Monday, October 21, 2013

COTT: Farm Lit, a Genre for Your Inner Country Girl

Before we dive into this week's feature novel, a hearty "hurrah!" for Clash of the Titles's 
winning novel, Veil of Pearls.

Congratulations to Author MaryLu Tyndall for a job well done!
Stay tuned for a full-length feature on this fantastic book.


Raspberries and Vinegar
by Valerie Comer

Sweet Like Raspberries ~ Tart Like Vinegar

Josephine Shaw: complex, yet singleminded. A tiny woman with big ideas and, some would say, a mouth to match. But what does she really know about sustainable living as it relates to the real world? After all, she and her two friends are new to farming.

Zachary Nemesek is back only until his dad recovers enough to work his own land again. When Zach discovers three helpless females have taken up residence at the old farm next door, he expects trouble. But a mouse invasion proves Jo has everything under control. Is there anything she can't handle? And surely there's something sweet beneath all that tart.



Q: Where did the idea for Raspberries and Vinegar come from?
A: There's a huge interest these days in food issues, and many 20-somethings dream of having a small farm and growing their own food. As a long-time farmer myself, I wondered what it would look like to have idealistic urban young people tackle a farming environment. And the whole Farm Fresh Romance series was born!

Q: They say to write what you know. What do you know about growing food?
A: My husband and I both grew up with moms who had large gardens and cooked from scratch because of financial necessity. Having the same need in our early years, we followed in their footsteps, but we soon came to understand that our food was healthier and tastier than what many families ate. Now we are beekeepers and own a small farm. We grow most of our own meat and vegetables, and source a great deal of our fruit and grain locally. This means a large garden and an intimate knowledge of processing food for winter via canning, dehydrating, and freezing.

Q: Why do you call this novel Farm Lit?
A: Farm Lit has been getting a lot of attention lately as today's answer to Chick Lit. In the current economic atmosphere, women's minds are turning from shoes and handbags to gourmet food and farm-to-table restaurants. Farm Lit is any literature that embraces the life of modern-day “new” farmers. These stories can be fiction or memoir, and most often include city-bred heroines who head for an idealized rural existence and (often) find the man of their dreams riding a tractor rather than a horse or a motorbike. As such, Raspberries and Vinegar fits the bill perfectly!


* Raspberries and Vinegar--Wonderful title and I look forward to reading it. Bless you.
* Valerie, always a great job.
* I look for feel-good reads with wholesome challenges and real, yet admirable characters. Raspberries and Vinegar seems to have it all!
* I chose Raspberries and Vinegar by Valerie Comer because it's her debut book as well as the debut book for ChooseNow Publishing. I'm very interested to see what all the hoopla is about.
* I like Valerie Comer's originality with her genre. There's a freshness about it!

Don't pick up Raspberries and Vinegar and expect the same old blah-blah love story, because you won't get that. What you will get is a well-written, enjoyable, emotional tale that will pull you into the beginning of a series I predict you'll look forward to following as much as I do. Romance, locally sourced foods and interesting, complicated characters all make this a page turner.
~B. Nault

Valerie Comer's Raspberries & Vinegar is a sweet and sassy story that made me laugh out loud, get teary-eyed, and sigh with pleasure at the ending. There's Josephine, a spunky heroine with a heart for her friends, the earth, and the handsome vet next door. And there's Zachary, a veterinarian who cares about animals, his sweet and confused grandmother, and the spunky new neighbor, Josephine.
~Stacy M.

Until I read this book, I'd never heard of "farmlit," and didn't know what to expect. Romantic, fun, with refreshing values, and small town atmosphere, readers will enjoy this romp on the farm!

Each December I pick my favorite reads of the year and right now Raspberries and Vinegar is a top contender. If you love strong characters, a great message, a clean romance and the country, this book is for you.
~J. Arduini

Valerie Comer’s life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary inspirational romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie and her family grow much of their own food and are active in the local foods movement as well as their creation-care-centric church. She only hopes her characters enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters.

