Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

A Passion Most Pure

(Revell January 1, 2008)


Julie Lessman


She's found the love of her life. Unfortunately, he loves her sister ...

As World War I rages across the Atlantic in 1916, a smaller war is brewing in Boston. Faith O’Connor finds herself drawn to an Irish rogue who is anything but right for her. Collin McGuire is brash, cocky, and from the wrong side of the tracks, not to mention forbidden by her father. And then there’s the small matter that he is secretly courting her younger sister. But when Collin’s affections suddenly shift her way, it threatens to tear Faith's proper Boston family apart.

Refusing to settle for anything less than a romantic relationship that pleases God, Faith O'Connor steels her heart against her desire for the roguish Collin McGuire. Collin is trying to win her sister Charity's hand, and Faith isn't sure she can handle the jealousy she feels. Full of passion, romance, rivalry, and betrayal, A Passion Most Pure is Book 1 of the Daughters of Boston series.


Truly, this book has left me breathless. A first novel? Unbelievable!! This book captures the very essence of what God intends for love to be between His children!! The passion, the truth, the poignancy of true love between a man and a woman is captured within this story! Julie Lessman does a beautiful job of showing the shallow imitation of love that human lust represents in this fallen world. She sets it in beautiful, passionate contrast to what physical love can be like between two people who love each other and find the oneness God speaks of when He teaches about the intimacy of marriage between His children.

This book is a long read (477 pages!), but after the first few chapters, you become so swept away into the world of Boston before WWI that you totally lose yourself. Honestly, I read this book very quickly and was able to escape into its pages and the romance of the story to the point of complete distraction. This book does cover a LOT of ground, and if I found any fault at all, it would be that the layout of the book was not as clear as it could be. When the point of view shifted from one person to another – even from one location to another – it sometimes seemed abrupt because there was no mark on the page to indicate a change. This was especially true when time had elapsed, and I found myself re-reading the first paragraph again after the shift. Otherwise, you couldn't ask for a more well-written novel!

Julie Lessman is one to be watched! Her romances will be shooting sparks as they fly from the shelves!! I imagine it will inspire some breathless romantic evenings among her readership as well! (BIG SMILE!) Pick this book up and prime your heart for unforgettable romance! After all, as designed by our Heavenly Father, how can it be anything but wonderful? I can’t wait for the next one!

Meet the Romantic Heart behind A Passion Most Pure


Julie Lessman is a debut author who has already garnered writing acclaim, including ten Romance Writers of America awards. She is a commercial writer for Maritz Travel, a published poet and a Golden Heart Finalist. Julie has a heart to write “Mainstream Inspirational,” reaching the 21st-century woman with compelling love stories laced with God’s precepts. She resides in Missouri with her husband and their golden retriever, and has two grown children and a daughter-in-law. A Passion Most Pure is her first novel.

Julie graciously agreed to an interview. I know you will find her as delightful as I did!

1. After reading on your web site, it is easy to see that growing up in a large family strongly influences your love for writing about families. What are some of the strongest influences from your own large family that appear in your stories?

Well, faith in God would have to be one of the biggest influences in being raised in a devout Catholic family of 13 kids, although we had our fair share of squabbles over who got to do dishes rather than saying the family rosary! J Another strong influence of a big family is the wealth of personalities involved, which helped in creating unique characters for each of the sisters in my series. Also, I find that I incorporate a lot of the “feel” of a big family (i.e. noisy dinners full of chatter, holiday feasts for an army, and fist-fights with sisters! J).

2. Sibling rivalry was strong between you and a sister over the attention from boys as you were growing up. Did God redeem that rivalry in your adult life, and could you tell us how your adult relationships compare to your childhood relationships? How has God worked in your own family?

Wow, Kim, what a great question! Yes, yes, YES, God redeemed that rivalry between my sister, Ellie, (upon whom Charity is loosely based) and me about five years ago, which is a true miracle. I mean, this is the sister with whom I had hair-pulling fights while growing up, and even one or two as adults (imagine me in a suit and heels, rolling around the floor in a fight with her during our twenties)! I spent over thirty years praying for her and trying to reach out until five years ago when she became a born-again Christian. Now she is a beautiful sister in the Lord as well as in blood, and truly one of my most ardent intercessors and supporters. Ellie is a gift from God, and I love her with all of my heart!

3. You frequently mention your love for Gone With the Wind as the point that sparked your love for romance. Scarlet was a pretty selfish, manipulative female...a stark contrast to what you feel forms the basis of a God-centered love. What did you find about Scarlet that drew you to romance? Loving someone she couldn't have or taking so long to realize who she really wanted?

