Monday, October 29, 2012

Flight of Fancy by Laurie Alice Eakes and giveaway, ends November 5 noon

Oh, so few books keep you truly guessing until the very last page, and give up their secrets grudgingly one titillating hint at a time. But Laurie Alice Eakes has mastered both intrigue and suspense, dramatic and expertly timed to sweep you to the very heights of anticipation and passion in this thrilling Regency romance.

Cassandra Bainbridge is enamored with learning Greek and physics as much as she is enamored with the man she used to know as Geoffrey Giles, the second son of Lord Whittaker. But when Geoffrey inherits the estate unexpectedly, Cassandra's dreams of aeronautic pioneering come under jeopardy since she must assume an uncomfortable societal role as the wife of an Earl. Soon, not just her dreams are threatened, but her very life, as accidents and intrigue surround both her and Whittaker.

Set in the backdrop of the Luddite rebellion, as well as the advent of ballooning science, this beautiful and stirring story shimmers with details of a rich history. Each page delivers compelling scenes with characters as fascinating and accessible as the best of Masterpiece Theater, or even Downton Abbey. Themes of seeking forgiveness abound--forgiveness from God, from one another, from an unforgiving society, and even from oneself. Flight of Fancy is a rare story that explores the healing grace of God on scars both internal and external, and the difference between love and lust, all done in a beautifully redemptive and uplifting way. I was left with the renewed conviction that there is no past too corrupted for the Lord to make clean, nor any earnest soul too rebellious for God to restore.

If I read this book over and over the rest of my life, I would still be catching the nuance and layers this master storyteller has woven into this superb novel. If ever there was a story that begs for the big screen, it is this. You will not want to miss one savory moment of Flight of Fancy. It will truly take you up from mundane reality and sweep you away!

Enter for a chance to win my gently used copy of this charming romance by leaving a comment with your email addy. Winner will be drawn by on Monday Nov 5th at noon. Extra entries for sharing this on twitter and facebook, as well as for following this blog.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Review A Light in the Window by Julie Lessman and contest

              New England at Christmastime invites a special romance all its own, and this story set in turn of the century Boston captures the imagination and the heart. Characters that fill a literal stage with warmth and endearment, Marceline Murphy and Julie O’Rourke are best friends reunited after several years apart. Right away Julie fills Marcy in on gossip about her brother Sam—Marcy’s schoolgirl crush, and Sam’s handsome and charming best friend Patrick O’Connor. The two are rogues, Southie’s delightful Lotharios. And Marcy vows to stay clear of trouble, until the street-smart and saintly wise Father Fitzgibbons throws them all together as volunteers for the Christmas play.

                Spending time with both of the devilishly charming young men causes Marcy to second-guess her resolve to avoid romance. Both Sam and Patrick vie for her attention and Marcy wants to believe more than anything that Julie’s brother has turned over a new leaf. She dreams of marrying into her best friend’s big, welcoming family and needs little encouragement to fall head over heels for Sam’s flattery. But she can’t quite put Patrick’s devastating good looks and good-hearted gestures from her mind. Two men claim to love her, but only one can possess her heart.

                Set amidst a wonderfully realistic parish of Irish families with charitable outreaches and plot twists, secrets, betrayal, and redemption, this story kept drawing me in with each turn of the page. I couldn’t wait to see what would happen not only to the main characters, but also to a cast as rich and warm as Julie Lessman’s writing is imaginative and lively. From little waifs with precocious tongues to grandmothers who bake oven-fresh treats, Ms. Lessman crafts each of her many unique and memorable characters until they become family. But at the center is a hero as unselfish and deserving as ever a Christmas story depicted since that very first hero born in a manger for the sins of the world.

                I have seldom read a book that exudes all the love, family tradition, and heart-stirring affection that embodies Christmas itself as A Light in the Window beams. This wonderful Christmas romance will warm your holiday season and will stand as a classic for many years to come.

