Monday, July 27, 2015

COTT: Five Summertime Reads!


What a great bunch of books to take on vacation or read under a shady tree this summer. Selections include a Regency romance, a thriller, the story of an abandoned child found by the shore and two Westerns. Peruse below and let us know which one you’ll put on top of the stack in your beach bag. Scroll down and vote in the survey box. Then let your friends know about these interesting reads.


Unmasked Heart by Vanessa Riley      

A young woman reconciling the lies of her birth must learn her true worth, unmasking her heart to true love, but will she find her soul mate in a duke running from scandal? With everything she knows to be true evaporating before her spectacles, can the mulatto passing for white survive being exposed and shunned by a powerful duke who has taken an interest in her?


Rodeo Reunion by Shannon Vannatter
Slade Walker, the bronco-riding rodeo chaplain breaks all of widowed Raquel’s rules—find a father for her son with a safe occupation, who’s home every night. He can’t turn his back on the cowboys who need him, but Raquel and her boy need him, too.
Two Days in Caracas by Luana Ehrlich
In this pulse-racing Christian thriller, Titus Ray, travels from Costa Rica to Venezuela in an effort to stop Ahmed, a Hezbollah assassin, from murdering a high-profile government official.
Finding Mia by Dianne J. Wilson
Isobel is on the beach hunting for her muse. What she finds is a toddler, sunburnt and close to death.
The Rancher Takes a Cook by Misty Beller
When their South Carolina home burns to the ground, Anna Stewart’s only choice is to move with her younger brother to the wilds of a Texas ranch. When danger escalates in the form of a band of cattle thieves with deadly intent, can Anna learn to release control to God’s capable hands...and those of the blue-eyed cowboy who’s stolen her heart?
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Monday, July 20, 2015

COTT: "Until the Harvest" by Sarah Loudin Thomas


This follow-up story will delight readers of Thomas’ previous novel, but, it reads perfectly as a standalone as well.                                      
                                                  – RT Book Reviews Top Pick – 4.5 stars



About the book:
When a family tragedy derails Henry Phillips’s college studies, he’s left unmoored and feeling abandoned. Although Henry tries to find escape in bad company, the only things that can tamp down his anger and grief are the family farm, his fiddle, and sweet but unusual pre-teen Mayfair Hoffman.

Unfortunately, Mayfair’s older sister, Margaret, with the freckles and cute, turned-up nose, has the opposite effect. Worse, she’s his grandmother’s housekeeper and helper, so she’s always around and ready to push his buttons. At first he thinks she doesn’t care about his loss, before beginning to understand she’s facing her own struggles. Mayfair’s health and unique gift sit at the heart of those worries, and Henry and Margaret soon find themselves relying on each other as both Henry’s future and Mayfair’s life are put at risk.

Until the Harvest

PURCHASE


A note from the author:

Good Books and Great Food

Eating and telling stories are two of my favorite things so it’s only natural that food turns up in my writing over and over again. The second book in the Appalachian Blessings series—Until the Harvest—opens with the hero, Henry Phillips, enjoying one of his favorite dishes–venison steak. And a little later he partakes of . . . fried squirrel.

Now, before you turn up your nose, understand that in my growing up years we ate quite a bit of game including squirrel. Plenty of folks still enjoy it. And my mother made the best squirrel gravy. If you tried some on a biscuit, I bet you’d think so, too.

My books aren’t about food, but food plays an important role in each one. Life on the farm—in West Virginia or anywhere else—centers on raising and harvesting food. Readers often comment that my books make them hungry, so today I thought I’d share a couple of recipes with you. One for Emily Phillips’ fried squirrel (courtesy of my mom, Nancy Loudin) and one for Margaret Hoffman’s egg salad (courtesy of WV chef Dale Hawkins).

Hope you enjoy the book AND a good meal!

