Tuesday, August 26, 2008

CFBA Book of the Week: A Passion Redeemed

Last year I about fell over gushing over Julie Lessman's A Passion Most Pure. That woman's book hooked me into liking historical reads again. Well now the long awaited sequel, A Passion Redeemed, is out. And I am so bummed because I've been too busy tweaking a requested manuscript (that's the good news!) that I haven't yet had a chance to finish reading it!!! (That's the bad news.)

I've started the book and love it just as much as I did the first book. If you read that one then you know what a "brat" Charity was in that story. Well, this book is starting out with much the same of Charity's less-than-scrupulous or virtuous ways, but I have a hunch that is about to change and I can't wait to see how it happens.

I will be back when I have finished this book and will feature either a review or interview with the author along with a drawing for a copy of the book. Meanwhile, below is a description of the story to whet your appetite.


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 was her first novel.


No man can resist her charms. Or so she thought. Charity O'Connor is a woman who gets what she wants. Her stunning beauty and flirtatious ways have always succeeded with men. Until Mitch Dennehy, that is.

Brilliant and dangerously handsome, Mitch is a no-nonsense newspaperman who wants nothing to do with her. Charity burned him once, destroying his engagement to the only woman he ever truly loved. He won't play with matches again. But Charity has a plan to turn up the heat, hoping to ignite the heart of the man she loves. And she always gets what she wants--one way or another.

Or does she? Will her best-laid schemes win his love? Or will her seductive ways drive him away forever? Book 2 in the Daughters of Boston series, A Passion Redeemed will captivate your heart and stir your soul with a story of faith and redemption rising from the ashes of temptation, desire, and shame.

Praise for the first book in the series:

"Full of romance, humor, rivalry, and betrayal, A Passion Most Pure will captivate readers from the first page." --Historical Novels Review "Superb! Incredible!

"I loved Julie Lessman's A Passion Most Pure from the second I picked it up until the very last moment I stopped reading." --Armchair Interviews

"I devoured this book and loved every single page. . . . This is a thick, juicy read, and one I would pick up again in a heartbeat." --christianreviewofbooks.com

If you would like to read an excerpt from A Passion Redeemed, go HERE.

Buy it from Amazon!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Book Review: The Faith of Barack Obama

I've always been somewhat of a political junkie so when the election cycle includes the presidential election, I gear up. This year that cycle seems to have been around forever and we haven't even had the conventions yet!

Living in Illinois, I've been aware of Barack Obama a lot longer than much of the nation. I've seen him rise from local Chicago politics to becoming a state senator and finally a U.S. senator. And in all that time I haven't known much about the man except that his politics and mine don't exactly mesh.

A few weeks ago Thomas Nelson Publishers made an offer of their new book by Stephen Mansfield, The Faith of Barack Obama, to anyone who would agree to read it and post a review on their blog, favorable or unfavorable. How could I resist?

At the same time I was reading Mansfield's book, Senators Obama and McCain appeared in a forum at Saddleback Church in California in an informal like interview with Rick Warren of Purpose Driven Life fame. I found having the book and seeing Obama and McCain in that setting at the same time to be an invaluable experience.

Mansfield's book shows that the author did his homework. I'd heard spatterings of Obama's backstory before. We've all heard how as a child he spent several years in Indonesia and was enrolled in a Muslim school there. That his biological father was also muslim. But, what I didn't realize was that his spiritual formation began way before with his grandparents eshewing the fundamental Christan beliefs in which they were raised, and later his mom declaring that she was an athiest and adopting a rather detatched view of anything religious or spiritual.

Last year most Americans were shocked to hear the pastor Obama had been sitting under for many years verbally attack the United States from the pulpit. I, too, was appalled at what I heard. Having read this book, I have a far greater understanding of where the man is coming from and how his style is very much in line with many black preachers, especially from that generation. I still don't agree with their style, but I do have a different understanding of it.

Also included in the book is a snapshot view of the faith of John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and George Bush. It's easy to see that we cannot judge a person's faith by what they say publicly. Sometimes a faith is real, deep and personal, yet so personal it's difficult for someone, even one used to speaking in public about many things, to share. Yet another will so easily talk the talk and sound like a believer when they are not.

I highly recommend this book to anyone of voting age. Evangelicals in particular need to read this book and weigh what it reveals. In my humble opinion, the future of our country depends on it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

August Bits of This and That

I have not fallen off the face of the earth. I am still here. The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of proposal writing and submitting, manuscript tightening, WIP writing, posting to the ACFW conference blog, and an allergic reaction that I never want to go through again!

Not allergic to busyness. But allergic to either my laundry soap or fabric softener. I don't want to know which one so I switched both to hypo-allergenic products. The kind that come in the white bottles.

In the flurry of proposal writing and sending last week, I broke out in a very itchy rash about an hour after I had put on newly washed clothing. By that time I was walking through Wal-Mart and could not scratch politely. Needless to say, it cut my shopping trip short and I made a beeline for home. By the time I arrived there I had a rash and hives wherever my clothing was touching me.

After two days of misery, thinking it would die down on it's own, I went to the doctor and got a cortisone shot, followed by a week's supply of Prednisone. Now you know it's bad when I agree to take Prednisone. My mom was on megadoses of that steroid a long time ago for the effects of emphysema and the side effects were awful. But when you're itching all over like I was, you'll try anything! At least my blood pressure was still good. That surprised me!

Now, five or six days later all is well. I take my last Prednisone tomorrow and I trust with everything washed and rewashed I will not go through that again.

But don't be surprised if my heroine ends up with something similar some day!

Meanwhile, keep an eye on this blog. In the days and weeks to come I'll be doing some giveaways like Julie Lessman's sequel to A Passion Most Pure and Christy Barrit's Suspicious Minds. That book is a hoot. So if you like mysteries and good humor, keep an eye out for that one in a few days.

And if you're in the Minneapolis area, be sure to mark your calendars for the ACFW Mega Book Signing at the Mall of America on September 20th from 1 to 3 in the Rotunda.

Now back to your regularly scheduled program!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Woo Hoo! I Got Second Place!

This past Wednesday the Faith, Hope, and Love chapter of Romance Writers of America held their one-day mini conference in San Francisco and announced the winners of their Touched By Love writing contest for unpublished authors.

I received Second Place in the long contemporary category!!!

I've known for several months I was a finalist. All finalists had their entries judged by five published authors. Their scoresheets made the experience like getting five paid crits for the price of one entry fee. Wow!

The story I entered was Murder For Breakfast, the mystery-romance I have mentioned here countless times. The judges' comments were all very positive, but they also pointed out weaknesses they thought were there. Now I have to carefully consider their comments and where two or more point out similar things, decide what I can do to tweak and improve.

I'm currently working on my proposal for the Little Hope, Wisconsin story and need to wrap that up soon so my agent can send it off to the publisher. Then, before I get back to working on the Little Hope draft, I'll shift gears and work on MFB and doing those tweaks.

I am so grateful to God for this wonderful affirmation that I received. People keep saying I'm getting close to publishing, but the only one who knows that is God. If it is His will, it will happen. However, nothing will happen without me putting rubber to the road, nose to the grindstone, cowgirling it up, and whatever other cliche you can think of. You get the idea :-).

I've got a lot to do before the ACFW conference next month, but right now I just want to bask in the glow for just a minute.