Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Stuck in the Middle by Virginia Smith

Virginia Smith is one of my favorite authors. She's got humorous pathos down pat, and she's prolific to boot, so you shouldn't run out of things to read by her any time soon. Here's the scoop on her latest dish!


Joan Sanderson's life is stuck. Her older sister, Allie, is starting a family and her younger sister, Tori, has a budding career. Meanwhile, Joan is living at home with Mom and looking after her aging grandmother. Not exactly a recipe for excitement-or romance.

That is, until a hunky young doctor moves in next door. Suddenly Joan has a goal--to catch his eye and get a date. But it won't be easy. Pretty Tori flirts relentlessly with him and Joan is sure that she can't compete. But with a little help from God, Allie, and an enormous mutt with bad manners, maybe Joan can find her way out of this rut and into the life she's been hiding from.

Book 1 of the Sister-to-Sister series, Stuck in the Middle combines budding romance, spiritual searching, and a healthy dose of sibling rivalry that is sure to make you smile.

"A gentle story of one young woman's season of growth, deftly blending the tangle of family relationships with gifts of whimsey and revelation. A joy to read."~SHARON HINCK, author of Renovating Becky Miller and Symphony of Secrets~

"Virginia Smith has created a charming and humerous novel that celebrates small-town life, generations of women caring for each other, and the value of finding a deeper, more active faith."~SHARON DUNN, author of the Bargain Hunters mysteries~



Virginia Smith left her job as a corporate director to become a full time writer and speaker with the release of her first novel Just As I Am. Since then she has contracted eight novels and published numerous articles and short stories. She writes contemporary humorous novels for the Christian market, including Murder by Mushroom (Steeple Hill, August 2007) and her newest release, Stuck in the Middle(Revell, February 2008), book 1 in the Sister-to-Sister Series. Her short fiction has been anthologized, and her articles have been published in a variety of Christian magazines. An energetic speaker, she loves to exemplify God’s truth by comparing real-life situations to well-known works of fiction, such as her popular talk, “Biblical Truths in Star Trek.”

Virginia is a speaker, and an avid Scuba diver. She and her husband Ted, divide their times between Kentucky and Utah, and escape as often as they can for diving trips to the Caribbean!

BONUS READ from another excellent author:

This week the Christian Author's Network blog is featuring Susan Meissner's latest book, BLUE HEART BLESSED. The excerpt is terrific! I hope you'll hop over and read it here: . And I hope you'll share the link with your friends.

Monday, February 25, 2008

More Awesome Reads From Chapter-a-Week!

Sweet Caroline
By Rachel Hauck
When a Southern waitress inherits the Lowcountry cafe where she works, she suddenly has to balance more than just her next food order.
Caroline Sweeney has always done the right thing--the responsible, dependable thing--unlike her mother who abandoned her family. But when her best friend challenges her to accept an exciting job adventure in Barcelona, Spain, Caroline says "yes" to destiny.
Then, without warning, ownership of the run-down cafe where she's been waitressing falls right into Caroline's lap. While she's trying to determine the cafe's future, handsome Deputy Sherriff J.D. Rand captures Caroline's heart.
But when her first love, Mitch O'Neal, comes back to town, fresh from the heat of his newly-found fame as a country music singer in Nashville, Caroline must make some hard choices about love and the pursuit of the sweet life.

"Hauck's adorable novel contains the multi-layered characters readers have come to expect from her books. The enjoyable story and unpredictable ending entertains and offers much to think about." - 4.5 Stars, Melissa Parcel, Romantic Times Book Club

Every Secret Thing
by Ann Tatlock

Every Secret Thing is the story of a woman who returns home after many years away. Beth Gunnar hasn't lived in Delaware since high school graduation, but when she's offered a teaching job at Seaton Preparatory School--her alma mater--she accepts. Once there, she's faced with an unresolved loss that she and her friends experienced during their senior year. She realizes that the suicide of a favorite teacher has haunted her all her life, and she wants to find out the truth about what happened that night. There's a little bit of mystery and a little bit of romance, and ultimately it's a story of faith and reconciliation.

