CAFE: A gathering place. A place of refreshment.

Thirsty for the latest releases in Christian fiction? Ready for a peek into the world of publishing and writing conferences? Hungry for spiritual and real-life nourishment? Pull up a seat; you're in the right place, and I'm so glad you've stopped by.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Writer . . . Interrupted Carnival of Christian Writers

Summertime, Summertime, Sum- Sum- Summertime
Check out this month's carnival at Writer . . . Interrupted to read what other writers have to say about writing fitness in the summer and preparing for the 2008 ACFW Conference.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

One Week from Today—THE Wedding

It’s hard to believe that after a year of anticipation and preparation, our youngest son’s wedding is just around the corner—one week from today. James and Allison have had a storybook romance and now are mere days away from their fairy tale wedding.

All our lives have been a whirlwind of activities (wedding showers, engagement pictures, gift registration, planning, shopping, more planning). I’ve made endless lists of people to invite to the various functions, things to buy, phone lists for those who are coming. Now, I’m down to the final task: packing.

Since most of our friends and relatives live in either Texas or Oklahoma, there will be a major migration out west next week. We’re delighted that a number of friends and almost all of our immediate family will be there. We’re especially honored that my dad and Max’s mother (James only grandparents) will be there.

I don’t think I’ll cry during the ceremony, but James is my youngest, the last son to marry the girl he will love and adore the rest of his life. And I have been known to cry at seemingly odd moments, so I just don’t know. What I do know is that is has been pure enjoyment to see all our sons choose girls who’ve completed their lives and become my friends. I’m confident the tradition will continue. Allison is already a part of our family, and we love her.

One of the best things about having a wedding in California is that we will be able to enjoy the mild outdoor temperatures. Mild compared to the 110 degree index we’ve been burdened with here in Oklahoma the last few days. Max and I are hosting the rehearsal dinner on Friday night at a jazzy Mexican restaurant with an outdoor patio. Then the wedding ceremony will be in the Rose Garden of the Disneyland Hotel, followed by the dinner reception in one of the hotel ballrooms. I’m sure it will be an enchanted evening, and I will post pictures here as soon as I can.

The day after the wedding, our twin grandsons will be celebrating their 5th birthdays at Disneyland. For them, the trip to California is all about having a birthday with Mickey, and okay, while we’re there, we’ll go to James and Allison’s wedding.

Oops! The dryer is buzzing, and I really need to get started on that packing list. I’ll keep you posted on our California adventure.

Friday, July 25, 2008


My friends, George and Ashey Weiss, the uber-cool people from Tekeme Studios (hint: they designed this blog for me:-)) are sponsoring another contest -- DESIGN Grab Bag. There are a number of items you might win by leaving a comment on their blog site. This couple does a great job, and since they are just getting established, now is the time to take advantage of their super services. Perhaps you'll be a winner.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

And the winners are . . .

Congratulations to the winners of Robin Jones Gunn's latest book, SISTERCHICKS GO BRIT.

They are: sphinx63 and ckbarker. Now to look at those monikers you'd never guess what these two readers have in common, but it turns out they are both named Cheryl . . . So, to Cheryl and Cheryl, blessings. I hope you enjoy the books.

Thanks to all who entered the book giveaway. Stay tuned; I'll have another one in the near future.

REVIEW of PAINTED DRESSES by Patricia Hickman (CFBA)

One part Southern Fiction. One part mystery. One part journey of self discovery. Painted Dresses brings all my favorite elements of fiction together in a delicious mix of wounded characters, breath-taking prose, and a unique angle to the classic road-trip story.

I was drawn into the story immediately by the tangy descriptions of Gaylen Syler-Boatwright’s cousins and aunts who Gaylen encounters on her return to Boiling Waters, North Carolina, for her father’s funeral. With her marriage on the rocks and a shaky relationship with her impulsive sister, Delia, Gaylen flees with Delia to a deceased aunt’s mountain cottage to ponder their future. There she becomes intrigued with her aunt’s collection of “painted dresses” and embarks on a journey to uncover family secrets and the source of her own nightmares.

