Sunday, October 31, 2010

So I've been scarce

I've been pretty scarce. Seems like I just don't have much to say on this blog lately. It's been interesting, this sitting out from serving year. I've been serving with Wives of Faith, an online support group, and I've been sorting and clearing paperwork at home, and I've been driving a lot more than I used to. I'm not singing on the praise team, or playing the piano, or doing all the things I used to do when my husband was a chaplain serving in a chapel.

Yep. It's been interesting.

I have also been trying to work on my freelance writing career, which has not gone as well as I had hoped, but I'm not giving up...yet.

In the meantime, I'm still here. You can just find me here instead.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fridays are for Starbucks

For the past few weeks, on most Friday evenings you could find me at a Starbucks just a mile up the road from my daughters' dance studio. Free wifi, a latte, and my laptop. It's a night to catch up on Wives of Faith (www.wivesoffaith) post scheduling, and finding writing markets, and just playing on Facebook sometimes.

I've been working on submitting pieces for publication in magazines, both print and online, and it's not going well at all. In fact, I've toyed with quitting my accountability group altogether because I think I'm the only one who hasn't received a "yes." But I don't quit. I stick things out to the bitter end, because I made a commitment.

I won't lie; it's discouraging.

I have cheerleaders who think I am a great writer, but I have evidence to the contrary. Or rather, not much evidence of publishability.

I press on, however.

In the meantime, I've been going through paperwork and sorting recycling from what needs shredded. I've found a lot of memories within my teaching files. I've been mourning a bit, the loss of the teacher I used to be. The teacher I fear I may never be again unless pressed into service out of necessity.

On the plus side, I have a conference I'm attending the weekend of my birthday (and since turning 40 last year was tough and not a little disappointing in the celebration department, I feel like I NEED this trip), and I'm excited and thrilled to go to Dallas! It will be such fun!

So that's the haps here chez Pattie.

Monday, October 18, 2010

While We're Far Apart

My review is at the end. Enjoy!

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
While We're Far Apart
Bethany House (October 1, 2010)
by
Lynn Austin







ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



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



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



Lynn resigned from teaching to write full-time in 1992. Since then she has published twelve novels. Five of her historical novels, Hidden Places, Candle in the Darkness, Fire by Night, A Proper Pursuit, and Until We Reach Home have won Christy Awards in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, and 2009 for excellence in Christian Fiction. Fire by Night was also one of only five inspirational fiction books chosen by Library Journal for their top picks of 2003, and All She Ever Wanted was chosen as one of the five inspirational top picks of 2005. Lynn's novel Hidden Places has been made into a movie for the Hallmark Channel, starring actress Shirley Jones. Ms Jones received a 2006 Emmy Award nomination for her portrayal of Aunt Batty in the film.





ABOUT THE BOOK



In an unassuming apartment building in Brooklyn, New York, three lives intersect as the reality of war invades each aspect of their lives. Young Esther is heartbroken when her father decides to enlist in the army shortly after the death of her mother.



Penny Goodrich has been in love with Eddie Shaffer for as long as she can remember; now that Eddie's wife is dead, Penny feels she has been given a second chance and offers to care for his children in the hope that he will finally notice her and marry her after the war.



And elderly Mr. Mendel, the landlord, waits for the war to end to hear what has happened to his son trapped in war-torn Hungary. But during the long, endless wait for victory overseas, life on the home front will go from bad to worse.



Yet these characters will find themselves growing and changing in ways they never expected--and ultimately discovering truths about God's love...even when He is silent.



If you would like to read the first chapter of While We're Far Apart, go HERE.

Pattie's Review:

This is my first Lynn Austin book, and I am happy to recommend it to you.

The intertwining story arcs in this novel make for a very enjoyable read. I especially loved the Raoul Wallenberg story line. According to the author's note, Wallenberg worked tirelessly and in very creative ways to save 100,000 Jews from Hitler's evil extermination scheme during the latter years of World War II.

I recommend this book if you're a fan of historical Christian fiction. Lynn Austin made this more than a romance. It's a love story between parents and their children, God and His people, and yes, men and women.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Not Like Me

Welcome to the blog tour for the book Not Like Me by Eric Bryant.

About the Book:

From Amazon.com:

We live in a diverse world filled with unprecedented opportunity. According to author Eric Michael Bryant in Not Like Me, formerly titled Peppermint-Filled Pinatas, we can become agents of change creating genuine unity among people from a variety of backgrounds and belief systems through our relationships. Through humorous stories and pointed insights gleaned from Eric's own personal experiences and failures, the experiences of others, and the life and teachings of Jesus, you will discover how to move beyond ethnic, racial, cultural, or ideological barriers towards genuine friendship with others. In our nation, an 'uncivil war' is raging. Liberals call for racial reconciliation and tolerance while conservatives tend to hide from our pluralistic world or fight against it. None of these approaches will last. We need to create a new future that connects to God's heart. We can remove the religious baggage of Christianity to discover the world Jesus intended. Followers of Christ will be inspired to actively engage the world in order to overcome stereotypes placed upon us and influence those who have not been interested in Jesus because of these stereotypes. In addition, spiritual seekers will find that when stripped away from the religion created around him, Jesus' dream for our world is remarkable and refreshing. In this new world, we can discover how to resolve conflict, overcome bitterness, create a better future, develop diverse communities, and enjoy our diverse world. Not Like Me also includes a brief article after each chapter with practical ways to apply the principles presented in that chapter. The contributors include: Ed Stetzer, Amena Brown, Margaret Feinberg, Kevin Harney, Dr. Gerardo Marti, Kim Martinez, Lon Wong, Mark DeYmaz, Princess Zulu, Dan Kimball, and Erwin McManus (Foreword).

