Thursday, May 29, 2014

CFBA Introduces Until I Found You by Victoria Bylin

Until I Found You is the third book I've read for CFBA this month. I have one word to say: AMAZING! And to think I almost didn't order it because the blurb sounded so cliché. The reason I did order it is because of the hero--he's a travel writer. Often, editors don't want characters who write or paint or play sports. Artists and writers are a big draw for me. How about you?
While I liked the hero and heroine, the grandmother truly fascinated me. I wish there was a prequel. I would love to read her story.
Another thing I found fascinating is that the hero was a new Christian, but the heroine isn't a Christian at all until later in the book. I was curious to see how the author handled it. I was somewhat bothered that neither of them referred to the Bible, yet the heroine talked about how one gets to know God. He wasn't real to her... she felt alone. I kept waiting for the hero to share his favorite scriptures, for her to pick up a Bible but she didn't. I wasn't really satisfied with her conversion but to each his own, huh?
You're probably wondering why I thought this book was so amazing. It's not just one thing. It's how everything played together. I wouldn't like this heroine at all, without this particular hero and his own vulnerabilities, though I have to say, I'd probably like this hero anywhere, in any book. What tied it all together for me--what really made it amazing--was grandma, her problems, her memories, and her relationship with the California condors.
What is a California condor? A scavenger that eats large amounts of rotting animal flesh. It's one of the world's longest-living birds, with a lifespan of up to 60 years. This author created a romance around what we here in the South call a buzzard. Interesting?
This is my first Victoria Bylin book. I like her writing style. Her characters are realistic. I plan to see what else this author has to offer me, and I'll look deeper than the blurb.
This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Until I Found You
Bethany House Publishers (May 6, 2014)
Victoria Bylin

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A word from the Author:

This may sound crazy, but I was driven to write romance by giant bugs and killer rabbits. I just couldn't take it anymore. My husband and two sons would be camped in front of the television watching a movie about spiders the size of bowling balls, and I'd be wondering when the handsome scientist would get around to kissing the spunky woman with the bug spray. When it didn't happen, I decided to write my own happy endings--without the giant bugs...

Known for her realistic, likable characters and vivid writing, Victoria Bylin writes both western and contemporary inspirational romance. Her books have finaled in the ACFW Carol Awards, the Rita Awards and RT Magazine’s Reviewers’ Choice Awards. She and her husband currently live in Lexington, Kentucky and have two grown sons.


Finding each other was only the beginning . . .

When Kate Darby swerves off a mountain road to avoid hitting a California condor, she ends up trapped in her car, teetering on the edge of a cliff. Terrified, she breathes a prayer that changes her life.

It's Nick Sheridan who comes to Kate's rescue. Nick is handsome and confident, and he seems to develop a habit of rescuing her, but Kate is in town only until her grandmother recuperates from a stroke. She's not planning to get involved with one of the locals.

Nick is a reformed veteran of life in the fast lane, a new Christian, and a travel writer. When he sees a car dangling on the edge of a cliff, the daredevil in him jumps into action. He doesn't expect to be swept off his feet by the car's occupant. He's made a vow--no dating for a year--but keeping that vow is going to be a lot more difficult now that he's met Kate Darby. . . .

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Until I Found You, go HERE.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Blog Tour and Happy, Happy Birthday

Late last year, I had an opportunity to be a part of a series of Christmas stories. While I don't "comfortably" write short stories, I jumped at the chance because Kathi Macias was spearheading it, and I knew anything that had Kathi's name on it would be a success. Plus, this would be my first real chance to write Christian fiction and be published by a Christian publisher. How could I let this opportunity get by me?

Kathi said the theme would be 12 Days of Christmas and that we twelve writers (that includes her) could write anything we wanted--a historical, a mystery, a romance, Amish fiction--whatever. The catch was that the story had to take place on a single day. Our stories would be epublished first, then come out in an anthology. It all sounded good to me.

My story occurs ten days before Christmas. The title is If You Believe, and the theme is "trust God's will for your dreams." My theme meant something to me. I knew when I married my husband after being divorced for nine years, and moved to Louisiana almost immediately (after living in Texas all my life), I was trusting God's will.

Thirty-one years ago today, our daughter was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Here's a picture of when we stood before our pastor and dedicated her to God. Look how tiny she is. Just looking at this picture, I can hardly believe she's real.

