Thursday, February 28, 2013

Author Guest Blog: Heart Book I in Animal Trilogy by Jacqueline Paige

Rewrites!

I’ve had to do my share of rewrites since stumbling my way into becoming a published author. A chapter here and there, a slight plot change and is a normal part of writing. Sometimes the translation from my brain to the pages doesn’t quite equate when someone else reads it, I get that.

When I wrote the first book in the Animal Trilogy, it wasn’t just my first go at writing a shifter story, it was the first time I found out what real rewrites were.

When I began writing Heart, it was in third person POV (point of view). I was a quarter of the way through when I decided I wanted try it in first person. I know that most readers relate better to third person stories, seeing things from all the characters instead of one, but I still continued and rewrote the whole thing. While I was writing it in that point of view I was able to grasp the characters sense of urgency and emotion much easier. The rest of the book just flew onto the page.

When the publisher read it, they liked it but had one request — change it to third person. So after a few hours of reading through it and seeing it in third person I agreed to do it. How hard could it be to take a completed story and write it line by line in another perspective, right?

I literally pasted the entire manuscript into a blank document and began one line at a time. Of course I had to change many scenes when I did this…and I will admit (now) that they are much better for it. Having to go through word by word and take all the I’s and me’s and change them to she and her or him and his wasn’t just challenging, but tedious. I can say that I know this story inside and out as well as backwards now. My editor even forgave the few instances of first person still lingering after the resubmission of the new completed version of Heart.

Am I happy I did this?

You betcha! The four and five star reviews just keep coming in and I’m thrilled that everyone is finding it a refreshing change for a shifter story. Just wait until you see what I have planned for Scent, the second story in the Animal Trilogy.

Synopsis

You can only hide for so long before fate steps in…

Three women without knowledge of their true heritage...

Three men have waited for their mate all of their lives...

Hearts and tempers collide with wild passions and animal instincts.

The Animal Trilogy
Book 1
HEART



Torn from her sheltered life, Rayne is alone and scared after she discovers her fiancé is not the man she thought he was. Unable to accept the corrupt world he belongs to, she flees to the furthest possible location she can reach on her own. Nothing could ever prepare her for the journey and what she finds when she arrives.
Is she strong enough to survive on her own?

The epitome of the lone wolf, Devin stays in the wilderness and far away from people, avoiding the decision of whether to accept his title as leader and alpha of the pack. One alluring woman stirs his resolve and passion when she disturbs his solitary world. The man inside is tempted in a way he can’t understand but his wolf knows he’s found his mate.
Can he have her without succumbing to the responsibilities waiting for him?


About the Author:

Jacqueline Paige is a world class multi-tasker being a mother to five adventurous and unpredictable children, a cafe manager and having a colossal imagination that allows her to step outside of reality into a world of paranormal romance —with just a touch of suspense.

Jacqueline lives in Ontario, Canada and avoids the ever changing weather of the region she lives in by creating other worlds to fall into in her stories of all things paranormal.

Her first book was published in 2009 and since then has published ten. She is always writing and currently has more than a dozen stories in one stage or another of the writing process.

You can find all of Jacqueline’s books at: www.jacqpaige.webs.com




Book Promo: Come Eat at My Table by Ruth O'Neil


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!




You never know when I might play a wild card on you!








Today's Wild Card author is:




and the book:


Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

***Special thanks to Ruth O'Neil for sending me a review copy.***


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Ruth O’Neil has been writing for over 20 years. She has published hundreds of articles in numerous publications. She loves to touch the emotions when she writes. “If I can make one person laugh or cry, I’ll consider myself successful.” Her first novel “Come Eat at My Table” has just come out in ebook form and can be purchased on her website. She homeschools her three children (well, one now, as two have graduated). She and her husband have been married for 20-plus years. In her spare time she enjoys quilting, crafting, and reading.





Visit the author's website.




SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:


Karin Miller has a need to feed everyone. One of her twin daughters always teases her about it. The other daughter, Faith, realizes that there’s more to it than that. Faith’s suspicions are confirmed when she is assigned a project in school that forces Karin to talk about her past, mainly her childhood. Most people have fun and pleasant memories from childhood, but not Karin. There are a lot of secrets, which she has kept hidden for twenty years that have contributed to her vulnerability and lack of self-esteem. Her husband convinces her that it would be good for her to let it all out. He tells her it would also be good for the girls to learn more about their mom and why she is the person she is. When it’s all said and done, Karin is a much stronger person and so are the members of her family. Until Karin faces her past, she and her family cannot face their future.



Product Details:

List Price: $7.99

File Size: 307 KB

Print Length: 133 pages

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Language: English

ASIN: B00BI2WZ9S

Text-to-Speech: Enabled

X-Ray: Not Enabled

Lending: Enabled






AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:







Prologue



It’s said that the way we are raised forms who we are as adults. It’s all the experiences we have had in life that make us who we are. Mom was no different. Her experiences definitely shaped who she was.



I learned at an early age that it was my mom’s goal in life to feed everyone. She believed that food connected people and made them happy. Many of my own most vivid memories come from when we were sitting at the table eating with friends and family. Besides just inviting friends over for dinner, Mom would have someone over to eat in payment for a good deed. Mom would always make a meal for someone who was sick or in need. If she knew that someone was depressed, they would be the recipients of a plate of cupcakes. It was her signature touch of love, which made all her food special. Mom never failed to include a card, along with the food, with a few words of encouragement. If dessert was given, it was always presented on a pretty plate intended for the receiver to keep. Mom was famous for her cooking, especially for her cupcakes that were decorated individually.



It wasn’t until the year that my sister and I turned sixteen that we realized why mom had an underlying need to feed everyone. She wanted everyone to know they were loved - by her and by God. I remember that year as being one of the best of our lives. I don’t exactly know why because it was a year of difficulty for my parents and for us as a family. In spite of those difficulties, I remember that year as being fun and good.



Mom was one of those people that didn’t realize all the good she did or the number of people she touched. She did what she did because she felt God told her to. She didn’t do it for show. There was something deep down inside her that made her want to reach out to others. She never wanted anyone to feel like she had felt as a child, which was unloved. It wasn’t until the project for school our sophomore year that my sister and I found out why mom was the way she was.



It’s a story I will never forget because it was one that was difficult for my mom to tell and for us to hear. She wanted to shade my sister and me from her past, but I think I’m the better for knowing it. I think you will be, too.



Faith Miller







Chapter One



“Only two more days till Christmas!” Hope danced around the kitchen chanting while getting underfoot. She was good at that, but not always a whole lot of help.



“Yes, we know!” Hope’s twin sister Faith said, while frosting some of the cookies she had baked earlier in the day with their mom.



Hope picked up the cookie as soon as Faith set it aside to let the frosting set.



“You didn’t burn these did you?”



“I haven’t burnt anything in a long time!” Faith said.



“Yeah, it’s been at least a week!” Hope said sarcastically.



“We’d get more done if you helped a little more besides eating everything.” The girls’ mom, Karin, said to Hope without looking up from what she was doing.



“I’m taste-testing.” Hope said with her mouth full. “And taking pictures.” She held up her other hand, which contained a camera. It was an older camera that used film, but she found taking pictures enjoyable and she was good at it. She used her talent and became the photo editor of their school newspaper. She would often get right up in people’s faces to get a close-up shot. Karin and Faith hated that, which made Hope do it even more.



Hope and Faith were identical twins who would turn sixteen the next July. While they looked alike, they made every effort to look different. They had the same honey colored hair and green eyes as their mom. The three of them looked so much alike that their father often called them his triplets.



Karin wore her hair long, down to her waist. Faith had hair that came down past her shoulder blades, but more often than not, she had it up in a ponytail to keep it out of her way. Hope kept her hair only to her shoulders and she would straighten hers since she didn’t particularly like the waves that her mom and sister kept.



As far as their personalities were concerned, the twins couldn’t have been more different. Faith was the no fuss twin. Hope was the one who was more concerned about her appearance. She always took the time to do her hair and put on clean clothes and make-up before she took out the garbage.