For rules on Julie Lessman's contest, please go to the following link:
Up for grabs are a Kindle Fire, an amazon gift card, and an e-copy of this charming Christmas romance. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Interview with Carrie Fancett Pagels plus giveaway! Ends Oct 23

Carrie Fancett Pagels writes “romantic” Christian historical fiction and is represented by Joyce Hart, Hartline Literary Agency. ACFW MidAtlantic Zone Director. Administrator of the group blog “Colonial Quills” ( and international blog “Overcoming Through Time—With God’s Help” (

Welcome, Dr. Pagels, or as I have been privileged to call you, Carrie  :D

Q: coffee, tea, soft drink, water, or home juiced vegetables?
Until recently it was coffee at breakfast, water all day long, and hot tea in the afternoon.  But I am off coffee now and drink water, tea, and juice throughout the day.

Q: When did you first know you were a writer?
When I was a little girl and finished reading Anne of Green Gables and I wrote an epilogue in the back of my book!

Q: How do your roles of mother, wife, professional, daughter of Christ, resident of Virginia etc. play into your writing? 
                 “Overcoming Through Time—With God’s Help” ( is my blog address. A little over a year ago I began to invite others to join me there. And I have been so blessed to now share this blog ministry with two wonderful American reviewers and two international reviewers!  We are trying to reach people who are dealing with some of life’s difficult blows but with Christ’s help are overcoming—and who enjoy reading Christian fiction as part of that process.  We love sharing writers’/authors’ interviews in which they share their own journeys and difficulties.  We are in the process of renaming our blog because my tagline for my fiction writing is Overcoming Through Time – With God’s Help and we need to use that for my brand spanking new website, which I am very excited about! 
                Recently I realized that I was no longer anyone’s daughter (anyone living) but that I am God’s daughter.  That was a weird feeling to know I no longer have that role. A sad feeling.  As a resident of Virginia I am blessed to have so much cool historical stuff nearby, including Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown Settlement, Yorktown Victory Center, Shirley Plantation, and other great sites!  I was raised in upper Michigan and am a former Yooper, which has greatly impacted my life.  But I was raised by a Kentucky-born mother.  And although my father was Yooper born and bred (and you’d be surprised to know that most are NOT the rednecks they are sometimes portrayed as being) my father’s maternal side was from Kentucky, within a short distance of where my mother’s people lived but they didn’t know that until after they wed. 
                During some genealogical research, which I did because my mother’s side of the family wasn’t well documented, I found out I had ancestors whose nine sons participated in the American Revolution. Between that and living in the colonial triangle of Virginia, that got me started on writing a fictionalized account of these ancestors’ journey to colonial America.  That manuscript and three book proposal is out on submission.  As the administrator and contributor for the group blog “Colonial Quills” ( I love seeing us get out more information about this era and promoting this subgenre in Christian fiction!

Q: You love history, as do I. If you could sit down and interview any figure from any time, real or fictional, who would that be and what is the first question you would ask?
I would want to ask my ancestor, Johan Rousch, who I wrote about.  I’d like to hear why he left Germany to come to the colonies and how he felt about it.  Can I cheat and also ask to meet Susanne, his wife? I find it horribly unfair that he was recognized by the SAR but I don’t believe anything was done by the DAR for her.  And she birthed the nine sons who fought in the American Revolution!

Q: Who have been your mentors, and how did they help you most?

