Monday, September 19, 2016

Clash of the Titles Announces the 2016 Olympia Award Champion!

Many deserving competitors entered the fray. One became the victor!



Congratulations Jennifer Uhlarik, 
2016 Olympia Award Champion.

We took a few moments to get to know Jennifer a little better, and now here's your chance to do the same:


Jennifer Uhlarik discovered the western genre as a pre-teen, when she swiped the only “horse” book she found on her older brother’s bookshelf. A new love was born. Across the next ten years, she devoured Louis L’Amour westerns and fell in love with the genre. In college at the University of Tampa, she began penning her own story of the Old West. Armed with a B.A. in writing, she has won five writing competitions and finaled in two other competitions. In addition to writing, she has held jobs as a private business owner, a schoolteacher, a marketing director, and her favorite—a full-time homemaker. Jennifer is active in American Christian Fiction Writers and lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, teenaged son, and four fur children.


How did you come up with the idea for this book and what made you want to write this particular story?


While working with a few other authors on some novella collection ideas, I came up with the idea of three adult siblings who reunite after being separated by adoption in their youth. This story and the two that follow it are the result of that idea—three strong siblings devoted to law and justice, each in their own way.


What does winning the Olympia Award mean to you?


It is such an honor! I love the Olympia since the first round is judged by readers. That is probably the truest group of judges one can have. And I know the competition is always stiff in contests, so just to final is quite humbling. To win is indescribable (and I’m an author, so that says a lot. I’m speechless. LOL)


How can people find you online/contact you?


I can be found in the following places:

Website: www.jenniferuhlarik.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JenniferUhlarikAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JenniferUhlarik

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jenuhlarik/



Saturday, September 3, 2016

This Month's Clash Champ: Congrats to One Thursday Morning and T.K. Chapin!




Congratulations to T.K. Chapin

and his novel


One Thursday Morning


for taking home this month's Clash crown!






PURCHASE ON Amazon


About the book:


Running not only for her own life, but that of her unborn baby, Serenah moves across the country to a little town outside of Spokane Washington called Newport. It's here she'll begin to build a new life and go by a different name in the hopes of staying hidden from her abusive husband John. Can Serenah find happiness in her new life? Or will the past eventually catch up to her?

From the best-selling Inspirational Christian Romance Author T.K. Chapin comes a story of love, faith and passion that will keep your fingers turning the page to see what happens next. 



One Thursday Morning is book one in the Diamond Lake Series by T.K. Chapin.

What Voters had to Say:
Thank you T.K. Chapin for providing real life in your books.
I really like books by T.K.Chapin, Because he writes with a theme of religion and hope. I especially like One Thursday Morning.
Excellent story. I have also read Friday Morning. Good story line Makes me feel like I am at the Lake with them. 
T.K. Chapin, I was enticed by the beautiful cover and description of the novel,  One Thursday Morning.  Can't wait to read it.  
I love your stories. Very enjoyable, heartwarming and inspiring. Keep them coming, 
I enjoy finding new authors and found T.K. Chapin's writing adding to my authors' list.
I think "One Thursday Morning" by T. K. Chaplin will be one popular book.  I love the plot and can't wait to read it.

I love to read and discover new authors. T.K. Chapin is quickly becoming a favorite! He tackles tough topics, and tells the story in such a way as to keep you interested. Ups and downs, twists and turns, T.K. knows how to keep the plot line tight and the story believable and uplifting.

Sounds like a good book. I hope you have a great career!

Keep writing.  It helps me escape my everyday life.

TK - love your writing and your interest in your reader's lives.

 I love TK CHAPIN books!

Have a blessed week, everyone!

From your friends at Clash of the Titles!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Hope after Trauma -- How Writing Helped Heal Author Justine Johnston Hemmestad


http://clashofthetitles.com


by Justine Johnston Hemmestad




In 1990 my car was broadsided by a speeding city bus as I turned out of a parking lot - I was in a coma and had sustained a severe brain injury. I was paralyzed when I woke up from my coma, though I worked hard to walk again within a few months, and to relearn how to perform the basic functions of life.


