Monday, August 31, 2009

Coming Attractions

Author: Robin Jones Gunn
Publisher: Zondervan
July 2009
ISBN: 978-0-310-27658-6
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary/romance

Graduation is approaching and Katie Weldon is flying full speed trying to balance her job, her school, and her boyfriend, Rick. But Rick is getting pretty intense, and Katie is scared to death he’s going to propose. Katie thinks it’ll ruin everything if he proposes before graduation so any attempts Rick makes to give her something, Katie sabotages.

Rick is everything Katie has ever dreamed up, and he offers stability and love. But for some reason, Rick’s roommate, Eli always seems to be the one who’s there when Katie needs help, and he offers adventure, spontaneity, and a wild love of God.

With her conflicting emotions, Katie wonders if she’s ready to be serious with any guy. Can she trust God to plan out her future?

COMING ATTRACTIONS is the third book in Ms. Gunn’s Katie Weldon series, but it easily stands alone. I did read the first two books in the series, but it’s been awhile. I had absolutely no trouble keeping up with what was happening.

With it being the last semester of Katie’s senior year of college, her life was a dizzying array of different activities. I also found Katie to be a bit of a drama queen. But, Ms. Gunn’s nailed her personality, and I have to agree when one of Katie’s friends described her life as a bunch of wavy lines all tangled up. It was a great description of Katie’s personality.

Fans of Ms. Gunn will not want to miss COMING ATTRACTIONS. A fun romance with lots of unexpected twists. $14.99. 299 pages.

Coming Attractions by Robin Jones Gunn.

In this third book in the Katie Weldon Series, Katie is rolling into her final semester at Rancho Corona with one major question for her boyfriend: “Are you serious?” She’s come to the conclusion that she really, truly loves Rick and it’s time for him to make a declaration about his future intentions. The biggest obstacle to such a conversation is the craziness of their schedules. Katie’s close friend, Nicole, is spending more time with Rick than Katie is, and the once mysterious Eli is now the person to whom Katie is opening her heart. What is happening to her should-be-predictable world?

Soon Katie finds she’s the one who is asking herself, “Are you serious?” Katie ponders what that means in her life-from her relationship with Rick to what she plans to do after graduation. Could it be that God is asking her the same question about her relationship with Him?

About the Author:

Robin Jones Gunn
Robin Jones Gunn is the much-loved author of Peculiar Treasures, On a Whim, and the Christy Miller, Sierra Jensen, College Years, Glenbrooke, and Sisterchicks® series, with over 4 million books sold worldwide. Robin loves to travel and often speaks locally and internationally. She and her husband live near Portland, Oregon, where the view outside her window is green all year round.

Learn more about Robin at

Coming Attractions
By Robin Jones Gunn
ISBN – 0310276586
304 Pages
PUB DATE: July 2009

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

An Interview with Lyn Cote

Hello, Lyn, and welcome to my blog. Can you tell us what you are working on now?

I have another Love Inspired series, "Living in Hope" that I will
start writing next week. Since I sent in my final Love Inspired
Historical at the end of June, I've been working on three proposals,
this LI series, a romantic suspense series, titled "Northwoods
Intrigue" and a historical romantic suspense series, "Pacific Coast
Intrigue 1890-1942."

I enjoy coming up with new ideas but I'm ready to settle down and get
busy writing another BOOK!

I'm looking forward to reading them! What are some of your hobbies, besides writing?

I always have an afghan I'm knitting for someone. They take me years
to complete but I enjoy knitting. I also like wildflower gardening. I
live in the northwoods so I have bunnies and deer to worry about
eating whatever I plant. My solution: Let the wind plant what it wants
and I just move stuff around for a pleasant display. Deer and bunnies
don't like wildflowers. I do!

I love wild flowers too. Who are your favorite authors?

Gerogette Heyer, Jane Austen, Kathy Herman

What is your favorite genre to read?

I love to read mysteries and fantasy, two genres I will never write!

What sparked the idea for your last story?

The Pacific Coast Intrigue takes place around very interesting history in San Francisco and Hawaii. I always look for setting that bring a lot of different
cultures together in one place. It sets up conflict, tons of conflict,
so necessary to a good story.

Who or what inspired you to write? Reading.

What is your favorite verse, and why? Psalm 37: 3-4
"4Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the
desires of thine heart.

5Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring
it to pass."

For my latest "Texas Star of Destiny" series, I used Ps. 37 as the
unifying theme for all three books.

How can reading your book have an impact on the reader’s life?

I have no way of knowing. Readers brings "themselves" to what I have
penned (or keyboarded) and often they find truth and comfort that I
didn't know I'd written.

How did you become a Christian?
I was sent to Sunday school by unchurched parents. Fortunately I was
sent to a loving and unlegalistic church where I was loved and

How has your book been received from its readers?

As all of them usually are. Some people wax poetic with their praise; others delight
in slamming me and my books. That's part of the writing "bizness."

Can you tell us a little bit about your personal life?

Drop by my website and click
"Meet Lyn."
And if readers visit my blog, they will learn a lot
about me.

I'm also on Shoutlife, Facebook and Twitter. From my domain and blog
name, it should be obvious that my brand is "Strong Women, Brave

How can our readers purchase your book?

They can drop by my website and click the cover photo and purchase it right there.

Thanks for having me as a guest!

Lyn Cote
Her Inheritance Forever, 8-18-09

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Against The Current

Author: Greg Coles
Publisher: Tweener Time – Baker Trittin Press
ISBN: 978-0-9814893-4-6
Genre: Tweener

On a cold October morning when Ari Callaghan wakes up to a strange world. Everything and everyone is gone. His alarm clock is broken on the floor. The newspaper is dated for the next week. And when he checks the answering machine, he learns that his family is staying at the cabin by the river. Ari is confused. Why did they leave him home alone?

As the day goes by, Ari learns that he’s invisible. No one can see him. He rides his bike over to his best friend’s house, and a truck runs over him, leaving him bleeding, the bike destroyed. But when he gets to his friend’s house, they can see the bike, but not him.

And even stranger, the days seem to be going backwards. When Ari goes to bed on Wednesday, he wakes up on Tuesday, and when he goes to bed Tuesday, he wakes up on Monday. He is counting backwards to something…but what? Ari tries to find the answers. Then, he finds the book…and the author is…

WOW. AGAINST THE CURRENT is the sixth book in the Tweener Time competition in 2007. Greg Coles was a finalist, he was seventeen when he wrote this story. And I am amazed. I totally loved this book and I’m not sure why he didn’t place in the competition. At least he received honorable mention.

AGAINST THE CURRENT is very well written, has amazing characterization, and sequence of events. Greg Coles has an amazing grasp of writing, staying in point of view, true to the character, and the writing is active, not telling. If this young man decides to pursue a writing career he will go far. This book is amazing. I am truly impressed. Written for tweeners, boys and girls about 8 – 12 years old, this book will be sure to be a winner. Available from $10.95. 117 pages.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Prayer Power (and free giveaway)

leave a comment to win a copy of this book -- or possibly the grand prize....

Author: Peter Lundell
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3263-9

When things go wrong – a termination of a job, a diagnosis of cancer, the death of a loved one – some people pull closer to God, and their prayer life becomes stronger. But sometimes, it seems that when we pray, our prayers don’t reach much beyond the ceiling and seem so ineffective.

In PRAYER POWER, Pastor Peter Lundell will help us to learn how to connect with God and receive more direct answers. PRAYER POWER will help you build a more powerful, dynamic life of prayer.

In the pages of this book, Dr. Lundell will teach us about the thirty essential facets of prayer, including, but not limited to: passion, routine, fasting, praying with others, listening to God, handling distractions, and spiritual warfare.

The chapters are brief, and well written. Each chapter can be used as a brief devotional, or it can be used as a prayer guide, or a reference tool.

When I was diagnosed with cancer, my first instinct was to turn to God. He alone knew the extend of the disease, my prognosis, and the number of my days. He alone had the ability to heal me. I turned to Him, begging and praying for healing, and as I prayed and poured over scriptures in the Bible I felt my prayer life becoming stronger. I never want to go back to the relationship I had with God before.

Going through a life-changing event isn’t something you need to wait for to increase your PRAYER POWER. Pick up a copy of this book and read it, while practicing with the prayer starters included at the end of each chapter. As you read, you should feel your spirit quicken, hungering for the fellowship with God. And this will help you transform your prayer life. I highly recommend this book. A kind of test is included at the rear of the book, to help you gauge where you are in your prayer life. $12.99. 233 pages.

About the Book:

In the crazy world around us, our prayers may too often seem ineffective. Do you want to connect with God when you pray and receive more direct answers? PRAYER POWER is the tool you need to build a more powerful and dynamic life of prayer.

