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.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

2011 Faith-Hope-Love Inspirational Reader's Choice Award Winners

Today at their annual meeting, the Faith-Hope-Love Chapter of RWA announced the 2011 Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award Winners. My only regret is that I wasn't in NYC to celebrate with this great group of authors! I'm honored to be among them.
Women’s Fiction

1) Plain Paradise by Beth Wiseman (Thomas Nelson)

2) Chasing Lilacs by Carla Stewart (FaithWords)

3) The House on Sugar Plum Lane by Judy Duarte (Kensington)

Long Contemporary

1) Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes (Tyndale)

2) Love Finds You in Sugarcreek, Ohio by Serena Miller (Summerside)

3) The Six-Liter Club by Harry Kraus (Howard)

Short Contemporary

1) White Roses by Shannon Taylor Vannatter (Barbour – Heartsong Presents)

2) Rodeo Redemption by Teri Wilson (White Rose)

3) Tender Mercies by Mary Manners (White Rose)

Long Historical

1) The Preacher’s Bride by Jody Hedlund (Bethany House)

2) A Memory Between Us by Sarah Sundin (Revell)

3) Abbie Ann by Sharlene MacLaren (Whitaker House)

Short Historical

1) A Matter of Character by Robin Lee Hatcher (Zondervan)

2) Walker’s Wedding by Lori Copeland (Harvest)

3) The Substitute Bride by Janet Dean (Steeple Hill)

Romantic Suspense

1) Too Close to Home by Lynette Eason (Revell)

2) Forget Me Not by Vicki Hinze (Waterbrook)

3) Nightshade by Ronie Kendig (Barbour)


1) Once Upon a Christmas Eve by Anita Higman (Summerside)

2) A Bodine Family Christmas by Marta Perry (Steeple Hill)

3) The Snowflake by Jamie Carie (Broadman and Holman)

Friday, June 24, 2011


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
She Makes It Look Easy
David C. Cook (June 1, 2011)
Marybeth Whalen


Marybeth Whalen is the wife of Curt and mom of six children. The family lives outside Charlotte, NC. Marybeth is a member of the Proverbs 31 Ministries writing team and a regular contributor to their daily devotions. Her first novel,The Mailbox was released in June 2010. Her next novel, She Makes It Look Easy, will be released in June 2011. Additionally, she serves as director of She Reads, Proverbs 31 Ministries' fiction division.


Ariel Baxter has just moved into the neighborhood of her dreams. The chaos of domestic life and the loneliness of motherhood, however, moved with her. Then she meets her neighbor, Justine Miller. Justine ushers Ariel into a world of clutter-free houses, fresh-baked bread, homemade crafts, neighborhood play dates, and organization techniques designed to make marriage better and parenting manageable.

Soon Ariel realizes there is hope for peace, friendship, and clean kitchen counters. But when rumors start to circulate about Justine’s real home life, Ariel must choose whether to believe the best about the friend she admires or consider the possibility that “perfection” isn’t always what it seems to be.

If you would like to read an excerpt of She Makes It Look Easy, go HERE.

My Review: 

Marybeth Whalen’s second book intrigued me from the moment I learned of the premise: Women who compare their lives to other women. It’s human nature at its most basic level, at least for suburban housewives today and perhaps it’s always been so. Ariel has three sons, a husband who travels, and has just moved into the home of her dreams in an upscale neighborhood. Between the antics of her sons and running a home, she can’t even seem to get the unpacking done.

When her neighbor Justine—practically perfect in every way—enters her life, Ariel latches onto her in hopes that she can learn to be like Justine—efficient, organized, and flawless. What becomes apparent rather soon, though, is that Justine is not who and what she seems.

She Makes It Look Easy is a light, quick read—perfect for summertime reading—but don’t let the easy going writing style fool you. This book will make you think about your own life and friendships. It’s uncannily “real” and may make you uncomfortable, especially with the unresolved ending. That bit of irresolution, though, may prompt you to take a closer look at your relationships and decide if you’re doing the right thing by ignoring obvious breaches of conduct and morality if they exist.