Valerie writes Farm Lit with the voice of experience laced with humor. Raspberries and Vinegar, first in her series A Farm Fresh Romance, released August 1, 2013. Visit her at

The ultimate literary challenge, where authors battle and readers judge.

Monday, October 14, 2013

COTT: A Novel to Dance About

If you're a fan of "Dancing with the Stars," have dreamed of being swept across a ballroom floor, or if you're any sort of lover of romance, you'll want to know more about this week's featured novel! It's volume one in the Sisters of Redemption Series and is a resource for those seeking to recover true joy in their lives.

This Dance
by Jerusha Agen


No love, no pain. No God, no games.

A tragedy three years ago destroyed Nye's rise to the top of the dancing world as an upcoming tango star, and in the process destroyed her reason for living. She survived the pain and built a new life resembling nothing like the one she left behind, determined never to hurt again.

Nye's emotional walls hold up perfectly until she meets a handsome lawyer and an elderly landowner. They seem harmless, but one awakens feelings she doesn't want and the other makes her face the God she can't forgive. Will these two men help Nye dance again?



Q. What issues do your characters face that will speak to the heart of your readers?
A. Where do I start? Nye’s story hits on a lot of pertinent issues that I think most of us have to deal with in our lives. On the basic level, there are the issues of grief and loss, as well as fear of experiencing more loss in the future. While Nye likes to think she has control over her life, she’s really being controlled by her repressed grief and fear of being hurt again.
Then there’s the issue of joy. Nye has lost whatever enjoyment she once had in life. Her fear of pain keeps her from seeking anything that might bring her joy, while her sorrow prevents her from believing there could be anything that would bring her happiness ever again.
I hope that readers who are struggling with a painful loss, who know the fear of being hurt, or who have lost the sense of joy in their lives will find hope in reading Nye’s story.

Q. What advice based upon scripture would you give a reader who is dealing with the issues that are front and center in your current release?
A. Remember that God is in control and that He’s a loving God, who will work out ALL things for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28). You can try to control your life like Nye does and try to avoid things that might cause you pain. It might seem to work for a while, but, sooner or later, you’ll realize that you can’t control anything.
That might sound scary, but it isn’t when you know the God who is in control, when you know that He’s good, that He loves you and has the wisdom to see the big picture that you can’t see (Jeremiah 29:11). As much as whatever you are going through may hurt right now, cling to the truth that God is there and that, in the very end, everything, no matter how awful it seems now, will be turned into victory (1 Corinthians 15:54).

Jerusha Agen is a lifelong lover of story--a passion that has led her to a B.A. in English and a highly varied career.

A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, her fiction and nonfiction have been published in various journals, magazines, and newsletters. Jerusha is the author of the Sisters Redeemed Series. Book One, This Dance, released in August 2013. This Shadow, Book Two, will be released in February 2014.

Jerusha is also a screenwriter, and several of her original scripts have been produced as films. In addition, Jerusha is a film critic, with reviews featured at the website,

Jerusha relishes snowy Midwest winters spent with her large, furry dogs and one little, furry cat.

Visit Jerusha at the following locations:
Follow Jerusha on Twitter @SDGwords
Facebook (Jerusha Agen – SDG Words).