There are delights at every turn as Delia’s antics keep them on the move and one step closer to the truth about their pasts. Along the way, Gaylen discovers the value of living authentically and gains surprising new insights about herself. Painted Dresses is a book to savor for the beautiful writing and to assure the reader of rest and hope even in brokenness. Highly recommended.
This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Painted Dresses
(WaterBrook Press - July 15, 2008)
Patricia Hickman

Patricia Hickman is an award-winning author of fiction and non-fiction, whose work has been praised by critics and readers alike.

Patricia Hickman began writing many years ago after an invitation to join a writer's critique group. It was headed up by best-selling author Dr. Gilbert Morris, a pioneer in Christian fiction who has written many best selling titles. The group eventually came to be called the "Nubbing Chits". All four members of the original "Chits" have gone on to become award-winning and best selling novelists (good fruit, Gil!).

Patty signed her first multi-book contract with Bethany House Publishers. After she wrote several novels "for the market", she assessed her writer's life and decided she would follow the leanings of her heart. She says, "It had to be God leading me into the next work which wound up being my first break-out book, Katrina's Wings. I had never read a southern mainstream novel, yet I knew that one lived in my head, begging to be brought out and developed." She wanted to create deeper stories that broke away from convention and formula. From her own journey in life, she created a world based upon her hometown in the 70's, including
Earthly Vows and Whisper Town from the Millwood Hollow Series.

Patty and her husband, Randy, have planted two churches in North Carolina. Her husband pastors Family Christian Center, located in Huntersville. The Hickmans have three children, two on earth and one in heaven. Their daughter, Jessi, was involved in a fatal automobile accident in 2001. Through her writing and speaking, Patty seeks to offer help, hope and encouragement to those who walk the daily road of loss and grief.

In this story of sisterhood and unexpected paths, Gaylen Syler-Boatwright flees her unraveling marriage to take refuge in a mountain cottage owned by her deceased aunt. Burdened with looking after her adult sister, Delia, she is shocked to find a trail of family secrets hidden within her aunt’s odd collection of framed, painted dresses. With Delia, who attracts trouble as a daily occupation, Gaylen embarks on a road trip that throws the unlikely pair together on a journey to painful understanding and delightful revelations.

Steeped in Hickman’s trademark humor, her spare writing voice, and the bittersweet pathos of the South, Painted Dresses powerfully captures a woman’s desperate longing to uncover a hidden, broken life and discover the liberty of living authentically, even when the things exposed are shrouded in shame.

If you would like to read the first chapter, go

Monday, July 21, 2008

Devoted to Cooking

Lest anyone think the title of this post is a confession about me, it's not. It's the title of my good friend, Jacqueline (Jackie) King's newest book, an inspirational cookbook she's been working on feverishly for many months. Co-written with her daughter, who is a culinary expert, they combine great recipes and the stories that inspired them. I've not seen a copy yet, but the cover is magnificent (created by another writing friend, Romney Nesbitt). This talented bunch are part of the Tulsa Night Writers tribe, and I am so honored to help spread the word about Devoted to Cooking.

Blessings and Bon Apetit!


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Try Darkness
(Center Street - July 30, 2008)
James Scott Bell

JAMES SCOTT BELL is a former trial lawyer who now writes full time. He has also been the fiction columnist for Writers Digest magazine and adjunct professor of writing at Pepperdine University.

The national bestselling author of several novels of suspense, he grew up and still lives in Los Angeles. His first Buchanan thriller, TRY DYING, was released to high critical praise, while his book on writing, Plot and Structure is one of the most popular writing books available today.


Ty Buchanan is living on the peaceful grounds of St. Monica’s, far away from the glamorous life he led as a rising trial lawyer for a big L.A. firm. Recovering from the death of his fiancée and a false accusation of murder, Buchanan has found his previous ambitions unrewarding. Now he prefers offering legal services to the poor and the underrepresented from his “office” at local coffee bar The Freudian Sip. With his new friends, the philosophizing Father Bob and basketball-playing Sister Mary Veritas, Buchanan has found a new family of sorts.
One of his first clients is a mysterious woman who arrives with her six-year-old daughter. They are being illegally evicted from a downtown transient hotel, an interest that Ty soon discovers is represented by his old law firm and his former best friend, Al Bradshaw. Buchanan won’t back down. He’s going to fight for the woman’s rights.
But then she ends up dead, and the case moves from the courtroom to the streets. Determined to find the killer and protect the little girl, who has no last name and no other family, Buchanan finds he must depend on skills he never needed in the employ of a civil law firm.
The trail leads Buchanan through the sordid underbelly of the city and to the mansions and yachts of the rich and famous. No one is anxious to talk.
But somebody wants Buchanan to shut up. For good.
Now he must use every legal and physical edge he knows to keep himself and the girl alive.
Once again evoking the neo-noir setting of contemporary Los Angeles, Bell delivers another thriller where darkness falls and the suspense never rests.

