Fiction Faith & Foodies

Fiction Faith & Foodies: March 2011

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Highland Sanctuary by Jennifer Hudson Taylor

She harbors a deadly past that could destroy her future.
Scotland, 1477

Gavin MacKenzie is hired to protect and restore the Braigh Castle. He discovers a hidden village of outcasts that have created their own private sanctuary from the world. Among them is Serena Boyd, a mysterious and comely lass who captures Gavin’s heart. The villagers have an intriguing secret, while Serena harbors a deadly past that could destroy her future. When a fierce enemy launches an attack against them, greed leads to bitter betrayal. As Gavin prepares a defense, the villagers unite in a bold act of faith, showing how God’s sacrificial love is more powerful than any human force on earth.

Wow! Can't wait to get my hands on it, Jennifer. What a beautiful cover, too! Look for Highland Sanctuary in October 2011. Now that we've taken a sneak look at Highland Sanctuary, tell us a little about yourself.

Jennifer, what does a normal workday look like for you? My normal work days are quite boring. First thing, I check email, Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo news. My husband thinks I'm addicted to the Internet and he's probably right. If I have time, I sneak in a blog post. If not, I get ready for work, drop my daughter off at school, and I go to my day job. I may squeeze in a bit of writing on my lunch hour or at the allergist lobby. They get to see me on a regular basis. I work all day in one of those thrilling gray cubicles. Then I go home and spend some time with my family. We have dinner, sometimes a Bible study, sometimes take walks, and I go to my room and write, research or work on promotional stuff. This means I must get a lot of writing done on the weekends, and I must be very disciplined about my time. I rarely watch TV.
What's your favorite food? grilled chicken or salmon Caesar salads, sushi, chicken alfredo, anything at Olive Garden or Red Lobster
If you had a Friday night all to yourself, what would you do first? Sleep?
What are some of your dislikes and likes? I dislike allergies, public places that allow smoking, jet skiing on the ocean (thought I was going to die) and root beer. I like socks on my feet around the house at all times, parasailing over the ocean, and butter pecan ice cream.
Jennifer Hudson Taylor is an author of historical Christian fiction and a speaker on topics of faith, writing and publishing. Her fiction has won awards in the American Christian Fiction Writers' Genesis Contest, and her work has appeared in national publications, such as Guideposts, Heritage Quest Magazine, Everton’s Genealogical Publishers, and The Military Trader. Jennifer graduated from Elon University with a B.A. in Journalism. When she isn't writing, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, genealogy, and reading.

Thanks so much for stopping by Jennifer. Congrats on your upcoming release ~ Highland Sanctuary!

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Rodeo Rescue by Teri Wilson

With the ink still dry on her new veterinary license, Rodeo Queen Ruth Davis returns to Angel Springs as the new town vet. It seems her plans to save the world as a veterinary missionary are on hold. But, when her first patient arrives in the arms of battered rodeo man, Dodge Atwell, she realizes God has bigger plans than she ever dreamed possible.

The last thing Dodge wants, or needs, in his life is Ruth. Her annoying habit of quoting Scripture only serves to remind him that she’s everything he’s not—Pure, innocent, good.

When Dodge returns to her clinic, with yet another rescued dog, Ruth cannot help but become fascinated with the man and his scars—the physical ones there for the world to see, as well as spiritual ones she senses lurking beneath the surface.

Could the reluctant animal savior be the hero she’s been waiting for all her life?

Available now through White Rose Publishing.

Teri's son once wrote in a third-grade paper, "My Mom loves dogs and Jesus." He may have gotten the order reversed, but the sentiment was right on target. Her romance stories are often filled with happy endings, splashes of humor and a loveable critter or two. After all, Cinderella never would have lived happily ever after without a little help from her animal friends!

Teri has been honored with numerous awards for her writing, including the Grand Prize in the 2009 San Antonio Romance Authors Merritt Contest, the 2008 Pet Sitters International Humor Writing Award and the 2006 Westminster Kennel Club Angel on a Leash Writing Award.
To learn more about Teri and her writing, visit She loves hearing from readers!

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Light the Fire by Mary Manners

Rena--a choice, a tragedy, and life-altering consequences. Cody--a loss so devastating he questions, "Where is God?" Can the two overcome a past riddled with hurt and distrust to open their hearts to hope…and love?

A choice, a tragedy, and life-altering consequences…
When Rena Dunigan flees New York City and her dream of becoming a Broadway performer, she returns to her hometown of Knoxville harboring a life-altering secret and the shame of a shattered past. When her friend, Kelsie, talks her into helping build a house through the local Shelter the Homeless program, she meets Cody and his mischievous Saint Bernard, Sammy. Cody is dealing with a devastating loss of his own, yet his gentleness and patience melt Rena's resolve to never trust--or love--again. But what will Cody think when he learns the consequences of Rena's past?  And can Cody begin to hope--and to trust--that love can bind and heal their hurting hearts?

