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November 29, 2006
posted by David Meigs at 11/29/2006 12:01:00 AM

Just in time for Christmas, here’s the perfect gift for your son, daughter or grandchild.

I’m talking about LANDON SNOW and the Island of Arcanum (Barbour), by R. K. Mortenson, book three in the Landon Snow series, following LANDON SNOW and the Auctor’s riddle, and LANDON SNOW and the Shadows of Malus Quidam.

Last year I gave a copy of book one to my favorite nine year old, and she absolutely loved it. But don’t think that this is only for the kiddies; this is a book for all ages... even old curmudgeons like me. Pick up a copy for each of the kiddies and another one for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

From the back cover:


At least that’s what Landon discovers when a few drips from a library ceiling turn into a powerful waterfall. As the waters rise, so do the perils in this latest adventure of Landon Snow, as he and his sisters—Holly and Bridget—are transported out of the library and into another world.

In this high-seas voyage, the Snow children join a quest to find the Island of Arcanum, where the animals of Wonderwood are imprisoned and the evil shadows of Malus Quidam lurk. With the help of some old friends—a horse named Hardy, a girl named Ditty, and the poet/prophet Vates—Landon seeks to unlock the island’s dark secrets and escape with the animals intact. But first he must navigate his way through uncharted waters and battle the villainous Arcans.

Can Landon and his friends rescue the animals from deep within the island’s stronghold?

Are the winds in Landon’s favor, or will this prove to be his final voyage?

Purchase at Amazon

Visit R. K. Mortenson's Website
November 20, 2006
posted by David Meigs at 11/20/2006 03:09:00 PM

Kristin Billerbeck is one of the first and best-known Christian chick-lit authors in the world today. You may remember seeing her on the ‘Today Show’ discussing her award-winning novel, WHAT A GIRL WANTS.

You’ve got to love Kristin’s fun, quirky characters. If you enjoyed SHE’S ALL THAT, and A GIRL’S BEST FRIEND, you’re going to love CALM, COOL & ADJUSTED (Integrity), book three in the SPA GIRLS series. Kristin currently resides near Sacramento, California, with her husband and their four children.


From the back cover:

Silicon Valley chiropractor Poppy Clayton is as calm, cool and adjusted as they come... or is she? Known for her bad fashion sense, a love for all things natural and the inability to get a second date, Poppy is beginning to wonder if she might be misaligned herself. Especially since her best friends, Lilly and Morgan, seem to think so. After all, a “normal” woman doesn’t evaluate prospective dates on their liver function and their spiritual balance, does she?

Poppy’s route to self discovery will be an unnatural one involving a plastic surgeon (of all people!), a condemned house in Santa Cruz and a wedding date from the dark side. It’s enough to send a girl and her gal pals running for their favorite spa!

Pick up a copy today

Visit Kristin’s website
November 18, 2006
posted by David Meigs at 11/18/2006 12:01:00 AM

So what does it take to make on old curmudgeon like me cry?
Rachel Hauck accomplished exactly that with her delightfully written, page-turner, LOST IN NASHVEGAS (WestBow). But don’t feel bad for me, my tears were the happy kind.
Robin grew up singing along with the rest of the family on the porch of her granddaddies’ farmhouse in rural Alabama. She loved to write songs and sing them, and she dreamt of going to Nashville and making it big.

Only one thing stopped her. Robin had stage fright, and she had it bad. It took a huge step of faith, but she loaded her guitar and notebook of songs into her old pickup, and headed for Nashville.
Will she make it big, or give in to her fears, and cut and run?

You’ll have to buy the book to find out. But when you read it, don’t be surprised if your eyes spring a leak, and your fist shoots in the air with a big “YES!”

Rachel Hauck kindly agreed to stop by for a chat.

DM: For many of us, writing has been a life long obsession. When did the writer-bug bite you?

RH: Like most people, when I was 10. Seems to be the magical writer's age. I used to make up stories, but I didn't stick with it as I got into high school and college. But I always knew I wanted to write books eventually.

DM: Where did the idea for Lost in NashVegas come from?

RH: The idea initally came out of a conversation I had with my agent. She suggested redneck chick lit, and making the protagonist a songwriter. The rest came from sweating it out and a lot of research.

DM: I absolutely loved your characters. Is there a little bit of Rachel in any of them?

RH: If you love them, then there's a LOT of Rachel in them. LOL. Seriously, yes, there's always a part of me in my characters, or parts of people I've met along life's road. Robin's struggle with fear comes from some of my real life experiences. Like Robin, I overcame.

DM: Without giving too much away, do you have any scenes that standout as your favorites?

RH: I love the scenes of discovery.Where Robin finds out more about her life than she ever, ever imagined. I love the scenes where she overcomes. And, the Frothy Monkey scene is funny to me.

DM: What authors inspire you as a writer?

RH: Many authors inspire me for various reasons. Colleen Coble for her crisp, clean writing. It's beautiful. Diann Hunt for her humor. Tracey Bateman for her wit and snap and storytelling. Susan Warren for her skill at the craft. Christine Lynxwiller for her ability to paint the human heart on to the page.

