Saturday, March 31, 2012

Winner of "Lethal Harvest" by Sandra Glahn

The winner of Lethal Harvest by Sandra  Glahn is (*drum-roll please*:)

Erin (soulpererin@...)!!!

I'll be emailing you shortly Erin, so be haunting your mailbox- or if you see this post before you receive my email, you can use my Contact Me page to send me your address. Thank you to all who participated in this giveaway. Remember to enter the current giveaways on the sidebar!

Book Review: River's Call by Melody Carlson

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"Anna Larson's daughter, Lauren, is confused, brokenhearted, and misguided. It's the turbulent 1960s and, feeling alienated from her mother, Lauren chooses to stay with her paternal grandmother. However, repelled by the woman's manipulative and spiteful ways, Lauren returns to her mother, the river, and the Inn at Shining Waters.

There, Lauren begins to appreciate the person her mother is becoming--and she loves the river. However, romantic interests throw a wrench into the works and Lauren, jealous and angry, returns to her grandmother yet again.

But as time passes, Lauren, now a mother to her own defiant teenager, faces a new crisis--one that puts the entire family at risk."

River's Call was my first try of author Melody Carlson and I found it to be an enjoyable read. First off the bat, it is set in the "turbulent 1960's"- a time period that is fascinating. I enjoyed reading familiar references to bell-bottoms and tie-dye shirts. Second, her writing was as smooth as the river that has almost a character-like position in this story. Third, the story-line kept me turning the pages and it was emotionally involving.

Anna was an enjoyable character. Her strength, her ability to forgive, and her unconditional love were admirable traits. Lauren, her daughter, was much harder to like. I couldn't relate to her and she acted like a spoiled, lazy child. Towards the end of the book, however, my dislike turned into pity. Her emotional and physical progress at the end of the book was much waited for.

The fact that faith was not a prevalent element in River's Call was disappointing, to say the least. Especially considering the topic Melody focused on in the book. And the few references about God felt forced. I also disliked that Melody kept referring to Lauren's circumstance as a mistake when it clearly wasn't. However, I did enjoy that Melody kept the book completely clean. Overall, this was an entertaining, heart-stirring book. Because of the cliff-hanger ending, I am looking forward to the third installment in this series- though if your looking to be spiritually edified, I would not recommend it. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. It can be bought at Amazon.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Author Interview and Giveaway: Almost Arizona by Susan Page Davis

Welcome to the CBRB! Thank you for being here! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I came to fiction writing later in life. After many years as a news correspondent, I seriously began writing fiction at about age 45. It was a joy to see my first book published when I was 50. I now have more than 40 novels and novellas published. I grew up in Maine and lived there most of my life, though I spent time in Oregon, North Carolina, New York, and now live in Kentucky. I have six children, several of whom are also writers, and eight adorable grandchildren.

When did you first discover that you loved writing?

I wrote lots of stories as a child, but got more into nonfiction as an adult. But I still have some of those early “books” I wrote. I think Marooned on an Island was my first one, hand written on yellow paper cut in small sheets and stapled together when I was about 9. I would now classify that was a romantic suspense book. The Mystery at Cavaltren Ski Lodge was more of a classic-style mystery. Lieutenant Annie was a historical romance with a cavalry setting. Now I laugh, because my published books have titles like Frasier Island (romantic suspense); Homicide at Blue Heron Lake (cozy mystery); and Protecting Amy (historical romance with a cavalry setting). Do you see a pattern here?

Why do you write the type of books that you do?

I write Christian fiction because my faith is woven tightly in my life, and whatever I write will reflect that. Even stories that are not overtly “Christian” – like Mailbox Mayhem and my children’s fantasy, Feather, reflect my values. You will never find explicit sex or foul language in my books. I write mystery and suspense because I love to read those, and I love puzzles. I write historical fiction because I’m intrigued by the past and its effect on us.

What was your greatest obstacle in writing and how did you overcome it?

Connecting with other people in the writing/publishing world was hard for me at first. I felt isolated in Central Maine. But the Internet is a huge blessing. I now belong to several online groups for writers, and I’ve been able to attend conferences and meet hundreds of other authors, as well as agents, editors, and other publishing professionals.

Has writing changed your life in any way?

Yes, I spend a lot more time at my desk now than I did before I wrote fiction. I have fewer social outings, and I’ve laid aside several hobbies. On the positive side, I’ve met wonderful people in the publishing world, and the Lord has allowed me to work at home, something I consider a real blessing. I also enjoy research and the idea that I’m constantly learning new things.

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most?

Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus (II Timothy 2:1)

Is there a book you’ve read that has been truly spectacular?

I truly love Van Reid’s Moosepath League series, set in 1890s Maine.

What’s the funniest/quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?

Climbing to the top of a parking garage to look for a sniper’s vantage point.

Buy At Amazon
Please tell us about the featured book. By the way, your cover is very lovely.

Julia Newman heads home to her Arizona mountain town on one of the last surviving stagecoaches. Instead of a happy reunion with her brother, she is treated to a holdup. The man investigating the robbery is Deputy Sheriff Adam Scott—whose marriage proposal Julia turned down two years ago. Now Adam thinks her brother Oliver is mixed up in the robbery. Julia knows better, but when she arrives home, Oliver is nowhere to be found. She knows she must locate him before Adam—or the lynch mob—does. A cryptic message from Oliver sends Julia riding across the high desert to find him.