Excellent question! Yes, Scarlett was selfish, but what drew me was the pull she had over Rhett—a man who wanted her but couldn’t have her. To me, seeing a strong, male type like Rhett Butler “who wasn’t the marrying kind” give in and marry her because he loved her and wanted to cherish her, spoke volumes to me. Even as a little girl, I sensed that was what romance was all about—finding a man who couldn’t do without you and to whom you were the most important woman in the world. It wasn’t until I gave my heart to the Lord that I learned it was a foreshadow of how God sees romance in Ephesians 5:25: Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” Now I am not saying that Rhett Butler typified the kind of love Christ had in mind, but he wanted Scarlett so badly, he was willing to give of himself to get her. No other woman alive could do that to him, only her. Now to me, that’s romance! J

4. Your husband and children are the light of blessing in your life. Do they enjoy your stories?

Well, yes, finally! You see, my husband Keith wouldn’t read A Passion Most Pure until he could hold a published book in his hand because he hated the gargantuan binders I’d use. But once he did, I was shocked at his response. He admitted he was nervous because what if he didn’t like it??? I still remember the first day I caught him reading it—it was so weird seeing this big, hulking guy holding a romance novel. But the moment he looked up, his eyes locked on mine and he mouthed the words, “It is soooo good!” Needless to say, my heart swooned! I mean, the man only read one other book in 30 years, and my book actually kept him up till the wee hours of the morning AND made him cry! Grin.

Now my daughter? Another story! Although she is an A student in college, she despises reading, so I actually had to bribe her with $20 to read the first chapter of A Passion Most Pure. But I am happy to report that it hooked her, and the rest of the book and the other two didn’t cost me a dime! J

5. Are you close to your large group of siblings as an adult? What do they think about your writing?

Very much so. We actually get together for prayer luncheons, which is really cool, especially since both of my parents have been deceased for years. It’s mostly my sisters, of course, although my brothers do join us occasionally. My family has been so supportive and encouraging, but I do think they were shocked when they finally read the book. I mean they knew I had an imagination like a runaway train, but they tell me they truly had no idea! J

6. You feel very strongly about giving all of who we are to God - our talents, our passions, our very heart's desires. That is so very hard to do. How does this translate in relation to our spouses and helping them reach their own goals?

One of the key Scriptures in A Passion Most Pure is Deuteronomy 30, choosing life (applying God’s precepts) over death (our own), and Vs. 11 comes right out and says “it’s not too difficult for you or beyond your reach.” Why? Because Vs. 14 says “it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.” Notice it says “mouth” first, “heart” second. I believe that speaking God’s Word over and over helps to put it in your heart so you can obey it. And once you do, look out! Blessings galore!

The Word says, “Wives, submit (i.e. respect) your husbands.” That means praying (via God’s Word in my mouth) for God to help me “respect” my husband, then putting feet to my prayers by looking for ways to show him that respect (i.e. feeding the dog so he doesn’t have to, working at being on time because I know that’s important to him, keeping my mouth shut when I want to pick at how he drives (sloooooowww rather than crazed like me!). The bottom line is that God’s Word WORKS … WHEN we apply it!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Lady Behind The Reluctant Smuggler

JILL ELIZABETH NELSON joins us via email today to give us some insight into her latest novel The Reluctant Smuggler. This is the third book in the To Catch a Thief series, and you don't want to miss the excitement!

Please welcome Jill Nelson!

1. Your site indicates you've been writing since an early age. Have mysteries always been a favorite genre? What other types of books do you enjoy?

Yes, I’ve been writing since the 6th grade when I finished my first novel. Well, a novella really. Even though the book was awful, I later realized writing “The End” on a story was a huge accomplishment. Too many manuscripts lie moldering in desk drawers or on hard drives. That first book was indeed a mystery—always one of my favorite genres. My taste in books, both for reading and writing, is pretty eclectic however. I have some as yet unpublished manuscripts in both women’s fiction and fantasy genres. I very much enjoy anything with a strong plot and characters I can care about.

2. How did you learn so much about the art world? Stolen art? What are some of your most useful research tools as you write your novels?

My research for the To Catch a Thief series was extensive. I have bookshelves groaning with information on art, art theft, the FBI and their art theft program, and museum security. I like to get my sources from a cross-section of books, the World Wide Web, and interviews with people. For Reluctant Smuggler I even had the opportunity to ask questions of a former naval intelligence operative. Research can be a very cool thing, but I can only put a fraction of the information into a book. Authors constantly have to resist the temptation to pad the story with info-dumps that don’t really fit the plot line.

3. What does your family think about your stories? Who is your biggest fan?

My whole family is extremely supportive of my writing career. They have to be to put up with my “absenteeism” during deadline crunch time. Most of the time we work out a balance between my writing demands and family needs. It helps that our four kids are grown. I don’t know if I could name any one of them as my biggest fan. Well, maybe my husband. He has to put up with me the most.

4. What role - positive or negative - does the blogging world play in promoting good Christian fiction?

I think blogs are wonderful tools to get the word out about good books. They provide an opportunity for anyone—readers and writers alike—to sound off about clean, fun fiction with the extra blessing of soul-nourishing spiritual content. Blog tours and book giveaways are all the rage now among authors and book fans. These provide a lot of valuable information for people looking for quality reads.

5. Do you enjoy more speaking engagements or book signings? Which is your favorite? Why?

I love my book signings where I get to meet and chat with so many lovely people, but I often end up reciting much of the same spiel over and over. Speaking engagements give me the opportunity to spend extended time with the same group of people, and the exchange of information can be much more in depth. I’d have to say I enjoy that most.

6. Hobbies besides reading and writing? Please share!

My family loves to camp out. We make good use of our Minnesota state parks. Of course, at our age, “roughing it” for my husband and me is an elderly but well-preserved motor home. We enjoy the woods and lakes just the same. At home, we like to go on walks, weather permitting, or settle in for an evening of popcorn and a movie. My husband and I also have a passion for short-term mission trips. So far, we’ve been to Jamaica, New Orleans during Mardi Gras (way weird experience), and Thailand (wonderful experience).

