ARC of All In Good Time

All_In_Good_Time_Screen_ShotI was telling a friend just the other day that my soon-to-be-released book, All In Good Time, wrote itself. Exaggeration? Yes—sort of. In comparison to some of the other books I’ve written, it really seemed true. This was one of those books where the research material generated so much drama that I had more than enough choices to slip the pieces easily into place. I’ve often said writing a book is like putting a puzzle together. It’s so much easier when you have all the pieces.

So this week I’m happy to announce that Maggie Rowe, my wonderful PR manager from Tyndale, sent to me some extra Advance Reader Copies—which means I have a few to give away! I’d love to give a copy to five different readers who won’t mind offering a review on such places as GoodReads, Amazon, B&N, or Christian Book Distributors. You can let me know if you agree that all of those puzzle pieces fit together. :-)

Since the book isn’t officially releasing until April 1st, most online distributors won’t accept reviews until after the release. But GoodReads accepts reviews any time, so that might be a great place to start if you win a free copy!

 

Here’s the back cover from All In Good Time, to let you know what the story is all about:

Dessa Caldwell has a dream:

to open Pierson House, a refuge for former prostitutes in Denver’s roughest neighborhood. But after exhausting all charitable donations, Dessa still needs a loan. Her last hope hinges on the owner of Hawkins National Bank.

 

Henry Hawkins has a secret:

he owns the most successful bank in town, but his initial capital came from three successful stage coach robberies. Though he’s Denver’s most eligible bachelor, to protect his past, he’s built a fortress around his heart that no one can penetrate . . . until the day Dessa Caldwell strolls into his bank requesting a loan.

 

Though he’s certain her proposal is a bad investment, Henry is drawn to Dessa’s passion. But that same passion drives her to make rash decisions about Pierson House . . . and about whom she can trust. One man might hold the key to the future of her mission—but he also threatens to bring Henry’s darkest secrets to light. As the walls around their hearts begin to crumble, Henry and Dessa must choose between their plans and God’s, between safety and love.

 

So how do you enter? I’m using my favorite helper, Punchtab!

 

 

Authors Never Suffer From L’esprit de l’escalier

My husband was reading a commentary written by Charles Krauthammer in which he used the French phrase, L’esprit de l’escalier. Evidently it means “staircase wit” that refers to the universal situation in which we’re left speechless by some sort of rudeness or verbal attack, and only later can we imagine all kinds of appropriate retaliations.

In its original French usage, the author first explained that if a sensitive man is (understandably) overwhelmed by an argument against him, he becomes confused and can only think clearly again when he reaches the bottom of the stairs – in this case, referring to the architecture of the classic European hotel or mansion where the reception room is located one floor above, so for this author to reach the bottom of the stairs it means once he’s left the party.

In real life this happens to all of us at one time or another. But as an author giving voice to my characters, I can honestly proclaim this never happens unless I want it to. That is, of course, because I’m a better re-writer than writer. I have all the time in the world to get to the bottom of the staircase and calmly search for appropriate reaction to every surprise situation in which my characters might find themselves.

I’ve often wished life would imitate art a bit more often . . . at least the good parts.

Here’s to a week ahead in which the right words come at the right time, especially if they’re uplifting.

The Circle of Delight and Desire

As fitting a title that might be for a romance writer like myself, this circle probably isn’t what you think at first glance. My topic today isn’t exactly about human delight and desire. Well, it is and it isn’t. (Don’t you hate it when people say that?)

This weekend, my church hosted a pastor from another local church. His name is Jarrett Stevens, from the Soul City Church in the West Loop of Chicago. I was so impressed I thought I’d share some of his thoughts here.

One of the phrases he used was the tension of desire. Now this is something we’re all familiar with, particularly those of us who read or write romance. Romance isn’t so much the culmination of two people falling in love—after all, that usually happens at the end, when those pages are dwindling. Rather the story is about the journey toward that moment, which is of course rife with tension.

Interestingly, there is tension in nearly every kind of desire. Pastor Stevens talked about the normal, every day desires we have. What we want vs. what we really want. We desire to get fit enough to run a marathon, so we decide to take the necessary steps: get up early, condition our body to run by running. But instead we roll over for the extra sleep. So what we really want is to indulge that immediate desire (sleep) rather than the harder, longer term desire (getting in shape).

It’s important to realize we’re creatures of desire, which is probably why we enjoy reading about the goals and desires of interesting characters. Sometimes our desires can bring us closer to God, and then there are the times that they don’t. Paul summarized it well in Romans 7:15-25 where he talked about desiring to do what is good but realizing he doesn’t.

Which leads us to the explanation of today’s blog title: the circle of desire and delight. As Pastor Stevens put it, what we desire, we delight in and what we delight in we desire more.