Intensely practical and straightforward, PRAYER POWER helps you improve on thirty essential facets of prayer such as passion, routine, fasting, praying with others, listening to God, handling distractions, and spiritual warfare. In each brief chapter you'll be inspired by stories of people whose lives of prayer give us powerful examples.

PRAYER POWER can be used as a month-long devotional, a prayer guide, or a reference for help in specific areas. Whether you're a new believer or think you've heard it all, this book's refreshing and honest insight will guide you to a deeper connection with God.

About the Author:

Peter Lundell, a former missionary to Japan, is a pastor at Walnut Blessing Church in Walnut, California. He has an MDiv and DMiss from Fuller Theological Seminary and is the founder of the Walnut Valley Pastors' Prayer Network. Lundell is the author of two books, and his articles have appeared in magazines such as Guideposts and Pray!

Interview Questions

1. Many Christians don't talk about hardships with prayer. Why do you open up about the struggles you have had drawing close to God in prayer?

My first draft of the book read like an instruction manual of all the things you ought to do to be spiritual like me. I realized that the more spiritual I tried to sound, the less honest I was being. I was hiding behind my words. No reader should have to put up with all that. And besides, it was boring.

So I determined to be totally honest. I rewrote the book and openly shared my doubts, struggles, and failures, because everybody goes through the same things. And if I’m not honest with readers, how can I expect readers to be honest with others or even themselves?

I take sort of an “I mess up and you mess up, but God loves us anyway, so let’s connect with him” approach. Readers often tell me how much they identify with that. And when they read about how God still worked amazing things in my life and in others’, it gives them hope.

I’ve discovered two things: First, honesty is liberating, and I don’t want to live any other way. Second, when we stick with prayer and don’t give up, answers and victories rise from our struggles. Answers and victory never rise from pretending.

I hope to connect with readers so that they’ll in turn connect with me and the victories I’ve experienced—so that they will experience their own victories.

2. What are some of the things God has taught you about prayer over the years - especially from the perspective of your leadership roles?

It’s good to listen before I talk. If I always dive into prayer and never spend time listening, I only dump my own “give-me list” on God. But his word says in 1 John 5:14–15 that when I seek and pray according to his will, my prayer will be answered. So the key is to first get in sync with God.

We’ve got to have a hunger, or thirst, for God. Without hunger, no program or technique or anything we learn will go anywhere. But with hunger for God, we could know almost nothing and still have a great prayer life. Hunger is singularly important—which is why it’s the first chapter.

When I pray with faith and don’t get what I ask for, God will soon show me why. There is always something to learn in unanswered prayer.

3. What do you mean by "praying boldly" and how can Christians learn to do that?

Praying boldly is the opposite of excessively polite prayer and of—I’ll just say it—wimpy prayer. Praying boldly is praying without intimidation, not caring what other people think, expressing ourselves to God without concern for being appropriate or religiously correct but rather with a passion from our guts that pours out, unashamedly. Bold prayer is not arrogant. It’s humble and faithful, because of its self-abandoned focus on God and expectation of what God will do.

People often assume they must be polite or solemn before God. Nowhere does the Bible teach this. Two thirds of the Psalms are complaints, and they are not polite. Most prayers in both Old and New Testaments are bold, expectant, and to the point. When Jesus teaches on prayer in Luke 11:5–10, he talks about an obnoxious guy who bangs on his friend’s door at midnight. Then he says we should bug him the same way by continually asking, seeking, and knocking. I often wonder if God gets tired of diplomatic prayers. Why else would he actually tell us to be bold and persistent—and use examples that, if we were on the receiving end, most of us would say are obnoxious.

There’s no real method to doing this. It’s a mindset that chooses to free itself from previous assumptions and uses the Bible as a model of how to pray.

4. How can we practice the presence of God and include him in everyday tasks?

Practicing the presence of God primarily has to do with developing an attitude, a continual awareness that God is always with us, and that in turn, we always incline our attention toward him.

The first thing most of us need to do is to slow down or cut unnecessary activities from our calendar. Busyness is an enemy to practicing the presence of God. Jesus repeatedly blew off other people’s agendas for him and continually focused on his purpose for being here. Pastors who do the same are always happier, closer to God, and more effective. And when we practice the presence of God, we increase our ability to be intimate with him when times do get busy.

Here are some practices that may help develop that attitude: My last thought before I sleep and my first thought when I wake up is centered on God. When I get mad or stressed, I try to see things from God’s perspective. When I am waiting for someone, I use that time to pray. I do menial tasks with an awareness and love of God. I often have a praise song on my mind as I go through the day.

5. You're a proponent for creating a place of prayer and establishing a time of prayer. Why are these important elements for prayer?

These two disciplines are the most important external helps for maintaining a strong prayer life. Without them, our good intentions eventually drown under the assaults of busyness and distractions.

A place of prayer helps us concentrate in the face of distractions. That place could be the church sanctuary, an empty room in the house, a spot in the back yard, or even a rug laid out on the floor, on which the only thing we do is pray. The physical surroundings of a location devoted to prayer tell our brains, “Focus on God.” And if we ever feel bored or in a rut of over-familiarity with a place, a change of location can be stimulating.

Establishing a set prayer time engrains a habit of prayer into our minds, such that if we miss it, we feel anxious because something is missing or wrong—and it is! A set prayer time is not to force ourselves to pray as much as to create a boundary of protection from busyness. That boundary of time is like a protective fence around a garden, where we give ourselves freedom from intrusions to spend unhindered time with God. Preferably we’ll do this as early as possible in the morning, so we can lay the whole day before the Lord. And unlike a prayer place, I have never found benefit in changing my prayer time, so I highly recommend keeping it sacred, especially if we’re travelling or really busy. Whether short or long, this protective fence of a set time must be intentional, because no one else can do it for us.

6. What advice would you give to people who struggle with God when they pray?

True men and women of prayer will sometimes struggle in prayer, as did many figures in the Bible, like Jacob’s symbolic wrestling with the angel and Jesus’ wrestling over his fate in Gethsemane.

Like anyone else, I struggle with unanswered prayer or major decisions to do something by faith, when tragedy strikes, problems of injustice, and healings that take a lot longer than I’d like. The key is to keep struggling—don’t give up and too quickly assume something is God’s will before you know for sure. The angel commended Jacob for not giving up until he got a blessing. God the Father actually sent an angel to help Jesus wrestle in Gethsemane. Sometimes wrestling in prayer is God’s will for us.

Wrestling in prayer is actually a good thing. It draws us closer to God. And it changes us in the process. And that’s what most of us hope for!

Author Peter Lundell

Bonus Material

Top Ten Reasons Prayer Doesn't Get Answered

Lack of faith --A much-abused idea, but essentially still true.

Effects of sin separating us from God --The Bible says that God sometimes won't listen when we wallow in sin.

Unforgiveness / Emotional wounds / Self-pity --A weird dynamic, but scary in how powerful these emotions are.

Unhealthy lifestyle in disagreement with prayer --Don't pray to lose weight, then eat donuts.

Demonic affliction --Satan and his demons are deceptive and merciless.

Strongholds in the mind --People allow attitudes and beliefs to block out the truth.

God's working behind the scenes --Sometimes God is in a process of answering before we can see it.

God's chastisement --Sometimes people bring punishment upon themselves, and it's for their ultimate good.

God's classroom of testing and faith building --The way God answers prayer may test you and build your faith.

Old age or time to die --Sometimes it's our time to go!


(leave a comment for an opportunity to win this great package)

Prayer Power by Peter Lundell

When God Turned off the Lights by Cecil Murphey (Cec is one of Peter's mentors)

Committed but Flawed by Cecil Murphey

Also includes: Prayer Journal, Pen, and Candle

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Back to School Fiction

Back-to-School Fiction

The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper by Kathleen Y’Barbo, The Sweetgum Ladies Knit for Love by Beth Pattillo & Rose House by Tina Ann Forkner Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of one or more of these books.

In The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper, Gilded Age romance collides with Wild West danger when an 1880s socialite stumbles into dangerous adventures, just like her favorite dime-novel heroine.

Knitting needles, classic works of romance, and six eclectic southern women intersect when the power of love transforms hearts and lives in The Sweetgum Ladies Knit for Love.

In Rose House, a secret painting on display in present-day Sonoma Valley, California, captures a widow’s grief and sets her on a quest to unravel the mystery that changes her life.

learn more about or purchase these books at

The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper

The Sweetgum Ladies Knit for Love

Rose House

Authors: Kathleen Y’Barbo, Beth Pattillo, Tina Ann Forkner

Summary for The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper

The future is clearly mapped out for New York socialite Eugenia “Gennie” Cooper, but she secretly longs to slip into the boots of her favorite dime-novel heroine and experience just one adventure before settling down. When the opportunity arises, Gennie jumps at the chance to experience the Wild West, but her plans go awry when she is drawn into the lives of silver baron Daniel Beck and his daughter and finds herself caring for them more than is prudent–especially as she’s supposed to go back to New York and marry another man.