Can you please give us the first page?

September, 1911

Chapter One

She couldn’t have Arizona unless she shared it with Adam Scott. That was horribly unfair.
            The stagecoach rolled out of Flagstaff, and Julia Newman leaned eagerly toward the window to see every landmark along the dusty road toward Ardell, the tiny mining town she thought of as home. Some would call this land bleak and unforgiving, but Julia loved Arizona. She’d longed for it during her two years away.
She ignored the three male passengers for nearly an hour. She’d already appraised them and dismissed them, having pegged them as a businessman, a rancher, and a miner. Harmless, but uninteresting compared to the scenery rolling by.
When they came within two miles of the town, the road climbed steadily. Not long now. Would her brother, Oliver, be waiting when she stepped down from the coach?
            Julia drank in the cloudless sky, so perfect and so vibrantly blue in the dry, cool land. She anticipated each vista, watching for the huge rocks that stuck up out of the earth without warning, and the low plants that managed to grow in the harsh climate of the high desert. This was home.
Unfortunately, it was also Deputy Sheriff Adam Scott’s home—but she wouldn’t think about him until she was forced to.
The wind tugged at her hair until she was afraid it would pull her hat right off and fling it across the chaparral. With reluctance, she withdrew her head from the open window and set about fixing her hatpins more firmly.
The man sitting on the seat opposite her made no pretense of looking elsewhere. He had the mien of an investor, going up to see Mr. Gerry at the mine. That or a banker, which she couldn’t imagine up here in the mountains, but he was too well dressed for most of the occupations common in Ardell. He watched her with a smile on his lips. Julia avoided making direct eye contact. Had he been staring at her the whole way? She oughtn’t to be grooming her hair in the presence of gentlemen, but she didn’t want to lose her hat, and she didn’t want to forgo the view, either.
            One of the two other men sat beside her—a rancher who must have come to the area since she’d been away to teach school in Philadelphia. The other sat in the far corner, on the seat with the banker type. Dressed in a flannel shirt and denim pants, the bearded man had slumped in the corner as soon as the coach door was closed, then shut his eyes, opened his mouth, and commenced snoring. Julia figured he was probably employed by the High Desert Mine, where Oliver was employed as the bookkeeper.
A shout from outside caught her attention.
“Whoa, now! Whoa.”
The stagecoach slowed, and the man across from her peered out the window. Julia tried to suppress her annoyance. She didn’t want to waste a minute getting home. But the driver, Chick Lundy, sounded as calm as ever, so she relaxed and finished pushing in a hatpin.
A gunshot exploded, outside but a short distance away, and the man jerked back from the window. Julia’s pulse caught and then raced. Another gunshot sounded, right over their heads. The rancher tensed and pulled out a revolver.
The bearded miner sat up, blinking. “What’s going on?”
A couple more muffled shouts reached them but Julia couldn’t make out the words. She didn’t think they came from Chick or his shotgun rider, Bub Hilliard. The voice sounded farther away than that. The coach came to a halt.
She was about to ask the man opposite if he could see anything when someone outside yelled, “Throw down the guns!” The well-dressed passenger reached inside his jacket and pulled out a compact but lethal-looking pistol.
Julia sucked in a breath as her heart galloped on at full speed. She grabbed her handbag. One thing she’d learned, living in a mining town: Don’t ride the stage unarmed. Still, she hadn’t expected this today. She’d imagined that Ardell was more civilized by now. It seemed she was mistaken. She drew out her weapon and tucked it discreetly in the folds of her skirt.

Ohh! Almost Arizona sounds like a wonderful book. Great opening page. Thank you again for being here, Susan! To learn more about Susan you can visit her website: www.susanpagedavis.com   

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GIVEAWAY!
Susan has kindly offered to giveaway a print copy of her book Almost Arizona. Just leave an encouraging comment  for Susan with your email address to be entered in the giveaway. Giveaway is available to U.S. and Canadian residents only.

For extra entries: 
~Be a follower +1 
~Add my button to your blog +1
 ~Post about this giveaway +2
(please leave a separate comment for each extra entry)

Giveaway ends on April 8, 2012 at midnight (Eastern time). Winner will be chosen using Random.org. Also remember to enter the other giveaway shown on the sidebar.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Book Review: Blue Moon Promise by Colleen Coble

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"A love like Lucy and Nate’s only comes along once in a blue moon . . .

Lucy Marsh has lost everything but her determination to provide for her brother and sister. When she realizes her father’s death was no accident, she decides to accept a proxy marriage in order to get her siblings out of harm’s way. But trouble follows her to Wichita Falls, Texas, and nothing there is as she expected. Not the man she came to marry nor the family ties she’d hoped to find. Can it be true that real security is in letting go of her own strength and trusting in the One who is far stronger than she?

