Wednesday, January 30, 2008

"A Passion Most Pure" by Julie Lessman

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Passion Most Pure
(Revell January 1, 2008)
Julie Lessman

Julie Lessman is a debut author who has already garnered writing acclaim, including ten Romance Writers of America awards. She is a commercial writer for Maritz Travel, a published poet and a Golden Heart Finalist. Julie has a heart to write “Mainstream Inspirational,” reaching the 21st-century woman with compelling love stories laced with God’s precepts. She resides in Missouri with her husband and their golden retriever, and has two grown children and a daughter-in-law. A Passion Most Pure is her first novel.

She's found the love of her life. Unfortunately, he loves her sister ...As World War I rages across the Atlantic in 1916, a smaller war is brewing in Boston. Faith O’Connor finds herself drawn to an Irish rogue who is anything but right for her. Collin McGuire is brash, cocky, and from the wrong side of the tracks, not to mention forbidden by her father. And then there’s the small matter that he is secretly courting her younger sister. But when Collin’s affections suddenly shift her way, it threatens to tear Faith's proper Boston family apart.Refusing to settle for anything less than a romantic relationship that pleases God, Faith O'Connor steels her heart against her desire for the roguish Collin McGuire. Collin is trying to win her sister Charity's hand, and Faith isn't sure she can handle the jealousy she feels. Full of passion, romance, rivalry, and betrayal, A Passion Most Pure is Book 1 of the Daughters of Boston series.

Monday, January 28, 2008

"Awaken My Heart" by Diann Mills

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Awaken My Heart
Avon Inspire (February 5, 2008)
DiAnn Mills


Award-winning author, DiAnn Mills, launched her career in 1998 with the publication of her first book. She is the author of numerous titles including novels, novellas, and a nonfiction. In addition, she's written several short stories, articles, devotions, and has contributed to several nonfiction compilations.DiAnn believes her readers should "Expect an Adventure." Her desire is to show characters solving real problems of today from a Christian perspective through a compelling story.Several of her anthologies have appeared on the CBA Best Seller List. Three of her books have won the distinction of Best Historical of the Year by Heartsong Presents, and she remains a favorite author by Heartsong Present's readers. Two of her books have won short historical of the year by American Christian Fiction Writers both in 2003 and 2004. She was named Writer of the Year for 2004 at the 35th Annual Mount Hermon Christian Writer's Conference and is the recipient of Inspirational Reader's Choice Awards for 2005 in the long contemporary and novella categories.DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, ChiLibris, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association and a mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops. DiAnn also belongs to Cy Fair Women's Networking, an exclusive professional women's networking organization.She lives in sunny Houston, Texas, the home of heat, humidity, and Harleys. In fact she'd own one, but her legs are too short. DiAnn and her husband have four adult sons and are active members of Metropolitan Baptist Church.


1803, the colony of TexasAwaken My Heart is set in 19th century Texas and tells the story of 18 year old Marianne Phillips, the daughter of a wealthy rancher, Weston Phillips. Weston is involved in a hostile struggle with Armando Garcia, the infamous rebel leader of the 'mestizos' who claim to own the land that Phillips has settled.Marianne Phillips, the daughter of a wealthy rancher, has never agreed with her father's harsh treatment of the poor mestizos who first inhabited the colony of Texas. When rebels kidnap Marianne, in hopes her father will trade back their land for her freedom, she realizes her loyalty lies with her abductors, not her father, who plans to marry her off to the don of a nearby estate. Armando Garcia is the locals' reluctant leader, but his people revere and depend on him. Knowing that without his leadership they'd be forced from their land, Armando accepts his role, but does not approve of the latest attempt to manipulate their enemy. When he learns that Marianne actually speaks his language, of her loyalty to his people, and of the faith that keeps her strong, Armando is faced with a difficult decision. Will his newfound love keep him from letting her go? Or will he set her free and risk losing their land forever?
The book link is:

My Review: I loovvved this book. It was such a sweet story. It reminds me sorta of Mask of Zorro. It did not seem to matter that I missed book one in the series. This book is a great stand alone. I can't wait to read more books by this author.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Snow Angel by Jamie Carie

Book Description

When Noah Wesley heard the faint sound outside the door of his remote Alaskan mountain cabin during a violent nighttime blizzard, it was no less than the voice of God that urged him to take a closer look, soon to discover his snow angel.

Unconscious and more than half frozen to death, her name, as Noah would later learn after boldly saving her life, was Elizabeth, a beautiful young woman, fragile yet fierce, and intent on discovering gold like so many others in that region during the late 1800s.

But why Elizabeth was so drawn to the gold, and why she would chase it even through a pounding storm that no man would dare face, was a secret to be shared with no one else, not even at the invitation of Noah's d eep blue trusting eyes.

First time novelist Jamie Carie pens a can't-put-down debut in Snow Angel.

