The MacGregor Legacy - For Love or Loyalty

1760 Scotland - To atone for her father's evil, Lauren Campbell agrees to help Malcolm MacGregor. By the time she realizes she's the bargaining price to free Malcolm's mother from indentured servitude, it's too late.

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.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

CFBA Blog Tour - "The Vigilante's Bride" by Yvonne Harris


The



Christian Fiction Blog Alliance



is introducing



The Vigilante's Bride
Bethany House (August 1, 2010)



by
Yvonne Harris




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Yvonne Harris earned a BS in Education from the University of Hartford and has taught throughout New England and the mid-Atlantic. Unofficially retired from teaching, she teaches writing at Burlington County College in southern New Jersey, where she resides. She is a winner and three-time finalist for the Golden Heart, once for The Vigilante's Bride, which is her debut novel.






ABOUT THE BOOK:


Montana Territory, 1884...Is Her Kidnapper the Only Man Who Can Keep Her Safe?

Robbing a stagecoach on Christmas Eve and abducting a woman passenger is the last thing Luke Sullivan expected to do. He just wanted to reclaim the money stolen from his pa, but instead, ended up rescuing a feisty copper-haired woman who was on her way to marry Sullivan's dangerous enemy. Emily McCarthy doesn't take kindly to her so-called rescue. Still, she's hoping Providence will turn her situation for good, especially when it seems Luke Sullivan may just be the man of her dreams. But Luke has crossed a vicious man, a powerful rancher not used to losing, and Emily is the prize he's unwilling to sacrifice.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Vigilante's Bride, go HERE.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wild Card Book Tour - "Whisper on the Wind" by Maureen Lang

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

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


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (August 4, 2010)
***Special thanks to Maggie Rowe of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Maureen Lang has always had a passion for writing. She wrote her first novel longhand around the age of 10, put the pages into a notebook she had covered with soft deerskin (nothing but the best!), then passed it around the neighborhood to rave reviews. It was so much fun she's been writing ever since. Eventually Maureen became the recipient of a Golden Heart Award from Romance Writers of America, followed by the publication of three secular romance novels. Life took some turns after that, and she gave up writing for 15 years, until the Lord claimed her to write for Him. Soon she won a Noble Theme Award from American Christian Fiction Writers and has since published several novels, including Pieces of Silver (a 2007 Christy Award finalist), Remember Me, The Oak Leaves, On Sparrow Hill, and My Sister Dilly. Maureen lives in the Midwest with her husband, her two sons, and their much-loved dog, Susie.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (August 4, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1414324367
ISBN-13: 978-1414324364

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Part I

September 1916

Scope of War Broadens

Rumania joins Allied Powers with hopes of shortening the war

Germany has declared war in response, claiming Rumania disgracefully broke treaties with Austria-Hungary and Germany. The Allied Powers, at the forefront including France, Britain, and Russia, welcome additional men and arms. They remind the world which country was the first to break a treaty when Germany marched into Belgium in direct defiance of an agreement to respect Belgium’s neutrality should international strife begin.

Fifteen nations are now at war.

La Libre Belgique


Chapter One

   “Oh, God,” Isa Lassone whispered, “You’ve seen me this far; don’t let me start doubting now.”

   A few cool raindrops fell on her upturned face, blending with the warm tears on her cheeks. Where was her new guide? The one she’d left on the Holland side of the border had said she needed only to crawl through a culvert, then worm her way ten feet to the right, and there he would be.

   Crickets chirped, and from behind her she heard water trickle from the foul-smelling culvert through which she’d just crept. Some of the smell clung to her shoes and the bottom of her peasant’s skirt, but it was Belgian dirt, so she wouldn’t complain. The prayer and the contents of her satchel reminded her why she was here, in this Belgian frontier the occupying German army strove to keep empty. For almost two years Isa had plotted, saved, worked, and defied everyone she knew—all to get to this very spot.

   Then she heard it—the chirrup she’d been taught to listen for. Her guide had whistled it until Isa could pick out the cadence from any other.

   She edged upward to see better, still hidden in the tall grass of the meadow. The scant mist cooled her cheeks, joining the oil and ash she’d been given to camouflage the whiteness of her skin. She must have grown used to its unpleasant odor, coupled with the scent she had picked up in the culvert, because now she could smell only grass. Twigs and dirt clung to her hands and clothes, but she didn’t care. She, Isabelle Lassone, who’d once bedecked the cover of the Ladies’ Home Journal with a group of other young American socialites, now crawled like a snake across a remote, soggy Belgian field. She must reach that sound.

   Uneven ground and the things she’d hidden under her cloak and skirt slowed her crawl. Her wrist twisted inside a hole—no doubt the entrance to some creature’s home—and she nearly fell flat before scuttling onward again. Nothing would stop her now, not after all she’d been through to get this far, not after everything she’d given up.

   Then her frantic belly dash ended. The tall grass hid everything but the path she left behind, and suddenly she hit something—or rather, someone.

   “Say nothing.” She barely heard the words from the broad-shouldered figure. He was dressed as she was, in simple, dark clothing, to escape notice of the few guards left to enforce the job their wire fencing now did along the border. Isa could not see his face. His hair was covered by a cap, and his skin, like hers, had been smeared with ash.

   Keeping low, the guide scurried ahead, and Isa had all she could do to follow. Sweat seeped from pores suffocated beneath her clothes. She ignored rocks that poked her hands and knees, spiky grass slapping her face, dirt kicked up into her eyes by the toe of her guide’s boot.

   He stopped without warning and her face nearly hit his sole.

   In the darkness she could not see far ahead, but she realized they’d come to a fence of barbed wire. A moment ago she had been sweating, but now she shivered. The electric fences she’d been warned about . . . where bodies were sometimes trapped, left for the vultures and as a grim warning to those like her.

   Her guide raised a hand to silence whatever words she might have uttered. Then he reached for something—a canvas—hidden in the grass, pulling it away from what lay beneath. Isa could barely make out the round shape of a motor tire. He took a cloth from under his shirt and slipped it beneath the fence where the ground dipped. With deft quickness, he hoisted the wire up with the tire, only rubber touching the fencing. Then he motioned for her to go through.

   Isa hesitated. Not long ago she would have thought anyone crazy for telling tales of the things she’d found herself doing lately, things she’d nearly convinced her brother, Charles, she was capable of handling despite his urgent warnings.