I began to write when I was carrying my first child Megan, less than two years after my accident, as tool or a way to cope with feeling so alone in my disability and misunderstood. Writing, throughout the darkest part of my recovery—when everyone looked down on me and I had no one to talk to or relate with me—helped me to get my thoughts in focus, to learn new things, and to remember what was important to me. I felt bullied, my thoughts and perception were skewed, and I felt emotionally alone, isolated by my personal lacking (my speech was slurred; my reactions were slow, etc.).


But writing was my Savior. When I was so afraid and so filled with guilt for being disabled, writing offered me a safe and comforting place to go, where I could cry and feel loved. Writing was my confidante and gave me hope when the world was crushing me. Writing even helped me find out who I was, since everything about "me" seemed to have melted away with my TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). Writing helped me find my words to speak again. Writing was my purpose, and writing was my healing.


http://faithbygracepublishing.com/products/truth-be-told

My novella, Truth be Told, is essentially the story of my recovery wrapped up in fictional characters in a different time and place. Everything is symbolic in my novella because symbolism itself taught me how to travel deep inside my thoughts and search until I found the answers. Symbolism aided my memory by the weight of its meaning.


The old man in my novella is symbolic of God, prayer, love of my children, and the inner truth I found when I dug deep, the challenges that stretched my mind and that I knew I had to face when I wanted to give up on life completely.


The Lady is the aspect of my recovery in which I felt lost, even to myself—I didn’t know who I was—but in prayer and meditation I learned to focus my mind, calm my thoughts (which were drowning in the guilt I felt for being disabled) and listen to God’s answer…what defines me?


The knight is the aspect of my recovery that was assaulted by PTSD. Not only was I recovering, but I was recovering amidst a torrent of fear, pain, and false persecution. He represents the survivor’s guilt I had for living as brain-injured, and the part of myself that felt I deserved the lies that people told about me simply because it was easy to lie about me. I illuminated my purpose— the purpose that any recovering person needs to be able to climb out of the darkness—symbolically as Jesus. When people lied about me, writing defended me and made the truth immortal. My purpose, as writing, was the well within me; writing saved me and gave me direction in life (even when I no longer had any sense of direction due to my TBI). There were people who tried to point me in the wrong direction, but my prayer, and written prayer, was always brimming with truth.


My purpose in writing raised me out of the darkness and set me on a new path. As my characters in Truth be Told founded one of the first Universities in Europe, my purpose led me to enter into college, to study tirelessly, and to set goals and reach them. For a person with a TBI, these things stretched my mind to the breaking point. And yet my savior, writing, was always there, so much that my purpose and my goals became intertwined. Every class I’ve had brought me new challenges; every professor’s pushing has helped me more than they were ever aware.


My husband and I now have seven children and I'm still writing, for both have truly been essential to my recovery. I've also earned a BLS through The University of Iowa and am now working toward a Master's Degree in Literature through Northern Arizona University. I’m grateful to have written a book that I felt so strongly, all along, could be of help to survivors, for them to recognize themselves in the characters and to know that they're not alone. I would have recognized myself in this story and it would have given me hope. My mission now is to give other survivors hope.


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Monday, July 25, 2016

Summer's Sizzlin' with Competition


Summer's Sizzlin'

Vote for your Fave!





Scroll through these THREE new reads and vote below
for which you'd pick up first to read while sippin' iced tea.
It'll be a tough choice! But somebody's gotta do it. May as well be
you!


