Thursday, February 26, 2009

Daisy Chain by Mary DeMuth

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Daisy Chain

Zondervan (March 1, 2009)


Mary DeMuth


Mary's books are heart-felt and heart-wrenchers! For a chance to win a copy of Daisy Chain, leave a comment at the end off this post.

Mary E. DeMuth is an expert in Pioneer Parenting. She enables Christian parents to navigate our changing culture when their families left no good faith examples to follow.

Her parenting books include Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture (Harvest House, 2007), Building the Christian Family You Never Had (WaterBrook, 2006), and Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God (Harvest House, 2005).

Mary also inspires people to face their trials through her real-to-life novels, Watching The Tree Limbs
(nominated for a Christy Award) and Wishing On Dandelions (NavPress, 2006).

Mary has spoken at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, the ACFW Conference, the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, and at various churches and church planting ministries. Mary and her husband, Patrick, reside in Texas with their three children. They recently returned from breaking new spiritual ground in Southern France, and planting a church.


The abrupt disappearance of young Daisy Chance from a small Texas town in 1973 spins three lives out of control—Jed, whose guilt over not protecting his friend Daisy strangles him; Emory Chance, who blames her own choices for her daughter’s demise; and Ouisie Pepper, who is plagued by headaches while pierced by the shattered pieces of a family in crisis.

In this first book in the Defiance, Texas Trilogy, fourteen-year-old Jed Pepper has a sickening secret: He’s convinced it’s his fault his best friend Daisy went missing. Jed’s pain sends him on a quest for answers to mysteries woven through the fabric of his own life and the lives of the families of Defiance, Texas. When he finally confronts the terrible truths he’s been denying all his life, Jed must choose between rebellion and love, anger and freedom.

Daisy Chain is an achingly beautiful southern coming-of-age story crafted by a bright new literary talent. It offers a haunting yet hopeful backdrop for human depravity and beauty, for terrible secrets and God’s surprising redemption.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Daisy Chain, go HERE

Monday, February 23, 2009

Gallimore by Michelle Griep

I enjoyed Michelle Griep's debut novel immensely. If you like knights in shining armor, a fiesty heroine, a wounded hero with more nobility than he thought he could possibly possess, a truly evil villain, emotional pathos, and mystery with a twist of time-travel, then you'll love Michelle's book too. Below is a book trailer, and read on to the end of this post for a fascinating article by Michelle about WMDs - Weapons of Medieval Destruction.

ABOUT MICHELLE: Minnesota author, Michelle Griep, has been writing since she first discovered Crayolas and blank wall space. She has homeschooled four children over the past twenty years, and teaches both Civics and Creative Writing for area co-ops. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers. Michelle's debut historical romance, GALLIMORE, is scheduled for release December 15, 2008.

BUY IT NOW: Gallimore

Find out more at

WMD’s—Weapons of Medieval Destruction

by Michelle Griep

A nuclear bomb pretty much assures instant death—one second you’re here, the next kablooey. Quick and painless.

Unlike Washington bureaucrats, the average American doesn’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about weapons of mass destruction. I certainly don’t detect a high level of fear in anyone I know. Other than the garden variety conceal-n-carry discussions, weapons really aren’t on anyone’s mind.

I suppose if you lived in war torn Iraq or some drug-cartel, gang-infested country, you would be afraid. And rightly so.

Or if you lived during the Dark Ages.

Peasants didn’t get to wield halberds or maces. Oh, they might have a pitchfork handy to threaten some nasty puncture wounds. Likely they’d tote a knife which, granted, can inflict a mortal wound if handled properly. But the gnarliest weapons belonged to knights and nobles…instilling fear into the plebian sort.

Let’s say you’re a resourceful peasant who copped a sword off the black market for an amazingly low price. End of fear factor, right? Wrong. Some knights carried a Sword Breaker. This is a unique weapon developed and used during the Middle Ages. It’s pretty much a long, sturdy dagger but with one major difference—slots on one side, kind of like the teeth on a comb. A Sword Breaker was used to capture an opponent’s blade. Once caught, a quick twist would snap the enemy’s blade, effectively disarming him.

Speaking of daggers, ever hear of a Rondel? This puppy inflicted some serious damage. A Rondel is a long, conical-shaped dagger made specifically for piercing armor. And once through the armor and the flesh beneath, a gaping hole the size of Pittsburgh pretty much insured death.

But both of these aforementioned items would require your enemy to be on foot, not mounted up high. Problem: how to unseat a skilled horseman. Solution: a landmine.