"Intelligent, introspective, and beautifully, hauntingly written…."
- Tom Morrisey, author of In High Places

To read excerpts from these new titles go to Chapter-a-Week .

Coming Soon: A post on art theft Down Under!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Dekker Does It Again!

With Ted Dekker, readers can always count on the unexpected. He takes what we call reality and twists it half a turn to give us a fresh perspective. His new thriller ADAM serves up another helping of chilling challenge to our faith.


He died once to stop the he's dying again to save his wife.

FBI behavioral psychologist Daniel Clark has become famous for his well-articulated arguments that religion is one of society’s greatest antagonists. What Daniel doesn’t know is that his obsessive pursuit of a serial killer known only as “Eve” is about to end abruptly with an unexpected death-his own.

Twenty minutes later Daniel is resuscitated, only to be haunted by the loss of memory of the events immediately preceding his death.

Daniel becomes convinced that the only way to stop Eve is to recover those missing minutes during which he alone saw the killer’s face. And the only way to access them is to trigger his brain’s memory dump that occurs at the time of death by simulating his death again…and again.

So begins a carefully researched psychological thriller which delves deep into the haunting realities of near-death experiences, demon possession, and the human psche."

As always with a Ted Dekker thriller, the details of ADAM are stunning, pointing to meticulous research in a raft of areas: police and FBI methods, forensic medicine, psychological profiling-in short, all that accompanies a Federal hunt for a serial killer. But Dekker fully reveals his magic in the latter part of the book, when he subtly introduces his darker and more frightening theme. It's all too creepily convincing. We have to keep telling ourselves that this is fiction. At the same time, we can't help thinking that not only could it happen, but that it will happen if we're not careful."

New York Times best-selling author Ted Dekker unleashes his most riveting novel elusive serial killer whose victims die of unknown causes and the psychologist obsessed with catching him.


Ted is the son of missionaries John and Helen Dekker, whose incredible story of life among headhunters in Indonesia has been told in several books. Surrounded by the vivid colors of the jungle and a myriad of cultures, each steeped in their own interpretation of life and faith, Dekker received a first-class education on human nature and behavior. This, he believes, is the foundation of his writing.

After graduating from a multi-cultural high school, he took up permanent residence in the United States to study Religion and Philosophy. After earning his Bachelor's Degree, Dekker entered the corporate world in management for a large healthcare company in California. Dekker was quickly recognized as a talent in the field of marketing and was soon promoted to Director of Marketing. This experience gave him a background which enabled him to eventually form his own company and steadily climb the corporate ladder.

Since 1997, Dekker has written full-time. He states that each time he writes, he finds his understanding of life and love just a little clearer and his expression of that understanding a little more vivid. Dekker's body of work encompassing seven mysteries, three thrillers and ten fantasies includes Heaven's Wager, When Heaven Weeps, Thunder of Heaven, Blessed Child, A Man Called Blessed, Blink, Thr3e, The Circle Trilogy (Black, Red, White), and Obsessed, with two more...Renegade, and Chaos to be released later this year.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Monet and van Gogh Recovered!

See my blog from last Friday for the scoop on a daring theft by armed robbers from a Zurich museum. The thieves made off with four paintings: a Cezanne, a Degas, a van Gogh, and a Monet. The news reported yesterday that "Blooming Chestnust Branches" by Vincent van Gogh and "Poppy Field at Vetheuil" by Claude Monet were recovered unharmed from the back seat of an unlocked car in the parking lot outside a mental hospital only a few hundred yards from the scene of the crime!

The recovered paintings are valued at $64 million. Still missing are "Boy in the Red Waistcoat" by Paul Cezanne and "Ludovic Lepic and His Daughter" by Edgar Degas. The Cezanne alone is appraised at $91 million, the most valuable painting in the museum.

