Monday, February 23, 2015

Clash of the Titles Presents January New Releases

Hostess: Gail Pallotta

January 2015, brought us many great fiction books. Contemporary, historical, young adult futuristic and a suspense novel round out this month’s Clash. Which of these will you put at the top of your to-be-read list?

During the 1960s, Henry Youngblood feels the call to plant a new church. Meanwhile, his wife
wonders how to pay the bills for the new baby, keep their teen-aged daughters under control, and temper the family’s dreams with reality.
Click to Purchase on Amazon

Spain 1493: In order to flee the Inquisition, Isabel, accompanied by the husband she was forced to marry, must sail with Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the Indies. There, amid the hardships of the New World, her character is forged and her destiny reshaped as she comes to terms with who she is.
Click to Purchase on Amazon

When Jen unravels the family scandal within the walls of an English country manor, will she reveal the truth she’s hidden for so long as well? Or will she choose to live the lie in order to keep the man she loves?
Click to Purchase on Amazon

Sixteen-year-old Vivica Wilkins never questions her country’s pregnancy termination law for underage girls until she becomes pregnant. Now she must comply or fight to save her unborn child, but fighting means Vivica must abandon her mother, a powerful governor, and side with a rebel organization that’s determined to start a revolution.

Click to Purchase on Amazon

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Featured Novel: "This Redeemer" -- Not All Prisons Have Bars

“An exhilarating ride full of suspense and hope...” 
“…hits the ground running and never lets up…” 
“A riveting story with great characters…”

About This Redeemer:

Not all prisons have bars.
Charlotte Davis should know—she’s lived in one for years. She can handle getting slapped
around by her boyfriend, Tommy, and even being forced to do things she would
never choose, but when Tommy turns on her 10-year-old daughter, Charlotte must
try to escape. With nowhere else to turn, Charlotte runs to the stranger her
dying mother believed would help her.
Looking only for shelter or cash, Charlotte finds a family she longs to call her own
and a gentle man she could learn to love. But if Tommy catches up with
Charlotte, these strangers could discover the truth about her. Will they send
her back to Tommy? Or can a Father’s love set her free?
"Jerusha keep up the good work I cant wait to read the next book!"

"I just finished reading This Redeemer by Jerusha Agen, and it was excellent -- the best of the series!"

"Love Jerusha's writing style!"

"I am excited for you! Jerusha Agen this is just the beginning of more great things to come!"

"I loved This Redeemer and think it's Jerusha's best book yet. Great characters!"

"Jerusha Agen, your writing is amazing! Thank you very much for sharing your incredible talent!"

"Jerusha! Keep up the excellent work!"

About Jerusha:
Jerusha Agen is a lifelong lover of story--a passion that has led her to a B.A. in
English and a highly varied career. A member of American Christian Fiction
Writers, Jerusha is the author of the Sisters Redeemed Series, which includes the titles This Dance, This Shadow, and This Redeemer. Jerusha co-authored the e-books A Ruby Christmas, A Dozen Apologies, and The Love Boat Bachelor from Write Integrity Press. Jerusha relishes snowy Midwest winters spent with her three large, furry dogs and two small, furry cats.
Visit Jerusha’s website at
Follow Jerusha on Twitter @SDGwords and Facebook (Jerusha Agen – SDG Words).

Q&A Interview with Jerusha Agen, author of This Redeemer, Book Three in the Sisters Redeemed Series:

What message do you hope your readers will take away after reading your novel?

I hope and pray that women who are in abusive relationships, poverty, depression, or any other type of seemingly hopeless situation will see in this story that there is hope even in the most desperate of situations, and that His name is Jesus. For readers who have no experience with such desperation, I hope that they will be convicted of the need to selflessly love the “unlovable” in the world and to humbly forgive the “unforgivable.” For all of us, there is hope! 

Do you have any practical advice for writers on how to keep their sanity in our run, run, run world?

Staying sane in our hectic culture is my daily struggle! Some things that help me most are setting writing goals for each day and actually quitting for the day when I reach the goal. I’ve found that I have to limit when I’ll allow myself to check email or go online, so that I don’t end up letting my sleep or work time disappear into the Internet vacuum.

As a writer, it’s also too easy to work whenever I’m home, even on Sundays, which translates into no day off from work and eventual burnout. I believe that rest, especially on our day set aside to worship, is
crucial to staying in the rat race for the long haul, so I’ve now made every Sunday a no-writing, no-Internet day. I end up with a free, restful day away from social and work pressures that allows me to recharge for the work week ahead. The other essential for sanity is sleep!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Plundered Christmas--Pirates, Storms, Murder!

Pirate legends, unexpected storms, murder.
Will Jeanine discover the truth before someone else winds up dead?