I had AMAZING English teachers growing up in my hometown. The high school teachers, in particular, were so good.  I took the CLEPP exam and was allowed to exempt college English (at age 17.)  However, I ended up enrolled in a freshman English class.  Day one when I arrived at class I was met by the frail and elderly professor and when he heard my name he took me aside.  Told me that my essay was the best he had read, ever, at the college. I think I blinked at him.  I hope I thanked him!  That has never left me.  God must have prompted him to say something.  Within about six weeks he had passed away.  It was rather surreal. When he had asked me my major and I told him psychology he’d seem so disappointed and had encouraged me to write.
I met my agent, Joyce Hart, at the Philadelphia conference Write His Word, four years ago.  She gave me some of the best advice about my writing that I ever could have received.  She took me on as a client in 2011 and I consider her a mentor.
Laura Frantz is someone I consider a mentor although she might scoff at that.  I met her via Rachel Hauck’s directive in an ACFW online class that we track down comparable books to our own MSes.  I found Laura’s “The Frontiersman’s Daughter” for pre-order online.  At first I was like—oh nooooo—someone has something similar to what I am doing. Is it too similar?  Then I got in touch with Laura and we began an email correspondence. I have learned a lot about the everyday life of a published author from her, especially like what it is like to transition over from a non-published writer to author. 
Lena Nelson Dooley gave me a paid critique at the ACFW conference in 2010 and I won a critique with her and did that in 2011.  She was the first person to offer me endorsement, which I will never forget.  She also spent a lot of time with me at conference last year and is such an encouraging person. 
As far as my writing, both Vickie McCollum and Lynn Squire as the leaders of the Fellowship of Christian Writers critique group were the first people to say to me “You are ready to be published.”  Their mentorship was critical in getting me to the next big steps I needed to make from a writer with a ton of unfinished manuscripts to someone who had clarity and purpose and finally moved forward to begin the process of preparing those for publication.

Q:  What do you hope your readers will take away from their time and investment in your books and blogs?
Overcoming With God blog--I hope readers will feel like they had just spent a visit with friends and shared words of encouragement as well as their love of Christian fiction!
In my MSes, which Lord willing will be published, I hope that readers will feel, really feel, what my characters are going through and see how God could deliver the characters and themselves.

Q: Since your blog is about overcoming, can you share with us here what is the biggest thing you have had to overcome and how?
Kathy, what I deal with daily is overcoming, one day at a time, the effects of multiple forms of arthritis.  Only with God’s grace do I literally put one foot in front of the other each day.  I don’t know why He hasn’t (yet!) removed this difficulty from me, but I trust Him.  We also have a child with different issues, but he is doing great—literally overcoming with God’s help, through time!  The hardest thing was when our little guy was in the throes of full blown autism and having meltdown and other unsavory issues and life was a daily horrendous battle.  And no one seemed to understand.  You are isolated and dealing with severe issues that others might have no clue about.  I thank God we are past the most severe stage and that He has enabled us to receive multiple treatments and that He has brought about much healing.
Kathy, you and others ask how I do so many things—I am the ACFW MidAtlantic zone director, have the two blogs, and a special needs child. We also travel and I go to historical sites frequently for research. And I have been completing manuscripts at the rate of about one every seven or eight months, which is getting faster for me.  But because of my physical limitations I am not as mobile as other people. God has limited my span of activities and so my butt in the chair time is likely much higher than other writers’. 
And I want to give a praise here.  Since I started writing this interview only three weeks ago, I have gone through some things that are resulting in improvement in my arthritis symptoms, praise God!  Although some has been really difficult to go through, I am seeing results from where God has taken me and moved me to.  A lot of this is in dealing with food and medication allergies.  And I am on very little medication for my Rheumatoid arthritis right now, thank you Jesus! And my mobility is greatly improving!!!

Kathy, you are such a sweetheart.  Thanks so much for having me on your blog!  Many blessings!

Carrie, you are a delight and an inspiration to me, and to many! Thank you for being so gracious with your time.

In honor of Carrie's visit, and because of our shared love for Colonial history and romance, I am offering our visitors a chance to win a gift basket. Bon bons, a coffee/tea packet and a lovely antique porcelain Colonial figurine reading couple will be mailed to one winner within the United States who leaves a comment or question for Carrie, plus your email addy. You can increase your chance of winning by following either of Carrie's blogs or both, and my blog here, and by sharing this blog post on twitter or facebook. A maximum of six entries per person possible. Winner will be drawn Tuesday Oct 23rd

I have just drawn the winner on and it was #27, which when I calculated all 85 qualified entrants, turns out to be Debbie Lynne Costello! LOL  I hope no one thinks there is any collusion going on here. I truly drew her number fair and square. Congratulations, Debbie Lynne!

