Monday, February 27, 2012

Protection for Hire

Book Description:

Tessa Lancaster's skills first earned her a position as an enforcer in her Uncle Teruo's Japanese Mafia gang. Then they landed her in prison for a crime she didn't commit. Now, three months after her release, Tessa's abilities have gained her a job as bodyguard for wealthy socialite Elizabeth St. Amant and her three-year-old son. 

But there's a problem or two ... or three .... There's Elizabeth's abusive husband whose relentless pursuit goes deeper than mere vengeance. There's Uncle Teruo, who doesn't understand why Tessa's new faith as a Christian prevents her from returning to the yakuza. And then there's Elizabeth's lawyer, Charles Britton, who Tessa doesn't know is the one who ensured that she did maximum time behind bars. Now Tessa and Charles must work together in order to protect their client, while new truths emerge and circumstances spiral to a deadly fever pitch. Factor in both Tessa's and Charles's families and you've got some wild dynamics---and an action-packed, romantic read as Tessa and Charles discover the reality of being made new in Christ.


I really enjoyed this novel. I found myself rooting for Tessa Lancaster--believing in her--wanting to encourage her in her newly-found-in-prison faith in God, as well as her growing faith in herslef.

I'm glad Camy is branching out from her chick lit Sushi series. I enjoyed the Sushi trilogy, but I think she's a stronger writer when incorporating all the characterization that is the hallmark of chick lit into a meatier story with more intrigue and mystery. Having some mixed martial arts thrown in doesn't hurt, either.

I'm looking forward to reading more in the Protection series.

PS: If you are a Christian fiction fan, you may find a few familiar authors' names nestled within the pages of this novel.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The hurrier I go...

...the behinder I get.

But at least today, the sun shines in the Last Frontier of Alaska, in one of the snowiest winters on record.

I have a silent house right now, so I'm trying to enjoy the quiet and the sunshine and at least attempt to get some work done for teaching. Because if I was in a classroom, this photo would be me. As an adjunct instructor, however, I work from home. I have been able to tame the paper monster at least a little bit during my between-term break (all of one week!), but I know the grading, if all the virtual stuff was actually printed, would stack pretty high.

And that's not even counting the six Kindle and six real-life books I need to read and review...

So, back to work for me! :)
Image courtesy of :

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Time Zones

This is a small blog that's been around for many years, and I know I'm not a very regular blogger. Not one of the three times a week gals, or the everyday blogging gals (although I did blog every day in October 2011!). I'm a small-time blogger here at Fresh-Brewed Writer (and for that matter, The Chaplain's Wife), and I am okay with that. I can handle small. I can control small! It's big and bigger that overwhelms me.

So it's with no small amount of irony that I point out that the past two duty stations my husband has had have been in the two largest states in the U.S.: Texas (we were there for one year while he was in a school program) and Alaska (where we currently live). Big and bigger. Vast, amazing landscapes that both tantalize the senses and overwhelm the sensibilities. 

And now, a time zone that's three hours away from my family.

I have been reading online this morning about God-sized dreams. I'm still a bit iffy about the whole idea of God dreaming. Does He dream? I know He plans, He ordains, He destines. I think this is something I need to study more...

Anyway, I know I have dreams. Far-out-there, outlandish dreams that require a whole lot of work and dedication, which I can't seem to find because it's too big. It's too "out there" for me to grasp. I know the wisdom of goal-setting: big goals broken down into smaller ones, manageable tasks that one can accomplish and feel successful. But the big picture looms like the mountains around my home, taunting me with impossibility. With grandeur too much for my small, busy life.

I was able to achieve two small publishing successes in the past year, and while that feels great, I don't want it to stop. But what have I done in the meantime? Not a whole lot of writing. Certainly no marketing of my own writing, only for others.