About Plundered Christmas:

Compelled to spend Christmas on a private island with her father’s future bride and family, Jeanine learns that Margo Banet is descended from a pirate queen.

Relatives and friends all have their reasons for attending the festivities—including the legendary treasure. But when Margo’s nephew winds up dead and a violent storm cuts them off mainland, Jeanine has to wonder if they will solve the mystery before someone else dies trying.

About the author:

Susan A. J. Lyttek, author of kids’ comedy, "Guzzy Goofball" and the "Homeschool Play from Outer Space" and the cozy mystery trilogy by Harbourlight Books which includes the recent Plundered Christmas, is a wife and homeschool mother who writes early mornings in the shadow of our nation’s capital. She also enjoys training up the next generation of writers online through Write At Home, and by teaching middle and high school co-op classes. Learn more about her and her projects at

What COTT Voters Had to Say:

--Susan Lyttek, you are an amazing and talented writer.

--Susan, I can't wait to read your new book!

--Looking forward to reading Plundered Christmas!

--Love Plundered Christmas.

--Susan, your work continues to thrive, all for the Glory of God! I'm proud to know you, and can't  wait to read this one! A. Montgomery.

--Susan Lyttek, enjoy reading your books.

--I really enjoyed Plundered Christmas--between the character dynamics and the plot twist I never saw coming--well done!

--Great series by Susan Lyttek!
Chat with Susan:

Why do you write the kind of books you do? I homeschooled and am homeschooling. These are the people I’ve been around for the last seventeen years. That’s also why I weave history in. Every homeschool resource I know targets multiple subjects and levels of learning.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life? My goal is for today, whatever day that is, to be the happiest. It doesn’t always work, especially when I get a piece of bad news or insufficient sleep, but it’s my goal. I want to live contentedly in what my Lord hands me each day.

What is your favorite season of the year? Christmas. Hands down. What’s special about it for you?? I love my heritage and the special traditions that we have. Every Christmas creates new memories that adds to the woven tapestry of what it is. I also love celebrating the arrival of the son of God in human form!

What is something that very few people know about you? I like to read my Bible in French. C’est vraiment la belle langue!

What three things about you would surprise readers? I have a second degree black belt in tae kwon do. I like LOUD music. (I’m a quiet person, so the music thing surprises most people.) I earned a marksman ribbon with the M-16 when I was in the Air Force.

What can you tell us about your current project? I assume you mean Plundered Christmas. In this mystery, we need to figure out why the Banet family has hidden their heritage all these years, in addition to learning who killed Margo’s nephew. Secrets can poison a family and damage relationships. As the Talbotts uncover the truth about Anne Bonny/Banet, it leads to healing for those who accept it.

Find more great reads at Clash of the Titles!

Sunday, February 8, 2015


I'm thrilled to introduce the new cover of 
a post WWII inspirational romance coming soon!

About the Story
World War II is over. Now that Burke Delgard is safely home, Tulla Johanson can finally quit the factory and become his wife. Together they can revive her family's farm, while she cares for her aging parents. But seven years of dreams shatter when Burke backs out on their wedding day. Hiding her humiliation in the back seat of a Hudson, she is rescued by Burke's war buddy and would-be best man Steven "Van" Vandreel.

Home isn't the same for Van since returning from overseas. He feels displaced, and he certainly doesn't mean to get between Burke and his jilted bride, yet he can hardly help himself. When Tulla's friend Walt pursues her, and Burke decides he wants Tulla back, Van is forced to face his own feelings and fears. Can he commit to her any better than Burke did, or will deep scars from his past prove him to be just another love coward?

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Three Pigs... and a Billy Goat, and a Horse, and Mayhem!

Bart was our mixed breed billy goat. He was magnificent, especially in his own mind.  He'd never been disbudded as a buckling, and his horns were allowed to grow. Year by year they added inches to his physical prowess. As he grew tall, stately, bearded, and shaggy, his horns lengthened and curled to a majestic three-foot span. Bart ruled the farm with those horns. 

Bart had one friend on the farm, Misha our barely trained, more of a lawn ornament gelding. I use the term "friend" lightly, because in the farm animal kingdom, there are not so much friends as there are partners in crime. They team up for a time in order to gang up on a common enemy. On our farm, that common enemy and sideshow curiosity was a trio of lowly pigs. 

I liked the pigs, liked them better than the horses or goats actually. Horses intimidate me, and goats, while very personable in nature, are just plain obstinate. Whoever coined the term pig-headed, clearly never owned a goat. It's also quite understandable to me why God said He'd separate the redeemed from the un-redeemed like sheep and goats. Sheep may be stupid and in need of a shepherd, but goats can be downright bad and unmanageable. I say this with deep affection for my cloven hoofed, nanny friends.

