Tuesday, June 26, 2007

AWESOME read!!!


Stolen Indian artifacts...A murdered museum guard…A missing woman…A baby in danger...Only Desiree can unearth the horrifying secret that links them all!

Museum security expert Desiree Jacobs doesn’t mean to get in danger’s path. Really she doesn’t. But when a friend is in trouble you don’t just walk away. No matter what your overprotective FBI agent boyfriend says! So when Desi and Tony’s date at a presidential ball is interrupted by a frantic Maxine Webb, Desi doesn’t hesitate to jump in.

Soon Desi is neck-deep in a confusing array of villains. Did Max’s niece run away or was she taken? Is she still alive or the victim of a perverse ritual? And who wants her infant son–and why?

Then Tony’s organized crime case collides with Desi’s investigation, throwing them both into the path of something dark and sinister. Something that craves blood...

From the streets of Desi’s beloved Boston to the mountain desert of New Mexico, Desi and Tony must rely on God to thwart unseen forces–and save a young woman and her baby from a villain more evil than any of them can imagine.

My personal take on the novel? "Jill Nelson has somehow managed to create a book that is at the same time fun and serious, intense and light, funny and shocking...what a combo!"

Another opinion:

"A fresh voice, strong heroine, and unique plot make Reluctant Runaway a can't-put-down read. Jill Elizabeth Nelson is an author to watch in the realm of romantic suspense!"----SUSAN MAY WARREN award-winning author of In Sheep's Clothing.

Jill Elizabeth Nelson is a member of the CFBA. Her blog, Artistic Blogger, addresses issues about art, art theft, antiquities preservation, and the art of fiction writing. She takes art seriously - when she's not having fun with it, that is. The To Catch a Thief Series combines her love of the written word with her love of other art forms.

The first in the series was Reluctant Burglar , second is Reluctant Runaway. In January 2008, she will reveal the third book, Reluctant Smuggler. Jill is thrilled if the adventures that spill from her imagination can raise awareness about art theft - deemed "a looming criminal enterprise" by the FBI. Jill and her husband, Doug, have four children and live in Minnesota.

To get your copy of this book, click here!

The Divine Appointment


Looking for a good, intense read? Look no further! Pick up "The Divine Appointment" TODAY by Jerome Teel. You won't be disappointed!

Here's the official blurb:


New Legal Thriller Mirrors High Court DramaIn The Divine Appointment, Supreme Court Justice Martha Robinson has died, presenting an unprecedented opportunity for conservative president, Richard Wallace, to impact the direction of the highest court in the land for years to come. The Supreme Court has the power to interpret the Constitution, and in the process, to shape the nation. Not everyone is thrilled with the president's nominee, however. And some will stop at nothing, including murder, to prevent his confirmation by the Senate.

Jerome Teel received his law degree from the University of Mississippi where he graduated Cum Laude. He now practices full-time as an attorney in Jackson, Tennessee. The Divine Appointment is his second novel.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Ssshh...Can you hear them?

That's the question I asked my husband last night while we were out house hunting. Our realtor took us to see this listing in the country.

We pulled up in the driveway, took one look, and my husband was immediately against the idea. "Lot's too small. Too close to the road. No covered parking for our vehicles. Looks like the backyard is incredibly tiny..."

I, on the other hand, just as immediately fell head-over-heels in love. The house was relatively small, built in the 1940's, and completely remodeled, as the paperwork informed. In other words, charming. Fresh yellow paint, white gingerbread, scalloped trim.

This was it. I'd found it. My little cottage in the woods!

I was hooked. "I want to go in."

"Baby, its pointless, we don't want this one. It doesn't meet our needs. Where would our dog go?"

"I want to go in."

"But baby, why would -"


Our realtor quickly made an "appointment" from her cell phone (the house was vacant, but its a legal thing they have to call in, regardless) and we hiked up the freshly painted white front steps onto the porch.

"Doesn't this porch just practically demand wicker furniture?" I beamed.

"Uh...huh." Hubby wisely just nodded.

The realtor finally got her key to work and we stepped inside...into a small slice of history. The original wood floors had been restored, and shone in the dusky light still streaming through the wide framed, white shuttered windows.

"SShh...Can you hear them?"