Nate Stanton always knew he’d marry someday, but he planned to find his own wife. The woman his father deposits on his doorstep is not the kind of wife he had in mind. She knows nothing about ranching, and she brings two siblings with her in the bargain. He moves her into a tiny cabin and expects her to run back to Chicago, but Lucy is made of sterner stuff than he imagined. And when danger moves in, he realizes he’d give anything to protect her and the children he has grown to love. Even if it means giving up his ranch."


This was my first book that I have read by Colleen Coble and I enjoyed it completely- and would enjoy trying more by this author. Colleen's writing is smooth and gentle. I enjoyed that it felt as if she placed me smack in the middle of the story right at the first page. From there the story moved on at comfortable pace- not extremely fast yet not dragging either- with a couple of interesting twists.


Lucy was an enjoyable heroine. Her desire to be the perfect rancher's wife resulted in some humorous moments. And her determination and I'm-in-control attitude were admirable. Although that attitude sometimes led her to be outside of God's will. Her journey to giving God full control was spiritually edifying.

Nate was an enjoyable hero, as well. His acceptance of and love for Lucy was sweet. He overlooked her many blunders, focused on her good qualities, and loved her unconditionally. It took Lucy quite some time, however, to figure out that she didn't need to be the perfect rancher's wife in order for Nate to love her. Seeing their proxy marriage grow into a true marriage based on love was delightful. There were a few references to intimacy between a husband and wife (there were absolutely no scenes, however), but Colleen kept the book completely clean.

I enjoyed that the title, Blue Moon Promise, had a direct meaning/symbolism to the actual story. I was expecting a bit more suspense, but Colleen made up for the minimal suspense with the sweet romance. Overall, this was an enjoyable romance with a dash of suspense. I give it 5 out of 5 stars. It can be bought at Amazon.

** Thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers (through the Booksneeze program) who provided my copy of this book free in exchange for my honest review 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Winner of "The Vengeance Squad" by Sid Frost

The winner of a print copy of The Vengeance Squad is (**drum-roll please**)


Karen K!!!

Congratulations, Karen! Be haunting your mailbox as I will be emailing you shortly or if you see this email before I contact you, you can just use the Contact Me page to send me your mailing address. Thanks to all who participated in this giveaway! Remember to enter the current giveaways on the sidebar (or click HERE and HERE).

Author Interview And Giveaway: Lethal Remedy by Richard L. Mabry

Welcome to the CBRB! Thank you for being here, Richard! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m a physician, retired after 36 years in practice, the last ten as a professor at a prestigious medical school. I’m a husband, father, grandfather, frustrated golfer, avid reader, fortunate member of Stonebriar Community Church (where I get to hear Chuck Swindoll every Sunday)…Oh, yes. I also write.

When did you first discover that you loved writing?


About the time I was ready to retire from my position at the medical school, my first wife died. I used journaling as a coping tool, and later turned excerpts from that writing into a book, The Tender Scar: Life After The Death Of A Spouse. While I was trying to learn the craft, several authors encouraged me to try my hand at fiction. I did, and found it to be a challenge I couldn’t ignore.

Why do you write the type of books that you do?


I write suspense because that’s the kind of book I’ve read for multiple decades. I write medical suspense because that’s what I know. And people seem to enjoy the glimpse inside the world of medicine I’m able to give them.

Yes, I know I enjoyed that glimpse into the world of medicine! What was your greatest obstacle in writing and how did you overcome it?


Like many writers, I find the blank page (or nowadays the blank computer screen) to be a huge challenge. I’m not sure I’ve overcome that even now, but I’ve found that when I’m stuck, unsure of where my characters want to take the story, it’s best to let what Stephen King calls “the boys in the basement” take over. I move away from the computer, let my subconscious mull things over, and usually the answer comes to me.

Has writing changed your life in any way?

Definitely. Alton Gansky told me when I first started writing that I’d never read a book the same way again…and he was right. Now I not only read for story but for craft. The other way writing has changed my life is to allow me the privilege of friendship with a wonderful group of Christian writers. Who could ask for anything more?

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most?

After Cynthia’s death, I clung to Romans 8:38-39 like a drowning man to a piece of wreckage. Later, as I began to write, I found that Psalm 139 was especially meaningful to me, and I quote Psalm 139:1-5 when I sign books.

Is there a book you’ve read that has been truly spectacular?

Spectacular isn’t a word I tend to use about books, at least not novels, although I’ve read dozens of great ones. However, reading Fearless by Max Lucado had a profound influence on my life.

What’s the funniest/quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?

Probably playing the role of Ko-Ko, The Lord High Executioner, in a production of The Mikado, while I was in the Air Force. Frankly, I think I looked great in a kimono.

Ha! Ha! Please tell us about the featured book.
Buy At Amazon

Lethal Remedy poses the question, “What if a wonder drug isn’t as wonderful as it seems?” Here’s an excerpt from the back cover copy:

Dr. Sara Miles’ patient is on the threshold of death from an overwhelming, highly resistant infection with Staphylococcus luciferus, known to doctors as “the killer.” Only an experimental antibiotic, developed and administered by Sara’s ex-husband, Dr. Jack Ingersoll, can save the girl's life.
Potentially lethal late effects from the “wonder drug” send Sara and her colleague, Dr. Rip Pearson, on a hunt for hidden critical data. Can they find the answer and reverse the changes before it’s too late?

