Home Work: Successfully Growing a Business and a Family Under One Roof. You can learn more about making work at home work by subscribing to Mary’s free blog at Interested in more articles like this? Join the blog ring here.

Monday, March 22, 2010

working at home and from home

You might have noticed this nifty new button in my sidebar. Welcome to a whistle stop on the Making Work at Home Work blog ring.

I am currently not working for pay from my home, but I have in the past, and I may in the near future. So I'm looking forward to learning as much as I can from the gals in this blog ring.

Welcome to my blog!

It's Not About Him

I was a part of the CFBA tour for this book, but then forgot to post my review!

It's Not About Him is the second in the "Second Glances" series by Edgy Inspirational Author Michelle Sutton.

From the website:

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?

This book is edgy like the first in the series, and once again I appreciate the edgy quality. I know it will speak to young women who are in this predicament, or who might be thinking about doing something that might lead to it. These books are meeting a need in the world, and I wish Michelle all the best as she continues the series.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring Reading Thing 2010

I know I said I was not joining any reading challenges, but I need to cross some of these books off my list. Some are for reviewing, some are for book club.

Here we go:

*Plain Jayne by Hillary Manton Lodge (finish)
*Becoming Jane Austen by Jon Spence (finish for April book club) I give up! Jon Spence has made my beloved Jane boring. I can't stand it.

Also, I have a couple of piles of magazines to skim through before the move.

AND...FINISH THE ENTIRE BIBLE!!! I started on the "Bible in 90 Days" program and could not push I'll finish the rest by the end of June. Then it will be the Bible in 180 days or so.

Friday, March 19, 2010

FF 03192010

Friday Felicities for March 19, 2010:

  • a home to sell
  • not being upside-down in our mortgage
  • selling some of Mom's stuff
  • the sun in spite of colder weather
  • the dogs in spite of dirty paw prints on the floor

Here Burns My Candle

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Here Burns My Candle

WaterBrook Press (March 16, 2010)


Liz Curtis Higgs


In her best-selling series of Bad Girls of the Bible books, workbooks, and videos, Liz Curtis Higgs breathes new life into ancient tales about the most infamous—and intriguing—women in scriptural history, from Jezebel to Mary Magdalene. Biblically sound and cutting-edge fresh, these popular titles have helped more than one million women around the world experience God's grace anew. Her best-selling historical novels, which transport the stories of Rebecca, Leah, Rachel, and Dinah to eighteenth-century Scotland, have also helped her readers view these familiar characters in a new light. And her nonfiction book, Embrace Grace, winner of a 2007 Retailers Choice Award, presents her message of hope in an engaging and personal way, speaking directly to the hearts of her readers.

A veteran speaker, Liz has presented more than 1,600 encouraging programs for audiences in all 50 states and 10 foreign countries: South Africa, Indonesia, Germany, France, England, Canada, Ecuador, Scotland, Portugal, and New Zealand. In 1995, she received the Council of Peers Award for Excellence from the National Speakers Association, becoming one of only 32 women in the world named to their CPAE-Speaker Hall of Fame.

Feature articles about Liz have appeared in more than 250 major newspapers and magazines across the country, as well as online with, and She has also been interviewed on more than 600 radio and television stations, including guest appearances on PBS, A&E, MSNBC, NPR, TBN with Kirk Cameron, CBC Canada, BBC Radio Scotland, Rhema Broadcasting New Zealand, Radio Pulpit South Africa, LifeToday with James Robison, Focus on the Family, Janet Parshall's America, 100 Huntley Street and Midday Connection.

Liz is the author of twenty-six books, with more than three million copies in print.

Her fiction includes two contemporary novels, one novella, and four historical novels. And she has written five books for young children.


A mother who cannot face her future.

A daughter who cannot escape her past.

Lady Elisabeth Kerr is a keeper of secrets. A Highlander by birth and a Lowlander by marriage, she honors the auld ways, even as doubts and fears stir deep within her.

Her husband, Lord Donald, has secrets of his own, well hidden from the household, yet whispered among the town gossips.

His mother, the dowager Lady Marjory, hides gold beneath her floor and guilt inside her heart. Though her two abiding passions are maintaining her place in society and coddling her grown sons, Marjory’s many regrets, buried in Greyfriars Churchyard, continue to plague her.

One by one the Kerr family secrets begin to surface, even as bonny Prince Charlie and his rebel army ride into Edinburgh in September 1745, intent on capturing the crown.

A timeless story of love and betrayal, loss and redemption, flickering against the vivid backdrop of eighteenth-century Scotland, Here Burns My Candle illumines the dark side of human nature, even as hope, the brightest of tapers, lights the way home.

Watch the book video:

If you would like to read the first chapter of Here Burns My Candle, go HERE.