Faith liked to cook alongside of her mother. Although she used to burn a lot of meals, after the last couple years of practice, she had become a much better cook. Faith liked to play sports and hated shopping. Hope liked shopping and hated sports. Hope was more popular at school and had a lot of friends. Faith was well liked, but she was much quieter than Hope and was loyal to her small group of close friends. Hope was much more talkative and more interested in the latest trends.



Hope talked incessantly, while Faith was a listener. Faith saw and heard things that Hope had no idea were there. Hope’s personality was more like her dad’s and Faith’s was more like Karin’s.



Faith was baking and frosting cookies while Karin was preparing Christmas dinner. When she pulled the ham from the oven she said as much to herself as to the girls. “I don’t know why I’m getting all this food ready now.” She had pretty much cooked everything so that on Christmas Day it would just have to be reheated.



“Well, now we can enjoy more time together as a family this year,” Faith said. “We always get up early, open presents, spend a few hours cooking, an hour eating, and the rest of the day sitting around doing nothing.”



“Yeah,” Hope agreed. “We can sleep in. We aren’t little kids anymore who are so anxious to open presents that we can’t wait till daylight.”



“We can sleep in as long as dad doesn’t wake us up.” Faith laughed.



It was true, their dad, Rob, was always the first one up on Christmas Day. He often got up and unsatisfied to be alone and to wait patiently, he would go and wake up the whole household. It didn’t matter that it was only four o’clock in the morning, it was Christmas and it was time to open all the presents that waited under the tree. If only he would leave everyone alone they could sleep in a little longer and still have plenty of time to enjoy the day and eat all the delicious food they were preparing.



Just then, the front door opened. All three of them looked to see who had entered. A little boy shyly stood there with a big smile. “Are you baking cookies?” He asked.



“We sure are.” Karin was always amazed at how Matt could show up at exactly the right time. “You’re a little late, Matt. I cracked the eggs a while ago!” Karin smiled.



One time when he came over while Karin was baking cookies, he told her he had heard her cracking the eggs. That was their own little joke now. He also heard her cracking the ice cube trays in the summer when he was hopeful of getting Karin’s famous lemonade.



Karin felt sorry for Matt. He was often at home alone. Matt was only ten years old. He had a single mom who worked extra hard just to make ends meet. Karin knew Matt’s mom’s schedule and they had an agreement that Karin would keep her eye out for their young next-door neighbor when he wasn’t in school.



Karin knew that if she offered to watch Matt his mom would feel obligated to pay her. Karin wasn’t looking for payment; she just wanted to be a good neighbor. Karin also knew that money was tight for Matt and his mom, so she often sent a plate of food home for her after Matt had eaten dinner with them. This arrangement worked well and kept them all happy.



Matt fit right in with the family, filling the role of little brother. Faith took him under her wing and nurtured him. Hope took him under her wing and conspired with him. Right now Hope and Matt sat on bar stools on the opposite side of the counter of where Karin and Faith were working. Hope was picking up two cookies, one more for herself and one for Matt.



None of them could resist Matt’s bright, blue eyes, blonde hair and the fattest cheeks anyone could ever imagine on a skinny, little kid. He was cute, of that there was no doubt. This was one reason Karin found it hard to resist his smile when he showed up on her doorstep, hoping for a cookie. He happily chewed on his treat as the three girls talked and sang Christmas songs as they played on the radio.



The four continued their baking, decorating, and eating. When Hope’s favorite Christmas song came on the radio, she ordered everyone to be quiet so she could listen and sing, when actually her singing ruined the song for everyone else. She grabbed a wooden spoon out of the crock on the counter and used it as a microphone as she sang and danced around the kitchen. Neither her singing nor her dancing was pleasant entertainment, but she ignored anyone who told her so.



Fortunately, the phone ringing interrupted her performance. Since her mom and Faith were both busy, Hope answered the phone without turning down the music.



“Hello? Merry Christmas!” She just about shouted into the phone. “Just a minute, please.” She handed the phone to her mom. “It’s Mrs. Carter, from church.”



Karin took the phone from her daughter. “Hello?”  It only took about two seconds for her whole demeanor to change. Hope was still singing, stealing cookies, and sharing them with Matt who had by now acquired a cup of hot cocoa, too.



Hope may not have noticed the change in her mom, but Faith, the one who saw everything, did see it. She also saw her mom walk into another room to avoid the noise. Faith turned down the volume on the radio not only so her mom could hear better, but also so that she could hear what her mom was saying.



“Hey!” Hope said as Faith turned the music down.



“Shhh!” Faith responded.



“I’ll take a meal over to them tonight.” Karin was saying. “I’ll also go ahead and set up meals for at least the rest of the week.”



When she hung up Faith asked what was wrong.



Karin put her hands on her hips like she was thinking. “Mrs. Lloyd broke her leg this morning.” She said.



“How did she do that?” Faith asked.



“She slipped on some ice and fell.” Karin answered.



Faith already knew exactly what was going through her mom’s mind. When Karin heard of a need, she automatically went into high gear. During the next few moments Karin spoke, but only to herself. The girls, and even Matt, knew not to interrupt.



“They are going to need food. There is no way Lisa is going to feel like cooking anything let alone a fancy Christmas dinner. I wish I had time to bake some cupcakes. I can do that later, instead of today. I don’t know how many people will be able to fix meals the week of Christmas. Hmmm. She’s going to need more help than that, too. She has five small children.”



When she looked up, the girls knew that they were now included in any further discussion. The funny part is that there wasn’t any conversation. The three of them looked at each other for a few moments. Took their eyes off each other long enough to scan over all the food that was spread out on the counter and the tables. There was ham, sweet potatoes, apple and pumpkin pies, herbed corn, and homemade rolls. When their eyes met again the decision had been made, all without saying one word. Hope grabbed one more cookie before the deal was sealed.



“Your dad doesn’t particularly care for ham anyway. He’s always saying he wants pizza for Christmas dinner; that we should go against tradition. How about we give him what he wants this year?” Karin asked the girls without expecting an answer. “Now I know why God had me prepare Christmas dinner early. See, girls, everything happens for a reason.” She commented. “Isn’t God amazing?” Karin just beamed.



Faith smiled. Hope acted a little disappointed. Both of the girls knew that their own Christmas dinner would be a little bit less than what was originally planned, but they both also knew that mom would make it special, even if it was just pizza.



“Mom’s got to feed the world!” Hope said. Her tone was sarcastic, but she said it with all the love she had in her heart for her mom. Everyone who knew her knew that Karin Miller had an innate need to feed everyone she met. And everyone she met was more than willing to eat at Karin Miller’s table, for her food was a treat for all to thoroughly enjoy.



Hope grabbed a couple more cookies. Faith went and got out one of the pretty plates her mom kept for such occasions. Karin would buy these plates when she found them on sale or at second hand stores or yard sales. It was one of those extra touches that were purely Karin. The plate was a gift along with whatever food was placed on it and was not to be returned.



“Here, Matt,” Faith began to hand him another cookie, but changed her mind when she looked at him. “Can you cram anymore cookies in those cheeks of yours?”



Matt tried to smile, but had to cover his mouth with his hand to keep cookie crumbs from falling out.



Faith continued, “Which cookies do you think the Lloyd’s will like?”



While munching on his own cookies, Matt helped Faith choose some of the prettier looking cookies to give to a family who would be in need of Christmas treats.



Faith arranged the cookies on the plate so they looked attractive. Then she covered the whole thing tightly with plastic warp so the cookies wouldn’t slide around. This would be dessert for the Lloyds to go along with the dinner her mom would soon be packing up.



Faith also grabbed a large plastic bag and filled it with cookies.



“What’s that for?” Matt wanted to know. Even though he didn’t live there, he knew Karin always put cookies on a nice plate and not in a plastic bag.



“These are for you and your mom.” Faith smiled.



“Oh, boy!” Matt said excitedly, rubbing his hands together.



“Yeah,” Hope interjected. “Make sure you save some for your mom. I heard she didn’t get any of the last batch.” She teased.