Can you please give us the first page?

No one knew the man’s name. White male, probably in his late seventies, found unresponsive in an alley about two o’clock in the morning and brought to the emergency room. Just another homeless derelict, another John Doe.
“Pneumonia, late stages,” the intern said. He yawned. “Happens all the time. Drank himself into a stupor, vomited, aspirated. Probably been lying in that alley for more than a day. Doesn’t look like he’ll make it.”
“Labs cooking? Got a sputum culture going?”
“Yeah, but it’ll take a day or two to get the results of the culture. The smear looks like Staph. Guess I’ll give him—”
“Wait. I’ve got access to an experimental drug that might help. Let me start him on that.”
The intern shrugged. It was two in the morning. He’d been on duty for more than twenty-four hours straight—why’d Johnson’s wife have to go into labor today?—and he was bushed. The bum probably didn’t have a snowball’s chance of surviving anyway. Why not? “You’ll be responsible?”
“I’ll take it from here. Even do the paperwork.”
“Deal,” the intern said, and ambled off to see the next patient.
Three hours later, John Doe lay on a gurney in a corner of the ER. An IV ran into one arm, a blood pressure cuff encircled the other. Spittle dripped from his open mouth and dotted his unshaven chin. His eyes were open and staring.
“Acute anaphylaxis, death within minutes. Interesting.” He scratched his chin. “Guess I need to make some adjustments in the compound.” He picked up the almost-blank chart. “I’ll say I gave him ampicillin and sulbactam. That should cover it.”

MY REVIEW:
Lethal Remedy was an enjoyable, enlightening, and suspenseful read. You can tell from the first page that Mr.Mabry knows what he is talking about. There is a lot of medical terms in this book. So much, in fact, that at the beginning of the story I felt somewhat lost. However, after understanding the many medical terms, I was able to understand and enjoy the story better... and walk away with a whole new vocabulary of medical terms!

Like I mentioned before, this book was a suspenseful read. The stakes were raised high when medical complications (lethal side-effects) became apparent concerning the "wonder drug" Jandramycin. Add a pharmaceutical company that is attempting- at all costs- to keep these side-effects secret and you have one tension-ridden story. Throughout the book, I kept wondering, "how is Mr.Mabry going to fix these side-effect problems?" Well, only a doctor as experienced as him, which is apparent from the story, could solve this answer. I was pleased that it was a practical, easy-to-understand answer.

Slowly, I was able to warm up to the main characters. They were not as flat as they initially seemed. And I was surprised to find a touch of romance included in the story- although, I would have liked a bit more. Oh, and I can't forget that you-can't-trust-everyone feeling. It amped up the suspense even more!

The ending was rather abrupt. I felt left "in the dark" concerning who the real villain was (there were some suspenseful scenes with an anonymous person and I still don't know who that anonymous person is... not entirely). The romance was left hanging as well. All in all, this was a wonderful, enlightening, and suspenseful read! I give it 4 out of 5 stars... because of the incomplete ending. It can be bought at Amazon.

** Thanks to the author for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review

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GIVEAWAY!
Here's your chance to win a print copy of this wonderful book, Lethal Remedy! It's always fun to share a great book with someone who hasn't been able to read it yet, so I am giving away my gently used (signed) copy. Just leave an encouraging comment for Mr.Mabry below with your email address to be entered in this giveaway. Giveaway is open for the lower 48 states of the U.S. only.

For extra entries: 
~Be a follower +1
~Add my button to your blog +1
 ~Post about this giveaway +2
(please leave a separate comment for each extra entry)
 
Giveaway ends Sunday April 1, 2012 at midnight (Eastern time). Whoever wins doesn't have to worry about me pulling a prank on them [for April Fool's day]:-)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Litfuse Blog Tour: Song of My Heart by Kim Vogel Sawyer

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

McKane comes to Goldtree at the request of the town council. The town has been plagued by bootlegging operations, and Thad believes he can find the culprit.

After he earns enough money doing sheriff work, he wants to use it to pay for his training to become a minister.

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

My Review
Song of My Heart was a gem. It's beautiful surface (the cover) enticed me and was a foretelling of the treasure that lay within its depths. Kim immediately immersed me in the characters lives. Sadie's innocence and hard-working spirit drew me to her at once. And Thad was everything one would want in a hero. The twin sisters (Melva and Shelva) contributed their fair amount of humor to the story... and a story won't be complete without a villain, right. Well, Kim included that too. In the character of Asa Baxter.

The pace of the story was a steady and comfortable one. Just enough to keep me interested- and it was completely clean. A necessary plus. I enjoyed the romantic tension throughout the book, certain twists that I was not expecting, and the increased pace at the end of the story. The faith elements that were a vital part in the main characters lives was another huge plus. I would have enjoyed a bit more suspense... and a more wicked villain;-) But, all-in-all, this was an enjoyable and worthwhile read. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. It can be bought at Amazon.

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

She invites you to visit her Web site at www.kimvogelsawyer.com for more information.

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Celebrate with Kim by entering to win a Nook Tablet and connecting with her at the Book Chat Party on 3/29!


