Friday, January 29, 2010

January Odds n Ends

In some ways it's hard to believe it's the end of January, and in other ways I can't believe it's not March yet. LoL

Even with the twists and turns January took, it was a good month--and those twists made it even better. Esther launched her Bookworms Review site and posted her first interview and book giveaway. I thought it was rather fitting that Janice Thompson is first since she was the one to recommend the girls do this. =) Be sure to stop by over there and leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway!!

Coming up in February my friends and I have a writing challenge we've dubbed Jiffy, for those of us who missed out on NaNo, for one reason or another.*waving to Joanne* Our goal: 35,000 words in 28 days. Now, I know that those of you who NaNo'd are wondering what the big deal is, but let me tell ya, I'm chewing my nails over this. I'll let ya know how it goes.

Here's my youngest. He's lovin this outfit--his very active imagination takes care of the rest. He's also the one that was happy dancin when he saw it was snowing outside. Notice that he has his guns tied down. That's due to his brother, the one right above him in age, reading some of the Louis L'Amour books my dad gave us, before I realized it and decided they might be a little too old for him. =)

Don't forget the author spotlight and book giveaway with CJ Darlington that's open until Saturday night. You can enter twice on these posts.

Hope to see you on Sunday with something else I've been mulling over this week but just haven't had time to blog about. Love you guys!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

with CJ Darlington

Patterings

Tell us about your epiphany moment when you decided you were going to seriously pursue writing and eventually publication.
I’ve been writing ever since I was a kid---often silly stories about my pets. I even started a story that was about Joshua of the Bible’s horse. I remember being twelve and dreaming of the day that I might have a book published, but I never realized it would actually happen.

I think my epiphany moment came when I was eighteen. I had been working on my first novel for three years, and I determined to finish it. I distinctly remember deciding I wanted to get serious about the book and really finish it. I gave myself five years, which as a teen seemed like an eternity. I didn’t make the goal, but I came close. In 2004 (when I was twenty-four) I submitted that very novel to the first Operation First Novel contest run by the Christian Writers Guild. It didn’t win, but a later draft of that very same novel did win the contest in 2008 and it’s become my first published novel Thicker than Blood.

Which of your books (published or upcoming) has been the most fun for you to write and which character is your favorite?
I think I enjoyed writing my second novel best (working title is Innocent Blood). I wrote Thicker than Blood over a period of almost fifteen years. When I started the book I had no idea what I was doing. I mean, really. My early stuff was horrible. So basically the whole book was completely re-written several times during those years. But when I began Innocent Blood I’d learned a lot. I felt like I had all the tools in my bag---it was just a matter of figuring out which ones to use. Which isn’t to say I don’t have a lot more to learn, of course. With each book I write I grow as a writer, but I felt like I was able to delve a little deeper into my characters with Innocent Blood. I’m really excited about the finished product.

Which character is my favorite? In Thicker than Blood I’m going to have to pick veterinarian Beth Eckert. She’s the type of gal I’d love to have as a friend. She’s funny, down-to-earth, and a strong believer. She’s someone you’d want to be watching your back.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
I’m having to come to grips with the fact that I am not an outliner. No matter how much I want to be, I just will not know everything about a story before I start. That’s okay. Acknowledging is half the battle. Brainstorming isn’t my strong point either, so I have to wrack my brain a LOT before I begin writing a story. But another thing I’m discovering about myself and my writing is that I usually have the germ of the story sooner than I think I do. Very early in writing my second novel, and now my third, I knew what I wanted to write. It just took a million rabbit trails to show me I need to trust my instincts (and those promptings the Lord graciously gives us) a little more.

Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote?
I spent the most time in the head of my main character, Christy Williams. I always seem to be drawn to flawed characters, and Christy certainly fits the bill. She was really interesting to write because she was so different from me in many ways. In the very first scene of the book she’s arrested for drunk driving and has several skeletons she would just as soon leave in the closet. I also had a lot of fun writing the antagonist, Vince. One of my favorite scenes is a confrontation he and Christy have.

What is your strangest habit?
I asked my sister what strange habits I have, and she said, “You eat a lot of cereal.” I don’t know if that quantifies as strange, but I do have a thing for breakfast cereal. It’s my favorite snack, and my waisteline’s downfall . . .

I have also on occasion pretended to interview myself in preparation for questions like this, but apparently I didn’t prepare enough.

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?
Vaccuming the house. Writing book reviews (which is odd because when I actually write them they usually aren’t as hard as I imagine they’re going to be). Clipping my dog’s toenails.

What would a perfect day for you look like?
I’d wake up slowly, cuddling with my dogs in bed. Then I’d head to the kitchen and eat my cereal. After that I’d take my morning cup of Irish Breakfast and sit in front of the computer checking my e-mail. Then I’d turn the computer off so I wouldn’t be distracted to check it again later in the day. I try to do my devotions before checking the e-mail, but I’m sorry to admit I sometimes don’t put the Lord first when I should.

I’d have a brand new novel to read, and I’d spend several lazy hours doing just that. Then around noon I’d have cereal again (just kidding!). With cappuccino in hand, I’d actually head to my laptop to do some writing. I get cranky if I’m not writing.

In the afternoon I’d head to Barnes and Noble and spend some time browsing (and sipping another cappuccino). I’d eat dinner in the cafĂ© or at the Olive Garden. Then I’d head on over to the movie theater to watch a much anticipated flick (a family-friendly thriller would be ideal), with buttered popcorn and something hot to drink.

Once I was back home my teeth would magically brush themselves, and I’d curl up in bed with my dogs again and crack open that novel for just a few more pages . . .

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I read almost exclusively CBA fiction. Not that there’s not some great stuff in the ABA too, but I don’t have time to possibly exhaust the CBA, and I love it so much. My favorite genre is suspense, preferably character driven. I also still enjoy a good YA book.

Nonfiction-wise, I’ll have books on my bed stand researching whatever subject I’m featuring in my latest book. For Thicker than Blood I amassed quite a library of books on cattle ranching and modern day cowboy life.

Are there certain foods or snacks which keeps the words flowing for you?
I love a good cup of strong tea, and a triple cappuccino doesn’t hurt the word count either. I don’t really snack on food much when I’m writing, which is probably a good thing. Though those Chili & Lime chips are calling my name . . . Unfortunately, I do sometimes find myself in the kitchen when the words don’t come.