Matt just grinned. He knew he was guilty as charged. The last time Karin sent Matt home with some cranberry-ginger cookies, Matt ate them all. He paid for it the next day with a horrible stomachache.



“Hope, since you aren’t doing anything but eating, grab me some of those foil pans that are in the pantry.” Karin asked. “That way Mrs. Lloyd won’t need to worry about washing or returning any dishes.”



The Lloyd’s were a family at their church. They were relatively new members and Karin would do her best to make them feel like a part of the family.



When Hope came back with the foil pans in hand, Karin gave her another order. “Go get me that box of cards that is on the desk in my bedroom.”



That was another thing for which Karin had a talent. Whenever she gave anyone food, she also sent a card with much needed encouragement. Somehow, she always found the right Bible verse for every occasion. Karin didn’t know it and she certainly wasn’t keeping track, but she had touched many hearts with her efforts. Karin was well loved by everyone. A few people had even told her she should be a writer because the notes she wrote in the cards were so encouraging.



“There we go!”  Karin said as she finished packing up the ham dinner she thought she had been preparing for her own family. She smiled from ear to ear. Where many people would have been upset to put all that work into a meal and not be able to eat it, Karin was the opposite. She was in her glory, or God’s glory as her husband, Rob had come to call it. He may have teased her about all the food she prepared for other people, but he was known to help by telling her about people he knew were in need. He had delivered more than one meal in their twenty years of marriage.



“Hope can start putting stuff in the van if she ever comes back.”



“I’ll help.” Matt offered.



Faith handed him the bag of cookies. Matt happily carried his bag of cookies outside.



Hope came into the room. “There aren’t really any cards that are appropriate.”



Karin quickly looked through them. “You’re right.”



“Want me to go to the store and pick one out for you?”



Karin just looked at her daughter. “You can’t drive.”



“Yeah, but in seven months I’ll be able to, so why don’t you let me start practicing now?”



“Because it isn’t legal. I’ll stop and get a card on the way. Let’s go.”



“Are we going to the dollar store?” Faith wondered.



“Yeah, probably. That way I can see if they have any more pretty plates. I’m running low.”



The dollar store was one of her favorite places to find those small treasures. Often she would also find small pieces to use on the table as decorations for all of her entertaining. She often said, “Entertaining doesn’t have to be expensive, but it can still be beautiful.” And her table was often very lovely.





Cover Reveal: Town Girl by Linda Cunningham




SMALL TOWN GIRL has a new cover!



Title: Small Town Girl (Small Town #1)
Author: Linda Cunningham
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Release: November 11, 2011
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: Adult
Reveal organized by: AToMR Tours
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12675462-small-town-girl

Book description
When Lauren Smith begrudgingly returns to the small Vermont town where she grew up to arrange for the sale of her late grandmother’s old farmhouse, she has everything she’s always worked for. Lauren drives a Mercedes. She’s engaged to one of the most powerful businessmen in the country and wears a three-carat diamond ring to prove it. She lives in a penthouse on Central Park West.

Yes, Lauren has everything she considers important. She is smugly prepared for any eventuality in dealing with these country people so Lauren isn’t surprised when the hot water isn’t working at the old house. No problem. She simply looks in the phone book and calls the local plumber.

The moment Caleb Cochran steps through the old screen door to fix the hot water, the glittery facade that masquerades as Lauren’s life begins to crumble around her. Though she tries hard to deny their mutual, magnetic attraction, Lauren is finally forced to reevaluate her focus and come face-to-face with her true self. Small Town Girl is a story of discovering the true meaning of life and love.
This novel is the first book in the Small Town series, however, each book can be read as a stand-alone.

About the Author

Linda has written steadily throughout the years, but usually other people’s papers, speeches, or articles for agricultural trade magazines. Her only published work of fiction was a children’s book, “The Copper Angel of Piper’s Mill”, written in 1988 when her children were still small. Now that the kids are out of the house, Linda is writing fiction again, and this time it’s personal! She writes full time and it’s Romance! Her first romance novel, “Small Town Girl” is being published by Omnific Publishing and should be available late summer/early fall of this year.

Linda lives in a romantic stone house in the green mountains of Vermont surrounded by her gardens and her animals who include horses, sheep, cats, dogs, chickens, a parakeet and various wildlife visitors who wander in and out at will. When time permits, she also enjoys sketching and painting.

Linda Cunningham | Facebook | Twitter


Book Promo: The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back by Sarah Wilson



Tour Schedule



The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back by Sariah Wilson 



Everyone knows how all those fairy tales go. The princess gets beautiful, nabs her prince, falls instantly in love, lives happily ever after and leaves her evil stepsisters in the dust.



But what happens when you’re the ugly stepsister and your obnoxiously perfect—read pretty, smart, and, worst of all, sickeningly nice—stepsister is dating the charming, tall, devastatingly handsome guy you’ve had a thing for since you were nine years old?



Quirky, artistic and snarky Mattie Lowe does not lead a charmed life. Her mother is constantly belittling her on Skype. Mercedes, the school mean girl, has made it her personal mission to torment Mattie. But worst of all? Her stepsister Ella is the most beautiful, popular girl in school and is dating Mattie’s secret longtime crush, Jake Kingston.



Tired of being left out and done with waiting for her own stupid fairy godmother to show up, Mattie decides to change her life. She’ll start by running for senior class president against wildly popular Jake.



Ella can keep her Prince Annoying. Mattie’s going to rule the school.



And no one, not even a cute and suddenly flirty Jake, is going to stop her.



Purchase




Praise



“My top pick of 2012 YA… This book is just. plain. fun.”

~Jordan McCollum, author of Saints & Spies and I, Spy

“Sariah Wilson's new book, The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back, is hilarious…What follows is a story of fun and romance with some good non-preachy life lessons thrown in.  The voice in the main character, Mattie, makes the whole thing.  I thought it was definitely a book I'd recommend to anyone with teenagers or who just want to read a good teen romance.”
~Julie Coulter Bellon, author of All Fall Down and All’s Fair

“Sariah [Wilson] has written one of the funniest stories I've read in such a long, long time. I literally couldn't put it down. Yes, my poor Kindle's battery died and I was attached to a short power cord, contorted in a very uncomfortable position while I read to the end…. Sariah Wilson captured the back-biting, insecure, hormone-driven, clique-riddled high school atmosphere so perfectly you'd think she never grew up. I dare you not to laugh as you read this witty and oh, so, romantic story.”
~Debra Erfert of Windows into Writing

“Sariah Wilson writes like the best of/most popular YA teen fiction/teen romance authors - Sarah Dessen, Jennifer Echols, Susanne Collins, Cassandra Clare.  She sucks you in and never lets you go.  I finished the ~194 novel in one night because I just couldn't go to sleep without knowing the ending!  I hope that Sariah comes out with more novels, I know I'll be re-reading this one all the time!  She's extremely talented and needs to be talked about.  I highly recommend The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back! to anyone (over the age of 12) who wants a YA novel that's a real modern-day fairy tale.”

~Hilary at Novel d’Tales

“This was such an entertaining story! I shouldn't have started reading it so late in the evening, because I didn't want to put it down to go to sleep…This is a book I can see myself reading several times. It's a fast, clean read with great characters, and I highly recommend it.”
~Andrea of Literary Time Out

The book is wonderful.  It’s quirky and fun.  The story makes you laugh and you fall in love with the characters right from the beginning…This is a well-written book.  It is one that will make you smile and sigh as you remember your first love.  And it has a moral…be yourself, believe in yourself and maybe, just maybe, your fairytale will come true.  Pick up this book.”
~Ana of The Book Hookup





Author Sariah Wilson



Sariah Wilson has never jumped out of an airplane, never climbed Mt. Everest, and is not a former CIA operative. She has, however, been madly, passionately in love with her soulmate and is a fervent believer in happily ever afters—which is why she writes romance. The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back is her fourth happily ever after novel. She grew up in southern California, graduated from Brigham Young University (go Cougars!) with a semi-useless degree in history, and is the oldest of nine (yes, nine) children. She currently lives with the aforementioned soulmate and their four children in Utah, along with three tiger barb fish, a cat named Tiger, and a recently departed hamster that is buried in the backyard (and has nothing at all to do with tigers).









Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 3/10/13



Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


a Rafflecopter giveaway






Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Leap Into Books Giveaway Hop



Leap Into Books Giveaway Hop
February 28th to March 7th
Co-hosted by Jinky is Reading

I will be giving away a $10 Barnes and Noble Giftcard



a Rafflecopter giveaway





Book Promo: Beyond the Rapids by Evelyn Puerto


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!




You never know when I might play a wild card on you!








Today's Wild Card author is:




and the book:


Pleasant Word-A Division of WinePress Publishing; First Edition edition (May 25, 2010)

***Special thanks to Evelyn Puerto for sending me a review copy.***


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




 Evelyn Puerto left a career in health care planning to serve as a missionary for seven years in Russia. During those years, she met and was inspired by the Brynza family, whose story she tells in Beyond the Rapids. After her return from the mission field, she got married, inheriting three stepdaughters, two stepgrandsons and a cat.





Visit the author's website.




SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:




Imagine that you are a believer living in a communist country. You live with the knowledge that at any time you could be imprisoned, tortured or killed simply because you are a Christian.



Award-winning Beyond the Rapids is the true story of Ukrainian pastor Alexei Brynza and his wife, Valentina, who endured persecution in a culture that was hostile to their faith as they struggled to raise their children as believers The Brynzas children were tempted by ambition, wealth, love and popularity as they struggled with the choice between embracing the communist system or believing in God. Beyond the Rapids is an inspiring story of God's grace and faithfulness in all circumstances.











Product Details:

List Price: $19.99

Paperback: 348 pages

Publisher: Pleasant Word-A Division of WinePress Publishing; First Edition edition (May 25, 2010)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1414116055

ISBN-13: 978-1414116051






AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:







Beyond the Rapids



One Family’s Triumph over Religious Persecution in Communist Ukraine





Chapter 1





Grandpa and the Firing Squad





Stone walls do not a prisone [sic] make.1



George Bernard Shaw







Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.



John 8:32







As told by Lena



My parents didn’t allow my three brothers and me to play with the other children in the neighborhood. They built a wood fence around the yard and installed a gate, which Mama locked every morning after Papa left for work. Then she let us amuse ourselves in the yard while she was cooking or planting potatoes or taking care of the goats. We often stood at the gate, peeking through the bars, stretching our hands into the air, rejoicing that our hands were free, even if we were not, waving at the neighbors passing by, neighbors who laughed at us, remarking we were like prisoners in jail.



Maybe the neighbors were joking; maybe they remembered that our grandfather had been imprisoned during the Great Patriotic War. Many Ukrainians rejoiced when our country was invaded. Some greeted the German army with bread and salt, the traditional symbols of welcome, hoping the Nazis would rule more humanely than the iron-fisted communists. After two years of German occupation, the Soviet Army drove the Nazis out, fighting so fiercely around Zaporozhe that the Dniepr River ran red with the blood of the dead.



The Soviet Army rounded up all the men who survived the occupation to take to the front. My grandfather, Gavril, was among them. He refused to fight. The Baptist church left decisions about participating in war or bearing arms to each person’s conscience. For Grandpa, it was clear. “I am a Christian,” he said, “and I will not kill anyone.”



To the Soviet authorities, this was traitorous. How could any citizen shirk his duty to defend the Motherland from the fascist invaders? The Nazis treacherously attacked our country, plundered wantonly, slaughtered millions of people, and carried off thousands more to slavery in Germany. Maybe my grandfather would have been more willing to help a regime that had not been so cruel to believers. He certainly wasn’t going to compromise his principles to help the Communist Party complete its Five Year Plan. He would remain true to his faith and convictions no matter what.



For many years the authorities sought reasons to arrest Grandpa for his faith; now they had grounds to execute him. He was tried, sentenced to death by firing squad, and flung into the death cell with others condemned to die. There he sat for an entire month. The guards distributed almost no food and offered no medical care of any kind to these prisoners, reasoning that the inmates were going to die anyway. Why waste good food or medicine on traitors and criminals?



Every morning, as the pale winter sun peaked through the tiny window high up in the wall of the unheated cell, the cell’s door grated open and a guard would appear. As he probed the faces of the condemned with his flashlight, the prisoners waited, resigned, knowing what was about to happen—one of their number would be called out never to return, and each one hoped to be spared one more day. But the guard’s light would finally settle on one weary face. “You.  Let’s go.”



One morning the light drilled into Grandpa’s face. He calmly said good-bye to his cellmates. After a month in the death cell he still wasn’t sure why he had been arrested. Was it for refusing to fight in the army, refusing to kill another human being? Or was it simply for his faith? Now his sentence was about to be fulfilled; it didn’t matter why he was to die. He staggered to his feet, lightheaded from hunger, stiff from inactivity.



The weak light of the winter sun pierced Grandpa’s eyes when he left the cell. Each step was a struggle, every muscle protesting, pain shooting through his feet as he walked to certain death, his heart at peace. He knew that in a few minutes he would be rewarded for his faith and enjoy eternal life with God. The guards marched Grandpa along the muddy streets of the camp. As they passed the headquarters, an officer came out. “Where are you taking this man?” he asked.



“To the firing squad.”



“What has he done?”



“He’s a Baptist leech who won’t fight.”



“My mother was a Baptist,” said the officer. “I can’t allow you to kill him. Give him another trial.” At the second trial they sentenced Grandpa to ten years hard labor in a concentration camp in Siberia. Grandpa’s suffering was only beginning.






Book Blast: Fields of Elysium by A.B. Whelan




Fields of Elysium by A.B. Whelan



How can love mend a heart full of hate?



Small town girl, Molly Bennett, moves to Los Angeles where she becomes an outsider while attending Beverly Hills High School. It seems life cannot be any more dreadful. Then one day after school, something magical happens. On a secluded hike in the Hollywood Hills, Molly chases her disobedient mutt and only friend into a hidden cavern. She stumbles upon a strange glimmering gateway that transports her to Arkana, a planet that is the cradle of an advanced human race. There, teenagers navigate amazing flying vehicles, compete in perilous games for glory, and possess supernatural powers. While Molly tries to wrap her mind around this unbelievable discovery, she meets the alluring and mysterious Victor Sorren. He is a Sentinel Apprentice, whose hatred toward people from Earth is beyond understanding. Yet every time Victor unpredictably saves Molly's life, his heart draws closer to hers, no matter how much he tries to fight against it. It further complicates things that their growing friendship is strictly forbidden. Earth people are prohibited in Arkana, yet Molly continues to cross through the portal to Arkana to see Victor. Torn between their double lives, they go down a dangerous path, from where there is no return and multiple endings.



Fields of Elysium is a suspenseful, romantic tale full of forbidden secrets, unimaginable danger, deception, and the never-ending fight for true love.









PRAISE



"The novel's take on otherworldly travel is a compelling one, and the romantic plot will likely appeal to Twilight fans." - Kirkus Reviews



"I expected a good love story with a paranormal twist. I got so much more. I think you should take the chance and read it. Let this book take you on the adventure, fall in love." - Young Adult and Teen Readers



"Fields of Elysium is a fabulous read. ... Whelan paints her faith into the fabric of her story with deft, light brushstrokes, making her work accessible to all, no matter their spiritual beliefs or background." - Readers Favorite



"I escaped into this fantasy world, author, A.B.Whelan, created and I didn’t want Molly to go. From detailed descriptions, to sweet romance, and to all the twist and turns in the story, it had me captivated from page one." - Mary Ting, author of the Crossroads Saga



"Whelan's writing is very vivid and descriptive. It's more formal than the average YA novel, but I enjoyed the lyrical and mesmerizing quality to it. I thought the overall story read like a fairy tale--very sweet." - Megan Thomason, author of Daynight

















Author A.B. Whelan



A.B.Whelan is a Hungarian born, American writer. She currently lives with her husband and two children in Southern California.