Of course, Kristin Billerbeck for her quirky, funny, well crafted chick characters.

And, Sophia Kinsella and Marian Keyes for the way they grab me on page one and carry me through to the last page.

DM: What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

RH: Don't give up. The journey to publishing is a unique road. Pray hard. Have faith. And put your butt in the chair and write.

DM: So, what’s next?

RH: The next NashVegas book, Diva NashVegas comes out in April, and I'm starting a book set in the South Carolina low country that will be out this time next year.

Thanks again for having me.


DM: Thank you, Rachel, for dropping by. I know that LOST IN NASHVEGAS is going to be a big hit. Congratulations on one of the best books I’ve read all year!


Buy it at Amazon

Visit Rachel's website

November 15, 2006
posted by David Meigs at 11/15/2006 12:01:00 AM

Percy Hazard was a computer manager at the unemployment office until he was replaced by a computer and became unemployed. His wife, Lucy, had been the infamous inspector 49 at the Hanes underwear plant until they cut back the inspectors to 42.

The Hazard’s had seven mouths to feed, so they did the only thing they could. They became clowns, the whole family. But life dealt them another blow when both Percy and Lucy died in a hot tub accident while on vacation (with mysterious smiles on their faces).

But life really got interesting after the funeral when Mitchell, the oldest of the children, called a family meeting. He’d sold the family business for a small fortune and now everyone was free to pursue the careers of their choosing. They even had enough to put a little in the bank.

It was great news for everyone; that is, everyone but poor twenty year old, Hayden. Being a clown was the only thing she ever knew. Luckily, for her, Channel 7 News producer Hugo Talley needed an assistant.

Things worked out great until a crazy series of events caused everything to unravel. Add to the mix, a cast of neurotic coworkers and an aging news anchor who delivers the tragic news of the day with a smile after a Botox injection goes horribly wrong.

Does a lifetime of clowning around help Hayden cope with the meltdown in the news room, or is it her rock solid faith that saves the day? Does she fall in love and live happily ever after?

You’ll have to buy the book to find out.

I’m talking about SCOOP (Water Brook), by Rene Gutteridge, book one in her new OCCUPATIONAL HAZARD’S series. Scoop will keep you in stitches from cover to cover. It did me. I give SCOOP my highest recommendation.

Order a copy here

Visit Rene’s website

November 08, 2006
posted by David Meigs at 11/08/2006 12:01:00 AM

So what does an environmentally conscious, young woman have in common with a handsome hotshot, SUV driving, Air Force flight instructor?

Answer: They share a tiny office.

But it wasn’t just any office. For the last ten years it had been Jackie’s private office; that is, until Lt. Col. Joe Gallagher showed up. Jackie did the only thing she could do. She set up an anonymous blog dedicated to complaining about the guy in the cubicle next door. Then her blog was featured on TV and everyone started reading it, even Joe.
How long will it take Joe to figure out why his ears are burning?
Will Jackie spill the beans?
Do they fall in love?
You'll have to buy the book to find out.

THE CUBICLE NEXT DOOR (Harvest House), by Siri Mitchell is guaranteed to throw your funny bone out of socket. It's definitely one of the most entertaining books I’ve reviewed all year. I give THE CUBICLE NEXT DOOR my highest recommendation.

November 01, 2006
posted by David Meigs at 11/01/2006 12:30:00 AM

It is November 1st, time for the FIRST Day Blog Tour! (Join our alliance! Click the button!) The FIRST day of every month we will feature an author and their latest book's FIRST chapter!


This month's feature author is:

Nancy Jo Jenkins

Just three weeks before her wedding, Emma Grace Falin has returned to her hometown of Coldwater, Texas, consumed by a single, burning desire. She must confront the guilt and shame of a devastating event that has haunted her since childhood.

"...What a stunning debut novel."
--Wendy Lawton, Literary Agent, author of Impressions in Clay

"An astonishing debut! Coldwater Revival is a hauntingly beautiful story made doubly so by Nancy Jo Jenkins stunning, lyrical writing. I was mesmerized from cover to cover."
--Deborah Raney, author of A Nest of Sparrows and A Vow to Cherish



Q. How long did it take you to write Coldwater Revival?

A. I perceived the idea for Coldwater Revival in June, 2003, and completed the manuscript in March, 2005.

Q. Tell us about your journey from writer to published novelist.

A. During my teaching career, I dreamed of the day when I could write the stories that continually swam around in my head. I didn't know at the time that it would take me four or five years of attending workshops, conferences, retreats, lectures, and of studying tapes, books and other materials before I was ready to put my newly-acquired knowledge to use, and begin writing the stories that God had prompted me to write. In March, 2004, at the Mount Hermon Christian Writing Conference, I submitted a book proposal to Steve Laube (Literary agent), and Jeff Dunn, (Acquisitions Editor) for RiverOak. Both gentlemen asked me to send them all I had written on Coldwater Revival, which at the time was 109 pages. During the summer of 2004, both men offered me a contract. My book was published by RiverOak and released in May, 2006.