What COTT voter had to say:
--I have enjoyed "getting to know" Sarah Loudin Thomas via social media and eagerly look forward to reading both of her novels.
--I absolutely loved Until The Harvest, by Sarah Loudin Thomas!
--I love Sarah Loudin Thomas's books! She is a favorite of mine!!
--Absolutely LOVED Until the Harvest by Sarah Loudin Thomas. UTH has it all--life lessons, "get real" God moments, and the sweet stirring of love--all set amidst the beautiful backdrop of Appalachia country. No ten dollar words here--just great storytelling at its absolute finest!
--Sarah Loudin Thomas, I have loved both of your books! Keep 'em comin'!
--Sarah Loudin Thomas: keep up the good work and allowing God to reach people through your writing!
--Sarah Loudin Thomas is one of my favorite authors. I love the way she tells a story! I can always feel what the characters are feeling.

Fried Squirrel with Gravy

Makes 4 servings

2 large squirrels
1 cup flour
Salt and pepper
Oil or lard for frying
Milk and water

Soak the cleaned squirrels in a pan of water in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. Cut into pieces, place in a large pot, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until the meat is tender, but not falling off the bones. Drain. Season the meat with salt and pepper and roll in the flour. Heat oil or lard to shimmering in a cast-iron skillet and add the pieces without crowding. Fry until golden brown on both sides. Remove to drain on a brown paper bag. Leave about two tablespoons of oil in the skillet and add two tablespoons of the flour left over from dredging the squirrel. Stir the flour until it’s lightly browned. Add milk and water alternately, stirring constantly, until your gravy is as thick as you like it. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with hot biscuits.

Egg Salad

8 eggs
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. prepared yellow mustard
¼ cup chopped green onion
¼ tsp. paprika
Salt and pepper to taste

Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring water to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Cover and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water, cool. Peel and grate on a box grater. Place the eggs in a bowl and stir in the mayonnaise, mustard, and green onion. Season with salt, pepper, and paprika. Stir and serve.

About the author:
Sarah Loudin Thomas grew up on a 100-acre farm in French Creek, WV, the seventh generation to
live there. Her Christian fiction is set in West Virginia and celebrates the people, the land, and the heritage of Appalachia. Her first novel, Miracle in a Dry Season, released August 2014 through Bethany House and won the 2015 Selah Award and an INSPY Award for debut fiction. Book #2, Until the Harvest, released May 2015.

A graduate of Coastal Carolina University in Conway, SC, Sarah once dreamed of being a marine scientist. But her love for words won out and she has spent much of her career in public relations and marketing. She currently oversees fundraising and communications for a Christian children’s home in Black Mountain, NC.

Sarah and her husband Jim live in the mountains of Western North Carolina with Thistle–the canine equivalent to a personal trainer pushing them to hike, run, and play tug-o-war. Sarah is active in her local church and enjoys cooking and–you guessed it–reading.

Monday, July 13, 2015

COTT: When Heroes are Not Heroic: An Inside Look at "Blue Columbine"





Blue Columbine, book one in the Grace Revealing series by Jennifer Rodewald


Welcome, readers! This week we're going behind the scenes of Jennifer Rodewald's new book, Blue Columbine!! Find out why her hero, Andrew Harris, drew such a reaction, and why this "non-heroic" hero makes the perfect star of this beautiful contemporary romance. 


The main character isn’t your typical Christian Fiction hero. What is he like?


Andrew Harris insists on living on his own terms. Angry because of life’s injustices, he is determined that failure will not cross his path again. He is also adamant that he is not an alcoholic. When he reunites with Jamie Carson, finding her to be rooted in the faith they’d grown up with, and every bit as sweet and lovely as he remembered, he is plunged into an emotional whirlwind. Guilt, a longing to be better, frustration that he is not enough, and a rekindled love for his childhood sweetheart all swirl inside with maddening strength.  But for all his faults, he is still loyal, supportive, and generous when he wants to be—all qualities that keep Jamie’s attention and devotion.  Which keeps their close friendship—edging on more than friendship—complicated, to say the least.


What was the hardest part of writing this story?


This is a tough one, because the greatest difficulty didn’t come during the writing part. The hardest thing was taking in the amount of very strong negative reactions to Andrew as a Christian fiction character during the critiquing stage of the novel. Andrew’s a mess. An alcoholic in denial, angry at life and at God, selfish, and overall just not pretty. I knew that, but I didn’t expect to have vehement reactions insisting that such a character did not belong in Christian fiction. One comment labeled him “unredeemable.” That broke my heart, because as I shared before, God reminded me through this story that no one is beyond the Hand of Grace. I think it’s important that sometimes Christian fiction confirms that truth, even if it means starting with messy characters.