As Gennie adapts to the rough-and-tumble world of 1880s Colorado , she must decide whether her future lies with the enigmatic Daniel Beck or back home with the life planned for her since birth. The question is whether Daniel’s past–and disgruntled miners bent on revenge–will take that choice away from her.

** Lolly-pops says: The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper is a totally fun read, full of the unexpected, laugh out loud moments, and passion restrained. I loved this fast-paced story, and it kept my interest from page one until the end. I also enjoyed reading portions of the “dime novel” that kept Gennie entertained, though not as much as I enjoyed reading Gennie’s story.

Gennie is a realistic heroine, though she might have been born in the wrong time period for her adventurous spirit. I also enjoyed getting to know some of the other characters in the book, and I especially enjoyed the humor. The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper is a great read, and if you are a fan of Cathy Marie Hake or Deana Gist, you won’t want to miss The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper.

Summary for The Sweetgum Ladies Knit for Love

Once a month, the six women of the Sweetgum Knit Lit Society gather to discuss books and share their knitting projects. Inspired by her recently-wedded bliss, group leader Eugenie chooses “Great Love Stories in Literature” as the theme for the year’s reading list–a risky selection for a group whose members span the spectrum of age and relationship status.

As the Knit Lit ladies read and discus classic romances like Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights, and Pride and Prejudice, each member is confronted with her own perception about love. Camille’s unexpected reunion with an old crush forces her to confront conflicting desires. Newly widowed Esther finds her role in Sweetgum changing and is surprised by two unlikely friends. Hannah isn’t sure she’s ready for the trials of first love. Newcomer Maria finds her life turned upside-down by increasing family obligations and a handsome, arrogant lawyer, and Eugenie and Merry are both asked to make sacrifices for their husbands that challenge their principles.
Even in a sleepy, southern town like Sweetgum , Tennessee , love isn’t easy. The Knit Lit ladies learn they can find strength and guidance in the novels they read, the love of their family, their community–and especially in each other.

**Lolly-pops says: Knit for Love is an awesome read about relationships. I couldn't put this book down. There are several delicious romances within the pages of this book, and I want to read more to find out where they go!

I enjoyed reconnecting with the ladies in Knit for Love. This is the second book in The Sweetgum Ladies series. While it easily stands alone, readers might want to read the first book The Sweetgum Knit Lit Society to find out more about these ladies and what happened prior to the beginning of Knit for Love.

Summary for Rose House

A vivid story of a private grief, a secret painting, and one woman’s search for hope.

Still mourning the loss of her family in a tragic accident, Lillian Diamon finds herself drawn back to the Rose House, a quiet cottage where four years earlier she had poured out her anguish among its fragrant blossoms.

She returns to the rolling hills and lush vineyards of the Sonoma Valley in search of something she can’t quite name. But then Lillian stumbles onto an unexpected discovery: displayed in the La Rosaleda Gallery is a painting that captures every detail of her most private moment of misery, from the sorrow etched across her face to the sandals on her feet.

What kind of artist would dare to intrude on such a personal scene, and how did he happen to witness Lillian’s pain? As the mystery surrounding the portrait becomes entangled with the accident that claimed the lives of her husband and children, Lillian is forced to rethink her assumptions about what really happened that day.
A captivating novel rich with detail, Rose House explores how the brushstrokes of pain can illuminate the true beauty of life.

**Lolly-pops says: ROSE HOUSE is a rather poignant story of a woman trying to find herself amongst the grief that colors her life after the untimely death of her whole family. With bits of heart-pounding excitement that keep the pages turning, readers also mourn with Lillian.

Characterization, setting, and suspense are all woven together in a story that reads seamlessly. I couldn’t help but cry over the lose of the family, but also feel outrage when someone intrudes upon Lillian’s private life and puts it on display. I hoped that Lillian would find the hope she searched for and healing from the emotional upheaval that happened off the pages of this book.

Author Bios:

Kathleen Y’Barbo is the best-selling, award-winning author of more than thirty novels, novellas, and young adult books, with more than a half-million in print. A graduate of Texas A&M University , she is currently a publicist with Books & Such literary agency.

RITA Award-winning Beth Patillo combines her love of knitting and books in her engaging Sweetgum series. Pattillo served churches in Missouri and Tennessee before founding Faith Leader, a spiritual leadership development program.

Tina Ann Forkner is the author of Ruby Among Us. Originally from Oklahoma , she now lives with her husband and three children in Wyoming , where she serves on the Laramie County Library Foundation’s board of directors.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hope Unleashed

A Bold New Way to Look at Missions

In his new book, Andy Hawthorne offers practical ideas and strategies for
Christian evangelism based on word and deed

Some Christians are skilled at proclamation, while others specialize in social engagement. But the only way to really get the job of evangelism done, and give people something real to hope for, is to find that sweet spot of bold declaration and clear demonstration of the good news. In his new book, Hope Unleashed: Serving God through Words and Actions (David C Cook, August 2009), Andy Hawthorne inspires Christians to serve others through acts of kindness without compromising the gospel message.

“The famous words of Francis of Assisi are being bandied around everywhere: ‘Preach the gospel at all times, and if necessary use words,’” writes Hawthorne. “The only problem is, I don’t really feel that this quote from the great man describes the heart of what we should be doing at all. A much better way of describing evangelism to me would be: ‘Preach the gospel at all times with your actions and with your words.’”

As a young man committed to bringing the Christian message to youth in his hometown of Manchester, England, Andy Hawthorne was shocked when a missions partner told him he shouldn’t just preach the gospel but also engage in community projects. What did washing someone’s car have to do with the gospel? But Hawthorne enacted the idea and today his mission organization, Message Trust, has been praised internationally as bringing hope and change to the roughest, poorest neighborhoods of Manchester.

“It’s right that you can’t get a ten-ton truck across a one-ton bridge, and that if we try and bring our great juggernaut of gospel proclamation into the community without any bridge maintenance, it’s all going to collapse,” Hawthorne says. “However, it’s equally true that if we build a beautiful, highly polished bridge of kindness, service, and generosity, and yet never bring the truck across the bridge, we haven’t got the job done either. For me, the secret to success in any ministry is to genuinely combine the two.”

Written in a warm, passionate, nonreligious style, Hope Unleashed is filled with practical ideas and strategies for Christian missions based on word and deed. While sharing inspiring stories from his own experiences in ministry, Andy draws principles from Scripture that will both inform our actions and keep us mindful of the need to “give a reason for the hope that is within us.”

Author Bio

Andy Hawthorne is a British evangelist, author, and founder of the Message Trust, an award-winning Christian mission organization dedicated to bringing the gospel message to the poorest neighborhoods of Hawthorne’s hometown of Manchester, England. A popular speaker at Christian conferences, Hawthorne is also a regular contributor to Youthwork and Christianity magazines. He is the author of Diary of a Dangerous Vision and The Smile of God.

Hope Unleashed: Serving God through Words and Actions by Andy Hawthorne

David C Cook/August 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1434764485/softcover/176 pages/$12.99

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My Book Therapy's From Here to There Storycrafting & Coaching for Writers

From Here to There –
Going from raw idea to a drawn-out plot

How do you take your ideas and turn them into a story?
How do you know if your idea will sell?
Where do you start?

This working storytellers retreat, set just outside of Minneapolis during the beautiful fall season is designed for a writer who has an idea…but needs help putting it together into a plot.

Come with your idea, leave with a game plan. We’ll teach you story structure, and then go step by step in the character creation and plotting process, explaining how to determine each step, and then show you how to apply it to
your story.

We’ll brainstorm your ideas with you, share essential secrets of storytelling, and finally, you'll take home a filled-out workbook that will act as a map as you write your novel.

For beginners to advanced writers who just want a guide along the way, the From Here to There Storycrafter's Retreat will jumpstart your novel further down the road to publication.

Storycrafting & Coaching Retreat for Writers
Friday, October 23, 2009 1:00 pm -
Sunday, October 25, 2009 11:00 am (Central Time)

Riverwood Inn & Conference Center
10990 95th St. NE
Otsego, MN 55362

For more information, visit here for more information.
(Here’s the link to hyperlink as I have: Delete the information in parenthesis before posting.)

1. On My Book Therapy, you had a lot of people giving their insight on what a hero/heroine should be, setting etc. The decision was made based on a poll. What if the end result was a hero/heroine/setting you were not excited about. How would you garner enough interest in this story to make it a saleable book, and readers would love it?