Thank you everybody for visiting as we had such a wonderful week with Carrie. Thank you, Carrie, for being such a wonderfully warm guest and for all the wit and wisdom you brought. Lord bless you dear lady as you connect so many in the CBA with your blogs and reviews and gracious personality. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Interview with Debbie Lynne Costello, and two giveaways, Ends Oct 16th

Debbie Lynne is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. She has been mentored by Carol Award Nominee Laurie Alice Eakes and Christy Award Nominee MaryLu Tyndall. To hone her craft she has worked with a private editor. She is an active member of ACFW. She co-founded CROWN Marketing which promotes CBA historicals. Debbie Lynne has two websites and two blogs and works actively on building her platform. She and her husband live in South Carolina with their shelites and near their four children. They often vacation in the Charleston area where her stories are set.

Q: coffee, tea, (diet) soft drink, water, or home juiced vegetables? (gack!)

    LOL! I love my hot tea in the morning. I admit, I’m addicted to my Lipton. I drink a ton of water. Enough that my hubby put an RO unit in our kitchen. Love sweet tea and it loves my hips so I only drink it when we go out to eat.

Q: When did you first know you were a writer?

   That’s a tough question. I started writing stories when I was in about second grade. And to go off on a rabbit trail, my mother saved those stories and gave them to me about a year ago. What an awesome surprise! But back to the question. I took every creative writing class I could in high school, and in college I studied journalism. So I knew I wanted to write as far back as then. But to be a fiction writer? I’m  going to say about 5 years ago when my husband told me I should write a book and I did.

Q: If there were a writing fairy, and you captured her and fed her chocolate coconut cookies until she granted you three wishes, what would those wishes be?

    Yikes! That is a toughie, too. Can one of my wishes be 3 more wishes. LOL. Okay, I think that was a no. 1) I have several friends and family members suffering from some terrible diseases. My first wish would be for total healing for them. (Hope that can count as one wish. I think this is a very generous writing fairy. Heehee) 2) I’d wish for a revival to hit this country like never seen and we’d turn our hearts and face to God as a country. 3) This is a writing fairy so I wouldn’t want to insult her! I’d wish for you and I to go hand in hand both receiving a contract this year. ;o)
Q: How do your roles of mother, wife, cheerleader, patriot, daughter of Christ, resident of (SC) etc. play into your writing? 

     OMGoodness girlfriend! Are you wanting a book? Lol. I’ve learned a lot from being a mother and wife and many of those lessons find their way into my stories. As you know I am a fanatical patriot. I love my country and even though it has many problems it’s still the greatest nation in the world to live in my opinion. So I hope my love for my country shines through by the research I do into its history. Cheerleader and daughter of Christ—is the reason I write. In hope to touch someone’s life when they need it most. I want my work to have purpose, not just entertainment. Though, I do want to entertain, too. Lastly, resident of SC. Most of my stories thus far are set in SC and the one that isn’t, is right next door in Savannah. I love Charleston, South Carolina and I believe it shows in my stories.

Q:  What do you hope your readers will take away from their time and investment in your stories? 

    I try to write stories of real people with real problems. I hope that my story will resonate truth with some readers when they travel through a similar valley that one of my characters has recently taken. And I hope that regardless they will take away something that strengthens their faith in the Lord and help them trust in the promises He’s given us.

Q: You love history, as do I. If you could sit down and interview any figure from any time, real or fictional, who would that be and what is the first question you would ask?

    I’d say Jesus but I’m afraid I’d be speechless with my face buried in the sand. So I think I would say David. I’d love to ask him why God said that he (David) was a man after His (God) own heart. I’d love to know David’s secret. He obviously had many weaknesses to sin. What was it that David had that others in the bible didn’t?

Q: Who have been your mentors, and how did they help you most?