 Where did Blue Columbine, the story, come from?


I’m not sure there’s one single, straight shot answer to that. The story unfolded in my mind and I was compelled to write it. I’ve had several years to look back and wonder, “Why this story?” since it first gripped me. Looking at it from hindsight, I think God was pouring truth into me through this book. I was at a point in my life when I was praying for loved ones…and losing hope. I see now that God was teaching me that nothing is beyond His reach. I needed to see that, to believe it again.


 What messages/ themes do you hope your readers will get out of this book?


The first is this: NO ONE is beyond redemption. No one. I need to know that, because I love some messy people. God showed me through this book that my prayers do not go unheard, that His hand is more powerful than I give Him credit for, and His time and storyline are not necessarily mine.

And second: Jesus saves. From white lies to powerful addictions,  Jesus saves the lost, washes sin completely clean, and offers new life with real hope.


What an amazing message! This book's hero proves that when our characters are not perfectly heroic, that only proves that God is! Thank you for sharing your book with us.
Now for a closer look at this book--and the gorgeous cover that sets the tone!




BLUE COLUMBINE, Book 1 of the Grace Revealing series








Best Friends—maybe more—until addiction shatters everything.
Childhood sweethearts reunite, but Andrew is not the boy he had been, and Jamie hasn’t changed. Their connection, however, outlasts time and offense.

Loyalty, love, and then betrayal….For Jamie, one thing becomes clear: Andy needs a savior, and she cannot be it. Will Andrew allow the hand of grace to redeem his legacy of addiction, or will he and Jamie remain the casualties of heartbreak?

What her readers are saying:
~ “Delicate. Humorous. And plumbing the depths of God's redeeming love.”

~ “This book does not disappoint. Instead it takes you through the emotional upheaval of loving someone with a problem you can't solve--and lets you witness the glory of the One who can.”




About Jennifer:




Jennifer Rodewald is passionate about the Word of God and the powerful vehicle of story. The draw to fiction has tugged hard on her heart since childhood, and when she began pursuing writing she set on stories that reveal the grace of God.

Aiming to live with boundless enthusiasm, her creed is vision, pursuit and excellence. Blessed with a robust curiosity, she loves to research. Whether she’s investigating the history of a given area, the biography of a Christian icon, or how nature declares the glory of God, her daily goal is to learn something new.

Jen lives and writes in a lovely speck of a town where she watches with amazement while her children grow up way too fast, gardens, and marvels at God’s mighty hand in everyday life. Four kids and her own personal superman make her home in southwestern Nebraska delightfully chaotic.

She would love to hear from you! Please visit her at authorjenrodewald.com or connect with her on Facebook. Author Jen Rodewald.











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Monday, July 6, 2015

COTT Presents Sedona Sunset



Welcome, readers! As summer moves into full swing and fireworks can be heard ringing through the skies, we’re still cranking out a steady stream of must-read books! Today we are taking a closer look at one of our recent competitors, Sedona Sunset by Tanya Stowe

About the Book

After an auto accident leaves her crippled and takes her mother’s life, Lara Fallon completes her mother’s dream of opening a school and offering scholarships to promising young artists. Although Lara is struggling with survivor’s guilt, she is thrilled to fulfill one more of her mother’s dreams when she hires Alexander Summers, world-renown Flamenco player and professor of art, to perform at the grand opening of The Fallon School of Art.

But Alex has a secret. He investigates art theft for UNESCO, and when pieces of Chaco pottery suddenly appear on the black market, Alex is certain The Fallon School of Art is a cover for this illegal operation. He’s determined to uncover the link...even if it means romantically pursuing the lovely Lara Fallon.

Alex’s investigation leads him on collision course with Lara’s inner struggle to cope with her mother’s death and her own wavering faith in God. Now, Lara’s school and her heart are in danger. But is her life as well?

Woo! Art! Flamenco! Scandal! What's not to love??