My Review: It had a good plot. I really liked the subplot of her real mother trying to find her. There were some elements that I was a little unhappy with ... some sexual scenes I felt was unneeded especially for a Christian novel. Overall it was a good story.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
(Kregel Publications February 29, 2008)
Matthew Raley
Matthew Raley is senior pastor of the Orland Evangelical Free Church in northern California, where he lives with his wife and two young children. For fun, he enjoys playing chamber music with friends, giving occasional solo recitals, and playing first violin in the North State Symphony. This is his first book.
Jim was at work when his eyes drifted to the coffee shop visible from his office window. An attractive woman driving a Mercedes pulled up to the curb . . . and Jim’s married pastor emerged from the car. When Jim delves deeper into his pastor’s world, will he be able to handle what he discovers? Is he right to suspect that Dave is having an affair? In the behind-the-scenes church battle that ensues, Jim is torn between duty to his church and a desire to show grace. A ripped-from-the-headlines drama of suspense that keeps you engaged to the last page. Fallen is the story about Jim’s relationship with Dave—how Jim tries to do the right thing to keep Dave accountable, but finds the situation getting worse and worse. It’s also about Jim’s other relationships. Just as he discovers hypocrisy in Dave, Jim discovers his own sins against his wife and daughter.
Want this book?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

"Christian Writers Market Guide 2008" by Sally Stuart

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Christian Writers' Market Guide 2008
WaterBrook Press (January 15, 2008)
Sally Stuart

Sally Stuart has been writing for the last 40+ years, and has been putting out the annual "Christian Writers' Market Guide" for the last 23 years. Her other writing includes several Christian education resources books, a children's picture book, a basic writing text, writing resources, and a western novel--plus hundreds of articles and marketing columns. She writes marketing columns for the "Christian Communicator," "Advanced Christian Writer," and the Oregon Christian Writers' Newsletter. She speaks and teaches at Christian Writers' Conferences nationwide. Sally is the mother of 3 and grandmother of 8. She and her husband, Norm, spend their free time vacationing on the Oregon coast.
Check out her blog!


The essential reference tool for the Christian writer, Sally Stuart’s Christian Writers’ Market Guide is now in its 23rd annual edition!
Check out the section on Blogging on page 69...the CFBA is listed!
Writers’ Conference listings, Book Publishers, Magazine Publishers, and a Bookstore filled with the resources you need to be successful in this business. Get a Book Contract or Manuscript Evaluation, and check out the Writer’s Resource links. This book has all you need to connect to all these valuable helps for the beginning, intermediate, or professional writer.
To keep you up to date with the latest marketing news, visit Sally Stuart’s new marketing blog, Christian Writers’ Marketplace, at
A new, updated version of the Christian Writers’ Market Guide is available about January 15 each year.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

"Happily Even After" by Marilynn Griffith

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Happily Even After (#3 - Sassy Sistahood Series)
(Steeple Hill January 1, 2008)
Marilynn Griffith


Marilynn Griffith is mom to a tribe, wife to a deacon and proof that God gives second chances. While best known for her colorful novels about friendship, family and faith, Marilynn is also a speaker and nonfiction writer.Her nonfiction has been included in CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN'S SOUL and several other devotionals and magazines. Currently, Marilynn is editor of the SISTAHFAITH:BELIEVING BEYOND SHAME anthology. She is also the founder of, a blog for faith fiction readers.Marilynn is the author of six novels dealing with issues such as teen pregnancy, AIDS, abstinence, stress relief, single parenting and marriage. Her recent fiction titles include TANGERINE and IF THE SHOE FITS.Marilynn has served as Vice President and Publicity Officer of American Christian Fiction Writers. She speaks to youth, women and writers about believing beyond boundaries and daring to reach dreams.Marilynn lives in Florida with her husband and seven children whom she taught at home for seven years. When not chasing toddlers, helping with homework or trying to find her husband a clean shirt, she can be found scribbling furiously on her next novel.To book Marilynn for media interviews, speaking engagements, Serious Fun fiction parties or book club call-ins, please contact her thru her WEBSITE.

Superwoman doesn't live here!I marry a gorgeous executive, have a baby, lose all the weight (most of it), and move to a fine house in the suburbs with a welcoming new church. Wait...did I say welcoming?One teeny waaah! and new mothers and their crying babies are exiled to a separate room. At least there's some enlightening conversation. Like about my husband and issues I didn't even know about!And then there's my aptly named mother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth, who can't stand me.I'm about to lose my mind! So it's high time for a visit to the Sassy Sistahood for some much-needed advice about men, marriage and motherhood!
The Sassy Sistahood: They get by with a little help from their friends.

Friday, January 11, 2008

First in a Series Challenge hosted by Thoughts of Joy

I have decided to join a new reading challenge (yes it is because I am crazy and I don't want to study ;) )

Yes, indeed . . . it is another challenge; however, this one I plan to complete throughout the year of 2008 and would like to include all of you. The details are as follows:

WHO: Anyone who would like to join me
WHAT: Read 12 books that are the first in any series
(new authors not required)
You may read your chosen books any time during the year; however, I plan to read one a month.
WHERE: Mister Linky will keep track here on "Thoughts of Joy..."
WHEN: January thru December, 2008
WHY: I need a structured plan to help me accomplish my goal of sampling many new series during the coming year.

Brittanie's List:
1. "Stuck in the Middle" by Virginia Smith
2. "The Restorer" by Sharon Hinck
3. "Wounded Healer" by Donna Fleisher
4. "A Passion Most Pure" by Julie Lessman
5. "A Valley of Betrayal" by Tricia Goyer
6. "Nadia" by Susan Downs and Susan May Warren
7. "Without a Trace" by Colleen Coble
8. "Killing Floor" by Lee Child
9. "From a Distance" by Tamera Alexander
10. "Twice Loved" by Lori Copeland
11. "Chronicles of Narnia" by C. S. Lewis
12. "The Begotten" by Lisa Bergren

*Subject to change per me*
*Black means I am done*

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Winner and free blogging course!