"Hear WHAT?"

"The stories..."

Dozens of them. They hung in the air, whispered through the warm air filtering through the open front door. They hovered in the shadows, floated with the dust particles stirred by the surprise late-evening guests. Pieces of history, secrets just begging to be told.

I closed my eyes, breathed in the possibilties, feeling like a welcome friend starting a new adventure. I could see myself there, see myself penning possibilities on lilac scented paper, creating poetry that would touch the hearts of the entire nation, inspiring the next Great American Classic...

"Uh, baby I don't think you would have passed that pysch test I took today for the fire department. One of the questions was 'do you hear voices'?"

I opened my eyes, and to my credit, didn't punch my husband in the face. =)

But the reality of my dreams lived on. I left him and the realtor by the front door, and walked reverently through the rest of the house, fingers trailing against the narrow hallway as I inspected each room, ooohed over the window seat that stretched the width of the second bedroom, knowing that would be my office if I lived in a perfect world, ahhed over the vintage cabinetry and cubby holes and windowsills, smiled at the old fashioned, claw foot tub in the bathroom...

This house that stole my heart was a perfect contradiction. Old and new. History and Future. It was a dream come true - and it was horrible. Everything I've always wanted, and at the same time, completely impractical. The hallway was narrow, we'd be forever bumping into things and each other. The insulation poor, the wiring...creative. The backyard was postage stamp size, and our black lab is, well, not.

Hubby found me staring out the back window and gave me a hug. "If it was on five acres, baby, I'd buy it for you right now." And he would. I knew that. I hugged him back. "Not your fault."

With emotion clogging the back of my throat, tear pricked eyes and a heavy heart, I finally returned to the car, where I buckled in and cast one more desperate look at my Dream House. It actually hurt when we drove away. Silly, I know, to become so attached to a material object like that, especially one I spent all of ten minutes inside. It didn't make any sense.

But it was more than that, more than just a material object. That house was a dream. A feeling. It represented who I am on the inside. If I could carve out my emotions, strip myself down to the barest of my true personality, than that house would be my pure reflection. It was PERSONAL.

So that house wasn't a house, but an adventure I wanted to take, a life I wanted to live. Totally not realistic, yet...maybe that's why it felt so right. That house was a forever-moment. You know, those moments in time that somehow reach out and grab a hold of your heart, and refuse to let go? Mere, simple moments, suspended forever in memory, never to be forgotten.

On an early summer evening, I got to experience one of those forever-moments, and I am blessed. =)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Interview with Sally Stuart!

I was recently given the honor of interviewing Ms. Sally Stuart, of the ever popular
"Sally Stuart's Christian Writers' Market Guide"!

If you've never picked up a copy, you're seriously missing out! I've personally found the Christian Writers' Market Guide to be THE most helpful resource currently available to Christian authors world-wide!

Betsy: What first inspired you to create the Writers' Guide books?

Sally: I started searching out markets for my own writing from the time I started writing. Soon I was sharing that market information with other writers through writer's periodicals. Eventually one of my editors told me if I'd put a book together he'd publish it. I did--and he did--and the rest, as they say, is history.

Betsy: Will you share with readers a little bit of your own spiritual journey?

Sally: I became a Christian when I was 13--although I was not raised in a Christian home. Even though I was very shy as a young wife and mother, at one point--with three young children at home--God lead me to writing as a way to express myself in ways I couldn't verbally. I have felt his leading through all these years both as a writer and in doing the market guide to facilitate others as they follow His leading as well.

Betsy: What are some of your favorite Christian fiction books?

Sally: I love the Mitford Series!

Betsy: Who are a few of your favorite Christian fiction authors?

Sally: Penelope Stokes, Lauraine Snelling, Donna Fleisher, Bonnie Leon, Elsie Larson, Bette Nordberg

Betsy: Do you have other projects going other than the Christian Writers Guide line?

Sally: I don't have anything in the works right now. Just finishing up the 2008 market guide. It takes up most of my time, but I hope to get back to writing after I retire in the next few years. I miss the freelance writing that I did for so many years. I have written a dozen books (mostly nonfiction) in addition to the 23 editions of the market guide. I did have a western novel I co-authored published in the general market.