7. What is your next project?

I’m writing the first of two books for the Steeple Hill romantic suspense line. Number one is called Evidence of Murder. Here’s a little teaser: When a new businesswoman discovers photos of a decade-old multiple homicide, she and the surviving son of the murdered family become the targets of a desperate and powerful killer. This one will be one in February of 2009, with a second book releasing in June of the same year.

8. A word of encouragement or something you can share with your readers about the things God is showing you in your writing journey?

He’s certainly teaching me perseverance in the face of adversity. Writing, writing, writing and submitting, submitting, submitting regardless of rejections is a key ingredient to success in this business.

Wherever I do a speaking engagement, there is one nugget I love to share about my life-long desire to become a published novelist. If God can bring a treasured dream to pass for this middle-aged nobody special from nowhere-in-particular, He can and will do it for anyone.

If you want to win a free copy of this terrific book, please leave a comment on yesterday's post. I will choose a winner on Friday! Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, January 28, 2008

On Tour with The Reluctant Smugglar and contest!

Author Bio:
Jill Elizabeth Nelson
graduated with a degree in literature and creative writing from Southwest State University in Marshall, Minnesota. She served for three years as the senior inspirational reviewer for Romantic Times BOOKclub magazine and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Writers Group, and Christian Authors Network. In 2004, she served as a Christy Award judge in the romance category. Nelson and her husband have four children and live in adison, Minnesota.


Looting of archaeological sites is big business in a thriving art and antiquities black market. When a desperate foreign government hires Desiree Jacobs’s security company to stop the hemorrhage, she runs afoul of a deadly art-for-drugs operation. Tony Lucano risks his rising career in the FBI to dive into the international underworld after her. Before either of them can come up for air, they must navigate through a deepening murk of ruthless looters, hair-trigger DEA agents, crooked government agents, and innocent bystanders caught up in an illegal trade beyond their understanding. Even if a miracle delivers Desi and Tony from evil, will their love survive the test?

My Review:

Well folks, I’ve got to back track two books now! I’ve never read any of Jill Nelson’s books, and since this is the third in a series, I must go back and read the others! If you enjoy plot twists at a fast and furious pace, you will love this book! Honestly, I feel like I’ve read a lot more than just one novel..this story is packed! You can enjoy this book as a stand-alone, but it is evident that a lot of history can be found in the first two novels that would add depth to this story.

At the beginning, I was totally confused, until I learned who the good guys and bad guys really were. It was a wonderful way to draw you into the story….confusing the two! From the very first cat-burglary to the many gun battles, kidnappings, chases…you are in for a wild ride. And for me, what makes it truly appealing is the Christian message woven throughout. It is so refreshing to see the daily walk and relationship with Christ interwoven into the characters’ most difficult circumstances. Real life is like that whether you are an FBI agent tracking international fugitives or whether you are the secretary blogging great Christian fiction.

I highly recommend this book for folks who enjoy suspense and mystery with a healthy dose of romance mixed in. Order your copy today! Me, I’ve got to go find copies of the first two in the series! Enjoy! Purchase your copy here.

If you post a comment on this review, you will be entered into a drawing to win a free copy of this terrific book! I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Awaken My Heart by DiAnn Mills

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Awaken My Heart

Avon Inspire (February 5, 2008)


DiAnn Mills


Award-winning author, DiAnn Mills, launched her career in 1998 with the publication of her first book. She is the author of numerous titles including novels, novellas, and a nonfiction. In addition, she's written several short stories, articles, devotions, and has contributed to several nonfiction compilations.

DiAnn believes her readers should "Expect an Adventure." Her desire is to show characters solving real problems of today from a Christian perspective through a compelling story.

Several of her anthologies have appeared on the CBA Best Seller List. Three of her books have won the distinction of Best Historical of the Year by Heartsong Presents, and she remains a favorite author by Heartsong Present's readers. Two of her books have won short historical of the year by American Christian Fiction Writers both in 2003 and 2004. She was named Writer of the Year for 2004 at the 35th Annual Mount Hermon Christian Writer's Conference and is the recipient of Inspirational Reader's Choice Awards for 2005 in the long contemporary and novella categories.

DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, ChiLibris, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association and a mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops. DiAnn also belongs to Cy Fair Women's Networking, an exclusive professional women's networking organization.

She lives in sunny Houston, Texas, the home of heat, humidity, and Harleys. In fact she'd own one, but her legs are too short. DiAnn and her husband have four adult sons and are active members of Metropolitan Baptist Church.


1803, the colony of Texas

Awaken My Heart is set in 19th century Texas and tells the story of 18 year old Marianne Phillips, the daughter of a wealthy rancher, Weston Phillips. Weston is involved in a hostile struggle with Armando Garcia, the infamous rebel leader of the 'mestizos' who claim to own the land that Phillips has settled.

Marianne Phillips, the daughter of a wealthy rancher, has never agreed with her father's harsh treatment of the poor mestizos who first inhabited the colony of Texas. When rebels kidnap Marianne, in hopes her father will trade back their land for her freedom, she realizes her loyalty lies with her abductors, not her father, who plans to marry her off to the don of a nearby estate.