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?
A theme I’m seeing crop up in all my books is that no one’s ever too far gone for God to love. I’m really passionate about that theme. Another one I’m addressing in my current novel is Christians judging people by what’s on the outside instead of what’s in their hearts.

What lesson is the Lord teaching you right now or recently taught you?
Every day I have to choose whether I’m going to trust the Lord or trust myself. So often I fail. At times I wonder how God can even use my writing because of how inadequate I feel. But the thing is, thankfully, it’s not about me. It’s about Him. That quote about God not calling the equipped but equipping those He calls is so true.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
Innocent Blood is a sequel to Thicker than Blood in that some of the main characters of Thicker become minor characters in Innocent. I’m really, really excited about this book. The main character is a sixteen-year-old girl named Roxi who’s been in and out of foster care since she was eight. A strong supporting character is Abby Dawson, bookstore manager Hunter Dawson’s older sister. Rare books also play a big part in this story, especially a first edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.

I don’t have a contract for this book yet, but hopefully I’ll have good news on that front to share with you soon.

You can visit CJ's web site at www.cjdarlington.com and her blog.

CJ is giving away a copy of Thicker Than Blood. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment and check back on Sunday, January 31st to see if you've won. You can enter twice--once on each post in this spotlight. If you want to guarantee that you're notified if you win, then leave your email address in the comment, otherwise, you can just check back and email me through the button in my sidebar.
**Annoying little disclaimer: This giveaway is open only to U.S. addresses. By clicking on the Amazon link above or in the sidebar, and purchasing, I will receive a very small percentage of the sale.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

meet CJ Darlington

Patterings


C.J. Darlington's first novel, Thicker Than Blood, was the winner of the 2008 Christian Writers Guild's Operation First Novel contest. She is the co-founder of the Christian entertainment Web site www.TitleTrakk.com. A homeschool graduate, she makes her home in Pennsylvania. When she's not writing, she's reading. Her hobbies include book and art collecting, fly fishing, painting and drawing. Visit her Web site at www.cjdarlington.com and her blog.


Thicker Than Blood
Christy Williams finally has her life on track. She’s putting her past behind her and working hard to build a career as an antiquarian book buyer. But things begin to unravel when a stolen Hemingway first edition is found in her possession, framing her for a crime she didn’t commit. With no one to turn to, she yearns for her estranged, younger sister, May, who she abandoned in their childhood after their parents’ untimely deaths. Soon Christy’s fleeing from her shattered dreams, her ex-boyfriend, and God. May’s Triple Cross ranch could be the safe haven she’s searching for, but will the sisters realize that each possesses what the other desperately needs before it’s too late?



Here's an excerpt of Thicker Than Blood:

CHAPTER ONE:

Christy Williams didn’t see the cop until his red lights flashed in her rearview mirror. By then it was too late. He was tailing her, and she had no choice but to ease her Honda Accord onto the snowy shoulder of the freeway and let the cruiser slide in behind.

Jerking up the emergency brake, she threw herself back into her seat with a curse. She hadn’t been speeding. She was sure of it. Christy forced herself to focus on the cruiser, squinting to see past its blinding headlights. She could barely make out the cop’s silhouette behind the wheel. What was he doing?

At last the burly officer emerged from the patrol car, approaching slowly, his hand resting on his holster.

Christy put down her window, and a blast of frigid night air hit her face and rolled across her lap.

“Turn the car off, ma’am.”

She did.

“I need your license, registration, and proof of insurance.”

“What’d I do?” She fumbled for the items, then handed them to the cop. His name tag read T. Jones in black lettering across from his badge.

Jones glanced at them with a smirk. He gave one back. “License. Not grocery card.”

Christy flushed as she flipped through her wallet again. Real smooth. She finally found her license and passed it to the cop. He took it with the other cards to his patrol car. What was this was all about? Had she been swerving? She quickly crunched down on two fresh squares of peppermint Dentyne Ice. Deep breath now. Chew. It’s just a routine stop. My taillight’s probably out. No need to panic. He doesn’t know.

Without the engine on the car turned cold fast. Christy zipped up her fleece jacket and checked the cop again. After a minute his door opened, and her pulse kicked up a notch. Please. Let this be nothing. She couldn’t face any more disappointment tonight.

Jones returned to her window. “Miss Williams, where you going?”

“Home.”

“From where?”

“Just a late movie with some friends, Officer.” She forced a smile, wishing it wasn’t a lie. To celebrate with friends and family who loved her was the way it should be. But instead she’d spent her birthday alone as usual, longing for what could have been.

“How many drinks have you had?”

Adrenaline splashed across her chest, and she tried to relax her arms. Don’t look nervous. Don’t look guilty. “None.”

“Know why I stopped you?”

“I wasn’t speeding.”

“You were doing 40 in a 65 zone.”

“Just being careful. I don’t like driving at night.”

Jones rested a thick hand on her door. He looked at her with a slight grin like he’d heard it all before. “Please step out of the car.”

Christy resisted the urge to glance at the passenger seat. Underneath it she’d carefully hidden her half-empty bottle of sherry. Knowing it would be useless to protest, she obeyed.

Outside, she shielded her eyes from the cruiser’s spotlight. “Sir, I’m tired. It’s my birthday. I just wanna get home.”

“I need you to do some standard roadside maneuvers for me.” Jones gripped her left bicep, his fingers closing almost entirely around it, and led her to stand between the two cars.

She’d seen sobriety tests on COPS enough times. This was her chance to prove herself. Christy concentrated hard on the officer’s instructions. She was gonna show this guy.

“You’ll stand with your heels together and your arms at your sides,” he said. “Then when I tell you, lift one foot about six inches off the ground and hold it there. Don’t use your arms. And no hopping or swaying. You understand?”

“Yeah.”

“Now at the same time, count aloud like this: one thousand and one, one thousand and two, one thousand and three. For thirty seconds, looking down at your foot.”

Christy crossed her shaky arms, nodding. As much as she hated the embarrassment of being on display, she had to do it. If she refused, he’d arrest her for sure.

“I’ll tell you when to put your foot down.” Jones looked her right in the eyes, his breaths condensing and swirling around his head. “Understand exactly what I want here?”

“I got it.”