Betsy: Thanks for visiting with us today, Sally! On behalf of Christian writers everywhere, let me say - we sincerely appreciate you and your hard work! =)

Visit Sally and purchase her newest market guide here!

Monday, June 18, 2007

A not-so-normal bookstore experience...

FYI - Barnes & Noble is my sanctuary of sorts. If I'm feeling down, I can wander the aisles of books and feel like my friends are all greeting me by name. If I'm mad, the nostalgic aroma of paper and leather and fresh print can do amazing things to cheer me up! If I'm stuck in the dreaded, dark world of Writer's Block, just breathing the air can clear my senses and inspire new ideas!

Well, Saturday night, Hubby was out of town, so I decide to spend a little girl time in Barnes & Noble. I eat dinner with my parents then head off, solo, to my favorite home-away-from-home, idea notebook firmly in hand. I wander the aisles, make a few notes, jot names of publishing houses I didn't recognize, etc. Just doing my thing. I reach the YA section and see a publisher I thought to be solely Christian. Excited to find a YA Christian book in the middle of the secular section, (my B&N store segregates! I'm determined to ask them about that one day) I eagerly pick it up and flip pages...

Right to a graphic love scene and the repeated use of the "F" word.

WHOOPS. I quickly toss the book back onto the shelf. My mistake! Not a Christian line after all, apparently. Feeling stupid, and somewhat corrupted, I restrain from yelling "MY EYES!" and hurry to the children's corner, deeming it "safe". I'm leaving my friend a voice mail about my humorous, though somewhat depressing mistake (HELLO, that content was in a YOUNG ADULT book!!) I stumble across one of my favorite childhood series - The BabySitters Club! I notice they had created a new cover for the beloved set, so I pick one up and again, start flipping pages...

And realize the entire book is a cartoon.

They've made my favorite childhood series into a CARTOON!!??!! Complete with stick figures and dialogue bubbles. Again, I toss the book onto the shelf and try not to scream. What was the world coming to?

Seriously disturbed, I decide only something sugary and pink will cure me. I head to the Starbucks counter and find a delightful looking strawberry cupcake. Bingo! And only $1.95 (it was huge, and actually stuffed with real strawberries) Score! I buy the cupcake, and with my notebook tucked under my arm, take my plate, cupcake and fork to a table by the window and prepare to destress. I sit down, pick up my fork, open my mouth...

And the older woman in front of me (whom I've never seen before a day in my life) turns around and, dead serious, says to me, "You know, that cupcake is fattening."


I just stared at her. Then, I guess I was feeling somewhat fiesty (afterall, I hadn't actually consumed any of that much-needed sugar yet!) because I did something very unlike me. I stabbed off a giant piece of the cupcake with my fork, shoved it all in my mouth, and retorted "NOT TODAY!"

(Hey, I'm not a bad person, I promise!)

The woman, apparently not offended, proceeds to talk to me about dogs for the next ten minutes.


After finishing off the cupcake (oh yes, the whole thing!) I politely excuse myself and begin to wander the aisles again, though this time, somewhat warily. What would be next? A werewolf jumping around the sci-fi corner? Someone in the travel section hoping to throw up on my shoes? (though, I guess at that point, I was the one feeling a little nauseous myself from the giant "fattening" cupcake.)

Then I found a treasure that made the whole pyschotic trip worth it.

Pride & Prejudice for $5.95. The "B&N Classic" edition, with a really neat cover. Score! Cheered up, I continued to browse in the Jane Austen section (yeah, the gal has almost an entire bookcase to herself!) and found another potential treasure. A book by Amanda Grange, called "Mr. Darcy's Diary." Released this year, its a book in diary-entry format, from Mr. Darcy's point of view. How neat! I found other books similar in style in that same section, but this one by Amanda caught my eye and intrigued me the most. It wasn't $5.95, but I bought it anyway. (blush) What a neat idea! I told a friend later that Ms. Grange must be either a genius to attempt such an addition to a classic masterpiece...or insane. =)

Regardless, I suppose the moral of the story is...fattening cupcakes forshadow good books? Rude women pave the way to rare treasures? Pink sugar can cure disturbances from shady YA books and disrespected children's classics?

