Fiction Faith & Foodies

Fiction Faith & Foodies: September 2012

Friday, September 28, 2012

DEVOTION by Marianne Evans - My Review

About the Book:
From This Day Forward
Christian Music agent Kellen Rossiter has everything he ever wanted: A-list clients from coast to coast, a loving wife who honors and respects him, and a faith life that’s never wavered—until now.

Juliet Rossiter has the perfect life: a rewarding schedule serving the underprivileged, a husband who loves her as Christ loved the church, and a blessed future as a mother—at least that's what she thinks.

For Better or Worse
But what happens when their rock-solid marriage begins to crumble under the weight of an unexpected and powerful temptation? How does love survive when its foundation is shaken?

'Til Death Do Us Part
When human frailty and the allure of sin deal a harsh blow to their relationship, it will take more than love to mend the shattered trust and heartbreak. It will take a lifetime of devotion. 

My Review:
From all outward indications, Kellen and Juliet appeared to have the perfect marriage. Both Christians, they share the same values and long to complete their family with children. A successful music agent, Kellen falls into a pattern of skipping worship services, choosing instead to worship at home. Juliet, active in church and various outreach opportunities, loves her husband and her life. When Kellen signs a rising star, he struggles with desire and temptation for a woman other than his wife for the first time in his marriage. 

What a powerful reminder that no marriage is immune to temptation and that we engage in spiritual warfare for our families on a daily basis. It's so easy to let life get in the way, to allow relationships to take a back-burner to jobs and responsibilities, and to slip into convenient routines. Kellen and Juliet battled realistic emotions, with plenty of angst and heavy drama you'd expect for a story line centered around temptation and broken trust. This is a story of re-commitment, renewal, and devotion to God and each other. It's also a gem of a romance. If you're looking for a book to squeeze in a couple hours on a lazy Sunday afternoon, Devotion probably isn't the book you should reach for. Don't expect to read it in one sitting, and be sure to have a box of tissues handy. Great job tackling such a tough topic, Ms. Evans!

Purchase Link: White Rose Publishing Pre-order Special Offer. Choose either a special 30% discounted pre-order price, or pre-order at the regular retail price and receive a $10.00 eBook gift certificate to use store-wide*. Every eligible pre-order will be automatically entered into a drawing to win either a Kindle or Nook. (See Pelican Book Group site for details.) Available 10/15/12
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from BTS in exchange for a fair and honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Organizing a Pantser

So, you've made the decision to migrate from Pantser to Plotter. Now what?

As a Pantser (not under contract), you have flexibility in your schedule. You may have a daily word count goal, but with no deadline, it doesn't really matter if you reach your goal. You can make up for it the next day or just extend the length of time it takes to write the book.

But what happens when you become a Plotter and submit a proposal for three books that aren't yet written? A component of the proposal requires a completion date. How do you come up with a time frame to complete the books?


A calendar?
Not the ideal solution. Especially when you're working on multiple books. There's just no easy way to adjust.

A timeline would work. One with the capability to insert tasks by book and keep a running word count total.

You can google timeline and and find hundreds of timelines. Please be sure to pop back over here and let me know if you find something that works for you. I didn't.

Instead, I chose to create a fairly basic Excel document with the month, date, book, task, words added, and a running total. I mapped out each book with the targeted word count, taking into consideration vacations and holidays. I used "fill color" to highlight different books, so that I can easily decipher the transition from one book to the next. I add my word count for each day, and adjust if necessary. According to my timeline, I should finish Book #5 by early 2014. And now, I have completion dates for my proposal.

It's not ideal, either, but it works for now.

It's your turn.
If you're a Plotter, which organizational software works well for you?

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Can A Pantser Evolve Into A Plotter?

A couple weeks ago, I alluded to crossroads and major decisions. One of them was to join up with the team at Seriously Write

Another was resolving to evolve from pantser to plotter. For those of you unfamiliar with the terms:

A pantser sits down in front of their laptop and starts typing, with only a few rough ideas for either characters or story floating around in their head. A pantser allows their characters the freedom of writing their own story.