https://www.amazon.com/Almost-Like-Being-Love-Destination-ebook/dp/B010MHA2OY

Almost Like Being in Love by Beth K. Vogt



She’s won an all-expenses-paid, luxurious wedding — all she needs now is
the groom! Winning a destination wedding would be a dream come true …
if Caron Hollister and her boyfriend, Alex were already engaged — and if
her ex-boyfriend, Kade, wasn’t back in her life, causing her to wonder
“what if?” when she thought she was ready to say “I do” to someone
else.
~~~~~~


https://www.amazon.com/Rescue-Me-Sandy-Nadeau/dp/1611165342

Rescue Me by Sandy Nadeau



Risking her life to save him is easy. Risking her heart to give him a
second chance is impossible.
~~~~~~

https://www.amazon.com/River-Rest-Susan-Page-Davis/dp/0997230835

River Rest by Susan Page Davis



Unable to depend on her father to heal the crumbling family, Judith is
afraid to trust the mysterious neighbor, Ben, who lives with his own
grief. When Ben is injured, she is the only one who can help him.
~~~~~~

VOTE HERE!

If you have trouble viewing the entire survey, click here to load a dedicated page to the survey.



Sunday, July 17, 2016

Featuring the 2016 Clash of The Titles Laurel Award Winner






2016

LAUREL AWARD WINNER!



This year, At First Sight took home Clash of the Titles's sixth annual Laurel Award. Over the course of six weeks, the novel's first chapters were read and judged by avid readers of Christian fiction who determined At First Sight to be the worthiest to receive the 2016 Laurel Award.





Clash of the Titles extends a heartfelt congratulations to author Delia Latham for her exemplary writing. We wish God's richest blessings on her future work.



About At First Sight :



Reagan Massey has gone through a great deal of trouble to make her cousin irresistible to the visiting single minister but things get a little sticky when Reagan falls in love with Cord Phillips herself… 

Cord doesn’t believe in marital bliss after seeing the mockery his parents made of their vows. He’s promised himself he’ll live as the Apostle Paul lived, dedicating himself solely to God. When his heart turns traitor, Cord has to completely rethink his position on love. 

Things around Riverbend House of Worship take on some humorous, heart-touching, soul-stirring twists and turns, with Reagan and Cord so busy getting in God’s way that they can’t see the path He has laid out for them to travel…together.


At First Sight is part of the Pure Amore bundle of 12 novels that celebrate purity. Use the code Laurel2016 to receive the bundle at 50% OFF. (expires 31 July 2016)



PURCHASE YOUR BUNDLE TODAY



LISTEN TO A RADIO INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR!




Delia in her own words:



A born-and-bred California gal, I grew up in a little community called
Weedpatch. Nope, that's not a typo. It's a few miles southeast of
Bakersfield, and in the...well, I won't say how many years since I left
there...Weedpatch has even found its way onto a map or two.



Writing has been my passion since third grade, when I won an essay
writing contest and took home the coveted prize: a beautiful bed doll
with an overstuffed pink, quilted satin skirt. Remember them? Huge,
padded skirts, some (like mine) with flat cardboard bottoms to
accommodate display. The doll's feet were hidden away somewhere in all
that finery, never again to see the light of day.  These fancy ladies
were most often used as centerpieces for beds, and that's where mine
went - smack in the middle of my unimposing bed in my unmatched,
Salvation Army-furnished bedroom. It was the most elegant item I had
ever owned, and I was one proud little lassie.  (Ahem ... surely
someone  else remembers those dollies?)​



Winning that contest made a profound impact on my young psyche - enough
so that I never stopped writing. From those first little songs and poems
and (very bad) short stories, I graduated to Staff Writer for a large
daily newspaper; freelanced for an upper-scale regional magazine; and
finally began writing fiction...which was my goal all along.


Connect with Delia online:


http://www.delialatham.net/

http://www.facebook.com/delialatham 

http://www.twitter.com/delialatham





Thursday, June 30, 2016

Vintage Enamel Table Re-Do

Last summer I took some time away from writing -- ah, well, that happens more often than I care to admit, but anyway -- I took some time to unleash other kinds of creative energy. As a result, I refinished an old, enamel table. You may have seen these kinds of tables before in your grandma's basement or on Pinterest. They were popular in the 1950s.

I bought my table at a rummage sale 30 years ago. It wasn't for sale, but I asked the seller if she had a table, and she showed me an old, white and red enamel table tucked in her basement. After showing it to me, she hemmed and hawed, but finally let it go for $20. Money well spent!

My little Evan Marie (30+ years ago), licking the beaters beside the table.

At the time there was rust on the top, and one of the slide-out leaves didn't work well. But I was merely looking for something to use as workspace in my kitchen, so I dragged it home and did something I wish I'd NEVER done. I covered the top with contact paper. Not once, but a few years later, I did it again. So there were two layers of contact paper on the table top. Ugh!