Armando Garcia is the locals' reluctant leader, but his people revere and depend on him. Knowing that without his leadership they'd be forced from their land, Armando accepts his role, but does not approve of the latest attempt to manipulate their enemy. When he learns that Marianne actually speaks his language, of her loyalty to his people, and of the faith that keeps her strong, Armando is faced with a difficult decision. Will his newfound love keep him from letting her go? Or will he set her free and risk losing their land forever?

My Review:
Since joining the world of blogging, I have added a considerable number of new authors to my list of reading experience, and DiAnn Mills is one of those authors. I have always enjoyed historical fiction sprinkled in among my other reading, and this book brought me back to Texas and its Mexican flavored culture with no problems.

Now, I’m going to be honest. This isn’t the kind of book that just grabs you and keeps you from getting more important things done. This was kind of like watching a Christian version of Bonanza. When I first made that mental comparison, I dismissed it. However, the longer I read, the more I thought about Bonanza. I may be telling my age a bit here, but for those of you who don’t know, Bonanza was a ranch/western type television show that ran from 1959 – 1973. Admittedly, I got in on the tail-end of this t.v. series in real life, but my children now have some of the shows on DVD, and we watch them from time to time.

So, if you can imagine a good old-fashioned western set in Texas with strong Mexican overtones, romance and a Christian message woven in, you come up with Awaken My Heart. DiAnn Mills herself kind of likens this story to her own childhood fascination with Zorro. There are wealthy land-owners/ranchers, poor, struggling farmers/villagers, and a hero that sort of steps out of time and sweeps away the heart and mind of the beautiful main character. This book does give a kind of larger-than-life meaning to love at first sight, but the story itself is good. Just think Bonanza and you’ll like it fine. You can check out all of DiAnn's work here.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Nancy Moser does it again!

Solemnly Nancy Moser

My thoughts:
The lead-in on the back cover of this novel piqued my interest – a story about the members of the jury on a murder trial. The fact that the story was written by an author I greatly admire and enjoy made this a must-read for me. I was not disappointed.

For you see, as in all of Nancy Moser’s work, the story was much deeper, much richer than the telling of a murder trial and its jury members. As each page turns, the reader learns about another layer in the lives of the four main characters. As each layer is revealed, the ethics and morality of their choices becomes more complex. Why? Because no one is who they appear to be. By the time you reach the end of the story, you find yourself looking in your own mirror a bit more closely…a bit more honestly. What masks do we choose to wear? What decisions have we made that cause us to change our mask to suit our circumstance? What will it take for us to trust God enough to remove those masks and become the person He has created us to be?

This story is woven from many threads. In the beginning, you are sort of teased with just enough information about each character to keep the pages turning. By the time you are well into the story, you are discovering there is a lot more taking place between the members of the jury than just deciding a murder trial. What you find is that each person in the story looks at trial through the lens of their own life experience. They make assumptions about each other based on those same opinions. Yet as they discover each other and begin to examine the evidence, they begin to take a close look at their own lives outside the courtroom. And therein lies the story…and the many layers that are to be discovered as these characters begin to slowly look beneath their own masks.

I encourage everyone to enjoy this rich story! You will be entertained. You will be shocked. You will be challenged. This is superb! Nancy gets better with each story she tells! Check out all of her work here. You won't be disappointed!

Friday, January 25, 2008

This Window is going to be Steamy next week!

Ahhhh!! Romance!! I won't give you titles yet, but rest assured there will be a lot of romantic sightings in this window next week! Your heart will be ready for a Valentines Day and a half by the time you leave here. So get ready to laugh and cry as you visit here next week!

And don't forget the mystery and the give away opportunity too! You will need to check here often to make sure you don't miss anything! There is going to be a lot of fun to be had here in the Window To My World, so I hope you will visit often and let me know how you are enjoying your latest read!

So many books.....So many GOOD books!!

Have a terrific weekend!

Thursday, January 24, 2008




Please send your snail mail address, and I'll get this in the mail to you! Come back next week for another chance to win!

I've got three great give aways scheduled in February too, so come back for more great books!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


(Kregel Publications February 29, 2008)
Matthew Raley


Matthew Raley is senior pastor of the Orland Evangelical Free Church in northern California, where he lives with his wife and two young children. For fun, he enjoys playing chamber music with friends, giving occasional solo recitals, and playing first violin in the North State Symphony. This is his first book.


Jim was at work when his eyes drifted to the coffee shop visible from his office window. An attractive woman driving a Mercedes pulled up to the curb . . . and Jim’s married pastor emerged from the car. When Jim delves deeper into his pastor’s world, will he be able to handle what he discovers? Is he right to suspect that Dave is having an affair? In the behind-the-scenes church battle that ensues, Jim is torn between duty to his church and a desire to show grace. A ripped-from-the-headlines drama of suspense that keeps you engaged to the last page.

Fallen is the story about Jim’s relationship with Dave—how Jim tries to do the right thing to keep Dave accountable, but finds the situation getting worse and worse. It’s also about Jim’s other relationships. Just as he discovers hypocrisy in Dave, Jim discovers his own sins against his wife and daughter.