Here's a sneak peek into Light the Fire:

“Where’s the party?” Rena asked. “This place looks like a war zone with no survivors.” Empty concrete bags and torn nail boxes littered the muddy ground.
“Kyle’s working with the others over there.”
At the far side of the concrete-block foundation, Kyle lifted a two-by-four into place, but it was the guy hammering beside him that caused Rena’s breath to catch. Dark, unruly hair kissed broad shoulders. The thin fabric of his navy T-shirt strained over a terrain of muscles as he struck each nail neatly into place with a single, confident blow.
Rena tore her gaze away. She’d seen enough guys like him in New York City—handsome guys convinced they were a gift to every woman within a five-hundred mile radius—when all they really excelled at was breaking hearts.
Rena tightened the tool belt around her hips and strode toward the two-by-four frame, ready to drive a nail. Suddenly the thunderous crash of a stampede filled the air, and she was tackled by what felt like a runaway freight train. She flew airborne, then slammed to the ground. A finale of fireworks exploded in her head.
“Sammy, no. Bad dog. Sit!” Footsteps pounded as someone sprinted over gravel and leaped pallets of brick.
Stunned, Rena shook her head to clear the fireworks and came face to face with a massive, drooling dog. Jowls drew to expose spiked teeth; he loomed as if he intended to devour her for breakfast.
Her cries ripped the air. “Help! Kelsie!”
“It’s OK.” A husky voice slid over her like warm molasses as the guy who’d been helping Kyle dropped to his knees beside her. She breathed the clean, woodsy scent of his aftershave.  “It’s just Sammy. He’s harmless.”
“Yeah, right.” Rena dipped her head and shielded her face with the collar of her windbreaker as the dog nudged his meaty snout in her tangled hair. “Just get him away from me.”
 “Sammy, no.” He gave the dog’s collar a yank. “Bad dog. Sit. Stay.”
“That’s not a dog. It’s a bear.” Rena scooted through damp grass to put distance between them. As if to mock her, Sammy followed. He sniffed her hair, and then lazily licked her face, leaving a trail of warm, sloppy saliva across one cheek.
“Yuck, I’ve been slimed.” She swiped a forearm across the gooey moisture and tilted her head to stare into the most soulful pair of doggy eyes she’d ever seen. “What’s your name, big boy?”
“My name’s Cody.”
A giggle erupted, and she covered her mouth. “I meant the dog.”
“Oh, right. Meet Sammy.” Cody offered a hand. Calluses mingled with the warmth that brushed her palm. She sat up cross-legged, brushing hair from her eyes while she waited for the dizziness to pass. “He’s a Saint Bernard who thinks he’s a toy poodle. He forgets he weighs as much as a truck.”
She let go of Cody’s hand. “Haven’t you heard of obedience school?”
“For me or the dog?”
“Maybe you should check into a buy-one-get-one-free program.”

Light the Fire by Mary Manners is available through White Rose Publishing.
About Mary Manners:
I live in the beautiful foothills of East Tennessee with my husband, Tim, our daughter, Danni, and the cherished cats we've rescued from local animal shelters...Lucky and Gus.
I enjoy the outdoors, and am looking forward to warm spring weather.  I love cultivating flowers, taking long walks with my wonderful husband, and reading romance novels while lying in our hammock beneath century-old shade trees.

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Friday, March 11, 2011

What kind of person...

What comes to mind when you hear the word…colonoscopy?

Yeah. You got it. A camera attached to six feet of rubber tube designed to…evaluate operations.

One of my family members had this procedure performed recently due to “ongoing digestive issues.”  In an effort to protect the innocent, er, I mean, injured party, I will not mention any names.

I attended as the “designated driver.” Afterwards, I waited with the patient in the doctor’s office and wondered what kind of person decides to become a gastroenterologist, one who performs this procedure on a regular basis. Ugh. I didn’t allow my mind to wander far. I just couldn’t grasp the idea.

Judging by the pictures lining her walls, the doctor was a mother, a wife, a daughter, maybe even a sister. The pictures looked real enough. The doctor breezed into the room and shook my hand. Yep, definitely real.

She slapped some pictures on the desk. “I don’t know if you’re interested in seeing these, but everything checked out okay. No colorectal ulcers. No signs of any real problems.”

No ulcers? No cancer?

Suddenly, I realized I needed to hear what she had to say on a personal level. I glanced at the pictures. They weren’t so bad. Maybe the doctor wasn’t so strange after all.

Aren’t you glad God didn’t make all of us alike? That He chose to mold each one of us differently, with special gifts and talents. With unique likes and dislikes?

I’m thankful for the gastroenterologist, for the good news she brought to the table. For her skill in evaluating the best prescription, for her honest desire to help the patient feel better and experience a better quality of life.

Do you think she wonders what kind of person can sit at a desk for hours, pounding out word after word on a computer?

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lunch anyone?

Since I started writing inspirational romantic suspense, my husband seems almost scared to go to lunch with me. I can’t help but wonder why.

The other day, I met him at Buffalo Wild Wings. He breezes in, slings the radio off his belt, does that one-handed flip with the thing, and leans down to plant a kiss on my cheek before sliding onto the opposite bench seat. “Hey.”