Yes, a landmine. Oh, not the type in use today but efficient nonetheless. The Caltrop is an example of the ingenuity of the times. Much like a mongo version of a child’s jack, a Caltrop is a fabrication of metal with four sharp points. Thrown on the ground, it always landed with a point sticking up. Scatter a bunch of these babies on the ground and the oncoming cavalry would have some serious issues to deal with.

But even common items can do unspeakable damage. In my book, Gallimore, I allude to the death of Edward II. Consensus says he was murdered, but the story behind the murder might make you cringe.

You should know this about ol’ Ed…he wasn’t a favorite king. He didn’t endear himself to the people and especially not to his wife. Most queens are hardly amused when the king not only partakes in dalliances on the side, but ones wherein they can’t compete, well… You see, Edward had a bit of an attraction to the same gender. This special quality of his ticked off a lot of people, tolerance not being in vogue at the time.

They tried the usual imprisonment and starving. Even subjected him to filthy water in hopes he’d succumb to disease. Nope. Edward II was a hearty soul.

So, one wicked eve during his enforced visit to Berkeley Castle, several men gathered to perform a dastardly deed. As Edward lay asleep, they squished him down with a table, intending to squash the air from him and suffocate the little fella. Foiled again. He wriggled like a minnow out of water, flipping himself over on his tummy.

Who came up with the idea of a hearth poker we may never know, but someone did. They heated the rod up until it glowed red, then shoved it up his…well, let’s just say Edward became a kabob from the bottom up.

Technology will forever be developing newer, mind boggling weapons. However, just because they’re fancy does not make them any more frightening than the weapons of the past.

Hmm. Kind of makes one wonder…maybe it’s the people behind the weapons we should fear most.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Age Before Beauty by Virginia Smith

My good friend Virginia Smith has a new one out in her Sister-to-Sister series that's sure to bring on the chuckles and the sighs and the knowing nods. Here's an intriguing interview with her. Leave a comment to win a copy!

*What was the inspiration behind Age before Beauty?

Allie is a typical older sister, used to controlling everyone and
everything. Okay, I admit it – I’m the oldest of three sisters, so a lot of
Allie’s struggles came straight from my own life. Also, my middle sister
gave birth to a baby right before I started writing Age before Beauty,
so of course some of her thoughts and feelings had to show up in the
story as well. I had a lot of fun blending characteristics and experiences
from both of us.

 *Do you often put yourself into your stories?

There’s a piece of me in every character I’ve ever written. If I’m going to
write a believable character, one that resonates with a reader, I have to
be able to get inside her head, and in order to do that I have to find
some common ground with her. But often it’s just a minor element of
commonality, and pretty soon the character’s personality begins to
grow and take on unique qualities. Allie, for instance, is the ultimate
problem solver, and that comes directly from me. But some of her
conflicts—like with her mother-in-law, for instance—are all her own.

 *When a ‘rash’ appears on Joanie’s face, Allie panics. Have you ever
overreacted to a situation involving your child?

Yes, that’s one of the things I pulled from my own life. My ‘baby’ is
twenty-six years old, so I had to dig into some pretty old memories. But
I still remember how embarrassing it was to sit in the doctor’s office
after an emergency phone call and have him tell me my infant was not
dying of a terrible disease, but just had a case of gas.

 *Eric and Allie were raised in vastly different environments, and that
affects their marriage. Do you think that happens in real life?

Definitely. Children build expectations about their own romantic
relationships based on what they saw growing up. So when our parents’
marriage fails, as Allie’s did, that’s bound to affect how we approach
marriage. In Allie’s case, she sees similarities between Eric and her
father, and she leaps to the conclusion that that Eric will one day leave
her, as her father did. I had the same fears in the early years of my
marriage. It took me several years of counseling and prayer, but I know
I serve a God who overcomes obstacles. Today my husband and I have a
strong, thriving marriage.

 *Allie jumps head-first into a home sales business, selling makeup and
cleaning products. Any basis in reality from that situation?

Not personally. That element of the story came from the accumulated
experiences of several young moms I know. One is my sister, of course,
who yearned to stay home with her new baby. And one is a friend of my
daughter’s who did quit her job and launched a makeup sales business
in order to stay home with her infant. I’ll be honest about something –
When I first got the idea for this story, I intended to poke a bit of fun at
the ‘pyramid scheme’ type businesses. But a funny thing happened. This
young mom loves her business, and she’s become wildly successful at it.
She credits her business for changing her life in many ways. I interviewed
several others who told me the same thing. My perception of that type of
sales job totally changed. So the story became less about poking fun at
that industry, and more about the extremes an obsessive personality will
go to in order to accomplish her goals. I think the story is much better this

 *Is there an overall message in Age before Beauty?

