29 October 2011

Carol Award Winner Historical Novella 2011 – Carrie Turansky




A Trusting Heart
by Carrie Turansky
In Christmas Mail Order Brides 
“Travel the Transcontinental Railroad in Search of Love”
(Barbour, 2010)

Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels

I read this novella in paperback version as part of the four novellas in one collection in Christmas Mail Order Brides.  This was 90 pages and I read it in one night, actually got up from bed to finish the end.  Carrie Turansky received the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Carol award for this novella.

Readers – Annika is a Swedish immigrant who was orphaned and worked in Chicago until she agreed to marry the young man who she thought she was corresponding with – a widower with a young child.

When she arrives in Wyoming she instead meets his younger brother, Daniel.  Her betrothed doesn’t even come to meet her. That is because he has no intention of marrying her but was threatened by his Pa, who wrote the lovely letters that made Annika want to accept the proposal!  Little Mariah and Annika form a bond as Daniel falls for his brother’s fiancĂ©.

Great holiday read.  I highly recommend it even if you only read the first novella by Carrie, like I had to do.  Three other lovely authors also contributed their novellas – Susan Page Davis, Vickie McDonough, and Therese Stenzel.  Savor them on another wintry evening, too!

Lovely voice, tight writing, nice story line, and loveable characters.  I will be reading more of Carrie Turansky’s novels!  I was privileged to share a table with her at the ACFW conference and hope she gets a very special man’s story written.  I won’t spill the beans but I love this particular American hero. 

Bibliotherapy elements: Grieving, abandonment/separation, and life transitions.

(Authors – I felt this was a great example of the use of Swaine’s methods from “The Selling Author” which is a book I recently rediscovered after reading it thirty years ago. Because it is a novella the writing had to be tight. She effectively uses all of his techniques with great results.  I am going to be honest, as a writer I was a tad distracted by catching the various ways Carrie Turansky made use of these methods. This should not be a problem at all for a reader, however, because her mastery moves the story forward.)

Giveaway:  Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy!  And your email addy!

27 October 2011

Diana's Corner - Book Review of Surrendered Hearts



Surrendered Hearts
(2011)
by Carrie Turansky
Reviewed by Diana Flowers
4 1/2 Stars!!!

Romance Among The Pines!
"Surrendered Hearts" (Kindle Edition)
In Carrie Turansky's lovely novel, Surrendered Hearts, I was immediately drawn to the hometown atmosphere of this beautiful, lush Vermont setting; with its small shops, fireworks in the park, wildflowers and pine trees, and small townsfolk camaraderie!


Our heroine, Jennifer Evans, a city girl, arrives in the small town of Tipton, Vermont, to attend the wedding of her brother, Wes, with little more than a duffle bag and the clothes on her back. Jennifer is loaded with alot of inside baggage, however...a low self esteem from being raised by relatives who showed her no love, and a body covered with scars to match the ones she carries inside. Jennifer, the victim of a fire that claimed the life of her beloved dog, and left her with nothing, feels that God has abandoned her, just as her ex-fiance did when he took one look at her scarred body in the hospital.


Bill Morgan, her brother's roommate, sees past the scars to the lovely lady inside, but holds back because she doesn't share his faith in God. Jenn is drawn to Bill and the beautiful small town where she finds love and acceptance, but can she learn to love and accept herself? When Bill is offered a job in NC, will he accept the position, knowing the way things stand with Jenn, and her refusal to accept healing that comes only from God? And when Jenn's ex-fiance shows up, will she accept his proposal of marriage?


I loved this touching story, and that's saying alot coming from this historical fiction addict! This was a quick, relaxing read, but Ms. Turansky tastefully dealt with some heavy issues...pregnancy as a result of a date rape, low self esteem stemming from childhood neglect, and low body self image, to name a few. I loved her use of imagery in describing the setting in Vermont, and her realistic characters with human flaws. With a VERY strong spiritual thread throughout, and a satisfying ending, I knew I had become a new Carrie Turansky fan!


Giveaway:  Carrie is giving away two e-book downloads this week.  Leave a comment and your email address to enter!