And the winner of "A Solider's Promise" is .... ForstRose. Please email me your mailing address. Thank you all for your great comments! Read Cheryl's book. It is great!

I'm evaluating a multi-media course on blogging from the folks at Simpleology. For a while, they're letting you snag it for free if you post about it on your blog.

It covers:

  • The best blogging techniques.
  • How to get traffic to your blog.
  • How to turn your blog into money.

I'll let you know what I think once I've had a chance to check it out. Meanwhile, go grab yours while it's still free.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Interview With Cheryl Wyatt and Giveaway

"A Soldier's Promise" by Cheryl Wyatt
I lovved this book. Cheryl is a really funny cool author. Visit her blog at
If you would like to win a copy just leave a comment on this post. :)
The contest ends Wednesday night at midnight. I will post the winner Thursday.
Interview questions for Cheryl Wyatt:

What is your source of inspiration for writing/life?

Definitely God on both counts. I can imagine a story in almost everything I see and hear. I love watching people and listening to them talk. God and people are my inspiration. My husband Billy, my own personal hero. is also an inspiration. Much of the little funny quips in the books comes from stuff he says. He's the type of person who livens a party. He thinks his purpose in life is to show people that they can have fun without the use of chemicals. LOL! You can't be in a bad mood around him for long. He has the most contagious smile, the kindest deep-brown eyes, and the greatest sense of humor of anyone I know.

Why the military?

My military stories just happened to be the ones that sold first, but I've written all kinds of stories with non-military characters. Racing stories, detective stories, medical romances, etc. Most of them are high-adrenaline of some sort though. LOL! I like to write about anything high-action and extreme adventure. Plus I have a great respect and admiration for those who serve and their families so the research was fascinating and inspiring.

What is your writing schedule like?

Unlike most writers, I don't write every day in as far as plunking out a certain daily word count on my actual manuscript. However, when I do my first draft, which I call my mess draft, I average 2000 keepable words per hour. I sequester myself with my computer, retreat into a cave of writing hibernation and spew out the mess draft in a matter of days. If I can't do this, everything falls apart and the story is harder to polish. So I spend time doing what I call pre-writing, or Novel prep, which consists of research, character charts, plotstorming, and scene indexing. Once I have that and a rough synopsis, I dive in and don't come up for air until the chapters I need to have complete are. I'm just now learning to write and sell on proposal. So it's been challenging to have to write the synopsis before the story. Because honestly, it used to take me longer to write the synopsis than the actual manuscript, and that was when I was turning in completes. So I have to force myself to write the synopsis first, and then rip myself away after three chapters. I do confess I usually end up writing about 7-8 chapters, just so I know what to write in my synopsis. LOL!

Would you please share some of your faith journey?

Be happy to. I didn't really commit my life to Jesus until I was in my early twenties. I joined a club in high school called Friends in Christ, but I went for the wrong reasons. The leader who invited me was darn cute. LOL! But I came into a real relationship with God in my twenties and have never looked back. Well, I've looked back, but the same Love that captured me to begin with, still pursues me. So I know in my heart of hearts there's nothing to go back to. God is everything to me, everything. I love Him more than anything.

Please share some of your writing/publishing journey?

Unfortunately I finished several manuscripts before realizing there was such a thing as craft. LOL! By the time I'd sold, I'd finished 15 complete manuscripts, half of which ended up placing in 12 or so contests, and the other half...well, let's just say they need serious help. LOL! I martyred my first characters for the cause of the ones whose stories would eventually sell. It was hard to let go of that first story, but since I learned to write best by writing a lot, it wasn't in vain. I determined that I was going to keep writing stories until they finally bought one. Some I wrote but didn't turn in because I knew they weren't strong enough. My seventh manuscript sold after extensive revisions. I'd had a couple or three rejections prior to that is all. When I'd turn a story in, I'd immediately dive into the next one so I didn't fret about the submission. I've targeted Steeple Hill from the onset, and now feel so blessed to be able to write for them. It's a dream come true.

Why Christian Fiction?

I love reading Steeple Hill books, and I feel like God streamlined them as my target. They were my dream publisher. But I don't think there is anything wrong with Christians writing secular fiction as long as they don't compromise in God's eyes. People like Debbie Macomber pull it off nicely in fact. I just wanted to write stories that make a difference in some one's life. I wanted to provide escape and entertainment and have the stories be uplifting. The struggle to publication ( yes I call it struggle rather than process, because it IS a struggle. But it's not impossible) is too hard and too demanding of my time for it not to make some kind of difference in the lives of readers. God is faithful because, so far, readers letters are reflecting that people are being deeply touched and humored by the stories. I didn't do that by myself. God is not just a big part of my life, He IS my life. I breathe to know Him better and hope my books cause others to want to as well. Because of my relationship with Jesus, I write Christian Fiction because that's where my current stories seem to fit best.

Do you read Christian Fiction? IF so who and what do you read?

I read nearly every Steeple Hill book that comes out and have since it launched. I feel authors should KNOW the publisher they're targeting. So, yes I read tons of Christian Fiction from every house out there. I really like the Steeple Hill books and the Barbour books though because their lengths are conducive to my time as they're quick, satisfying reads. I do read as much secular stuff as I do Christian though. I like romance and action-driven stuff. Dee Henderson is my favorite, but there are a ton more.

