Monday, August 10, 2015

COTT: Presenting, a Titus Ray Thriller!



About the book:

On the hunt for an assassin, Titus Ray faces a threat he never imagined.
Can he overcome the obstacles and capture Ahmed Al-Amin before it's too late?

In this pulse-racing Christian thriller, CIA intelligence officer, Titus Ray, travels from Costa Rica to Venezuela in an effort to stop Ahmed Al-Amin, a Hezbollah assassin, from murdering a high-profile government official. Along the way, a family crisis jeopardizes his mission, and an Agency division head threatens to destroy his career. As the danger mounts, he’s forced to partner with an untested operative to complete the mission and bring Ahmed to justice. Will he make it in time?

PURCHASE

What COTT voter had to say:
--Great book. So exciting! Two Days in Caracas.
--The first book, One Night in Tehran, was excellent so reading the second book in the series is a given. Looking forward to it!
--Loved the book, "Two Days in Caracus" by Luana Ehrlich
--Luana Ehrlich is a wonderful storyteller! LOVE her books!
--Luana, I love the realism of your characters and the accuraccy of your research into the espionage community.
--I will be reading Luana Ehrlich's newest book!
--Luana, you are a fabulous writer. I am so excited to read Two Days in Caracus!



Q & A with Luana:


Is there a message for readers to take away after they read these stories?

If there's an underlying message in the series, it's that God is always at work in the lives of unbelievers to bring them to faith in Christ. Titus is a career intelligence officer, dedicated to carrying out deceptive, treacherous, sometimes violent, operations against both individuals and governments. He was raised in a dysfunctional family with no spiritual upbringing. Yet, while hiding out from Iran's secret police, he is confronted with the truth of the gospel. The message is simply that a conversion experience often happens to the most improbable people in the most unlikely of
circumstances.

In addition, contained in each of the books is the reality all believers must face—how to live out the Christian faith. Titus is forced to deal with what it means to be a follower of Christ in the world in which he operates. The first book primarily deals with his attempts to pray, but he also buys a Bible and attends church for the first time. Then, in Two Days in Caracas, Titus is thrust into several situations where he’s faced with the need to offer forgiveness for past sins. These are gut-wrenching episodes, and he’s not always successful.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up as a preacher’s kid, and it was actually my dad who gave me my first spy novel when I was eleven years old. After that, I was hooked on the thriller/suspense/mystery genre forever. I’m also a news fanatic, and I follow events around the world on a daily basis, particularly the Middle East.

I married a minister, and we’ve lived in several states in the South and Midwest and have served as missionaries in Costa Rica and Venezuela. For the past two decades, we’ve lived in Norman, Oklahoma, where my husband has been the pastor of a Baptist church.

I’ve also done freelance work for Baptist Press, a national news service for Baptists, reporting on the experiences of newly converted Christians. And, in a similar fashion, when we lived in Indiana, I wrote a weekly column for The Indiana Baptist, which told the stories of ordinary people who became followers of Christ. I belong to several organizations for writers, including the American Christian Fiction Writers.

Where can we find you?

My personal website is www.LuanaEhrlich.com, and then I have a website devoted to my thrillers, www.TitusRayThrillers.com. I blog at His Glory My Joy and I’m the Blessing Box Blogger.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

LoRee Peery: Minding My P's (Devotion)

I am thrilled to welcome my dear friend LoRee Peery as the first author in what I hope will become a weekly Wednesday devotion day on Living the Write Life. LoRee is an amazing author, and a wonderfully insightful Christian. Enjoy...




I love alliteration and admire its usage in titles or as blog topics. While taking sermon notes or reading the words of others, I’ve pictured the author and wondered if alliteration came automatically or if he or she struggled to create a productive list of words.

Alliteration works for me if I capitalize on someone else’s idea, or the words evolve from an organic depth of my soul. If I need to hurt my brain thinking about it, alliteration doesn’t work for me.
These “Pr-” words were jotted in an idea file, but I failed to list the original source. I apologize. As I read down the list, my mind applied the words to writing.

The first two, pray and prioritize, don’t need elaboration. They ought to come intrinsically, and apply to tasks other than writing.

Pray ~ A given that can be overlooked by independent “doers” who charge into a project.

If I don’t pray first, my writing efforts prove unsatisfactory at best. My day is wasted until it dawns on me where I goofed. God loves a repentant heart.

Prioritize ~ A skill as simple as 1-2-3, unless a person is disorganized or easily distracted. J

Don’t we all need a starting point, a set of prioritized goals to keep us on task?

I consulted good old Webster’s for specific definitions of the next two.

Providence ~ God watches over me (see Psalm 121:3), as a child He created.

Webster used alliteration: “the act of providing, provision, preparation.”

Prudent ~ Characterized by prudence, which is wisdom applied to practice.

Writing as long as I have, the practice of using words has proven I will never know it all. I will never be perfect. So I keep practicing.