   She took the precious satchel from her back and tossed it through the opening, then followed with ease, even padded as she was with more secret goods beneath her rough clothing. Her guide’s touch startled her. Looking back, she saw him hold the bottom of her soiled cotton skirt so it would touch nothing but rubber. Then he passed through too. He strapped the tire and its canvas to his back while she slipped her satchel in place.

   Clouds that had barely sprinkled earlier suddenly released a steady rainfall. Isa’s heart soared heavenward even as countless droplets fell to earth. She’d made it! Surely it would’ve been impossible to pass those electrified wires in this sort of rain, but God had held it off. It was just one more blessing, one more confirmation that she’d done the right thing, no matter what Charles and everyone else thought.

   Soon her guide stopped again and pulled the tire from his back, stuffing it deep within the cover of a bush. Then he continued, still pulling himself along like a frog with two broken legs. Isa followed even as the journey went on farther and took longer than she’d expected.

   She hadn’t realized she would have to crawl through half of Belgium to get to the nearest village. Tension and fatigue soon stiffened her limbs, adding weight to the packets she carried.

   She heard no sound other than her own uneven breathing. She should welcome the silence—surely it was better than the sound of marching, booted feet or a motorcar rumbling over the terrain. Despite the triumph she’d felt just moments ago, her fear returned. They hid with good reason. Somewhere out there German soldiers carried guns they wouldn’t hesitate to use against two people caught on the border, where citizens were verboten.

   “Let me have your satchel,” her guide whispered over his shoulder.

   Isa pulled it from her back, keeping her eye on it all the while. He flipped it open. She knew what he would find: a single change of clothes, a purse with exactly fifty francs inside, a small loaf of bread—dark bread, the kind she was told they made on this side of the blockades—plus her small New Testament and a diary. And her flute. Most especially, her flute.

   “What is this book?” His voice was hushed, raspy.

   “A Bible.”

   “No, the other one. What is it?”

   “It’s mine.”

   “What is it doing in this satchel?”

   “I—I wanted to bring it.”

   “What have you written in here?”

   Instantly flushed with embarrassment, she was glad that he couldn’t see her face any better than she could see his under the cover of darkness. No one would ever read the words written in that diary, not even the person to whom she’d written each and every one. Well, perhaps one day he might, if they grew old together. If he let her grow old at his side.

   “It’s personal.”

   He thrust it toward her. “Get rid of it.”

   “I will not!”

   “Then I will.” He bolted from belly to knees, hurling the little book far beyond reach. It was gone in the night, splashing into a body of water that no doubt fed into the culvert she knew too well.

   Isa rose to her knees, the object of her gaze vanished in the blackness. The pages that securely held each intimate thought, each dream, each hope for her future—gone. Every page a visit with the man she loved, now forever lost.

   “How dare you! You had no right.”

   The guide ignored her as he resumed the scuttle forward.

   Fury pushed Isa now. That diary had meant more to her than this dark figure could know. When at last he stopped and stood beneath the low branches of a forest to scrape the wild heath off his clothes, Isa circled to confront him.

   At that moment the clouds parted enough to allow a bit of moonlight to illuminate them. And there he was, in glorious detail—older, somehow, and thinner, but the black brows, the perfectly straight nose, the square jaw, and the eyes that with a single look could toss aside every sensible thought she might have. The very man about whom—and to whom—that diary had been written.

   Her heart skipped wildly, rage abandoned. “Edward!”

   All he offered was confused scrutiny, a glance taking her in from head to foot. She took off her hat and her blonde hair tumbled to her shoulders. In the dim light he might not be able to see the blue of her eyes, but surely he saw her familiar smile, the shape of her face, and the welcome that sprang from the deepest part of her.

   The look on his face changed from confusion to recognition. Then astonishment.

   “Isa?”

   She threw herself toward him, and he received her as she dreamed he might one day, with his strong arms enveloping her, his face smiling a welcome. His eyes, if only she could see them better in the darkness, must be warm and happy. She longed for him to kiss her and raised her face, but there the dream ended. He pushed her away to arm’s length.

   If there had been any warmth in his eyes a moment ago, it was gone now, replaced by something not nearly as pleasant.

   “What are you doing here? I thought it was a fool’s mission to bring somebody in. A girl, no less. And it’s you, of all people!”

   She offered a smile. “Well, hello to you too, Edward. After more than two years I’d expected you to be happy to see me. A guide was supposed to take me to you; no one told me it would be you.”

   “We’ll retrace right now, young lady.” He took one of her hands and moved away so easily that he must have believed she would follow.

   “I’m not going anywhere, except home. If you knew what I’ve been through to get here, you wouldn’t even suggest such an absurd notion.”

   “Absurd? Let me give you the definition of the word, Isa. Absurd is smuggling someone into a country occupied by the German army, into a starving prison camp. Do you know how many people have been killed here? Is the rest of the world so fooled by the Germans that you don’t even know?”

   “Edward, I’m sure no one on the outside knows everything that’s going on, except maybe Charles. He was in France, caught behind the lines. And now he’s working with the British, not far from where you were born. In Folkestone.”

   “Your brother? Working? Now there’s a new concept. He should have talked you out of coming here.”

   Isa wouldn’t admit just how hard Charles had tried. “I found my guide through him. Mr. Gourard—”

   “Gourard! He was here—he was with us the day my father was shot.”

   “Oh, Edward.” She leaned into him. “He told me your father was killed.” Tears filled her eyes, an apparently endless supply since she’d been told the news. “I’m so sorry.”

   He pushed her away, but not before she saw his brows dip as if to hide the pain in his eyes. “Look, we can’t stand here and argue. The rain was working with us to keep the sentries away, but if we have to go through that fence when it’s this wet, we’d better go now before it gets worse. We’ve got to keep moving.”

   “I’m not going back.” If he knew her at all, he would recognize the tone that always came with getting her way.

   He stood still a long moment, looking one direction, then the other, finally stooping to pick up her satchel—now lighter with the absence of one small diary—and heading back to the grassland.

   She grabbed his arm. “No, Edward! I won’t go. I—I’ll do anything to stay. I’ve been through too much to give up now.”

   He turned on her then, with a look on his face she’d never seen before—and his was a face she’d studied, memorized, dreamed of, since she was seven and he twelve. That the war had aged him was obvious, and yet he was still Edward.

   He dropped the satchel to clutch both of her arms. “Do you think I’ll let you walk into a death camp? That’s what Belgium is, even your precious Brussels. Go back home, Isa. Your parents got you out. Before all this. Why would you be foolish enough to come back?”

   “I came because of you—you and your family. And because this is my home.”

