Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ane Mulligan's Laugh Out Loud Debut Novel Is a Hit - Chapel Springs Revival Rocks!

To win a copy of Ane Mulligan's Chapel Hill Revival, be sure to leave a comment below for Ane with your contact information and if you prefer a print copy of the book or an ebook. NOTE: PRINT COPY FOR U.S. RESIDENTS ONLY.



Okay, since Ane Mulligan is one of my best friends you may think I am pushing her debut novel because I love her so much. But, even if I didn't know Ane at all, I would still say Chapel Springs Revival is a must read.

I'm tickled to have her as my guest on my blog today and be part of her blog tour. So let's get started!

Ane, did you always know you would be a writer?
No way did I ever think the stories I told as a kid (back then they called it lying) and played out for weeks with my dolls, would someday become books. I cut my authorial teeth as a playwright.
I was Creative Arts director for my church and wrote my first script in 1996. After we performed it, I was encouraged to send it to a publisher. I did and they bought that one and everything I sent them afterwards.

How did you start writing novels?
The hubs said I spent so much on books I ought to write one. I realized that was God's call, because as soon as Hubs said those words, an idea dropped into my otherwise empty mind.

Plays are a far cry from novels. How did you learn?
First, I found an online Christian critique group and a few mentors, who told me plainly I had a lot to learn. What an understatement. POV? Never heard the term. Omniscient? That's what God was. Show don't tell? How do I tell a story without telling?

Yikes! Yet, with each critique, I absorbed a new concept. I bought every writing craft book they recommended, read them, and absorbed more.

What’s one of the most important things you’ve learned about writing fiction?
Absolutely the top thing I’ve learned is motivation is the key to plotting and real characters. Make the motivation right and readers will relate to your characters and will follow them through anything.

Writing is a sedentary occupation. What do you do for exercise?
I have a walking route I like. It starts at the coffee pot, goes through the refrigerator and past the chocolate cupboard before ending up at my writing chair. What do you mean that doesn't count? Okay, I go to the gym three times a week with a good friend who feeds me story fodder.

So, tell my readers 3 fun things they might not know about you.
I sing in a community choir of 130 senior citizens. Hubs is the senior, I’m not. I’m still 35. Hey, I took that online Real Age test and I’m 35...perpetually.

I once wrote humorous advertising poems for a commercial roofer.

I sat in Maggie Thatcher's seat in the House of Commons dining room in London while the luncheon guest of Lord Graham.


Wow, I don't know about you, but I'm impressed. Not everyone gets to sit in Maggie Thatcher's seat!

Here's a blurb about the story to whet your appitite!

Chapel Springs Revival

With a friend like Claire, you need a gurney, a mop, and a guardian angel.

Everybody in the small town of Chapel Springs, Georgia, knows best friends Claire and Patsy. It's impossible not to, what with Claire's zany antics and Patsy's self-appointed mission to keep her friend out of trouble. And trouble abounds. Chapel Springs has grown dilapidated and the tourist trade has slackened. With their livelihoods threatened, they join forces to revitalize the town. No one could have guessed the real issue needing restoration is their marriages.

With their personal lives in as much disarray as the town, Claire and Patsy embark on a mission of mishaps and miscommunication, determined to restore warmth to Chapel Springs —and their lives. That is if they can convince their husbands and the town council, led by two curmudgeons who would prefer to see Chapel Springs left in the fifties and closed to traffic.

About Ane:

While a large, floppy straw hat is her favorite, Ane has worn many different ones: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that's a fancy name for a lobbyist), drama director, playwright, humor columnist, and novelist. Her lifetime experience provides a plethora of fodder for her Southern-fried fiction (try saying that three times fast). She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. President of the award-winning literary site, Novel Rocket, Ane resides in Suwanee, GA, with her artist husband, her chef son, and two dogs of Biblical proportion. You can find Ane on her Southern-fried Fiction website, Google+, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and Pinterest.




Don't forget to leave a comment to win a copy of Chapel Hill Revival! See details at the beginning of this post. 


Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Author Gina Holmes Has Done It Again With Driftwood Tides! A CFBA Blog Tour.

