Path of Freedom, Quilts of Love series

1858 North Carolina - When Quakers Flora Saferight and Bruce Millikan embark on the Underground Railroad, they agree to put their differences aside to save the lives of a pregnant slave couple..

Highland Sanctuary, (Highland series - Book 2)

1477 Scotland - A chieftain heir is hired to restore Briagh Castle and discovers a hidden village of outcasts who have created their own private sanctuary from the world.

Highland Blessings, (Book 1 - Highland series)

1473 Scotland - The story of a highland warrior who kidnaps the daughter of his greatest enemy and clan chief to honor a promise to his dying father.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Review - "Fire Dancer"

When a serial arsonist known as The Fire Dancer strikes in the wilds of Arizona, Tess Masterson finds she’s jumping out of planes into roaring, angry wildfires more often. When her family ranch is threatened, Tess swallows her pride and turns to an old rival, Chase Huston, for help.

This was the first book I have read by Colleen Coble. Her writing style is fresh and fast-paced. The tension between the hero and heroine is strong until they begin to forgive and see the good in each other.

There is no lack of conflict in this plot. As soon as Coble introduces one problem, there is a new problem in each succeeding chapter, which builds the suspense of the plot. At one point I began to wonder, how much more can these characters take? Simultaneously, Coble layers the book with sections of the villain’s insanity. I liked the way the main story is written in third person, while the villain’s point of view is always in first person. There are a few hidden surprises at the end as one would hope in a suspense thriller and Coble doesn’t disappoint.

Toward the end, Chase’s faith becomes clearer, but I am never sure where Tess stands in her faith. Her character grows and matures into forgiving Chase and comes to peace with her past. Overall, this book is a very entertaining and enjoyable read. I give “Fire Dancer” four stars.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving at Home

We had planned to spend Thanksgiving lunch with my family and dinner with my in-laws in Greensboro, NC. Monday night my daughter begins vomiting and running a fever. On Tuesday we go to the doctor and discover that she and my husband both have two different viruses and are very contagious. Even though I haven't been sick, I could still be contagious during my incubation period. We were advised to stay home.

Here we are at home. The three of us are making the best of it. My husband is feeling better now that he has been on his antibiotics for two days and he's cooking us a wonderful Thanksgiving meal. I pitch in wherever and whenever I feel I'm not getting in the way. I can't help but miss the rest of our family though.

Being home has helped me have more time to work on my WIP manuscript. I finished a new chapter last night. I have about sixty more pages to write and I'll be finished with my first draft. Maybe I can get half of them written before I go back to work on Monday. That would be fabulous! I wish everyone a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

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Monday, November 13, 2006

"Redeeming Love" -- WOW!

I couldn't resist telling you about this book. It is awesome!!! I cried in the Prologue before I even started Chapter One. It made me see God's love in a whole new light. One day I hope to write like Francine Rivers. This is the first book I have read by this author and I'm eager to know if her other books are nearly as good. This book reaches deep down into the soul of the reader, the hero, and the heroine. The characters seem very real and will stay with you long after you read their story.

At the end Francine Rivers tells you why she wrote this story. I cried again. This time because the author's life touched mine. There were so many areas of her life that were so similar to mine that I felt a real connection with Francine. I've never met her, but I hope to one day have the privilege. Like Francine, I began writing secular books, and like her I put my writing above everything else--my husband, my daughter, even God. I didn't realize it at the time, but writing is all I wanted to do. In her bio, Francine mentions that she longed to go off to a remote place away from family and everyone to be alone with her typewriter. I was the same way. God changed me and He changed her. There is one major difference between Francine and myself. She already had a writing career in fiction, while I am still trying to establish mine. Now that I have switched to writing Christian fiction, I manage my time so that writing is fourth in my life behind God, family, and a paying job. If God is willing, one day I hope my writing will move into third place as my paying job.

Sarah is sold into prostitution at the tender age of eight. She loses her identity in every way possible. She is renamed Angel and told how to speak, how to dress, how to express herself, and how to please. The lifestyle that we can only imagine from a brief rated R movie becomes her reality against her will. She believes she can't love and will never care about anyone ever again. When people meet her, they believe she is cold on the outside, and she keeps her thoughts cold as well, until God sends Michael Hosea into her life.

Michael is a Godly man who wants to please the Lord and has saved himself for the right woman. When the Lord chooses a prositute for him, he can hardly believe it. God teaches him patience, to face adversity from loved ones, and how to let go of a love he had fought to win.

I don't want to give away the wonderful blessings of this story, but it is based on the book of Hosea in the Old Testament, where God told a Prophet named Hosea to marry a prostitute named Gomer. After reading "Redeeming Love," I'll never be able to read the Book of Hosea in the same way again. I could hardly put this book down. I give "Redeeming Love" five plus stars out of five. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Write in the Right Place

On Friday afternoon my husband decided he wanted to go to the mountains for a spur-of-the-moment weekend getaway. It sounded wonderful. We had not been to the mountains in a while and I love going up there. Whenever we get the chance we try and see his grandmother in Bryson City near the Cherokee reservation in North Carolina.

As I was packing, I fretted over whether or not I should take my laptop. I work full-time and so I have to squeeze in my writing time wherever and whenever I get the chance. In the past, I would get in a few hours of writing time while my husband does the driving. My husband said he didn't mind if I take it, but the idea of bringing it just didn't seem right.

Lately, the Lord has been dealing with me about spending (quality) time with my family. I wouldn't be able to give them my full attention if I was in the middle of a scene and I had to cut it short for dinner, a scenic view, conversation, etc. I would be torn with guilt and thoughts that I was either short-changing my family or my writing. I know, because I've dealt with these feelings in the past.

I decided to leave the laptop at home. As a result, I got no writing completed over the weekend, but I did have a wonderful time with my family and created new memories that I will always cherish. I came home with a new writing reference book, new story ideas, and had developed more in my spiritual growth.

In putting my writing aside for a few days, I was able to see some things that the Lord has been trying to show me. At one time in my life when I was writing for the secular market, I put my writing above everything else in my life--including God and my family. I didn't realize I was doing this, but now I see it. I was obsessed with writing and becoming published. In some ways it became an idol in my life and the Lord was not pleased. Therefore, He took away my desire to write and for three years I didn't write at all. Only after I changed my attitude, restored God at the head of my life where He belongs, and experienced a renewing of my faith, did the desire to write come back. Now I am trying to establish my writing voice as a CBA author instead of an ABA author.

My latest manuscript was rejected by Steeple Hill because they felt it didn't have enough faith interwoven in the storyline. My agent suggested that I could retool it for the ABA market. Over the weekend, the theme of reaching more people outside of the ministry keep being reiterated during various conversations with people I had just met. The point is that most people who are already going to church and reading Christian fiction and nonfiction have already been touched by God or they wouldn't be going to church and reading Christian material. Could I reach more people in the secular market? How much faith would I be allowed to write in my books? Could I be a bridge writer that crosses over to both the CBA and ABA markets?

While I don't have the answers to these questions, I am now considering them and searching....

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