   His grip loosened, then tightened again. He brought his face close, and Isa’s pulse pounded at her temples. But there was no romance in his eyes. They were so crazed she couldn’t look away if she wanted to.

   “Isa,” he said, low, “I’m asking you to go back.”

   Her heart sped. “Only if you come out with me,” she whispered. Then, because that seemed to reveal too much and yet not enough, she added, “After we get your mother and Jonah.”

   He dropped his hands and turned away, facing the grassland instead of the trees.

   She could tell him what she had hidden inside her flute; surely that would change his mind about the wisdom of her actions. But something held her back. If she gave it to him now, he might simply accept the flute but return her to the border anyway. No, she wouldn’t reveal her secret. Not yet.




   Isa picked up her satchel and started walking—deeper into Belgium, away from the grassland, into the wood that no doubt served a nearby village. Beneath her skirt and blouse, the other goods she carried tightened her clothes so she could barely breathe, but she didn’t stop. She didn’t even look back.

   Before long she heard Edward’s footfall behind her. At first they did not speak, and Isa didn’t care. Her journey had ended the moment she saw his face. This was where she’d longed to be. She’d prayed her way across the Atlantic, escaped the wrath of her brother and all those he worked with. Days of persuasion led to downright begging, until she’d tried going around them and contacted Brand Whitlock, the American ambassador to Belgium, to arrange her passage home to Brussels.

   But her begging had accomplished nothing.

   Yet her journey had not ended there, thanks to the whispered advice of a clerk who worked in Folkestone with her brother. When Charles went off on an errand, another man approached her and spoke the name of a guide who started Isa on the final leg of her journey to Edward’s side.

   “We’re coming to the village road,” Edward said flatly. “I was told your papers would give your name as Anna Feldson from Brussels, which match mine as John Feldson. We are cousins, and I am bringing you home from visiting our sick grandmother in Turnhout. There is a German sentry on the other side of this village, and we’ll no doubt be stopped. There won’t be anyone on the street at this hour, which is a good thing because even the locals won’t trust us. Nobody likes strangers anymore, especially this close to the border. So if we do see anybody, keep to yourself and don’t say a word.”

   She nodded. A few minutes later the trees parted and she saw shadows of buildings ahead. The rain had let up to a drizzle again, and the moon peeked out to give them a bit of light. She wasn’t soaked through but knew a wind would send a chill, especially now that the anxiety of crawling through the underbrush was behind them.

   Edward stopped. “I’m only going to ask once more, Isa, and then I’ll not ask again.”  Now he turned to look directly into her eyes. “We have enough darkness left to make it safely. Let me take you back to the border.”

   “I can’t,” she whispered. When the crease between his eyes deepened, she said, “This is where I belong, Edward. It must be where God wants me, or I never would have succeeded.”

   “God.” He nearly snorted the word before he turned from her and started walking again toward the village.

   “Yes!” She hurried to catch up. “If I told you all the ways He’s protected me so I could get this far, you wouldn’t doubt me.”

   Edward turned on her. “I refuse to hear it, Isa. God’s not in Belgium anymore; you’ll find that out for yourself soon enough.”

   His words stung. God had used Edward to show her His love to begin with, and she knew He wasn’t about to let Edward go. Had Edward let go of God, then? When? And why, when he must need God more than ever if things here were harder than she had imagined?

   They walked through the quiet village without incident, the soft leather soles of their wet shoes soundless on the cobbles. The village was so like many others of Belgium: a few small homes made of familiar brick, a stone church with its tall bell tower, and a windmill to grind grain into flour. So different from the frame homes or sprawling businesses Isa had left behind in New York, but so dear that she wanted to smile as deeply as Edward frowned.

   At the other end of the narrow village street, there was indeed a German officer stationed on the road. Isa’s heart thudded so loudly in her ears she wondered if she would be able to hear over it, or if the soldier would hear it too.

   But he said nothing, not a word, at least not to her. He looked at them, looked at their papers, then asked Edward in rather bad French why they were traveling so early in the morning, having come so far from Turnhout already.

   Edward replied that the steam tram was unreliable but that they hoped to reach the next village in time to catch it anyway.

   The soldier waved them through.

   “That was easier than I expected,” Isa whispered once they were well away.

   “Don’t underestimate other soldiers based on that one. A suspicious one with a rifle can do as he pleases.”

   But Isa was too relieved to be gloomy. “Amazing how I can still understand you through your clenched jaw, Edward.”

   Edward didn’t look at her. “We have to be in Geel in less than an hour if we expect to make the tram.”

   They made their way in silence, under sporadic drizzle and meagerly emerging sunlight. When at last they came to the next town, it was quiet until they reached the tram station, where soldiers outnumbered civilians. So many soldiers did what the rain couldn’t: dampened Isa’s spirits.

   She had a fair understanding of German, but she could barely keep up. Not that she needed to; the soldiers ignored her, speaking of mundane things to one another, hardly worthy of interest. She prayed it would stay that way, that she and Edward would be invisible to each and every armed soldier.

   A commotion erupted from the front of the platform. German commands, a snicker here and there. Silence from the civilians.

   A man not much older than Edward was forced at gunpoint to open the packet he carried, to remove his coat and hat, even his shoes. A soldier patted him from shoulder to ankle.

   Isa could barely watch and wanted more than anything to turn away. To run away. She told herself to look elsewhere, to allow the victim that much dignity, but was transfixed by the sight of such a personal invasion. Her throat tightened so that she couldn’t swallow, could barely breathe. She couldn’t possibly withstand such a search, and not just for modesty’s sake. “Edward . . .”

   “Keep your eyes down and don’t say a word.”

   “But—”

   “Quiet.”

   A tram entered the station and the man was allowed to board, everyone else soon following. Edward nudged Isa and they took seats.

   The secret goods beneath Isa’s cloak and clothing clung to her skin, as if each sheet, each letter were as eager as she not to be noticed. She feared the slightest move would sound a rustle. Carefully, slowly, she stuffed her satchel beneath the seat, wanting to take comfort that it had escaped notice. If her flute was looked at with any scrutiny . . . She couldn’t bear to think of it.

   The vehicle rumbled along far slower than the pace of Isa’s heartbeat. She wanted the luxury of looking out at the land she loved, the fields and the villages, the rooftops and steeples, the mills and the farms, but her stomach didn’t allow her eyes to enjoy any of it. At each stop a few soldiers departed, but new ones joined them. She tried not to study what went on, at least not conspicuously, but longed to learn how the soldiers chose which civilians to search. It appeared entirely random. More men were searched, but women weren’t spared. One holding a baby was made to unswathe her child, who screamed and squirmed when jostled from its secure hold.