So how do we control our desires, once we’ve come to the same discovery as Paul, that we all have this natural tendency toward wretchedness?

One option is to cut out everything delightful. Not gonna fall for those temptations if we shut ourselves inside a tight little cocoon, right? Oh yeah, that sounds just like the abundant life God wants us to have.

The answer is, of course, in the Bible. I’m convinced the Bible is exactly the right length because it includes just enough biographies and personal accounts to apply in one way or another to just about every situation a human can face. The answer to handling our desires is found in Psalms.

Ps. 37:4: Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.

So there it is. The more we desire the Lord the more we’ll delight in Him. The more we delight in Him the more we desire Him.

The thought for this week: How can we delight in God today? And whatever we do desire, will it lead us closer to delighting in God?

It’s Monday, the universal favorite day of the week for those of us who absolutely love our jobs. I’m already delighting in that, but today and the rest of the week I’m going to look for other things that remind me of God, of the countless gifts He’s sent my way, of my gratitude for giving us a Book that holds the answers  . . .

New Fiction Wednesday!

This week I’m pleased to bring you the latest from my friend Allie Pleiter! I’m reading her new book right now, Homefront Hero, featured here. I always enjoy Allie’s work, but I’m especially enjoying this one because of her choice to use one of my favorite settings—all the drama of the First World War. I also couldn’t help but notice the use of the classic name Maureen for one of the supporting characters . . . Surely that was a stroke of genius!

:-)

Here’s a note from Allie, followed by a brief excerpt so you can see why I enjoy reading Allie’s books:

The Lure of the Great War
Wars aren’t really alluring.  They do, however, bring the human condition to its peaks, both good and bad.  War rips apart lives and sets apart heroes.  War shakes up societies and redraws borders–both the social and the geographical.  It’s a great time to set a book, because without conflict there can be no good drama.
Lover of the underdog that I am, I liked using WWI as a setting because I thought WWII was getting all the attention.  I was drawn to the idea that many people thought WWI spelled the end of the world as we know it. 
I was startled when I came across the true medical memo described in HOMEFRONT HERO. A doctor projects that if the number of Spanish Influenza cases continue to increase at their current rate, it could essentially spell the end of the human race.  Of course, we know that wasn’t the case, but think about what it was like to live during that scare–people truly felt the world might be coming to an end.  What drama!  What a chance for our hero and heroine to act in new ways!
Here’s an excerpt from the opening of the book:
Camp Jackson Army Base Columbia, South Carolina September 1918
“I still can’t believe it.” Leanne Sample gazed around at the busy activity of Camp Jackson. Even with all she’d heard and seen while studying nursing at nearby University of South Carolina, the encampment stunned her. This immense property had only recently been mere sand, pine and brush. Now nearly a thousand buildings created a self-contained city. She was part of that city. Part of the monumental military machine poised to train and treat the boys going to and coming from “over there.” She was a staff nurse at the base army hospital. “We’re really here.”
“Unless I’m seein’ things, we most definitely are here.” Ida Landway, Leanne’s fellow nurse and roommate at the Red Cross House where they and other newer nurses were housed, elbowed her. “I’ve seen it with my own eyes, but I still can barely believe this place wasn’t even here two years ago.” Together they stared at the layout of the orderly, efficient streets and structures, rows upon rows of new buildings standing in formation like their soldier occupants. “It’s a grand, impressive thing, Camp Jackson. Makes me proud.”
Leanne had known Ida briefly during their study program at the university, but now that they were officially installed at the camp, Leanne already knew her prayers for a good friend in the nursing corps had been answered. Different as night and day, Leanne still had found Ida a fast and delightful companion. Ida’s sense of humor was often the perfect antidote to the stresses of military base life. As such, their settling in at the Red Cross House and on the hospital staff had whooshed by her in a matter of days, and been much easier than she’d expected.
Still, “on-staff” nursing life was tiring. “There was so much to do,” Leanne said to Ida as she tilted her face to the early fall sunshine as they chatted with other nurses on the hillside out in front of the Red Cross House. “Too many things are far more complicated in real service then I ever found them in class.”
“A free afternoon. I was wondering if we’d ever get one. Gracious, I remember thinking our class schedules were hard.” Ida rolled her shoulders. “Hard has a whole new meaning to me now.” This afternoon had been their first stretch of free time, and they’d decided to spend an hour doing absolutely nothing before taking the trolley into Columbia to attend a war rally on the USC campus that evening.
“However are you going to have time to do this?” Ida pointed to a notice of base hospital events pinned to a post outside the Red Cross House. “I feel like I’ve barely time to breathe, and you’re already lined up to teach knitting classes.”
“I’ve managed to find the time to teach you,” Leanne reminded her newest student.
“Don’t I know it. I tell you, my mama’s jaw would drop if she saw I’ve already learned to knit. I guess you’ve found right where you fit in the scheme of things around here.”
Ida was right; Leanne had found her place on base almost instantly. As if God had known just where to slot her in, placing an opening for a teacher in the Red Cross sock knitting campaign. If there was anything Leanne knew for certain she could do, it was to knit socks for soldiers. She’d run classes for her schoolmates at the university; it seemed easy as pie to do the same thing here. And it would help her make friends so quickly—hadn’t she already? In only a matter of days the vastness of the base seemed just a wide-open ocean of possibilities.