Authorities continue to search for these paintings and the thieves. Any information can be reported to Interpol.

What were the thieves thinking to abandon two of the paintings almost immediately? Or were they thinking at all when they took the art? What they still have on their hands is going to be torture to get rid of for any kind of profit. Maybe they actually belong inside the hospital where they left half of their ill-gotten gains!

Death of a Six Foot Teddy Bear By Sharon Dunn

Doesn't that title just grab you? I'm a long time Sharon Dunn fan so I'm always delighted when a new one comes out. This is the second in the Bargain Hunters series, and it's a hoot with a serious side, as usual. Dunn does a fantabulous job of juggling mulitple well-rounded characters and integrating sub-plots with the central whodunnit.


When a man turns up dead in a teddy bear costume, Ginger and the other ladies of the Bargain Hunters Network learn a lesson about trusting in God rather than in wealth as they try to solve the crime and clear one of their own.


Sharon Dunn is the author of Death of a Garage Sale Newbie, book one in the Bargain Hunters Mysteries, and the Ruby Taylor mystery novels including Sassy Cinderella, which was voted Book of the Year by American Christian Fiction Writers. She earned a BA in television production and a master’s in history Sharon lives in Bozeman, Montana, with her husband of twenty years, three children, two cats, and lots of dust bunnies.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Read Excerpts of Good Books!

Have I got some deals for you today!

Fun excerpts from recent releases by your favorite authors! (At least, I hope these are among your favorites.)

Here's the spot to go for an excerpt from Sharon Dunn's new cozy mystery, Death of a Six Foot Teddy Bear:

www.canblog. youve_got_ books_fiction

And here are a couple more enticing tidbits:

The Whole Truth
by James Scott Bell

"The gritty tale will have readers cheering for Steve as he desperately tries to put the pieces of his life back together. The scenes and characters jump off the page to create a startling, emotionally stirring story." – Romantic Times

The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Decked Out (#7 in the Yada Yada series)

By Neta Jackson

Turkey dinners, tree trimming, and decking the halls--it's that time of year again! And I, Jodi Baxter, can't wait to celebrate. My kids are coming home for the holidays, and then all of us Yadas are getting decked out for a big New Year's party.

But God's idea of "decked out" might just change the nature of our party plans. A perplexing encounter with a former student, a crime that literally knocks me off my feet, a hurry-up wedding, and a child who will forever change our family . . . it's times like these that I really need my prayer sisters.

This holiday season, we Yada Yadas are learning that no one can out-celebrate God. So let's get this party started!

To read excerpts from these great new titles visit Chapter-a-Week .


Friday, February 15, 2008

Audacious Heist Nets $163 Million in Paintings!

Last Sunday, three masked men brandishing guns burst into a Zurich museum and snatched four masterworks in the second art heist in that neighborhood in less than a week. The method was simple, direct, inelegant, and potentially violent. Fortunately, no one was hurt because the many patrons and staff immediately hit the floor when commanded, and the thieves were in and out within minutes. They drove off in a white car with the paintings hanging out of the trunk. How sophisticated!

Media reports call this the largest art theft in Switzerland’s history and one of the largest in Europe. But what—oh, what!—do the thieves plan to do with their loot? Profitably disposing of stolen high profile artwork is notoriously difficult. There is too much media and police attention. A spokesperson from the Art Loss Register says, “From our experience in these big raids, police will either recover the paintings very quickly, or they will disappear for quite a long time.”

The stolen masterpieces were part of a collection that had been put together by Swiss industrialist Emil Buhrle, a man of disputable ethics for his willingness to sell arms to Nazi Germany during World War II and the questionable provenance of some of his paintings. At one point, an independent inquiry ordered Buhrle to return or repurchase 13 paintings that had belonged to French Jews.

