What I’m Reading

Memorable book endings

I did a booksigning at Borders in Lithonia, GA a couple of weekends ago.  One of the folks who stopped to visit with me had purchased a copy of Victoria Christopher Murray’s Joy.  When I saw the book, I immediately thought of the ending, which I thought was flat-out wonderful.  I get emotional thinking about it. It was the perfect ending for a very good book.  If you’ve read it, you know what I mean.  If you haven’t read it, I can’t tell you the ending.  All I’ll say is that it relates to the title.

What books have you read that have endings that were memorable for you?  Let’s make this memorable, as in warm and emotional, as well as memorable, as in shocking or surprising, and memorable, as in disappointing.  Just so you know many of the Oprah books had disappointing endings for me.  I’m thinking of one right now but I can’t remember the title.  Note that just because a book has a disappointing ending doesn’t mean that it’s a bad book.

So what say ye?  What books have you read with memorable endings?

Audacity and Dreams

Today is the 12th so I’m blogging at Blogging in Black, now ReadersRooms.com. You can probably guess what my post is about given the title of this one.  Come on over and see if you’re right.

There was a post by a New Orleans resident (Farrah Rochon) at BIB earlier this week about Gustav. You can check it out HERE.  Baton Rouge resident Lynn Emery talks about her experience HERE.

Romance Pioneers will resume on Monday.

CFBA Tour: Back to Life by Kristin Billerbeck

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Back To Life
Avon Inspire (September 16, 2008)
Kristin Billerbeck

Kristin Billerbeck was born in Redwood City, California. She went to San Jose State University and gained a bachelor’s degree in Advertising, then worked at the Fairmont Hotel in PR, a small ad agency as an account exec, and then, she was thrust into the exciting world of shopping mall marketing.

She got married, had four kids, and started writing romance novels until she found her passion: Chick Lit. She is a CBA bestselling author and two-time winner of the ACFW Book of the Year for What A Girl Wants in 2004, and again in 2006 for With this Ring. Featured in the New York Times, USA Today, World Magazine, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Kristin has appeared on the Today Show. She is credited with jump-starting the inspirational chick-lit phenomenon. Most recently she has been names as a finalist for the Christy Award in the Lits category for The Trophy Wives Club.

Her other recent books include: She’s All That.


Lindsey realized when she married Ron, a man 17 years her senior, that the odds were he’d see heaven before her, but she never expected to be a widow at 35. There’s too much of life left for her to just sit around in mourning. But she can’t seem to kick start the rest of her life.

That is until she gets some help from Ron’s first wife, Jane, who shows up unexpectedly at her door one day as the executor of her husband’s estate. Jane is everything Lindsey’s not… independent, stubborn… and a lot older. Plus she has one surprise after another… including a son named Ron Jr. (she insists he’s not “really” Ron’s son). But an unlikely friendship develops as each woman begins to reevaluate what is really important, and owns up to the mistakes they’ve made in the past.

Told in the alternating voices of Jane and Lindsey, and with the return of many of the witty characters of The Trophy Wives Club, this book is a lighthearted, relatable read for when life goes in a direction you never planned. With faith and friends, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.

If you would like to read an excerpt of chapter 1 of Back To Life, go HERE

My review:  Well, I don’t have a review.  The book was waiting for on Sunday afternoon when I returned home from Charlotte so I haven’t had time to read it.  To be honest, I probably won’t get time to read it for a while.  You all will remember though that Kristin participated in our Writing Rituals dicussion a few weeks back.  This is the first time I’m participating in a CFBA Blog Tour so let me know what you think of the books that come through.

Open Mic Day for Readers

Today is Open Mic Day for Readers.  You’re welcome (and encouraged) to post Comments about anything that’s on your mind related to books and reading.  You can Comment on books you like, don’t like, the last book you read, the book you’re reading next, great web sites for readers, anything about reading.  You can even ask questions about my books, past and future.  The only restriction is that the questions should be from a reader’s perspective (and shouldn’t give away any major plot points of books!).

Have at it!  I look forward to reading your comments when I get back from the Soul Expressions Author Tour.

Jan Karon and Pat G’Orge Walker

I’ve gotten on the audiobook bandwagon so I’ve been listening to quite a few books during my daily commute and other driving trips.  Through this process, I’ve gotten to know and fall in love with a new author: Jan Karon.  Now I know she’s not new to lots of peope, and though I’d heard of her Mitford series, I’d never read one.  Well, I’m on my second book now and I’m absolutely in love.

To be honest, I’ve had to sit back and wonder why I’m in love.  You know why?  Because she has the best characters in the world and the guy who does the reading for her audiobooks does each one of them justice.  I can’t explain how taken I am with Mitord and its people.  I also stand in awe of Karon’s grasp of scripture.  If you haven’t read any of these books, I strongly suggest you give them a chance.