One of my auto-buy authors is Gina Holmes. Her debut novel, Crossing Oceans, blew me away. I knew immediately she was an author that would be around a long while. That story still resonates with me. Then came Dry as Rain, followed by Wings of Glass. Each story as different as the one preceding it, and each one pulls the reader in until you don't want to put the book down until you've read the last page. Holmes can turn a phrase, saying ordinary things in a new and fresh way. As an author, I always say I want to be like Gina when I grow up.

Gina's new novel, Driftwood Tides, releases this month...in fact it's releasing right now! Like her other stories, this one is totally different from the others. But the one thing they have in common is the way Holmes touches deep in her characters' hearts and pulls out the very thing that has been driving them. Issues that many of us face are written into her stories. Each one says much about God's redemption without preaching it.

Here's the blurb on Driftwood TidesHe made himself an island until something unexpected washed ashore. When Holton lost his wife, Adele, in a freak accident, he shut himself off from the world, living a life of seclusion, making driftwood sculptures and drowning his pain in gin. Until twenty-three-year-old Libby knocks on his door, asking for a job and claiming to be a friend of his late wife. When he discovers Libby is actually his late wife’s illegitimate daughter, given up for adoption without his knowledge, his life is turned upside down as he struggles to accept that the wife he’d given saint status to was not the woman he thought he knew. 

Together Holton and Libby form an unlikely bond as the two struggle to learn the identity of Libby’s father and the truth about Adele, themselves, and each other. 

If you would like to read the first chapter of Driftwood Tides, go HERE. To learn more about Gina Holmes you can go to her Website 

To purchase Driftwood Tides you can buy it at: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1414366426 


Note: I received a complementary copy of Driftwood Tides from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.





Gina Holmes is the founder of Novel Rocket, regularly named as one of Writers Digest’s best websites for writers. Her debut novel, 
Crossing Oceans, was a Christy and Gold Medallion finalist and winner of the Carol Award, INSPY, and RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice, as well as being a CBA, ECPA, Amazon and PW bestseller. Her sophomore novel, Dry as Rain was a Christy Award finalist. Her latest novel, Wings of Glass has been named as one of the best books of the year by Library Journal and was a SIBA Okra pick and a finalist for Romantic Times’ Reviewers Choice Award. She holds degrees in science and nursing and currently resides with her family in southern Virginia. She works too hard, laughs too loud, and longs to see others heal from their past and discover their God-given purpose. 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Meant to Be Mine by Becky Wade -- One of My Top Picks for 2014!

I read Becky Wade’s novel, Meant to be Mine, earlier this summer and loved it, and when I had read the last page, I was sad I had to say goodbye to Celia and Ty, and adorable little Addie, Celia’s daughter.



I posted right away on Facebook how much I loved the book, and emailed the author saying the same. But before I could write an official review, life got in the way and I’m only now reviewing this wonderful book. If you like a romance that digs beneath the surface of its characters, involves a serious subject but also injects humor at just the right time, and includes a cowboy hero, then this book is for you.

Celia Park’s first crush was Ty Porter. That was in high school when she was shy and too afraid to make her feelings known to the hunk. Fast forward a few years to when the story begins. She’s on a getaway to Vegas with a girlfriend, and they learn that Ty is in town at a rodeo event. On a whim, they go to the arena and reconnect with him after the rodeo. Next thing she knows she’s out on the town with him and, before the night is over, they get hitched in a cheesy chapel. The next morning Celia is in shock at her new married status but already enjoying the returned feelings of attraction to Ty. Then reality hits her. Ty says it was a mistake. He doesn’t want to be married. He travels a lot and he has someone at home he plans to marry whenever he settles down.

To quote the back of the book blurb. “Five and half years pass. Celia’s buried her dreams so she can raise her daughter. Ty’s achieved all his goals. Or thought he had, until he looks again in the eyes of the woman he couldn’t forget and into the face of the child he never knew he had.” What is going on? She still uses his last name and this child couldn’t be his!

The next pages of the story are as wild as taking a spin on a rank bull.

As a rodeo fan and a person who never passes up an opportunity to attend a Professional Bull Rider event, I offered to read the book for a review. And I came away a new Becky Wade fan and wanting more of Ty and Celia’s story. Ms. Wade has a knack of making the reader love her characters, even one like Celia and her stubborn ways. And to give her an endearing little girl like Addie who will charm any reader’s heart into loving children, even if they don’t.