  MaryLu Tyndall was my first mentor. She took the time to tell me what I needed to do as I tried to learn the ropes. She was and is a huge blessing to me, answering my questions, praying for me, and encouraging me. Today she is one of the dearest friends. Laurie Alice Eakes was my next mentor. She helped me so much with my writing. Showed me my weakness and helped me become stronger in those areas. She too has become a very dear friend. God is so good! I’ve made some of the best friends in my life since I’ve started writing.

Q: In the spirit of paying that mentorship forward, do you have any advice for the beginning writer? 

   Read some good books on writing. Ask questions to knowledgeable authors. Be tough! This business isn’t for sissies. You have to have tough skin and be able to take criticism. And lastly, be patient and don’t give up. There are some stories of writers who get published on their first story, but that’s rare. If you don’t get an agent or contract on your first story don’t quit. Listen to what you’re being told and work to fix the problems and keep writing. Chin up!

To learn more about Debbie Lynne, go to her website or blog

Debbie Lynne has graciously offered to do a beautiful basket giveaway for our readers this week. The basket has a pumpkin candle, bath basket with soap, lotion and spray, journal, stationary, HOPE plaque, autumn "believe" mug, "Happy Harvest" hanging, a fall flower necklace, and the book Coming Home by Stacy Hawkins Adams. 
I am doing a second giveaway for another lucky commenter--two of Debbie Lynne's favorites--a Lindt chocolate candy bar and a small box of Lipton Bedtime Story Tea, plus an autumn mug. Perfect for your reading getaway!
To be entered for a chance to win one of our two giveaways, please leave a comment for Debbie Lynne with your email addy. For extra entries, please follow this blog, (see follow button to right side), and/or, and tell us if you tweeted or facebooked this blogpost. 1 entry for each of these. Total of 6 entries possible if commenter follows all three, plus shares on twitter and facebook. Winner will be selected by on Tuesday, Oct 16 at noon EST

We have two winners!! Melanie Dickerson, you have won Debbie Lynne's fabulous fall basket. And Teddy, you have won the tea, chocolate and fall mug. I will send emails shortly! Congratulations, ladies, and thank you to everyone who came and made this such a wonderful week.  Blessings!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Giveaway of Laura Frantz's The Colonel's Lady ends Oct 8

Seldom have I been so immersed in a story world. I am so thankful this was not a quick read for me. It was long, luxuriant, and utterly consuming.

My pool deck, my bedroom, the doctor's office, and every spare minute in the car turned into the Kentucky wilderness this summer. I experienced Roxanna Rowan's vulnerability to heartache, imminent Indian attack, a Spartan existence within the stockade walls of a military fort, but most alarming of all, the dangerous charms of Colonel Cassius Clayton McLinn.

McLinn is a man among men, redoubtable in stature, in reputation, in authority, and in making Roxie's sensible heart betray her. The daughter of a soldier, she proves herself as determined and formidable as he in a contest of wills and of romance.

What I found most appealing was the way the author crafts relationships. Believable and sympathetic supporting cast, such as Bella the freed slave woman who befriends Roxie, almost steal scenes with their pithy humor and poignant roles. The setting itself assumes a character-like quality. The harsh frontier winter slowly yields to the change of seasons, mirroring a theme throughout the story of redemption
from darkness and despairing circumstance.

This is a book that almost defies genre, because it is so much more than a romance, though the romance itself pulled at my heart so relentlessly I could never go long without turning another page. Heart-achingly beautiful and sorrowful and so full of longing, the hero and heroine move beyond sympathetic to saturating, engaging the reader's highest hopes and deepest longings.

And yet, this is a story of the power of hope itself. Hope in God. Hope in the future. Hope in the better angels of our nature. And for me, hope that more novels of this caliber will continue to flow from a master storyteller like Ms. Frantz.

In fact, Laura has a new one out--Love's Reckoning--which promises to be as good or better.
Enter for a chance to win my gently used copy of The Colonel's Lady, and rush out to buy your copy of Love's Reckoning! Leave a comment here for one chance to enter, and follow by blog for another chance, share this post link on facebook or twitter for another. Tell me what you did and how many entries I owe you. :) Winner announced Monday Oct 8th noon EST