Fiction Faith & Foodies

Fiction Faith & Foodies: July 2012

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Carolina Christian Writers participate in the Hope Tour 2012


Believing and trusting in a positive outcome. Anticipation for something great. 

Hope means something different to each individual. To a football player, hope is scoring a winning touchdown. To a small child, it may mean garnering the praise of a parent. To a young mother, hope means that her child will grow healthy and strong. To a newly married couple, it may represent a long life together. To a cancer patient, hope takes wings for healing. To a person who has just lost their job, hope means finding another one before their savings runs out.

But, what about a battered woman, a victim of an endless cycle of spousal abuse? Sometimes the abuse is physical, but it could also be psychological, financial, or even sexual. What hope does she have? For her, hope seems forever lost, unattainable, always just out of reach.

Did you know: 

  • Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women in the United States - greater than car accidents and muggings combined. 
  • A woman is battered every 15 seconds in the United States. 
  • Between 85%-95% of domestic violence victims are women. 
  • The health related costs of domestic violence exceed $5.8 billion each year. 
  • Approximately 1 in 3 adolescent girls in the United States is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse in a dating relationship 
  • On average 3 to 4 women are killed every day by their husbands or partners.                    
              (Stats taken from:

Abused women can find refuge, a place of hope. Cabarrus Victims Assistance Networks (CVAN) provides a safe shelter for battered women. In 2011, CVAN provided safety, shelter and support to almost 1,400 battered women and their children.

To a resident of CVAN, hope means a safe and comfortable environment for a mother and her children, one where she doesn’t continually have to look over her shoulder, where she can get her first good night’s sleep, without worry or fear. It’s a place to release the guilt and break free from the pattern of coercive control. It’s a place where the sound of yelling or the impact of a fist fades over time. Hope is finding confidence, empowerment, and a renewal of identity. It’s a place where she’ll find support, encouragement, and legal advocacy. Where she’ll hear the sound of her children’s laughter again.

On Saturday, July 14, the Carolina Christian Writers (CCW), a local chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers, came together at the K-Mart in Concord to provide a glimmer of hope for the residents of CVAN. Seven authors sold and signed books, but CCW’s primary purpose was to bring awareness and inform people about CVAN. A list of CVAN’s needs, simple everyday items like paper towels and cleaning products, was distributed. Shoppers purchased enough items to fill the back of an SUV, and others donated funds to supplement CVAN’s needs.

Abuse is not limited to racial, social or economic borders. What if one of these battered women was your sister, your daughter’s best friend, or even your neighbor? What could you do to offer hope? 

“Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” ~Psalm 31:24 NIV

For more information on CVAN, click here. 24-Hour Hotline • 704.788.2826
For more information on Carolina Christian Writers, click here.

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Welcome Mary Manners and WISDOM TREE

Sometimes the last thing we think we need is exactly what God has planned

After the death of his parents, Jake Samuels has enough on his plate—including a fledgling church to lead and a mischievous younger brother to raise. The last thing he needs is a rambunctious woman to contend with.

Carin O'Malley is dealing with the death of her brother and a new job as an English teacher at East Ridge Middle School where Corey Samuels reigns as King of Chaos. The last thing she needs is to fall in love...especially with a handsome and complicated preacher like Corey’s brother Jake.

But when Corey's antics toss Carin and Jake together, the two must draw from God’s wisdom to find refuge in His perfect plan.

This is a Tour Wide Giveaway-
Please enter by Rafflecopter BELOW THIS POST. Each commentator from each stop will be entered into a grand giveaway for a chance to win one of the two prizes up for grabs - a $50 Gift Card (Amazon/BN - winners choice) and a print set of (5) books (Wisdom Tree when it debuts in October). Winners will be chosen August 14th.

I'm so excited to welcome Mary Manners back to Heart racing, God-gracing Romance with her fall release, Wisdom Tree

Welcome, Mary, and congratulations!! Thank you so much for joining us today.

Mary Manners is an award-winning author of inspirational romance who lives in the beautiful foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee with her husband and daughter. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and Smoky Mountain Romance Writers.
In her free time, she likes to garden, take long walks with her husband, and read romance novels in a hammock beneath century-old shade trees.