When we moved here, the door to my former career was swung wide open, and I stepped through. I'm back in the classroom, this time teaching college-level composition to adults for a university's external campus (and wow, Alaska is very external!). This is a "sweet spot" I didn't even know I missed, that I feel each week as I stand in front of my students, teaching them about writing and documentation and research, about poetry and Shakespeare and modern prose. And I love it.

But it's not writing. It's not article or novel or book writing.

So I wonder, figuratively speaking, if my dreams are just in a different time zone from where I'm living.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Beyond Molasses Creek

About the book:
Three lives are bound by a single book . . . and the cleansing waters of Molasses Creek.

Having traveled to the ends of the earth as a flight attendant, Ally Green has finally returned to the Lowcountry to bury her father as well as the past. But Vesey Washington is still living across the creek, and theirs is a complicated relationship—he was once her best friend . . . and also part of the reason she’s stayed away so long. When Ally discovers a message her father left behind asking her to quit running, it seems her past isn’t through with her yet.

As Ally’s wandering spirit wrestles with a deep longing to flee again, a young woman on the other side of the world escapes her life of slavery in the rock quarries of Nepal. A mysterious sketchbook leads Sunila Kunari to believe there’s more to her story than she’s ever been told, and she’s determined to follow the truth wherever it leads her.

A deep current intertwines the lives of these three souls, and a destiny of freedom, faith, and friendship awaits them all on the banks of Molasses Creek.

About Nicole:

Nicole Seitz is the author of several critically acclaimed novels - The Inheritance of Beauty, Saving Cicadas, A Hundred Years of Happiness, Trouble the Water, and The Spirit of Sweetgrass. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Journalism, and also has a degree in Illustration from Savannah College of Art & Design. Her paintings are featured on the covers of her books. Visit her at @NicoleSeitz, Facebook and for more information.

Link to buy Beyond Molasses Creek

Pattie's Review:

This is the first Nicole Seitz book I have read, and both the story and the poetic language drew me in immediately. The language is evocative and beautiful and, in places, haunting. I enjoyed reading the story, and while it took awhile to get into the story due to the shifting narration, once I was there, I was intrigued.

I was a little surprised that as a Christian novel, this book didn't really have a blatant salvation moment. We're never quite sure if the narrators ever accept God as The One True God, rather than continually searching among the Hindu gods for peace and enlightenment. Nevertheless, there were characters for whom Christian faith was a certainty.

Overall, a good women's fiction novel.

About the Party:
Nicole is celebrating the release of Beyond Molasses Creek with a fabulous "Friendship" Facebook party! She'll be giving away a ton of great stuff (KINDLE TOUCH, some of her own beautiful artwork, a Book Club Prize Pack (10 copies of the book for your small group/book club and a Live Skype Chat with Nicole), and more!

CLICK the button (below) to RSVP for the party - then join us on February 16th for a book chat, story sharing and prizes! Hope to see you there!

Save the Date! 2/16!

Read what others are saying about the book here.

Thank you to Thomas Nelson, Nicole Seitz, and LitFuse for an advance review copy of this novel. 

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Blue Moon Bay

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Blue Moon Bay
Bethany House (February 1, 2012)
Lisa Wingate


Lisa Wingate is an award-winning journalist, magazine columnist, popular inspirational speaker and a national bestselling author of sixteen books. Her first mainstream novel, Tending Roses, is in its eighteenth printing from Penguin Putnam. Tending Roses is a staple on the shelves of national bookstore chains as well as in many independent bookstores.

Recently, Lisa’s Blue Sky Hill Series, set in Dallas, received national attention with back-to-back nominations for American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year Award for A Month of Summer (2009) and The Summer Kitchen (2010). Pithy, emotional, and inspirational, her stories bring to life characters so real that readers often write to ask what is happening to them after the book ends.

Lisa is one of a select group of authors to find success in both the Christian and mainstream markets, writing for both Bethany House, a Christian publisher, and NAL Penguin Putnam, a general market publisher. Her bestselling books have become a hallmark of inspirational fiction. Her works have been featured by the National Reader's Club of America, AOL Book Picks, Doubleday Book Club, the Literary Guild, Crossings Book Club, American Profiles and have been chosen for numerous awards.