And of course... Bart. When he minded his manners, I could admire him. When he wasn't peeing on himself to impress the nannies, when he wasn't stinking up the hundred acre wood during rut, when he wasn't tangling his horns in my clean line of laundry (for which I tried to twist his head off, but he only lifted me up and laughed), or he wasn't chasing unsuspecting children (though I admit I found it humorous when I saw him trotting after two terrified teenagers on the road), Bart was statuesque and very friendly. But he bored easily, and that always led to misbehavior.

Bart and Misha joined forces over one long winter. Do you ever wonder what it must be like to be an animal in a pen or pasture, just standing out there, wiling away the dreary, cold months? For this pair, the season caused them to form an unusual bond while pig-watching. Near the barn, within the confine of the larger pasture, stood the pig building, a faded, once-white structure about eight feet wide by ten feet long, with one open window facing east. Bart and Misha peered through that window like it was a television screen that played The Three Pigs all day long. They never missed an episode. Standing side by side, their heads poking in the window, they stared... and stared... and stared... for HOURS. For days even, as a pile of manure grew taller and taller under their feet until, had they not been too large, they might have stepped right through the window into the pig room.

They may have been too dumb to try climbing in; nevertheless, I believe they were plotting. They'd never heard the actual story of The Three Pigs, so they didn't know the value of huffing and puffing, yet I'm sure they stood there discussing murderous plans, breathing threats and terrors on my poor pigs.

How do I know this? Well, summer came. We'd moved our three pigs from their housing to a lovely little pasture of their own where they could browse roots and bugs and enjoy the cool shade. But Bart and Misha and even the cows had not forgotten them. In fact, sometimes the cows stood staring over the fence, just as Misha and Bart had done in front of that window. The goat and horse had spread their pig bigotry to the cattle!

Then the day came, a glorious Independence Day, when farm hell broke loose. We had over one hundred people at our house celebrating the holiday and our nation's freedom. Everyone was enjoying a giant picnic, water fights, hay rides, Ultimate disc... an altogether terrific Midwestern July 4th party, when the first screaming squeal assailed the ears of our guests. Unfortunately, one pig got a little overly zealous in his rooting around, and he'd managed to find his own misguided freedom by nudging under the fence and into the other pasture.

Every farmer in our crowd ran down the hill to the barnyard where the blood curdling cries of our desperate pig raked the air, and the cows and Misha, with rolling white eyeballs, stamped and stomped and mooed and jumped and did everything in their power to kill him. Having done his part to promote the war months before, Bart was stand-offish, like Pontius Pilate.

We chased off the murderous horde and rescued our poor, poor pig that lay suffering a broken hip. With care, we transported him back to his kin and did our best to provide comfort. Some farmers might have put him down, but we decided on a wait-and-see tactic. Meanwhile, we also needed to console a few humans. What a show!

After that, we never put pigs in that pig house again. Bart learned other forms of entertainment like slamming his head repeatedly into a pine tree, and Misha's allegiance switched to hanging out with the cows. The pig? He lived. In fact, but for a slight limp, he mostly had a full recovery. He put on some more pounds, and after a few months, we couldn't taste the difference. :)

Images courtesy of Clipart Panda

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Book review of Susan May Warren's Nightingale

Susan May Warren probably doesn't need my review. After all, she's Susan May Warren, author of something like a cajillion books that have garnered somewhere around a budzillion reviews -- most of them 5 stars of course. And why not? She's a brilliant author.

But it isn't often I finish reading a book with that sad sense of a great thing coming to an end like I did this week. I've enjoyed a number of her books, but she now has 2 on my Best Ever list. The first is her Sons of Thunder. The second, the one I just finished reading -- which I'd had on my TBR pile for over a year, waiting patiently for a time to savor it -- is Nightingale.

Here's why I loved this book so much.

  • Beautiful, descriptive language and dialogue that squeezes your windpipe. Here's an example from near the beginning of the book:
   For one terrifying, quick moment, she fell to her stomach, her hand gripped to his.
   And oh, she knew it, he gripped it back. She felt his stump fingers tighten in hers, a pulse of hope, of redemption.
   She knew it because when their hold broke free, it snapped, like the ice breaking beneath her feet at the edge of winter, crisp and sharp and fatal.
   Not at all like flying. 

And another:

   "I'm a coward." His voice turned to washboard, jerky and stiff against the wind, sharp-edged with the remnants of winter.

And one more:

   He tried for his breath, couldn't snag it even as Fritz stepped up to him, his voice dark and earthy. "And you'll die here, just like your father. I wonder if he cried out when they gassed him--"
  •  Made up words that describe perfectly. I love this: Her fawny hair lay like a halo around her chubby face.
Fawny! Can't you see it?
  •  The history goes deep, but I'm so mesmerized by the perils of the characters, I don't feel weighted by it.