A plotter uses a "roadmap" or outline and finds their rhythm by organizing their thoughts prior to any actual writing. A plotter logs hours in their hero/heroine's heads with fully developed character charts. They write a detailed, chapter-by-chapter synopsis before starting the book, so they know where the book is going, and how it will end.

If you'd like more detail on plotters and pantsers, check out my earlier post here.
Usually, a writer falls naturally into one category. Trying to do the opposite of what comes natural is like writing left-handed when you normally use your right. Early on, I tried both methods, but plotting frustrated me so much that I considered inflicting serious damage to my laptop.
As I celebrated with writer friends over their multi-book contracts, I knew that I'd never be able to accomplish this if I couldn't learn to plot. A key component of the proposal is the synopsis, the summary of your book. No synopsis=No proposal. 

There's nothing wrong with writing a book, submitting it, and settling in to wait for a contract. But, I want to grow as a writer, to expand my comfort zone. This pantser is determined to evolve into a plotter. I just finished synopses for two unwritten books, and I'm working on a proposal for three more. 

Want to know how? I'll share my secrets. :-)


Characters. I'm a visual person. I need pictures, so I started by finding my hero/heroine online and getting to know them. Then, I asked my character (whichever one you connect with first) these questions.
What do you want? (Goal)
Why do you want it? (Motivation)
Why can't you have it? (Conflict) 

Develop the story idea/premise. What terrible thing happened in my character's past to make them how they are today? Keep asking "what if?" until you come up with a story idea. 

Write the first few pages, expecting to delete them. Writing the backstory helped me flesh out the characters more, so that I could go back and fill in some of the blanks. Just write a bit and let words flow. It's OK. You can, and probably will, delete them. The goal is for the story to reveal itself. You may need to tweak the premise after doing this.

Picture the story sequence in your head. This helped me tremendously, probably more than anything else. Do what it takes for you to find your zone. Close your eyes. Throw in a CD. Let your dog walk you around the park. Record the chapter number, the date, point-of-view, and what you expect to happen in that chapter/scene. If you know how you want the book to end, you can skip down and work backward.

So far, this process is working for me, but the true test will be if I can actually write the book. I'll keep you posted.

What about you? If you're a pantser, how do you write proposals?
Do you ever see yourself evolving into a plotter? 

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

OVER THE EDGE by Mary Connealy ~ My Review

About the Book:
Seth Kincaid survived a fire in a cave, but he's never been the same. He was always a reckless youth, but now he's gone over the edge. He ran off to the Civil War and came back crazier than ever. 

After the war, nearly dead from his injuries, it appears Seth got married. Oh, he's got a lot of excuses, but his wife isn't happy to find out Seth doesn't remember her. Callie has searched, prayed, and worried. Now she's come to the Kincaid family's ranch in Colorado to find her lost husband.

Callie isn't a long-suffering woman. Once she knows her husband is alive, she wants to kill him. She's not even close to forgiving him for abandoning her.

Then more trouble shows up in the form of a secret Seth's pa kept for years. The Kincaid brothers might lose their ranch if they can't sort things out. It's enough to drive a man insane--but somehow it's all making Seth see things more clearly. And now that he knows what he wants, no one better stand in his way.

My Review:
Seth Kincaid is crazy. At least that's what the first two books in the series, In Too Deep and Out of Control, led me to believe. Seth suffers memory loss and traumatic stress from prior injuries and the war, and was heavily medicated. He doesn't remember much about what happened after the war, including getting married. His wife, Callie, comes looking for him at his brothers' ranch, and refuses to forgive him until he proves he's not crazy and not going to leave again.

I enjoyed the transformation of a crazy cowboy into a heroic one, but gun-toting Callie actually demonstrates more heroism in the beginning action of Over the Edge. Love the nice mix of attraction between Callie and Seth, mingled with "how can I possibly love this guy?" in Ms. Connealy's typical, sarcastic writing style. I also appreciate the subtle theme threaded through this book: Can a person lose their soul? Are they ever too far gone to be forgiven? Over the Edge is a perfect read for all ages and any time of the day!