25 October 2011

Interview with Carrie Turansky


Featured Book: Surrendered Hearts
Flowing Stream Books (April, 2011)



I met Carrie Turansky through ACFW,  and she is a member of the MidAtlantic Zone of ACFW.  I got to spend time with her at the My Book Therapy Pitch pre-conference workshop, sharing the same table with her. 

Carrie, welcome to Overcoming Through Time. 

Would you share either the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help, or the most tragic situation or circumstance one of your characters has had to get past?

When I was growing up none of my family members had any kind of personal relationship with God. That lack of a Spiritual foundation affected every area of our family life. Relationships were strained and there was a lot of pain and confusion in my mind and heart because of it. When I was fourteen a friend invited me to a Christian group called Campus Life. That was the first time I heard the truth about God’s love for me and His desire to have a personal relationship with me. I was longing to know Him and prayed to receive Him into my heart that night. From that time on God has faithfully been helping me overcome the painful issues from my childhood and “re-parenting” me. He has also blessed me with a wonderful family through my husband’s family, my husband, our children, and our church family. I feel very blessed and thankful for all He has done in my heart and life.

What is your favorite bible verse and why?

The Lord has given me many wonderful verses to encourage me. I especially love the Psalms. Here is one I have been thinking about lately:  “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Do not be like a horse or mule which have no understanding, but must be controlled by bit and bridle, or they will not come to you. Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in Him. Rejoice and be glad, you upright in heart, sing with all your heart.” Psalm 32

Disability friendliness: Are any of your book available in audio?  Large print?  Kindle?

Yes, I am happy to say all my Love Inspired titles are available in Large Print. So that includes Along Came Love, Seeking His Love, and in March A Man To Trust. Two of my novella collections are also available in large print: Kiss the Bride and A Blue and Gray Christmas. Three of my novels are available as eBooks: Surrendered Hearts, Along Came Love, and Seeking His Love. In March a Man to Trust will be available as an eBook as well.

What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your books and why?

I hope readers of my books will not only be entertained with an engaging, heartwarming story, but they will also be encouraged to draw closer to God as they see how my characters face problems and find God’s direction and solutions.


As you researched your books, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?

Every book I’ve written has a spiritual theme that I hope will have an impact on my readers. I often write about forgiveness and God’s sovereignty, showing His ability to take the most painful and difficult things in life and bring good out of them. In my latest book, Surrendered Hearts, I did a lot of research about recovery from burns. Reading the stories of people who are dealing with burn injuries was very touching. Burns are very painful, and the scars that remain change a person’s appearance forever. My heroine in Surrendered Hearts must redefine what makes a woman beautiful as she learns to accept the changes in her appearance caused by her burn injury.

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?

Yes, as I mentioned above, the heroine in Surrendered Hearts must work through accepting the changes in her appearance and learn to see herself as God and others see her. Traveling with her on this journey would be helpful for anyone who wonders what makes a woman truly beautiful. How does a relationship with God and others affect how we see ourselves? It’s a touching story and one that I believe can help women see themselves in a more positive light.

Thank you, Carrie, for inviting me over to your blog today. I’d like to invite everyone to visit my newly updated website and take a look around. I have the first chapter of each of my books posted there.  My homepage acts as my blog and I post the latest news there. I also offer a free email newsletter every other month with book news, encouraging articles, recipes, fun photos, and more. The signup for that is on my website home page. I hope you will stop by. www.carrieturansky.com
Blessings and happy reading!

Bio:  Carrie Turansky is the best-selling author of 8 novels and novellas. She has been a finalist for the Inspirational Readers Choice Award and The ACFW Genesis, and winner of the Crystal Globe Award and The ACFW Carol Award.  Carrie writes contemporary and historical romance for Barbour and Love Inspired and has been a member of ACFW since 2000. She lives in central New Jersey with her husband Scott, who is a pastor, author, speaker and counselor. They have five young adult children and three grandchildren. Carrie leads women’s ministry at her church, and when she is not writing she enjoys gardening, reading, flower arranging, and cooking for friends and Family.