He repeated the instructions, demonstrating the moves himself, and Christy assured him she knew what to do. If she passed this thing, would he let her go?

Jones stepped away from her. “You can start now.”

She filled her lungs, then slowly let her breath out, willing herself to calm down. Uncrossing her arms, she squeezed them against her rib cage and lifted her right foot. Was that six inches? She raised it a little more. That seemed right. Her heart pounding, she made herself breathe, determined not to take her eyes off her foot. Focus. Don’t sway. Then she remembered to count. She hadn’t been counting. She risked a glance at the stoic cop. Had he noticed?

“One thousand and one. One thousand and two.” Christy felt herself sway slightly. For a split second she tapped her toe to the ground just to right herself, but it was quick and then she was back to counting. “One thousand and three.”

Half a minute. That’s all we’re talking about. Just to thirty.

“One thousand and four. One thousand and five.”

I can do this.

“One thousand and six.”

Keep my balance. Keep my cool.

“One thousand and seven.”

Christy got to thirteen before she realized her arms had somehow lifted away from her body, like a trapeze artist walking the wire. She smacked them back down and kept counting. “One thousand and fourteen. One thousand and fifteen.”

Her leg was made of lead. Lift it up. A little higher.

“One thousand and sixteen.”

Quit shaking.

“One thousand seventeen.”

Focus!

“One thousand eighteen.”

“Okay, you can put your leg down.”

She let out a burst of air. She must’ve been holding her breath. “How’d I do?”

Jones didn’t answer, his face a mask of professionalism.

It was downhill from there. He put her through two more sobriety tests. She messed up four times walking that stupid line, and she had no idea what he was after when she followed his pen back and forth with her eyes.

Then the cop started grilling her again. “Honesty would go a long way here. Sure you didn’t drink anything?”

That’s when reality sunk in. Christy knew better than to get behind the wheel, yet she’d risked innocent lives and drove anyway. The last thing she’d ever want to do is cause an accident, especially tonight.

“I . . . ” She blinked back the tears that sprung to her eyes, desperate to keep from bawling in front of this cop who was only doing his job. After a late day at work she’d spent the evening in her car parked by Union Reservoir, sipping sherry and reading Hercule Poirot mysteries by the dome light. All she’d wanted was to forget it was her birthday. Revel in the buzz that would abandon her by morning.

Christy let out a long breath. “There’s a bottle of sherry under my seat.”

Jones nodded, producing handcuffs from his belt. He pointed at the car. “Hands on the hood, please.”

Christy rested her palms on the gritty, salt-stained metal, the front bumper jamming into her knees. She deserved to be locked up.

“Carryin’ anything I should know about?”

“No.”

After frisking her, he pulled each of her arms behind her back, clicking icy cuffs around her wrists. A semi zoomed past them, spraying cinder-filled slush against the cruiser door, and she imagined the trucker craning to see who the loser was this time.

Jones led her to the back door of the patrol car, opened it, and guided her head inside. She barely had time to glimpse a second cruiser pulling up behind them before the door slammed shut behind her, as much like a cell door clanging as the one she knew waited for her at the police station.

Her shoulders went limp. Another truck sailed past, shaking the patrol car. The cop’s garbled voice came from outside. She didn’t try to comprehend what he was saying. No doubt he was reporting to his buddy about the drunk he’d caught.

Christy hung her head as the cuffs dug into her flesh. Thirty-three years old.

Happy birthday.

***

Hours later Christy perched on the edge of the jail cell’s plastic bed, her hands covering her face. The Breathalyzer test she’d taken a few minutes ago confirmed to the cops what she already knew. Her blood alcohol level was well over the legal limit. And they’d booked her for it. Her mug shot and fingerprints were probably already scanned into some offender database, marking her for what she was—a criminal. They’d left her with nothing but her grubby jeans, sweatshirt, and sneakers. Not even one cigarette, which she’d do a lot for about now.

Her gaze wandered to the ceiling where a video camera glared downward, scrutinizing her every move. They could probably hear her too.

Earlier, the cops had offered her the phone, but she didn’t know who to call. The only lawyer she knew was Harvey Kurtz, but she hadn’t talked to him in over two years.

She’d thought of Hunter Dawson, the owner’s son and manager of Dawson’s Book Barn, Longmont Colorado’s largest used bookstore and where she worked. Although she had a feeling he’d jump at the chance to help her, he was her boss, and she didn’t want any problems there. Things were going so well. She’d finally found a job she loved, and she couldn’t lose it now.

Christy rested her elbows on her knees. Who could she possibly call? Even if she did have friends she’d be too ashamed to drag them into this. And family? They were hours away and probably wanted nothing to do with her. Not that she’d blame them. She was the one who broke the family ties and left without even a good-bye. What May must think of her after all these years . . .

That left Vince. She still flinched when she thought about him, but what other choice did she have? It was either him or spend the night in this creepy place where the stench of old urine hung in the air.

A few minutes later a balding cop with a gut hanging over his belt showed up to check on her, and she decided to make the call she dreaded.

When she was sitting in front of the phone the cop picked up a pen. “Name?”

“Vince Dubois.”

“Relation?”

Two weeks ago she would have responded boyfriend. Now she didn’t know how to answer. “Coworker,” she finally said, and it was the truth. Vince also worked at Dawson’s Book Barn, overseeing online sales.

She held the receiver, the dial tone humming in her ear as she contemplated one last time what she was about to do. Then with a sigh she punched in his number.

It rang twice, and a deep male voice answered with a crisp, “Hello?”

“It’s me. Christy.”

“A little late, isn’t it?”

“I . . . need your help,” she said, hating to admit it.

“So you’re finally coming around.”

“I’m in trouble.”

The line was silent for a moment. “What kind of trouble?”

She told him what happened, lowering her voice. “I don’t want to stay here.”

“Give me thirty minutes,” he said without hesitation. “And don’t worry, darling. It’ll be all right. I promise.” It felt good to hear someone say it, even if it was Vince.

“He’ll be here in half an hour,” she told the cop.

And he was. When they released her in the waiting area, Vince stopped pacing, and his quick survey up and down her figure made her wish they’d let her clean up a little. She ran trembling fingers through her stringy blonde hair, wishing she’d taken the time this week to cover the dark roots. She must’ve looked as awful as she felt.