Pattie's Thoughts:

I chose to be in this blog tour because the author got his D.Min. from Bethel Seminary, which is where my husband got his D.Min. Also, one of my husband's seminars was taught by Erwin McManus of Mosaic, and he wrote the forward to this book.

I have to be honest, I have not yet finished the book. However, it's really good so far. The main point of the first part of the book is this: To reach others for Jesus, we must love them. We must befriend them and love them and woo them to Christ--not throw tracts at them or speak Christianese at them. This often entails stepping out of our comfort zones.

I will be passing this book on to my husband, and when he's finished, we'll pass it along to other friends.

You can purchase the book from Amazon here, and learn about the author here.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

A Memory Between Us

Welcome to the LitFuse blog tour for A Memory Between Us by Sarah Sundin.

About the Book:

Can they overcome the past to find a brighter future together?

Major Jack Novak has never failed to meet a challenge--until he meets army nurse Lieutenant Ruth Doherty. When Jack lands in the army hospital after a plane crash, he makes winning Ruth's heart a top-priority mission. But he has his work cut out for him. Not only is Ruth focused on her work in order to support her orphaned siblings back home, she also is determined not to give her heart to any man.

As the danger and tension of World War II rise to a fever pitch, Jack and Ruth will need each other more than ever. Can Jack break down her defenses? Or are they destined to go their separate ways?

From the English countryside to the perilous skies over France, A Memory Between Us takes you on a journey through love, forgiveness, and sacrifice.

A Memory Between Us is the second book in the WINGS OF GLORY series, which follows the three Novak brothers, B-17 bomber pilots with the US Eighth Air Force stationed in England during World War II.

About the Author:

Sarah Sundin is an on-call hospital pharmacist and holds a BS in chemistry from UCLA and a doctorate in pharmacy from UC San Francisco. Her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England during WWII. Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children. This is her second novel. For more info please visit her website at www.sarahsundin.com

Pattie's Thoughts:

The second book in the Wings of Glory series is just as good, if not better than, the first. Jack and Ruth's story is intense and complex, as all wartime romances can be--but certainly not cut and dried and simple. Jack and Ruth each have a very real fear and a past to face--to borrow an image from mythology, a dragon to slay--before they can choose each other for better or for worse. At times it appears things can't get much worse.

Both Jack and Ruth are wonderfully human and complex characters. As a writer myself I'm amazed, really, at how well they're written. This is a nod to the author, Sarah Sundin, who is a truly skillful author.

Wonderfully drawn characters that seem to jump off the pages and snappy dialogue that sings make this World War II tale seem like a contemporary story.

As a nod to the first book, we do get to check in with Walt and Allie from A Distant Melody, which is always nice. In all honesty, however, this book is perfectly capable of standing alone.

I really identified with Jack's struggle--pilot or pastor?--but it's Ruth who tugged at my heartstrings. Wounded, weary, still learning how to trust God in every way.

I absolutely and wholeheartedly recommend Sarah Sundin's books to you. I anxiously await the next book in the series, Blue Skies Tomorrow, in eleven long months (scheduled for publication August 2011).

To read my review of the first book in this series, A Distant Melody, click here.

To purchase the novel, click here.

To enter Sarah's contest with fabulous giveaways, click here.

Special thanks to Revell/Baker Publishing and the gals at Lit Fuse
for a review copy of the novel.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Friday Felicities

Pattie's Felicities for Friday, October 8:

  • Seattle's Best French Roast Coffee, strongly brewed
  • Libraries
  • my Toyota RAV-4
  • Advil, for aches
  • Sheba, my laptop
  • God's Word

Join us?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

I won!

http://romancewritersonthejourney.wordpress.com/2010/10/03/debut-novelist-jody-hedlund-returns/
Just found out I won a copy of Jody Hedlund's debut novel! I'm excited!

Thanks to Keli!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Do You Know Who I Am?

Angela Thomas's newest book releases today: Do You Know Who I Am?

About the Book (from Amazon.com):

In her book Do You Know Who I Am? Angela Thomas asks God if He knows her—and ultimately does He love her—as she is, right now, today. In each chapter, she names a different identity issue, such as: “I am invisible,” “I am worn out,” “I am undisciplined,” “I am ordinary,” and “I am afraid to dream.” With each honest admission, Angela teaches that God lovingly replies, “Yes, I know your heart. I see your struggle. Now…do you know who I AM?”