“Hi, honey.” I flash my best “happy to see you” smile.

“Ready to order?”

Well, I am, but he just sat down. Doesn’t he need a couple minutes to look over the menu? I shrug. “Sure.”

The waiter brings our drinks, takes our order, and leaves.  I’m the type that usually orders the same thing. At Buffalo Wild Wings, it’s always the buffalito. The meal arrives, and I dig into my buffalito. I finish my meal, ready to talk.

“So, honey. I need your help. I need a way to crash a plane.”

His eyebrows practically arch off his head. His gaze darts around the room. He sees a couple local police officers sitting a few tables away, nods, and smiles at them. He leans back and inhales, deep and shaky, lets it out slowly. Takes a long sip of water. “OK. Crashing a plane. Hmmm.”

“Yeah. Or maybe a poison.” I let that swirl around in my head for about thirty seconds. “Yeah, poison might actually work better. Just enough of a drug to make the pilot a little woozy, but not enough to kill him.”

My husband scrunches his face, does another quick glance around the dining room, and hunches his generous body lower in the bench. In the smallest voice he’s capable of (my husband only has one volume: booming), he says, “Poison. OK. Give me this afternoon. I’ll make some phone calls and find you something to work with.”

A head from the booth behind my husband swivels in our direction and frowns. The man leans towards his lunch partner and whispers, begins punching numbers into a cell phone.

My husband grabs the check, bolts to his feet, and holds out a hand. “You ready to go?”

“Sure, honey.” I smile, knowing he’s a busy guy and has a ton of work waiting for him at the office. “Thanks for your help. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

He throws a desperate glance over his shoulder, waves at the police officers, and hustles me out the door.

I love my wonderful hunk of a husband. He's a tremendous help in plotting books. Sometimes just talking things out will loosen up writer's block. And although he may cringe at my weird, come-out-of-left-field dilemmas, he never complains. Wonder where he’ll want to go to lunch tomorrow?


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wait on the Lord by Angela E. Arndt

"Wait on the Lord and be of courage and He shall strengthen thy heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord." Psalm 27:14

Waiting seems to be a major part of life, don't you think? Waiting to finish school, waiting to find someone, waiting to be fulfill a seems that most of life is spent in limbo, suspended above the next stage.

So, what shall we do as we wait? Well, the Bible says to be courageous. You know, of all the adjectives I'd use to describe myself, courageous is certainly not one of them. So, how can I make myself courageous enough to continue on? I guess I have to keep the rest of the verse in mind, "Wait on the Lord."

Sometimes our trials, extended uncomfortable - even painful - periods of life, can be beneficial. No, I'm not trying to trivialize any pain by saying, "it's gonna be alright." But we are promised that if we continue on, in His time and His will, He will strengthen our hearts. And if our hearts are strong, we can persevere.

Philippians is another of my favorite books in the Bible. It is a compact book so full of deep wisdom and practical direction. One of my favorite verses in this little gem of a book is the last part of the 13 – 14th verses of chapter 3:

“… Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me …” (Philippians 3:13b – 14a, NIV)

Written by Paul around the first century, it still holds the Truth today. On those days that I can’t move without pain, when I can’t read, write or focus on anything but the most insane sitcoms, I can look at that verse and take comfort.

Did you know that Paul has a chronic physical problem? In his second letter to the church at Corinth, he tells them that he prayed for healing, but God told him, “No.” At that point, most of us would give up, but instead of wallowing in self-pity, he made a decision to embrace his weakness. In fact, verse 10 of chapter twelve says,

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10, NIV)

No, he wasn’t crazy. He was saying that when he reached a point where he couldn’t do anything (you know you’ve been there), that’s when he let God take over. And God would always work in mighty ways. That’s the prize that Paul wanted – the life that God created just for him.

And that’s where we’ve got to find our joy when life get’s to be too much. The prize that God planned for us is just over that hill of pain, discouragement, loneliness or grief. Isn’t that great? We must just wait, have courage and faith in the One who created us and knows every bit about us.

About Angie:
Angie has a Master's degree in Education from the University of South Carolina. Before health issues detoured her plans, she was employed as a trainer and curriculum writer for a major insurance company.

But God's plan was still on track. Because of her illness-imposed retirement, she's had time to edit several newsletters and serve as Carolinas Area Coordinator for the American Christian Fiction Writers and secretary for the Carolina Christian Writers.

Angie's represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary Agency and is an associate editor with She's currently working on a series of mystery novels set in small Southern towns. She and her husband, Charles, live in the middle of a big wood with three dogs near a small town in South Carolina.

Learn more about Angie on her website

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tomorrow ~ join me in welcoming Angela E. Arndt

Angela E. Arndt
Beaten down from working with chronic pain or fatigue? Battling a long-term illness or disease? Discouraged? Depressed? Tired of waiting?

If so, check out what my dear friend, Angela E. Arndt, shares about writing through adversity tomorrow, March 2nd, in her article ~ Wait on the Lord.

See you then!

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