They’re not drama-filled in way of many of our books today but they provide a glimpse into the big heart of a elderly priest (rector) and his bumbling but endearing congregation.  I want to write that kind of book.   Father Tim is a wonderful character who embodies the love of Christ in a very “real” way.  There is a lot of discussion today about writing Christian fiction that is “real.”  Well, nobody gets more real than Karon, but she pulls it off in such a clever and sympatheic way.

I’ve been wondering if I’ve read anyone who does what Karon does and it occurred to me that Pat “Sister Betty” G’Orge Walker does.  Pat’s stories are endearing because of the quirky characters in much the same way Karon’s Mitford series is.  Both authors use the frailities and contradictions and hypocrisies in the lives of Christians to show what “true religion” is. Pat’s books are funny, almost satirical, tales of church people.  You laugh a lot in Karon’s books but they’re not satire.

Don’t get my wrong; the authors are telling different stories but I believe they have the same heart.  The kind of heart that can look lovingly on a flawed people and show the wonderous power of God.  You can tell both authors love and embrace their flawed characters, too, which makes their stories even more compelling.

If you haven’t read both authors, you must.  While you can start with any book in the Mitford series (I started around book six but went back to one), I recommend starting with book 1, Home at Mitford.  With Pat, I think you can start anywhere.  Her 2007 book, Crusin’ on Desperation, was a definite keeper, and according to Publishers Weekly so is the new one, Somewhat Saved.  I’ve already put it on order at Amazon.

What can I say?  I want to do what they do.  They make me proud to write Christian fiction.

Enjoy your week!


P.S. You’ll notice that I didn’t make an excuse for the long delay in posting.  Well, I’m apologizing for it now, not making an excuse.  Thanks for continuing to drop by.

Another Week of Thanks

redemption Today was another tear-jerker day though I didn’t shed any tears. I just got another chance to see God at work in my life.

Last week was Spring Break for me so school was closed and I had a bit of free time. You know I had to do some reading. And I read Jacqui Thomas’ latest adult novel, Redemption. This book really blessed me. You’ll have to read it yourself to understand. Hint: It’s based on the book of Hosea.

I also started back at CURVES. All I can say is “so far, so good.”

I hope your week is off to a great start and that your eyes can see the hand of God.

Happy Holidays!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted and I really have no real excuse. But I do have a few excuse possibilities:

1. I’ve been settling into my new job. I’m enjoying the new job a lot so the settling in has’t been painful. Just time-consuming.

2. I’ve been breaking in a new computer. I have a new laptop (paid under $500 at Office Depot) so I’ve had to transfer all my data from the old machine. I made the mistake of not transferring the cookies and passwords so it hasn’t been easy getting into all my password-protected sites, including this one.

3. I’ve actually taken some time to do some reading. I read (and LOVED) Tiffany Warren’s Farther than I Meant to Go, Longer than I Meant to Stay. If you’re looking for “big girl” angst, you must read this book. Tiffany holds up a mirror and allows us to see ourselves, on the outside and the inside. It was a great book! I also read ReShonda Tate Billingsley’s “No More Drama,” another young adult inspirational story from the publisher of Jacquelin Thomas’s Divine series of young adult Christian fiction stories. I enjoyed it and so did my niece. We’re both eagerly awaiting the next young adult titles by both Ms. Billingsley and Ms. Thomas. I characterize the Thomas books as Christian fiction and the Billingsley books as more inspirational fiction. Read them and let me know what you think.

4. I travelled for the Thanksgiving holidays so I was out of town for a while. I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. I spent a lot of my time being thankful for the life that God has given me. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned in my life is that the life God gives you is the best life you can have. I appreciate more each day the family he gave me, the people He’s placed around me , the opportunities He’s afforded me, and the hope He’s instilled in me. I have a good life and I don’t ever want to take it for granted. I also don’t want to forget why it’s a good life–because He’s directing it (when I’m not trying to take back the reins, that is). That’s the only reason.

As we moved into Christmas and the new year, I wish you all the hope of Christ. A friend blessed me with a story of a recent trial in her life, and while I can’t share it all with you, I can tell what I learned from it: What God provides is enough. It may not look like enough and it may not feel like enough, but is it. Think about the fishes and loaves that fed the 5000. Who would have thought the little they had was enough to feed all those people? They did, but they never would have known that they did if they hadn’t started feeding people with the little they had. That’s exactly what we have to do. We have to move in what we have and trust God that it’s enough. Our job is to believe; His job is to deliver. And He always does. Every time. Look back on your life. You know I’m telling the truth. Praise God!

I love you with the love of the Lord. Keep your hope in Him.

Happy Holidays!


