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, February 28, 2011

In Good Company

One of the scariest aspects of writing (and there are many) is allowing your work to stand against other writers and books. It would be easy to simply say, "Okay, I have a book published; it's lovely to hold and look at; people are saying nice things," and just let it go at that. And yet, there is this tiny part of a writer's heart that says, "Yeah, but how does it compare to other books?"

There are numerous places to submit published works. Conference contests. National book awards. Regional prizes. Genre contests named after famous authors like Agatha or Bram Stoker. Either the author or publisher has to submit to these contests, and it is time sensitive in that most awards given in 2011 are for books published in the previous calendar year.

Like I said, it's a scary business, and yes, I've thrown my debut book, Chasing Lilacs, out there with a few prayers. The Oklahoma Center for the Book is the organization that presents the premiere Oklahoma Book Awards, choosing winners from finalists in five published categories. The criteria is specific: books must be set in Oklahoma or the author must be an Oklahoma native or resident. And as you might have guessed by now, this Oklahoma girl's Chasing Lilacs is a finalist in the fiction category along with five others. I'm honored and humbled.

How will my little coming-of-age story stack up against the others? I have no idea. I did check out the other finalists in fiction. The stories all sound fascinating and it makes me a little nervous. I think the competition will be tough, but come what may, I'm already honored to just be a finalist.

You may see a list of all the finalists here or here. Also I found this new review at Okie Reads last week.

The award ceremony is April 9 in Oklahoma City. Will I be scared? Probably.

But I'm glad I entered.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Love and Laughter in SAVE THE DATE by Jenny B. Jones

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Save The Date
Thomas Nelson (February 1, 2011)
Jenny B. Jones


I write Christian fiction with a few giggles, quite a bit of sass, and lots of crazy. My novels include the Katie Parker Production series and So Not Happening. I would also like to take credit for Twilight , but somewhere I think I read you’re not supposed to lie.

When I’m not typing my heart out (or checking email), I teach at a super-sized high school in Arkansas.

My students are constantly telling me how my teaching changes their lives and turned them away from drugs, gangs, and C-SPAN.

Okay, that’s not exactly true.

Some facts that are true include:

I've always been refined!

A. I got my camera confiscated by big boys with guns at the American Embassy in Europe this past summer. O la la!

B. I once worked in a seed mill office and cleaned out mice on a regular basis. Ew.

C. I’m a former drama teacher.

D. I didn’t pass my drivers test the first time. Or the second…

E. I attract stray animals like a magnet.

F. I used to assemble and test paint ball guns for a local factory...

Since my current job leaves me with very little free time, I believe in spending my spare hours in meaningful, intellectual pursuits such as:

-watching E!

-updating my status on Facebook

-catching Will Ferrell on YouTube and

-writing my name in the dust on my furniture

I’d love to hear about you, so drop me a note. Or check me out on Facebook.


You’re invited to the engagement of the most unlikely couple of the year.

When the funding for Lucy’s non-profit job is pulled, she is determined to find out why. Enter Alex Sinclair, former professional football star and heir of Sinclair Enterprises—the primary donor to Lucy’s Saving Grace organization. Alex Sinclair has it all . . . except for the votes he needs to win his bid for Congress. Both Lucy and Alex have something the other wants. Despite their mutual dislike, Alex makes Lucy a proposition: pose as his fiancée in return for the money she desperately needs. Bound to a man who isn’t quite what he seems, Lucy finds her heart – and her future – on the line.

Save the Date is a spunky romance that will have readers laughing out loud as this dubious pair try to save their careers, their dreams . . . and maybe even a date.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Save The Date, go HERE

Monday, February 14, 2011

Calling All Teen Writers

If you're under 25 years old and want to have a ton of fun with your writing, Stephanie Morrill at Go Teen Writers is running a contest this year. Every other week you get a writing prompt to get you started and can submit up to 100 words. The judges rotate with each round of competition. Yours truly will be judging this round, and I'm looking forward to reading your submissions.

Complete rules here -

This week's prompt here. I'm so excited that I will be judging for Valentine's week. Hurry on over and get writing.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Hope your day is filled with all the things you love!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Heady Stuff - Pulpwood Queens' Bestseller List for January 2011

The first best-seller list for Chasing Lilacs!! I'm thrilled and hats off to Kathy Patrick, Tiara wearing and Book sharing founder of the Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys Book Clubs: the largest “meeting and discussing book club in the WORLD”! What I really love about Kathy is her non-stop efforts at bringing authors and readers together and her heart for stamping out illiteracy. Woo-Hoo!

Take a close look at this list - they are ALL amazing books - novels, memoir, non-fiction. I think I met all but one or two at the Girlfriend Weekend last month and I LOVE these authors. I think you will too!



1) My Reading Life by Pat Conroy

2) I Still Dream About You by Fannie Flagg

3) The Sanctuary of Outcasts by Neil White

4) Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

5) Half-Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls

6) The Pulpwood Queens’ Tiara Wearing, Book Sharing Guide to Life by Kathy L. Patrick

7) My Orange Duffel Bag by Sam Bracken and Echo Garrett

8) They Came to Nashville by Marshall Chapman

9) as the sycamore grows by Jennie Helderman

10) Don’t Quit Your Day Job Edited by Sonny Brewer

11) The Miracle of Mercy Land by River Jordan

12) My Night with Saddam by Dr. Mark Green

13) Miss Hildreth Wore Brown by Olivia DeBelle Byrd

14) Write That Book Already by Sam Barry and Kathi Kamen Goldmark

15) Walking in the Deep End by Susan Parker

16) If Holden Caufield Where in my Classroom by Bernie Schein

17) Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet Jamie Ford

18) Scout, Atticus, and Boo: A Celebration of 50 Years of “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Mary Murphy

19) The Mailbox by Mary Beth Whelan

20) Chasing Lilacs by Carla Stewart

How many of these have you read? Are any of them on your reading list for 2011?