Vince, on the other hand, looked the same as always. Even at this hour he was meticulously dressed in crisp jeans and a ribbed gray sweater, his wavy black hair full of mousse.

She got back her purse and was given an arraignment date. She’d be in court for this at the end of the month.

“Let’s get out of here,” Vince said, wrapping his arm around her waist, shepherding her toward the parking lot. He kept it there until they got outside, then cloaked her shoulders with his leather jacket. A few wet snowflakes drifted from the sky as he helped her into his white Lexus. She breathed in the air, redolent with Vince’s imported cigars.

“I’ll pick up your car tomorrow,” he said, buckling up and starting the engine.

Christy already had a Winston lit. She took several drags before speaking. “Thanks for coming.”

“You don’t belong in a place like that.”

She pulled in another drag and exhaled, relief flowing through her limbs. Closing Vince’s jacket tighter around herself, she sat silent, waiting for the heater to work.

“You did the right thing calling me.”

“Please take me to my apartment.”

The car’s turn signal ticked off and on. Vince drove out of the parking lot in the wrong direction.

“My apartment.”

“I heard you.”

“I want to go home.”

“Home?” He laughed and patted her leg. “Seems to me my place is your real home. Come on, Christy. Let me take care of you.”

She was tempted to allow it. She didn’t want to be alone, but she’d be giving in by agreeing. She’d be going back to him. At least that’s the way he would see it. “I don’t wanna fight.”

“Good.”

When he got like this it was like trying to have a conversation with an oncoming freight train. Jump out of the way or get flattened. She didn’t have the strength for either.

A few minutes later they pulled into the garage of the two-story country house Vince rented from his uncle.

Vince was immediately by her side to guide her to the door. “You’re still unsteady.”

“I’m fine.” She tried to push his arm away.

But he held on. “I can see that.”

At the door, she obediently slipped off her shoes, as Vince required of everyone, and he led her inside. The ubiquitous classical music station she remembered so well played faintly through the whole house over the speakers Vince had wired and installed himself.

Leaving the lights off except for the one over the kitchen sink, he pointed her to the living room and sat her on the pin-striped damask sofa. He knelt in front of her, holding her hands between his. “Hungry?”

“No.”

“I can fix you something.”

“I’m tired.”

“Then let me get you a drink.” Without waiting for a response, he rose and went to the bar in the corner of the dark room. A cabinet opened and glasses clinked. She could picture the scrupulously arranged rows of wineglasses, tumblers, and cordial glasses she’d watched him hand buff countless times.

Vince returned with a tumbler half full of sherry. “This’ll calm you down.”

Christy closed her eyes and sipped at the alcohol as Vince sidled next to her, drawing her into himself. His Siamese cat, Socrates, jumped up beside them, purring and butting his head into Vince’s arm. Vince petted the animal, his arm still around Christy.

She stopped resisting. It wasn’t important anymore that he’d hit her. That was only a distant memory. And she had provoked him. She hadn’t been thinking of his side. As usual he’d vowed it would never happen again, and Christy believed him now. He’d come to her rescue tonight, something he would only have done if he truly loved her.

“You can rest now,” Vince whispered, rubbing her back in comforting circular motions. “It’s all over.”

“I was . . . so scared. I didn’t know what to do.”

“Shh.” He stroked her cheek with his fingertips. “You don’t have to think about it anymore.”

Christy rested her head on Vince’s chest, his Polo Sport cologne bringing back memories of other nights they’d shared together. It would be all right to fall asleep in his arms one more time.



You can purchase from CBD and Amazon:

CJ is giving away a copy of Thicker Than Blood. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment and check back on Sunday, January 31st to see if you've won. You can enter twice--once on each post in this spotlight. If you want to guarantee that you're notified if you win, then leave your email address in the comment, otherwise, you can just check back and email me through the button in my sidebar.
**Annoying little disclaimer: This giveaway is open only to U.S. addresses. By clicking on the Amazon link above or in the sidebar, and purchasing, I will receive a very small percentage of the sale.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Smoothness


Ocean waves Uploaded by Krassenceto
Is it only the crashing surf of the ocean that wears a stone smooth? No, it's not, but it's one of the first ways we think of. Times of great storms in our lives are also the times we remember the longest, times we know that God is working on us. But it's not the only time.

When David fought Goliath look what he did...
He took his stick in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the shepherd's bag which he had, even in his pouch, and his sling was in his hand; and he approached the Philistine. ~1 Samuel 17:40

Those stones hadn't been beaten smooth in the ocean, nor even a great river. They were in a brook. There's nothing fierce about a brook, but the water was enough to wear stones smooth. In Jeremiah 2:13 God calls Himself “the fountain of living waters.” God and His Word is like water in our lives—He smooths our rough edges with His constant movement in our lives.

Sometimes our life might feel like we're caught in the surf, constantly being pounded as storms lash us. Other times life is more like a river, or even a little brook, meandering and mellow. But even during those easy times, God is wearing the rough edges off us, making us smoother and more fit for His use.

In Sunday School this week, Brad, our department director, said, “God's always working in our lives—it's just whether we recognize it or not.” He didn't know it, but he simplified and summed up in one sentence something I've been mulling over for a few weeks. Just because life is mellow at the moment doesn't mean that God isn't working in our lives. The Living Water is always moving, wearing away the sharp angles and smoothing us so we're more fit for His service.

Let the Living Water flow over you and polish you smooth.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Odds n Ends


This has been a busy week and one of the highlights was getting to see my younger sister and her family. It was the first time the cousins have gotten to see each other in quite awhile, so we made sure to get a picture or two--especially for Gram. =)

Here's my 5 kids, and my sister's 2 boys. When I saw the boys in August, each of those 7 kids wanted to know how tall the others were. LoL And so did Gram.

The 4 that are in the middle row (Esther, Abby, and my sister's boys) were all born within 18 months of each other. My nephew wearing the 18 is the only grandchild with red hair--which is amazing because both of my sisters are redheads. So here you are, Mom. =) That's how tall everyone is now.


Here's another picture. This one my cyber friends requested. My girls, Abby and Esther--the Bookworms--decided to rearrange and paint their bedroom. What an undertaking! Their room was...well, I'll be nice. It's been messy for far too long. In order to paint they had to take everything except their bunk bed out of the room. hehe. No more mess. (sneaky, huh?)