Purchase Link: Amazon

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Saturday, September 8, 2012

What My Parents Need to Know

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13 NIV)
Hey guys. I'm Baby Huneycutt.

Mommy and Daddy are excited about finally meeting me in February, but I don't know what the big deal is. Haven't they seen a baby before? Don't we all look alike?

Besides, I see my daddy's face all the time, scrunched up and goofy-eyed when he leans down to whisper "I love you." He pats my head or sometimes tickles my feet. My mommy constantly rubs my body. I can't see her, but I know her. I'm part of her, for always.
Mommy's friend, Trish, asked friends to share their advice for my arrival. I figured who better to offer advice than me, the kid? Here goes...

To my Mommy and Daddy... 
Things are gonna get a bit noisy. I can't talk yet, at least, not in a way you understand. The only way to get your attention is to cry...for now. As I get older, I'll employ a multitude of weapons to accomplish that. Don't let the noise bother you. It will only last for a couple decades.
Things are gonna get messy. Don't buy many new or expensive clothes my first few years. Enough said about that.  

We'll all be learning parenthood together. Don't beat yourself up over your mistakes. I won't hold them against you. Stock up on a huge supply of grace, forgiveness, and hugs. I'll never outgrow them.

Stand united with each other. Otherwise, I'll play Mommy against Daddy, and that game really isn't what it's cracked up to be.
Until I can do things for myself, I'll need lots of your time. Delete the word "me" from your vocabulary. It's all about "us" now.

Speaking of us, I love feeling your arms slip around Mommy's waist, Daddy. You tickle Mommy's neck with your lips, and her whole body sighs in satisfaction. That helps me relax and feel secure in your love. I'll let you in on a little secret, Daddy. After a few sleepless nights and long days at the library, Mommy might need you to wrap her in your arms, whisper "I love you" in her ear, and ask what you can do to help her. That's a perfect way to keep your romance burning.

But most important, God created me in His image and entrusted me to you, my sweet parents. He designed parents to love Him above all, and then each other. Keep your eyes and heart focused on Him, and everything else will fall into place. 

I love you, Mommy and Daddy! It won't be long until February!

Has Baby Huneycutt covered everything? 
Any advice you'd like to add?

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Saturday, September 1, 2012

ACFW September 2012 New Releases

Kids are back in school. Does that mean more time to dig into some great reads? Check out the newest ACFW releases. See any calling your name?
Love Reunited by Renee Andrews — A soldier returns home to find the love of his life is single again, but he also learns that she’s blind…and that his confession of love may have cost her a marriage and her sight. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired).

Avenir Eclectia, Volume 1 by Grace Bridges, Pauline Creeden, Kat Heckenbach, Keven Newsome, H.A. Titus, Fred Warren and more — A human colony in the constellation of the Whale struggles to survive on an aging orbital station peopled with bureaucrats, wizards, beggars and cyborgs, and a violently unstable planet overrun with giant bugs and telepathic sea creatures. (Speculative Fiction from Splashdown Books).

Christmas Roses by Amanda Cabot — Can an itinerant carpenter searching for his father and a young widow who seeks only her daughter’s well-being find happiness in a small Wyoming mining town in the fall of 1882? (Historical Romance from Revell).

To Write a Wrong by Robin Caroll — In Angola State Penitentiary, a man is serving time for a crime he didn’t commit. Riley Baxter is an eager reporter desperate for a story to make a name for herself. When she stumbles upon the daughter of the incarcerated man, Riley sees a little too much of herself in the teen, and vows to help prove her father’s innocence. At the same time, Hayden Simpson has his hands full with keeping his little sister in line, worrying about his job as Police Commissioner, and dealing with his past emotional baggage. The last thing he needs is someone blowing the lid off his emotional bucket. (Romantic Suspense from B & H Publishing).

Material Witness (A Shipshewana Amish Mystery) by Vannetta Chapman — Masked identities, antique quilts with hidden messages, an Amish boy whose handicap makes him stronger, one brave dog, and a possible hidden treasure. This time it’s nonstop action, danger, and a dash of romance. (Cozy Mystery from Zondervan).