Pattie's Thoughts:

I am completely engrossed in this book so far. I haven't had time to finish it by this morning, but I will finish and review it soon. Have a great weekend, and if you like historical fiction, run down to the bookstore and get this now, ye bonnie lass or laddie!

If you'd like to read my review, click here.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Random on Wednesday

  • Flooding predictions and river crests are all that's in the news lately.
  • I'm behind on being ahead on schoolwork--which means I'm right along where I should be.
  • I have a blog for my class.
  • I don't know if I'll keep it beyond the time of my class.
  • My prof doesn't know I used to be an English teacher, but I bet she suspects.
  • I read some review books out of order, and have a few I haven't finished yet; but I'll get them done.
  • Found Art is a wonderful book.
  • I'm tired a lot.
  • Selling a house you're living in is hard, hard work.
  • Especially in the spring, when it's muddy.
  • At least there's mud and not all that icky ucky snow!
  • Reading and writing, talking, encouraging, loving, arguing, crabbiness and contentment.
  • Yep, that's March so far.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Found Art

Welcome to the blog tour for Leeana Tankersley's lovely and wonderful book Found Art: Discovering Beauty in Foreign Places.

From the back cover:

Found Art is a memoir of the year author Leeana Tankersley lived in the Middle East with her Navy SEAL husband during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As her story unfolds, Leeana finds her life and her soul have been changed forever.

With an artist's eye, Tankersley uses each chapter to piece together moments and memories from her journey to create a work of unexpected beauty: a handwritten note from Kuwait, a braid of fringe from a Persian rug, an original poem, a bit of basting thread, a swatch of black silk from a borrowed abaya, a mesquite leaf, a Navy SEAL trident, a receipt from the Russian-Georgian restaurant on Louisiana Street.

Found art emerges, a literary collage created from salvaged stories of loss, hope, and belief.

Pattie's Thoughts:

Found Art is an amazing, deceptively small book—for inside its textured painted cover is a world: the world of a journey inside a woman’s soul. Leeana Tankersley tells about the first year of her marriage to her Navy SEAL husband, while they lived in Bahrain in the Persian Gulf. The book shows several journeys: the journey she makes during the year in Bahrain, and the journey the following year back in California.

The overlying theme of “found art” is presented artistically in the eight items in her life collage. Representations of themes in her life, Leeana writes about the items themselves, as well as what they represent to her. In doing so, she shares her heart in an open and honest way, and she also invites her readers to do the same. There are even prompts at the back of the book for personal journaling or group discussion.

This book came to me at exactly the right time. It was a little “late” because it arrived in my mailbox towards the end of the blog tour timeline, but it was precisely the right time for me, Pattie, to read. I’ve made no secret to my friends, if not my blog readers, about my great reluctance to turn 40 this past November. I felt like I was at some sort of turning point in my life, even though we’ve been in the same place nearly four years and I’m comfortable here in the way one is comfortable being in a place for that long. The eternal twin questions of who am I and what am I doing bombard me as I continue to pray for God to show me what His design is for my life. Where that “sweet spot” is for me.

Found Art arrived just after we listed our home for sale (a new venture) and prepared for a weekend trip to Winnipeg, Manitoba, to see the Royal Winnipeg Ballet dance Swan Lake. Granted, Canada is not Bahrain; yet any travel, even if it’s only a couple hundred miles north into another country, is still a journey. As I read the book a chapter or two at a time during this weekend, I found myself looking for things, noticing things, like the melting ice sculpture in the courtyard. Or the people in the street with various funky clothing or piercings. The taste of the French toast at Pancake House. Driving through fog. The overall beauty of the ballet. The joy on my daughters' faces as they experienced the live ballet accompanied by the Winnipeg Symphony. Even my Tim Horton’s doughnut and coffee. All of these sensory experiences served to make a collage of our weekend.

My desire is to make the most of our opportunities as a military family. As the Air Force moves us onward and southward in the coming months, I will carry Found Art with me, its own work of art that spurs me and prods me to allow God to make my own life into art.

Leeana's blog is Gypsy Ink.

Special thanks to Zondervan
and Tina of the Blog Tour Spot for a review copy of this book.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hero's Tribute

Hero's Tribute by Graham Garrison

From the Back Cover

Two men. One front-page story. A small town forever changed.

Michael Gavin was a local hero, admired for his prowess in sports, his service in the military, and his work in the community. But there is more to Michael Gavin-including a past that has long been hidden.

Wes Watkins is a local newspaper reporter whose job it is to find a story, even if it means digging through court reports, interviewing the most unlikely people, and following leads that make him unpopular.