Mary invites us to get into the holiday spirit with her post, Christmas Lights. So, light your pine scented candles, flick your fave tunes on, and kick back and relax with this sweet devotional.

Christmas Lights

You are my lamp, oh Lord, the Lord that turns my darkness into light. ~2 Samuel 22:29(NIV)

Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. ~Psalm 43:3(NIV)

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. ~Psalm 119:105(NIV)

When the subject of Christmas gifts comes up, most people think of packages wrapped in colorful paper and shimmery bows, sitting under the Christmas tree, just waiting to be opened.
When I think of Christmas gifts, I think of my dad, who passed away ten years ago this holiday season. He was a man of many gifts, including the joy he shared for the traditions of Christmas.
Dad loved light—especially the light that brightened a fresh-cut pine tree in honor of the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Each December first, like clockwork, Dad piled his family—all seven of us—into our Chevy station wagon and drove us to the tree lot where, shivering in the Chicago-winter cold, we oohed and aahed over each and every tree until we found the perfect one.
Once home, with the tree safely arranged in a metal stand and watered, Dad climbed the ladder to our attic (a mysterious place, indeed) where the Christmas lights were stored. He’d lower the battered cardboard box (re-used, season after season) to the floor below and dust it off.
Then my brother and sisters—five of us—gathered ’round him in the living room and waited, eyes huge with wonder, as he carefully unraveled the strands of lights and tested each one. No matter how stubborn the bulbs, dad always managed to get them working.
Beautiful, vibrant colors turned the room to a kaleidoscope, dancing over walls and windows with the feel of winter magic. One by one, my siblings and I each took the place of honor beside Dad, helping him to adorn the tree with light. Pine sap clung to our tiny fingers, but we didn’t care. All the while, our hearts soared with happiness and child-like wonder.
Finally, Dad gently gathered the Christmas star from the box. Hushed with awe, we waited while Dad chose one of us to hoist to his shoulders for the greatest thrill—placing the treasured beacon of light—the Baby Jesus Star—atop the highest limb. Somehow, Dad always sensed who needed that extra touch of attention, and there was never any argument.
With the lights in place (just in time for nightfall—always) we circled the tree and held hands to sing Silent Night. In the earliest years, the tune didn’t always carry and the words were sometimes off, but Dad didn’t mind. He knew we understood what the tree—and especially the lights—symbolized…the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus. The most wonderful gift of all!

It’s sometimes easy to get lost in the tangle of this world—the troubles and stresses that everyday life presents. Sometimes we feel as if the darkness will consume us. During these most trying times, we must move toward the light, and the Father who loves and guides us. He will remove the darkness and fill us with His holy light.

Heavenly Father,
I pray you take the darkness and fill me with light. I ask to be a beacon to others, that they may know Your goodness and the hope You bring. Please guide and keep me. Amen

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Sharing my Review of TAPESTRY OF TRUST by Mary Annslee Urban

The Blurb:
Isabelle had always envisioned Charlie Hamilton as the hero depicted in the romantic tapestry hanging in the Hamilton home. Then Charlie abandoned her to make decisions no one should make alone. Now, six years later, Charlie's back, and despite Isabelle's best efforts, she can't ignore the longing his presence reignites. Charlie wants a second chance, but can Isabelle trust the man he's become? Can she surrender her threadbare heart long enough for God to weave Isabelle's own happily-ever-after tapestry?

My Review:
What a powerful debut story by Mary Annslee Urban. Here's an author who shares a story rich with emotions, specifically the pain, grief and destruction caused by deception. Make sure you have a tissue handy!

A deaf cat reintroduces the main characters, Charlie and Isabelle, after six years. Immediately, you knew this would be a story of forgiveness and healing, of second chances and extending grace. Without giving away any spoilers, I really enjoyed how the author threw in different twists, taking you in a different direction than what you expected. Ms. Urban created strong secondary characters as well, like Mrs. Hamilton, Charlie's mother, and Brenda, Charlie's secretary, who played a major role, especially toward the end.