Review of Sarah Sundin's "In Perfect Time"

In Perfect Time (Wings of the Nightingale, #3)In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I won't give you a story synopsis. That's been done in other reviews. But know this much, Sarah Sundin never disappoints! Her attention to historical accuracy gives the book real substance, and it takes only a page or two for her to make us care about the characters of the story. I'd previously read the other books in the series in which "Kay" the heroine of In Perfect Time has a beguiling presence, but because she was occasionally less than pleasant, I was curious to get inside her skin and find out what Sarah had in mind for this character. Kay's story is like those of many misunderstood people. She's the definition of someone who's hardened exterior is due to unseen scars from her past, and it isn't long at all before we can truly sympathize with her.

In Perfect Time is a beautiful romance, but it is also a story of adventure, intrigue, and historical gusto -- a real "carry me away" novel!

View all my reviews

Monday, February 2, 2015

Novel Feature: Secrets and Lies by Janet Sketchley

A single mother must protect her teenage son—from organized crime and from himself.

Secrets and Lies, by Janet Sketchley

 About the novel:

Carol Daniels thinks she out-ran her enemies, until a detective arrives at her door with a warning from her convict brother. Minor incidents take on a sinister meaning. An anonymous phone call warns her not to hide again.

Now she must cooperate with a drug lord while the police work to trap him. Carol has always handled crisis alone, but this one might break her. Late-night deejay Joey Hill offers friendship and moral support. Can she trust him? One thing’s certain. She can’t risk prayer.

What reviewers are saying:
“Secrets and Lies delivers engaging characters and a sweet romance in the midst of a single mom’s worst nightmare.”

~ Sandra Orchard, award-winning author of Deadly Devotion and Blind Trust

“Secrets and Lies takes up where Heaven’s Prey left off, and is another great thriller by Janet Sketchley. With the backdrop of music and family, Secrets and Lies could really be defined as a retelling of the Ultimate Redemption. Sketchley is very adept at writing about the sometimes intricate and confusing relationships that make up a family. This one is not to be missed.”

~ Linda Hall, award-winning author of Steal Away (Christian fiction) and Night Watch (mainstream)

A note from the author:

Secrets and Lies is a book 2 in the Redemption’s Edge series. I met Carol, the heroine, through writing her brother Harry’s story in Heaven’s Prey, and I knew her life had not been easy. I also knew she needed the Lord. Secrets and Lies gives her the chance to find Him—unless her enemies find her first.

For more about Carol and the other key characters, visit the Secrets and Lies book page. Scroll past the buy links, and you'll find interviews and features, plus a YouTube playlist of the classic oldies (with a few extras) mentioned by title in the novel.

This is a Christian novel, but Carol loves her mainstream classic rock. Check out the Secrets and Lies playlist on YouTube. There are a few other things in there that only make sense if you've read the book.

What COTT voters had to say:
"Janet Sketchley writes with care and integrity, creating suspenseful stories that stay with the reader for a long time."
"I love a good mystery/suspense read and Secrets & Lies looks fantastic!"
"Secrets and Lies by Janet Sketchley intrigues me and I think, of the six books shown, I would be most likely to add this one to my pile of books to read."
"In "Secrets & Lies", Janet Sketchley has written another "can't put me-down book". It equals "Heaven's Prey" and may even surpass it. Can't wait for the third "Redemption's Edge" novel to be published. Keep up the good work, Janet!"
"Janet Sketchley - this book sounds like something I would love!"
"Almost finished Secrets & Lies. It's another "page turner" like Heaven's Prey."
"Secrets and Lies - great cover for a great read."
"It's such a busy month, but I'm really looking forward to getting back to "Secrets & Lies."
"Janet Sketchley, keep on doing what God's calling you to do! Exciting things lie ahead!"
"Janet, despite the darkness indicated in your title, I'm confident that in "Secrets and Lies" you bring forth the light of truth and the triumph of redemption."
"Janet, You continue to inspire me! You went for it and look at where you are now? 2 novels under your belt! Can't wait to see what God has in store..."
"I thoroughly enjoy reading Janet Sketchley's novels. I feel like I personally know the characters. Best of luck Janet!"
About the author:

Janet Sketchley is the author of Heaven’s Prey and Secrets and Lies, two novels of suspense and redemption (available as print and ebooks). She also blogs about faith and books. Janet loves adventure stories, worship music, tea and Formula 1 racing. Like Carol in Secrets and Lies, she enjoys music and tea. Unlike Carol, Janet isn’t related to a dangerous offender, has a happy home life, and has never been threatened by a drug lord. May those tidbits continue to hold true!

Find Janet online.

Fans of Christian suspense are invited to join Janet’s writing journey through her monthly newsletter.