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman by Carole Brown

How far would YOU go to avenge the murder of a daughter?
Caralynne Hayman is angry and bitter over the abuse and death of her eleven-year- old daughter from the hands of her religious group, The Children of Righteous Cain. When her husband suffers a sudden heart attack, she does nothing to help him. In her eyes someone needs to pay, and if that means all of the men in the group, then so be it.
Dayne MacFarland is sent away to college by the senior elder of the group to learn ministry. When he returns after finding salvation, determined to bring the truth to the people he’s known all his life, he rediscovers Cara and realizes the love he once felt for her is still deeply embedded within his heart. 
Dayne faces men unwilling to turn their backs on the cult training he despises. Cara faces men who follow their leader in abuse toward their wives and the young girls of the group. Cara is considered rebellious and inappropriate to befriend. Dayne is the apple of Elder Simmons’ eye—until he takes a stand against their teachings.
Can Cara overcome the feelings that have governed her most of her life? Can she learn to trust Dayne, and most of all a God whom she sees as uncaring—if he’s really there at all? Only Dayne’s prayers and love can reach Cara and show her the way to redemption, and Cara must recognize and accept God’s love and forgiveness before she goes too far.
The setting for “The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman” is rural West Virginia, where the ugly monster of abuse dwells alongside country roads, mountains, and beauty.
Carole Brown:
Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?
Connect with her here:
I also am part of several other blogs:
Geezers Guys and Gals:
Barn Door Book Loft:
Book Trailer:
First Page:
The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman
Carole Brown
Chapter One
Twenty years earlier
The shadow creatures on the wall shook their wings and legs. Heads with horns nodded. Scary, dark faces watched.
The little girl clasped her floppy-eared rabbit against her chest and stared into the dark.
“Mmm …” Mommy’s murmur reached to her through the walls, and the giggles from her mother tiptoed in, shooing the fear away.
Whoosh. She blew out a breath and squeezed her rabbit tighter. “Mommy has a friend with her, Ramsey. She loves me just like I love you and will give me hugs in the morning after the man leaves.”
Ramsey said nothing. She ran her fingers over his face and could feel his black button eyes staring at her, trusting her to protect him.
“And she’ll read to us and I’ll sit on her lap and we’ll snuggle—all of us together.” She nodded and tugged on Ramsey’s left ear then rolled over.
Real live whispers and laughter floated into the room.
Opening her mouth in a wide yawn, she patted Ramsey’s tummy and whispered again, “Don’t be afraid. I’m right here.”
“Please. That hurts.”
“Mommy?” The little girl frowned but her eyes wouldn’t open. Just like they did when she and mommy put cucumbers slices on their eyes. 
“Stop it—”
       Rubbing at her eyes the little girl sat up. Mommy had never sounded like this before, and neither had any of the men—the men who brought flowers and candy and money.

Monday, October 7, 2013

COTT: September Clash Champion and Laurel Finalists Announced!

This week, COTT announces TWO great events!
September's Clash Winner
and the 2013 Laurel Finalists.

We'll start with the Clash.
And the winner is....

The Pastor's Wife Wears Biker Boots
by Author Karla Akins

Pastor’s wife, Kirstie Donovan, lives life in a fishbowl, so when she hops on the back of a bright pink motorcycle, tongues start to wag at the conservative, century-old First Independent Christian Community Church of Eels Falls. 

Kirstie loves roaring down a road less traveled by most women over forty, but she’s not just riding her bike for the fun of it. Kirstie has a ministry. However, certain church members have secrets to hide, and when God uses Kirstie’s ministry to fill the pews with leather-clad, tattooed bikers, those secrets could be exposed…and some will stop at nothing to hide the truth. 

Join Kirstie and her motorcycle “gang”—two church matrons and a mouthy, gum-smacking non-church member—as they discover that road-toughened bikers are quite capable of ministering to others, and faith is fortified in the most unexpected ways.


Karla Akins is a pastor's wife who rides her own motorcycle. She is the mother of four boys and one step-daughter, and grandmother of five. She lives in North Manchester with her husband who is the pastor of Christian Fellowship Church, her twin teenage boys with autism, mother-in-law with Alzheimer's and three rambunctious dogs. Karla and her husband have been in ministry together for 30 years.


The entries have been read and the scores have been tabulated. Our unique panel of judges, comprised strictly of readers, has determined our three finalists. And they are…

Ruth Reid's "An Angel by Her Side"
MaryLu Tyndall's "Veil of Pearls"
Delia Latham's "Gypsy's Game"

Congratulations to all three!!

Thanks you to all our Laurel entrants for participating—the panel enjoyed reading all of your excerpts! 

The three finaling submissions will be returned to the same panel of judges for a final vote. The winner will be announced on October 18, 2013.