What are you reading at the moment?

Right now I'm reading these interview questions. LOL! Seriously now, I'm engrossed in Cara Putman's Canteen Dreams (Barbour). LOVE that title. Also reading a secular book by Linda Lael Miller that is part of her McKettrick series and simultaneously reading a NASCAR anthology story by Abby Gaines and a Debbie Macomber book. Title escaped me at the moment. I keep a book in my family room, in my purse, in my car to read (only when I'm a passenger. LOL!) and one near my bed. I am also getting ready to read two older stories by Valerie Hansen that I won off Steeple Hill's Fall Festival. Margaret Daley's newest suspense book from is also winking at my from the top of my TBR (To Be Read) pile. Just finished Debra Clopton's Next Door Daddy and laughed myself silly. I have Julie Lessman's A Passion Most Pure from Revell and order and cannot wait to get my hands on it. Prior to that I read Lee Bale's (The Healing Place-Steeple Hill), Mary Connealy's (Petticoat Ranch-Barbour) and Camy Tang's (Sushi for One-Zondervan) debut novels, as well as Debby Guisti's Steeple Hill suspense Scared to Death and Robin Miller's Bayou Justice from Steeple Hill Suspense. Looking forward to Missy Tippens' and Lynette Eason's debut novels as well. I really love to read author's debut novels. I can always see why the publisher snagged the author and book up. I know I'm forgetting some, but I read close to five books a week or more.

What is your most embarrassing moment?

Oh goodness. It is definitely when I went to a carnival and saw my friend's chimpanzee there. He also saw me and started freaking out. His owner waved me over because Kelby (who starred in one of the BABE movies) was screeching and whooping and jumping and wouldn't sit still to get his picture taken with a little boy. There was a line so I went over there so he'd calm down. Problem was, when I'd go to my friends' house where Kelby lived, I'd hold him down and blow strawberries into his belly. He'd grab my hair and do a weird chimp giggle thing that sounded like he was scraping his tonsils out. But he LOVED to have his belly tickled. Unfortunately, he wanted his belly tickled right then, right there in front of like 50 people at the carnival. I didn't want to do it because it suddenly occurred to me how that could gross some people out even though his belly didn't have hair on it and they bathed him daily. When I got close enough, he climbed me and started pushing his belly into my face. Though he was only about 2-3 years old then, chimps are 8 times stronger than humans. The more I tried to get my face away from his belly, the more he grabbed my head and pushed his belly into my nose. Unfortunately, it looked sort of obscene in the sense that everyone watching thought he was trying to hump my face like a dog does to people's legs. Really gross and embarrassing. And of course his owner just laughed her head off instead of trying to rescue me and get him off of me. My face was not was purple and it stayed that way for an hour. I can't believe I'm even admitting this but you asked. LOL!

List three words that describe you.

I am a southern girl so I have some essential southern questions for you:
11. Sweet iced tea is really big down here; would you drink it sweet or unsweet and ice or no ice?

VERY sweet, and no ice.

12. What is your favorite comfort food?

My grandmother's homemade french fries with so much salt my kidneys go on strike and swell my fingers the next day for shaking so much on. LOL!

13. Do you watch college football? If so who is your favorite team?

Don't watch it much but if I did, I'd watch SIU. Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, Illinois because that's where I live. Wait, does SIU even HAVE a football team? See? Told you I'm not much into football. I might be lucky to watch the Superbowl, and half the time I don't even know which teams are in it until half-time. My husband is more a music guy than into sports, so we only really get into NASCAR. I used to be into hockey, especially if there was a fight. LOL! But I gave up TV time in order to be able to have writing time.

14. Do you cook with bacon grease/drippings? Would you eat something with that in it.?
Because high-cholesterol and heart disease runs rampid in my family, I don't cook with it. BUT, at a recent writers' brainstorm and prayer retreat, we did cook the eggs in bacon grease and it was SO, SO good. Of course we all had gallbladder attacks an hour later. Kidding. I'll try to post a pic of the meal in fact.

"A Soldier's Promise" by Cheryl Wyatt

I am so excited to present to everyone debut novelist Cheryl Wyatt and her book "A Solider's Promise."

Cheryl Wyatt's closest friends would never dream the mayhem she plots during announcements at church. An RN-turned-SAHM, joyful chaos rules her home and she delights in the stealth moments God gives her to write. She stays active in her church and in her laundry room. She's convinced that having been born on a Naval base on Valentine's Day destined her to write military romance.
Prior to publication, Cheryl took courses through Christian Writers Guild. An active member of RWA, FHL and ACFW, she won numerous awards with multiple manuscripts. Visit her on the Web at Sign up for her newsletter for news and chances to enter contests with great prizes. Hang with her on the web at You can also find her skittering around Steeple Hill's message boards as "Squirl" at

"My name's Bradley. I'm eight and have cancer. I want to meet a Special Forces soldier more than anything. Well, almost anything. Having a family would be nice."
U.S. Air Force pararescue jumper Joel Montgomery promised to make a sick child's wish come true. Well, not the family part—not with Joel's past. And so despite vowing never to set foot back in Refuge, Illinois, Joel parachuted onto the boy's school lawn to a huge smile. But another smile unexpectedly stole Joel's heart: that of Bradley's beautiful teacher, Amber Stanton, who was trying to adopt the boy. And trying to show Joel it was time for new vows.