Prolific ~ Produces much fruit, the outcome authors seek.

This reminds me of the Bible verses referring to the fruits of our labor.

Promissory ~ A reader expects an author to deliver a satisfactory story.

A Christian author’s prime resource is the Bible, where the promises of God abound. He is the prime example, proving a promise carries weight. Though I am human and imperfect, I hope no reader is disappointed after reading my words.

PRAYER: My Dear Father God, I offer myself as a vessel, cleansed by the blood of Jesus. Fill me with your Holy Spirit to do the work You have called me to do. Whatever that work is, I want to do my work heartily for You, to use as edification of others. Thank You for extending grace, as my goal is always to bring You glory. Amen.


Christian romance author LoRee Peery writes to feel alive, as a way of contributing, and to pass forward the hope of rescue from sin. She writes of redeeming grace with a sense of place. LoRee clings to I John 5:4 and prays her family sees that faith. She has authored the Frivolities Series and other e-books. Her desire for readers, the same as for her characters, is to discover where they fit in this life journey to best work out the Lord’s life plan. She is who she is by the grace of God: Christian, country girl, wife, mother, grandmother, sister, friend, and author. She’s been a reader since before kindergarten. One day she slapped a story in her lap. “I could write better than this.” (Lofty assumption, eh?) Her dear hubby challenged, “Why don’t you?” Thus her writing journey began many moons ago.


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Shattered by the loss of her parents, Deena pours her love into her patients at an assisted living facility. When the son of one her charges starts showing up to spend time with his mother, Deena's wary heart is warmed by his attention to his mother...and to her.

Simon is plagued by his ex-wife's disappearance years before. When he meets Deena, who closely resembles the woman, he fears his attraction is based only on Deena's looks. But she exhibits a warmth his ex-wife never had. Dare he risk his once broken heart?
As two lonely souls pursue a tentative, budding love, secrets and lies come forward to tear them apart. Can Simon and Deena overcome loss and allow their hearts to mend?

Purchase Where Hearts Meet on Amazon
Purchase Where Hearts Meet directly from Pelican Book Group

Tuesday, July 14, 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.

Monday, July 6, 2015

COTT Presents Sedona Sunset

As a prelude to the following article, I want to add my two-cent's worth. :)  I read Sedona Sunset as it was being written by my dear friend, Tanya Stowe...and absolutely fell in love with the story line. Tanya is incredibly talented at painting emotion into a scene, and cooking up tension that leaves a reader panting for breath. And along with those absolutely wonderful talents, she knows how to weave that wonderful breath of Heaven into a novel in the most natural, un-preachy of ways. My sum-up: Don't miss Sedona Sunset! Once you've read this one, you'll be all geared up and waiting on edge for the second book, Santa Fe Sunrise.



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 22, 2015

COTT's Sizzling Summer Reading Clash!


Looking for some awesome take-me-away Summer Reading?

Check out these new releases and I dare you to tell me which one you'd put on the top of your reading list. We offer contemporary and historical romance, a little fantasy, danger, mystery, suspense!
Vote for your next most likely read, and leave the author a word of encouragement, then share with your friends. 

Scroll down, vote in the survey box, and come back next week for the Reveal!

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Fantasy

Rachel A. James

To unite the kingdoms and bring peace, Princess Alena must enter into a royal marital alliance, but when the handsome physician, Sherwin, befalls her, matters become complicated. Torn between obligations to her young son and country, she faces a difficult decision, will Alena obey the king’s orders, or choose to follow her heart?
*****

Romance

Jennifer Rodewald

Friendship, love, and then betrayal...for Jamie Carson one thing becomes clear: Andrew 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?
*****

Suspense

Heather Day Gilbert 

Tess Spencer loves her low-key job at the Crystal Mountain Spa, which allows her plenty of down-time with her one-year old daughter and lawyer husband, Thomas. But when a pool installation turns up eight skeletons in the spa's back yard, Tess becomes entangled in a sleuthing job destined to go awry...even as she sifts through layers of deceit, Tess realizes too late that a serial killer's sights have zeroed in on her.
*****

Contemporary Romance

Amanda Cabot 

Marisa St. George has lost her dream job and come home to manage the struggling Rainbow’s End resort in the small Texas town where she grew up. The only silver lining is Blake Kendall, a new guest who is making her believe in love at first sight. But is he really who she thinks he is? 
*****

Historical Romance

Sarah Loudin Thomas 

When family tragedy derails Henry Phillips’s college studies, he consoles himself with his fiddle and the family farm. His grandmother’s helper, Margaret Hoffman, is always around, ready to push his buttons, and it seems she doesn’t care about his troubles. But Margaret has her own problems. Henry and Margaret soon find themselves relying on each other as they face potential loss and find healing in the most surprising places. 
*****
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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

Monday, May 18, 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/