Readers’ Comments

A great story. Wonderful characters. A joy to read.
Lara is a woman coming into her own potential and personal power. She is encouraged to create a new life for herself by a mysterious man hoping to be there when she does. Alex is just as intriguing as Lara with his secrets and double life. The characters were strong and real, both individually and together. I was impressed with how Stowe beautifully handled the budding relationship with passion, but without the need for graphic sex. The Sedona, AZ area has always had a special mystique and it is a perfect location for this tale. Add in a well-thought out mystery and you have one of the best books I’ve read so far this year.
I was given this book in return for an honest review and I am very happy to give it high marks. It's a truly well-written story that I can recommend highly. This book makes it to my “save and reread” list.
~Amazon reviewer K. Frost


I loved the characters. Lara is left to finish what her mom started a school for the gifted and being able to offer scholarships to the young artist. Lara hires Alex Summers to help bring in the donations needed for the school. But there is something shady going on at the school and Lara is determined to see what is going on. She is wondering what happened to the 3 missing checks? Who all is involved ? Loved the story and has a romance but done in good taste which Tanya always does. Look forward to what is next. You like mystery with some romance you will want to read this book by Tanya Stowe.
~Amazon reviewer D. L. Montgomery

Ready to dive in? Purchase Sedona Sunset here:

Pelican
Amazon
B&N

About the author:

Tanya Stowe is a Christian Fiction writer with an unexpected edge. This Pelican Book Group author fills her romances with the unusual…gifts of the spirit in Tender Touch and spiritual warfare in Haunted Hearts. In Never Ending Night she explores the horrors of a Civil War battle and unravels a mystery. Tender Trust treks to the Old West. Leap of Faith brushes wings with an angel and White Christmas wraps romance in the traditions of a small town holiday. No matter where Tanya goes…on a journey through the past or contemporary adventures in new lands…be prepared for the extraordinary.

Www.TanyaStowe.com



Monday, June 8, 2015

COTT: Featuring Peso and Potholes by Susan M. Baganz


Poignant romance of two lost souls learning about the things that go wrong, humanity’s fault lines and how to grow and love again despite the potholes that inevitably crop up. Baganz manages to throw some laughter and joy into desperate situations in this debut novel. Read Pesto and Potholes for a crazy adventure that makes Italian food with a side of Ninja warriors seem natural.
--Lisa Lickel

Pesto & Potholes
by Susan M. Baganz

About the book:
Renata tries to escape her past and runs straight into . . . love.
Renata Blake has moved to the Milwaukee area to leave behind a painful past as a victim of abuse. She discovers a family like she’s never had before at Orchard Hill Church and is drawn to handsome Packer fanatic, Antonio. After all she’s suffered through, could she ever trust a man again?
Antonio DeLuca has a full life with his family, church and his job as chef and manager at DeLuca’s Cucina. Having been betrayed in love, he is afraid to trust a woman again. How would he fit her into his already full life anyway? 
As circumstances draw them together and attempt to tear them apart, life becomes a combination of savory pesto and painful potholes as both Tony and Renata learn that with God’s help, and the support of a faith community, they can both learn to love again. 
And maybe fight a few ninjas along the way. 

PURCHASE

What COTT Voters Had to Say:
--Susan, I feel so privileged to have had the opportunity to read your book. Thank you for sharing your talent with us.
--Loving reading this, Susan Bagnanz.
--I'm so excited for you, Susan! Congratulations.
--Going to order this one today, Susan Baganz! Thank you for writing great books!
--Great job, Susan. Way to go!
--Great cover and great story premise, Susan Baganz.
--Excited about Susan's book. The title is so intriguing.
--Susan M. Baganz - I like the happy sound of this story!
--Sounds intriguing, Susan Baganz!
--Susan M. Baganz - You are doing great and your stories are so captivating! Thanks for writing and sharing your gift with others!



We don't often get excerpts from authors, 
so enjoy this one from Pest and Potholes!