While growing up in a wealthy Eastern European family, she had a chance to travel Europe. Later as an adult, she visited Africa and the Middle East and lived in Ecuador and in Crete.





















Tour Schedule












$50 Book Blast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash plus a gift bag of one signed copy of Fields of Elysium, a scrabble-tile pendant with a butterfly image on a chain necklace, and a fridge magnet.



Ends 3/11/13



Gift Bag open to US only.  If winner is international they will receive only the gift card or paypal cash.

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.




a Rafflecopter giveaway



Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Book Promo: Katie Opens Her Heart by Jerry Eicher


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!




You never know when I might play a wild card on you!








Today's Wild Card author is:




and the book:


Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2013)

***Special thanks to Ginger Chen for sending me a review copy.***


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




 Jerry Eicher’s bestselling Amish fiction (more than 210,000 in combined sales) includes The Adams County Trilogy, the Hannah’s Heart books, and the Little Valley Series. After a traditional Amish childhood, Jerry taught for two terms in Amish and Mennonite schools in Ohio and Illinois. Since then he’s been involved in church renewal, preaching, and teaching Bible studies. Jerry lives with his wife, Tina, and their four children in Virginia.





Visit the author's website.




SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:




Jerry Eicher (nearly half a million copies sold) returns with the first book in another of his delightful series centering on Amish life.



Here is the story of a young Amish girl, Katie Raber, who finds she wants more from life than to be known as simply “Emma Raber’s daughter.”







Product Details:

List Price: $13.99

Paperback: 336 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736952519

ISBN-13: 978-0736952514




AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:







The early morning sun was rising over the well-kept farms of Delaware’s Amish country as Katie Raber drove her buggy toward Byler’s Store near Dover to begin her day’s work. She squinted when she spotted an approaching buggy in the distance. The horse had its neck arched high in the air. Katie didn’t have to think long before she decided who was coming toward her. Ben Stoll would be holding the reins. It was his buggy. She was sure of that. Ben was one of the best-looking Amish boys around. Blessed was any girl who was invited to ride with him in his buggy—something Katie figured she would never experience. Ben was without a doubt the catch among the community’s Amish young men. A cloud crossed the sun, and Katie held the buggy lines tight as she kept her eyes glued on the approaching buggy. Perhaps she could catch a glimpse of Ben this morning. That was all she could hope for. He was from another world. Ben never spoke to her, and she only saw him at the Sunday meetings and the Amish youth gatherings Mamm allowed her to attend. There he would be laughing and talking with someone else—someone more suited to his taste than “plain Katie,” the out-of-step daughter of the odd widow Emma Raber. Katie could walk right under Ben Stoll’s nose, and he wouldn’t even know a shadow had gone by.



Yah, she was Emma Raber’s daughter. That’s how most people in the community thought of her. She even thought of herself that way—just an extension of her mamm. Mamm was nice enough, and Emma really loved her. So, nee, she wasn’t really complaining. But sometimes her mamm did unusual things, and that made Katie seem so…well, weird to the other young adults in the Amish community. For one thing, there would be no rumspringa for Katie. Everyone else she knew among the Delaware Amish would have their time to run around and try out the ways of the world. But not Katie. Emma Raber wouldn’t even consider such a thing for her daughter. And the Amish youth gatherings were few and far between. Mamm was suspicious of even those. “Too much socializing,” she had said.



She could live without rumspringa. Or without Ben Stoll, for that matter. So what, Katie told herself, it might even be best for her if Ben were unobtainable. He might not be all that wunderbah if she ever got to know him. Katie sighed. These were desperate excuses, and she knew it, but lately Mamm’s restrictions were becoming harded and harder to bear. She was only trying to make herself feel better. Ben was wunderbah. Even her friend Arlene Miller wasn’t above stealing a glance at Ben—and that with her boyfriend, Nelson Graber, sitting right across from her at the Sunday night hymn singings!



Katie wondered if all the girls were as taken with Ben as she was. She was aware of everything about him. She noticed when he wore a new black suit at communion time every spring. She noticed the way his buggy shone when the sun rays bounced off the sides at the Sunday meetings. The boy must spend hours waxing the black vinyl of his buggy, she thought. And most of all, she noticed the way Ben smiled when he was happy, which seemed like most of the time. What would it be like to be the kind of girl who made Ben smile that smile? Ha! Certainly a simple, plain soul like Emma Raber’s daughter couldn’t be such a girl…ever.



Katie tried to look away from the fast-approaching buggy. She was way too fascinated with the boy. If Mamm knew her feelings, Katie knew she’d be given a lecture the size of the state of Delaware and right at the kitchen table after supper. Yah, Mamm would not understand how she felt. Life had been hard for Mamm, especially when it came to men. Hadn’t Daett passed away when Katie was still a young girl? The loss had been so painful for Mamm that she might never marry again.



The beat of horse hooves on pavement grew louder. Katie eased open her buggy door just enough to make sure that whoever was in the passing buggy could see it was her in case a greeting was forthcoming. With her hands on the reins, Katie held her breath as the buggy approached and passed without its buggy door opening even an inch. Katie saw the unmistakable outline of Ben’s face through the small window. His hat was tight on his head, and his eyes were looking straight ahead. The moment passed in a flash without the smallest flicker of a hand wave through the window. And then the buggy was gone.



It was the sun in his eyes, Katie told herself. That’s why Ben hadn’t slid open the buggy door or bothered to wave. But she knew better. Ben wasn’t being mean. No, she just wasn’t worth the effort. He had greater and better things on his mind than paying attention to Emma Raber’s odd daughter. Now if she were beautiful, or charming, or funny, or even talkative at the Sunday-night hymn singings, it might be different. With such qualities, perhaps her plainness could be overcome. But all that was a dream that would never come true. She couldn’t be what she wasn’t.



Perhaps she should settle for Joe Helmuth from down the road. Joe walked with a limp from a hay wagon accident when he was five. He would take over his daett’s farm someday, but the scars from that long-ago day would never leave him. The problem was that Joe didn’t pay Katie any attention either.



Well, at least thinking about Ben Stoll helped ease the pain a little, Katie decided. She was only Katie Raber, after all. The girl who could barely open her mouth without dumb words falling out all over each other. If she could only be more like the rest of the Amish girls in the community. But that could never be either, not with how Mamm felt about things.



Katie slapped the reins against her horse as her thoughts swirled through her mind. She couldn’t remember much about Daett. He’d been gone since she was three years old. She could remember happy times though. Going to the barn with him when they did the evening chores. But that was so long ago. If she only had a daett, Katie decided, life would be different. If Mamm married again, Katie figured both of them would be better accepted in the community and Mamm might change her ways. The most obvious possibility was widower Jesse Mast. And he’d come calling on Mamm again just the other evening. Mamm hadn’t said anything about the visit, but Jesse had surely spoken of marriage.



Yah, Mamm should marry again, Katie decided. Mamm’s sorrow over losing her husband was still written on her face after all these years. Was it not high time things changed? Yah, and Katie would pray about the matter.



Da Hah must already be thinking the same thing if He was sending Mamm a suitor in the person of Jesse Mast. So why couldn’t Mamm see this and accept Jesse’s offer of marriage? Was she turning him down because he wasn’t much to look at? Yah, he was a little rough around the edges. But it wasn’t like Mamm to be so concerned with outward appearance. She went more by a person’s kind heart than how he looked on the outside. Perhaps it was the fact that Jesse’s frau, Millie, had died and left him with a family of five children. Was that why Mamm objected? She didn’t want her household increased so dramatically?



Nee, Katie decided that couldn’t be the reason either. Mamm didn’t mind hard work. And if a large family was the problem, she should have been happy after turning down Jesse. Instead, Mamm had walked around the house with the lines on her face running deeper than ever. So why had she turned Jesse down? That was assuming Mamm had turned him down. The proposal of marriage was just a guess on Katie’s part, but she was sure she was right. It couldn’t have been anything else. The two had talked for a long time while sitting on the porch swing. Afterward, Jesse had stood in the yard for a few moments longer, still speaking with Mamm. He’d held his hat in his hand, the sweat ring in his hair still apparent from where the hat had been pressed tightly on his head. Then Jesse had walked back to his buggy, his head bowed. Even Jesse’s horse, Lucy, had looked depressed as they drove down the lane.