I applaud Marybeth for tackling this uncomfortable subject and keeping it real. Well done.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Maui Book Signing
It's that time again - the time when I'm going to throw a bit of this and that at you. If you follow me on FaceBook (and you should), then you'll know that Broken Wings has been launched. And what a launch it was. We kicked off with a Twitter party and a book signing on June 3. Max and I were in Maui for his company's leadership conference (thank you IHS for the fabulous time!) so the signing was held on the terrace of the beautiful Fairmont Kea Loni hotel. I don't claim to be an expert on marketing, but it seems to me that if an opportunity arises, one should take advantage. Since almost everyone at the conference was a stranger to me, I decided to give my books away to people who loved to read. I hoped to tap into a new audience and - here's the brilliant part - they would be getting the book two days before boarding planes destined for places like Germany, Spain, UK, Canada, and dozens of US cities. I don't know about you, but when I travel I notice what people are reading whether by the pool or in the airport, so hopefully a few folks will have flashed Broken Wings to nosy curious travelers. There's no way to evaluate the results, but for me, it seems like a win-win deal.

Sunsets in Maui were glorious!

Now that Maui sunsets are a distant memory, I've had book signings in Tulsa and two in Perryton, Texas. A quick story about the Tulsa signing - I put a reminder on FaceBook that morning and right away got a response "We're on the way!" Our good friends, Blair and Diana, came from Allen, TX! They definitely get the prize for coming the farthest! Full disclosure here: They were on the way to Chicago and just made this one of their stops. Very fun!

Two lovely signings in Perryton, TX, which is our old stomping ground. The wonderful thing about these events is that people come and pull up a chair, visit with their neighbors and sip iced tea. I love the feeling of community that we have at these events.
Michael, Cindy, and Jerry lend their support

Pam and Don - Pam loves books. Don and Max talked golf.

Diana and Blair - Prize for coming the farthest! Thanks, friends.

Every author's dream - a line of people waiting to get their books signed!

My assistant, Nash, drew Carol's name for the gift basket.

Media is part of a book campaign, and I've been blessed with two events that are new to me - a TV spot on our local FOX channel and a podcast on Shellie Rushing Tomlinson's "All Things Southern" where we had a virtual chat on her front porch. I'm NOT a fan of seeing myself in videos or hearing my voice, but people have told me these were both successful appearances. I'll take their word for it. One thing I can testify to was that the FOX TV folks and Shellie were fabulous hosts and made me feel comfortable and welcome. And you should check out Shellie's writing - she's one funny lady. Thanks all!

I don't know about you, but I'm weary. Summer is breathing down our necks, and when those muggy days roll in, I'm glad to stay at home and sit under the fan. Thankfully, I'll be able to do that for a while. That's not to say I'll be loafing. I've opened the file for the next book and am busy working on Sweet Dreams, coming in 2013! The cover art for next summer's release, Stardust, should be coming soon. Keep an eye out.

What's up for your summer? I'd love to hear about the places you've been and where you're off to. Safe travels.

Monday, June 13, 2011

THE SWEETEST THING by Elizabeth Musser

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Sweetest Thing
• Bethany House (June 1, 2011)
Elizabeth Musser


Elizabeth Musser, an Atlanta native, studied English and French literature at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. While at Vanderbilt, I had the opportunity to spend a semester in Aix-en-Provence,

France. During her Senior year at Vanderbilt, she attended a five-day missions conference for students and discovered an amazing thing: God had missionaries in France, and she felt God calling her there. After graduation, she spent eight months training for the mission field in Chicago, Illinois and then two years serving in a tiny Protestant church in Eastern France where she met her future husband.

Elizabeth lives in southern France with her husband and their two sons. She find her work as a mother, wife, author and missionary filled with challenges and chances to see God’s hand at work daily in her life. Inspiration for her novels come both from her experiences growing up in Atlanta as well as through the people she meets in her work in France. Many conversations within her novels are inspired from real-life conversations with skeptics and seekers alike.

Her acclaimed novel, The Swan House, was a Book Sense bestseller list in the Southeast and was selected as one of the top Christian books for 2001 by Amazon's editors. Searching for Eternity is her sixth novel.


Compelling Southern Novel Explores Atlanta Society in the 1930s.

The Singleton family’s fortunes seem unaffected by the Great Depression, and Perri—along with the other girls at Atlanta’s elite Washington Seminary—lives a life of tea dances with college boys and matinees at the cinema. When tragedy strikes, Perri is confronted with a world far different from the one she has always known.