Years passed, and as we moved about we dragged that table with us (which had been used for myriad purposes) until it ended up here on the farm. Eventually it wound up in the basement, where it got covered in stuff for about ten years or so. Unfortunately, it also got rustier, as my basement is occasionally damp.

I thought about fixing it up on a few different occasions, but it wasn't until I needed a base to put a computer hutch on top of -- a place I could use as something of a "secretary" for my cards and writing supplies -- that the table really popped into the forefront of my mind. So I yanked it upstairs, and here's how the project went.

Now, mind you, I'm a far cry from being a perfectionist when it comes to projects like these, so the outcome probably could be improved upon, but I'm very happy with the results.


Rusty & Musty!





Go ahead, laugh at my tools! The knife beat a scraper, and I WISH I'd had a heat gun stripper, but I had to make do with a hair dryer. Hey, it worked.



Last of the blue contact paper, and on to the red checked.




I didn't want to lose the "Seal of Quality" with the maker's identification, When it came time to paint, I took some of that poster mounting putty that you buy in little strips and molded it over the label. Worked perfectly! Peeled the putty off easily afterward. I did the same thing on the drawer knob, because I was having trouble removing it.


Silver metallic spray paint for the legs! They make everything nowadays.


Stripped down, sanded, wiped clean.



It's coming along! I can't tell you how hard it was to paint those red stripes. I tried taping lines for spray, but that smudged all over the place because the lines sit inside hollows or wide grooves. I finally free-handed with a narrow brush. Took two tries, and it's imperfect, but I am totally satisfied.




Jeff, my hardware guy *heart* putting it all back together.


DRUM ROLL...



TA! DA! There she is! Isn't she pretty?
The table is comfortable in my upstairs "she room". This room used to be my daughter's. She got it in her mind a few years ago to remodel. I helped her strip and refinish the old painted floor (no hair dryer on that project!) and then she painted the walls in red (on the bottom) white on the top, and one upper wall black. It looks like an old fashioned school house. I love it, and my table looks perfect in there.

Now I have a pretty cloth on the table top for protection, and the upper half of my computer hutch sits on top, working as a secretary for all my stationary supplies.

And I'm on to a new project! I believe I'll soon be fixing up my vintage camper.



Monday, June 20, 2016

Featured Novel: Bitterroot Bride by Angela Breidenbach



A beautifully spun story about the power of second chances. ~ Amazon Reviewer
I loved The Bitterroot Bride! The part where she compares church 
to riding a trot made me laugh out loud.  ~A. Chatman



About the book:

No one knows the real Emmalee Warren, just what they want from the infamous prostitute. Men are coming out of the woodwork to stake a claim on the miner's widow. They wanted her body before. Now they want her money. Hiring a lawyer, Richard Lewis, to save her from financial ruin might let her start over where no one knows Miss Ellie. Becoming an unknown is the only way to freedom…or is it? Can she leave her past and build a new future?

Purchase


Chat with Angela:

Ques: We heard there was something special that happened to you while writing your fourth book in the historical romance series, Montana Beginnings. What was special about the Bitterroot Bride heroine for you?
 
Angela: Writing Miss Emmie learning to read became an amazing experience. Though I’d learned to read at four, I didn’t understand how to connect and read people until well into my adulthood. So while Miss Emmie became proficient in reading, I became proficient in relationships. She’d eat up every book she could get her hands on and studied with intensity. I did the same thing, but about relational topics.

Ques: When did you realize the parallel character arc had so much in common with your real life?

Angela: About halfway through the first draft an epiphany happened. I stopped, took a day or so to really think about my personal experience, then began an intentional focus on writing the emotional parallel.

Ques: What do you hope Bitterroot Bride does for readers?

Angela: I hope this story is both entertaining and encouraging. I’d like readers to absorb the idea that like Miss Emmie and me, if you have the desire to learn something then you can. Age doesn’t matter.

Ques: Can you tell us the titles and a little about the Montana Beginnings series?

Angela: All four titles are set in Helena, MT from 1889 – 1895. It’s right when we became a state, but mining couldn’t support us forever. The Debutante Queen introduces us to Calista who steals an orphan off the street to protect her from a cruel master. Eleven Pipers Piping brings forward the newsies, newspaper boys and orphan train leftovers, into Mirielle’s classroom. Then in Taking the Plunge, Delphina takes us back to the iconic Broadwater Natatorium as a swim instructress. Then Emmalee enters the scene as we find out how Montana chose her state flower. Each of these lovely Victorian ladies finds her true love while carving out a meaningful life in Montana’s frontier. 