If you would like to read chapters 1 & 2, go HERE

“Bell has created in Buchanan an appealing and series-worthy protagonist, and the tale equally balances action and drama, motion and emotion. Readers who pride themselves on figuring out the answers before an author reveals them are in for a surprise, too: Bell is very good at keeping secrets. Fans of thrillers with lawyers as their central characters—Lescroart and Margolin, especially—will welcome this new addition to their must-read lists.”
“Engaging whodunit series kickoff . . . Readers will enjoy Bell's talent for description and character development.”
—Publishers Weekly
“James Scott Bell has written himself into a niche that traditionally has been reserved for the likes of Raymond Chandler.”
—Los Angeles Times
“A master of suspense.”
—Library Journal

“One of the best writers out there, bar none.”
—In the Library Review

MY THOUGHTS: My husband read the book last week. Gave it a thumbs up. Not one to gush about what he thinks, Max did say, "Great read!" I've only just started. I'm on Chapter 28 (there are 191 chapters) and am enjoying what I've read so far. With a basketball playing nun, a verbally inappropriate client, and a woman with a young daughter kicked out onto the streets, Ty Buchanan has his hands full. Fast paced with great dialogue, I know I'll enjoy wherever Mr. Bell takes me in this book.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Congratulations to ACFW's Book of the Year Finalists

Debut Author
Bayou Justice (Robin Miller writing as Robin Caroll)
In Between (Jenny B Jones)
Sushi for One? (Camy Tang)
My Soul Cries Out (Sherri Lewis)
Petticoat Ranch (Mary Connealy)

Contemporary Novella (*six finalists due to a tie)
A Cloud Mountain Christmas (Robin Lee Hatcher)
Finally Home (Deb Raney in Missouri Memories anthology)
Mississippi Mud (DiAnn Mills in Sugar And Grits Anthology)
Moonlight & Mistletoe (Carrie Turansky in Big Apple Christmas anthology)
Remaking of Moe McKenna (Gloria Clover in the Race to the Altar anthology)
Sweet Dreams Drive (Robin Lee Hatcher)

Historical Novella
Beyond the Memories (DiAnn Mills in Mississippi Memories anthology)
Finishing Touches (Kelly Hake in Missouri Memories anthology)
Love Notes (Mary Davis in Love Letters anthology)
The Spinster & The Cowboy (Lena Nelson Dooley in Spinster Brides of Cactus Corner anthology) The Spinster & The Tycoon (Vickie McDonough in Spinster Brides of Cactus Corner anthology)

Lits (*six finalists due to a tie)
Around the World in 80 Dates (Christa Banister)
One Little Secret (Bottke, Allison)
Renovating Becky Miller (Sharon Hinck)
Splitting Harriet (Tamara Leigh)
Sushi for One? (Camy Tang)
The Book of Jane (Dayton/Vanderbilt)

Long contemporary
Autumn Blue (Karen Harter)
Like Always (Robert Elmer)
Taming Rafe (Susan May Warren)
When the Nile Runs Red (DiAnn Mills)
Within This Circle (Deb Raney)

Long Historical (*seven finalists due to TWO ties)
Courting Trouble (Deeanne Gist)
Fancy Pants (Cathy Hake)
Lady of Milkweed Manor (Julie Klassen)
Remember Me (Maureen Lang)
Then Came Hope (Louise Gouge)
Veil of Fire (Marlo Schalesky)
Where Willows Grow (Kim Vogel Sawyer)