One "songbird" winner will receive:
  • A Nook Tablet
  • Song of My Heart by Kim Vogel Sawyer
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends 3/28/12. Winner will be announced at Kim's Book Chat Facebook Party on 3/29. Kim will be hosting an evening of chat, fun trivia and more! She'll also be giving away some GREAT prizes: gift certificates, books, and much more!
So grab your copy of Song of My Heart and join Kim and friends on the evening of March 29th for an evening of fun.

Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP TODAY and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 29th!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

COTT Spotlight on Gail Pallotta

*guest post by COTT Sr. Editor, April W Gardner


This week, it was my privilege to spend a few extra minutes with author Gail. Gail is one of the blog alliance correspondents at Clash of the Titles.

Her husband, Rick, says she’s the only person he knows who can go in the grocery for a loaf of bread and come out with someone’s life story. That’s probably because she inherited her mother’s love of people and enjoys talking to them. Working as an editor and freelance writer, Gail published a couple hundred articles. While some of them are in anthologies, two ended up in museums. In 2004, the American Christian Writers Association named Gail a regional writer of the year. She recently published her first romance, Love Turns the Tide. When she isn’t writing she likes reading, swimming, and getting together with friends and family. Gail wants to write books of faith that show God’s love. She and Rick live in Georgia. Just a couple hours north of me, actually! We’re practically neighbors. :-)

Every COTT staff member is a professed child of God. Gail, can you tell us about your relationship with Christ?

I can’t remember when I didn’t love Jesus. My father’s father was a minister, so I grew up listening to Bible verses and references to Jesus. But my mother played a huge part in helping me establish a relationship with Christ. At bedtime she said prayers with me and told me stories from the Bible. First, she taught me “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep,” but even then I had a copy of “The Lord’s Prayer” hanging on the wall above the headboard of my bed. She taught it to me a few lines at a time. We soon started saying it instead of “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.” She also told me about the Crucifixion in her own words, explaining how much Jesus had to love me to die for me. She taught me to talk to Jesus, to say the things I was thankful for, to praise Him, and ask for things I needed. I did the same with my daughter. I’m so grateful for the many blessings Jesus has given me and that He’s always there for me. I don’t always get the answers I want to my prayers, but I get the answers I need to fulfill God’s plan for my life. Whenever I’ve needed a miracle, Jesus has supplied one. There are several hymns that touch on how I feel about my relationship with Christ. “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” and “He Leadeth Me” are two. My daughter recently gave me a CD, Elvis, An Evening Prayer. The first song on it, “His Hand in Mine,” conveys how I feel about my relationship with Christ. It’s an old gospel song written by Mossie Lister. It’s on YouTube. The URL is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulTtL_YaC-w

Beautiful testimony! A mother’s faith is essential in a child’s life, and you’re proof of that!
None of us are perfect though, so what’s the craziest thing you did as a teenager? 

Gail Pallotta
I grew up at the foothills of the mountains. At a reunion a few years ago, many of us told our beloved biology teacher how much she meant to us. She replied, “Well, I had to teach biology. There was no one else in town that could.” Teachers were scarce. We had a very old algebra teacher. He couldn’t stay awake during class. Nope. He took the roll and told us to turn to the next chapter and work the problems. Then he pushed back his seat and propped his feet on the trash can. We’d give him about ten minutes, and he was out like a light. His classroom was in the basement with a window level to the ground. In the spring as soon as he started snoring, we went out the window, got in my friend’s convertible (she had the only car) and went to the lake.

No way! That’s so funny!! How long were you gone? What is something else people would be surprised to know about you? 

At age twenty-two when I graduated from college, I packed my clothes in a medium-sized suitcase and moved to a large city with eighty dollars in my pocket. Had no car, no job, and nowhere to live. 
Wow! You can’t leave us hanging, lol! How did that work out for you?

On a slightly more serious note, what is the nearest book to where you’re sitting? 

I love to read anything, non-fiction, fiction, any genre, Christian and many secular. But the book closest to me, probably because I also write as well as read, is Essentials of English.

I’d imagine that covers grammar? Forms of writing? Sounds like a must-have for every writer! What are three things you can’t live without?   

Faith, family, fun

Three very important f’s! Makes me wonder though, when I say the word “fun,” what’s the first thing to pop into your mind?

What is the message you most want to convey to readers with your writing? 

 God loves you. Accept His love and let the greatness of it overcome the imperfections of this world. 

That brings to mind. John 16:33 "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." NAS (©1995)

Anything else you’d like to add? 
I was honored when asked to be part of the Clash of the Titles Staff. I love helping to promote Christian books and writers.

And we love having you!!
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Get to know Gail better by visiting her website or her blog.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Author Interview and Giveaway: Lethal Harvest by Sandra Glahn!

Welcome to the CBRB! I'm so glad to have you here again! For those who were not able to enjoy your last interview, can you again give us a little information about you?

I am a fifth-generation Oregonian transplanted in Texas. I teach at my alma mater, Dallas Theological Seminary and I serve as one of the bloggers for bible.org’s women-in-leadership site, Tapestry. I'm also the wife of one husband, the mother of one child, and the follower of One Lord.