Sunday was cold. The sun shined brightly, and Renata sat at church surrounded by more of the De Luca clan. Tony winked at her, and they worshipped together. She experienced such joy and freedom in the music and lyrics. This was the new Renata. Free. Joyful. Loved. What a difference from a year ago.
After church, she raced home to change into jeans, sneakers, a sweater and coat. She pulled on knit gloves to keep her hands warm and found a matching knit cap to put on her head.
Tony arrived to pick her up in his car and they went through the drive-thru at Taco Bell for something to eat. Renata laughed when part of Tony’s burrito dribbled onto his sweatshirt.

They arrived at Brown Deer Park early, and Tony suggested they take a walk over by a small pond.

“This is such a peaceful place.” Reverent awe filled her voice as she gazed about.

“Sure is, but watch out for the goose doo doo.”
“Doo doo? Is that an Italian term for poop?”

Tony laughed, “No, that’s me trying to be more delicate since I am with a gorgeous woman in a beautiful place.”

“Awww, Tony, you are sweet.” They walked side by side, not touching. Renata could see their breath in the air.

“Edith agrees with you.”

“Edith? My neighbor?” Renata stopped to stare at him.

“Yeah, the other night she gave me a kiss because you had neglected to do it for her.”

Renata laughed. “Is she my competition for your affections?”

“Are you seeking my affections?” He looked at her with one eyebrow raised.

Renata looked away. Her entire neck and head grew warm.

“You have no competition. No one can compare to you.” His voice was seductive to her ears when he used those words.

“Now you go too far, Tony. I’m not as perfect as you think I am.” She had to reign this in. She didn’t want to lead him on.

“Who said you were perfect? Surely not I.” He placed his hand flat on his chest.

Renata laughed and gave Tony a playful punch in the arm, but was quickly distracted. She pointed to the pond. “Look at the geese coming in to land. They look like they are waterskiing when they put their feet down.”

“Waterskiing geese. Now I’ve seen everything. What will you think of next, Ren?”

“I don’t know. I thought it was your turn to be absurd for a while.”

Tony reached out and tickled Renata. “Stop!” She laughed and started tickling him back and took off running into the grass. Tony ran after her and with his longer legs managed to catch her causing them both to fall on the leaf-covered lawn. Renata grabbed a handful of leaves and tossed them at Tony, and he returned the favor. Soon they lay there in the leaves giggling and gasping for a breath.

“It is beautiful out here.” Renata said. “It’s hard to believe this is Milwaukee.”

“It’s hard for me to believe my good fortune to be sharing this with you.” Tony looked over to Renata and reached to grab her hand to give it a squeeze.

Renata’s shoulder muscles seized at his touch. The touching, the laughter, and the sense they were alone in the world without any past or present or future to worry about, shook her. She needed him too much. No. She wanted him. She desired him. She looked at his face, so close to hers and imagined what it would feel like to kiss him. Stop. This has to stop. No man will ever love you. No man will ever see you as more than a plaything. The messages bombarded her.

The monsters were back.

About the author:
Susan M. Baganz chases after three Hobbits, and is a native of Wisconsin. She is an Acquisitions Editor with Prism Book Group, specializing in bringing great romance novels and novellas to publication. Susan writes adventurous historical and contemporary romances with a biblical world-view.
Susan speaks, teaches, and encourages others to follow God in being all He has created them to be. With her seminary degree in counseling psychology, a background in the field of mental health, and years serving in church ministry, she understands the complexities and pain of life as well as its craziness. She serves behind-the-scenes in various capacities at her church. Her favorite pastimes are lazy…snuggling with her dog while reading a good book, or sitting with a friend chatting over a cup of spiced chai latte.
You can learn more by following her blog www.susanbaganz.com, her Twitter feed @susanbaganz or her fan page, www.facebook.com/susanmbaganz.

Monday, June 1, 2015

COTT Victory Goes To...

We Have A Winner!
Congratulations to Dawn Crandall! Her book, The Captive Imposter, won this month's clash!

Thank you all for voting, and a special thank you to all of our authors this month!