Today, the distinguished array of French impressionist and post-impressionist works are housed in a lakeside chateau in Zurich and are available for public viewing. Well, all but the four which were stolen: Poppies Near Vetheuil by Claude Monet, Count Lepic and His Daughters by Edgar Degas, Blossoming Chestnut Branches by Vincent van Gogh, and Boy in a Red Vest by Paul Cezanne.

Of course, the writer in me could make some dashing tale out of this scenario, with Jewish families reclaiming their heritage, but that’s pure flight of fancy. All of stolen paintings are the works of acknowledged masters and quite valuable, but other pieces of greater value were left on the walls. The thieves simply grabbed four paintings hung in a row and escaped, indicating an ignorant, hasty job. The robbers may actually have no idea what they’re going to do with the priceless pieces they snatched so carelessly.

Raw greed, in other words, was the motive, but now they’re stuck with goods that they may never be able to make a profit on, much less get off their hands. Can you say: “dumb-da-dumb-dumb!”

The maddening part, of course, is that now these works are lost to society for an indefinite period of time. Art thieves don’t steal merely from a person or an institution; they rob us all!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My Name is Russell Fink by Michael Snyder

If any of you have read one (or more) of my books, you know I write suspense with plenty of "gasp" moments, but also a healthy dose of humor and relationship issues. Michael Snyder's comic mystery loaded with quirky characters and relationship struggles is right up my alley. Check it out!


Russell Fink is twenty-six years old and determined to salvage a job he hates so he can finally move out of his parents house for good. He's convinced he gave his twin sister cancer when they were nine years old. And his crazy fiancée refuses to accept the fact that their engagement really is over.

Then Sonny, his allegedly clairvoyant basset hound, is found murdered.The ensuing amateur investigation forces Russell to confront several things at once-the enormity of his family's dysfunction, the guy stalking his family, and his long-buried feelings for a most peculiar love interest.

At its heart, My Name is Russell Fink is a comedy, with sharp dialogue, characters steeped in authenticity, romance, suspense, and fresh humor. With a postmodern style similar to Nick Hornby and Douglas Coupland, the author explores reconciliation, forgiveness, and faith in the midst of tragedy. No amount of neurosis or dysfunction can derail God's redemptive purposes.


Michael Snyder has spent the bulk of his professional career in sales, has fallen in love, and continues to struggle with the balance between art and vocation. He's never investigated a murder, much less that of an allegedly clairvoyant dog.


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Goldeneyes by Delia Latham

I'm hosting lovely Delia Latham today and her upcoming romance release, Goldeneyes. I've even got an excerpt from the book to post, as well as an interview with the author. So read on for a treat!


A man’s eyes are the windows to his soul … if he has one.

Deep in the darkness of a Depression-era night, a man addicted to alcohol sells something precious to obtain it. His vile action impacts the lives of two entire families, and it will be over two decades before the horrible wrong begins to be made right again.

Two young women – strangers to each other – unknowingly enmeshed in a Pandora’s Box of secrets that could prevent them from finding happiness with the men they love. Two adoring mothers who know more than they are willing to say. A newsman with a story he cannot tell. What is their connection, and who is the golden-eyed stranger who moves in the shadows of their broken lives?

The old cuckoo clock on the shelf in the front room struck midnight. It’s persistent chirping irritated Jack Kelly’s already frayed nerves as he paced back and forth across the small room.

"Shut up! Shut up!" he growled beneath his breath, casting an anxious look at the crib in the next room. When no signs of disturbed sleep were forthcoming, he breathed a grateful sigh of relief. The last thing he needed right now was a squalling infant to further vex the burning demon within him. He had promised his wife he would not spend a cent on liquor. New babies meant new expenses, and those things must come first.

So far he had kept his promise; he’d had no choice. Every penny he earned with his hoe, day after blistering day in the cotton fields, was swallowed up in scratching out a meager existence. There never seemed to be a penny extra, to say nothing of the few dollars a bottle of whiskey would cost. With the addition of this new offspring, who knew when he would be able to quench the gnawing demon of thirst that drove him insane? He had to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. The arrival of more children would only make that job harder, and it was obvious Annie did not intend to stop at one pregnancy.