~~~~~~~

About Angela:
Angela Breidenbach is a bestselling author and host of Grace Under Pressure Radio on iTunes. Angela is the Christian Author Network's president. And yes, she's half of the comedy duo, Muse and Writer, on social media.
Connect Here:
Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest: @AngBreidenbach




Monday, June 13, 2016

Featured Novel: The Babel Conspiracy by Sylvia Bambola




The Babel Conspiracy by Sylvia Bambola, was the first book I've read from this author. It will not be my last… it is very well written and at times, you won't want to put it down. Looking forward to reading more of this talented author! 
~P. McGuire


The Babel Conspiracy 
by Sylvia Bambola

About the Book:
The Babel Conspiracy is a tale of intrigue and love. Two women engineers struggle to develop the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft amid ever intensifying global terrorism and muddled personal lives. Trisha Callahan has an abiding faith in God, and “those roots of middy blouses and pleated skirts, prayer books and incense-filled churches went deep.” This faith is tested when she finds herself in love with a married man. Audra Shields sees herself as a modern Lady Chatterley, “liberated but not forsaking breeding, intellect, or femininity.” When she becomes involved with a dangerous stranger, she begins to question her lifestyle. 

Both women try sorting out their personal problems while racing the clock to finish a project fraught with sabotage and murder. And who’s behind it all? When the Department of Homeland Security and the Mossad finally figure it out, the answer surprises everyone.

PURCHASE

What readers are saying:
“It has been quite a long time since I have read a book such as this one, one so pertinent to today's landscape of life. The author has written an excellent novel that could have been pulled from tomorrow's headlines - from both political and scientific advancement points of view. . . . I highly recommend this book for those who love intrigue, suspense, fiction, and a little bit of romance. The book is well paced, has plenty of action, and good character development.” Rachel Helms

“The Babel Conspiracy by Sylvia Bambola is a very thought provoking novel about the way that things could be in the U.S. in the near future. We need to humble ourselves before the Lord and pray for America in these perilous times. The characters were well developed and the story shows God's love and redemption.” Linda Rainey


About the Sylvia Bambola:
Sylvia Bambola is the award winning author of eight novels, including Rebekah’s Treasure (2015 CSPA Book of the Year/Christian Historical Fiction) and The Salt Covenants (2015 Reader’s Favorite

Bronze Medal Winner/Christian Historical Fiction). A resident of Florida, she teaches women’s Bible studies and has two grown children.

Where to find Sylvia:

Monday, May 23, 2016

All that Glitters, a Gold Rush historical romance!




"A wonderfully unpredictable plotline!"

"All that Glitters was a beautifully written story that speaks of redemption and forgiveness."

"The author draws you in and keeps you engaged to the last page."