Days And Hours (Susan Meissner)
Death of a Garage Sale Newbie (Sharon Dunn)
Gone With The Groom (Janice Thompson)
Sticks And Stones (Susan Meissner)
Your Chariot Awaits (Lorena McCourtney)

Short Contemporary
Heart of the Family (Margaret Daley)
The Heart of Grace (Linda Goodnight)
The Perfect Blend (Allie Pleiter)
Wedded Bliss (Kathleen Y’Barbo)
When Love Comes Home (Arlene James)

Short Contemporary Suspense (*six finalists due to a tie)
Caught Redhanded (Gayle Roper)
Her Christmas Protector (Terri Reed)
Nowhere to Hide (Debby Giusti)
Pursuit of Justice (Pamela Tracy)
See No Evil (Gayle Roper)
Vanished (Margaret Daley)

Short Historical (*six due to a tie)
A Time to Keep (Kelly Hake)
A Wealth Beyond Riches (Vickie McDonough)
Canteen Dreams (Cara Putman)
Corduroy Road to Love (Lynn Coleman)
Golden Days (Mary Connealy)
To Trust An Outlaw (Rhonda Gibson

Demon: A Memoir (Tosca Lee)
DragonFire (Donita Paul)
The Restorer (Sharon Hinck)
The Restorer’s Son (Sharon Hinck)
Isle of Swords (Wayne Thomas Batson)

Abomination (Colleen Coble)
Black Ice (Linda Hall)
Coral Moon (Brandilyn Collins)
Crimson Eve (Brandilyn Collins)
Ransomed Dreams (Amy Wallace)

Women’s Fiction
A Promise To Remember (Katie Cushman)
Bygones (Kim Sawyer)
Remember to Forget (Deb Raney)
The Oak Leaves (Maureen Lang)
Watercolored Pearls (Stacy Adams)

Young Adult
In Between (Jenny B. Jones)
On The Loose (Jenny B. Jones)
Sara Jane: Liberty’s Torch (Eleanor Clark
Sarah’s Long Ride (Susan P Davis)
Saving Sailor (Renee Riva)

I see so many names among this list who've touched my life in the past year, whether by writing a great book, extending a hand of friendship, teaching a class, or just being a good friend. My heart is warmed by your success and recognition. I'm especially pleased that several from my area are included in this list--Vickie McDonough, Margaret Daley, Rhonda Gibson, and Linda Goodnight. Prayers for you all. What a party we'll have at the awards banquet in September.

Anyone out there looking for some inspirational reading? Here it is, folks, the best of the best in the world of Christian fiction.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Review / Giveaway of SISTERCHICKS GO BRIT by Robin Jones Gunn

This latest installment of the popular Sisterchicks series finds two midlife mamas off to merry ole England. Liz has always wanted to meet Big Ben face to face, while her best friend Kellie’s dream is to have an interior design business. The two dreams become a reality through the not-so-subtle maneuverings of Opal, a sprightly Brit, who needs someone to accompany her across the pond to visit her sister.

Mishaps and adventure await. This is a fun read, especially for anyone who has visited England before or pants to make that first trip. Be prepared for a few chuckles and tears as the two visit the usual must-see attractions and experience some of the lesser-known delights of England.

I found myself longing to return myself (it’s been 20 years since I’ve been), to have a perfect cup of tea, to navigate the Underground, take in a play, or meander through the countryside. In the meantime, Robin’s book carried me there.

Need to get away? Take an afternoon off and visit England with the Sisterchicks. It may be the nicest thing you’ve done for yourself this summer.

Now, for the good news. I’ve been blessed with two extra copies of The Sisterchicks Go Brit, and am passing my good fortune on to you.

Leave a comment on this blog before noon on July 22, and I will draw for TWO WINNERS. As always, leave your contact information in your comment.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Sisterchick Go Brit
Multnomah Publishers (May 20, 2008)
Robin Jones Gunn


Robin grew up in Orange County, California and has lived in all kinds of interesting places, including Reno and Hawaii.

Robin’s first novel was published in 1988, and she has continued to write between two to five books a year. Her 63 published books include 47 novels, all of which are still in print. Sales of her popular Christy Miller Series, Glenbrooke Series and Sisterchicks Series, including
Sisterchicks in Gondolas and the new Katie Weldon Series including Peculiar Treasures all of which are approaching four million copies sold, with translations in nine languages.