Well, I didn’t set out to write a book with a message. I wanted to write an
entertaining story with realistic characters that people can identify with.
But I’m a Christian, and I write from a Christian worldview, so the hope I
have in the Lord comes through in all my books. In Age before Beauty,
I hope readers walk away with a renewed sense of assurance that God is
in control, and that no problem is too tough for Him to handle.

 *Age before Beauty is the second book in the Sister-to-Sister Series,
following Stuck in the Middle, which was about the middle
Sanderson sister. But there are three sisters. Will there be another

Absolutely! In fact, I just finished writing the first draft of Last but
Not Least, which will hit bookstores in February of 2010. The central
character is Tori, the youngest Sanderson sister, whose life is completely
different than the other two. She’s a professional girl, a real ‘chick’ with
a fetish for designer clothes. There are some really funny escapades in
that book, and of course more of the heartwarming family relationships
that I loved in the first two. Last but Not Least will wrap up the
Sister-to-Sister Series, and I’ve thrown in a couple of surprises that I
think readers will enjoy.

To BUY IT NOW! click on the link below:
Age Before Beauty

Monday, February 16, 2009

Gingham Mountain by Mary Connealy

Mary Connealy's charming and romantic tales of the Old West will warm your heart and tickle your funny bone. Read on and make a comment at the end for a chance to win a copy.

ABOUT THE BOOK: All aboard for a delightful, suspense-filled romance, where a Texan is torn between his attraction to a meddlesome schoolmarm and the charms of a designing dressmaker. When Hannah Cartwright meets Grant, she's determined to keep him from committing her orphans to hard labor on his ranch. How far will she go to ensure their welfare?

Grant Cooper is determined to provide a home for the two kids brought in by the orphan train as runs head-on into the new school marm, who believes he's made slave labor out of eight orphaned children. He crowds too many orphans into his rickety house, just like Hannah Cartwright's cruel father. Grant's family of orphans have been mistreated too many times by judgmental school teachers. Now the new schoolmarm is the same except she's so pretty and she isn't really bad to his children, it's Grant she can't stand.

But he is inexplicably drawn to Hannah. Can he keep his ragtag family together while steering clear of love and marriage? Will he win her love or be caught in the clutches of a scheming seamstress?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Gingham Mountain, go here.

BUY IT NOW! Gingham Mountain


Mary's writing journey is similar to a lot of others. Boil it down to persistence, oh, go ahead and call it stubbornness. She just kept typing away. She think the reason she did it was because she was more or less a dunce around people—prone to sit silently when she really ought to speak up(or far worse, speak up when she ought to sit silently).

So, Mary had all these things, she want to say, in her head; the perfect zinger to the rude cashier, which you think of an hour after you’ve left the store, the perfect bit of wisdom when someone needs help, which doesn’t occur to you until they solve their problems themselves, the perfect guilt trip for the kids, which you don’t say because you’re not an idiot. She keep all this wit to herself, much to the relief of all who know her, and then wrote all her great ideas into books. It’s therapeutic if nothing else, and more affordable than a psychiatrist.

So then a very nice, oh so nice publishing company like Barbour Heartsong comes along and says, “Hey, we’ll pay you money for this 45,000 word therapy session.” That’s as sweet as it gets.

Mary's journey to publication is the same as everyone’s except for a few geniuses out there who make it hard for all of us. And even they probably have an Ode to Roast Beef or two in their past.

There are two other books in this Lassoed In Texas Series: Petticoat Ranch and Calico Canyon.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cry in the Night by Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble's new Rock Harbor novel rocks! Yes, that was a pretty corny statement, but with Coble you know you're getting your money's worth. Read on and comment for a chance to win a copy.


Bree Nichols gets the shock of her life when her husband-presumed dead-reappears.

Bree Nichols and her search and rescue dog Samson discover a crying infant in the densely forested woods outside of Rock Harbor, Michigan. Against objections from her husband, Kade, who knows she'll become attached, Bree takes the baby in. Quickly she begins a search for the mother-presumably the woman reported missing just days earlier.

While teams scour the forests, Bree ferrets out clues about the missing woman. But she soon discovers something more shocking: Bree's former husband-long presumed dead in a plane crash-resurfaces. Is he really who he says he is? And should she trust him again after all these years?

An engaging, romantic suspense novel from critically-acclaimed author Colleen Coble.