   Isa did as Edward told her, kept quiet, eyes cast downward or upon the passing landscape that under any other circumstances would have been like a gift from the finest art palette. One hour, then two. After the third she could stand it no longer. Surely they were near their destination? But she had no idea how far Louvain might be at the rate they were going with so many stops and searches. No doubt they could travel more safely by foot without losing much time.

   Six times she nearly spoke, to urge Edward to take her out of this tram. Six times she held back. But one more search and she could resist her impulses no more.

   “I—I must get off the tram, Edward. I’m sick.”

   “Sick?”

   “Yes, I must get away from—” She wanted to say away from the soldiers but dared not in case any of them spoke French and overheard. “I must get away from this awful tram. The stop and go is making me ill.”

   “Another hour. Surely you can last?”

   She shook her head even as from the edge of her vision she saw a soldier looking her way. How do you not look guilty when you’re completely, utterly, culpable?

   Isa stood as the tram came to a slow stop at the next intersection. She kept her back to the soldiers, jumping to the ground just as soon as it was safe to do so. Then, without waiting for Edward, she walked forward as if she knew exactly where she was going.

   She walked a block, well out of sight from the disappearing tram. There she stood . . . not amid one of the lovely villages, with their ancient way of life so quaintly preserved and appreciated. Instead, she found herself at the end of a row of destruction. Crumbling homes, demolished shops. Burned ruins of a town she once knew. Aerschot, where she’d dined and laughed and dreamed of walking the street with Edward’s hand in hers.

   A moment later Edward’s shadow joined hers. “Are you positively mad?”

   “We’re in Aerschot?” she asked, barely hearing his question.

   “Obviously. And several hours’ walk from Brussels. Do you know how ridiculous that was? We don’t need any complications, Isa.”

   She faced him. “Your contact didn’t tell you what I’d be carrying, did he?”

   Suspicion took the place of the anger on his face. “What?”

   “Well,” she began slowly, “I would try to show you, but among other things, I’m afraid I’d never get everything back in place.”

   He let out what she could only call a disgusted sigh as he ran a hand through his dark hair—hair that seemed thinner and yet sprang instantly back into place, symmetrical waves that framed his forehead, covered his ears. He needed a haircut, but she found she liked the way he looked too much to think of changing anything, even the length of his hair.

   “Isa, Isa,” he said, shaking his head all the while. “I should make you take out every scrap and burn it right here and now. Do you know what could have happened if you’d been searched on that tram?”

   “Which is why we’re no longer on it.”

   “You might have warned me!”

   “I tried!”

   He paced away, then turned to stand nearly nose-to-nose with her again. Not exactly the stance she’d dreamed of when she’d imagined him at such close proximity, but it sent her pulse racing anyway.

   “You could have been shot. Do you know that? Shot.”

   She nodded. “They warned me.”

   His brows rose and his mouth dropped open. “Then why did you agree to the risk?”

   “Gourard told me there are no newspapers, no information at all about what the rest of the world is doing to try to save Belgium and end this war. How have you lived so long without knowing what’s going on? I have the best portions of a couple of recent newspapers. And I have letters, too. Letters from soldiers. Don’t their families deserve to know they’re all right?”

   “It doesn’t matter what I think. Gourard shouldn’t have taken your life so lightly or trusted such things to a young, naive child.”

   “Child! I’m perfectly capable of deciding what risks I will or won’t take. I’m the one to decide what I will or won’t do for Belgium.”

   “It was bad enough for you to come back, but to bring contraband—it’s beyond foolish.”

   “Edward, don’t be angry with me. I’ll deliver the letters and then be done with it if you like, if it’s too dangerous for us. But I won’t abandon what I brought with me.”

   “I don’t care about the risk for me. I’ve done so many things the Germans could shoot me for that one more thing doesn’t matter. It’s you. Maybe the Germans wouldn’t shoot you—being just a girl—but who knows?”

   “I’m not—” . . . just a girl. But she didn’t bother with the words. She doubted they’d convince him.

   She looked away, embarrassed. All she could think of when she agreed to smuggle the letters was how desperately she had wanted news of him and how other families cut off from their loved ones must be desperate too. She couldn’t have refused to take a chance with the letters and lived with herself. “I agreed to take the risk for the same reasons you’ve taken so many. Your mother and father didn’t teach values only to you and Jonah, you know.”

   He emitted something between a moan and a laugh, then took her arm. “We’re going somewhere for you to take out the letters. And the newspaper clips.”

   “But, Edward—”

   He looked at her then, and she could see he was not to be argued with. “I’ll carry them in my cloak. It won’t be the first time.”




Monster Armored Cars Used by British in Charge on the Somme

Called “tanks” by those who’ve seen them, Allied soldiers themselves refer to these huge traveling fort machines as “Willies.” Driven like motorcars but able to scale barbed wire, leap trenches, knock down houses, and snap off tree limbs, they are a formidable weapon indeed and will no doubt play an important role in the defeat of the Germans.

La Libre Belgique

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Reflections on 2010 ACFW Conference

As in every year I attend the ACFW Conference, it was fabulous! This year the conference had grown, in spite of a deep recession, to a record number of almost 630 attendees. While I'm only listing a few, there a some significant changes that I think will benchmark future conferences.

1) People were able to make Mentor appointments with seasoned authors who are published and who have experience in knowing what it takes to build a career in the Christian publishing industry.

2) Marketing appointments were available to those who need a little guidance in building their platform, promoting specific books, and focusing on strategies for their career goals. 

3) More press were there and available to authors than in the past. Romantic Times Magazine had a reporter who took the time to interview authors and learn more about ACFW. Christian Retail was there interviewing authors on camera and creating a YouTube video of these interviews. I also met a representative at Christian Book Distributors who wants to promote more Christian fiction.


4) Instead of having three winners in each contest category, there was one winner and a runner-up. This made the awards banquet go much faster. Also, Genesis certificates were waiting outside the banquet when it  was over rather than having each runner-up come to the stage to pick them up during the ceremony. 


5) For those who have finaled in the Genesis in the past, new label pins are available.


6) ACFW Lifetime Achievement Award was given for the first time to Carol Johnson, an editor of Bethany House Publishers. Janette Oke, who is well-known in the industry for pioneering Christian Romance with her Love Comes Softly series that have been made into the Hallmark series movies, was there to present the award. 