"Cheryl Wyatt infuses A Soldier's Promise (4.5) with kindness, compassion and love. Plus, each character in this strong story is multilayered. When young Bradley, a boy dying of cancer, writes to the Air Force Pararescue team, he gets to meet jumper Joel Montgomery, who connects with Bradley and feels an instant and shared attraction to the boy's teacher, Amber Stanton. This absolutely fantastic debut novel proves that while challenges and boundaries are not always easily resolved, they're definitely worth the work." ---Robin Taylor-Romantic Times Reviewer

Coming tomorrow an exclusive interview, giveaway, and my review!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

"Lady of Milkweed Manor" by Julie Klassen

Book Description:

As Charlotte drew closer to the looming grey edifice that was to become her temporary home, she could not help but notice the secretive shuttered windows. Then she noticed the milkweeds....
Even a proper vicar's daughter can make a mistake--and now Charlotte Lamb must pay a high price for her fall. To avoid the prying eyes of all who know her, she hides herself away in London's forbidding "Milkweed Manor," a place of mystery and lore, of old secrets and new birth.
But once there, she comes face to face with a suitor from her past--a man who now hides secrets of his own. Both are determined, with God's help, to protect those they love. But neither can imagine the depth of sacrifice that will be required.
Sprinkled with fascinating details about the lives of women in Regency England, Lady of Milkweed Manor is a moving romantic drama about the redemption of past failings and the beauty of sacrificial love.
Read an excerpt of the first chapter here:
My Review: I liked this book but I am still trying to wrap my brain around the ending. I enjoyed the historical setting. I have always loved the Regency period of England's history. This book has several twists and turns to it and some surprises too. I do not want to give anything away so that is all I will say. I was drawn in from the beginning and I did not want to put it down. I read it in one sitting. Even now I am still thinking about it. The author paints pictures with words of the setting and the characters. I highly recommend this book especially for historical fiction fans.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

By The Decades Reading Challenge

Michele (3M) is hosting a By The Decades reading challenge for 2008. I didn't participate in the 2007 challenge, but I was hoping that there'd be another opportunity this upcoming year.The rules are :
1. Read a minimum of 8 books in 8 consecutive decades in ‘08.
2. Books published in the 2000’s do not count.
3. Titles may be cross-posted with any other challenge.
4. You may change your list at any time.
For more details visit her site at

My list is not final but here is what I have so far:
1880s - Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
1890s - The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
1900- "A Room With a View" by E. M. Forster
1910 - Kilmeny of the Orchard by L. M. Montgomery
1920 - This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
1930 - The Hobbit by J. R. Tolkien
1940 - "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith
1950 - Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
1960 - The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden
1970 - The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty

I will take suggestions for a while if anyone has recommendations for me.

"Abandoned Identity" by Tamera Tilley

F.I.R.S.T. Presents "Abandoned Identity" by Tamara Tilley
Happy New Year! It is January 1st, time for the FIRST Day Blog Tour! (Join our alliance! Click the button!) The FIRST day of every month we will feature an author and his/her latest book's FIRST chapter!
This month's feature author is:
and her book:
Abandoned IdentityEvergreen Press (AL) (August 1, 2007)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Hooray! Tamara is one of our very own FIRST members!She resides with her husband, Walter, and their children, John, Christopher, and Jennifer, at Hume Lake Christian Camps in the Sequoia National Forest. They have served on full-time staff and ministered at Hume for 13 years.Tamara manages one of the retail stores at Hume Lake, which serves thousands of kids visiting the conference center on a daily basis.Not only does she write, she is also an avid reader and enjoys other hobbies such as scrapbooking, designing greeting cards and invitations, and enjoying God's creation from her from porch.