Here are a few of our voter comments:

  • Dawn Crandall is a very gifted writer. She is a master @ blending romance & suspense !
  • Dawn!  You know I love your books so much that I dream about the character!! :)
  • I love the writing style of Dawn Crandall. This is one of my favorite books. Keep up the good work Dawn
  • The Everstone Chronicles series is not to be missed! The characters are so absorbing and their story compelling. Readers, keep a look out for these and future stories by author Dawn Crandall! You will be glad you did. YaY, Dawn Crandall; thank you for sharing your story adventures.

~~~

The Captive Imposter by Dawn Crandall

Sent away for protection, hotel heiress Estella Everstone is living under an assumed name in the awkward presence of her ex-fiance. However, as hotel manager Dexter Blakeley, slowly captures her heart, will the layers of family secrets and the knowledge of her true identity end up severing his love for her?




~~~
The Captive Imposter is book three in THE EVERSTONE CHRONICLES. Here are some reviews for the series:
PRAISE FOR THE EVERSTONE CHRONICLES

“Romantic! Engaging and absorbing! Dawn Crandall brings America’s Gilded Age to life on the page with vintage amour and emotional depth.”— KRISTY CAMBRON, author of The Butterfly and the Violin

“Visit a bygone era filled with romance, intrigue, and characters who will stay with you long after you close the book. Dramatic and engaging, THE EVERSTONE CHRONICLES is one series you won’t want to miss.”— MICHELLE GRIEP, author of Brentwood’s Ward

PRAISE FOR THE HESITANT HEIRESS

*Winner of the 2015 Gayle Wilson Award for Excellence Romance Writers of America book contest

“Delving deep into the human heart with prose as polished as beach stones, THE HESITANT HEIRESS is a marvelous romance and an impressive debut.”— LORI BENTON, author of Burning Sky

“Dawn Crandall is a new author to watch!”— ELIZABETH CAMDEN, author of Against the Tide and Beyond All Dreams 

PRAISE FOR THE BOUND HEART

“Dawn Crandall’s second novel in the Everstone Chronicles is an intense, powerful journey of one woman’s search for true love and true forgiveness. It is a beautiful reminder to us that nothing is too broken for God to piece together with the power of his grace. Lawry is a delightful and consistent hero worth falling for and Meredyth’s desperate longing for wholeness comes to its full completion in being loved well! Absolutely beautiful.”— PEPPER BASHAM, author of The Thorn Bearer (May 2015)

“In THE BOUND HEART, Dawn Crandall creates a cast of broken characters whose struggles spoke to me from the prologue.”— CARA PUTMAN, author of Shadowed by Grace

PRAISE FOR THE CAPTIVE IMPOSTER

“Dawn Crandall is a fresh new voice in inspirational romance, and her latest offering, THE CAPTIVE IMPOSTER, does not disappoint! Estella is sweet but imperfect, intelligent but not harsh. Blakeley is handsome: mysterious and contradictory, the perfect Byronic hero. Is Estella the woman to soften his hardened heart and is he the man to help her put her past firmly behind her? Creepy, mysterious settings with lots of lush, sensory details escort the reader through the pages as we wonder—will her secret spill? As more and more people learn the truth about this imposter, that coming reveal might just change everything.”— SANDRA BYRD, author of Mist of Midnight (March 2015)

“A blend of elegant drama and mystery, THE CAPTIVE IMPOSTER tells the story of a love unexpected. Dawn Crandall quickly became a favorite author with her first two books, and the element of hidden identity in The Captive Imposter entwines with the style I’ve come to expect from Crandall—resulting in one satisfying read.”— RACHELLE REA, author of The Sound of Diamonds (June 2015)