LOL! Well, I can probably find a reason to love all characters and stories – but I’d do that by putting into the story something commercial – a relavent element to the storyline, and a story structure that people expect from a romantic suspense (commerciality of a story is all about expectations – if you are writing a romantic suspense, it needs to have the constructs of a romantic suspense, etc). I would also make the hero/heroine loveable by giving them something sympathetic in their lives that I relate to (like Luke, and his aging father, the feeling of regret). Finally, I would make sure it has the three elements of a great book (wanna know what they are? I’ll give you two…you’ll have to guess the third – Heroism, Sacrifice and….?)

2. How do you decide where the best part of story is to begin is at? I know - a changing moment - so, say if hero was arriving in a new area, and this is a romance, the best start to begin would be meeting the heroine, right? Or slightly before that?

You want to have a small amount of home world (either right before or right after the inciting incident) and then you want to start the story at the point closest to the inciting incident for the reader to be engaged, and yet not confused. So…some inciting incidents for my books:

A lawyer walks into a café, and the hero knows his father has died.
A homeland security agent is running through the woods AFTER being beat up, knowing his partner’s identity has been betrayed.
A cowgirl’s horse dies, and an actor is unable to unbutton his shirt (betraying that he has a disease).
A woman signs a deed on a house she can’t afford.
At her sister’s wedding, my heroine finds out that her childhood sweetheart is marrying someone else.
A man’s brother is shot and dies in his arms in a forest in Alaska.
A drunk and grieving cowboy drives his truck through the front doors of a fancy NYC hotel.
My heroine breaks up with her boyfriend on a beach in Fla, and discovers her mother has been in an accident.

So – just think, where can I start the story that will have the most impact in drawing my reader in?

3. Can you tell me more about the retreat you are planning? What do you hope to accomplish?

I love stories, and I LOVE teaching people how to write stories. I often teach a basic storytelling course at conferences around the nation – but it always seems like there is so much more I could teach them. I long to go further, to help writers really apply the elements of a great story to their own story ideas. So I envisioned a conference where we could really go deep, brainstorm and apply story elements to each writer’s idea. The Here to There Storycrafter’s conference does just that – we learn the basics, but then we go further and actually take our ideas and turn them into a story map. Writers will return home with a plan of action to write their novel.


The first 10 registrants for the Storycrafter Weekend will receive a FREE copy of from the Inside...Out:discover, create and publish the novel in you!

(Susie's How to Write Worktext!)

I hope you'll join us for this fun, empowering and inspirational weekend!

Susan May Warren, owner, My Book Therapy

Isn't it time for you to continue your journey?

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Buzzards are Circling...God Has Never Failed Me...

Enter a comment for a chance to win a copy of these books.
Rediscover Stan Toler’s Endearing Collections of Encouragement

David C Cook introduces new generation of readers to Toler’s gift for finding faith and joy in life’s tough times

Celebrated author of over 70 books, Stan Toler has touched countless hurting people with his timeless stories of hope and encouragement. This summer, a whole new audience of readers will have the opportunity to discover Toler’s best-selling books as David C Cook introduces the updated editions of two of Toler’s most beloved collections—The Buzzards Are Circling, But God’s Not Finished With Me Yet and God Has Never Failed Me, But He’s Sure Scared Me to Death a Few Times (David C Cook, August 2009).

On the landscape of life, buzzards are inevitable—those challenging events and situations that encircle us, eyeing us as prey and swooping down to cause hurt and heartache. A late-night phone call delivering bad news. Losing a job. Struggling with bankruptcy. No matter what form these buzzards take, the pain is universal.

In The Buzzards Are Circling, But God’s Not Finished With Me Yet, Stan Toler takes a lighthearted look at some of life’s more serious subjects. Drawing from his own personal struggles, Toler offers a generous dose of encouragement for the troubled heart, helping readers find hope, joy, and peace, even in the most trying of circumstances. In chapters such as “When the Fountain of Youth Has Rusted” and “I Know I’m Lost, but the Scenery Is Spectacular,” readers will find the strength they need to shoo away any buzzards and face life’s difficulties with the security of knowing that God is in control.

In God Has Never Failed Me, But He’s Sure Scared Me to Death a Few Times, Toler gives a humorous twist to the challenges that place us in faith’s waiting room. Though we know that God’s provision is always on time, we’ve all had close calls waiting for His help. For anyone who has ever felt frazzled, stressed, confused, hurt, angry, undone, or any other emotional response to the difficulties and uncertainties of life, Toler serves up a delightful combination of poignant and hilarious reminders that God is still at work in the world.

Filled with heartwarming stories and humorous anecdotes, this charming collection offers hope and peace for the weary, waiting heart. Toler combines a rich blend of spiritual truths with humorous insights as he reminds God’s children of His unfailing love. Through it all, readers will discover a God who is always faithful, worthy of our trust, and never late with His help.

Repackaged with a fresh look and design, both books will be available for purchase in August.

Author Bio

Stan Toler is senior pastor of Trinity Church of the Nazarene in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and for several years taught seminars for Dr. John Maxwell’s INJOY Group, a leadership development institute. He also serves as the executive director of the Toler Leadership Center, located on the campus of Mid-America Christian University, and is the co-founder of BGW Forward in Faith. Toler has written over 70 books, including his bestsellers, God Has Never Failed Me, But He’s Sure Scared Me to Death a Few Times; The Buzzards Are Circling, But God’s Not Finished With Me Yet; God’s Never Late, He’s Seldom Early, He’s Always Right on Time; The Secret Blend; Practical Guide to Pastoral Ministry; Total Quality Life; and his popular Minute Motivator series.

The Buzzards Are Circling, But God’s Not Finished With Me Yet

God Has Never Failed Me, But He’s Sure Scared Me to Death a Few Times

by Stan Toler

David C Cook/August 2009

ISBN: 978-1-434765-94-9/224 pages/softcover/$14.99

ISBN: 978-1-434765-95-6/224 pages/softcover/$14.99

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Join Stephen Baldwin to Help Children of Fallen Soldiers

Join Stephen Baldwin to Help Children of Fallen Soldiers

OSU Tour Hosts Nationwide Walk-a-Thon

Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX—One in every three troops returning from war experiences Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The statistics are alarming: Over 5,000 killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, divorce rates soaring to 80% at some military bases, an average of 5 suicide attempts per day in the Army and a rise in domestic violence. When our troops suffer, their families suffer. Now, more than ever, military families need your support.

It’s time for America to stand in the gap for those who have sacrificed so much. On Labor Day morning, September 7th, 2009, OSU (Operation Straight Up) Tour will present a nationwide Walk-a-Thon/Bike-a-Thon at Texas Motor Speedway from 7:00-11:30 a.m. The event, hosted by actor Stephen Baldwin and several NFL superstars, will include a concert and entertainment for the whole family. Proceeds of the Walk-a-Thon will support OSU Tour’s initiative to provide father mentors to military single mother homes. As part of the Walk-a-Thon festivities, children of fallen soldiers will get the thrill of their lives as they take a ride around the NASCAR track inside a real NASCAR.

“What happens to a child when there is no father in the home? The statistics are alarming,” says OSU CEO Jonathan Spinks. “Our forgotten military widows and children deserve better. We are so excited to offer this Walk-a-Thon event as an opportunity for the community to provide real support to these families.”

OSU Tour is the nation’s only faith-based entertainment organization for our military, providing entertainment events that increase morale in every area of life: mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual. A portion of the proceeds from the Walk-a-Thon will also support OSU Tour’s trip to Iraq in October.

There are so many ways to participate in this fun-filled event—you can walk, ride your bike or bring your motorcycle. Can’t make it to Texas Motor Speedway? You can still support the cause by sponsoring a walker or rider. For more information, to register as a participant or to donate to this cause, visit

Operation Straight Up (OSU) is an organization dedicated to providing live class “A” entertainment for military serving overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan and helping their children and families become stronger back home. OSU Tour offers a lineup of wholesome entertainment that carries a strong message of hope designed to help troops succeed in their careers and family lives and to ease their integration back into society. For the first time, OSU Tour has been officially approved to take its organization to Iraq in October 2009. After a stop in Germany where they will entertain the more than 50,000 troops stationed there, the OSU tour members will perform for 12 days in Iraq.

OSU Tour shows feature Hollywood actors like Stephen Baldwin, NFL SuperBowl stars including Michael Irvin, NASCAR, NFL Cheerleaders, NBA & MLB Players, World Champion Boxers, UFC Fighters, top names from extreme sports such as Skateboard, BMX and Moto-cross, stuntmen and much more. The lineup for the upcoming Iraq tour also includes the Flying Wallenda’s high wire circus act, and one of the top five ventriloquists in the Nation, David Pendleton.

OSU Tour offer more than just entertainment. Because the realities of war affect every area of a soldier’s life, OSU Tour shows are designed to increase the troops’ morale on all levels: mental, emotional, and physical.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sunflower Serenade -- contest information!!