Robin’s passion for storytelling and travel are evident in all her books, especially the Sisterchicks novels, and she has received thousands of letters from readers around the world who have come to know Christ through her writing. She sees this as her dream come true. Her novels are traveling to foreign lands and her characters are doing what she always longed to do; telling people about God’s love.

She and her husband currently live near Portland, Oregon and have been married for 30 years. They spent their first 22 years of marriage working together in youth ministry, and enjoying life with their son and daughter who are now both grown.

As a frequent speaker at local and international events, one of Robin’s favorite topics is how God is the Relentless Lover and we are His first love. She delights in telling stories of how God uses fiction to change lives.

Robin is the recipient of the Christy Award, the Mt. Hermon Pacesetter Award, the Sherwood E. Wirt Award and is a Gold Medallion Finalist. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Media Associates International and the Board of Directors for Jerry Jenkins’ Christian Writers’ Guild.

SISTERCHICK® n: a friend who shares the deepest wonders of your heart, loves you like a sister, and provides a reality check when you’re being a brat.

Two midlife mamas hop over to jolly ole England and encounter so much more than the usual tourist stops. Liz does have a bit of a childhood crush on Big Ben, and she has hoped to “meet” him ever since her fifteenth birthday. Kellie dreams of starting an interior design business and figures Liz needs to be a part of that equation–a calculation that hasn’t added up for Liz yet.

Nothing on the excursion goes the way these two friends had envisioned. They start with a village pancake race and end up being held for questioning on The Underground. Kellie and Liz take a wild tour through the land of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien and then find themselves swept up, up, and away in a hot air balloon over the Cotswalds. London beckons with the Tower of London, Windsor Castle, shopping at Portabella Road in Knotting Hill, and of course, reservations at the Ritz for a posh high tea.

A few detours along the way and the possibility of being lost in a London fog of wonderment aren’t enough to stop these two Sisterchicks! Each step of their regal journey is lined with evidence of God’s gracious compassion, and both come to realize that God knows their every wish. He is the One who planted every dream in their hearts.

And, oh, what a surprise awaits them when they return home!

To read the first chapter, go

“Robin has done it again! You and your Sisterchicks will love taking this new adventure together!”
- Karen Kingsbury, New York Times best-selling author of Between Sundays and Ever After
“My only complaint about Robin’s latest is that now I want to hop a plane to England! But combine a cup of Earl Grey tea and this charming story and you’re halfway there. Another delightful tale about women helping women to live their lives to the fullest.”
- Melody Carlson, author of These Boots Weren’t Made for Walking and A Mile in My Flip-Flops
“Sisterchicks in Gondolas is a true delight. The characters shine, and evocative language will make any reader want to visit Venice. Biblical truths are portrayed simply, yet will touch hearts and lives with their realistic application.”
- Romantic Times magazine

Friday, July 11, 2008


I love the title of this book. Catchy with a twist on the meaning. Very clever.

In Rachel Hauck’s newest release, the South Carolina low country setting layers the story with the richness of family and small town values. Rachel does a great job of bringing these front and center as she weaves the characters’ stories together.

Elle Garvey, a wannabe artist, gives up her art gallery business to follow her fiancé, a wannabe pastor of a mega church in Dallas. In doing so, she also gives up a part of her soul. When the relationship fails, she is inconsolable and at loose ends, having sold her business and rented her cottage to a New York attorney—widower Heath McCord—who is on his own grief journey with his young daughter.

In the ensuing months, Elle and Heath learn about giving flight to their dreams, praying through the healing process, and falling in love all over again. But, having painful pasts to deal with, they struggle with letting go and committing to the future. Through pursuit of their own creative passions, they both encounter failure and self-examination and must choose whether to trust and love again.

The characters have a very real feel to them, with superb dialogue and a fast clip as the story unfolds. No cookie-cutter romance here. It all feels just right with the balance of believable conflict and secondary characters who add to the themes without taking over the story.

Nice job, Rachel.