Carrie Turansky is the author of Surrendered Hearts and of Along Came Love, Seeking His Love, Wedded Bliss, Kiss the Bride, A Big Apple Christmas, A Blue and Gray Christmas, Christmas Mail-Order Brides.



Thank you, Carrie, for agreeing to answer these questions. We are glad that God led you to, and you received, salvation! Have a blessed day and keep on writing!!


GIVEAWAY:  Carrie is generously giving away TWO downloaded copies of Surrendered Hearts this week.  Leave a comment with your email address for a chance to win!

24 October 2011

One Year Celebration of Colonial American Christian Writers - Lots of Giveaways

Come on by Colonial Quills today as we celebrate our one year anniversary!  We are also celebrating the release of Jennifer Hudson Taylor's "Highland Sanctuary" and Susan Craft's "The Chamomile."

Books by our CACW authors and colonial goodies will be given away throughout the day!  Come visit, put up a chair, have some tea, and leave a comment! I have turned off comments here on Overcoming Through Time today.  

21 October 2011

Friend on Friday - Marian Baay reviews Cascade by Lisa T. Bergren


River of Time Series


Review
By Marian Baay

5 stars *****

In Waterfall we traveled back to the 14th century with Gabi and Lia. Gabi fell in love with Marcello. At the end of the book Gabi and Lia had to travel back to the 21st century. That is where Cascade continues.

When Mom finds out what happened to Gabi and Lia she freaks out. Gabi convinces her Mom and Lia to travel back to the 14th century. When they get there a couple of months have passed since they left and some things have changed. Marcello is very happy to see Gabi again and he arranges a feast to celebrate the return of the Ladies Betarrini.

In this wonderful second book in the River of Times Series, the Betarrinis have to battle new dangers and the love between Gabi and Marcello grows. Marcello persuades Gabi to marry him, but Gabi is not sure if she’s ready for marriage.
We get to know Lia better and soon she’s falling in love with Luca.

If you liked Waterfall, I’m sure you’ll love Cascade. Lisa T. Bergren did a great job with this series. It’s written for Young Adult, but I think it’s a great read for all ages. I enjoyed it immensely and could not put the book down until it was finished.

Thanks, Marian, for the great review!  Readers – Marian is from the Netherlands.  She is a lector who reads, judges, and translate books from English into the Dutch language for publishers. She previously worked in an international operating transport company.

19 October 2011

The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen - Book Review


Amazing and Fresh Story and Characters 

Review by Carrie Fancett Pagels
Five Stars ***** 

I have listened to all of Julie Klassen's audiobooks available as downloads through audible.com. She doesn't write like anyone else that I know. I love that she gives us fresh writing that is not constrained by formulas and rule-following despite her having been an editor herself!  Her main characters and minor are vibrant and memorable. The romance was realistic and full of great tension.

Many of the other Regencies I have read all sound alike. But Klassen's fresh voice shines throughout the story telling.  The narrator was a great choice for this audiobook.

Mariah Aubry is hiding in her relative’s gatehouse, with a view of a building nearby that houses a number of needy souls. And she has a secret – she’s a novelist (which I love because I write fiction!)   Captain Matthew Bryant is too good for the conniving beauty who threw him aside for another wealthier man. But he has to struggle with his own demons as he charts a new course for his life. Within the gatehouse is something that will change their lives if they can keep it from her deceased aunt’s wicked stepson.  Ms. Klassen does a great job of keeping the reader wondering about the hero and the antagonist and provides a wonderfully satisfying ending to the story.

The only complaint I have with this audiobook is that I like to listen while I am doing other activities such as cleaning.  And I wanted to hear every word.  The great thing is I can play this over and over again! 

Lovely job with the spiritual arc which is embedded well within the story line.  Bethany House has an excellent reputation for producing high quality Christian historical romance books by top authors.  Bravo, Julie, and can’t wait for your next book!


Giveaway:  Leave a comment and your email address for a chance to win a copy of The Girl in the Gatehouse.  