For a complete list of finalists and winners of the Genesis Contest for unpublished writers, and the Carol Awards, formerly known as the Book of the Year for published authors, go here


Changes to Publisher Acquisition
This is not a complete list as I could not attend every spotlight and workshop, therefore, I'm only posting what I heard at the 2010 ACFW Conference. I'm only listing specific changes since most of their boiler-plate guidelines are already on their website or typically known in the industry.


Abingdon Press - As a writer for Abingdon Press, I can tell you that they want "different". Their books are generally 85-100,000 words. They want depth to a story with deep emotion that will transform and touch readers. Even though they are open to some topics that some of the other publishers may not be, they do not want abortion, speculative, fantasy and science fiction. They may be open to stories with angels on a biblical basis. Everything must stay within the guidelines of a world Christian view and be biblical. They accept both historical and contemporary. (http://abingdonpress.com)


Barbour Publishing - This is one publisher that has always been open to non-agented submissions from unpublished writers. Starting in October/November, they will only accept agented submissions. They are still acquiring for the Heartsong line (45-50,000 words) and their longer mainstream line up to 100,000 words. They typically publish contemporary and historical romance, including anthologies up to 20,000 words. No fantasy, science fiction, or speculative fiction. (http:www.barbourbooks.com)

Harvest House Publishers -  While Harvest House has published Linore Burkhard's Regency romances, they are not open to more Regencies. Right now they prefer historicals 90-100,000 words set in America, prairie, westerns, and mystery. No young adult, chic lit, women's fiction, science fiction/fantasy. (http://www.harvesthousepublishers.com)


Summerside Press - You can pretty much go by their submission guidelines on their website. The only change is in international locations for their new historical line. Like Barbour, they do better with American set historicals. (http://www.summersidepress.com)


Tyndale - They are mostly looking for historicals set in the 19th to early 20th centuries. While they are not actively seeking Regencies, they are not opposed to them either. Tyndale is also open to women's fiction, suspense/mystery/thrillers. They do NOT want westerns, fantasy/science fiction, chic lit , or end times fiction. (http://www.tyndale.com)

To my disappointment, I did not get a chance to meet with the following publishers or attend their spotlights: Thomas Nelson, Whitaker House, Guideposts, Steeple Hill, Waterbrook Multnomah, Bethany House, Howard Books, B&H Publishing, Marcher Lord Press, Revell, or Zondervan. If you have any information you would like to share, please post it in the comment section or send it to me and I'll be happy to add it.


I've posted lots of photos of the conference on my Facebook Page.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wild Card Book Tour - "Heart of the Lonely Exile" by BJ Hoff

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

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


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Harvest House Publishers (July 1, 2010)
***Special thanks to Karri James of Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


BJ Hoff’s bestselling historical novels continue to cross the boundaries of religion, language, and culture to capture a worldwide reading audience. Her books include Song of Erin and American Anthem and such popular series as The Riverhaven Years, The Mountain Song Legacy, and The Emerald Ballad. Hoff’s stories, although set in the past, are always relevant to the present. Whether her characters move about in small country towns or metropolitan areas, reside in Amish settlements or in coal company houses, she creates communities where people can form relationships, raise families, pursue their faith, and experience the mountains and valleys of life. BJ and her husband make their home in Ohio. 

Visit the author's website.


Product Details:
List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (July 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736927891
ISBN-13: 978-0736927895

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Friends Old and New

Youth must with time decay…
Beauty must fade away…
Castles are sacked in war…
Chieftains are scattered far…
Truth is a fixed star….

From “Aileen Aroon” GERALD GRIFFIN (1803–1840)

New York City 
August 1847

  It was a fine summer evening in the city, the kind of sweet, soft evening that made the young delight in their youth and the elderly content with their lot.

  On this evening Daniel Kavanagh and Tierney Burke were indulging in one of their favorite pastimes—stuffing themselves with pastries from Krueger’s bakery as they lounged against the glass front of the building. As usual, Tierney was buying. Daniel as yet had no job and no money. But Tierney, with a week’s pay in his pocket from his job at the hotel and a month’s wages due from his part-time job at Patrick Walsh’s estate, declared he felt rotten with money and eager to enjoy it.

  It had been a good day, Daniel decided as he polished off his last sugar kucken. His mother was visiting, as she did every other Saturday, delivered as always by one of the Farmington carriages. Every Saturday without fail, a carriage either brought her to the Burkes’, or came to collect Daniel for a visit at the Farmington mansion uptown, where his mother worked.

  In truth, Daniel thought he preferred the Saturdays he spent at the Farmingtons’, for then he could visit with his friend, Evan Whittaker, and the Fitzgerald children, as well as his mother. He enjoyed his temporary living arrangement with Uncle Mike and Tierney, but often he found himself missing the daily contact with his mother and the Fitzgeralds—especially Katie.

  The thought of Katie brought a smile to his face and a sting of worry to his mind. Katie was both his friend and his sweetheart; they would marry when they were of age—that had been decided long ago.

  So committed to their future plans was he that Daniel paid little heed to Tierney’s relentless teasing about his “lassie.” The fact was that Katie Fitzgerald had been his girl from the time they were wee wanes back in the village, and he did not mind who knew it. But Katie had ever been frail, and the famine and the long, horrific ship crossing had taken a fierce toll on her.

  Daniel could not help but fret about her health. He would have thought the good, plentiful food and proper medical attention she was receiving at the Farmingtons’ would be enough to have her feeling fit by now. Instead, she scarcely seemed improved at all.

  Still, as his mother had reminded him just today, three months was not really so long a time—not with all the troubles Katie had been through. “You must be patient, Daniel John,” she had cautioned him. “You must be patient and faithful with your prayers.”

  He was trying to be both, but it was hard, all the same, not to worry.

  Shifting his weight from one foot to the other, Daniel turned his attention to Pearl Street. Although darkness was gathering, most of the neighborhood seemed to be in no hurry to return to their cramped living quarters. The sultry August atmosphere carried the sounds of children playing, mothers scolding, dogs barking, and men arguing. Most of the voices were thick with Irish brogue, although German and an occasional stream of Italian could also be heard.

  Almost as thick as the cacophony of immigrant voices were the odors that mingled on the night air. The ever-present stench of piled-up garbage in the streets had grown worse with the recent warm temperatures; the fumes from sewage and animal droppings were more noxious than ever.

  Still, there was no spoiling the pleasure of such a fine evening. Besides, Daniel was growing accustomed to the aroma of New York. Indeed, the smell rarely bothered him at all these days; it was negligible compared to the stench of Ireland’s rotten potato fields and the countless dead bodies lying alongside the country’s roads.