A Mom’s New Start by Margaret Daley — Single mom, Maggie Sommerfield, is having trouble with her son and turns to Cody Weston, a counselor, but although he brings comfort and support to her, he has a few secrets of his own. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired).

A Cascade Christmas by Mary Davis, Mildred Colvin, Debby Lee, and Gina Welborn — While Artisan Sela Fox runs her gift shop, she creates rare and beautiful guitars from redwood burl just as her husband had until his death. When land developer Evan Black shows up on her doorstep, using his humor and good looks to try and persuade her to sell the small slice of heaven she owns, she refuses to give up the only reminder she has left of her husband. But Evan is even more stubborn than the lovely Sela, and he has plans of his own. When he shares his talent for classical guitar using one of Sela’s creations, he’d not intended to woo her, but she responds to his serenade. (Romance Novella from Barbour).

Mother of Pearl by Kellie Coates Gilbert — The football coach went too far with her daughter . . . now this mother will risk everything she holds dear to bring him to justice. (General Contemporary from Abingdon Press).

The Road to Mercy by Kathy Harris — Josh Harrison, a contemporary Christian singer, and his wife Bethany face a difficult decision that also tests their faith. A rupture in Beth’s carotid artery leaves her on the brink of death even as she’s pregnant with their first child. While Dr. Ben Abrams urges her to terminate the pregnancy to save her own life, she and Josh step out on faith and decide to carry the baby to full term. During the next few months, Josh struggles with his faith, Beth hides a secret that may destroy their marriage. She also discovers a decades-old connection to Dr. Abrams that could change his life forever. (General Contemporary from Abingdon Press).

Seeking Unseen by Kat Heckenbach — It may be Angel’s wish…but it’s Melinda’s journey. Angel’s foster brother Zack needs help, but on the way she runs into her old friend Melinda, who demands to go along for the return to Toch Island. Melinda is more of an outsider than ever. A secret world surrounds her where even the bugs have magic. So when ex-con Doran Ashe offers her powers of her own, Melinda follows him despite – or maybe because of – everyone’s warnings. (Speculative Contemporary Fantasy from Splashdown Books).

Healing Love by Laura V. Hilton — What happens when an Amish midwife falls in love with an Englisch vet? (Contemporary Romance from Whitaker House).

Survive the Night by Vicki Hinze — Veteran and now Private Investigator Della Jackson is mourning the loss of her child and subsequent breakup of her marriage and now a stalker is determined to kill her, but she teams up with Paul Mason, the head of Florida Vet Net, to reclaim her life and discovers redemption and forgiveness and finally love. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired).

Trinity: Military War Dog by Ronie Kendig — With his military war dog, a former Green Beret embarks on the greatest mission of his life-but will it also be his last? (Romantic Suspense from Barbour).

Cedar Creek Seasons by Eileen Key, Becky Melby, Rachael Phillips, and Cynthia Ruchti — Romantic in every season of the calendar, charming, touristy Cedarburg, Wisconsin, with its last standing original Wisconsin covered bridge, works its magic on everyone. . .From a driven young twenty-something to a recently retired woman, each finds love when she least expects it. (Romance Novella from Barbour).

Sandwich, with a Side of Romance by Krista Phillips — She moved to Sandwich, Illinois, in search of a new life, but ended up in a giant pickle. (General Contemporary from Abingdon Press).

Stealing Hearts by Amber Stockton — Grace Baxton struggles to forgive a thief who took precious family heirlooms, yet threatens to steal her heart. (Contemporary Romance from Barbour).

With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin — World War II flight nurse Lt. Mellie Blake begins an anonymous correspondence with Army engineer Lt. Tom MacGilliver – when they’re both transferred to North Africa, will their future be held hostage by the past, or will they reveal their identities? (Historical Romance from Revell).

The Reunion by Dan WalshThe Reunion is an emotionally charged story about a forgotten war hero who discovers that the love he lost can be restored. (General Contemporary from Revell).

The Shadow on the Quilt by Stephanie Grace Whitson — Juliana Sutton’s life looks perfect-from the outside. Until her husband’s untimely death reveals a devastating truth. (Contemporary Romance from Barbour).

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