Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Thankful Heart is a Happy Heart

Graphic by
November, the month of my birthday, the month of Thanksgiving, the start of Advent.

I won't be able to post every day in November, but I WILL be journaling through my thankfulness.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Busy by the numbers...

  • Two girls. One teen, one tween-soon-to-be-thirteen.
  • Two shows: one high school musical, one ballet.
  • Two towns: Eagle River and Anchorage.
  • Two weekends full of performances: first ballet, then musical. Three shows each.
  • Two parent-teacher conference sessions on one day: Wednesday.
  • Twenty-one research essays will be turned in to me tomorrow night. {One student emailed me this morning to tell me he's not doing the assignment and he thinks he can pass without it. We'll see.}
  • Three MUST be graded every day to make the deadline I set, which is in eight days.
  • One final exam still needs some new questions, and I have seven days to get that completed.
  • One husband who is working crazy hours for the next week.
  • One upcoming ear surgery to prepare for.
  • One TIRED woman I am!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

You Don't Know Me Review

You Don't Know Me by Susan May Warren

About the Book:

Sometimes the secrets we keep to protect ourselves can be our undoing.

To all who know her, Annalise Decker is a model wife and mother. She’s a permanent member of the PTA, never misses a sporting event, and is constantly campaigning for her husband’s mayoral race.

No one knows that Annalise was once Deidre O’Reilly, a troubled young woman whose testimony put a dangerous criminal behind bars. Relocated through the Witness Security Program to the quaint harbor town of Deep Haven, Deidre received a new identity and a fresh start, which began when she fell in love with local real estate agent Nathan Decker.

Twenty years later, Annalise couldn’t be more unprepared for her past to catch up with her. When Agent Frank Harrison arrives with news that the man she testified against is out on parole and out for revenge, Annalise is forced to face the consequences of her secrets. Will she run again, or will she finally find the courage to trust those she loves most with both her past and her future?

About the Author:

Susan May Warren is the RITA award-winning novelist of over thirty novels. A five-time Christy award finalist, a two-time RITA Finalist, she’s also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Carol Award.

A seasoned women’s events speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!.

Find out more about Susan May at

Pattie's Review:

I got into this story right away, and I finished the book within 24 hours. I have to admit that there were things in this book that affected me on more than just a story level. The whole idea of living with lies and not telling the truth--not just to others, but to ourselves--was eye and heart opening to me. The sermon about 2/3 of the way through the book really got me thinking about how God loves us no matter what we do or do not do, even in the midst of our sin.

I read this over Labor Day weekend, and after I finished the novel I slept for two and a half hours. For someone who rarely naps, and who has had trouble sleeping well for most of the summer, this was a big thing for me. That I felt so drained after reading a novel, and then waking up to continue thinking about it, speaks a lot for Susan May Warren's basis of truth in the story.

This book will be with me for a long time.

To read what others are saying, click here.

I was given a NetGalley copy of this book simply in exchange for a review.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Thoughts about Writing

from Shauna Niequist, one of my new favorite writers, ever.

...[L]ife as a writer sometimes means telling even the stories you don’t want to tell, the ones you didn’t want to live through, and don’t want to re-live on the page. But re-living is a writer’s responsibility, and more than that, honesty is a writer’s responsibility.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Full Disclosure: Latest from Dee Henderson

My review is at the end. Enjoy!

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Full Disclosure
Bethany House Publishers (October 2, 2012)
Dee Henderson


Dee Henderson is the bestselling, award-winning author of 15 previous novels, including the acclaimed O'MALLEY series and UNCOMMON HEROES series. She is a lifelong resident of Illinois.


Ann Silver is a cop's cop. As the Midwest Homicide Investigator, she is called in to help local law enforcement on the worst of cases, looking for answers to murder. Hers is one of the region's most trusted investigative positions.

Paul Falcon is the FBI's top murder cop in the Midwest. If the victim carried a federal badge or had a security clearance, odds are good Paul and his team see the case file or work the murder.