Is there a particular genre you enjoy reading/writing and why is it your favorite? 

I love writing fiction. I’ve authored or coauthored four works of medical suspense. And right now I’m finishing up a work of historical fiction—my first foray into the past. I love losing myself in that world of creation. I imagine it’s the closest I’ll ever get to creating something out of nothing. I think and worlds appear!

Can you tell us two or three things that most readers don’t know about you?
  • I am a fifth-generation Oregonian whose ancestors came across the country on a conestoga wagon and were saved from hypothermia on a wet night by some Native Americans who shot a firebrand across a river.
  • I used to get paid to sing back-up vocals in the same recording studio where the Dixie Chicks got their start—where I went on to become a “studio mom” for the Barney and Friends music production team. (Please don’t hold this against me.) 
  • I survived a rigorous backpacking trip out of the Grand Canyon by putting one foot in front of the other and chanting “hot shower” and “the things you do for love.”
Interesting, indeed! What five things do you love/like the most?

Besides the obvious Jesus and my family and friends, right?
  • Writing fiction
  • Traveling—I especially love the Tetons and Italy; Alaska’s on my “wish” list
  • Reading classic novels—favorites include Uncle Tom’s Cabin; My Antoni√°; The Brothers Karamazov; and A Tale of Two Cities
  • Drinking coffee in bed every morning with my husband, Mocha Caf√©
  • Talking to women who like to use their brains
Ha! I like the "drinking coffee in bed every morning with my husband" and "talking to women who like to use their brains":-) What's that supposed to mean?:-) If you could meet one person (besides Jesus, because who doesn’t want to meet Him!), who would you choose?

Winston Churchill. I keep his picture on my refrigerator to remind me that a strong will properly channeled can save the entire free world in a pinch. 


Yes, I admire Winston Churchill. What is your favorite Bible story?

 I love the story of Hagar. As Sarah’s Egyptian slave, Hagar started out with race and class against her. Yet once she conceived her master’s child, Hagar’s status changed. That led her to despise Sarah—or perhaps gave her freedom to express what she already felt. (If someone forced me to bear a child for her, I’d dislike her too.)
Sarah felt the shift. And instead of recognizing her own agency, she blamed Abraham. To keep the peace he told Sarah to handle it however she wanted. And Sarah was so harsh that Hagar chose “alone and pregnant in the desert” over the safety of “home.”
When the angel of the Lord “found” Hagar by a well, he didn’t rebuke her for leaving. And while the Lord sent her back to Sarah (Gen.16:7–9), He also made Hagar some promises (Gen.16:10–12). First, He promised to multiply Hagar’s offspring (Gen. 16:10). She’s the only woman in all of Scripture to receive such a promise. Second, He told her to name her baby “God listens.” Then He promised that her child would be “a wild donkey of a man.” Now, when we call someone a wild donkey, we insult them. But what animal did Jesus—like Solomon—ride during his Triumphal Entry (Matt. 21:7)? In the ancient Near East, rulers and rich people rode donkeys (Zech. 9:9). And to be “wild” was not to be crazy but free, as opposed to being a slave. Imagine our equivalent: “Hagar, though you’ll return to slavery, your offspring will be free white stallions.” (He kept His promise, too. For centuries Arab Bedouins have lived in freedom.)
God promised another blessing: that Hagar’s son would “dwell in the presence of his brothers” (Gen. 16:12). By their proximity to Israel, Arabs are in a unique position to witness God’s unfolding plan. Among them have been Job, Agur, Lemuel and probably “the magi.” Since these, we’ve also seen thousands of Arabs in church history, and many are still coming to Christ today. The same texts promising restoration to a Jewish remnant (Isa. 60:1–5) predict the restoration of a greater remnant among Abraham’s Arabian descendants (Isa. 60:6–7).
After receiving these lavish promises, Hagar gave God a name. She named Him! Hagar called Yahweh, “The God who sees.” Hagar reminds us that God is sovereign over wombs and nations; that He has a plan for both Jew and Arab; that He is a husband to the husbandless; that he hears the cries of the mistreated; and that He is El Roi, the God who sees.

There you go, readers. Your mini Bible study for the day:-) Thought-provoking answer, Sandra! I loved it! How do you choose your characters names?

My character names come from a variety of sources. Sometimes I choose a name I love. Lethal Harvest’s main character, “Marina,” I named after a former neighbor. When I heard that name for the first time as young girl, I thought it sounded beautiful.
That character’s nickname, Marie, came from an infertility nurse who brought life-giving comfort to us through years of heartbreak. 
Most of my friends and family have appeared as characters—most want to be villains! A drug lord in Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico named “Carlos” got his name from an international student whom we claim as our son. His name is Carlos, he’s from that town, and he wanted to be one of my villains. Most people want to be villains!
Sometimes I search online for “common Greek girls’ names” and “most popular male Russian names,” depending on my characters’ nationalities. I have books of character names, and I comb through them. And if I meet a person with an interesting name, I write it down if it has “character” potential. The most recent was a girl named “Briar.” Look for her name in some future work of mine.

Villains? Interesting. If you weren’t an author, what would your dream job be?