Katie had been ready to ask Mamm what Jesse wanted, but one look at her face caused her to change her mind. Mamm looked troubled and yet, at the same time, ready to give someone a piece of her mind. A question from Katie could easily have resulted in another lecture she didn’t want to hear. A lecture about being satisfied with one’s lot in life and not reaching for the stars. That was the standard lecture Mamm always gave when Katie dared complain about attending more of the Amish youth gatherings.



“You don’t know how nice you have it,” Mamm would say. “We have enough to eat, a roof over our heads, and horses to drive us to work and church. What more could we ask for?”



Well, Katie thought, there was plenty more to ask for. All kinds of things a young woman could want. Things that were out there just waiting to enrich one’s life—and, happily, things that were not forbidden by the Ordnung. Like liking a boy. Like someday loving a man who would love her back and consider his life empty without her. Someone who’s eyes would light up when he saw her. Someone who called her sweet things on Sunday nights as he sat on the couch beside her. Wasn’t that what dating couples did? Mamm wouldn’t say when Katie asked, other than muttering something about useless talking until all hours of the night.



How could such time be considered wasted? Katie wondered. It would be glory indeed to sit beside a boy—a soon-to-be man so near she could touch him. What delight it would be to hear his deep voice rumble when he spoke or feel his eyes watching her long before she looked up to meet his gaze. Nee, this couldn’t be wasted time. It would be a touch of heaven, and the most worthwhile thing a girl could set her heart on. Especially if the boy were Ben Stoll…



Katie sighed. So had Jesse Mast asked for Mamm’s hand? Had she turned him down? She’d sent him away looking disappointed, so something was going on. And then there was that look on Mamm’s face in the evenings after the sun had set and the house was quiet. Mamm didn’t like the loneliness of their house either—the hours without a man’s voice being heard. She’d been silent after Jesse left that night, staring at the kitchen wall and seemingly more troubled than usual.



What could she do to help? Katie wondered. She should do something, yah.



A car passed Katie’s buggy, its engine roaring. Katie forced her mind back on the road ahead. Her horse, Sparky, knew the way to Byler’s Store. He should after all this time she’d worked there. But even so, he mustn’t be allowed to go his own way.



Ahead of her, Bishop Jonas Miller’s place was coming up. His wife, Laura, was out in the yard hanging wash on the line. Katie leaned out of the buggy to wave, and Laura paused long enough to wave back before bending again to her work. At least the older Amish folk didn’t think she was strange, even with her Mamm the way she was.



Katie settled herself in the buggy seat again. If Mamm married Jesse, she might have to stay home from her job at Byler’s and help with the added work five children entailed. But that would be an attractive kind of work—more normal almost. And it could lead to other kinds of normalness in her life. And perhaps even to a boy sitting on the couch beside her some Sunday night after a hymn singing. Yah, somehow Mamm must be persuaded to accept Jesse’s offer of marriage.



Katie turned into the parking lot at Byler’s and pulled Sparky to a stop at the far end of the hitching rail that was located on one side of the store. She climbed down, unhitched the buggy, and led Sparky around to the back where he could munch at stray pieces of grass during the day. She tied him to the fence with a long rope before walking back to the buggy. She pushed both doors shut before heading to the employee entrance of the store.

Author Guest Post/Promo/Giveaway :Evol by Jess Wygle


Reading Addiction Blog Tours

Excerpt:

Thriller


“I will do whatever it takes to keep us together. Nothing can keep us apart. You’re mine now.” She’d love him just
as he loved her. She had to. She didn’t have a choice.

In love and happily living the life she always dreamed of, Venna Caldwell doesn’t know she is the object of a secret
obsession. Until one night when she’s home alone and her stalker finally acts on his fantasies, dragging her into a
sadistic nightmare that she barely escapes. Running for her life, from a man who will never stop hunting her, Venna
reaches out to her estranged half-brother, grasping desperately at what little hope she has left. How far will she go
to keep out of the clutches of the unrelenting monster that's hungry for her?

With her ability to grab the reader by the shirt collar, Jess Wygle delivers a fast-paced and intensely psychological

thriller that will make you think twice about the people around you .


Author Bio:

Jess Wygle is a short story author and novelist. Her titles include Keep it Safe, Evol, Not Alone, Long
Awaited, and Where’s My Accident. Primarily writing thrillers, she has included non-fiction and romance
in her repertoire.

Jess is married to her husband, AJ and has a young son named Landon. She’s also mother to a one-year-
old red fox lab. This self-proclaimed movie buff has a knack for photography. She’s currently enrolled
at a local college studying education and has plans to teach English at the high school level as she works
her way up the bestseller list.

You can visit her blog at
BookRix
Twitter: @jcwygle
Facebook: Jess Wygle
Instagram: jesswygle
BookRix.com username: jesswygle


Buy Links

Amazon
Kobo
Barnes&Noble and iTunes should be available shortly.

GIVEAWAY

BookRix and Jess Wygle are giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky Winner from today's stop!

Leave a comment to enter.

Book Blast/Giveaway: Phantom Summer by Amy Sparling




Phantom Summer by Amy Sparling



Seventeen-year-old Taylor Gray moves to Sterling Island to get over her dead boyfriend. Mom’s cool with letting her crash on the couch, but Taylor needs to get a job before the lights are cut off again.



When the tall, dark and crazy Raine Tsunami offers her a position at his thriving ghost tour business, she figures it’s an easy way to make some cash. Taylor isn’t afraid of ghosts--that crap is as fake as her mom’s boob job. She loves their adventures on the historic island, especially the secret places he shows her when the crowds go home. So what if all the ghost stories are just legends?



When Taylor comes face to face with a ghost and Raine crosses the line between friend and boyfriend--Taylor’s new life collides with her haunted past. If murdered people end up as ghosts, then that someone she was trying to forget is probably trying to find her.









Praise

"I was wonderfully surprised by Phantom Summer!!! I couldn't put it down. Loved everything about it."

~Amazon Reviewer Angelmusic



"The emotions are so well written... I would definitely recommend reading this."

~Goodreads Reviewer Lauren







Author Amy Sparling



Amy Sparling is a Texas native with a passion for young adult literature. In her free time she participates in an unhealthy amount of Xbox playing, attends nerd conventions and reads books with her daughter. She's studying to become a high school teacher and lives near the beach with her daughter and two cats. Amy Sparling is a pen name.


















$50 Book Blast Giveaway



Ends 3/10/13



Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.




a Rafflecopter giveaway





Author Interview: The Littlefield Chronicles - The Gift by Tegon Maus



Little Blurb about yourself: What can I say that wouldn’t sound boring ? My wife and I have been together for 43 years... and marriage changes you.  When I first met my wife I was 6’ – 3”, 185 lbs, blond, blue eyes and spoke with a Swedish accent... now 43 years later I’m 5’ – 6,” a little over weight, my green eyes now take glasses... she wore me down.

1. Who or what inspired you to become a writer?  I would have to credit my wife. She and I belonged to a dream interruption group in the 80’s... you know... Sunday morning brunch, good friends, a little champion and hours spent talking about what dreams we had that week. We all wrote them down so we could remember them.  I like to exaggerate so mine were always the last and in my opinion... and the funniest. It took hours and hours.

2. How long did it take you to write The Gift – The Chronicles of Tucker Littlefield? I usually start with the title because I write 3 or 4 stories at a time... when I run out of ideas for one I can switch to another for a while. As a rule it takes me about a year to write a story.

3. While writing how many times do you go back and rewrite a plot? I try not to... I like to go from start to finish changing things as I go along. I write it and my computer reads it back to me so I can listen for glitches and tell if it sounds like what I have in my head.

4. You run into a bookstore, where do you go first? The Sci-Fi section every time. I like to look at the covers and read the titles. I always look for page 103 in each... it’s the page they always leave a deliberate mistake so they can tell if it has been copied from their files without their permission... its kind of a Sci-Fi where’s Waldo ?? When I get tired of that then I go straight for gardening.