Find them all on Amazon:
Book 1, The Hesitant Heiress
Book 2, The Bound Heart
Book 3, The Captive Imposter

~~~

{About Dawn Crandall}

Dawn Crandall writes long inspirational historical romantic suspense. She has a BA in Christian Education from Taylor University and lives in northeast Indiana with her ever-supportive husband, her three cats [Lilly, Pumpkin and Clover] and their newest addition, a little baby boy named Rhett (March 2014).

A former bookseller at Barnes & Noble, Dawn didn't begin writing until her husband found out about her long-buried dream of writing a book. Without a doubt about someday becoming traditionally published, he encouraged her to quit her job in 2010 in order to focus on writing The Hesitant Heiress. It didn't take her long to realize that writing books was what she was made to do. Dawn is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary.

Dawn is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, secretary for the Indiana ACFW Chapter (Hoosier Ink), and associate member of the Great Lakes ACFW Chapter.

Monday, May 25, 2015

COTT's April New Releases


Hostess: Michelle Massaro

Writing Gladiators.... Step into the ARENA!

Welcome to another Clash here at Clash of the Titles! Below are FIVE New Releases, hot off the presses in April, for your entertainment. They all look wonderful to us, but YOU will decide which one takes Top Honors this month.

Please check out the covers and descriptions below and vote for the one that most appeals to you. The one that would be at the top of your To-Be-Read Pile. You may vote ONCE, and the polls will remain open through next Tuesday night.


http://www.amazon.com/Captive-Imposter-Everstone-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B00VKLN3JS


The Captive Imposter by Dawn Crandall

Sent away for protection, hotel heiress Estella Everstone is living under an assumed name in the awkward presence of her ex-fiance. However, as hotel manager Dexter Blakeley, slowly captures her heart, will the layers of family secrets and the knowledge of her true identity end up severing his love for her?


Diamonds or Donuts by Lucie Ulrich

With her wedding put on hold, and her fiance halfway across the world, Sarah Alexander makes some much-needed changes. A new job in a new town are just what she needs to wait out her fiance's absence, but what is she to do when a handsome policeman enters the picture?


Pesto & Potholes by Susan M. Baganz

Renata moves to escape the monsters of her past and finds refuge at a church in and in the friendship of Antonio. Savory pesto combine with the inevitable potholes in the process of healing define their journey to . . . love.


Sedona Sunset by Tanya Stowe

Alexander Summers investigates art theft for UNESCO. His quest for the source of priceless pottery leads him on collision course with Lara Fallon's search for answers, putting her heart and her life in danger.


Waking Beauty by Sarah E. Morin

When fairy-Gifted Princess Brierly opens her eyes after a century-long snooze and finds a guy hovering over her with puckered lips, can she trust he’s not just another dream? What if Sleeping Beauty refused to wake up? Create your own user feedback survey

Friday, May 22, 2015

They Still Make Maple Nut Goodies

Celeste and I were at CVS Pharmacy this morning making some purchases when I spotted a candy I've been looking for and had all but given up.

Maple Nut Goodies.

Brach's candies are sold at HEB, the grocery store where we shop, but they don't carry the Maple Nut Goodies I've been looking for.

So, as soon as I saw the bags at CVS, I grabbed one. I opened the bag as soon as we got home and quickly ate a handful. So, good!

I looked at the bag to see what made me want to keep eating. Under the description "Maple Nut Goodies" was this: "Roasted Peanuts in Crunchy Toffee with Real Maple Coating" There was also a notation that the candy is artificially flavored so I'm not sure how real the maple is. However, I checked the ingredients and found maple syrup listed.

While reading the bag, I also saw this: America's Candy Maker Since 1904. That's a long time. I thought about how it was available when my parents were born in 1908.

That's when it hit me what I liked about the candy. It reminds me of my mother. It was her favorite candy. However, she didn't often buy candy, so when she did, it was a special treat. She shared this treat with me on a number of occasions.


Now, when I taste the candy, or even smell it, I think of her and the times when just the two of us spent time together.

Eva Lee Williams Frost (1908 - 2001)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

COTT: Introducing Biblical Fiction Author Stephanie Landsem



This week Clash of the Titles is proud to feature Stephanie Landsem, author of The Living Water biblical fiction series. She will carry you back into the times of Jesus and explore beautiful truths that resonate deeply with readers.

Let's hear from Stephanie about her books and how she handles the interesting challenge of writing about Jesus.


1.) What was your favorite part of writing The Living Water series?
Research is the part of writing I love best. I usually spend about a month just doing research before I start plotting a book. I find some of my best plot twists, characters and settings right in the pages of history. Maps and pictures of archeological finds really help me get the feel for the setting. As I craft the story, this research comes out and helps the reader become fully immersed in the story.