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:The young, blond woman stepped off the elevator, rushed past the receptionist, and quickly headed down the hallway.“Jennifer, Mr. Lynch is looking for you,” Doris called after her.Jennifer didn’t stop to acknowledge the message. She didn’t have time. She could hear the warning in Doris’ tone. Mr. Lynch was looking for her, knowing she was late returning from lunch. This could very well be her last day at Weissler and Schuler.She glanced at her watch as she threaded her way through the multitude of workstations. She moved as quickly as she could, even though she knew her efforts were probably for nothing—after all, late was late. He would assume she had done it on purpose and would make good on his threat from the previous week. Lynch had given her two weeks to change her attitude or she would be fired.She hurried past his office door, hoping against hope that she would be able to slip by without being noticed. A sideways glance told her otherwise. She continued towards her own office, knowing he would be quick on her heels. She had struggled all morning, trying to do her work, trying to keep it together, but with the way she was feeling, her resolve was beginning to crumble. She’d only had enough time to slip off her jacket before she heard his booming voice in the hallway.“Ms. Patterson, you of all people should not be abusing time restrictions. A one-hour lunch is a one-hour lunch, not an hour and 25 minutes,” he scolded her loud enough so everyone could hear him as he made his way down the hall toward her office.Jennifer hung up her coat and purse on the rack behind her door and slumped in the overstuffed sofa that filled her office. She braced herself for the inevitable.“You knew we needed to get started on the Yomahama account first thing after lunch,” he said as he entered her office and firmly shut the door. “Obviously you don’t care about this account as much as you say you do.” He was poised for her counterattack but was surprised instead to hear her soft apology.“I’m sorry. I thought I could make it home and back again. But with the snow, and the traffic, and the way I’m . . .”What’s the use explaining, she thought to herself. He doesn’t care. She had just given him the excuse he was looking for. She figured she would be packing up her personal items in less than an hour. She took a deep breath, her eyes focused downward. “I’m sorry. It wasn’t intentional.”Harrison was taken aback. In the short time he’d known Jennifer, she had never apologized for her actions. Everything she did was intentionally antagonistic toward him. But somehow he sensed a difference in her mood.“What’s wrong?” he bristled, not really wanting to hear her excuse.She glanced up at his imposing figure but lowered her eyes to the floor as she spoke. “I tried to kick something all weekend. I guess I’m just not feeling up to par.”He said nothing, waiting for her to make eye contact with him. She stiffened her back, sighed and said, “It won’t happen again.”Had she brushed a tear from her cheek? Not possible, he thought to himself. Jennifer Patterson was tough as nails. She would never lower herself to tears in the workplace . . . that was unless she really was ill.He waited again for her to look up at him, and when she did, he was met with vacant eyes, pallid skin, and beads of sweat that were starting to form on her brow. Just then, the intercom system went off. “Mr. Lynch, Mr. Yomahama is on the line. Shall I put him through to Miss Patterson’s office or your own?”Obviously Doris knew where to find him because of the scene he had just made. He walked around to the front of Jennifer’s desk and cleared his voice before pushing the intercom button. “I’ll take it in my office, Doris. Give me a minute to get there.”Lynch gave Jennifer one last stern look and then marched from her office, shutting her door with a little more force than necessary.She collapsed against the cushions, her strong exterior completely dissolving. She had done everything she could to hold back her tears in his presence, but his quick exit allowed her to unleash the torrent she had been suppressing.She had never felt this horrible before in her life. She would’ve called in sick if it weren’t for the fact that she knew her job was in jeopardy. It isn’t fair, she thought to herself. I should have Lynch’s job. For the hundredth time Jennifer went over in her mind the scenario that had taken her completely by surprise.She had been groomed for the director’s position by Meg, long before Meg left to start a family. Jennifer had put in countless hours on different accounts to make sure her and Meg’s statistics had been well researched and presented in a polished manner. She had done the bulk of Meg’s work, along with her own, as Meg progressed into her third trimester. It simply wasn’t fair!The day corporate brought in Harrison Lynch and announced he would be the new director, instead of her, she was livid. She felt demeaned and unappreciated. Everyone in the office knew she had worked hard for the job and had deserved it. But corporate behaved in their typical chauvinistic manner and took the opportunity to replace Meg with a man instead of another woman. Testosterone was the only asset that Harrison Lynch had that she did not.While the other women in the office were quick to overlook the injustice of the situation because of Harrison’s availability, good looks, and charismatic personality, she only saw him as a thorn in her side.She would only be fooling herself if she said she didn’t see his appeal. He was older than she was—the classic tall, dark, and handsome type. His sparkling brown eyes and wavy brown hair gave him a boyish charm, but his stature and muscular body proved him to be anything but boyish. His enigmatic character made him the kind of man that breezed through life with ease, putting the Midas touch on everything he encountered. But the way he clashed with her, rubbing her the wrong way and always trying to put her in her place, made his good looks less appealing.Jennifer had butt heads with Harrison ever since he had shown up. She was not afraid to speak out against his proposals or the way in which he supplied information to a client. She had caused him more than one embarrassing moment in important meetings with prospective accounts. She upstaged him with what she called “a more efficient way to gather and record information.” She didn’t think it beneath her to use her feminine mystique with a client in order to work on a case that Lynch would’ve preferred to handle by himself. Lynch had put her on the spot on more than one occasion, but somehow she always came out looking professional in front of the clients.When she had worked with Meg, Jennifer’s desk was out front with everyone else’s. She liked it that way. She enjoyed working in an environment that buzzed with activity. But Lynch changed all that. He made it very clear that Jennifer was his assistant, and he needed her at his personal disposal. And so he had her move her things into the smaller of the two conference rooms.Giving Jennifer her own office was not a reward