Q. The agony and healing Emma Grace went through are so real. What personal experiences did you draw from to portray Emma Grace's feelings so well?

A. There was a time in my life when I suffered with depression, though it was not due to a death in the family, as Emma Grace's was. At the time, it seemed that I was in a daily knock-down, drag-out fistfight with sadness. I was truly blessed in that I was never prescribed any kind of medication to treat my depression, which proved to be relatively short-lived. But I did receive counseling, which was just what I needed to win the battle with this debilitating condition. During that time of depression I endured many of the symptoms that Emma Grace suffered through. Excessive sleeping was about the only symptom we did not share. There were times when I couldn't swallow my food, and times when I could almost touch the face of that same blackness that almost overwhelmed Emma Grace. Her sorrow and guilt were difficult scenes for me to write, and I found myself crying each time I wrote about Emma Grace's sadness and the continual ache in her heart.

Q. Emma Grace loses all desire for life when her brother dies - not eating or talking, just living in the blissful cocoon of sleep. Do you have any advice for folks who are in that dark place right now?

A. Communication was the key that unlocked the door of depression for me. Communicate with God, even if the only words you can utter are the words, "Help me." But I also benefited greatly from talking to a certified counselor; one who was trained in helping people express their pain, their needs, their fears. I hope that anyone who feels sad and lonely for an extended length of time, will contact their pastor, or someone who can direct them to a Christian counselor.

Q. Emma Grace's grandmother lives in the city while the rest of the family lives in the country. Why do you think she didn't move out to the country with the rest of the family long ago?

A. Granny Falin immigrated from Ireland to America with her husband and son when Emma Grace's papa was just a lad. This family shared a dream about their new country. It would be a place where they could find work and prosperity, raise their family, and put down roots. Even the Great Hurricane of 1900 couldn't wash those dreams from Granny's heart. Though her only remaining child lived a hundred miles away in the rural township of Coldwater, Texas, Granny could never leave Galveston. The island and the sea that surrounded the island were her home now. It was where the ashes of her husband and three children were buried. It was the home she and her husband had dreamed of during their desperate years together in Ireland. If she left Galveston and moved to Roan's home, she would be giving up the dream she had shared with her husband.

Q. Papa and Elo have a tough time showing their emotions. Elo, especially, is so hard to read in the book. Why do you think some people hole up inside themselves rather than sharing their emotions?

A. I believe we are born with a portion of our personality already deeply embedded within us. Some people are reticent to express their feelings and emotions, while others have no problem whatsoever in expressing what they feel or think. I have known many individuals who are like Elo; people we sometimes refer to as "the strong, silent type". Papa and Elo are powerful protectors and providers who waste little time and effort on words. Both of these men feel that "actions speak louder than words". Added to that is the fact that Elo feels extreme discomfort when his mother and sisters are emotionally distraught, therefore, he maintains a rigid demeanor, in part, to provide a stable link in the chain that makes up his family - The Falins.

Q. Do you have other books coming out soon?

A. Thank you for asking about my upcoming books. I'm about to submit my proposal for a novel entitileld, "Whisper Mountain". This story takes place in the early 1900's in the Great Smoky Mountains. It is the story about lost love, and a desperate woman's journey to fill the void that deprivation and loss have left in her heart. The story has elements of mystery, intrigue, murder, and of course, romance. I'm very excited about this story. I've also begun writing a sequel to "Coldwater Revival" which will parallel both Emma Grace's life after 1933, and the adventurous trek Elo begins when he falls in love.

Coldwater Revival


Coldwater, Texas

Three weeks before I was to marry Gavin O'Donnell, I set my feet upon the beaten path leading to Two-Toe Creek. What I had to offer Gavin in marriage—my whole heart, or just a part—depended on the
decision I would make today.

As my feet tracked the dusty pathway they stirred loose soil to the air. My heart stirred as well, for the guilt I had buried in its depths smoldered as though my brother had just died, and not five years earlier. In the shadowed days following the tragedy, my disgrace had glared like a packet of shiny new buttons. I'd not thought to hide it at the time. In truth, I'd thought of little, other than how to survive. But at some point during that time of sorrowful existence, when my days and nights strung together like endless telegraph wires, I dug a trench around my heart and buried my shame.

From that day until this, I deeded myself the actor's role, closing the curtain on my stain of bitter memories, hiding my sorrow behind a veil of pretense. But that old deceiver, Time, had neither softened my guilt nor put it to rest; only allowed it ample pause to fester like deadly gangrene. Now, as the day of my wedding drew near, my heart cried out for healing. It was, you see, far wiser than my head. My heart understood its need for restoration—before I exchanged wedding vows with Gavin. For this reason, I now walked the trail to Two-Toe Creek. To revisit my failures of yesteryear and reclaim the peace that had slipped past the portals of my childhood. Perhaps then I could give Gavin the entirety of my heart.