Saturday, August 31, 2013

Rules of Murder by Julianna Deering

The Book:
337 pages

Introducing Drew Farthering

From The Tip of his black Homburg to the crease in his stylish cheviot trousers, he's the epitome of a stylish 1930s English gentleman. His only problem? The body he just discovered. 

Drew Farthering loves a good mystery, although he generally expects to find it in the pages of a novel, not on the grounds of his country estate. 

With the help of beautiful and whip-smart Madeline Parker, a guest from America, Drew proposes to use the lessons he's learned reading his mysteries to solve the crime. Before long, he realizes this is no lark, and no one at Farthering Place is who he or she appears to be--not the butler nor blackmailer, the chauffeur nor embezzler. Trying hard to remain one step ahead of the killer--and trying harder to impress Madeline--Drew must decide how far to take this dangerous game.

The Review:
Julianna Deering captures your attention to send you on the search of a lifetime. Drew Farthering and Madeline Parker embark on a life-changing mission. To unveil a murderer even as the next victim falls. Their search leads them down a path which is not only mysterious but dangerous. And soon, the truth becomes obscure in Farthering Place.
Rules of Murder is a true page-turner. As a mystery of grand proportion, its twists and turns kept me on my toes. From shot to slice, Ms. Deering orchestrated each murder, and the mystery deepened.
Except for a slow period in the beginning, the plot of the book moved at a fast clip and was a pleasant read. I would recommend Rules of Murder to mystery readers everywhere. I give it four stars.
This book is Book One in the Drew Farthering Mystery Series

The Author:

Julianna Deering has always loved British history and literature and is particularly a fan of the classic mysteries written by Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie. She graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas and now works for an attorney specializing in wills and estate planning. She lives outside Dallas, Texas, where she loves to quilt, cross-stitch, and watch hockey. Learn more at

Rules of Murder: A Drew Farthering Mystery Book
Copyright 2013 DeAnna Julie Dodson

The Coffee Corner: A Chat with Laura Hilton

Join me in welcoming Laura Hilton to the Coffee Corner. Grab a cup. Pull up a seat and stay a while. We’re talking about writing and her new book, Awakened Love. Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of her book (see details.)

Congratulations! Giveaway Winner: Rachelle Warfield


Thanks for coming today, Laura. Can you tell us about your new book?

An Amish romance, the title is Awakened Love. It’s book three in the Amish of Webster County series.
Katie Detweiler grew up Amish, never knowing she was adopted as an infant. Now an adult, her new job as cook at an Amish bed and breakfast doesn’t bring about the euphoria she hoped for. Just as she’s getting her menu perfected, the Englisch family and severely ill sister she never knew existed enter her life and strain her Amish relationships. Plus, Katie suddenly has two different men vying for her attention—one Amish, one Englisch—and she wonders if one of them could be the man of her dreams. But when her Englisch sister’s health worsens, Katie must find a way to balance her heart, her job, and her faith while risking her own life for the sister she never knew.

That sounds like an awesome story. I love it. If you could pick anything about it, what would be your favorite part and why?

Katie is so innocent and na├»ve, she takes everything at face value. So when she is faced with hearing words she never hears in her Amish life, she has no choice but to ask. It’s funny when she asks an Englisch man for meanings of words. Also, Abram going to talk to the bishop –after only knowing Katie a few days –is funny.

Words. They do trip us up, don’t they? Speaking of words, how long have you been writing, Laura?

I’ve been writing since I can remember. I loved reading, I loved writing. Professionally, I’ve been writing since 2010.

Congratulations on your new book, by the way. For those who may be curious, what’s your biggest challenge as an author? 

Marketing! I can promote other authors all day long, but it is sooo hard to promote me or my books. I don’t know why. But that is definitely the biggest challenge.

Oh, just the word sounds brutal to an unpublished writer such as myself. I have a lot to learn. So, do you mind if I pick that brain of yours? Do you have any advice for the new writer? 