You can read more about the author and the book here.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

American Christian Fiction Writers Conference--September 18-21

Only 73 days until the 2008 ACFW Conference kicks off in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This will be my third time to go, and rather than wax dramatica about the life-changing moments I experienced the last two years, I did an informal survey (meaning non-scientific) of a few ACFW friends to get their thoughts about what makes this conference the one to attend. Ta-da!

Here are the TOP TEN reasons you absolutely should not miss this year’s ACFW gathering of the scribes in Minneapolis:

10) Packing for a conference is the ultimate excuse to go shopping, scope out the summer bargains, and find the perfect wardrobe additions to dazzle your friends and make a good impression on those elusive agents and editors. Rule of thumb: Business casual for all sessions and meals except the Awards Banquet which is semi-formal (anything from your Sunday best to sequined evening gowns). Last year, two attendees went the extra mile, and anyone who attended will never quite be the same from having seen Mama Ruth Seamands in an elegant evening sari from her missionary days in India and Chip MacGregor in his Scottish clan’s full-dress kilt. One word of caution—wear comfortable shoes. Your feet will thank you.

9) See a new part of the world. Since ACFW holds their conference in different cities each year, it’s a great way to visit a city you’ve never experienced. Minneapolis will be a new destination for me. Although I’m flying this year, many people within a day’s driving distance will get out the Rand McNally and drive in, taking in new vistas. Mid-September is the perfect time to hit the road and practice your editor pitches with your traveling mates. You might even consider bringing your spouse along and spend an extra day before or after the conference taking in the local history and attractions.

8) Escape from your ordinary world. No diapers, laundry, or meals to plan for four glorious days. You can put on your “writer” hat and be just that. No one will think you are weird because you will be with people who understand your quirks and your passion. You will be hanging out with your tribe. And there are no strangers at an ACFW conference. Only friends you’ve yet to meet. The atmosphere is friendly, helpful, and nurturing. And that’s just in the lobby upon your arrival. It gets even better after that.

7) Reconnecting with friends you haven’t seen since the last conference. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself talking about your work in progress with a new buddy over an iced caramel macchiato. You’ll also have the opportunity to put faces with all those names you see cropping up on the loop. Expect to be delighted, especially when the Chris or Terry you imagined being a vivacious female turns out to be a guy!

6) It’s all about writing fiction. You’ll have the opportunity to advance your craft to the next level no matter where you are in your journey right now. The continuing ed track and workshops are designed for different levels from novice to the multi-published. Expect to be challenged and learn concrete techniques to polish your own prose. Hint: Conference CDs and MP3s are available so that you can listen to “all” of the workshops when you get home.

5) Star gazing. You will see your favorite authors up close and personal, chat with them at meals or hang out in the lobby with them after hours. It’s quite possible they were just like you a few years ago—waiting for a publisher to fall in love with their manuscripts. This year offers a stunning lineup of famous authors. Breathe. Relax. Ask them your burning questions, and yes, it’s okay to ask for autographs. The best place to do that, however, is at . . .

4) Author Book Signing at the Mall of America. How cool is that going to be? Not only can you get a suitcase full of books signed by your favorite authors, but you will also be able to stroll through the largest mall in the land.

3) Appointments. An ACFW conference is an excellent opportunity to meet editors and agents face to face and is the best way to get your manuscript requested by your favorite publishing house or make that all-important contact in acquiring an agent. Agent and editor angst, though, causes more sweaty palms, malfunctioning deodorant, and panic attacks than any other part of a writing conference. This year, vow to relax. Do your homework and decide who you would like to meet—either in a 15-minute appointment or during one of the faculty-hosted luncheon tables. Prepare your one-sheets and practice your pitch with anyone who will listen. It’s been rumored that agents and editors are ordinary people. Even so, we writers tremble at the thought of being rejected by an agent or an editor because they seem to hold our professional lives in their hands. Stop stressing. Yes, they have power. Yes, they are looking for specific things. Yes, it’s a good idea to be courteous, professional, and prepared. But it’s also a good thing to be yourself. And the best way to do that is to relax and let God orchestrate the outcome.