Author: Tricia Goyer
Publisher: Guideposts Books
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction

Its County Fair time, and excitement is riding high. Everyone in Bedford is gearing up for the biggest event of the summer. Charlotte is busier than ever with all the fair preparations, farm work, and hosting Sam’s friend Jordan who is visiting from San Diego.

In the midst of all the busy fair preparations, Bob and Charlotte are approached by a Nashville Country Music producer about filming a new Country video on their farm. While tempting, neither are convinced that it’s the right thing to allow the glamour and enticement of Nashville to encroach upon their peaceful home.

Sam is worried that Jordan will think Nebraska is “lame” and goes out of his way to try to find things for Jordan to do…but is there anything Jordan will think is fun? Even the possibility of a music star filming on their farm doesn’t seem cool enough. Or will he return to California and make fun of the hick Sam has become?

SUNFLOWER SERENADE is the latest Tricia Goyer novel, one of many that have been penned in the Heather Creek series by various authors. I’ve read all of Tricia’s in this series, but only one of the other authors’ books, but so far it is very easy to keep up with what is going on in Bob and Charlotte’s lives even without having read the entire series. SUNFLOWER SERENADE definitely stands alone.

I highly recommend this series (from what I’ve read of it) and most definitely Tricia’s books, like SUNFLOWER SERENADE. It will bring the excitement of fair time alive and make you smell the animals, feel the heat, taste the corndogs, and anticipate the winners in each category. SUNFLOWER SERENADE is a book to be savored, enjoyed, and not devoured in one sitting.

About Sunflower Serenade: A small-town summer...

The days are long and lazy, the corn is high, the sunflowers are in bloom, and everyone in Bedford is gearing up for the biggest event of the summer: the annual county fair. But when a Nashville music producer approaches Bob about using Heather Creek Farm to film a country star's new music video, he and Charlotte are faced with a dilemma. Will they allow the glamour and enticements of big-city life to encroach upon their peaceful home? Will the excitement of celebrity drown out the simple joys of summer?

About the Home to Heather Creek series: Charlotte Stevenson's world is turned upside down when her daughter, Denise, dies in a tragic car accident. She ran away at eighteen and Charlotte has never forgiven herself. Now, Denise's children, abandoned by their father, are coming from California to live on Heather Creek Farm in Bedford , Nebraska .

Charlotte is uncertain about her ability to care for three grandchildren who are not thrilled to give up the beach and sunshine for snow and farm chores! But she sees a chance to make amends and will do whatever it takes to keep her fragile family together. Feel the courage, strength and commitment of this family as their lives unfold in the Home to Heather Creek series.

Link to buy book: The books come in a series and you can order those at the link. However, if you just want to order Every Sunrise you must call the customer service number (1-800-431-2344). Please include this information in your post!

About Tricia: Tricia Goyer is the author of eighteen fiction and non-fiction books, including Blue Like Play Dough. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003. Tricia's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. Tricia writes magazine articles for publications like Today's Christian Woman and Focus on the Family. Tricia also enjoys speaking. She and her family make their home in Montana .

Contest: Playing on one element of the book - big city entertainers vs. old county fair – the contest for this blog tour is City Girl Goes Country! Share your funniest story (about you or someone you know) about a time when you as the “city girl” goes to the country or “country girl” goes to the city. Enter the contest here:


Friday, August 21, 2009

North! Or be Eaten -- Free book offer!

leave a copy for a chance to win a free copy of this book!
or purchase the book online:!orbeeaten_sec_0623_01


Book: North! Or Be Eaten

Author: Andrew Peterson


Readers thrilled to the phantasmagorical adventures in On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, Book One of the Wingfeather Saga. Now in Book Two, Janner, Tink, and Leeli Igiby, mom Nia, ex-pirate grandfather Podo, Peet the Sock Man, and trusty dog Nugget flee north to rebel headquarters.

Their escape brings readers to the very brink of Fingap Falls , over the Stony Mountains , and across the Ice Prairies, while villains galore try to stop the Igibys permanently. Fearsome toothy cows and horned hounds return, along with new dangers: a mad man running a fork factory, a den of rockroaches, and majestic talking sea dragons.

Andrew Peterson’s lovable characters create what says made Book One “one of the best fantasy novels in a very long time,” and Book Two contains even more thrills, exploring “themes universal in nature, ranging from the classic good versus evil, to the importance of family, and burdens of responsibility.”

Author Bio:

Andrew Peterson is the author of On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness and The Ballad of Matthew’s Begats. He’s also the critically-acclaimed singer-songwriter and recording artist of ten albums, including Resurrection Letters II. He and his wife, Jamie, live with their two sons and one daughter in The Warren near Nashville , Tennessee . Visit Andrew’s websites: and

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Not So Fast

Title: NOT SO FAST: Slow-Down Solutions for Frenzied Families
Author: Ann Kroeker
Publisher: David C. Cook
August 2009
ISBN: 978-1-434768-88-9
Genre: Christian Life/Family

Is every hour rush hour at your house? (from the back cover)

Sometimes it seems we’re raising our kids in a 24-7 world. Everything is high-speed, high-pressure, and we have to push everyone to get ahead, and cram everything possible into our days so our kids can be successful.

But, we’re paying a price. No wonder people are looking at the Amish with envy. They know how to live slowly, and aren’t so stressed out.

For those of us who aren’t ready to make the leap into a different lifestyle, Ann Kroeker offers practical solutions to help those of us in the modern day world to help us to slow down.

In the pages of NOT SO FAST, Ms. Kroeker shares her own story of how embracing a slower pace allows for more meaningful family time and a more rewarding spiritual life. She gives practical ideas and insights which will help spark creativity.

In Ms. Kroeker’s own words, she says, “I want to point to Jesus and say, ‘Start here.’”

I enjoyed reading through NOT SO FAST and reading how the Kroeker family and others have learned how to live in the slow lane. In today’s world of on-going activities, sports, work, school, after-school events, etc, frenzied families tumble exhausted into bed and jump out the next morning to start the process all over again. In the pages of NOT SO FAST, Ms. Kroeker teaches us the necessary steps to slow down, to enjoy family time, meals at the table as a family, and other restful family times. At the end of each chapter are sections called “Slow Notes” with wonderful tips and questions for the family. This alone is worth the price of the book.

If you are pushing 24/7, and looking at the Amish with envy, then perhaps NOT SO FAST would be a book for you to consider. $14.99. 240 pages.

Life’s Too Short to Live in Fast Forward

Ann Kroeker’s new book offers readers simple solutions for a slower, saner lifestyle

Today’s frenzied families find themselves fragmented in this high-speed, fast-paced, goal-oriented society. Even while racing to second jobs, appointments, lessons, practices, games, and clubs, we crave an antidote. How do we counteract the effects of our overcommitted culture? Replenish our depleted selves? Restore our rushed relationships?

For those readers whose every hour is rush hour, author Ann Kroeker explores the jarring effects of our overbusy culture and offers refreshing alternatives. Bypassing the fast lane, Kroeker’s new book, Not So Fast: Slow-Down Solutions for Frenzied Families (David C Cook, August 2009), urges families to discover how simplifying and slowing down can help restore strained relationships…and souls.

“We’re raising our kids in a high-speed, high-pressured, 24/7 world,” says Kroeker. “Pushing children to get ahead, we cram everything possible into our days to maximize their chance at success. We’re overloaded, overextended, overcommitted, and over-caffeinated. And we’re paying a price: Our relationships are anemic; our health, in jeopardy. Half-awake and half-hearted, we can’t sustain this pace.”

In Not So Fast, Kroeker relates her own story of how embracing a slower everyday pace has resulted in a richer, fuller, and more meaningful family and spiritual life. With practical ideas and insight that will spark creativity and personal reflection, Kroeker offers hope that families struggling with hurried hearts and frantic souls can discover the rejuvenating power of an unrushed life.

Not So Fast includes two practical features for those moving toward a more reflective and peaceful life—a life that makes room for knowing and loving God and people. At the close of each chapter, the “Slow Notes” section offers slow-down solutions to apply immediately. In “Live from the Slow Zone,” readers will hear inspirational stories from those who have learned to reap the rewards of life in the slow lane.

“For everyone who yearns for the benefits of a slower life, I want to point to Jesus and say, ‘Start here. Start with the One who offers true and lasting peace. Look to His Word. Meditate on that. Learn from Him, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light,’” writes Kroeker. “I wish we could see that the root of meaning and peace that we’re seeking is found not in a yoga pose or a mind-emptying meditation session, but in a rich relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Author Bio

Author of The Contemplative Mom, Ann Kroeker is an acclaimed writer and speaker committed to encouraging and inspiring families as they face the demands of daily living. A contributor to the award-winning Experiencing the Passion of Jesus, she has written for numerous corporations and her articles have appeared in a variety of publications including Decision, The Student, Christian Home and School, and Indianapolis Woman. Ann and her husband, Philippe, have been married 18 years and have four children.