If you prefer more sensuality in your reading, more sexual tension, this story probably isn't for you. But, if you like stories with a powerful tug to your heart, definitely go for this one! Overall, this is a great read, and I absolutely love how Ms. Urban correlates the title, Tapestry of Trust, into the story. Well-done!

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Want to write inspirational romance?

Join Christian authors

Myra Johnson & Dora Hiers
for an interactive discussion on writing inspirational romance

Saturday, July 21 from 2-3:15 p.m.
Mountain Island Library
4420 Hoyt Galvin Way, Charlotte, NC

Get signed copies of books from both authors after the program. Hope to see you there!

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Book & Trailer Showcase Tours

I'm thrilled to host inspirational book features with 
Book & Trailer Showcase.

Make sure you stop by on Thursday, July 26, to celebrate with 
Mary Manners 
and her upcoming fall release with White Rose Publishing, Wisdom Tree.

On Thursday, August 2, come on back to find out more about 
Marianne Evans 
and her upcoming fall release with Harbourlight Books, Devotion.

This is a BTS Tour Wide Giveaway. Commentors from each stop will be entered into a grand giveaway for a chance to win one of the two prizes up for grabs - a $50 Gift Card (Amazon/BN - winners choice) and  a print set of (5) books (Wisdom Tree when it debuts in October). Winners will be chosen August 14th.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Thanks givings

"give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." ~1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV

This was the theme at our community group get-together on Sunday. Now I generally consider myself a joyful, thankful person. A glass full kinda gal. Maybe that's where I made my mistake. As we were talking about different situations that people were going through, and how hard it was to be thankful, maybe I was, um, shall we say, too self-righteous. Patting myself on the back.

I can tell you that was the wrong response. God has smacked me in the face this week. My attitude is a little different this morning, thanks to a little one-on-one time with Him.

Allow me to share my thanks givings for this week:

~the cute way my two-year-old grandson says "I love you."

~watching my hubby eat a bucket of seafood. I adore the concentration on his face as he breaks apart crab legs. He was so proud of himself for not getting anything on his shirt. Why didn't I take a picture?? :-)

~even though the screen on my cellphone shattered this morning, it still works AND the contract expires this month, so I can get a new one.

~an updated prescription for contact lenses. I can see again!

~a busy season with my writing.
  • I entered a short romance (1000 words) in the Create Romance Contest for Family Fiction, and it PASSED to the second round! Yay!! Check it out, would you? Vote UP if you like it. You can vote UP or DOWN for as many stories as you want to, but only once for each entry.
  • My publisher, White Rose, contracted with Goddess Fish to promote my Marshals of Journey Creek series. Goddess Fish set up blog stops at six different sites, so I've been frantically writing blog posts for each hostess. What a blessing!
  • A hugely successful fundraiser for CVAN last Saturday. Shoppers purchased enough items to fill up the back of an SUV and many donated funds to supplement CVAN's needs! And I got to meet Lynette Eason and Amy Clipston!! Check out this great group of ladies!! What an honor to be part of the Carolina Christian Writers!
  • I have lost count of how many library presentations I have done this summer. I'm so thankful for the libraries, the friendly staff, and new readers. I surely couldn't do this without the support and encouragement of my hubby, who never complains about spending his evenings in the libraries. Quite a feat for a non-reader!
~my younger son is moving into an apartment this weekend. He'll be a senior and this will be his first move off campus. I'm excited for him, but a little sad at the same time. He hasn't lived with us in so long, we're already "empty nesters," but this time he'll be taking his furniture and we're donating some of ours. This move seems so permanent...

Love you, Scott!

"give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV

Yep. Next time I won't be so cocky. 
What about you? Care to share your thanks givings?

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Questions about writing inspirational romance?

Join Christian authors
Myra Johnson & Dora Hiers
for an interactive discussion on writing inspirational romance

Tuesday, July 17 from 5-6:15 p.m.
Beatties Ford Road Library
2412 Beatties Ford Rd, Charlotte, NC

Get signed copies of books from both authors after the program. Hope to see you there!