My Review of Fallen

This is Matthew Raley’s first novel. I did not read this book in its entirety. I couldn’t. There are so many “what-if’s” and so much paranoid “supposing” in the first eight chapters it was hard to follow the story. The conversations were stilted and forced and the preachiness of the exchanges between the deacon and the pastor were beyond weird. Apparently this fictional church is filled with people who don’t have a clue about the Bible or how God works in our lives. I pray it is a fictional church and not a fictionalization of a real church.

Now, let me qualify a couple of things. I understand unsaved people fill our churches, and sadly, our pulpits today. I understand that marital infidelity does not exclude preachers. I also understand that the main character in the book recognizes his own wrong attitudes toward women as he deals with his pastor’s indiscretions. I know this is a timely message for a dreadful problem. However, this effort was not believable or entertaining to me. I did not like this book. Buy your own copy and decide for yourself.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Listen to a Cup of Grace read by C.D. Baker

here to enjoy C.D. Baker reading a "Cup" of grace! You don't want to miss 101 Cups of Water so sign up for my give away in yesterday's post! This is one terrific book!

Monday, January 21, 2008

101 Cups of Water by C.D. Baker - A Give Away!

This book by c.d. baker is different from anything I’ve ever read. I really don’t know how to categorize it, because if I call it a devotional guide it doesn’t say enough about the contents of this very special book. Each two-page spread contains a simple black and white photo, a title naming the “cup” of ideas to be addressed, and a few brief paragraphs book-ended by powerful statements of introduction and summary. As a matter of fact, the opening lines are indexed at the back of the book – they are special enough to warrant such attention. You truly experience an “ah-ha!” moment of truth on every page!

I call this book special, because David Baker captures the essence of our daily walk. He honestly explores our feelings of frustration, anger, fear of failure and bad decisions with the joy of understanding fully how our life in Christ is one of completeness, joy and usefulness despite our human frailties. I usually don’t even use devotional guides, but I found myself wanting to book mark every page in this one! The honest truth about living the Christian life is breath-taking!

The writing style is as straight forward and simple as the layout of the book itself. I honestly think I will carry my copy with me for quite some time just to have it within easy reach! As I was discovering this book, I emailed David Baker and asked him to share his inspiration for this book and the experience that allowed him to come to the truths so powerfully displayed in this new work.

“I had been raised in a very conservative Christian background in which my ideas of God were performance based. I struggled for decades to please God through obedience to His Word and deluded myself into imagining that I actually was keeping the code well. Then I failed in ways I had not expected were possible which led me into a wilderness of desperation. There I was thrown a few life-lines to this odd thing called 'grace' which, at first, seemed just too good to be true. Could God really love me AS I AM and not as I should be? When I heard the answer, 'Yes!' everything changed.

I offer this little book in hopes of inspiring others with the Good News that God loves them even with all their imperfections. My hope is that it will set people free to love God and to feel His love in ways they have never imagined.

Instead of cups of water, these might be better thought of as cups of tea...when writing them I needed to let each one steep in my soul. So as I hiked with my rather ugly bulldog, Maggie, I would let the Spirit soak them into me. I do hope readers will read them in the same way.”

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is thirsty to love and understand God in a way that is powerful and life-changing! This may be Mr. Baker’s first work of non-fiction, but I can truly say I hope it is the first of many! You can visit his site here to learn more about his work. This is an excellent book! Buy a copy to keep and several to share!

If you leave a comment on this post, you will be entered into a drawing to win a free copy of this terrific book! Don't miss it!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Book Give Aways coming up!! Don't miss them!

Beginning next week, I will host a blog tour and give away of C. David Baker's newest book 101 Cups of Water! Please stop by and discover this wonderful book! Win your own copy!! Hear what the author has to say about his new work!

I'll look forward to seeing you here!!

And then join me the week of January 28th for Jill Nelson's latest book The Reluctant Smuggler! This tour will include an interview with the author and another fun give away!! So stay tuned and come by for a visit!

We're going to have some fun here in my Window in 2008!

Thursday, January 17, 2008


This blog has sort of taken on a life of it's own lately. I'm talking to authors like crazy and getting some really wonderful blessings from our interviews and their books! This year I'm planning to do more book give-aways, because frankly, I love them! When I read someone's review and then get a chance to win a free book...hey, I'm hooked!

So, I'm going to start offering these opportunities here, and I wanted to give you a sort of "head's up" about what to look for.

Next week, you'll have a chance to win a wonderful devotional book that is certain to speak to your heart! C. D. Baker is releasing a book entitled 101 Cups of Water that is nothing short of life-changing! I've got some great insight from David about his work and I'm excited to share it with you! Go ahead and check it out here.

The following week (January 28th) I'll have a give away of Jill Nelson's latest book entitled The Reluctant Smuggler. This is a terrific romantic suspense novel that you don't want to miss, and Jill is a great lady who does a very interesting interview! So check out her site here
and then come back in a few days for your chance to win her latest book!

Sound like fun? I hope so, because I am having the time of my life and I want to share some of that fun and excitement with you!! So stay tuned and come often for your chance to win some great books!

See you soon!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Christian Writers' Market Guide 2008

WaterBrook Press (January 15, 2008)


Sally Stuart


Sally Stuart has been writing for the last 40+ years, and has been putting out the annual "Christian Writers' Market Guide" for the last 23 years. Her other writing includes several Christian education resources books, a children's picture book, a basic writing text, writing resources, and a western novel--plus hundreds of articles and marketing columns. She writes marketing columns for the "Christian Communicator," "Advanced Christian Writer," and the Oregon Christian Writers' Newsletter. She speaks and teaches at Christian Writers' Conferences nationwide. Sally is the mother of 3 and grandmother of 8. She and her husband, Norm, spend their free time vacationing on the Oregon coast.