Not So Fast by Ann Kroeker

David C Cook/August 2009/ISBN: 978-1-434768-88-9/240 pages/softcover/$14.99

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bestselling Author Opens Online Shop!!!!


THE WOODLANDS, TX -- Recently Robin Jones Gunn, best-selling and award-winning author of the Christy Miller Series and the Sisterchicks Series, gave in to overwhelming requests from her readers to open an online store.

"I am now more connected to my readers, and every single one of those relationships means a lot to me," says Gunn. "For years women have been requesting Sisterchicks® T-shirts for their ministry events or tote bags for their book clubs. Teens have asked for posters and fun things like orange surfboard key chains to remind them to pray for their future husbands. One girl begged me to sell 'I [heart]Todd' T-shirts since all the girls at her school were wearing 'My Boyfriend Is a Vampire' shirts."

Robin Jones Gunn's online shop opened June 20 at with more than 680 items sold in seven weeks and a miniature surfboard keychain (the Christy Miller Series takes place in Newport Beach, Calif.) topped the list.
"It took a year to pull together the funds to do this," says the author, who has more than 4 million books in print. The store offers not only clothing and items connected to the characters and themes of her books but also most of her books. "I know that a bookstore can't carry all 70 books that I've written, so while I always encourage readers to check with their local bookstore, for the reader who can't find what she's looking for in her community, Robin's Nest Online Shop is an alternative."

Gunn reports the store has done well, and not just in terms of numbers, but also in terms of touching lives. "Today this note appeared on my Facebook page along with a photo of the T-shirt logo that says, 'Sisterchicks Forever':

My friend Kara and I met at summer camp when we were 5 and have been like sisters ever since. Another friend, Stacy, joined our trio, and as soon as your Robin's Nest Online Shop opened, Kara made sure the three of us had Sisterchicks T-shirts because we love your books. But it's more than that. After many years of battling a horrible disease, Kara passed away on the 4th of July, just two weeks after we received the shirts. She asked to be buried in her Sisterchicks T-shirt because for the 3 of us Sisterchicks, the 'forever' on the shirt really means forever. We know we'll be together for eternity."

"When relationships are affected for eternity, I know opening the shop was the right choice," Gunn says.


Join Robin on Facebook for a special Summer Promise Party from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm PDT on Friday, August 14th.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Exceeding Your Expectations - free book offer

please leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of this book

Author: Linda A. Olson
Publisher: Guardian Books
ISBN: 978-1-55452-346-7
Genre: personal growth

Discover the spiritual secret to extraordinary living…

Several years ago, a Christian Leader, John Maxwell, surveyed churches across America and discovered that 85% of people serving in church are women.

EXCEEDING YOUR EXPECTATIONS is part of an ongoing series designed to help women meet the demands that are heaped upon them. In fact, to quote the book, this series is “an inspirational, informational, and transformational program designed to embrace, equip, and empower Christian women who want to make a difference.

EXCEEDING YOUR EXPECTATIONS is the first of a series of six books. The others are:

Part II: Made for More Blessing
Part III: Made for More Influence
Part IV: Made for More Stories
Part V: Made for More Dreams
Part VI: Made for More Success

In this series, the author says that she hopes to equip and empower others to increase their influence by:

1. Grasping the key to a greater influence
2. Recognizing the power in applying leadership principles that make a difference
3. Developing power tools for extraordinary living through turbulent times

EXCEEDING YOUR EXPECTATIONS is a friendly written book, that will reach women on all levels. I easily read through the book in a day, but I recommend that readers take it much slower, taking time to absorb each aspect that Ms. Olson is trying to teach. There are plenty of lines included for your answers and personal observations.

The book is ideal for personal study, friendship coffees, family time, small groups, seminars, and other outlets. If you are looking for a way to increase your leadership abilities, then I recommend EXCEEDING YOUR EXPECTATIONS. While written for women, I feel that this book could also be helpful to some men in ministry. $14.95. 74 pages.

About the Book

Exceeding Your Expectations: Learning the Ten Leadership Principles that Guarantee Results by Linda Olson (Guardian Books)

Is it possible that no matter how many times you’ve failed at getting ahead, that the secret to finally breaking through could be … Easy?

The Answer is Yes…No matter how many times you have tried to get ahead and failed, even if you have had little breakthroughs and then were set back again – you can learn to rise above your circumstances and enjoy the life you deserve.

Linda Olson is best known for her work in equipping and empowering women. She knows how discouraging in can be to work hard at getting a breakthrough only to be set back one more time. She also knows that getting the big breakthrough is possible regardless of how many setbacks, how many people tell her to give up, or discourage her from moving ahead. Linda has learned to exceed her expectations wherever she goes.

Exceeding Your Expectations offers timeless principles in an easy to follow format where readers can journal their insights about the material. Applying the principles will work in any situation, for any generation, and are guaranteed for a lifetime.

Anyone reading the book will benefit by:
1. learning the secret to connecting with others wherever you go
2. recognizing the power available through relationships
3. following the actions steps that position you to exceed your expectations

Exceeding Your Expectations, a must-read in this economy, teaching how to rise above your present circumstances and learn to exceed your expectations.

About the Author

Linda's infectious storytelling ability, along with her passion for giving to others, captivates audiences wherever she goes. Linda believes in living life and living it to the fullest.

From a farm in Midwest Canada to the desert in Southern California, Linda has embraced every part of her journey. She has learned strong work ethics, the power of perseverance, and finds her strength through her personal faith in God. Her leadership journey began at the age of twenty-one and has included everything from teaching troubled teens to surviving on an island. She has enjoyed the college life as Dean of Women, counseling men, women, and families in her private therapy practice, empowering women through service in Women’s Ministry, to inspiring women to preserve their photos and memories through Creative Memories. She has also worked as a counselor and program coordinator at a Domestic Violence Shelter, as a social worker with Visiting Nurses in the Hospice department, and has volunteered many years in children’s and women’s ministry at her church. Linda has encouraged people from all walks of life, equipping them to fulfill their innermost dreams.

Her formal education includes a Master’s in Marriage & Family Therapy, and one in Christian Education. She’s a Certified Life Coach, a member of Toastmaster’s, and has over thirty-five years experience as an entrepreneur and leader–all of which have equipped her to train and inspire leaders to become who they were meant to be. Linda has empowered audiences throughout the United States and Canada since 1973 with her inspirational stories, leadership principles, vulnerability, and call for action.

Linda has a special heart for non profit organizations. She loves to “give back” to the organizations whether it’s a church group or a fundraiser in the community. She speaks to both Christian and secular audiences-both men’s and women’s groups-on anything from inspiration and motivation to developing Christian women in leadership. Her husband, Rick, a counselor, Life Coach, and speaker, often joins her at her events. Together they have raised two beautiful daughters, and make their home in Palmale, CA

We are thrilled to have Linda Olson, inspirational speaker, author, and leadership coach with us today. Please find a comfortable seat as you join our visit with Linda introducing her new book, Exceeding your Expectations.

LINDA: Thank you! I’m delighted to be with you and your readers today to share about a topic that is close to my heart and something we all need to hear in light of today’s economy.

Linda, you have a strong leadership background. You have served for more than thirty-five years both in Canada and the United States as Dean of Women, Marriage & Family Therapist, Women’s Ministry Director and a Creative Memories Director. Recently you founded a program called, Made for Something More. Share with us how that came about?

LINDA: I served as Women’s Ministry Director at three churches over a fourteen year period. As I was invited on full time staff to entrepreneur a women’s program with over 5,000 attendees, I knew this was more than a position, it was a calling. During that time I searched for resources to develop my leaders and came up empty-handed. It was at that time God laid on my heart to begin developing a program for Christian Women in Leadership. In the program, Made for Something More, I was developing a five-part series with books, teleseminars, DVD’s and other resources. When it came down to getting my first book published, God laid on my heart a sixth book, Exceeding your Expectations.

Why are you passionate about the message in this book?

LINDA: Like many people today, I didn’t have any dreams or expectations.
Growing up on the farm in mid-west Canada, life was more about surviving than it was thriving. It seemed the biggest expectation was to bring in a big enough crop or sell enough cattle to pay the bills and cover basic living expenses. I learned to survive rather than thrive.

When did that change for you?

LINDA: I entered Bible College as a shy, inhibited teenager seeking God’s direction for my life. It was there that I met students with dreams and aspirations. They were enjoying life and had a purpose. It triggered something in me that made me realize I was made for so much more. During those three years at a dormitory college my life blossomed.

So, how did that change things?