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sharing my Review of GROOM WANTED by Debra Ullrick

The Blurb:
It's a perfect plan—best friends Leah Bowen and Jake Lure will each advertise for mail-order spouses in the papers, and then Jake will help select Leah's future husband, while Leah picks Jake's bride-to-be! Surely the ads will find them what they seek: a wife who'll appreciate Jake's shy charm and a groom who'll take Leah away from the Idaho Territory she detests. When the responses to the postings pour in, it seems all Leah's and Jake's dreams will soon come true. But the closer they each get to the altar, the less appealing marrying a stranger becomes. Is it too late to turn back—or to turn around and find the happiness they truly seek together, at last?

My Review:
Leah rejected best friend Jake's "marriage of convenience" proposal, intent on finding a husband from New York so she could leave behind the awful nightmares of her father's death. She didn't consider that those bad memories would follow her. Jake's ad garners more responses, but Leah figures she hit the jackpot when wealthy Fitzwilliam Barrington and his sister arrive to determine if Leah is suitable marriage material. Jake and Leah's friendship evolves into something stronger and deeper as they recognize and appreciate the endearing qualities in one another.

Historicals aren't typically my genre of choice, but Debra Ullrick's turning me into a historical lover. I enjoyed getting to know Leah and Jake, real next-door-neighbor-type characters, and journeying with them as they discovered who their hearts belonged to. At times, I wanted to have a serious talk with Leah. How could she be so willing to marry a snobby, arrogant Fitzwilliam when sweet Jake was right there in front of her? Ms. Ullrick crafted a book with great conflict and a powerful, timeless message, that God's plans are so much better than we could ever imagine. I would have liked more physical tension throughout the book, but that's just me. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and look forward to the next one!

Purchase Link ~ Love Inspired Historical Available August 2012

Debra Ullrick is a multi-published, award-winning author. For years, Debra has lived on a working cattle ranch in the Colorado Rocky Mountains with her husband of thirty-seven years and her daughter, which brings authenticity to her books that are set in the country and in the historical West. Besides following Christ, her passions include: reading, writing, drawing Western art, feeding wild birds, animals, and watching Jane Austen movies, COPS, Little People, Big World, and Castle. She is also a ginormous fan of classic muscle cars, mud-bog racing and monster trucks.

Debra loves to hear from her readers. You can find her online at: Facebook, Twitter and Shoutlife. Or you can contact her through her website at While there, check out Debra's other available titles.

Disclosure: I received this book from the author for a fair and honest review.

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Hope Tour 2012

Carolina Christian Writers (CCW) is hosting a multi-author book signing in participation of 2012 Magnificent Hope Tour project to benefit Cabarrus Victims Assistance Network (CVAN).

Authors Amy ClipstonLynette EasonJennifer FromkeDora HiersMyra JohnsonJennifer Hudson Taylor, and Mary Annslee Urban will have books available for signing.
Saturday, 7/14/2012
1-3 p.m.
KMart, 545 Concord Parkway, Concord, NC
How can you participate? 
Just purchase one or more items from CVAN's wishlist and bring it to the author table before 3 p.m. CCW will deliver your generous donations to CVAN after the event. 

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Sharing my review of BRENNA'S CHOICE by Mary Manners

The Blurb:
When Brenna Langdon reluctantly returns to Collins, Oklahoma for her best friend's wedding, the last person she expects to run into is Luke Morgan...the rancher who befriended her years ago following her parents' sudden death. Luke is strong, gentle, and impossibly handsome...just what Brenna needs. Except for one thing--he loves his ranch...and the slow-paced solitude of Collins. Painful memories of her parents' death and the agony of living in Collins with a cruel aunt and uncle have made Brenna vow to never return...except for the wedding. Three days, and she's out of there--back to her high-powered, fast-paced marketing job in Chicago. But Luke has other chase painful memories away and bring Brenna home to Collins, for good.

My Review:
Short, sweet, and a perfect pick-me-up!

A short read packed with great sensory details, like Brenna's impatience as she waits to exit the plane (we can all relate, right?) and the smells you'll find on an Oklahoma ranch. Brenna only remembers the bad times in the small city she left behind, but Luke helps her rediscover the gems in Collins. At 23 pages, you may feel the romance is a bit rushed, but it's the perfect size to pack a happily-ever-after into your lunch hour!

Purchase Link ~ White Rose Publishing

Disclosure: I received this book from the author for a fair and honest review.