When I was learning the craft as a beginner one of my then critique partners – Vickie McDonough, before she was published! – told me that someone told her (I think it was Kathleen Y’Barbo, but it might have been Margaret Daley) to keep a button by your computer. And it stands for “Put your butt in the chair and write.” You aren’t going to learn unless you do. And also, read, read. read. Depending on your learning style, read writing books, other novels, anything!

Like Awakened Love. Any chance we can get a taste of it right now?


“Are you ready for some baseball?” someone yelled.
Abram turned and took a couple steps before he glanced back. “Do you play baseball?”
If only she could say jah, she loved baseball. But that would be a lie.
“I’ve never played before,” she admitted.
That wasn’t exactly true either. In school, the more sports-savvy buwe would coach her, “Nein, don’t run yet, Katie, that’s a foul.” Or “Out!” Or even the rare “Run!” She’d only heard that once. But maybe baseball skills were something that improved with age. They couldn’t get much worse, for sure.
What could possibly go wrong?
 “Baseball isn’t hard. I’ll coach you.” Abram smiled. “You’ll do fine.”
“I taught my little brothers. Come on. You’re on my team.” His grin widened and he jogged off to where they were getting ready to divide into teams. He leaned close to Micah and said something. After a moment, Katie followed. After all, everyone else was going over to play.
“Abram’s on my team, and he says he wants Katie,” Micah said.
Abram motioned with his head to come join him.
Wow, she wouldn’t be the last one picked?
 “I want to see how you do. Let’s try a practice swing.” Abram handed her a bat. She swung it.
“Nein, you’re holding it wrong. Let me show you.” Abram stepped behind her.
She adjusted her hands a little. Silence. That must be right or he would’ve said something. His breath stirred her loose strands of hair, tickling the back of her neck. She swung the bat again and—crack—connected with something.
A moan came from behind her.
“Ach,” someone said. “That’s bad.”

Wow, what a teaser. I’m definitely going to have to read this book. I’m so glad you stopped by the Coffee Corner today. Before you leave, I have one more question. Do you have anything for us on the horizon?

I’m currently writing the first book in the Amish of Jamesport series, releasing in April 2014.   Tentatively titled “The Snow Globe.” I don’t know what the final title will be yet.  But I will tell you that the tension will keep pages turning. And that it’s not your average Amish romance.

Now that sounds interesting indeed. And I love snow globes! Thanks for coming, and the chance to win a free book.


The winner receives a free copy of Awakened Love
Leave a comment about the interview with your email address. 
In a week, I'll draw for the lucky winner.

About the Author:
Award winning author, Laura Hilton, her husband, Steve, and their five children make their home in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas. She is a pastor’s wife, a stay-at-home mom and home-schools three of her children. Her two oldest children are homeschool graduates and are in college. Laura is also a breast cancer survivor.
Her publishing credits include three books in the Amish of Seymour series from Whitaker House: Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts, and Promised to Another. And the Amish of Webster County series, Healing Love. Surrendered Love releases April 2013, and the third book will release September 2013. A nonAmish book The Appalachian Ballad Quilt will release November 2014 from Abingdon Press. Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Laura is a professional book reviewer for the Christian market, with over a thousand book reviews published at various online review sites.

Lead photo credit: HalasiZsolt via photopin cc

Saturday, August 24, 2013

GUEST: Stephanie McCall's The Fire of Fear

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and will deliver us.”
Daniel 3:17 