  “So, then,” Tierney said, downing a nut kipfel in one bite before wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, “will they tie the knot soon, do you think? Your mum and my da?”

  It was a question Tierney seemed bent on asking at least once a week, a question that continued to make Daniel feel awkward—almost as if his mother were somehow under an obligation to marry Uncle Mike. More and more Tierney’s prodding put Daniel on guard, made him feel the need to defend his mother—never mind that he secretly harbored the same question.

  “I don’t suppose it’s for either of us to guess,” he muttered in reply. “Sure, and Mother does care a great deal for Uncle Mike.”

  Tierney gave a curt, doubtful nod, turning the full intensity of his unnerving ice-blue stare on Daniel. “If that’s so,” he said, “then why is she still holding out?”

  Daniel bristled. “It’s not that she’s holding out,” he protested. “She just needs more time, don’t you see? They haven’t seen each other for more than seventeen years, after all! She can hardly be expected to jump into marriage right away!”

  Tierney regarded him with a speculative look, then shrugged. “You’re right, of course,” he said cheerfully, shoving his hands into his pockets. As if no friction whatever had occurred between them, he tilted a quick grin at Daniel. “I expect I’m just impatient because I’m wanting to see them wed.”

  Not for the first time, Daniel found himself disarmed by his quicksilver friend. The older boy had a way of making abrasive, outrageous remarks, then quickly backing off, as if sensing he had caused Daniel discomfort.

  Tierney had an incredible energy about him, a tension that sometimes made it seem that any instant he might leap from the ground and take off flying. He was impatient and blunt, decisive and headstrong. Yet he had an obvious streak of kindness, even gentleness, that could appear at the most unexpected moments.

  Living with him was akin to keeping company with a hurricane. Wild and impetuous one moment, eager and conciliatory the next, he was entirely unpredictable—and a great deal more fun than any boy Daniel had ever known.

  He liked Tierney immensely. In truth, he wished his mother would marry Uncle Mike so they could be a real family.

  “If they do get married,” Tierney was saying, watching Daniel with a teasing grin, “you and I will be brothers. How do you feel about that, Danny-boy?”

  Daniel rolled his eyes, but couldn’t stop a smile of pleasure. “Sure, and won’t I be the lucky lad, then?”

  Tierney wiggled his dark brows. “Sure, and won’t you at that?” he shot back, perfectly mimicking Daniel’s brogue.


  Avoiding Michael’s eyes, Nora stared at the flickering candle in the middle of the kitchen table.

  The silence in the room, while not entirely strained, was awkward, to say the least. Nora had sensed Michael’s impatience early in their visit. She thought she understood it; certainly, she could not fault the man for wanting more of a commitment than she’d been able to grant him thus far.

  On the other hand, she didn’t know how she could have handled things between them any differently. From the day of their reunion—Nora’s first day in New York City—she had done her best to be entirely honest with Michael. She had told him then—and on other occasions since—that she cared for him deeply but could not marry him for a time, if ever.

  In the weeks and months that followed her arrival in New York, Nora’s life had changed radically. All that she had once held dear, everything familiar, had been mercilessly torn away from her. She had lost her home and her entire family except for Daniel John. Yet much had been given to her as well.

  God had been good—and faithful. Daniel John had a home with Michael and Tierney, and she and the orphaned Fitzgerald children were safe and snug in the Farmington mansion with Lewis Farmington and his daughter, Sara—people who must be, Nora was certain, the kindest human beings God ever created.

  Aye, she had fine lodgings—even a job—and she had friends, good friends: Michael, Evan Whittaker, Sara and Lewis Farmington, and Ginger, the Farmingtons’ delightful housekeeper. There was more food on her plate than she could eat, and a fire to warm her bones for the coming winter. Had any other penniless widow-woman ever been so blessed?

  Yet when it came to Michael, something deep within her warned her to wait, to go slowly. There were times when she wanted nothing more than to run to the shelter of the man’s brawny arms and accept the security he seemed so set on offering—the security of a friendship that dated back to their childhood, the security of marriage and a home of her own. But in the next instant she would find herself drawing back, shying away from the idea of Michael as the solution to her problems.

  She needed time, perhaps a great deal of time. Of that much, at least, she was certain. Time to heal, time to seek direction for her life. God’s direction.

  And time to forget Morgan Fitzgerald…

  “The Farmingtons seem more than pleased with your work for them,” Michael said, breaking the silence and jarring Nora back to her surroundings. “They cannot say enough good things about you.”

  Struggling to put aside her nagging melancholy, Nora smiled and made a weak dismissing motion with her hand. “Sure, they are only being kind,” she said. “ ’Tis little enough they allow me to do. I suppose they still think me ill, but in truth I’m feeling much stronger.”

  “I can believe that,” Michael said, studying her with open approval. “You’re looking more fit each day. I think you might have even gained a bit at last.”

  Surprised, Nora glanced down at her figure. She did feel stronger physically, stronger than she had for months. “Indeed. Perhaps with all this fine American food, I’ll grow as round as Pumpkin Emmie,” she said, trying to ease the tension between them with reference to daft Emmie Fahey, one of the terrors of their youth.

  “You’ve a ways to go, there,” Michael said, meeting her smile. “But you are looking more yourself, lass, and that’s the truth.”

  Unnerved by the way he was scrutinizing her, Nora glanced away. “Our sons are becoming good friends, it seems.”

  Michael, too, seemed relieved to move to safer ground. “Aye, they are,” he answered eagerly. “And I couldn’t be happier for it. Your Daniel is a fine boy—a good influence on that rascal of mine.”

  “Oh, Michael,” Nora protested, “I think you’re far too hard on Tierney! He doesn’t seem nearly the rogue you paint him to be.”

  With a sigh, Michael rose from the table to put the kettle on for more tea. “I’m the first to admit Tierney’s not a bad boy. Nevertheless, he can be a handful. And unpredictable—” He shook his head as he started for the stove. “Why, I don’t know what to expect from the lad one minute to the next, and that’s the truth.”

  “It’s not an easy age for him, Michael. Don’t you remember how it was, being more grown-up than child, yet not quite either?”

  Nora could have answered her own question. Michael had never seemed anything but a man grown, had never appeared to know the meaning of childishness or uncertainty, at least not in the time she had known him.

  Returning with the kettle, he offered Nora more tea. When she declined, he proceeded to pour himself a fresh cup. “What I remember most about being a boy,” he said with just the ghost of a smile, “was trying to keep you and our lad, Morgan, out of the soup.”