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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth!

As Americans, we celebrate the Fourth of July. Independence Day. The freedom to be our own country. The freedom to:

Worship where we choose
Work where we choose
Love and marry whom we choose
Choose our place of residence
Wear our own clothing style
Eat and drink what we like
Spend money

So many more freedoms not listed. Things we take for granted. Small things, sure, but so many others can't make these same choices. Even with all the uncertainty with our economy, the conflicts between Democrats and Republicans, we can still choose how our country operates.

Celebrate Independence Day with family and friends over barbecues, baseball games and fireworks. Live. Love. Laugh. Adopt an attitude of gratitude and pray for our leaders.

Thank you to all who fought, and continue to fight, for our freedoms!
Thank You, God, for allowing me to live in a free country. Help me not to take for granted the price that was paid for my freedom. Help our leaders make the right decisions for our country and to look to You for guidance.

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Monday, July 2, 2012

ACFW July 2012 New Releases

Simmering in hundred degree temperatures? Grab a book and head inside for cool air and sweet reading! 

Tidewater Inn by Colleen Coble — Welcome to Hope Beach Where the sea breeze is fresh, sun sparkles on sand . . . and trouble appears with the force of a hurricane. Inheriting a beautiful old hotel on the seaward shore of Hope Island could be a dream come true for Libby. The inn cries out for her restorer’s talent and love of history. She’s delighted to learn of family she never knew she had. And the handsome Coast Guard lieutenant she’s met there on the island could definitely be the man of her dreams. But Libby soon realizes that only way she can afford the upkeep on the inn is to sell it to developers who are stalking the island.… (Romantic Suspense from Thomas Nelson).

Love Finds You in Mackinac Island, Michigan by Melanie Dobson — Elena Bissette must choose between her family’s fortune and her heart’s desire. (Historical Romance from Summerside Press (Guideposts).

Oregon Outback by Elizabeth Goddard — Danger in life and love dog the trail of four rugged brothers. FBI agent Jonas vows to protect a dead man’s daughter. Rancher Carver goes head-to-heart with a female sheriff. Fearless Lucas is tamed by a beautiful bookkeeper. Justin seeks a fugitive heading too close to home-and heart. Will love be the brothers’ true calling? (Romantic Suspense from Barbour).

Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green — Charlotte Waverly leaves a life of privilege, wealth–and confining expectations–to be one of the first female nurses for the Union Army, only to find that her sweetheart disapproves of her newfound independence, forcing her to choose between love and duty. (General Historical from River North (Moody).

A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California by Keli Gwyn — A willful widow and a determined merchant find themselves fighting for a town’s business-and against their growing attraction. Who will win this contest of wills? (Historical Romance from Barbour).

Lakeside Family by Lisa Jordan — The one man she never wanted to see again is the only one who can save her daughter’s life. (Romance from Love Inspired).

Through Rushing Water by Catherine Richmond — Sophia has been proposed to so many times, she doesn’t recognize true love when it hits her. (Historical Romance from Thomas Nelson).

When Hope Blossoms by Kim Vogel Sawyer — Amy Knackstedt needs a fresh start; Tim Roper wants to escape his past. Will the crossing of their pathways lead to healing? (General Contemporary from Bethany House).

Decision to Love (Sacred Vows, book 3) by Michelle Sutton — Eight years after Hope and Tony’s affair ended, new problems arise that seem to have a ripple effect, some of which began back when they first met. (General Contemporary from Sword of the Spirit Publishing).

The Doctor’s Devotion by Cheryl Wyatt — When he fled Eagle Point years ago, former Air Force trauma surgeon Mitch Wellington left only broken dreams behind. Now he’s back with a new dream-opening a trauma center in the rural area and saving lives. He hopes to hire the quick-thinking nurse who impressed him during an emergency. But Lauren Bates lost her faith and doesn’t believe she deserves to help anyone. It’ll take all Mitch’s devotion to show Lauren that sometimes the best medicine is a combination of faith, community-and love. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired). See my review.

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on ACFW Fiction Finder.

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Sunday, July 1, 2012

You may only have this moment...

What will you do with it?

10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) by Matt Redman

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