LINDA: I knew God had a special purpose for my life. I had gained confidence, self-esteem and many leadership skills. Big doors began to open. At 21 years of age I was invited to become Dean of Women at Trinity Western University on the west coast of Canada. It was the beginning of a 35-year leadership journey where God has exceeded my expectations beyond my wildest dreams.

We are all affected by our present economy in one way or another. Besides a job and enough money to hang on to our home what are people looking for and how can we help them?

LINDA: Besides the tangible things people are looking for encouragement, hope, peace, health, and security. When the woman at the well said to Jesus, “Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep”, she was looking to the well for practical answers. It’s the same thing we do when we look to our circumstances hoping for changes that will transform our life. The answers are not in the well nor are they in our circumstances. They are in the Almighty. We need to look to Him and trust Him to fulfill the many promises He has given us.

What was the turning point for the woman at the well?

LINDA: The turning point occurred when Jesus brought her face to face with her fear. He said, “Go call your husband and come back.” Jesus knew her struggle with relationships, so why would He ask her to call her husband? He needed to know if she was willing to confess her situation and take responsibility. She needed to face her fear and know she could move beyond it.

How can we learn to exceed our expectations?

LINDA: Before Jesus exceeded this woman’s expectation with living water she had to:
1. Recognize her need for change
2. Be willing to take responsibility for herself (take down emotional barriers)
3. Commit herself to Him (believe in Who He was and What He had to offer)
It isn’t any different for us. We need to be open to change (recognize our need for change), be willing to take responsibility and commit our day and our situation to Him (and leave it in His hands). When we do that He will exceed our expectations.

Where do we often fall short?

LINDA: It’s not in having an expectation we go wrong, but rather in hanging on to our expectations. We want something to happen at a particular time and we hang on like it is our right. The other area where we often fall short is NOT being willing to wait silently. If we are willing to submit our expectations to God every morning and wait on Him, He will far exceed them.
“My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my (personal responsibility) expectation (hope) is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense.” Psalm 62:5,6

What resources do you have available for us?

LINDA: There are several things available that you can find on my website which is
a. Coordinating Journal, Goliath Challenge – My gift to you.
b. My new book & DVD, Exceeding Your Expectations
c. Capturing your Vision – is a program where I will work
with a leadership team and teach them to Capture their vision, Explode
their influence and Bring $ back to their organization. As part of that
program I speak to their group equipping and empowering women to
recognize their value and their potential.
d. Teleseminar Series – for anyone who wants to go deeper. This series consists of 6 teleseminars as well as time for leaders to ask their personal questions.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Welcome Home: Our Family's Journey to Extreme Joy

Author: Kimberley Woodhouse
Publisher: Focus on the Family
July 2009
ISBN: 978-1-58997-573-6
Genre: Biography & Autobiography/Personal memoir

Kim Woodhouse has lived an amazing life. Like most women, Kim dreamed of having kids. But after several miscarriages, she learned she had to have a surgery. The surgery never happened as she found out she was pregnant. What followed was one adventure after another as, after months of bed rest, Kim delivered a baby boy, Josh, and about a year later, a baby girl, Kayla.

Kayla was the healthy one – or so it seemed. Josh was the one with breathing difficulties. But the situation changed abruptly one day when Kim decided to take the kids to the park, and Kayla passed out within a short time from the heat. What followed was a long road where the Woodhouse’s discovered that not only does Kayla not sweat, but the heat can kill her. And shortly on the heels of that discovery, they learn that Kayla doesn’t feel pain.

Some of us are vaguely familiar with the Woodhouse’s due to their claim to fame from being featured on Extreme Makeover, Home Edition. But now we get the rest of the story.

I know Kim and consider her a friend, and I sat in awe as I read this book of all she has been through, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Yet, instead of drowning in the depths of despair, Kim has managed to raise above it and face the overwhelming array of medical (and home) disasters with not only a grain of salt, but with JOY.

Just a few days before I read the book, I got an email from Kim stating that the book has already sold out of the first printings and have gone into second printings. This is amazing for a first book, but this book, and the story of this family is amazing. You will NOT want to miss WOODHOUSE FAMILY WELCOME HOME! This is truly an amazing story, very well written, and readers will not only identify with Kim, but also relate as she shares the remarkable journey the family has traveled so far. $13.99. 220 pages.

Important links:

to buy the book:
discussion guides:

links for the youtube videos containing our EMHE episode:

Hi, Kim and welcome to my blog. What are you working on now?
I’m working on a non-fiction – parenting encouragement, and a complex fiction - romantic suspense set in Alaska.

Sounds interesting. What are some of your hobbies, besides writing?
I love to homeschool my kids (some people would call it work, and it is, but I love it), I love creating things: scrapbooking, quilting, sewing, bead work, and I love to cook. 

All writers love to read, so who are your favorite authors?
Tracie Peterson, Colleen Coble, Tamera Alexander, Terri Blackstock, Donita K. Paul

Some of those would be on my favorite list too. What is your favorite genre to read?
I’m a sucker for a good romance, so I love all different genres if they have a good romantic thread.

Yes, me too. What sparked the idea for your last story?
A Moose. :) (Not my current story, but hopefully one for the future.)

Now that sounds interesting. Who or what inspired you to write?
My precious children. They are inspiration and encouragement and my cheerleaders. Then several very special authors entered my life and prodded me on, urging me to grow and bloom.

That is wonderful. What is your favorite verse, and why?
My life verses are James 1:2-4 – “Consider it pure joy my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, knowing that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” The Lord has brought us through amazing trials and triumphs, and I’m so thankful that He taught me that wonderful lesson of His joy. It’s always there, it cannot be taken away, and He will finish the work.

How very true. How can reading your book have an impact on the reader’s life?
Well, my prayer is that Welcome Home will point people to the Lord and His joy. That’s what it’s all about. Loving and encouraging others through the tough times.

How did you become a Christian?
My dad is a pastor, and I’m the youngest of three children. One day I was in the bathroom (yes, the bathroom ) and realized I couldn’t wait any longer. I wanted Jesus in my heart forever. It’s one of the only memories I have of my early childhood, but I will never forget it.

That is wonderful. How has your book been received from its readers?
The reviews so far have been amazing, and I am so blessed. In addition, through my website, I’ve already heard from dozens of readers who have written in telling me that reading our story has changed their lives. I must admit that it shocks me every time I receive one of those notes. But I’m so thankful that the Lord is using it to encourage others.

Can you tell us a little bit about your personal life?
Let’s be honest. My life is crazy.  The media attention has followed us since Kayla was diagnosed, but two years ago it really went wild with EMHE. But in the midst of all this, I do my best to keep my home in order, homeschool 5-6 hours a day, and spend 5-6 hours a day (6 days a week) between pools as my kiddos are intense swimmers. (Swimming is the one sport Kayla can do, and we are praising the Lord for how it has improved her health over the past few years. Josh and Kayla would both love to glorify the Lord by making it to the Olympics one day.)
I write a little at home, and I write at the pool.

How can our readers purchase your book?
It’s beginning to hit bookstores right now (the release date is September 1), but the way to help our family the most is to order through one of the links on my website through CBD or Amazon.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Title: CHRISTIANISH: What if We’re Not Really Following Jesus at all?
Author: Mark Steele
Publisher: David C. Cook
August 2009
ISBN: 978-1-434766-92-2
Genre: Nonfiction/Christian Living

Rediscover what it means to live like Christ and ditch the ish (from the back cover)

Modern evangelicalism is producing a lukewarm spirituality, finding many believers struggling to follow the straight and narrow path. The efforts of pastors and other spiritual leaders have become more how to cope with dysfunctional lives instead of what it truly means to give up all to follow Christ.

In Mark Steele’s new book, CHRISTIANISH, the author shares his own story about his transformation from living his “in-between” life to a life that is fully centered on Christ.

Inside the pages of this book, Mr. Steele revisits the words of Christ to help us rediscover exactly what it means to be a Christian. Mr. Steele also shares stories and insights that are sometimes quite deep, and sometimes humorous to demonstrate what faith is really all about. Mr. Steele details the symptoms of being CHRISTIANISH while encouraging us to drop the “ish” to become true Christ-followers.

The book has some works in it that the average reader might want to keep a dictionary on hand to understand, and is obviously written by a highly-educated man. Not quite as conversational as some of the nonfiction I’ve read recently, Mr. Steele still knows how to draw the reader in. Within the first few pages I not only gasped with shock, but then the end result had me laughing, while still teaching a valuable lesson. The rest of the book is written in the same style, making this a great teaching book.

If you are serious about being a true Christ-follower, and tired of “straddling the fence” then CHRISTIANISH would be a book to consider. I highly recommend this for all church libraries. $14.99. 320 pages.