When Wes finds himself charged with writing Gavin's eulogy--though the two had never met--he sets out to find the truth. What happens next is something the little town of Talking Creek never expected. Secrets come to light, confidences are broken, and lives are redefined. But in the end, everyone will know what truly makes a man a legend.

"A powerful and moving book about what truly defines a hero. Garrison perfectly captures the notion of officership and why a man is called to accept the challenge of military leadership. This is a good read."--Colonel Kevin Benson, US Army, ret., former Director, School of Advanced Military Studies, analyst, McNeil Technologies
"Hero's Tribute has enough clever twists and hidden hooks that you'll find yourself totally engrossed, and thoroughly engaged. This is one you'll be telling your friends about."--Scott Kelby, the world's #1 bestselling computer and technology author

Press Release:

What is a hero? Is it defined by your actions at one particular point in time or is it defined
by who you are?

First time novelist Graham Garrison explores the idea of what defines a hero and when a person crosses a nebulous line to become a bona-fide legend in his debut novel Hero’s Tribute.

The small town of Talking Creek, Georgia, has a hero—Michael Gavin. As a teenager, Michael
made a name for himself as Quarterback of the local High School football team, the Eagles. As
a young man, he earned a regional following when he played for the University of Georgia. Post
-college, Captain Michael Gavin earned the Medal of Honor for distinguished service in Iraq further cementing his position at Talking Creek’s resident hero.

So when he was diagnosed with cancer, the town immediately rallied behind the Gavin’s. On his
deathbed, Michael makes a radical decision and asks a complete stranger, local sports reporter
Wes Watkins to deliver his eulogy. With absolutely no idea why the famed Michael Gavin would
ask a complete stranger to delve into the intimate details of his life, Wes digs into this project as
he would any other story. Who knows, perhaps it would generate some decent bylines and get
picked up by the AP. In fact, this could be his ticket out of the small town life.

But what Wes discovers catches him totally off guard. His typical reporting tactics aren’t going to
work in this situation and as he uncovers some secrets in Michael’s past, Wes begins to see him
as he really was rather than the larger-than-life legend the town has created. The closer he gets
to the truth, however, the town begins to close ranks. Struggling to find the words to accurately
and completely describe Michael, Wes must examine his own life and decide what will define
him. Finding the whole truth could cost Wes everything. Who was this man that Talking Creek

About Graham Garrison:

Graham Garrison is a writer and editor who lives in suburban Atlanta. He has covered high
school and college football games as a newspaper reporter, completed an internship with the
U.S. Army at its National Training Center in the Mojave Desert and tested WaveRunners and
Runabouts as the managing editor of a national boating magazine. He’s written about battlefields
for America’s Civil War, interviewed medical innovators for Georgia Physician and
even penned an editorial for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. When he’s not writing, he’s
chasing his two-year old son Nicholas and their Beagle, Baxter around the backyard with his
wife, Katie. Visit his website at

Pattie's Remarks:

Hero's Tribute is quite a bit different from what I have been reading lately. Graham Garrison's style is reminiscent of John Grisham. He reveals a little at a time, so that Wes finally gets the whole story about Michael Gavin. If you like mysteries and character studies, this will be the book for you.

Thanks to Kregel Publications and Danielle Douglas of Douglas Public Relations
for a review copy of this novel.

Three days

For three days our house has been on the market. One showing per day. Nice to know there's interest in our house. Nice also that we have a couple of back-up plans in case we sell it this early!

I took a couple of days off work and I'm glad I did. I needed some stress-free time. Or at least reduced stress time.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Throwing in the towel

...the Bible in 90 Days towel, that is.

I will not be finishing the entire Bible by the end of March.

The thing is, I got behind, then behinder, and I can NOT seem to catch up. I think taking on this challenge during this busy time of life (preparing for a cross-country move, selling a house, taking a class toward certification, and all of my other ministry commitments) was too ambitious.

On the plus side: I’ve read more of the Old Testament straight through than ever before in my entire life. Reading the Bible this way has shown me a lot about the whole picture of God’s love for us, and His plan for His people.

The B90 Days Blog

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

So Long Insecurity

I got this book this week and even though I have about six or seven books that I've started and have yet to finish, this one called my name today, so I began.

Girls, we need this. Oh, we so need this word from the Lord. And from Beth, who's been there, done that, and bought the T-shirt.

If you want to follow along on the Living Proof Ministry blog, you can.

Don't miss the simulcast. Click here to find all the locations. I'll be there. Let me know if you will too. Last time it was Get Out of That Pit and I went alone to Fargo, but all my friends and my mom & sister all went locally to it felt like we were all together, even when we were apart.

PS: if you read the comments: I have not moved yet...we'll be moving in June.

Review: The Dinner List

The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle My rating: 4 of 5 stars I heard about this novel last month. It sounded great, because who hasn't m...