If you want to read an excerpt, go HERE


Author Colleen Coble's thirty novels and novellas have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Romance Writers of America prestigious RITA award, the Holt Medallion, the ACFW Book of the Year, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers' Choice, and the Booksellers Best awards. She writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail and love begin with a happy ending.

2004 More Than Magic winner for Best Inspirational Romance
Without a Trace, Thomas Nelson
2004 American Christian Fiction Writers Mentor of the Year

Don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Evidence of Murder Releases Today!

Today's the day!

It's February 1, and Evidence of Murder releases on this date. Whoo-hoo! This is the first of three books I have coming out in 2009. More about the others later.

Oh, and don't forget to leave a comment at the end of the post. I'm giving away not one, but TWO copies of Evidence of Murder.


The photographs Samantha Reid uncovers in her new store are shocking. Horrifying. And dangerous. This new evidence could reopen a decade-old multiple homicide case that someone wants desperately to keep closed. And when the evidence comes out, a reluctant Samantha is drawn straight into the spotlight. All the attention is wrecking her business--and drawing the killer's eyes straight to her.

Then she meets Ryan Davidson, the last surviving member of the murdered family. In spite of herself, she's drawn in by his need to find the truth. Together, they work to unravel the mystery, while the killer works to keep the secrets buried--forever.

BUY IT NOW! Evidence of Murder

Read an Excerpt:

A muted clatter outside her bedroom window jerked Sam awake. Save for the glow from her bedside clock, her room lay wrapped in darkness. She lifted her head from the pillow and looked at the time. The digital numbers read 1:32 a.m. A sharp bang resounded below.

Outside or inside? Her heart kabumped and every nerve ending buzzed. Maybe it was just some critter digging in the garbage. Not likely. She’d closed that lid.

Bastian mewled and leaped up on the captain’s bench in front of the window, his lean form a shadowy outline. The direction of his stare was fixed as if he could see through the curtains and make out something—or someone—in the alley. A rattle carried to Sam’s ears. That sounded like an attempt at the private entrance door.

Muscles rigid, Sam lay motionless. Her pulse throbbed.

Bastian growled, deep and low.

She couldn’t just lie there until whoever it was found her and did whatever he came to do. How many books had she read where the stupid character did that? Or, dumber still, snuck around with some lame weapon like a bat to try and nab the burglar herself? She’d always wanted to yell, “What do you think nine-one-one is for, dummy?”

As suddenly as the paralysis had gripped her, it lifted. Sam sprang upright and grabbed the cordless phone from her nightstand. A few punches and she was talking to a no-nonsense woman who took her information and promised to get a car there immediately.

With the line still open to the dispatcher, Sam scooped Bastian up and perched on the edge of the bed, staring into the darkness. Her hand ran the length of her cat’s back. Again. Again. Bastain’s fur crackled and stood on end. He hopped off her lap, growling a protest. The operator kept assuring her help was on the way, but where were they? Sam gripped the edges of the mattress, ears perked. Sure, the police hung around here all day, and now when she needed them—

Sirens blared outside and lights flashed. Voices yelled, followed by clatters, then quiet. The cruiser lights continued to strobe.

Her intercom buzzer sounded. On jelly legs, Sam padded to her kitchen and answered.

“Ms. Reid, this is Officer Johnson of the Apple Valley Police Department. Your intruder says he has a right to be here. Would you mind coming down?”

Why did the police always ask questions like a person really had the option to say no? “Let me get my robe.”

A few seconds later, Sam unlocked her private entrance and peered out into the night. Under the entrance light, a pair of officers she’d never seen held a man between them—someone she did recognize. She glared up into the stone face of Ryan Davidson.

Their gazes locked, and raw emotion flickered in those intense blue eyes. The power of his bewildered pain snagged her breath. In times not long enough past, she’d seen that look of a stunned victim in another pair of eyes . . . whenever she looked in the mirror.

About Moi:

By day, I'm a manager at my local health care complex. By night, I morph into a wild and crazy writer, itching to share with my readers stories full of adventure seasoned with humor, romance, and faith. My husband and I have been married for over 27 years now, and we enjoy life in rural Minnesota, where we raised four children and now have a grandbaby on the way.

Anyway, I said I'd tell you more about my next two books after Evidence. In June, Witness to Murder releases. It's not a sequel, but many of the same characters populate it. Then in October, an as yet untitled mystery releases from the Guideposts' Mystery and the Ministers Wife series. Yes, Guideposts does books now!

Don't forget to leave a comment after the post for a chance to win a copy of Evidence of Murder. And if you don't win, don't worry, the cost of purchasing the book is very budget-friendly. As always, you vote with your pocketbook for more of the kinds of books from the authors you want to see.