17 October 2011

Diana's Corner - Book Review of Dina Sleiman's "Dance of the Dandelion"




Dance of the Dandelion by Dina Sleiman
5 stars~ *****
  
Beautiful Story of Redemption!
Dina Sleiman takes us to Sussex, England, in the 14th century, where a young peasant girl, Dandelion, sets out on a self-destructive journey to find her place in life. She dreams of her knight in shining armor, who will take her away from hunger, emptiness, and poverty, and longs to live in the gray stone castle overlooking her smoky, poor village. And indeed her dreams take her farther away than she ever intended to go...away from her childhood sweetheart, her family, and most importantly, her innocence. 


Dandelion quickly learns that "the grass is not always greener when you get to the other side" for she falls into a tangled web of her own making that she cannot break free from, of herself. Her search for love and fulfillment leads from one abusive relationship to another, and her own passions and selfish desires threaten to destroy her...until at rock bottom she finds redemption.

This book rocked me to the core of my very being. So wonderfully written, riveting, and heartrending, I simply could not put it down. This is a book of all facets of love, but none so powerful as the redeeming, unconditional love of God, who Dandy learns the hard way, is able to fill all the empty places in her life. 


Oh, that this book would find its way to every Christian woman who is struggling with temptations of the flesh; who feels discontent with simply being a mother and a wife, and longs for something more exciting...and that this book would fall into the hands of our friends and family members who have been trapped in the same web as Dandelion. Yes, there are sexual situations in this book, and certain Christians would find it offensive, but I believe the author's intent is that the reader that is struggling, can identify with Dandy, and find deliverance.


This is not my typical review, but neither is this book your typical book. I believe many women's lives will be changed just by reading it. 


This is my opinion and I was not required to give a favorable review. 


Giveaway:  Leave your comment and email address for a chance to win a copy of Dance of the Dandelion.

16 October 2011

Liz Curtis Higgs Giveaways

All good things must come to an end.  I am doing that cliche just so our commenters know it is okay to leave a remark like that (Debra Marvin ;.)    )

But the end just got BETTER.  That's because Liz Curtis Higgs added on two more giveaways for our readers!!!  How awesome is that?


Camellia Tree in front of Carrie's house.



I told Liz that the writers at the ACFW conference were like bees getting nectar from the camellia tree when they all wanted to go meet with her and get a picture taken (like moi!)  This tree above is covered in buds and the blossoms just started opening.  The honeybees have found it.  And they will produce honey for the beekeeper who lives in our neighborhood.  May you be blessed with sweetness and joy from reading Liz's inspirational books!  

Today's winner from OTT is: Karen K, Congratulations!  you are the winner of the book of your choice and format for Liz Curtis Higgs.  Since she has sold millions of books and has many titles to pick from, it won't be easy!  Check your email!!!

Tomorrow I will put up the winners for the drawings by Liz! Leave a comment on any of the weeks' posts by 8:00 a.m. EST to enter!





14 October 2011

Mine Is the Night by Liz Curtis Higgs - Book Review



Published by Waterbrook Press (March 2011)

Listened to on downloaded audio version through www.audible.com

Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels

I did not listen to the first book in this series but I didn’t have any difficulty following the story thread in this stand-alone book.  The narrator was first rate and seemed to TRULY  know the story and the author’s intent because it was none other than LIZ CURTIS HIGGS HERSELF!!!  I sent her a Facebook message afterwards  because I could not believe it really was her.  But as a long time radio personality that was probably easy for her.  And her passion for the story comes through in the narration.  To me this is the best way to get her stories, if possible because it is SO RARE to have an author do that – to narrate.
 
And this Naomi-Ruth inspired story (Lady Elisabeth Kerr and Dowager Lady Marjory Kerr) does a fantastic job of examining the relationship between mother (in this case mother-in-law) and daughter.  It is obvious that Liz understands the give and take between adult child and parent.  I was awestruck and I practiced as a psychologist for twenty-five years, so that comment does not come lightly. 

The love story was wonderful and because it was based on Boaz, I was glad to know I was not going to have some literary device where the great hero is yanked from the pages and the heroine is left with someone else.  So while there was a lot of tension I could also relax into the read/listen a little. 