Another glance into the small bedroom revealed no unwelcome stirrings from the crib. A bright moonbeam, however, lay across the bed, and Kelly’s tormented gaze fell on the lovely face of the woman he had married. He had considered himself a lucky man when she said yes to his proposal, despite her goody-two-shoes, Bible-thumping parents. If he loved anything on this poor excuse of an earth, he loved Annie. She was a perfect wife.

Their home might be barely more than a shack, but it sparkled, and she was a real wonder in the kitchen. He could not remember her voice ever raised in anger, even when he had fallen through the front door, dog drunk, a week after she married him.

Kelly’s fevered mind wandered to his conversation with the poor fish in the cotton field. Had it only been eight or nine hours ago? It seemed an eon; every moment without the drink he craved was an eternity.

Poor fella don’t know how lucky he is. Only has to worry ‘bout that pretty little gal and hisself. I bet he could buy a bottle of whiskey if he wanted one!

With the thought, an idea was born, full-blown and itching for action. He actually stopped pacing for a moment, shocked to the core by the undiluted vileness of the seed taking root in his mind. He stood staring at the crib against the far wall and shook his head as if to toss out the evil thought.

"You’re crazy," he whispered. His heart pounded painfully against his chest; little beads of sweat dotted his forehead and chin. "You’ve done gone stark, starin’ mad!"

And perhaps he had, for suddenly he found himself across the room, gazing down into the hand-me-down crib. He was horrified at the darkness within his imagination, yet knew full well he hadn’t the strength of mind or will to resist its powerful pull.

One more almost desperate glance at his wife’s face … if she would only wake up he would have to forsake this notion, and perhaps he could rid himself of the unforgivable intent. Indeed, Annie did stir a little and drew a deep sigh, almost as though she heard his desperate mental cry. But hers was the sleep of utter exhaustion and she slumbered on.

A few moments later, Kelly slipped silently out the back door of the little shack, clutching a tiny pink bundle in his arms and blinking back the tears of shame and self-loathing that sprang unbidden to his eyes.

Q. Who is Delia Latham?
A: I’m a Christian wife, married to a Pentecostal minister. My husband is the assistant pastor at our church, and I’m involved in the music ministry. I play piano and sing. I have four grown children and four beautiful, absolutely perfect granchildren – no, really, they are! We all live in Bakersfield, California. I was born here and have resided in or around this desert town my entire life.

Q: What inspired you to write Goldeneyes?
A: I grew up in Weedpatch, the little farming community where Part One of Goldeneyes is set. I’ve always wanted to write something using that location as a backdrop. This story has been brewing in my mind for several years, but it was hard for me to get past the reality of Weedpatch in my own life and get on with turning it into a fictional tale. I prayed a lot! Once God gave me the go-ahead, He also gave me the inspiration, and I’m very pleased with the completed product.

Q: Which authors have most influenced your own writing?
A: Too many to possibly mention here! As a child, I devoured just about every book I could get my hands on: Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, the Bobbsey Twins – even the Hardy Boys; I wasn’t gender specific as to reading material. As I got older, I graduated to romance and found Grace Livingston Hill, Barbara Cartland, Emilie Loring, and oh, yes – I discovered Harlequin Romance (oh, my!). Now some of my favorite writers are Joy Fielding, Lori Wick, Lori Copeland … the list goes on for miles. My favorite book of all time is Swan Song, by Robert McCammon – rather surprising for an inspirational author, I know, but it’s a beautifully written epic account of good vs. evil. Unforgettable!

Q: What other projects are you currently working on?
A: My current work-in-progress is surprising me by actually creating a connection between my debut novel and Goldeneyes, which I wasn’t expecting at all. I’ve also just completed something completely new - at least for me. While it’s still Christian romance, it will fit more easily into the Chick Lit genre, bringing in a touch more humor and lightheartedness than is in my other works.

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