They chose a cool mint and started painting this afternoon. They've discovered Dad and Alex, their older brother have mastered the art of painting and making it look easier than it is. They also have a new appreciation for nicely painted walls. Maybe now they understand why I wash walls occasionally! I'll post a pic or two as they go, so you can watch their progress. =) I'm sure they'll love me when they see I posted them up here. hehe. They thought I was just sending the pic to Gram.


And we have a winner!
Carole is the winner of Martha Roger's book, Becoming Lucy. Enjoy!
On deck for this week's Author Spotlight is CJ Darlington with Thicker than Blood.



Friday, January 22, 2010

Shallowness

I'm not a deep thinker and I've had a relatively easy life. To be honest, I feel like a very shallow person living a life of ease. As I read through the Bible and read about the lives of those great saints, and then read biographies of missionaries, my feelings of shallowness increase and I'm more convinced than ever that I'm living a dream life in my own little bubble.

Just this morning I read in a devotional that “God never uses anyone to a great degree until he breaks the person completely.” I understand this and know it to be true, but I'm left wondering if God will use me at all since I have such an easy life and am not a deep thinker. I know not everyone is called to be a Matthew Henry, a DL Moody, or a Nate Saint, and I know they were ordinary men used by an extraordinary God. But what about those of us who really want to be used by God yet live a life that seems to only skim the surface?

Please understand, I'm not looking for pats on the back or excuses for shallow living on easy street. This is something I've been mulling over for a couple of weeks now and I want to hear your thoughts on this.

Does depth of character only come from great trials and tribulation? Is it possible for God to use someone who leads an easy life?



Wednesday, January 20, 2010

with Martha Rogers

Patterings


Welcome to Patterings, Martha! You've been an encouragement and inspiration to many of us. Thank you!
Tell us about your epiphany moment when you decided you were going to seriously pursue writing and eventually publication.
I don’t remember any specific moment because I just submitted some articles and devotionals and they were accepted. I had been writing fiction and decided to join American Christian Fiction Writers and learn more about it.

Which of your books (published or upcoming) has been the most fun for you to write and which character is your favorite?
The most fun was an historical that is a fictionalized account of my great-grandfather’s journey back home after he was released from a northern prison camp at the end of the Civil War. I loved doing the research and finding out more about my father’s family.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Procrastination and being disorganized are really stumbling blocks for me. I haven’t overcome the organization bit, but I impose deadlines upon myself so I won’t keep putting things off.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
There have been several, including changing clothes with my best friend who was much like me in appearance and fooling people for almost two hours before someone noticed we’d done it. I did a lot of quirky things in college, but we won’t get into that.

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?
Oh, yes. Cleaning house. Since I retired, I realize I don’t have to keep my house spotless. It gets a good, thorough cleaning every few months and spot cleaning of bathrooms and kitchen more often.

What would a perfect day for you look like?
Sunshine, moderate temperatures and a chance to sit on my deck and just write or visit with my grandchildren.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I pretty much like all genres except Sci-Fi and fantasy.

Are there certain foods or snacks keeps the words flowing for you?
Oh, chocolate most definitely. Chocolate candy, hot chocolate, chocolate covered anything.

Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote?
I grew really fond of Aunt Clara. She wasn’t even in the original synopsis, but in the middle of the story, she popped in. She’s straight forward and is very protective of family and she’s wise.

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?
My tag line is “Touching hearts…changing lives." With that in mind, most of my books deal with reconciliation and forgiveness either man to man or man to God.

What lesson is the Lord teaching you right now or recently taught you?
He’s been teaching me patience and perseverance for the past few years.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
Book 2 in the series, Morning for Dove, will be released in late April, 2010. It carries on the characters with Luke Anderson and Dove Morris being the key ones. Dove is half-Cherokee, but because of Mrs. Anderson’s horrendous experience in an Indian massacre as a child, Dove and Luke face discrimination and hatred that thwarts their relationship. Again it is a story of forgiveness and reconciliation of hearts to each other, and hearts to God.

You can find Martha online at her website www.marthawrogers.com and her blog.

Now, because I forgot to post this yesterday, here's the
book trailer for Becoming Lucy.


Martha is giving away a copy of Becoming Lucy. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment and check back on Sunday, January 24th to see if you've won. You can enter twice--once on each post in this spotlight. If you want to guarantee that you're notified if you win, then leave your email address in the comment, otherwise, you can just check back and email me through the button in my sidebar.
**Annoying little disclaimer: This giveaway is open only to U.S. addresses. By clicking on the Amazon link above or in the sidebar, and purchasing, I will receive a very small percentage of the sale.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

meet Martha Rogers

Patterings


Martha Rogers is an example of perseverance and tenacity. Her book credits include the novella, Sugar and Grits, seven Bible studies, contributions to compilations by Wayne Holmes, Karen O’Conner, and Debbie White Smith. Martha has contributed devotionals to several anthologies including soon to be released Whispers of Wisdom for Step-Moms from Barbour. Martha served as editor of an eight page monthly newsletter for the writer’s organization, Inspirational Writers Alive! for six years and is the state President. She is also the director for the annual Texas Christian Writer’s Conference. She and her husband Rex are active members in their church in Houston, Texas and enjoy spending time with their ten grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

You can find her online at her website www.marthawrogers.com and her blog.


Becoming Lucy
After her parents’ deaths , seventeen-year-old heiress Lucinda Bishop travels to Barton Creek, Oklahoma in 1897 as the ward of Amelia and Ben Haynes, her mother’s sister and brother-in-law. There she meets Jake Starnes, a drifter now employed by her uncle. With Jake, she faces emotions she’s never before experienced. When Jake must return to Texas to face murder charges and certain execution, Lucinda is forced to go on with life which includes Luke Anderson. When Jake is found innocent, he heads back to Oklahoma, but can he arrive in time to prevent Lucinda from marrying the wrong man?



Here's an excerpt of Becoming Lucy:

Oklahoma Territory 1896
Chapter 1
Jake Starnes hunkered down in his jacket. He smelled frost in the air, but the cold in his bones came from fear, not the temperature. A gust of wind threatened to take his hat. He shoved it down tighter to secure it.