The romance between mother-in-law (Marjory) and another character (won't spoil it for the reader!) was amazingly well done.  I loved how we had a mature couple with genuine affection and respect and they develop these passionate feelings for each other and (well, read the book to find out what happens!)  I get tired of the twenty-somethings having all the fun!  Great example of how God can give us another chance even if the first part of our life was not so stellar.

Liz’s description of Scotland and the people were so vivid, it was as though I was there. It is set in the mid-18th century after the Jacobite rebellion.  Liz has 950 books on Scotland!!!  Astounding!  All that research pays off for the reader.
 
I highly recommend Mine Is the Night and plan to listen to my version again and again.  It belongs on the shelf (or Kindle, or audio download) of every Christian historical fiction reader. 

Giveaway:  Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of one of Liz’s books (your choice). 

12 October 2011

Review of Liz Curtis Higgs' Latest Series by Laura Frantz



Laura Frantz and Liz Curtis Higgs at the ACFW Conference


Review 
by
Laura Frantz
















Many authors can tell a good story. Few tell it beautifully. Liz Curtis Higgs does both. With her poignant prose, she is able to plumb the depths of the human heart in unforgettable ways. Every time I hold one of her books in hand, I feel like I’m the guest of honor at a wonderful literary feast. I encourage you to fall back in time to 18th-century Scotland amongst steaming cups of tea, silken dresses, misty weather, and the wynds and closes of 1745 Edinburgh. You won’t want to leave!


Liz’s novels are truly unique in that she takes well known Bible stories and sets them in Scotland of old. Each is so rich and deep the reader is tempted to think they’re penned by a Scottish lassJ. Thanks to her extensive research, numerous trips to Scotland, and a library brimming with Scottish books, you can expect an authentic reading experience. Prepare to be lost in those pages and feel absolutely bereft when you’re through! Her latest Scottish series begins with the retelling of the book of Ruth.
Here Burns My Candle

In Here Burns My Candle. (Waterbrook Press, 2010 - available on audio as well as paperback and ebook formats), you have all the characters you can expect – Ruth, Naomi, Boaz, and more – only with new names such as Lady Marjory Kerr, Elisabeth, Donald, and Lord Jack. The story opens on a black Scottish night in 1745 as Bonnie Prince Charlie and his rebel army ride into Edinburgh. The author does a beautiful job setting the stage for the conflict to come when Lady Marjory and her beloved daughters-in-law lose all they hold dear. Fascinating secondary characters surface and weave the plot in unexpected ways, leaving you guessing (and nearly gasping!) till the last page. And just when you think you can’t stand any more heartache and loss, hope springs eternal in the sequel…
            In Mine is the Night, readers are transported to the Highlands where Lady Kerr and her loving daughter-in-law, Elisabeth, come to live in near poverty close to the estate of Jack Buchanan. Be still my heart! Lord Jack is fresh from the Royal Navy and is a hero that even Boaz would be proud of! He comes into the ladies’ lives in such a tender, steadfast way. Not only do we have his and Elisabeth’s love story but the love stories of two other couples as well. Add a charming child, an aristocratic cat, and a to-die-for estate and you have more than a happy ending!
            I’m always moved by how richly Liz tells a story and how satisfying is the ending. Both books are absolutely joyous reads, with living, breathing characters and spiritual truths that stay with you long after the last page.
            I rarely write reviews and feel this doesn’t even skim the surface of all these books convey – beauty, truth, hope, struggle, God’s everlasting love and redemption, and much more. Kudos to you readers who post reviews regularly. I’ve decided writing a book review is harder than writing a bookJ!
I hope you make time for Liz’s beautiful novels. If you’ve read any of her historicals, I’d love to know which ones, and if you have a favorite. I must confess Here Burns My Candle and Mine is the Night are my top two. I can hardly wait to see what she writes next.
A heartfelt thank you to Carrie for asking me to write this review.
Bless you, Liz Curtis Higgs, for blessing us!


Readers: Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of one of Liz's books, your choice of format.