5. How many books in a month do you tend to read? I try not to read too many at all.  I don’t want it in my head... if I come up with a great idea or character I’d like to think it’s mine not something I read late at night.

6. In all the books you've read. Who is your most favorite character and why? How do you chose ?  Depends on my mood I guess. I read a lot of Asimov as a kid... I Robot.  I built many of them and have an affinity for machines because of it I guess but the one that sticks with me the most... EE ‘Doc’ Smith – The Lensmen Series, the hero is strapped to a table, beaten, tortured and left for dead. He mind melds with a worm to free himself... got to love a guy like that and it was written in 1937 by a scientist.  Now that’s cool.

7. State 5 random facts about yourself.  I am very private, I have trouble with large numbers of people... 4 or more. My mind wonders a lot, I live in my head far more than anyone should. I think chocolate is the only food that fits all five food groups... no questions asked.

8. Your favorite Genre?  Sci-Fi hands down. Its always about the future... how far can we go ?  What are the limits ?  What is out there to stop us ?  Not a thing I can think of and that is wild to me.

9. What are you currently reading?    I just finished 100 Thousand Kingdoms.

10. What is the best book you've read?  Mine of course !   Just kidding I would have to go with EE ‘Doc’ Smith the Lensmen Series.

11. Any new projects coming up?  Oh, Yes.  My Sci-Fi Novel  Machines of the Little People will be out by the end of March !  I have a pic of the cover attached... just in case.


Blurb

Transformed by a primitive magic beyond a civilized man's understanding, I was given a horrible gift that no man should possess... It held me, twisted me, turning me at its bidding. I was enslaved by its power, compelled to devour the souls of the dead until I became the monster of my fears. I have seen things I wish never to see again. I have done things of which I wish never to speak. Yet I must if I am to find the answers to fulfill my hope. I have walked upon blue ribbons of molten stone to peer into the depth of a man's soul. I watched as a promise made at birth brought my friend Enon to sacrifice everything to become whole again - all in an effort to save the life of his child. I have cried without shame for the loss of all I hold dear and for fear that the future will hold more than I can bear. I am Tucker Littlefield. Know all that I say now is true-spoken.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tegon-Maus/150255051766767

Website: http://www.tegonmaus.com/

Cover Reveal: Emancipating Andie by Priscilla Glenn



Title: Emancipating Andie
Author: Priscilla Glenn
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: Adult
Cover Designer: Okay Creations; http://okaycreations.net/site/
Expected release: March 2013
Links to find the book:
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17318931-emancipating-andie

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EmancipatingAndie?ref=hl


Book Description

Ever since the one time Andie Weber threw caution to the wind - and paid the price for it - she’s learned that it’s safer and smarter to live life playing by the rules. Now she’s got a great apartment, a steady job, and a wonderful boyfriend in Colin; he’s sweet, stable, and essentially perfect – except maybe for the fact that his best friend is Chase.

Chase McGuire lives his carefree, unstructured life strictly for himself. Dripping sarcasm and oozing wit, he refuses to censor his feelings or opinions for anyone, making no apologies for either and wearing his abrasiveness like a badge of honor. No one has ever gotten under Andie’s skin the way Chase does – and vice versa.

So when Andie and Chase find themselves forced to take a two-day road trip together, they are already dreading an inevitable all-out war. But as the trip progresses, and the undeniable friction that has always defined their relationship slowly begins to wear away their preconceived notions of each other, Andie and Chase discover they both have a lot to learn about life, courage, happiness, and the age-old battle between logic and love.


About the Author

Priscilla Glenn lives in New York with her husband and three children. She has been teaching English Language Arts at the middle and high school levels for the past eleven years while moonlighting as a writer, mommy, coach, student, and professional laundry-doer.

If you catch her when she's feeling sophisticated, she'll tell you her favorite things are great books and good wine. In the moments in between, she'll admit her love for anything Ben and Jerry's, UFC fights, and Robert Pattinson.

Glenn is also the author of the contemporary romance/YA crossover BACK TO YOU.

Twitter | Facebook




Monday, February 25, 2013

Book Promo: Friend Me: Turning Faces Into Lasting Friendships by Donna Carter


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!




You never know when I might play a wild card on you!








Today's Wild Card author is:




and the book:


Whitaker House (February 1, 2013)

***Special thanks to Cathy Hickling for sending me a review copy.***


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:






Donna Carter is an author and popular women’s speaker whose fans have been clamoring for more since she released her book and DVD 10 Smart Things Women Can Do to Build a Better Life. Donna is known for her clarity, humor and the “light bulb” moments she triggers for women seeking spiritual direction. She grew up in a family of girls and continues to relish opportunities to share and learn from other women, maintaining that a good women’s retreat should include “laughing, crying, and hugging.” Donna and her husband Randy are the co-founders of Straight Talk Ministries, a non-profit organization committed to helping people find faith and apply it to everyday life. They live in Calgary, Canada, and are the parents of two young adult daughters and a new son-in-law.







Visit the author's website.




SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:


Everyone from grade schoolers to grandmas are accumulating Facebook friends but fewer people than ever are developing close friendships according to Donna Carter, author of Friend Me. “Real face to face friendship is becoming a lost art,” she says. “In a world driven by social media, friendships can be a mile wide and an inch deep.” In her new book from Whitaker House, Carter maintains that humans need real relationships that require live interaction with real individuals. She shows readers how to win friends as well as how to take the risks associated with building, repairing, and preserving friendships. Filled with examples, humor, and framed by a poignant, personal story, Friend Me leads readers along the path to more soul satisfying friendships and challenges them to embrace, heal, and nurture the relationship of ultimate importance -- a friendship with God.



Product Details:

List Price: $12.99

Paperback: 208 pages

Publisher: Whitaker House (February 1, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1603746900

ISBN-13: 978-1603746908






AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:







Just One Friend



My friends all thought they were there to help me celebrate my fortieth birthday—to have lunch, sing, eat cake, and laugh. But that wasn’t why I had invited them to the restaurant. I had something quite different in mind. The poor waiter must have been confused by the whole event. One minute, he walked into the private dining room we occupied and found us laughing uncontrollably; when he came back, moments later, he found us all in tears.



Why had I arranged a gathering of my friends at the restaurant that day? Because I was determined not to repeat a mistake for which I was still struggling to forgive myself. On that day, I told my friends—all of the dear women who mean so much to me—how much I appreciated them, the specific ways in which each of them enriched my life, and how thankful I was that God had brought them into my life. I knew I might not have another chance….



***



I could hardly believe it. After twenty years of living at least half a continent away from each other, my dearest childhood friend, Sonja, and I would finally be living in the same neighborhood again. After years of missionary work in Europe and ministry elsewhere in Canada, Sonja, her husband, Brian, and their children were moving back to Calgary.



I first met Sonja when I was ten, and we were inseparable from that point forward. When we grew up and got married, she was my maid of honor, and I was hers. At my wedding reception, I introduced her with several lines from “Seasons in the Sun,” a song by Terry Jacks that was popular then—specifically, the verse that reminisces about the joys of childhood friendships and the shared lessons of life and love learned in that season.



Shortly after our marriages, our paths diverged. And it wasn’t until August 2000 that we were together again.



But there was a problem.



During Sonja’s second pregnancy, thirteen years prior to our reunion, she had developed a pesky cough that wouldn’t go away. The doctors suspected pneumonia. After performing some tests, they delivered some good news: Sonja was carrying twins. They also delivered some bad news: Sonja had cancer—specifically, a very aggressive cancer called non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.



She and Brian were stationed in Germany at the time, and because the doctors couldn’t guarantee the effectiveness of the treatment protocol on a pregnant woman, they scheduled her for an abortion. Sonja and Brian both refused, and they brought their family back to Calgary, where she underwent aggressive chemotherapy, even though the doctors weren’t sure how it would affect her unborn babies. Their speculation about deformities and other severe birth defects challenged Brian and Sonja’s faith daily as Sonja endured the treatment and its side effects.