Their lives intersect when Ann arrives to pass a case off her desk and onto his. A car wreck and a suspicious death offer a lead on a hired shooter he is tracking. Paul isn't expecting to meet someone, the kind that goes on the personal side of the ledger, but Ann Silver has his attention.

The better he gets to know her, the more Paul realizes her job barely scratches the surface of who she is. She knows spies and soldiers and U.S. Marshals, and has written books about them. She is friends with the former Vice President. People with good reason to be cautious about who they let into their lives deeply trust her. Paul wonders just what secrets Ann is keeping, until she shows him the John Doe Killer case file, and he starts to realize just who this lady he is falling in love with really is…

Watch the book trailer:

If you would like to read the first chapter of Full Disclosure, go HERE.


I've been reviewing Dee Henderson's novels for many years, ever since she came out with the first O'Malley novel. I started my book review experience with Multnomah Publishers back in 1997 or so. I can't remember exactly how I got started, but somehow I ended up with review copies of these wonderful new Christian novels and a sheet to fill out to mail back in. I was hooked on Dee's work from The Negotiator onward, and ended up falling in love with the O'Malley self-made siblings over the next several years.

I then gushed over the military-themed novels she wrote. Who knew fiction could be so educational? I had no idea then, but in life post-9/11 after my husband joined the Air Force Reserves, those little glossaries in the back of True Devotion and its sequels really helped this very green part-time military wife--especially when he went active duty.

All that to say, I am a big Dee fan.

But you don't want to know that. You want to hear about Dee's return to fiction with Full Disclosure.

I was quite intrigued with the novel at first, then I was upset, and finally I was glued to the book so I could untangle the plot threads which were so artfully and seemingly-hopelessly knotted. It took me awhile to read, and in some ways this was a freezer book for me. I didn't want it to end, even though I had to know whodunit.

For the most part, I enjoyed the novel. I enjoyed the characters, the intrigue was really well done, the end a surprise (and after years of reading mysteries and suspense and watching episodes of NCIS, I enjoy a good plot twist and surprise), and yes, even the romance was pretty good: not too sappy, a bit non-romantic in places, even.

I really hate to give spoilers, so all I'll say about the plot thread I didn't like is that I'm not the only one who didn't like it, and while for me it detracted a bit from the O'Malley series as an entity, it did not ruin the whole thing for me overall. It just bugged me, niggling away at my brain for a couple of days while I read the novel. I think it was akin to a bit of growing-up I'm doing, not only as a writer and a thinker, but as a reader--particularly as a reader of Christian fiction for the past 30-plus years (starting with Janette Oke's prairie novels). Stretching, a bit uncomfortable, pinching at times, but in the end, acceptance.

Welcome back, Dee Henderson. I've missed you.

Friday, October 05, 2012



To visit this week's post link-up and the rules, click here.




I'm so glad you're here!

This blog, Fresh-Brewed Writer, began as my writing and book blog. I had a general topic, personal blog over at Xanga back in 2003 when I started writing "in public" for the internet. It was a scary thing, writing in the open. I started gradually moving things over here, sometimes deleting, so the only reason I know I've been over here as long as I have is because Blogger tells me I joined in 2005!

Over time, this has been the book review blog. I joined too many organizations with too many books to review, and while I do enjoy reading books as they come out, I may be scaling that part of my life back soon.

I am a writer. {deep breath}

It took me a long, long time to admit that to everyone around me. I remember once feeling brave enough to admit it during a pastoral interview (yes, the wife was interviewed too--this church in particular saw us as a 2-for-1 deal; we didn't go there), and they wanted to know how I used the gift within the church. They were ready for me to start and run a card ministry, and that was overwhelming to me, with two young girls and knowing I'd have to teach full-time to make ends meet on what they were offering in the pastor's salary package.

I didn't feel welcomed there.

I try very hard to find women in a group who look alone. Sometimes it takes all I have to go over and say hi and welcome her. Other times, I'm the smiling face at the door, welcoming everyone.

Let's pretend you're coming over. WELCOME. I'm glad you're here! Stick around, if you like. This is a small blog with few followers, but I love it here.