Check out her blog!

The essential reference tool for the Christian writer, Sally Stuart’s Christian Writers’ Market Guide is now in its 23rd annual edition!

Check out the section on Blogging on page 69...the CFBA is listed!

Writers’ Conference listings, Book Publishers, Magazine Publishers, and a Bookstore filled with the resources you need to be successful in this business. Get a Book Contract or Manuscript Evaluation, and check out the Writer’s Resource links. This book has all you need to connect to all these valuable helps for the beginning, intermediate, or professional writer.

To keep you up to date with the latest marketing news, visit Sally Stuart’s new marketing blog, Christian Writers’ Marketplace, at

A new, updated version of the Christian Writers’ Market Guide is available about January 15 each year.

My comments: I'm going to tell my age a bit here...the first copy I purchased of this great tool was a thin, albeit packed-with-information book. Many years later, this book and the market it represents has grown tremendously!! No matter the market, children's books, magazines, church name it, it's in here! The layout is terrific, you can learn all about great writer's conferences, professional organizations, helpful teaching tools...if your goal is to write for the glory of the Lord, you don't want to be without this book!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

What I've read during the past few days....

Deborah Raney was a new author to me. I'd been reading a lot about her work on other blogs, and was honored to win an autographed set of these two novels, A Vow to Cherish, and Within This Circle. I was fascinated to learn that the first book was originally published in 1996 and has been made into a movie! I will be looking further into that to be sure! Anyway, this was new territory for me as author's go and what a treat it turned out to be!

The first novel in this series, A Vow to Cherish, tells one of the most touching stories I've ever read about a couple's struggle with the early onset of a disease usually found in much older adults. Like any illness that has no known or certain cure, the couple journeys through a lot of heart-breaking territory as they struggle with their weak humanity in the context of their faith in God and all that He has blessed them with in their lives. To add an even more complex dimension to an already tragic problem, Deborah Raney explores the human need for companionship and relationship during such a trial. I won't give anything away, but trust me when I say that this is a very real, emotional look at our desires and submitting them to God's plan.

This isn't an "easy" read, but it is soul-searching and very rewarding! Be prepared to grow!

Now, many years later, along comes the sequel to this beautiful story - Within This Circle! It's hard to say a lot about this story line without giving away things about the first book, but basically this story carries the results of the first book forward while dealing with equally difficult issues in the lives of the children. I think this story is particularly timely, because there are many family circles that fall prey to bad decisions that force grandparents to take on the roles of parents. Again, not an "easy" read emotionally.

I know families in the truest sense have always been able to lean on each other, but this story deals with decisions that are based on the younger generation's often self-centered decision making process. There are legitimate pressures in the lives of the children, but they lose sight of what truly matters, and the entire family circle must then bear the burden. Oftentimes this will come at great sacrifice for those outside the immediate "circle".

Deborah Raney shows how God works in the lives of everyone surrounding a particular circumstance, and the results that often follow when we follow Him in obedience - even when it means drastic changes in our own plans and dreams. His ways are always so much better, even when we don't understand. This was a satisfying conclusion to the series, and I will have to look further into the work of this terrific author! Thank you, Deborah, for taking us on this journey!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Cindy Woodsmall -Two terrific books!!

It was a year ago that I was first introduced to Cindy Woodsmall when I read her debut novel, When the Heart Cries. It wasn't until two days ago that I finally had the opportunity to read the second book of this trilogy, When the Morning Comes, and I was blown away!!!

These books deal with the relationship within the Old Amish Order and the many ways that dealing with the "outside" world of Englishers affect them. There are layers and layers of character development that will cause you to really connect with everything taking place in their lives, and they will stay with you long after you finish the last page. I love books like that!!

Well, by the time you reach book two, a series of tragic events have unfolded, and the result of human frailty and believing a lie rather than looking for the truth is played out in the entire cast of characters. The main character reaches a very poignant moment early in the book (a letter she writes on pages 34-35) that reflects a truth we could all learn from....Nevertheless, ...God. No matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, if we are a child of God, His promise to work all things for our good and His glory becomes real. Imagine the worst...nevertheless, God is working and making Himself real in your life. I can't begin to tell you how powerful this moment is in the book!

Even though you get the "Nevertheless" message early in the book, Cindy Woodsmall's story only gets more powerful with every page. The story becomes so involved that you cannot put it down! And by the time you read the last are searching for the author's phone number so you can call and tell her to send you the next story page by page as she writes it!!! What a cliffhanger of an ending!!

The final book of this trilogy will come out in September of this year, and I can't wait!! I urge everyone to hurry out and grab these great books! You will read them the first time to enjoy the story, but you will re-read them for the encouragement of God's promises to His children! Great books!! Thank you, Cindy!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

An Interview with Marilynn Griffith

1.After reading on your blog, I have learned how ignorant I am about the disparity of race among and within the Christian Fiction market. Your books carry a powerful spiritual message, so can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication?