The Specifics:

Homefront Hero, by Allie Pleiter
A Love Inspired Historical
May 2012
#978-0-373-82916-3
From the back cover:
Dashing and valiantly wounded, Captain John Gallows could have stepped straight out of an army recruitment poster. Leanne Sample can’t help being impressed—although the lovely Red Cross nurse tries to hide it. She knows better than to get attached to the daring captain who is only home to heal and help rally support for the war’s final push. As soon as he’s well enough, he’ll rush back to Europe, back to war—and far away from South Carolina and Leanne. But when an epidemic strikes close to home, John comes to realize what it truly means to be a hero—Leanne’s hero.
About Allie:
An avid knitter, coffee junkie, and devoted chocoholic, Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and non-fiction.  The enthusiastic but slightly untidy mother of two, Allie spends her days writing books, buying yarn, and finding new ways to avoid housework.  Allie hails from Connecticut, moved to the midwest to attend Northwestern University, and currently lives outside Chicago, Illinois.  The “dare from a friend” to begin writing has produced two parenting books, fourteen novels, and various national speaking engagements on faith, women’s issues, and writing.  Visit her website at www.alliepleiter.comor her knitting blog at www.DestiKNITions.blogspot.com

My Little Video

Not long ago, someone on one of my author loops sent around an example of her author video—a visual invitation from the author to her readers that described her latest book. She made it sound easy, so I decided to try it for my upcoming novel. After all, what did I have to lose? It cost me absolutely nothing.


It was also fun to create. I took a few minutes to think about the gist of Bees In The Butterfly Garden in terms of what I might do if I were creating a book trailer. I decided not to do that because of copyright problems with photographs and that sort of thing—this was to be an experiment only. A short visual aid to describe my book, created completely by me, the author. It’s also a way readers can “meet” me on a video.


I mentioned to my husband what I wanted to do, and as always he came up with the solution. Why not do a “flip the classroom” presentation? What’s that, you say? It’s a visual aid to teach the kids whatever concept you want them to learn.


That sounded exactly like what I was after. What was I trying to do but “teach” others what my book is about? So after seeing what a couple other teachers had done with the idea, I came up with some cards that briefly describe the story in Bees In The Butterfly Garden.


Granted I’m no artist—for instance, those little marks around my hero and heroine figures are supposed to be tears. :-) Aside from revealing that I can’t draw, I had so much fun with this little experience I decided to share it with you.


So . . . got a minute? That’s all it lasts . . .


Bees In The Butterfly Garden is due to start shipping sometime in June but can be pre-ordered now. I hope this fun little exercise stirred your interest in checking it out!

My Little Video

Not long ago, someone on one of my author loops sent around an example of her author video—a visual invitation from the author to her readers that described her latest book. She made it sound easy, so I decided to try it for my upcoming novel. After all, what did I have to lose? It cost me absolutely nothing.


It was also fun to create. I took a few minutes to think about the gist of Bees In The Butterfly Garden in terms of what I might do if I were creating a book trailer. I decided not to do that because of copyright problems with photographs and that sort of thing—this was to be an experiment only. A short visual aid to describe my book, created completely by me, the author. It’s also a way readers can “meet” me on a video.


I mentioned to my husband what I wanted to do, and as always he came up with the solution. Why not do a “flip the classroom” presentation? What’s that, you say? It’s a visual aid to teach the kids whatever concept you want them to learn.


That sounded exactly like what I was after. What was I trying to do but “teach” others what my book is about? So after seeing what a couple other teachers had done with the idea, I came up with some cards that briefly describe the story in Bees In The Butterfly Garden.


Granted I’m no artist—for instance, those little marks around my hero and heroine figures are supposed to be tears. :-) Aside from revealing that I can’t draw, I had so much fun with this little experience I decided to share it with you.


So . . . got a minute? That’s all it lasts . . .


Bees In The Butterfly Garden is due to start shipping sometime in June but can be pre-ordered now. I hope this fun little exercise stirred your interest in checking it out!