Simply Divine

divineI don’t normally endorse books on this blog. One of the reasons is that I have a lot of writer friends and I’d feel badly if I endorsed one person’s book and didn’t endorse another’s. I’m going to break my rule today and talk about a new book by Jacquelin Thomas, Simply Divine, her first young adult Christian fiction title. Simply Divine is an important book because there aren’t a lot of books targetted at this group of youngsters. I’ve already purchased a copy for myself and my niece. Why don’t you pick up a copy or purchase one for a young lady you know? I hope to discuss the book with my niece when we finish so that should be good.

Note that Simply Divine is the first in a series of YA books that Jacquelin is doing. The next one is titled, Divine Confidential, and will be out in February.

Got Books?

The book lover in you will love the LibraryThing. This site allows you to maintain an online catalog of your books. You get to input up to 200 books for free; above that number, you pay $10 per year or a $25 lifetime fee. I’ve paid the 25 bucks already.
Why do I like this site? First, it’s very easy to input your books. You can input the book title or author and the system will search Amazon (or other libraries) to find the ISBN, cover and pertinent information. You do this on the “Add Books” page here. Or, you can use their universal import form and grab the ISBNs from any web page. You do that here. This feature I love. Since I tend to buy all the books of my favorite authors, I like to import their entire book list at one time. You can do this by entering the URL of a page that includes all their titles. For example, I do a search here and then I input the URL of the results page in the univeral import page. In one stroke, I enter all the books for that author.
The second thing I love about this site is that you can look at other people’s libraries. Once you’ve entered your books the system will automatically tell you which books you have in common with other users in the system. Third and last, I like that once I’ve input the books, I can easily download the ISBN and related information. This is important to be because I have a lot of old books that I’ve thought about selling on either Amazon.com or Half.com, but I’ve been reluctant to enter them one-by-one. Now, I can just download all the ISBNs from LibraryThing and upload them into either Amazon or Half.com.
You can check out my library here. It’s by no means complete, (it actually lists some books that I don’ t own), but it’s a start. I would guess that I have over 1000 books so this is going to be a long project. Let me know if you decide to put your library online. We may find that we have a lot of books in common.

What Are You Reading?

I had planned to keep you all updated with my fiction reading, but guess what? I’m not reading much fiction these days. I’m a pretty avid reader so this is strange for me. I think it has something to do with the 90 Bible reading plan. By the way, I’ll have the 90 Day post up on Wednesday.

Defining Moments Murder Mayhem Fine ManAnyway, I just find that I don’t have as much time, or as much interest, in reading fiction as I did before. Now that’s a bit problematic since I’m a firm believer that good writers read a lot. So I’m going to try to get it at least a couple of books a month. My next two are going to be Defining Moments by Jacquelin Thomas and Murder, Mayhem and a Fine Man by Claudia Mair Burney. Claudia’s a new author to watch. Look for her book in July. I’m special so I have an early copy in galley form. 🙂

WhatSpeaking of new authors, one of my fellow Walk Worthy Press authors, Tiffany L. Warren (What a Sistah Should Do) is a finalist in Cush City’s New Author Contest. You can see the full list of nominees and vote HERE.

My web counter tells me that this web site gets over 200 visitors (1600 hits) per day and I want to hear from a lot of you. I’m going to devote a blog entry a week for you to make yourself known, so help me out here. I want to find out if that counter is really working, or if those counts are way, way off. So just click on Comments and tell me what you’re reading, or have read, lately. I really do want to know.

Question for the week: What are you reading?

An Angela Benson book?

Okay, I need some help as I ponder the question, What makes an Angela Benson book? So I’m looking to help from the experts–you. Why do you read my books? What is it about them that makes you want to read them? If you’ve read more than one, what makes you keep coming back for more?

I’m sorting through all these questions myself as I try to understand my own writing and I wondered if you, as a reader, see things the way I do. Please share your thoughts with me. There’s no prize for this, but you’ll have my heart-felt appreciation. That and five dollars might get you a latte. 🙂 Thanks.

You don’t have to register for the site to enter your comment. Just select the Comment link and write away!

What I’m Reading

All Things Hidden I love to read! I admit it. And I love talking to people about books. I don’t get to do it much, because as an author, I feel uneasy giving public commentary on the work of others. And I won’t do it here on this blog. What I will do follow in the steps of LaShaunda Hoffman and tell you what I’m reading, every now and then. I’ll just list the books with no commentary. Of course, you’re free to comment.

Because I read so widely, I’m going to restrict my list to Christian fiction titles by authors who describe their work as Christian fiction. My first reads for 2006 are/were:

All Things Hidden, Judy Candis
Shades of Gray, Jacqueline Thomas
Made of Honor, Marilynn Griffith
Sammy on Vacation, Robin Hardy