He peered ahead at the barren landscape and the outline of the town of Barton Creek. Naked trees stretched forth to the skies against a backdrop of prairie grass that spread as far as the eye could see toward distant mountains. It bore no resemblance to the beautiful hills of Texas where he grew up. He missed them, but he’d probably never get the chance to see them again. He sighed in resignation to the life that lay ahead. A life he hadn’t chosen. It had chosen him the day he chose to wear a gun.

Mrs. Haynes sat beside him and nudged his arm. “How much longer will we be? Dear little Lucinda. I pray she doesn’t have to wait too long for us. I thought Ben would be done with the stock, but when he wasn’t, I’m thankful you were available.”

“Happy to oblige, ma’am. Won’t be long now.” Mrs. Haynes had talked about her sister’s “poor orphan child” for the past two months. He could sympathize with the child because he lost both his parents just after he turned fifteen. She must be grieving terribly.

The pressure of Mrs. Haynes’s hand on his arm brought him to the present. “Jake Starnes, you’re not paying one bit of attention to me. If your mind is on the work you left at the ranch, don’t worry about it. Ben and the others can take care of your chores.”

“I know they will.” Gray clouds covered the late October sky. “It’s getting darker. Hope we get back home ’fore night sets in. That wind’s coming straight down across the prairie with nothing to stop it.”

“Dear me, I do pray Lucinda is dressed warmly.” Mrs. Haynes pulled her shawl more tightly about her shoulders.

“You said she’s coming from Boston, so she knows about cold weather.” He peered at the horizon. The few buildings of Barton Creek drew closer. Another ten minutes and they’d be in town.

Jake’s stomach began churning like those blue-black clouds rolling across the sky. Were it not for the little girl waiting for them, he’d have turned back home now. If the sheriff in Barton Creek recognized him, or had questions about his being a stranger in these parts, he’d be in a heap of trouble.

He’d avoided going into the settlement ever since he came to Oklahoma six months ago. His wanderings ended at the Haynes’s spread, where he’d stopped to ask for work. His first intention to stay only a month or so then move on changed when the Haynes showed him a kindness and love he sorely missed. They had become the family he had lost years ago.

Now the thought of entering the town caused fear to rise like bile. What would happen if the lawman in town recognized him, and Ben Haynes learned about Jake’s past, a past he wanted to forget?


You can purchase from CBD and Amazon:


Martha is giving away a copy of Becoming Lucy. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment and check back on Sunday, January 24th to see if you've won. You can enter twice--once on each post in this spotlight. If you want to guarantee that you're notified if you win, then leave your email address in the comment, otherwise, you can just check back and email me through the button in my sidebar.
**Annoying little disclaimer: This giveaway is open only to U.S. addresses. By clicking on the Amazon link above or in the sidebar, and purchasing, I will receive a very small percentage of the sale.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Introducing the Bookworms

Last week took another surprising turn and I'm really, REALLY excited about it. My daughter, Esther, decided it was time to start the book review site she's been thinking about since Janice Thompson suggested it to my girls. (Thank you, Janice!) We spent four days working on setting up the site and and I believe it's about ready to take off. =)

Bookworms Review—Reviews with a teen twist can be found at www.bookwormsreview.com. Esther and Abby, my older daughter who is also known as Rosalie Patience, will be doing book reviews with a teen twist and hope to be doing author interviews and book giveaways when they can. Although their reviews and interviews will be from a teen's perspective, it's not a site just for teens! Their first review will be posted soon and they're in the process of setting up more interviews.

Bookworms Review


Both girls are avid, and fast, readers and I can't keep them in books. They also love writing, so this review site is a perfect fit for them. At this point, their reviews will range from older books to new releases as they schedule with authors to be influencers. They read almost every genre (except horror LoL) so there's no telling what book you'll find there.

I hope you'll join me in welcoming them to the blog world and the world of Christian book reviews and author interviews!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Winner!

Happy Sunday!
We have a winner for Stephanie Morrill's book, Out With the In Crowd, it's faith4u7. Enjoy!

Life kicked into high gear again this last week--unexpectedly, and I'll tell you about it tomorrow. =) I'm excited and cant' wait to share what's going on!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

with Stephanie Morrill

Patterings


Welcome to Patterings, Stephanie!
Tell us about your epiphany moment when you decided you were going to seriously pursue writing and eventually publication.
My elementary school really emphasized writing. Every day we had “writing time” for 15 or so minutes. We could write about whatever we wanted, and I thought it was the best part of the day. When you finished a story, you took it down to the “publishing house” which was a tiny room at the school. You picked out your cover and binding, then someone typed up the story and returned it to you. After you illustrated it, you read it to the class. I loved every single part of it except the illustrating, and from my first “book” on, I always told people I wanted to be a writer.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Time. I received my 3-book deal for the Skylar books when my daughter was six months old. Let me tell you, she did NOT care that mommy suddenly had lots of work she needed to do. I had to get very disciplined about my time. I felt God had called me to be both a mom and writer, so I tried to limit my activities to include only mommy-stuff and writer-stuff. In short, I had to learn how to say no.

Which of your books (published or upcoming) has been the most fun for you to write and which character is your favorite?
Out with the In Crowd felt like so much fun because it was new and I had a better idea about what I was doing. I rewrote the first book in the Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series, Me, Just Different, about five times over the period of 4 years. Being able to work on a fresh storyline with characters I already knew and loved felt like vacation.

Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote?
Abbie.

Abbie is Skylar’s 15-year-old sister, and she’s incredibly pregnant. There was so much conflict surrounding Abbie that scenes with her came so easily.

What is your strangest habit?
Well, I don’t know if it’s my STRANGEST habit, but when I’m getting a soda, I tap the top three times with my nail before opening it. Every time. When I was a kid, someone told me if you did that, the soda wouldn’t fizz all over you, and apparently the habit stuck. I didn’t even know I did it until about a year ago when my husband was like, “Are you aware…?”

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?
Mopping and dusting. With dusting, my husband usually just ends up doing it.

What would a perfect day for you look like?
Sleeping in. Amazing coffee and breakfast out. My 2-year-old daughter being in a fabulous mood and doing fun things like playing tea party and having her fix my hair. Lunch out with my husband and daughter, followed by my daughter taking a really long nap while I write. Cooking a really good, complicated dinner. Someone else doing the dishes.Then reading and having a popcorn date with my husband before going to bed early.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Everything—if it’s good.
A year ago, I would have said, “Vampires? Ick! I don’t want to read about vampires!” And now I’m having intense conversations with friends who are “Team Edward,” and being given Twilight birthday cards because of how obsessed I am. I find any good story enjoyable.