Here's a picture of her "reading" her little picture book. We put books in her hands from the get-go. We definitely wanted a young reader!  A few weeks after she was born, she attended her first writer's meeting--at our house. Her first public appearance was to the Goodwood Library in Baton Rouge.

By the time she was three, she knew many of my author friends and was a Hemingway fan...through me, of course. We lived in New Iberia, Louisiana and started a writer's group there.

Our daughter has always been chatty and had a beautiful, happy personality. You can probably see that by these other two pictures. 

On May 29th, 12 Days of Christmas will release. If you're wondering what my daughter has to do with any of this ... it's simple. She's always my heroine. No matter what I write--mystery or romance--the heroine is always the young woman you see here. 

Happy birthday, Chaney. Thank you for being the perfect daughter for me and your father. The years went too fast.
I pray God's blessings on you, and that you'll always trust God's will for your life. I love you.

 Please visit the other authors in our 12 Days of Christmas anthology. Several are giving away a copy or you can purchase one HERE. We hope you enjoy our stories and above all, we hope they bless you.

May 19 - Ruth L. Snyder at
May 20 - Anne Baxter Campbell at
May 21 - Marcia Lee Laycock at
May 22 - Mishael Witty at
May 23 - Christine Lindsay at
May 24 - Sheila Lagrand at
May 26 - Jessica Ferguson at
May 28 - Peg Phifer at
May 29 - Jeanette Hanscome at

Friday, May 23, 2014

CFBA introduces Gathering Shadows by Nancy Mehl

Last week was the first time I've participated in the CFBA Blog tours in a couple of years. When I took a look at the May books, three sounded interesting but I was scared I couldn't read them in a month's time (I'm slow these days) or worse, that they wouldn't be as good as they sound. Sometimes the blurbs are better than the books. Still, I decided to take a chance and order all three. If you read last week's post, you know I thoroughly enjoyed Rise and Shine by Sandra D. Bricker. Gathering Shadows was excellent too. There have been times I've thought Christian fiction had a long way to go and a lot to learn, but I might be changing my mind. I've read three excellent books during the past month, and wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to any of you. I wonder ... is Christian fiction changing or am I?  Maybe a little of both.

Check out Gathering Shadows by Nancy Mehl. I'm looking forward to her next book in this new series.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Gathering Shadows
Bethany House Publishers (May 6, 2014)
Nancy Mehl


Nancy Mehl lives in Wichita, Kansas with her husband Norman and their dog, Watson. She’s authored thirteen books and is currently at work on her newest series for Bethany House Publishing.

All of Nancy’s novels have an added touch – something for your spirit as well as your soul. “I welcome the opportunity to share my faith through my writing,” Nancy says. “It’s a part of me and of everything I think or do. God is number one in my life. I wouldn’t be writing at all if I didn’t believe that this is what He’s called me to do. I hope everyone who reads my books will walk away with the most important message I can give them: God is good, and He loves you more than you can imagine. He has a good plan especially for your life, and there is nothing you can’t overcome with His help.”

She and her husband attend Believer’s Tabernacle in Wichita.


Wynter Evans is a promising young reporter for a television station in St. Louis, but even a bright future doesn't take away her pain over the disappearance of her brother nine years ago. So when she stumbles across a photograph of a boy with an eerie resemblance to him, she can't pass up the chance to track him down. With research for work as her cover, she sets out with one of the station's photogs for the place where the picture was taken: the town of Sanctuary. Almost as soon as she arrives, she meets the town's handsome young mayor, Rueben King, and together they begin to uncover long held secrets that could tear the small town apart and change everything Wynter thought she knew about her life. As the truth of her family's past hides in the shadows, it's clear someone will stop at nothing to keep the answers she's searching for hidden forever--even if the cost is Wynter's very life. If you'd like to read the first chapter of Gathering Shadows, go HERE.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

CFBA Introduces Rise and Shine by Sandra D. Bricker

I read a fun book a few weeks ago. Fun, meaning, different. Rise and Shine by Sandra D. Bricker,  grabbed me by the throat and wouldn't let me go until the last page. Well, actually I did put it aside about ten or fifteen pages toward the end because when I read a really good book, I dread the ending. Sometimes that's where the author screws up. Sometimes, the book is so good, I don't want it to end. Sometimes I just want to savor what I've read before I turn the last page. Bricker did a great job with this book. In fact, I was so impressed, I spewed the entire plot to my daughter ... and I don't usually do that. I never give verbal book reports! I hate listening to them too. So let me ask you a question:
How would you like to wake up one day and learn you'd been in a coma for ten years? Pretty scary, huh? Can you even imagine what your life might be like? If you read Christian fiction, give this one a try. I don't think you'll be disappointed. And for something a little extra, here's an interesting blog post about writing by the author.