10 October 2011

Interview with Liz Curtis Higgs



Liz Curtis Higgs is the New York Times best-selling author of Mine Is the Night, along with five other Scottish historical novels: Thorn in My Heart, Fair Is the Rose, Whence Came a Prince, Grace in Thine Eyes, and Here Burns My Candle.

I met Liz Curtis Higgs through ACFW and HisWriters (those who have either published or planned works with European characters. ) And I was so pleased to have met her in person at the ACFW Conference in St. Louis recently.  And I even have proof!!!  Thanks to Laura Frantz!  


Liz Curtis Higgs, welcome to Overcoming Through Time. 

Would you share either the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help, or the most tragic situation or circumstance one of your character’s has had to get past?

In my fourth historical novel, Grace in Thine Eyes, set in Scotland 1808, Davina McKie is based on Dinah from Genesis 34. When I did the biblical research before plotting my novel—a detailed process involving fourteen translations of Scripture and forty commentaries—I realized that Dinah has no spoken words recorded in Genesis, nor do we see or hear the story from her viewpoint. So, by God’s leading, I took a leap of faith and made my heroine mute: Davina’s literal silence through laryngeal trauma echoes the figurative silence of her biblical counterpart.


This meant finding other ways for her to communicate. Over the years Davina created her own language, using her hands and facial expressions. She also wrote in the margins of a sketchbook that was seldom out of reach, and played her grandfather’s fiddle, revealing the depth of her emotions through music.

Alas, her disability hinders her from crying out for help when disaster strikes, as we read in Genesis 34:2: “And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her.” The stark succession of Hebrew verbs paints a clear picture of the tragic scene. Unfortunately, I had a similar experience when I was sixteen and so had a deep well of emotions to draw from. Painful as it was to write those scenes, it was also very healing to trace Davina’s difficult journey from heartache to forgiveness to peace. I also created a Bible Study Guide for Grace in Thine Eyes to help readers grasp the power of the biblical story: http://www.lizcurtishiggs.com/Fiction/graceguides/bguide.htm

What is your favorite bible verse and why?
It’s very hard to pick just one! Though I love Romans 5:8, Psalm 16:11, and 1 Timothy 1:15-16, the first verse I memorized when I embraced the grace of God is still very dear to my heart: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). It beautifully describes the transformation that occurs when God, who created us in his image, recreates us, as 2 Corinthians 3:18 describes: “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” An amazing, encouraging truth!


Disability friendliness:
These books are available in audiobook format: Here Burns My Candle, Mine Is the Night, Thorn in my Heart
Ebook format: Thorn in My Heart, Fair Is the Rose, Whence Came a Prince, Grace in Thine Eyes, Here Burns My Candle, Mine Is the Night
Large print: Thorn in My Heart, Here Burns My Candle, Mine Is the Night
(Thank you – we offer this information to our readers with difficulty reading books in regular print format.)

What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your books and why?
Your question includes my one-word answer: hope! Whatever they’re going through, I want my readers to know God created them, God believes in them, God has plans for them, and God loves them. Above all I pray his message of loving-kindness, mercy, and forgiveness will shine through my stories. Grace is his gift to us, meant to be shared.

As you researched your books, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?
My first historical, Thorn in My Heart, and the series that followed came into being because of this brief passage of Scripture and all that it encompassed: “When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved...” (Genesis 29:31). The first time I read those words, tears welled in my eyes. What must it have been like, I wondered, for Leah to love her husband, Jacob, knowing he loved her sister, Rachel, instead? That simple question took three novels to answer!

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?

Here Burns My Candle and Mine Is the Night are a two-book saga inspired by the biblical story of Ruth. The name of Ruth’s first husband, Mahlon, means “weakness” and “infertility.” Though I could have made his Scottish counterpart, Lord Donald Kerr, physically weak, I thought it would serve the story better to make him morally weak. His chronic unfaithfulness to his wife stands in complete contrast to Elisabeth Kerr’s constant faithfulness to him and to her mother-in-law, Marjory Kerr.