I have that dream job—I teach. I love helping to mold some of the world’s future writers and thinkers. I have a great interest in women’s history and women’s justice issues. And one of the classes I teach at Dallas Seminary focuses on the tough “woman” verses in the Bible and what they mean in their cultural contexts. Though my husband and I endured ten years of infertility treatment, we never had the large family we wanted. Yet my work at DTS is a great outlet for my desire to parent the next generation. 


Do you have any books that are soon-to-be-released that we should keep an eye out for?

Yes, I’ve just finished writing my fourth draft of The Ephesian Fragments. In it an unbelieving female scholar on an archaeological dig in Ephesus, Turkey, discovers ancient manuscripts that turn out to be the third volume Luke wrote for Theophilus, following Luke/Acts. The manuscripts consist of first-person accounts by a range of first-century women, from one who witnessed the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in A.D. 79, to one who knew Paul, to Joanna, who witnessed the death and resurrection of Jesus. As the contemporary character encounters these women and their timeless choices, she realizes she must choose either to live with bitterness or to forgive.
    The 300-page novel comprises the first three-quarters of my dissertation. Now to finish the scholarly portion that accompanies it, and then the fiction portion goes to my agent.

I'll definitely keep an eye out for The Ephesian Fragments! It sounds interesting and enlightening. And if I can learn something new while reading your interview (during your mini-Bible study), then I'm certain that I'll learn something new while reading a 300-page novel written by you! Please tell us about the featured book.

Buy At Amazon
Lethal Harvest, a Christy Award finalist, is a story in which, in the midst of a malpractice lawsuit, the Center for Fertility and Enhancement loses its brightest embryologist, Dr. Tim Sullivan, in a freak traffic accident. A bomb destroys his lab and almost kills one of Sullivan's partners, Dr. Luc Morgan. Remaining partner Dr. Ben McKay, an ordained minister, and Marnie Sullivan, Tim's widow, piece together discrepancies involving Tim's determination to cure akenosis, a disease affecting his uncle, the President of the United States. Ambition, jealousy and the ultimate meaning of love move this story through the dark labyrinth that lies buried beneath breakthroughs in genetic research and cloning.

Can you please give us the first page?

”What’s that awful noise?” Dr. Ben McKay asked the obstetrics resident as they walked together from the ER to Labor and Delivery.
Fred shook his head. “Don’t know. Sounds like one of those old baruga car horns.”
“You’re too young to remember those.”
“Hey, no need to make yourself sound so old. Forty’s not that ancient. And yeah, I’m old enough to remember. . . .”
The sound grew louder, then quit as the two dark-haired men approached the L&D unit located next to the maternity-wing entrance. Suddenly a woman dressed in black leather and high-heeled boots slammed through the door screaming, “Help! Someone help me! She’s having a baby— in my car!”
My turn again, thought Ben, the OB attending physician on “walk-in” call. All OB specialists associated with the Northern Virginia hospital took a turn each month serving as “doc in the box.” This entitled them to render care to everyone who showed up at the hospital without a personal physician.
Ben picked up his pace. “Go grab a nurse and a precip pack,” he told Fred. “I’ll see what’s up.”
Fred nodded, then hustled through the L&D door barking, “Got a delivery on the dock. Grab an OB pack and come with me!”
Ben followed the hysterical woman—clearly a “lady of the evening”—out to her car. He fiddled with the door handle on the well-worn early-70s Caddy with rusting chrome everywhere and faded purple paint. When the door finally opened, Ben was met with a blood-curdling scream: “It’s coming! It’s coming!”
“It’s all right, everything’s going to be fine,” Ben said, trying to calm her with his voice. “I’m a doctor—we can help you. Let’s just see what’s . . .”
Before his next word, another contraction gripped the woman. She took her hands from between her legs and grasped Ben’s forearms with all her might, digging her long nails into his flesh. Ben ignored the rush of pain and worked to find the baby’s head. He could see sufficiently, thanks to the fluorescent light of the ambulance loading dock. There it was—the tiny head, already delivered.


Ohh, Intriguing! Thank you for the fun interview, Sandra! I must interview you when your next book releases. Readers, you can learn more about Sandra in the following places:


Twitter:     @sandraglahn
Web:        aspire2.com
Blog:        aspire2.blogspot.com
FB:        Aspire2



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Giveaway!!!
Just itching to read Lethal Harvest? Great, because Sandra has kindly offered to giveaway a print copy of Lethal Harvest. To be entered for a chance to win please leave a comment with your email address. Giveaway is open for the lower 48 states of the U.S.

For extra entries: 
~Be a follower +1
~Add my button to your blog +1
 ~Post about this giveaway +2
(please leave a separate comment for each extra entry)

Giveaway ends on Sunday March 25, 2012 at midnight (Eastern time). Winner will be chosen using Random.org.