BTW, I received a complimentary copy for my honest comments about this book.  The opinions shared are mine alone.
This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Rise and Shine
River North; New Edition edition (May 1, 2014)
Sandra D. Bricker


For more than a decade, Sandra D. Bricker lived in Los Angeles. While honing her chosen craft of screenwriting in every spare moment, she worked as a personal assistant and publicist to some of daytime television's hottest stars. When her mother became ill in Florida, she walked away from that segment of her life and moved across the country to take on a new role: Caregiver.

The author says that it was her 8th novel that opened the door to finding her way as a writer. "I'm a Christian woman, first and foremost," she says. "So it was a bit of a dream-come-true when Summerside Press chose me as one of two authors to launch the Love Finds You line."

Sandie's real-life role as cancer survivor has parlayed into her steadfast commitment to raising awareness and funds for ovarian cancer research. Spearheading a series of devotionals for Summerside Press (such as the popular His Grace is Sufficient...Decaf is Not), the author has stipulated that a portion of each contributor's proceeds will go to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.

"Being allowed to combine my faith and my humor with raising funds for my pet projects ... and still pursue my writing dream," says Bricker, "well, that's the best of all worlds, as far as I'm concerned!"

And one of the author's pet projects is animal rescue, evidenced by the special bond she has created with one particular formerly-abandoned puppy -- a red-haired collie with "killer brown eyes and the heart of the class clown."


Shannon Malone thought she'd found her happy ending when she married Edmund Ridgeway, but a diving accident on their honeymoon left her in a coma. Waking up to the news that she's thirty years old would have been daunting enough . . . but she also learns that Edmund has lost his interim battle with cancer and the world has marched on without her. Her gorgeous doctor, Daniel Petros, seems to know everything about her and becomes Shannon's tour guide into a whole new world of madness where reality television has taken over the planet and everyone's life appears to revolve around a tiny screen on their cell phones! As Shannon struggles to navigate through the changes-both in the world and in her-she also must discern real memories from imagined ones. Did she really ever wear capris pants and entertain in her living room, or was that Laura Petrie from her favorite classic TV show? And where is her beloved dog, Freeway? Oh, wait! That was Jonathan and Jennifer Hart's dog, not hers. Shannon's three elderly aunts flit through her life in true Sleeping Beauty style with her well-being always a priority. And Edmund's sister Millicent descends like the Evil Queen she is, trying to extract Shannon from any claim on the Ridgeway family fortune. When a tornado moves through town and Shannon is knocked unconscious, will Daniel's kiss awaken her once and for all?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Rise and Shine, go HERE.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

IWSG Day! and More!

I'm late! I'm late! For a very important date!

Today is IWSG day--the first Wednesday of the month. IWSG stands for Insecure Writers Support Group and was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. You can follow other IWSG members here  and on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG.

Our purpose is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.

We're wrapping up renovation at our house and then, after putting everything back in its place, I'll be in a position to tackle another kind of renovation. Novel renovation! Short story renovation! Mental renovation! I can't wait!

You probably remember that I said I planned to go to the library every day of renovation and write. Did. Not. Happen. Why on earth I thought I'd be able to do such a thing is beyond me. I've never renovated a house before. I'll give you a tip. Move out completely. Rent a pod or a storage house and get all your furniture out. Otherwise, you'll go stark raving mad!

When it comes to renovating novels, I suppose we might say the same thing. Some people segregate things. One day they might tackle characterization or setting. The next, they look at the plot line. I hear Scrivener is great at helping compartmentalize things like this. I'm slowly learning Scrivener so we'll see.

Even though I'm late posting IWSG today, I wanted to post to encourage you all. (And I didn't want Alex to get me!)

On another note, I'd like for you to read an interview with me and my partner, Jan Rider Newman at The Review Review. Leslie Schultz spoke with us about starting our literary magazine, Swamp Lily Review. The Review Review quoted me at the very top of the website! I'm thrilled!