Once again, my heroine’s journey toward forgiveness invites readers to examine their own relationships. I heard from many readers who’ve struggled with adulterous husbands and had to seek God’s strength again and again. As I ask in the Readers Guide at the end of Here Burns My Candle, “If you were in Elisabeth’s place, faced with a loved one’s request to ‘Forgive me…for all of it,’ how might you respond?” Christian fiction does more than let us climb inside the lives of imaginary people; it also helps us examine our own hearts, shining a light in the darker corners, so God’s healing grace can sweep away the debris and make us whole.

Thank you Liz Curtis Higgs for agreeing to answer these questions.  Have a blessed day and keep on writing!

Oh, it’s my JOY to do so! Should you care to include this, I love to keep in touch with readers. Here’s how:

Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/lizcurtishiggs
Free e-newsletter, Encouragement to Go! http://www.lizcurtishiggs.com/tlh/nlform.htm



Giveaway:  Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of one of Liz’s books (your choice). 

07 October 2011

Friend on Friday





The Colonel's Lady


by Laura Frantz


Published by Revell 2011


A review by Debra E. Marvin






Thank you, Carrie, for the opportunity to share my thoughts with your readers.

The Colonel’s Lady, Laura Frantz’s third novel, brings us back to the colonial frontier where we lingered with The Frontiersman’s Daughter and Courting Morrow Little.

Should I give you some hints to the story as any decent reviewer would? I’d rather tell you that by the end of the first chapter, my eyes had filled with tears. Was it the compelling new storyline unfolding before me? Laura’s descriptive prose, or just the pure joy of having a new Laura Frantz book in hand? Probably all three.

I cried then. I cried later. Finished the book with a damp pillowcase.

I can’t guarantee your readers will love Roxanne Rowan and Colonel Cass McLinn as I did.

But I think they will.

This is Laura’s first use of the hero’s Point of View in her Revell books and I was thrilled to learn she’d used the life of George Rogers Clark as part of the inspiration for Colonel McLinn. I’ve been a fan of author James Alexander Thom’s fictional stories of the frontier, most notably his multiple books on the Clark family of Virginia. If Laura’s books leave you wanting more of this era, I’d suggest you check into his work.

Laura’s settings are so real that days later, I’m missing life at Fort Endeavor, the Stone House and all their inhabitants. Seriously.
Can you believe I looked online to find their location? I’m ready for a road trip to say I stood where they stood.
Oh, that’s right. They’re fictional characters.

Roxie and Cass have a horrid truth lying between them, but two people could not be better for each other as we watch them grow in each other’s company. This of course is the ultimate goal of a romance thread in any book. And, I don’t know if any female reader can help but fall in love with Cass McLinn. He’s up there with Rhett Butler, Jamie Fraser, Fitzwilliam D’Arcy and Mr. Thornton for me.

Roxie’s faith holds firm in the face of losing every bit of security in her life, including constant threat of imminent attack at the fort. Cass has a faith he grew up with, but chose to ignore as too unreliable and instead relies on himself. Only when he’s completely disgusted by his failures can he release control and again desire to have Roxie’s kind of peace.

I love a book that makes me talk to the author while I’m reading. I had plenty of those moments. “Oh, Laura, this is brilliant” “Oh, Laura, you’ve got to be kidding me. This is too amazing.”  Example: Enter a mute child, named Abby, into the lives of two broken adults.

My anticipation for Laura’s next book is already building (hint: she took a trip to Philadelphia this summer). I have to admit, as a reader, I’m thrilled. As a writer, well . . . If the next book is better than the last three, my own writing will be irrevocably damaged. Ahh, but it’s a chance I’m willing to take. 




Thanks Debra for visiting with us!  
Debra E. Marvin tries not to run too far from real life but the imagination born out of being an only child has a powerful draw. Besides, the voices in her head tend to agree with all the sensible things she says. Debra likes to write, weed and wander and is blessed to have the best family and friends in the world. She has decided she needs to live closer  to her grandchildren. She’s thankful each day that God is in control, that He chooses to bless us despite ourselves and that He has a sense of humor.    Her work has finaled in the TARA, Great Expectations, Heart of the Rockies, Maggie, Rattler and most recently, the Daphne DuMaurier. Not too bad considering she’s trying a mashup of gospel and . . .  gothic. Any day now, she'll be submitting her novel. Catch her pretending to be social at: 




Giveaway:  Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of this amazing new book by Laura Frantz!