At the insistence of her parents, Mary ‘Dobbs’ Dillard, the daughter of an itinerant preacher, is sent from inner-city Chicago to live with her aunt and attend Washington Seminary. Dobbs, passionate, fiercely individualistic and deeply religious, enters Washington Seminary as a bull in a china shop and shocks the girls with her frank talk about poverty and her stories of revival on the road. Her arrival intersects at the point of Perri’s ultimate crisis, and the tragedy forges an unlikely friendship.

The Sweetest Thing tells the story of two remarkable young women—opposites in every way—fighting for the same goal: surviving tumultuous change. Just as the Great Depression collides disastrously with Perri's well-ordered life, friendship blossoms--a friendship that will be tested by jealousy, betrayal, and family secrets...

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Sweetest Thing, go HERE.

This was my first book by this author, and what a sweet read it was. It's a book about friendship, the kind that you need to read slowly so you can savor each word. It starts off with a bang, but then unfolds gently and kept me enthralled with these characters from Depression Era Atlanta. I loved the ebb and flow of friendship developing and moving through the crises of Dobbs and Perri until the final surprising, but satisfying conclusion. Well done, Elizabeth!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A couple of corrections

I'm always nervous when I pre-post something here about events before they actually happen. And since I was in Maui last week, I wanted to dig my toes in the sand and sip Mai Tais on the beach and stay as far away from the computer as possible. I should have paid better attention to my calendar and taken better care of you, my readers.

So, here is the revised list of spots where Broken Wings can be found today.
  • Still have a giveaway going on over at Trish Perry's blog, True Love, Real Laughs, Pure Fiction. Lovely blog. 
  • Janalyn Voigt's blog has moved!!! She's now at Novel Books and has a giveaway going on the rest of the week. There I've written a letter to readers, so please stop by and say hi.
I'll also be on the RT Book Reviews Inspirational spotlight and at SouthernBelleView this week, but I'll wait until I have those links so I'm not sending you skipping all over the galaxy. And next week, there are some other stops so please stay tuned. Several copies of Broken Wings are still up for grabs around the bloggy world - I'll try to help you track them down.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Monday, June 6, 2011

BROKEN WINGS Giveaways - Sightings around the Blogosphere

I must say, I'm overwhelmed at all the support from the Twitter party and the blog tour last week. Such good times and a warm welcome for Broken Wings. If you missed it, there's still time to get in the action! I've done some fun interviews and there will be giveaways on blogs off and on this month. I'll post these once or twice a week so you'll know where to visit and leave a comment.

MONDAY, June 6: Trish Perry's blog: True Love, Real Laughs, Pure Fiction. This is a gorgeous blog and Trish had a lot of great questions! She's also taking comments for a giveaway of Broken Wings. 

Also on Monday - Janalyn Voigt invited me to write a letter to her readers. While you're there, read a bit about Janalyn - I love her wisdom and the easy writing style she has. Giveaway on Janalyn's site, too.

Finally, all this week, I'll be on Casey Herrignshaw's Encourage an Author site. She has fun things planned each day. Casey has such a heart for encouragement - I'm very blessed by her, and I think you will be too. Giveaway scheduled - not sure which day.

So, this week is off to a great start. There are two more VERY EXCITING things coming up later in the week - exciting as in - I think I might "faint" because . . . well, I'll just have to tell you later.

In the meantime, stay cool - S U M M E R has arrived!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

You're Invited to the Party!

Broken Wings releases Friday! Come for the send off by joining the Twitter Party!

WHEN: Friday, June 3, 2011 - All day.
WHERE: Wherever you are.
HOW TO FIND THE PARTY: Follow @Chasing Lilacs (that's me) and @FaithWords (they're throwing the party) on Twitter. Use the hashtag #brokenwings and join in the conversation!
LIVE Q &A from noon to 1pm Central time! Chime in with your questions, and I'll do my best to answer.

A "birdie" told me there might be giveaways!!

I like parties. I love chatting it up with readers and other writers. What I don't like is selling. Even so, Broken Wings is available here and here and here. You might also find it at your library or your favorite book store. I appreciate your support.

See you on the Tweet Deck!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Blog Tour Links

Hmmmm. It seems the first three links for the Broken Wings Blog Tour are not working as they should - I'll try to set those up for you again -

Dragonflies 'n Daydreams
Books in the Burbs
Celtic Lady's Reviews

These sweet bloggers haven't posted yet, so don't worry - you've not missed anything yet.

Happy Wednesday!