2) Worship. Unlike general market conferences, at an ACFW conference you will find worship to be an integral part of the whole experience. After all, that is the common bond we all have—faith. And while you will find quite an eclectic mix of Christian believers, it is an amazing feeling to sing, pray, and worship alongside the other conferees. Many people believe this is the best part of the conference.

And now, the NUMBER ONE reason you should attend the ACFW conference this year:

1) Divine Appointments. These cannot be planned, studied for, or manipulated by mere human effort. Your appointment may come when you least expect it or need it the most. It may be waiting for you in the prayer room or while you are lounging on a sofa in the lobby. It may be a casual word in the hallway or having an editor request your full manuscript. Whatever it is, you simply do not want to miss it.

Need more inspiration? Specific agent tips? In an effort to get all your questions answered, ACFW is sponsoring an ongoing
Blog Tour. Stop by to get more great info from some of the others participants on the tour. You’ll be glad you did.

I’m looking forward to seeing many of you in Minneapolis. You might be one of the friends I just haven’t had the pleasure to meet yet.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


This is one of my favorite holidays. Not only do I get to wear my favorite color (red), but it's also one of those low-stress holidays. Not much cooking required. No gifts to buy. Just time to be with family or friends and celebrate the sweet freedom we have as Americans. I always choke up when the national anthem is played during the fireworks displays. I'm reminded again of the precious gift of being a US citizen. It's not something I'm entitled to or deserving of . . . just another facet of God's grace. So, on this day of celebration, I'll be saluting the flag and giving thanks to our Sovereign Lord for his watchful eye over us and outstretched arms that embrace us.

May your day be filled with all things wonderful as well.

CFBA Presents LOVE STARTS WITH ELLE by Rachel Hauck

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Love Starts With Elle
(Thomas Nelson - July 8, 2008)
Rachel Hauck


Rachel Hauck is a forty-something, a child of the '60's, '70's, '80's, '90's and '00's, who roller skated through the '70's into the '80's with Farrah Fawcet hair and a three-speed orange Camero. She graduated from Ohio State University (Go Buckeyes!) with a degree in Journalism.

After graduation, she hired on at Harris Publishing as a software trainer, determined to see the world. But, she's traveled to Ireland, Spain, Venezuela, Mexico, Australia, Canada and the U.S. from California to Maine.

Rachel met Tony, her husband, in '87, at church, of all places. They married in '92.
They don't have any children of their own, just lots of kids-in-the-Lord and they love them all. However, they do have two very spoiled dogs, and a very demanding cat.

With a little help from my friends, my first book was published in ' 04, Lambert's Pride, a romance novel. My current release is Sweet Caroline from Thomas Nelson. Romantic Times Book Club gave both books their highest rank of 4.5 stars, with Love Starts With Elle being honored as Top Pick!


Elle's living the dream-but is it her dream or his?

Elle loves life in Beaufort, South Carolina-lazy summer days on the sand bar, coastal bonfires, and dinners with friends sharing a lifetime of memories. And she's found her niche as the owner of a successful art gallery too. Life is good.

Then the dynamic pastor of her small town church sweeps her off her feet. She's never known a man like Jeremiah-one who breathes in confidence and exhales all doubt. When he proposes in the setting sunlight, Elle hands him her heart on a silver platter.

But Jeremiah's just accepted a large pastorate in a different state. If she's serious about their relationship, Elle will take "the call," too, leaving behind the people and place she loves so dearly. Elle's friendship with her new tenant, widower Heath McCord, and his young daughter make things even more complicated.

Is love transferrable across the miles? And can you take it with you when you go?

If you would like to read the first chapter, go HERE

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Two "Cool" Sites for Authors

It's here! The Christian Fiction Online e-zine! The brain child of Bonnie Calhoun at CFBA, Michelle Hutchinson Sutton is the editor of the newest, grooviest place to read about your favorite authors and catch the latest industy buzz from a huge line-up of authors, editors, agents, and other industry professionals. Click on the magazine cover above to take you there. Once you're there, click the cover to see inside. Then, have a cuppa your favorite summer brew and enjoy!

Also, in case you've missed their earlier promos, Tekeme Studios is offering another monthly contest. This time you can win a discounted Basic Identity Package or a free blog design. Curious? Check it out here.