In his new book, author Mark Steele transforms middle-ground, Christianish faith into a passionate, authentic pursuit of Christ

Modern evangelicalism has lost its balance. A lukewarm spirituality, somewhere between cold faith and hot pursuit, has taken hold and found many believers in the median between the wide path and the narrow road of the spiritual walk. The efforts of many have become more centered on how to cope with their own dysfunctional lives, and less concentrated on what it really means to follow Jesus. It’s something not quite Christian. It’s more like…Christianish.

In his new book, Christianish: What if We’re Not Really Following Jesus at All? (David C Cook, August 2009), author Mark Steele tells the story of his own personal journey from living in the “in-between” to a life that’s centered on Christ. “Somewhere along the road, I stopped being a ‘little Christ’ and instead began filling out the application that I had labeled ‘Christian.’ It was not a definition based on the actual namesake but, rather, on those who frequent the clubhouse. I allowed Jesus to seep into my church world—but not my relational world, my romance world, my business world, my creative world, my habits, my mouth. I had become Christianish.”

Christianish may feel like authentic faith. It may even look like the real deal. Yet it’s often easy to settle for the souvenir t-shirt—the appearance of a transformed heart—instead of taking the actual trip through true life-change. We find ourselves being contented with a personal faith that’s been polluted by culture and diluted by other people’s take on spirituality.

In Christianish, Mark revisits the words and life of Christ to find just what it means to be a Christian. Through stories and insights that are sometimes profound, often hilarious, and always honest, he delivers a compelling look at what authentic faith is all about. While carefully detailing the tell tale symptoms of being Christianish, Mark encourages readers to ditch the “ish” to become true Christ-followers.

“We have trained ourselves to cope well on a Christianish path: a path where we please the right godly people and don’t feel the guilt when our failings are seen by the world at large. But this is not the approach to Jesus that we were created to take. There is only one way for us to discover the right way to travel the right road. The way is not church. The way is not an ideology. The way is not Christian. The way is Jesus.”

Author Bio

Mark Steele is the president and executive creative of Steelehouse Productions, a group that creates art for business and ministry through the mediums of film, stage, and animation. He is also the author of Flashbang: How I Got Over Myself and Half-Life/Die Already and is a regular contributor to Collide Magazine and Relevant Magazine. Mark and his wife, Kaysie, reside in Oklahoma with their three greatest productions: Morgan, Jackson, and Charlie.

Christianish: What if We’re Not Really Following Jesus at All? by Mark Steele

David C Cook/August 2009/ISBN 978-1-434766-92-2/320 pages/softcover/$14.99

Saturday, August 15, 2009

You Make Me Feel Like Dancing

Author: Allison Bottke
Publisher: David C. Cook
June 2009
ISBN: 978-1-434799-49-4
Genre: Inspirational/womens fiction

Susan Anderson owns and operates a hair salon in Las Vegas where she displays her collection of disco memorabilia that she accumulated back when Susan was one of the “beautiful people” on the New York disco scene.

Susan went west to become a professional dancer, but her short stature worked against her. But she met and married Michael, a man ten years her senior. Susan opened a hair salon, and she and Michael recently celebrated twenty-five years together.

But now, Michael is considered early retirement, and building his dream house. He wants Susan to give up her “little hobby.” Susan’s business is thriving and she harbors plans to expand in a major way. Michael’s news rocks Susan’s world and she is suddenly facing demons from the past and a struggling marriage. Will she be able to keep on dancing?

I’ve had the privilege of reading some of Ms. Bottke’s previous books, and fell in love with her voice. YOU MAKE ME FEEL LIKE DANCING is another winner. A woman, mentally stuck in the 80’s, to the point that she even wears clothing that was in style back then, and hunts down sources to buy make-up that was popular… Now, people flock to her salon to see her amazing collection.

I couldn’t help with fall in love with Susan, though I didn’t get much into the email relationships that she has with a few women – though that is, technically, the link that will tie this new series VaVaVa Boom together. I am looking forward to reading the other books in this wonderful series. Dance out to your local family bookstore and get your own copy. Discussion questions are included at the end of this book. $14.99. 400 pages.

Author Bio: Allison Bottke spent 17 years as a professional fund-raiser before her personal journey prompted her to create the best-selling God Allows U-Turns anthologies. Now a popular speaker and author of hip-lit fiction as well as nonfiction, Allison was one of the first plus-size models with the Wilhelmina agency. Today, she has created a place where fun, fashion, food, family, and faith merge to empower and inspire boomer women all around the world. That place is

Friday, August 14, 2009

Make Love, Make War: Now is the Time to Worship -- plus giveaway

read to the end for information on the free giveaway!

Author: Brian Doerksen
Publisher: David C. Cook
August 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4347-6682-3
Genre: Inspirational/Christian Life

In MAKE LOVE, MAKE WAR, songwriter Brian Doerksen shares the stories behind the songs that he wrote, stories of how the songs came to be. The lyrics of a praise and worship song written by Doerksen is included at the beginning of each chapter, some of which are quite popular, such as Come, Now Is the Time to Worship, Refiner’s Fire, and others.

Brian Doerksen says in the book that he feels God is calling us to Love – not only Him, but also other people, but at the same time He is calling us to battle against the forces of evil.

My oldest son is very interested in going into music as a career, so when the offer to review this book crossed my desk, I jumped at it. I figured that this book would be something he would be interested in reading since Brian Doerksen also gives special tips to aspiring songwriters inside the pages of this book, .in addition to revealing specific insights that Mr. Doerksen experienced, into the nature of God.

I enjoyed reading through the pages of this book, and am looking forward to giving it to my son for his birthday. I think this is a book that he will get a lot of enjoyment out of it. I think this book will be a great book for other musicians, music ministers, and others who like to know the stories behind the songs. $14.99. 224 pages.

Living a Life of Radical Worship

Award-winning songwriter Brian Doerksen shares insights behind some of the most beloved songs of our time as he provokes readers to love and war

What is true worship? It can elevate us into the presence of God, renew and refresh our spirits, and offer the deepest expression of love for our Savior. Yet worship can also be a call to arms, a battle cry, a salvo in an ancient spiritual war that continues today. In his first book, Make Love, Make War: Now Is the Time to Worship (David C Cook, August 2009), award-winning songwriter Brian Doerksen challenges Christians to make their lives an offering of radical worship.

An acclaimed songwriter, recording artist, author, conference speaker, and pastor, Doerksen believes God is calling us to love and to battle—to spread peace and wage spiritual warfare. “Each is essential to our daily spiritual walk,” writes Doerksen. “We do this through how we live, how we serve Him, and how we protect and fight for what matters most. One of the ways I make love and war is through music.”

In Make Love, Make War, Doerksen shares the stories and inspirations behind some of today’s most influential songs of worship, including “Come, Now Is the Time to Worship,” “Hallelujah (Your Love Is Amazing),” and “Refiner’s Fire.” While offering special tips for aspiring songwriters, Doerksen also reveals rich truths and insights about the nature of God, His calling for us, and how we can wage spiritual war and share His love through a life of radical worship.

“I believe that we know love and war are at the heart of everything inside us, and everything going on all around us,” says Doerksen. “We sense that there is nothing that Satan hates more than the worship of Yahweh by those who are faithful to the Lamb. He spends more than a little energy convincing us that there really is no war going on, and that the sum total of our lives’ calling is to be nice. But God is provoking us to rise up and fight. The war He calls us to make is always for the sake of love!”

Beginning August through September, the “Hear It First, Read It First” contest and promotion for Make Love, Make War will be sponsored by David C Cook, Integrity Music,, and Gibson/Epiphone Guitars. By visiting, fans and readers will be able to enter to win prizes, as well as download free music video performances of Brian Doerksen (i.e., “It’s Time” and “Holy God”) and free sample chapters from Make Love, Make War.

Author Bio

Brian Doerksen has always had a passion for expressing worship through music. He is an award-winning songwriter of some of today’s most popular songs of worship. He is currently developing a musical of hope based on Luke 15 called “Return.” Brian, his wife, Joyce, and their six children reside in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada.

Make Love, Make War: Now Is the Time to Worship by Brian Doerksen

David C Cook/August 2009/ISBN 978-1-434766-82-3/224 pages/softcover/$14.99

Visit to enter the “Hear It First, Read It First” contest and promotion for Glenn Packiam’s book Secondhand Jesus and Brian Doerksen’s book, Make Love, Make War, sponsored by David C Cook, Integrity Music,, and Gibson/Epiphone Guitars. By visiting, fans and readers will be able to enter to win prizes, as well as download free music video performances of Glenn Packiam (i.e., “Burning in Me”) and Brian Doerksen (i.e., “It’s Time” and “Holy God”) and free sample chapters from their new books.

Prizes include a set of worship CDs from Integrity, an Epiphone guitar signed by Glenn Packiam or Brian Doerksen, and an Epiphone amplifier! Want to find out more about these worship leaders and authors? Download a sample chapter and videos at and!