Are there certain foods or snacks keeps the words flowing for you?
Pike Place Roast coffee from Starbucks.

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?
I find myself talking a lot about God seeing you for who you are. I think that’s one of the reasons I love writing YA fiction so much. Especially as a teenager, I loved it when someone understood me.

What lesson is the Lord teaching you right now or recently taught you?
That I’m not in control.
After my little girl was born, I learned that I have major control issues. (When I voiced this to my husband, he said, “You didn’t know that?”) Day by day, I’m learning to turn more over to Him.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
Out with the In Crowd released this month. Skylar Hoyt may have vowed to change her partying ways, but it’s not so easy to change her friends. She’s trying hard to live a new life, but her old one is constantly staring her in the face. Add to that two parents battling for her loyalty, a younger sister struggling with a crisis pregnancy, and a new boyfriend wishing for more of her time, and Skylar feels like she can’t win.

Thanks for being us, Stephanie! It was fun getting to know you a litte! =)

You can find Stephanie online at www.StephanieMorrillBooks.com
and on her blog and you can purchase Out With the In Crowd from CBD and Amazon:

Stephanie is giving away a copy of Out With the In Crowd. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment and check back on Sunday, Janurary 17th to see if you've won. You can enter twice--once on each post in this spotlight. If you want to guarantee that you're notified if you win, then leave your email address in the comment, otherwise, you can just check back and email me through the button in my sidebar.
**Annoying little disclaimer: This giveaway is open only to U.S. addresses. By clicking on the Amazon link above or in the sidebar, and purchasing, I will receive a very small percentage of the sale.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

meet Stephanie Morrill

Last week's winner is Karen K. Send me your addy, Karen. There's an Email me button in the sidebar. =)

I'm also posting at Exemplify today...
Where will you die? In the Desert or Promised Land?

Today we have a young adult novel in the spotlight...and it sounds really good!! Remember, you can enter the book giveaway TWICE, once on each post, this one and the interview that posts tomorrow. =)

Patterings




Stephanie Morrill is a twenty-something living in Kansas with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband and their daughter. She loves writing for teens because her high school years greatly impacted her adult life. That, and it's an excuse to keep playing her music really, really loud.

You can find her online at www.StephanieMorrillBooks.com
and on her blog.





Out with the In Crowd
She knew changing her life wouldn't be easy--but she never expected it to be this hard. Skylar Hoyt may have vowed to change her partying ways, but it's not so easy to change her friends. Even though the old Skylar is gone, she's still not sure who this new Skylar really is. Add to that two parents battling for her loyalty, a younger sister struggling with a crisis pregnancy, and a new boyfriend wishing for more of her time, and Skylar feels like she can't win. After all, how do you choose favorites among the people you love most? Stephanie Morrill is a twentysomething living in Kansas with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband and their daughter. She is the author of Me, Just Different and loves writing for teens because her high school years greatly impacted her adult life. That, and it's an excuse to keep playing her music really, really loud.
 
Here's the first page of Out With the In Crowd:

Chapter One
 
All winter break, I’d planned for this moment, the one about to happen.

“Hey,” Eli said as we passed each other in the hall.

I intended to say hello back, to smile like things between us hadn’t changed, but something inside me bristled. I locked my jaw, turned away from his hypnotic smile, and picked up the pace.

Then I mentally kicked my butt as I sped toward my locker. That was not how it should’ve gone.

For starters, when I saw Eli for the first time this semester, I intended to be hanging off Connor’s arm, transfixed by him and unaware of Eli’s presence. Since Connor and I rode to school together, I assumed this would be easy to arrange. If only Connor hadn’t questioned whether he’d locked his car, then abandoned me here in the hall to run and check, things might have gone as planned.

Secondly, I should’ve been casual and cool. A simple, “Hey.” A killer smile. But really, anything would’ve been better than avoiding eye contact and rushing off. Especially because I couldn’t avoid Eli for long. We had first period together.

But deviating from the Eli plan did have its perks. It gave me something to focus on besides what possibly awaited me down the hall. When I chose my locker at the beginning of the year—seemingly a lifetime ago—it never occurred to me that my friends might no longer be my friends. That Jodi, Alexis, Lisa, Eli, and John would become the five people I wished most to avoid.


You can purchase Out With the In Crowd from CBD and Amazon:


Stephanie is giving away a copy of Out With the In Crowd. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment and check back on Sunday, Janurary 17th to see if you've won. You can enter twice--once on each post in this spotlight. If you want to guarantee that you're notified if you win, then leave your email address in the comment, otherwise, you can just check back and email me through the button in my sidebar.
**Annoying little disclaimer: This giveaway is open only to U.S. addresses. By clicking on the Amazon link above or in the sidebar, and purchasing, I will receive a very small percentage of the sale.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Language & Missionaries

It's a winner of a day
here at Patterings.

LoL--sometimes saying that just totally cracks me up. *eye roll*

Aaaaanyway...today's winner of Diana Brandemeyer's book, Hearts on the Road, is Karen K. Enjoy! =)

In other news, I've been working on my missionary romance this week and had a piece of the puzzle fall together yesterday. I'm beginning to get excited now that more and more pieces are fitting together. =) I reached my writing goal each day, and I'm sloooowly making progress. Granted, those words majorly stink--but that's okay! I'm making progress and moving forward, which is very important after last month!!

So tell me, what's a missionary to do when they have an extremely hard time learning the language? If he's there to tell people about Jesus, and he butchers the language, is there any hope for him or should he just pack his bags and head for home?

Saturday, January 09, 2010

The Abominable Snowman & Grace

Years ago we had a wonderful dog, Hagar, and I'll tell you about him some other time, but after he died I prayed for a replacement for him. We've had many dogs over those years, but none replaced Hagar—until this summer.

My dad and GracieOne day this last summer, my youngest and I found a scared great pyrennes in our back yard. She had on a collar and I expected her owner to appear at any minute. I waited for two weeks, but they never showed up. I called and checked for missing dog notices, but no one was missing a white dog, let alone a well-trained, friendly great pyrennes. (Here she is with my dad.)