There’s plenty of rodeo scenes to please the cowboy and rodeo enthusiasts, but there is also romance and a dose of women’s fiction as well. I highly recommend this book.

About the Author:


Becky makes her home in Dallas, Texas with her husband, three children, and one adoring (and adored) cavalier spaniel. Her CBA debut, My Stubborn Heart, was a finalist in both the RITA and INSPY awards.  Undeniably Yours kicked off her Texas-set Porter Family series.  Her newest contemporary romance, Meant to Be Mine, has just hit shelves!






I was given a complementary copy of this book by the publisher for purposes of review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Miting - A Unique Amish Novel That Will Have You Thinking

I first met debut author, Dee Yoder, when we shared an agent. Over those years I became intrigued with her heart for the Amish and concerns that many of them had not truly found a personal faith in God. Her husband comes from Amish stock and, together, they have reached out to young Amish that have chosen to step away from their Amish roots because of all the rules and regulations, etc.

Even though I'm not a fan of Amish stories, I couldn't wait for Dee's new book, The Miting, to come out because I knew she would delve into areas that many of the Amish novels today don't. Just days after receiving my copy of her book in the mail, I began reading it and couldn't stop until I'd finished the last page. The next thing I did was email Dee to ask her when the next book was coming out.

Leah is seventeen and Amish. Like many her age, she has lots of questions, but the temporary flight of freedom known as rumspringen is not the answer for her. She does not desire Englisher fashion, all-night parties, movies, or lots of boyfriends. Leah is seeking to understand her relationship with God, to deepen and broaden her faith by joining a Bible study hosted by an ex-Amish couple. She wants to know why Amish life is the only lifestyle her family accepts, why the church has so many rules, and . . . most disturbing, how godly men can allow her best friend to be abused in her own home. In the pressure-cooker environment of church and family, Leah is not allowed to ask these questions. When finally she reaches the breaking point, she walks away from the Old Order Amish life that is all she has known. Though adapting amiably to the Englisher world, Leah is tormented with homesickness. Returning to the community, however, entails a journey of pain and sorrow Leah could never have imagined. The miting--shunning--that will now be Leah's unendurable oppression every day is beyond her most devoted attempts to believe or understand. All the bishop and her family ask is that she abandon her practice of reading the Bible. Is that a price she is willing to pay?

I loved how Dee treated the Amish in her story with great respect even though the story portrayed Leah's family in a difficult light. Leah never stopped loving her family even though she came to the conclusion she had to leave them if she was ever going to know the truth she was seeking.

I highly recommend reading this book. Even if you are not a fan of Amish stories, I think you'll enjoy this story as I have. Published by Kregel Publishing, The Miting is available at your favorite brick and mortar store or on line at Amazon and Barnes and Noble in both print and ebook formats.

I received a review copy of The Miting from the publisher for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

About the Author:




Dee Yoder's fiction is based on the lives of her former-Amish friends. She is actively involved in the Mission to Amish People minsitry as a mentor, volunteer, and author. In addition to writing over eighty short stories, her coming-of-age novel, The Powerful Odor of Mendacity, won the FaithWriters Page Turner contest in 2011. Dee lives in central Ohio.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Spring Has Sprung and the Boats are Back in Lake Geneva!


The boats are visible, lined up at the docks in this shot of the beach.

I posted on The Barn Door blog earlier this week about the Lake Geneva Cruise Line's boat returning
to their summer home at the Riviera docks in Lake Geneva. What a joy it was to see pics of their beautiful excursion boat moving through waters that were finally free of ice!

Below is the beginning of my blog post. Click on the link to go to the actual blog where you can see pictures of the fleet.




As most Barn Door contributors can attest to, we in the Midwest have never been so anxious for spring as we’ve been this year, and it was very late in coming. Here in the Chicago area, just a week ago, we had another bout of measurable snow. It was mostly gone by the next day but even so, we were not happy campers!

Finally, by Easter weekend, the temperatures had warmed, and one sure sign of spring for me was when I checked the webcam that overlooks my hometown of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin’s lake front and saw  the excursion boats had returned to start another season of tours of the lakeshore. 

Read more ....