I'll let you decide! =)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Melody Carlson's done it AGAIN =)


Melody Carlson's done it again! Created a super fun read with an inspiring message you do NOT want to miss! =)

Story blurb: Willing to make the necessary sacrifices–even skipping the occasional latte–to ensure career success, 31-year-old Cassidy Cantrell "invests" in a chic pair of boots, certain they’ll make a spectacular impression and help seal the deal on a long-anticipated promotion from her Seattle employer. But reality tromps all over her expectations. Cassie’s job is abruptly eliminated–and her love life obliterated, when her longtime boyfriend dumps her for a "friend." Her self-esteem in tatters, Cassie limps home to the resort town she once so eagerly fled–only to find her recently divorced mother transformed into a gorgeous fifty-something babe with a thriving social life. Cassie wrestles with envy and apathy as she considers the dismal shape of her own physique and romantic prospects. What will it take for her to jump back into life and regain her stride? This sassy and hilarious novel leads readers on a romp through the wilds of relationships, romance, career, and spirituality, revealing that, while God’s plans may look drastically different than our own, it’ll always be a perfect fit.

Melody Carlson has published over 100 books for adults, children, and teens, including On This Day, Finding Alice, the Notes from a Spinning Planet series, and Homeward, which won the Rita Award from Romance Writers of America. She and her husband, the parents of two grown sons, make their home near the Cascade Mountains in Central Oregon. Melody is a full-time writer as well as an avid gardener, biker, skier, and hiker.

Pick up your copy here!!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

"Diva NashVegas"


Rachel Hauck's "Diva Nashvegas" was one of the best stories I've read in awhile. Its fun and inspiring, all the while keeping a voice unique to Rachel alone. If you're searching for a good, quality story about a country superstar returning to her roots, look NO further! It's available right now in local bookstores and Amazon.com!

Here's the back cover copy:

"What do you do when the past you've been skirting shows up at your door with cameras rolling? Aubrey James ruled the charts as the queen of country for over a decade. She'd rocketed to fame in the shadow of her parent's death - both of them pioneers in Gosepl music. But while her public life, high profile romances, and fights with Music Row execs made for juicy tabloid headlines, the real and private Aubrey has remained a media mystery. When a former band member betrays Aubrey's trust and sells an "exclusive" to a tabloid, the star knows she must go public with her story. But Aubrey's private world is rocked when the Inside NashVegas interviewer is someone from her past - someone she'd hoped to forget. All the moxie in the world won't let this Diva run any longer!"

Find out more about Rachel Hauck here!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Blogging by the sea...

I'm writing this blog on a laptop, from the balcony of the condo here at the beach. Yay for vacations! I'm on the third story, and its about 7:15 a.m. I've already been down to the water to run. I got up at 6, threw on my workout clothes, grabbed a bottle of water, and hit the sand. It was relatively deserted, save for a few early morning shell-seekers.

I started jogging, but the surf was loud, the air cool, and the rising morning sun gorgeous. I broke into a full run, trying not to crush too many shells under my running shoes while sprinting on the wet-packed sand. I had to run at an angle, matching the pattern of the waves so I didn't get my Sketchers wet. Finally, exhausted, I looked up and realized I was QUITE a ways from my condo!

I turned around and started back, this time taking my time to look for shells. The sea had churned up a zillion overnight, and the sand was covered with them! Some broken, but still beautiful. (I'll save that analogy is for another blog!)

I found a few treasures and carried them and my water back up to the loose sand toward my condo's pier. My calves burned and like I do every time I come to the beach, I thought about how difficult it is to walk in sand. Impossible to do with any grace, really. Then I started putting my feet in existing footprints, and found I could walk so much easier! So I hopped, skipped and jumped (literally) from footprint to footprint, making my way back toward the pier.

And I realized that if we would just walk in Jesus' footprints, and follow Him, our lives would be that much easier. Still difficult at times, still requiring effort, of course - but with more grace. If we stick close behind Him, mimicking HIS every move, rather than indulging in our carnal nature and the distractions and sin of the world, we'd make it back "home" with less difficulty.

When I followed in those footprints, and focused on where I was going, walking became easy again. When I looked off the trail, watching other people or letting myself become distracted - I'd lose my step.

Will you put your feet in Jesus footprints today?