But the treatment seemed to be working. The twins were born three months premature, and, while they faced profound breathing problems and other issues common among preemies, they were otherwise healthy and whole. Immediately after the twins’ cesarean birth, Sonja’s radiation treatment began.



Only months after Sonja and her family returned to Germany, the cancer came back. So, it was to Canada again for further chemo, followed by a bone marrow transplant. The treatment was successful, in that Sonja was cured of cancer—yet the treatment also resulted in complications that now posed a new risk to her cancer-free body.



***



I met Sonja halfway through the school year in fifth grade at Mapleridge Elementary School, when she moved to the area with her family. I remember thinking that my new classmate looked very grown-up and very, very, groovy. Her hair was long, styled in a wavy shag, and her blue eyes peered somewhat shyly through her oval wire-rimmed glasses. She wore denim hip-huggers and a macramé belt. She was tall and curvy; I was skinny and, well, skinny. I was very impressed by this cool new girl, and I wanted to be her friend. So, I introduced myself. And our lives were forever changed.



A few weeks later, we were standing outside the school, talking, as usual, until we had to part ways. We couldn’t walk home together because Sonja lived to the west of the school, while I lived to the east. That day, Sonja told me that her parents were getting a divorce. I felt sad for my friend. I couldn’t imagine how I’d feel if my parents decided to separate.



I started inviting my new friend to attend various church activities with me, including girls’ club, camp, and Sunday school. Sonja seemed happy to oblige, and it wasn’t long before she made the decision to become a follower of Jesus. Faith in God was just one more thing we had in common. Beyond our shared interest in boys and books and clothes and music—and our mutual, alarming lack of athletic prowess—we now shared the unique bond of those who have given their lives to Jesus. What had been a close friendship became much more. We were, in the words of L. M. Montgomery’s character Anne of Green Gables, “kindred spirits.”



As Sonja’s parents’ divorce was finalized, Sonja’s mom, Bonnie, decided that she wanted to get away from Calgary—away from her ex-husband, away from the memories, just away. She decided to move with her three girls to Lethbridge, a city about two hours south. Sonja and I were devastated. We couldn’t bear the thought of not seeing each other every day. We moped and we mourned.



And then, the house across the street from mine went up for sale.



My bedroom window overlooked that brown bungalow, and I’ll never forget the day Sonja and I knelt together at that window and prayed to God that Sonja would live in that house instead of moving to Lethbridge.



The next phase of our plan was to march up to the door of the house, knock, and request entrance, to find out whether it would be a suitable home. (We needed to gather some ammunition for our argument to Sonja’s mom if we hoped to convince her that she should move six blocks away rather than leave the city altogether.) I can only imagine what the homeowner across the street thought when two twelve-year-old girls showed up to talk real estate.



The house was all wrong for Bonnie and her three girls. It had only three bedrooms, the basement had not been finished, and, most significant, it wasn’t located in Lethbridge. Still, I knew it was meant for Sonja and her family.



Bonnie bought the house. To this day, I don’t know what made her change her mind and make such a radical change of plans. It must have had something to do with our childlike faith in a great God who loves to give good gifts to His children. For I can think of no greater gift in those early years of adolescence than having my best friend close by. Besides my family, Sonja was my whole world. To this day, I can’t imagine what my teenage years might have been like without her.



Living across the street from each other enabled us to spend even more of our time together. Sonja became part of our family, and I part of hers. If she wasn’t at my house, I was probably at hers. My other friends would actually phone Sonja’s house and ask for me. More than once, I went along on a family vacation with Sonja, her sisters, and her mother. Maybe Bonnie wanted to avoid all of the hugs and tears that went on whenever we had to spend a week or two apart.



Living so close also meant that when I went to church, Sonja came, too. When my parents dragged me to girls’ club, I dragged Sonja to girls’ club; if I went to Bible camp, so did she. It was through these contacts that she learned to love God with her whole heart, grew a strong faith, and met a young man named Brian—with whom she eventually fell head-over-heels in love.



It was okay that I wasn’t popular at school. It was okay if I was mocked for taking a stand when my faith demanded it. It was okay to say no to peer pressure. Because, at the end of the day, Sonja was still my friend; I always had someone to walk home with. Cool or uncool, cheerful or ill-tempered, succeeding with flying colors or failing miserably, I knew Sonja loved me for who I was, and I returned her unconditional love.



Our loyalty faced occasional challenges. When we were approaching our graduation from ninth grade (long before Sonja met Brian), Sonja secured a date to the festivities—a boy she’d met in band. I had no such prospects. Unwilling to leave such an important match up to chance, I mustered my courage and invited a high-school boy named John, whom I knew only slightly from church but had admired from afar.



He must have been flattered, because he agreed to go. Soon after, we started dating. Of course, everywhere I went with John, Sonja came along, because wherever there was a Donna, there was a Sonja, too.



Somewhere along the line, however, John’s affections shifted. It turns out that I was the third wheel, not Sonja, and I didn’t even know it. When I was on vacation, John made his interests known to Sonja, and they started spending time together.



When I returned, the truth came out. Sonja admitted to having stolen “my” boyfriend. We talked about it—amazingly enough, without a lot of emotionalism or drama—and decided that no boy was worth jeopardizing our friendship. Sonja dialed his number, I picked up another receiver, and together we made a “Dear John”  call. As cute as he was, our friendship was way more important.



When I look back at the depth and quality of our relationship, I am simply amazed. I know I must have driven Sonja crazy at times. Walking to school with me every day meant earning at least a dozen late slips a year, for which she was not to blame. I was the flighty extrovert; she was the voice of reason. I had the wild imagination; she, the dry sense of humor. Outside my family, no one but Sonja could have known how fragile I truly was. How often she protected me, comforted me, and steadied me! Without her, this social butterfly would have dissolved like tissue paper in a pounding rain.



***



At my wedding reception, when I introduced Sonja with those lyrics from “Seasons in the Sun,” I didn’t quote the line that came next. Now, it haunts me, because it’s basically a farewell to a dying friend.



During the summer months before Sonja’s return to Calgary, I had been studying the life of King David and was deeply touched by the biblical account of his final encounter with his best friend, Jonathan, who knew that he was about to die. In a moving scene of love, grief, loyalty, and commitment, Jonathan asked David to make a solemn promise: that when the battle was over and the dust had settled on his grave, David would take care of his family.



On Tuesday, September 19, I was on my way to see Sonja with the intention of making a similar promise to her. I knew her fragile body was failing fast, and I struggled to prepare myself emotionally for what I knew might be our last encounter this side of heaven. I stood in the main lobby of the Foothills Hospital, waiting for one of the six elevators to admit me. One set of doors opened, and out stepped Sonja’s mom, Bonnie, and her sister Paula. They were as surprised to see me as I was to see them, and we stood there, looking at each other, not sure what to say in such a heavy moment.



Finally, Paula broke the silence. “She’s gone!”



I stood there silently, trying to take it in.



I had missed my chance to say good-bye by mere moments.



Thankfully, I had been to see Sonja a few days prior. I had helped her into a wheelchair and moved her outside into the sunshine. She’d always loved the sun. We’d talked and prayed together. I’d hugged her and told her I loved her. But there was so much more to say.



I had tried to see Sonja two more times before she passed away, but neither occasion was convenient; either the room had been full of relatives or doctors, or Sonja had been taken elsewhere for tests. We never got to say all there was to say—to laugh at all our old jokes, to smile at all our long-held secrets, to relive all our precious memories. I wish I’d had the maturity when we were teenagers, or the sensitivity later, when the miles came between us, to tell her just how much she had always meant to me.



Losing Sonja was like having the core of my childhood ripped out of me. That sensitive, silly young girl still living somewhere deep inside of me feels such a profound sense of loss.



Yet, in other ways, I have not lost Sonja at all. I would not be who I am today if it hadn’t been for her. I would not enjoy the rapport I do with other women. The close connection I had with Sonja has become the standard, the template, for every friendship I’ve formed since knowing her—the foundation of empathy and trust on which all of my relationships have been built.



Thank you, Sonja, my friend.