Ultimately Angela reveals that the secret to being known and loved lies in an intimate understanding of who God is. Each identity struggle is answered with a short biblical study on the character of God that assures readers that their personal, spiritual, and eternal fulfillment is not dependent on getting themselves together. Rather, God has a purpose for them just as they are—broken, afraid, disappointed, disillusioned.

Through vivid storytelling, biblical teaching, and practical application, readers will find the heartfelt answers they seek.

Pattie's Review:

Do You Know Who I Am? holds nothing back--and that's a good thing. In the transparent yet engaging - and encouraging - style of her previous books Do You Think I'm Beautiful? and A Beautiful Offering, Angela takes us into the Word of God in search of the question "Who am I?" and ends up asking God, "Do You know who I am?" God asks the same of us: "Do you know Who I AM?"

Each chapter examines an attribute of God in light of one of our own weaknesses as women. The answers are not Angela's, however--they are God's. Her Biblical scholarship is easy to follow and to understand, while being solid and thorough.

This book is a nice mix of real-life story and Biblical truth. I always enjoy Angela Thomas's books, and this one is no exception. It is a book to savor and to study. In fact, with questions for discussion in the back, I hope to study this book with a group at some point.


Thanks to Angela Thomas and her publisher, Howard Books/Simon & Schuster,
for a review copy of this book.

Why Are You Working?

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

By Mary M. Byers

Believe it or not, there are a lot of people who don't know why they are working. Most assume that they are working for money. But when I talk to people about the topic, I hear a lot of different reasons for work. Some work for the mental stimulation. Some to keep their skills up to date. Other work to support their scrapbooking habit or to be able to purchase cosmetics at a discount.


There's a big difference between working to put food on the table vs.working for the "extras" such as summer camp or a vacation. Both are legitimate but it's essential to be honest about your motivation. Knowing what drives you will help you keep your priorities in order. When my children were young, I worked for the extras. However, instead of stopping when I earned enough to help with vacation costs I kept right on going, becoming a workaholic in the process. It didn't serve me or my family. When I recognized my error, I was able to cut back on work in order to create a healthier balance. Now that my children are school-age and I'm working to help cover orthodontia, tuition and retirement, I've increased my hours accordingly.

Understanding why you are working makes it easier to make tough work-related decisions. Will you work on the weekends? Stay up late to get it all done? If you're working to put food on the table, the answer will more likely be yes. But if you're working for the fun of it, you may choose not to compromise family time by late night or weekend work. When you know why you are working, it gets easier to decide what kind of boundaries you'll adhere to.


~~
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 http://www.makingworkathomework.com/. Interested in more articles like this? Join the blog ring here.

Monday, October 04, 2010

CFBA presents Within My Heart

My review at the end. Enjoy!
This week, the


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance


is introducing


Within My Heart
Bethany House; Original edition (September 1, 2010)


by
Tamera Alexander






ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Tamera Alexander is the best-selling author of Rekindled, Revealed and Remembered, the critically acclaimed Fountain Creek Chronicles historical series with Bethany House Publishers. Her second historical series, Timber Ridge Reflections (From a Distance, Beyond This Moment, and Within My Heart), penned in her style with deeply drawn characters, thought-provoking plots, and poignant prose have earned her devoted readers—and multiple industry awards.



These awards include the 2009 and 2008 Christy Award, the 2007 RITA for Best Inspirational Romance, the 2009 and 2007 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, 2007 Bookseller’s Best Award, and Library Journal’s Top Christian Fiction for 2006, among others.



After living in Colorado for seventeen years, Tamera has returned to her Southern roots. She and her husband now make their home in Nashville with Tamera's father, Doug. They enjoy life there with Joe and Tamera's two adult children, and Jack, a precious—and precocious—silky terrier.





ABOUT THE BOOK



Widow Rachel Boyd struggles to keep her ranch afloat and provide for her two young sons, though some days it feels as though her efforts are sabotaged at every turn. When her cattle come down with disease and her sons' lives are endangered, she must turn to Rand Brookston, Timber Ridge's physician and reluctant veterinarian. While Rachel appreciates his help, she squelches any feelings she might have for Rand--her own father was a doctor and his patients always took priority over his family. Rachel refuses to repeat the mistakes her mother made. But when she's courted by a wealthy client of the local resort, she faces a choice: self-sufficiency and security or the risk inherent in the deepest of loves.



If you would like to read the first chapter of Within My Heart, go HERE.

Pattie's Review:

I have not read any of Tamera Alexander's books, and when I requested it I thought I was requesting a historical mystery (turns out I mistakenly thought it was a "Tasha Alexander" book, and I was thrilled she was writing for the Christian market. Oops!).

At any rate, I enjoyed this book. It's a sweet, well-written Christian historical novel. The characters drew me in and captured my interest. I was surprised to see this is the third in a series. I didn't feel the lack of not having read the first two books at all, and I think that speaks for good writing and plot structure. All in all, if you enjoy historical Christian fiction, this is a good book for you.