Sunday, March 11, 2012

Update on Giveaway for "The Vengeance Squad" by Sid Frost

I am extending the giveaway for The Vengeance Squad by Sid Frost to Wednesday March 14, 2012 at midnight (Eastern time). This giveaway is international- please tell your friends to enter and to leave an encouraging comment for Sid!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Review of "Accused" by Janice Cantore

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"'Time to prove she isn’t a broken cop.'
An officer-involved shooting six months earlier takes Detective Carly Edwards off the street and sends her to a boring desk job in juvenile. When a troubled youth is arrested for the murder of the mayor, Carly is summoned to the crime scene. Homicide thinks it’s a quick, open-and-shut case, and Carly hopes this will be her ticket back to patrol.

Though her professional life seems to be on track, Carly still has unresolved issues in her personal life. Nick, her ex-husband and fellow police officer, is determined to show Carly that he’s a changed man, but she isn’t convinced he won’t betray her again.

As the murder investigation progresses, Carly suspects a cover-up and strikes out on her own, uncertain whom she can trust. But she soon realizes the case may put her directly in the killers’ crosshairs."


Accused was one wild ride. A ride I completely enjoyed. Janice's writing style is hip and modern and she is obviously learned on her subject. This was one of those books that is not only entertaining but also enlightening. I enjoyed the generous sprinkling of "cop" facts littered throughout the book. For example, 5150 means crazy in cop language.

The romance was believable and sweet, although I definitely must read the next installment in this series since I need to "see to the end" the blossoming relationship between Carly and her ex-husband Nick. By the end of the story, they're still not completely comfortable in each others presence- much less ready to re-marry... at least not yet.

Faith was woven seamlessly into the story and I enjoyed the spiritual elements immensely. In contrast to some reviewers' claims that the story was preachy, I felt refreshed that Jesus was a prevalent part of the story. The only drawback to this book was that Carly's best friend was somewhat scandalous.

And I can't forget the suspense! Edge-of-your-seat suspense. Although I was not surprised by who the killer was, I enjoyed every step (and the twists!) in this wild ride that Janice skillfully created. And the ending was heart-pounding! I am eagerly awaiting Janice's next release Abducted (click HERE to read my review of Abducted). But in the mean time, I suggest that you grab yourself a copy of Accused. Trust me, you'll be screaming for more. This book can be bought at Amazon.

**Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Litfuse Blog Tour: The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen

Buy At Amazon
"Pampered Margaret Macy flees London in disguise to escape pressure to marry a dishonorable man. With no money and nowhere else to go, she takes a position as a housemaid in the home of Nathaniel Upchurch, a suitor she once rejected in hopes of winning his dashing brother. Praying no one will recognize her, Margaret fumbles through the first real work of her life. If she can last until her next birthday, she will gain an inheritance from a spinster aunt--and sweet independence. But can she remain hidden as a servant even when prying eyes visit Fairbourne Hall?

Observing both brothers as an 'invisible' servant, Margaret learns she may have misjudged Nathaniel. Is it too late to rekindle his admiration? And when one of the family is nearly killed, Margaret alone discovers who was responsible. Should she come forward, even at the risk of her reputation and perhaps her life? And can she avoid an obvious trap meant to force her from hiding?

On her journey from well-born lady to servant to uncertain future, Margaret must learn to look past appearances and find the true meaning of 'serve one another in love.'"


My Review
The Maid of Fairbourne Hall was a delightful read. It thrust me right into the story during the first page and did not let me go until I turned the last page. I would have to say that my favorite part of the book was all the rich details given on the life of a servant. Julie did a wonderful job of placing me there in the story with Margaret as she cleaned her first chamber pot and learned the names of the different types of cleaning brushes.

I enjoyed seeing the transformation of Margaret throughout the book. The way she connected with the other servants and her "vow" to show them more appreciation once she returned to her former life definitely testified to her transformation.

The romance was the sigh-worthy type. I was glad when Margaret recognized Lewis as he really was- despicable- and her slow warm-up to Nathaniel- a respectable man. Of course, I am always satisfied when the romance is completely clean- as this one was.

The added suspense of her stepfather trying to flush her out of hiding and the mystery of who shot Lewis was the icing on the cake. There was even a Poet Pirate! All in all, this book was an enjoyable and enlightening read. I highly recommend it and give it 5 stars! It can be bought at Amazon.

 About the Author

Julie Klassen loves all things Jane--Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She has won the Christy Award: Historical Romance for The Silent Governess (2010) and The Girl in the Gatehouse (2011) which also won the 2010 Midwest Book Award for Genre Fiction. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.

For more information, visit www.julieklassen.com

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Don't miss the perfect blend of Regency-era romance and mystery in The Maid of Fairbourne Hall! Grab a copy and then be sure to enter Julie's Kindle Fire Giveaway and RSVP for her Author Chat party on Facebook! Swoon.

One fortunate winner will receive:
  • A brand new Kindle Fire
  • A Julie Klassen Library (The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Silent Governess)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends 3/14/12. Winner will be announced at Julie's Fairbourne Hall Book Chat Party on 3/15. Julie will be hosting an evening of chat, trivia and a sneak peek of her next book - bring your friends! She'll also be giving away some GREAT prizes: gift certificates, books and a Downton Abbey Prize Pack (Seasons 1 and 2)!

So grab your copy of The Maid of Fairbourne Hall and join Julie and friends on the evening of March 15th for a book chat party.

Enter via Twitter
Enter via E-mail Enter via Facebook
Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on March 15th!