2) How do you balance the real person of Jesus with the other characters in your story?
I like to think of every encounter with Jesus recorded in the Bible as a stone thrown in a pond. We know the initial splash — the cure of the man born blind, or the raising of Lazarus — but I want to write about the ripples. I love to imagine how these personal encounters with Jesus moved outward in ever-widening circles to touch more people than we can even imagine. So I start with the event described in the Bible and move outward into imagination, always keeping in mind that Jesus knew exactly what ripple-effect his actions would have and they would always be for his father’s glory.

3.) What are the binding themes throughout the Well, The Thief and the Tomb and what do hope to bring to your readers in this series?
I love the gospel of John and how it shows the very personal way in which Jesus connected with the people of his time. Each of the stories in The Living Water Series begin with an encounter with Jesus from John—the Samaritan woman, the man born blind, and Jesus’ relationship with Martha. Each of these encounters were intensely personal and led to deep conversion. I hope that in reading about these one-to-one meetings with Jesus, readers can imagine themselves face to face with our Lord and come to know him more deeply.






The Living Water Series are a set of intersecting stories based on personal encounters with Jesus in the gospel of John. The first book, The Well, is the story of the Samaritan woman at the well told from the point of view of her daughter, Mara. Mara, a desperate Samaritan girl, must make a dangerous journey across Galilee to find Jesus and save her dying mother. The second book focuses on Jesus ministry in Jerusalem, starting with the healing of the man born blind and continuing on to Jesus’ arrest, crucifixion and resurrection. It is told from the perspective of a poor Jewish girl and a Roman centurion – both of whom don’t know what to think of the so-called Messiah. The Tomb, A Novel of Martha, is—of course—about the family of Lazarus in Bethany. It focuses on Martha, her doubts and anxieties, and finally the desperate decision she must make to save her brother’s life.


~ * ~



Stephanie Landsem, author of The Living Water Series, writes historical fiction because she loves adventure in far-off times and places. In real life, she’s explored ancient ruins, medieval castles, and majestic cathedrals around the world. Stephanie is equally happy at home in Minnesota with her husband, four children, and three fat cats. When she’s not writing, she’s feeding the ravenous horde, avoiding housework, and dreaming about her next adventure—whether it be in person or on the page.


Connect with her online:
stephanielandsem.com
https://www.facebook.com/stephanielandsem
https://twitter.com/#!/stephlandsem
http://pinterest.com/slandsem/

Monday, May 11, 2015

COTT: Series Feature: The Hawk and the Dove

Welcome Penelope Wilcock!


Clash of the Titles is proud to feature The Hawk and the Dove series by English writer Penelope Wilcock! With the first books written in the early 90s and the remainder published 20 years later, the Hawk and the Dove  series has captivated readers for decades. 

Set centuries ago, these books offer an authenticity not often found in historical novels of this time period. The author has woven truths through the books that resonate with the deepest struggles of our own hearts, but she has also lived out much of what she writes about. She has spent time working with nuns and monks, heavily involved in palliative care in the most primitive of modern facilities. Her experiences most closely mimic care that would have been offered in the medieval setting of her stories. Read more about this author's incredible journey and life in the interview below with International Christian Fiction Writers.






The Hawk and the Dove


14th-century Yorkshire, the time of Chaucer

Father Peregrine is appointed Abbot of St. Alcuin's Benedictine abbey. An arrogant, impatient man, a hawk trying hard to be a dove—his name in religion is "Columba"—he is respected, but not loved.

A sudden, shocking act of violence changes everything. As the story unfolds, this community of monks, serious about their calling but as flawed and human as we are, come to love their ascetic but now vulnerable leader.

They lived six centuries ago, but their struggles are our own: finding our niche; coping with failure; living with impossible people; and discovering that we are the impossible ones.

Read the first chapter

Praise for Wilcock's work:

“Not to be missed.” —Mel Starr, author of The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon series

“Poignant, moving, rich with imagery and emotion . . . Modern readers will easily identify with each character in Wilcock’s timeless human drama. Highly recommended reading.” —Midwest Book Review

Penelope Wilcock is a full time writer and a former Methodist minister, prison and hospice chaplain, who lives in Hastings on England’s south coast with her family. Her popular blog, Kindred of the Quiet Way, attracts a wide international audience.