  Nora glanced quickly away. “Aye, you were like a brother to the both of us,” she said quietly.

  “It wasn’t a brother I wanted to be to you, Nora,” he said pointedly, pausing with the kettle suspended above his cup. “That was your choice, not mine.”

  “Michael—”

  He looked at her, setting the kettle down between them. “Is it still Morgan, then?” A muscle at the side of his mouth tightened. “Is he the reason you cannot bring yourself to marry me?”

  “No! No, Michael, it is not Morgan! I’ve tried to explain all this before. I thought you understood…”

  His gaze on her didn’t waver. “Nora, I have tried. But I’m not blind, lass. I see the way things are.”

  Nora looked away, but she could still feel his eyes on her. “What do you mean?”

  “I mean that Morgan Fitzgerald still occupies a large space in your heart—perhaps so great a space there will never be room for another.”

  “Michael—”

  He waved away her protest, saying nothing. Instead, he went to stand at the window, his back to her. He stood there for a long time in silence. At last, he drew in a deep sigh and said quietly, “We’d be good together, I think. We could build a fine life, a good home—watch our boys grow to manhood.” Stopping he turned to face her. “Perhaps we could even have more children…”

  He let his words drift away, unfinished. As he stood there, his gaze fixed on her face, the frustration that had hardened his expression earlier faded, giving way to a rare tenderness. The grim lines about his mouth seemed to disappear, and his eyes took on a gentle smile.

  “We go back a long way, you and I,” he said softly. “And our boys—why, they’re well on their way to being brothers already. Ah, it could work for us, Nora! You must see that.” Shoving his hands down deep into his pockets, he stood watching her. “I know I cannot offer you much in the way of material things just yet, but we’d have enough, enough for us all. And things will improve, I can promise you that. I have prospects on the force—”

  “Oh, Michael, you know none of that matters to me!”

  With three broad strides he closed the distance between them. Bracing both hands palms down on the tabletop, he brought his face close to hers, his eyes burning. “What, then, Nora? What does matter? Tell me, lass, for I’ll do whatever I can to make this work for us. I swear I will! Tell me what I can do to convince you to marry me.”

  Nora remembered he had asked her that same question once before, when he was still a young man preparing to go to America. He had done his best then, too, to convince her to be his wife.

  That had been seventeen years ago. Seventeen years, and her answer was still not what he wanted to hear.

  “Michael, you know you have ever been…special…to me.”

  He said nothing, simply went on searching her eyes, his large, blunt hands now clenched to fists atop the table.

  “I do care for you…” She did. She was not immune to Michael’s appeal, his almost arrogant handsomeness, the strength that seemed to pulse from him. But more than that, and far deeper, were the memories that bound them, the friendship that even today anchored their affection for each other. She could not bring herself to hurt him, but neither could she lie to him!

  Suddenly, he stunned her by grasping both her hands in his and pulling her up from the chair to face him. Holding her hands firmly, he drew her to him. “And I care for you, Nora,” he said, his voice gruff. With one hand he lifted her chin, forcing her to meet his relentless gaze. “I have always cared for you, lass, and that’s the truth.”

  Trembling, Nora held her breath as he bent to press his lips to hers. Irrationally, she almost wished Michael’s kiss would blind her with love for him, send stars shooting through her. Instead, she felt only the gentle warmth, the same sweet, sad affection she had felt for him all those years so long ago when he had kissed her goodbye, regret brimming in his eyes, before sailing for America.

  He knew. He said nothing, but she felt his knowing as she stood there, miserable beneath those dark, searching eyes that seemed to probe her very soul. Gradually he freed her from his embrace, setting her gently away from him with a sad smile.

  “You have been through a great sorrow,” he said huskily. “And I am asking too much of you, too soon. I’m sorry, lass. Perhaps it’s just that I’m anxious for you to realize that when you’re ready, I will be here. I will wait.”

  “Oh, Michael, please—don’t…”

  He put a finger to her lips to silence her. “Enough sober talk for tonight. Why don’t we have us a stroll? We’ll go and find the lads and see what they’re up to.”

  Relieved, Nora nodded, managing a smile. “Aye, I’d like that.”

  Michael smiled, too, watching her with infinite tenderness. Framing her face between his calloused hands, he brushed his lips over her forehead. “Remember that I am still your friend, Nora Ellen. No matter what happens—or does not happen—between us, I will always be your friend.”

  Nora could have wept for gratitude at his understanding, his gentleness. “Thank you, Michael,” she whispered. “Thank you for being the man you are. And thank you,” she added fervently, “for being my friend.”

Monday, September 13, 2010

Author Cindy Woodsmall - Win Her Latest Book!

Author Cindy Woodsmall is guest blogging on the F.A.I.T.H. Blog, 4 Dont's and 1 Do. Enter a drawing to win Cindy's newest release, The Bridge of Peace.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering 9/11

Let's remember to pray for the friends and families who lost loved ones on 9/11. We haven't forgotten...

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Book Review - "The Country House Courtship" by Linore Rose Burkhard

Back Cover Description
It has been five years since Ariana Forsythe married the Paragon, Mr. Phillip Mornay. Now, Ariana's sister, Miss Beatrice Forsythe, is seventeen and determined to marry advantageously as well. (Surely Ariana's society connexions all but guarantee Beatrice's success--especially if Mr. Mornay is created a baronet by the Prince Regent! Ariana would be Viscountess Mornay.)

But the Mornays have disappeared from high society as they raise a family at their country estate. Can Beatrice persuade them to chaperone her in London? And what about her business with the curate, Mr. O'Brien, whom Beatrice had rashly promised to marry years earlier? She is too sophisticated now to settle for a mere clergyman--despite his agreeable countenance and gentle, understanding ways.

When Mr. Tristan Barton becomes tenant of the Manor House, Beatrice's hopes seem to have found their object. But when Ariana falls gravely ill, secrets come to light, motives are revealed, and pretenses that were easy to keep up in the darkness begin to crumble. As hearts are bared and truths uncovered, a country house courtship like no other cannot be far behind!

My Review
The Country House Courtship is a delightful faith-based Regency novel that will that will keep you entertained and immersed in biblical truths as Beatrice learns the lessons of life. I love how Burkhard builds Beatrice's character from a young innocent girl to a woman of high morals and principles. The transformation is gradual, but appropriate as events unfold in the story. Additionally, I enjoyed the hero, Mr. O'Brien, and his struggle to remain proper while trying to prove how much he has changed from the young man he had once been with the many blunders he made in chasing Beatrice's sister in the past. As a result, Mr. Mornay thinks of him as a nuisance, a pest, but comes to realize the true character of the man Mr. O'Brien has become. The romance in this novel is so precious, and I enjoyed how the characters allowed their decisions and view of things to stay in line with their faith-filled beliefs.