     This verse serves as the epigraph for Fiery Secrets, for two reasons. One, today’s Christians go through several “fiery” issues—divorce, domestic abuse, drug addiction, and many more. However, I believe the issue itself often doesn’t cause as much damage as the fear associated with it.
     Let’s look at my two main characters as examples. Grace Taylor had to face life as a divorced woman, and the flames of fear constantly licked her heels. Could she raise her son alone? What would the people in church think of her? What if her abusive husband came back, looking to steal her son and her peace?
     Meanwhile, Chris Anderson had his own reasons to be afraid. His fire was past—he’d made it through a school shooting and his foray into an addiction to a trauma drug. Yet, fear whispered at him, too. What if his PTSD never improved? What if the temptation of drugs became too strong to resist? Could he trust himself to take care of children ever again?
     Both these characters faced the torment of fear just like real Christians do. I wonder what fears my readers are facing right now. Some of them might have lost their jobs, and their minds and hearts jumped straight to foreclosure. Maybe someone was just diagnosed with cancer, and so afraid of death that he or she doesn’t want to enjoy life anymore. I’ll even share some of my own fears—the fear of being insignificant to everyone. Of failing at everything I do. I used to battle the fear of being institutionalized because of my cerebral palsy, and sometimes, that fear still comes back.
     God knows this. He also knows our fears are real. He doesn’t belittle us for them, because He faced them, too. If “Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me” wasn’t spoken from amid fiery fear, I don’t know any statement that was. However, God does promise that amid the fear, He will stand strong with and for us. Satan intends to use our fear for evil, to so cripple us with it that our spirits will hide in dark corners instead of fighting back. Yet, as the Bible constantly reminds us, God intends that we “Fear not!” Instead, because of His Spirit, ours can rise, quench the flames with the water of truth, and emerge victorious.

   About the author: Stephanie McCall is an English teacher with two Master of Arts degrees from Western Carolina University, one of which has a professional writing concentration. She also has a B.A. in Religious Studies. She lives in North Carolina with her parents and younger brother, where she enjoys reading, writing (and discussing her writing), and participating in Bible studies, prison ministry, and her church’s drama team. Her favorite Scripture is Jeremiah 29:11. Connect with Stephanie on Facebook:

The winner receives a free copy of her book, Fiery Secrets. Would you like an e-book? What about a hard copy? It's winner's choice. Leave a comment about the blog with your email address. In a week, I'll draw for the lucky winner. 


Fiery Secretsby Stephanie McCall.  Christian Romantic Suspense.

When it comes to trial, God either spares you from it totally, asks you to walk through it, or delivers you from it by taking you to Heaven. Dr. Grace Taylor, a driven pediatrician and single mom, needs divine intervention if she’s going to heal from the actions of her cheating, abusive ex-husband.  But she never thought God would work through Chris Anderson, a tutor at the local learning center whose secrets keep him from opening up to her. Both Grace and Chris have been asked to walk through their trial by fire; they’ve come out alive, but they still smell like smoke.  Despite fears and distrust, love begins to take root in their hearts. But their fiery secrets threaten to keep them apart, and blister their souls.

Release date: July 2, 2013.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

In the Tank

Picture by Sean Blare via iPhone

Life is good. You’re sitting around the house one day and get a notion. ‘Why don’t we get a fish tank?’
A trip to the local pet store reveals an interesting revelation: a multitude of choices surround a categorical fact. It’s a lot of work.
Undaunted, you load your car with a ton of paraphernalia and head home. A few hours and many tattered boxes later, the tank is up! Then come the rocks, the plants, and filter. A few drops here, a few drops there and the water sparkles.
After several days and another trip to the store, the tank comes alive. Guppies, mollies, and neons… Vibrant color splashes across a field of blue. The horde swarms to the surface with a sprinkle of food.

But what about from the other side of the glass? Watch your little fishes swim around their little home. Now think about their day. It may go something like this:

Life is good. We have a home, food, even the big guy to clean the place. It doesn’t get any better than this. Master put a new air stone in yesterday, so the water’s really fresh today.
But I wonder when he’s going to change the filter. Poor Windex looks like he can’t keep up. I hope he sees the new baby under the rock. Plus that food is a little stale. I really wish he’d get some new stuff soon. Not to mention he never feeds us enough.
Oh well, I guess I’ll just wait here. Those guppies are such a pain anyway. Darting here and there all the time. As if the current doesn’t disturb the water. Still, it is a beautiful home.