In the past, we've had other great pyrennes visit us, and their owner was in our yard in a matter of hours, but this wasn't one of his. I checked. During those short visits, I fell in love with the breed. But there were a few problems. They cost a bundle of money and we've never paid for a dog. I also knew my hubster didn't like long haired animals and he didn't like white animals, either. (LoL—he's opinionated, but that's okay. I still love him!!) So I knew I'd never own a pyrennes, and I was fine with that.

When this “guest” appeared I didn't even hope to keep her. But as time went by and no owner came, we loved her more. When my hubs said we could keep her I knew she was a gift from God. I also knew it was only by God's grace that I had such an awesome dog. When I finally named her, I chose a name that would remind me of just that. I named her Gracie, for God's grace to me.

Marvelous Grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt.
Yonder on Calvary's mount outpoured,
There where the Blood of the Lamb was spilt.

Grace, Grace, God's Grace.
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within.
Grace, Grace, God's Grace.
Grace that is greater than all our sin.


Every night at bedtime I go out and tie her up for the night so she doesn't circle the house, protecting us with her big bark. Many times that evening walk with Gracie has been a soothing reminder of God's grace in my life.

And He said to me,
“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”
~1 Corinthians 12:9





Gracie is a gentle dog who doesn't need constant attention to be happy. She's not always in your face or crawling in your lap, like our previous dog, but when she gets to playing, watch out! She's like an abominable snowman dancing. That's what we often call her, but now, seeing her in the snow, I wonder if she isn't a polar bear instead. Whatever she is, she's won a place in our hearts and I'm so thankful for her.

When I get to feeling down or when I feel like I'm up against giants, Gracie is a visual and tactile reminder of God's grace.

So tell me, do you have any visual reminders of God's grace in your life?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

with Diana Brandemeyer

Patterings



Tell us about your epiphany moment when you decided you were going to seriously pursue writing and eventually publication.
I don’t think I had a clear moment. I’ve always wanted to write and have written for a long time. I decided to take a course on writing children’s books which gave me the push I needed to send out material.

Which of your books (published or upcoming) has been the most fun for you to write and which character is your favorite?
Every time I start a new book that character becomes my center of enjoyment. It’s like discovering a new friend, the old friends are great but this new one brings another aspect to your life you didn’t expect.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
My most difficult obstacle is in trusting myself. I used to think it was procrastination but now realize it’s my way of not putting myself at risk. I’m working on overcoming it. I set up mini-goals, cheap ones! If I write for thirty minutes I can check facebook and do a few things for 15 minutes. That seems to be working.

Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote?
Randi. I love trucks and always thought it would be great fun to drive cross country. When I wrote this book Randi became my way of doing that.

What is your strangest habit?
I’m a big crazy with the wipes…the ones that kill germs. I take them into the hotel room and wipe down the remote and door handles. I know they clean the rooms but….

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?
Cleaning the bathrooms! I hate doing it even though it doesn’t take very long. I think it’s the harsh chemicals and I always end up feeling yucky after I’m finished.

What would a perfect day for you look like?
Wake up to sunshine after sleeping for eight hours straight, breakfast with hubby at our favorite place, The Shiloh Grill and then spend the day biking of course since it is a perfect day I wouldn’t get tired, hot and cranky!

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I’m all over when it comes to reading. I read Christian romances, fiction, mysteries autobiographies, cookbooks and throw in occasional science fiction and fantasy!

Are there certain foods or snacks keeps the words flowing for you?
Sadly it’s Diet Dr. Pepper which is so not good for me or I’m drinking iced tea.

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?
Abandonment seems to show up in my books quite often with the realization as Christians we are never alone.

What lesson is the Lord teaching you right now or recently taught you?
Show up and do the work. =)

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
Sometime in 2011, it’s a nonfiction book about blended families.


You can purchase Hearts on the Road from CBD and Amazon:


Diana is giving away a copy of Hearts on the Road. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment and check back on Sunday, January 10th to see if you've won. You can enter twice--once on each post in this spotlight. If you want to guarantee that you're notified if you win, then leave your email address in the comment, otherwise, you can just check back and email me through the button in my sidebar.
**Annoying little disclaimer: This giveaway is void where prohibited; open only to U.S. addresses, odds of winning depend on number of entrants. No purchase necessary. By clicking on the Amazon link above or in the sidebar and purchasing I will receive a small percentage of the sale.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

meet Diana Brandmeyer

Patterings

Diana Lesire Brandmeyer has a background in education and psychology. Her credits include My Devotions, The Metro East Family Gazette, Little Visits Family Devotions and The Lutheran Witness. She received her degree from Webster University. She is the author of Hearts on the Road, A Time to Dance, Mystery of the Smithton Necklace and The Trouble with Ralph. She lives in Southern Illinois where the corn grows at a rapid rate behind her home.

She’s married and has 3 grown sons all on their own now, each of them bringing someone special to join the family. Yay! Daughters-in-law!

Diana loves having pets, right now there is only one in the house, a cat named Wendell and an occasional granddog named Rusty


Hearts on the Road

Love cannot be trusted.

Abandoned by her father, betrayed by her fiancĂ©, and forsaken by God, truck driver Randi Davis crisscrosses Wyoming with a broken heart, vowing never to love another man. Suddenly Matthew Carter, a pastor in search of a mobile ministry, is thrust into her life and into her cab. And there’s nothing she can do about it.

Soon Randi and Matthew find themselves at cross-purposes. His life on the road has just begun. Her eight-year-old niece needs a parent to come home to every day. Is this the end of the road for Randi and Matthew’s romance?

Which road leads to God’s ultimate plan?


You can purchase Hearts on the Road from CBD and Amazon:



Diana is giving away a copy of Hearts on the Road. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment and check back on Sunday, January 10th to see if you've won. You can enter twice--once on each post in this spotlight. If you want to guarantee that you're notified if you win, then leave your email address in the comment, otherwise, you can just check back and email me through the button in my sidebar.
**Annoying little disclaimer: This giveaway is void where prohibited; open only to U.S. addresses, odds of winning depend on number of entrants. No purchase necessary. By clicking on the Amazon link above or in the sidebar and purchasing I will receive a small percentage of the sale.

On deck for tomorrow is an interview with Diana. See ya then!

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