When not busy dreaming up stories, Lisa spends time on the road as a motivational speaker. Via internet, she shares with readers as far away as India, where her book, Tending Roses, has been used to promote women's literacy, and as close to home as Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the county library system has used Tending Roses to help volunteer mentors teach adults to read. Recently, the group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with Bill Ford, Camille Cosby, and six others as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life.


Heather Hampton returns to Moses Lake, Texas, to help facilitate the sale of a family farm as part of a planned industrial plant that will provide the area with much-needed jobs. Heather's future fiance has brokered the deal, and Heather is in line to do her first large-scale architectural design--if the deal goes through.

But the currents of Moses Lake have a way of taking visitors on unexpected journeys. What was intended to be a quick trip suddenly morphs into Valentine's week--with Blaine Underhill, the handsome banker who just happens to be opposing Heather's project. Spending the holiday in an ex-funeral parlor seems like a nightmare, but Heather slowly finds herself being drawn into the area's history, hope, and heart.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Blue Moon Bay, go HERE.

Pattie's Review: will be forthcoming in future weeks, as the book arrived just a few days ago and I'm grading research papers and prepping for final exam administration this week.

Monday, February 06, 2012

CFBA presents: Song of My Heart

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Song of My Heart
Bethany House (February 1, 2012)
Kim Vogel Sawyer


Kim Vogel Sawyer is the author of fifteen novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women's fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in central Kansas, and have three daughters and numerous grandchildren.


Sadie Wagner has always been devoted to her family. So when her stepfather is injured and can't work, she decides to leave home and accept a position as a clerk at the mercantile in Goldtree, Kansas. Goldtree also offers the opportunity to use her God-given singing talent--though the promised opera house is far different from what she imagined. With her family needing every cent she can provide, Sadie will do anything to keep her job.

Thad McKane comes to Goldtree at the request of the town council. The town has been plagued by bootlegging operations, and Thad believes he can find the culprit. After he earns enough money doing sheriff work, he wants to use it to pay for his training to become a minister.

Thad is immediately attracted to the beautiful singer who performs in Asa Baxter's unusual opera house, but when he hears her practicing bawdy tunes, he begins to wonder if she's far less innocent than she seems. And when Sadie appears to be part of the very crimes he's come to investigate, is there any hope the love blossoming between them will survive?

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

I just received this book a few days ago and because of my work schedule I wasn't able to read this book yet. I will get to it soon, and review at a later date. Special thanks to CFBA, the author, and the publisher for a review copy of the novel, and I will review it soon!

Sunday, February 05, 2012

I need to use my planner more...

Guess what I did? As my mom would say, I snookered myself.

Twice this week I realized I had not used my planner - my nice beautiful new 2012 black shiny planner with writers' quotes throughout - to its best advantage.

This is my busiest week. I teach for a university that holds 11-week semesters. This is week #11, which means I'm giving two different final exams (which are not.quite.ready for copying) to my 30 students (10 in one class, 20 in the other). I also have about 25 term papers in my possession that need to be graded by the end of the week (again, between the two classes). Grades are due next Monday by noon, but I have a doctor's appointment that morning at 9:40 a.m.

I have a stack of seven review books (not including the four on my Kindle which don't have deadlines attached). Two were unsolicited ARCs, one was a gift ARC from the author, and one was a late-arrival that was supposed to be reviewed sometime in January when I got around to it, but I forgot. I had three books arrive in the past four days (ah, the joys of media mail to Alaska) for which reviews are due--you guessed it, this week.

Indeed, I am very, very behind.

So you will see two CFBA posts this week, that unless I stay up late every night to finish the books, will remain unreviewed until my break between semesters (that would be starting after noon on Monday Feb. 13). The third book due this week for LitFuse, I might just be able to squeeze in when I need breaks from student papers. Or when I'm eating lunch. Or something.

And with I go!