Does this sound familiar? How many times do we have everything we need, but still aren’t happy? Air to breathe, water to drink, food to eat, and a roof over our head, but for some reason, it’s just not enough. We want more.
Often, we act similar to the fish. Purchasing new clothes or toys in a frenzy after experiencing an unexpected blessing. When the money’s all gone, God’s the one at fault. We cry out to Him, searching for answers. But in the end, we stay right where we are, complaining about everything and everyone around us.
Are you in the tank? Gobbling up all you are given, then whining about it later. Do you hover and watch the little fishes? Avoiding the chaos of life.
So before the next casual complement leaves your lips, stop. Look around. Dry your gills, and thank the Lord for everything. Even the stale food. J

Life is good.

Act 26:16 (NKJV) “But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you.”

In Christ,


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Pen to the Page: Fact or Fiction

Why do you write romance? Do you write fact or fiction? You should write real stuff instead of your stories. 
Amazing, isn’t it? Advice just continues to pour in. Do this, don’t do that. Be that or avoid this. The dilemma? Knowing whose counsel is wise and who to ignore. Not always easy. 
It helps if you know your motivation. Why do I write inspirational romance? Does anyone remember? That’s right! I write to, for, and about the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the center of my life and everything I do is for Him. 
How do I address people’s questions? Advice? Well, prayer and if in doubt, prayer. J 
In reality, fact is vital to my fiction, folks. The ‘real stuff’ makes my story come alive. Otherwise, it would just be words on the page. Flat and black. 
For example, the opening scene in my current WIP (work in progress) without fact:

“Over here, Crash.”
Joshua Fitzgerald turned to the area.
“Yo, you wanna eat or not?”
Josh sighed and walked toward them. “Yeah, what do we have?”
Devon Montgomery exchanged a smile with their partner, Guido Jaurez and nudged a box with his foot. “Gourmet in a bag…just add water. Take your pick.”
Josh grunted and sifted through the selections. “Oh great, jambalaya, my favorite. Is there any spaghetti left?”
“Maybe, you can check.” Devon reached for the radio. “Go ahead, base.”
“You ready for pick up, Ace?” A gruff voice came over the speaker. “Hilo in twenty.”
“Copy, base. Ready for pick up.” Devon rose from his position. “Let’s go, guys. Pack up. Pops, make sure that’s out.”
“Will do,” Guido said.

Okay, here it is with some fact thrown in:

“Over here, Crash.”
Joshua Fitzgerald broke through the trees into the clearing. He skirted a large boulder then tossed the Pulaski next to his pack. A strong gust scattered dust and ash across the area and his eyes burned.
“Yo, you wanna eat or not?”
Josh sighed and walked toward the rest of the crew. They huddled around a small fire, munching on MREs. “Yeah, what do we have?”
Devon Montgomery exchanged a smile with their partner, Guido Juarez and nudged a box with his foot. “Gourmet in a bag…just add water. Take your pick.”
Josh grunted and sifted through the selections. “Oh great, jambalaya, my favorite. Is there any spaghetti left?”
“Maybe, you can check.” The radio crackled to life and Devon reached for it. “Go ahead, base.”
“You ready for pick up, Ace?” A gruff voice grated over the speaker. “Hilo in twenty.”
“Copy, base. Ready for pick up.” Devon rose from his position next to the fire. “Let’s go, guys. Pack up. Pops, make sure that’s out.”
“Will do.” Guido, the third smokejumper in the crew, shoved the last two bites of his MRE in his mouth before he brushed his hands on his pants. He dug around his pack for a second then started shoveling dirt on the fire.

See the difference? Fact always has a place. Although I don’t write fact-based fiction or bible studies, I do write stories full of facts. Fictional stories that are set in familiar places that involve familiar people who struggle with real problems. My characters are rugged, handsome and yes, even a little bad. Whatever their challenges may be…a better future, a bitter past, or a dangerous foe, the Lord is the answer. 
Do I write fact or fiction? I’ll let you decide.

Proverbs 3:3 (NKJV) “Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart…”

In Christ,