04 October 2011

Diana's Corner - Book Review of Fairer than Morning by Rosslyn Elliot


cover coming
Fairer Than Morning 
by Rosslyn Elliot
May 2011 from Thomas Nelson Publishers


4 1/2 stars~


From The Darkness Into His Marvelous Light!

In Fairer Than Morning, debut author Rosslyn Elliot takes us away to Ohio in the early 1800s, an era of indentured servants and runaway slaves; a time of gross darkness and light, prosperity and poverty. Our heroine, Ann Miller, lives with her father, a master saddler, and a good Christian man who helps lead runaway slaves to the underground railroad. As he travels on a business trip to Pittsburgh, Ann, nursing a broken heart from her sweetheart, Eli, decides to go with her father.There she meets Will Hanby, a saddler's apprentice.

Will has indentured himself to Master Good to learn the fine art of saddle making, not realizing that he is a cruel man, who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Will is tormented, beaten, and broken in spirit when he meets the lovely Ann, and her kind father, and when they return to Ohio he vows to run away and find them at any cost. In his despair, loneliness, and need for love, Will reaches out to an impoverished young lady, Emmie, and compromises her. Feeling tremendous regret and shame, Will is determined to learn the saddle trade and come back for Emmie, and make things right by marrying her and taking her to live at the Miller's home.

Once there, under the tutelage of Mr. Miller, Will learns more than just saddle making. He learns of God's love that reaches down into his dark, love-starved soul, and of forgiveness, and immediately begins to seek God's will for his once broken life. What are God's plans, and what happens when Will decides to return to his ex-master with Mr. Miller to make things right? When Emmie accepts his marriage proposal, what's to become of Will's attraction for the lovely, kindhearted Ann? And when Ann's ex-sweetheart proposes, what is to become of her overwhelming feelings for Will?

Rosslyn Elliot's debut novel is powerful, realistic, and heartwrenching at times. Her research of this fiction novel based on factual people and events is impressive, and is truly a page-turner! Although there is romance in this book it isn't oozing with it, and it is actually more of a historical tale, than a lighthearted romance novel. With a strong spiritual thread throughout, I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading the next in the series!

This book was sent to me by the author and I was not required to give a favorable opinion. Available for purchase through CBD and through Amazon as well as other retailers.


Giveaway:  Leave a comment and your email address for a chance to win a copy of Fairer than Morning!

01 October 2011

Weekend Thoughts by Carrie Fancett Pagels


My daughter graduating from the University of Virginia





“Live the Life You’ve Imagined”






I received a nice gift from a friend – a shadow box with that slogan on it.  The thing is -  I have lived MY dreams.  I got my Ph.D. in School Psychology, was the third youngest person to have completed my program, was a clinical faculty member with a medical school, had co-authored a chapter in a book, and had a great job at a hospital working with a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, supervised by an psychologist who was my mentor.  But as Solomon said, all was meaningless.  I was single parenting my nephew when my second engagement broke off and I determined I would likely remain single. God had other plans. He brought me His idea. Two years later my husband and I welcomed our baby girl into the world. 

Later I went into private practice in Charleston, another dream of mine.  When they shut down the Charleston shipyard we moved to the Buffalo area. Brrrrrr!!! Then we relocated to Valdosta, Georgia, where I worked two jobs and I had a house-husband for a while.  I learned a lot during those valley years but they were not my dream.  But in the valley a lot of dross is burned off.

We were blessed with our second child, a son, almost thirteen years after that baby girl.  The life I imagined, one with me working as a psychologist and single is no longer.  Instead I am writing historical Christian fiction, raising our son, getting to spend time with our engineer daughter, and enjoying my wonderful husband! (He took the picture, below.)

Son, Father-in-law, Daughter, Mother-in-law, and Me

So I may repaint that little box. “Live the life He has planned for you!”

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