Kim, thanks so much for reading my books and my blog too. Though I'd been a scribbler all my life, becoming a writer was never something I considered seriously. (Mostly because everyone I'd ever talked to about it had laughed at me!) Several years ago, however, I had a false heart attack and thought I was dying. Along with my family and friends, the characters to all my secret stories marched beneath my eyelids in my Fred Sanford "Elizabeth" moment. Not only where they there, but they were disappointed. Angry even. I had refused to let them live and now, it seemed, I was dying. I was stunned and told God that if He'd let me get up from there that I would stop asking people's permission to write and just write. The nurse then said there must have been a mistake and there was no cardiac damage and took the EKG off me. I think I asked someone for a pen...

I'd been writing for several years already then, but never bringing anything to completion. I started writing nonfiction to get publishing credits while studying fiction. With each thing I learned, I went back and rewrote my novel. It was a crazy way to do it, but I learned a lot that way. Finally, I finished it and realized that I had to write more stories to learn more. Since the CBA had so few black fiction writers (there was only Sharon Ewell Foster then). I submitted to a black Christian editor who didn't require an agent and was rejected...twice. (I'd sent the wrong file the first time). In the meantime, some agents had responded and I was signed. He thought the book would sell quickly. It didn't. I think I was rejected by everyone on earth. Revell took it to committee two or three times, I think. It was too edgy, too much for a first-time author. Me, a homeschool mom, edgy? Who knew? And then there the black thing... Eventually, I had to let go of the book and start working on something else. That summer, two ideas came to me: one about a three single friends and the other about four multicultural women at a fashion design firm. Though both differ greatly from their original forms, the rest is history.

2. Now, with several successful books published, is race still an issue as you deal with the marketing and placement of your books?

Race is still very much an issue in America and in the church. With me, the problem usually is not quite fitting into a certain category in a nice tidy manner. People want to read books with people who look like them on the cover. It's human nature. I don't always write about people who look like me or act like me, so sometimes that gets a little tricky. With the marketing of each book, we learn something new, both about ourselves and about humanity.

3. What has your own experience been regarding worship on Sunday? Have you been able to find a church home that is blended, or do you still feel things are segregated in that area?

For several years, we attended a more blended church, almost half and half. For the past twelve or thirteen years, however, we have been in a mostly all white congregation. For many years, we have been the only black family with several singles. It is the place where we were called. I joke that we are inverse missionaries of sorts. My church family is wonderful. They read all my books and carry them -- all of them -- in the church bookstore. We are always learning from one another, learning about God together.

4. Living in the South, I've been able to observe some pretty disturbing attitudes within the church regarding race. When my husband would invite an African American to our church, he would get the comment, "You're not from around here are you?" We were both shocked. Why do you feel those attitudes still exist at the foot of the cross?

I have to laugh at this because I had similar experiences. People are sometimes comfortable here being separate, both black and white. Sometimes, I can even understand why. It seems easier and in truth, it probably is. Coming together with people who are different from us is messy sometimes. It stretches us. We get hurt by words and actions that don't seem hurtful to others. As for why these attitudes still exist, it is because America has so much history we are unwilling to deal with. I tell people that we are all living on the red man's land in a country that was built on the black man's back. Black or white, we are all racist in some way by virtue of being born in America. The trick is in admitting it and talking about it.

5. What has been your most memorable reader response?

Oh, there are so many. I love reader mail and save every one. I love when people's marriages are touched by the books. I've already received some mail like that with Happily Even After and there was a lot of it with Tangerine. The responses from young people thrill me too. They always want a movie and give me a whole cast list of who should play each part. That cracks me up.

6. What is your next project?

Remember that book I mentioned first, the one that nobody knew what to do with? It's called Rhythms of Grace and comes out this fall from Revell. It was my true first novel and explores a lot of issues, race among them.

7. Would you like to leave any words of advice to your readers as they explore their own views about race as they read your books? Or as they write their own stories?

I have no advice except to follow God. He has such a great sense of humor and guides us to the places we least expect. I didn't think there was a place in CBA for me (maybe there isn't, I might be deluding myself) but God knows. Be yourself, be as honest as you can be without hurting others and use your gifts to show both the diversity and unity we all have. As for writers, open your eyes and your heart to the unexpected. Stretch yourself with new experience and new people.

Thanks again for having me, Kim.

Happily Even After by Marilynn Griffith

Superwoman doesn't live here!

I marry a gorgeous executive, have a baby, lose all the weight (most of it), and move to a fine house in the suburbs with a welcoming new church. Wait...did I say welcoming?

One teeny waaah! and new mothers and their crying babies are exiled to a separate room. At least there's some enlightening conversation. Like about my husband and issues I didn't even know about!

And then there's my aptly named mother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth, who can't stand me.

I'm about to lose my mind! So it's high time for a visit to the Sassy Sistahood for some much-needed advice about men, marriage and motherhood!

The Sassy Sistahood: They get by with a little help from their friends.


This book was a joyful surprise to me. I’d never read any of Marilyn Griffith’s work, and I was able to pick this up and dive right in. After the first couple of chapters, I found myself shaking my head….”What kind of book am I reading? Romance? Chick-Lit?” I wasn’t sure. So I kept reading. What I found was one woman’s very personal journey through the first year of marriage and motherhood. Her journey wasn’t always pretty, but God was working in her life and the lives of those around her to create something powerful and useful in His service.