but a sentence. She felt he had isolated her on purpose to break her spirit. It had taken the wind out of her sails for a short period, but she decided two could play at that game. She promptly ordered custom office furniture and personalized the space. What he had intended on being a lonely, sterile environment, she had turned into a showplace of warmth and femininity.She had one-upped him again and gloated in the fact that he could do nothing about it. After all, he was the one that gave her her own office and the freedom to decorate it the way she wanted. The fact that she did it with pastels in a style she knew he disliked (even though she disliked it too) was icing on the cake. Harrison had declared that an office should reflect professionalism not personality and initially insisted she get rid of everything. His request was denied when Mrs. Weissler came in and admired what she had done with the old conference room. With Mrs. Weissler on her side, Jennifer had once again thwarted Lynch’s authority.Lynch had finally had enough. He called her into his office a week earlier and lowered the boom. “I’m giving you two weeks notice.”“You’re firing me?” Jennifer was floored. Though she knew that he disliked her as much as she disliked him, he would have to explain to corporate why he was letting such a valuable employee go.“No, I’m not firing you . . . yet.” He was cool and calm as he sat behind his solid oak desk. “I’m giving you two weeks to change your attitude. I’m tired of the mind games, the flirting with clients, and the way you insist on making proposals before discussing them with me. Weissler and Schuler should present a united front to all our clients, not a sense of division and indecisiveness. You have two weeks to get on board, assume your position as my assistant, and change your ‘I can top that’ attitude. If you choose not to, you will give me no alternative than to let you go.”Now, it was just a week later, and Jennifer had given Lynch the perfect opportunity to show corporate that she was not the team player that they had assumed her to be. Corporate was breathing down everyone’s neck about the Yomahama account. It meant millions to them if they could seal the deal. If they felt she hadn’t given it her all, they would allow Lynch to have his way, no questions asked.Jennifer sobbed into the arm of the floral couch that she despised. She thought about all the ways she had tried to make work uncomfortable for Harrison Lynch but knew she had failed. On occasion, he had tried joking with her and having innocuous conversations, but she would have none of it. She wouldn’t accept the olive branch that he tried to extend to her. Now he would have the last laugh, and it would be her own fault.The door swung open once again. Harrison was poised and ready to battle with her, only to find her hunched over, her head in her hands and tears falling onto her charcoal colored slacks.He felt uncomfortable finding her in such a vulnerable position. The all-business exterior he had resolved to use with her now took a back seat to the compassionate Harrison that others had seen. He stood for a moment before taking a seat on the couch alongside her and waited for her to gather her composure. It took several minutes before she could speak.“I know what you’re going to say, so I’ll save you the energy.” She rubbed at her aching brows and sniffled. “You’ll have the files for the Yomahama account on your desk by the end of the day, and I’ll clean out my things. You can do what you want with the furniture. I don’t want it.” She held her head like she was afraid it was going to snap off her neck.Harrison just sat there, not saying a thing. Jennifer wished he would just leave. She felt defeated and humiliated. He’d gotten his way; he’d won. With the experience she’d gained at Weissler and Schuler, she’d have no problem getting a job elsewhere, so she resolved to give up without a fight. Her only desire right then was to get home before her head exploded.It seemed like an eternity before he spoke again. “What have you taken for it?”“What?” She was confused. There was no smugness to his tone. In fact, if she wasn’t mistaken, he actually sounded concerned. She didn’t dare look at him. Just lifting her head would hurt too much.“Is it a cold or the flu?”“A cold,” she answered, wondering why he was being so nice. It was a trait she didn’t think he was capable of, at least not with her. He got up and left the room without saying another word.She glanced at his receding steps, totally confused. She grabbed a tissue from her purse and tried to wipe away the salty tears and runny nose that was moistening her lips. She gently rolled her head back against the couch and sighed heavily, thankful for the solitude. It didn’t last long; within minutes, Harrison was back.He sat down alongside her, causing her head to sway and a small moan to escape her lips. He handed her a glass that was fizzing, along with several pills. “Here’s something for your headache, a decongestant, and a bi-carbonate. They should do the trick.”“No thanks,” she said through closed eyes. “I can’t take pills. They knock me out and make my head swim. Besides, I still have too much work to do. I don’t have time to pass out.”“The way I see it, you’re already wasted. You’re no good to me like this. Take these, and in an hour you’ll feel a lot better. I guarantee it. We’ll work on the Yomahama account then.”“I should have known you wouldn’t let me die quietly,” Jennifer retorted, looking at the pills he was still holding. “And if I don’t take your concoction?”“Then I’ll have to assume the Yomahama account isn’t as important to you as I gave you credit for, and I’ll get Jerry to work on it with me instead.”“Jerry!” She sat up, her head throbbing with disapproval. She slowly lowered herself back to the comfort of the couch, covering her eyes with the palms of her hands. “There’s no way I’m going to let Jerry take all my research and screw it up.”“Okay, then. I guess you’ll have to do it my way,” he said. “Take these, dim the lights, and allow yourself some sleep. Don’t worry about watching the clock. I’ll come and get you in about an hour.”Jennifer realized it was no longer a suggestion. Harrison put the pills in her hand and waited for her to drink them down with the bi-carbonate.She tossed them to the back of her throat and held her breath as she drank the fizzy water. She knew she had to do it in one swig, or it would never stay down. Her shoulders shuddered in protest, and she thought she saw the hint of a smile form on Harrison’s lips. He pressed the button for the automatic shades to cover her office windows and dimmed the lights. “I’ll check on you in an hour.” With that, he closed the door and left her with her thoughts.What just happened? she thought to herself. He had the perfect opportunity to fire me, and instead he helped me. Jennifer couldn’t concentrate on figuring out the answer to that one. Her head was throbbing so hard, it was making it impossible for her to reason.She pulled her feet up under her and allowed her head to rest on the padded arm of the couch. An hour’s sleep, then I’ll