At first the way the story is written, I thought there was some head-hopping as the reader knows each characters' thoughts and points of view within each scene. As I read and became accustomed to the author's style, I realized it was indeed her writing style and it wasn't head-hopping as much as the use of omniscient point of view in a way that I've not been accustomed to in a while. It took some getting used to as I've been "conditioned" to write within one point of view per scene, but in truth, I prefer to know what everyone is thinking. I didn't find it confusing, and I rather enjoyed it, especially not having to wait until the next scene to know what someone's reaction is going to be. Therefore, the next scene is free to move the plot forward. Also, there is a great glossary in the back of the book to help those who may not be quite as familiar with Regency terms.

If you enjoy wonderful faith-based Regencies, then I highly recommend The Country House Courtship by Linore Rose Burkhard. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel!

Learn more about Linore Rose Burkhard at her website, here.

Purchase The Country House Courtship, here.

Monday, September 06, 2010

The Value of Social Networking

Social Networking can either be a time consuming waste in chasing quantity over quality or a valuable opportunity to make connections that turn into relationships that convert into real sales. While it is true the larger your follower base, the greater your opportunity for making those connections, but it is also true that target networking is more valuable than blind networking

For years advertisers have known that it is best to invest in markets that target people who are interested in their products and/or services. Target Networking works the same. You need to network and create friendships and relationships with people that have the same interests as you do and in the products and/or services you provide. You may have 20,000 Twitter followers or fans on Facebook, but if none of them have an interest in the content, products or services you provide, every time consuming post you make, or paid ad you invest in, is a waste of time. Networking may be financially free, but free of time it is not. 

Each network site operates on a different strategy, and therefore, you need to have a different strategy for your method of networking on each site you participate on. Here are a few suggestions for the two most popular network sites.

Facebook
If you have a business or as in my case, you're an author, it is best to create a unique page or group for your product that is separate from your personal Facebook profile. Here are a few reasons why:

1) You may want to post personal updates for family and close friends, photos of your children that you don't want available to the rest of the FB world--people you've never met and personally do not know.

2) Other people who do not personally know you may not want to friend you on FB, but they might be willing to join your page or group. It allows you a way to connect with them and reach them that you otherwise wouldn't have. 

3) Your personal profile has a limit of 5,000 friends, but there is no limit to the number of people that can join a page or group. 

4) You can only send one message to up to 20 friends on your profile, but you can send an update to all the people at once who have joined your page or group. 

5) You can create events on a page and invite people who have joined your page, as well as friends on your personal profile. Also, you can filter the invites based on friend lists you've created, or other groups people have joined who have also joined your page or group.

6) You can send personal messages, updates, and communicate with people--let them know you care about what is happening in their lives and accept some of the friend/page/group suggestions they send you. Share their posts and links if you think they are interesting or relevant to those who have joined your page. You are being interactive.

How to Target People Who Join Your Page with the Same Interests
1) If you choose to accept people as a friend on your personal profile who you do not know, check out their Info page and determine if they are interested in similar things, and check out their wall posts, if it is available, to see if they post offensive things, play FB games all day, or post gifts all over people's profiles. Accept people who appear to have good morals, who won't stalk others, harass you with games, who engage with others, who appear active, and who might be interested in the content of your posts, products or services. You can always suggest that a friend on your personal profile join your page or group. If anyone becomes a nuisance, you can always unfriend them.

2) If you take out a paid ad on your page or group, make sure you filter it with people who have interests in what you provide, but with whom you do not already have a connection.

Twitter
Unlike Facebook, Twitter is more about following people who post about things and news you're interested in. Each post is limited to 140 characters, no photos are allowed in posts, only links. People post a combination of statements, news, verses, quotes, personal status updates, or a list of other tweeters to check out. You can't send a private message, but you can send a direct message. You cannot prevent certain people from following unless you protect all your tweets, and require everyone to request to follow you.

While Facebook does have third-party applications, their use allows a higher chance of virus attacks and are mostly related to games. However, Twitter third-party applications are more geared toward how to better use Twitter and make the most of it rather than a bunch of useless games and time wasters like on Facebook. Here are a few of those valuable applications:



1) TweepML - Is a site that allows you to create and manage lists of Twitter users who are interested in and who post on particular subjects. This is a great way for you to "target" people to follow who may follow you in return. (http:tweepml.org

2) Tweeterfeed - Is a site that allows you to set up RSS feeds from blog sites that post on topics of interest or related to your content/products/services. You can set up these feeds to post on your Twitter account page. These will auto-post for you without you having to manually post them. You can continue to work, write, or do whatever it is you do. You still need to retweet other posts, send direct messages, and show that you are on Twitter so people don't feel neglected or that you aren't truly active or interactive. (http://twitterfeed.com)

3) Friend or Follow - This site shows who is following you and who is not following you and who you aren't following, but is following you. You can choose to unfollow people who aren't bothering to follow you back, but you must do so one user at a time. The reason you might choose to do this is because they aren't seeing anything you post anyway. Unless their posts are extremely valuable to you, it is a one-way relationship--if you can call it a relationship at all. You aren't likely networking, educating, friending, or selling to someone you follow, but won't follow you back. (http://friendorfollow.com)

4) Who Unfollowed Me? - This site allows you to see who unfollowed you and identifies a list of people are not following you back. (http://who.unfollowed.me)

5) TrueTwit - This site requires people to type in a key word to eliminate Twitter spammers. It will not accept new followers until they go through this process. Lots of tweeters use third-party applications to auto-follow people and auto-unfollow them. (http://truetwit.com)

6) Twitpic - This site allows people to post photos on Twitter, but I haven't actually used it. I'm only including it because it is the #1 Twitter application. (http://twitpic.com)

7) Bit.ly - A site that takes long links and shortens them and automatically posts them on Twitter for you. (http://bit.ly)

This is only a list of a few Twitter third-party applications as there are many more, but these are the ones I've found to be most helpful. Create lists of people who post on certain topics and people who follow you can also follow your lists. In fact, the more lists people include you on, your tweets are also being seen by those following their lists, even if they are not following you.

Please let me know if this post is helpful, and feel free to include any additional information in the comment section that you feel might be helpful to others.