I love the way this story moves along so smoothly, and then nestled among the scenes are gems of truth - beautifully written. Let me share a couple. On Page 115 Tracey concludes, “Maybe sometimes the paths of others curl up behind them and the only road left to follow leads to a rugged, bloody cross.” Or how about on page 142…” For whatever reason, this was where God had planted me. My job was to get rooted and grounded and despite inclement conditions, manage to bloom. This conversation felt like a handful of fertilizer.” What about this piece of advice on page 159, “You’ve got to know how to make your own love. Some folks just don’t have it to give.”

From Chapter 10 forward, things get very real. God starts moving in folks’ lives, and things begin to come alive! God grabs hold of one character’s life who at that point you had really learned not to like very well, and listen to her prayer on page 231..”Make each of our words as polished as gems as we speak to others. Help us to understand the power of our sweetness, our honey, even when the days are bitter. Help us to consider the shades and shapes of our words we give away from this day forward. Knowing that what we speak may be worn by those we love for a lifetime. Make us mothers on a mission. Mothers with a ministry in our mouths. In Jesus’ name, A-men.” Talk about powerful!!

If you want to explore family and church relationships in a fresh, very real way, read this book!! Like I said, it’s not always pretty. Marilynn Griffith deals with some of our very false fronts that we wear sometimes when we gather to worship. Her story tears away what is false, reveals what is hidden and lays it all at Jesus’ feet. I will definitely be looking for more of her work! I thank God for Marilynn Griffith!!


Marilynn Griffith is mom to a tribe, wife to a deacon and proof that God gives second chances. While best known for her colorful novels about friendship, family and faith, Marilynn is also a speaker and nonfiction writer.

Her nonfiction has been included in CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN'S SOUL and several other devotionals and magazines. Currently, Marilynn is editor of the SISTAHFAITH:BELIEVING BEYOND SHAME anthology. She is also the founder of, a blog for faith fiction readers.

Marilynn is the author of six novels dealing with issues such as teen pregnancy, AIDS, abstinence, stress relief, single parenting and marriage. Her recent fiction titles include TANGERINE and IF THE SHOE FITS.

Marilynn has served as Vice President and Publicity Officer of American Christian Fiction Writers. She speaks to youth, women and writers about believing beyond boundaries and daring to reach dreams.

Marilynn lives in Florida with her husband and seven children whom she taught at home for seven years. When not chasing toddlers, helping with homework or trying to find her husband a clean shirt, she can be found scribbling furiously on her next novel.

To book Marilynn for media interviews, speaking engagements, Serious Fun fiction parties or book club call-ins, please contact her thru her WEBSITE.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Knowing God and Making Him Known

Well, I'm finished with one of the best trilogies I've read in a very long time! John Aubrey Anderson's And If I Die is, to me, the most powerful book of the three. He layers his story so skillfully throughout the other two books, that when you reach the final installment the message just goes straight to the heart!

What's my job? Knowing God and Making Him Known. What's God's job? Everything else!! What details of my life does God control? All of them! How does He do it? With the most long-suffering, gracious, merciful loving hand of all! Oh, this book will make you want to live a life of peaceful confidence as you follow the Lord, read His Word, and share the gospel with all of those around you! Don't miss this series!!

Now, lest you think this is a slow read...think again! This book will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire way! There are anxious moments, harrowing battle scenes, and times when you find yourself urging the characters to go the other way! This story is loaded with suspense, but it is also filled with thoughtful spiritual insights that are woven naturally into the pattern of the story. So, do you want to read about the battle taking place in the spiritual realm? Do you want read a suspenseful book that packs a wallop of a message? Read this book!!

Read the entire series!! I can't wait to see what John Aubrey Anderson comes up with next!! Get your copy here!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The New Year Starts with a bang!!

I am finally getting around to completing the Black and White Chronicles by John Aubrey Anderson!! Yippee!!! Last night, I finished Wedgewood Grey and I was left so anxious to begin the And If I Die I almost decided to fore go a bit of sleep and get started! However, I chose to go ahead and get a good night's sleep, satisfied to know that the next volume was waiting for me! Yahoo!!

Set primarily in Mississippi, these books chronicle a supernatural battle for the lives of a local family. However, the books reflect the spiritual battle that is raging all around us as we journey through this world. I'm thankful that God is in control of all these things and that He provides the guidance we need through His Word to navigate the battle field. I think the main reason I enjoy these books - besides the obvious suspense, action, wonderful imagery and strong characters - is that John Aubrey Anderson's books lift up Christ and His finished work on the cross. Come what may in the lives of his characters, Christ's atonement is beautifully displayed over and over again. That's what it's all about!!

Anderson deals with many issues that are race-based, and he doesn't hold anything back. I like that about these books, because it is a wonderful picture of God's love and mercy working in all of our lives no matter our race or our station in life. When God starts working in people's hearts, all of that fades away, and we enjoy fellowship and relationship in an entirely new way! There are TONS of twists and turns in the plots of these stories, and enough "battle" scenes to keep you up nights trying to see who survives! I can't really relay the plot in a simplistic way - there are layers and layers to be explored. These books will be read more than once at my house!

Thank you so much, John, for providing an exciting, thought provoking read! I am a fan and a half! I can't wait to see what comes next!! You can purchase your own copies here.