be able to push through the rest of the day. She drifted off quickly. She was a lightweight when it came to tolerating medicine, and with the mixture she had just taken, she knew that she would finally get some rest.Harrison walked back to his office and closed the door. He stood before the expansive window and watched the falling snow blanket the Chicago streets. Jumbled emotions crowded his mind. He was afraid that he’d allowed Jennifer’s weakened state to play on his sympathy, but it wasn’t unlike him. He really was a nice guy. It’s just that since he’d arrived at Weissler and Schuler, he and Jennifer had clashed . . . no, more like collided.He found out soon enough that she had thought she was a lock for his job because of the work she had done with the previous director. He tried to talk to her about it and let her know he understood her disappointment. When he told her he was excited to be working with such a talented analyst, she only stiffened at his attempt at civility. Her spitefulness and malice made her look so unattractive—nothing like the vulnerable woman he had just left in the darkened office. He finally saw in her what some of the men in the office already had seen. She was a lot more appealing when she wasn’t being conniving or manipulative. With her defenses down, he actually found himself drawn to her, but he was wary that would change as soon as she had her strength back.HARRISON HAD BEEN WORKING TIRELESSLY at his computer when he glanced at his watch. He realized it had been more than an hour since he had left Jennifer in her office. He quietly opened her door and leaned in to see how she was doing. She was curled up on the couch, her face flushed and moist. He moved to her side, leaned down, and carefully placed the back of his hand to her forehead. She was feverish. She stirred under his touch, but her eyes had a difficult time focusing. She looked at Harrison and tried to figure out why she was lying down and why he was hovering over her. She closed her eyes and vaguely remembered being late to work and taking a handful of medicine.“What time is it?” Her voice was barely above a whisper.“Almost 3:00 p.m.”“Oh, my gosh.” She tried sitting up as her head spun out of control. “I’ve got to get working. We have the Yomahama meeting tomorrow. We can’t waste any more time.”Harrison pressed his hands against her shoulders and gently pushed her back against the couch cushions. “You need to rest. Your body is obviously trying to fight something. You have a fever.”“We don’t have time for this, Mr. Lynch.”She again moved to a sitting position. She wiped at the perspiration on her forehead and scooped her long blonde hair up into a handful on top of her head. She started pulling at the pink cashmere sweater she was wearing, bellowing it to get some cool air up against her skin. “I feel like I’m suffocating.”“That’s the fever.”Before Harrison realized what she was doing, Jennifer reached for the hem of her sweater and began to pull it over her head.He turned away and sputtered, “What are you doing?”“If you have a fever, you’re supposed to keep at least one foot and one shoulder exposed to cool air.”“Where did you hear that?”“I’m not sure, but it’s worked before.”She continued to remove her sweater. Harrison was relieved to see that she was wearing a silky, pink shell underneath the soft sweater. She pulled her black, high heeled boots from her feet and curled up into a fetal position once again.“You look miserable; you need to go home. This is ridiculous. There’s no way you’re going to be able to get any work done under these conditions,” Harrison added as she tried to get comfortable.“I’d be fine if my head would just stop pounding, and I wasn’t so hot.”“Let me call you a cab. You need to go home.”“No! I can beat this. Let me just rest a little bit longer. If I could just get rid of this headache, I know I could finish our proposal. Please give me another hour.” She was determined to finish what she had started, especially since it could quite possibly be her last account. Harrison was being uncharacteristically nice to her at the moment, but if the Yomahama meeting didn’t go well, she knew she would be the proverbial scapegoat.Harrison stood with his arms firmly crossed against his chest and doubt in his eyes. He knew from past experience there was no sense arguing with her. Of course, there was nothing that said he was obligated to wake her up either.“Fine, I’ll see you in about an hour.” He left her office with no intention of disturbing her again. If she had the strength to wake up, she would have to do it on her own.Although Harrison knew he needed to spend every minute on the Yomahama proposal, he found himself thinking about Jennifer. Why hadn’t he noticed her crystal blue eyes or the delicate curve of her jaw before? Maybe because whenever he talked to her, her eyes were glaring and her jaw was set.He wandered back into Jennifer’s office around 4:30 p.m. He watched her as she slept. Her breathing was even and her complexion no longer looked flush. His eyes followed the tip of her chin to where it rested near her exposed shoulder. He felt his thoughts wandering in a direction that was far from work related. He had always been cautious to keep his professional life separate from his personal life, but somehow seeing Jennifer in such a vulnerable state also exposed a side of her that was quite beautiful.He left her office and drifted down the hall. People were beginning to shut down their computers and straighten up their workstations. The talk was all about the snow that had continued to fall throughout the day. The weather report was predicting another foot before morning. Harrison waved goodnight to them as they left and headed back to his office.Doris followed him down the hall, worry etched on her kind face.“Mr. Lynch, I’m concerned about Miss Patterson. I know she was awfully sick this morning when she came in, and she didn’t look any better when she returned from lunch. I haven’t seen her since you . . . well, since you spoke with her this afternoon.”Harrison knew what Doris was alluding to. The way he had barked at Jennifer when she returned from lunch had obviously been heard throughout the office.“I gave her some medicine earlier today, and it made her pretty sleepy. That’s why you haven’t seen her.”“Will she be okay to drive herself home? The road conditions have gotten pretty bad.”“Don’t worry, Doris, I’ll make sure she’s okay before she leaves.”“Okay, I was just concerned. She really is a sweet girl; she just comes off a bit harsh sometimes.”“Harsh? That’s an understatement!”Doris just smiled. “Well, good night, Mr. Lynch.”“Good night, Doris, and thank you for your concern.”

My Review: I liked this book as a whole. I thought it really has more sexual tension in it than I like to read, especially in a Christian Fiction book. The storyline was great and in the end I enjoyed the story. I reccomend it with a warning about the sexual tension it it.

Classics Club Spin 18

My Classics Club Spin List for August This is a hodgepodge of books left on my list I made in 2017 for the Classics Club. Tomorrow the clu...