About the book:
The world has gone plum crazy over gold. Men and women alike would do almost anything to make their fortune. Leaving behind her family and a dying father, Ginny Connor follows the cunning Logan Harris up North to strike it rich. Twenty-year old Vivian Connor embarks on a cross-country chase to rescue her sister Ginny and they are both led into the chaos of the Klondike Gold Rush.

Meanwhile, Ben McCormack leaves his farm to retrieve his intended bride from a rowdy, tent town on the Alaskan coastline. Ben’s path inadvertently entwines with Vivian’s and he finds his heart tugging him in a different direction.

Danger and disappointment plague all their journeys to the far North. Will Vivian find her sister in time to return home to see their father? Can Ginny forgive herself for the decisions she's made? Will Ben find the lifelong love he searches for? When the world listens only to the call of gold, redemption and love become scarce treasures.

PURCHASE


Chat with the author:

How do you connect with God best? 
I love listening to the Lord speak into my heart during worship.

Which Christian author has influenced you the most? 
I have been a fan of Allison Pittman’s work for years. Even more amazing, The Christian Communicator assigned my novel All That Glitters to her for editorial. Her encouragement and insight helped me develop as a writer and take the leap toward publication.

Are your books only for Christians or would other people also enjoy them? 
My books definitely embrace a Christian worldview; however, the settings and characters are memorable enough for anyone who enjoys a good read.


About the author:
Lisa Flickinger lives in the shadow of the Rockies with her husband Matthew and their dog Zeke. When not writing or reading, you will find her combing antique shops, walking in the woods, or sipping a latte with friends. All That Glitters fulfills the lifelong dream of sharing the characters in her head with you, dear reader. Enjoy!









Monday, May 16, 2016

Review: Search for the Homestead Treasure: A Mystery by Ann Treacy

I'm anxious to share with you a fantastic new book by Ann Treacy, published by the University of Minnesota Press. It's a fabulous piece of middle grade fiction with literary merit you need to know about.

http://www.amazon.com/Search-Homestead-Treasure-Mystery/dp/0816699569/

Back in the day before my kids grew up and I was a homeschooling mom looking for great books to introduce to my kids, Ann's novel The Search for the Homestead Treasure would have fit the bill perfectly. I would have also considered it a compelling family read-aloud. The Search for the Homestead Treasure is the story of Martin Gunnarsson, a boy of fourteen who has had to resettle with his family on a dilapidated homestead in the wilds of Minnesota in 1903. Martin misses his friends and the life he had in Stillwater, but his dad was born on this farm and raised nearby after his parents and only sibling died of diphtheria. The family moved after Martin's older (and he thinks, better loved) brother Dan is killed in a tragic accident. Now Martin is left here on this miserable farm with a mother who is self-medicating a mental breakdown, a little sister who is annoying and dependent, an older aunt who is trying to hold the frayed household together, and a farm that needs to produce a profit, or else it'll be swept up into the paws of a local banker who covets the property. Martin's dad has gone to make some ready cash at a logging camp, but when he is injured and kept away to face a long recovery, the burden of saving a homestead he doesn't even want falls on Martin's young shoulders.

Enter the gypsies who camp nearby and cause the local folk many suspicions. Particularly there's Samson, a Roma (gypsy) boy who Martin meets in a surprising, frightening way, but who becomes a key to Martin's ability to deal with the pressures he faces.

Finally, there's Cora's diary. Cora was the aunt who died of diphtheria long ago, a 12-year old girl carrying a unique set of burdens all her own on this same, struggling homestead. She writes of a treasure her mother -- Martin's grandmother -- brought with her from the old country, a dowry she never turned over to her husband but kept hidden, a treasure never discovered over the years. Could this lost treasure still exist, and could it save the homestead?

I would love to tell you more about this in-depth story of regrets and new beginnings, of the mystique of the Roma people in our country's history and lingering prejudices, of hard work making a boy into a man. Read Ann's novel. Intricate details of place and time are woven into the story's fabric, and Martin's coming of age story will fascinate you.

*Note: The novel contains several incidents of mild language.

Purchase Links:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
University of Minnesota Press